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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 11/5/21

Guests: Howard Dean, Morris Pearl

Summary

The trial of the men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery begins. Will billionaires ever have to pay their fair share in taxes? Democrats continue to try to get both infrastructure bills passed. A Trump DOJ official tries to defy the January 6 Committee.

Transcript

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: 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. Happy Friday.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Happy Friday. Thanks, Nicolle. Have a great weekend.

I want to welcome everyone to THE BEAT. I`m Ari Melber.

And we start with breaking news.

It`s all going down in Washington, maybe. You`re looking at these live pictures on the House floor. This is the story that we have been tracking all day on MSNBC, Speaker Pelosi promising President Biden is on the precipice of a massive spending victory for his agenda tonight.

If you have heard that before, she is saying -- and the votes counting up suggest why -- this night is different from all other nights, the speaker outlining in public why she says House Democrats now have the votes on President Biden`s sweeping trillion-dollar plan to transform, modernize and basically upend how America does infrastructure.

You may recall the previous president talked a lot about infrastructure, but never did what the Democrats say they are about to do tonight, which is pass this in a way that would go straight to the president`s desk. No more negotiating on this topic.

It would also be the biggest investment in infrastructure in America in decades. Democrats then have the other thing, the groundwork tonight for a sweeping spending package, what`s sometimes referred to as the safety net package that deals with child care, pre-K, and, if Democrats get their way in the House, family leave, climate change.

It`s all very fluid. If you have had any contact with news alerts on your phone, or Web sites that cover this, or all of our colleagues here at MSNBC, you have a sense of just how fast it`s been moving today, including the president calling on Congress to get this done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right now, we stand on the cusp of historic economic progress. It`s two bills that, together, will create millions of jobs, grow the economy, invest in our nation and our people.

I`m asking every House member -- member of the House of Representatives to vote yes on both these bills right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Vote yes.

And, again, the news, the headline here amidst all of the details and the back-and-forth, is that the Democrats say they have the votes on the trillion. And that would go right to the president for a signature. So that could happen very soon.

This is, of course, around the same time that, whatever happens in Congress, there are signs that the so-called Biden economy continues to bounce, some of the best economic news in months, over half-a-million jobs added. This has smashed some expectations. Biden and Democrats are saying you want to build on that and get the infrastructure money.

That news could come any time in terms of turning these predictions, these projections, these basic announcements of victory into an actual vote that then goes to the president`s desk. So it is a big night. They are close.

And I`m joined now by someone who knows exactly what it takes to get things done by Democrats in Washington, Howard Dean, who literally ran the DNC, and MSNBC analyst Katty Kay.

Katty, I go to you as the independent, objective observer. Is this night different from other nights? Because Democrats have previously said they were close to a spending deal.

KATTY KAY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I think it`s different for two reasons. If they get the spending deal, yes, it`s a big deal. It allows the president, as he said in his speech today at the White House, to build on the momentum of that great jobs numbers.

It`s good news for the president`s economic agenda. It`s also big news, though, Ari, if they don`t get the votes tonight, and there`s some indication that those progressive Democrats may hold out, that the vote could perhaps go the wrong way for the White House.

And that`s important news, too, because here is President Biden trying to make the functioning nature of democracy a cornerstone of his presidency. And this would suggest to the American people that, at the moment, at least, democracy is not functioning particularly well for people.

So I think it`s big news either way.

MELBER: Yes, fair enough.

Howard, Speaker Pelosi today spoke about why it`s harder to get Democrats to do things than Republicans. It sounds like a wild generalization. And yet it seems true. You can give us your view, as someone who ran the party, literally, but here`s what she said about that today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: At a certain point, do you worry it starts to look like the Democrats can`t get out of their own way?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): No, welcome to my world. This is the Democratic Party.

It is -- Will Rogers said it very well, wherever he is.

(CROSSTALK)

PELOSI: And it is a party whose vitality and diversity is something that we all respect and admire. We`re not a lockstep party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[18:05:08]

MELBER: Howard?

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I think that`s right.

I have always said that the Republicans are incredibly disciplined. They understand that politics is, as Clausewitz said, simply substitute for war, or war by another means. And that`s true.

However, that makes them very good at politics and terrible at governing. Witness what happened in the last four years and, frankly, in the four years of -- or the eight years of George W. Bush, when we spent our blood and treasure in Iraq, for no good end.

