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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 1/20/22

Guests: Howard Dean, Michael Steele, Carl Bernstein, Marlon Craft


New heat on former presidential daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump as Congress seeks her testimony about the January 6th insurrection. This amid former President Donald Trump`s legal woes mounting from SCOTUS loss and the Georgia grand jury probe. President Biden asked what do Republicans stand for, as GOP lawmakers touting Biden bill that they voted against and with Republican leader Mitch McConnell refusing to state their agenda until after the midterms. Reporter who broke Watergate on today`s attacks on truth. Independent musician on America`s violent roots conveyed in a rap song.


WALLACE: 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.

Hi, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Nicolle. Thank you.

Welcome to THE BEAT. I`m Ari Melber, and we start with breaking news.

New legal heat on Ivanka Trump tonight as Congress seeks her testimony about the January 6th insurrection. The riot probe wants information from her as a witness. The daughter of the former president was also famously a senior adviser and apparently heard Trump and Pence talk on that crucial morning of January 6th.

The committee casting this as a request for voluntarily cooperation, a way to learn key details about how Pence responded to potentially illegal requests to help Trump overturn the election and try to stay in power. Investigators noted that Trump`s own White House lawyers may have concluded the plot to abuse executive power to try to steal the election would be unconstitutional or otherwise criminally illegal. And Congress already knows the attempted coup would fail even had Pence joined in.

The incumbent administration cannot override the election and the courts do not support that kind of illegal ploy. In fact if you want to do the thought experiment if it came to it all the evidence we have suggests that the U.S. government and the military would back any court`s rulings that the transfer of power to then President-elect Biden was the lawful outcome. No chicanery from the vice president on the Senate floor would change that.

But there were people in the White House who were serious about this very plot. Trump aide Peter Navarro saying their plan was to get Pence to quarterback the operation.


PETER NAVARRO, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: The remedy was for Vice President Pence the quarterback in a Green Bay sweep to remand those votes back to the six battleground states. My only reason to talk to Vice President Mike Pence was to explain him as I documented in my three-volume report that in all likelihood there were significant election fraud and irregularities.


MELBER: So what Trump and some of his aides wanted Pence to do remains one of the items under the investigative lens here. That`s what`s going on in Washington which is the site of just one of several legal setbacks for Trump after the Supreme Court dealt him that 8-1 loss on the attempt to block evidence in the same probe.

Meanwhile, late today another setback in the criminal probe in Georgia, where the top prosecutor is formally requesting a criminal grand jury in an open probe of Trump`s efforts to steal votes specifically in that state. That includes his specific request to find or fabricate over 11,000 votes there which he at the time secretly made to the state`s top elections official.


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: Trump was talking to the secretary of state who recently told NBC he would cooperate in a grand jury request for testimony on all this. The prosecutor in fact cites that, that interview in today`s request for this new grand jury basically saying they need the legal escalation of a grand jury to get all witnesses` full cooperation and explaining that will be key to a probe into coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections.

Bottom line, after all of Trump`s talk of voter fraud, he is the one under criminal investigation for fraudulent in trying to steal votes. Voter fraud. It`s his staff and family under demands now to detail this plot. And it`s his secret evidence that is now heading into investigators` hands after most of his judicial appointees to the Supreme Court sided against him in that overwhelming decision putting Trump under more scrutiny.

This is a predicament of his own making. It`s the kind of situation diagnosed by Trump`s favorite rapper and controversial ally for was it not Ye who lamented, "It`s so hard not to act reckless, to whom much is given much is tested, get arrested, yes, until he get the message. I feel the pressure under more scrutiny. And what I do? Act more stupidly."


For expertise we turn now to Maya Wylie, a former civil prosecutor, and Howard Dean, a former DNC chair and governor.

Maya, we turn to Ye who of course is close to the former president in his own way, because he talks about that, that mixture of arrogance and legal heat and pressure which still doesn`t always stop certain people from, as he put it, acting more stupidly.

MAYA WILEY, FORMER SDNY CIVIL PROSECUTOR: Yes. I mean, you know, I`m a little bit more of a Vince Staples woman so --


WILEY: I was more 6500 degrees up in the Trump kitchen because the heat that`s coming down, and you just ran through the list, was very much about the fact that all these circles of investigation, whether it`s Georgia, whether it`s the January 6th probe, whether, frankly, it is the New York state attorney general who had quite a lengthy filing on insurance and bank fraud potentially, that also wants to depose Ivanka Trump, by the way, that all of these things are coming all together at once not because it`s happening all at a once in a sense because it`s been building -- these investigations have been building for such a long time.

