President Biden visits Michigan to push his agenda. A whistle-blower blasts Facebook`s practices. A new court filing occurs in the sex crime probe involving Republican Matt Gaetz. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky speaks out. Jarrett Adams discusses his new book, "Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System."
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: The man so clean, they call him Ajax. "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now.
JOHNSON: Hi, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Always love the toss, Jason, thank you very much.
I want to welcome everyone to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.
And let me tell you, we do have a special show for you right now.
Many attacked President Biden`s partial vaccine mandate when it was announced. Is it working? We actually have the data and a progress report for you later tonight.
Also, a deep dive into why this whistle-blower criticizing Mark Zuckerberg matters.
And, later, some news, new developments in a court filing from that sex crime probe involving Republican Matt Gaetz.
So, all that is ahead, as our top story picks up on the spending clash, with new data showing most Americans are with President Biden when it comes to this spending. That`s a reality the administration is emphasizing right now in what you see here, sending the president out to Michigan, a swing state that he carried by three points, to cut through the noise and all the talk of math and tell voters the stakes are high.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These bills are not about left vs. right or moderate vs. progressive. These bills are about competitiveness vs. complacency.
They`re about opportunity vs. decay. They`re about leading the world or continuing to let the world pass us by, which is literally happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That is the Biden argument. And it`s trying to reach people with plenty on their minds right now. If you take a look at one local Michigan paper, for example, the front page is covering the refugee issue, jobs, as well as the president`s trip there on the right side.
Across the nation, most people back Biden`s infrastructure and safety net spending. So, the president has the political wind at his back. But there`s no national vote on this, of course. There`s a divided Senate to get through, which has the Democrats now eyeing a lower spending target, potentially around $2 trillion.
And that got a mild boost from one of the key holdout votes. Joe Manchin, who says that kind of number in the trillions could still be on the table for him. And the pressure is on these politicians to do something and green-light this domestic spending after the tough period we have all been through.
Biden arguing that it`s for the good of the people, rebounding from a recession and a pandemic and an ongoing jobs crisis for many, and that it`s important to do regardless of what might be good for the politicians.
And let`s be clear about who runs the Congress. The majority of politicians in Congress right now, in net worth, they have over a million dollars. That`s according to Open Secrets. They`re doing just fine.
Joe Biden is pushing them to spend on behalf of most Americans with far, far less than that. To paraphrase a rapper who actually personifies the rags-to-riches story, young boy never broke again, surrounded by some millionaires. Feel like I can be a trillionaire.
Well, Biden is surrounded by millionaires in Congress. He wants them to spend America`s trillions on the people now, while they have the chance, and not for more Republican tax cuts for millionaires.
Let`s get right into it.
We have two experts at the intersection of dealmaking in Congress and progressive policy, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Chicago who`s on the House Budget Committee and a longtime Pelosi ally. She knows how this stuff works. And Blake Zeff, who worked for Barack Obama and Senator Chuck Schumer, who, of course, now is making these deals.
Welcome to both of you.
Congresswoman, I cite the artists there and the notion of millionaires and billionaires because a lot of people in Congress are fine. And, as a practical matter, their lives and their families, they will be fine either way. You could obviously say the same about a lot of people in the press, a lot of people in business.
The president and progressives like yourself seem to be arguing that it`s not OK to miss this chance when you look at the hardship out there. Walk us through both your argument and what you can tell us about these negotiations, with Manchin talking about something with a 2 in front of it.
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D-IL): Sure.
Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me.
This is the political high ground, as well as really doing right by the American people. This is wildly popular. The kinds of things that the Build Back Better bill are going to do are going to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. They`re going to wake up in the morning and feel great about what this president has done -- has done for them, making sure that children and women get what they what they deserve.
And we`re going to do both bills. The president of the United States said no doubt that we are going to do both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and we`re going to pass this Build Back Better bill that is going to transform life in America for ordinary people, making sure that they can afford the child care, that they can afford the health care that they need, that we`re going to do the real deal on climate and really invest in that.
We`re going to lower the cost of prescription drugs. That is like number one on the minds of people. So, all of that is in this bill, and he is determined to do it. And I will tell you, to vote no on it, I think, is a politically bad vote for Republicans.
We know that 96 percent of the Democrats are really in favor of this legislation. So, yes, there`s a negotiation that is still going on. We may see some changes. But I think essentially, this will be a transformative piece of legislation.
