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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 10/20/21

Guests: David Chase, Adam Schiff

Summary

President Biden pushes his Build Back Better plan in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Congressman Adam Schiff discusses the January 6 investigation. Joe Manchin responds to a new report that he may leave the Democratic Party. Creator David Chase discusses the new "Sopranos" film.

Transcript

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can`t afford to sit while other countries pass us by. We`re going to breathe new life into the economy and our work force.

And here`s the deal: These jobs will create -- that we`re going to create for people who are too often left out and left behind. The vast majority of the jobs in my infrastructure bill don`t require a four-year degree; 98 percent don`t require a four-year degree.

Guess what, though? This is the ultimate blue-collar -- blue-collar, middle-class renewal. Real serious work and it needs to get done.

Folks, it isn`t enough just to invest in our physical infrastructure. We also have to invest in our people, which we always did. We invested in our people.

That`s why the second bill is the so-called Build Back Better plan. And here`s what it does: It takes education -- as I said, when America made 12 years of public education standard a century ago, it gave us the best- educated, best-prepared work force in the world, and you saw what happened. Think of what would have happened after World War One and how America moved, because we were the best-educated -- overall -- country in the world. And we led in the 20th century.

But as I said earlier, we know those 12 years is not enough any longer to compete in the 21st century. Study after study shows that the earlier our children begin to learn, the better for themselves, their families, and for the nation.

You know, you all know the statistics -- and some of your teachers and your husband used to talk to me about this -- and it was really basic: that if you come from a home where the mom or dad have books on the shelves and on the coffee table and read, and you come from a home where mom or dad can`t read or has a sixth-grade education or has a little difficulty, the child coming from that middle-class home is going to have heard a million more words spoken -- not different words, spoken -- spoken -- than the child coming from a middle-class home.

And that`s because -- look, what do you all do? You all know with your children or your grandchildren. You start talking to them when they`re in the cradle. You engage them. They`re the people who sit at the dinner table and still talk; they`re engaged.

So many homes, mothers or fathers, don`t have the capacity or inclination to do that. But right now, what are we doing? We`re lagging behind.

Today, only about half of the three -- and four-year-olds in America are enrolled in early education at all. Germany, France, the U.K., Latvia -- their number is over 90 percent of the children.

It`s not just early education. According to one study, we rank 12th among advanced economies when it comes to percentage of our young people who have attained any sort of post-high school degree, ranked 12th in the world.

The Build Back Better plan gets us back on track. We`ll make two years of high-quality preschool available to every child in America. Every child. And we`re going to make...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: ... make investments education beyond high school. That includes increasing Pell Grants, which nearly 200,000 students in Pennsylvania from low-income families rely on to attend college. We`re going to increase it by $500. It`s up to -- so it becomes $1, 900.

The bill invests in our work force, providing much-needed breathing room for families.

My dad used to -- I remember, when we moved to Wilmington, we finally were able to -- after four years, Dad could buy a house. And we lived in a, quote, a development. It was a lovely area and a suburban area. But it was a three-bedroom, split-level home. And we had four kids and my grandpop who lived with us, or another relative all -- for all those years we lived there.

And my bed was up -- my headboard -- well, not -- didn`t have a headboard. But my bed was up against the wall that was on -- my dad and mom`s bed was up against the wall. And I look back, and I -- it was great for us having grandpops and relatives there. I don`t know how my parents quite did it.

But I remember one night -- I`m serious -- it was in high school. And Dad - - I could see -- I could feel my dad was restless. He was moving. And I could hear it in bed. And I asked the next morning -- I asked my mom -- it`s a true story. I said, What`s the matter with dad, Mom? She said, He got bad news, honey. His company just said they`re no longer going to pay for health insurance. Well, guess what? My dad used to say, Everybody is entitled. All we`re looking for is just a little breathing room. Just a little bit of extra room -- a little breathing room.

How can we compete in the world if millions of American parents, especially moms, who can`t join the work force because they can`t afford the cost of childcare or eldercare, or they have to stay home?

I heard my colleagues speaking before I did. Here in Pennsylvania, the average annual cost of childcare for your toddler is $11, 400. It`s higher in other places. So, an average two-parent family with two young kids spends 22 percent of their income for childcare every year.

[18:05:16]

I was a single dad for five years. I got elected to the Senate; I got a phone call before I got sworn in, when I was hiring staff, saying my wife and daughter had just been killed and my two boys were seriously injured. They were hospitalized for a long time.

