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Giuliani's role in the impeachment inquiry. TRANSCRIPT: 11/22/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Josh Marshall, Michael McFaul, David Corn, Juanita Tolliver, ChuckNice


CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Carol, Cornell, DANIELLE, happy Friday.

That`s all we have for tonight. We will be back Monday with more "Meet the Press Daily." And if it`s Sunday, it`s "Meet the Press" on NBC. We got a lot going on here. We got Adam Schiff, Roger Wicker, Republican Senator and the GPS Fusion founders behind the Steele Dossier in their new book.

"THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now. Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you so much. Tonight Donald Trump agonizing, the White House on edge, the impeachment walls in very real evidentiary ways are coming crashing down. We begin with breaking news.

Tonight, we can report house Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff says his committee is beginning work on its report laying out the facts for a potential impeachment. Gathering evidence, a blue print for what would be the facts on Ukraine for any articles of impeachment, more depositions and hearings, they say tonight, are possible, but they are moving forward.

The evidence assembled has been quite damning. New reports tonight revealing, Donald Trump feeling tormented, and even "miserable" about where things are headed. He increasingly finds it "intolerable" to deal with this "The New York Times" reporting. Donald Trump implicated in an international bribery extortion plot.


GORDON SONDLAND, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: Mr. Giuliani, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Perry, Brian McCormack, Ms. Kenna, Chief of Staff Mulvaney, and Mr. Mulvaney`s senior advisor, Rob Blair. And Ambassador Taylor, Ambassador Volker, a lot of senior officials, everyone was in the loop.


MELBER: Everyone in the loop. Everyone put on blast, everyone accused under oath. If this seems like a big and unusual deal - a Watergate level thing, it is. And they`re scrambling. And think about it like this, if you were put on blast like that.

If you were accused by a colleague, if your e-mails were provided, whether or not you marched out and testify under oath, which is what you probably would do if you had nothing to hide. You would want to clear this up. Right? You do have to deny the bribery allegations. Right?

Well, this is new tonight. Take a look at Secretary of State Pompeo and how he`s dealing with it.


REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, were you supportive of Ambassador Sondland`s efforts in Ukraine?

Mr. Secretary, do you approve the President`s comments about your Senate run?


MELBER: You`ve heard of non-denial denials, that`s just no denial whatsoever. Meanwhile, Trump Energy Secretary Perry did go on Fox News. He`s making a different claim and we want to play this. Because there`s always, if there is a claim, if there is a denial, if there is something, well, we got to hear it. You got to hear it. We`ll play it for you. But I have to note what you`re about to hear was already contradicted under oath by Ambassador Sondland.


RICK PERRY, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF ENERGY: Not once - not once was the name Burisma or the Bidens mentioned to me, not by the President, not by Rudy Giuliani and not by Gordon Sondland.

SONDLAND: Mr. Giuliani conveyed to Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and others that President Trump wanted a public statement from President Zelensky committing to investigations of Burisma and the 2016 election.


MELBER: We should note Mr. Perry was not sworn in under oath before his Fox News interview. Then of course you have, number one, Chief of Staff Mulvaney, the top of the org chart who has bobbed and weaved so much that here at "THE BEAT" we have named a whole maneuver after him when you go "full Mulvaney."

Well after first admitting to the bribery plot, quid pro quo, we do it all the time, get over it. He had walked it back. But here you go today. His attorney says Mulvaney has no idea why impeachment witness Fiona Hill believes Mulvaney was heavily involved. Maybe it`s because Mulvaney said he was involved. Let`s roll it.


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: Again, I was involved with the process by which the money was held up temporarily, OK.


MELBER: Tonight, we do not have yet a public timeline from the Congress for the impeachment vote and the next steps of the Senate trial. But we do know that there are questions that are not going away for Donald Trump or these top people, and that their interests may continue to diverge.

We get into it right now with a very special Friday night guest, Josh Marshall, is the Founder and Editor of Talking Points Memo. He`s a longtime journalist and a publisher and he does do as much TV as we would like. So, we`re thrilled he`s coming in on a Friday night.

And then a former U.S. Ambassador to Russia under President Obama, Michael McFaul, who we are grateful as an analyst, has been tracking a lot of this all week. You and I have been pulling some similar long shifts sir. I appreciate you making time as our kickoff expert guest tonight on "THE BEAT."

With that Mr. McFaul your view of the type of person and the role you used to report to, the Secretary of State. Not so much as lifting a sentence of denial.

AMB. MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U. S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Very striking. Like you just said, Ari, if you have nothing to hide then just come testify. Just make a statement. And I think we`re at this moment where there are lots of other people, and you just named two of them, Pompeo, Mulvaney who we know were involved in this.

