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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 10/11/21

Guests: Christine Todd Whitman, Neal Katyal, Anita Hill


President Biden called on Democrats to unite, as Democrats back on media predicting demise of the Biden agenda. Former president Trump back on the campaign trail in Iowa, still touting election lie that he won the 2020 elections, and as leading GOP official falsely suggests maybe Biden didn`t win. Civil rights lawyer on her groundbreaking testimony in Congress 30 years ago that led to the increase of sexual harassment complaints and the Me Too Movement.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Happy Monday, Nicole. Thank you so much.

Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber, and we are tracking a lot tonight, including a special guest tonight on the 30th anniversary of her groundbreaking testimony, Anita Hill is my special guest live on THE BEAT. We also have Neal Katyal joining us to discuss legal clashes.

But we begin with the story in Washington that really affects the country. Joe Biden continuing these meetings and backroom negotiations and phone calls and all the other ways that politicians keep in touch to see if they can get past the finish line on the spending deal. Against that backdrop we`ve seen some headlines, we can show them to you, where people in the press and in some of the D.C. media are telling Democrats they are in danger or this is a problem or things are going downhill.

And that may be true but it all depends on the future. And I can tell you pundits in the media are not very good at predictions. Look at recent history or recent elections. And that`s why we are in an interesting moment this week because while there is the possibility that things could go badly if Biden`s entire legislative and spending agenda went up in flames, sure, that would be bad, that would be danger for the party, there`s also a possibility that they ultimately find a solution. That they get to the finish line on the spending, and if so, it`s unlikely everyone will be remembering or pondering that moment in the 8th inning where it looked debatable, dubious.

The president, for his part, is urging his party to stay united. Take a look.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, our message is simple. We need to stay together and bound by the values that we hold as a party. Here`s the deal. We won 2020 as a unified party. And we look to 2022, as we do that, we need to stay unified.


MELBER: That`s the argument coming from the top Democrat in the country, of course the president. Meanwhile, a Democrat that many politicos remember, Terry McAuliffe, who served as governor of Virginia and ran the party, ran the DNC, well, he`s running as a candidate now and he`s striking a little bit of a different note as a Democratic candidate in a kind of a swing state of Virginia. Take a look.


TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve got frustration with Washington. You know, why haven`t we passed this infrastructure bill? It passed the U.S. Senate with 69 votes two months ago. We`re tired of the chitty chat up in Washington. Get in a room and get this figured out. Get it done this week. Do your job.


MELBER: And the idea that there is work left undone at this moment is not just coming from, as mentioned, the headline writers or certain Democrats who are concerned. It`s even become a bit of a punch line which always tells you when a certain narrative, political or otherwise, is starting to be absorbed around the country. This was how "SNL" referred to the idea that maybe the Democrats have a lot on their to-do list in their send up of the Facebook hearing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What Facebook has done is disgraceful and you better believe Congress will be taking action right after we pass the infrastructure bill, raise the debt ceiling, prosecute those responsible for the January 6th insurrection, and stop Trump from using executive privilege even though he`s no longer president. After all that, you watch out, Facebook.


MELBER: After all that, watch out. That`s the punch line version. Meanwhile, when you look at what`s hanging over the entire country right now, a story we have more later with Neal Katyal, as I mentioned, you have some Republicans and conservatives who say a vote for the Republican Party at this point while it embraces the big lie and Trumpism, is a vote against American democracy itself.

One of those Republican leaders who signed a piece, along with many others, making that warning joins me now, Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey and a former Bush administration official. And I`m also joined by Katty Kay, MSNBC contributor.

Good evening to both of you. Governor, I only briefly paraphrased part of your warning while looking at Washington in general. But tell us why, as mentioned, as a former Bush official, you say the right thing to do and I guess most cases is vote Democratic in the next election.

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Well, and for those Republicans who have stood up to the big lie. This is about both parties trying to make sure that they stay toward the center, which is where the majority of the American are, and how our country functions -- excuse me. How are country functions best when both parties are talking to one another. When they are willing to find consensus. You can`t use compromise, but find consensus.

And right now the Republican Party is unfortunately represented by many who continue to spread and talk about this big lie that the 2020 election was stolen. It wasn`t stolen. That`s been proven again and again and again. And what this is part of an effort to undermine the public`s confidence in our electoral system. And then when you have Democrats on the far left that are asking for everything but the kitchen sink in these two big bills that have yet to be passed, and threatening their own party`s president`s legacy, you just get to the point where you say this has got to stop. We`ve got to get people back in the center willing to work together.


