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50 Cent TRANSCRIPT: 5/1/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Sylvia Santana, Curtis Jackson, Bob Scott, Ron Klain

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. Welcome to THE BEAT. I`m Ari Melber.

We have a lot to cover on this, the very first day of May, a day when rent checks are, of course, due for so many people, who may or may not have jobs, and with states beginning to reopen amidst this entire political and medical debate.

More than a dozen states are reopening businesses as of today. More are set to open early next week. But none of them actually meet the guidelines from the Trump administration that are supposed to govern reopening.

That includes, for example, a two-week downward trend in cases. So, this is a reminder for those of you who have been following all this that what the president said about telling states what to do wasn`t very operative. Indeed, the very guidelines that they put out, which were voluntary, aren`t really being followed.

This is the central dynamic, this is the tension, the understandable desire to get back to work, indeed, for many, to try to safely get back to work so they aren`t evicted, although those have been delayed to some degree, or that they can afford to put food on the table, all the things that you need to do in real life.

But it is also a debate about how do you do this and stay safe? That`s what America`s talking about right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If something happens to someone, we can`t replace people. And yesterday was the highest number of COVID test positive rates in the state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We feel shutting the doors isn`t an answer for us, because at least we are paying our bills.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re now talking about several months that our businesses have been closed down. What do you expect us all to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much is a life worth, as opposed to beef, pork and chicken? That is a decision that we have to make, because that worker makes it every day when they go to work.


MELBER: You all are talking about this. We are listening, and we`re reporting on some of what we`re hearing from people, regular people, Americans with and without jobs, as well as, of course, the medical experts in government, pandemic response experts that we rely on in the news.

In some places, the issue is whether employees are going to be forced to decide between doing what they got to do to pay bills and, of course, protecting their and their own family`s safety. Some governors are saying to people, look, if you decide not to go back to work, well, you can`t continue to collect unemployment if you`re going to work.

The science -- all of this has to be guided by the science. We say that a lot. Consider what Dr. Anthony Fauci is saying about it.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: So the concern that I have is that there are some states, some cities or what have you, who are looking at that and kind of leapfrogging over the first checkpoint.

You want to give them a little wiggle room, but my recommendation is, don`t wiggle too much.


MELBER: Don`t wiggle too much.

There was a lot of wiggling in Georgia. This, as you probably know, is one of the most aggressive stances we have seen by a governor to try to push to reopen. Here`s a headline, health officials confirming 1,000 new cases in just the last 24 hours.

This is the exact kind of spike that mayors in the same state were warning about days ago.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not a time to lift the restrictions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it`s absolutely premature, in my mind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that it is putting all of us at risk.


MELBER: We`re joined out by Ron Klain, who oversaw the Ebola response for the Obama administration, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist from "The Washington Post" Gene Robinson, and Bob Scott, mayor of Sioux City, Iowa. His state is reopening, but his town now has one of the highest rates of infections in the country, currently fifth.

That is, we should note, above places that are also hard-hit, like New York City.

What are you seeing in your town? And what do you think of this debate we just showed?

MAYOR BOB SCOTT (I-IA), SIOUX CITY: Well, I think that`s a debate that`s going to continue, unfortunately, because nobody has any real answers.

And, obviously, today, our numbers went up probably the highest that they have been, which was somewhat shocking to some of us, because we thought we were going start to see a downward trend.

But you have to keep in mind we`re testing more than probably any other city in America right now.

MELBER: And that`s part of why we know where the rate is.

What are you seeing in terms of the pain and the problems that your own constituents are facing, Mr. Mayor?

SCOTT: Well, it`s probably divided here, as it probably is in a lot of states.

A lot of people want to get out, get moving, get things going. And a lot of others are very scared about what the results will be if we go too quickly.

The governor carved us out. We`re the only city west of the middle of the state that didn`t get carved out to reopen yet.

MELBER: And you think that makes sense, based on what you know?

SCOTT: Well, I don`t think we`re ready to reopen, personally, no, not with the number of cases rising. I think we need to sit back and hope to begin to see those numbers go down.

I`m not confident they will, because they`re bringing in a team to do a lot of testing starting Monday, and I think our numbers are going to continue to rise.

MELBER: And so what are you telling your constituents day to day right now?

SCOTT: Be vigilant. Stay at home, if you possibly can. Wear a mask. Do everything -- continue to wash your hands. Continue to do everything you can to stay safe.

