Island residents scrambling to help immigrants dumped there by Governor Ron DeSantis. Senator Lindsey Graham torched on FOX News for pushing nationwide abortion ban. Former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal and the former SDNY Chief David Kelley join Ari Melber to talk about the DOJ search on Jeffrey Clark for evidence of false statements, conspiracy, and obstruction. Former SDNY Chief David Kelley joins Ari Melber to talk about Donald Trump`s claims that he declassified the Mar-a- Lago documents, despite a lack of evidence.
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Thank you so much for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. We are grateful. THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hi, Nicolle. Thank you so much.
Welcome to THE BEAT, everyone. I am Ari Melber.
And we have a lot going on. There is a shift in Trump world as one of the people who was loyal to Trump to the end on the big lie and the insurrection, the former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, you may remember, he threaded the needle with the January 6th Committee. He did not get indicted. He did not testify. But now he`s talking, reportedly complying with the DOJ because he was hit with a criminal subpoena.
We have more on that, but we begin with something on the line between policy, human rights, and yes, the trolling politics of the MAGA era.
Ron DeSantis is trying to cruelly exploit and use human beings as a type of prop for a trolling political point, as well as endear himself to apparently people who in public call the shots with what this supposedly mighty powerful governor does because he is the most powerful person in the state of Florida in the government system, but apparently he has bosses that outrank him there, and they don`t live in Florida.
A lot of them are based up and around the East Coast at FOX News. We`ll explain. The MAGA governor has now flown 50 undocumented immigrants, including minors or children, on a plane up to Martha`s Vineyard.
So this is a real thing, but it`s also a type of trolling performance art designed to trigger or upset liberals. Now, one immigrant is saying that they were actually misled about this or lied to, that they were told initially that some sort of refugee association would be involved in this project, that they would get some sort of work and housing on arrival.
Well, here`s what`s really going on. They are being misled and used to try to make some sort of wider political point about where people who may be undocumented should end up in America, in sanctuary cities, and trolling and then of course it was seen as a funny thing on FOX News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Martha`s Vineyard. This is amazing. This is checkmate. Relocating illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities and states. By the way, a genius idea.
TOM SHILLUE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I wonder if you could choose, though, because I`m kind of a Nantucket guy.
JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you think they`re going to be embracing their new neighbors?
MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: You know, these are all sanctuary cities until they`re in their sanctuary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: So that`s the idea. It`s supposed to use human beings and their location, their residence, as a way to try to point out what they believe is some sort of policy difference with people who have more lenient immigration policies. As we`ll show you, this all originated, though, with an idea from Tucker Carlson on FOX.
Now the residents there on Martha`s Vineyard are responding. They are helping provide food and shelter. The immigrants spent the night in a local church, crowds have gathered. A local high school senior who was born in Colombia has been working there as a translator. And again, this is all a real thing.
And it`s not the first time the right has pushed this kind of stunt, and as you know, if you watch THE BEAT, we try to report on this stuff with the evidence and the facts but history can be instructive when you look at what is not new -- the exploitation of racial and ethnic grievances in America.
The JFK Presidential Library today notes that in the early `60s, southern White Citizen Councils had these so-called Reverse Freedom Rides which were then orchestrated to provide black Americans one-way tickets to northern cities again with the lie, misleading them with promises of, quote, "jobs, housing, or better lives." The library shared a 1963 newspaper article about this. A black family, black American family there, including some children, who were basically pushed off and up north by the White Citizens Council of Louisiana.
I`m joined now by former RNC chairman Michael Steele.
We take a look at the history because on the one hand there`s nothing new. So it`s not shocking in that sense. But it has this ugly roots. It`s very performative but as I emphasize also very real to any human being who gets caught up in whatever you want to call this, this ploy, this trick, this right-wing messaging machine. Does this matter? And what`s your response?
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it matters very much. And I would say it`s shocking to the extent that because we know the history that they still want to engage in that behavior, they still want to do it. They know the ugly nature of what that history says, not suggests, but actually says about these white councils and white people at that time who harbored those attitudes.