MELBER: I hear you on that. I imagine a lot of people do.

Katty, your view of what the Democrats are facing because I make the point about the, quote-unquote, "narrative" because it exists. And yet some of those headlines may look over wrought depending on the future, depending on what happens, but the governor makes the point that there is a lot riding on Biden getting something done here.

KATTY KAY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. And you`re hearing that frustration as we heard just now, Ari, from people like Governor McAuliffe. You`re hearing it from Charles Blow in "New York Times" as well. The sense that the Democrats are squandering an opportunity. I think the problem with their vision, the governor -- Governor Christine Todd Whitman is laying out there and laid out in may as well is this notion of consensus of sometimes voting strategically which actually is something that happens in parliamentary democracies quite a lot, that you vote in order to stop Trumpian candidates getting elected.

And the Republicans should sometimes, you know, centrist Republicans should do exactly that. The problem is there isn`t much appetite as we`ve seen recently amongst progressive Democrats for that kind of consensus. And I think the word is compromise building. Progressive Democrats are very frustrated that they`re not managing to get more of their agenda through. And I`m not sure how that quite marries with the notion of working towards the middle, working towards moderation. That doesn`t seem to be the flavor of the month or even the year in American politics right now.

MELBER: Well, Governor, how do you respond to that?

WHITMAN: Well, I think there are, as there are with the Republican Party, there are a number of people who maybe don`t even keep the title anymore and have moved to independent or unaffiliated voters who feel the same pressure from the left and they`re worried about it. There are Democrats that have come up to us as part of the Renew America Movement and said we want to join, too, because we`re not happy.

But it`s been more independents, I will give you that. Republicans and independents. And as we laid out, Miles Taylor and I, in the op-ed in "The Times" today, we`re talking about Democrats have got to be willing to vote for the sensible Republicans when they see the far left, when their other choice is a far-left Democrat. And that is a big hill to climb. There`s no question about it. But we`ve got to start putting our country first. And we`ve got to start reminding these elected officials that we have that the oath they took, the oath of office they took was to the Constitution, not to their party. And the public wants them to start to understand that and start to work for the people.

MELBER: And Katty, do you think there`s anything else the president can do here at a time where there sometimes seemed like a co-presidency in the Senate with the Manchin or Sinema wing? Is there more that he can actually do to get this timeline moving and to get it where he wants to go before it`s, you know, Thanksgiving?

KAY: Probably the most important thing he needs to do just in terms of the immediate legislation which is an infrastructure bill, and then the Build Back Better bill, is get out to the American people what`s actually in that bill and get off the table the top line number because the polls recently are suggesting that -- the CBS poll that just came out. Look, they like the elements of this bill. They just don`t know what`s in it.

I mean, only 40 percent of people polled in that poll actually knew that there was an element of that bill that would reduce their drug prices or give them dental care and vision care. They don`t know that. All they know, what they know more is it`s going to cost $3.5 trillion, which it won`t end up costing, but they know the topline figure and I think I do wonder whether there hasn`t been a public communication missed opportunity from the White House to get the elements of the bill out rather on focusing on the number. Just drop the number, drop the talk of the number and get the elements of the bill out because those elements do seem to be popular.

MELBER: It`s such an interesting point, and Governor, given your experience, of course across the politics at the state executive and federal level, I`m curious what you think about that. Because at the risk of an overly simplified analogy, if people are trying to decide where to go to dinner and the entire discussion is about, we could go to this place that`s 15 bucks, Shake Shack, or this place that`s 40 bucks, sushi, or this place is hundreds of bucks, I don`t know, caviar or coated pasta, do you want to go? And all you`re hearing are the numbers and nobody is even mentioning the cuisine, you know, who made it or whatever.

At a certain point you`re really narrowing the way people are thinking about the decision they`re making. They`re really only thinking about the restaurant bill. And I think as you give us your thoughts, some of the data were polled, I think we can put on the screen, just on the public support for exactly what Katty mentioned. I think the numbers for prescription drug reform cost was in the 80s, and the numbers on some of the other stuff was in the 80s and 70s, including taxing the rich for pay for it.