So, I -- that`s why I eventually started commuting. But I continued to commute because I could no more afford -- and I was making a lot of money then. Now, granted, I was listed for 36 years as the poorest man in Congress, but...

(LAUGHTER)

BIDEN: I was making $42,000 a year. And I didn`t think my job was to make money when I was in Congress.

But this is not a joke. I could no more afford childcare than fly. But, fortunately, I had a hell of a family -- those values I talked about. My sister and her husband, after a little bit, they gave up their home. I came home one night, and they were moved into my home -- helped me raise my kids.

Five years later -- no man deserves one great love, let alone two. Five years later, when I met and married Jill, I came home after the wedding and they had moved out.

My brother Jimmy, my best friend, my mother -- they all helped me take care of my kids. But I couldn`t have done it. So, I understand. How in God`s name do people make it?

If you look at the world of advanced economics and -- those advanced econ - - those with advanced economies, their countries invest an average of -- each of those countries invest an average of $14,000 per year in child -- state-sponsored child/toddler care. America invests $500, 28 times less than our competitors.

Here`s what it does to our economy -- you all know it: Thirty years ago, we ranked seven in -- seventh in the world among advanced economies in the share of women in the work force. Today, in America, we rank 23rd.

And women are becoming -- not a joke -- better educated than men. If you look at -- and I do about five college commencements a year. Four of those five, the valedictorian out of those classes for the last 10 years has been a woman. And if you read the data now, we`re worried about the number of men attending college.

Once again, our competitors are investing. We`re standing still. My Build Back Better plan is designed to get us moving again.

Look, it`s going to cut the cost of childcare for most Pennsylvania families in half. No middle-income family will pay more than 7 percent of their income on childcare under my proposal, 7 percent.

(APPLAUSE)

It`s going to help more people get back....

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: You have been listening to President Biden here pitching that Build Back Better plan.

We have been covering quite a bit of his remarks. And we will keep listening, if there is news, to bring it to you. This speech here is part of a big push today. He`s in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, as you heard him mention in the address.

And after months of tussling between progressives and a small group of holdouts, there are also some signs tonight in the news that this gap may be closing.

Earlier in the speech, there was something noteworthy that we want to play for you right now, the president saying this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: These bills are not about left vs. right, or about moderate vs. progressive, or anything that pits one American against another. These bills are about competitiveness vs. complacency, about expanding opportunity, not having opportunity denied.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s the president making the case. And he`s not alone.

All across different addresses and different press conferences today, we have seen Democratic leaders on offense. They`re fanned out across the Capitol, rebutting the Republicans, who have tried to make this a debate about numbers or what`s affordable, Democrats now leaning into what it does.

They may be picking up as well as a rebuttal to criticism that said, this had turned into something of an endless debate about $1.5 trillion or $3 trillion that makes it hard for anyone to follow. I don`t care if you`re a journalist or a citizen.

Well, then, today, we saw what was clearly coordinated, Democratic leaders making it very clear what the numbers would fund, jobs, addressing the climate crisis, health care, infrastructure, new spending to affect people`s lives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): Provide quality, affordable and comprehensive health coverage to 4.4 million Americans.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): We`re here today because housing is infrastructure.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It would be a dereliction of duty to build the infrastructure of America without doing so in a green way.

REP. ROSA DELAURO (D-CT): I have been honored to find side by side with all of you to implement the expanded and the improved child tax credit.

[18:10:07]

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): We`re just working to arrive at the consensus that is clearly moving in an incredibly positive direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s the push.

Now, is it a closing argument? Time will tell. But we are seeing headlines about the lines in a potential agreement getting clearer, Biden`s sketching out this plan to keep around $2 trillion in the family leave in the child programs.

But basically, big picture, that also means some things have to be cut. On the chopping block or priorities that some have seen as kind of a progressive wish list, like funding college tuition or investing in climate change solutions.

I want to bring in our guests here after tracking both what the Democrats are saying and the president`s remarks, Maya Wiley, a civil rights leader who knows her way around many political and economic issues. She has a new piece: "Housing is the greatest endangered necessity of this Build Back Better bill." She also recently came in second, running for mayor in New York, and Joan Walsh, a correspondent with "The Nation."

Maya, your thoughts on all the above?

MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look, it is a good thing for this country if we get major investments in people`s ability to work, to have good quality child care, to get better health care, all the things that President Biden is speaking to.