But one piece and one step at a time so that we`re really at a point where everything that Donald Trump has done is starting to come home to roost in the form of these investigations. In the form of the legal actions that are actually going to start to require I think a lot more people to be talking. I think Georgia is a critically important one because it will be -- looks like it will be grand jury and then it`s a lot harder to just refuse to participate as we may see from the January 6th Committee.

MELBER: Yes, and Maya, before I go to Howard, just build on that legal point. When we talk about grand jury that`s like what people remember from the Mueller probe. That these grand juries really force cooperation in a way that some other legal processes do not.

WILEY: Right. So as we`ve seen with the January 6th Committee which obviously has amassed a lot of evidence because it wouldn`t be asking Ivanka Trump, daughter to the president, who was doing some work out of the White House, for her cooperation if it did not have all the things that we saw in the letter which is that she was right there in the room. She was having conversations with him. Other people were begging her to try to get Trump to stop the violence that was happening outside of the Capitol and into the Capitol.

That that means she is a fact witness with direct knowledge, but she can easily just say, I refuse. Right? That`s a voluntary request and then the committee is in the position it was in with Mark Meadows, which is, do you then go to a process that both subpoenas and then find in contempt? I suspect they will. I think they may have to. But in the context of Georgia there won`t be a choice but to comply with the grand jury subpoena.

That in fact just jumps over all those steps and frankly it will be very difficult and what we more likely to see if anybody gets -- is whether they would assert their Fifth Amendment rights to protect themselves from anything that makes them look criminal.

MELBER: And Howard, we hear so much about voter fraud from the right but it is Donald Trump here who is in a very real sense under investigation for voter fraud in Georgia.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIR: Yes. I mean, look. Trump`s M.O. is to break the law, to brag about it and then to stall in court as long as possible. I`ve got some questions for Maya because she`s an attorney and I`m not. So here are the things I worry about. One, Trump`s incredible ability to continue to stall, and so if you`re deposing Trump or Trump`s people in a grand jury and they take the Fifth, can you on the spot give them a blanket we-won`t-indict-you and make them talk?

Because that`s the only -- they can`t hide behind the Fifth Amendment if they`re not in danger of prosecution. Maybe. I don`t know. The other problem is, you know, I think the U.S. attorney general Merrick Garland is obviously a great lawyer and was deprived of his court seat by essentially a criminal who`s pretending to be the majority leader of the United States Senate.

But what I want to know is, are we going to have time? I figure we`ve got two years to go to trial. That`s not a lot of time from right now. To go to trial. I don`t mean two years for the indictment. Two years to go to trial before Trump gets to stall by saying he is running for president and all these other kind of stuff. So these are the issues that I worry about, not the legal case.


WILEY: Well, I think that`s really -- those are well-stated questions because there`s a difference between seeking justice in the case of Georgia where the district attorney`s job really is to do a careful, thorough investigation to try to get facts, and may make decisions about whether to confer immunity to witnesses in order to get them to talk and will make that judgment not based on the politics of Washington or elections.


DEAN: Right.

WILEY: But more on the basis of justice. So that`s a very different picture from a January 6th committee which frankly has a very clear political deadline to get as much information as it can to the American public so that there are informed decisions both about law making but I think also for the American public to decide what kind of leadership they want in the next cycle of elections, and that, that requires I think really great public airing of what clearly is a lot of evidence that they already have.

So there`s a court of public opinion, and I think your point about the Justice Department, you know, one of the things about that Oath Keeper indictment, you know.

DEAN: Right.

WILEY: The extremist group that`s indicted now for seditious conspiracy, is the clear sense that there was a strong evidence by the Justice Department of a very organized, methodical decision to attack the Capitol and stop the vote. And the question now is, how much of that evidence that they already have amassed, already directs our attention to Donald Trump`s participation. And that`s why Ivanka Trump`s -- the request to Ivanka Trump is so interesting because it shows that they already have evidence that suggests there are very clear questions about his direct knowledge and participation and, as Liz Cheney said action or inaction in corruptly blocking Congress from doing its job.

