IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 8/11/22

Guests: Neal Katyal, Mary Trump, Renato Mariotti, Ryan Reilly, Michelle Goldberg


DOJ moves to make search warrant public. AG Garland faces down Trump in sober briefing. DOJ blames Trump for Mar-a-Lago search publicity. Former federal prosecutor, Renato Mariotti joins Ari Melber to talk about Donald Trump subpoenaed for missing documents before the Mar-a-Lago search. NBC News Justice Reporter Ryan Reilly and New York Times Columnist Michelle Goldberg join Ari Melber to talk about an armed suspect that attack the FBI today who was at the Capitol on January 6 and dies in a standoff.


JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC, MSNBC HOST: Thank you for being with us on this eventful Thursday, THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now. Hi, Ari, I got to know, what do you think the Trump people are going to do tomorrow before three o`clock?

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That is a big question, we`re about to get into, John, I think they have a hard choice to make that Merrick Garland is forcing them to make that otherwise they didn`t know they were going to make so I don`t know if they even know. Good to see you, sir.

I want to welcome everyone to THE BEAT. You know what we`re doing? We`re beginning here with breaking news. The U.S. government searched the home of its former leader for criminal evidence this week. Now today, for the first time the chief law enforcement officer of the United States Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke out about that unprecedented legal action. And he explained to the nation in brief, spare objective and at times, even honestly, dry terms, what exactly they are doing, and that this grave step was taken carefully, after the Attorney General says they exhausted the other less intrusive options, and he put it on record for the nation that he personally approved of this legal measure.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter. Second, the department does not take such a decision lightly. Where possible in a standard practice to seek less intrusive means.


MELBER: Less intrusive means is exactly what the DOJ was, according to Garland doing up until this search. Now, he spoke for just a few minutes, he took no questions, he emphasized that prosecutors will continue to approach this case with independent, nonpartisan rigor to uphold the rule of law.


GARLAND: Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor. Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing.


MELBER: There you have it. It may sound like general terms, and that`s very deliberate. This Attorney General so attacked and maligned by the former president is going out of his way not to reveal anything that would not be legally proper, while also defending, as he has every right to do what the department is doing, as well as explaining at a level that`s legally valid, what they`re doing. So that`s significant on its own. But there is way more news, it`s what we just mentioned in the handoff into THE BEAT tonight.

Garland announcing that this Justice Department sees a legal and valid path to providing even more facts about that search of Mar-a-Lago. And that is why today and this is big news, in some ways, this is the biggest news of the week. And I know that sounds like a lot, but this Justice Department is going to now ask a judge to unseal the Trump`s search warrant and the list of property taken by that legal force out of the possession of Donald Trump`s compound.


GARLAND: The Department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president`s public confirmation of the search the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.


MELBER: That is also a legal move. And it is in some ways unusual, but unusual in a bad way for Trump. And we`ll explain because this is not some things where the DOJ just decides. These contents of that search warrant and what was seized would only become public after Trump has a chance to weigh in, and a judge rules on it.

But it is this is something that I want to explain to you when we woke up today, we didn`t know we would see this. This is very clearly this Justice Department calling out Donald Trump for unfairly publicizing selective deals of the operation while also simultaneously hiding the warrant, consider that a natural or automatic trick that Donald Trump may just employ out of habit, or that he thought he could get away with. So this was today, let`s be clear, far more than a briefing or a press conference.

As Garland spoke, we will show you what was happening in court. DOJ prosecutors going forward with court action filing a new motion to formally unsealed award and those details and that binding filing the pages of which you see on the screen, well, it calls out Donald Trump even further, emphasizing that the DOJ was not the entity or the source of what went public with the unannounced search that indeed, the whole operation could have stayed secret but as the filing explains Trump himself provided the first public statement and public confirmation that this event occurred.

