IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Impeachment probe goes public. TRANSCRIPT: 10/31/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Juanita Tolliver, Margaret Carlson, Julian Epstein, GlennKirschner, Cornell Belcher, Pramila Jayapal, Mark Thompson

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  And of course, we can`t say good-bye without one more time congratulating those Washington Nationals. What at great - just amazing team effort. Game 7 win, brings DC its first World Series Championship in 95 years. So it was a very good day all around. The "MEET THE PRESS" offices today congrats, Nats. It got everybody some free lunch.

That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY. "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts now. Ari, you`ve been working all day. You`ve got to be one more hour brother.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: There`s been a lot. World Series is a also a huge deal. Congratulations to you and the whole city.

TODD: We are happy to be united about something.

MELBER: I think that`s a theme. You know by the end of tonight, We`re going to talk about being united about Halloween as well. As you say there`s plenty of division.

TODD: Exactly.

MELBER: But our hats off to you, Chuck Todd, all of your superstitions and your baseball caps on air cleared worked.

TODD: That`s what did it, obviously, that`s what did it. There is no doubt, me wearing the right shirt is why that all happened.

MELBER: Exactly. Happy Halloween to you and your sir, and thanks to everyone joining us this evening, as the nation watches history unfolding before our eyes.

United States Congress just passed rules for impeaching President Donald Trump. The scene that played out today on the House floor is serious, severe and historically unusual. Only three Presidents have ever faced this kind of impeachment probe vote before. Only two have actually been impeached, only one of them was an elected President.

So what Congress did today is rare by any measure. Forever marks Donald Trump`s presidency and scores a clear win for Speaker Pelosi, who had been cautious about impeachment at every step of this debate, holding back her more spirited colleagues initially, lining up the evidence and first uniting her entire caucus before stepping out to preside over this vote and even casting her own vote, which is rare for a sitting Speaker.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The resolution is adopted without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table--


MELBER: Is not rhetoric, that`s not symbolism and it`s not another verbal rebuke of this President who has been so famously and constantly rebuked. No, what you just heard - those words from the Speaker on the passage of this resolution is power. This is the exercise of the constitutional power by the party that won the midterms, creating now tonight for the first time a set of public rules for probing whether Donald Trump abused his foreign policy powers.

And this Congress is showing the nation that tonight they are closer to impeaching President Trump than this Congress has ever been since he took office. Pelosi and her impeachment leadership team laying out the reasons for that today.


PELOSI: What is at stake? Is our democracy.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): It`s about betrayal. It`s about corruption. It`s about national security. It`s about the undermining of our elections. It`s about defending our democracy for the people.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The House and the American public must see all the evidence for themselves--

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Maybe the most important service as members of Congress we will ever pay to the country and constitution--

PELOSI: I don`t know why the Republicans are afraid of the truth. Every member should support allowing the American people to hear the facts for themselves--


MELBER: So that`s what happened and those were the reasons for what happened. Now what do we know about what this vote means? I`m going to tell you right now.

One, it moves this whole investigation into a public face - public interview transcripts, public hearings, public objections, public battles over what this President did and whether if he did do something that is a high crime.

If the private depositions are any indication, this means a lot of damning evidence against Trump is coming, a lot of the bombshells, the corroborations and the internal contradictions exposed in this White House, all of that under these rules that are now real will go public.

What else do we know? Well, two, today force the politicians to reveal where they stand. House Republicans are now on record more united defending Donald Trump right now than the Democrats were when the same kind of authorizing vote was held against President Clinton.

We can say that as a fact now tonight, because today no Republicans crossed the aisle to back the impeachment probe. Compare that to over 30 Democrats who did the same to Clinton. We can also note that two Democrats crossed Pelosi to oppose this measure.

What else do we know? Well, three, today`s vote exposes Donald Trump`s objections and bluffing on stonewalling and here`s exactly how it does that. Take a look at how the White House responded to this vote, alleging the impeachment probe has "violations of due process." That`s false.

Now last night there might have been a debate about that among some people, because the rules were at that point a proposal. Tonight I can tell you, I can report for you, to the nation that`s false, because Congress passed these rules and they`re transparent, so we can read them. And they include due process for President Trump.

In fact, they include a lot of due process protections that even go beyond what other Presidents have been afforded impeachment probes. The participation of the President`s counsel, which means they can present their case, object to evidence, object to testimony being included at the hearings, they can also cross-examine witnesses.

The President has rights and this Congress is saying they will be recognized. If impeached, he`ll face a trial based on the evidence that this Congress gathers under these rules they passed today. Which is why today is not a drill, this is the real thing.