MELBER: Blake, these days, whether you follow news or politics, everyone`s imagining what happens when Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin sign a document, what kind of private convos they have, all that stuff.
You, like the congresswoman, have actually been in the arena, been in those kind of planning sessions, meetings and conversations. Just walk us through what you see going on and what you might see that some of us who are farther away might not know about this process and what Schumer is up to.
BLAKE ZEFF, FORMER SCHUMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yes, I think the reality is, when you look at this 50/50 majority in the Senate, it is hanging on by a thread. And not only is it a 50/50, equally numerical, it`s Joe Manchin, who -- say what do you want about Joe Manchin.
Just look at the fact. This guy represents the state of West Virginia. This is a state that went for Donald Trump by about 40 points last year, OK? So, Manchin, even if he wanted to be the most progressive person in the world, isn`t going to be. Look at the state that he represents.
So it`s a very tricky, delicate dance. Of course, we`re talking about Manchin. There`s also Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona. It`s kind of a separate story.
But as long as you have this kind of Senate composition, the political gravity is going to -- it is what it is, and, eventually, the rubber is going to hit the road. And that`s where we are now, progressives saying that they wanted $3.5 trillion. Actually, they wanted even more than that. Joe Biden wanted $3.5 trillion,
The Manchin-Sinema wing is saying, no, we want less than that. And now we`re at that point now where it`s time to come and really talk about these numbers. As you said, it`s been reported that it`s around the $2 trillion range is where it looks like it`s going to be. But the question now, Ari, is, how do you get to that number?
There are two main ways you could potentially do it. One is what`s called sunsetting, meaning you take almost all the policies that everyone`s talking about in this bill, and instead of funding them in perpetuity, you say, all right, we will just do it for five years, or 10 years or something like that. And that gets that price low.
The other way to do it is to say, no, we don`t want to sunset stuff, we will just pick the things that we think are really, really important that we like the most, and we want to fund those for a long time and really entrench them in American life. And that difference between the sunset group and the group that says, no, we don`t want to do that, because they have seen, for example, with the assault weapons ban -- you might remember when President Clinton was in office, they did an assault weapons ban.
And that had a sunset to it. And, lo and behold, of course, George W. Bush was the president and the Republicans controlled Congress when that expired, and so, therefore, you didn`t have an assault weapons ban anymore.
So that`s really the key thing is whether to sunset or not. And that`s going to decide how we get to that lower number.
MELBER: Yes, it`s a great point. And it goes to what kind of picking that people want to have to do if there`s going to be a lower number, and whether this is going to be the so-called safety net or blueprint, the way that the New Deal or Fair Deal or other things then became really politically difficult for conservatives to later attack, because they proved popular.
Both our guests stay.
I do want to also bring in this debt fight, which could end up being a big deal or not. We don`t know. But the self-proclaimed Grim Reaper, Mitch McConnell, reportedly talking about pushing chaos on Democrats here. And it`s a clash that continued today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I implore them one more time not to play Russian roulette with the American economy.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We could prevent a catastrophic default with a simple majority vote tomorrow, if Republicans would just get out of the damn way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Schumer pushing to schedule this vote tomorrow on the debt ceiling, your old boss, Blake. Your thoughts?
ZEFF: Well, that was some feisty language there.
I mean, look, there`s actually an interesting risk here for Mitch McConnell. Mitch`s whole game, right, is just to obstruct to try to stop anything from happening. He doesn`t mind being hated. He doesn`t mind being shaped shamed. He just will do what it takes. He knows how to wield power. And this is what he does.
The question is, he could potentially go too far. And here`s how. With this debt ceiling vote -- and this is the -- I shouldn`t say vote. With this debt ceiling issue, this is a looming deadline by which the U.S. basically has to agree to settle past debts and pay them.
And McConnell is doing everything he can to get in the. Way and there is a potentially cataclysmic economic situation that could happen if you don`t pass that. And what might happen, if he goes too far here, McConnell, is, he may be tempting and taunting some Democrats who weren`t previously willing to forego the filibuster, he might tempt them to actually make an exception in this case.
Angus King from Maine signaled that he might be willing to all of a sudden get rid of the filibuster in order to move this debt ceiling vote. Once you do that, and once you open the door to doing that, and it`s a thing that occurs in politics, then it might get easier to use it in other things. And Democrats may just discover that they finally have the will to use this weapon, and then pass lots of other things along party lines.
MELBER: It would be interesting if they got there. And this idea of exceptions, we have heard of Stacey Abrams talk about it with voting rights, you bring it up with economics, could be a really interesting avenue in the Senate.