MELBER: Understood. Stay with us.

Your thoughts, Ron Klain?

RON KLAIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE EBOLA RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Well, look, Ari, I think we`re in a situation where, outside of New York and New Jersey, cases are going up around the country. We`re seeing more cases of COVID.

So, you know, you mentioned at the outset of the program, the president`s plan to reopen, which I thought was actually too lax as it was, had as the first gating item 14 days of consecutive decrease.

And the 13 states that are opening, zero of the 13 make that first criteria. We`re not even getting to the second gate, the third gate, all the other gates.


MELBER: Ron, let`s pause on that. You`re making such an important point.

KLAIN: We have a serious problem here.

MELBER: And I know we`re on -- because of Skype, we`re on a slight audio delay.

But, Ron, I want you to just build on your first point, because around the country here we`re ending another tough week. Our viewers here on THE BEAT and on MSNBC, they know. They remember what happened when the president gave his big talk about he was going to be in charge. He was going tell people what to do.

You`re making such an important point both about his obvious paper tiger quality of presentation, but also the underlying medical issue, Ron, which is even the potentially more lax Trump administration guidelines still said, look, things have to cool off a bit before you reopen. And that`s not happening in any of these states.

KLAIN: That`s right, Ari.

I think that obviously and thankfully, New York seems like the curve is headed down. New Jersey seems like the curve is headed down. These have been the two worst-hit places. And so there should be a lot of attention to improvement there.

But it`s important. Even though I know this has gone on for a long time and people are impatient, in the rest of the country, the curve is still headed up. It`s not that this is getting better. It`s getting worse.

And so the idea that we would reopen in the face of that defies every expert opinion. It defies common sense. I mean, and so I think that -- and in the long run, what I would say to people who -- everyone wants to go back to work. I understand that.

But if you reopen a store, and people get sick in that store, if you open a restaurant and people get sick in that restaurant, what`s that going to do to your business in the long run? I mean, how are people going to accept the decision when it`s later safe to reopen, OK, now, I can go back, if we reopen too soon?

So I think the economic interests and the health care interests line up and doing the right thing by health will turn out to be the right thing for our businesses.

MELBER: Yes, and on that point, Gene, we have been also hearing from people who are close to this.

Here`s some hospital workers of Mount Sinai about social distancing and what the stakes are. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it`s time to start backing off on social distancing?

DR. UMESH GIDWANI, MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL: No, I think we have to continue what we have been doing, or else we are going to reverse everything that we accomplish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The big fear now is, what happens next? Are we going to see a recrudescence of this illness?

Are we going to see spikes coming back, especially as we start to relax?



EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this is a very dangerous experiment that these states are conducting, really, reopening before the pandemic hits its peak.

As Ron said that, that really does not make any sense. And, you know, maybe it will work out. But as Dr. Fauci said, you know, they`re wiggling too much at this point.

Look, I understand the kinds of pressures that governors are feeling to get their economies moving again. I get that. But it just seems to me completely counterproductive to invite a second wave of this infection before the first wave even crests.

And I think that`s inevitable. There just hasn`t been enough testing to know how prevalent the infection is in these states. And the more testing they do, the more they will know, the more confidence you can have in the infection rate, and the more you can feel confident that, well, maybe it`s OK.

But right now there is no indication that it`s OK.

MELBER: Mayor Scott, are you seeing a general consensus on that? Or do you find that your own constituents are still a bit divided?

SCOTT: I think they`re divided, there`s no question.

I`d say probably the majority of them would be in favor of not opening, at least in Sioux City, at this particular time, simply because we have so many cases and the number continues to arise.

MELBER: Yes, I mean, let me explain what we know about sort of the public here.

And, again, to remind everyone, not that we need reminding, but we`re in a pretty polarized time. A lot of issues that come down, they go 45/45, 50/50. Nationwide, people say, without more testing, it`s a bad idea to return to workplaces, 65 percent, reopen schools, thinking about your own kids, 85 percent.

And things that are obviously more optional, sporting events, you look, nine out of 10 people say no, bad idea.

But, Mayor, even in a place as hard-hit as yours, you`re saying you definitely are hearing from constituents who come down a different way, and say, look -- even if there may be in the minority, they say, look, they understand there`s some risk out there, but what? What do they say about wanting to get back out to life?

SCOTT: Well, there`s certain amount of our population says this is a hoax to begin with. I`m not sure I buy that.