Speaker Pelosi`s measure defines the arena, the rules, and the referees, which makes some of the usual commentary and political tweets and complaints increasingly irrelevant because what matters is the new rules of the road and the evidence which of course on the substantive issues has been piling up. It`s been telling a story the Donald Trump abused his power to demand of foreign government helped him win re-election and go after his rival, Joe Biden.

It`s been telling a story that Donald Trump seized money this Congress appropriated by law, and then tried to exploit it in a plot for his re- election. Now under the law the President can`t steal 391 million from the budget to get a Ukrainian Biden investigation, any more than you can steal 391 million park it over in a MAGA political action committee.

If you`re listening to me, you`re probably hearing parts of this story are pretty straightforward. Everything I`m saying to you is plain English, there`s no footnotes. This is part of the evidence that`s piled up. What`s new tonight is that now the Congress has guaranteed those pieces of evidence and these allegations will be put before the Congress in the country and will be judged.

And that force is Washington to the nation to answer, is it OK for the President to do that stuff? And if it`s not OK what is the Congress going to do about it? What is the remedy? This is history we`re watching together. You can probably feel that on a night like tonight. This is history that is significant, in part, because it is rare and has very few echoes.

There`s one in 1868, if you go back then, there`s 1998, of course with Clinton, and then there`s those dark days for Nixon in the 1970s.

In fact, it was all the way back in `73 when a few high school aged musicians from Jamaica Queens appraised their divided country at the time. This was many months before it was clear that Nixon would ever be ousted. And they said in a song famous for that era, "Some people say that he`s guilty, some people say I don`t know. Some people say give him a chance, some people say wait till he`s convicted."

I`m quoting, of course, the Honey Drippers, ladies and gentlemen, capturing the dueling arguments that face any nation looking at the regrettable question in those rare times in history when it is posed. The question, is the President a crook?

I turn now to our experts on this panel, Juanita Tolliver from the Center for American Progress Action Fund; Margaret Carlson from The Daily Beast; and Julian Epstein, former Chief Democratic Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. Juanita, I put the Honey Drippers question to you.

JUANITA TOLLIVER, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND: And honestly, the way you laid it out so succinctly is what the American public has been waiting for. They now get the opportunity to hear directly from the witnesses who have name names, who have stated dates, who have corroborated each other stories, as well as the original statement from The Whistleblower which brought all this to fruition.

The question of whether or not President Trump asked a foreign government to interfere in our elections, which he has already released in his own statements, which we`ve heard from witnesses, and now that`s coming out into the public. And what`s going to happen now is you`re going to see these polls oscillating mightily.

This information being laid out in full public display with full press coverage, it`s going to turn some heads an American public is going to expect to hear that repeated statement about everything that Trump has done to ask a foreign government to interfere in our elections.

MELBER: Margaret?

MARGARET CARLSON, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Ari, are you ever going to sing the lyrics one of these nights or have I missed the night--


CARLSON: --when you actually sing.

MELBER: No I will never sing lyrics. In fact, that`s my solemn promise to you Margaret and the audience.

CARLSON: OK. We appreciate that Ari.

MELBER: But, you remember that song, "Impeach the President?"

CARLSON: Yes. It`s lovely--

MELBER: `73.

CARLSON: --and your rendition without the music was just fine. So, Ari, on this today - these are more generous terms than have been given before in impeachments. There`s nothing to impeach about these due process rules.

What I don`t like about what happened today is that it kind of concedes that what went before wasn`t fair and wasn`t due process. And it leaves out there with this word private hearings and secret hearings that there weren`t half - practically half the room filled with Republicans, which was you know deepened by the fact that they had the pizza stunt storming the room, with people who would have actually been in the room had they had they been abiding by the terms that were set up.

So we`re not going from something secret to now something better. This is this is just part of a process. And it`s always done - that depositions are taken not with the cameras rolling. I mean, the only thing different about this it seems to me in general was that the cameras weren`t rolling.

But there was nothing about it that the Republicans in the House couldn`t find out about in a moment`s notice. They don`t want to know, because when they have to deal with the evidence, I think they`re really going to be in a bad spot, because the quo or the quid is totally there, and is totally in black and white, and it`s totally by people who are in the white House and who were there.

Like, there`s so many smoking guns. It`s like there`s a - there the room - you need a mask to go into the room.

MELBER: Yes. And Julian Epstein who was Chief Counsel for the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee has been through these battles and that the comparisons we mentioned. I wonder what you think about the significance of today and how it does line up to Margaret`s point to the past that you were a part of.