Now, let me tell you what that is. That is DOJ`s way of calling out Trump of busting him for trying to publicize his own search, and you can imagine many people in life who are faced with this situation would say, uh-oh, let`s get through this. And well, I won`t publicize it, because hopefully, I`ll just get through it. So they`re calling him out for that, while also complaining about this public process that he is selectively publicizing.


Now, the fact that there was a search or a raid is public, because of Trump, not the DOJ. And that legally matters because Garland`s new filing says that Trump`s representatives have given these additional statements to depress concerning the search, including public characterizations of material sought. And then this is important, they say, therefore, the occurrence of the search and indications of the subject matter are already public.

Now, that`s respectful lawyer speak for, you did this, don`t blame it on us. And we will take you back into court. Now, this is happening today. And we don`t care with you, the former president, we`re not supposed to care that you`re the former president. You are a citizen. No more, and no less. That`s what that thing really says. Because boy, did they do a lot of ex- President special citizen treatment up to this point. And we have more on that tonight that we can show you the evidence. But I want to continue explaining the big story because Garland also notes this FBI search, in his view was very credibly, the last resort.

And there`s no reporting that connects with that, how something that may have understandably looked sudden to those who were not in the know on Monday, grew out of a long process that Trump first received a subpoena on this case in the spring. So the DOJ may have viewed Trump as failing to comply with that earlier binding demand. There are also reports that some of the possible items here are so sensitive, and so tied to national security that the DOJ really had to act, given what they viewed as the lack of cooperation. Two sources briefed on the actual classified material in questions spoke to the times about that very issue. And amidst the heated attacks on law enforcement, the normally sober out of the spotlight garland today also spoke out, as I mentioned, defending his team, against attacks by the GOP and Trump allies on what they used to call blue lives.


GARLAND: Let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors. I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants.


MELBER: So after being searched on Monday, and deposed on Wednesday, Trump now has this new high pressure legal problem to deal with today, Thursday. Will he go along with the DOJ`s request to just release this warrant and its material or will he fight it? Well, that`s the brand new question that honestly Trump and his lawyers didn`t know they were going to get in a binding manner today.

The new filing again, I want to show you exactly what this is, in the facts says the former president should have an opportunity to respond to this motion and lodge objections including with regard to any legitimate privacy interest or the potential for other injury to him if these materials are made public.

Okay. And the court is requesting Trump`s lawyers confer with DOJ and give an update tomorrow. So take this all together. Let me conclude for you before we bring in our experts about what we`ve learned today. And this is why we stay intellectually humble because we didn`t know this was going to happen today.

Here`s what`s going on. This DOJ is dialing up the legal pressure here and now. And court clashes really do boil down to moves. Trump apparently made a move where he thought he could hand back some of the documents. And we`ve reported he did hand over some and then just get away with the rest. And the DOJ made its move and said no. They knew or had strong evidence to prove that there were other classified and potentially criminal materials on site. And they made the move demanding them under subpoena. And Trump apparently thought he could just get away with whatever he has left without being searched or raided. He is the former president, and he`s pushed lines before and as Merrick Garland just explained today, it is true. What Trump may have reasoned is true that they exhaust other less intrusive means first. So that was a move. But Trump miscalculated and faced this assertive operation. And then he decided to publicize that. And I`ll tell you that was another move, whether Trump made it out of emotion or strategy, that move paved the way for the DOJ`s a very significant legal move today. That is the top story tonight, which is Merrick Garland, basically saying, we did this quietly, you made it loud. And now you`re complaining that the loud process is somehow mysteriously without evidence unfair.


So fine, says Garland. Let`s put the facts about the search out. And the judges and the public will see for themselves what items you were hiding, he might say to Mr. Trump.

Now, Garland`s a very different operator than Trump or most of his lawyers. And it seems like he might take a few rounds of criticism or punches before he legally acts. But Mr. Garland now after moving quietly is acting. And Trump is out here complaining with his allies darkly and violently and menacingly threatening some kind of unrest.