So now you have a modern-day version of it. You have it cloaked in the suit of a governor, in a very populous state, that he`s using, to use your term, which I agree with, the performative aspects of it. And so the question I have for everyone who`s watching this tonight and were reading these stories, how does that make you feel? How does it make you feel to know that a fellow American would treat a migrant person, who is leaving a place that is harmful to his family or her family, coming to this land where in, our New York harbor, we have a lady standing there with a light over her head that says, give me your tired, your poor, right?
How do you feel about that? Because if this is the America you want, then you`re down with DeSantis, and you`re good. And all I have to say is watch for this ish to happen elsewhere. They tried to bus black people out of the south. What makes you think they won`t revert to some form of that next? They may not be black folks. It could be trans individuals. It could be any one of us, America.
So you sit back in the comfort of your home, and you may think to yourself, oh, that`s a shame. Until the knock comes to your door that there`s a bus outside waiting for to you get on because your trans daughter no longer belongs in this community. So I think we really need to understand how this is being actualized in front of us, but more importantly how we responded to it as Americans and as humans.
MELBER: Yes, I think everything you say makes sense, especially when you look at the normalizing and the habituating of this kind of cruelty. You mentioned it`s done by division. It`s done against certain out groups. We have sad history around the world about how this works. And these things, they don`t happen overnight. You read the history books sometimes.
MELBER: It goes from 19 X to 19 Y. And you think, well, no, there were a bunch of little points along the line.
STEELE: That`s a good point, Ari. That`s an excellent point. And I think it`s -- I don`t want to gloss over it because the slow roll, the slowness of it, you know, 2022, `23, `25, and then the history books 75, 100 years from now, they`re going to say between 2022 and 2040, this is what happened. And these were the communities of people who were affected by it, and this is what America looked like. So I don`t want people to lose sight of the point you just made, because it is an important one.
They are actualizing the slowness of it. They want the slowness of it. You know, we react in the moment and then they know we`ll forget. And then a year from now it will be another group.
MELBER: Hmm, yes, important. Stay with me. We`re going to add in Howard Dean. So now we have two people who`ve run both national parties at one point in America as we approach a different type of politics.
Governor Dean, I mentioned to viewers, we`re going to show, we dug where some of this idea came from. It`s not only a lie, which we reported, that not only has a cruel history which we reported. It`s also not even original. It`s something DeSantis ripped from Tucker Carlson. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: It`s a natural. Joe Biden took 70 percent of the vote on that small Massachusetts island. They are begging for more diversity. Why not send migrants there in huge numbers?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Howard, that was Tucker in July. Go ahead.
HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: So, look, I`m against corporal punishment in middle school, but I think Carlson, DeSantis and Abbott ought to be turned over somebody`s knee and given a good spanking. This is beyond just being racist. These are ridiculous twits who are silly, and it`s so far beneath the dignity. Carlson has no dignity, but so far beneath the dignity of anybody in the governor`s office in any state of the country.
These guys need a big spanking and then go stand in the corner for a while, because they`re just silly. This is just stupidity and silliness, and I just can`t believe people like that could be governor of any party of any state in the country.
MELBER: Yes. And Howard, President Biden had had his ups and downs going into these midterms, but lately has really focused on domestic breakthroughs with the climate spending, the student loan debt relief, and then trying to say, hey, we got to call out the Trump MAGA, semi-fascists, quote-unquote, for what they are. "New York Times" magazine has the cover that shows whether Trump runs or not, this is what we`re looking at. They`ve got DeSantis right there, Howard.
DEAN: He looks like Alfred E. Newman, doesn`t he, in the cover of "MAD" magazine? This is ridiculousness. This has gotten beyond just, you know, whatever it is, making the libs mad or something like this.
This is just -- I can`t believe these guys actually graduated from some university and embarrassingly. So apparently DeSantis went to Yale. I don`t know what the hell, the commissions officer must have been drunk when they let him in. But, look, this is ridiculous. This is not the United States of America. These are not our values. We don`t treat people like this. Ironically, actually Martha`s Vineyard has a labor shortage, but you don`t lie to people and put them on a bus.
Michael was right, this is exactly how poor black people were treated by the Mississippi hierarchy in the Deep South in the Civil Rights Movement. It wasn`t funny then, and it`s not funny now, and it`s beneath the dignity of any public service. I think these guys ought to quit, because they`re wrecking the image of their states and they`re wrecking the image of the Democratic Party. Excuse me, the Republican Party.
