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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 11/4/21

Guests: Melissa Murray, Elie Mystal


Vaccine mandate or testing option and mask wearing within the workplace is for healthcare and federal workers and for companies with at least 100 employees. New Trump Organization charges could be coming relating to the company`s financial practices. Trial over Ahmaud Arbery`s killing with an almost all-white jury and Kyle Rittenhouse`s murder case involving Black Lives Matter protesters pitting hate crime charge against appeals to vigilantism.


JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: What party? At least that`s what I hear.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Well, because that kind of party doesn`t stop. Good to see you, Jason.

JOHNSON: That`s what I heard.

MELBER: That`s what -- you heard right. You know, the streets don`t lie.

Thank you to Jason as always with the kind of handoff that only Jason can do.

I want to welcome everyone to THE BEAT. We have a lot going on. There is breaking news with a newly empaneled grand jury in the Trump Org case. It`s a legal development that we are going to explain as we try to always do for you with clarity and sobriety and a special guest coming up later tonight.

I also have a legal report, not about Trump, it`s but about vigilante justice, how that has been fomented with racial and sometimes blatantly racist overtones, and why it`s on trial right now in America. I`ll explain. And I have a special thought I want to share with you about that. That`s also later in this program.

But we begin with this momentous period in the fight against COVID in America. President Biden today marking a January 4th deadline for workers to be vaccinated. This is for larger companies in America. That`s part of the way that that mandate has worked coming from the feds. It`s basically if you work somewhere with over 100 employees.

But there`s also been fierce pushback on the right. There`s been the talk of legal action. There have been efforts to go after mandates even before we get to the federal one. We`ve reported on how some of those have withstood challenges thus far, and also threats of violence by anti- vaxxers.

Now the deadline here will impact many people in America. Not everyone, but if you`re watching, it could be a company that you`re at because it will affect about 84 million workers. It`s a partial mandate which means that effectively it`s trying to get everyone to be vaccinated to make things safer, but it also has a huge exception. It does not actually compel anyone to only vaccinate, because there`s a testing exception, meaning people who get tested regularly are not being asked to vaccinate.

So that`s why we call it a partial mandate. There are others in the states that are restricted. There`s also a lot of science and data that each of these mandates, whether they are the strict kind or one with a few more exceptions, each of them work to increase the number of people who are vaccinated.

Here`s Dr. Fauci and the CDC director Walensky, talking about all of these issues at a hearing today on the Hill.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NAID: We know that mandates work. If you look at, for example, the percentage of people at United Airlines or in Houston Medical Association or in other organizations that have mandated, it works 99 plus percent.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CDC: Our most powerful tool to get out of this pandemic. Data show again and again that vaccines work, they are safe and they can save your life.


MELBER: The mandates work. And those individuals you see there in this setting, not like a TV interview, they`re under oath. If they had reservations that the mandate was not working, they would have a duty and really a legal obligation to say so. What you`re hearing is experts who`ve been doing this all their lives, decades and decades certainly in the case of Dr. Fauci, in government telling you what they found from the data, that it works. The mandate and the science behind the vaccine show what is the key to get us out of all this.

Then you have of course these other attacks. And there`s plenty of policy debates, we saw elections here this week where schools and policies were a part of what some voters and some parents said they were concerned about. That`s all fair game. What`s not fair game, what`s not accurate and what sometimes is not even legal is all of the talk of violence, of intimidation, of menacing.

And then you have the science class because apparently there are some who see this as kind of a political part of their project. Take Senator Rand Paul, the former Republican presidential candidate, he was in that same hearing and asking on Dr. Fauci to resign. We have more on that. We also have Republican governors and attorneys general saying they will go forward with legal challenges against the Biden federal mandate. Here is Florida`s governor today.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: Here it is. This is 500 pages of government of bureaucracy, a government that is being run by executive edict. Florida is going to respond and we will combat the OSHA rule.


MELBER: We`ve shown that particular governor, DeSantis, who has been wrong about many things and at times has blatantly lied saying things that we know he knows are false. What I just showed you there is fair game. He`s talking about his disagreement with federal policy as well as potentially being one of the many states that wants to challenge it in court. That is their legal right.