The search is unprecedented. But I got to tell you, the contours of this kind of standoff are actually classic. Let me tell you what I mean. Trump used to have power. But legally in the United States, he now has no federal power. Garland is powerful, he is the one with far more moves that he is able to make. Garland is the one who actually knows things that neither the former president or the current president would know. And as Bernie Siegel put it, so simply the strong move quiet, the weak start riots.

Donald Trump is as legally weak right now as he has ever been facing a strong if often quiet, legal, adversary. That`s what we know tonight. And now as promised, we bring in someone who`s worked at the highest levels of the Justice Department. President Obama`s former acting United States, Solicitor General, Neal Katyal, welcome. Your thoughts on all of the above.

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: I completely agree, Ari, with just how you put it, this is a strong move a quiet roof, a brilliant chess move by Garland. So I basically boil this down into two moves, Trump made the first move, which was complaining about the search, claiming was abusive and so on, even though it was authorized by his former FBI director that he put into the job, even though it was enforcing a law that in 2018, Donald Trump signed into being making it a felony to mishandled classified documents.

But putting all that aside, that was move one. Move two is Garland`s response today. Seek he says basically to the court, hey, yeah, you think this is abuse of Trump, I want this unsealed. I want the American public to know why I`m doing what I`m doing. And then you have the smart idea to say, look, I`m not legally required to do this. But actually court go ask Donald Trump for his view on whether or not these documents should be given to the American public. He didn`t have to do that. But he did. And that move now puts the ball back in Trump`s court to say, do you really want transparency in this investigation, Donald Trump, or would you prefer to hide what`s going on at Mar-a-Lago behind closed doors?

Now, Donald Trump could have released his information on Monday on the day of the search. He has a copy of the warrant, he has a copy of what the government took, what the FBI took on Monday when they were executing the search warrant. He didn`t do that. That suggests to me he has something big to hide. It`s not that different than the 440 invocations of the Fifth Amendment yesterday in the New York thing. This is a guy who`s actually afraid of transparency. But we are learning, Ari, just in the last hour, the New York Times is reporting that we`ve now learned that the FBI has docket -- has found top secret material at Mar-a-Lago. So there`s a reason why Trump is all of a sudden very quiet.

MELBER: Exactly, you say that it`s what was on site that really matters. And a lot of the attacks are going to be lying scurrilous, you know, really, some of them quite despicable attacks on law enforcement on independent folks and police and FBI. As mentioned, we could get to that box see that, but there is still a large group of people in America, Neal, you and I know some of them, we count many of them as our viewers who will respond to the facts. So for example, if facts emerged, that nothing was removed from the site, that some runaway partisan person planted evidence and that was caught in the surveillance video, right? If hypothetically, something came out, you would respond to that.

The problem appears to be that Donald Trump and his lawyers already know the given facts, the materials remove the underlying warrant is bad for them. You and I both know if they had something really good and juicy. Spoiler alert, they`re not shy about putting stuff out in the press and on the internet. So this uncharacteristic quiet seems to also belie a certain amount of guilt. Given that as mentioned, you have this DOJ experience. Let`s get your response to the other part of this filing. I tried to read several parts so people can see the facts, make up their own minds about this and if Trump files a content based response will show that too in the days ahead, the DOJ knew, motion also says, "The press and the public enjoy a qualify right of access to criminal and judicial proceedings." What is the DOJ doing there in an area where we have obviously heard that some things must stay secret, but other things are a balance or a qualified decision?


KATYAL: Yeah, this is really subtle, because what I think what Garland is doing is he`s saying, and he said this at the press conference, and the motion echoes, look, we didn`t want to make any of this public. We were perfectly happy to have this secret search, not announced to the cameras, we were totally quiet, there were no leaks. That`s the way just the just problem still operates as a standard way. But you Donald Trump accused us of doing this for politics, and pressuring Trump not to run or this or that. And Garland`s point is basically very subtly because, look, if we were trying to politically pressure you or something, we would have said something publicly, you`re the one who said something public.