MELBER: Yes, and I appreciate both of you being forthright on that.
Michael, what about the intersection with propaganda here? I completely understand some people would say, they don`t want to hear any more words out of Tucker Carlson`s mouth. And people have freedom in the country and the air waves. They could turn me off, they could turn him off. And yet as a matter of actual American policy, it would seem, as we just showed, that Mr. Carlson`s penchant for propaganda and trolling, is turning itself, at least in this state, into a type of policy, albeit a content driven or prank driven, and I don`t mean that word to minimize this. We`re covering this because it matters. But in that way a type of trolling policy that is now real, Michael.
STEELE: But it is an appropriate word in a real sense, Ari, because it is prankish. It is performative. It is, you know, as Howard said, a moment where you take a politician and put him over your -- you know, collectively the country puts them or the state put them over the knee and they give them a nice little spanking on the behind.
Here`s the rub, though. Out of all of this performative BS that is about nothing, you`re governing by fear. You`re governing by a culture war. The good citizens of Florida are going to re-elect this man in November.
STEELE: And they`re going to give him a significant margin. They`re going to set him up to continue to perpetuate this, groom it for a national audience to be consumed in a 2024 presidential cycle, whether he`s the nominee or not because this is the short game you`re looking at. The longer game is how we make this infection work everywhere, not just in red states, but how do we have it play out where that population in a blue state, and I live in one where you just saw who we put up as the nominee of the Republican Party here in Maryland, who is, you know, a January 6th denier, bused people down there, advocating the Trumpist theology.
That works everywhere. And so you got to give it credence and credibility. DeSantis and his ilk are trying to do that in, quote, "good states," you know? Florida, you know, sort of blue-purple-red. It kind of moves in that space. To justify it. So where are we five years from now? Where are we six years from now? And that`s the thing you`ve got to keep your eye on. These people are setting us up. They`re punking us. They`re punking us real time to fall into this trap, and we`re going to look around in years to come, and a lot of us on this air and other places are going to have a very different life under this regime.
MELBER: Yes, and it`s interesting you use the word regime, which of course is different than the peaceful transfer of power. If you have something that is illegitimate, you`ve got a lot folks as you mentioned in that party running openly on stealing elections because if they promise you they`re going lie about the last one, then they`re making a public vow to steal the next one. That`s how out in the open it is.
You know, Howard, I`m curious what you think about a problem for the Republican Party on the issues of choice, women`s rights and abortion. We`ve seen Lindsey Graham just run into an actual wall. It`s been fascinating. Some of his Republican colleagues actually concerned just on the politics. And as I mentioned you`ve been a change agent at times in the Democratic Party. You`ve also run the party.
So I want to get your reaction to Lindsey Graham. Howard, I want you to stick with me. We got our shortest break. Howard Dean on that, Michael Steele stays when we`re back in 60 seconds.
MELBER: We`re back with the chairs, Dean and Steele. We are talking about immigration. Then you have Lindsey Graham this week pushing a national abortion ban. To do it federally. Here`s what happened, though, when he talked to some conservatives about it on air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATTERS: Yesterday was the day they lost all momentum when this inflation thing punched them right in the face, and you gave them an out. No, you`re right.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I`m not going to apologize --
WATTERS: You`re right, no --
GRAHAM: Ever apologize about standing up for the unborn.
WATTERS: I got you. I got you.
GRAHAM: And you know what? We need to go on the offensive here.
WATTERS: But you`ve got to talk tactics, Senator. It`s terrible timing, terrible tactics. Now all the media and the Democrats are talking about federal abortion ban. Federal abortion ban. You know that`s not smart politics, right?
GRAHAM: Well, they`re lying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Howard, what do you see happened there, the pushback from Jesse? The banner said that basically Lindsey Graham was fumbling politically.
DEAN: What I see is a minority party who`s trying to exert their will on the majority of the population and trying to figure out how to do it as deviously as possible. Look, the Republican Party has just shattered. They`re a small bunch of decent people who have ideas that I don`t agree with but are reputable Americans. And then the majority here are cowards or they don`t care about the United States anymore.
