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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 4/29/21

Guests: Dayna Perry, Olivia Nuzzi, Michael Cohen, Emily Bazelon, Daniella Gibbs Leger


Former attorney to Donald Trump facing intensified probe with feds now having his phone and computer after the raid on his office and apartments. Biden traveled to Duluth, Georgia, to tout jobs agenda on the 100th day of his presidency. Ex-Trump lawyer prosecuted by the same office probing Rudy Giuliani, saying both Trump and Rudy might be scared after the raid. During his first address to Congress, President Biden laid out plans for education, childcare, and jobs.


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

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hey, Nicole. Thank you so much. Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber. And boy, do we have a lot of news happening right now in this hour.

President Biden in Duluth, Georgia, that`s right outside of Atlanta. This is his 100th day in office. And we are waiting a rally after that big and ambitious speech to Congress last night. So, we`re keeping an eye on this. We have special guests and we`re going to dip in and listen to him live if he speaks this hour.

We begin, though, with the biggest story in the country, the criminal probe intensifying into Rudy Giuliani. A story that touches not only on everything we lived through in the last four years but where we`re headed now as a nation and what it means of course for an ex-president who remains under criminal investigation for trying to steal an election.

What`s new is the feds now have Giuliani`s phone and electric devices and computer after raiding his apartment and office. Giuliani himself now speaking out for the very first time on what he`s up against and the raid. Here`s what he says.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: The report on WABC a moment ago is that the search warrant involves my pressuring Ukrainian officials on behalf of President Trump. Nothing of the sort. The search warrant involves something totally opposite. Search warrant is one act of failing to register as a foreign -- failing to file as a foreign agent, which is completely false.


MELBER: This is Mr. Giuliani`s response and defense. We want to bring it to you. We`re not able at this time to fact check it yet, although all of this is coming through different reporting and sources. What he is asserting is that the issue at hand, and he says the only issue, was an alleged failure to register as a foreign agent. And as you just heard, he`s denying that he actually made that failure.

Now, we don`t know what else is coming. But for a judge to approve this type of search warrant, they believe Giuliani has evidence of a crime. Now, Donald Trump`s DOJ tried to hold back this search according to "The New York Times." And today I mentioned to you how big a story this is, it touches on the two Justice Departments, it touches on the insurrection, it touches on whether Donald Trump broke laws in two plots against the Bidens, basically. The first one of course with the Ukraine malfeasance and the second one, what we all just recently lived through, the effort by Rudy Giuliani to overturn a lawful election.

So, the new president understandably asked about this. President Biden telling our colleague, MSNBC`s Craig Melvin he did not know about this federal raid beforehand.


CRAIG MELVIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Were you aware of that raid before it happened?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I give you my word I was not. I made a pledge. I would not interfere in any way, order or try to stop any investigation the Justice Department had. I learned about that last night when the rest of the world learned about it.


MELBER: That`s very interesting. And whatever happens in this case, of course, it`s a marked contrast to how Donald Trump tried to illicitly control aspects of the government that are supposed to be independent. There you have the president, knows what a big-ticket issue this is, we`re literally talking about raiding a lawyer who represented the former president, and he says, on his honor, you heard it, he didn`t know about it in advance, and he wouldn`t want to because he respects DOJ independence.

We`re also learning about a voicemail between Giuliani and Joseph Bondi. He`s the lawyer for indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, that investigators might be interested in. In this call you have Giuliani instructing Bondi to call him back at a redacted number, quote, "the soon to be gotten rid of number." Very interesting.

And this is apparently a quite thorough investigation. "Politico" reports the FBI now interviewed a former Ukrainian lawmaker last year about Giuliani`s activities there, and we`re learning the warrants include an allegation of what Giuliani mentioned in that audio I played you tonight, that he failed to register as a foreign agent.

Now, you may recall we`ve shown video of Giuliani in Ukraine. A trip that he admitted was taken on Trump`s behalf for his Ukraine plot. He said, quote, "We`re not meddling in an election. We`re meddling in an investigation. This isn`t foreign policy and that he was going there to help his client, the president of the United States, Donald Trump. And there was nothing illegal about it."

Well, that`s his view. And he is a lawyer. And he used to run the Southern District of New York. But right now, the people who do run the Southern District of New York with its massive federal investigative powers, as I`m reporting to you, they think there may be illegal things here. They convinced a judge there may be evidence of a crime, whether that`s committed by Giuliani or someone else in Giuliani`s apartment.