So we know that some of the data shows the public is there. But whether they`re hearing about it seems to be a very different political messaging question, Governor.

WHITMAN: I think that`s absolutely right. I think that what the focus should be on this, why should you care about this bill. I mean, that`s what leadership is about. Leadership is about getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. And in order to do that, you`ve got to convince them why this matters to them. Why is this a good thing for them to do. And the numbers alone aren`t the answer.

They will scare everybody. I mean, I`m worried about our deficit which is going to come due to us at some point. But I also understand the need for some bold action and certainly for infrastructure. There`s just no question about it. It`s a disgrace in this country, a country as big as ours. And it`s a huge job opportunity, too, when the economy is not growing at the rate and certainly the jobs aren`t growing at the rate that every one hopes and would like to see. So I think that`s a very, very valid point.

MELBER: Katty?

KAY: Yes, and you can make I think similar points not just for the infrastructure bill. You look at child care provisions. America is woefully behind on its child care provisions. There are elements of the healthcare reform that people like as well. But whilst, you know, the discussion is all about the topline number, and not just about the topline number, Ari, but about the other thing that people know about this bill is that it`s causing infighting amongst Democrats.

So the focus has all been on the drama and the infighting amongst Democrats and on the number, and not about the elements of the bill, which I think is what Terry McAuliffe was trying to say. Listen, let`s knock some heads together. Let`s not focus on the infighting. Get over the -- but, you know, there`s a lot of -- but that means giving some things up. And when you actually ask people to give up programs that they like, it`s very hard for them to do that. So it`s easy to say, let`s, you know, slash it from 3.5, slash it down to two. That`s a win. You can make it popular.

People are going to lose a lot of their programs that they wanted in that $1.5 trillion that might be lost and that will cause, again, infighting amongst Democrats because progressives are in a very powerful position at the moment, and they don`t want to lose those programs. They think, and an argument could be made, those programs are really needed.

MELBER: Yes. I think all of that makes sense. And that sort of goes to what`s in it. You know, speaking of what`s in it and focusing on substance, the other update we wanted to give here as part of our top story tonight is what appears to be a COVID breakthrough on this so-called antiviral COVID drug, Merck. And I have some of this right here, saying they`re seeking emergency authorization.

The idea is to treat certain, quote, "mild COVID symptoms," symptoms, I should say, and the cases meanwhile are on the decline in the United States. We have the FDA preparing to meet about the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots. Meanwhile Dr. Fauci greenlighting a little Halloween cheer.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: It`s a good time to reflect on why it`s important to get vaccinated but go out there and enjoy Halloween as well as the other holidays that will be coming up.


MELBER: I won`t ask Katty what your Halloween costume is going to be. But I will ask what you think about this rap of good news. Dr. Fauci finds different time periods to celebrate. There was a period, I should say in all objectivity, where people would have thought right post-vaccine saturation, sort of March, April, that we wouldn`t be talking about this going into Halloween. We are, especially given the difference with family, students, schools.

But what do you think about what looks like potentially more of a rebound here for America on COVID?

KAY: Let`s hope we are heading into a period now where there`s a slew of holidays coming up and we can just enjoy all of them. We all feel a little hesitant because one thing we`ve learned over the last year and a half is some humility, Ari, that we can`t predict the future too much when it comes to this virus but we hope we`re there, and you`ve got to love Dr. Fauci even when he is plugging Halloween, he`s telling those kids to get out there, and the parents to think about getting vaccinated. I`m not sure it`s going to be the first thing on my kids` minds as they go around picking up the candy, but nice that he`s still plugging it.

MELBER: Yes. Fair enough. We need the communal experiences wherever we can find them.

KAY: We do.

MELBER: Always good to see you, Katty Kay. Part of our analysis here on MSNBC. So thank you for joining us here on THE BEAT. And my thanks to Governor Whitman who was part of this discussion earlier.

I want to tell you what we have coming up because you can boil it down to two incredible voices across law and policy in America. Neal Katyal speaking out on the legal clashes that face a party wedded to Trumpism and trying to overturn elections, and then later tonight, Anita Hill on the 30th anniversary of her groundbreaking testimony. What changed, what hasn`t. We get into law, civil rights and policy.

That`s live only right here tonight on THE BEAT.