The Supreme Court, however, does not look at all hospitable to completely tossing entire mandates. Indeed vaccine mandates have been upheld in the government and military and school in context for over a century. They also passed on hearing a case about the vaccine mandate in Maine, where there was no religious exemption. Meanwhile, President Biden already kind of addressed this in one of his more plucky moments when he first signed the executive order in September.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What is your message to Republicans who are calling your vaccine requirement an overreach? Who are threatening to challenge it in court?




MELBER: Have at it. That is a president who also is the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee who knows a thing or two about these issues. Meanwhile, we have, as I mentioned, the partisan anti-vax crowd at a time when there are breakthroughs, when mandates work, according to the data, and where children are finally available to get involved in this, 5 to 11 if their doctors and parents decide to go that route, and yet we see the COVID fight move in many different directions. Take a look at a mother and son in New York today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just knowing how many millions of people including 12- year-olds around the world, have been vaccinated we feel really confident, we think that the risk of them getting COVID and also continuing to have their childhood disrupted far outweigh the risk of the vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was not hard at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you most excited to do once you`re vaccinated?



MELBER: We could all do to remember that there are real people and real little people, little humans involved in this, not hard at all. We were looking at footage there from the Natural History Museum, an icon in New York. And perhaps a little bit of history being made if this is as the experts say a chance to really get America and American communities and families out from under the emergency stage of COVID once and for all.

I am joined now by former RNC chair Michael Steele who endorsed Joe Biden for president, and Dr. Natalia Azar with NYU Langone.

Doctor, what did you think of the scenes there and what`s important for parents to know?

DR. NATALIE AZAR, NYU LANGONE: Well, you know, when you listen to the FDA Advisory Committee and the CDC Advisory Committee deliberate all day, you really do get a much clearer picture of just how thoughtful, you know, the discussions are and the deliberations are, and that the people who are giving these recommendations, many of them are parents themselves and grandparents who are getting their own children the vaccinations. And I think we sometimes forget that in all of the reporting and the bureaucracy.

Look, Ari, I have been saying now, many of us have been saying now for months that, you know, in relative numbers, do children fare, you know, much better than their adult counterparts with COVID-19, of course they do, but they are so far from immune. You know, in that age group, the 5 to 11 age group, there have been 97 deaths. May I remind our viewers that in the 2019, 2020 flu season, there were 199 deaths from influenza, and that was a really, really bad year. And we`ve had hundreds more children die who are older than this, not to mention MISC and long COVID.

If you`re a parent out there, I assure you that you do not want your child to end up with multisystem inflammatory syndrome or long COVID. I see these patients as adult. This, you know, is upending for people`s lives. So it`s really an historic time. You know, I think everyone who is involved in the, you know, the manufacturing, the production and the approval of these vaccines, you know, deserve a lot of our -- you know, they deserve a lot of credit and our acknowledgment.

MELBER: Yes. Appreciate all those points. Chairman Steele, I mentioned to viewers some of what happened at the hearing today. Take a look at Dr. Paul doing his thing.


REP. RAND PAUL (R-KY): You won`t admit that it`s dangerous, and for that lack of judgment, I think it`s time that you resign.

FAUCI: Well, there are so many things that are egregious misrepresentation here, Madam Chair, that I don`t think I`d be able to refute all of them. But just a couple of them. I don`t have any more to say except to say that, as usual, and I have a great deal of respect for this body of the Senate and it makes me very uncomfortable to have to say something, but he is egregiously incorrect in what he says. Thank you.

PAUL: History will figure that out on its own.


MELBER: Go ahead.

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIR: I think history has already figured that out. I don`t think that`s not -- it`s not complicated for history and it`s not complicated for most Americans. The showboating, the grand standing, the inappropriate use of information that, you know, creates something that isn`t there, Dr. Fauci knows what`s up. And I think Dr. Fauci has had more than his fill of all of that, and as you noted in his comment that his apology was to the committee, not to the senator, that he had to call him out.

And I think that that`s the important part here. Here`s the bottom line and the good doctor knows this better than anyone, because I have watched her over the past year come on this program and others, just lay it straight out.


We are in a space where we have mandates because people wouldn`t do it right, because we did not approach this seriously enough from the beginning so that the American people while there may be some bumps and fits and starts as our scientists and our medical professionals got their hands around what this virus really was, yes, there are going to be in the beginning some of that confusion, but it did not help that public officials like Trump and the good senator, Rand Paul, came out in such an opposite, polar opposite view of what was really going on, and filled the space with a lot of disinformation that created the kind of confusion so that when it was time to actually dig down and do the right things, people didn`t want to.

