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

Guests: Melissa Murray, Emily Bazelon, David Corn, Hakeem Jeffries, Eric Frank, Dave Grohl


Congress greenlights the path to jail Steve Bannon, asking the Department of Justice to criminally prosecute him for defying subpoena on the January 6th insurrection probe. The West Virginia Democratic senator slammed reports about leaving the Democratic Party but said he discussed it during a meeting where he said he offered the idea. New York Democratic representative on Republican blocking voting rights bill. Effort to find voter fraud backfired against Texas Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick when a poll watcher caught a Republican who voted twice.


WALLACE: Thank you so much for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. We`re grateful. "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now. Hi, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Nicolle. Thank you. And welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.

Tonight, we have news on Joe Manchin`s latest comments on leaving the Democratic Party from calling it BS to discussing hypotheticals where he go independent but still backs Schumer over McConnell. That`s coming up. And later, a new problem for MAGA leader Matt Gaetz.

But we begin right now with this action on the House floor today where Congress took the grave step of green lighting a path to jail for resistant witness. This is a big vote you see on your screen. Holding Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt, 229 to 202. While Democrats led the effort, it was formally bipartisan we nine Republicans joining in a statement that the rule of law matters.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On this vote, the yeas are 229, the nays are 202. The resolution is adopted and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.


MELBER: And there it is. The most concrete next step would come at the Department of Justice, which must decide whether to indict and prosecute Bannon if he continues to defy a lawful subpoena and acting on that would be controversial given the intense views of Bannon`s allies or the insurrectionist.

But if the DOJ doesn`t act, that failure to enforce the subpoena would also be controversial given the issues here, the rule of law, and the message it risks sending to any other defiant witnesses who might see that ignoring subpoenas would, if there is no action, have little consequence.

This will certainly be one of the first big tests that we know about of Attorney General Merrick Garland who also spoke today about some of the key issues in the nation and refereed to this process which is a criminal referral without tipping his hand.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The department recognizes the important oversight role that this committee and the House of Representatives and the Senate play with respect to the executive branch.

Everyone should have the ability to vote as readily and easily as possible. The Department of Justice will do what it always does in such circumstances. We`ll apply the facts and the law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution.


MELBER: I`m joined now by Melissa Murray, NYU law professor, and Emily Bazelon, a writer for the "New York Times" magazine, focusing on legal issues.

And Professor, the attorney general there was measured and vague as fits his position. Contrast that to what we heard on this House floor in this big vote today. Take a listen.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): We need to give the American people answers about what happened. There needs to be swift accountability.

REP. JIM BANKS (R-IN): Congress is prohibited from conducting criminal investigations, period. But that is exactly what this select committee is doing.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): I have no doubt that Mr. Bannon`s scorn for our subpoena is real. But no one, and I repeat no one, is above the law and we need to hear from him.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Because they can`t build back better, they`ve just decided to build back meaner.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We know an insurrection when we see one in this body because we lived through one.


MELBER: Professor?

MELISSA MURRAY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR: Right, I think we are seeing the erosion of norms that we saw throughout the entire four years of the Trump presidency. Typically these requests for oversight subpoenas or any kind of congressional subpoenas is this sort of give and take between the person, the administration and Congress itself.

But what we saw over the course of the Trump administration was a complete stonewalling. No negotiation between the two branches on the assertion of executive privilege at every turn. We`ve seen that here as well and I think what you are seeing in the difference in the posture between the attorney general and the members of Congress is that this is a House committee that doesn`t have a lot of cards to play beyond referring this to the Department of Justice and hoping that political pressure from the outside, from the public itself will prompt the department to take action, to deal with these recalcitrant witnesses.

MELBER: And what do you think Garland will do, Professor?

MURRAY: He wasn`t tipping his hand. As you said, I think there is strong pressure here to do something about what is going on and the insurrection of January 6th is obviously a big black hole for a number of Americans who may want answers and it certainly may be the case that there are members perhaps even in Congress who don`t want those answers to be provided.


So I would imagine that there is considerable pressure within the administration and certainly at the Department of Justice to move forward to do something to compel these individuals to testify.

MELBER: Emily?