MELBER: The GOP`s fear of Trump and war on democracy is on full display tonight. As Biden is governing, a leading Republican official now falsely suggesting, well, maybe he didn`t even win. We`re talking about the number two Republican in the House. This is not some random back venture. A MAGA ally fanning the war on democracy on live TV.


SCALISE: Chris, I`ve been very clear from the beginning. If you look at a number of states, they didn`t follow their state-passed laws that governed the election for president.

WALLACE: Do you think the election was stolen?

SCALISE: What I said is there are states that didn`t follow their legislatively set rules.

WALLACE: I understand you think there were irregularities, some things that need to be fixed. Do you think the election was stolen?

SCALISE: And it`s not just irregularities. It`s the states that did not follow the laws set which the Constitution says they`re supposed follow. When you see states like Georgia cleaning up some of the mess and people calling that Jim Crow law, that`s a flat-out lie.


MELBER: A lawyer would tell you this is a classic example of a witness not answering the question. He`s trying to have it both ways. He`s trying to support the big lie and fanning the idea that somehow this election was stolen against the law, which is false. Meanwhile, Republican Liz Cheney, who`s on of course the riot committee, is warning the party about doubling down on election lies. She referred to what you just saw there. Scalise`s basic dodge is a kind of an attack itself on our constitutional republic.

Trump taking the stage in Iowa over the weekend where he was back pushing the big lie to an audience that was on board.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: First of all, he didn`t get elected. OK? Forget that. I never conceded. Never. Never conceded. No reason to concede. When you look at numbers of these swing states. The election was a fraud. The election fraud of 2020 presidential election. Nobody`s ever seen anything like it.



MELBER: It went on and on. That`s the only part we`re going to show simply for the purpose of fact checking both the lies coming from the candidate potentially, the former president, and the response from a crowd believing him. Donald Trump fueling this attack on democracy. People are on board. Senator Grassley all smiles, accepting that endorsement. He of course was one of the Republicans who condemned Trump`s behavior on January 6th.

As for the reporting and this is part of it to understand what`s happening in the country, understand why people are ending up where they are, here is what one MAGA fan told NBC cameras.


LORI LEVI, MICHIGAN RESIDENT: We`re not going to take it anymore. I see a civil war coming. I do. I see civil war coming.


MELBER: That`s what somebody sees. But why do they see it? Where do they see it? What are the sources of seeing something so violent on our horizon?

It is because of what more potentially informed responsible people are saying. People in government, people like the whip of the House, Scalise. Meanwhile, in the accountability part of all this, a previously missing former Trump aide has been all been found and hit with a subpoena. ABC reporting, meanwhile Donald Trump like what he saw on January 6th. Even boasting about the size of what was legally a felonious crowd.

You take all the strands together and you can see this is not going away. This is serious. And the accountability effort which we`ve been reporting on is not always keeping pace with the propaganda effort that is seeding this kind of lies and this kind of violent rhetoric across the entire Republican Party.

There`s a comedian who also sees himself as something of a social commentator and he certainly interviews many Democrats and Republicans and MAGA people, that`s Bill Maher. He went where some people don`t want to go with his rhetoric, talking about what the Republican Party under Trump has become and what it`s doing. This has sparked a bit of a trend. You may have seen references online. A warning of the slow-moving coup in America.


BILL MAHER, HBO`s "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": The ding dongs who sacked the Capitol last year, that was like when al Qaeda tried to take down the World Trade Center the first time with a van. It was a joke. But the next time they came back with planes.


MELBER: Tough talk and a tough comparison. What is the truth here and what are the legal implications? Neal Katyal, when we`re back in 60 seconds.


MELBER: Joining us is former solicitor general under President Obama, Neal Katyal.

And Neal, let`s get right to it. I want to play a little bit more of what Bill Maher said. Take a look.


MAHER: Trump will run in 2024. He will get the Republican nomination and whatever happens on election night, the next day he will announce that he won. Of the 15 Republicans running for secretary of state in the key battleground states only two can see that Biden won that election. These are the people Trump is going to call on in 2024 when he`s a few votes short.


MELBER: Neal, that`s not just a bit. It refers to real true things happening. Your view on this tonight.

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: Yes. Bill Maher is right. I mean, these Republican leaders have to get a grip on reality. I mean, they`re like some mushroom taking college student who`ve lost any sense of what`s real anymore. I mean, the facts are Donald Trump lost everywhere and bigly.


