New testimonies from Republicans exposed voter fraud plot being pushed by Donald Trump and his campaign. Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson`s staffer asked an aide to former Vice President Mike Pence to deliver fake electors on January 6th, 2021. Michael J. Moore, the former U.S. attorney of the middle district of Georgia and Libby Casey, a senior news anchor of The Washington Post, joins Ari Melber to talk about the evidence that Donald Trump was directly involved in a fake elector`s plot.
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Thank you so much for being with us. I will be back in two short hours with all my colleagues, the entire MSNBC primetime lineup, for our recap. Right now, though, our coverage continues on THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER, who will also be back in two hours.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I`ll see you soon, Nicolle. Thank you so much.
Welcome to THE BEAT, I am Ari Melber. We have a special show for you tonight right now including a report we`ve been working on about some of the new revelations that a top Republican tried to ambush and hand-deliver fraudulent electors to Mike Pence on January 6th. Also later, our breakdown of evidence that Trump personally acted by coordinating with the RNC.
Those stories and reports are coming up. But after a hearing like today`s we begin with something more fundamental than a legal breakdown, and more powerful, perhaps, than meticulously going through the evidence, though that also matters.
Right now we begin with this. What millions of Americans saw and heard today from the top Republican leader out of Arizona in plain, serious, and stern testimony about the choices officials had to make, the tests that Trump posed, tests that, by the way, many Republicans have failed by cowering to a would-be autocrat, by minimizing threats of violence and coups, by only speaking out late, if at all.
Some have walked back from some of those public humiliations. Others just live in them. But today`s testimony by this Republican here offers a view of what it looks like to stand up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. RUSTY BOWERS (R-AZ), STATE HOUSE SPEAKER: I said, look, you are asking me to do something that is counter to my oath when I swore to the Constitution to uphold it, and I also swore to the Constitution and the laws of the state of Arizona. Anything that would say to me, you have a doubt, deny your oath, I will not do that. It is a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired of my most basic foundational beliefs. And so for me to do that because somebody just asked me to is foreign to my very being. I will not do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Republican speaker of the Arizona House there, Rusty Bowers, recounting his straightforward action, what he did when it mattered upholding democracy and the Constitution, drawing threats and worse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Public pressure on state officials often grew dangerous in the lead up to January 6th.
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Let us in! Let us in!
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: We`ll light the whole (EXPLETIVE DELETED) on fire.
NICK FUENTES, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: What are we going to do? What can you and I do to a state legislature besides kill him? Although we should not do that. I`m not advising that, but I mean, what else can you do, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And across today`s hearings, the people who testified were public servants who are usually out of view. A poll worker. State election staffer. A secretary of state. Three of those witnesses were elected Republicans. All followed the law instead of the demands and pressure to break it. Some paying very high prices.
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BOWERS: They have had video panel trucks with videos of me proclaiming me to be a pedophile and a pervert and a corrupt politician.
WANDREA MOSS, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: Wishing death upon me, telling me that, you know, I`ll be in jail with my mother and saying things like, be glad it`s 2020 and not 1920.
BRAD RAFFENSPERGER (R), GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: I was getting texts all over the country, and then eventually my wife starting getting texts, and hers typically came in as sexualized texts which were disgusting.
GABE STERLING (R), GEORGIA DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: You committed treason, may God have mercy on your soul with a slowly twisting GIF of a noose, and for lack of a better word, I lost it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: We begin with our panelists today here with me in New York, former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman and "New York Times" columnist Michelle Goldberg.
Welcome to both of you. Great to have you here in person.
Michelle, I start not with the law or pieces of evidence, which we can get to, but for something this big, this important, what it meant to have Americans hear those people and their courage.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Yes, I mean, I think that you saw the extent to which Donald Trump and his supporters has been terrorizing anyone, or, you know, really terrorized anyone who tried to stand in the way of his coup plot.
Some of the most powerful testimony that I didn`t see recapped there was by Ruby Freeman, it was pre-taped. But she talked about losing her name. She talked about how she didn`t want to go by her name anymore. She didn`t -- she felt like public -- her reputation had been destroyed. That she was, you know, kind of constantly afraid to be out in public, which also her daughter testified about.
And I also think that the testimony about these Republicans being terrorized, including -- I believe it was Brad Raffensperger said somebody broke into his daughter-in-law`s home.