DEAN: I`m smiling because this is -- you`re exactly why I love lawyers. Well stated. Thank you.

MELBER: Look at that. The legal logic brings a smile to his face, Maya.


DEAN: Oh, a doctor and a lawyer saying they like each other.

WILEY: Bring a smile to Howard Dean. I just want (INAUDIBLE). I live for Howard Dean`s smile.

MELBER: Well, and Howard, the evidence that`s come out, and there`s much that the committee has not released yet and the criminal cases are even more complicated, but there`s new evidence here, for example, from a conservative member of Congress who is really aghast that day and that might seem straightforward or low bar, and yet McConnell and Cruz and others who have eaten their words of condemnation, it does serve a kind of a public purpose separate from the law of just keeping your eye on the reality as, you know, Orwell said, just keeping your eyes on the reality in times like this is itself a daily challenge.

And I`m just going to read from that letter here which is where the evidence comes from. The Republican Freedom Caucus member texting Mark Meadows who of course was their former colleague. This was how they get the word out about these things, saying if Trump allows this to occur we are driving a stake in the heart of the federal republic. That`s basically new contemporaneous texts that come out only because of the Ivanka Trump request.

But where does that figure all in? And Howard, some of these are colleagues and people you know well. What do you see of the significance of them trying to show along the way that very, some very conservative Republicans were also aghast that day?

DEAN: You know, I think the problem here is that Trump doesn`t care. Trump revels in this and his base doesn`t care. I mean, you know, he once said something that I think turned out to be absolutely true. He could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and he could still be elected president. That`s where his base is. They don`t care.


DEAN: They don`t believe anything, and they`re going to vote for Trump. So, normally, I mean, Hillary Clinton was badly hurt by the connivance of that idiot from South Carolina whose name I can`t remember who was running the investigative committee. She was hurt by that. You`re not going to hurt Trump with an executive --

MELBER: Gowdy.

DEAN: With the committee in the legislature. You can only do it in the courts and hopefully by putting him in prison.

MELBER: Yes. And you mentioned that. That was of course an infamous claim he made and a pretty pathological one that any member of a civilization would want to make that claim. That you could literally get away with murder, quote-unquote, but many people looked at this, the DOJ included, and think it was actually worse than a single act of violence that it was not on Fifth Avenue, it was on Independence Avenue and it was a shot at our democracy itself.

DEAN: Right.

MELBER: And of course there was also loss of life that day.

I`m going to fit in a break for what we have coming, so I want to thank Howard and Maya for kicking us off and explain.

Coming up, we have a fact check on Republicans and how they`re trying to take credit actually for part of Biden`s first year. McConnell also stepping in it when asked what do Republicans believe in. Something that Biden pushed.

All that, and tonight on THE BEAT, the legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein is here. That`s coming up. Stay with us. We`ll be right back.



MELBER: There are plenty of problems across America right now from enduring COVID to inflation. It`s the rocky period that the president is trying to address as he marks a year in office and held an event about the major year one accomplishments including the major trillion-dollar spending package. And today in what`s becoming something of a Biden theme more Republicans who voted against the bill clearly liked some parts of it because they`re trying to take credit for it. One Iowa Republican who called it a raw deal and spending at its worst.


REP. ASHLEY HINSON (R-IA): In a time when we are seeing record inflation, record spending, the spending spigot has been turned on in Washington. And I`m very conscious of that. It is the biggest dive toward socialism that we have seen in this country. I`m not planning to support it at this time.


MELBER: And that`s fine. You can take that position. But the same Republican is now saying, quote, "We," emphasis on that big word, "We secured $829 million in federal funding for upgraded locks and dams in Mississippi projects." What does "we" mean if you were against it?

She`s not alone. Texas Republican Kay Granger also boasting a $400 million in funding she says she got. Of course it was again something she tried to stop. Literally. Had her vote prevailed there would be no such funding. So as this president heads into year two amidst problems that are real, nothing about this hypocrisy distracts from what I mentioned what we`ve reported, so many tough times for Americans in so many ways, the president is trying to get his footing around the fact that he is doing things that are so clearly good and popular even Republicans have to lie about it to pretend they were with him.

