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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 8/18/22

Guests: Juanita Tolliver, Ken Frydman


News organizations and Trump won bid to release more information about the search at Mar-a-Lago, but the judge gave DOJ a chance to make redactions for national security purposes. Trump might end up hiring criminal defense lawyer Drew Findling as Trump hit legal rock bottom with the Mar-a-Lago search, pleading the Fifth, and his former lawyer Rudy Giuliani targeted for indictment. Political analyst Juanita Tolliver joins Ari Melber to talk about Mitch McConnell shading low-quality GOP candidates in the midterm election. The press secretary leading Rudy Giuliani`s 1993 mayoral campaign Ken Frydman joins Ari Melber to talk about the questions swirling about Giuliani`s new testimony.


JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC HOST: Thank you for joining us on this Thursday. We`ll see you tomorrow, that will be Friday. THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.

Hey, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hey, John. Thank you. Welcome to THE BEAT. We`re tracking breaking news.

The nation is about to learn even more about that unprecedented search of Trump`s home because a judge has ruled that parts of the DOJ prosecutor`s roadmap for that must now be unsealed and released soon. It`s the affidavit that the Garland DOJ wanted to keep secret after releasing the search warrant itself. DOJ arguing the entire roadmap was too sensitive to be released citing witness protection in the ongoing investigation.

So here`s the news. The DOJ lost that argument today. The judge finding that those prosecutors failed to meet the burden to prove the entire affidavit should remain sealed, ordering the Garland DOJ to now file their secret proposed redactions within a week. So that`s a loss for them on process and a win for getting more information about this operation.

As a general citizen, if you are interested in learning even more about what`s going on there, well, that`s a win. Most news outlets wanted the outcome for that reason, some had filed in court for. Trump also said he wanted that outcome. But that`s been a shift for him. He went from hiding the original warrant, which he had the whole time, then saying he wanted it released, then the judge releasing some new materials as well today like more of the warrant application with cites he illegally possessed information, contraband at Mar-a-Lago.

Now the entire intel probe here is still in early stages as they review the new evidence they got from searching Mar-a-Lago. So, bottom line, we are going to learn more about this operation, which means learning more about evidence that was at Trump`s home that the government views as stolen and illegal. Then there is Donald Trump effort to publicize and spin all of this out of court.

You know, Trump often attacks reporters, I think everybody knows that, but he also likes a good scoop. It was Donald Trump who broke the news of that initial search in his angry statement. The DOJ in fact has emphasized that while it respected his confidentiality up and through that search, it was Donald Trump who made it a spectacle. Indeed, I was thinking about this today, after Trump had that brief foray into post presidential blogging when his post got virtually no audience and he shuddered that blog and after he`s been living this quieter life, if you will, kicked off from social media, he really did have the scoop of the year in publicizing his own search or raid, breaking the story.

Even an incriminating one can put you in the position to help shape it or at least that`s the Trump playbook. Remember his longest serving adviser, Roger Stone, seen here under that very dramatic arrest? Well, we have that video. It says Sinclair because it was leaked to them but we have it because Roger Stone leaked his own arrest video. It might seem odd showing your own arrest in a situation that otherwise would never have been seen by the public. There he was marched by those agents in his shirt.

Or take Trump cooler John Eastman who recently shared a video of himself being lawfully searched during what you see there, this was shared with FOX News but it was Eastman`s video. Police made him put his hands on his head, they took his phone under that judge-approved warrant. Again, it might seem like something people would not want to share. There`s no alleged misconduct or illegal search, let alone police brutality. There`s just Eastman`s criminal evidence himself. There he is with the warrant, that`s under law, and well, ever the lawyer I guess he decided to try to start telling them what he thought of the situation.

That`s the playbook which gives context to news first reported on CNN and confirmed by NBC that Trump aides are now mulling release of their own surveillance video of the Mar-a-Lago search, which would be a similar playbook, to try to grab some kind of attention around what is a lawful search that most people wouldn`t want to publicize. Most people wouldn`t say, oh, I`ve just been searched. This was stressful. Hey, honey, can you get the video from the home cam?