EMILY BAZELON, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE WRITER: Well, I think it`s worth adding to Melissa`s points how weak legally Bannon`s claim of invoking executive privileges. He was not a lawyer for former President Trump, he was not a government official in the days leading up to January 6th. And so our conception that a president deserves to have this kind of zone of confidentiality, of privilege around the people who are closely advising him within the government, that is not actually relevant here.

And the other point I think is important is that Congress is in a real bind and it`s a historical bind. Congress has been recognized to have the power to enforce subpoenas, to investigate since the 1820s. But Congress has not criminally enforced a subpoena by calling the sergeant-at-arms and detaining someone since 1935. And the reason for that is that Congress doesn`t have an army. And this is not viewed any more as kind of a normal part of congressional power.

The courts have been in the last few decades very reluctant to get into the middle of these disputes over subpoenas between the two elected branches. And so that is why I think it seems like such a heavy lift to imagine the attorney general and the Department of Justice enforcing this subpoena when, in fact, courts criminally enforce subpoenas quite regularly, right, Melissa?

MURRAY: Well, they do. The thing here, though, is that to get a court to intervene in this kind of internecine branch warfare is going to take a lot of time. There are already lawsuits that are still pending in the lower federal courts on some of these subpoena fights from the Trump administration. So if the question is surfacing, the truth about what happened on January 6th, it would seem like expedient is really the key word here.

And you`re not going to get that from courts. Perhaps you`ll get it from the Department of Justice. But again, as Emily says, this is typically not a situation that the branches want to get into. It`s usually something where they resolve through negotiation and compromise.

MELBER: So, Emily, what do you think Garland will do?

BAZELON: I think Garland -- what do you think Garland will do? You know, it`s so funny, I haven`t really faced that question head on. I think he probably will enforce the subpoena, I`m just not sure otherwise what the point of having congressional subpoena power is if it can`t be invoked in this instance given how thin legally speaking Bannon`s reasons are for not appearing before Congress.

I mean, Congress could -- or the courts could work with him after the fact what he is actually going to testify to. Sometimes they agree beforehand that certain kinds of topics or time periods are beyond the bounds. But to have him refuse to not appear at all, that is really a slap in the face of congressional power in this key area.

MELBER: Yes. And it goes back to a mystery because people, everyone saw what happened with the insurrection and the evidence came in days after we got a sense of what unfolded. But the larger mystery to many people, it`s easy to forget the shock and awe on that day, that night, the next morning, how did this many people organize this way, how did they reach the Capitol, how did they have those military positions, how do they seem, some of them, to know each other? Why was the guy having zip ties? Why do they have specific targets?

I mean, it all adds up, and then you go, wait a minute, you know why they were all there, Donald Trump anointed January 6th, this day and probably agitated for them all to come. So was it just a wild mob-like excess of energy that built on an otherwise peaceful protest or was it something else? And that would seem to be something the United States in a nonpartisan way has a big interest in ascertaining, which goes to some of what they want to ask Bannon.

I mean, I`m reading here just from the committee headlines about what they want to know. January 6th contempt fight heads to DOJ and it says, one, a December conversation, late December here, Bannon and Trump, from "Politico," and two, the January 5th meeting, I think we have this, with other -- yes. With other figures of interest at D.C.`s Willard Hotel.

Jamie Raskin, who we just heard from briefly in that roundup, Professor, says the Willard is -- as far as the committee is concerned, looks like insurrection headquarters. Professor?

MURRAY: I think you`re exactly right, Ari. I mean, I think that the American people and certainly the Congress has a huge stake in determining whether or not this was serendipity or sedition, and finding out more about it is incredibly important. I imagine those who operate the Willard Hotel, I believe it`s an Intercontinental property, cannot be happy about having the Willard thrown around in these conversations.


But again, all of this make sense. What was happening on the days preceding January 6th, who was in the room, and the room where it happened, what was said, what was talked about and ultimately what did they propel people to do if anything.

MELBER: Yes. In this case the room where it happened or the hotel lobby that leads to what we saw.

And then finally on the breakdown in Congress, Emily, we could put on the screen about nine Republicans as mentioned voted for contempt, that includes people like Liz Cheney, Katco and Upton, some of whom may be known for a little more independence, or at least some national security concern here.