GOLDBERG: It`s so -- I think that we need to put that in the context of the ad that Eric Greitens, a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, just put out where he kind of called for Republicans in name only, so people who aren`t sufficiently loyal to Donald Trump, he basically called for death squads to go to their homes and terrorize them. And in the context I think of this broader campaign of terror.
MELBER: Nick, when you look at this stacked against, of course, the precedent of the Watergate hearings.
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Right.
MELBER: Where does today stack up for you?
AKERMAN: Well, it terms of the hearings, I mean, this -- comparing it to Watergate you almost can`t do it because the Watergate hearings --
MELBER: I just did it.
AKERMAN: Well, you did it.
MELBER: I did it. It was wrong and I`m sorry.
AKERMAN: That`s OK.
MELBER: But I did it.
AKERMAN: But it was different, because it wasn`t as scripted as this is. I mean, this was really put together like a summation in a trial.
AKERMAN: They didn`t have anybody there who sort of pushed Trump`s point of view. I mean, you had people on the Senate Select Committee that were defenders of Richard Nixon. You didn`t have that here. But what really struck me on Speaker Bowers was that he was totally fact based. Of all the stuff we`ve heard about --
AKERMAN: You know, the kind of fake news, fake facts, he kept demanding, where`s the evidence? Show me the evidence. And the best that Rudy Giuliani could do was say, well, I`ve got some theories, but I don`t have real evidence. I mean, it almost reminded me of Barry Goldwater. Maybe it`s because they`re both from Arizona and they both kind of look the same a little it.
AKERMAN: But it was Barry Goldwater that based on the facts, based on the tapes in Watergate, took the Republican delegation to the Oval Office to Richard Nixon and basically told them the jig was up, it`s time to resign. And it was the same kind of commonsense, no-nonsense dedication to the Constitution that I saw coming out today.
MELBER: Yes, as you say, it was sort of -- it was old school and Centurion at times, and that may be compelling as the human side of it. You mentioned Giuliani, and that really brings us to another key route of evidence today, how this coup plot demanded state level officials betray their oaths to steal the election. Several testifying about Trump`s request, which flatly violated the law. It was not an isolated part of their plan, it was integral.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president and his lawyers started appearing before state legislators, urging them to give their electoral votes to Trump, even though he lost the popular vote. These efforts also involved targeted outreach to state legislators. Pennsylvania House Speaker Brian Cutler received daily voicemails from Trump`s lawyers in the last week of November.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Now that testimony there, that presentation recounting the push by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to get people to join the increasingly desperate plot. And he did not have many takers. Top Republicans in position of power said no. And then many started screening his calls entirely. They wanted no part of a possibly illegal plot by a soon-to-be ex-president.
And this is where things at times get a bit absurd. It kind of echoes the song "Ex Calling" by the artist Black about screening calls from an ex. Because Giuliani represented the ex-president of 2021, soon-to-be ex- president. And as the song goes, "I can hear my ex calling. Don`t know why my ex calling. Why the heck my ex calling?"
Well, the artist Black recounts his solution, quote, "Put the phone on do not disturb," which may sound a little cold. But apparently that is what top Republicans kept doing to Giuliani and their soon-to-be defeated ex- president. And today Congress shared some of the receipts, which sounded like some pretty needy unreturned voicemails.
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RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: Mr. Speaker, this is Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis. We`re calling you together because we`d like to discuss obviously the election.
Hey, Brian, it`s Rudy. I really have something important to call to our attention that I think really changes things. I understand that you don`t want to talk to me now. I just want to bring some facts to your attention and talk to you as a fellow Republican.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Michelle, there are some calls you just don`t take.
GOLDBERG: Although I really think that the kind of squalid and pathetic desperation shouldn`t overshadow just how concerted this was.
You know, I think that`s one of the takeaways from today`s hearing is that this wasn`t just flailing and -- it was flailing and shambolic but there was also a theory of the case behind it, right. They had a plan that they were trying however ineffectually to execute, and that plan involved getting all of these state legislatures to throw out the votes of their people.
And, you know, the reason that that`s important is because even though it didn`t succeed, again, it shows why the riot on January 6th was sort of pursuant to a bigger scheme. And also how such a scheme could succeed in the future if the sort of people -- the sort of Republicans that we saw testifying today are driven out of their positions and replaced by apparatchiks.
AKERMAN: No, I think Michelle is absolutely on the money here. If you compare Speaker Bowers` testimony and look at the tape recording that Donald Trump in this conversation he had with Brad Raffensperger, I mean, all the elements were there. All the same things that Speaker Bowers talked about, whether it was the idea that dead people were voting, that there were illegal immigrants voting.