Congresswoman, I did want to get your view of where progressives have gotten thus far. It`s quite rare, as we have commented here and elsewhere, I think people know, to see the progressive bloc sort of hold out the way they did on Speaker Pelosi. And it`s hard to tell sometimes from a distance, OK, procedurally, what did you get out of it?
Could you walk us through in sort of plain English what does it mean that the progressives have sort of held the line there? What do you think you are getting or achieving in a fight that still, of course, has to hold the 50 in the Senate?
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, first of all, while we are proud, as the Progressive Caucus, for making sure that both votes are going to come together, infrastructure and the Build Back Better, the president continues to say over and over again: Remember, this is my agenda. I wrote these damn -- I wrote this damn bill.
And so this is really the president of the United States that is offering this plan. And we have been working hand in hand with him, with the Senate in these negotiations.
But I want to make one point. You were talking about the choices of how we get to a lower number. First of all, I want to say that when we talk about how much this thing costs, the answer is really zero, because this is a paid-for piece of legislation, with taxes on the wealthiest people, many of whom have not been paying any taxes, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs, which helps consumers, but also the government that spends so much money on that.
But, beyond that, we can actually make sure that we not leave anyone out. I think that is the preferable way to go, rather than to just do a few things well and not have -- it`s not really a sunset, because when you, for example, give senior citizens and people on Medicare eyeglasses and hearing aides and dental care, what politician is going to take that away if we change the date of how long it takes to provide those services?
So I think that we don`t risk that much. Some things, we can`t change the date, we can`t extend, for example, on climate change. It`s important that we do that for the next 10 years. But there are other things that we can do to lower the cost and still do transformative legislation.
MELBER: Yes. Yes.
And that goes to, again, what people have argued that, well, is this the time to deal with these things, if they can be budgeted, and they pay for themselves, or will some of these things cost more left unaddressed? Of course, that`s the whole clash. That`s why the president`s out talking directly to the people.
I want to thank the congresswoman and Blake for kicking us off tonight and tell everyone what we have coming up.
The DOJ taking new measures to protect people from potential intimidation at these vaccination and other safety mechanisms and meetings, a special report on what`s going on there.
Also, this whistle-blower, an insider at Facebook, blowing the whistle on Zuckerberg. We`re going to explain why that matters.
And there`s a new development in the Matt Gaetz sex crime probe. We have an update on that with a special legal guest tonight.
Stay with us.
MELBER: Now I get to say this. There is some good news on COVID tonight. And it didn`t happen by accident.
Vaccinations have suddenly spiked, sharply in some places. Now, that`s downright unusual in America these days. So, the question, of course, becomes why. And the answer is out in the open right in front of us. It dates back to September 9, when President Biden went from a sort of pleading Mr. Nice Guy thing to a little bit more of a tough cop, using federal powers to mandate vaccinations or testing for most workers in the U.S., everybody at basically big companies.
It was controversial, and, look, understandably so. Many people, for many reasons don`t like new federal rules in general, let alone the partisan COVID wars that America has devolved into.
The approach was also -- let`s be very clear -- a long ways from when the vaccines first rolled out. And they were limited. You couldn`t get them, remember, certain groups. People were waiting for their group to be called, scrambling to get the appointments.
And, by the way, let`s remember -- let`s not be parochial -- that`s still the case in many countries on Earth. But over time, it became clear that the United States was that rare rich nation with more vaccine shots than people willing to get them.
And we saw a shift over time from the carrot to the stick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to defeat COVID, and it starts right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have tried every single day, sometimes on the hour, on all of the different sites. And a 65-year-old cannot get an appointment.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a vaccine now, and that is great, but we need to get it in the arms of all Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be sufficient supply. Be persistent and go and get this vaccine.
BIDEN: We`re halfway there, 50 million shots in just 37 days.
MCCONNELL: These shots need to get in everybody`s arm as rapidly as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prove that you`re vaccinated, and you can get a free doughnut a day for the rest of the year.
BIDEN: Getting the vaccine is not a partisan act.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This vaccine means hope.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s important for our fellow citizens to get vaccinated.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: It`s easy to get, it`s free, and it`s readily available. We`re saying, try and save your life.
QUESTION: Will you require all federal employees to get vaccinated?
BIDEN: That`s under consideration right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: They kept considering it, and then they did it.