They`ve said it, we should hear from them, we should know what their involvement was. And yet I also want to say that none of them are actually taking on any of the facts that you and I and several others have been listening for now two weeks. Not a single one of them has disputed the basic facts here. And I think as we come to the end of a long week that is what`s most striking to me.

MELBER: Josh, you follow this closely as a journalist, looking at the big picture. Substantively and on the evidence, what jumps out to you about the whole week and the evidence that`s come out, what we learnt?

JOSH MARSHALL, TALKING POINTS MEMO: The evidence - if you were listening to the evidence, the evidence is overwhelming. I mean, it`s just - I mean, it`s so locked tight, but it`s a funny scandal. It`s almost like an inverted scandal.

In almost every other scandal you and I have ever watched, it starts with the little people and the investigators are trying to push it up to the person in the center and are they going to be able to do that. Are they going to be able to tie it to the President or the Senator or whoever the - the primary person is?

And this one was weird. Since it started with a people call it - not exactly transcript, it`s sort of a transcript.

MELBER: Notes.

MARSHALL: In notes of the President saying it. We started at the top, right?


MARSHALL: And so it`s almost - it`s been this weird thing of not how high will it go, but how low will it goes. Which is so in a way the best you can say for the President after the course of this week is, do we know - does the story look dramatically different? Well, not exactly, because at the very beginning he admitted to everything and said it was awesome.

MELBER: I would I would push you on that and say it looks exhaustively worse, because he is so unreliable as a narrator, and he has such an exaggerator.


MELBER: That you could do the defense that they did in the John Edwards case. Where you say you may hate this guy and he`s terrible. But it doesn`t actually add up the way it might have looked. That`s no longer available.

We have John Malcolm who was actually a Republican witness on the obstruction hearings - Judiciary last night. And part of the defense that he made, which is a good-faith valid type defense if it were true was, well, this was all about a legitimate investigation not going after the Bidens. If true, whether you elect Donald Trump or not, if true that might be a decent defense.

But to your point that does make it worse. Trump marched down on the White House lawn and said I was hoping they would go after the Bidens. He didn`t save domestic Ukrainian corruption.

MARSHALL: He also never mentioned corruption in any of these calls. One of the - you know one of the things to your point that has come out in the last couple weeks is that it`s clear they didn`t really care whether you investigate it or not, they just wanted you to say it on camera. Right? Which, obviously, means it was not actually about corruption or anything substantive, it was it was a political move.

So I agree with you. We know more, but at the same time, we basically knew that - we knew the 30,000 foot view almost on day one of the scandal. And now we just know all the details. I will say it was certainly plausible up until quite recently - really up until Wednesday when Ambassador Sondland spoke.

It was plausible, well, maybe Pompeo didn`t really know about this. Right? Or kind of maybe John Bolton or whatever. But he was - I mean it was a funny thing, because a lot of people were saying, well, Sondland threw everyone under the bus. Not, really, because his memory got shaky whenever he started talking about things where there didn`t seem to be other fact witnesses, conversations with the President. But whatever he did was to chain everyone to his body basically.

MELBER: Absolutely.

MARSHALL: So he is under the business, everybody gets dragged with him.

MELBER: And I want to show this e-mail that he brought, which is new evidence to the ambassador, because we`re all familiar, ambassador, with the bad apples defense. Right sir?


MELBER: And you know you could also call it in my book the bad bananas defense. You have one or two rotten bananas, you take them out of the bunch and you keep moving. Right? But anyone who is - and it`s Friday night, so let`s think about your recipes this week. And anyone who`s good at making banana bread knows you want a little bit more of a rotten banana there`s - at least brown.

And this is I would call it the banana bread phase of the theory, because it`s all rotten bananas, it`s all rotten apples. The whole thing is rotten and he brought the e-mails to prove it. And I`ll show you just the simple one. And, again, I hate to be so simple. But I`m going to ask you.

Have you ever in your work seen, in the national security policy, we`ll read from this. Sondland to Mulvaney, Perry and Pompeo - "Zelensky will assure Trump on the call that he intends to run this Biden investigation." And you get the response, "I`ve asked the national security council to set up the call from Mulvaney. Pompeo is on there." Have you ever seen a policy planning process like that in all of your government service?

MCFAUL: No, of course not. And I think that`s important to remember, because one of the arguments we heard over the last couple of weeks, he`s the President he gets decide foreign policy. And all these career people they should just get in line or get out of the way.

Well let`s be clear. This had nothing to do with foreign policy, nothing to do with national security or the interests of the American people. By the way the President is also a public servant. This was all about his private interests. So public office used for private interests.

But there`s one more part that I think is important that was not in the original call that also came out just clear as day especially in the last couple days. He withheld military assistance to get his quid pro quo, to get his help to win the election in 2020 with the country at war.

