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Pelosi signals impeachment articles coming next week. TRANSCRIPT: 1/10/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Stretch Armstrong, Bobbito Garcia, Michelle Goldberg, TonySchwartz

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chuck. Thank you very much.

We have a lot of ground to cover on this busy Friday night.

All eyes right now on Speaker Pelosi. She has made news in no uncertain terms on the new action in the impeachment fight. We will bring that to you.

Also later tonight, our friend "Art of the Deal" co-author Tony Schwartz is here on how the standoff may be rattling the president.

And we have a special report on Rudy Giuliani and his trip to Ukraine. I have footage you have probably not seen, based on the way we found it. It is a strange story, and it`s our special report a little later in the hour.

Our top story right now, Speaker Pelosi making it official.

She is now formally promising a major development here and what looks like an on-ramp to a trial in this impeachment fight. Let me explain.

She has released through a letter to colleagues today an announcement that she has now asked Judiciary Chair Nadler to bring a resolution to the House floor next week appointing managers -- those are like the prosecutors of Donald Trump in a Senate trial -- and to do what so many have been asking, to transmit the articles to the Senate.

Now, there`s no exact timetable on when a trial would start. It could be soon, very soon, though, Pelosi insisting that this is how she wanted it to be, that she`s setting the timeline, that there was no internal divide over her strategy.


QUESTION:  What feedback have you gotten from your colleagues on not sending the articles yet?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  Absolutely total cooperation.

It cracks me up to see on TV, oh, pressure. Is there pressure on that? I have news for them. You don`t have a story.


MELBER:  Well, some of this, though, does come from reporting that Speaker Pelosi`s own Democratic allies were at times stumped about holding these articles back for so long, when they weren`t, at least over time, getting public concessions from Mitch McConnell.

Pelosi, though, does have an argument for that tonight. She is saying she made headway and that time itself was on the side of pressure and gathering evidence, pointing to the new evidence that revealed about how the White House was plotting the Ukraine scheme.

And it`s certainly true there were new e-mails that came from unrelated litigation, as well as something that everyone watching this case, including people at the White House know. In the time while Pelosi was holding onto these articles, John Bolton decided to come out and publicly offer to testify under subpoena to the Senate.

Meanwhile, some cracks in the Republican Party approach here, two senators now openly criticizing McConnell`s approach to the trial. And now self- proclaimed moderate Republican Susan Collins is showing something that many people had not predicted. She is a Republican who says she is now working on a plan to ensure some witnesses do appear in this trial.

Collins telling reporters in her home state of Maine that she`s working all week, in fact, and has been talking to a -- quote -- "fairly small group" of Republican senators, as well as party leaders, on this witness issue and that she is -- quote -- "hopeful" that they will find an agreement on how to proceed with a trial that would allow the opportunity for the House and the president`s counsel to have these witnesses, if they so choose.

Collins also telling NBC -- and this is interesting -- "It is important that both sides are treated fairly."

Having witnesses testify is, of course, one of the most crucial elements of any trial. Just ask old Lindsey Graham or old Mitch McConnell or a lot of other people involved in trials.

The new reporting is a sign that the time that has been passing seems to be going towards more of a trial and less of a slam-dunk dismissal.

With that, we turn to our two experts tonight, people you will recognize that we have come to rely on this evolving story, Chuck Rosenberg, a former federal prosecutor, senior FBI official, former acting head of the DEA, who is an MSNBC analyst, and "New York Times" reporter -- I should say "New York Times" contributor Michelle Goldberg.

You write for the opinion page, but I know you as well as a longtime writer in general.

Thanks to both of you for joining me on this Friday night.



MELBER:  Here we are.


MELBER:  Michelle, people who read you in "The New York Times," who have seen you on this and other programs know that long before it was fashionable in Washington to say force impeachment and force a trial, you advocated that on substantiative grounds, not as a political thing. Just you thought it was warranted.

With that in mind, I wonder what you think about Susan Collins and others now making news by saying that maybe not only will you have a beginning of a trial, you might have witnesses.

GOLDBERG:  I think that that`s a profound relief.

And Nancy Pelosi had very little leverage here, right? I mean, the Senate`s controlled by Republicans. They had very little incentive to cooperate with her, and so I think by playing the cards she was dealt, she was at least able to create enough of a public controversy to get these comments on the record before the articles are transmitted.

And, right, this is what it`s always been all about, getting witnesses and particularly getting John Bolton, right? I think if John Bolton tells what he knows, assuming that he actually tells what he knows and doesn`t just participate in some sort of cover-up, I think that makes it much harder for -- not for all -- you know, the Senate is probably still going to acquit, but it does put pressure on those senators who either have reputations as moderates or who are running for reelection in swing states.