Now listen to Mitch McConnell on all of this.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:: Think about this. What are Republicans for? What are they for? Name me one thing they`re for.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If Republicans take back control of Congress after the midterms what would be your agenda?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): That is a very good question. And I`ll let you know when we take it back.


MELBER: Wow. That`s a politician, a powerful one by the way, basically saying in public, on record, and admitting he doesn`t think he has to explain anything. Just give us the power and after we get it we`ll let you know what we`re going to do with it.

Now in fairness to Mitch McConnell that`s a position. I mean, you are allowed to do that. The voters have to decide whether they think that is a good idea and do you want to hand the keys to someone who has ideas so special or perhaps so problematic they won`t tell you what they are?

I`m going to ask Michael Steele who knows his way around the party, how this all works, when we`re back in one minute.


MELBER: We are back with former RNC chair Michael Steele.

How are you, sir?

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: I am well, brother. How are you doing?

MELBER: I`m good. Excited to have you decode this. Sometimes they say these politicians, they don`t even talk across the lines. Well, with the media --

STEELE: Wait a minute. If I know it was going to be decoded, I would have had a drink. All I brought was water.

MELBER: Hey, drink whatever you want. We`re nearly at the end of the week. Look. They did talk to each other through the media. The president made his case yesterday. I think it was heard by many. Part of what he said was, look, they won`t tell you what they stand for. The press as we often do we throw questions out to everybody, said, they say you won`t tell us what you stand for. And Mitch McConnell said, you got it.

STEELE: You`re right. Yes. Because they don`t. They don`t know what they stand for. They stand for whatever Donald Trump wakes up tomorrow morning and says they stand for, and then that will change by about lunchtime and it`ll change again around dinner. So that`s the -- remember, we`re talking about a party that doesn`t have a platform. All right?


STEELE: They decided because Donald Trump didn`t want to put out what we believe in and stood for. We have no platform. We saw after eight years of the Obama administration and I was on the front lines of those early fights over healthcare, OK, we lost. Healthcare passed, Obamacare passed. So then Republicans said, all right, we`re going to put forward, you know, a plan to repeal it. We`re going to repeal it and we`re going to replace it. We`re going to replace it with a better healthcare plan and strategy.

Then there was infrastructure week for four years. So the reality of it is, and this goes to the core of what voters have to consider going into this November, I get it. You get there`s a lot of frustrations going around Biden, but the brother gave you infrastructure.

MELBER: Right. Which is popular.

STEELE: He puts up on that table. And it`s popular. He is dealing with COVID. Right? He got, you know, shots in the arms and resources to the communities. And yes, there have been blips and blops, and there are things that I don`t agree with. All right? But at least he`s giving me something that I can disagree with. Right?

I can`t disagree or agree with you when you tell me, well, I don`t know what it is but give me the power and I`ll let you know. That`s just not how government is supposed to work.

MELBER: Right, yes.

STEELE: So, Ari, I think voters have to take it seriously when the Republicans tell you we`re not showing you anything until you give us the power.


STEELE: Right? And they need to understand what Joe Biden and unfortunately the Democratic Party that can`t seem to get out of its own way are at least trying to do in terms of policy and the politics.

MELBER: Yes. Well, and it goes -- it`s not very conservative to say here, give me a bunch of federal power but I`m not going to be held to any plan or standard. You know, traditional conservatism is to actually outline that and have limits on power.


You mentioned when Obama came in. And that`s when you were first appointed the RNC chair and running the party during that transition period, we actually have because it is January 20th today, we have just a look back because, boy, has America gone through a lot. A look at some of these inaugural addresses from Obama, Trump and Biden. Each of these one year ago and then more years ago behind that. Let`s take a look.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: By a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

TRUMP: The crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

BIDEN: On this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol`s very foundation, we come together as one nation under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power.


MELBER: Very different leaders. What do you see here?

STEELE: What I see are three men who have a very clear view of how they see America. Obama who recognized the moment standing there as the first African-American president in what the history of the country, the torturous sometimes and oftentimes painful history of the country led to that moment but we came through it. Then you had Donald Trump who saw this dystopia, this kind of like, you know, barren wastelands of carnage where, you know, people are dying in the streets and being mugged and all of that.