JULIAN EPSTEIN, FMR CHIEF MINORITY COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I just think to correct Margaret for a second. I think you`re more freestyling than you are singing. So - but, I think, the rules that were adopted today we`re largely identical to the rules that were adopted in 1998.

I will remind your viewers that in 1998 Bill Clinton cooperated with the grand jury. He testified before the grand jury.

MELBER: Right.

EPSTEIN: And then when these rules were adopted, they were actually adopted in the committee by voice vote before an impeachment resolution went to the floor. And when we had to implement the rules, the Chief Counsel for the Republicans and I had to sit down with a White House Counsel Chuck Ruff.

And Chuck Ruff said to both Tom Mooney, who was the Chief Counsel of Republicans and myself, that he - the White House intends to fully cooperate with this impeachment probe, even though they completely disagreed with it vehemently.

And that if the committee ever - on the judiciary ever didn`t get anything - ever got anything short of full cooperation that the two of us were to call him immediately. Gave us his phone number, and said he would address it.

So the White House was completely cooperative with the Congress at every step of the way. What I find so remarkable about this process here is how ill-prepared the Republicans are for this fight. Nancy Pelosi has completely played the Republicans. The Republicans have played painted themselves into a corner on this process argument and they did it for two or three weeks.

And she gave him enough rope to kind of hang themselves. And then at the end of that she`s pulled the rug out from underneath them, and said, OK you want due process, we`ll give you all the due process that prior Presidents have had. And now they`re left with very, very little to argue, other than a very weak substantive argument.

Which, and from my conversations on the Hill, people were talking to Republicans in both the House and the Senate, Republicans, they haven`t they haven`t got to the point where they`re ready to jump ship yet. But if the numbers change--

The key thing that I think you want to keep in mind in terms of impeachment. It is always, always, always about that middle third of the electorate. Can you get the numbers from about 50 percent for impeachment to 60 percent? In the case of Clinton it was always very low, it was always at about 30-35 percent.

But if the numbers move from 50 percent, where they are right now, to 60-65 percent, I think you`re going to see a lot of Republicans who privately are - have nothing but loathsome feelings for this President, I think you`re going to see some of them start to break.

But that`s the question, can the Democrats prosecute this case and does the public in this age of constant digital distractions have the attention span to consider a linear narrative over many months about what looks like a very clear open-and-shut case of bribery?

MELBER: Well, and as you put it a case on bribery with rules now that provide for the public hearings, and then yes, linear to the Senate if it goes there, Juanita, people hearing the evidence.

Now your colleague Julian here made a reference to freestyling, which of course is making up the lyrics as you go along, which can be impressive when done well, but also can fail if you don`t know what your next line is going to be.

And so to Julian`s the point I want to play some of what we`ve heard from the Republicans, because while there are substitutes to be made and we`ll be covering them and hearing them the freestyling of the strategy of are you debating whether or not the facts happened are you saying the facts of OK are you saying the facts are not OK, but not impeachable. We`re hearing every type of freestyle defense thus far. Take a listen.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Democrats are trying to impeach the President because they are scared, they cannot defeat them at the ballot box.

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): How soviet-style this is running. This is the United States of America. Don`t run a sham process, a tainted process--

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Trying to put a ribbon on a sham process, doesn`t make it any less of a sham.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): What we`re seeing among Democrats on the Intelligence Committee down in skiff right now is like a cult. Now they`ve decided they don`t like the way he talks to foreign leaders.


MELBER: Juanita?

TOLLIVER: This is not an occasion to freestyle. This is an occasion when you need to come to reality and realize what these witnesses are saying. And this is mainly for the 47 Republicans in the room who have been a part of these testimonies and depositions who hear from the witnesses and know that once this information goes public, their constituents are going to start asking questions.

And what point are you going to stop trying to put your party first or cover for Trump over protecting our constitutional rights of free and clear elections? At what point are you going to stand up for the oath of office that you took to preserve and protect our country against adversaries, foreign and domestic?

And so it really comes down to the fact when will Republicans put that oath of office above protecting President Trump.

MELBER: And Margaret Donald Trump is often credited for his approach to communications. It certainly generates attention and feelings, if not always facts or civility. Have you noticed that he has seemed increasingly M.I.A?

I mean the Congress just did something very big I walked through why at the top of the show, and it is striking to see Donald Trump, this communicator, go a little quiet. And then substantively beyond just the so called communication of it, they have not - and as of this hour, we`ve been checking with the White House.

They have not said what they`re going to do, what as Julian referred to the Clinton White House did, and engaged and send lawyers down and be in this process or not.

CARLSON: I expect another diversionary tactic like he`s going to hold the signing of the China trade deal at some Trump property as he did last week when he said that he was going to hold the G7 at the Doral. I mean he`s very good at doing that when he feels cornered. And he doesn`t have - there`s not much you can say except bring out the old witch hunt and the hoax.