And so governments, state, local governments had to go to the next step, and start putting in the mandates. We will require. I mean, we`re looking at, you know, health professionals and police officers, people who had to confront this virus every day in the most horrific ways, still said no, I`m not getting the shot. I`m not wearing the mask. So, you know, we are where we are because this is where a lot of folks have placed us.

And now to sit back, you know, let the good governor of Florida and talk about your legal remedies and how, you know, the government intrusion, well, if you played ball in the beginning when doctors like Natalie and others were telling you, hey, folks, these are some early steps that we can do to sort of maybe save ourselves a little bit of pain and grief. If we`d done that early on, maybe 700,000 Americans wouldn`t be in their graves right now.

MELBER: Yes. No, you lay it out there. You name check the doctor. And Doctor, let`s walk through what are the requirements for this federal mandate. You know, there`s so much loose talk and misinformation. We want to make sure, here we are, you know, we`re the news, you know, Doctor. So it`s part of what we do. But we`re going to put some of the requirements on the screen because it`s going to affect viewers` and people`s lives.

It`s January 4th now, according to this process. The unvaccinated employees, again, they have that choice so that why I call it partial. They`ve got to test negative weekly. Companies pay employees for the time to get vaccinated so that`s of course a lot of people have barriers there, that`s trying to make it equal. And finally companies must ensure all unvaccinated employees are masked. Walk us through this mandate.

AZAR: Well, you know, honestly, Ari, it really is fair, the fact that it still has the testing out and the masking option in there. You know, another part of the federal mandate that we haven`t talked that much about is, you know, the health care facilities that are funded by Medicare and Medicaid don`t actually have a test out option. Their employees absolutely 100 percent do need to be vaccinated.

I`ll share a little personal anecdote. My 89-year-old mom just spent a night in the hospital this week. She was rapid tested when she got in. And I can guarantee you that I felt much safer having her in the hospital knowing that everyone who will be taking care of her would of course be vaccinated. So, you know, in the healthcare setting, I think it`s a nonissue. Everyone needs to be vaccinated who`s taking care of, you know, vulnerable patients when they come into the hospital.

In terms of this one, as you said and pointed out in the lead, Ari, nobody is compelled to do this. You can choose not to be vaccinated. Get tested. Wear a mask. You probably have been doing that all along. And we know that that is no substitution for vaccination, but your civil liberty is not being stripped from you in that scenario.


AZAR: Vaccination is the best way to keep your employees safe and it`s the best way to avoid disruptions in your business and the livelihood of your business to be sustained. Period.

MELBER: Yes. Well, first of all, shout out and good health to your mom since you shared that. And second, you know, Michael and I are not doctors, we defer to experts, imagine that old fashioned concept. But on the words part, I work with words, you know, you`re pointing out something that I think goes to how they title it, a more accurate and perhaps more appealing title for the Biden administration might have been vax or test.

Because that`s what it is. Mandate has become clogged with these other liberty warnings. Vax or test. That`s what it is. Vax or test. You want to get tested weekly, there`s a system for that, and it really allows you to skip over some of the at least a part of the talk that somehow you`re being forced to do anything. You can vax or test. People like choices. That`s just on the words.

Again, on the science and medicine, we leave it to you, Dr. Azar. Thank you.

And, Michael, we have a very special date later in the hour because you`re a man of your word. It`s one part politics, one part goof ball. You said you`d come back for it and you are. So I appreciate that.


STEELE: You got it.

MELBER: Great.

STEELE: Doctor, you may not want to leave for this.


MELBER: So we`ll see Michael later when we get to some of the fun stuff. We have a lot more important stuff as well in the broadcast which I want to tell you about. I mentioned this vigilante issue. The men who gunned down Ahmaud Arbery are now facing a nearly all-white jury in their murder trial. What does this show us about the wider problems with our court system and vigilante justice in America? We have some answers and analysis for you in our reporter later tonight.

Also this new grand jury opened in the Trump Org probe. And, as mentioned, but I want you to see it with your own eyes. It is early late night with the one and only Michael Steele. Right here, you see it. We get a little loose. We`re talking TikTok, politics and a whole lot more. That is on this episode of THE BEAT. Stay with us.