Now think about that. I was thinking about what would be the analogy. It`d be even like FDR saying to Winston Churchill in 1914, hey, Winston I really want to help you out here, while you`re fighting that war, but can you do me this favor. And once you do me this favor I`ll lift the military assistance we`re providing you.

MELBER: It`s such an important point--

MARSHALL: And that national--

MELBER: And just - I will hand you the mic back. But what you`re saying for folks is that`s how extortion works and Donald Trump might not be skilled at everything. But his business career in his life shows he does find the weakness. He found the weakness that Ukraine needed and that`s where he focused it.

MCFAUL: Well, that`s right. And it`s - with both by the way. Remember the Oval Office visit.  Some people think well what`s the big deal? Who cares about that? Zelensky is a brand new President of Ukraine. He`s a comedian. He needs that meeting so there`s leverage there, then the military system. He`s fighting a war.

MELBER: Right.

MCFAUL: He needs that. And that`s why this good impeachment hearing is about national security, not just about some small little thing that might happen on the sideline.

MELBER: Exactly. Well, let me let me turn you both to who the evidence is moving. This is pretty interesting, what the House of course is gathering it. I want to place tonight where you have experts and thought leaders in the public that will continue to hear and maybe make up their minds.

I want to dig into something that happened actually on this show. Take Reagan White House veteran Peggy Noonan. She has a following as a regular columnist in the opinions section of the well-known to be conservative editorial section of "The Wall Street Journal." And actually she joined us two weeks ago tonight on the eve of this hearing - of this set of hearings with great skepticism for the Schiff probe.


PEGGY NOONAN, SPEECHWRITER AND SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT REAGAN: You can`t help but wonder if in this case somebody isn`t being set up for a fall.

For instance Adam Schiff looks like a partisan guy.


NOONAN: OK. Well--

SCHWARTZ: What do you mean, he looked like.

NOONAN: Oh, my goodness.

SCHWARTZ: He is partisan. He is a democrat.

NOONAN: Well, I understand that. I don`t think it does us any good to make believe that the President is the only one who ever does some wrong here.


MELBER: So on the eve of the hearings that`s where Ms. Noonan, like many other visible conservatives started with skepticism. Now does the evidence make any difference? Well here`s how it has moved her. Let me read to you her new piece in "The Wall Street Journal," the headline, "Trump`s Defenders Have No Defense."

Almost everything in the hearing she writes backed up to charge the Trump muscled Ukraine for political gain, pointing out no one is really making the serious case that Trump wouldn`t do something like this bribery, because Trump himself has, as we just discussed, made so many of these comments in public.

She writes, "the case is so clear that you wonder what exactly the Senate will be left doing throughout a trial." How about that?

MARSHALL: It`s a fun. It`s a very weird situation, because - and this gets into this question of should they do more witnesses, do they have enough, should they move forward. If you were just looking at did President Trump do this, the evidence is truly overwhelming. There is no affirmative defense. The people who could conceivably exonerate the President, he refuses to let them talk. It is sort of hard - I mean if you`re actually--

MELBER: And your view politically, what does it mean when people who read that that`s a conservative, that`s the Fox News of the print world and that`s their headline, and you can`t impugn this Reagan aide who, as we just showed, very recently was not looking to come to this position, but she did.

MARSHALL: That`s true. And I think it`s clear that the solidity of Fox News of the Journal editorial page, various as you say sort of conservative opinion leaders has a massive effect here. But we`ve also seen how one day you`re a conservative opinion leader and the next day you`re never Trump. Then you`re you know showing up on MSNBC.

You know people get read out. I mean, it`s Trump`s party. Right?


MARSHALL: So if when you cease to support Trump, your ideology, your work for Reagan that gets--

MELBER: That gets runs through. I heard you. I thought it was striking. Josh, I want you to stick--

MARSHALL: No, I do think--

MELBER: --around for a little more impeachment and some other news later on. Ambassador McFaul thank you for your service tonight this week and in general, sir.

MCFAUL: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

MELBER: Appreciate you.

Coming up, there`s more evidence on Giuliani`s role as that hand grenade. Also break down key moments from these hearings that you might have missed. And Senator Graham launching an Biden investigation that Donald Trump always wanted.

And a special impeachment edition of "Fallback Friday" we`re going to get into all of it stay with me tonight.


MELBER: Chairman Schiff now preparing a report that could lay the foundation of what Trump would be impeached for. This comes after the most consequential week in this Trump presidency to-date. And so right now we want to look at what we`ve learned, the substance of the evidence that Trump is facing on bribery and the wider Ukraine plot.

This week we heard from witness after witness taking the oath, taking the questions, millions watching around America. Every one learning a lot more detail about what witnesses say was not a shadow policy, but the policy. A bribery scheme that has metastasized and ensnared basically all of Trump`s top national security officials.