But then there`s another segment that says, we have so much of this going on right now, and it doesn`t seem -- people don`t seem to be getting as sick as what people thought they should or would. So maybe the risk is worth it at this particular point in time.

And then you have some people that just have basically gone to their homes and not come out very often. So it`s a real mixed bag in our community.

MELBER: Yes, understood, and I appreciate you kind of walking us through it. That`s why we wanted the local view there in Iowa.

Ron, before I bring in another guest, what would you say, if I may -- may play kind of a little bit of Donahue here, although, hey, we both are news anchors.

What would you say to the mayor`s constituents that he describes, the plurality or so, if you will, who do want to return to life?

KLAIN: Well, what I what I`d say is that we`re on the 1st of May. We just ended the month of April; 58,000 Americans die from COVID in the month of April. That`s more people died in April than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War, decade-long war.

More people died in April from COVID than died from heart attacks, than died from cancer, than died from diabetes. This is the number one cause of death in America this month.

And what`s scary is that we turn the corner to May with no sign really that that`s improving, outside of New York and New Jersey. And so we`re seeing an event the size of 9/11 every other day, every other day, for an entire month, and now another month where that may happen again, or close to it, maybe 40,000 deaths this month.

That`s just too many lives to lose, when we could prevent that by taking the measures that the health care experts have recommended.


Mayor, this is why Ron Klain is better at disaster relief roles than taking him to a dinner party, because it is grim, depressing stuff, but he says it for our safety, for our public health. He`s reminding everyone, this is as serious as a heart attack.

And hopefully, in being serious about it, maybe people will be careful, maybe some lives will be spared, which is I know why this is near and dear to Ron, both the expertise he gives us, but the work he did when he was in government.

I give you, Mayor -- before I let you go, any final thoughts you want to share with us on this Friday night?

SCOTT: No, I just -- we`re in for the long haul. We`re going to be doing a lot of testing. So our numbers are going to go up.

And I hope that our citizens continue to do what they do. And that`s socially distance and those sorts of things, because I think that`s the most important thing we can do right now in our community.

MELBER: Understood.

Mayor Scott, thanks for making time for us, as you are on the job out there in Sioux City, Iowa.

My other experts stay with me.

We have the debate reopening that has led to a spectacle that we have been reporting on. You see it here in Michigan, protesters, some of them taking assault rifles, and then filling the state capitol.

This has prompted at least one lawmaker to literally wear a bulletproof vest. She says it is actually necessary for her own safety, while she does her job.

And that lawmaker joins us now, Michigan State Senator Sylvia Santana.

Good day to you. I know, on the technology, we have a slight delay.

But go ahead and tell me and our viewers why you took this measure. And what are you trying to say?

STATE SEN. SYLVIA SANTANA (D-MI): Thank you for having me on your show.

Yesterday, we had this protest at the capitol. And I feared for my life on the legislative floor. We had people trying to rush the House side of our legislature, and yelling and protesting, as is their right.

But when you have people bringing firearms inside the capitol with and stewing hatred and just having a forceful measure, it is scary. And so I felt that for my own protection that I needed to make sure that I wore a bulletproof vest to work yesterday.

MELBER: Do you view the intent of some of these individuals to be menacing and intimidating, that is to say, going beyond, as what you mentioned, which is everyone`s right, to speak, however they choose to use their words?

SANTANA: Absolutely.

It was hostile. You have mobs of people coming with guns, Confederate Flags, nooses, symbols of hatred to the capitol yesterday.

And we have had protests that have been larger than this in magnitudes, but it is very intimidating, trying to go into your work environment to do the work of the people, and have someone inside the -- in the gallery with guns pretty much pointed not at you, but in the capitol as it is.

And we`re trying to do a job for the people of Michigan. And so, yes, it was very intimidating, and I felt, like I said, fear for my life.

MELBER: Part of what we`re discussing here, and I want to get your views again and then Gene Robinson as well on this, is, are we discussing the legitimate debate over how to deal with a pandemic that does scare many people, with unemployment on the rise, a tough time?

There is more than one way to answer some of these questions, and I think, in a pluralistic society, we have to keep our open mind in that. Are we discussing that, call that door number one, or, door number two, are we looking at people who are trying to take over or hijack a moment, a moment of potential vulnerability and tension, and get into other things?