Oh, by the way, you`re Republican, we`re all Republicans. Let`s go along with the program. All of the same statements, it`s almost like he took the same playbook and probably did it to officials in all the other battleground states.
MELBER: Well, what comes through is it`s what he was spending all day doing. I mean, I don`t know if there`s any time to be commander-in-chief or govern, which is one of the issues as well.
MELBER: It`s not just a criminal level issue. But yes, let`s take a look here that that call -- we`ve aired some of this before, the familiar demand for massive voter fraud, and then listen to how Trump`s irate tone builds as the call goes on.
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DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: So look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state. Why wouldn`t you want to find the right answer, Brad, instead of keep saying that the numbers are right? So, look, can you get together tomorrow -- and Brad, we just want to truth. It`s simple. And the truth, the real truth is I won by 400,000 votes at least. So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AKERMAN: To me, this is the preview of what we`re going to see from an indictment in Georgia of Donald Trump. This is the evidence. It`s the tapes. You`ve got two terrific witnesses, Brad Raffensperger, who testified today, who`s going to make an excellent witness, and you`ve also got the governor who`s going to be able to testify that Donald Trump came in and asked him to decertify the election after he certified it, and to call a special session of the Georgia legislature so they could put in new electors.
You put that package together with everything that the January 6th Committee has come up with, you`ve got a pretty compelling case for a three-year felony in Georgia that could charge Donald Trump with basically soliciting election fraud. I mean, prosecutors love tapes, and when you`ve got a defendant on tape and you`ve got lots of corroborating other evidence of witnesses who basically will obliterate any kind of defense that Trump can possibly raise on his statements on that tape, I really think this is what`s going to bring him down.
MELBER: Well, and Michelle, that sort of dovetails back -- whatever the prosecutors choose to do or not do, and again, that`s what these hearings are about, I mean, the specific situation of a president who may have illegally tried to overthrow an election is different than other cases, but in other cases we know the public environment can matter. The public facts can matter. The public sense of something terrible happened and was not addressed can affect the government right now.
I`m not suggesting that we shouldn`t have, you know, up and down political voting and pressure on prosecutors. They`re supposed to follow the facts. But where do the facts come from? We know DOJ has been request and now they`re working out how they`re going to get over the evidence because apparently they`ve got some stuff here the DOJ doesn`t have.
GOLDBERG: Well, then one of the things that the DOJ is investigating is this fake electors plan, right. That they put together these bogus slates of electors that they were going to somehow substitute for the real ones. And there were some more -- some people I think that we didn`t realize before today were implicated in that plan. There was the text from someone in Senator Ron Johnson`s office saying that he wanted to give them directly to Mike Pence.
MELBER: Right. That was --
GOLDBERG: Because --
MELBER: What did you think -- we have more on that. What did you think when you heard that?
GOLDBERG: Well, again, I thought that Ron Johnson -- I don`t know why the DOJ hasn`t subpoenaed him yet, because he`s -- you know, I think he has now said that he had nothing do with that, in which case you should obviously have fired the staffer who was, according to him, acting on his own, because I don`t think staffers usually say that they want to give documents to the vice president without their boss` signoff.
MELBER: I would agree with that. When I worked in the Senate and having covered it, if you are the number one aide to a senator, and in the senator`s name you`re dealing with the White House about something normal, it goes through the senator. If it`s abnormal and potentially illegal, it`s definitely coming from the senator.
GOLDBERG: I would also say, I wonder where the subpoenas are for Ronna McDaniel because, you know, something else that came up. It was very brief but they mentioned that, you know, she said that the RNC was just helping with the fake elector plan, and that it was really the Trump campaign taking a lead on it. But I think, you know, one thing we should know is, what was the nature of the help that the RNC is giving?
MELBER: Yes. I think I`ve got to fit in a break, but both of those issues you just raised are important. We have more on Pence coming up and this was a really important start to the program, and again, I`m sorry about the comparison I made.
AKERMAN: That`s OK.
MELBER: I may be the first person --
AKERMAN: But there`s comparisons that can be made, so don`t worry about it.
MELBER: I may be the first person to ever compare it to Watergate. I thought it was cliche. Maybe I was original. I`m kidding. For people watching, I`m making fun of myself.
Good to see both of you, Nick and Michelle.