So, what we do, do well is govern. And the reason we do well at governing is because we examine issues and we let the full debate and we let everybody get represented. We don`t do what McConnell is doing. Our goal was never to make sure that Republicans look bad. Their goal is just to make us look bad.

Now, we need to pass this bill. Biden is right about this. And this time for shilly-shallying around is over. And at this point, this is the most successful speaker in the history of the United States. And we hope that she`s going to be successful, because she -- if she isn`t, we`re going to see more of what we saw on Tuesday.

And that is something I think that`s unacceptable to the American people. And it`s certainly unacceptable to the president. And I support the president on this one.

MELBER: Yes, you mentioned the Tuesday results.

Katty, we have been covering those on THE BEAT. Hear me out, kind of a crazy idea. But we have been doing it just sort of objectively with what we know from historical precedent, which suggests that the incumbent president almost always loses some of those off-year governor`s races. There also were various broken with women in becoming mayor in Boston, a black mayor in New York, a lot of notes to it.

But it certainly hangs over the practical reality, what the Democrats are doing, to Howard`s point, because there`s a perception, at least in the Beltway, that they have to change up.

You do have other indications, though -- and the White House may lean into this at some point -- that what they have done thus far might be worth continuing.

We have a very simple chart here, again, just objectively, of what the Trump job growth was like and what he was overseeing. And the president tense to own the economy -- we will put this up -- vs. -- that`s on the right there -- two million, Biden already not just surpassing that, but more than doubling it.

Katty, where does that fit into Democrats taking this spending what they say will be a victory tonight out to the public?

KAY: Yes, I mean, look, the job growth numbers today, nobody would argue that they were not good news for the White House.

And the White House hasn`t had very good -- much good economic news recently. I know that the inflation numbers are keeping them up at night. Paradoxically, it could be that inflation being a little higher has spurred some people to reenter the job market, right? Prices are high, so you have to go out and get a job. I mean, that`s sort of one spin on inflation and these job numbers today.

But they have to build on it. I don`t think it`s enough for Democrats to say, we had one great jobs numbers, or even to say, well, Tuesday`s votes were in line with history. That was clearly a repudiation of the Democratic Party on Tuesday. There`s no way -- I don`t -- I think that Democrats would be remiss to think, oh, well, that was just -- that was what we were expecting to happen.

And people want government to do something. The president`s spending package earlier this year was actually very popular. People wanted coming out of COVID to know that the government was doing something for them. And I think that`s why it`s so urgent now for the White House to be able to get something done, to show that it`s continuing that path of actual competency.

MELBER: Yes, and that`s -- and that`s why the two are linked.

I want to thank Katty Kay.

Howard, I`m going to come back to you a little later to talk about Maseratis and Joe Manchin. That`s the tease, so hang with us.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: But we heard from the president, the speaker.

Now we hear from someone who might really know what`s going on, NBC`s Garrett Haake.

Garrett, you`re not the president. You`re not the speaker of the House. We presented their view of why this is going so well, why they say that this is victory an inch away. But we go to you for the more objective, real- world take, because you`re really there counting votes.

I used to work in that building. Nothing`s done until it`s done. What can you tell us?

GARRETT HAAKE, NBC NEWS CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that`s exactly right, Ari.

Look, if this is going to happen tonight -- and it may yet still -- it`s going to happen ugly, because the process by which the infrastructure bill, that hard infrastructure bill, could end up on the president`s desk is ultimately going to involve progressives in the House getting jammed.

The choice that Speaker Pelosi has made today is to separate the two bills, the Build Back Better, that social spending, and climate change bill. That was supposed to move in some degree in tandem with the hard infrastructure bill.

But after leaning on the moderate members all day long and getting nowhere, the speaker, and in consultation clearly with the White House, has changed course and decided what they`re going to do is separate these two bills, vote on that procedural vote on the Build Back Better bill tonight, and really push hard on hard infrastructure.

[18:10:10]

That involved the president personally reaching out to Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. We know the president`s making other phone calls.

But progressives are upset by this. They want these two bills to move together. And they continue to say, many of them, including Cori Bush, for example, have said they`re going to vote no tonight. And as we have said many times on this broadcast and up and down on MSNBC, Pelosi has no margin for error here. She needs to get basically everyone on board.

