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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 9/14/22

Guests: Eugene Robinson, Robert Litt, David Corn, Barry Scheck


Trump ally and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell said the FBI seized his cell phone, this ahead of the January 6th Committee hearings resuming at the end of September. With GOP primaries over, MAGA extremists dominating key races. Barry Scheck is an American lawyer who received national media attention while serving on O. J. Simpson`s defense team, joins THE BEAT with Ari Melber to talk about the prison reform and the new scrutiny on America`s wrongful convictions. Brett Farve`s texts reveal his role in the welfare scandal. Trump-era special counsel winding down with further charges unlikely.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Thank you so much for letting us into your homes during these truly extraordinary times. We`re so grateful. THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.

Hi, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hi, Nicolle. Thanks, Nicolle.

Welcome to THE BEAT. Today we begin with another Trump ally having his phone seized by the FBI. And it`s someone you may have heard of, Mike Lindell. CEO of MyPillow, but also the reason he`s come up in these cases, a very well-known and rich public ally and supporter of Donald Trump including in the big lie, the lies about the election, the lies about its results. He says the FBI stopped him and seized his phone.


MIKE LINDELL, MYPILLOW CEO: We were stopped to go through a Hardee`s in Mankato where I was born, in Mankato, Minnesota and cars pulled up in front of us to the side of us and behind us, and I said they are either bad guys or the FBI. Well, it turns out they were the FBI.


MELBER: There you have it. He`s talking about what he went through and gives you a little bit of a clue into how law enforcement works. They know where he is, they choose a place where they think they can make the best possible contact, and they take what they need to that they`ve had lawfully approved. He`s a conspiracy theorist. He`s had a front row seat in the Trump White House. He says the feds there as you heard took the phone.

This comes after they seized the phones of other Trump aides including one who admitted to the fraudulent elector plot right here on this broadcast. Seven Trump allies have had their phones now seized. This MyPillow CEO is kind of an interesting addition because it is mostly political leaders or lawyers who have what you might call a more formal role in working for Donald Trump.

John Eastman released this video of the FBI, seizing his phone. That was earlier in the summer. Now the feds have used search warrants each time for each incident that we know of, and that means they got an independent judge or magistrate to approve it. That they already submitted enough evidence to show that there was at least a likely or probable suspicion about material that would prove a crime.

Doesn`t mean the person`s phone matches the crime. It might be that they know about somebody else`s crime. But it`s still something you have to prove to a judge and it`s never a good sign if that`s what the FBI needs from you. There are about 40 new subpoenas over the past week according to "The New York Times" reporting. That`s the federal side.

Then you have the January 6th Committee in Congress. They have a goal now to do new public hearings, starting by the end of the month, September 28th. Donald Trump has been attacking left and right, he`s got more than one legal investigation he`s facing. And he also found time to call Ashli Babbitt`s mother whose daughter was fatally shot during the insurrection when you had all of those different standoffs and you saw how much the insurrectionists were creating these different pockets of danger and the authorities were overwhelmingly restrained, although that was a person who was killed, which is always a tragedy in a law enforcement scenario but Donald Trump taking the side of arguing that the people who created the danger, who created the very environment that led to the kind of threats and risks that got the use of force engaged, that got Miss Babbitt killed, he`s trying to take their side.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: It`s a terrible thing that has happened to a lot of people that are being treated very, very unfairly. We`re with you. We`re working with a lot of different people on this and we can`t let this happen.


MELBER: I`m joined now by Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the "Washington Post," Gene Robinson, and the former general counsel for the director of National Intelligence, Robert Litt.

Welcome to both of you.

Gene, your view of the significance of the former president making that phone call after talking about pardoning these people many of whom have been convicted of crimes related to the insurrection.

EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: It`s incredible. I mean, he is all in with the insurrectionists. He would actually think that given the investigation that`s going on of January 6th and Donald Trump`s role, he would at some point say, gee, you know, I`m not -- I wasn`t really down with the violence. You know, I didn`t really mean for that to happen. He`s doing the opposite.