I think what we have to recognize is, the only reason we`re not getting everything that Americans deserve -- because, frankly, community college is something Americans deserve. Getting more child care in places like West Virginia, which, frankly, has the largest number of women out of the work force because they either can`t get -- afford child care or they can`t get to a child care center.

These things are major issues. And, frankly, women and particularly women of color are also deeply impacted by them. I just think that the reality is we have two people, two people -- and I call them SineMan, and some people call ManSin -- but basically who said, we`re going to hold a national agenda, but not a -- not even a Democratic Party agenda, as Biden says, but a national agenda hostage to our own -- whatever our own political ends are in this debate.

But, frankly, everyone was going to benefit from this. And I highlighted housing, because one of the greatest crises we have had, both before the pandemic, when we had over three million people every year facing eviction in this country, because of the pandemic, that`s now 10 million Americans that are more than -- at least a month behind on their rent.

And because of the Supreme Court, the moratorium is over. So these are some of the things that are on the chopping block, public housing, where people are literally getting sick from mold and rats. This is not America. And, frankly, there`s no reason why we shouldn`t be able to get the whole package, except that we have some folks who have decided to torpedo it.

MELBER: Well, and, Maya, you mix serious housing policy analysis with a little bit of celebrity name portmanteau.

Your Manchin-Sinema reminds me a little bit of Bennifer, if folks are old enough to remember.

Joan, do you remember the days of Bennifer?

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC ANALYST: Yes, I`m definitely old enough to remember Bennifer.

(LAUGHTER)

WALSH: And now they`re back. So, that`s fantastic.

MELBER: Hey.

And that might mean that some -- I don`t even know what was going on back then, Ari. But maybe we`re capable of doing something that was going on back then.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: Well, what I think you`re gesturing at is, you never know where things are going, because when Bennifer first ended, it looked like an ending, a complete ending.

WALSH: Absolutely. Sure.

MELBER: And yet, in the -- over time, they came back together.

And, look, I`m torturing the analogy. That`s my job. But Maya gives us that reference to these two senators, where it does look like they`re bringing down the numbers.

What do you think of, Joan, what the Democratic leadership was doing today? Clearly coordinated. I mean, we all -- we`re all around this. Maya ran. You and I watch as observers. But you don`t have that much coordination by chance.

They`re clearly trying to do a closing argument about things, not numbers.

WALSH: Right.

And looking back, we, they should have always been about things, not numbers. It should have been about here`s how many parents or -- dads and moms will be helped by family leave and here`s how many families will be helped by child care, and here`s how many people -- all along the line.

So it is unfortunate that they kind of went out with this, oh, hey, it`s $3.5 trillion. You know you`re going to like it. And they didn`t really show it for what it was.

[18:15:08]

But I`m still nervous. And I still don`t like the idea that they`re going to cut a bunch of things, especially -- I mean, I`m not saying cut things elsewhere. I don`t want anything cut.

But in the child care, family care part, like, I really think that is disturbing. Just to do pre-K, it`s not -- that`s not enough. And "The New York Times" had a good piece a couple days ago showing, on the one hand, people are like, OK, this is what we have to have, we will do it. But on the other hand, it`s really not enough, and here`s how it hurts poor families.

So, I don`t know. I`m not happy.

MELBER: Hey, part of part of this job of analysis is sharing where you`re really at. And you`re not doing boosterism. You`re talking about your concerns.

I think that`s why, when you talk about the trillion gap from where the progressives were, there`s a lot here to be worked out. And yet the president, in those remarks, which, by the way, ate up part of our talk time in this segment, the president making clear what`s at stake, he says, for the American people.

I want to thank Joan and Maya for hanging with us here during the speech and the breaking coverage and tell everyone what we have coming up in the show.

There have been fireworks since the House committee vote to hold Steve Bannon in contempt. New questions about whether he`s holding his cards so close to the vest because he`s hiding for Donald Trump himself. We have a key leader and investigator, Congressman Adam Schiff, live.

Also, Joe Manchin responding to a very explosive new report tonight. We`re going to get into that later in the program. It`s breaking news.

And tonight on THE BEAT, by the end of the hour, you will hear directly from the legendary creator of "The Sopranos." We`re excited about that.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:20:33]

MELBER: President Biden pushing hard today to get all 50 votes in the Senate. We have been covering that.