And this is very clearly, Chuck, a Democratic push thus far to get these witnesses. So, when Republican senators come along, they are -- as a matter of the divisions in the Senate, they are going towards what the Democrats have been advocating, although outside of the political realm, it is fairly traditional to have witnesses at trials, regardless of your ideology.

ROSENBERG:  For instance...

MELBER:  Just ask -- for your analysis, just ask Mitch McConnell. Here he was back in the day on "Larry King."


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY):  There have been 15 impeachments in the history of this country. Two of them were cut short by resignations. In the other 13 impeachments, they were witnesses. It`s not unusual to have a witness in a trial.

It`s certainly not unusual to have a witness in an impeachment trial.

The House managers have only asked for three witnesses. I think that`s pretty modest.


ROSENBERG:  Right. So in trials, we have this thing called evidence, and evidence consists of typically witnesses and documents, and witnesses, we hope come and tell the truth. And if they do, then the jurors, in this case, the senators, have a better basis on which to make an informed judgment.

You know, I hope you`re right that we hear from John Bolton. I fear, however, we won`t, regardless of whether or not witnesses are called, because there`s this big thing still hanging over John Bolton`s testimony which is the possibility that the president invokes executive privilege.

MELBER:  Go on.

ROSENBERG:  Yes, so there`s this thing called privileges, and they`re real. There`s all kinds of, Fifth Amendment privilege, attorney-general client privilege.

Executive privilege has been invoked by presidents of both parties back to the beginning of this nation. The problem is that, because it`s a real thing, executive privilege, it`s intended to, you know, protect confidential discussions between a president and his most senior advisers, it would have to be litigated before Bolton -- if the president invokes it, we would have to litigate whether or not certain questions and certain answers impede on that privilege.

MELBER:  So, on that point, take a listen to the president now, who also made news today. As the Republicans have pushed him a little bit with the idea that this could happen, he`s jumped in to say, wait, he would do what you`re talking about.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST:  Why not call Bolton? Why not allow him to testify? This thing is bogus. Why not have Bolton testify?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I would have no problem, other than one thing. You can`t be in the White House as president -- future -- I`m talking about future, many future presidents -- and have a security adviser, anybody having to do with security, and legal, and other things, but especially...

INGRAHAM:  You`re going to invoke executive privilege?


TRUMP:  Well, I think you have to for the sake of the office.


MELBER:  And I should say, in fairness, Donald Trump has a longstanding interest in the sake of the office.

He`s an interesting...


GOLDBERG:  An institutionalist.

MELBER:  Well, he`s -- if you have read the writings about his sort of views of the Constitution, executive power back before the reality show days, they are interesting.

But go on.

ROSENBERG:  I`m surprised these words are about to come out of my mouth, but that wasn`t crazy. There is a real thing called executive privilege.

And presidents, as I said, of both parties have invoked it. And as a society, we have recognized that there`s a fundamental value in protecting certain types of conversations.

But you cannot use privileges to cover up a crime, for instance, right? There are exceptions to privileges. The problem is that, to get there, you have to litigate it.

GOLDBERG:  Although can I just ask you this? Because the chief justice of the Supreme Court is presiding over this trial.

So how much does it have to go through the courts, as opposed to allowing him to rule on it then and there?

ROSENBERG:  So, it`s a great question. It sort of depends on when the issue arises.

I mean, the president and the White House could in theory go to court now, before an impeachment trial starts, and seek a declaratory judgment that an executive privilege should protect any conversation between the president and Bolton. So it depends.

I know you probably hate that as an answer from a lawyer, but it depends.

MELBER:  Do you think you could have a partial amount of information, where some of those things are segmented off, but if you ask John Bolton about, for example, the president`s public statements demanding this investigation, and what light he could shed on that, outside of the privilege?

ROSENBERG:  That would be a way to do it.

So if you know there`s privileged stuff, and you believe there`s nonprivileged stuff, a good prosecutor could craft questions to only elicit the nonprivileged stuff. You could try that. But if the president invokes in some way, it may have to be litigated, to Michelle`s point.

MELBER:  And, Michelle, the other thing I want to ask you about is the way that Donald Trump`s defenders double down on everything doesn`t always work.

It may enrage, and it may get attention, but this is a process whereby whether you lose a few Senate votes can change, as we have discussed, who testified.

And so I wonder if you think, just as we saw, on Iran, some of that didn`t work, and Republican senators pushed back, we`re seeing that with Collins here, and we`re seeing that as a response to say, well, I just showed for McConnell, Lindsey Graham, well known -- we actually had several of their former colleagues on a special panel together on the beat.

Listen to a little bit of that regarding the shift from Lindsey Graham.


JOHN BREAUX (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR:  You have members of the Senate who have already declared what the verdict is before they have heard the trial.

BYRON DORGAN (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I don`t think anybody can explain what happened to Lindsey Graham.

KENT CONRAD (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR:  He`s got to have had a mind change operation.