SONDLAND: Mr. Giuliani, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Perry, Brian McCormack, Ms. Kenna, Chief of Staff Mulvaney, and Mr. Mulvaney`s senior advisor, Rob Blair. And Ambassador Taylor, Ambassador Volker, a lot of senior officials, everyone was in the loop.


MELBER: That`s a phrase you`ll hear over and over. That person Mr. Sondland not fired for saying that under oath everyone was in the loop, his colleagues, his boss Secretary Pompeo, as we`ve emphasized.

Meanwhile, a key witness who has not spoken is John Bolton, warning now that he does have the "back story coming" and stay tuned. It`s also gotten a little weird with Bolton accusing Trump of blocking his personal Twitter account, because who cares. But he posted in a new tweet out of fear of what he might say and that`s why they wouldn`t give him access to his Ambassador John Bolton account.

Of course, that is - and I`m going to get into this tonight, irrelevant, because Mr. Bolton can come on any show and speak out at any time. All this comes after former aide Fiona Hill, a Russia Expert says Bolton warned her about Giuliani as a hand grenade.


FIONA HILL, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL DIRECTOR: I had already brought to Ambassador Bolton`s attention the attacks, the smear campaign against Ambassador Yovanovitch.

And Ambassador Bolton had looked pained, basically indicated with body language that there was nothing much that we could do about it, and he then, in the course of that discussion, said that Rudy Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up.

He was frequently on television making quite incendiary remarks about everyone involved in this, and that he was clearly pushing forward issues and ideas that would probably come back to haunt us. And in fact, I think that that`s where we are today.


MELBER: That`s where we are today said in that clipped diplomatic precision. Those remarks would haunt us and they are, the hand grenade going off. Now also something very important. Consider this is the first time we`ve ever gotten significant context about what Bolton was concerned about in his very serious felonious accusation that Mulvaney was cooking up a drug deal.


HILL: The specific instruction was that I had to go to the lawyers, to John Eisenberg, our senior counsel for the National Security Council, to basically say, "You tell Eisenberg, Ambassador Bolton told me, that I am not part of this, whatever drug deal that Mulvaney and Sondland are cooking up.

DANIEL GOLDMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE DEMOCRATIC COUNSEL: What did you understand him to mean by the "drug deal that Mulvaney and Sondland were cooking up?"

HILL: I took it to mean investigations for a meeting.

GOLDMAN: Did you go speak to the lawyers?

HILL: I certainly did.


MELBER: She certainly did. When you hear about a drug deal you talk to the lawyers Mulvaney, Sondland and then Sondland pointed it all at Giuliani. You had this explosive testimony today.

You have Trump`s million-dollar donor turned ambassador blowing the lid off everything and saying, yes, we do crime, we do quid pro quo bribery and Giuliani is the point person running the whole thing.


SONDLAND: Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes. I followed the directions of the President. We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt.

Mr. Giuliani`s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky. Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.


MELBER: But it was a secret to everyone else, no secret within the administration where maybe this was considered business as usual. But this secret is out and its damming. If the Trump defense is, he never actually asked for a quid pro quo where does this leave the guy at the center according to people testifying under oath, Rudy Giuliani?

What will he do? Today his indicted Ukrainian linked associates sending out a warning, pushing the Impeachment Committee to call him to testify. Lev Parnas` representative saying the evidence of Trump knowingly interacting with him is basically beyond cavil and he has hard, hard first-hand evidence.

There could be more first-hand evidence emerging. I mean, we don`t know. We don`t know if this is up to the bar where Congress wants to make another hearing out of it. Giuliani also emerging from what had been quite a noticeable TV exile. He was sidelined after all the appearances we showed you.

Well, right after this testimony, pointing at him, accusing him of, yes, doing crime, he went over to Glenn Beck`s show and denies ever discussing - this is rich - ever discussing the military money that was frozen for Ukraine.


GLENN BECK, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, RADIO HOST: Did you ever indicate to Volker, Taylor, Sondland or anyone else that the aid was conditional?

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: I never actually discussed the aid with them, Glenn.


GIULIANI: The reality is that whole issue of military aid didn`t come up until after I had finished the assignment they gave me. I never discussed military aid with them--


MELBER: "New York Times" reports Giuliani did discuss it, though. Parnas claim Giuliani ordered him to deliver a message to - guess who, Ukrainian officials at the start of this, back in May, before the infamous call, announce an investigation or you get your money frozen. Trump`s lawyer also asked about running the shadow foreign policy.


BECK: The testimony today was that you were communicating with the Ukrainians without anybody`s knowledge in the state. You were running a shadow foreign policy. So--



BECK: So I take it by your laugh that that`s not true.