He`s actually -- and remember what was happening at the time that Ashli Babbitt was shot, I mean, it`s not just the people she was with were creating a danger, they were violently trying to force their way into the Capitol, into the areas of the Capitol where members of Congress were assembled in the most violent manner imaginable.


So that`s what Trump is -- has decided to get down with and that`s where he is. I think it`s kind of incredible, but there we are.

MELBER: Yes. There we are, and Mr. Litt, here`s a little more of what we heard from the Trump ally, Mike Lindell.


LINDELL: I said, this is my life. This is -- businesses rely on this. Everything I have relies on it. I can`t even imagine you can just take somebody`s phone because they want me to be a witness in the Tina Peters case. OK, but I`m not a witness, they just want my phone.


MELBER: Mr. Litt, from the legal and intelligence side, what do you see as the situation here?

ROBERT LITT, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL TO THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, Ari, I think you made the most important point, which is that the FBI can`t get a search warrant on its own. They have to go to a judge. They have to provide a sworn affidavit with enough evidence in it to establish probable cause that that phone contains evidence of a crime. It`s only probable cause. It doesn`t mean that Mike Lindell or anybody else is going to be charged with a crime.

But the FBI convinced an independent judge that there was evidence of a crime. It`s also the case that as I think you noted earlier, a number of people have been subpoenaed for their phones. And the government probably felt there was some reason why they couldn`t trust serving the subpoena on Lindell to actually get his phone unaltered. We don`t know that, but that would typically why you`d use a search warrant instead of a subpoena.

MELBER: Yes, say more about that. Again, we can`t cast just random aspersions but at a policy level you`re referring to the fact that when you have good faith cooperation, you have what Attorney General Garland memorably called the less intrusive means, or hey, we need this, you give it over, and then with some individuals at a policy level you use more intrusive means.

LITT: That`s exactly right, and just to circle back to the Mar-a-Lago search, that`s why they used a search warrant there because there was a track record of noncompliance. I don`t know what the circumstances are with respect to Mr. Lindell. None of us knows but obviously somebody at the Department of Justice felt that a search warrant was the appropriate way to proceed here.

MELBER: Yes, and you mentioned Mar-a-Lago. We have now a leading contender to become special master to do that extra review. Former Reagan appointee Raymond Deary, that is the only person that thus far we see Trump and the DOJ have agreed upon. Former federal prosecutor states said he wouldn`t be a good pick for Trump because he actually doesn`t tolerate any nonsense.

Deary is currently a judge in the New York Eastern District Court but he announced his retirement just last month. He`s done 30 years on the bench.

Mr. Litt, what do you see going forward there? We`ve explained to viewers that you do this kind of review it could take extra time. It can be somewhat of a delay. It`s not going to change the fundamentals of where the case goes, but you have this person here ready to do it apparently.

LITT: Well, Judge Deary was not only a federal judge but in particular he served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, so he has deep knowledge of intelligence matters. And prior to becoming a judge he was the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, the chief prosecutor in Brooklyn. So he`s going to have a lot of experience plus 30 years on the bench as a no nonsense judge to be able to enable him to complete this job quickly and efficiently and appropriately.

MELBER: Yes, and you have that whole investigation going, Gene, with however long it takes to do that review, and bottom line, the government`s position is that most of this stuff was sold in, it doesn`t belong to Trump, you can have all kinds of people look at it but unless they find something that either was erroneously collected or somehow is not classified and does belong to him, he`s not going to get it back, that`s why it`s this somewhat embarrassing seizure. It wasn`t a meeting. It wasn`t a gift. It would have to be seized from the former president.

Then you have January 6th revving back up. I wanted to get your views on that. Here`s what Congresswoman Lofgren is saying.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Are you still seeking the testimony of Tony Ornato and the other secret service agents who, I remember you sharing with us have retained private counsel?

REP. ZOE LOGREN (D-CA): Yes, the answer is, yes. We will do that in an orderly fashion when we`ve had an opportunity to review the large amount of documentary evidence that has now come in from the Secret Service.