I mean, it is unbelievable for me to watch Lindsey now, because I remember distinctly Lindsey saying, you can`t have a trial without witnesses.

Now he says we don`t need any witnesses. Wow, that is a flip-flop of all time.


MELBER:  Do you think that some of Trump`s defenders, including Mr. Graham here, may have actually pushed Collins in the other direction?

GOLDBERG:  You know, I would say I`m far past the point 3 years in of expecting any kind of decency or consistency from any Republicans, really.

I`m pleasantly surprised that Collins said that she`s going to fight for witnesses. And a small group is all you need, given the makeup of the Senate. I`m not counting on it. I do think that, at the very least, this cover-up will be televised, right, the process of the cover-up, the arguments against letting the country hear from, you know -- hear from John Bolton, and hear from Mick Mulvaney, hear from Rudy Giuliani, for that matter, who seems to want to testify.

You know, at least that will be public, at the very, very least, right, so that the country can hear about what this president doesn`t want them to hear.

MELBER:  I think you make a great point, and that`s why understanding these rules, as Chuck and you and others have helped us do, does cut against the cynicism and the nothing matters idea, because they`re going to have to take votes, and the public is going to see it on both sides, what the Senate is trying to do or not do when it comes to finding the facts.

I want to thank Michelle Goldberg and Chuck.

I want you to stick around as we get to a whole different side of Chuck Rosenberg later in the show. That`s my tease for that.

Coming up, as promised, I have our special report on Rudy Giuliani`s trip to Ukraine. We have now reviewed hours of his footage. And we`re going to show you what matters, particularly with regard to Donald Trump`s looming trial.

Also, Trump now releasing to Fox News new details, he says, about what Iran was going to do that his own administration kept, allegedly, from Congress.

And later tonight, "Art of the Deal" co-author Tony Schwartz is back with how Donald Trump will handle the trial.

All that, plus, yes, "Fallback Friday" with Chuck Rosenberg and more.

I`m Ari Melber. You`re watching THE BEAT.


 MELBER:  Guess who`s back? Maybe it feels like he never left.

Rudy Giuliani back with a new defense of his client Donald Trump, writing publicly that the Supreme Court should now declare this entire impeachment unconstitutional, which doesn`t make much sense, since it is the Constitution that provides for this impeachment process.

So Giuliani is back in a big way, and he is not someone you can completely ignore if you want to understand what the Senate trial of the sitting president will look like and involve.

So, for that reason, we have a very special report on what Giuliani`s been up to and why some of Donald Trump`s closest advisers want him to stop, to be quiet.

We`re going to delve into why he literally just went to Ukraine as Donald Trump was getting impeached and how it may, as I mentioned, backfire.

That`s when we`re back in 30 seconds.



CHANEL RION, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ONE AMERICA NEWS:  Watch, as President Trump`s personal attorney and veteran prosecutor Rudy Giuliani, together with One America News, calls up top Ukrainian diplomats and officials as witnesses to testify, under oath, their side of the story, the side that not only destroys Adam Schiff`s case for impeachment, but uncovers what may be one of the greatest cover-ups of our time.


MELBER:  Greatest cover-ups of our time.

What is the real cover-up in the Ukraine scandal? The answer is actually important. It could impact Donald Trump`s impeachment trial, and it`s where our special report begins right now.

What you`re looking at here is the ultimate in impeachment counterprogramming from the conservative outlet One America News or OAN.

That`s a name you might recognize as the media company goes sometimes where FOX News will not. In the middle of the Ukraine impeachment scandal, OAN sent a correspondent, Chanel Rion, to literally travel with Giuliani to Ukraine and Hungary for a three-part special, conducting joint interviews with some of the very Ukrainian prosecutors and government veterans wrapped up in the very conspiracy theory that got Donald Trump impeached.

So, when you hear about Rudy Giuliani gathering information in Ukraine, this is part of how that now works.

And here at THE BEAT, we actually -- as a team here, we have watched the whole OAN special, so you don`t have to, unless you want to.

But let me give you the context.

Entrepreneur Robert Herring founded OAN in 2013 with a pitch that echoes Roger Ailes` branding for news, a conservative line that also promises that its perspective itself is the credible, patriotic choice.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It`s time to switch things up. If you`re looking for credible news, then you have come to the right place.

One America is ready. Are you?


MELBER:  But in a world where groups with all kinds of agendas increasingly can mimic the format of media to push their agenda, we should note the company was not announced in, say, a business setting like the Florida Stock Exchange, or in some journalism conference.

Instead, OAN officials went to the annual partisan conservative conference CPAC, which has embraced President Trump, and pushed the Republican Party to move further to the right.

And a newly minted OAN host said the goal of all of their new project was to get even and be a platform for political conservatism.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The solution is quite simple. To quote "Animal House," don`t get mad. We`re going to get even.

We will not block their conservative message. We will be their platform for the message.



MELBER:  Now, there`s not much public data on the daily reach of that platform.