Coming up, this last-ditch attempt to hand deliver that slate of fraudulent electors that we were just discussing to Pence, our breakdown on that is next. Plus the revelation that the RNC got this direct request for help from Donald Trump. Why that matters. And this new footage from inside the Trump White House, and when will you see it? All that coming up.
MELBER: We begin our coverage with some of that human and emotional side of today`s testimony, and it was potent. There`s also new evidence, which we turn to right now, including something that may only be slowly sinking in regarding the repeated efforts to sabotage the January 6th certification, which was further evidence of how real and tangible the coup plot was and continued to be, how close it came to being a reality.
We were discussing this briefly just before the break. The new headline is that even after the lawyers and Mike Pence rejected Trump`s illegal order demanding to steal the election through some sort of magic certification. On the day of the planned certification, January 6th, a top Republican with access to the Trump White House was pushing still, to try to secretly jam Pence with a fraudulent document to sabotage the certification.
And the evidence is in writing. And it portends that kind of thwarted ambush because the pitch first came in as a mystery plan. Trump ally and Republican Senator Ron Johnson had these papers that we now know involve some sort of thwarted election fraud. So he has the papers in hand, and his aide wants to arrange for the senator to get it from the senator`s hand to Pence`s hand.
Now this is happening all in that key period right up to the certification. This is the day of the 6th, it`s before the attack. And the aide texts Senator Johnson needs to hand something to the vice president, please. So you could think of this as, like, hey, we just need to give something to the veep, you know, before we finish up this whole election certification thing, but it`s got to be right now. And it`s just something. Just got to hand him something and maybe we don`t really want to tell you what it is. That`s the weird mood of this text.
And now let`s go back into the evidence released today. The aide for the vice president asks what it was, perhaps well aware of these plots. And then the Senate staffer admits that it`s the alternate slate of electors. And you get the response there, do not give that to him. You have a Republican senator basically in on what sounds like election fraud up to the last moment trying to put it in Pence`s hand, trying to ambush or jam him during the actual certification proceeding.
It`s damning evidence, and this is stuff we can put together that gives us a greater understanding than we had at the time because of the records. So it was exactly 12:37 p.m. on January 6th that this text is coming in. You can see this was Pence entering the Capitol around at the same time our cameras archive says this happened just about 20 minutes later. You may remember where you were that day.
This is before things went off the trail, and yet the Republican senator you see on the left side of your screen, his top aide is trying to get things off the rail even worse than what actually occurred at least inside the Senate among elected officials, to say nothing of the violent insurrection which interrupted the certification. This Republican senator acting on a coup plot, up to the last second, all of this even after they knew it was illegal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear the White House Counsel`s Office say that this plan to have alternate electors meet and cast votes for Donald Trump in states that he had lost was not legally sound?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO MARK MEADOWS: Yes, sir. It was Mr. Meadows, Mr. Giuliani, and a few of Mr. Giuliani`s associates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Today also had evidence of how even Trump`s own fans, volunteers, and die-hards reached a point of what in the law is called consciousness of guilt, seeking what`s called indemnification, meaning they would be helped if they were sued or worse, charged with something by the attorney general or someone else. That`s basically a Trump die-hard showing in real time they know what they`re doing might get them indicted.
And a campaign lawyer in the middle of all this testifying about how, as it stacked up and it was clear what was really coming down the pike, then this die-hard Trump supporter -- mind you, this is after the race has been called.
Trump is the official loser of the election. Everyone is getting ready for the transition out here in reality land, and this person had kept fighting on the theory that, yes, you could file some lawful cases. And that`s fine. And then this person, not a famous person, just someone else inside Trump land testifying about how that`s when he realized he needed out.
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JUSTIN CLARK, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: I just remember, I either replied or called somebody saying, unless we have litigation pending like in these states, like, I don`t think this is appropriate. But I got into a little bit of a back and forth, and I think it was with Ken Chesebro, where I said, all right, you know, you just get after it. Like I`m out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: "I`m out." And that`s a die-hard Trump lawyer who was willing to go down every road, every case, including all of Giuliani`s stinking loser cases, but he`s out.
So we`re going to get into it. I have our shortest break of the hour. One minute. I`m joined by former U.S. attorney Michael Moore and Libby Casey in a minute.
MELBER: We are back with the former U.S. attorney for the state of Georgia, Michael J. Moore, he was appointed by President Obama for central Georgia. He served in a key part in our Georgia coverage here and today has insights on the questions around elector and voter fraud and all of that plotting. So we`re happy to have him as a guest and expert, and an independent journalist, "Washington Post" reporter Libby Casey with a view on what it all means even beyond the law.