Now it`s a matter of public interest. And we see it today in the horrific attack in Cincinnati and the like, the attacks on the FBI that Trump made accusations that they planted material, even though his own lawyer was present at the scene of the search when it happened. You know, so Garland saying all of that and saying, basically, look, you`ve now made this a public interest issue, fine, bring it on. Let`s have the American public see exactly what we found, and exactly why we went to a federal judge to ask for the search warrant.

MELBER: Right. That really all makes sense. It`s really great to have you kind of walk us through that. I want you to stay with me as we bring in another guest with a certain type of insights here because we have these new details with a lot of panic on the Trump side. Rolling Stone reporting, he`s worried there could be a, "rat in the inner circle," questions about wires and phone taps. And we bring in Donald Trump`s niece, Mary Trump, the author of, "Too Much and Never Enough," and "The Reckoning."

Welcome back, Mary. Donald Trump`s searched on Monday pleaded the Fifth on Wednesday, now called out by the Attorney General with a high pressure motion Thursday and an update due Friday. What`s he thinking from your experience with him this week?

MARY TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP`S NIECE: He`s probably having a very difficult time processing this because, you know, Donald is a coward and a bully. And he only attacks if he believes there will be no counter attack. He`s been tripped up by two things here. As Neal said earlier, Garland is playing chess, Donald can only play checkers. So he`s being outmaneuvered. He`s also gotten tripped up by heuristics. It never occurred to Donald that somebody who looks like Merrick Garland and talks like Merrick Garland is actually a ninja.

MELBER: Yeah, build on that point, because you`re talking about what he assesses. And, you know, Americans watching this Garland presser today, this might have been -- and Neal can weigh in if he sees it differently, I think it might have been the most high profile kind of high wire act, this attorney general has had to walk yet. The Jan. 6 probe is very significant. But saying you`re going to go after the people who raided the Capitol is straightforward. This, even to people who might not be Trump loyalists is still like, wait, what happened with the former president? And if they tuned in today, or they see the clips were denied, and I`m sure it`ll be on the news all over what they saw, Mary, was not someone who looked like they were dying for a fight or that or press coverage or wanting to be in partisan headlines. I think they saw someone very sober who looks like he has his act together. How does that fit into what you say Donald Trump may have misapprehension about this attorney general?

M. TRUMP: Well, again, I he believed he had an open field. And one of the complicating factors here and this has been a problem for a very long time, is that it also revealed the lengths to which the entire Republican Party is willing to go. I mean, the attacks on the FBI and the DOJ are not just coming from Donald and his closest allies, they`re coming from the entire party. So to see Merrick Garland with such restraint and such equanimity, tell the American people that this is a very serious issue. We cannot allow these attacks to stand puts Donald, as you said earlier in a position of having to respond in a way that actually meets the moment and he cannot do that.

KATYAL: And just to build on Mary saying there, because I think it`s exactly right. It`s not just what Merrick Garland sounded like or what he looked like, it`s what he said. It`s he`s saying, look, I`m personally responsible for this. I authorize a search. Here`s why I did it. I tried to take these less restrictive alternatives, the less restrictive means voluntary subpoenas and the like. None of that worked. So I had to do this.


And then he goes on to say, Ari, stuff that we haven`t heard from the Justice Department over the last four years during Trump, which is the rule of law is really important, even handed administration of the law is really important. And the presumption of innocence even for Donald Trump is really important. That`s the way an attorney general speaks. I thought it was as fine a moment of the -- for the attorney general, as I`ve ever seen.

MELBER: Well, really striking. Neal Katyal on Mary Trump, thanks to both of you as we kick off our coverage with all these developments. We have our shortest break one minute. We turn to a special report on the timeline when we`re back in just 60 seconds.



GARLAND: The Justice Department has filed a motion in the Southern District of Florida to unseal a search warrant and property receipt relating to a court approved search that the FBI conducted earlier this week. I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter.