MELBER: Developing legal news tonight. This is regarding that ongoing Trump -- I should say ongoing problem into the Trump Organization in New York. Now the "Washington Post" reporting something brand new that the top prosecutor in Manhattan, the D.A., Cy Vance, is convening a new grand jury. If that sounds familiar, well, this is actually a second and separate grand jury in this Trump Organization probe.

And the reporting suggests they are looking into potential lies about how the company valued its assets. Again, this is distinct from the first grand jury which already has made minced meat of some of what the Trump Org does at least when it comes to indictments because it indicted the entire organization and the CFO Allen Weisselberg, Donald Trump`s longest serving money man, on alleged tax evasion and basically misappropriating funds.


The investigation is ongoing and it`s moving. It`s also nuanced here. Nothing that I`m telling you that suggests automatically there`s an escalation. There are plenty of people who think that Donald Trump has been caught lying, cheating, and breaking so many laws that he ought to get in trouble. Indeed, as we reported, the Mueller investigation found multiple laws broken but used the legalese of saying there was just a lot of evidence of it and there was never any federal indictment.

We also have in New York the attorney general Letitia James who`s now exploring this governor run, running for governor, looking into the valuation of assets, and looking at three Trump properties. The new grand jury, though, reportedly scheduled to meet three days a week over six months, which suggests they have something to talk about. This grand jury could also outlast the current D.A. Cy Vance is formally retiring at the end of the year.

Indeed you may recall these elections, off-year elections, are all kinds of things. There`s a lot of attention on Virginia, a little bit in New Jersey, but New York also held races which is why if Donald Trump was worried about something, it was potentially not Virginia. It was what kind of person he might meet on the other side of that courtroom table, his whole company already indicted. This will be the person replacing Vance.

Now we had one of the candidates, Alvin Bragg, on THE BEAT. He is now the incoming D.A. And he has some experience when it comes to Donald Trump. He told me he will follow the facts.


ALVIN BRAGG, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY-ELECT: I`ve spent a career following the facts wherever they go. At the attorney general`s office, I led the team that held Trump and his children accountable for the misconduct with the Trump Foundation. So I go where the facts go.


MELBER: Just the facts and the man who says he`ll do that is now the incoming D.A. with a lot of power and perhaps striking a lot of fear inside the Trump Organization.

So what does it mean? What`s next? Melissa Murray and Elie Mystal are here when we`re back in just 60 seconds.


MELBER: A new grand jury convened in the Trump Org criminal probe in New York. And we`re joined by NYU law professor Melissa Murray and "The Nation`s" justice correspondent Elie Mystal.

Melissa, from the "Washington Post" reporting, it would appear that this is a different line of sort of criminal investigation relating to something that Michael Cohen first put on blast, specifically this asset valuation issue, in plain English, whether you are lying about what you have to the degree that it becomes illegal. Take a look.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY TO DONALD TRUMP: It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purpose, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.


MELBER: Professor, what does it mean that there`s a second grand jury and that it`s looking at this?

MELISSA MURRAY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR: Well, first, the second grand jury is likely because the first grand jury`s term expired and there were still things that needed to be investigated, including these particular questions about whether or not members of the Trump Organization or even Donald Trump himself were involved in valuing assets and either appreciating assets so that they could get more favorable loan treatment or devaluing assets in order to reduce the tax burden that they had to pay each year.

So part of this may simply be just sort of the procedural (INAUDIBLE) of trying to organize a grand jury investigation and having one grand jury`s term expire. But as you say, the second grand jury will certainly last beyond the term of the current district attorney Cy Vance, so Alvin Bragg will be taking this up.

MELBER: Yes. And the incoming D.A. Bragg again who won this race and we talk a lot about equity in America, this is an individual who will be a black D.A. in New York, a city that is diverse and then has a lot of issues around NYPD, equity, racial justice, so that`s sort of striking as well.


I wouldn`t ignore that. We had him as a candidate, Ellie, on this issue. Here`s what he told me.


MELBER: Do you believe that this office, the D.A. has the legal authority to indict an ex-president if warranted?

BRAGG: Certainly. And I actually haven`t heard any credible argument to the contrary that we can`t have a system where anyone is above the law. All right. That is a bedrock principle of our entire judicial system.