And he and you know Nancy Pelosi asked the question. I don`t know - she made this statement in today, I don`t know what Republicans are afraid of. Well, they`re afraid of the truth. They don`t want to get to the facts.

And to quote a movie, Ari, "they can`t handle the truth, because the facts are so against them that they don`t have a defense." It`s not that they`re not putting it out there, and they don`t have the message, and there`s no war room. The substance of it is it`s just not there.

MELBER: Colonel Jessup in a "Few Good Men".


MELBER: Julian?

CARLSON: There you go.

EPSTEIN: Well, so, let me just point out again. I want to continue there with notion if we can that you and Juanita talked about on the freestyling point. In 1998--

MELBER: Continue the notion. Second that notion as it were.

EPSTEIN: Yes. I will second notion. So if we - in 1998 the reason we won the debate was because we decided early in January and February when we know we knew we were going for impeachment towards the end of the year what our strategy would be, what the offense would be.

And we picked up on the prosecutorial excesses of Ken Starr. He withheld an attorney from Monica Lewinsky. He was sanctioned by the court repeatedly for grand jury leaks of material. He was overly obsessed with the sexual details of an extramarital affair. And we knew the public was on our side on these arguments and we prosecuted them continuously for 12 months. And we won the argument.

Here, what - the reason that I think many Republicans are panicking privately is now that the process argument has been taken away from them, they are kind of freestyling in a way that`s very discordant and inharmonious, and they`re kind of making it up as they go along and it`s clear they just don`t have a strategy.

It`s clear they don`t have a way to, Margaret`s point, about pushing back either on process, because that issue is gone now or on substance, because you kind of caught Trump with his hand in the cookie jar in this bribery question.

And so the reason that I think you`re seeing people inside the White House come forward and testifying, we`ve had two White House officials come forward and basically affirm the bribery conspiracy, is because people are panicking that the evidence is, one, strong. But, two, the White House has no idea what they are doing in terms of playing an offensive or defensive strategy.

MELBER: Right. And they don`t - and to your point--

CARLSON: People are very nervous about that.

MELBER: And they don`t seem to know the edge of what the provable facts are, which is never where you want to be if you`re making a defense. Julian Epstein, Margaret Carlson--

CARLSON: Or - Ari, or they`re worried about what the edge of the probe--

MELBER: Or worried about the edge. and Juanita Tolliver freestyling on Halloween night, my thanks to each of you. We have a lot more on this show, so I`m going to fit in a break.

But up ahead we have also new Ukraine testimony we haven`t even gotten to today that was behind closed doors. But we have reports on it.

Also, Donald Trump`s former top Russia aide backing up the quid pro quo bombshell. And we`ll be joined later tonight by a Democrat who voted today, who`s on the Judiciary Committee, which would be writing up those impeachment articles.

And later atop bolster from both Obama campaign`s on where the public fits in as the hearings go public. I`m Ari Melber and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: Welcome back to our special coverage of a historic day in Washington. As mentioned, Democrats voting for the first time ever on the official rules in blueprint to impeach President Trump.

We have seen a veritable avalanche of evidence that the investigators have already privately collected. And here`s how focused that probe is. Consider that today at the same time that the historic impeachment vote occurred; a brand new witness marched in to testify behind closed doors.

It`s on the right of your screen there. You`re looking at Trump`s former National Security Aide, Tim Morrison. He was on the Trump call with the President of Ukraine. He still worked in the White House at least until yesterday when, yes, not coincidentally he formally stepped down.

Now he is testifying that he promptly told White House lawyers he was concerned that that call with Ukraine would become public. He was concerned about many aspects of it. But he also offered his personal opinion that he doesn`t think it`s illegal.

More importantly, perhaps though, he corroborated testimony that Trump was seeking a quid pro quo with Ukraine to go after Biden. Morrison effectively backing up a long list of witnesses, when you take it all together who are talking about this bribe.

So, today, as mentioned, alongside the vote on the floor you have Tim Morrison. He`s confirming what ambassador Bill Taylor has previously testified. Plus you have of course diplomat Fiona Hill, and then that army officer Alexander Vindman, who so rattled the White House. And then, of course, on top of them all in terms of hierarchy, Donald Trump`s very top aide.


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

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: But he also mentioned to me and past that the corruption related to the DNC server, absolutely, no question about that.

TRUMP: There was no quid pro quo at all.

REPORTER: To be clear you just described is a quid pro quo.

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

TRUMP: There was no quid pro quo unlike Biden.

