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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 1/29/21

Guest: Darryl McDaniels, Dave Gosar, John Flannery, Ilhan Omar, Brittney Cooper


Darryl McDaniels of Run-D.M.C. speaks out. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar discusses the Biden administration agenda. New York Attorney General Letitia James investigates an undercounting of nursing home COVID-19 deaths. The threat of violent right-wing extremism is examined



Hi, Ari.

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

Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.

Our top story tonight is about the way we live now and the way we govern

now. Americans have lived through 20 years of a war on terrorism that often

focused with the battle on the foreign threat of al Qaeda, of ISIS and

other largely external attacks and threats on Americans.

It`s real. It still exists. Yet the violent attack on the Capitol

underscores a shift that`s actually been years in the making, the

measurably greater threat from domestic terrorism, including white

supremacist groups and extreme militias, right here in the United States.

Federal authorities are warning about new threats and dangers that could

follow the MAGA attack on the Capitol, while the news tonight is that

Capitol Police are literally stepping up security at airports for lawmakers

facing these heightened threats, again, from Americans, from people inside

this country.

The fact is that, while the election and inauguration are over, lawmakers

are still governing under an often siege-like set of conditions in D.C.

They say they`re afraid for their lives. Many suspects from that

insurrection are still at large. And authorities are learning more about

planned violence that occurred in the run-up to the insurrection on January

6, including what you see here, a suspect in the planting of two pipe bombs

at both parties` headquarters in Washington.

This is news tonight because, just today, the FBI is releasing new

information about that suspect and bumping the reward for any help to


And this footage from "The Washington Post" is actually from the night

before the Capitol attack, the suspect walking down an alley around 8:00

p.m., then seen minutes later carrying a backpack, a mask and gloves. And

new clues suggest the plan here may have been to reinforce the next day`s

conspiracy to launch an insurrection on behalf of Donald Trump and to help

that attack by trying to divert the feds.

Indeed, the Capitol Police chief who was in charge at the time now publicly

says he suspects the bombs were an intentional effort to draw officers away

from the grounds of the Capitol.

This is serious stuff. It is scary. It speaks to the level of the

conspiracy, according to that former chief of police. And the evidence

comes amidst new body cam footage providing a never-before-seen view from

inside the riot, showing the violent scene, as a protester was trampled to


We must warn you, while this is important, and the facts and the scrutiny

matter, what you are about to see in the footage is disturbing.



JUSTIN WINCHELL, PROTESTER: Rosanne! She`s dead! She`s dead!

Please! She`s dead! I need somebody!


MELBER: While some there could be heard yelling "Save her," they couldn`t.

She later died from injury -- she later died. Excuse me. She later died

from injuries sustained in that disturbing attack in that crowd full of

MAGA Trump supporters who said they were there to stop the steal, who said

they were there at Donald Trump`s request.

The video obtained there by "The New York Times" also shows footage of a

man with a hockey stick beating up officers at the scene. That`s over the

body of the woman they trampled, as people yelled that she was dead because

she was killed by these other people.

I`m joined now by the former chair of the Republican Party Michael Steele,

who went on to endorse now President Biden in the last election, and

Rutgers Professor Brittney Cooper.

Michael, your view of this ongoing information we learn amidst the ongoing

security threat?

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Ari, it`s good to be with you.

Yes, look, I think we just need to buckle in a little bit on this, because

this is going to be an ongoing narrative, as more and more evidence is

compiled by federal and state and local officials that are looking very

closely at what occurred here.

And with each new level of footage, it grows much deeper, the narrative of

the intent of those who participated in this, the incitement to participate

in this, and why it`s so important that every person who touched one inch

of this account for the death of that woman.

Even though she was there to protest and to storm the Capitol, she died

because of this. And those individuals, whether they are elected, whether

they were volunteers, whether they were activists, regardless, should be

held accountable.

And so I think what we need to do now is to step up ramp up those efforts

to assist further law enforcement. If you even recognize the sneakers of

that individual walking through the alley, call the police and let them

know, hey, I know someone who has a pair of those, because you never know.

That`s where we are right now. And that`s why all of us as citizens have a

stake in the outcome of holding all these individuals accountable.

MELBER: Brittney, I mentioned the context of years of rising threats and

murders by white supremacist groups and other domestic terrorists, because

it is a context. It is a post-9/11 threat matrix.