Let`s put it on the internet or television? Let`s show everyone people searching our home. What`s more telling in all this is what Trump is not doing. They are not appealing the search in court as far as we know. They`re not demanding a hearing about trying to recover the evidence taken from Mar-a-Lago or suppress it in future court proceedings. If they did that, and here`s why they`re afraid of that. If they did that, the facts would be weighed, and a judge would then decide whether they win or lose.


And the reason they`re not doing it might actually be a fair point, some prudent lawyering, that Trump may be listening to some lawyer`s advice, including his new Florida counsel, that they would almost certainly lose that appeal, which would draw more attention to how it was a lawful search because he had allegedly illegal material on site. So experts think Trump would lose that type of challenge for the same reason that Attorney General Garland`s prosecutors lost a proceeding or part of this clash today.

And I know this is going to sound old-fashioned but let me tell it to you before we bring in a very big legal guest. These judges, they`re not supposed to pick sides in advance. They oversee federal powers that are designed to check prosecutors and subjects alike. And the system does not always work perfectly, as we`ve reported right here, but I can tell you something. This system is based more on evidence than, say, the free- wheeling lies you hear in the campaigns or the deep state fan fiction that passes for analysis in many MAGA discussions about this lawful search.

So today that process had a dash of pushback for Garland`s prosecutors. While I should tell you, long-term, those same prosecutors and several legal experts say it is Donald Trump who has more to fear and more to lose in any forum that is focused on facts and evidence.

Now to our special guest, my one-on-one interview with the former general counsel of the FBI and a former senior member of the Mueller probe, Andrew Weissmann.

With this kind of stuff going on and new rulings, you`re exactly who we want to hear from. Thanks for being on THE BEAT tonight.


MELBER: I walked through some of that both legal and out of court analysis. Your thoughts?

WEISSMANN: So I couldn`t agree with you more, big picture, Donald Trump has learned that the courts are not his friend because they deal in the world where facts and law matter, and he learns certainly from challenging the election results that he lost in front of so-called Trump judges and Obama judges. It didn`t matter who appointed them. Everyone lost. I mean everyone ruled against him, and he lost.

So, you know, that`s why today he said out of court what he wanted, but he made no motion at all as you said to intervene and state, you know, his position. The one thing I would slightly push back on --


WEISSMANN: -- is the idea that DOJ completely lost or the news organizations completely won. If you would think of it in terms of the full affidavit, there`s no question that DOJ won in the sense that the full affidavit is not going to get released and the news organizations won in the sense that it`s not the case that nothing is getting released, and --

MELBER: Could I push back on your pushback?

WEISSMANN: Absolutely.

MELBER: Are there two lawyers in this segment? Would you say that based on what we know, the bulk of the affidavit will come out?

WEISSMANN: No. I don`t think so.

MELBER: What would you say? What portion do you expect? For people to understand, because we`ve heard a lot of legal terms and redactions. I`m trying to (INAUDIBLE) and say, there is more information coming. How much it is and how much of that is a win or loss is to be explained. That`s why you`re here. But more is coming. Explain to us how much more and then of course complete your point.

WEISSMANN: So remember that the district court -- I mean, the magistrate judge has seen the entire affidavit, so when the government was saying it`s all something that`s sensitive to a criminal investigation or it`s all something sensitive from a national security perspective or witnesses, he has in front of him the affidavit. So he can sort of see, are there portions that don`t implicate those concerns?

So the things that I think we will still not see is anything that could reveal the identity of witnesses. I don`t think we`re going to learn anything about the substance of classified information, those kinds of documents, and so if we`re concerned for instance, was there nuclear information, I don`t know that we`re going to see that. And I think leads, things about various things that the department might still be doing.

So things that they saw in the surveillance tapes, for instance, if that`s in the affidavit. I think all of that could be fairly redacted. Having said that, an area where I do think we could see something that would be very useful is the whole back-and-forth between the department and Donald Trump and his people. That`s something that Donald Trump knows, those people can clearly put it out there, and I could see the judge saying, you know what? I don`t really see how that implicates so much the concerns here from a national security perspective.

MELBER: Right.


WEISSMANN: Maybe some of the substance would be redacted but, you know, that seems like it would give us a fair amount of detail, at least on something, and more than we know now.

MELBER: And on a smaller point, Andrew, we`re going to keep the banner we have up right here, the way these interviews work, I don`t know if you can see our banner right now.