MELBER: Congresswoman Lofgren there talking to our own Nicolle Wallace. And Gene, this is one of those things where you and Mr. Litt have very different work histories, but in journalism and in litigation, you can`t make predictions.


No one knew six months ago that the Secret Service was going to become so central. I don`t believe, I don`t recall anybody knew really outside of a small group of people that there was even this alleged confrontation of a real movie scene variety. What do you think of the way this committee continues to follow its leads and now is having more hearings than initially planned?

ROBINSON: Well, it`s doing what law enforcement and journalists and everybody else who does investigations has to do, which is you adjust to the facts as you learn new facts, your investigation might change direction, and clearly you`re right. Nobody knew up front that we`d be looking into the Secret Service and want their texts, for example.

I heard Chairman Thompson say earlier today, I believe, that the committee has some new information about what may have happened to those texts so we`ll see what that is, but, yes, this has become -- it`s a focal point of one of many focal points of this committee`s work and so they are certainly right to solicit this testimony.

MELBER: Mr. Litt, two questions there, one, same I posed to Gene, what do you think about the evidence they`re trying to gather and in particular the Secret Service, which is a special case? And two, I wanted to ask you something I`ve tried to ask many intelligence professionals like yourself when we`ve had the opportunity to get them on the program, which is what did you think of the evidence that the committee initially uncovered that so many agents that day were making good-bye calls to their family?

They believed at one point that the nature of the challenge or the conflict was such that they weren`t sure they were going to get out alive. They were going to try to protect their protectee, Pence, but they had whatever reasons to base their calls on that it was much worse than I think was known prior to that, those calls, that audio becoming evidence?

LITT: So, on your first point, I mean the committee has made very clear that they`re just going to follow the evidence wherever it leads them. And they`ve been doing an excellent job of that. They are up against a potential time problem. If we have the midterm elections and if the Republicans gain control of the House, I would expect on their very first day they will shut this committee down.

On your second point about the agents, I mean, the Secret Service has a long and noble tradition of putting its protectees first. If you remember the agents who stepped in front of President Reagan, and took a bullet for him. And so it`s not surprising that they would be taking the attitude that says, you know, we don`t know what`s going to happen here, but we`re going to continue to do our job.

The same thing was true of Capitol police and other law enforcement officers, all of whom were in terrible fear that day because of the violence of the insurrection.


ROBINSON: Yes, no, I would add to that, just people have to understand what it felt like that day to people who were there at the Capitol and I`ve spoken with journalistic colleagues who were there who had that same feeling, that this was an apocalyptic scene and they didn`t know what was going to happen. They felt their lives threatened and they didn`t know if they were going to go -- come home that day and we shouldn`t lose that reality. The reality was that this was an awful thing. It never happened before in our country and must never happen again.

MELBER: Yes, fairly put. Eugene Robinson and Robert Litt, my thanks to both of you. We`ll our shortest break, one minute. We`re going to return with David Corn on the MAGA election deniers trying to hijack the control of American elections. We`re back in 60 seconds.



MELBER: These primaries are wrapping up. Republican voters in New Hampshire, they went out with a bang. They sent election denier MAGA candidate Don Bolduc who will face against the Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan in the general. Here`s his victory speech from last night.


DON BOLDUC (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE SENATE CANDIDATE: We have taken their arrows. We have successfully protected ourselves.


BOLDUC: We are now going to rally around the circle, unity, freedom, liberty, and together --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to beat Maggie Hassan.


MELBER: That`s just a small part of it. You can use words like unity but what do they mean when they`re mixed with hate and lies? He was holding a shield with arrows in his left hand. Bolduc is considered extreme even on the extreme right. And he represents one of 27 states with this kind of election deniers running for office.

Republicans also doubling down on the campaign to roll back women`s rights on a federal national level. That`s something we reported on for you last night. Senator Lindsey Graham introducing a real bill, meaning not rhetoric, not campaign ads, actually legislation that could become law if they gained power to ban abortion after 15 weeks everywhere, New York, California, Oregon, Washington, every state.