The other piece of this that we want to draw people`s attention to is how

much the platform and the support for a conspiracy figures in. And longtime

viewers of the show may know, I practiced First Amendment law. I take that

seriously. There is free speech here.

But what there isn`t is obviously an allowed platform if you are literally

plotting direct crime or violence. And it`s interesting to see some of that

shift in tech. We talked to Bill Gates this week, of course, a leader

there, Apple and others speaking out.

I want to play a little bit of that for you.



trade-offs involved where false information that causes riots.

There has been a lot of bad stuff on social media, and I`m glad at least

some of that is being held back.

TIM COOK, CEO, APPLE: In a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy

theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a

theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement.


MELBER: These are corporations, Brittney, and they seem to be changing

gears right now.

Your thoughts?


got to think about the way in which media narratives and social media

narratives led to this massive disinformation and, quite frankly,

brainwashing of those on the right.

And I do think that our government has a role to play in regulating media

orbs, not to curtail free speech, but rather to say, you have to be

accountable for the outcomes of the facts that you share.

So, if you share information that incites people, that leads to violence,

that leads to death, that endangers sitting lawmakers, that endangers the

police, then, legally, we have to have some remedy for that. That`s not

what free speech ought to mean.

Free speech should mean that you are allowed to express your views without

being thrown in jail because you dissent from things that are happening in

the government. That was the intention behind it.

That`s really different than saying, we`re going to hatch a massive

conspiracy. And, frankly, this speech is designed to undermine the

operations of other people`s exercise of their right to vote, of their

right to free speech, of their right to have a government that works for


And one of the challenges we have in this country is that, unfortunately,

our default is that we often put -- we often side with the white

supremacists. We give them the benefit of the doubt. We give them the

leeway in terms of assuming that they`re acting in good faith and goodwill.

And we don`t give that benefit of the doubt to black protesters, to

protesters who were members of Islam or who are Muslim, right, to people of


They are always held to a higher standard of scrutiny, presumed to be

violent on its face. And here`s the last point. Many people who saw what we

saw initially on January 6 really just think of this as rioters that got

out of control. They don`t see this as an organized, concerted attack on

the forces of government.

MELBER: No. Yes.


COOPER: And that`s part of the problem.

MELBER: Yes, and I want to reinforce what you`re saying for viewers, again,

as we learn, because it is a possibility that sometimes you see lower-level

offenses because people committed crime, but it was, as you say, in the


When you have someone planting pipe bombs at both parties` headquarters the

night before, as I`m reporting tonight, to divert law enforcement, you`re

talking about an insurrection conspiracy. And that`s a different level.

Now, I got one other piece I want to make sure we get to. Both our guests

stay with us.

Turning to the scrutiny on lawmakers inside Congress who may support some

of these extremist groups, new reports on potentially deeper ties among at

least a handful of Republican congresspersons.

Now, there are tangible examples here, like politicians who`ve used fringe

groups for security or have joined publicly voicing a call for a violent

civil war. There are also examples online that, if you`re going to be

precise, may look more tenuous, like a politician simply speaking to

constituents or ending up in a picture with someone.

Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz is using that kind of example and

arguably trying to minimize it here in a new article that he responded to a

"New York Times" reporter and said, look, "Just because take a picture with

someone, it doesn`t mean you`re tied to every viewpoint they have ever


Now, this is potentially a fair point. Take the young Italian American

artists Russ, who famously said: "I`m not your brother because we took a

pic. You must be higher than when Snoop handed me kush to hit," making the

logical argument that just because you see him in a picture with someone,

it doesn`t mean they`re brothers or have a common cause.

But the question facing these politicians is whether these are just

isolated pictures, or is there more to it than that?

I want to bring our panel back in, and, Michael, put the question to you,

because I don`t know how much you listen to Russ. He`s an up-and-coming

artists, Michael. But you and him have something in common. You could be at

an event. Someone could say: I want a picture with you.

You probably don`t vet them or card them. They get the picture.

STEELE: Not true.

MELBER: And yet, if it`s much more than that, then the Russ -- you take a

picture with everyone -- with no one?

STEELE: No, no, no. No, you don`t.

MELBER: OK. Well, let me you -- let me finish. Let me finish. Let me finish

the question.

STEELE: And that`s why Matt...


STEELE: Go ahead. I`m sorry.

MELBER: In fairness to any member of Congress -- I will take you out of it,

Michael. I made a classic lawyer`s mistake. I will leave you out of it.