It`s not just democracy that`s on the ballot, it`s our way of life. Can we get together? Can we agree on things? And these faux Christians that get on and pretend they`re all religious, what they really want to do is enslave women again and put them back in the dark ages. I`ve had it with these people.
And what Lindsey Graham did I think is great. If I were Schumer I`d call a vote and make the Republicans vote on this and see how people like that. Look, we surprised a lot of people in Kansas, and why is that? Because most people in Kansas are decent thoughtful people. They may be conservative, but they understand the difference between being conservative and standing up for America.
And they understand the difference between signing on to some right-wing crack pot preacher and actually standing up for values that respect every American`s rights to decide for themselves how they`re going to live their lives. That`s what this is about. Who`s going to tell us how to live our lives? Is it going to be the big government of the far right-wing full of bombastic people financed by people like Peter Thiel, or is it going to be the American people themselves?
And I actually -- you`ve heard me say this before on this show. This is up to the voters. If this goes down, it`s not going to be the Democrats` fault or even the Republicans` fault, it`s going to be the voters didn`t get out and stand up for themselves. And that`s what they have to do. Get out there and stand up for yourselves, stand up for the rights that are yours under the Constitution.
Do not give them away to schoolboys who need to be spanked like Abbott and DeSantis who are two big puff artist who never did an honest day`s work in their life like the former president of the United States. We can stand up for ourselves and we can take this country back and that`s exactly what we`re going to do.
STEELE: No. I think Howard makes an excellent point about where the voters are on this, which is what I was really driving and when we were speaking in the beginning of the segment. This is in our hands at the end of the day. We`re watching all of this stuff unfold around us, folks. How do you feel about it? How do you -- I mean, just don`t have a reaction at the kitchen table. At some point you`ve got to turn that reaction into an action that stands with our democracy. Or you don`t.
OK, that`s your call. But please don`t sit back and bitch about the circumstances we`re living in later on. Don`t sit back -- I mean, I say this as someone who`s pro-life, but don`t sit back and start complaining about, oh, my god, look what happened to women, when you had an opportunity to stand with them and stop this aggressive action to take their choices and their decisions away from them, to stand between them and their doctors, and their pastor and their imam, and do something that collectively we all recognize as an important part of our democracy, which is fundamentally what this boils down to.
So Howard is exactly right. The voters have the last say here, and as I said before, we`re looking at numbers right now that says voters in Florida are like, OK, yes, hey, DeSantis, more of that.
STEELE: And we see this in other races around the country.
MELBER: Yes. And you mentioned your personal views. People have religious views. There`s a lot of pro-life people in Kansas. What they rejected was theocracy.
MELBER: What they rejected was Alito and others sitting in D.C., and Justice Roberts was clashing with someone this week about it, and saying, is it law? Is it precedent? Is it what you swore under oath to the Senate?
STEELE: That`s right.
MELBER: Or is that all just a useful fiction for people who are gullible enough to believe that judges would tell the truth under oath when they`re actually the last line to supposedly administer that. And actually you change the people around and suddenly your rights disappear. So we`ve hit more than one important thing. Because I have both chairs, I do want to get in -- you know, people say, wait, what about the other stuff?
The Biden administration actually had this breakthrough on the rail company and worker unions clash. They have this tentative deal to avoid a strike. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The significant damage that any shutdown would have brought. Our nation`s rail system is the backbone of our supply chain. Everything you rely on, it`s hard to realize it, everything from clean water to food to gas to everyday -- I mean, liquefied natural gas, to everything -- every good that you need. This is a big win for America and for both in my view.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The president arguing it`s a big win there. Meanwhile, his approval rating which had been quite low as we`ve covered is up nine points since July.
Howard, you know we do facts around here. That`s why sometimes after I`ll say a sentence we`ll say facts. I don`t know if you know that`s what the kids say sometimes. And look, Biden has not been a super popular president. He has not been as popular for example as Obama, some of his peaks, the president of course he served. But he`s up. What does that tell and how does that relate to I guess the stuff he`s doing today where it`s, like, presidenting?