House Republicans have a bill that would provide pharmacists even more leeway to refuse medication to patients if they independently or personally determine that they have a fear or apprehension that they think someone else might use it to terminate a pregnancy. Again, we are talking about the doubling down and encroachment even beyond what the Supreme Court has already done. The Republican campaign eliciting this response from Speaker Pelosi today.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is a democracy issue. It`s a freedom issue. There are extreme MAGA Republicans are gathered to unveil their latest bill to criminalize women`s health in all 50 states. As they criminalize women`s freedom to make their own choices, we have passed legislation to support freedom for women.


MELBER: We talk about rhetoric in politics. We talk about all of the exaggerations that sometimes happen in politics and media. I`m telling you, there is no rhetoric here and no exaggeration. We`re talking about human rights on the ballot with people saying out loud they want to do national law to restrict or end human rights for half the population.

We have a special guest right after this break.



MELBER: I`m joined now by Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones," David Corn. He`s the author of the new book "American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy."

Welcome, sir.


MELBER: Is your book timely or have you just always had a little skepticism towards Republicans and it`s been true for a while?

CORN: Well, I started this book over a year ago. I went looking for actually a book on this subject. We see what`s been happening the last few years, and I wondered if there was anyone had looked at the long-term relationship between the Republican Party and far-right extremism, and I discovered no one had really looked at the history of the party through that lens. I went back and did it.

I start really with McCarthyism and came up with this -- I think it`s the history of the dark side of the GOP. A look at seven decades of the GOP encouraging and exploiting extremism. Tribalism, bigotry, paranoia, conspiracy theory. That isn`t the totality of the Republican Party, but it isn`t something that started with Trump. Trump is not an aberration. He is a continuation, a culmination, it always, always has been there and it`s always been essential to the Republican Party`s strategy to win elections.

So the book came out this week and like all authors you hope for a little luck and part of the luck is that I think the conversation we`re having now shows that this book is very timely and relevant because it gives us this historical context as we consider what MAGA extremism means within the Republican Party and we debate whether Biden is wrong or right when he talks about Trump leading the Republican Party in the direction of fascism or semi-fascism.

And, you know, my point is that the Republican Party has been leaning in this direction for seven decades to basically every presidency and presidential campaign.

MELBER: And you said you don`t think anybody has written about this? I might have to push you on that, David.

CORN: No, I mean I don`t think -- I could not find a book that looked at the history of the Republican Party through this particular lens. It`s long-term relationships --

MELBER: See, now I`m torn.

CORN: OK, so --

MELBER: David, I`m torn because -- well, viewers I know -- hold on. Well, viewers might know that I actually am a David Corn reader and fan which is part of why you`re on THE BEAT so much but I`ve also known you a long time as a serious journalist.


But, yes, I mean, Rick Perlstein I believe has something that traces back the right all the way to Goldwater. Obviously you can go back to Richard Hofstetter who looked at the right-wing and conspiracy theories.

CORN: Of course.

MELBER: But I think you should be happy to be in those authors` company. I guess my follow-up question is, if you look at it over decades and say it`s always kind of been there and I`m obviously simplifying, does that risk potentially minimizing what has certainly, and I know you`ve documented this, become a far more severe danger to democracy posed by these election deniers running for office right now in this midterm?

CORN: Well, when you look at the source notes from my book, you will see that I thank Rick Perlstein who`s done great work in the political history of America. And, of course, you can`t write about this stuff without citing Hofstetter. My point was that no one has ever just looked at this particular lane in and of itself, and I don`t think it minimizes the threat now or the crisis now, whatever you want to call it, to say it`s always been there.

I think in order to have a better understanding of how we got to this point, and more importantly what to do about this point, it`s really good to know the history that brought us here. And that means, you know, sort of dropping myths. There`s people out there who say if we could just go back to the old Republican Party, flip a switch, go back to your father`s Republican Party, we`ll be in a better position.