The typical system for measuring viewers, Nielsen ratings, are not available for OAN. The company says it is available in 35 million homes. That`s according to a May press release, its reach, far less than traditional TV channels like FOX or CNN.

But in the Trump era, influence can turn on who is watching, not just the total audience. And there are reports that anchors like Pete Hegseth, and Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson, who have, of course, shaped Trump`s decisions on big issues, like pardons or who to hire and fire, or even de- escalating this Iran conflict.

So, with that wider context, note that OAN also counts President Trump as a very proud viewer. He says he tunes in whenever possible, and has shared some of their segments online to his 70 million followers.

Now, that link may shed some light on how to categorize OAN. A question that is worth considering would be, is this a journalistic outlet that overlaps with conservatives, or is it more of a political operation that simply mimics the look of journalism?

Now, OAN President Charles Herring says what they do is -- quote -- "hard news, fast-paced, no fluff, no opinion."

And for this report tonight, we reached out to both OAN and Rudy Giuliani for comment. Giuliani did not provide public comment, but OAN has told us - - this is in a new statement -- that they featured a number of guests, including Giuliani. As is typical, on the Ukraine trip, they paid for his travel.

I should also note that the OAN network is suing MSNBC over a comment made on our air about them.

Now, Herring also has told Politico that some media outlets won`t acknowledge proven facts, won`t do their time-consuming and costly investigative work if the facts don`t fit their narrative, and he also said they lean to the right, no doubt about it.

Now, when the Trump administration was cracking down on free speech by expelling a journalist from the White House, which is government property, consider this interesting story. Media outlets united in a joint suit in court against Donald Trump, and it included FOX News.

That case was pretty straightforward, so much so that the journalist in there essentially won and was returned access to the White House. But while media outlets and FOX were basically over here united in saying, hey, there are some lines the Trump administration can`t cross, OAN sided with the Trump effort to crack down on reporters` access, an unusual position for a media outlet.

Now, critics also argue that some OAN segments really do seem to go beyond covering certain political agendas to looking like they may endorse them.


NEIL W. MCCABE, REPORTER, ONE AMERICA NEWS:  One America News looks at these attacks, what we know, and what we don`t know, in our special report "Betrayal at Benghazi: The Cost of Hillary Clinton`s Dereliction and Greed."

TREVOR LOUDON, REPORTER, ONE AMERICA NEWS NETWORK:  Antifa is at war with your government.

GAVIN MCINNES, REPORTER, ONE AMERICA NEWS NETWORK:  They`re brainwashed communists trying to kill people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Democrats have nothing to run on, so they resorted to racist and xenophobe and all these other things.


MELBER: "The Washington Post" reporting that some of that coverage was more pro-Trump and less journalistic than Fox News and -- quote -- "rife with the conspiracy theories that circulated widely in Trump land."

So it`s noticeable when OAN broadcasts a special featuring the president`s lawyer going back to Ukraine.

Now, Politico reported on this big Giuliani special, noting that OAN is trying to out-Fox Fox, and that it challenges journalistic ethics for OAN to -- quote -- "give Giuliani a direct role in preparing its Ukraine report."

But this really matters. Millions of viewers in America may think, well, if it looks like news, if it acts like news, it must be somewhat credible news.

And this is in a world of fake articles online that are designed to make you think they`re real, and lying presidential tweets, and now even these deepfake videos.

Now, there`s nothing unusual about the president`s lawyer going out to make his case. We have had President Trump`s lawyer on this very show. The factual issue is how it is done, with Giuliani and OAN participating in what are joint interviews and something you don`t usually see in a lot of this coverage.

So, with all of this in mind, now take a look at what the OAN special comprises.


RION:  We waded through a dark and murky swamp of deep state collusion, Democrat impeachment delusions, and nefarious charges against Giuliani.

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  Hey, jerks, it means the same thing.

RION:  For this next act in the Democrats` impeachment fairy tale, they needed a villain, a damsel and a prince.

Multiple Ukrainian sources said that Yovanovitch`s embassy was colloquially dubbed the Clinton campaign headquarters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is evidence. I`m happy that I have this document, because how I could explain to American public that I am right.

GIULIANI:  Who controls NABU?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator):  The U.S. Embassy.

GIULIANI:  The U.S. Embassy controls your law enforcement bureau?


MELBER:  Now, as this special continues, Giuliani appears in discussions that could look like interviews, and he makes some claims that have actually already been contradicted by his client Donald Trump.

Giuliani says that Ukraine, the whole issue that they were pursuing basically fell in his lap as a matter of public interest. Trump has publicly confirmed he asked Giuliani to work on it.


RION:  The narrative right now is that you looked into Ukraine because Biden was running for president.

GIULIANI:  A complete lie. I looked into Ukraine because it was thrown at me, put in my lap.