Liberals have been leaning on these Democratic holdouts. Some of our guests were just discussing this in the earlier block. And then you have this brand-new report out late today that one of these holdouts, Senator Manchin, might be considering leaving the entire Democratic Party over the spending clash, if the price tag doesn`t get down to about 1.75.

According to "Mother Jones"` David Corn Manchin would then consider a plan where he would become an American independent, formally leaving the Democratic Party. The article notes that, under this plan, it`s not clear if he would caucus with the Democrats, as other independents have done, or Republicans, potentially swinging control of the United States Senate to Mitch McConnell.

Even the low probability of this happening seems like a big political story, big enough that Senator Manchin was quick to address it in public and on the record, and he says, in his own words you`re going to hear, it`s not true.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I can`t control rumors.

And it`s bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED). It`s bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED), bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED), spelled with a B-U-L-L, capital B.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s pretty clear.

Now, David Corn, who`s been on MSNBC many times -- you may know the name of the journalist -- he broke the story.

And he responds to that denial, saying, for some reason: "Manchin`s press secretary decided not to tell me that prior to publication. It is not a rumor. He knows that."

All of this underscores the leverage that really any individual senator can have if they are willing to buck their party, and you need all 50 for everything.

But Manchin is, in a way, special, because if he talks about leaving in a state where Trump won by 30 points during a year when he lost, well, it`s a more credible threat. He`s also going out of his way to call it B.S.

So what light does this shed on the quandary facing Democrats? Why is Joe Manchin swearing in public? And what, if anything, is Biden going to do about this new development?

Well, we`re going to dig into it with a friend of THE BEAT, Chai Komanduri, when we`re back in just 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: I`m joined now by Chai Komanduri, a veteran of three presidential campaigns, including the Obama campaign.

Thanks for being here, sir.

CHAI KOMANDURI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you, Ari.

MELBER: There`s plenty of headlines and articles. There`s plenty of stuff on the Internet. Senators don`t respond to all of it.

But Joe Manchin really going out of his way on the record in his own West Virginia style to knock this down. We did play it, but it`s good enough to play twice. Here`s Manchin saying there`s nothing to reports he would leave the party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANCHIN: I can`t control rumors.

And it`s bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED). It`s bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED), bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED), spelled with a B-U-L-L, capital B.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Chai, what`s going on here?

KOMANDURI: Well, let`s be very clear. Joe mentioned almost certainly is threatening to leave the Democratic Party, and he almost certainly will never leave the Democratic Party.

The reason is, he has no future as a Republican in West Virginia. He could not win a Republican primary. Mitch McConnell could not guarantee him the Republican nomination.

And the reason is that Mitch McConnell cannot control Donald Trump. Now, the Republican governor of West Virginia, who is basically Jim Justice -- he`s the president of the Donald Trump fan club in that state -- he doesn`t care what Mitch McConnell thinks. He cares what Donald Trump thinks.

[18:25:02]

The Republican voters in West Virginia care about Donald Trump. They don`t care about Mitch McConnell. So Joe Manchin will stay a Democrat because, quite simply, he has nowhere to go.

Now, why is he threatening to do this? It`s very clear. It`s negotiating room for him. He is being threatened by Democratic donors, who are unhappy with how he is torpedoing Biden`s -- not only his agenda, but his climate change agenda. And he`s saying, look, I can just pull up stakes and turn to the Republicans -- the Senate Republicans right now.

That`s why he`s threatened to do it. But it`s not real. It`s sort of like James Bond in "Casino Royale," where he`s playing poker, except Joe Manchin isn`t James Bond. And you can always tell his tell.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: He has more tells than the "Casino Royale" scene.

I didn`t know the CIA gave out gambling money. So there`s a lot of plot twists in that one there.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Go ahead.

KOMANDURI: It was actually British intelligence, so I just want to make it clear that it was not the CIA, although I do remember Felix Leiter later gives him CIA money.

So I stand corrected.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Yes, I think there was -- no, I think you`re right that both intelligence services were funding it.

Now, what do we call a fact-check of fiction? That`s kind of a paradox.

KOMANDURI: Right.

MELBER: But it`s interesting to look at the tells, which was your point about Manchin, is, OK, what is this? And why does he want to do it this way? In other words, privately reminding the Democrats he has leverage may work for him.

If it probably turns into him being a disloyal Democrat, that could affect donors, his standing. I mean, that`s a different kettle of fish. And there were headlines, of course, when this happened to George Bush in a very similar Senate situation...