But I think, you know, what I discovered in doing this book is that there was no golden age of the Republican Party in the sense that this was not an issue within the party. It was just not talked about. The media didn`t cover it as much and the Republican Party itself didn`t acknowledge it and was able to keep it to the side.

Barry Goldwater working with birthers. Richard Nixon cutting a deal with white supremacists to get the nomination in 1968. Ronald Reagan embracing the religious right at the time people like Jerry Falwell and others were saying that gay people want to kill other Americans. John Boehner and the Tea Party, Sarah Palin palling with terrorist.

It`s always, always been there. Demagoguing and dehumanizing, vilifying the other side. I think what we see if you look at it through this long stretch is it`s gotten deeper and more intense. If you go from Sarah Palin to the Tea Party to Trumpism and as the Republican Party has accepted and encouraged this part of its base, it`s thrown it out sort of bloodier and bloodier, red meat until Donald Trump comes along and says, I know what you want.

I`m not even going to bother with the better stuff, ideology and policy disputes and debates, I`m just going to give you the straight up red meat. And if you listen to what the Tea Party people said that John Boehner authenticated and validated in 2009-2010 that Barack Obama was a secret socialist, had a secret plan to destroy America and oppose a totalitarian state, Glenn Beck going on FOX News every night and talking about concentration camps and death panels.

If you condition your Republican base to believe that because you think it helps you get elected, then when you come to them and say I want to cut a budget deal, I want to talk about housing, I want to talk about energy, I want to talk about regulations, they look at you and they say, are you crazy? You just told me there is a secret Muslim who wants to destroy America. And so Donald Trump comes along in 2016 and the other 16 candidates are out there talking like real regular Republicans and the base just says, you just told us we`re at a crisis point and we`re about to be destroyed by the devil.

And so I think it`s been, you know, it`s always been there but it`s been growing and each kind of iteration becomes more intense and so you can`t go back. I don`t think you can sort of recover a kinder and gentler Republican Party at this point.

MELBER: Yes. And you take that together with making good on the claims they`ve offered, I mean, they caught the proverbial car here in overturning Roe. We`ve been covering that a lot this week as they double down and then you have them basically not sure how to politically sell what they are doing in plain sight. Here`s some of the friction on that.


SEN. MITCH MCCONELL (R-KY): Think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I think we should have a law at the federal level that would say, after 15 weeks, no abortion on demand.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): I think it`s more likely than not and probably the better part of valor to see how the states sort this out.



MELBER: So, you have that friction. I got about 45 seconds, David. What do you see here as the tension between Donald Trump`s content trolling-based B.S., and the judges that he delivered, which create very real realities, even if Trump claimed to be pro-choice for much of his life, he may also be inconsistent, have you had to live with what the court is doing?

CORN: Well, he tried to play up this demand upon the -- that comes from the extreme part of the Republican base, not just for his restrictions on abortion, but really for vilifying Democrats and liberals and putting in a very extreme cast on this.

And so, he doesn`t care about policy. He so sure, if that`s red meat, I will throw that to you. And that`s where he`s led the Republican Party. And you see if these people are selling a bizarre fake reality, to their base, they`re not going to have policy consents -- consistency. You can`t expect that. They`re saying the big lie, and conspiracy, and paranoia. I mean, this is like, you know -- that`s 11,12, 13 on the scale.

MELBER: Right, because it comes in, as you explain it comes in way late compared to what they`re claiming is the crisis. We`ve got a little peek into the book, David, and into the notes. I hadn`t read the liner notes, or whatever you call it.

CORN: The acknowledgment is there. Maybe you`re even there, Ari, but you`ll have to look.

MELBER: Oh, what a tease. That`s what we call it T.V. tease. Thank you, David. We`ll see you again. Appreciate you as always. Let me tell folks what`s coming up. It`s a scandal involving money, welfare, Mississippi politics, and Brett Favre. That`s in the program.