What do you read into that phalanx, that remaining part of the Republican Party that both wants to uphold Congress`s powers which are nonpartisan and also seems to care a bit more about getting to the bottom of the insurrection?

BAZELON: You know, I mean, I think you have to give people credit for taking a political risk. We might wish that this was a less partisan battle, that there was more widespread recognition in the Republican Party that January 6th was an attack on all of Congress, not Democrats, not Democratic President Biden on everybody.

But that has not been the case and some of those members of Congress, not just Liz Cheney but other people on your screen are paying a political price and may lose the next time they run. And so the fact that they`re sticking with this, that`s like a real thing. Lots of members of Congress don`t like to take votes when they think it could cost them their seat.

MELBER: Yes, that`s fair. Emily Bazelon and Melissa Murray, thank you both for kicking us off.

We have some other stories coming up. Joe Manchin saying well, maybe he did talk about partially leaving the Democratic Party. We have the journalist who broke the, quote-unquote, BS story. We`ll get into all of it. Also the DOJ may be beefing up its sex crimes probe involving Matt Gaetz. That`s later. And we`ll dig into why this poll worker actually just got a check for exposing Republican voter fraud.

And before the hour is out, I`m thrilled to tell you that the rock and roll legend Dave Grohl is here. Big show tonight.



MELBER: In Washington, intrigue continues to swirl around conservative Democratic senator Joe Manchin. He`s got a new response to this report that he was at least discussing potentially leaving the Democratic Party, partially, this is amidst the high-profile and quite significant fight with progressives over the size of any Biden spending package which is the biggest thing left on the Democrats to-do list for the year.

Now today the senator is conceding that in a way part of what was reported appears to be true in his words he did discuss a partial exist from the Democratic Party, although he`s putting it quite differently and he`s not saying today that it was a leverage move with the spending battle.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Senator, have you ever had a plan to switch parties? Have you ever --

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): No, the only thing -- I`ll be very honest. Only thing that was ever said that was ever talked about, if I`m an embarrassment to my Democratic colleagues, my caucus, the president, me being a moderate centrist Democrat, if that causes you a problem, let me know and I`d switch to be an independent, but I`d still be caucusing with Democrats. That`s the only thing was ever discussed. No one accepted that, and I just said, I`ll make that offer if you need it.


MELBER: So there was a discussion of a potential offer. It may sound like parsing but what`s interesting here is the conservative senator is effectively admitting that they did discuss the hypothetical of leaving the party. But he`s not confirming what was core to the Biden part of the story that somehow this was his Trump card so to speak with the spending clash and saying he`d only do it to, quote-unquote, "help the party." This would be he says to help the party leaders.

Now, whatever you think of that, it does sound a little different from the way he categorically denied this story yesterday.


MANCHIN: I can`t control rumors and this (EXPLETIVE DELETED). That`s it. This (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Spelled with a B-U-L-L, capital B.


MELBER: So people are allowed to change their tone or their mood but it does appear to be a potential softening. It`s in response to a story that was broke yesterday by "Mother Jones`" David Corn and which you may have seen on MSNBC. Today Manchin lending some credence to at least part of that report.

Now after Manchin spoke out today, Mr. Corn responded his latest spin is also not true. OK. Seems that the journalist and the senator are in a little bit of a battle, I don`t know if it`s a Bernie level battle but it`s something, and we`re going to get into the bottom of it with the journalist himself. David Corn when we`re back in 60 seconds.


MELBER: We`re back with the reporter with the scoop, "Mother Jones" Washington bureau chief David Corn.

Good to see you, sir.


MELBER: Good evening. I think you know the expression plainclothes. You don`t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Do we need a journalist to know which way Senator Manchin is blowing today?


CORN: Well, he is blowing in a different direction than he was yesterday when he called the story that I and "Mother Jones" put out bull, the rest. And even spelled it out. And he called it a rumor. And then today after others had given the story credence, and it`d gotten a lot of attention, this network and others, he then, you know, modified his story which he could have told us yesterday or he could have told me before the story went up when I contacted his office and had several e-mail exchanges and they refused to say anything about this.