And fact-check for Dr. Fauci. He said it`s free. Actually, in some places, it comes with doughnuts.
But the stronger push, the mandating that we saw later this year, remains controversial. And we have the examples here, disturbing videos showing pressure and attacks on local officials and educators involved in vaccines or safety rules or mask mandates.
In fact, the news tonight is, DOJ and FBI will be patrolling more heavily against such an intimidation efforts. Don`t break the law to interfere with someone getting vaccinated.
But, ultimately -- and this is our special report right now -- these policies have to be about results, not opinions, not guesswork like, well, if you require something, it`ll probably work.
So, this is the news. We try to keep it clear. Let`s get into it right now. How are the mandates going? New data shows vaccine mandates are working as intended in America. And there`s been a clear spike. When Biden first made the announcement, about 53 percent of the population was fully vaccinated.
The mandate, along with these other pushes, has surged that to 77 percent of people having at least one dose. That`s about 15 million more shots. And there`s more than one type of mandate. Some are specific to certain jobs. Those mandates are also working, like mandates for health care workers in some of the big states driving a huge uptick in recent vaccinations.
Many employees are choosing to just go ahead and get their shots now, rather than do that constant weekly testing or face the risk of losing their jobs if they don`t have a valid exception.
Meanwhile, over in New York state, the vaccine mandates specifically for health care workers has seen a 10 percent spike in vaccination already, out west, about a 19 point jump from a mandate that began roughly in the late summer.
These are all facts. This is all evidence. This is not about whether you think Biden was wise or early or late or you like him or you don`t. This is just the question, are mandates working? So far, yes.
As for the private sector, you have other breakdowns that are interesting, because, depending on the job you do, you may have contact with more people, you may have contact with stuff that other people consume, which again goes to the safety measures of being vaccinated; 91 percent of the workers at Tyson, which handles all kinds of food and shipping, are now vaccinated.
That`s a 40-point jump. Or take travel, where you`re, of course, in confined spaces on planes. Now 99 percent of United Airlines workers vaccinated after their mandate.
This stuff works, which is pretty interesting, because, of course, it was months after widespread availability of the vaccine that we have seen mandates be more embraced or compelled in some form on citizens at the state or federal level.
Now, why haven`t we heard more about this? Admittedly, there`s a lot going on, but if we have something that`s working, and might actually shorten the long tail of COVID in America, should people know that it`s working?
We have an expert who worked on the vaccine rollout and has been on the front lines of this policy fight, and is now -- and this is the news, so, if I say it, it`s true -- the most famous and beloved Emanuel brother, according to his mom.
The doctor is here when we`re back in 60 seconds.
MELBER: We`re joined now by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost of global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, a member of President Biden`s transitioning -- transition COVID advisory board.
Thanks for being here.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL ADVISER: Great to be with you, Ari.
MELBER: You know the old joke, a super agent, a politician and a doctor walk into the Emanuel family dining room, and everyone knows who`s most in demand during a pandemic.
You are an expert on this. You have also advised, of course, the president and others. What do you take from the early, but encouraging signs that the mandates are working in America?
EMANUEL: Oh, I think it was inevitable. That`s why I began urging mandates as far back as April 14. I wrote my first op-ed saying we ought to have mandates among health care workers and then progressively move to others.
And then we initiated an effort by a lot of medical professional societies to urge a mandate among health care workers at the end of July. So I`m not surprised that it works.
And, by the way, one thing you didn`t mention, there`s a key date. December 8, that is a date when all these contractors with the federal government have to have their workers vaccinated. and you`re going to see a huge uptick going into November 8.
And like normal people, we wait to the deadline. My students wait to the deadline to do their papers. I wait to the deadline to submit my papers. We wait to the deadline to pay taxes.
People are going to wait to the deadline. But you`re going to see this big increase, because mandates work. People want to do the right thing. They don`t want to give up their job.
And this goes to -- some of this has been discussed very black and white, like liberty and freedom. And we have had those debates. But I`m curious what you think as a medical professional.
Doctors do try to push, nudge and cajole people to do that which they either weren`t doing or wasn`t good for their health. Yes, they have liberty, OK, but you might push them to make the -- quote, unquote -- "healthier choice," according to the experts, especially on stuff they might not realize, like, oh, I didn`t know this one activity was as unhealthy as it is.
Paul Krugman, who, like you, studies policy, makes a version of this point. The Nobel economist says: "Most vaccine resistance isn`t necessarily about deep concerns. Many people fold as the calculus of self-interest reverses. Refusing to take their shots has immediate tangible financial cost."
