CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC HOST: With more "MEET THE PRESS DAILY". "The Beat" starts right now. Ayman Mohyeldin in for Ari. Good evening, Ayman.
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hey, good evening, Chris. It`s been a long day for you. So get some rest. We`ll see you tomorrow.
MOHYELDIN: Thank you very much everyone. Hello, there I am. Ayman Mohyeldin in for Ari Melber.
Tonight, Trump facing pressure from the Right as he prepares to go on trial for alleged crimes. Also, Rudy Giuliani is going scorched earth against his old office, the Southern District of New York. We have an exclusive guest who used to work with Giuliani. And Jay-Z`s impact on politics. How he talks about inequality in America and why Trump resents him for it. Professor Michael Eric Dyson on that and more.
But, we start with Trump bracing for his impeachment trial and lashing out at Speaker Pelosi saying that, he should not be - she should not be, rather, allowed to impeach him. Suggesting a primary challenge to Pelosi, calling his impeachment a scam and falsely saying there was no due process, proper representation or witnesses.
Now here`s a quick fact check for you on all of that. Absolutely not true. Trump was invited to come testify in his defense. And Trump`s tirade comes with some possible cracks are forming on the Republican side with one GOP Senator now saying that she is quote "disturbed" with Mitch McConnell openly saying that he will be in total coordination with the White House on the impeachment trial. Trump is backing that up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And it`s up to Mitch McConnell. And we have the majority and now they want McConnell to do wonderful things for them. I mean, he`s going to do what he wants to do. Very smart guy, very good guy and a are very fair guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: The Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski disagrees with that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): I think it is fair to say that right now there is so much uncertainty. And in fairness, when I heard that, I was disturbed. To me, it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense. And so I heard what Leader McConnell had said. I happen to think that that has further confused the process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: Murkowski is disturbed. McConnell said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Everything I do during this I`m coordinating with the White House Council. There will be no difference between the President`s position and our position as to how to handle this. Total coordination with the White House Counsel`s Office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: So you just heard him say there very clearly, total coordination with the White House. It comes as one former Republican lawmaker is letting everyone know where he stands on this issue. Former Congressman David Trott getting blunt and saying, "Trump is psychologically, morally, intellectually and emotionally unfit for office." Adding, "We can only hope Congress impeaches and removes him. So we have a choice between two adults in 2020."
Joining me now is former Watergate Prosecutor Nick Akerman; Margaret Carlson, Columnist for "The Daily Beast," who`s writing about the McConnell-Murkowski divide. And Danielle Moodie-Mills, Co-Host of the podcast, Democracy-ish. Great to have everyone with us this evening.
Margaret, let me begin with you, if I may, because I think the big question here is, there going to be some kind of domino effect now that we`ve heard from Senator Murkowski? Are we going to see others like perhaps a Mitt Romney or Susan Collins, maybe even a Cory Gardner in Colorado come forward with their own reservations?
MARGARET CARLSON, COLUMNIST, "THE DAILY BEAST": You know, Murkowski is so conscientious, so straightforward, she`s so perseveres that - as I was typing in her name today, it was autocorrected as Moreau skis - whatever that means, Ed Moreau perhaps.
And others might follow. I mean, she - nobody asked for a spine for Christmas - no Senate Republican. But she showed them what it`s like to have one by coming out on Christmas Eve and saying that she was disturbed. She didn`t like that McConnell was working quote, "hand in glove with Trump." And when as far as he did.
The problem for McConnell is, he could have done everything he said he blurted out that he was going to do if he hadn`t blurted it out. He`s becoming more like Trump by doing so. Trump is for immediate gratification, he is impulsive. McConnell is the opposite.
But instead of Trump moving towards McConnell, McConnell has moved towards him, so that Trump is the de facto majority leader. And has probably made it much harder for McConnell to do what he wanted to do, and Murkowski may lead others to follow her as a result.
MOHYELDIN: Danielle, I`m curious to get your thoughts on this. Murkowski seems to at least not be afraid to break with the rest of the party. She was the only Republican at the time to vote against Brett Kavanaugh, despite a lot of people rumbling about it. She was the only one who did not vote for him. Is Trump in real danger here? Or are we reading too much into what she said about this process?
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, HOST, DEMOCRACY-ISH PODCAST: I try not to have a lot of hope in Republicans these days because they always prove me right. Which is that, like Margaret said, they don`t ask for the gift of a spine, or conscience or morals for the holidays. That`s exactly what they work against.
And so, while, I appreciate Murkowski coming out and saying what more Republicans should be doing, the idea is that we`re celebrating somebody for doing their job. She`s supposed to be a juror in the Senate with the Senate trial and so why are we celebrating the fact that she`s saying, you know what, I`ll listen to the facts. I`ll be open minded. I`ll actually hear this case out. That`s their job.