As we`ve told you in our reports before, these legal questions are ultimately not up to the people involved, the defendants or the people tweeting or the people making all kinds of conspiracy theories about other people. The legal questions are resolved in our system. First through the investigative process and ultimately if there is a trial, through our legal process. It`s up to those processes to decide.

Giuliani admitting that during this trip he was there because Trump asked him to go there, something that Trump even denied.


GIULIANI: The president of the United States, I can tell you this, is asking for this.

BILL O`REILLY, HOST: Did you direct him to go to Ukraine and do anything?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I didn`t direct it. But he is a warrior. Rudy is a warrior.


MELBER: Quote, "I didn`t direct him." Spoken like someone who has been in and out of a courtroom and legal processes for a long time. Whatever you think of Donald Trump, he understands from experience how to say the words criminal defense lawyers tell you to say. You didn`t direct it. You weren`t involved. You relied on others.

None of this looks like good news for Rudy Giuliani, although as we`ve reported he denies any wrongdoing, he hasn`t been charged with anything. Meanwhile, I mentioned the Southern District. A former U.S. attorney there, assistant U.S. attorney Dayna Perry says it`s a clear indication they`re close, very close to indicting him. Executing the search warrant is almost the last step in the playbook.

A quote from someone who knows their way around these probes and with us is that Dayna Perry here to give us insights into the legal process. Michael Steele, the former RNC chair who endorsed Joe Biden, and Olivia Nuzzi, Washington correspondent for "New York" magazine. You may recall some of her coverage of Rudy Giuliani that was interesting largely because of the way Giuliani rolls.

Her story, "A Reporter`s Guide to Texting with Rudy Giuliani" was chockful of nuggets that remain in the news cycle "Evergreen."

Good to have all of you here. I gave a little legal summary, and we`ll get to more of the law. But, Michael, I want to begin with you, big picture. What does it mean even in a time where everyone has gotten used to everything that the former president sees a second top attorney of his indicted by the -- excuse me, raided by the Southern District, the previous one indicted? And what does this tell us about the hangover from that Trump era?

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, it`s not a good day in the neighborhood if you`re in the Giuliani neighborhood or in the Trump neighborhood because it means that there are federal investigations that are out there. And we don`t even know. It`s a lot like very good reporters, when they put out the first story about something and it like blows up and everybody is like, oh, my god, you know there is a second, and possibly a third or fourth story coming along.

Same is true in this situation with federal indictments. When there`s the hint that there`s something going on, when there`s a raid or an investigation, that doesn`t happen, especially when it requires a judge to sign off on it. It doesn`t happen unless you have all those dots dotted and those T`s crossed in a way that puts some cement to what you`re doing. And I think that should be very concerning for Rudy and for Trump.

But here`s the rub. On the Trump end of it, he`s just like Rudy, Rudy who? You know, I really don`t know the guy. You know, we met on occasions, but I`m not that familiar. What does he do again? So, expect that to come at some point if the heat comes up on this where Trump creates that sort of Heisman move that he`s noted for and creating distance between him and the individual who is suspect number one, two or twenty.

And Rudy then again has to figure out how he navigates this space. You know, there are a lot of stories out there about just how sort of thin this relationship is between Rudy and Donald Trump in the first place. So, we`ll see whether or not that has an effect as this investigation unfolds.

MELBER: And Dayna, you look at the situation, as Michael mentioned, just from reporting the news, if any former lawyer to the recent president has their home and office raided, it`s a huge story. If this happened to former President Obama and his former lawyer particularly over lapping with the time when he was the lawyer to the sitting president, we would be reporting that. It`s a big deal.

It hasn`t happened, though, recently to other presidents. It`s happened now twice to Donald Trump. Based on your knowledge of SDNY, and we quoted you earlier, where do you see a raid like this figuring into an open probe?

DAYNA PERRY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, as you say, it`s highly unusual. Raids on lawyers` offices are unusual in the first instance. I have seen it done a couple of times, both on the defense side. I represented Michael Cohen who I know will be on later, and Michael Avenatti, both of whom had their offices raided. And there is a lot of steps in the process.