And even with this new story, which makes it look like this was an act of generosity on his part, to make things easier for Chuck Schumer, if it makes it easier for you, Chuck, I`m going to leave the party, call myself an independent and still caucus with you. That wasn`t what he said in the conversations that are referenced in my story. According to people who heard these conversations.


CORN: Joe Manchin said that he was willing -- he was ready to leave the party if negotiations this week broke down. He had a whole set of responses.

MELBER: So how recent was that according to your sourcing?

CORN: Well, it was -- you know, it was towards the beginning of this week. We`re talking basically now. And, you know, two-step process. First he would resign from his leadership role, he`s vice chair of the Democratic Senate Committee on Communications and Policy, that he would wait a week and see if that is that sent a signal and then he would, you know, leave the party entirely. So that doesn`t sound like I`m here to help.

MELBER: I`m here to help. Well, let me push you --

CORN: Sounds like --

MELBER: Yes, let me push on that, David. So reporters guard their sources understandably.

CORN: Yes.

MELBER: But is it fair to intuit that your sources include at least someone who directly heard this, who really knows this and not just, as he put it, rumor?

CORN: Yes. You know, as we`ve said in the story, according to people who heard the discussion. OK, hearing something means directly.


CORN: And so there is no doubt. I mean, this is impeccable sourcing. You know, like all reporters who have confidential sourcing, I would love to be able, you know, to say more about it, but it`s without a doubt --


CORN: Now there is a possibility here that he`s told different things to different people. I mean, you know, politicians are known to do that. But, you know, and maybe he talked about leaving party in this way to Chuck Schumer and maybe talked about it in another way to these associates he was talking to --

MELBER: Well --


MELBER: I mean, just to tease out -- yes, just to tease out your point, that`s not a denial of a core of your story if, indeed, he warned the Democrats and specifically the liberals, hey, you better come closer to my number, I could bolt the whole thing. And then said to Chuck Schumer when he heard about it when they discussed it, this might just make it easier for you.

Again, this all matters because it may really hold the keys to where the Biden spending lands which is the biggest priority for the rest of the year and then next year they`re heading toward midterms for your benefit, David and a lot of viewers know you, they know your reporting for years, let`s do it online on YouTube, they sometimes call reaction videos. Are you familiar with that genre?

CORN: Yes.

MELBER: Yes. We`re going to play him calling your work BS and then how he sounded today for you to see. Go take a look.


MANCHIN: I can`t control rumors and this (EXPLETIVE DELETED). That`s it. This (EXPLETIVE DELETED). (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Spelled with a B-U-L-L, capital B.

The only that was ever said that we`ve ever talked about, if I`m an embarrassment to my Democratic colleagues, my caucus, the president, me being a moderate centrist Democrat, if that causes you a problem, let me know and I`d switch to be an independent.


MELBER: So I have a light question and a serious one. My light question is, does it hurt your feelings when he calls your work BS? And my serious question is, what does all of this now two days into it tell you about where the Biden spending clash is headed?

CORN: Well, it doesn`t hurt my feelings because I knew the story was true. And I think we`ve seen from the difference between Wednesday afternoon Joe and Thursday morning Joe there`s been somewhat of a conversion here. So I feel that he saw that he was not going to win the BS argument. As for where they stands right now, he and others are still engaging in what I probably are very difficult negotiations.

There is still a lot of differences on Medicare and Medicaid expansion, Medicare expansion, climate change, the child tax credit and a lot of programs that are really important. I believe that ultimately as Dr. Johnson said and I`ve used this quote before, a hanging could concentrate one`s mind.


The Democrats know that if they don`t get something done here, and that it`s -- you know, that`s significant, they`re going to have very low odds of holding the House and holding the Senate a year from now. So it`s in their -- in all political self-interest, their selfish political interest to make this work. Right.

So now Joe Manchin is not up next year but I don`t know if he wants to be in the minority even if he`s an independent. So it is in their interest to reach some form of agreement, although he is pretty far out of step still philosophy and on the numbers and the specifics from 98 percent of the rest of the caucus. So I don`t know how they get there but I think at the end of the day they have no choice but to get there.