And so we have been watching the House leadership keep this other vote open all -- the last two hours or so. They are twisting arms, trying to make sure that they can in fact deliver on this promise that the president and the speaker have now made that they think they can finish this thing tonight.

MELBER: Yes.

So, Garrett, door number one is, they find these votes and they pass the trillion-dollar infrastructure spending tonight. Door number two is, if that doesn`t happen tonight, Pelosi still says, long term, they would have those votes. Do you agree with that assessment?

HAAKE: I think that`s a fair assessment.

But the longer you wait, the more challenging this becomes. Speed kills legislating. And when you slow down, there`s always something else that can trip you up. Maybe it`s a bad CBO score down the line. Maybe it`s a problem in the Senate.

You`re already looking at this incredible traffic jam of things the Senate has to get done before the end of this year, with not a lot of working time left. They`re out next week. They`re out the week of Thanksgiving. They`re supposed to be out before Christmas.

The lawmakers do not always like to work around the holidays, but they have a lot on their plate. So there is in theory still time. But every moment wasted as we get closer to the end of the year just makes this more difficult.

MELBER: Yes, you said traffic jam.

And that brings us to a little Maserati that I bet you know about. We will let you get back to work.

And MSNBC viewers, I think, will see more of Garrett as we track this into the night.

Thank you, sir.

Howard Dean is standing by to get through the traffic jam, because this is pretty interesting amidst all of this. We had protests of the Democrats` Senate holdout, Joe Manchin, who has actually contributed to what we just heard was the traffic jam.

He has, of course, spiked click key climate provisions from the Biden plan. Here, there was chanting as he walked out on the street, a sign, "Manchin`s Burning Our Future For Profit." This is the kind of direct activism that he`s facing.

Then they followed him as he got into his -- how do you get out of traffic? Into his Maserati, going into a parking garage today. At another point, they were surrounding the car, these activists, going inside the parking garage, and all the while giving the holdout powerful senator and his Maserati an earful.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PROTESTER: Joe Manchin, is it worth it? Is the money worth throwing our futures downriver? Joe Manchin, is the money that green? Is it that good for you? Is the money that important, Joe Manchin? Is it more important than my life?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: This is not the first time that the senator`s high-price transportation choices have found himself on the other side of activists.

Many people felt he gave as good as he got here when these kayakers went to his boat. They confronted him there. That`s his D.C. house boat. He did stand out on the ledge and dialogue with them.

I want to bring back in Howard Dean and ask you, A, what do you think of all this? And, B, people know you as a kind of a pragmatic progressive, if you will. Labels are difficult. But I don`t know if you would accept that one.

Do you think this kind of direct action at this juncture has any effect on Manchin and others?

DEAN: That`s hard to say.

Manchin`s in a unique position. He has the power to derail the president`s objective. He has the power to derail -- he comes from a state that has been voting heavily Republican, so -- although they need this bill more than almost anybody else. And this is all going to come to a head at some point.

But, right now, it isn`t at a head until he votes. And we need his vote. My own view of this is, I think we need to get this bill to the Senate and get it out of the House, and then is the time to focus on Manchin. But I -- there`s always going to be protesters. I have had them when I was governor, and everybody else has them.

And I -- it`s important to have protesters, because they are right. We need to do climate change. And we aren`t doing it. And Joe Manchin is one of the reasons it`s not happening. So I`m very patient about this. I`m focused on the House right now. Then we will try to deal with Senator Sinema and Senator Manchin when we really need their votes.

But that`s not until after we get this done in the House. Whether it`s done tonight or done next week, it has to get done.

MELBER: Yes. And that`s why there`s all eyes here on the House on what`s really going to happen. Is there this breakthrough tonight? That would then go right to the president`s desk.

That would be the biggest thing for Biden in months and coming off, as discussed, those elections that might right really play big.

[18:15:05]

DEAN: Right.

MELBER: Or, procedurally, will they need to take a little more time?

Governor Dean, thank you for covering more than one angle with us.

DEAN: Thanks for having me, Ari, as always.

MELBER: As always.

DEAN: And this night is different than every other night.

MELBER: Did you get the reference, though?

DEAN: Of course I got the reference.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: For anyone wondering, because...

DEAN: Tonight, we recline.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: Yes, yes, I`m reclining.

And for anyone wondering, because we`re inclusive with all our references here -- sometimes, it`s music.