I mean, you know, 63 different court decisions against him. The U.S. Supreme Court, which is not exactly hostile territory to Donald Trump, said no to him time and again. And so I think Maher is right to say what`s going on now is a new incarnation of what Trump tried before. It`s kind of coup 2.0. 1.0 was their kind of, you know, ham-handed military attack on the capital. 2.0 tries to use legal maneuvers like voting deprivations going on in Texas, like literally a bill in Arizona that will take the vote out of the hands of people for the president and put it in the state legislatures. And you know, I don`t think most -- you might not know who your state legislatures are. I mean, that is preposterous. But that`s what they`re doing. By any means necessary, they just want to get their guy elected.

MELBER: Yes, and I`m curious what you think as a constitutional scholar, as well, Neal, because one of the long-term benefits of federalism is supposed to be that certain things are handled better at the local level. We sometimes think of this as a liberal conservative clash but historically liberals and conservatives even agree on certain things that just are rightly local and other things that they can debate should or should not be federal.

We have a patchwork election system. And here rather than it being something done by some local preference, there might be, say, just a nonpartisan reason relating to urban organization or rural distance, that you might have a systemic change in how you do it. Here, it`s kind of antifederalist thing because it`s just Donald Trump demanding something and all these local municipalities and states jumping lockstep to do it.

I`m curious whether you see a kind of hole in the system here.

KATYAL: Yes, I totally agree with everything you said. And I`d add to that that, you know, Democrats and Republicans used to agree on democracy. Right? That the greatest thing we have, our greatest privilege is the ability to select our leaders. And now even that`s up for grabs. And it`s true whenever they introduce one of these bills they say well, there`s no technical provision on their constitution that forbids this sub clause or that sub clause.

But you know, Ari, you know and I know as lawyers, you know, the Constitution, our laws, there`s a spirit behind the laws and then there`s the letter of the laws. And, you know, as Chief Justice Marshal said the Constitution is only going to mark the great outlines. The most central outline (INAUDIBLE) is democracy, and letting people vote. And what these people are doing is spitting on that spirit and undermining democracy.

MELBER: Very clearly put. We have an update to another story and it involves things you said in public turning out to be true.

So, Neil, if you`re like any other human being or a parent, I`m sure you won`t mind this introduction. But there was some sort of Washington legal intrigue about what it meant when the Biden administration was signaling what they were going to do about Trump trying to hide behind executive privilege potentially and then whether they overstated that it was case by case. Here is the headline, I want to update everyone with on a story we`ve been tracking.

"Biden blocks attempt by Trump to withhold White House documents from January 6 probe. The White House writing President Biden has determined any assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interest of the United States and therefore is not justified to any, any of the documents."

Legally that`s his biggest slam dunk loss for Donald Trump you can get. Dunked on at the buzzer or blocked by Dikembe or whatever analogy one wants to use. There are many knowledgeable sports people out there. But, Neal, what you said prove to be true that while they did change the language and say we`re going to do this case by case, they did what you said they would do which is in this case blocked Trump. Walk us through your thoughts now that we have this update?

KATYAL: Yes, so executive privilege is a zone of secrecy around the president and it`s meant to protect the institution of the presidency, not the personal defects of any particular president. And the minute that Donald Trump decided to turn his back on the democratic process, he stopped acting as the president and started acting like a small hapless self. So I`m not surprised at all to see the Biden administration take this position.

Now we shouldn`t be surprised also that Donald Trump will probably sue the National Archives trying to delay this because delaying is really the only thing he`s good at and, you know, the National Archives, Ari, is also the home of the Constitution, meaning it hosts two sets of documents Donald Trump would prefer that we all just ignore. But, you know, I do expect this to go to litigation.

I think that the chances of Donald Trump winning are nonexistent. He can`t stall out the truth. He`s the former guy and the Supreme Court I think has been pretty clear in saying it`s really much more up to the president incumbent to assert executive privilege. I mean, and some of these people want to assert executive privilege for like Steve Bannon, they weren`t even federal employees.


So like this is going nowhere. It`s just your typical Donald Trump delay, unconstitutional, you know, stop, you know, telling the truth. And, you know, it`s remarkable. You know, he recorded a video, Donald Trump, Ari, this weekend for Ashli Babbitt, you know, the woman who died. And, you know, of course any loss of life is very sad to me but in this video Donald Trump calls for an investigation into what happened with Ashli Babbitt losing her life on January 6th which, you know, there you have it.