MELBER: Yes. And just to get your take here on the center of the storm. As for you mentioning you were reusing that quote, this is THE BEAT, David, we do not tolerate reusing or recycling any quotes or lyrics, anything of that kind. So consider this a warning.

CORN: It is a good riff. It`s a good -- you know, what is hip-hop all about except recycle?

MELBER: Recycling, remixing, echoing. Most culture is an echo and a tribute. On that note, you know what Picasso said?

CORN: I need more blue?


MELBER: That is funny. I`ve never heard that. Maybe he did say that. He also said immature artists barrow mature artist`s steal.

CORN: Steal. Yes, they do.

MELBER: Shout out to David Corn`s reporting. Time will tell how Mister -- Senator Manchin feels about it tomorrow. Good to see you, David.

CORN: OK. Give Dave Grohl my best.

MELBER: We will. Look at that, a plug for later on the show.

Let me tell you, viewers, what we have coming up because it`s pretty interesting. We`re going to explain exactly why someone just got a very big check that you see right there for exposing Republican political fraud. And the feds are making new moves in that sex crimes probe that involves Republican Matt Gaetz. Stay with us.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some state legislatures want to make it harder for you to vote. And if you do vote, they want to be able to tell you whether or not your vote counts. They want the ability to reject the final vote and ignore the will of the people.


MELBER: President Biden speaking there at the MLK Memorial. This is one day after Senate Republicans blocked, meaning they didn`t even allow for a floor vote on a bill to support voting rights and counter some of those state crackdowns that the president just referred to. Indeed, 33 laws have now been passed in 19 different states just since the 2020 election. Making it harder to vote.

Republican governors like Abbott in Texas are also trying to install some of these big lie supporters into overseeing elections. It is Orwellian or Trumpian, whatever you want to call it. Appointing someone as Texas secretary of state who worked as a Trump attorney trying to overturn those 2020 results.

I`m joined now by a member of Democratic leadership, New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries who serves on the Judiciary Committee.

Thank you for making time, Congressman.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Great to be with you, Ari.

MELBER: We`re at this point where I think a lot of folks know the score. We could see in response to losing in 2020 what Republicans are doing which builds on a longer set of attacks on voting rights, some of which were partisan, some of which are racist, we heard the president, we know where you stand. It seems what`s remaining is strategic and procedural.

What do you do with a Senate that continues to block and filibuster the reforms that you and the president say are needed?

JEFFRIES: There are only two options at this point. We could either allow the voter suppression epidemic that has been launched by Republicans in the aftermath of the violent insurrection and attack on the Capitol to spread like wildfire, or we could put out the fire. And the way to put out the fire has got to be through the John Robert Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.

And the only pathway forward at this point since Republicans have demonstrated zero interest in uplifting and defending our democracy is to create a democracy exception to the filibuster that will allow these two important pieces of voter protection legislation to get an up or down vote in the Senate. That`s it. And that`s what we`ve got to do.

MELBER: Understood. I mentioned your role in the Judiciary Committee. You were questioning the attorney general today and so with that in mind, let`s look at one of the issues you drew attention to and his response. This is from today`s hearing.


GARLAND: I believe that every eligible voter should be able to vote and that there should be no restrictions on voters that make it more difficult for them to vote unless they`re absolutely necessary. The Justice Department is limited in its ability to bring cases and it must find discriminatory intent or effect.


GARLAND: Fact check, true, there are those legal requirements for what the feds. the DOJ can do in bringing those cases but do you think that this attorney general based on what you heard today is being assertive enough or not?

JEFFRIES: Well, I think that he`s a by-the-book attorney general and I truly do believe that he`s committed to making sure that we protect the right to vote. He understands and he said that at the hearing today that it`s central to the integrity of our democracy. We do have to give him additional tools. One of the things that is part of the John Robert Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is to make it clear that the Department of Justice should be able to use Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to undermine or invalidate voting rights suppression laws that have a disparate impact on certain groups such as African-Americans, Latinos, immigrant communities.

Those that we know Republicans are systematically challenging. And so the Department of Justice needs to use the tools that are available to them under the current law with the fierce urgency of now.


But the attorney general is correct, that the Congress needs to provide the Department of Justice and the Office of Civil Rights with some additional tools to push back against the voter suppression epidemic, and that is something that we are committed to doing.