MELBER:  OAN`s special also includes Ukrainian officials that back up Giuliani`s view that the push for some of those investigations which are at the heart of the impeachment probe was a just cause.

Giuliani also rolls out a claim that senators might really want to learn about at this coming Trump impeachment trial, Giuliani saying he wanted to defend Trump in the Mueller probe by proving -- quote -- "Somebody else committed the crime."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In Ukraine, many people believe that that request for investigation was just a request for justice.

GIULIANI:  That`s the investigation I began in November of 2018. At that time, he was in the middle of the Mueller investigation. The president was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And you were his personal lawyer.

GIULIANI:  And as his defense attorney, this is like gold.

All of a sudden, I can prove somebody else committed the crime. And that`s why I started it. And the president of the United States, I can tell you this, is asking for this.


MELBER:  Amazing.

Just -- just -- let me just say exactly why I think that`s amazing.

In this format that Giuliani may have extra control over, he still is making mistakes that hurt his client, Trump.

First, he just revealed directions from his client that could otherwise be protected under attorney-client privilege.

Second, he`s suggesting a crime occurred that he could put on someone else. Anyone getting him under oath would ask, what crime from the Mueller probe are you talking about? Was it charged?

And then, third, he outs Trump as -- quote -- "asking for this" on that program.

But Donald Trump denied asking or directing Giuliani to do this in an interview on Bill O`Reilly`s podcast.


BILL O`REILLY, FORMER HOST, "THE O`REILLY FACTOR":  Did you direct him to go to Ukraine and do anything or put any heat on him?

TRUMP:  No, I didn`t direct him, but he`s a warrior. Rudy`s a warrior.


MELBER:  So, if you believe Giuliani, Trump`s lying right there. If you believe Trump, Giuliani was lying.

Either way, somebody is fibbing about one of the greatest scandals of this era, the cause of the impeachment of the first elected first-term president in American history.

And as the Senate prepares to hold Trump on trial for all of this, among other issues in Ukraine, it is key to understanding the president`s potential defense.

And, on OAN, viewers are quite familiar with this 2018 video showing Joe Biden detailing how the Obama administration pressured Ukraine to remove a prosecutor as a U.S. priority.

Now, Giuliani views this as a -- quote -- "confession" to one of the things that Trump has stood accused of, seeking a bribe.


GIULIANI:  In a January 2018 confession of Joe Biden, in which Joe Biden laid out in about two-and-a-half minutes a total definition and a total confession to the crime of bribery.

I don`t think I have ever seen as concise and as tight and as clear a confession, but, worse than that, I saw a confession with proof of guilty knowledge.


MELBER:  Proof.

While Giuliani saw a confession of Biden seeking a personal benefit, Bloomberg journalists reported, actually, the request was a broader Obama administration policy emanating from U.S. diplomats, not hatched by Biden, while other reports fact-checked the very claim that the company linked to Hunter Biden was under investigation at the time, which gives context to Biden`s story.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I said, I`m telling you, you`re not getting a billion dollars. I said you`re not get a billion. I`m going to be leaving here.

And I think it was about six hours. I looked at him. I said, I`m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you`re not getting the money.

Well, son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


BIDEN:  He got fired, and they put in place someone who was solid at the time.


MELBER:  Now, depending on what you know and what you bring to this and how it`s presented, people might see something different when that Biden tape plays.

Prepare to see that tape a lot more, by the way.

It is worth noting that other parts of Giuliani`s Ukraine trip also don`t seem to amount to much. At one point, the OAN anchor talks up the idea that Giuliani is ending his -- quote -- "Ukrainian absence" to meet in person with another Ukrainian caught up in the story on their trip, but it`s not even clear what everyone is supposed to glean from this advertised reunion.


RION:  Now, at the prospect of meeting Shokin and other witnesses face-to- face, the mayor decided to break his streak of Ukrainian absence, and landed in Kiev, and America`s mayor stepped foot in Ukraine for the first time in two years.


MELBER:  And we know from this photo the anchor posted online that this seemed to go down in Ukraine on December 5, which, amazingly, is the very day Donald Trump`s Ukraine plot formally boomeranged on him, with everything Giuliani was doing turning into a formal march towards impeachment.


PELOSI:  The facts of the Ukraine situation just changed everything.

Ukraine was the vehicle of the president`s action.

Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders, and a heart full of love for America, today, I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.


MELBER:  And that`s where this story gets much broader than which particular media outlet Rudy Giuliani is talking to and whether he`s in Ukraine to make TV specials or make money or make, I don`t know, strategic contributions to Donald Trump`s reelection, because one thing that people who support and oppose impeachment can all see is Rudy Giuliani`s plot to hurt Biden backfired and hurt Trump, his client.

Now, this is really an ancient story line, a seemingly intricate plot backfires on its own mastermind, so ancient, it`s a verse in Proverbs, and for the less religious, you might also remember it from Bob Marley`s version: "Whosoever dig a pit shall fall in it."