MELBER: You can`t laugh under oath and have it counted as an answer. The testimony here, of course, goes well beyond the bad thing of a shadow foreign policy and says it was a worse thing - official Trump administration foreign policy. Let that sink in. It`s been a long week. That`s one of the most damning things. We`ve been talking about it, because it`s one of the most important accusations today. Not bad apples, but a whole pile of rotten apples, with everyone taking Rudy Giuliani`s cues on Ukraine.


GOLDMAN: Now, isn`t it also true that some of President Trump`s most senior advisors had informed him that this theory of Ukraine interference in the 2016 election was false?

HILL: That`s correct.

GOLDMAN: So is it your understanding then that President Trump disregarded the advice of his senior officials about this theory, and instead listened to Rudy Giuliani`s views?

HILL: That appears to be the case, yes.


MELBER: Giuliani admitting that he`s talking to Ukrainians as recently as this week about the whole thing that launched this problem.


GIULIANI: They have direct evidence--

BECK: Rudy--

GIULIANI: --about the bribery, the collusion a massive pay-for-play multi- million dollar scheme and it is an absolutely travesty of justice.

BECK: You give me their names and I will go and bring the story.

GIULIANI: I give you the names.

BECK: OK. Great. We will go Ukraine and get them.

GOLDMAN: I was in contact with two of them today.


MELBER: Well, it`s not only of interest to Glenn Beck, Adam Schiff`s investigators and SDNY prosecutors they want those names. Meanwhile, the President - well, he was holding forth on the same conspiracy theory today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They have this server, right, from the DNC, Democratic National Committee--

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS HOST: Who has the server?

TRUMP: The FBI went in and they told him get out of here. We`re not giving it to you. They give the server to CrowdStrike or whatever it`s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian. And I still want to see that server. You know, the FBI has never gotten that server. That`s a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?

DOOCY: Are you sure they did that? Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?

TRUMP: Now that`s what the word is--


MELBER: Well, we have our own word, celebrated author David Corn is here back on "THE BEAT," in person. We`re going to get into all of it when we`re back in 30 seconds.



REPORTER: Are you willing to testify and be the first hand evidence that a lot of these Senators are looking for?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I have no comment. Now if you`ll please excuse me.


MELBER: John Bolton, brand new, moments ago at Union Station. There you could see tonight has already fallen, claiming no comment David. And this puts him in a pickle as well as everything we just laid out in introducing you. A lot of evidence - and Mr. Bolton is one of the people holding back. He and Giuliani would be particularly interesting to hear from know--

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: And Mick Mulvaney. You have - if you think about this as - I don`t know, call it an organized crime organization. But you have a guy at the top who`s in charge, it`s Donald Trump, and then you have a few people underneath him.

Rudy Giuliani. Go talk to Rudy. Mick Mulvaney who says I was part of this, but now you should get over it. And then you have John Bolton, who Fiona Hill and others have testified, was it worried and sent her and others to the lawyers.

So they`re like the next rake down in very different positions. And then below them are the Gordon Sondlands, they call Volker, Ambassador William Taylor, who were more on the ground level. And so we haven`t gotten anyone from that next down level of authority in whatever the scheme was. And so, any one of them, I think could be quite illuminating.

John Bolton just signed a, we`re told, a lucrative book deal, so he will be selling whatever story he has to this book deal. I would think that anyone who considered in himself an American patriot would get out there and say, OK, listen. I know America`s torn up over this. I can tell you at least what I know about this.

MELBER: Yes. And I think there are other precedents that run against Mr. Bolton. Mr. Comey has been widely and fairly criticized for the publicity, but he went in and put his neck on the line and testified under oath. So when he does the publicity in the books and the money, it`s after having cooperated.

Mr. Bolton is refusing to cooperate and Mr. Giuliani will only cooperate with certain media interviews, and not all requests thus far, and he`s welcome to come in and state his case and have it be taken seriously. But that seems significant, because I want to play for you Gordon Sondland again pointing the finger at Giuliani.

Giuliani, not only as a potential mastermind is important, but after this week, I`m curious your view of Giuliani as the individual who here`s potentially closer to indictment than anyone else. Take a look.


GIULIANI: That issue is something that arises with every country. He holds up aid and he makes them justify it. And with the country like Ukraine, where a lot of the aid is stolen, he would have been irresponsible not holding it up.

SONDLAND: Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes. I followed the directions of the President. We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt.

Mr. Giuliani`s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky.


CORN: There it is. He`s the witness against both Giuliani and President Donald Trump. And he made it very clear - I was sitting, I don`t know, five yards away from him when he did that and it was expected that he wouldn`t say that. But still in public to hear a ambassador, who had been deputized by Trump to go beyond his circle of authority, to arrange an operation to muscle another country to get information that could be used to maybe throw a 2020 election was indeed stunning.