MELBER: Right. Yes. And well, I think you make that point quite elegantly legally and it`s fair for, you know, for folks trying to keep track here, you`re referring to the federal statutory baseline that the DOJ can use. The Supreme Court narrowed that under Republican appointed justices, and so it`s up to a Congress to try to update that.

Of course, that is what we`re talking about because that is what was blocked the Senate, the effort to update it, and why do we have those law on the books as you and lawyers know but people may so much forget, because of the man that the president was honoring, because of Martin Luther King is why we got the laws in the first place. So it is all related, the obstruction, the filibuster seems to stand right there.

I think we`ve covered this clearly, even if for people who care about voting rights it`s a little dispiriting. But I`d love for you to stay with me because, the congressman stays, he`s agreed to stay for something special we want to dig into, which is highlighting what is frankly the absurdity of certain Republican claims about election nearing.

Here is the backstory and then I`m going to bring back Congressman Jeffries. About a year ago the number two official in Texas, Dan Patrick, set aside up to a million dollars in cash to try to go after this phantom idea of voter fraud, anywhere. Take a look.


LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R), TEXAS: What I did is styled this after a program that everyone is familiar with, CrimeStoppers. I`m offering a reward for people who have seen it and report it and leads to a conviction.


MELBER: Now, I want to be clear. Stopping crime is always great according to anyone in law enforcement. But the issue here was the politics of searching for particular crimes to justify the very attacks on elections we`ve been living through because actual in-person voter fraud is very rare. As for the political effort, it backfired. Dan Patrick now writing his very first check for this ever which is a reminder of how even if you incentivize the hunt for voter fraud, it`s quite rare, it doesn`t tip elections.

But he`s put out over $2,000 plus here to a poll worker who, when it came down to it, found a Republican in Pennsylvania trying to illegally vote twice. It is not the partisan outcome that official was seeking. And now joining our conversation is something a little different. This is the individual who received that check, Eric Frank, along with the congressman.

Welcome, Eric.

ERIC FRANK, PENNSYLVANIA POLL WORKER: Hey, thanks for having me.

MELBER: Tell us your story, how did you stumble across what is still I want to be clear with you is a relatively rare occurrence but what was someone trying to vote in person I guess more than once.

FRANK: So it started my father is the judge of elections and has been for the past 18 years. And he actually called me the day before saying that a poll worker had to postpone or couldn`t make it due to COVID so he asked me to fill in that day. So of course I said yes. And I went in and I was last in line at the polling place actually handing out the physical ballots to the voters. And a gentleman came in early in the morning and stated his name at the time which was Ralph Thurman (PH), and he got his ballot and then an hour or so later, I heard his -- that last name again.

But before that, we had a question and answer quickly at the -- when he got his ballot because he didn`t -- he thought he had to show his I.D. but he did not have to because he has been voting at this particular voting place for many years. But -- so then he said that he asked me, well, since I don`t have to show my I.D., can I come back and vote for my son? And I said, well, no. That would be illegal. And then his last question to me was, well, how would you know?

And I kind of ended the conversation there and he went on his merry way to vote and then an hour later I`m busy handing out ballots and I hear the last name Thurman again and I look up and lo and behold it`s Mr. Thurman in a disguise with a hat and sunglasses. So I immediately --

MELBER: Part of this is serious. But just to be clear, he just kind of made his own homemade disguise. What was it?

FRANK: It was barely even a disguise. I mean, I`ve been known not to forget a face. I`ll forget a name but not a face. But he just had a baseball cap and black like Ray-Ban sunglasses on. So -- but I knew after I processed it for a second, the last name Thurman, I looked up and was just like beside myself because we had just had a full conversation about how it wasn`t OK for him to do this. In fact it was illegal.


And I went -- my father at the time was busy doing a provisional ballot so I waited to tell my father.


FRANK: But by that time Mr. Thurman had already cast the second vote in the voter machine. But then we brought it to the authorities and here we are.

MELBER: Here we are. And so, Congressman, I want to get your response as I`ve emphasized we have the data, this is fairly rare. What if anything do you make of the fact that this rather political effort by a Republican found either almost no voter fraud or this one case by a Republican voter in a, as Eric mentioned, in a homemade disguise?