For example, waving a Confederate Flag -- excuse me -- waving a Confederate Flag and a gun around doesn`t seem to have anything to do with the pandemic. It seems to have to do with racism. And if you`re raise flag for the purpose of erecting a reference to the armed conflict in this United States over slavery, racism, et cetera, that`s not the pandemic at all.

I`m curious. Again, I know it`s difficult for you because I`m sure you respect the rights of all the constituents to assemble outside the capitol. But I`m curious your view on that question, call it door one vs. two, and then Gene after you.

SANTANA: As -- are you -- as it pertains to individuals` right to assemble, I`m OK with that.

But -- and it wasn`t Second Amendment day, but for a right to assemble with all this hatred, disputing, is very unfortunate. Like I have, we have 4,000-plus people at the capitol who have protested, and we have had our Michigan State Police on the ground during the time frame, but no one had to bring a pistol to the capitol to make their point heard.

I think, if anything, this has changed the perspective of lawmakers. It is their right to voice their opinions on the executive orders or the stay-at- home orders that are the governor has issued, but I think we`re all trying to do our best to make sure that we`re keeping our constituency safe, despite where they may live in the state of Michigan and how they`re impacted.

My constituency in the Southeastern Michigan area of Detroit, Dearborn and Melvindale, are seeing COVID-19 impact our communities on so many levels.

I represent the high-poverty-stricken zip codes in the state of Michigan, and health disparities are veal real. And so people are really dealing with COVID-19 on a different level, despite maybe other rural areas that may not be impacted by this in the manner that Southeastern Michigan is.

But, to say the least, it`s nothing wrong with protesting. I`m not opposed to your Second Amendment rights. But in this environment, where people look like they were ready for war, it is concerning and it`s alarming for all of us as well, and especially me.


ROBINSON: Well, first of all, Ari, I think we should remember who egged on this protest with the pronouncement "Liberate Michigan," and that would be President Trump.

And you saw the sort of Trump unity sign out there. I mean, this is being used for political purposes. And I guess it`s kind of an encouraging sign that it`s being used for political purposes, apparently to little end at this point, because Governor Whitmer, the brunt or the focus of a lot of these protests, has something like a 60 percent approval rating in Michigan right now, both in general and on her handling of the crisis.

So I think Michiganders for the most part get it. And this -- look, this wasn`t a protest or a legitimate protest. It was like a terroristic threat really to bring guns into the legislative chamber like that.

It`s just appalling, and it`s not the way democracy is supposed to work. But I think most Michiganders feel differently, whatever side of the opening up question they`re on.

MELBER: Yes, important. And that`s why we wanted to get to that.

My special thanks to state Senator Santana, Ron Klain, and Gene Robinson. Thanks to each of you.

We have a lot more in the show, including Donald Trump`s new effort to search for a scapegoat on the pandemic.

Also, we will look at Joe Biden`s next move after today`s big interview. It was right here on MSNBC.

And a special Friday night interview with businessman, music artist, author 50 Cent.

All of that coming up. I`m Ari Melber.

You`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: Everyone knows the expression the buck stops here.

And yet the White House continues to blame everyone else over there for the problems with coronavirus.

In the first press briefing in over a year, the new press secretary went after the WHO for being allegedly biased towards China, blasting China. Trump also looking to retaliate and try to find some way to make this more about China.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are not happy with China. We are not happy with that whole situation.

They could have done it. And I`m just saying, well, one of two things happened. They either didn`t do it and they couldn`t do it from a competence standpoint or they let it spread.

QUESTION: Have you seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus?

TRUMP: Yes, I have. Yes, I have.

QUESTION: What gives you a high degree of confidence that this originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology?

TRUMP: I can`t tell you that. I`m not allowed to tell you that.


MELBER: That is false.

The president is allowed to declassify information. Indeed, he`s leaned into that when he thought it pursued his political benefit.

The president also in hot water because he was praising China and citing the WHO`s work back in January in February, when he was the one downplaying the virus.

Meanwhile, when Trump was getting private briefings about all of this, he still basically looked for anyone else to blame and didn`t take action. The blame game goes on and on.


TRUMP: I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves, because they are like the public relations agency for China.

We started off with empty cupboards. The last administration left us nothing. We started off with bad, broken tests and obsolete tests.

They don`t want to use all of the capacity that we have created. We have tremendous capacity. Dr. Birx will be explaining that. They know that. The governors know that. The Democrat governors know that. They`re the ones that are complaining.


MELBER: As a political matter, which seems to be part of the goal, is this working? No.