We should be sneering at Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and the rest of the Republicans who are Political ostriches right now and burying their heads in the sand from the facts.
So yes, am I little bit excited on this Christmas holiday? Will I hold, you know, some spirit that Republicans will do the right thing? I guess. But at the end of the day, they have proven to show us who they are. And when people show them - show us who they are, we should believe that.
MOHYELDIN: So to that point, Danielle really quickly, is Nancy Pelosi doing the right thing by holding these articles and not transmitting them to the Senate and by doing so giving republicans like Lisa Murkowski and others perhaps some space some time to make these types of comments that add pressure on a Mitch McConnell.
MOODIE-MILLS: Yes. And you know what, I will say this, I have been the first person to talk badly about Nancy Pelosi wondering when impeachment was going to happen, but she is playing the right game right here. Mitch McConnell has illustrated to the world that he has no intention of having a fair trial. That he is lock in step with the White House.
So by her holding on to the articles until she understands what this body is going to do, is an important case and it gives the republicans a little bit of room. Hopefully, Mitt Romney and others will join Murkowski but who knows.
MOHYELDIN: And, Nick, I`m curious to get your thoughts on this, because an impeachment is different than a trial. Mitch McConnell certainly wants to portray this as a political process, not a judicial one.
He keeps saying this is partisan. He says everyone is going to come in with their own personal biases, which I find a little bit odd, because jurors also come in with biases, but they`re supposed to put those aside and look at the facts. He`s not even encouraging his own Senators to do that.
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: No, of course not. I mean, the Constitution itself provides for a trial. A trial means that you have witnesses who are examined and cross examined. That your documents that become before the fact finders, which in this case is the Senate.
What is really going on here, and what the Republicans and certain people like Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell dread, is the idea that Donald Trump could be called as a star witness. He is the witness who has the most material information on all of the facts here. He if he calls this is so perfect. If he claims that the call was perfect and he did nothing wrong, then why isn`t he going to testify?
This is not like a criminal trial where the defendant cannot testify and the prosecution cannot call the defendant. That`s because this is a civil matter. Trump has no Fifth Amendment privilege in terms of refusing to get up on the witness stand. He has to get up if he`s called.
MOHYELDIN: Oh, wow.
AKERMAN: And if he is testifying there`s no way he can talk himself out of this. That`s the problem that the republicans have. The facts are so overwhelming that Donald Trump was using the people`s money to shake down the President of Ukraine, and he can`t talk himself out of this.
He can be cross examined, he`s going to lie on it, but the lies aren`t going to do any good in light of the facts upon which he can be cross examined. It sounds like you`re saying there`s no wiggle room if Mitch McConnell opens the door for at least one witness, if he doesn`t have this ironclad, meaning that the Republicans really shut this thing down before the starts, we may end up with President Trump taking the witness stand.
AKERMAN: If were the prosecutor for the House, the first witness I would call is Donald J. Trump, put them up on that witness stand. First get a subpoena from Justice Roberts. If the subpoena doesn`t do it, I`d asked for a bench warrant.
And if he still refuses to come, the jury of Senators has the right to take an adverse inference, just like you do in any civil case, if somebody refuses to testify, or takes the Fifth Amendment, because a truthful answer would tend to incriminate them. That inference can be taken against Donald Trump. And on that basis alone, he should be removed from office.
MOHYELDIN: You think he would do that, given the fact that you know he`s tweeted saying he may answer questions by the House when they were looking into his impeachment?
AKERMAN: Well, sure. Whenever it suits his advantage. In House, Oh, I`m being denied due process, because I can`t testify, I can`t go in and give my side of the story. Well, the trial is where somebody gives their side of their story.
He has been accused. He`s been in a sense indicted, that`s what an impeachment is. And this is his chance to come in and show the American people that he did nothing wrong. He just can`t do that.
MOHYELDIN: Margaret, let me get your thoughts on--
CARLSON: Ayman, let me just say I`m not a prosecutor.
CARLSON: Hi, Nick. But I watch a lot of Law & Order. And Donald Trump would be the last witness I would call after I called Pompeo and Mulvaney and Bolton. Because, yes, he`s going to lie and yes, Attorney General Barr will say he can`t be prosecuted for it. But you would have all these other statements, all these other witnesses, so it wouldn`t matter if he lied--
AKERMAN: It`s the just the opposite.
CARLSON: --and maybe you wouldn`t call him at all.
AKERMAN: No, I would always - every civil case I`ve ever had, I always put the defendant on first. You`ll lock them into a story. You`d confront him with all of the contrary evidence, and then you`re bringing on Pompeo.