KOMANDURI: Right.

MELBER: ... where you had a moderate Vermont senator, Jeffords, bolt from the GOP. He really didn`t make good on it.

KOMANDURI: Right.

MELBER: This was what he said announcing switching parties, also at a crucial time for that new president. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. SEN. JIM JEFFORDS (R-VT): I will leave the Republican Party and become an independent. Tax-and-spending decisions.

Control of the Senate will be changed by my decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: When you see Senator Manchin, whom everyone`s learned a lot more about in this Biden era, when you see Manchin really go this hard, I mean, it wasn`t like he swore once angrily.

He swore repeatedly and then drew attention to it by saying how to spell it. Something went farther than he wanted in the way this story is unfolding.

KOMANDURI: Yes, I mean, look, there`s a big difference between Jeffords and Manchin.

The big difference was, Tom Daschle could guarantee Jim Jeffords security in the Democratic Party in Vermont. The difference here is that Mitch McConnell cannot guarantee Joe Manchin security in the Republican Party of West Virginia. That is the major, big difference.

The second big difference, I think, is that Manchin has prided himself and his ego is very much built on a Manchin brand that is independent, where he is a Democrat, but he`s a Democrat who tells honest truth to his own party.

If he were to change and go to the Republican Party, that destroys that brand. That is not the case with Jim Jeffords. Jim Jeffords was really the last of the Yankee Republicans, and he finally switched to Democrat.

What I think is going on with Manchin is, he basically has to send the message to Democrats and Democratic donors, look, you`re not even think about pulling your money from me for my reelection. I`m the best you have got. And I have some negotiating room. It`s a power play.

MELBER: Yes, I think you decode it very well. And you have been around some of these players, so it`s interesting. And the fundamentals clearly matter, because that speaks to whether there is a warm embrace and a political future in that kind of move, a move rarely made.

But when it does happen, it tends to happen in 50/50 Senates for the reasons we discussed.

Chai Komanduri, always good to see you.

KOMANDURI: Good to see you. Thank you, Ari.

MELBER: Yes, absolutely.

Coming up: the House barreling forward trying to get Steve Bannon possibly jailed. They are voting on holding him in contempt. And we have a key investigator and leader of that committee.

Adam Schiff is here.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:32:45]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, ACTOR: Drop the "the." Just Facebook. It`s cleaner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That was the moment in "The Social Network" imagining when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is told to just tweak the company`s name a little bit.

Well, now there are reports they might really be changing it. And, of course, it`s one of the most well-known brands in the world at this point in tech.

And the Web site The Verge, which focuses on technology, reports Zuckerberg plans to announce a new name, retitling Facebook next week, part of a shift to perhaps change the company`s reputation, while also broadening what it does beyond social media.

Now, I want to tell you up front, because we always want to show our work, this is from The Verge. This has not been reported or confirmed by NBC. And that Verge report is based on one anonymous source.

But that`s not the whole story. If that were it, we might not even run with it. But Facebook, interestingly, has not denied it, kind of a contrast to, say, the Joe Manchin story we brought you.

Indeed, Facebook has only issued a cryptic quote that says, "We don`t comment on rumor or speculation."

For context, we have had other stories about companies where they are quick to say that something is simply false. And that affects whether we run the story at all or, of course, include their denial.

Meanwhile, a lot of techies are definitely in on this conversation. There`s a BuzzFeed quiz even on what the new name should be, and other people posting about it, naturally, on social media.

But here`s the wider context of things that definitely are true, regardless of what the company says. It has a problem with spreading disinformation and undermining democracy. It has people inside Facebook, from whistle- blowers who recently testified, to former investors, donors and participants in the company`s launch, who`ve all been critical about what this company has become and its impact on our society.

Then you have millions of dollars in fines against the company or Zuckerberg. There`s a new privacy lawsuit. And when you widen out, the fact is that, for years, there have been very credible problems that have come out of Facebook, in addition to, of course, some things it has done that are positive for connecting people and spreading information.

But when the problems come, this company, which has largely avoided regulation because it`s so new, it has adopted a class corporate playbook. It claims it`s sorry. It claims it won`t happen again. It claims all sorts of apologies. And then, in its essence, in its algorithm, in its business model, in its profiteering, they don`t ever really make substantial changes.