Welcome to both of you. We just walked through some of that really fascinating and pretty damning information that showed that as Pence was walking in to the proceeding that day -- we have that footage -- right around the same time, within the same half hour, Senator Johnson was still through an aide pushing to try to ambush him with some sort of what would appear to be a fraudulent document for the purposes, Michael, of submitting that fraudulent document for a government proceeding regarding an election.
I am speaking this way deliberately because Mr. Johnson has the freedom to lie in public. He even has the freedom to lie on the Senate floor if he chooses. But when you start submitting false documents to the government, you tend to cross a legal line. Your analysis?
MICHAEL J. MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: Well, I`m glad to be with you both. And clearly Senator Johnson is one to evoke his freedoms as we`ve seen from his public statements over the last year. So, you know, I think any time that you create a document, that you try to submit a forged document or fraudulent document, especially in furtherance of a conspiracy to undermine a federal election, you`ve got problems.
And that`s essentially where we are. And so whether we talk about it from the state investigations that may occur or whether we look at it from maybe a larger DOJ investigation that may very well be under way, we just don`t know, given sort of the secrecy that surrounds the efforts by the attorney general of the United States in these types of cases, investigations, I think it`s going to come into play. And these texts, these real-time messages are damning if you think about it on a much more basic level.
But you think about sort of a drug transaction and you`ve got somebody controlling the drug distribution enterprise and the prosecutor gets his hands on these messages between the drug runners, that says, hey, so and so told me to bring, you know, X amount of dope to such and such an address, wherever it is. That`s really what you have here is that type of information.
You`ve got real-time statements by people who were involved, and it also obviously leads you to other witnesses, some of it being also members of the vice president`s staff.
MELBER: Yes, no, I mean, you lay it out there. And before I bring in Libby, just staying with you on the law, "Washington Post`s" coverage of this about the direction of fraudulent electors plots in Georgia, quote, "Your duties are imperative to ensure the end result," they wrote. A win for Georgia for President Trump, they`ll be hampered unless we have, quote, "complete secrecy and discretion."
That`s from a Trump campaign staffer in Georgia. At what point from what you heard today, Michael, does that move beyond vigorously contesting an election, which I have been careful to remind people is allowed, and saying the thing is over, you lost. And now again, you`re trying to go into a proceeding, be at the electoral proceeding, a congressional legislative proceeding, or a court proceeding.
I think people are familiar with perjury. You want to lie in front of the court? Not a great idea. But that`s different. You go, walk through the doors, and suddenly it`s perjury. Do you see a case here against anyone involved in the electoral plot as committing a crime or do you not have enough evidence now?
MOORE: I don`t know if we`ve got enough evidence yet. I think it could be forthcoming. The secrecy aspect is something that`s telling because that usually goes to somebody`s motive or their intent, you know, maybe what their criminal intentions were -- if they`re moving forward.
And again, you say that in most of these types of transactions in criminal cases, somebody says be quiet, guess what, get some collars, because people can`t keep their mouths shut. So, the secrecy just adds a little bit of sexiness, maybe to the facts of the case, it doesn`t make it in and of itself a criminal violation for them to make quiet.
It`s the steps, it`s the substantial steps the overt acts that may have been taken to further a conspiracy here to commit election fraud, it may cause the biggest problem for the people who were involved in the fraudulent electric scheme. And you know, you`re right, there`s a legitimate way to challenge an election if you want to do it. They tried numerous court cases around the country. To do that.
They had their day for word and typically the Republican Party has been sort of the party of the rule of law. Unfortunately, here where the rule of law was a gift, and they decided that the rules didn`t matter. In large part, it tried to sort of concoct a scheme to use fake documents and fake electors, as if somehow that would legitimize the efforts that may have been pushed out from the campaign.
So, this -- this is part of a story. It`s not the end of the story. And I think we`re getting further into it. So, I think it`s an important building block. But if you`re asking me to build a house, I`m saying that we`re down near the foundation. And we`re going to keep working as we get a little further up to make the structure if that`s in fact, a criminal case.
MELBER: Understood and appreciate your precision there. That`s the law. Libby, the wider story that Congress is telling today. It has legal elements. We heard Republicans worried that Trump was breaking the law and when they tapped out, but it also was a story today to the country that really brought this back to the States.