But I used to work for a member of Congress. When they were at public

events, they would shake hands with and take pictures with many people,

without doing a background check. And so, in fairness, I want to ask you

the difference between the Russ defense of, hey, there are pictures, and

when is it more, if it`s common cause?

STEELE: OK, so -- and I apologize for cutting you off, because I wanted to

champ at the bit on this one, because the fact of the matter is,

politicians are -- you work for one.

Yes, you do take a picture with a lot of people. You do not necessarily

take a picture with everyone, because there is a certain level of scrutiny

when you`re in a room.

First off, if you`re doing a closed-door event, everyone`s coming into that

room, you pretty much know who`s there. When you`re doing an outdoor event,

your staff, if you have security, whoever is with you on your team, they

scout who comes up to you. They do pay attention to those pics.

And when someone gets a little too friendly in the picture, whether it`s a

male or female, guess what? That picture doesn`t necessarily see the light

of day. Why? Because they know what that -- that message that would be sent

to the public.

So, there is a level of scrutiny that politicians in particular pay

attention to. So don`t buy this crap line like, oh, I take a picture with a

lot of people, right?

No, no, if your staff is doing their job, trust me, not everyone gets to

walk up to you and take a picture. And when you go to an event, and you

have got someone walking around with a Proud Boy shirt on, guess what?

You`re not in that pic.

The fact that he was there is because he wanted to be there. And the fact

that the pic was taken is because either bad staff work, or guess what,

that`s just what we do. And so let`s be honest about this. Let`s not try to

push it off like, oh, there are just a lot of people and I just have to

take a picture because everybody likes me. That`s not how it works.

MELBER: Well, I want to dig into -- Brittney, I`m running over on time.

But with just a minute we have left, you could come up with counterexamples

throughout American history where one thing is taken out of context. What

do you advise we do, given you are a professor as well, about having the

right standard here?

COOPER: Look, they have a T.I. defense problem. T.I. said, if you see me in

the street, you don`t know me.

But we do know them, right? We`re very clear about what they`re doing. And

part of the problem is, they`re trying to obfuscate this, so that we are

not in a position to hold people accountable. And our job, to work this

metaphor more, is to do what OutKast said, shake it like a Polaroid

picture, let it come fully into view, and then proceed based on what the

evidence very clearly tells us.

We can have fairness standards in the media. We do not have to live in

terrorist conditions on our own soil. We have that responsibility to our

citizens to do it. And we have really got to think in this country about

how to regulate.

And I know I`m talking on a media outlet, but that doesn`t mean that we`re

not responsible for -- to people for the messages that we put out.

STEELE: Right.

COOPER: And folks have died here.


COOPER: These people said -- these are the same set of people who said blue

lives matter and beat us into the ground. And then they participated in the

killing and assaulting and maiming of police officers.


COOPER: There`s something nefarious going on, and it`s our job to do

something about it as country.


COOPER: They need to be held accountable.

MELBER: I`m only -- I`m only keeping it moving because of our next special

guests, but Brittney Cooper coming through every which way, from the

insights, to the bars. Thank you tonight.

Michael stays with us.

And here`s the next piece. We`re obviously tracking a lot of news.

Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona is also one of the Republicans under

scrutiny for these extremist ties, including links to violence. At a rally

in December, he called on protesters to -- quote -- "conquer the Hill."


REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Imagine in this, that you get to go back home once

you conquer the Hill, Donald Trump is returned to being the president.


P. GOSAR: And amazing things will happen with four more years.


MELBER: A militia leader also name-checking him in a video for talking

about a civil war.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A couple of years ago, where our elected representative

from Washington, Paul Gosar, came out. And we asked him flat out at that

time, do you think we`re heading into a civil war? And his response to the

group was just flat out: We`re in it. We just haven`t started shooting at

each other yet.


MELBER: Now, that`s an allegation.

Gosar`s siblings have spoken out publicly against him. They ran TV ads

denouncing their brother as an extremist. They`re calling on Congress to


Dave Gosar, the brother of Congressman Paul Gosar, joins me live next.


MELBER: We`re back with Dave Gosar.

As I mentioned here in our program tonight, he`s the brother of Congressman

Paul Gosar, who has come under fire for some of these alleged ties to

extremist groups, the issue we have been covering.

Michael Steele is back with us.

Dave, good evening. Tell us what you think people need to know here about

your brother and why you have spoken out.


having me on tonight.