And then you had Biden who actually had to deal with real carnage just a few weeks before he took the oath of office, trying to find ways to reconnect the country to itself. So I think that these individual men as presidents give the country at least some guideposts in terms of how they assess leadership because that leadership is a reflection ultimately of us at the end of the day because they are an extension.

By extension through our votes, we give them the power. We give them the authority, which is why it matters who you send to Congress. Who you send to the governor`s mansion, who you send to the state legislature, because in effect you`re sending a little bit of yourself, and as a community if you really hate your neighbor then you`re probably going to send somebody who`s rather hateful.


STEELE: But if you do have a sense of loving the country despite its problems and you want us to do better, then hopefully those types of candidates will appeal to you.

MELBER: I feel that. And that`s really what when we do reflect on these things like these the anniversaries, it`s worth looking at, because those were very different as you said.


MELBER: Appeals to the nation. Michael comes back. You know, we try to keep our word around here, Michael. We started a conversation with you as a special guest last year. We`re going to pick it up later tonight, so I`ll see you again tonight, sir.

STEELE: All right, buddy.

MELBER: All right. Thank you.

Coming up, holding presidential corruption to account. Lessons from history. The legendary journalist Carl Bernstein whose reporting exposed Watergate and Nixon makes his BEAT debut. Carl is next.



MELBER: For all of Washington`s focus on how Biden is doing, we could also use a wider lens to remember to take in how America is doing with this ongoing COVID pandemic, economic woes, and concerns about preserving democracy itself. But when you look at how America thinks through these things, these challenges are often filtered in a nation that`s polarized and divided.

There`s nothing new about pitched battles in our country but today a lot more of these battles do turn on disinformation and lies that have people living in alternative realities like right wingers who wrongly think there was no violent insurrection, or people across the spectrum who wrongly believe eating healthy is a valid alternative to vaccination. For tens of millions in America there may be no common set of facts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ninety-nine percent of this was all peaceful.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX HOST: An overwhelming majority of them, 99, more than 99 percent had to be, were peaceful. Reports that Antifa sympathizers may have been sprinkled throughout the crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The election was stolen and President Trump won by a landslide.

JOE ROGAN, "THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE" HOST: If you`re like 21 years old and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I`d go, no. If you`re a healthy people and you`re exercising all the time and you`re young and you`re eating well, and like, I don`t think you need to worry about this.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX HOST: The virus itself, this is true, does tend to take away the life force in some people I noticed. I mean, it does feminize people. No one ever says that. But it`s true.


MELBER: These are challenges that really exist at the crux of facts, freedom and the free press, and how to hold government account, but brings us right now to a special guest and thought leader in this space. A journalist who helped lead a wave of accountability reporting in Nixon`s Watergate, a period which echoes so much of what we`re going through now as America tries to face down rampant political cheating and corruption and lying.

We are joined by someone you definitely have heard of. Carl Bernstein, the legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist who along with Bob Woodward broke the Watergate scandal wide open for "The Washington Post." A story and a set of reporting along with investigations that led to the eventual resignation of President Nixon. Their best-selling account of the investigation was of course turned into the acclaimed film "All the President`s Men" with Dustin Hoffman portraying Bernstein.

He`s the author of numerous books. His newest is the memoir "Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom." You can get it out now.

Carl, thanks for coming on THE BEAT.


MELBER: Let`s start with your view, having worked through so much of this, about where misinformation and disinformation fits into how America is dealing with these challenges right now.

BERNSTEIN: We have a culture of misinformation and disinformation. It`s not just in media. It pervades an awful lot of our national life. Obviously during the Trump era and during the Trump presidency, in our politics we saw actual repeated serial lies by what we now know to be a president of the United States who was a seditionist.


The first in seditionist president in our history. Has perpetuated these lies and worst of all we have a political party that has accepted and embraced these lies. It`s never happened in our history before. The Republican Party has now allowed itself by being so craven as to go along with the big lie, with the serial lie, with the seditious lies, and the result is we have a culture that now is almost dominated, half the people in this country are willing to go along with this misinformation, disinformation and perpetual lying.

No other American president tried to stage a coup. Richard Nixon left office voluntarily in the sense that he was forced out as a criminal president but he went along with what the Constitution said and left.

MELBER: Yes. And the other contrast being that then he was really in a type of isolation whereas Trump, whether he runs or not, rules this party. Reading from "New York" magazine they note Nixon crashed and burned in Watergate, which as mentioned you were so instrumental in. Conservatives in the south and west ready to assume leadership for the GOP at the time. No one thinks, though, Trumpism is entirely dead.