And I think it does put Rudy Giuliani in the hot seat. We know that from the May 23rd meeting when Gordon Sondland and others go to Trump and say, there`s a Zelensky guy, a new leader in the Ukraine. We got to work with him. We think you guys could be best buds. You`re really going to like this guy.

And he goes no, no, no, I don`t like Ukrainians. You talk to Rudy. Rudy knows - basically Rudy knows what I want, that`s my addition to the - to the statement. I don`t want to quote Donald Trump inaccurately here. And so why would you do that unless you want these guys to take advice that`s outside the normal channel to get something for Donald Trump?

It is `we a secretive and sometimes criminal organization work. The guy the top doesn`t tell you to do what`s wrong, he goes, you go talk to Tony. He knows what I need to get done.

MELBER: And as you say, it`s a consciousness of guilt that Sondland is willing to nail Donald Trump for, which is a fascinating development. Anyone who says, oh, you`ve seen it all before. You haven`t seen this and what they do with it is the open question.

David Corn, author, journalist, friend of "THE BEAT", thank you for being here, sir.

CORN: Good to be with you.

MELBER: Ahead we`re going to break down other key impeachment points and what they reveal with some new guests and a monumental self-owned by Lindsey Graham, we`ll show you with the receipts.

And a programming note, there is so much impeachment news that we have a new Sunday night special. This Sunday 9:00 p.m. Eastern in our series in feature "Impeachment: White House Crisis," covering so much of the historic action.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Two political investigations he believed would help his reelection campaign was a basic quid pro quo--

TRUMP: I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo.

SONDLAND: Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes.


HILL: Whatever drug deal that Mulvaney and Sondland are cooking up.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): They get the call, they get the meeting, they get the money. It`s not two plus two, it`s over three.

SCHIFF: That`s there objection, not that the president engaged in this conduct, but that he got caught



MELBER: A momentous historic week. Now we dig into some of the most significant moments with our friend Juanita Tolliver from the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Good evening, how are you doing?

JUANITA TOLLIVER, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND: I`m doing well. How you are doing? It`s been an action-packed week.

MELBER: It`s been something else. Take a look at Fiona Hill.


HILL: He was being involved in a domestic political errand and we were being involved in national security foreign policy and those two things had just diverged. So he was correct. And I had not put my finger on that at the moment, but I was irritated with him and angry with him that he wasn`t fully coordinating. And I did say to him Ambassador Sondland Gordon, I think this is all going to blow up, and here we are.


MELBER: Your view of the power of her evidence and the much noticed rigor and seriousness of her delivery.

TOLLIVER: Dr. Hill is a witness that I don`t think any Republican up there expected to see, and for that matter many Democrats. She is measured, she is direct and she is clear. She`s not somebody who we`ve seen in the past, "oh I don`t recall or that might be right." She took notes and laid out the case explicitly, leaving nothing out, including this moment where she realized, oh, the reason why you`re not coordinating with me, the reason why you`re looping me off of e-mails, is because you`re doing something shady over there.

MELBER: And we said notes, we hear a lot about notes like relax and take notes. This is something that the people who aren`t hiding seem to do. And as you say, the other people want to say, Gordon Sondland and all these people want to go off the books then say it was formal policy. It seems like it was a bit of both.

TOLLIVER: Definitely, right, like she was operating as a national security professional in her position. Sondland is a guy who gave Trump a million dollars and wound up in his. And that comes through explicitly in the performances that we saw this week.

And so what we have from Dr. Hill here, again, is explicit awareness of what Sondland said and she said she thinks it`s going to blow up and here we are today as a result of these actions.

MELBER: Yes, and these diplomats who were derided by Rush Limbaugh`s the "professional nerds," first of all shout out to nerds and shout out to being professional, it just means you have a job.

TOLLIVER: What a rare thing.

MELBER: But was the idea that somehow the public campaign could be against the public servants. And I wonder what you think if that played so well. Fiona Hill being such a classic example. Because in a way the ones who stood out like Ms. Hill and Vindman, they stood out at times individually for their stories and their patriotism.

But then when you broaden out and see all them, and people have seen the boxes of many of them testifying at once. I don`t know that in a year everyone will remember each of them as individuals. I think together what you realize is it was about how they collectively, day in and day out, usually behind the scenes do the work of national security diplomacy of the government. And these folks came in and tried to turn that upside down and get them to do crime.

TOLLIVER: That`s exactly right. What it`s - like explicitly clear here in these career diplomats who have come forward is the fact that they served the United States of America. They`ve put their oath first. They`re not beholden to Trump, they`re not beholding to Republicans, but instead they`re beholden to the American public as citizens as Patriots.