DEAN: Well, you know, we`ve got about seven weeks before the election, and lots can happen in seven weeks, but I`d rather be a Democrat today than I would a Republican if I`m in this fight. You`ve got a president who has handled things really very, very well. There`s a small thing that most people aren`t going to look at statistically, but it`s going to affect every American, the number of cargo ships waiting off the ports of Los Angeles has dwindled to a minuscule number.
MELBER: I think about it every morning.
DEAN: Yes, Biden got out there early on and straightened it out and got more people in there to handle the freight and so forth, and now the supply line problem is going away. So this guy knows what he`s doing. He`s not the most exciting charismatic guy in the world, but he delivers results under circumstances that Trump total and utterly failed in fact in many places caused these problems. So I would rather be us than the other side any time.
DEAN: You`ve got whack jobs telling all the women in the country they`re going to take their rights away from them. And it wasn`t enough to have the corrupt Supreme Court make the decision they did, and they are corrupt. They`ve been -- this court has been put in place by 20 years of dark money through the federalist society. Their court needs to be remade.
We`re going to get a mandate to do that. We`re going to take the Senate, we`re going to hold the House, and in the next two years we`re going to have to straighten this country out. And the voters are going to give us that power because I think they`re pretty scared about what`s happening in this country. Women losing their rights, deporting people to other states without the rule of law, lying to them about what they`re doing, just like the old hardline southern segregationists did.
That`s the mindset of the Republican Party. Not all the Republican Party, but the people who control the party have the same mindset as Bull Conner did at that bridge, and we`re not going to stand for it. And I think the American people aren`t going stand for it, and I think we`re going to kick their butts in November.
MELBER: A bullish Howard Dean. Final thought with one minute, Michael Steele. I only lightly joke about the supply chain because some of the dry boring stuff is important, but we`re not all thinking about it. And what do you think of -- to Howard`s point that you got a president here who`s not flashy, but appears to be immersed in doing the job sometimes?
STEELE: He`s doing the work. He`s doing the work. This rail strike could have been a real, real problem, a real hiccup in the recovery narrative. And the fact that he got to the table and brought people to the table and he solved it, or at least tentatively have put the frame work in place, is huge. I mean, again, Joe`s a guy -- President Biden is a guy who`s been on the rails. I would run into them on my trips from Washington to New York to come hang out with you, my friend.
And you would see -- I mean, how people responded to his connection to what real people do every day. And so he knew and understood what this disruption would be, not just for our -- but for the communities of men and women who work in the rail industry, which, you know, he`s tried -- he made a promise to revitalize, and he`s beginning to do that. So he`s doing the work.
MELBER: We got a lot of serious stuff, Michael. Doing the work. We got a lot of serious stuff. On a lighter note I`ve also been on those Amtraks as you know, up and down, when I go to D.C. for reporting. Why is the cafe car -- why is that thing always -- it`s not open when you get on the train, it closes early. You`re stuck on the train for hours. What`s up with that?
STEELE: It`s a thing you got to work through.
MELBER: You know what I`m talking about.
STEELE: I do know what you`re talking about, so I bring my own.
MELBER: I`m a big --
DEAN: We`ll get the president on that right away, Ari. Right away we`ll get the president on that.
MELBER: I don`t know if it`s a policy issue. I pack a lot of snacks. Real quick, before I let you go, what`s your key train snack, Michael and then Howard.
STEELE: My key train snack is actually the yogurt cup.
MELBER: Oh. Howard?
MELBER: I do chocolate. I do Snickers, almond if I can find it, and a cliff bar. Good to see you, gentlemen.
STEELE: Put chocolate in the yogurt cup.
MELBER: Dip it if you need to. Good to see you, gentlemen.
We`re going to fit in a break. We have a lot going on. But there is a breakthrough in the criminal probe into the insurrection when we come back.
MELBER: Turn into a criminal investigation into the coup and insurrection there are signs that the Feds continue to circle Donald Trump himself. His top aides through the end of his term, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows reportedly complying with a criminal subpoena.
That would make him the highest-ranking Trump official to actually be consulting or cooperating with these federal prosecutors who are investigating crimes. We`re also learning about what type of crimes the DOJ is looking at. You remember the former DOJ official Jeff Clark, who at one moment in time was almost in line to become the attorney general to run a coup?