Look, I think that there are time barriers. People are worried about getting sick from a shot. There are some barriers. We have taken almost all of them away, not all of them, but we have taken almost all of them. You don`t have to pay to get the shot. They`re convenient. They can go to almost any pharmacy in the country and get a shot.
We have educated people. And what we do as doctors is often persuade our patients, lay out -- having listened to their concerns. Lay out why they should do what we`re recommending, take a pill. Go exercise more. See another doctor to get a consultation. It`s persuasion.
Now, sometimes, persuasion isn`t enough. As a doctor to a patient, I can`t force them to do something, unless they`re a child. But, in this case, we can mandate people. And, again, we`re not forcing someone. We`re forcing them to make a choice. Either get the vaccine or lose your job, or get the vaccine or pay a penalty in other cases, and not be able to fly.
EMANUEL: I think those are the right kinds of choices.
EMANUEL: And people end up, like all of us, taking the path of least resistance, which is frequently, let`s get the vaccine.
MELBER: Should Biden have done this earlier?
EMANUEL: I think so.
But Biden is a very wise politician. And Biden is a step ahead of the country. And so he tried, make it free, make it accessible, educate people, persuade them, cajole them. When those things didn`t work, oh, give them lotteries. When those things didn`t work, he said, look, we have tried everything. We really have to get to 85 percent of the population vaccinated. So now we`re going to do mandates.
And I think he`s brought the population along on this journey to realize mandates are really an essential element.
Last question, and it may be a hard one, Doctor. Does it feel natural to be the most important Emanuel brother? Or does do you wear it like a burden now?
EMANUEL: Remember, I`m the oldest, so we always think we`re the most important.
EMANUEL: Just ask my brothers.
MELBER: Well, when -- hold on.
When Rahm was chief of staff to President Obama, did you think you were more important then?
EMANUEL: Within the family, absolutely.
MELBER: OK, within the family. That`s a big caveat.
We appreciate it. It`s quite a family, by the way, in terms of what everyone`s up to, but Dr. Zeke Emanuel giving it to us straight. And I hope people are listening.
A lot of what you wrote and what you said about this probably has borne out. And I hope you will come back, sir.
EMANUEL: Thank you, Ari.
And, yes, it`s really important people get the vaccine. It`s one of the reasons we`re getting on the other end of the Delta variant. And let`s stay safe.
MELBER: Yes, sir. Thank you, Doctor.
Let me tell folks what we have coming up.
This Facebook insider torching Zuckerberg, new testimony that goes to the heart of the democracy we have and why we might be more polarized than we need to be. Michelle Goldberg back on THE BEAT tonight.
And a new court filing in the sex crime probe that deals with the activities of Republican Matt Gaetz, an update on that brand-new tonight.
MELBER: A Facebook insiders speaking out today and making a comparison that could really change the way Congress or the nation thinks about this company.
It was once thought of as a source for democracy across the Middle East, a way for people to connect or share photos. But now someone who`s been on the inside says, no, think about it like big tobacco, telling Congress Facebook knows how destructive and dangerous it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCES HAUGEN, FORMER FACEBOOK PRODUCT MANAGER: When we realized big tobacco was hiding the harms it caused, the government took action. When we figured out cars were safer with seat belts, the government took action.
And when our government learned that opioids were taking lives, the government took action. I implore you to do the same here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Frances Haugen, the whistle-blower there, says the Facebook execs, including Zuckerberg, know all about the division, the weakening of the democracy, the harm to children, all of the problems.
She says there`s no confusion the inside and that internal research has shown it. Facebook, for its part, denies most of her allegations today. Senators also point to the recent video that Zuckerberg posted sailing with friends, asking, why isn`t he there directly answering the questions?
And critics are imploring Congress to not only listen to these facts, these allegations, but to actually get involved and grill someone who, again, is rich and powerful who may be thought of as more of a source for contributions than someone to regulate.
They say it`s time to grill tech execs the way they grilled big tobacco execs in the `90s.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just yes or no, do you believe nicotine is not addictive?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe nicotine is not addictive, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Johnston?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman, cigarettes and nicotine clearly do not meet the classic definitions of addiction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t believe that nicotine or our products are addictive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe nicotine is not addictive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that nicotine is not addictive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: It was not a one-off.
Within years, those executives were back before Congress basically admitting everything. It was seen as a watershed moment. New federal regulations came out of it. Tobacco companies also faced a range of pressure that led to payouts and some level of industry reform.