None of these people are going to go down for Donald Trump. This is not like Watergate where Nixon sent all of his men into the grand jury, into the Senate Select Committee and they all lied, wound up being charged with perjury and went to jail.
MOHYELDIN: Margaret, I`m going to go with the Watergate prosecutor here over the Law & Order episode but nothing against Law & Order. But let me just get your thoughts really quickly, Margaret, about Mitch McConnell here, because there is an operating-ed out in his - in the local paper there in Kentucky, pretty much calling him out, saying that.
Short of declaring war, the Senate is about to conduct its gravest and most serious constitutional obligation to exercise the soul power to try impeachments. All senators should take their obligation of faithful impartiality seriously, especially McConnell. History is watching and it will be a harsh judge. The writer, he`s going to join us later in the program. But Margaret, give me your reaction to what Dave Trott there said.
CARLSON: Well, McConnell was in a bind of sorts. He`s running for reelection. The deadline a primary challenger is January 28th. Trump could have conjured one up in time to challenge McConnell, had McConnell not done his bidding.
On the other hand, McConnell has to raise his right hand in an oath in which he swears to be impartial after he`s already sworn, he`s not going to be impartial. And I don`t know how he does that without perjuring himself. I mean, he would have to have a change of heart, akin to Saul on the road to Damascus to be believed.
So I don`t know what happens there. His popularity is already way down in Kentucky. The Republican Governor who was supported by Trump with two rallies lost anyway. He wasn`t popular, but he lost anyway. So Trump - I mean, McConnell is hanging out there having thrown in his lot, so heartily with Trump on impeachment.
MOHYELDIN: All right, everyone, stay with me for a second, because I want to bring in former Florida Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo. Congressman, great to have you with us this evening. Lots to break down here. But I want to get your thoughts as a former member of Congress.
Mitch McConnell, obviously, coming under tremendous pressure, at least a little bit from now his own party with Lisa - with Senator Lisa Murkowski. Should Mitch McConnell be worried about cracks within his own party?
CARLOS CURBELO (R-FL), FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Certainly, Ayman, here`s what happens. Senator Murkowski, her comments are really not a surprise. She`s very independent minded, a true institutionalists, understands that Congress is a co-equal independent branch of government.
But what`s going to happen is that now, after these comments by Senator Murkowski, other Republicans, probably those Republicans invulnerable races in 2020 states like Colorado, Arizona, Maine, those Senators - Collins, Gardner, McSally are going to start getting asked questions about what Senator Murkowski said and they`re going to be under pressure to at least sound to their voters like they want to have a serious trial in the Senate where all the evidence is going to be weighed.
So, I think, people need to look out very closely for how those Senators react to Senator Murkowski`s comments. And then of course, if they do follow her, at least in part, then that will increase pressure on Senator McConnell.
Remember, this is a Senate Republican majority, but it`s only a three seat majority. So there`s not a whole lot of room for error. So I certainly think that these comments that Senator Murkowski made will have a tail and we`ll be in some way consequential.
MOHYELDIN: Let me play devil`s advocate here for a moment and ask you just how confident you are that Republicans won`t be intimidated by Donald Trump. Because if you cross Donald Trump, you do so at your own peril.
You know, some would argue that perhaps you were somebody who stood up to Donald Trump, you disagreed with him on immigration, perhaps that was a factory also that led to your loss in Congress. But the question then becomes, do other republicans fear Donald Trump that they are not going to step out of line?
CURBELO: Well, Ayman, my case was a little different. I used to represent the most democratic leaning district in the country held by Republican. So I think that actually helped me in my district.
But I will say this, the President does demand absolute loyalty. And for some of these Senators and Representatives that are in swing states, they really do require a unified Republican base.
And the bottom line is here, and we haven`t discussed this yet tonight, that the court of public opinion is what matters most. Still House Democrats have not convinced a strong majority of the American people about the President should be removed from office, and that republican basis solidly behind the President.
A lot of these Senators and Representatives running for reelection as Republicans will need that basis support. So, certainly, the President does have a the power to intimidate, to push members and to demand that absolute loyalty.
We`ll see in the case of Senator Murkowski, Senator Romney, I think Senator Collins as well, can be expected to be independent minded and speak their truth. Either way, for other Senators and Representatives that remains to be seen.
MOHYELDIN: Let me play really quickly another soundbite from Senator Murkowski about not prejudging the case. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MURKOWSKI: For me to prejudge and say there`s nothing there. Or on the other hand, he should be impeached yesterday. That`s wrong. In my view, that`s wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: Danielle, you look at some of the comments that have been made by Senators like Senator Lindsey Graham and others, I think John - Senator Kennedy from Louisiana, they`ve pretty much concluded that the President has done nothing wrong. They`re not even waiting for the facts. They`re just basing it on what has been said in the House impeachment hearings.