MELBER: Well, it says judge pushes back which I guess ended up being the legal theme of the moment. So shoutout to everyone.

WEISSMANN: I agree with that. Yes, I agree with that.

MELBER: Let me get you --

WEISSMANN: I think we can all agree.

MELBER: Let me get you on another case that overlaps to something you know a lot about and that there`s been wide debate over, is it enough, is it something, but I got to tell you, I think you would agree, I think almost anyone would agree if Barack Obama had a company and the whole company was indicted, it was going on trial, and a top executive of that company pled guilty to multiple crimes, that`s a big deal. A part and separate from whether there is a view about what Donald Trump`s individual liability is which of course is a story in more than one jurisdiction.

So stay with me, let me update everyone. Allen Weisselberg we`ve heard all about today, it finally happened. He pled guilty on these tax fraud charges and he is slated to serve up to five months in Rikers. That is the infamous prison in New York. Now Rikers is not a very easy place to be. Indeed we`ve covered it as a place that has notorious conditions, overcrowding, basic necessities, human rights violations have been an issue, and we`ve covered that no matter who ends up there because people in prison are still people. So it`s going to be potentially a whole different experience for him.

The Trump executive also is slated to cooperate in the corporate part of this, the trial of the Trump Organization. The leadership of that company includes Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump. Weisselberg, however, still got this plea and he is convicted now. He is a felon. He is saying he did these things but he is not willing to cooperate against Donald Trump himself. Trump insiders have long said Weisselberg knows it all.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that all roads lead to Allen Weisselberg. I mean, all fingers point to him.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: The only few people that in the Trump Organization that know anything about the taxes is Mr. Trump, who knows everything about everything, Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you think he could be the ultimate tour guide into the Trump orbit?


COHEN: Always Allen Weisselberg on the check. Mr. Weisselberg for sure.


MELBER: Andrew, is it a big deal that the Trump Org itself is going on trial and what does today mean?

WEISSMANN: It is a big deal. I am somebody who I think like a lot of people prior to today had a lot of skepticism about the Manhattan D.A.`s office and whether the investigation was really ongoing in a meaningful way, and I`ve changed my mind.


WEISSMANN: I think this is a big deal. First, there`s no question the defense got something out of this because they capped their exposure to five months if and only if he testifies truthfully. So he has to at least partially cooperate. So he has to take the stand on October 24th in the Trump Organization case, assuming that the organization doesn`t plead out and there`s going to be a ton of pressure on them now I think to get a plea.

But assuming he testifies, it`s going to be really hard not to mention the T word in that trial. I mean, we`re talking about a very small company, and in order for Weisselberg to get his five-month deal, the judge today made it absolutely clear, it is only if he testifies truthfully. If he breaches that and the judge finds that he did not testify truthfully, then the book gets thrown at him. He can face the five to 15 years of the maximum charge. So that`s a big deal.

And the other thing that I found really interesting today is that Allen Weisselberg in pleading guilty admitted to something that the Manhattan D.A.`s office charged, which was they charged that not only that was this a state and city tax offense but notably they said it was a federal offense and he pleaded to that today.

MELBER: Right. And as you remind folks, state and federal taxes have implications and when people are defrauding the government, they`re also defrauding their fellow citizens. These are very rich people, Mr. Weisselberg, Mr. Trump, by any measure, and they`re out here nickel and diming up to high funds to evade taxes which means somebody else has to pick up the bill.

Andrew, on more than one topic, thank you, sir.

WEISSMANN: Thank you.

MELBER: We have our shortest break, which is 60 seconds. When we come back, we turn to a story I have been dying to tell you about with new reporting on why Donald Trump is having trouble hiring lawyers in multiple cases and the lawyer he just found.

We`re back in one minute.



MELBER: Now to our special report. A former president`s struggle to get just about any criminal defense attorneys while he`s facing basically the most escalating simultaneous criminal probe of his long litigious life. The new headline this week is familiar. Everyone at law firms saying no to Trump`s bids to get seasoned lawyers. It`s familiar because you may recall it`s a problem Trump also faced, and this was documented, during the Mueller probe.

Now the reporting states the reasons stem from, one, Trump is a person, and two, Trump is a deadbeat. His style and refusal to cooperate or take advice makes him nearly impossible to represent, say sources. One observer diplomatically noted it would be unclear if new lawyers would ever get paid. Yes. It would be unclear. Or there`s a long line of litigation and complaints about him not paying bills.