DEAN: That`s right.

MELBER: Sometimes, it`s even an older book of lyrics, in this case, the Passover story from the Torah.

Good to see you, Howard.

Coming up, I want to tell everyone we have got some other really important stuff. It is a Friday, but, boy, do we have a lot of news.

Opening statements in these trials of the men who gunned down an unarmed black jogger. I`m going to give you a deep dive. I`m going to show you what`s happening in court and some more things that we think you need to know.

Also, a Trump DOJ official, a veteran, trying to defy the January 6 Committee. David Corn is here.

And then we have a special guest on a bigger issue that hangs over everything in Washington. What is up with the billionaires who have enriched themselves during this pandemic, their yachts, the other yachts, the yachts with little yachts behind them?

We`re going to get into all of that and how to fix it later tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Developing news in the ongoing insurrection investigation.

[18:20:01]

The Trump Justice Department lawyer who was at the center of so much of this, Jeffrey Clark, deposed before the committee, but refusing to answer substantive questions.

The committee chair, Thompson, is saying in a statement that came out late today the committee will take strong measures to hold him accountable. Political reporting that could also lead to a separate referral to DOJ for contempt of Congress. That is the medicine that was served up to Steve Bannon.

Clark was involved in Trump`s -- quote -- "frenzied efforts" to overturn the election, according to "The Times"` reporting there, at the end of the run of the Trump presidency, Thompson telling NBC 20 more subpoenas are ready to go out.

Meanwhile, there`s reporting that one of the January 6 rioters told the committee about contacts between Republican officials in a key state Trump lost and allies of Trump in the weeks leading up to that January 6 attack.

There`s also new video of Rudy Giuliani admitting under oath that he didn`t do any due diligence on the lies around the election. He just spread them.

It`s a reminder that, in many ways, both in the committee process and the courts, accountability continues.

I`m joined by Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" David Corn.

Your thoughts?

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think you`re right, with the key word there being accountability. That`s what this committee is doing.

And I`m glad they`re not just looking at what happened on January 6. I mean, we know most of that story, the violence, the insurrectionist violence. We don`t know what Trump did throughout the day. There was a great "Washington Post" slam-bang story, three-part story, that came out a few days ago that showed Trump kind of confused, telling Kevin McCarthy at one point, it`s Antifa, and then yelling at Kevin McCarthy, these people care about Trump more than you do.

Well, it can`t be both, right? So we still don`t know a lot of what went on at the White House that day. But the Jeffrey Clark part of this, I think, is really important. He was a senior Justice Department official, head of the Civil Division, had nothing to do with election fraud or ballot -- vote counting anywhere. That wasn`t his purview.

Yet he started pressing the acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, to tell the states, Georgia and other states, you guys should say that you`re not going to certify the election and send us different electors, meeting Trump electors, and state that there was corruption.

He was doing this in league with Trump.

MELBER: Yes.

CORN: And so to get that whole story out there, they need his testimony. And the idea that he can hide behind executive privilege that Trump himself has not invoked -- you know about this being a lawyer.

I mean, Trump even put out a statement say he wouldn`t block Jeffrey Clark`s interview with the committee, but yet Clark saying, well, there may be executive privilege. So it`s a bogus legal argument. It`s highly, highly important for us to know what went on there.

And the committee only has a year to do this, in case anything happens in the midterms, because, if the Republicans win the House, they`re going to shut it down, and we won`t get that accountability that you mentioned.

MELBER: Yes.

And you talk about Clark. I mean, these are figures that might be less politically famous, so to speak. They might not have spent years right in front of the camera. But these were the people that went farthest in trying to execute the coup. For a range of reasons, Donald Trump was not as effective in the upper echelon of the military.

But you don`t have to be a student of world history to understand that the guns can be dangerous in one way and the prosecutors can be dangerous in another way. But they do have the power to indict and arrest. They could put political prisoners and journalists in jail. The farther that this president got into the Justice Department and the farther they might go without accountability then becomes a license for next time.

As to the Giuliani side, where there`s these ongoing lawsuits, here was him being deposed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It`s not my job, in a fast-moving case, to go out and investigate every piece of evidence that is given to me. Otherwise, you`re never going to write a story. You never come to a conclusion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That is -- I should say, it was obtained first by CNN, but it is just standard deposition. That`s his defense of lying.