I was on the other side for many years at the U.S. attorney`s office. I had to sign off on these kinds of warrants. And the U.S. attorney has to sign off. The assistant attorney general and the deputy. And these ones almost assuredly went up to the level of the attorney general. So it`s a very big deal. Typically, the standard is probable cause. In this case, there was no doubt a much higher standard that was in fact applied. I don`t know if it rises to beyond a reasonable doubt, but these lawyers at the U.S. attorney`s office have been waiting a long time. They run through all the paces. They have this locked down.

MELBER: Yes. Let`s --


PERRY: So, they are feeling very confident about this.

MELBER: Let`s drill on your point there just to be clear. In a standard situation, probable cause low, medium standard that there`s evidence of the crime in the place being searched, specific articulable facts. You`re saying that because it`s a lawyer let alone a lawyer to the president and it goes all the way up to that main Justice clearance, it is, in fact, practically a much higher standard, which means it`s worse for Giuliani?

PERRY: I think so. I mean, it`s not just because he`s a lawyer, not just because he`s the former president`s former lawyer, but also this is obviously a high-profile case. The stakes are high. There are some built-in defenses. There are political defenses. There is going to be a lot at stake here. And so I think for all those reasons that they will have gone the extra mile. No doubt they have executed additional search warrants before they got to this point.


PERRY: They have, as Michael said, dotted all their I`s and crossed all their T`s. So, I think there -- I would be shocked if they couldn`t indict right now. There`s a grand jury that`s already impaneled. Of course, they`re going to -- this was about the presenters. They`re going to go through the evidence. It could take some time.

MELBER: So you -- let me -- I`m only slowing you down because you`re such a smart, fast lawyer. You`re moving fast on me. So, you know, I`m just a country television lawyer. As a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District, you`re saying, based on your knowledge of the way these things work, that right now your understanding, your premise would be that they already have enough to indict Mr. Giuliani now?

PERRY: I would say that with a high degree of confidence. I`m generally putting risk averse, but I would bet a lot of money on that. So, the timing, I would say, is unclear just because they are going to want to go through this. They`re going to have what`s called the T Team go through it. And they will take as much time as they have. They don`t have any political pressures anymore. So, they will go through all of the steps, and they will make sure, as I said, that it`s completely buttoned down.

MELBER: Well --

PERRY: But I think it`s highly likely that they know already that this is an indictable offense.

MELBER: That`s fascinating. I mean, Michael, as Elliot Ness used to say, whoop, there it is. I mean, here`s a prosecutor saying she thinks they have the goods.

PERRY: I mean, look, anything can happen, of course. But they have been sitting on this --

MELBER: I`m sorry. I`m going to -- let me -- I`m sorry, I`m bringing Michael in, if you can hear me, and then we`ll go back to you.

STEELE: Yes. No. I was just saying those words were about to drip off my tongue. Whoop, there it is. She just laid it out, and the reality, that`s the new reality for Trump and those who have been in that orbit around these very controversial matters. And to the point about what the president himself, Joe Biden, has said in the interview that I didn`t know about this until you`d learned about it.

I think that`s the kind of wall that the American people want to see rebuilt between the executive branch and those branches that deal with law enforcement that are like the FBI, like the Department of Justice, so that we can look at these events as they occur, as these reports are rolled out and certainly as these investigations unfold with clean hands and clean eyes and appreciate the work that`s being done here that it`s not somehow tainted, that there is not some backroom deal trying to CYA Rudy Giuliani or the president himself. And I think that`s a good thing right now.

MELBER: Olivia?

OLIVIA NUZZI, NEW YORK MAGAZINE WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Yes. I think that this is obviously a bad week for Giuliani, but one that he probably had seen coming. I mean, he knew the reports were out there for several years now, that investigators were interested in him, interested in his business associates. He talked to me about it. He seemed rather bitter and almost hurt in a way that anyone in law enforcement, people that he considers to be, you know, his guys, that`s his community of people in his mind that he would become a target.

There is sort of a tragic element to that. But it`s not surprising. And in some ways, it`s almost as though he`s been tempting investigators. His behavior has gotten more and more insane. He has been out in the open talking about meddling in different things for years now, and all on behalf of someone who, as Michael alluded to earlier, it`s not like they`ve got a deep friendship from Donald Trump.