So Trump has been in similar spots before and he has found lawyers and he has evaded other cases, so let`s be clear. You might hear this and say OK, Ari, but we`ve heard about this before and then he still got away. But I want to be clear with you, only following the facts as we can find them, Donald Trump is in a measurably worse and more desperate legal condition now. For example, before he`d never been subject to a criminal search of his home, that`s a first this month.

He`d never pled the Fifth Amendment until last week. He has a federal criminal probe eyeing his failed coup, which is a set of government related problems with people corroborating when he`s out of government, so different than the Mueller probe. And then just today as reported, the top finance officer of his company pleading guilty, the whole firm awaits that October trial. And one of Trump`s recent lawyers who`s not available to represent him anymore is because of his legal problems. Rudy Giuliani busy with the criminal probe in Georgia, where he has been formally targeted for indictment, just testified six hours yesterday.

And that`s a trend with Trump`s lawyers. They often find themselves in need of other lawyers and that`s the third reason that sometimes it could be hard for him to find lawyers because the new lawyers look at this kind of case understand not only could it be expensive, when they don`t get paid, but it could be disastrous if they lose their law license like Roy Cohn who was disbarred or Michael Cohen who was convicted, or the recently searched coup lawyer John Eastman.

Now Trump`s lawyer representing specifically the Florida matter, that search, is already linked to the elector fraud plot, which means she could have Giuliani-type problems and she left television to work for Trump but then likened the situation, well, back to the silver screen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why wouldn`t you just release that yourselves?

CHRISTINA BOBB, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: Well, this is part of the discussion with the Department of Justice. Of course we`re trying to do everything in accordance with the law and the way that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s absolutely nothing preventing you guys from releasing it, though.

BOBB: Other than decorum.


MELBER: That`s one relatively new lawyer in Florida where, as we reported, there are signs that the search was more about recovering evidence than preparing charges, meaning that is not Donald Trump`s worst problem. Most people would be very concerned to have their home searched under a criminal warrant in any situation, but for him, Florida`s lesser. So what`s more? Well, as I`m telling you, it`s a different story in Georgia, where the D.A. has targeted over a dozen people for indictment for alleged crimes that were to benefit Trump, meaning not just random crimes of people he knows but crimes for his political benefit, for his attempted coup, and it`s linked to his own illicit demands which were caught on tape.


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.


MELBER: That is very bad. That is now criminal evidence. That is on tape. If you follow this stuff sometimes and you say gosh, it seems like Trump did so much all over the place especially around trying to overthrow the election, that`s public evidence. That`s something people can decide whether it disqualifies him for office or not, in your own mind, and vote.


But our legal system as I`ve told you is much more precise. So if he does one thing over here in Wisconsin and another in Georgia, those are two different state probes and dealing with state law. Georgia is the place that`s the worst for Trump. Georgia is the place where you have that tape. Georgia is the place where you have others already marked for targeted indictment.

Now having said that, nobody can predict what DAs or grand juries will do. But the evidence matter so you have more damning evidence in Georgia than any other state, so his problem is most acute there.

And let me tell you something, Donald Trump seems to know that because while I just showed you the reporting about how he`s juggling this search for lawyers in more than one case all over the country, and in his home state of Florida, and recruiting people off TV or off personal relationships, in Georgia it`s a little different, which is our special report. New information he has now turned to a seasoned criminal defense trial lawyer who is actually clashed with the same D.A. in Atlanta, who has won some uphill criminal cases, who is part of a small but experienced criminal defense firm.

It`s the Findling law firm in Georgia and it`s headed by the former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense lawyers. We`re talking about real credentials here. The "New York Times" just broke the news that Trump got this legal breakthrough and he`s hired Drew Findling, sometimes called the billion-dollar lawyer, as his counsel in Georgia. Now Mr. Findling also, according to the "New York Times," is best known for representing rappers.

And bottom line, Trump is facing a potential RICO charge here which is a gangster problem and now he`s tapped Gucci Mane`s lawyer. It was Findling who got the very celebrated artist Gucci Mane off what could have been almost life and career ending situations. He had 2013 charges that included allegedly threatening police, which has become quite popular among MAGA supporters lately.