MELBER: That is what it sounds like when this normally sober very quiet Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks out and explains in his clear words, as we`ve been reporting what they`re up to, and we`re tracking this clash over what could very soon be the possible release of the search warrant for Trump`s home. Garland made it clear he signed off. He also undercut the claims that somehow there was some federal malfeasance here.

Indeed, in brief, formal tones that did not release any touchy details. He explained that basically, Donald Trump had already received extra deference, advanced notice and other avoidance techniques to try to resolve this without going in and taking this stuff. They even sent down very top officials from the government to explain to Trump`s lawyers that it was vital that they turn over the state secrets that we`re now sitting in a citizen`s home.

So there`s actually a much longer timeline here of events. And as with all of this, we`re going to follow the facts so that I can give you a preview that Donald Trump`s version of events really focus on Monday, as mentioned, he`s the one publicizing the Monday search, and he`s got a lot of people pushing misinformation about it. So part of that narrative is the idea that this all just popped up out of the blue.

In fact, the reports both from DOJ and independent sources show that Trump was issued a subpoena about returning these documents in the spring. And it came after Trump had returned those 15 boxes of records to the archives that he was not supposed to have in the first place, which included classified material. In June, there was a visit on the third to Mar-a-Lago where the chief counter Intel official in the Justice Department, went on site, arriving at Mar-a-Lago, discussing the boxes of government records. Trump was there reportedly, so he knew about this, which, again, is important that this wasn`t all somehow kept from him in some bureaucratic miscommunication. He reportedly shook hands and that part was normal. Five days later, that official had a written communication with Trump`s lawyer requesting the contents that the room -- in that room be better secured.

By late June, the Feds had issued the subpoena for surveillance footage which the Trump team provided. And according to the articles that are coming out tracking this, that`s as far as they could identify what happened, then you have Monday search. So what changed in that amount of time? Well, it is apparent that sometime between that set of conversations and attempts to get the material in June, something broke, either there was evidence that Trump or his lawyers were lying in a manner that they could no longer be trusted, or there was some other development regarding what was still the possibly illegal possession of the documents. Now, we heard from former SDNY Chief David Kelley about how this all relates to possible criminal activity.



DAVID KELLEY, FORMER SDNY CHIEF: The question here is, there was conversation and interaction between the National Archives and the Trump camp. What did he say and what did he do? That may well be at the end of the day that this case is only about that, give us -- we want our documents back, they`re important to the national security, we`re taking them back. But it could also be a lot more than that. And it may well be because he lied about it, or he did something, you know, under the table, not wanting people to see but what he was doing.


MELBER: The level of public guessing here is understandable. And it`s basically required because of the security rules around the secrecy of the probe. And the way Donald Trump is being so selective, as I discussed tonight with Neal Katyal. Donald Trump complaining and complaining but not revealing anything about what they took out of his home, which makes you wonder, as even he know what they took would make him look really bad. So what happens next and what decision does the Trump team make? We have a former federal Prosecutor Renato Mariotti. And we`re back after this break.




GARLAND: Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor. Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing.


MELBER: Attorney General Garland today in his briefing about that search of Donald Trump and now laying out a choice for Trump and his lawyers to make about the unsealing of that material. I`m joined now by former federal prosecutor, Renato Mariotti. Thanks for being here.


MELBER: This was striking, I just went through some of the timeline. And I want to do that with you because it seems instructive. And we can show the search here. You see, I`m not going to read it all. But I`m going to say bottom line, Renato, it took time.

You have the return of some material and then everything you see on the rest of that list is all of the time that it went through. And so, given that there`s been so much talk about being a citizen and not above the law, I want to start with this most simple question to you. And then we can build, is that OK?


MELBER: If a different citizen, just a human, had this kind of classified material at home, and then was subpoenaed, would they get this much time and this much deference and treatment just before we even get to Monday?

MARIOTTI: No way. This is kid gloves, Ari. If I had 15 boxes or more of classified documents in my house, the FBI would be here to pick it up. They`d be beating down my doorstep. I wouldn`t get a subpoena. I wouldn`t get a request. I wouldn`t get months of time to figure it out. It would be taken from me swiftly. Period.