Is big tech on its way to a big tobacco moment?
I`m joined now by "New York Times" columnist and MSNBC analyst Michelle Goldberg.
Your thoughts on both what comes out of the hearing like this and the larger pressure on Facebook and big tech?
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, I think there are very few things that Democrats and Republicans agree on, I mean, including saving the nation from financial ruin.
But one thing they, I think, both do agree on is that Facebook is a menace. And so some sort of actions seems, if not likely, at least feasible. I think the question is what that`s going to look like. I mean, Frances Haugen, I think, put forward this idea of a regulatory body that would -- that would look at big tech because our existing regulatory infrastructure kind of isn`t up to the task.
I`m not sure that, in our polarized climate, that would really work. You could imagine a new Republican administration stocking it with people who would be furious that Facebook takes down, for example, propaganda about the big lie or kind of claims -- any of the myriad false claims that Trump and other Republicans have made over the years.
But I think there`s a widespread understanding, and particularly around the issue of kids, that this is that this is an extraordinarily harmful company. Facebook was down for a couple of hours yesterday. And, on the one hand, it showed us both, why should one company have such control over the Internet that, when it goes down, people all over the world lose the ability to communicate with each other?
And, at the same time, there was something in America, I think, where we`re not as dependent on technology like WhatsApp, all of a sudden, a world without Facebook would actually be pretty nice.
MELBER: Yes, it`s an important point you make. And many people are probably aware of it even from personal use, but for those who aren`t, we actually have the headlines on this.
The outage basically hits Facebook, Instagram, which it owns, WhatsApp, as you mentioned, which it bought and which people can use to communicate, even if they don`t have more expensive phone plans. So the headlines say it shows how vital Facebook has become.
They said they made the error. That`s fine. Facebook, WhatsApp outage, an annoyance for the U.S., but a big deal to the rest of the world, as mentioned, when it comes to equity issues.
And AOC, who`s a progressive critic of big tech, but also someone who might be a little more naturally conversant with the next generation`s use here, made an interesting point, and as she often does. Some people were upset by her kind of attention-hacking the Met Gala.
Here, she was doing it. She posted this, to be clear, on Facebook technology, but made a point about that. If you missed this folks, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): If your life was disrupted by the Facebook outage today and, say, you couldn`t communicate with loved ones because WhatsApp was down, or maybe your career or your small business took a hit because Instagram was down, maybe we should be asking ourselves why one company is trying to monopolize the Internet, communication platforms and digital commerce.
And maybe we should break them up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Pretty effective communication, Michelle.
And it goes to the twin issues in the hearing. One is, is Facebook bad? And that`s about what they are. And then there is, is this company, any company holding too much power?
GOLDBERG: Right. And those are actually separate issues, because I think - - I think -- look, I think AOC makes an absolutely convincing case that Facebook should be broken up.
I also don`t think that breaking up Facebook -- and I believe Frances Haugen made this point -- breaking up Facebook is not going to change some of the pathologies that are endemic to the platform itself, right, just Facebook, never mind Instagram, never mind WhatsApp, a lot of the damage that`s being done not just to our own democracies -- but not just to our own democracy, but to democracies around the world.
She had internal documents of a European party basically saying to Facebook, your algorithm is leading us to take more extreme positions in order to communicate with people, because that`s the way that things get boosted and find their way onto people`s feeds.
And so -- and people all over the world, in the Philippines, in Sri Lanka, certainly in Myanmar, have talked about how Facebook has just been an absolute accelerant to genocide and to brutal ethnic massacres.
And so Facebook has known that. And breaking up Facebook is one thing, but something has to be done, I think, about the algorithm itself.
MELBER: All really important points.
Michelle Goldberg, thank you, as always. Appreciate you joining us.
GOLDBERG: Thank you.
MELBER: I want to tell everyone, there is a new twist and court filing in that Matt Gaetz sex crime probe. We go live in Florida.
MELBER: A new development in the Matt Gaetz federal sex crime probe.
His ally, convicted Republican official Joel Greenberg, asking you to delay his own sentencing on sex crime charges, citing cooperation with these prosecutors, saying, basically, after all this, he still needs more time to share everything he knows.
Greenberg`s lawyer says he`s been making a series of proffers with the feds in Florida. Now, for Gaetz, that could be bad news, depending on what they`re talking about.