And Findling was able to bring that down from a possible 20 years of prison to three. Now I`ll tell you in that situation it was considered a legal success, although it is three more years in prison than his new client would be hoping to serve.


DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There were three problems with the criminal justice system -- racism, mass incarceration, and the issue of collateral consequences.

Dude, that judge stopped the hearing to basically say, hey, check out the black woman. She`s articulate.

I think is that we`ve exaggerated what gangs are in Atlanta. I think we`ve exaggerated what RICO is in Atlanta.

We`re not really indicting anybody for Quentin Tarantino films, are we? Right?


MELBER: Mr. Findling there, speaking about a case we`ve covered, that is involving the same D.A. and the use of evidence against artists. What we have here is a real life story of rap and law combining. It`s also an important legal development for this Georgia case.

And now yes, I`ll be honest with you, it might be tempting to take this opening to try to wedge in some Gucci Mane reference into Trump`s situation but that doesn`t seem necessary right now. And honestly, that`s not what we`re about here. It`s not like just because the former president and Gucci Mane are in a story we`re going to just squeeze in every last Gucci bar into a newscast.

I mean, does that sound like something we would do?


MELBER: Trump often talks like he`s tough, like he`s ready for these legal fights, like, to use a common parlance, he wants the smoke. Sometimes he makes it sound like he wants all the smoke. But in many of these big cases, Trump University, testifying to Mueller, firing his own staff, Donald Trump don`t want the smoke.

To paraphrase Gucci Mane, why you flexin`, Donald? You don`t want no smoke.


MELBER: You don`t want no smoke. That was then. Now there is plenty of smoke for Donald Trump in Georgia, and to be clear, Findling is a serious attorney. He is known sometimes by certain cases, including representing some of Georgia`s most prominent artists but we`ve actually had him on THE BEAT before as a prominent criminal defense attorney for his legal expertise assessing then Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz.


FINDLING: Now I look at this as a trial attorney and I look at Alan Dershowitz speaking and think about how he would be cross-examined, and he ended by talking about how partisan the proceedings have been to date. That shows that he`s walking into this with a political opinion.


MELBER: That`s what he told us right here on THE BEAT. Now, today Findling is not analyzing Trump lawyers. He is one, and as a longtime civil rights advocate, he`s also been publicly critical of Donald Trump. He called him a, quote, "racist" and labeled him pathetic once again. So there is a lot here apart from the rap overlap.


And we are learning that whatever else you think here is going on, Donald Trump or someone close to him who can affect his decision-making knows the difference between the search in Florida and the potential indictment in Georgia, knows the difference between some of what`s going on in New York, which is serious but may not reach him personally and what apparently requires one of the type of, and they say this as a compliment in the bar, one of the type of legal killers you need to deal with real cases and real prison time against that D.A. and that use of RICO in Atlanta. So that`s pretty striking.

Now, ultimately only Trump knows if this particular lawyer will get the bag, and if a counsel who once called Donald Trump racist is a fake friend or a true dog, or is someone who might only be after a publicity stunt. Either way, we know Trump is back at it again because he`s faced legal pressure before. The big question here is will he end up legally both eyes closed.

Now are these serious questions? Or are these all Gucci Mane songs? Only time will tell.




SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: It`s probably a greater likelihood the House flips the Senate. Senate races are just different, they`re statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.


MELBER: Candidate quality. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell they`re saying the party might lose and fail to take back the Senate. Now few take the ever wildly McConnell completely face value, but other independent election experts also say Senate control is now a toss-up as Democrats look decent in more and more states. A D.C. pundits often tried to label the midterms with one theme or narrative but there are a whole range of races in these midterms.

They`ll turn on different issues. Take Kansas voters who showed her choice and a fairly radical Supreme Court upended their turnout in the electorate. That`s an issue that may hurt the Republican nominee in P.A. where Democrats are going on offense over abortion bans. In other states, there are democratic attack ads demeaning Republicans as Trump lackeys or worse.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Masters claims he supports women and family. He wants to ban all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s called cocaine smugglers heroes.

HERSCHEL WALKER, FOOTBALL PLAYER: I`m ready for Senator Warnock, when he`s ready to debate, I`m ready to go.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raphael Warnock has accepted three invitations to debate his opponent, Herschel Walker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yet Herschel Walker still refuses to agree to any debates.