MELBER: Yes. And then my second question is also simple that we could get intricate. You ever heard of this expression, don`t mistake my kindness for weakness?

MARIOTTI: I sure have. I sure have.

MELBER: It`s not -- it`s not a legal doctrine. But I wonder if that`s a little bit of where Merrick Garland is. He is known for his sobriety, his reasonableness. That`s part of why he first was discovered to many Americans because he was this moderate judge picked by president trying to find someone that Republicans had previously been on record saying they support it.

We all remember that. Now, he`s the attorney general, he`s by far not the most, shall we say, aggressive style prosecutor that Biden could have picked. Andrew Weissmann, a molar deputy is very respected. I think he`s known as independent, but his style is more aggressive.

Biden picked this type of person. It seems to some degree that they thought over at Mar-a-Lago that they had one over on him. Does that fit into this? Were they wrong? What happened in your view, after so much times -- so much time, I should say, of deference?

MARIOTTI: Well, we saw there were some boxes that were turned over. And then there was an additional request, right? So, that suggests that the government was not -- did not think they had everything. And then after that subpoena, of course, we then have a search warrant later, which suggests that they had some information that they still didn`t have everything after a grand jury subpoena.

And I think the message that Trump`s team got was because he`s the former president, that they`re -- they were going to treat them with kid gloves, they were going to give them a special deference. And they were for a period of time.

And they were doing it precisely for this moment, for the moment when Trump`s team was going to cry, foul, and attack the FBI and attack DOJ. And they could say, look, we bent over backward for this guy, and he still was not enough, he absolutely committed to not, you know, following the law.

MELBER: Yes. Take a listen to Garland the day defending these federal officials.


GARLAND: Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy. Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor. I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked.


MELBER: When you see people say, oh, gosh, well, the Trump folks are dialing up the rhetoric. We also have that terrible report about an attack on FBI office. We`re going to have that in the program as well tonight, sadly. What do you say to people who think, oh gosh, well maybe that`ll press these guys as if they`ve never faced down gangsters or drug dealers and criminals?


MARIOTTI: I think that this is not -- you know, Donald Trump is not the biggest criminal that the Justice Department has faced. I think they face greater threats. I know I`ve had threats in my life when I was a federal prosecutor. I know many others in the Justice Department have.

But I will say this, I do think that there had been talk about whether or not this Justice Department was not up to the task of challenging a modern- day liar and spinster like Donald Trump. And I think today that they proved that they were able to put him on his heels. That`s really something.

MELBER: Really interesting. Again, coming from as we try to go to people who`ve done some of this work because you have Mr. Mariotti. Thank you. We are going to fit in a break and as mentioned the very serious news coming out of an FBI field office in Cincinnati today. An armed suspect making an attack there, now dead. And sources reporting he was at the Capitol on January 6th. This is a part of the whole landscape right now. We have the latest on that coming up.



MELBER: In with NBC News, justice reporter, Ryan Reilly. Ryan, what do authorities know about the incident?

RYAN REILLY, JUSTICE REPORTER, NBC NEWS: So, this is an individual with a nail gun and got based on his post on social media. He basically tried to attack the office with a nail gun, and then was later killed. It`s not clear how long it took for him. He was apparently wounded at one point and then I might have bled out.

But what I`ve learned from other sources who are close to a lot of the online sleuthing community that has been working on it this January 6th case. These January 6th investigations is that he was on the grounds of the Capitol on January 6th.

There`s no indication that he went inside the building. But we do know, based on his own public pronouncements, and as well as from what law, what exclusive found is that he was on the grounds of the Capitol that day.

MELBER: Right. And that gives information background on his profile, his activities. Again, authorities, journalists not yet able to correctly draw a link. Indeed, as I think viewers know, from following these often-tragic breaking news incidents, it can take a long time for authorities to develop with confidence, an individual`s motive.