MOODIE-MILLS: And that`s the problem, Ayman, is that the constituents that they have need to be making the phone calls, need to be sending e-mails and saying to them, we want a fair trial. This is wrong, what the President has done, what the House is laid out is problematic. And we know that if this has been Barack Obama, if it had been Bill Clinton, if it had been any Democrat, we know exactly what Republicans who would be doing right now.
So the fact is, is that it is up to us the people to call on our Representatives that we elected to do the right thing. That`s the only way that they`re going to do the right thing is if we demand it.
MOHYELDIN: Nick, very quickly, our constitutional framers probably not envision a situation where the Senate under the control of the same party as the President would be so much in lockstep with the President on something as serious as impeachment. This must be like a worst case scenario for.
AKERMAN: I would think the framers are rolling in their grave right now, because this is exactly the kind of situation that they thought impeachment ought to be used for. And then you`ve got a President who`s basically bullied the entire Senate Republican group into going his way.
Now, the question is whether or not others will have the courage that Lisa Murkowski has to move this forward in the way that the framers envisioned it. All right.
MOHYELDIN: All right. Nick Akerman, Margaret Carlson, Danielle Moodie- Mills, and Former Congressman Carlos Curbelo, thank you very much for joining us this evening.
Ahead, Mitch McConnell`s total coordination with the White House on impeachment sparks an absolutely blistering operating-ed from his hometown paper. The writer is joining us here on "THE BEAT" exclusively.
And fresh back from Ukraine, Rudy Giuliani, is making a public defense for the President against impeachment and attacking the very office investigating him.
Plus Michael Eric Dyson breaks down the Shawn Carter primary. Jay-Z`s impact on politics and why Trump is always invoking his name.
And this of course, Canadian TV, Home Alone 2, Donald Trump and the new holiday controversy. We`re going to explain to you what that is all about. I am Ayman Mohyeldin and you`re watching "THE BEAT" right here on MSNBC.
MOHYELDIN: All right. Trump`s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani out with a new defense for the President. Today, tweeting that quote "Removing a President less than a year before an election must only occur if his remaining in office irreparably damages the nation."
And as Trump prepares to go on trial, Giuliani is preparing for his own legal showdown. Just back from Ukraine, he is still pushing the same scheme that got Trump impeached in the first place, getting illegal election help. In an interview with NBC News he refused to say if you will testify in the impeachment trial.
But he is speaking out in a wild and, frankly, quite bizarre interview with the New York magazine`s Olivia Nuzzi, taking shots at his old office, the Southern District of New York, which is looking into Giuliani`s consulting firms and investigating a host of potential crimes like money laundering, obstruction of justice and campaign finance violations.
Giuliani on the attack saying this, "If they are investigating me, they are expletives. They`re absolutely expletives if they`re investigating me." Going on to call his former colleagues, quote, "idiots" and a "Trump deranged bunch of silly New York liberals". SDNY is investigating Giuliani`s business and financial dealings and his Ukrainian ties.
Now pressed on those Ukrainian dealings. Giuliani says he has quote, "no business interest in Ukraine," a claim he also made in an interview just last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: I have no financial interest in the Ukraine. I`m not going to financially profit from anything that I know of in the Ukraine. Well, look, I have no business interest in Ukraine. It is untrue. It is false.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: All right. You heard him there are no business interests in the Ukraine. Then he proceeded to tell the reporters about his quote, "two business deals in Ukraine," while still seeking four or five others.
Meanwhile, Giuliani`s own role in the Ukraine aid scandal is under scrutiny now in Congress. When asked about the mysterious call logs in the House Intel Committee report, suggesting that Giuliani talked with someone at the White House at key points during the Ukraine aid conversations.
He says quote, "I don`t think I talked to OMB at all. It`s not clear I don`t even remember." Amid concerns that the former mayor appears to be increasingly unhinged as he pushes debunked conspiracy theories. He also claims that Trump has been annoyed that he hasn`t been spreading more of his findings on TV appearances that led to moments like this. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: --there is no claim even in lawsuit that Joe Biden knew about this.
GIULIANI: Howard, you can`t be that naive.
KURTZ: No, no. no. Hold on, hold on-
GIULIANI: 20 years of Washington press corps that was--
KURTZ: We will get to that--
GIULIANI: And I say, brother, cut it out, damn it. As opposed to, I don`t know about it. I didn`t hear it and you all buy that. Bull.
KURTZ: Rudy, Rudy, Rudy--
GIULIANI: --put in charge of Ukraine. They made 5 million.
KURTZ: Rudy, I got a hard break coming up.