GEORGE MAIER, STARK COUNTY SHERIFF: The one J.D. Vance calls law enforcement corrupt, it makes me angry. That makes my job harder. So does J.D.`s plan to eliminate an agency that combats violent drug traffickers.


MELBER: Republicans on defense there over policing wall on the right. You have other Republicans punching back and saying they see the new Biden Inflation Reduction Act as something they will run on and run against, because they say it`s hollow. And they`re betting Americans will continue to feel inflation going well into the voting booth. So that`s a lot of different issues up in the air. And as mentioned, it`s complicated. So we go to a veteran political analyst, Juanita Tolliver to decode it all. Welcome back.


MELBER: There`s a lot going on. The primaries take up understandable energy and yet there`s so many issues that are going to affect turnout. I`m curious what you see, given all the above.

TOLLIVER: Look, I`m saying that the main drivers right now that you previewed even are going to be around. Access to abortion and basic health care is going to be around. A response and a rebuttal to some of the harmful hateful narratives we`ve seen for Republicans. And I do want to go back to the phrase that Mitch McConnell used is quality candidates.

That`s something that -- quality control is something that Republicans are lacking right now, part and parcel because president -- former President Trump hand-picked these questionable problematic candidates who are oftentimes celebrity with no experience in political arenas at all. And so now they`re being put in any situations where they are proving to be lackluster compared to the Democratic nominees and democratic challengers.

MELBER: Yes, you zero in on it. It`s interesting, and this is why Mitch McConnell knows how to communicate. He left himself room. This is not a dog whistle. But it is an orange whistle. It`s a Trump whistle that allows him to say, hey, well, of course, we want high-quality candidates. He can walk away from this, but he`s saying to the GOP donors and others, you gave me - - you gave me craziness in P.A.

You gave me Herschel Walker, what do you want me to do? You know, and those are -- whether it`s Senate or other races, there`s a quality concern across the board. What do you think of sort of the -- I would say the savvy linguistics that he`s using there?

TOLLIVER: It`s obviously Mitch McConnell toeing this line, especially when we know how much he loves Donald Trump. Like that`s been clear for years now. And so, seeing him toe the line, I think allows for any surprises in November, any surprises in October that could potentially yield a positive outcome for him because while this seems extremely doom and gloom for some like McConnell who let`s be real at the start of 2020 was giddy about these midterm elections because he thought just like other Republicans, they had it in the bag.


But when you have, again, these untested candidates put forward. Now he`s kind of doing a double take in a gut check to brace himself to potentially still be a minority leader in a split Congress if Republicans are capable of taking back the House. But there`s a lot of toss-ups here. And I think that what Democrats are going to need to continue to do is like we saw in those examples of the ads.

Draw the contrast with these extremist Republicans. Highlight all of their flaws, all of their damaging history, emphasize everything that makes them not quality individuals who should be leading in the statewide positions in federal office.

MELBER: When you said not quality, someone, if they had just turned on the T.V., might think, God is wanting to being mean, but you`re actually just echoing and quoting. Mitch McConnell is concerned about quality. Quality control the team here. We did want to get the midterms update, and so Juanita, thanks for joining us.

TOLLIVER; Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: Absolutely. We`re going to fit in a break, but we did some reporting on the hypocrisy around just comply. I`ve heard from a lot of you about this. We have an update on that in tonight`s program, and if you didn`t see it last night, we have new material on that. But coming up next, a very special guest, a former Giuliani insider who is aghast at the fall from grace and concerned about the rule of law in America. It`s an important discussion we`re going to have, I think you`ll only see it on THE BEAT and it`s next.




RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP`S PERSONAL LAWYER: Who was it called by? All of them. Oh, my goodness, all the networks? Wow. All the networks. We have to forget about the law.


MELBER: It`s always upside down day, right? But at the time, it looked like a sideshow, a kind of a P.R. problem for Giuliani as he suggested that somehow the election should be overturned. By now it`s a bigger deal. And he has been formally targeted for indictment. He just testified facing the grand jury. We don`t know what he said. It`s a secret process. We do know it was about six hours and then he departed through an underground garage. Giuliani has had many lies debunked.