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


MELBER: We never did that, unless of course you mean what we do all the time. So what do you do with the defense heading into an impeachment probe that`s now official with that kind of factual predicate? Well, I`m going to bring in the two perfect guests for this. Former prosecutor Craig Glenn Kirschner and Cornell Beltre from the Obama campaign when we`re back in just 30 seconds.


MELBER: We`re back. With me to break down this historic day in Washington we have the experts on the investigation and the political process that hits Congress. Former Federal Prosecutor Glenn Kirschner; and longtime Pollster for Barack Obama and two other top officials, Cornell Belcher, good evening to both of you evening.


MELBER: Cornell, you know why you`re here? Do you know why you`re here?


MELBER: No, I mean if you want to. But that`s not why we booked you. We booked, you because you deal with the numbers in the public opinion, not what folks want to happen or hope will happen, or think will - you deal with where the people are.

And so when you look at what the House just did today in the mounting evidence, from an objective perspective of the people, what do you see as significant tonight?

BELCHER: OK. So I`ll keep my mixtape. What I think is significant this evening really is, is Republicans are on record with saying that it`s OK for our leader to ask for foreign assistance.

And when you look at all the polling around this, it`s not just Democrats, but when you look at the majority of independents who are either for impeachment or for the inquiry, Republicans are not where the majority of Americans are. And they`re particularly not where the majority of independents and moderate voters are.

And when you look at these battleground states where they need to do well, and you look at with where they are struggling in the suburbs, many of these congressional districts where the battleground is going to be fought and won in the suburbs. These college-educated voters are not where Republicans are on stonewalling this.

And watching something earlier where Republicans are literally running from reporters who are asking them is, it OK for a President to ask foreign powers for help? They don`t want to answer that question. That`s going to be tough to take into the fall 2020.

MELBER: Right. And that brings us to Glenn which is how do you define what the issues are. What`s the scope of the issues? What are the questions?

I mean, Glenn, when you go to the Supreme Court that question presented section at the beginning of the brief is crucial, because how you define the question of what`s the issue often tells you whether you win or lose.

And to Cornell`s point, it`s not only Republicans in Congress who ultimately have their own districts to worry about, people who need jobs from Donald Trump right now, like this new ambassador, didn`t even want to stay under oath well this is OK, saying very embarrassingly to Trump and under oath, no, it`s not OK.

And that brings me Glenn to Vindman. I want to read here about the Republican anxiety. "Republicans on the Hill mindful of not getting too far ahead of the President. They can say something on Monday morning and learn it`s not true on Monday afternoon." Glenn?

KIRSCHNER: Yes. You know, Ari, this really is a hearts and minds campaign. And I think what the House is doing is tactically shrewd, because they are hearing from all of these career public servants, but they`re doing it behind closed doors.

What that gives them the opportunity to do is fine-tune the information that they will then choose to present publicly to the American people. It, I think, is going to be a compelling presentation when they actually bring to light through the testimony of these patriots.

I mean this is a patriotic surge, these witnesses that we have seen over the past couple of weeks. Gone will be the Corey Lewandowskis and the Hope Hicks of the world, who are going to fight everything tooth and nail because they are Trump loyalists. Once--

MELBER: So let`s pause on that. You`re talking about what - the testimonial evidence, the witnesses - the fact witnesses. And in the Mueller probe, as you were mentioning, a lot of the fact witnesses were the people who were willing to work for Donald Trump in 2015, in the case of Lewandowski and Hicks, and early 2016, when most Republicans were trying to stop him from getting the nomination.

No, I`m not casting aspersions on all of them, but I think it`s fair to say that`s a certain group of people and they weren`t longtime government servants, they certainly weren`t public servants and they weren`t in the mainstream Republican Party. And you`re saying that was one thing.

But now you`ve got people who are public servants, who have credibility, in many cases who have public service for multiple administrations, multiple parties, military, you`re talking about their power as witnesses, Glenn.

KIRSCHNER: Yes. And the public hasn`t seen the testimony of the Bill Taylor`s and the Ambassador Yovanovitch`s and the Fiona Hill`s and the Lieutenant Colonel Vindman`s. I salute his service.

When they begin to see these people testify, they may hold them up to the Corey Lewandowski performances that we see, and it`s going to have a real impact. And I think for the first time you`re going to have the public sit up and take note at just how much abuse has been going on inside this administration.

MELBER: Cornell, do you agree with that?

BELCHER: I do. And I will take it further with the attacks on the military. Look - and take a state like South Carolina where you have Senator Graham. Senator Graham in the state like that was full of veterans, with strong military and pride, Republican have to answer, is it OK for the administration and to be attacking these Patriots and these American heroes this way?