KURTZ: We have the transcript of the call and the President`s remarks on the lawn.
GIULIANI: Shhh! Shhh! I know you want to defend it so bad.
KURTZ: I don`t want to defend anything. I`m asking questions. I am asking questions.
GIULIANI: You do. You do. It`s pathetic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: All right. So we have the perfect guests on this, one of Giuliani`s former colleagues at SDNY and one who worked for him as mayor. We`re back in 30 seconds. Don`t go anywhere.
MOHYELDIN: All right. Joining me now is former federal prosecutor John Flannery. He is Giuliani`s former colleague in the Southern District of New York. Here he is with Giuliani back when they were both prosecutors. And Ken Frydman, who worked for Rudy Giuliani`s 1993 campaign for mayor and wrote this op-ed asking, "What Happened to Rudy Giuliani? Saying, the man I worked for in 1993 is not the man who now lies for Donald Trump. Gentlemen, great to have both of you with us.
John, let me begin with you, if I may. First, let me get your response to this, latest interview - this bizarre interview, what do you make of it?
JOHN FLANNERY, FORMAL FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, the word running around in my head and you just said it was bizarre. And I couldn`t imagine a greater contrast than between those interviews that you showed of him contradicting himself and everything else.
I think it`s very, it would be just pathetic if he wasn`t so dangerous and destructive. That a man who once had a storied career has become this man who is amoral, can`t tell the truth, can`t possibly do what`s just and right and is lying for the President.
I can`t imagine how he would be a witness at a trial in the Senate or otherwise. But if he were, he`s made so many statements, he would be the kind of witness, if you were called on the stand, you would have all this material that you could use to contradict them in the various ways.
He is also a man who twice has put the President in peril. One was when he gave truthful admissions, if you will, seemingly unconsciously in the Cohen matter. Here, listen to the tapes and he waved privilege. Then he also bragged about the investigation in Ukraine and said, sure we did that. What`s wrong with that and so forth.
Leading us to a place where - then we had the whistleblower, and it`s like he gave license to other people that come forward. Patriots, who are public servants, who tell us the truth, while the White House with holds critical witnesses.
So I think Rudy has become a two edged sword. On the one hand, he acts crazily, and on the other he has connected with all these people and has disclosed all sorts of information that in part made the impeachment possible.
MOHYELDIN: Ken, let me get your thoughts on this as well. Rudy Giuliani as a person you, obviously, knew him from your time on the campaign with him. What do you make of this interview?
KEN FRYDMAN, PRESS SECRETARY FOR GIULIANI 1993 MAYORAL CAMPAIGN: Well, I think the idea is to continue to create chaos. You can picture he and Trump in the Oval Office weaving all these schemes. And Rudy has said his goal is to disrupt the world and he`s doing that.
It`s don`t take your eye off the ball, don`t look behind the curtain and really don`t listen to what he is saying because it seems on its face insane and conspiratorial. But I think it plays to his base. It`s red meat to a dog.
MOHYELDIN: So something like this would have been calculated - this interview, where he goes out there sometimes and gives him mixed messages in interviews?
FRYDMAN: Well, yes, I believe it is. I - obviously, one Bloody Mary is his limit not two and he`s gotten progressively worse, he`s gotten progressively more sloppy. But I think it`s all part of a calculated plan.
MOHYELDIN: Let me ask you about his legacy, because Giuliani mentioned people concerned about his legacy, and he responded by saying, I believe the exact quote is, my attitude about my legacy is "F" it.
FRYDMAN: Right. He said he`ll be dead. He doesn`t care. So.
MOHYELDIN: Yes. What do you think his legacy will be?
FLANNERY: It would have been America`s Mayor dies now. It`ll be the man who lied for Trump, America`s Mayor dies.
MOHYELDIN: John, let me get your thoughts, because Giuliani also has a theory on why the SDNY is investigating him. He says, they are just jealous. In fact, he writes or in the interview, that quote is exactly, "It is a terrible thing to say, because it will get the Southern District all upset. But I know why they`re all upset, because they`ve never done anything like me since me. They haven`t done it eight years like I did since I left being U.S. Attorney. Nothing close." What do you think? Is that - do you think they`re jealous of him?
FLANNERY: Well, first of all, his years were not just gold years. He had a couple of sensational prosecutions that got thrown out and dismissed shortly after they started. You know, he took great pride in arresting people down on Wall Street and he arrested two people and had a perp walk and then he had to walk away from that prosecution.
The Southern District is in a port city. We have every kind of crime imaginable. And it takes the most dedicated, complicated and worthy prosecutors to figure it out, to search it out, to work with a variety of agencies and to bring cases which they have brought against organized crime, involving terrorism involving financial crimes, just streets below our main office.