ELIE MYSTAL, THE NATION JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no, it`s great. I`m sure if we keep this up, eventually we`ll get him for like a parking ticket or maybe we`ll find out that he (INAUDIBLE) his children or something. Look, this is -- Michael Cohen told us what happened. Now, Michael Cohen is the only person that`s been in Trump`s orbit that has actually turned tail and told the truth, and his credibility is not the best, not that I don`t believe him, but it`s not the best because he started off lying.

The problem that we keep running into, I think the problem that we saw with the first grand jury is that they had Allen Weisselberg dead to right on tax evasion and the things that they charged them with. They seemed to have had him absolutely dead to right, and then flipped. Allen Weisselberg so far is willing to take all the weight for the dirt that the Trump Organization did. And as long as Trump keeps finding these people who are willing to go to jail for him or at least to risk going to jail for him, it`s starting to get hard for me to see like when justice is done.

I have every confidence and hope in Alvin Bragg, first black D.A. of Manhattan, I think, first in -- you know, not the first in New York City but the first in Manhattan, has experience as you pointed out, prosecuting the Trump family which I think is a critically important aspect to this, and then obviously there are larger issues with New York City policing and all that kind of stuff. So I have a lot of confidence in Bragg. But at the end of the day if we don`t get one of these cronies to tell the truth, what actually happens?

MELBER: And so what`s your takeaway? I mean, Elie, there are people who say after years of all this, if it`s not going to go all the way to the top for reasons that are arbitrary or structural, time to move on? What do you say to that?

MYSTAL: Oh, no, I mean, you`ve got to -- you have to keep trying. You have to keep pushing the rock up the hill. It might roll back down on you every time but you have to keep trying to hold these people accountable, not trying to hold them accountable in the years from like 1980 to 2015. It`s how we got Trump in the first place. Right? Like so you have to keep trying, keep pushing the rock, you know, keep going to the well.

I`m waiting for the indication that one of these cronies is weak and is wavering and is willing to tell the truth to investigators.

MELBER: Professor, your thoughts on what your counterpart here, the counselor`s analogy of a Sisyphean task for Mueller, Vance and now Bragg, an assorted prosecutors who pushed up the hill and then seemingly get crushed by this orange rock as it were?

MURRAY: Well, I think Elie has not only cited the myth of Sisyphus, he has also cited the myth of Wee-Bey, the perennial person and the liar who was always willing to take weight for the Barksdale crew. And it seems like Donald Trump has quite a few Wee-Beys in his organization. But the question for me is, why can`t this be proven on the papers themselves? I mean, there seems to be a fairly significant record explaining that the use of conservation easements, for example, were used to take tax write-offs on properties that weren`t actually valued that low.

And so you still have a question about making out intent. But there`s a pretty strong paper record it would seem that suggests that there was some devaluation going on for some purposes and an appreciation of the value of certain properties and others. And so it seems like there`s a pretty good paper record here. And maybe that might be enough certainly to put some questions before a jury, but if everything is going to turn on intent, then Elie is exactly right. You need someone who`s going to turn tail the way that Michael Cohen did. So more Michael Cohens, fewer Wee-Beys.

MELBER: Well, if we take that Wee-Bey inspiration for Trump`s legal critics here, Elie, it`s like you want it to be one way but it`s the other way.

MYSTAL: But it`s the other way. And it just keeps being the other way. And it`s not just in New York state with Trump, right? It`s in D.C. It`s inside the beltway with Merrick Garland, you know, kind of slow-walking a bunch of stuff.


It`s been two weeks since Steve Bannon ignored Congress. And we still haven`t seen any charges for him. Right? So like -- the wheels of justice turn slowly and there are good reasons for it to turn slowly. Prosecutors don`t make charges that they don`t think will stick and there is a good reason for them to do that. Like pretty much the only thing worse than not charging Trump will be charging him and then having him walk away Scott- free as if he was being tried in the Senate again.

So like there are good reasons for this to be taking a long time. I just keep waiting for the bit of news that suggests one -- you know, that the pieces on the board have moved in some way. And honestly, I`m still kind of shocked. Maybe it`s just me. I am still shocked that Allen Weisselberg is keeping his mouth shut. Like I really thought that that would be the guy who told the truth because at this point, he has everything to lose and nothing to gain. But he is not. And so we`re still here.