But coming up first, there`s news about wrongfully convicted individuals innocent people serving time for crimes they didn`t commit. And I got to tell you, I`m so thrilled that we have Barry Scheck, the famed lawyer, the cross-examiner, the DNA advocate, making his BEAT debut on criminal justice reform next.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no real investigation done by the Sheriff`s Department.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sheriff told the DEA not to screw this case up. He wanted Avery convicted of this crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steven Avery spent 18 years in prison for something he didn`t do.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DNA had come through indicating that he had not committed the crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Law enforcement officers realized that they had screwed up big time.


MELBER: That`s when that Netflix show Making a Murderer captivated the nation. And this era has seen criminal justice issues really reaching national prominence if not sometimes an obsession, from debates over crime rates and progressive prosecutors to, of course, this whole Trump era test of what the powerful can get away with.

Donald Trump had more aids indicted than any first-term president ever. He`s battling his own legal issues these days. Maybe you`ve heard about him. But that`s actually a story for another day. Tonight, we turned to how this system impacts basically everybody else. If you`re not a political, elite, or rich, your experience with the justice system can be rough, final, and seemingly unappealable especially if you are poor or a minority.

There are efforts outside the system to try to change this. Take the -- now pretty famous Innocence Project which applies facts and science to try to exonerate people punished for crimes they never committed in the first place. That obviously matters to those individuals and their families. But it can also serve as a kind of a method to shine a light on how this system really works and spark reforms.

It was co-founded by one of the few lawyers to become a household name in America, Barry Scheck. Your organization`s results are both astounding and concerning. Finding and getting the release of over 239 innocent people wrongfully convicted, often through DNA evidence.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Louisiana inmate is a free man this afternoon after he was cleared of a rape that happened back in 1979.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The falling snow said winter, but it felt like springtime a rebirth to Termaine Hicks, set free on Wednesday after 19 years behind bars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 19 years, baby. (INAUDIBLE) crib, baby. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A judge a great to throw with the conviction of Jaythan Kendrick who is now 62 years old.


MELBER: Each of these stories is striking. Take Mr. Malcolm Alexander exonerated in 2018 after 38 years in prison.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Malcolm Alexander was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault, largely because he was identified by the victim in a lineup. In 2013, hair evidence from the rave scene was finally found at the sheriff`s office crime lab. DNA testing excluded Malcolm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stepping outside of the precinct like that. It was like a whole new light was being shined on you.

MALCOLM ALEXANDER, EXONERATED AFTER 38 YEARS: It`s like given the chance to live a life I have been denied.


MELBER: These stories matter. Each of them is about a real person and all the other people connect to them to say nothing of mistakes where the real criminal was not pursued, especially when you add in racism and other discrimination.

Now check has noticed some people especially outside of legal circles for work, that he might consider a footnote to these many other projects over the decades no matter what you thought of that O.J. trial Mr. Scheck`s performance in court, and his cross-examinations to some are legendary.



BARRY SCHECK, LAWYER: You realized that you had been caught in a lie? Didn`t you?


SCHECK: How bad that Mr. Fung? Isn`t that what you normally see?

FUNG: Would you mind not pointing at me like that?


MELBER: Anyone can get carried away with pointing. Now some call that the trial the century. Of course, it raised all kinds of issues. However, in artfully it`s actually been back in the culture because of the Emmy award- winning American Crime Story, a rendition of version of the trial, of course, fictionalized. And the actor Rob Morrow plays Scheck.


ROB MORROW, ACTOR: If it can be shown that there may have been errors in the collection where the handling of the samples is for the prosecution`s DNA analysis, we can contest the validity of the evidence itself. At best, we get some of the thrown out. At worst, we get the jury to question the very idea.


MELBER: If lawyers start out dramatic what happens when actors play them? Well, we`ll get into that. As for those other innocence cases, I want to be clear with you why these matters tonight. There`s really too many to even reference or humanize on an individual basis, we`re dealing with a system that often doesn`t seem to care at all about the totality of justice, but rather just getting the conviction and throwing away the key.