The very governors the president has been attacking have a much higher approval rating than Donald Trump on handling the virus. Indeed, you are looking at what happens when someone with low credibility on an issue, the president and the virus, attacks people with higher credibility on the issue, the governors dealing with it.

All of this comes with policy implications as well. Consider Trump`s attempt to tie financial help for -- quote, unquote -- "blue state governors" to conditions.


TRUMP: We`re going to look at it. We`re going to look at it. I think we want to take a little bit of a pause.

But if we do that, we will have to get something for it.


MELBER: Where does all this fit in with history?

Well, we have the perfect guest. Historian Michael Beschloss is here.

Michael, I got some questions for you. We will be back in just 30 seconds.


MELBER: Back with presidential historian Michael Beschloss.

Where does the president`s approach fit in historically with addressing a crisis and taking responsibility?


You begin by saying, how much power does this guy have? Well, in the last 60 days, he`s had an amount of power that we almost never see in an American president. A decision he could make that we may even not even learn about could have influence over whether tens of thousands or maybe even more, God forbid, Americans survive or do not.

That`s very much in his hands, doesn`t need to consult Congress, doesn`t need even to consult experts.

And the other thing is that we have we ever, Ari, in history seen a president with this much influence over trillions of dollars of public money that are being spent?

So, this is a really, really powerful president, and it`s very hard for someone like that to say, you know, what`s going wrong is not my fault. 1814, the British were burning down the capital. They were burning out the White House. James Madison, who was president, said, aren`t those British terrible? What Americans said was, they are, but you`re not a very good president, because your job is to keep us safe.

When Dwight Eisenhower was planning the invasion of Europe, D-Day, 1944, he wrote out, as you well know, this piece of paper to be used if the invasion turned out to be a failure. He said, if it`s a failure, the blame is mine alone.

That`s historical. That`s the American tradition.

MELBER: Turning from the politicians to the public, what examples in history do you look to for what we all need to be doing right now as we try to summon the grit to deal with something that is a health and economic crisis?

BESCHLOSS: We have got to protect ourselves, and we should not be so dependent on what our president happens to tell us.

We have gotten into some bad habits the last couple of decades, especially since World War II. We expect presidents to solve problems like this. And the problem is, usually, they have.

Franklin Roosevelt said, I`m going to defeat fascism in Germany and Japan. And Harry Truman said, we`re going prevail in the Cold War. And John Kennedy said, we`re going land a man on the moon.

And because those things succeeded, we tend to sort of look to the president and say, you know, let him handle it.

We`re not in a period where we can do that anymore. So we have got to learn how to protect ourselves and our families and our communities in a way that doesn`t depend on what our president tells us to do.

MELBER: And finally, briefly, what president was most defined by a crisis that was not of their own making, as we think about whether the virus will define Trump`s first term?

BESCHLOSS: I think Franklin Roosevelt, defined by the fact that he was able to pull Americans out of a Great Depression, which came out of bad policies in the 1920s, and a World War and the rise of Adolf Hitler and imperial Japanese, that America was isolationist, but was certainly not Americans` fault.

But did Roosevelt go on TV and say, be angry at the Germans and the Japanese, I am blameless?

After Pearl Harbor, in Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt made bad mistakes that led to that attack. Those ships should not have been there in the middle of the Pacific. But rather than saying it wasn`t my fault, Roosevelt said, yes, I didn`t behave in a way that was perfect, but now, Americans, I`m going to try to earn your trust in the way that I conduct this war.

MELBER: All very interesting.

Michael Beschloss, always appreciate a quick history lesson from you, especially at the end of the week. Thank you, sir.

BESCHLOSS: Thanks, Ari. Stay well.

MELBER: Thank you very much.

We have an update on 2020, Joe Biden coming out strong in a big interview today, taking on critics and an accuser.

And, later, something special on this Friday. 50 Cent returns to THE BEAT. Nothing`s off the table, from Trump, to Roger Stone, to those feuds, to what he thinks about jokes on THE BEAT, like this:



He`s -- his brother is actually an economist. His name is 50 Basis Points.



MELBER: Today, Joe Biden addressed an allegation that he sexually assaulted an aide in 1993, categorically denying the claim in an interview on "Morning Joe."


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is not true. I`m saying unequivocally, it never, never happened. And it didn`t. It never happened.


MELBER: Biden, responding to former Senate aide Tara Reade, who briefly worked as a staff assistant in Mr. Biden`s office, and said that, in 1993, Biden pinned her to a wall and sexually assaulted her, as "The New York Times" reporter.