MELBER: Yes. Look, I appreciate the nuance from both of you. The professor reminding us about the vagaries of the procedural amount of time the grand jury has functioned. So while this is an interesting development and certainly newsworthy, let`s keep an eye on what it may or may not mean.

And Elie Mystal, bring in the references, dog. Bring in the references. Thank you both.

MYSTAL: I mean -- thanks for having me.

MELBER: Thank you both. Smiles amidst the hellscape.

I want to tell everyone what`s coming up next because it`s something we`ve been working on this week. It`s a special legal report on something you may have noticed, this rising mainlining on the right of violence and vigilante justice amidst this very important trial of the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery getting a nearly all-white jury. It`s our special report next.



MELBER: We`re living through a time of mounting political extremism and violence. U.S. law enforcement says the greatest threat to Americans now inside the country is not foreign terrorists. It is white supremacists and right-wing extremists. That`s what the data shows and none other than a Trump appointee, FBI director Chris Wray, has warned the public about that under oath.

Now there are many factors at play but experts are especially concerned about how some conservative leaders in politics and media are mainlining and encouraging a kind of street violence and vigilantism. You can see it in the open calls for intimidation and armed militia activity, and insurrection and asking Americans to monitor each other under law as well as outright encouragement of violence.

Our special report right now digs into a few strands of this from actual Republican passed laws like a vigilante system in Texas` abortion limit. That actually hit the Supreme Court this week. On one issue, Justice Sotomayor has called out the tactic in a separate dissent as dangerous to deputize citizens as bounty hunters.

And then there`s the most horrific kind of vigilantism, the killings of unarmed innocent fellow citizens. That issue has hit two courts this week in trials that test what the American public will tolerate right now. How our justice system works and race hanging over all of it. One case puts the Georgia killers of Ahmaud Arbery on trial. Prosecutors stress that they have damning video evidence. A warning, it`s disturbing.


MELBER: Prosecutors say that is murder on tape. The justice system now facing an outcry before this trial even gets going because the jury makeup just finalized is now nearly all white. 11 white jurors, one black juror. The defense attorneys are asking potential jurors about the BLM and history with racial discrimination, and their views on aversion of the Georgia flag that has a confederate battle emblem on it. And this is the part where what is legal can also be astounding.

For decades the courts have struggled to set precise limits on how people can be struck from juries in the first place. Those rules basically remain quite loose, which is why even the judge in this case voiced concern on the record that a technically legal process here is featuring, quote, "intentional discrimination." But that the way they did it kind of walks around the rules and it might be technically legal, even as it does create this nearly all-white jury in the trial about this killing of a black man.

And the burden is on prosecutors. So as a reminder, just one juror can prevent any conviction here. Legal experts are objecting that the case is now already tilted before it even begins. It`s a high-profile test of what white killers might get away with in America. And that`s where this resurgent vigilantism comes in. Racism here is out in the open in many ways right now but it`s not defense in a murder case.

You certainly don`t have defense attorneys trying to say, well, this was a racist revenge killing or a political killing. These killers which include a former police officer claimed they were motivated by a vigilante goal. They claimed they were helping the government patrol the streets. And while the victim Arbery was unarmed, and exercising alone, they say they thought or assume that he had committed some kind of burglary in the neighborhood.

You should know the evidence suggests other motives, including racist messages which led prosecutors to also indict on hate crimes charges. And there are problems here even when racism may not be documented or at play. We live in a highly armed society. Anyone can claim motives about safety before or after a killing, public safety, helping the police. And as this revolutionary and violent talk increases out here on the right, there is mounting evidence of people taking it literally.


An MIT study has found FOX News coverage and glorification of fighting back for some kind of order against a perceived opposition literally drives a desire by some to live out fantasies of taking justice into their own hands. Now, most speech and most of what you`re going to see there on any political program is legally protected. But as a matter of criminology, even if most of the people who hear that speech, most listeners never try to act on it, that may be fine. But when you have an argument that order has been lost and this seeming exhortations for people to defend themselves, others may take it literally with deadly consequences.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Riots are now acceptable because racism is a national emergency. That`s the new standard. When the mobs came, they abandoned us. No one in charge stood up to save America. American citizens are forced to defend themselves. They have no choice. This may be a lot of things, this moment we`re living through. But it is definitely not about black lives. And remember that when they come for you. And at this rate, they will.