I said earlier, this was all both astounding and concerning. Because if these are the cases, we know about with this much work that goes into it, and this much science and DNA research, think about all the other people statistically likely to be stuck in prison right now for crimes they didn`t commit, that don`t have the same trail of faulty evidence.

I`m talking about this tonight because it matters. And I`m thrilled to tell you making his BEAT debut is that renowned attorney and the co-founder of the Innocence Project, Barry Scheck, you do a lot of important work. I appreciate you coming by.

Scheck; Thank you, Ari. That was a nice introduction.

MELBER: It`s all based on the work, and I know you deal with a team and it matters. The first question is the big one. What does this work tell us about the rest of the system, when you find this much error, this much racism, this much discrimination?

SCHECK: Well, it tells us we have a lot of work to do. I mean, our project is guided by science, and anti-racism. We are moving on lots of fronts, we have 71 innocence organizations to send a network around the country and 13 abroad. It`s an international human rights movement. And we focus on getting legislation passed that can improve the system, protect the innocent, apprehend those who really committed the crime.

And we have, you know, major initiatives going on now in terms of trying to make forensic science reliable. And also, an area of police misconduct information. One of the astonishing things, and I got a bar card in California, and one in New York. And I never realized in all my years of practice, that the two worst states in the country in terms of hiding police misconduct information when New York and California.

So, for decades, lawyers in these states did not know that many of the police officers that got on the witness stand had been adjudicated to have committed acts of misconduct by police departments in their different jurisdictions, or had unsubstantiated claims as opposed to unfounded, leveled against them, which really should be turned over to the defense.

MELBER: Right, you`re talking about whether the stuff that is actually uncovered is then actionable. You`re also talking about states that now we cover a lot of politics around here. These are largely habitually Democrat- run states, New York has Rikers it has this problem you`ve identified. It`s why you have to have real nonpartisan reform.

I want to put up some of the data here on how the system works. When you guys look at the causes of wrongful conviction. Eyewitness misidentification, the forensic science misapplied you mentioned and false confessions, which that Netflix show revealed. A lot of people are surprised Barry, they go, well, if somebody saw what they saw, or somebody admitted to the crime, and then that`s the end of it.

SCHECK: Well, the false confessions, in particular, are so troubling. We`ve been able to get states to videotape interrogations, now we`re moving to get the interrogations limited so that police officers cannot lie particularly to juveniles about the facts of the case in order to create false confessions.

But one of the things about false confessions is that once you get them, then all of a sudden, all this cognitive bias sets and among investigators, and all the other evidence begins to change in the way they look at it.

MELBER: And that`s interesting because again, we talked about systemic problems which I went discrimination you`re also saying that it`s sort of like one bad act that on the side of law enforcement can poison the well, so people think, oh, well the guy already admitted to it and then they`re not really doing their homework.


You look at this moment that came after the George Floyd, murder, and BLM, and you got some convictions out that you wouldn`t normally get a police. This is a two-sided thing when we talk about the way police misconduct figures in.

But now you have people going back to -- a lot of people back to normal. Your organization works on this. People were talking about it then but they kind of move on. Here`s what some of the Republicans were talking about, in promising reform at one point.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We need to be a country where communities of color feel confident that the police are there to safeguard their rights.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): There`s going to be a genuine effort to bring reform to a problem that`s been going on well, before President Obama.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): We can train our officers better. We can find ways and mechanisms to de-escalate the situation.


MELBER: That was the talk, perhaps empty of reform. I also want to play for you something we`ve heard criticism of the criminal justice system by some Trump Republicans when it catches up with them.


PETER NAVARRO, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE AIDE: What did they do? They intercepted me getting on the plane. And then they put me in handcuffs, they bring me here, they put me in leg irons, and they stick me in a cell. That`s punitive, that -- what they did, to me today, violated the constitution.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: They don`t like your politics. They hate your attitude, and they`re trying to send you to jail.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Here, they took away every possible defense with somebody who can have a defensive law, OK? That`s why we didn`t even put under defense.