And maybe that`s why even some of Trump`s most hard-core defenders have become worried Giuliani could fall in his own pit.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL):  I think it`s a little weird that Rudy Giuliani is over in the Ukraine right now, and I`m not here to defend Rudy Giuliani. You know, there`s apparently an investigation going on.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC):  If you`re going to go on national television and tell the country that you found evidence of a cover-up, then I hope you know what you`re talking about.

It`s just not good for the country to make these accusations on cable television without them being tested.


MELBER:  So, if Lindsey Graham, a well-known Trump defender, who is one of the senators that will determine the president`s fate in this impeachment trial, is doubting Giuliani`s approach of accusations on TV, without testing them, as he put it, then, even looking past the Senate trial, Senator Graham chairs a powerful committee.

He has subpoena power. He has already put some heat on Giuliani by suggesting he`s invited to put up or go away.


GRAHAM:  I`m going to have an open invitation to Rudy Giuliani to come to the Senate Judiciary Committee and tell us what you found. And if he comes, you have got to be willing to ask questions about your conduct.


MELBER:  His conduct. Questions would surely be asked in that forum, and how will they be answered? Well, sometimes, whosoever dig a pit keeps on digging.


GIULIANI:  I would testify. I would do demonstrations. I`d give lectures. I`d give summations.

Hey, jerks, it means the same thing.

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS HOST:  We have the transcript of the call.

GIULIANI:  These are the elements of the crime of bribery.

Why am I doing it, Laura? Can`t you figure it out? I`m his defense lawyer.

Ukrainian collusion. Ukrainian corruption.

Yes, I will compliment myself, because I do a pretty good job for him.



MELBER:  Speaker Pelosi shading President Trump as -- quote -- "nervous and falling apart," as he faces this looming trial.

Trump himself admitted that impeachment is eating away at him. It`s influenced his decisions. It`s also informed his Iran choices, reportedly, because he was under pressure to deal with that country by hawkish Republican senators that he considered -- quote -- "important in the coming impeachment trial."

Let`s get into all of it with our "State of Mind" series.

Friend of THE BEAT and co-author of "The Art of the Deal," Tony Schwartz, author of "The Way We`re Working Isn`t Working."

Good to see you, sir.


MELBER:  You know him. You worked with him. How is this affecting him?

SCHWARTZ:  I think it`s a progressive process.

I think the humiliation that he associates already with having been impeached is incredibly preoccupying to him, and dominates his consciousness for the vast majority of every waking day.

MELBER:  Compartmentalization can be good up to a point. Does he have that skill?

SCHWARTZ:  Zero. Zero.


MELBER:  Then that would mean that this would be an impeachment season for him that he would not enjoy.

SCHWARTZ:  Absolutely.

I mean, you think back to Clinton and the way he sort of carved out governing while he was being impeached, nothing could be more different than Trump`s way of dealing with this, which is, he does in a sense compart -- that`s a hard word. He does compartmentalize.

MELBER:  Can I make a recommendation?


MELBER:  For saying it, if you compartmentalize the syllables, it helps.

So, you go com-part-mentalize. It`s a...

SCHWARTZ:  Yes, I understand that.

MELBER:  Yes. It`s a meta reference.

SCHWARTZ:  No. Lovely.

So, Trump does compartmentalize.


SCHWARTZ:  He does, only in the sense that he can`t think about anything else but this. It`s all about his own -- we know -- it`s all about his own self-esteem.

MELBER:  So, the serious part of this is the reporting we just mentioned.

And it seems we`re going to get even more about this, U.S. foreign policy affected by his domestic pressure.

When you see that reporting, is that concerning? Should that scare people, even if, in this case, many breathing are a sigh of relief of de-escalation now?


I think, you know, that`s a -- you have a rhetorical answer to that one, which is, yes, of course, it should be concerning. The narrower his funnel gets, the more -- thing is that Trump is dominated by emotions, and what he`s feeling is what`s causing him to make choices, not anything having to do, because he`s incapable of it, with reflection.

But, you know, the real issue here is, you know, not, in my mind, the impeachment and the upcoming Senate trial, but, of course, the election, because he`s not going to be convicted in the Senate. We know that, barring some unbelievable event that happens.

But it really struck me. I had a drink today with Garry Kasparov, who was talking about the notion that this election -- and Democrats need to understand this -- is indeed about 300,000 people. There are really 300,000 people in eight or fewer states who will determine this election.

And to pay attention much beyond those people -- I mean, the others have to come out and vote who are -- but the two extremes are going to come out.

MELBER:  Right.

SCHWARTZ:  And so there`s that little vote, and how do you actually appeal to them? And...

MELBER:  My last one, lightning round.

Lawyers always tell defendants to be quiet during the trial. Will Donald Trump keep his silence during this Senate trial?