The background, though relevant, just as the week that this occurs, is relevant. Indeed, at the highest levels of the FBI, we have heard these kinds of concerns. Not with regard to this incident. Again, folks can tell I`m being very precise about a breaking news incident. But in general, FBI Director Chris Wray speaking about these kinds of threats just this week, let`s hear that.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI: In any threats made against law enforcement, including the men and women of the FBI, as with any law enforcement agency are deplorable and dangerous. We have in this country had over the last few years, an alarming rise in violence against law enforcement.


MELBER: How does this week figure into what is clearly a time where much of law enforcement is on high alert and the airwaves, particularly in the right-wing community as well as online, are full of as we have reported, we reported on some of the dangerous rhetoric last night, some very inflammatory rhetoric and direct calls to action against -- crimes against law enforcement?

REILLY: It`s a lot and you know, it was remarkable about it is that there hasn`t been a lot of information that any of this is based off of, right? It`s all not based off of -- no one`s seeing the underlying warrant, whether it was based in something that should be investigated. They`re all just sort of taking Trump`s word on this and saying that it`s, you know, following his lead, and sort of this is an unfair attack.

The FBI is apt to get him without actually looking at the underlying facts of this because no one`s been able to see that. We might be able to see that in the next few days. But there`s already such an online surge of these threats and talks about civil war, as we reported along with Ben Collins earlier this week. It`s just -- it`s a really threatening environment.

And we saw this sort of play out for what it seems like I mean, by every indication, this was someone who`s very much in Trump`s orbit, it was there January 6th. So, I think it`s something that, that it`s sort of the worst- case scenario, I think, for a lot of law enforcement folks who were worried about what the impact of Donald Trump`s rhetoric will be. And as we saw play on January 6th, itself, that`s sort of another indication of that.

MELBER: Joining us now is New York Times columnist, Michelle Goldberg. Ryan stays with us on this reporting. Michelle, as I`ve been careful to emphasize because the facts matter that we are tracking this new information. Authority is not determining motive.

At the same time, it is also a fact that we are discussing this in an operative environment of incredibly inflammatory as I put it last night, defamatory attacks on law enforcement. Here`s a little bit of what has been playing out this week in some of the Trump-friendly media.



CHRISTINA BOBB, TRUMP ATTORNEY: No, there is no security that something wasn`t planted. I`m not -- I`m not saying that that`s what they did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These lawyers said they brought in backpacks. What was in those backpacks? Was -- did they bring those in to fill them up or did they have something in there?

JESSE WATTERS, HOST, FOX NEWS: We know they doctor evidence. We know they plant evidence. We know they hide evidence. We know they lie.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Do I know that the boxes of material they took from Mar-a-Lago, that they won`t put things in those boxes to entrap him? How do we know?

BOBB: They precluded me from actually watching what they did. But at this point, I don`t necessarily think that they would even go to the extent of trying to plant information. I think they just make stuff up.


MELBER: Michelle, that`s just some of what`s been going around. I mentioned to viewers yesterday, there was some other stuff that was so violent in its nature that we are not going to regulate -- re-air it, and we`re choosing not to air it tonight, but it also referred to murder. So, with all of that said, your view of where we are this week?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I think that the attacks on -- the rhetorical attacks on the FBI are just a smaller part of it kind of broader insurrectionary rhetoric that we`ve seen spread all over the right. You know, you`re seeing a lot of talk of civil war, some of it from right-wing influencers, but some of it from members of Congress, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, you`re sick, you know.

And so, it`s not that surprising if this is in fact, what happened that somebody adjacent to the MAGA movement, somebody who reportedly was at the Capitol on January 6th. Would take this rhetoric of civil war, which has been all over the right-wing internet, that they would take it seriously and act on it.

I mean, that`s kind of what stochastic terrorism is. It`s people in power. People with some sort of reaching authority saying over and over again, somebody has to do something, somebody has to do something, and then trying to wash their hands a bit when somebody does just what they`ve been calling for.