MELBER: With the 90 seconds or so we have left your response to all of that and are you still after all these years hopeful?

SCHECK: I`m very hopeful. You know, the thing that we really need to do, and I mentioned the police misconduct information. We have coalitions developing now, New York, California, Maryland, states across the country, where we get community groups.

The press has a huge responsibility here, where we collect misconduct, information defenders, conviction integrity units and prosecutors` offices, civil rights lawyers, and innocence organizations, all joining together, to gather information about policing.

We need civil society to have visibility into both the number of acts of misconduct that police officers have committed, but most importantly, the process of adjudicating whether or not they should remain cops.

MELBER: It`s so important, and I emphasize the work you`ve done because this fits into how to get it done. It`s the great Kendrick Lamar who criticize the so-called overnight activists right around BLM and who go away. We do need full-time activists and we need full-time people care about justice and you and your group are one of them. So, I appreciate you being here.

SCHECK: Well, thank you, Ari. And remember the press is the key because if we keep visibility on acts of misconduct and bad science and wrongful convictions, then we can move this system in the right direction.

MELBER: Right, so people have the facts. Barry Scheck, thank you, sir.

SCHECK: Thank you, Ari.

MELBER: And from science and reform to a political scandal hitting Brett Farve when we come back.





MATT DILLON, ACTOR: What the hell is Brett Favre doing here?

FAVRE: I`m in town to play the Dolphins.

BEN STILLER, ACTOR: What about Brett Favre?


MELBER: What about him? NFL legend Brett Favre he made that cameo in the 1998 hit comedy There`s Something About Mary. He`s a Hall of Fame quarterback, Super Bowl champ. But he`s back in the spotlight around an alleged scandal.

Former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant reportedly helped Favre secure some sort of welfare funding for a volleyball stadium that they are calling now a massive criminal scandal. Officials pilfering up to millions of dollars in what was supposed to be welfare money designated for people who need public assistance and then using it as a kind of a slush fund.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tens of millions of dollars on items like hiring retired pro wrestlers, first-class air travel, a horse land, and $5 million to build this women`s volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi. That building with ties to an NFL Hall of Famer. Brett Favre`s daughter played volleyball at the university.


MELBER: So, there are these newly disclosed text messages. They`re about five years old and they appear to show Favre`s involvement in this situation and project. He texted with Nancy New, was a friend of that former governor`s wife and she ran this organization that spent tens of millions of dollars and welfare money.

And he wrote, if you were to pay me is there any way the media can find out where it came from and how much? She replies, no, we never had that information publicized. I understand you being uneasy about that, though. A day later, a text to Favre, wow, got off the phone with Phil Bryant. He`s on board with us. We`ll get this done.

Is what she tells him, and he responds according to these leaked texts. Awesome, I needed to hear that for sure. That individual you see there Nancy New she has pled guilty to 13 felony counts related to this scheme that occurred heard back in April. The governor and Favre have denied any wrongdoing.


We also know Favre has been questioned by the FBI which is investigating how so many seemingly well-off and well-connected people ran a scheme to try to defraud and steal from some of the neediest. We`ll be right back.


MELBER: Turn to the law and politics and Donald Trump`s efforts to politicize the law. Back in 2019, you may remember that under Trump, the DOJ tapped John Durham to be a special counsel to kind of re-litigate how the Russia probe started. The hope was that Durham would be a symbol or a way to attack the thing and maybe find up some claims he could prove up that there was a witch hunt.

Well, the New York Times reports Durham appears to be winding down the three-year inquiry without anything close to the results Trump was seeking. That`s a quote from the Times reporting. There`s a grand jury in that case that has now expired. No signs of a new one.

There will be some sort of final report. We will cover it. We will see what he found as always following the facts. But after years of taxpayer money, it is clear that that effort has, in many ways, already fizzled. Thanks for spending time with us here on THE BEAT with Ari Melber. You can always find me online @AriMelber. "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" starts now.