MELBER: You hear that? A lot of people hear that. Defend yourself. You have no choice. They`re coming for you. I`m quoting. That`s one part of this resurgent vigilante movement. And what works for FOX News as content, it`s not even working for some very conservative states. Concerns about things getting so out of hand that even the very conservative Georgia is repealing a so-called Citizen`s Arrest Law that was initially invoked to try to get Arbery`s killers off the hook.

And a tragically similar trial is also playing out now in Wisconsin where BLM protests became the site of a gruesome type of tourist vigilante killing. Let me repeat. A tourist vigilante killing. Think about what that is, what that involves, and whether that`s something that should be sanctioned because this individual, Kyle Rittenhouse, is facing a murder trial after bringing an assault weapon to a BLM rally where he shot two protesters to death.

One person who made it on to the jury was had -- was then, I should say, had to be dismissed, this was today, for being caught allegedly sort of trying to say that he made a joke about how police shot Jacob Blake seven times in the black, the very incident that led to the protests where this defendant Rittenhouse killed two people.

There is damning evidence taken by people at the scene there. Prosecutors say again this is what makes their case. It is disturbing. It features Rittenhouse right after the killing, running down the street armed. There`s also video of the actual shooting. We`re not going to play that tonight in this particular report because of how graphic it is.

You can hear witnesses there saying what this individual did. He just killed two people. He wasn`t even apprehended that night the way that police treated him. That came much later. The defense is trying to argue the minor that you see on your screen who literally broke the law to get the gun you see was trying to serve the community, trying to help law enforcement. You see him there with his hands up.

I want to break that down because it is a very illogical reach. That individual was a law breaker. He broke the law to get the gun he used to kill two people. He also didn`t live in that community. So what`s on the line in this trial is whether those kind of defenses gets you anywhere. Can you just illegally get a gun, go somewhere elsewhere where you know people who support BLM are gathered, kill two of them, and then say you were defending a community you don`t live in to support the law when you broke the law to get what the prosecution is calling a murder weapon?

Now, people are documenting this, tracking this, and looking at the threat that we face as a nation. "New Yorker" journalist Paige Williams wrote about this, reporting on the potential future danger of a rising vigilante defense in our country right now saying if this jury sanctions that kind of vigilantism, more altercations between protesters and counter-protesters will turn deadly.

Yes. And why wouldn`t they? The reason the law punishes violence is to deter it. Very simple. The reason the law punishes violence is to deter it in the future. If there is no credible or likely punishment for certain killers, for white killers, far more people may logically see violence as an option for them.

Indeed, the history of American policing, which is different in some ways I would acknowledge, but the history shows how a lack of any punishment correlates with more killings, a contrast to the data we have from many other countries.


The rise in racism and political violence fomented by too many influential people brings back sadly I think the relevance of insights from Martin Luther King who was also murdered by this very kind of political and racist violence. A just society does try to enshrine these values in the law. But Dr. King did warn that some of the most brutal regimes on earth did everything they did under the law. They did it legally.

It was legal at the time because the people in power made it so. So I am telling you tonight as a factual objective reporter, we`ve got to pay attention to what is made legal right now. And again, I try to keep it as clear as possible. There are two main ways something is legal. It is either authorized under the law like some of these state efforts to pass laws that support a type of vigilante justice, or two, it is deemed legal, like actions that a jury validates.

So I`m telling you, America, the stakes are very high as these horrific killings caught on tape get their day in court.



MELBER: Turning now to a special segment that draws on some important history.


JON STEWART, LATE-NIGHT SHOW HOST: Live via satellite, please welcome Michael Steele. Michael?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s how we do it on the street, lunch meat. Hold the phone.

STEELE: So he is my boy. He`s over on the desk over there. Yes, I don`t know. Yes.

MELBER: There`s no Steele like late-night Steele and that brings us to our BEAT segment "Early Late Night with Michael Steele." The Steele you know with the Steele you want to get to know.


MELBER: And here he is, Michael Steele. Welcome to early late night. How you doing?

STEELE: What`s up, Bubaloo? How you doing?