Your thoughts?

CORN: He used to be a prosecutor, right? And if you had said that in a court before a judge, your case would be thrown out, if it was against a mobster, an inside trader, all the people that he used to go after.

I mean, again and again, he and Sidney Powell, the other attorney who`s been sued in a lot of these cases, they keep saying, oh, we just said what people were telling us or we heard. We didn`t check this.

[18:25:00]

So, they`re trying to undermine the election and overthrow -- basically overthrow democracy, and they`re not bothering to check facts. We have seen this again and again. We see a lot of people were involved in this effort after election.

Matt Schlapp, conservative activist, was in Nevada, saying, there are votes here that don`t exist. Wrong. No evidence. People just saying again and again there was fraud. They just state there was fraud, without proving it, without even a shred of evidence. And every once in a while, there`s a video showing someone doing something like putting -- moving a carton under a table, and they go, aha.

But as soon as that is investigated, of course, it`s nothing. So there is no sense of responsibility here. And I`m hoping that, either through bar associations or lawsuits like that deposition comes out of, that there`s some punishment. There has to be some penalty for people who try to poison the minds of Americans and try to poison democracy and subvert it.

This is one reason we had all those people who didn`t know better, though they still did the wrong thing, attacking the Capitol on January 6. They believed, foolishly, what Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani were saying, and these people were just outright lying.

And if they get away with it, they will just figure out how to do it better next time around. This is in some ways might be a test run or rehearsal for something down the road.

MELBER: Yes, I think you make a very incisive point, as you often do, David, and that goes to why the stakes are higher.

And I get that people tire of that. They`re told by many people, empowered, otherwise, every election is the most important, all this and that. But I do think, objectively, the stakes are quite high for the reasons you state and for the fact that we know what it looked like when there was possible moderate consensus on how bad January 6 was.

And that was a better moment. It was just brief. Mitch McConnell said it was an insurrection on the floor. Lindsey Graham, who was all over the place -- I mean, the guy obviously could go into yoga, with how flexible he is, if he ends politics, in terms of his career choices.

But he that day said: I`m done. I`m through it. I wash my hands of it.

He`s walked that back, we know, . We know what a consensus looks like, at least on the low, low bar of saying you can`t openly support violent insurrections to overthrow the government and also be in office. But as the days and then weeks went on, we saw the Republican Party become much more of a party that embraces this kind of violence and a riot-adjacent party, at a minimum.

And so that really, I think, speaks to it. And then you have, at the pointy end of that stick Steve Bannon defying the committee and making a public show of it. Take a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: The Biden presidency ended last night.

For little Bennie -- for little Jamie Raskin and Bennie Thompson, here`s a quote for your committee: We killed it in the crib, OK?

Less than one year from the big steal, they got shattered last night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: You see what a provocateur he is. He`s going out of his way to say, here`s a quote for your committee. I will say it in public, while I legally defy your committee and thus defy the DOJ to do anything about it.

How important is it that Bannon faces consequences?

CORN: Well, it`s important.

I mean, in some ways, I don`t think getting his testimony is that important, because he will likely lie. I mean, he`s lied all along. I don`t think, because he comes before the committee, he will tell the truth.

I do think the fight over the documents may in the end be the most important thing. That -- and you notice, that`s what Trump is resisting. That`s where Trump is invoking executive privilege, because the documents probably show what he was doing that day. There are memos, there are calendars, phone conversations, comprise very strong investigative leads, probably just good information that an investigative body would want to have that would be real-time information, not someone`s self-serving recollections or their failures to remember.

So I think that`s really important there. And Steve Bannon has -- was an alt-right guy coming into the Trump campaign. He said so. He has sort of hobnobbed with white nationalists around the around the globe, and people who tend toward the fascistic side of the political spectrum.

So it`s not surprising. But it goes to, end of the day, if people like him and Trump himself get away with this, they will only be emboldened. And that`s why the election results -- and I will agree with Steve Bannon on this -- that doesn`t kill the investigation in the crib, but the election results show that there`s still a lot of Americans, at least in the state of Virginia and New Jersey, who say the Republican Party is fine with them, even if it has enabled and supported Trump`s lies, treachery, as well as his inept handling of the pandemic.

[18:30:04]

That they`re still -- that they still will support a party that supports Trump, and that supports members of Congress who are downplaying and dismissing the January 6 attack, as you just noted.