Most of what I know is in the public realm, his close affiliation with

these extremist groups, his involvement in organizing the rally at the

Capitol, that ridiculous tweet he had where, "Biden, put your resignation

my desk," his attempts to overthrow the Arizona election results, which

resulted in the secretary of state there being threatened and people

showing up at her house and all this other nonsense, spreading these lies,

clear lies, which he clearly knows her lies about this election.

He incited the riot up there, Ari. It`s plain and simple. There`s no black

and white here -- or gray here. It`s black and white. This is a simple

matter of right and wrong.


D. GOSAR: Go ahead. Go ahead.

MELBER: Let me jump in, though.

How would you describe your relationship with him? When you say what about

him is what the public knows about him -- and the public evidence, people

can make up their own mind -- what`s your relationship? Is there something

you bring to bear about him from being family?

D. GOSAR: Well, Ari, to be honest with you, ever since he came out as a

birther 10 years ago, just a blatant racist, I have had very little to do

with him.


D. GOSAR: And I won`t tolerate that at all.

And I`m wearing a shirt today, Ari. And that shirt, I just got in. And it

says, "There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal," Martin Luther

King. And that`s so appropriate right now.

And it ties into what Mike Steele said about, everybody, come forward and

identify this -- these people that had stormed the Capitol. That needs to

be done.

It ties in with you too with Leslie Odom Jr.`s new song, "Speak Out," right

on point. People like to cite Martin Luther King. Oh, it sounds good. But

when the time comes to do that, we don`t want to do it.


D. GOSAR: And I`m calling on everybody else who has...


MELBER: Let me -- Dave, let me ask you, and then I`m going to bring Michael


But I am curious. Historically, though, when you did try to talk to your

brother about any of this, how did that go? And do you believe that he just

genuinely holds these beliefs you disagree with? Do you believe it`s more

malicious than that or more contrived than that?

What`s your sense of that?

D. GOSAR: Well, to be honest with you, Ari, I think he`s not a very strong

person, not a very -- to be honest, I will just lay it out. He`s not a very

intelligent person.

And I think he`s very susceptible to influence from others. And he`s the

sort of person who likes to tell himself lies about, oh, this is the truth,

I`m on the right side, this is this is all good, because it gets him ahead.

And it`s sort of a loop that just keeps looping in on itself, where,

eventually, he`s convinced himself that this is the truth. And so there he

is out there...


D. GOSAR: ... spouting all this ridiculous nonsense that any person could

tell (AUDIO GAP)


D. GOSAR: And he just goes with it. And it helps him keep him in office in

his very red district.


Let me bring Michael in, because the reason why I asked what the family

side of this is, everyone`s got their views, Michael Steele, but this is --

and I imagine it`s difficult for the Gosar family, even with the rightful

criticism of some of the brother`s actions.

We got families all over the country, Michael, that are being ripped apart.


MELBER: And one of the questions is, how do you try to bring it back

together with the factual and moral baseline that people care about?

STEELE: Well, I think the way they have talked about this kind of shows you

both the frustration and the separation.

There comes a point in that very familiar and impersonal family

relationship where you go, dude, I can`t go there with you. And I`m trying

to pull you back, but you keep resisting that effort.

And then the family just lets go. We have heard the stories and talked

about the Thanksgiving dinners since this Trumpian era began that have gone

off the rails, the holidays and spending time with family members, the

stress of just this constant drumbeat of Trumpism by those who support

Trump and those, quite frankly, who don`t.

And so it really does beg the question, as a family member, when you see

that trajectory start, how do you interrupt it? How do you get in front of


And then, once you get to the point where clearly the Gosar family is and

where I know a number of other families are, how do you now turn that

around and correct the course? And that`s going to be the hard part here,

because, as we know from the congressman, he`s still out here spewing this

stuff and perpetuating these lies.

And that`s what makes it hard.

MELBER: Yes, look, it`s a tough topic. But I appreciate both of you

weighing in on it.

Dave Gosar, Michael Steele, thanks to both of you.

Coming up: Elections have consequences. Democrats moving forward, saying

they don`t need Republicans. A special guest.

And we have a very important story, the rising role of New York Attorney

General Letitia James. We will get into that.

And by the end of the hour, you know we like to lift up. Run-D.M.C.`s

Darryl McDaniels with John Flannery for a very special "Fallback" tonight.


MELBER: Turning to a very important story and a push for facts and

government accountability by one of the rising figures in the Democratic

Party, New York Attorney General Letitia James.