JEFFRIES: Well, it`s no surprise. Both because we know that voter fraud, so-called voter fraud is incredibly rare in our elections and certainly as the attorney general testified to today has had no impact on the election. Joe Biden we know is a legitimate president of the United States of America. But it also makes sense in the context of the fact that when it comes to Trump and Trumpism, right is often wrong, the sun is the moon and heaven is hell.

And when they are talking about something that allegedly is wrong in society it usually means because they are doing it. And that is in fact the case here today.

MELBER: Yes. I`m running out of time, Eric. But what are you going to spend your money on? Are you going to Disneyland?

FRANK: No Disneyland. My fiancee are I are looking to either buy or build a new home in the suburbs of Philadelphia so that`s where the money will go towards.

MELBER: Well, it`s an American story, Eric. The dream of home ownership spurred upon by finding someone in a homemade disguise trying to vote illegally. I appreciate what is an odd but real segment. This is reality.

Eric Frank and Congressman Jeffries, thanks to both of you.

JEFFRIES: Thanks, Ari.

FRANK: Thanks for letting me be on.

MELBER: Absolutely. Appreciate it.

Coming up, from Nirvana to the Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl, has all kinds of stories. He`s is on THE BEAT tonight. But first in politics and law, breaking news in the Matt Gaetz sex crime probe, next. And I want to tell you tonight later on MSNBC on "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES," D.C. officer Michael Fanone injured during that riot will join Chris discussing this Bannon news and the stakes in this probe. That`s tonight 8:00 p.m. on MSNBC.



MELBER: MAGA Congressman Matt Gaetz has been under pressure embroiled in this open sex crime probe regarding a former ally that he spurned, and now the developments in the case. The Justice Department adding two top prosecutors from Washington to this long running investigation. That would appear to put pressure on one of Trump`s closest congressional allies and raise questions that we can`t answer tonight but that we`re asking like if this case has been going for so long why are they adding new prosecutors.

The "Times" reports that the stakes are high. Gaetz has been pretty media shy since the story spilled out into the public view, and now he has a cash crunch. He posted $100,000 fundraising loss this quarter, basically losing more than half of his fundraising money. Under stress, Gaetz teamed up with Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene for those rallies.

Now that we`re seeing more financial data, it may have been those rallies where a desperate cash grab to find new support around the country. Here is how they looked.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) was interrupting the press conference, we need to end it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, for those of that you really care about the process, thank you.



MELBER: It`s been messy and apparently not very politically profitable. That joint pact shedding money raised under $58,000. That`s 16 percent of its most recent quarter haul. In financial political terms it`s not a good outcome.

We also have some other developing news here. The FBI says that remains found at a Florida reserve are those of Brian Laundrie, that`s the man whose fiance Gabby Petito was found dead last month. Laundrie had gone missing days before her body was discovered. Her death has been ruled a homicide. Petito`s disappearance during the couple`s cross-country trip has sparked national attention and Laundrie was a person of interest in her death though not a publicly declared subject.

That`s an update from MSNBC News. But I want to tell what else we have on the rest THE BEAT tonight. We are joined by the Foo Fighters` lead singer and Nirvana veteran Dave Grohl talking music but also politics. He was at the White House. He broke with his Republican father. We`re going to get into all of it next.



MELBER: Our guest today is Dave Grohl from Nirvana and Foo Fighters, an Emmy winning director, 16-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

Thanks for being here.

DAVE GROHL, ROCK LEGEND: Good to be here. Thank you very much.

MELBER: I`m really excited to talk with you. You have this book. Let`s start there. People very interested in all of the things you`ve done in music and also how you live your life. And you write about joining Screen as a very young musician, which required disruptions within your friend group that played music, within your family. What gave you the confidence to handle those disruptions then?

GROHL: You know, I started playing music when I was maybe 10 or 11 years old, and it quickly became this obsession. And I started playing in bands when maybe I was 13, 14 years old. By the time I was 17, I had an offer to join a band that toured the world. And I went to my mother, who`s a public school teacher and said I have to leave school because I need to play music in order to survive. And she said OK, you better be good.