[18:35:18]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, FACEBOOK: We didn`t take a broad enough view of our responsibility. And that was a big mistake. And it was my mistake. And I`m sorry.

This was a major breach of trust. And I`m really sorry that this happened.

We didn`t take a broad enough view of our responsibility. And that was a mistake. And I`m sorry for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Now, those are just a couple examples. If we needed to prove the point further, we could have strung together for you 10 or 15 years of that kind of stuff. We didn`t, because I didn`t want to subject you to that many Zuckerberg apologies.

The point, though, is, on COVID disinformation, on undermining democracy, on spreading fake news, on undercutting journalists in countries where it`s dangerous to report, on a host of issues, there`s an apology, but not a change of business. And that`s context for any potential name change, because this could be another spin move.

Now, why now? And, in tech, we do see other companies change names. Google changed its parent company`s name to Alphabet, although it still uses Google for products. You have companies like Philip Morris, ValuJet, and Blackwater that, when met with public criticism like Facebook, they changed their names to try to change up the P.R. mood.

And some rebranding efforts famously do not work. New Coke fizzled in the `80s, leaving the company CEO to record a mea culpa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we didn`t know was how many thousands of you would phone and write asking us to bring back the classic taste of original Coca- Cola.

Well, we read and we listened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: They had no idea how many of you would phone and write. If you update that for today, they might have no idea how many of you would post on Facebook or, well, whatever you call it.

We will keep you updated on what, if anything, Mr. Zuckerberg says and does about these issues next week.

Now, that`s an update out of the world of tech and democracy.

Straight ahead, we go back to the seat of democracy, where the Congress has these plans to try to jail Steve Bannon and get all the evidence it needs for its investigation.

Committee member Congressman Adam Schiff is here next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:41:33]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Because he has categorically refused to appear, we have no choice but to seek consequences for Mr. Bannon`s failure to comply.

Mr. Bannon`s and Mr. Trump`s privilege arguments do, however, appear to reveal one thing. They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: A member of the January 6 committee and a Republican, Liz Cheney. That was last night amidst the proceedings to vote to hold Steve Bannon in contempt. The committee voted. It goes to the House floor tomorrow.

Now, Trump`s relationship with his chief strategist certainly didn`t end when they had the falling out and Bannon left the White House, because, after patching it up, there are reports of the two speaking by phone multiple times about overturning the election. Depending on how you do that, it can be a crime.

Bannon also admits he told then-President Trump: "You need to kill this Biden administration in the crib early on."

I`m joined now by a key member of the January 6 committee and a former impeachment manager and chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff. He`s also the author of the new book "Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could."

Thanks for being here, sir.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Great to be with you.

MELBER: The "Still Could" part, I think, hangs over the Congress, your committee`s work, and, specifically, this pressure on Mr. Bannon to either comply -- and then I presume you wouldn`t be seeking contempt or his jailing -- or punishment for violating subpoenas and the rule of law.

What, in your view, does this vote achieve?

SCHIFF: Well, the "Still Could" refers to the fact that the president, the former president, is still out pushing this big lie that led to the insurrection.

And if you convince people that they can`t rely on elections to settle disputes or to decide who should govern, that really leaves the country open to political violence, like we saw on January 6.

In terms of what we hope to achieve with this subpoena to Bannon, with a contempt citation, a referral for criminal prosecution, we want to reinstate the rule of law, that no one is above the law, so that people, when they`re given legal compulsion, don`t just get to decide, nah, I`d rather not show up.

He clearly has relevant information. You alluded to some of it about what went on in the run-up to January 6 with the president, President Trump, what his role in that insurrection was, how much he may have been aware in advance of the propensity for violence and how much that might have been part of the plan.

We also hope to let other witnesses know that, if they too don`t do their civic duty, they will be prosecuted.

MELBER: Yes.

And you -- that came up. Your colleague Congressman Raskin was on with us last night. He alluded to the point you just made that`s so crucial and anyone familiar with investigation knows, which is, if there`s consequences, people tend to cooperate. If there aren`t, then you`re only relying on good samaritans.

And, quite frankly, it doesn`t need to be 2021 to know that there aren`t always enough good samaritans to get all the evidence.

With that in mind, Congressman Raskin told us he expects Bannon will ultimately back down and comply. What is your theory of the case here?

SCHIFF: Well, that`s my expectation too.