First elected in 2018, she pledged to uphold truth in law, from talk of

investigating Donald Trump, if warranted, who has, of course, plenty of

business in her jurisdiction, to going after anyone, no matter their

position or popularity.


LETITIA JAMES, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: In this state, we have a set of

laws that every individual and entity must be held accountable to,

regardless of who you are, regardless of your power, size, influence,

wealth, station in life, one set of laws.

And, today, we send a strong and loud message that no one is above the law.


MELBER: No one.

And James making waves now with a new probe of a very big challenge, how

New York`s been handling and accounting for the COVID crisis in nursing

homes. And that has her confronting Governor Cuomo, who`s been in the

epicenter of the COVID battle, especially considering how the virus hit New

York so hard so early, which put Cuomo out front in that COVID battle,

basically as much as anyone in the country, working, briefing the public,

and making plenty of rounds.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Today is day 286. We`re doing three COVID

operations at the same time. Wear a mask.

Today is day 100. And it is the day that New York City begins to reopen.

New York state will mobilize an army. No state will do it better.

You don`t defeat a virus with politics. You use science and technology.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: Some say that going on shows like "Ellen," where she`s

pumping your head up with helium about how great you are, the cover of

"Rolling Stone," that you now, as we used to say in the neighborhood, think

who you are.

A. CUOMO: To do Ellen`s show was a pleasure for me. I`m a big fan of Ellen.

Yes, she said nice things about me...

C. CUOMO: Yes, she did.

A. CUOMO: ... which he didn`t say about you.


A. CUOMO: But she was just telling the truth.

C. CUOMO: You`re feeling pretty good about yourself these days, aren`t you?


MELBER: There`s nothing easy about governing New York during this pandemic.

Attorney General James, though, is investigating one of the toughest

problems in nursing homes, releasing a new and important report that states

New York under the Cuomo administration severely undercounted people who

died of COVID in nursing homes.

Now, this matters for the same reason that people have been so focused on

science and facts over this past year. You need accurate facts to confront

any danger accurately.

The report stating that New York was undercounting the number of elderly

people in nursing homes. Here`s how "The New York Times" reports it. James

was proved correct, as New York Health Department Officials made public new

data that added more than 3,800 deaths to their tally representing nursing

home residents, increasing fatalities by 40 percent in that category.

Now, here are the actual numbers. The death toll from nursing homes in New

York had been put at around 1,229. With this new report that I`m telling

you about, it jumped up to 1,914.

Another specific example, a nursing home had one confirmed and six presumed

COVID deaths. The report found they were actually quadruple that, with 31

dead in that early stage by mid-April.

A different nursing home told the Health Department it had 11 confirmed and

presumed deaths through August. This new report found 40 deaths.

"The Times"` report continues discussing this new work by James` office,

saying it illustrates how unprepared the nursing home industry was. Cuomo

had long dismissed the critiques of his policies governing those facilities

as partisan attacks from the Trump administration.

Now, there`s nothing partisan about telling the truth about COVID`s impact

to inform the work ahead. Indeed, a Democrat in New York who runs the

state`s Health Committee says, this administration`s approach, at least on

the nursing home issue, is -- quote -- "shocking and unconscionable."

The wider context is that nursing homes were hit hard early, and it was a



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As the flags at half-staff indicate, COVID-19 has proven

devastating to the Long Island State Veterans Home; 46 residents in this

facility have already died.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This didn`t have to spread to so many residents there.

It`s touch and go. And all I have is prayers, hope and prayers.


MELBER: The James probe is ongoing. The report states her office is

investigating circumstances where discrepancies cannot be accounted for.

The Cuomo administration says that change that I`m telling you about in

this accounting is about where these deaths occurred, but not the total.

And they note -- quote -- "There was no undercount of the total death

toll," objecting to the idea that any death was not counted.

They say desperate counted, and this is a matter of categorization.

The issue in New York is partly about where people contracted the COVID

that killed them. That`s why it matters so much to policy that the truth be

accounted for in public, that the number who died in nursing homes, it

turns out, was 40 percent higher than the government was saying just a few

days ago.

And at a time when science and facts are under attack from all sides, it`s

worth noting that it took us a subpoena-powered investigator to get more

facts about these deaths and that getting all the facts, of course, is more

important than whether it puts heat on any particular arm of government, be

it controlled by a Democrat or Republican.