Greenberg`s lawyer asked about Gaetz last spring.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Does Matt Gaetz have anything to worry about?
FRITZ SCHELLER, ATTORNEY FOR JOEL GREENBERG: Does Matt Gaetz -- that is such a broad...
QUESTION: When it comes to what happened today in court.
SCHELLER: Based on what my client knows, OK.
See, I thought, if I kept on talking and talking, I would avoid these questions and not to say -- I`m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The lawyer kept on talking, but didn`t say much.
The news now is, his client has kept on talking.
I`m joined Dave Aronberg, Florida state attorney for Palm Beach County.
What, if anything, does a development like this say to you?
DAVE ARONBERG, PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA, STATE ATTORNEY: Good evening, Ari.
Well, it tells me it`s bad news for Matt Gaetz. And here`s why. It`s not necessarily the fact that the motion was filed. It`s the fact that the federal prosecutors did not object to it.
That tells me that the federal prosecutors believe that Joel Greenberg, who was referred to as Matt Gaetz`s wingman in the past, that he has valuable evidence that the processors think he will provide, and that it shows that Greenberg is still motivated to provide the evidence.
And, after all, Matt Gaetz is a lifeline for Greenberg, because Greenberg is still facing up to life in prison. He pled guilty to child sex trafficking. So, turning on the big fish here, a member of Congress, could get him a sharply reduced sentence.
MELBER: Gaetz, for his part, as we have reported, denies all wrongdoing, and he`s spoken about it in public. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): It is a horrible allegation. And it is a lie.
I have spent my entire career pursuing justice. I don`t obstruct justice. The only thing I have obstructed is the injustice, oftentimes at the hands of the Department of Justice.
QUESTION: Are you concerned you will be indicted?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: What do you say to him and his allies who argue that we`re into October; if the feds had something on him, they would have acted by now?
ARONBERG: Yes, there are a lot of people, Ari, who think that the delay is a sign that Matt Gaetz is going to be let off the hook, but I don`t think so.
I think it shows that there are a lot of other issues that they are investigating besides child sex trafficking. I do think that, if this was just about that one underage girl, that you would see a resolution by now.
But there are other things they`re looking at, Ari, like obstruction of justice and the Mann Act. That`s the federal act that says you can`t transport individuals for purposes of prostitution. There`s aggravated identity theft. There`s potential bribery, based on the Bahamas trip.
And there could be other things out there, campaign finance violations. There`s a lot going on here. And so Matt Gaetz is not out of the woods, by any means.
MELBER: And, as for the one known convict thus far, Greenberg, what kind of sentence do you think he will ultimately get?
ARONBERG: Well, it`s hard to say right now. It depends on his level of cooperation.
But the feds don`t want to rely on Joel Greenberg, because -- as the face of their trial strategy, because he`s sort of a swarthy individual. He`s like the kind of guy who shows up at a wedding, thinks all the envelopes are for him.
He`s -- he pled guilty to six major crimes, from child sex trafficking to aggravated identity theft. And he is not going to be the most valuable witness on the stand, because I think his credibility can be damaged.
ARONBERG: Also, there`s the 17-year-old girl here who became an adult film star.
So I think that they`re going to have to have corroboration. They`re going to have to have a lot more than the two of them. And I think that`s one of the reasons why they`re so slow in bringing charges. They`re trying to see what else is out there.
MELBER: Yes, all interesting analysis from a Florida legal expert.
And we will follow up on this story, whether there are charges. Or, if not, if Mr. Gaetz appears to be in the clear, we will report that as well.
Dave Aronberg, thank you.
Up ahead, we have some important developments on a story we told you we`d stay on, criminal justice in America. Critics accuse Republicans of stonewalling in bad faith on police reform, and a very special guest.
Stay with us.
MELBER: Turning now to police reforming and the fight for criminal justice.
Just today, a judicial panel pushing back on DOJ requests to give officers even more time to address cases that might allow them to beat back accusations of police brutality. All of this comes at an important point that we have been telling you about. Those supposed bipartisan talks to overhaul policing? They broke down, with Republicans stonewalling reform.
Now, I want to be clear with you tonight. We all lived through the marches and the vows to support change in 2020. Think about all the corporations who claim to back BLM who`ve gone pretty silent now, as these talks break down. And America still needs to face how this justice system actually works.