So that is, indeed, I think, a bad sign for democracy, which is probably why Steve Bannon is so giddy about it.

MELBER: Yes.

And I think, in a roundabout way, the point you raise also speaks to why Trump is still a drag. The party did better in Virginia without him than with him. And so it is this -- it is this dance they`re doing. And a lot of voters may not be following it as closely as you or MSNBC viewers, news viewers, and may not see today`s battles over the economy, schools, billionaires as deeply tied to a weirdo who was president once.

I mean, people move on. They don`t always follow it so closely. And yet, as you have illustrated, there are some real threats on the horizon.

David, I wish you a great weekend.

CORN: Same to you, Ari.

MELBER: Thank you.

Up ahead, we are getting into the billionaires, taxing the rich, a very special guest who happens to be very wealthy and is inviting the government to tax him more. And we will explain why.

We have our shortest break now, 60 seconds.

And when I come back, I`m going to show you what`s happening in this trial today, the Ahmaud Arbery killing, and what we need to do about vigilante justice in America -- a legal report next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Now to our legal report.

The trial of the white man who hunted down and killed an unarmed black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery, formally began today with the opening statements, prosecutors saying in court these men murdered Arbery in cold blood based on false assumptions about him.

The defense previewing the case that concedes this killing was -- quote -- "tragic," while claiming the men who brought the lethal weapon to the scene were then the ones that had to resort to -- quote -- "self-defense."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDA DUNIKOSKI, COBB COUNTY, GEORGIA, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We`re here because of assumptions and driveway decisions, and they made decisions in their driveways based on those assumptions that took a young man`s life.

And that is why we are here.

ROBERT RUBIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And it`s tragic. It`s tragic that Ahmaud Arbery lost his life.

But, at that point, Travis McMichael is acting in self-defense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Even just that brief excerpt of the opening arguments can tell you something really big about this case. It`s not a mystery. This isn`t a murder trial about alibis, I was somewhere else, or alternative killers, you got the wrong guy.

These men killed an unarmed jogger who was minding his own business. And both sides agree on that in court today. The defense is trying to find jurors who will view this as some kind of vigilante effort to track down Arbery as a valid activity, and then view the ensuing struggle as Arbery becoming the threat.

The murder defendants are claiming they wanted to make a citizen`s arrest. And this court will be evaluating that. This also involves human beings. And it was very emotional in court today, Arbery`s mom upset, understandably, as the video of her son`s killing was played by the prosecution, sad and gruesome, but necessary, they say, for the jurors to see the facts of what happened.

Indeed, many question whether this would ever be an indicted case had there not been the video. Prosecutors emphasizing what is on tape. They say Arbery was the one under attack first, and that any person might take measures to try to survive when attacks by strangers that chase you down with a gun.

[18:35:03]

Now, this case is racially charged in several ways. And now the makeup of the jury itself is charged too, because defense attorneys used legal loopholes to cut out potential black jurors. It`s now a nearly all-white jury that will assess the actions of these white killers, 11 white people and one black man.

Now, that is so extreme. Don`t take my word for it. Listen to the trial judge, who felt the need to openly condemn the discrimination found by the court, noting how many of the black candidates for the jury who seemed completely qualified were just repeatedly struck by defense lawyers, not allowed to be on the jury.

The judge saying this, and you might go OK, Ari, well, isn`t the judge in charge, and if it`s intentional discrimination, couldn`t the judge stop it? But, actually, as the judge basically makes reference to here, under Supreme Court precedent, an individual trial judge cannot actually prevent this outcome.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE TIMOTHY WALMSLEY, EASTERN CIRCUIT SUPERIOR COURT: This court has found that there appears to be intentional discrimination in the panel.

Quite a few African-American jurors were excused through preemptory strikes exercised by the defense. But that doesn`t mean that the court has the authority to reseat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The judge is doing what he does. That`s his job. I`m going to do what I do.

Translation: This is racist. The defense lawyers are striking people because of the color of their skin, because they`re black. And they`re using tricks that the judge is not allowed to prevent.

And English translation: That`s why he references so-called preemptory challenges. That`s legal jargon. The jargon doesn`t matter. The point is, even the judge in this case is calling it out and making sure people understand that, under the rules, he doesn`t have the authority to stop it. That`s messed up.