MELBER: And it sounds almost fearless, but you also write bluntly about fear in the book. You say, quote, "I didn`t seem to fear physical consequences. I only feared emotional consequences." Did you have any of those fears then?

GROHL: I did. I mean, my father was also a musician. Both of my parents were musicians. My mother sang. She was a singer in a cappella groups in the `50s and my father was a classically flautist. So our idea of music was maybe a little bit different. So when I took off to hit the roads, I knew that that would sort of drive a wedge between my father and I.


MELBER: You don`t share his entire professional world view and you don`t share his politics. But what do you share with him?

GROHL: I am who I am because of my father. And though, yes, we had musical differences over political differences, I -- I got my ear from my father. I mean, I didn`t take lessons to learn how to play music. I could just hear it and then play it. I could pick up an instrument and sort of figure it out. And that comes from my father. You know, we both loved writing. We both loved music. We both loved culture and food and arts.

And so though we were very different, we were the odd couple. But later on in life, I think we both learned to really appreciate each other and became great friends. It was great.

MELBER: You come across as very grounded in who you are and how you`re navigating these worlds as an artist still in this global touring world. You write about what you call being raised in the ethically suffocating punk rock underground, conditioned to reject conformity, to resist all corporate influence and expectation. Where do you go? How do you deal with the kind of success you refer to that came with Nirvana?

It`s such a great phrase, Dave. Ethically suffocating punk underground. And in all kinds of fields there is the aspiration, be moral, have integrity about this pursuit. What about it made you call it suffocating? And what did you learn about finding your own balance?

GROHL: Well, you know, the thing that I loved so much about the underground punk rock music scene was its independence. And all of these people were doing it themselves. So there were no real big record companies. You would just, you know, go to a studio down the street and pay a couple hundred dollars and record a couple of songs and then send that to the pressing plant, and they`d make some albums, and then you`d xerox a copy for the cover and then stuff it in the sleeve and go sell it to the local record store and consignment.

Like it worked that way. The problem with Nirvana was that Kurt`s song were so good that we were raised in that scene where it was our secret. But then all of the sudden we become one of them. Like what do you do? OK, now millions of people are singing your songs. I can only speak for myself. I was the drummer. So I could literally walk in the front door of a Nirvana concert and barely get recognized.

You know, I didn`t have to bear the weight of the responsibility of being, you know, the front person of the band, which was difficult on Kurt, especially when you`re sort of rising out of that underground scene and becoming one of the biggest bands in the world. It`s hard. So you have to kind of remind yourself of the reasons why you started in the first place. You have to remind yourself of the kid on the bedroom floor with the Beatles records. And that`s the core. That`s who you are. And if the world starts singing along with your songs, you know, I think you have to -- you have to appreciate that in a way.

MELBER: You write about and have talked about going through that searing experience, and of course losing someone. And that for you, it made you more appreciative of life as a gift. And people respond to loss, of course, many different ways. Does that also fit, do you think, into your music, or did that just ground you with how you live and really having a career, being a parent, et cetera?

GROHL: I think both. Inevitably. You know, I remember waking up the day after Kurt died and thinking, OK, he`s gone, but I`m still here? Like that just doesn`t seem fair, you know. And then it was just this process of doing everything all over again. Like my first cup of coffee, my first trip to the grocery store, the first time I pick up a guitar. Like you sort of learn to relive your life all over again. And I think that it was that day that I realized I`m lucky enough to be here so I might as well take advantage of every day and the life that I get to live.

Even on the worst days, you know. I`m happy to be alive. And that was a huge moment for me. It changed my life.

MELBER: Dave Grohl, thank you so much for your time and your inspiring words.

GROHL: Thanks, Ari. It`s good to see you.

MELBER: Wonderful. And this book is "Storyteller: Tales of Life in Music." Plenty to learn here from Dave Grohl. Quite a life, quite a perspective.

Thank you for spending time with us here on THE BEAT. "The REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts now. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How you doing, Ari? Thank you very much. Have a wonderful evening. I`m a little bit jealous. You know, I`m a Dave Grohl super fan.


REID: I`m holding the jealousy in.