People went to that office because it was considered the premier office. It was considered the sovereign District of New York, meaning we didn`t always listen to main justice. And in fact, just before I went to the office, the U.S. Attorney Whitney North Seymour approved the indictment of his own boss, John Mitchell. That`s independence. Those are big cases.
And Rudy Giuliani is just suffering from terminal hubris, if you will. He is under investigation and he`s doing what every cornered rat does in any criminal case in the Southern District, throwing, brickbats and slanders at the people who may ultimately indict him.
MOHYELDIN: Ken, on a personal level, what is it like to see this change happen from somebody as like John was saying, obviously has a quite a storied resume, despite any misgivings that may have happened during that time. But more importantly since then to see him fall from grace in the eyes of so many, what do you make of it on a personal level?
FRYDMAN: I personally care about my legacy, and he`s hurt my resume and a lot of other people who worked very hard to clean up this broken city when he was mayor. So it`s had an impact on a lot of lives watching his deterioration. I just want to follow on what John said.
Remember, the U.S. Attorney was appointed indefinitely by President Trump, Berman. All right? So this isn`t a witch-hunt investigation by the Southern District. This is a real investigation and it looks like - I mean, John could confirm this. It looks like they`re building a RICO case, which Rudy in effect perfected going after the mob and after Wall Street.
MOHYELDIN: Yes. Definitely a whole other segment that we can spend hours on. But gentlemen appreciate both of your thoughts. John Flannery, Ken Frydman, thank you both very much.
Ahead, a scathing op-ed for Mitch McConnell`s hometown newspaper, hammers him for defying his oath and Trump`s trial. The writer is here exclusively. Also a new Trump controversy involving Macaulay Culkin and Canada. Stay with us.
MOHYELDIN: A scathing op-ed from McConnell`s hometown newspaper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, saying, McConnell is about to violate multiple oaths of office. Quote, " McConnell`s loyalty that Trump should not overwhelm his loyalty to the Constitution. All senators should take their obligation of faithful impartiality seriously, especially McConnell." Adding, "History is watching and it will be a harsh judge."
Joining me now is the writer of that op-ed Ken Greenfield, a sixth generation Kentuckian and law professor at Boston College. Ken, great to have you with us. Thank you so much for joining us. First of all, why did you feel the need to write this op-ed and speak out?
KENT GREENFIELD, THE COURIER-JOURNAL OP-END CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Ayman. It`s great to be here. Because as a Kentuckian, I know what it`s like. How important it is to tell the truth and to be firm with our oaths. And in my view of the Constitution, Senator McConnell is about violate two.
The President has violated one, his oath of office, which is set out in the text of the Constitution in Article II. The only two other oath mentioned in the Constitution, one is an Article VI, which every public official takes to support and protect the Constitution.
There`s another oath mentioned in Article I, and it set out that when the Senators sit to try impeachments, they must sit by oath and be bound by oath or affirmation. Which means, the framers knew that this was one of the gravest things that the Senate would ever do. And they shouldn`t just take it as a political matter, it`s a legal remedy for abuse of power of the President, and they have to be impartial and have to take it very seriously, with the gravity that it deserves
MOHYELDIN: Not to go down a history lesson here. But given the fact that we are finding ourselves in this moment, I want to ask you a question that I also asked Nick Akerman earlier, which is, do you think the framers of the Constitution ever envisioned a moment where the Senate, which is supposed to be part of a co-equal branch of government, would be so coopted by the President, a separate branch of government, that a simple oath like this, as you are now concerned about could be violated so easily?
GREENFIELD: Not at all right, the parties that - in the way that we know them did not exist at the time. There was supposed to be much more of a separation of powers and a balance of powers between the Congress and the President. It would have surprised them that that the GOP would have been essentially mirroring the President`s strategy in the Senate.
And the Senator McConnell is a constitutional officer, he has an obligation to make sure that this trial is impartial. And it`s like - he`s essentially the foreman of the jury. And so the former of the jury is working with the defense to figure out strategy to get the defendant acquitted, and that`s inconsistent with what I think the text of the Constitution requires.
MOHYELDIN: What kind of reaction are you getting from your fellow Kentuckians today?
GREENFIELD: Well, I`ve gotten some - in fact, I heard about this e-mail at first - early on in the morning, I got an e-mail from a former student who was who was there. And who knows, Kentucky, I think, is a state that has been firmly in Trump`s campaign.
But I think a lot of people in Kentucky are very - take their honesty seriously. And I know that Senator McConnell is not the most popular politician in the state, the governor`s race was just one by a Democrat.
So I think there`s some reason to believe that my fellow Kentuckians will be a part of this effort to make sure that Senator McConnell takes care that he that he abides to his - with his oath.