Critics say the result is that now a case involving allegations of racist violence includes a jury selected in a manner so racist, it doesn`t even reflect a local population. More black people live in that local area that are on the jury, about 27 percent. It`s a legal issue that we actually noted in some of our reporting earlier this week.

It stems from a controversial 1986 Supreme Court case that effectively allows this, because that precedent, it only bars outright racial discrimination, but not the other methods to get the same result, which means lawyers can get around the rule against outright racism.

Some legal critics have called this a toothless and inadequate approach, and it drives outcomes like what we`re seeing in this trial now, where Arbery`s killers face a lopsided jury. As "The New York Times" reports, it is 91 percent white in an area that`s about 64 percent white.

And all of that may impact how receptive the remaining jurors are to the argument that these white killers were actually somehow on the side of the law as they tried to do citizen vigilantism that hunted down and killed an unarmed black man.

So we will keep monitoring that important case.

There`s another murder trial that actually gets into similar claims, teenager Kyle Rittenhouse on trial for murdering two BLM protesters in Wisconsin. There was damning testimony today from a witness who initially saw this killer as really more of, according to the witness, an idiot than a lethal threat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you think of him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A babbling idiot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you consider him a threat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: There`s nothing new about this kind of political violence across America. Indeed, what you need to understand is that, every time there has been steps for racial and legal equality advancing civil rights in America, there has been a rise in violence against black people and those who support civil rights, violence by the state, anti-black terrorism, and violence against people who may not be black, but actually stand with black people for their equality, for their human rights.

That happened to the Freedom Riders in the `60s. There was terrorism against those riders that involved murdering white and black people who were supporting civil rights, just a Rittenhouse is on trial for murdering two white people that supported the idea that black lives matter, which is why he illegally obtained a gun -- that`s not in doubt -- and showed up at a BLM protest and gunned down to people.

That is the context for the consequences and the climate where people openly sympathize with vigilantism or even these killers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: So, are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He was in very big trouble. He would have been -- he probably would have been killed.

JOHN PIERCE, ATTORNEY: He`s a good kid. He`s a lifeguard. Kenosha was burning down.

[18:40:01]

CARLSON: How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order, when no one else would?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s the story.

But if you reverse the race of the individuals, sadly, some of those people would say the opposite thing, which is a reminder of how racism hangs over all of this in a heavily armed society.

And we`re showing you the limits of a justice system that says racism is illegal -- it does say that -- you will get a 9-0 ruling from the Supreme Court on that, racism, for example, in a courtroom -- but then allows things that lead a judge in America to stand up and say, everyone, hear this, they are being racist in how they remove jurors.

And who`s going to decide whether you can openly hunt down and kill these people? Well, in our justice system, it will be the jurors. Remember all this talk about structural and systemic racism? It doesn`t mean every single person is racist. It doesn`t mean everyone`s even aware of all this stuff.

It means that, in the structures of our system, most of which was built a long time ago, when things were very different, there are all these ways that, even when someone is put on trial, there`s a lot of support for what on tape looked a lot, legally, like murder.

We will keep reporting these cases for you.

We have got a lot more in tonight`s program, including Speaker Pelosi pushing the Biden agenda. She says it`ll be the biggest victory of the year soon. Will billionaires ever have to pay anything, though?

We have a special guest on that and whether people like Jeff Bezos, who`ve profited off the pandemic, will ever pay their share.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:45:23]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": In Washington, D.C., a group of trick or treaters decided to hit up Bezos` mansion, only to be told by a man on an intercom that they were not participating in Halloween.

(BOOING)

COLBERT: Wow. Wow. Not participating in Halloween? Then why did he spend all year costumed as Panic Pete, the squeeze toy?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Real Scrooge vibes here, Colbert knocking Bezos for not even giving out candy, which clearly any member of the staff could do.

The reason he wasn`t there is because he was somewhere else, at Bill Gates` birthday, held on a super yacht. Bezos then went to his own super yacht, the Flying Fox, which he will reportedly soon upgrade to a bigger super yacht that will look like this.

On completion, it`ll be the biggest sailing yacht in the world with its own support yacht, because Bezos will either take the yacht to his own $78 million Hawaiian estate, which adds fuel to critics who question how Bezos has managed to pay zero income tax for years.

And we have a special guest on this.