Now how do you contrast that, that criminality and the corruption of a prior administration but its leader still very much in charge of its party?

BERNSTEIN: Again, Republicans, courageous Republicans were ultimately the reason that Richard Nixon had to leave office. Barry Goldwater led a group of senior Republicans in the House and Senate. He was the 1964 nominee of his party. The great conservative. It was clear that the House of Representatives was going to impeach Richard Nixon if it was to go to a Senate trial. Nixon fully expected that he could be acquitted at the Senate trial the same way Donald Trump has been acquitted twice.

And Goldwater and the leadership of the Republican Party went down to the White House, met with Nixon in the Oval Office. Nixon looked at Goldwater and said, Barry, how many votes do I have in the Senate? Fully expecting that Goldwater would tell him that two-thirds he would always be acquitted, two-thirds of the Senate would never to vote to convict him. Goldwater looked Nixon in the eye, and said, Mr. President, you may have four or six votes and you`re never going to have mine. And that was when Nixon knew he was going to have to resign.

But I think, you know, one of the things that this book that I`ve written, "Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom," is really about this kid who age 16 gets the best seat in the country. I go to work in my he native Washington and I get this incredible job at "The Washington Star." The greatest afternoon newspaper in America. You see and hear these resonances that take you straight to Watergate.

The best obtainable version of the truth is Bob Woodward and I said when we were covering Watergate. That whole idea came from what I learned at "The Star" which we called there the complexity of the truth.

MELBER: Yes. I`m going to read from your book the way you described it because it`s on point. You say that, "It was a haven in reporting. The Star proceeding without judgement or predisposition to wherever the facts and context and rigorous questioning led, to some notion of the truth in all its complexity." And people can see the book there on the screen. Walk us through how that worked.

BERNSTEIN: And you picked a quote where I was about to go. How it worked is the same way it works now. Great reporting, good reporting means not just going to Google for information. You got to get out of the office, you got to see one source after another. You got to do what Woodward and I did in Watergate. Knock on people`s doors, at home at night, out in their offices where they`re going to be under pressure, and it`s a clear cinch that you`re not going to get good information.

You keep going. You nail down the information from source after source after source. Yes, we all have a predisposition to what we think a story is going to be when we start out on it. My experience is the story never turns out to follow the predisposition where we think it`s going. There`s a point in the book where I say the truth is not neutral. And it`s a really important point because it`s not about 50 percent on one side and we put in the paper or our news broadcast, 50 percent on the other. You get to the truth by doing the reporting and that`s what the book is about, that`s what I learned.


And that`s why the reporting on the Trump presidency has been so great. By the greatest number of news organizations, I`ve never seen such great coverage of a president by so many news organizations. And what we know about Trump we know because of the reporting. Not from anything that he has given us or people in Congress have given us.

MELBER: Yes. Well, and you laid that out, and that search for the truth which is different than sticking to a predisposed idea or a confirmation bias. Really interesting stuff.

Carl Bernstein, really great to get you on THE BEAT. And I`ll remind everyone, the book is "Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom." Thanks, Carl.

BERNSTEIN: Good to be with you, Ari.

MELBER: And as we think about the impact of lies and how they fear accountability, we turn next to what I mentioned. Michael Steele and I started this special conversation tonight. We have an exclusive follow-up. The roots of right-wing violence and where we go. That`s next.



MELBER: While the legal probes into this insurrection continue the recent one-year anniversary of January 6th sparked also some broader conversations. There were solemn memorials. There was the politics, Republicans like Ted Cruz walking back his accurate reference to the terror attack of that day. And then there`s the ongoing ways that our culture marks and makes sense of that day to talk about coups or seditions, and something we discussed on THE BEAT with Michael Steele and Marlon Craft who released a song about America`s racism and violence. This was just before January 6th, 2021, which we discussed on this show and how it foreshadowed what was to come.


MARLON CRAFT, MUSICIAN: For those of us that have been paying attention, the handwriting has been on the wall for this. I feel like the white supremacy that allowed Trump to reign and that we saw at the Capitol still exists in the halls of our Congress and people that are supposed to represent us, and in the fabric and the DNA of our nation.