SCHWARTZ:  Well, you know he has remarkable powers of self-regulation. And I would expect that he will do whatever he is told in every moment.

No, he will not. He will continue to say whatever impulsively he feels compelled to say in every moment until this is through.

MELBER:  There are people who say Tony Schwartz`s humor is as dry as a textbook, and I like it that way.

SCHWARTZ:  Well, the last time that this came up, you said to me, I`m the kind of guy who brings homework to a party. So...


MELBER:  And you have been thinking about it ever since?

SCHWARTZ:  I have been thinking about it.

MELBER:  But you had a colloquy with Peggy Noonan, and, weeks later, she went to your side.

SCHWARTZ:  There you go.

MELBER:  Great to see you, and we will be counting on you as the president`s trial proceeds, an interesting time, to say the least.

Now, when we come back, Donald Trump`s team out with a new explanation for this Iranian airstrike, and there`s a real problem with it that matters -- when we return.


MELBER:  Today, President Trump unveiled a new supposed rationale for the airstrike killing an Iranian general.


INGRAHAM:  Don`t the American people have a right to know what specifically was targeted, without revealing methods and sources?

TRUMP:  Well, I don`t think so, but we will tell you that probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad.

INGRAHAM:  Did he have large-scale attacks planned for other embassies? And, if those were planned, why can`t we reveal that to the American people? Wouldn`t that help your case?

TRUMP:  Well, I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies.


MELBER:  He believes.

This is new supposed information, and lawmakers are already saying it was not included in that controversial briefing on Capitol Hill, meaning Donald Trump`s allegedly now telling FOX News days later details his administration wouldn`t brief members of Congress, who, of course, are a co-equal branch that vote on war, quite different from what Mike Pompeo also said just last night.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE:  There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qasem Soleimani. And we don`t know precisely when, and we don`t know precisely where. But it was real.

INGRAHAM:  Well, the president Soleimani wanted to blow up the embassy. Is that accurate? He wanted to blow up the embassy?


MELBER:  Well, he didn`t confirm it.

There are a lot of unanswered questions. We will stay on this story.

When we come back, a very special "Fallback Friday" with our own Chuck Rosenberg and D.J. Stretch and Bobbito.

Stay with us.


MELBER:  What a week.

It is Friday on THE BEAT. It is time to fall back.

I am joined by our very special friends at THE BEAT, a Chuck Rosenberg sandwich of sorts. He is in the middle of two hip-hop radio legends, Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia. They are hip-hop visionaries in every sense. Their radio show "Stretch and Bobbito" famously broke some of hip- hop`s most icanic -- iconic artists, I should say, people you know, like Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, Fat Joe, Wu-Tang Clan.

And they`re producing their first album, "No Requests," "No Requests." Deejays don`t like requests.

If you wanted to do request, don`t book a deejay.

It features beats and samples from some of their legendary days.

And for his first "Fallback Friday" ever, MSNBC contributor Chuck Rosenberg. He served in many senior posts in the Justice Department in multiple administrations, former chief of staff to FBI Director James Comey and former acting DEA chief.

And you can listen to him on our own MSNBC weekly podcast, "The Oath With Chuck Rosenberg."

Check it out.

Thanks for doing this, all of you.


MELBER:  I love it. I love it. It`s great. You guys look good together.



ARMSTRONG:  Absolutely.

MELBER:  Stretch, who needs to fall back?

ARMSTRONG:  Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook need to fall back, Mark, and not just his haircut is tragic, not just because he`s meeting privately with Trump off the record, but because Facebook has declined to implement any real changes in terms of the lies and false narratives put forth in the ads that they`re selling.

MELBER:  And it`s a reason that Facebook gets a lot of heat. There are real protections, though. You`re allowed to lie most of the time, in American law.

ROSENBERG:  Right. The First Amendment protects the truth and it protects lies. You publish what you want, as long as you`re not, you know, slandering someone else or inciting a riot, sure, absolutely. It`s a tough line to draw.

MELBER:  Sure.

Bobbito, what`s your Facebook page like?

GARCIA:  My Facebook page? I mean, I`m not too active on that.


GARCIA:  But I thought you were going to ask -- I was prepared for my fallback, Ari. You threw me off.


MELBER:  Bobbito, fine, you want to move on? Who needs to fall back, Bobbito?

GARCIA:  Well, we have been traveling, promoting this album.

And I have been crossing paths with some wonderful people, restaurant owners, Uber drivers, and they`re all playing music off of streaming services, which is wonderful.

MELBER:  Sure.

GARCIA:  It`s -- the philosophy of it democratizes the ability for artists to reach audiences.

But what`s happening is that the payment for the artists is ridiculously unfair. For example, Esthero from Canada, she had a song reach four million streams.

And over seven years, she`s received roughly like $3,000 and change for -- I mean, can you imagine, having four million listens?