If the Justice Department prosecutes -- and I fully expect that they will. They have a duty to present at a grand jury. And I think that they have made it clear by allowing us to interview senior Department of Justice former officials without making a claim of privilege, by making it clear they`re not going to assert privilege over documents we want from the archives.

[18:45:18]

If they do follow through, as we expect, and prosecute, then Steve Bannon will have a choice. He could go to jail for a year, up to a year, in order to cover up potentially for the former president, or he can testify. I think that, faced with that choice, he will do the right thing, even if that`s the last thing on his list.

MELBER: Yes.

I wanted to get your reaction to some of the attacks on the committee itself, because no committee is above reproach. There could be an evidentiary- or policy-based discussion about whether this committee is doing useful work or not.

But some of what we have heard lately is just false and lies. And it comes, interestingly, from people who were seen on that fateful day to be fomenting at least some of the crowd.

I want to put up for viewers, for context, both what Senator Hawley was doing that day and a false claim he makes that I want to give you the benefit to respond. You have a bipartisan committee here. You have Liz Cheney. But he claims it`s all partisan. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): I`m not following what I frankly think is a partisan circus over there. It`s pretty disgraceful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Your response?

SCHIFF: Well, look, a big lie doesn`t take shape of its own. It`s built upon a scaffold of lies.

And what you heard from Senator Hawley is part of the scaffolding to try to delegitimize any honest look into what happened on January 6, that day, of course, that he gave the fist sign to those insurrectionists outside the Capitol.

I`m not surprised that he doesn`t want us looking into it. I`m not surprised Donald Trump doesn`t want us looking into it. But at the end of the day, I have every confidence that we will persevere. And I`m really quite encouraged by the fact that our committee is so nonpartisan.

All of us on it, conservatives, liberals, are all determined to get to the truth. And that`s what we`re going to do.

MELBER: Yes, appreciate that. Understood.

There`s also some other reports I`d like to get your response to that relate to this. And viewers of THE BEAT know we give great credence to people`s free speech and First Amendment rights, which always includes things you disagree with or things you might even find really vile.

Then there`s these other lines of whether people are actually doing things that go beyond speech, whether some of these militia groups, for example, are fomenting actual violence, hate crimes, et cetera.

And then here`s some reports here from ProPublica, a nonpartisan, independent source, that Oath Keepers are rising in some of these statehouses, a militia movement taking root in the Republican mainstream. They identify, for example, North Carolina state Representative Clampitt and 47 other officials, either elected or local government officials.

And, again, if they were in both parties, Congressman, I`d mentioned that. They happen to all be Republicans in this report, over 400 people signing up for membership of new -- or newsletters that U.S. government, military or political campaign e-mail addresses.

And I`m curious your view, because there is a right to association in this country. But there`s also concern that some of these groups are directly linked to violence.

SCHIFF: Yes, there is a right of association, but there is no right to incite violence.

And you`re right. We have to be very careful to protect people`s First Amendment right to say what they will, to associate with whom they would. But we draw the line, and the First Amendment doesn`t preclude us from doing so, that you cannot conspire to commit crimes, you cannot incite an imminent violent attack on others. So there are limits.

And, also, where we see evidence of a plot to, in the case of some of these white nationalist groups, to kidnap the governor of Michigan or to attack the seat of our democracy in Washington...

MELBER: Yes.

SCHIFF: ... we are not powerless to act.

The Constitution is not a suicide pact. And nothing in the First Amendment precludes us from protecting the country from these violent white nationalist groups.

MELBER: Understood.

And we wanted to get your reaction, given your work on that report.

Congressman Schiff, I know you were quite busy today, because we were jumping around trying to figure out when you could make it to a camera. I appreciate you hanging with us.

I want to remind people, the book is "Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could" by Congressman Schiff.

Now, Donald Trump infamously called his own lawyer a rat. He`s made mob comparisons.

Well, we have the definitive guest on the mafia next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:53:50]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELBER: There aren`t many works of art that leave an indelible imprint on our culture and really change the way people think about what`s possible in art and media.

Now, HBO`s landmark series "The Sopranos" is one of those kinds of pieces of work. It debuted in 1999. Tony Soprano and all the characters around him became household names. The series has been called by even the toughest critics the greatest TV show of all time.

And, decades later, it remains cemented in pop culture in the way we think about so many issues, from power to mental health.

Now, the person responsible for ushering in what many called that new age of TV is a renowned screenwriter, David Chase. He is an award-winning director and producer, seven-time Emmy winner, a Golden Globe winner.