Take the case of Jarrett Adams, who was 17 years old when charged with a crime he insisted he didn`t commit. Without money to afford a lawyer, he took his chances to trial and was sentenced to over 25 years in prison. He maintained his innocence, though. He ended up spending about nine years behind bars before getting some outside help from the Wisconsin Innocence Project with a longshot appeal that actually ultimately overturned his conviction in 2007.
Adams put himself through law school and ultimately won a prestigious clerkship on the very appeals court that gave him his freedom, a remarkable turnaround, but one that remains rare in this American justice system hobbled by race and class. Adams now practices law, devoting his career to fixing a system that he was really conscripted into.
Now, we first met, I should mention, about seven years ago, when I was reporting on that historic clerkship, and he talked about his aspirations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT ADAMS, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: I said to myself, the story Jarrett Adams won`t be remembered as a person wrongfully convicted, got out.
Nah. The story of Jarrett Adams is going to be a person wrongfully convicted, got out, and worked each and every day until he gasped his last breath to change the criminal justice system for the better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That was the plan.
And we have a little special update here. Adams is our guest right now.
And he has a new book out, "Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System."
It`s quite a life you have led up to this point. I have gotten to talk to you along the way. It`s good to have you back, Jarrett.
ADAMS: Thank you so much for having me, Ari.
MELBER: There`s so much here in injustice, adversity and sadness, and yet also the hope, the perseverance that you have had with your breakthroughs in the law.
MELBER: So let`s start with your story and what you`re conveying now at this point that you have reached in writing this book.
ADAMS: I wanted to write the book, "Redeeming justice," because I wanted to take people on a journey of just how easy it is to lose people in a system that we know is flawed.
A lot of times, we get lost in these political conversations. And we don`t do what we know -- we know that needs to be done. And that`s reforming the system. So, the book, "Redeeming justice," is about, how do we go from talking about reforming to actually implementing the things necessary to reform?
And, as you say, that starts with people understanding the humanity of people involved. A lot of attention and scrutiny came about during the Black Lives Matter protests, which began with the humanity of a person mistreated, ultimately ruled a murder, by police.
So, people could see, as you`re talking about, the reality of that. So much of what goes on in this system, as you have lived and as I have studied, is not as accessible to people because there isn`t a single moment of perhaps -- quote, unquote -- `injustice," but, rather, a whole grinding system.
I want to read a little bit from your book when you talk about that. You write here that: "Prosecutors and judges rush to convict. Overturning an unfair conviction takes forever," you write. "There are no shortcuts. You`re attempting to prove that something a court determined to be true is a lie. And there`s no direct path to that."
Tell us about that part of the system.
ADAMS: The system is just so slow, Ari.
And it`s like, you`re convicted in a matter of months, and you`re fighting for your freedom for, sometimes, in most cases, decades at a time. And I think that that comes from how we are viewing the people who are falling into this system.
We`re still going back and forth as to whether or not what to do with this. And that`s the process that has to stop.
MELBER: Then, I`m curious, with your personal life, working through this legal system that you have been through, how does it affect the way you advocate as a lawyer?
ADAMS: My conviction was reversed. I was released in February of 2007, but the damage that was done was never reversed and repaired.
And so what it does for me is, it drives me. I think people need to understand that, right now, our criminal justice system has already reached a boiling point.
ADAMS: And if we are going to get to a better point in society, we have to, Ari, do better in our system.
We can`t be the greatest country in the world...
ADAMS: ... and the greatest incarcerator at the same time.
MELBER: I love it.
I really believe that you walk the walk, obviously. And so I`m happy to have you back on THE BEAT here, as we have kept in touch over the years.
And I will end with a brief Diddy quote, all right, Jarrett, just quickly.
MELBER: I ain`t got to talk it because I live it.
You have lived it in ways we wouldn`t wish on anyone, and yet you have come out stronger for it. So, you are, I think, an inspiration to a lot of people. The fact that you`re also willing to talk it, and that people can learn more about it in the book, I think, my view, is a good thing.
So, my thanks to Jarrett Adams.
And let me tell the viewers, the book is "Redeeming Justice" by Jarrett Adams. Check it out.
"Redeeming Justice" is that rare work of someone who`s been through this system. In fact, usually, if you have a conviction that holds, you can`t even become a lawyer. Jarrett`s conviction was deemed wrongful. That`s how he became one.
And we could learn from him. I want to thank him again for keeping up with us over the years, the type of person we could all learn from, both in overcoming adversity and trying to help others, so they don`t have to go through what he went through.
That`s our final thought on THE BEAT. As always, thanks spending time with us.
"THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" starts right now.