MELBER:  Right, which in the old days, we would call that quadruple platinum, if it were a record.

GARCIA:  Yes. Yes, for sure.

MELBER:  And you`re saying getting, for her, not enough to cover the cost of making the music.

GARCIA:  You couldn`t -- you can`t even -- that`s below -- you can`t even make a living.


GARCIA:  So, if -- I encourage people, if you love artists and love a genre or music, to think about purchasing the music, whether it`s a download or a vinyl.

MELBER:  And it`s a great point you make, and it`s broader than music.

Stretch, this is what a lot of tech companies have excelled at, which is getting people to share their pictures, their lives, their work, their data, and they make a lot of money off of it. It`s artists and people.


Well, look, all thought that the streaming service would be this wonderful democratization of music. And I think, for a little while, it was.

But the major labels have found a way to really lock it down. And if you look at the people that have ownership in these companies, a lot of the major labels have their fingers all up in these companies. And they are making tons of money on the backs of artists.

MELBER:  And Bobbito, wasn`t it Jay-Z who said, forget a billion streams, I have got $1 billion?



GARCIA:  We used to battle bootlegging, right, in the `80s and `90s.

There were a lot of hip-hop artists who might have gone gold or platinum or beyond that. And I almost feel like the streaming services -- look, I`m not against them. I think they do a great job of exposing some independent artists.

But, ultimately, there`s got to be a better structure. And if artists speak out and the audience is aware that they can support their favorite artist in alternative ways, then it needs to be shared.

MELBER:  I will say, we`re lucky to have someone who`s so thoughtful about the law here, Chuck, because the law hasn`t really caught up with what`s happening.

And the early laws on the Internet made it really fluid, if you want to get into the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. I know you do. I know you do.


MELBER:  It allowed for this type of third party-protection, share, share, share.

But do you think there are ways the law has fallen behind?

ROSENBERG:  Oh, absolutely.

And we see this in lots of places, certainly here. These gentlemen are absolutely right. But it`s true almost everywhere. When we talk about law enforcement intercepts, the thing we use in law enforcement was essentially written in the mid-1980s.

Now, fortunately, right, technology hasn`t really changed since 1986, so we`re fine. But...


ARMSTRONG:  He`s funny.

ROSENBERG:  Eh, not that funny.


ROSENBERG:  What I do realize sitting between these two gentlemen is what an awkward stiff I am.

That`s become apparent.


ROSENBERG:  But the law has to catch up. And we need Congress to do some really hard work.

MELBER:  Yes, and step it up.

ROSENBERG:  To get us there.

MELBER:  Well, look, these guys -- Stretch, I will say, he`s a deejay, but he also just exudes a kind of a timeless cool.

So you could feel good about your suit, and then you sit next to Stretch and you`re like, man, I`m overdressed. We all feel that way sometimes.

ROSENBERG:  Awkward stiff.

MELBER:  I got to get -- Chuck, I get to get your fallback. What`s on your fallback list?

ROSENBERG:  Rudy Giuliani.

I have two reactions. Everything that comes out of his mouth seems to be wrong, corrosive or false. And he either knows that, which is incredibly pathetic, or he doesn`t know that, which is incredibly pathetic.

And I just -- and I hate to this. I was never predisposed against the man. I thought, after 9/11, he did an extraordinary job as mayor of this great city to step up and lead, but what I see now is heartbreaking.

MELBER:  Bobbito, a lot of people in New York say they have known Giuliani for a long time to be not always on the level.

GARCIA:  Well, this city suffered greatly under his leadership in certain - - music cultural, for example, cabaret license, where law were stiffened, so it was difficult to dance in New York while he was in office.


MELBER:  It almost sounds like the cartoon villain, that someone is against dancing.

GARCIA:  Yes, it`s ridiculous. We would be deejaying bars and venues, and the enforcement would show up and shut down a party.

People were just enjoying music. And, these -- again, these laws for cabarets were structured in the 1920s and 1930s against the Harlem Renaissance.


MELBER:  Yes, that`s fair.

Before we go, why is it called "No Requests"? You guys really don`t like requests?


GARCIA:  Well, our album is titled "No Requests" because Stretch and I contributed greatly to the `90s hip-hop era with our radio show and breaking all artists that you have memorized their lyrics.


GARCIA:  But where we are now as deejays and as music producers is a little bit -- it`s just expanded.


GARCIA:  And so people would expect us to create a rap album, but what we have created is a very textured and nuanced album that incorporates Latin music, jazz, world, Afrobeat, samba, soul, funk, rock.

MELBER:  Yes. I love it. That`s why we put it up. I hope people check it out.

I have got to get on to "HARDBALL."


MELBER:  It`s so good to have all of you together.

ARMSTRONG:  Good to see you.

MELBER:  Thank you very much. Hope you guys have a great weekend.

And don`t go anywhere. "HARDBALL" starts right now.