I mean, there`s a reason why we have it cut up this way. The founders created federalism, yada, yada. But there`s also the fact that we`re not in D.C. anymore today. That -- we weren`t talking only about all this mumbo jumbo in the beltway, it was really hearing from people around the country. I`m curious what you thought about the efficacy of that today?
LIBBY CASEY, SENIOR NEWS ANCHOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, we -- you know, so we see this moment in these texts, where the aid for Senator Johnson is trying to get the vice president to take this slate of fake electors from Michigan and Wisconsin. But what the committee showed today was -- it was part of a broader attempt to get fake electors certified.
They sent them to the national -- they sent documents to the National Archives, and the committee showed these are the real ones. These are the fake ones. And as you talked about earlier in your show, Ari, it seems a little half-baked in bits and pieces. But when you look at the big scope of this, and when you see that it was this concerted effort that the Trump campaign was doing, targeting officials in each of these states, where they thought they could find sympathetic ears and overturn the election.
This gets at this question that the committee`s probing of who is ultimately responsible for a broader plot to overthrow a rightful election. And we saw the end results of that when we saw how impactful it was on regular Americans, patriotic Americans` lives, whether they were civil servants working in election with their mom, or whether they were official trying to, you know, oversee how an election is run in a state like Georgia.
You know, Rusty Bowers, who`s the very conservative Republican Speaker of Arizona State House, said he was pressured and told just do it. Let the courts sorted out. And imagine, Ari, if these people had just done it, and then waited to see where the chips would fall with a legal process, how much more convoluted and confusing and enraging it could have been for some Trump supporters, for example, who might have said look, they`re doing it it`s got to be legitimate legal --
MELBER: To your point, Libby, the courts are settling -- are sorting it out. There`s a bunch of people who`ve been indicted. There are some people who have been convicted. QAnon Shaman is doing 40 months. The courts are sorting it out, but it`s never a great sign if your campaign strategy has turned into trying to recruit people to actively break the law. I want you to --
CASEY: But what if, Ari, they head over (INAUDIBLE) the election and then let the court sorted out. How many more believe that this was actually in a legal election. It`s just frightening to think about how much more it could have fractured the American public as people tried to understand what was going on.
MELBER: Yes. And you make an important point Libby, which again, goes to how the public understands this. You called it half-baked, right? And that`s --
CASEY: Well, I mean, you -- if I was writing a plot, I don`t think Hollywood would buy it. Because when you see some of the characters and what they`re doing, it seems unreal. But when you look at it in retrospect, as the committee lays out, .1, .2, .3, what we`re looking at is an arc, and it`s telling a story. And the question is, you know, can the committee show responsible parties like Donald Trump, like Giuliani --
MELBER: So, when you go -- and so when you take it together, you say, OK, it was half baked, and it wasn`t completed. But the country understanding how close they were -- what held the line? What they really wanted to do, because they can practice and come back, and we`ve talked about that uncovered some of the places elected officials, I thought it was powerful, that they began the hearing with an example of an indicted insurrectionists, who also is on these local elections board.
We covered that, but I`m not sure that as many people know about it as they do now, because they put that as the start of the hearing. So, to Libby`s point. Michael, I want to play as well, what we learned here today about Trump directing one of the schemes on a call asking for help. RNC chair McDaniel testifying, any action she took, was it his direct request?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the president`s direct request, the RNC assistant to campaign in coordinating this effort.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did the president say when he called you?
RONNA ROMNEY MCDANIEL, CHAIRPERSON, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Eventually, he turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing change the result.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Michael, your view of the import of that, and if Donald Trump comes along and says, who`s John Eastman, this guy went rogue. How much does it matter that so many people put them together acting in concert and as his agent?
MOORE: Yes. And again, I don`t mean to be using a lot of crime analogies. But let me just ask you think about the Godfather movie where the Godfather has a conciliary. And it`s this lawyer, this advisor who the Godfather gets to do things for him and sort of be the voice of the throne, so to speak. So, that there`s a -- there`s one step removed between -- right between the Godfather and in the wrongful act.
That`s what`s happened here. What`s Trump gets his lawyer on the phone, which is a smart move, if you think about it because he`ll say, well, I was pursuing legal remedies. I have my lawyer, talk to them. And that`s clever. You know if he was -- if we gave him enough credit for thinking that far ahead. And so that`s a sense of what -- what`s happening. So, it`s a -- it`s great testimony.