MOHYELDIN: Yes, it is certainly going to be something we watch in 2020 very closely. Kent Greenfield, thank you very much for joining us this evening. Appreciate your time.
GREENFIELD: My pleasure.
MOHYELDIN: Ahead, Trump`s fixation on music icon Jay-Z, and hip hop`s evolving politics, Michael Eric Dyson on that, next.
MOHYELDIN: Jay-Z and politics, two passion points for "THE BEAT." Ari recently sat down with Professor Michael Eric Dyson on his new book tackling both.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: If you follow Donald Trump closely you may notice he actually attacks one musician more than most, the cultural icon and Obama endorser, who Trump invokes as a supposed foil.
TRUMP: We don`t need Jay-Z to fill up arenas. They say Trump`s language is very tough. Did you ever hear Jay-Z?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, black unemployment has just been reported to be at the lowest rate ever recorded.
TRUMP: You got to hear Jay-Z the words he was using. He was using the "F" word all over the place and then the next day they say I use bad language. These people are sick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Put aside the hypocrisy of Trump protesting to the rhetorical vulgarity there and ask, why the Jay-Z obsession? Well, there`s a scholar of music and politics you probably know, Professor Michael Eric Dyson, who argues that it all comes back to both jealousy and politics.
Writing, Obama and Jay are both tall, talented, charismatic men who used words to forge their path. The definition of quote, "black cool." They exhibit grace under white pressure. Dyson argues that`s just one part of this evolving story of Jay-Z. Now an American icon, a self-made billionaire, who he profiles in a new book, "Jay-Z: Made in America."
And if you do watch this show, you may know we talk about music and culture a lot. We`re really into Jay-Z. And what`s interesting is this book puts more meat on the bones of why this is so relevant to our society, to our politics, to what kind of America we want to be and I`m thrilled to welcome "New York Times" bestselling author Professor Michael Eric Dyson, friend of "THE BEAT". Good evening, sir.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, AUTHOR "JAY-Z: MADE IN AMERICA": My friend its always great to be here and never more has the name of your show, "THE BEAT," been more relevant than me writing this book,
MELBER: Shout out. You walk this story through the layers of Jay-Z and the different things that he`s done. Some people know him for the music. Donald Trump knows him for what we just mentioned. Other people know him for celebrity stories. What are you trying to get across about the fullness of his life?
DYSON: Yes, that`s a great point. So I started with hustling, looking at his backdrop his background, and looking at the forces that shaped him. He says, now all the teachers couldn`t reach me and my mama couldn`t beat me. Hard enough to match the pain of my pop not seeing me, so with that disdain in my membrane got on my pimp game blank the world, my defense came.
So he`s giving an explanation that father absence and social immiseration, and existential misery and hurt and pain, drove him to a life of hustling on the streets. Walter McDougal, the great American historian, a conservative one, says that hustling is the central motif of American society.
What he studied to win a Pulitzer Prize, Jay-Z knew intuitively and understood that hustling, both the bad sense of it, of being on the make, trying to rip people off in the like. And the good part of it, America always looking for the next story, the next idea, the next scheme to make one rich or to enrich the nation, Jay-Z has combined them both.
So I look at hustling. I look at his poetic invention. And then I look at his political, if you will, circumstances, ideas and conditions that he addresses and how he has tried to unite them as an entrepreneur and a businessman who`s also a social activist.
MELBER: You talk about hustling. People also call it working. Some people nowadays call it trapping, all of this fitting into a model of American capitalism, where if you are on the wrong line with your access to capital, with your connections, with often your race, then what you`re doing is delegitimize and yet it was shown through his life and you will explore this in the book, that he applied and maximized some of the same skills on the right line.
Why is it so important to you to walk people through that? Because I`ve seen it said on the internet and elsewhere, Oh, when Hillary Clinton was talking about him as an icon, people said, Why are you praising this quote, "drug dealer?"
DYSON: Right, excellent point. Brilliantly set up as you always do. It is absolutely true that America begins with a great crime. America is rooted in the mendacity of embracing ideals that it consistently undercuts.
But many American families which go on to become great and pioneering political families were born in crying, moonshine being run in the backwoods of Appalachia. So we know that that this is the case for America, but the route to their ascent is often obfuscated by the idealism in the mythology of their inherent greatness.
Whereas, black hustling is seen with an asterisk. That somehow it is an inferior model of applying that work ethic. But I would argue it`s even a greater attempt to leap over those obstacles and impediments that have been imposed.
And when people tell me how could you write about a - a book about a guy who sold drugs? We write books about people who sold human beings, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, and we still see their greatness.