MELBER: And, Michelle, as you say that means taking this stuff, both seriously and literally. Donald Trump has repeatedly operated on the premise that the threatening, the fear, the willingness to go farther than most, if not everyone in these positions is a benefit. And the fear of violence is a benefit.

And we`ve reported extensively on his remarks and his actions on the sixth when he clearly welcomed and cheered the violence. Whether that`s legally chargeable is a more narrow question. On days like today, as we look at an attack on FBI field office by someone tied to the Trump movement, while the motivations are still under investigation.

We see that separate from the legal incitement question having powerful, influential people who cheer violence has consequences. What do you think is vital for the responsible part of the country and the Justice Department to do facing this?

GOLDBERG: Well, I think two parts. First of all, I think it`s imperative that people not let themselves be intimidated. I have a column out now about some of the centers, pundits who`ve been saying that perhaps we shouldn`t be prosecuting Donald Trump or worrying over much that, you know, people have been worrying that by prosecuting Donald Trump or investigating Donald Trump, we`re going to rile up his base, we`re going to make the possibility of a civil war more likely.

I think that it`s correct that this investigation is going to rile up Trump`s base. But I think letting that dissuade any law enforcement officials is basically giving the insurrectionists a veto. I mean, this has become a regular part of American life, people on the far right, threatening violence if they don`t get their way, and to give into that is really, to give into terrorism.

And so, I think that you know, Donald Trump`s ability to kind of summon a mob or to summon violence or inspire violence cannot be a reason to give him impunity for many crimes that he might have committed. I think that that is really, really important. And I also think that when people use this insurrectionary rhetoric, the Justice Department needs to take it seriously.

I think they have been, I mean, one good thing about having Merrick Garland there as the A.G. is that he`s somebody who really made his career responding to white nationalist violence responding to militia violence, and that experience, hopefully, will serve him well in dealing with this threat.

MELBER: Yes, all important points as we carefully look at this incident and the wider developments this week. Michelle Goldberg, Ryan Reilly, I want to thank both of you. We`re going to fit in a break. When we come back how everyone is making sense of this and why the fear is very real. Stay with us.




MICK MULVANEY, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: I didn`t even know there was a safe at Mar-a-Lago and I was the chief of staff for 15 months. So, this would be someone who was handling things on day to day who knew where documents were so that would be somebody very close inside the president. My guess is there`s probably six or eight people who have that kind of information.


MELBER: Trump aids out there fingering while each other pointing it trying to say well, it couldn`t have been me. I don`t know about the safe. That`s, of course, one of Trump`s former top aides, former chief of staff. The inner circle has been reportedly increasingly paranoid wondering whether it was a mole who might have short-circuited the apparent plan to mislead the Feds, give them back some dogs hold back others. It`s a hot topic over at Fox.



WATTERS: Newsweek reported that they had a mole inside Mar-a-Lago which doesn`t surprise me. Remember they put moles in the campaign. Put moles all over the place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was a Secret Service agent. I think it`s someone in the president`s detail.

REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): Under Garland`s watch the DOJ resembles the Gestapo.


MELBER: So, this is television make sure you watch very closely as I roll that because that`s all it deserves. You`ll note the banner on Fox yesterday there was also DOJ silent. They were complaining the DOJ was silent yesterday. You can watch tonight whether they`re glad that it`s no longer silent.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is fundraising off this saying he needs a donation immediately to fight the witch hunt. And there`s $100 button. And true grifter though when you pre-checked the box it becomes -- yes, a recurring $100 donation. Something they got in trouble for previously. No issue, too important not to fundraise off. We`ll be right back.


MELBER: A final question for you tonight, Merrick Garland is telling Donald Trump to decide whether the warrant should come out or not. So, I ask you, should the warrant come out? Should the warrant and its content be released? You can tell me @AriMelber on social media. @AriMelber on Twitter or Instagram and you can also find me at

If you want to link with me, or you can tell us should the warrant come out or not. The Trump lawyer is going to have to decide their answer. That does it for us. "THE REIDOUT" starts now.