Well, he had his home search, we knew that. He had his phone seized that was in June. What we`re learning now according to a new filing is that the Justice Department was specifically looking for evidence of crimes regarding lying, obstruction, and then the big one in the middle of your screen conspiracy.
What is that mean? Why is that a bigger deal than even the serious crime of false statements, the FBI? And why do you need more than one person if you`re going to prove a conspiracy? Well, we have two of the best legal minds in the country. I say that literally. Neal Katyal and David Kelley after the break.
MELBER: Some breakthroughs in the criminal investigation into the insurrection. We`re joined by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal, and the former SDNY Chief David Kelley, also my former boss when I practice law. Welcome to both of you.
Neal, you see Jeffrey Clark, who was at one time slotted to be an inexperienced coup attorney general by Trump going into January 6th. Now we`re learning they were looking at, among other things, conspiracy. What does that tell you?
NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: Um, it tells me a lot. So, conspiracy is a very flexible doctrine that prosecutors can use. And the key thing about it, and it goes all the way back to like the 17th century, that it doesn`t require the completion of a crime, it`s what`s called an encoded crime.
And so that means, you know, Ari, if you and I agree to rob a bank, that`s a crime, even if we wind up not doing it, as long as there`s some overt act in furtherance of it. You know, in an earlier life, I wrote a whole Yale Law Journal article about how this flexible doctrine is a very powerful tool for prosecutors to use, because it allows really people to be flipped, and turn in -- turn information into law enforcement.
And if you`re Donald Trump right now, you have to be incredibly worried that people are flipping on you. Mar-a-Lago, almost certainly, there`s some insider who`s giving information. Jeffrey Clark, you know, is an obvious target for a flip along with so many other people. And so, it`s no surprise that today, the News is reporting that Donald Trump is paying his new lawyer $3 million, Ari, $3 million to join his legal team.
And if you talk to the general counsel of any company in the country, when you say what kind of case you spend $3 million on, you know, it`s usually something with a ton of legal work. And so that suggests to me that that`s what`s going on here. Trump understands that this is not just a small, you know, document dispute or something like that, between January 6th than this. It`s a massive criminal investigation, as it should be.
DAVID KELLEY, FORMER SDNY CHIEF: Well, first, the $3 million retainer, my guess is that this lawyer is probably worried that Trump won`t pay his bills. But (INAUDIBLE) the money upfront. But I agree with Neal, the breadth of conspiracy and a tool for the prosecutors, Neal hit the nail on the head.
One of the interesting things about the -- about the subpoena that served at his home, where he got the electronics and so forth, was that it was an office of inspector general that came in there. I don`t think that`s at the end of the day really means a lot.
But it`s interesting that the kind of Justice Department is looking at this in the first instance as an internal issue with him as opposed to maybe a broader -- a broader group of folks. But, you know, it`s hard to -- it`s hard to tell, but I think ultimately, it`s going to -- it`s going to be part of the broader investigation.
MELBER: Yes, let`s dig into that a little David because you`re mentioning a nuance viewer may have heard a little bit about but we`re just -- that`s talking about the watchdog with the call the inspector general. Folks may remember internal reviews that are related to, for example, James Comey`s conduct or his one-time deputy Andrew McCabe. And that`s a kind of like DOJ H.R., but a little bit more serious. For all the obvious reasons --
KELLEY: Might be more serious.
MELBER: Yes, but it`s not -- it`s not like what you used to do with SDNY. In the first instance, it doesn`t usually lead to indictment statements although it can. What do you see in the fact that you have an I.G. probe going on which relates to his initial status as a DOJ employee, and a criminal probe with regular prosecutors alongside it?
KELLEY: I think maybe the I.G. -- look the I.G. is not going to coordinate that stuff with the criminal investigators at the Justice Department, they may have just gotten a jump on this. And DOJ investigators may be coming around to the same point at some point given -- which is evidenced by the fact that they`ve just issued 41, more subpoenas on everybody else.
So, it may well -- and this was back, you know, in June. So, look, when we talk about these things, we`re reading tea leaves, right? But what we can discern is that there`s a massive investigation going on. And as Neal said, the fact that they`re hitting on so many different points, they`re bound to hit a vulnerability for the targets of this investigation.