Previously, a spokesperson for Biden said the allegation was false. The same story stated, no other allegation about sexual assaults surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any Biden staff members corroborate any details of Reade`s allegation.

"The Times" found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Biden. Reade says she filed a complaint about how she was treated in Biden`s office, not specifically an allegation of assault.

Thus far, the complaint has not been located, including by journalists. Take a listen to Joe Biden.


BIDEN: If that document existed, it would be stored in the National Archives, where documents from the office she claims to have filed her complaint with are stored.

That`s where they are stored. The Senate controls those archives. So I`m asking the secretary of the Senate today to identity whether any such document exists. If it does, make it public.


MELBER: Now, as for this aspect of the story, the archival questions can get technical. The National Archives publicly responding today, saying the Senate would have the documents.

Heading into this evening, the Biden campaign is now calling on the Senate to find the documents wherever they are.

We`re going read you exactly what he is saying -- quote -- "I request that you take or direct whatever steps are necessary to establish the location of the records in this office, and once they have been located to direct a search for the alleged complaint and to make public the results of this search."

Again, further from this letter from Joe Biden, let me read what else he says -- quote -- "I would ask the public release include not only a complaint, if one exists, but any and all other documents in the records that relate to the allegation."

Other Biden Senate documents, we should note, are also at the University of Delaware, where 1,000 boxes were sent there. This was about eight years ago. They`re under seal, and that would be until two years after he leaves -- quote -- "public life."

Now, Biden today would not approve a search of those documents.


MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST, "MORNING JOE": Why not approve a search of her name in those records?

BIDEN: Approve a search of her name?

BRZEZINSKI: Yes, and reveal anything that might be related to Tara Reade in the University of Delaware records.

BIDEN: There is nothing. They wouldn`t -- they`re not there. And if they -- I don`t understand the point you`re trying to make.

BRZEZINSKI: The point I`m trying to make...

BIDEN: There are no personnel records, by definition.


BRZEZINSKI: The point I`m trying to make is you are approving, and actually calling for a search of the National Archives records of anything pertaining to Tara Reade.


BRZEZINSKI: I`m asking, why not do the same in the University of Delaware records, which have raised questions because they were supposed to be revealed to the public and then they were sealed for a longer period of time?

Why not do it for both sets of records?

BIDEN: Because the material in the University of Delaware has no personnel files.


MELBER: That is the back-and-forth about the documents. You can see it for yourself.

The vice president there is emphasizing his view that there are no personnel records at the University of Delaware, that the documents up there would be more like speeches or position papers.

Now, this entire story got extra attention this week because a new person came on the record vouching, effectively, that Reade had told her about the issue, telling business reader -- "Business Insider," I should say, that Reade told her an account of being assaulted around 1995 or `96.

This was two years after the alleged assault, saying -- quote -- "This happened and I know it did because I remember talking about it."

We should also note that NBC News in its reporting has reached out to the people that Reade says she told. Three of them said they do not recall having the conversation. A fourth, who is anonymous, says Reade did indeed tell her about the incident. A fifth says Reade mentioned Biden practicing a type of inappropriate touching, but did not detail the assault.

These are all of the pieces of evidence in the public record right now, including the vice president`s new public denial.

When we report on this story, we will continue to bring you all the evidence as we get it.

Now, when we come back, we take a turn to something that I have told you all hour. We are excited to have back on THE BEAT rapper, mogul and author 50 Cent.


MELBER: Everyone can see the terrible costs of coronavirus, the death toll, the recession, facing this undeniable devastation.

Some also see hope, from health care workers showing grit, to entrepreneurs exploring ways to get out of this mess, many working on vaccines.

Billionaire Ray Dalio says that, like the Great Depression, the COVID era can bring devastation followed by renewal. He sites -- quote -- "the human capacity to adapt and invent out of adversity."

There are historical examples. World War I was a terrible tragedy. It also spurred the invention of blood banks, a wartime development now considered one of the greatest peacetime dividends to come out of global conflict, obviously in use to this day.

Or take an example from a tough economy in 2007. Two unemployed guys couldn`t find jobs. They were worried about rent, so they tried renting out air beds on their floor to strangers. It may have sounded odd at the time. It grew into the multi billion dollar company Airbnb.