And it shows, in fact, that there`s a real effort by Trump to be -- Trump to be the puppet master here moving things around. Let me say one thing about sort of the pressure on the state people because I think this is important, and it kind of goes to my (INAUDIBLE) -- here`s some comments that would make -- you know, I think we do ourselves sort of a disservice if we make too many -- too much of a martyr out of people who just did the right thing.
You know, and I think about the secretary`s statement here in (INAUDIBLE). And they -- you know, somehow -- you know, they -- we want to give him the Nobel Prize, or something for doing what they were supposed to do. But you know, then we would listen to him talk about well, my family was threatened and it was terrible and I took so much pressure. Well, you can`t raise a dog to fight and they complain because you get bit.
And so, this is just a result of sort of this ongoing effort for the last four years of this tolerance. And this refusal of people, especially, you know, elected official -- Republican elected officials, to speak up and call out the wrongdoing of Trump. And we saw -- we shouldn`t be talking about a criminal case, we shouldn`t be with having to be at this point, because this should have been handled through impeachment.
But we got people who voted to not to impeach him. But yet they were hiding behind Capitol police officers because of January 6. I mean, it`s almost unbelievable to think that we`re in this place. So, I don`t share a lot of tears for people who have sort of allowed the monster to grow, and then suddenly get scared of it at the end of the night.
And that`s really -- that`s what I see too much of what`s going on here. I appreciate that they did the right thing. You know, but I don`t think you can stand there and just pat people on the back, say, I support you, I support you, I support you. So suddenly, you know, you`re on the receiving end of those --
MELBER: I think (INAUDIBLE) -- I think you make an essential point. And it may come from a well-intentioned place that looking for courage and heroes, people are celebrating these individuals, and some of them did more than others. Having said that you make an essential point, which is they have an oath, not betraying their oath is the minimum requirement.
It is not the most amazing thing they could ever do and for those -- for those who are part of a larger right-wing pro-Trump movement that ran on and avowed violence, hate, bigotry, racism, misogyny, and the dehumanization of other people in the spirit of a political quest to then turn around and say, well, you`re hunting with wolves. You`re trying to eat off wolves. You`re trying to be powerful off wolves.
But the moment you don`t feed him, which Mike Pence learned, the moment you don`t feed him, they`ve come to eat you. Mike Pence -- no more loyal person to the Donald Trump entire project than Mike Pence. One thing they disagreed on at the very end, which involved Mike Pence`s criminal liability. He determined with the help of lawyers and last-minute calls to the Vice President Quayle and others that he might end up in jail if he did that.
So, he didn`t do that. Didn`t speak out on a forcefully at the time, hasn`t testified before the committee. But yes, he built his personal political ambition on hunting with those wolves. And then found they wanted to hang him. They wanted to assassinate him, which we opposed. We have over on time because I went along too but finish your thought, Michael.
MOORE: Well, as I say, too many people don`t find religion until it`s their neck and the noose. Mike Pence came out close to that based on the gallows we saw built out there. And suddenly he`s realized just what kind of person he`s been supporting for the last number of years. And so, I appreciate (INAUDIBLE) follow through their hope. That`s why we elect them. And they take (INAUDIBLE) their support, which is --
MELBER: I have to fit in the break. As promised. Libby Casey here for the reporting. Michael J. Moore with a law and I believe a little bit of ethics was mixed in there too. I appreciate both of you. Coming up we get into this never-before-seen footage and Michael Hirschorn is back talking about why the hearings are breaking through even on the right.
MELBER: Are these insurrection hearings breaking through at all? Well, two of the witnesses there were naturally trending online above sports and entertainment. And on Fox News, there seems to be a tacit admission that some of the evidence is damning as they discuss the process.
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MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST, FOX NEWS: One of the things that stands out to me, John, just in terms of the political landscape here is that A. there is no opposition questioning. That would lend a little bit more credibility to it to have someone in that room saying yes, but what about this? And what about that?
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MELBER: What about that? Well, now we turn to our regular segment here on The Beat called, what about that with Michael Hirschorn. I`m kidding, I made that up. Good to see you.
MICHAEL HIRSCHORN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ISH ENTERTAINMENT: Good to see you.
MELBER: Michael, as some viewers may recall, we turn to you on these things, because you have been a progressive advocate and writer. But you also have a background in reality television, which is one of the ways Americans learn things, maybe not the only way.
Fox News is a type of often close reality television of sorts. It has certain themes and characters and a lot of other stuff that pretends doesn`t exist. That isn`t working that model. So far, the same way for them. Take a look at what one of their conservative legal experts said in reaction to today`s hearing.