And with Chase, you never quite know where the plot may ultimately end up. And now he`s back out with a highly anticipated prequel related to "The Sopranos." It is a prequel movie called "The Many Saints of Newark," a glimpse of Tony Soprano`s formative years and the influence that turned him into the mob boss we came to know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALESSANDRO NIVOLA, ACTOR: Your mother asked me to talk to you.

[18:55:00]

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What, about getting suspended from school?

NIVOLA: Hey, put that down.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Sorry.

NIVOLA: You can`t start a gambling operation in school.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I know that now.

NIVOLA: Hey, don`t bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED) me. You always knew it. It`s not just the gambling. It`s everything, the cherry bombs at the YMCA, letting the air out of Mrs. Russo`s tires.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I apologized to her.

NIVOLA: You talk big about wanting to be on a football team in high school, and you`re smoking already? Oh!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: David Chase is our special guest.

Thanks for being here.

DAVID CHASE, "THE SOPRANOS" CREATOR: Thank you.

MELBER: Let`s take a look at this younger Tony Soprano.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL GANDOLFINI, ACTOR: This hamburger is great, ma.

VERA FARMIGA, ACTRESS: Go on.

I went to all that trouble just so we could have a nice conversation for once. And for what? How am I supposed to enjoy a Broadway show with my children and their pot?

GANDOLFINI: Ma, I don`t smoke pot.

FARMIGA: Well, your sister comes in here smelling like a gypsy.

GANDOLFINI: Well, I`m not my sister. I`m always being accused.

FARMIGA: Oh, poor you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Was there anything you learned or had to further establish in going this far back through the characters` lives? Or is the way you write and think about it, those decisions were already made, even if they weren`t all obvious to viewers of the original "Sopranos"?

CHASE: No, the decisions were not made.

But I`m not sure what you mean. I mean, we had to write it. Once we got a story that we wanted to tell, then we had to just write it.

I mean, Livia, for -- Livia, I`m sure people know, is based on my mother. So that comes very easily to me.

MELBER: Do you think that certain family dynamics, if you look at the archetype of an Italian American family or a Jewish family, that that environment that prizes perhaps what you say at the dinner table or proving your point or your consistency, what you said last year, do you think those dynamics make for people to be more colorful characters than perhaps a more restrained cultural environment?

CHASE: I guess Italians, in a way, there`s something operatic about it and over the top.

But a lot of the time, now, you get all this mail from Italian Americans saying, that show is a disgrace, and my family wasn`t like that. I mean, now people say -- about this movie, people say, well, they never did that in "The Sopranos." Or they say, how come they didn`t do what they did in "The Sopranos"?

(LAUGHTER)

CHASE: It`s a different story.

MELBER: We had a recent president who talked like what he thought was mafia talk. He called people rats who cooperated with the feds and all the rest. You know the drill.

I`m just curious if you think that people like him and others have the right understanding of the history of the mob in America or are kind of just taking their version of it or what you think of that.

CHASE: Well, I don`t think that man has an accurate history of anything.

I don`t think he understands history, or even knows about it, or lives with it.

MELBER: And that brings us to the other piece we wanted to play from the new project. This is what were sometimes called the Newark race riots.

Let`s take a little look at this from the show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Standing in the ruins of another black man`s life, or flying through the valley separating the day and night. I am death, cried the vulture, for the people of the night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: "Many Saints of Newark" dramatizing something that is based on reality, but obviously against the backdrop of recent realities. How did you approach that?

CHASE: We didn`t -- OK, we -- the movie was finished and in the can, and all the riots and everything racial in the movie was done.

And then COVID hit, and George Floyd was murdered, and all the rest of the things that happened. And so it looks like we were prescient, but we weren`t.

MELBER: Did you think back on it or wonder how it would play, or you were confident in the vision and you left it?

CHASE: We were confident in the vision and we left it.

MELBER: Mr. Chase, I`m meeting you for the first time through the monitor, so that`s always not the most human way.

Your work has a long set of influence for many reasons, so a lot of people take a lot from it.

And, David Chase, thanks for coming on THE BEAT.

CHASE: Thanks for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MELBER: And if you want to see the entire interview, the full conversation, you can follow me online @AriMelber on social media or search "David Chase" on YouTube, "David Chase and Melber." And we`re posting an extended version of the interview.

That does it for me.

"THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" starts now.