No one`s claiming you can innovate your way out of a bad diagnosis or that these are easy times. They`re not. But there are lessons about flipping adversity into an asset, which brings us to a very special discussion tonight with one of the THE BEAT`s favorite guests.

He has been here once before, and returns during this tough time, Grammy Award-winning artist 50 Cent, who beat poverty and attempt on his life to launch of the most iconic careers in hip-hop in his 20s. And then he got even bigger as an entrepreneur in health drinks, spirits, apparel, and now television, with the number one Starz show "Power," and a new legal drama, "For Life," on ABC.

Forbes named him one of the top five wealthiest artists in rap. And he recounts that story and success in his new book, "Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter," focusing on perseverance relevant to these challenging times.

Welcome back, Curtis Jackson, 50 Cent. Good to see you.

CURTIS JACKSON, 50 CENT: Hey, Ari. Nice to be back, man. Feels good.

MELBER: It`s great to have you back. I want to get into all of this.

Let`s start, though, with the coronavirus. You were taking on President Trump in your way -- we will put it up here -- on Instagram, making fun of him for the Clorox. What are you getting at there?

JACKSON: Well, I think there`s -- I don`t know, I think there is frustration being like -- just something you might have thought that you wouldn`t say out in the open, you know?

It was out of frustration, he said, well, I don`t know what you take. Take -- drink Clorox. But you don`t think. He`s -- especially because he will just say it, because there`s people that will actually follow. They will respond to it.



JACKSON: And they will just do something. And you go like, oh, man.

MELBER: Donald Trump`s longtime adviser Roger Stone...


MELBER: ... who, like you, he also uses the Gram, gets his message out. He can be wild.

Here he was, though, talking about reporting to prison here in the next coming weeks. Take a listen.


ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: At this point, the judge has ordered me to surrender in two weeks.

And at 67 years old, with some underlying health problems, including a history of asthma, I believe, with the coronavirus, it is essentially a death sentence.


MELBER: Do you think Donald Trump will reward him for being loyal and pardon him?

JACKSON: Well, I think he should.

If that`s his people, he should look out for him. He would expect him to do it.

MELBER: I want to read from the book.

"I largely abstain from alcohol. I don`t mess with drugs. It`s imperative to create your own comfort zone without depending on any substance," which is a contrast to some of the perception in the music.

Let`s take a look at some of that in your music videos.




JACKSON: During -- all of those songs during that period, there was zero drinking. I didn`t do it at all.

And my upbringing adjusted me that way, like, because I had a household full of people that were drunk a lot.

I had a uncle growing up that he had a tough guy in him that didn`t come out until he had a drink. Then he wanted to fight, you know what I mean?

This is why, at the liquor store, they say spirits on the top of the store. I believe it`s different spirits in the bottle at different points. People adjust.


MELBER: There is the same contrast. I`m about to play some of your videos, rap videos, about money, but you write in the new book: "My lyrics sound like I`m throwing money up in the air, right? But those lines created a perception. The reality is, I`m not reckless with money at all."

And yet here we go. Let`s look at some classic 50 talking about dollars.




MELBER: So, why don`t you live the music?

And what about -- I got to ask you, what about your fans who watched that and might have really believed you?

JACKSON: No, no. I have the money to do it, but I don`t actually do it that way, Ari.

And the reason I didn`t do it is, look, our coach is aspiration. Now that we communicate through photographs, and you see all these presentations on Instagram, these people`s lives don`t look like that. They`re doing the angle, Ari. She`s making sure the shot looks, like, perfect.

Are you crazy? That`s not life. Every picture doesn`t come out perfect like that, man. You`re picking. Took 30 pictures to give you one.

MELBER: You talk about, in the book, also the contrast.

We live in a very loud culture.


MELBER: Long before the Internet, America was always new frontier, brash.

And yet, in the book, you talk about learning the secret of the power of silence. You talk about some of your friends, including Deepak Chopra.

So, that made us want to play a little -- a little bit of Deepak to you on that point. Let`s take a look.


DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR, "REINVENTING THE BODY, RESURRECTING THE SOUL": Silence is, simply put, just simple awareness.

Awareness, silence, your consciousness are the same thing.

It is evanescent. You cannot catch onto it.


MELBER: Why do you write about the power of silence?


MELBER: And why do you rock with Deepak?

JACKSON: Well, Deepak, he gave me my mantra.

The competitive side of me will make me want to compete with someone, when we`re not even in the same -- not even in the same realm. But now I don`t even react to it, because I get a chance to assess it before saying something, you know?