And that came through every step of the way in their ability to come forward with this crystal clear memory. These crystal clear recollections about what was going wrong in Trump`s White House.

MELBER: Juanita Tolliver, always good to debrief with you. Thank you.

TOLLIVER: Likewise.

MELBER: Up ahead, we`re going to show you a new piece of evidence involving Trump defender Lindsey Graham and where the Senate trial hypocrisy may be headed.


MELBER: Some other news out of Washington. Tonight Senator Lindsey Graham says he will personally advance what could amount to the kind of potentially corrupt investigation of the Bidens that Donald Trump was trying to outsource illicitly to Ukraine.

Graham says that in his role as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee he will now apparently probe the Bidens, demanding State Department turn over the documents about them, Burisma, Ukraine, the whole thing.

Now we should note that Donald Trump State Department has been defying similar evidentiary requests and even, yes, subpoenas from the House. So this sets up a very interesting conflict over whether there is selective cooperation that could itself become evidence against Donald Trump in his own impeachment.

You heard that right. Now this move of Graham going apparently after Biden is very interesting for one other reason, beyond the obviously substantive problem of whether he`s potentially abusing committee powers. Consider how Graham - we dug this up for you - has been so effusive about how he loves and respects his good old friend Joe Biden.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If you can`t admire Joe Biden as a person that`s probably you got a problem. You need to do some self-evaluation, because what`s not to like. He`s the nicest person I think I`ve ever met in politics. He is as good a man as God ever created--


MELBER: As good a man as God ever created. And now in a very, obviously, rankly hypocritical move to try to protect Donald Trump and distract and give any whiff of legitimacy to the very inept corrupt plot at the heart of the impeachment program, Graham, appears to be buddying up with Giuliani, going after a Biden smear.

This is yet another instance of Graham clearly reversing himself on the issues where he used to claim than what he was doing wasn`t about party, it was about principle and that`s true even on the grave matter of his history on impeachment.


  GRAHAM: Members of the Senate have said I understand everything there is about this case and I won`t vote to impeach the President. Please allow the facts to do the talking.

I`m not going to read these transcripts. The whole process is a joke. I don`t care what Sondland presumes--


MELBER: Can we let the facts do the talking? Can Mr. Graham talk that talk anymore? Now he doesn`t care about the facts from the Patriots and the soldiers and the people sworn in to the committees that are of his employer, the Congress?

Well, there is a reason that someone would say things that make himself look so obviously bad. It is clearly because the facts, even as Mr. Graham - this is an old footage, even as Mr. Graham very recently said the kind of facts that might move him. Well, the facts have overtaken Senator Graham.


GRAHAM: If you could show me that Trump actually was engaging a quid pro quo outside the phone call that would be very disturbing.

SONDLAND: Was there a quid pro quo? As I testified previously with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes.


MELBER: That`s our fact check and our check mate tonight. Coming up though, we get into these historic and intense hearings with serious highlights and some of the odd and zany moments, Josh Marshall and our friend Chuck Nice, when we come back on impeachment after this.


MELBER: And now we have a special impeachment edition of "Fallback." A historic week on Capitol Hill, groundbreaking and irreverent moments, and we have the progressive writer and journalist, Josh Marshall, Founder and Editor the website "Talking Points Memo." He has been profiled by "The New York Times,"" The LA Times," and "The Columbia Journalism Review" for innovative digital journalism. It`s true.

And comedian and friend of "THE BEAT," Chuck Nice, who you`ve seen co- hosting "The View" and doing all kinds of fun stuff, including StarTalk Radio. The serious and the intense, thanks for being here you guys.



MELBER: Do you have an impeachment fallback?

MARSHALL: Yes. I want the Republicans who won`t let the witnesses talk to fallback. You know there`s that - they`ve got this thing where they`re taking up the whole time and then the witness is like, OK, I`m out. And they`re like zip it.

Remember like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers - zip it, zip. They`re zipping everybody. Right? It`s - it was - even Schiff had to get in.

MELBER: If you good at this kind of investigative questioning you solicit and elicit answers that help.

NICE: Yes.

MELBER: If you`re bad, you just use up the time.

NICE: Talking, yes, yes, yes--

MELBER: Yes, totally.

NICE: Going to let them talk.

MELBER: I have to get to something that obviously piqued my ears, but a lot of people`s ears, the repeated invocation of ASAP Rocky musician and rapper and the ASAP Mob during these hearings. We`re going to show you some of the hearings and the cultural response.


SONDLAND: We primarily discussed ASAP Rocky. ASAP Rocky, ASAP, Rocky, ASAP Rocky, ASAP Rocky--


DAVID HOLMES U.S. POLITICAL AFFAIRS COUNSELOR IN UKRAINE: A-S-A-P Rocky, you can tell the Kardashians you tried.