STEELE: I wrote -- had to write down a couple of those lyrics that really kind of struck that chord. The reality of it is you wrote this before January 6th, so that says a lot about what already is before what happened.


MELBER: That was our conversation that night almost a year ago today. And in the ensuing year top Republicans have only grown more defensive of that day. It`s a type of descent and normalizing of violence that Craft explores in a brand new song called out right now called "State of the Union Part 2."


CRAFT: (Singing) They say don`t throw stones if you live in a glass home, but America is Rittenhouse, time we said good riddance house and rebuild from the bone. Body cam serve as proof for the audacity. Mass shooting casualties, accepted mad casually. Underneath the hatred who are you? It ain`t so hard to pronounce a pronoun, dog. We ain`t know then what we know now, dog.


MELBER: It is a searing new political commentary. The song also argues how aging and success can dim some people`s commitment to the revolutions they say they support as well as the selfishness in the COVID wars.


CRAFT: (Singing) You had some values when you were young, a lot of empty nesters, a lot of let`s be betters, but a lot of get these checks first. A lot of attention seeking disguised as hefty efforts. Asked them about a vaccine, they said, my body, my choice. Then Texas outlawed our women`s rights saying dudes was looking like somebody bodied they voice. Son, I ain`t hear a peep. Every time the wolves come around I ain`t hear a sheep.

Our demise will be that failure, thinking we can hoard science. Our inaction is action thinking we could ignore violence. A team only as good as 12th man`s health and we been raping and pillaging our bench for centuries. Welcome to the repercussions, possibly the ending, we finger- pointing to avoid that we our own enemies.


MELBER: It`s a powerful statement and the artist behind that is back on THE BEAT tonight. Here is Marlon Craft, joining us now along with Michael Steele again together about a year later.

Welcome back to both of you.

STEELE: Good to be back.

CRAFT: Thanks for having us.

STEELE: Good to see you, Marlon.

CRAFT: Good to see you.

MELBER: Marlon, here you are weighing in again. It`s a tour de force of a song. Tell us what you are conveying.

CRAFT: Well, thank you. And I mean, first of all, just seeing the clips of last year thinking about white supremacy in the halls of our Congress off the top of my head we got the Voting Rights, you know, Act which again has been shut down, I say which is clearly a target on the rights of people of color to vote particularly in condensed areas. And then we got, you know, what we`ve seen in Texas and other states for trying to challenge Roe v. Wade.

As we know you know, an attack on women`s rights is, you know, is a staple in white supremacy. But really this song was a lot more internal this year as things have gotten bleaker and I think that a lot of people even that, you know, consider themself progressive or with the same views as I, we have a hard time really caring in a way that is really active because things seem so bleak, and we have a hard time saying just how very bleak it is.

And what I wanted to kind of convey here at the end of this is you can accept the reality of the bleakness because that`s the first step in figuring out how we in our daily lives do things and pick careers and make decisions and choices towards being a part of the change in progression that we want to see. That smile in the face of the fire, you know, contentment and happiness is not diametrically opposed to accepting just how terrible things are right now.

MELBER: Michael, what do you hear here?

STEELE: Yes. I would agree with that. In fact I would probably take it a little bit further away from the political which is what I was struck by. Marlon just used the term progressive but I don`t think people should take it in a political context. And I think that`s -- what this video speaks to is the part of the problem is that we hear what we only want to hear. We see what we only want to see. Right?

And if we continue down that road then we`re going to be where we are and so the realities that he calls us to, calls to our conscience in the song is something that`s right in front of us, and the question is what do you see? You know?


Like in that section where you talk about, you know, my body, my choice, and how, you know, well, until I say it isn`t, right? Until the institutions say it isn`t. And so when you`re calling on people to recognize where they are, sometimes that`s one of the hardest things in the world to do. But one of the greatest ways to begin to open up that conversation as we`ve known throughout history is through music, through poetry, through playwrights.

And that to me is a form of leadership that is undervalued a lot of times. And so I really appreciate what this brother has done in terms of not just stopping at 2020, but now taking that and putting in a different context but actually in some ways the same context as we start 2022. I think it`s pretty powerfully done.