It`s the only time you`ll ever hear Donald Trump call for an investigation into an officer involved shooting and on January 6th, I mean, the irony of that. On one hand he says executive privilege and can`t turn anything over, on the other he`s calling for this investigation into Ashli Babbitt. It makes no sense.

MELBER: Yes. Really striking all around. Neal, on more than one topic including one you`ve proved prescient on, really good to have you.

Our thanks to Neal Katyal.

I want to tell everyone what`s coming up because we just had a real legal deep dive here with an expert, and we turn to another. An expert and a participant across decades of the debate over feminism and gender equality in the United States. Anita Hill here live. My special guest, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, do you see that coming out of this that you can be a hero in the civil rights movement?


ANITA HILL, CIVIL RIGHTS LAWYER, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: I do not have that kind of complex. I don`t like all of the attention that I`m getting.


MELBER: Just a quick example of some of the patronizing questioning that civil rights lawyer Anita Hill faced. This was 30 years ago today. To the day. Including from Democrats.

Now on this historic day, Anita Hill joins us live in this segment in just a moment. As for the context, her groundbreaking testimony that day took place in a very specific political gender context in front of an all-white, all-male Senate Judiciary Committee as the nation saw with its own eyes and debated very specific stories, allegations and evidence of workplace sexual harassment. Catalyzing really generations of women to come forward in many different ways.

That committee included then Senator Joe Biden and many other individuals who did not look like the rest of America. Today that committee has four women on it. Meanwhile, this new Congress of 2020 has more women than ever before. So there are many different ways that people have come out, gotten more politically involved, stood up and fought these battles while recently America saw a whole another cohort of women standing up in the Me Too Movement. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Harvey Weinstein, the once powerful Hollywood producer who was charged with five felony counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and rape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Epstein was arrested Saturday on charges of sex trafficking involving minors that date back nearly 20 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the wake of Larry Nassar`s conviction, well, now his former boss has been charged with criminal sexual conduct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: R. Kelly is facing decades behind bars. The singer found guilty on nine federal counts of racketeering and sex trafficking.


MELBER: An advocacy law and politics, there are measurable gains. And yet it almost goes without saying if you`re watching the news, you`re familiar with some of how America works today that 27 years after this testimony, we saw a kind of an echo that didn`t feel like much had changed when Christine Blasey Ford came forward accusing then judge and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

She also went through that grueling ordeal with testimony about the incident in public. Both men sit together on the Supreme Court today. Both of those accused jurists. Hill writes about all of this in the new book "Believing: A Bit of Memoir and Analysis." It is out now. And she discusses some of those parallels how the hearings in both 1991 and 2018 were political theaters she argues, part of a deeply flawed process that remains quite damaging to the victims of gender violence, whether they are in the hearing or watching it at home.

Anita Hill is professor of Brandeis University. Thank you for coming on THE BEAT.

HILL: Thank you.

MELBER: There`s so much of the history here. I want to begin with some of your work right now that is paying it forward. This Hollywood Commission that tries to deal with both structural, gender inequity and discrimination and also looks at issues regarding civil rights, people of color, the killing of black people in America and how that all fits together. And so before we go back, why not we go forward? Tell us about your work there and what people should know.

HILL: Well, the work at the Hollywood Commission is centered on ending harassment. It`s also centered on greater diversity and inclusion because we know from all of the research, not only our own research but the research it`s done nationwide that the best way to have a harassment-free work environment is to have more diverse decision makers and policy makers. And so we necessarily put the two together in terms of our missions and goal.

MELBER: Yes. And in the book and in this work, there`s also a real issue of the evidence. You have to look at, as of course lawyers do, what do we know about the underlying evidence which also can help rebut other types of discrimination, of assumption, of just sort of having personality base narratives. And so one piece of evidence that you`ve worked on is the fact that black women, in particular, face a higher rate of this kind of abuse, 35 percent of black women facing sexual violence at some point in their lives. Where does reform fit into that statistic?

HILL: Well, as a matter of fact, what we realized is that women of color generally experience more violence. They experience more harassment in the workplace typically. And in fact, what they find also is that the systems that are in place respond differently to them.