James clearly has no problems clashing with the most powerful Democrat in

her party, in her state. Her office says it is still working forward on

investigations of 20 other nursing homes. She also noted that her approach

right now is different than normal because of the emergency, stating, they

would normally issue a report with findings and recommendations after

investigations and enforcement activities are completed. However, these

circumstances are far from normal.

I think that`s one thing we can all agree on.

We should also note that, today, the White House indicated that the Justice

Department would look at this issue in New York. And the updated numbers

are one more reminder that, yes, it often takes a lot of pressure to get to

the full truth.


A. CUOMO: They have been denying the reality of the situation from the


You want to start over, you want to hit the reset button, I will tell you

how we hit the reset button in this country. We start this time with the




MELBER: Democrats going big. They have control of both political branches

and new signs on a story we have been covering that many are not going to

wait for Republicans.

They are moving ahead on COVID relief with or without the GOP. And here`s

exactly how. It`s a process that does allow them to go on a majority vote,

bypassing the obstruction Mitch McConnell has been using through the


COVID relief is Biden`s number one legislative priority. And he`s trying to

spend on it, a $2 trillion package with $1,400 checks for Americans, new

funding for this vital vaccine rollout, as well as aid to these states and

cities that have been struggling and weren`t getting that kind of support

in the previous administration.

This begins one of the big answers to a question in the new era. How big

and bold will Democrats go when they have been handed the keys to

government? And how much will they work with Republicans or wait on them?

Our colleague Rachel Maddow points out, much of that would look unlikely.


RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Under their leader, Senator

Mitch McConnell, you could not get 10 Republican senators to vote for a

resolution that said moms are good and ice cream is cold and tasty.

And 10 Republican senators likely would not cross over to vote with the

Democrats to proclaim kittens to be soft, right, let alone to vote with

Democrats on something like immigration reform or COVID relief.


MELBER: And she`s right.

Fact-check, kittens are soft, ice cream is cold, and you won`t find

McConnell allowing that kind of support. And that`s not a criticism. It`s

just reporting. Indeed, Mitch McConnell just filibustered the most boring

pro forma thing in the history of the Senate. I used to work there. I know

how much there can be boring.

He initially filibustered the organizing resolution.

Republicans now say, though, it`s time to give them a chance.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Unity and healing that Joe Biden and the Democrats

say we need, that`s not what they`re giving us. They are attempting to have

total control. They`re trying to silence opposition.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): They are talking about doing it under a process

where it would be done with Democrat votes only. I think that`s a mistake,

too, because I think it puts us on the wrong foot going forward for this


SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Joe Biden, after preaching unity last week,

immediately empowering Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to go it alone.


MELBER: We`re joined by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from


Thanks for joining me tonight.

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): Thank you for having me.

MELBER: Walk us through the substance. We have been covering a lot of

different things.

But, in your view, why is it so important to pass this full COVID package

as soon as possible? And your view on the political strategy referenced


OMAR: So, I mean, millions of Americans across the country are suffering.

People went out on November 3 and voted for change. They wanted us to be

bold and deliver transformative change. Now we have that opportunity to do


And for Mitch McConnell, who said that he was the Grim Reaper, that he took

pride in the fact that the Senate was where good ideas went to die, and for

so many years under the Obama administration talked about how he was -- it

was his sole job to make sure that he was a one-term president, who didn`t

care a single American in trying to get them the support and good policies

that they needed, to now talk about how he wants us to wait for him and to

work with him is laughable.

What the Democrats in the Senate, in the House, and in the White House need

to do is to say, we have a mandate from the American people to work on

their behalf. And we`re going to do that, whether you are with us or not.

MELBER: Yes, I understand that.

Let me play a little bit of the new president and vice president on the

same issue you`re working on. Take a look.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have learned from past crises

the risk is not doing too much. The risk is not doing enough.

And this is a time to act now.


crisis of unbelievable proportion, the American people deserve their

leaders to step up and stand up for them.


MELBER: I just want to ask it in plain English, which I think people just

want to know.

If this thing passes soon -- let`s say it passes by the end of February --

how soon will they see relief? And what will they see? So, we understand

what you`re trying to do in Congress.

OMAR: So, what we are trying to do, obviously, is to deliver the most bold

package we can.

I know that the president has proposed about almost a $2 trillion package.

And some of us are asking him to go bolder, because we think a one-time

$2,000 check isn`t enough.

Actually, interestingly, the vice president herself proposed this bill that

would give Americans $2,000 every single month until the pandemic is over.

And we`re urging them to do that as well again.