GIULIANI: There`s overwhelming proof of fraud. This election was stolen by mail-in ballots. Those are the ballots that were stuck in the machine eight times, nine times, 10 times. Those mail-in ballots could have been written the day before by the Democratic Party hacks. I don`t have to be a genius to figure out that those votes are not legitimate votes. Our vote is owned by two Venezuelans who were allies of Chavez.


MELBER: Some of those were just difficult public appearances. And as you may have heard me mention, most of the time you`re allowed to lie in public. But then Giuliani did something else. And that`s why he`s now targeted for indictment. That`s why he just faced the grand jury because of what he said to the government before lawmakers.


GIULIANI: Dominion and Smartmatic the connection to Hugo Chavez is a highly inaccurate machine. What would that suggest phantom votes?


MELBER: I`m joined now by a special guest to offer insight into what has been quite a saga. Ken Frydman was the press secretary leading Giuliani`s 1993 mayoral campaign, which was victorious. That was the campaign that of course led to many thinking of Giuliani ultimately, as America`s mayor, he also wrote, what happened to Giuliani years ago, the man I worked for then is not the man who now lies for Donald Trump. Ken, thanks for being here.


MELBER: You look at this new testimony that he had to offer. He has been around the system more than most. He is a former prosecutor at one time heralded. Do you think that he provided information or based on what you know, do you think it`s more likely he pled the fifth?

FRYDMAN: I think it`s more likely that he invoked attorney-client privilege because if he tells the truth, it won`t set him free. You know, I think an indictment is a foregone conclusion here. It`s just a question of whether he flips -- flips on Trump or not.

MELBER: Let`s pause right there. We`ll do one and then two, you work for him. You`ve expressed your concern. Do you believe today he will be indicted in Georgia?

FRYDMAN: I do. I wrote that back in July. Let`s just say that I -- you know that I`ve -- I have my sources and I`ve been paying close attention. And people close to him reach out to me in despair, frankly, because they don`t -- it`s, you know, they don`t know what to do anymore. But the cat`s out of the bag. It`s -- there`s no turning back the clock here.

MELBER: And you`re doing something that is difficult. We`ve talked about this in our coverage where some people stick to things to the end. Some people appear to have no limit. Other people say, well, you supported some aspect of his leadership then or his vision then, in that situation, but you`re assessing what`s going on now.

Do you think that he lost any sense of align? Because we`ve covered this tonight and other ways, but now, we`re focused on him because he just testified. If he has no line, then he put himself presumably in legal jeopardy to help Donald Trump and that bid to overturn the election. Do you have a sense of why he would go that far at this stage in his life after they lost the election?


FRYDMAN: Because he plays hardball, always has. I wrote that three years ago, you know, in defense of his client, he`s going to do the best job he can. But lying is not acceptable, as a lawyer. Listen, I think Trump stole his soul. I mean, Rudy, let him. But there was a time that he did have a soul, you know, right after nine-11, he returned a check for $10 million to a Saudi prince because he didn`t accept the premise that America was somehow involved in nine-11.

So, he shows -- he has shown true character and integrity throughout his career and throughout his life, but he just -- he got seduced by Trump, and by the money and by the access and by the fame. And by the relevance, most importantly. Losing relevance for him was very, very difficult. Losing his law licenses has been even more difficult, I`m told.

MELBER: Yes, you mentioned what you`re told, I understand like anyone, you may keep the confidence there. But the people around him, their view right now, is that he will be indicted. He does know it and what about the information he has on Trump?

FRYDMAN: Well, there aren`t that many people around him anymore. But the ones who are know the truth, and Rudy knows the truth. And he knows he`s been lying for his client. So, you know, it`s just a question of, again, whether the D.A. in Fulton County puts together a conspiracy case, it looks like she is. I think she`s subpoenaed 17 -- 17 people, and she`s a RICO expert. So, it`s not a leap to assume that that`s what she`s trying to do. With Donald Trump at the top of the pyramid and Rudy only one brick underneath.

MELBER: And you think he gets it from what you can tell. I mean, he did cut a different sloth yesterday than the rabid press conferences. He looked like something had made him more careful.