MELBER: You know, I am doing great. People know many things about you and like you for many reasons. But the fact that you`re fun, we want to just -- we`re going to do the late-night energy that Jon Stewart recognized in you. We`re going do it right now and earlier on the East Coast. All right?

STEELE: There you go. That will work.

MELBER: All right. Let`s start with what`s a little fun out here. This is nonpartisan about politics. Imagine that. Shout out to some of the creative citizens who are sharing their experience, starting with something we found down south. A voter talking about when you show up at these polling booths sometimes you have choices to make because they`re, you know, mixed use. Take a look.


MELBER: Shout out, shout out to the right choice. And I got one more for you that`s very quick. And you`ve done campaigns. Voters hear from the candidates and campaigns so much out in Boston where they broke 199 years of men in office, by the way for mayor. Someone saying they`re done. Leave them alone. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So this is for all the Boston politicians. I voted. So can you have your people stop calling and texting me? Thanks. Good luck.


MELBER: What do you think about the ray of light --


MELBER: Yes, what do you think about the fact that we can hear from people, and it`s not always even left-right. It`s just people talking about their experience with this.

STEELE: Well, I love it. And I really wish more Americans would just get into the groove of voting. I love that first clip with the guy standing there with the Halloween and the candy and the fun, and then looking over at this empty space to go vote. And he did -- he recognized his civic duty and leaned into it. And then he goes gets the -- you know, the Halloween candy. That`s how that works.

But the second one, I`m down with that, sister. And would you please stop calling me. Please. No more text messages from numbers that when I go, you know, delete still pop up. But, again, I mean, that`s the process. That`s how it is. And yes, it`s a little bit annoying and it`s a little bit frustrating, but it`s worth it.


STEELE: And I think we recognizing that more and more, right?

MELBER: Yes. I mean, that`s just lighter fun stuff. And I want to mention, you know, people sharing this themselves. We talk about the propaganda online. But there is other good stuff. And honestly, we don`t even know, Michael. We pulled those videos. We don`t know those particular voters` preference or party.

STEELE: Right.

MELBER: Because they didn`t actually share it in that particular video, and that`s cool, too. As for the politics, which I want to get you on as we do "Late Night Steele," boy, some of the reaction seemed pretty overheated. Take a look.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: What we have got tonight is the anatomy really of a democratic meltdown. A complete and total meltdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s an absolute rejection of what`s been going on in the last year in Washington, D.C.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that the Democrats are coming across in ways that we don`t recognize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to believe that they`re having a stroke right now.


MELBER: Michael, you`re a veteran. Is it possible to listen to voters, to learn and pivot without having this proverbial pundit stroke?

STEELE: People need to chill a little pill. I mean, it`s just, I don`t -- you know, like, it`s not the end of the world. It was an election. There are good lessons to learn for Democrats. There are important lessons to learn for Republicans. The parties are going to do what the parties are going to do. The citizens played their role. We saw, you know, increased turnout. And now everyone is sitting back and doing the -- you know, the late night, Monday morning, under the carpet, you know, around the corner quarterbacking.


We don`t know. We`re a year away from next year. What happened -- and I know this firsthand. Winning in 2009, getting Bob McDonald and Chris Christie across the finish line was not -- was not the -- you know, the beginning of what happened in 2010. There was a lot of -- a lot more work that had to go into that. In fact, I got in trouble, imagine that, for going out publicly when I was asked, will Republicans going to take the House in November?

And this was in like February or March. I was like, no, I don`t know. I don`t even have all the candidates who are going to be running in primaries yet. How do I know what House races we`re going to win? So you just don`t know. You got to still do the work in politics. You just do. And it`s just like those first two clips where citizens participated. That`s part of the work. And you got to do it.


STEELE: Because if you don`t, you get what we are going through right now and only next time, folks, it`s going to be worse, dirt. It`s going to be worse.

MELBER: Yes. Well, I appreciate that and you know your way around it. And you`re fun and sober, which we like. A little bit of both. You agreed to do this. I hope you`ll come back and do it again because we can make it a thing at the end of the hour.

STEELE: Of course.

MELBER: Early late night, baby.

STEELE: You got it, my friend, little Ben.

MELBER: Michael Steele, an original. And we will be right back.



MELBER: Thanks for watching THE BEAT. The "REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" is up next.

Hi, Joy?