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ANDY MCCARTHY, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: If you had a different perspective being presented here, I don`t think that would be very helpful to President Trump per se, because the evidence pretty clearly shows his unfitness, it even suggests that he may be guilty of a crime.
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HIRSCHORN: Look, it`s extraordinary and it`s amazing. And they turned on a dime. The one thing that concerns me is that potentially there`s a blind alley because the thing about the January 6 committee that`s so effective is the single-minded focus on Trump. So, if you have a single-minded focus on Trump, you know, if you`re going for El Jefe you got to take them out. And I think they`re doing that. The danger is, is that they`re letting all the other Republicans off the hook.
MELBER: Interesting. You remind me of The Wire.
MELBER: If you shoot at the king, you best not miss.
HIRSCHORN: You best not miss.
MELBER: We mean here, factually, legally shoot. But what do you mean by missing the rest of the rot, in a time where there is more direct appeals to authoritarianism in America?
HIRSCHORN: Correct. So, the really smart thing that the committee did was to have, I would say, 95 percent of the witnesses live and on tape, they`re all Republicans. These are the good Republicans, who stood up for rule of law, stood up for the Constitution, referred to God, older white men crying on television, really going hard for an idea that there are Republicans that care about the Constitution.
What about all the other Republicans who have not stood up for the Constitution and are continuing not to stand up for the constitution? So, if you potentially are too successful. If the hearings, take Trump out? Does that then create the space for someone like DeSantis?
You know, who -- I was watching Piers Morgan on Fox earlier today, Piers Morgan`s, you know, who would attack DeSantis, said that there was blood on his hands last year. Now he`s saying this guy is Trump without the Trump nonsense. And that`s, I think, a concerning thing.
MELBER: Right. And you`re speaking to, of course, how that`s playing out. Then there`s Donald Trump watching this on T.V. and as a T.V. guy thinking it`s not going well. Take a listen to Trump.
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DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This committee was a bad decision not to have representation on that committee. That was a very, very foolish decision, because, you know, they try and pretend like they`re legit. And only when you get into the inner workings, you say, what kind of a thing is this? Just a one-sided witch hunt.
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MELBER: The thing about Donald Trump is he lies constantly and then also blurts things that would appear to be his truth. His truth is this isn`t going well and that seems to be correct. And he just is discussing that and lamenting that the McCarthy strategy left them with just honest people on the committee including some honest Republicans.
HIRSCHORN: Correct and his analysis here is spot on. Right there -- there`s this weird feeling like when someone`s not, you know, hammering a nail into your forehead anymore that these hearings have I mean, we`re you`re not hearing the B.S., you`re not hearing the noise. You`re not hearing the what about-ism. And suddenly that`s coming through with incredible clarity. And if I`m Trump, I`m completely terrified.
And there really aren`t people standing up for him right now. The silence is remarkable. But the other thing that`s not happening is that you don`t have other Republicans who are saying, OK, we stand with Rusty Bowers, we stand with this guy who said, I`ve had enough and I`m standing up for rule of law. And so, you`re in this weird power vacuum right now, this weird messaging vacuum.
MELBER: Yes, it`s really interesting point you make and I do think the messaging vacuum speaks to them. And we sometimes just forget that those right-wingers aren`t on the committee, but they`re not also to your point, holding a lot of press conferences before and after, they`re not really doing this. They`re kind of like, OK, great, someone`s prosecuting this case, again, they`re not moral courage or anything.
But as you say, that`s a totally different dynamic. And that`s why when you keep an eye on Fox, as a place where these conversations unfold, they`re unfolding differently. Again, you have a Fox lawyer, a Republican lawyer on Fox today saying, looks like he committed a crime, maybe. Michael Hirschorn, thank you. We will be right back with a preview of all the rumors and discussion of this new secret footage about Trump and the White House coming out.
MELBER: Another new development. Previously, secret White House tapes are now with Congress. The Jan. 6 Committee subpoenaed the filmmaker with major access to Trump and his aides. This was in the final months of the presidency. It includes interviews with Trump and his family and allegedly never before seen footage from the fateful day of the 6th which makes it key evidence.
Now stay tuned for both the Reid report and tonight at 8:00 p.m. I will be joined all of our folks including Joy, Rachel, and Nicole for our recap special that`s tonight from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Keep it locked right here on MSNBC and "THE REIDOUT" is up next.