By somebody who`s going to want to speak, somebody who`s going to flip, somebody who may have some evidence that could be helpful to this investigation. And I think, you know -- and it`s also hard to figure out. How far along in this investigation are they? Have they basically think they`ve completed the investigation, and they`re trying to kind of preempt something out there that could weaken their case, or are they in the midst of this investigation, they`re trying to gather all the evidence they can.
KATYAL: Yes, I think that`s exactly right. And I think that, you know, Jeffrey Clark made a filing yesterday in the D.C. ethics case, which suggests that he is under a criminal conspiracy. And of course, Clark is fighting these ethics charges along with, you know, Rudy Giuliani, I don`t know that, you know, the ethics charges matter that much.
I mean, even if they were to dis avoid disbarment, I`d be very surprised if anyone really wants to hire either Jeffrey Clark or Rudy Giuliani to represent them again.
MELBER: Let me read a little bit from Politico on what`s happening with all of the Trump aide. (INAUDIBLE) about what could be next, with fear that those in the inner circle may flip on their friends to save themselves. There`s speculation that the scope of those targeted is much larger, with some close to Trump suggesting actually subpoenas over 50 people, Neal.
KATYAL: Yes. And you know, there`s also reporting that Mark Meadows, Ari, has now cooperating with the investigation. I`m going to take that a little bit with a grain of salt, because Mark Meadows is, you know, a fairly slippery individual. And it may just be a P.R. stunt that he wants to turn over a few things. But it`s definitely something that media has fallen for.
And it`s sad to think that the expectations for Donald Trump and his inner circle are so low. The surprising part in all of this that the news is harping on, it`s not that a former president`s chief of staff received a federal subpoena. It`s the reporting that he actually complied with one. And that just tells you I think, all you need to know, Ari, which is, you know, for the most part of the Trump inner circle has been resisting law enforcement, resisting subpoenas.
That strategy worked pretty well when Trump was president because he could dangle pardons and pardon his friends like Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, and others who held firm. He`s not the president anymore. That`s why I think David`s point about flipping is so important.
He doesn`t have the same tools. And so, it`s likely that law enforcement will be able to flip people on that political article seems exactly right. And thinking that you know, of all these people -- with all these people with information, you know, once someone`s going to flip.
MELBER: I think Neal`s finished his answer. I`m going to be 100 percent transparent. I have some technical audio issues, so I didn`t hear what you said. I`m hoping the audience did. Just to be completely honest. And I thank Neal for his time. David`s going to stay with me. We`re going to see about that and coming up this threat that we`re hearing about that`s next.
MELBER: We`ve reported on Donald Trump attempting this back channel to the current attorney general of the United States. He said the country is on fire, what can I do to reduce the heat? A kind of a veiled threat is how it was interpreted. The New York Times first broke that story while a Trump lawyer says there`ll be mayhem if he were to be indicted. Lindsey Graham openly talked about riots in the streets. And here`s Donald Trump now discussing what would be the outcome he thinks if he were indicted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have the absolute right to declassify. Absolute. A president has that absolute right. I can`t imagine being indicted. I`ve done nothing wrong. If it happened, I think you`d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we`ve never seen before. I don`t think the people of the United States would stand for it.
HUGH HEWITT, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT: What kind of problems Mr. president?
TRUMP: I think they`d have big problems, big problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: We are back with David Kelley, former SDNY chief. Welcome back, sir.
KELLEY: Nice to see you again.
MELBER: You have dealt with a lot of complex cases. SDNY is known as a ferociously assertive office in New York, and you dealt with organized crime, you dealt with terrorists. So, there`s nothing really new to someone like you or the prosecutors who worked with you to have folks talking about a turn or implying that if you do your job, it would be a danger to you or others in the nation, although not usually openly from a former president.
A. what do you see here is this over the line? And B. would this in your view dissuade federal prosecutors from considering a case against him?
KELLEY: Well, I answer the first -- the second question first, which is absolutely not. In fact, that might embolden them. And it really just, you know, look at some folks you`ve seen, one of my successors, Jeff Berman, former colleague of mine, former U.S. attorney, recently with his book, and he talked about the politis -- politicization of the Justice Department.