That is, they do not get the fair shake when they pursue their claims. So we -- you know, what it comes down to is the fact that in order to eliminate gender violence for women of color, black women, Native women, really every demographic group of color, and we`ve got to deal with racism. You can`t simply deal with the sexism that`s obvious in gender base violence. You`ve got to deal with racism as well because racism is compounding the abuse and the violence and the risk.

MELBER: Yes. And one of the horrific parts of this but the one that`s important for people to understand is how that plays forward to any new situation. There`s a bit of a kind of retro guard, rear guard attack on these kind of reforms sometimes by saying well, what was a long time ago and we`re in a new era and yada-yada. Well, COVID was a new thing. Obviously the biochemical ingredients are not structurally racist.

But as soon as it entered our health care system and our economic system and our political system, we saw all kinds of racism. You mentioned the story of a black woman doctor, now deceased, and how she -- in your book about how she was treated. It`s tough but important. I want to play a little bit of that so people can see with their own eyes. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At that time I only received two treatments of the remdesivir. They said, well, you don`t need it. You`re not even short of breath. I was crushed. They made me feel like I was a drug addict. And you know all the physicians. (INAUDIBLE) and I maintained, if I was white, I wouldn`t have to go through that. This is how black people get killed.


MELBER: The words of a doctor fighting for her life, she did die. We actually covered some of that at the time. Tell us why you put that in your book, what we should know about that.

HILL: Well, I wanted to -- everyone up front and be aware of the lack of believability but the idea that we women and women of color in particular aren`t truthful about our experiences, aren`t an authority on our bodies, aren`t an authority on the pain that it cases, the trauma that comes from a disease or from violence. And we`re dismissed. And in fact in this case it was medicine. But we have this kind of dismissive response to women who complain about sexual assault or intimate partner violence or sexual harassment.

We`re told it`s not so bad or, you know, that`s just something you have to put up with. And in fact, what it`s doing is harming us every day. And in this case, you know, it could have contributed to a death. A woman who was really crying out for help and have the knowledge of her own illness that should have informed the doctors` response to her. And, you know, I`m saying that we as survivors and victims have knowledge that should be responded to.

You know, I was struck by those cases that you showed. The Epstein case, the Weinstein case, R. Kelly case. And only after multiple victims in every case came forward and years later, and in the case of Epstein as well as Weinstein and Kelly, it took decades for there to be any kind of response. Effective response to stop these individuals. Same is true with Larry Nassar. It took years and decades and multiple victims in order to get any kind of relief. And so the systems are clearly failing all of us. But that failure is actually compounded in communities of color. Just as COVID was compounded in communities of color.

MELBER: Yes. It`s so important. You`re speaking about the laws` broken math. That in a certain case, where a white person observes a killing, there are murder witness, one eyewitness, a lot of cases that will get it done. But if the law because of its broken discrimination system, is dealing with, as you mentioned, women alleging sexual assault who are witnesses or victims or women of color as you say being undercounted. Actually the math becomes horrifically cruelly clear because you see, oh, it took six or 18 people to account for what one victim or witness would have worked for in another case.


You also brought up something that I know you write about. I want to read this to the viewers so you can expound on it which is, the privilege of being broadly free from violence or the suffering of having violence looming as a part of one`s life or coping mechanisms, and you write, drawing on the work of the feminist Sarah Grimke here, you write, how she linked physical safety to political empowerment. The lesson lost on us because we still don`t value women as social, economic or political contributors. We continue to demand that women political candidates have superior credentials, experience, demeanor and temperament to white men.

Walk us through that point against the more hopeful news as mentioned briefly of a Congress that does have more women in it than any before.

HILL: Yes. Well, that is hopeful news. And I`m grateful to have lived in an era where the numbers have increased dramatically. But they`re still not anywhere to your parity and they`re still troubled, difficulty as I talk about in the book, in getting legislation that is specifically related to gender equity. Getting it passed. I mean, we have Violence Against Women`s Act that has been languishing in committee for some time now, and maybe over a year.

I think it -- last look it was over a year. And we have not responded. I mean, if you look at the numbers that I talk about, if you look at the pervasiveness of this problem, in 10 million individuals will be victims of intimate partner violence. And a third of those people will become homeless. If you look at the problems that are happening in our schools, the problem it`s grossly undercounted. There`s not a clear record of how much harassment and bullying and sexual assault is going on in our schools, our colleges and universities now, students are demonstrating across the country.