So selling drugs pales in comparison to selling men and yet - and women - and yet Jay-Z, he says, look, "Y`all acting like Hov told you to sell crack." No Hov did that, so hopefully you won`t have to do that. It`s a cautionary tale. He looks at the sense of regret that he has.
DYSON: He`s called himself an animal for having sold those drugs. So he overcomes that story. And in doing that, he`s trying to inspire a nation to do the same thing and use its hustle and its elbow grease, as my father used to call it, to make a legitimate living.
MELBER: I love the way you draw on the lessons that are that are sprinkled throughout his work. I don`t care whether you into Jerry Garcia or Billy Joel or Bruce or Jay. When you listen closely, you can see the layers and most art has those layers. Let`s take a brief listen to Jay-Z speaking in his own words on Netflix.
JAY-Z, AMERICAN RAPPER: He`s bringing out an ugly side of America that we wanted to believe was gone and it`s still here, and we still got to deal with it. We have to have the conversation. We have to have tough conversation. We have to talk about the N word and we have to talk about why white men are so privileged in this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Jay-Z`s politics, what did you learn as you dug into that?
DYSON: Yes, a brilliant scene, by the way, that you played there. What is he talking about? The use of the N word, and people jumping on black people who use it in word. And Jay make a good distinction, as he did to Oprah Winfrey, there`s a difference between the ER hard ending and the GA ending where black people have tried to appropriate it.
But he wants to talk about why it is that this word has resurfaced in the political economy of the American imagination, and what is it about the attraction to that term that gives people such satisfaction?
And then he talks about, of course, dealing with the politics of this American society, of trying to grapple with who we are. Jay-Z said, "Bin Laden been happening in Manhattan. Crack was anthrax back then, back when Police was Al-Qaeda to black men."
So here he`s comparing the invidious forms of racial terror to American terror and suggesting that if you understand one, you`ll understand the other. So Jay is - Jay-Z is trying to grapple with racism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, anti-Arabism, and all of the isms that congregate together to make this nation not at its best.
What he is trying to do is to live out the creed of America, E pluribus unum, out of many one. And his music gathers together under its aural umbrella, and its Sonic force those who would participate in this nation, as he does, as an American citizen, giving his best to the nation and expecting that we would all make this nation better with our own gifts by staying in our own lane, doing what we do best.
MELBER: I got one more topic I want to get to as we do this. If we can get into masculinity and putative black masculinity in America. Is that all right with you?
MELBER: Walk us through the way that Jay-Z and other young black men are appraised and judge in our society when we look at him as a very young man in his early 20s telling the world, I never cry. If I did, I cry ice. Because fears alone were considered weakness in his community, but it really in a way America treats a lot of men.
And then the dad rapper we have on his more recent work, saying the pain is real, but how can you heal what you never reveal? What does it mean to you to see him grow up and actually be allowed to turn 50 when so many of his peers, so many black men and women, of course, throughout American history are cut down before their time?
DYSON: Your effortless application of his eloquence is edifying. So what`s interesting here is that you`re absolutely right. Jay-Z says, I can`t see them coming down my eyes. So I`ll make the song cry.
MELBER: Song cry.
DYSON: That clinical distance, that dispassion that he exhibits, big pimpin, I am not the person who will be involved. I will not be emotionally invested. And yet, he has not only denied toxic masculinity, its birth in his own life. He`s put away poisonous patriarchy to embrace being, as you say dad rap and to acknowledge that he was wrong.
Can you imagine telling the truth to the world, about your sin about your infidelity, about your cheating on your wife, having been called to account? And you could have easily deflected it, but you embraced it. You talked about going to therapy, you spoke about the need to overcome these old molded ideals about masculinity.
You talked about your mother`s sexuality as a lesbian, and you embrace the full range of masculine identities and its vulnerability. And so Jay-Z has emerged as a mature spokesman for a masculinity that is willing to tell the truth about its own vulnerability and therefore to resonate more fully with the women, and others in our lives.
MELBER: Michael Eric Dyson, we come to you for wisdom, politics, America, and of course hip hop. I hope everyone checks out the Jay-Z book and thanks for coming on "THE BEAT".
DYSON: Thanks always for having me, my brother
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: Trump is in another controversy about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN: Excuse me, where`s the lobby?
TRUMP: Down the hall and to the left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation cut Trump`s Home Alone 2 cameo that you just saw them from their Christmas broadcast. The CBC saying it was edited to allow for commercial time within the format.
Donald Trump Jr, calling it quote "pathetic." But the CBC says the edit actually happened in 2014, long before Trump was ever President. Whenever it was done, many on social media, though, are applauding the move. What will happen next in 2019?
That does it for me. I`ll see you back here tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern filling in for Lawrence O`Donnell on "The Last Word". "Hardball" is next.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END