But the last department that that`s going to happen to, is this one when it`s led by Merrick Garland, Judge Garland, and when his boss is Joe Biden. I mean, it`s the farthest thing that could possibly happen. So there -- it`s not going to have any impact. But it does, it`s not really a surprise, is it? Right? Because, I mean, this is completely consistent with his inciting.
I mean, it`s back to -- its back to this -- his message to the Oath Keepers. You know, stand back stand by. And he`s doing really the same thing he did before January 6th, in terms of inciting. It`s almost -- this -- this is almost -- if he were going to be tried for the November -- excuse me, for the January 6th riots. Insurrection, if you will, I would probably consider using this -- this offering, or this statement by Trump as consistent with that behavior.
MELBER: Have you ever heard of a former official like this trying to, you know, back channel or threaten the DOJ because the Times reported that, as was so much nowadays is a million things. I don`t know that got as much attention. It seems that if out of the blue, Barack Obama just did that, as a former president, it might be a multi-month scandal.
KELLEY: I think if I got that message from a defendant or target of an investigation, I would think he was deranged.
MELBER: Wow. Here`s a little bit more of Trump in this new interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEWITT: Did you take those papers down there after declassifying them intentionally or did you have any idea they were there?
TRUMP: Remember this. Remember this. Everything was declassified number one. And if you look at the presidential -- if you look at the act that was passed, it talks about what you can do what you can`t do, how you negotiate with NARA, and then if you look at what`s running NARA, it`s radical left run. Radical, radical left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Did he answer the question and what do you see there?
KELLEY: Well, a couple of things. One, he`s trying to stir up the base with his radical left stuff. The last folks I think are radical left is the National Archives. But also, he misses the point. Well, let`s talk about declassification and let`s talk about the significance of that, all right. I really doubt he effectively or properly declassified that`s kind of looking backwards, and so yes, declassified.
And that just -- that`s just -- it`s absurd. It`s absurd. If you look through the classification processes, and the declassification processes, it`s not like you can just stand in front of a box and go like this, you`re now declassified. So, that -- is just crazy.
But that having been said, it really doesn`t matter, does it? Because it`s not so much their classification, so much as he possessed documents that he shouldn`t have possessed, not that they were classified or not classified. And that`s -- that`s really at the heart of the offense here. So, I think - - and then it kind of begs the question, and the question is, OK, Mr. Trump, why did you need?
What were you going to do with those documents? What were you going to do with them? And the fact that it he`s thinking that he declassified these documents, that`s a secret to everybody but him. And so, the people that need to protect the interests that are discussed in those documents have no clue that now the lid has been blown off, and they`re sitting in a country club somewhere in Florida with anybody can have access to it.
So, if he`s going to declassify him, then he better let some people know because some steps need to be taken, or frankly, people like sources are going to die. Entrance to the United States overseas are going to be severely endangered. Relationships, international relationships are going to be completely undermined.
But if he`s going to declassify, he better get on the horn and start talking to some people so that they can cover those tracks. He never did that, which is clearly evidence of the fact that this whole the sort -- declassification issue that he`s claiming, is complete garbage.
MELBER: Garbage, says the former SDNY chief. And it is striking because on the one hand, it shows a certain sloppiness about the job that he had, because if he done it the right way with enough notice he could have as you say through the process to classify it and cover himself. He didn`t do that.
And then now you have the DOJ suggesting his lawyers are lying about it which goes to your question, why do you do it? What was he doing? Why so much lying to protect intelligence that while he was president he barely sat through the briefings for? David Kelley on more than one topic. Good to see you, sir.
KELLEY: Nice to see you. Thanks very much for having me.
MELBER: Thank you. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, hate can be defeated, but only hides. And when given any oxygen, it comes out from under the rocks. In the last few years has been given much too much oxygen in our politics and our media and on the internet. Too much hate. All for power and profit. That`s the part where you don`t miss changed a little bit. It`s about power and profit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Fomenting hate for power and profit. That was the president today speaking at a special summit convened at the White House to address the rising hate and violence in America today. We wanted to give you that update in that final word. Thanks for watching THE BEAT with Ari Melber. "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" is up next.