MELBER: Yes, completely.

And that -- you talk about that. Of course, some people who are familiar with you are going to think, 50 is saying that now, but he`s beefing all the time, or at least appears to be online.

JACKSON: They don`t see the slap. They don`t see the insult. They just see my response. They see the shots, they`re fired. They`re follow-up.

MELBER: So, you know I got to press you on this, right, as a journalist.


MELBER: Here`s just some of the headlines.

We got 50 Cent`s beef with Oprah, 50 Cent on why he will keep shading Lala Kent and Randall Emmett -- quote -- "over and over again." Floyd Mayweather responds to ongoing feud with rapper 50 Cent. You guys were friends.

And in the book, you dish on some of your philosophy: "If you hate me, you`re more likely to talk about me."


MELBER: So, is it also a business strategy?

JACKSON: Well, yes.

Look, I spoke to Oprah. I told her when we met, I did her show, finally. And I only had an issue with her because, every time she made reference to what was wrong with the hip-hop culture, it was something that was a part of my debut of release. It`s the largest debut, and hip-hop album.

MELBER: Did you learn anything when -- because you write about finally then going with Oprah, and that she stood her ground, confronting you on her issues with hip-hop, misogyny.

You stood your ground on saying, well, you didn`t want to be made an example of a whole industry`s problems. But did you learn anything from her over the years, or you`re still kind of in a distance with her?

JACKSON: I love that those views, look, that they exist.

There`s people out there that really feel passionately about it. They have a conservative lifestyle. And their viewpoint, I mean, it`s -- it`s theirs.

The reality is, these things exist. So, we don`t tell a painter, only paint this kind of picture. Creatively, the artist is going to pick what parts of his experience to write about.

And there`s different things that come into -- look, hip-hop culture loves things that are damaged. They love things that -- they want you to go up and come down.

MELBER: You said it once on G-Unit Radio. You said, the history of entertainment is the creation of entertainers for the sake of entertainment, and the destruction of entertainers for the sake of entertainment.

JACKSON: They want to see the Britney Spears who shaved her head and you`re swinging an umbrella at the actual cameraman. That moment, they need that.

MELBER: Before I lose you, let me also show you something. This is a little more offbeat.

And I got to warn everyone, this includes some pretty questionable 50 Cent related dad jokes on this very program.


MELBER: Take a look.


JACKSON: The question I get asked the most is, "Fifty" or "Fiddy"?

There`s only two of people that call me Fiddy. There`s people who call me Fiddy, and there`s white that are trying to be cool.


BERNSTEIN: You know the rapper 50 Cent, right?

He`s -- his brother is actually an economist. His name is 50 Basis Points.


JACKSON: Yo, Turtle.

JERRY FERRARA, ACTOR: Yo, Curtis, what`s up?

JACKSON: What`s up, man?

BERNSTEIN: It`s funny should you mention 50 Cent, because I thought, given increases in inflation, that his name was now 64 Cent.


MELBER: That is Joe Biden`s economist there. What -- how do you feel getting name-checked that much?

JACKSON: Oh, that`s cool, man.

It fell into -- that was a good name selection. Look at how I was able to be put into the economy.


JACKSON: But it`s like, it`s probably not his musical choice, you know (AUDIO GAP) music for him to enjoy.

But he is cool enough that he knew.


JACKSON: I mean, he watches your show, Ari.

He probably saw me for the first time on your -- the interview we did.

MELBER: Maybe. Maybe.

Well, and he obviously had -- Jared Bernstein had 50 Cent on his brain. We wanted to make sure you saw that.

50 Cent, let me say again, the book is "Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter." I finished it, so I can honestly recommend it.

Thank you, as always, for coming on THE BEAT, sir.

JACKSON: Oh, man, it`s a pleasure.


MELBER: Before we go, an update on a story with a lot of twists and turns.

Michael Cohen was denied an early release from prison. The former Trump lawyer was actually expected to report to home confinement starting today because of stated concerns about coronavirus inside the prison facility.

All this comes a day after an attorney for the Trump Organization sent Cohen a cease-and-desist letter over an alleged tell-all book that he might have been planning. The White House denies having any role in this back- and-forth over his status.

It`s a story we had reported on. We wanted to give you that update.

That does it for us. I hope you had a great week. Thanks for joining me.

I will be back here Monday night on THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

And, right now, keep it right here on MSNBC.