And how come you don`t step out and step out and defend them? And Republicans have been silent on it. I think - that becomes little problematic even in deep southern and places where the military is really important.

MELBER: And Cornell, I`m curious as we go to the - what is the televised public stage. What it means the way they`re setting this up? And we were covering this, because I was along with a lot of our experts watching live this morning. These rules, don`t just say, hey public hearings go.

As we`ve been reporting, there`s a lot more to it. One of the things they do is set up to 90 minutes aside for non-politician professional experts to lead the questioning. And we put together something I want to show briefly which compares Mr. Lewandowski recently named checked by Glenn, but he was being questioned not by a politician, but by Barry Berke.

In what many people thought was one of the more effective parts of that hearing, which echoes Watergate, where they didn`t have as good camera works, you won`t see Fred Thompson. But you`ll hear his voice who at the time was the lawyer on the committee. Take a look.


BARRY BERKE, MEMBER HOUSE JUDICIARY STAFF: Did you say that because you wanted to protect the President?


BERKE: Sir, did you deny it, because you wanted to protect yourself?

LEWANDOWSKI: Not to the best of my recollection, Mr. Berke.

BERKE: So why did you lie on national television?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you aware of installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was aware of listening devices--


MELBER: Cornell, if the jury is made up of the type of people that you helped win elections, senators. How much does it matter that the public might see hearings that are really led by non-politicians or professionals in how people ultimately judge this case around the nation?

BELCHER: I think it`s real - I think it becomes real problematic. Because I don`t see the number of Americans who are - who approve of this process and improve of the President being impeached, shrinking as more of the evidence has put forward. And particularly put forward not in a harsh sort of partisan political way, but put forward by professionals.

MELBER: You say that hurts the White House?

BELCHER: I think that hurts - I think that hurts Republicans who have to be on the ballot. I think, Donald Trump aside, if you`re a Republican in a tough congressional district or you`re a Republican in - say in Colorado, for example, I think it`s tough for you to stand - to keep carrying the President`s word the way like this as more evidence comes out.

MELBER: And Glenn before I let you go, your view on that issue and does the White House ultimately send down lawyers the way Clinton did? We were talking about this earlier in the show. Do they send white House Counsel, do they send Jay Sekulow? Or do you see them ultimately, because they been in so deep stonewalling of just trying to neglect and ignore the whole House process?

KIRSCHNER: Yes, I think they`re going to stick with the witch-hunt refrain and say we are not going to participate in this process, because it would just breathe life into what we view as an illegitimate proceeding.

But I think it was brilliant that the House voted to open it up to the President. He can participate, he can present witnesses. Because every case I have ever tried, Ari, the prosecution had a lot of really good evidence or we wouldn`t be standing up in court asking a jury to hold somebody accountable for a crime.

But the defense usually doesn`t have a whole heck of a lot, so what they try to do is just poke holes in the government`s case. So I think the weakness or absence of a case by the President is going to make the Houses` case look all the stronger.

MELBER: Glenn and Cornell I got to fit in a break. I`ll have you back for more analysis or the mixtape dealer`s choice. My thanks to both of you.

Coming up, Rudy Giuliani`s secret communications could get turned over with an indicted associate facing a new hearing tomorrow. Also, we have a special guest who could draft any articles of impeachment that come out of this process and who has the insight into the democratic strategy. All of that right after this break.


MELBER: Many members of Congress have said their vote today on rules for impeaching President Trump could be one of the most historic votes of their entire career. Now we turn to someone who cast one of those votes today, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. She is part for the Democratic majority on the Judiciary Committee, which is slated under what are now the rules to draft any potential articles of impeachment.

We`re also joined by a progressive radio host, who`s interviewed Speaker Pelosi and many other leaders along the way in this arena, Mark Thompson. A good evening to both of you.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Good evening.

MELBER: And Happy Halloween.

THOMPSON: Same to you.

JAYAPAL: Same to you.

MELBER: What did your vote mean to you today?

JAYAPAL: It was a sad day. I think it was a really sad day that we are at this point where we had to cast a vote about an inquiry into Presidential abuse of power. So I don`t think there was any - there was no cheering on the floor after we voted or anything like that.

This is a case where the President has clearly with mounting evidence from all corners utilized the power of the White House to ask a foreign ally to interfere in our election, dig up dirt and withhold aid that Congress had already appropriated.

The weird thing about this case I think is that the most compelling witness came right at the beginning directly to the people and it was the President of the United States. Everybody else has been corroborating information, some more damning than others, but the most damning is the President`s behavior.