MELBER: Something we have not gotten too much at all in our entire day of coverage is ASAP Rocky.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ASAP Rocky that help jog the memory today.

JAMES CORDEN, THE LATE SHOW HOST: Does this mean we can officially call this track impeachment inquiry featuring ASAP Rocky.



MELBER: I mean, Chuck can`t they leave ASAP Rocky out of this? And the reason it kept coming up was, A, the President was obsessed with his case to try to impress celebrities.

NICE: Right.

MELBER: And B, Mr. SONDLAND: made their heretofore brand-new recollection defense that the reason he forgot the call was it - wasn`t notable, but when people mentioned ASAP Rocky, he remembered it.

NICE: Well, they listen ASAP Rocky - like that`ll jog your memory about anything, right, you know. The thing that got my favorite was - I think it was Holmes who said A-S-A-P Rocky, which is formal name. That`s his formal name. That`s the formal business name.

MELBER: His government name--

NICE: ASAP Rocky, thank you.

MELBER: I mean - and here`s the other thing. And I guess I asked for this. But in the streets. you know what I`m saying? In the newsroom people started coming up to me and saying, OK, well are there ASAP Rocky lyrics that apply? And the answer is, of course there are.

NICE: There has to be.

MELBER: I mean, on "Praise the Lord", one of his most famous songs he says, "I came, I saw. I take what`s mine. I take some more. I came, I saw, I break the law. I praise the Lord" Shoutout to game plans, shoutout to escape plans.

And Gordon had a game plan which was defense Trump and it turned into an escape plan, which is throw him under the bus.

NICE: That`s right. And guess what apparently Sondland was listening the ASAP Rocky very closely and taking his advice, because we all know if he didn`t who was going to be the fall guy for this whole thing. so good for him.

MELBER: Look it`s a reminder - in all seriousness, to keep it real and wasn`t it ASAP Rocky - (CROSSTALK)


MELBER: Do you have anything else on your fallback?

NICE: You know what, I don`t know if we have the - but my, I was going to go with foreign born naturalized citizen Patriots. People who weren`t born here, but comes here and make the rest of us look bad by devoting their entire life to the - and service to our country.

MELBER: So fallback to people who say that just because they came from somewhere else they`re not patriots.

NICE: Absolutely yes, yes.

MARSHALL: It really illustrated that this is why the United States always needs a fresh flow of immigrants who are committed to American values.

NICE: Yes.

MARSHALL: Because the native born - there`s a lot of them who want to betray American values. You got to kind of like offset those people.

NICE: Who don`t care not nearly as much, you know, these are true patriots. And there`s a lot of people who think that patriotism means that you hug the flag like you`re tenderly making love to America. But you know--

MARSHALL: Someone like Donald Trump. Whatever Donald Trump says you follow it.

MELBER: Yes, it`s a fine line between hugging the flag and rubbing the flags.

NICE: Right on. And you know what, I don`t want to go anywhere near that line for some reasons. I got a feeling if I went near that line I`m going to end up not invited back. I`m not coming back if I go near that line.

MELBER: If it`s too far for the comedian guess, how far has it gone? The other person is on a lot of people`s fallback lists for impeachment is John Bolton. Cameras just caught up with him at Union Station as night fell in Washington - brand new. Take a take a quick look.


REPORTER: Are you willing to testify and be the first hand evidence that a lot of these Senators are looking for?

BOLTON: I have no comment. Now if you`ll please excuse me.


MELBER: No comment. Except on Twitter, he`s basically promoting "The back story." Stay tuned. The worst named follow up follow up season of Bribery, Apprentice Season 8. Is this hypocritical Josh?

MARSHALL: It`s weird. It`s ridiculous. Like one or the other. But don`t be going on Twitter and saying like, "Hey guess, what. It`s coming. I got the big thing. It`s coming in a minute." Like dude, "what are you talking about? Are you actually going to make the country wait for like a book?"

NICE: That`s exactly what he is talking about.

MELBER: I guess Chuck the question is, are you excited for his Netflix special?

NICE: If it`s going to be a standup special then yes I am. But listen Trump says read the transcript. Bolton says read the book, because that`s what he`s about right now.

MELBER: And meanwhile his own deputies taking great risks to testify and he`s a no show.

MARSHALL: It`s like - I was going to say too clever by half, but it`s like five times around by half. It`s I almost kind of wonder whether the sort of the - it`s going to be the one thing that kind of unifies everybody.

MELBER: Right.

MARSHALL: --on both sides. Like, duded, what is your problem?


MELBER: Well, I`ll say I`m closing.  Thanks to Josh Marshall and Chuck Nice.  And I will say, at the end of this week of the impeachment hearings, we can at least tell the Kardashians we tried.