MELBER: Yes, I love that. I want to let Marlon respond and play one other part of the song we identified. Because you think about whether we start with that imagery of January 6th and how much propaganda and lies. And they were both doing the thing and filming themselves doing the thing. And we`re in a society -- and we`re talking here on television. But everyone can be a broadcaster and publisher, and there is no right or wrong to that. You don`t want to just say oh, the new generation came up with that, so that`s their problem.

It`s companies and corporations that have made that such a big part of our lives in the first place. But you have some interesting thoughts on that. Let`s take a listen.


CRAFT: (Singing) Whole generation of look at me, I read Marx but work for a corporation. Everything performative, I ain`t different, I sit on the left but got way more to give. Instead, I`m taking my first "I`m not broke checks" to buy throwback jerseys that we just couldn`t afford as kids. My inner child trying to be glorious, too. Just like you, my trauma hurts, we all damaged goods, but I`m just saying there`s a lot that if we can, we should.


MELBER: What are you saying there, Marlon, and what are you hoping people who might be closer to your age or in their 20s take from that?

CRAFT: I mean, I think we can all take from that, regardless of age. I think until we address the psychological, physical and generational underpinnings of trauma at the root of all of our issues, including and especially, you know, white supremacy, misogyny, you know, homophobia, all these things, until people are able to look into their own lives and have compassion for their own selves and understand the root of some of their hatred, some of their actions, I don`t think we`ll be able to make an inroad into fixing them.

And so in that line and in that section in particular, I was kind of including myself. You know, I`m far from perfect. And I appreciate the kind words from Michael, and I appreciate you having me on. But just me doing one of this every year wouldn`t be sufficient, despite other things I try do. I`m always trying to do more. But I think that`s another reason that maybe people in my generation or younger people run because we know it`s the odds, and we know it`s stacked against us.

And it`s very difficult to face that and feel like you know you`re going to be imperfect, but part of that healing of that trauma is having enough love for yourself to be imperfect in your fight and keep fighting. You know, fight is not a fight if the only outcome is win. You know.

MELBER: Right. Yes.

Marlon, for those who might be interested, where should they go online if they want to find you or your music?

CRAFT: You know, any Spotify title, all that stuff, Marlon Craft. And I also have something called the Center, if you`d like to support me direct, the It`s a crowd funded. I`m not signed to a label or any type of corporate entity. And that is part of me trying to walk the walk a little bit.

MELBER: Independent artist. We did this once last year. We`re going to keep doing this when we have the occasion. Appreciate you two coming back for this reunion, Marlon and Michael, thank you both.

STEELE: All the best.

CRAFT: Thank you.

MELBER: Absolutely. We will be right back.



MELBER: We were tracking a lot of breaking news last night and didn`t get a chance to air something that I want to share with you right now. Some sad news about a cultural legend, Andre Leon Talley, who has died. He spent years at "Vogue" magazine and became a global icon and trailblazer. Collaborations with Anna Wintour, Tom Ford and Oscar de la Renta. But it was about so much more than fashion. He was a larger-than-life figure.

He talked about his humble beginnings raised by a grandmother who work as a maid and rising to the top of global fashion and culture. His life is explored in a film called "The Gospel According to Andre." He published several books, including a best-selling memoir, "The Chiffon Trenches," and celebrated by so many, he was someone who was so interesting to be around, including the special times we got to share with him right here on THE BEAT.


MELBER: Fashion icon and a celebrated journalist, long-time "Vogue" editor, Andre Leon Talley, a global brand name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is like a black super hero.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s sort of grossly unfair that I get to be put on a segment with fashion icon such as Andre. And that just, you know, no woman should have to do that on a Friday evening, Ari.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is the Nelson Mandela of couture, the Kofi Annan of what you got on.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ACTRESS: People`s hands went, he was so many things he wasn`t supposed to be.


MELBER: And in that sense, he inspired so many by breaking barriers and bringing his own style and energy to everything. We certainly felt that. In fact, here is something he once told us about the power of storytelling and overcoming adversity.


ANDRE LEON TALLEY, FASHION ICON: The news stories that make you feel good about people who have come through adversity and they are doing something wonderful. And I think that`s very good. We fell away from that. This is a country that builds up people who have gone through adversity.


MELBER: Let`s build people up. Tonight we take a moment to remember Andre Leon Talley. He was 73 years old.

That does it for THE BEAT. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts right now. Hi, Joy.