So I think it was a tough day for everybody. But obviously we`re very unified that at the end of the day this is a betrayal of national security. We have an oath to uphold the Constitution and we had to take his note and we had to move forward the proceedings.

MELBER: This impeachment probe on the Ukrainians started with the Intelligence Committee--


MELBER: --which is versed in these issues, which has under the law, a special access to information and deals with the whistleblowers.

But it ends either way with the Judiciary Committee. Either you and your colleagues write up articles of impeachment or you don`t.

JAYAPAL: Correct.

MELBER: What can you tell us now that we`re there about that when`s the last time you met with your colleagues on the committee. What are you going to do next?

JAYAPAL: Well, it actually ends with the floor of the House if we write up impeachment articles--

MELBER: If you don`t write them up, the House doesn`t get them.

JAYAPAL: But if we don`t, it would end with us, that`s correct. And so yesterday we had a meeting of our Judiciary Committee members. We`re talking constantly with the Chairman, also with the Speaker, and you know we are just preparing ourselves to receive information. That`s the next step.

We`re going to receive information from the Intel Committee reports from also OGR whatever information is there. It may not mean that everything that is on the table is ready to bring to us. But whatever is ready we will receive it. We will take look at it--

MELBER: And let me press you a bit. You already have the Mueller report, so whatever you get from Ukraine on that issue, you also have the entire Mueller report, you`ve had time to work with.

JAYAPAL: Correct.

MELBER: Do you think there are any potential articles of impeachment that are on the table from there?

JAYAPAL: Well, I think often an article of impeachment will be around the high crime and misdemeanor. So obstruction of Congress there`s certainly lots of obstruction of Congress in the Mueller report, even if we start with what`s happened with Ukraine.

So I think there are ways that if we were to craft articles of impeachment that you would see other things coming into it. I don`t think that even if we craft articles of impeachment that you`re going to see many, many of them.

I think we are going to be - we`re going to try to be focused and just bring forward the things that are most important for us to vote on, because they are serious betrayals of the Constitution.

MELBER: That that lays out the case and also your responsibilities and like others we`ve heard from today you`re not saying that there`s anything joyous about it.


MELBER: Mark, on the Republican side one of the points that they are making that is appealing regardless of the underlying offenses is something many Americans feel, which is - we settle most things at the ballot box. This is an extraordinary remedy that is being considered and that allows some Republicans to make an argument that doesn`t involve defending what Trump did or didn`t do on Ukraine. Take a look.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): This impeachment is not only an attempt to undo the last election, is an attempt to influence the next one as well.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Democrats are trying to impeach the President of the United States 13 months before an election--

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): The country next year will be deciding who our President is going to be. It should not be Nancy Pelosi and a small group of people that she selects--


MELBER: Do they have a point?

THOMPSON: Well, I think they might have shot themselves in the foot. And let me first of all say I`m tempted to yield my time to the Honorable Member, because you know she`s someone who I think is upholding our democracy, you know, for a change and it`s an honor to be next to someone who`s doing that, because Trump is the opposite of that.

But they kept complaining about this being in private. And I`m wondering what do you really want this to be in public? Do you want all the people who`ve been behind closed doors to come out in public, because when that happened to Nixon, it was pretty much a rap.

So I don`t see why they would shoot themselves in the foot that way, arguing about process, not defending him. And then today you had - I believed Mr. Morrison go up who was an NSC staffer. And while he would not admit that what the President did was a was illegal in his opinion. It`s not his role to determine that any way or judicata that. He did corroborate what everyone else has said on the quid pro quo.

So what do we have here? We had Nixon colluding with a foreign power in 1968. Trump colluding with a foreign power today Ukraine and Russia, by the way, because the pressure and the leverage on the Ukraine also comes from Russia, they`re at war with Russia and Trump is allied with Russia.

All of the intelligence agencies have talked about that relationship. That is irrefutable at this point. Mueller could not actually determine whether he directly colluded in terms of the campaign, but we know Russia`s in the picture.

You had Nixon with the tapes, you have Trump with the transcripts locked away in a server. We don`t even know how far this goes. There may be other phone calls with other world leaders and we don`t know that there aren`t tapes there.

You had 18 and a half minutes with Nixon, you have ellipses with Trump, as Vindman testified to, so there are portions of what was said that was left out. And also on Vindman, the attacks on Vindman - and I just want to be very clear about this.

This is a former Soviet Jew whose family left because of persecution. So Fox and everybody else attacks this man, which I feel is anti-Semitic. What did Nixon do, he went after the Jews, all the Jews that were turning against him and those paranoid rants on his recordings.