FRYDMAN: Some would say that he was sober, literally and figuratively. I was told by somebody who works with him that he recently started his rant again that the election was stolen from Trump, and this person who is a rock rip Republican said, cut it out, Rudy, you know, Biden`s the president, and he got seven million more votes. And he said, Rudy then winked at him. And that says to me, he`s in on the joke. Only it`s not funny. Not to the rest of --

MELBER: This was when?

FRYDMAN: Recently, a couple weeks.

MELBER: Within the last month or two, I mean, during this Georgia probe? And then he -- I mean, that`s just interesting. You`re saying that according to this person, you both are quite close to him, historically, that he evinced knowledge, it`s all a lie, a lie they put forward to the government to overturn an election.

FRYDMAN: That`s what a wink implies to me.

MELBER: Yes, what can -- please.

FRYDMAN: That he -- that I say that is -- that is in on the joke. Listen, he said his goal was to disrupt the world, he and Trump, and create chaos. Trump thinks that people don`t -- don`t hold on to thoughts for more than three days. He may be right. So, if you keep stirring it up, it confuses people, and they forget what`s important and what`s not. But now he`s got to face the piper.

MELBER: Yes, exactly. And we`ve seen and we`ve reported this in a number of strands tonight, whether or not Donald Trump gets away with that chaos, ultimately at Trump or at the attempted coup, with the intelligence documents at his Florida home, remains to be seen. There`s a legal process here. Whether that chaos catches up with a lot of other people can, they already has. I`m out of time but finish your thoughts, sir.

FRYDMAN: And let`s not forget that Rudy said on January 6, let`s have a trial by combat. That clearly says let`s attack the Capitol. And it was a very short time between his admonition to the crowd and the time that they did breach the Capitol. Meanwhile, Trump was sitting with his feet up in the White House. So, I think Rudy is in a way is more culpable than Trump on that day.

MELBER: Well, and you mentioned RICO, which has to do with the conspiracy and Mr. Giuliani was in the late night, December 18th meeting where they tried and failed to do a military coup, and that is when they turn to the Capitol and that was when they had -- it couldn`t get military muscle, so they went for MAGA physical street muscle.

Some people may not have known that. I`ve always been very careful with the evidence. We do not assume how many people had forethought malicious advance intent to commit violence. That has to be proven not assumed. The evidence on Mr. Giuliani having been in that room and then everything else is worse than against other people, and I understand you`re trying to speak truth.


I`ll tell you, Ken, as we sign off, because you reminded us that a wink can mean someone`s lying. And I keep both my eyes open when I say thanks for being here, Ken Frydman.

FRYDMAN: Of course. Thank you for having me, Ari.

MELBER: We`re gonna fit in a break. We`re going to talk about just comply and Alex Jones rebuked again when we come back.



MELBER: Alex Jones against failing to escape accountability. A judge rejecting his attempt to try to stop another Sandy Hook defamation case. The judge allowing Sandy Hook victims to go at Jones even after he lost that other case. In Texas, Jones was found guilty of lying about murdered children and he faces a $50 million fine. This is a new and separate defamation trial. We`re keeping on it. It resumes next month. I wanted to give you that update because it`s an important case. When we come back our update on just comply and the hypocrisy.


MELBER: We have been covering many different aspects of the debates over law and order in America. But one of the most revealing has been this sudden attack on the judicial legal process, on prosecutors, on FBI agents from the right wing. With Trump aides going on Fox News to complain about every little aspect of these recent probes, which directly violates everything they`ve ever said involving police conduct, sometimes illegal that addresses black and brown Americans.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: If in fact, a police officer gives you a command, please exit the car, you should say, yes, officer, no, officer, OK, officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish you would have complied a whole lot earlier.

ERIC BOLLING, HOST, FOX NEWS: Bad decisions by a cop but if those decisions wouldn`t have been made if the perp didn`t run away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just comply, please listen.


MELBER: Just comply. We did a report on this on the program last night. We`ve heard a lot of reaction from you. BEAT viewer Matt Jackson says Republicans went from back the blue to attack the blue. Amanda Carroll talks about the double standard here, law enforcement in the justice system, and how it has been clearly documented.

I`ve told you we keep track of what you say and write to us, and we appreciate a lot of what I`ve heard from you. We`ll have another update and an expert on that story on an upcoming episode of THE BEAT. Right now, it`s time for "THE REIDOUT" with Tiffany Cross.