We want that relief to happen immediately. We want to make sure that there

is enough resources for the vaccine to reach every corner of America, for

there to be support for hazard pay, for child care, for our states and

municipalities to get the resources that they need.

There is just so much for us to be able to do in order to deliver on behalf

of the American people. There`s so much hurt around this country

economically. And this is our opportunity to do right by the people who

elected us.

MELBER: Understood.

And there`s so much going on and so many issues I know that you`re working

on, but we did want to give time to the relief that I think a lot of folks

are interested in, especially given the last election.

Congresswoman Omar, always good to see you. I hope you will come back.

OMAR: Thank you for having me.

MELBER: Thank you.

Let me tell everyone why I hope you come back after the break, because we

are excited to end the week right.

The legend from Run-D.M.C., Darryl McDaniels, with our friend John

Flannery. We have got a lot to talk about.

That`s coming up.


MELBER: Welcome back to THE BEAT.

As promised, we have a lot coming up in this segment, including our friend

John Flannery with a very special guest.

We also want to update you on a big story this week. A lot of small

investors have been buying up stock in the video game retail company

GameStop, which has surged the stock price.

And there`s more to it than that. It`s made a lot of big cushy bankers and

investors on Wall Street lose money. They`re now furious, a billionaire

hedge fund even saying, this has become -- mind you, just trading in the

marketplace -- an attack on wealthy people.

There`s a lot of hypocrisy here. We could get into it in any number of


But, on this story, we`re going to let the late-night comics explain.



terrible, those poor hedge fund managers. Now might be a good time to

invest in whoever manufactures the world`s tiniest violins.


always like, the markets must never be regulated, they must always remain

free, those same guys are now like, oh (EXPLETIVE DELETED) the poor people

got ahold of the freedom. Turn it off. Turn off the freedom.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": They`re like we can`t have a bunch

of randos from Reddit manipulating the market. That`s what we do.


KIMMEL: They`re stealing our thing.


MELBER: That`s what we do.

And remember Jon Stewart? He just joined Twitter. And this is his first

ever tweet, as best we can tell, a little bit of swearing.

And then he makes the point that small traders "are not cheating. They`re

joining a party Wall Street insiders have been enjoying for years."

Going to sue them for something, he continues -- quote -- "Maybe sue them

for copyright infringement instead. We learned nothing" from the 2008


It`s story with many dimensions. Hypocrisy is obviously a big one.

I wanted to update you on that.

And now, because it has been a long week and because it is Friday on THE

BEAT, you know it`s time to fall back.

Tonight, we have a very special edition, with hip-hop royalty, Darryl

McDaniels, who literally puts the D.M.C. in Run-D.M.C., founding member of

the iconic, pioneering rap group, the first hip-hop act to hit number one

on the charts. They went on to Grammys, and shaped a rap culture that

literally echoes around the world.

Shout-out to Run-D.M.C.

D.M.C. is now partnering with the WhyHunger Foundation, which was

originally founded by folk singer Harry Chapin. He`s also in a new

documentary. We`re going to get into all of it.

We`re also joined by friend of THE BEAT John Flannery, who worked as a

federal prosecutor in New York in the `70s, also working alongside the man

you see there, Rudy Giuliani -- shout-out to the SDNY -- and worked as a

special counsel for the minority defending president Clinton`s impeachment.

Another old picture there.

Welcome to both of you. How are you guys doing tonight?


DARRYL MCDANIELS, RUN-D.M.C.: What`s up, Ari? What`s up? How you doing?

Glad to be in the place to be, is with our Ari and D.M.C. and Flannery.


FLANNERY: Hey, and D is it.

MELBER: I love it.

MCDANIELS: Yes, sir.

How you doing, Mr. Flannery?

MELBER: D.M.C. and Flannery, man.


FLANNERY: I got -- I have a new nickname.

MELBER: We have got plenty to go to.

Go ahead, John.

FLANNERY: Well, you know, ever since they knew I was going to be on with

the grade D, now they`re calling me, Johnny P.




MELBER: You know what?

FLANNERY: I have to...

MCDANIELS: Been around since the `70s.


MELBER: Now, D.M.C., we learn as we go.

What I`m learning tonight about John Flannery is, like a lot of us, you put

him near one wonderful musician, and he gets pumped, he gets excited. I

have never seen him smile this big.


FLANNERY: Well, this is the happiest discussion we have had in a long time,

I think, yes.

MELBER: I hear that.