He keeps calling Schiff shifty, which is for those who don`t know, is an Anti-Semitic trope when you would say - some call - someone Jewish shifty, just like when you call someone sleepy eyed, when you keep saying sleepy eye Chuck Todd.

So you have all of this, you had a John Mitchell on the enemies list. You have Bill Barr threatening to come after everybody who`s investigated them, so the parallels are pretty clear.

MELBER: Yes. And there`s a lot there that is important to get into about protecting the people who are going to come forward with the facts, which is why the whistleblower protection is in the first place. As you say, there been many discredited smears.

I have to fit in a break. Congresswoman, what a busy day for you. I know you`re traveling as well, so I appreciate you being with us. Mark Thompson, always good to see you.

THOMPSON: Good to see you.

JAYAPAL: Thank you.

MELBER: Thanks to both of you.

THOMPSON: All right.

MELBER: Coming up, we may learn a lot more about Rudy Giuliani`s secret communications with Trump diplomats, we have news on that. I`m going to make an announcement not only about Halloween, but about our impeachment coverage. Both of those things ahead.


MELBER: It`s a big day for America given the big vote advancing impeachment in the Congress today. But it`s also, of course, a big day for every family and candy loving person out there who enjoys Halloween.

And plenty of politico`s like to mix up the holiday with their politics. you know, for decades people have donned masks of Presidents, especially Nixon, like you see here that has one cartoonist imagining a child in a Nixon mask tonight, announcing quote "I`m no longer the most corrupt President in history."

Meanwhile, other non-political Halloween themes are also getting politicized, which is - are just a normal spooky thing, right? But with a President who cries witch-hunt all the time, perhaps it was inevitable Trump supporters and some staff would get behind Halloween witch-hunt parties.

Here`s one in Pennsylvania, which sparked this headline from "The Washington Post" tonight noting, the campaign held a holiday witch-hunt party and quote "tortured a metaphor to death."

Now Trump`s opponents have also proved they can play this game tonight. Some New Yorkers getting in the spirit by carving impeach into pumpkins to get the word out. And one of the top Democrats in Congress Hakeem Jeffries, people in his office, found some time away from the vote today to tie the holiday into this jab at Senator McConnell for his legislative graveyard - tombstone for legislation.

And there are other people who would argue, well, let`s just leave Halloween out of politics entirely and let us all share something that might unite us. And after all, can`t we all agree that it is fun to dress up, and free candy is a good thing. And that candy corn is without a doubt the best candy there is. If you watch this show, you know I`m not even joking. I really like candy corn.

There`s something else too here at MSNBC that we think many of us can agree on. Impeachment is a big story that is not going away. In fact, it`s now accelerating, which is why I am thrilled to tell you, right now a new announcement.

I will be hosting a new special this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on impeachment. We have a new title given today`s vote, "Impeachment: White House in Crisis with Ari Melber" and it`s the full hour of brand-new programming.

And I`ll tell you right now we have some special guests, including some first-timers on the program, a former member of Congress who`s been inside the U.S. House for this very process and a reporter with a new look at the challenge for Trump`s lawyers with original reporting. All of that and more this Sunday 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

As you can tell, I`m excited about it, and I hope you are too. I hope you`ll join us. Meet me this Sunday night.

Now we`re not done with tonight`s show, because we have news that`s been breaking just this hour on Giuliani`s secret text that might haunt Donald Trump.


MELBER: Developing news on Rudy Giuliani`s involvement in this Ukraine scandal, a federal judge has now directed the State Department to release what could be a trove of Giuliani`s still secret records all about Ukraine.

This has come out of a suit by a watchdog group and the communication includes text messages on messaging platforms, separate emails, as well as any calendar entries. The judge says the records could be of quote "critical importance" and of course here`s what Giuliani said on the record.


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. Right here.

The first call from the State Department, the debriefing of the state department.



MELBER: It`s all there and notice good lawyer or not, what he asserted there is that he was doing this at the direction of the State Department. Of course, the State Department`s been saying a lot of things against that. Like he was trying to direct them in a shadow foreign policy.

Giuliani remains under criminal investigation in New York. Tomorrow one of his associates has a new hearing in that indictment case. He`s asking the judge to get off and basically let him off, I should say, bail conditions. His lawyer arguing he`s not a flight risk and doesn`t need to be on House arrest. No words on how that - no word yet on how that could affect any statements about Giuliani.

I will be back here tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. And as mentioned, we are announcing a new special this Sunday "Impeachment: White House in Crisis." I`ll be anchoring that at 9:00 p.m. Eastern with some very special guests. I hope you mark your calendars. I hope you have a great Halloween and I hope you have all the candy corn that you and your family want.

"HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews starts now.