Look at what`s happened nearly every year or so. The scandal in the military about sexual assault and harassment in the military. So we have nationwide problem. And it is undermining all of our institutions, including our political institutions, where people just lack confidence in the government`s ability to respond to these issues.


HILL: And nowhere was that more evident than in 2018 with Christine Blasey Ford.

MELBER: Yes. Well, Anita, that`s exactly where we want to go. Before I lose you, and you`ve been generous with your time but a little bit of news here on THE BEAT. You spoke with Dr. Ford. That`s a conversation, you know, quite frankly, one could imagine as an essay or a book or a Broadway show, imagining you two discussing this but you did it yourselves. So let`s play a little bit of that for the viewers.


DR. CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, PALO ALTO UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: When I met with people to tell them what had happened, and they said, I believe you, it was admittedly a little bit awkward. Sort of like I had told them my name is Christine and they had said, I believe you.

HILL: I like this idea of really interrogating this approach of I believe you. What does that say? I know other people don`t believe you. I mean, what is it saying?

FORD: I think that`s it.

HILL: I`m still not at the point where I can help every person who has been violated that they should step forward into a system. I can`t tell them that.


MELBER: How did you feel speaking with her? And what did you glean from the conversation?

HILL: Well, it was really for me a very personal conversation about how she could continue to survive because, you know, she did face the threat. Her family was at risk. Everything, her job was at risk. And I had been there. And I wanted her to know that it would get better. That it could get better. And whatever she chooses to do as a story, it`s her choice. You know, I made a different kind of choice and maybe many other people would have made.

I decided that I wanted to gain as much information as I could. That I wanted know as much about it. That I wanted to be part of change so that we could really address the problem in the bigger sense, not just about sexual harassment but about the whole range of behaviors that people are experiencing every day. That is harming them directly and harming all of us indirectly.

MELBER: Understood. It`s very interesting. It`s important work. And there`s a lot left undone. But I know that`s why you do this work and why you`re riding and sharing things you`ve been through.

So, Anita Hill, I appreciate you joining us.

HILL: And I`m also hopeful.


I wanted to say I`m also very hopeful that there can be change. I mean, there`s been a lot of knowledge we`ve gained since then and there`s a lot of energy behind this. The public I think is coming behind ending this, this problem and this scourge, and so I`m -- after 30 years, I want people to know that I am hopeful that we can change for the better and not pass this on to another generation.

MELBER: Amen. And that`s a fitting point there for us to reflect on.

Anita Hill, I want to thank you, and remind everyone the book is "Believing." We will be right back.


MELBER: Turning to some important financial news that could have actually affect you and what kind of taxes you pay. There`s a lot of companies and people that avoid taxes abroad. It`s a scam that lives in the popular imagination and movies like "The Wolf of Wall Street."


LEONARDO DICAPRIO, ACTOR: I`m curious about your bank secrecy laws here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, excuse me. Swiss custom requires 10 minutes of blah, blah, blah.

DICAPRIO: Chitchat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, chitchat, thank you, before business can be discussed.

DICAPRIO: Under what circumstances would you be obligated to cooperate with an FBI or U.S. Justice Department investigation, for example?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

DICAPRIO: (Speaking foreign language). On what exactly?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether I make up plans to invade Switzerland in the coming months.


MELBER: Billionaires hide their money abroad but the news tonight is a way that might be running out of steam because the Biden administration announcing 135 countries now around the world including the United States under Biden are agreeing to try to set this global minimum corporate tax, so it will be a floor of 15 percent. If it works, it might stop some of those most brazen schemes to hide everything and pay zero. The money from that, well, the Biden folks say it could go towards the safety net bill if they could get a vote in Congress. We`ll be right back.


MELBER: Thanks for watching THE BEAT tonight. You can always keep up with us online @Arimelber or We have a new podcast coming. We`re going to share the entire Anita Hill interview, if you want to go back or share it. You can find me @Arimelber for that kind of information. Also, the upcoming Paul Krugman interview we`re doing in New York. So keep in touch there if you want. I`ll see you tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts right now. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How you doing, Ari? You`re headed to NYC, one of my favorite cities, to talk to one of the most interesting columnist. Cannot wait to see that interview.