Morris Pearl is a former investment executive who leads Patriotic Millionaires. And I`m going to speak with him right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:51:55]

MELBER: Billionaires are under scrutiny.

And there`s new reporting that 18 different billionaires, which shows you how they all do similar tricks, got stimulus checks, all because they use so many tax deductions that they effectively on paper claim to make no money, which is false.

As promised, we turn to someone very special making a BEAT debut. Morris Pearl is a successful investment and executive who now leads Patriotic Millionaires, which actually supports higher taxes on people like him.

Just last month, he was actually in West Virginia leading a protest outside of Senator Manchin`s office, calling on him to join Democrats in different ways to petition for raising taxes on the rich.

Thanks for being here.

MORRIS PEARL, CHAIR, PATRIOTIC MILLIONAIRES: Great to be on your show, Ari.

MELBER: Absolutely.

To turn the phrase around, you`re someone voting against your economic interests, but in a way that you think might be good for society.

We walked through just some of these highlights here. What do they tell you about something that might be artificial or distortive in benefits for billionaires?

PEARL: Well, thing is, Ari, we have a federal income tax in this country.

And the secret is, if you`re already rich, you don`t need any income. People like you, you get a paycheck every week, and you have tax deducted from it. But if you`re already rich, you can take money out of your stock portfolio and never have any taxable income, the way it`s defined.

I can spend tons of money and not pay any tax at all, because I don`t work. I`m an investor. I get investment income.

MELBER: Yes.

I noticed something you said that was in a "Times" report where you seem to speak candidly, the way that I guess some billionaires might choose not to. You just said, well, you can go years without paying traditional real taxes the way other people do.

Is that because of that reason that you`re explaining?

PEARL: Well, it`s true.

If you have a huge stock portfolio -- Mr. Bezos has over $100 million worth of stock -- you can deduct cash from that portfolio year after year after year. And, yes, the stock brokerage company will sell some of it after you die, but you can go forever without paying any income taxes because you don`t have any taxable income.

That`s the secret.

MELBER: And here we are, the secret on live TV. People can now know about it.

So, is it viable to do a wealth tax, like Senator Warren and others have advocated?

PEARL: Of course.

This country was founded by the founding fathers, who had wealth taxes. They charged people taxes based on their wealth, which was all in their real estate. Nowadays, well, people who own homes, homeowners, still do pay a wealth tax, because they pay tax on most of their wealth, which is their houses, every single year.

But billionaires, they don`t have wealth tax on most of their wealth. Yes, if we own real estate, we do pay taxes on it. But we don`t pay any wealth tax on all of the stocks and companies and shares and things like that we own. And it`s really the country is not like it used to be.

This country was created by the founding fathers, who created commonwealths, because they understood we needed common wealth to actually do things. Now that`s just gone by the wayside. People who work for a living, they pay taxes because they have income on their paychecks and taxes deducted from that every single week.

But people who are investors, they don`t have to pay taxes. They`re already rich.

MELBER: How do your former investment colleagues react to your public stance?

PEARL: Most people I talk to understand that`s the truth.

I mean, yes, some clients don`t like that. And, yes, there are greedy people who don`t like to pay taxes. But almost everybody I talk to understands, that there`s no reason why wealthy people who get investment income should pay tax at a far lower rate than people who actually work for a living.

[18:55:08]

It`s absolutely not fair that I can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars and pay essentially no taxes at all. And so my wealth gets higher and higher and higher every year, even if I spend the same amount of money as you do, because people like you have paychecks with taxes deducted from it, and so have less money to save.

MELBER: Yes.

PEARL: And our society is getting more and more unequal, because the rich are getting richer and richer and richer, and a lot of people who work for a living are just falling farther and farther behind. That doesn`t work in the long term.

MELBER: Yes. Yes.

And I think getting that fact out there alone may change the dynamic for how people want to fund the government, which is the big question these days.

Morris Pearl, very interesting. I want to thank you.

And we will be back with one more thing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Rudy Giuliani did not even try to verify election claims, as admitted in a new deposition, and he just went out and pushed them, which brings us back to that memory of Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

You remember the disastrous press conference, but you can learn a lot more about the backstory in "Four Seasons Total Documentary," which actually airs right here on MSNBC Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. We encourage you to check out the total story in the total documentary.

As always, thanks for watching THE BEAT. Have a great weekend.

And keep it locked right now, because "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" starts now.