This is how -- this is how I`m proposing to do it. I`m going to start with

John, who`s a longtime BEAT guest, for his "Fallback."

And then, D.M.C., I`m going to go to you, because I got questions for you.

And I know you`re doing some important work these days.

But, John, what needs to fall back?

FLANNERY: Well, the "Fallback" is a social justice issue.

And I know D has talked about this. And he`s been fighting drugs and

fighting guns, and the image of what we should be doing and saying that

hip-hop gets us there. And that`s very exciting.

But the thing that I fall back on is, there are all these people committing

crimes, and nothing happens to them. And I go into court with a black

teenager who has possession of a small amount of pot, and they will throw

the book at him and compromise the rest of his civil life.

And then we have the social justice issue that`s front and center that, in

this country, a man can be arrested for a counterfeit $20 bill that hasn`t

been proved to be counterfeit, hasn`t been prosecuted, and he literally can

be choked to death. And that`s why there`s a bill on the Hill to do

something about it.

And that`s what -- I know D and I agree on this, although I`m going to take

his master class on how to be hip-hopping.

But, while that`s waiting, I`m all for us doing something about this. This

is equal justice before the law.

MELBER: Right.

FLANNERY: So, I`m very excited that we`re -- I`m excited we are going to

move forward on this. But we haven`t. That`s my "Fallback."

MELBER: There`s a lot on there. We have talked about it before, John. We

have been covering it this week on a number of angles.


MELBER: And amidst COVID and the other stories, it`s a big one that the

Congress can act on.

As far as I`m concerned, I learn from both of you. You both have master

class ability in your dimensions.

Darryl, what needs to fall back and what`s on your mind in the work you`re

doing these days?

MCDANIELS: Well, let`s fall back on hunger and poverty.

Hunger and poverty is an ever-present issue throughout generations. Because

of this pandemic, it shot up over 50, 60, 75 percent. In 1975, when Harry

Chapin founded WhyHunger and Long Island Cares, he was battling it on the

front line. He was providing a need. And I`m thankful for what Harry so

many years ago, because we didn`t know the pandemic was coming.

But now at least we were ready. So, what we also need to do is make it a

national issue. In `78, Harry got President Carter to form a presidential

commission on hunger and poverty. And it was during -- great Harry never

missed a meeting. The world was changing. The issue was getting better.

Then Reagan got rid of it. So now, because of this pandemic, because hunger

is an ever-present issue, something Harry Chapin knows we can beat and

defeat and eradicate, we`re asking the new president, President Biden, to

bring back the commission on hunger and poverty, so we can fulfill Harry`s


People say, Harry passed away. No, he`s with us now because what he thought

about. When in doubt, do something.


MCDANIELS: So, this is one problem, Ari, that we can battle and put that on

the back burner, so we can attack these other issues we`re dealing with.

Hunger and poverty has to be fought in battle.

MELBER: Amen to that. And I love the link here from social justice, to

folk, to hip-hop, where they`re -- done right, all of them care about that.

I got about 45 seconds left, Darryl.

What did you learn going around the world as one of these hip-hop pioneers?

I mentioned global. We talk about America sometimes. You go to Asia. You go

to Europe.

MCDANIELS: Everywhere.

MELBER: They`re trying to dress like you were back in the day.

Your reflections, sir.

MCDANIELS: Well, I know this.

Music succeeds where politics and religion fails. If the politicians and

our religious folk and the clergy and the bishops and the pastors want to

know how to create a perfect world, they need to look at the creative,

artistic people.

You go to a concert, you look at that audience, it`s diverse. You go to a

museum, you look at the people that`s coming in the museum, it`s diverse.

If we use the arts and music, we can beat and defeat and get rid of all of

the fighting and the arguing, because when Steven Tyler took that mic stand

in "Walk This Way," and knocked down that wall, Ari, people globally -- I`m

talking about Russia, Japan -- they say, that didn`t happen just in a

video. It happened in the world.

So, let`s get some creative people up in those places.

MELBER: I love it. I love it, knocking down...

MCDANIELS: And knock down the walls.

MELBER: That`s one of the best music videos of all time. People should find

it on YouTube, knocking down the walls of culture, the walls of politics,

the walls between countries.

What a fitting thought for us at the end of the week.

Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, John Flannery, thank you.

FLANNERY: Thank you.

MELBER: Thanks for watching THE BEAT.

The Reid report -- "THE REIDOUT" is up next.




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