Donald Trump does not have deep friendships. He has people that he`s known a long time. He has people who have done him favors repeatedly. He has people who have displayed loyalty to him for a long time like Rudy Giuliani. But he does not have, you know, deep soul connection with other human beings the way that, you know, normal people might. So, it`s not as though these are guys who go back to grade school and they swore some kind of oath to each other.

Rudy has been using Donald Trump for relevance and probably for profit for the duration of his political career certainly. And Donald Trump has been using him as sort of as an excuse and someone to kind of take the arrows as they come at him. But if I was Donald Trump, I would be hearing footsteps right now, as though investigators for years whether it`s Robert Mueller, whether it`s federal investigators now, have been getting closer and closer to the former president himself.

MELBER: All great points. And as you say, if it`s purely a transactional relationship in exchange of fame and clout, and other attempts to self- aggrandize, then when the terms of transaction change, people go a different direction. Eagle-eye viewers can see and as was mentioned, we have Mr. Cohen coming up on the program who really has unique personal insights into exactly that trade-off.

Miss Perry, also take a listen to how Rudy sounded on the radio here just briefly discussing this.


GIULIANI: And what have they done? What have they done? Nothing except come after me with a -- you know, 6:00 in the morning with a piece of nonsense. No wonder they`re jealous. I mean, it`s just ridiculous.


MELBER: As Olivia mentioned, it overlaps a little with some of her early reporting where he was bad-mouthing the Southern District where he, of course, used to run the office. It`s a highly unusual situation. But, Miss Perry, what do you think of both that general -- the general way he`s talking about it as well as his more specific claim that this all boils down to only a lobbying filing issue and no other wider set of potential allegations or crimes?

PERRY: Well, the first thing, I do agree with Olivia. I think he`s got to have a sense of betrayal and shock, even though as you said, Olivia, this has been a long time coming. It`s a very clubby network, the Southern District of New York. I remember going to 225th anniversary party a couple of years ago. Just a few years ago, Rudy was invited but he was on the golf course, so he didn`t attend. But almost everyone else who`d ever been, you know, in those courtrooms and in those hallways attended.

And so I think, you know, he sees himself as part of the club, and he`s surprised that this turned on him. You know, the notion that they`re jealous, these agents who are executing these search warrant at 6:00 in the morning, that`s a non sequitur and nonsense of course. But I think he is dismissive because he probably thinks, you know, I think he said in other reporting that he tried to make this right. He reached out.

That`s not the way it works. If there is a criminal violation here, if he failed to register and if he was in fact lobbying and if it was in fact on behalf of a foreign agent, that`s a crime. And there`s really no getting around it no matter what club he`s in. So, you know, he`s very soon going to be have to facing the music.

MELBER: Yes. And you made some really important points there. I want to thank Miss Perry and Miss Nuzzi, both, on this big Giuliani story.

Michael Steele stays as we await President Biden`s remarks, which is the other big story we`ve been watching, the whole nation here watching the basically first address to the Congress, which is sort of this year`s version of State of the Union.

And we`re looking at the president here, Michael, has just started sort of making his introductory remarks. I think we`re going to go there momentarily. Your views on his speech tonight?

STEELE: Look, I think the president did what he had to do and what he really wanted to do. And quite frankly, Ari, what he`s been doing since he came into office. And that is having this ongoing conversation with the American people, bringing them along, sitting at their kitchen tables, if you will, sort of going through OK, these are the things we have to face, the challenges. Here`s what I need you to do, which was emphasized over and over again.

This is what I need you to do. He wants us engaged in this conversation. And I think that`s the style that Republicans are having a hard time combatting. Having a hard time trying to figure out how to get around. Just can`t throw a socialist label up, even with all the spending because, heck, we just spent $6 trillion on the Republican side over the last five years. Just $2 trillion of it in tax cuts.

So, the realities are very different now with a president who`s willing to engage directly with the American people, not falling into the partisan rancor that (INAUDIBLE) Capitol Hill is noted for. And he`s making a difference. He`s connecting with folks in a real way. It`s reflected in the polling. And even where he`s weakest, on immigration, China and issues like that, the American people aren`t holding it against him.

You know, at the end of the day, he`s got a 53 percent job approval, even - - despite that he`s got a 32 percent approval of how he`s handling immigration.

MELBER: Yes. And as you say, we hear about polarized times, but some of what he`s offering seems to be unifying. I want to tell viewers our colleagues in the newsroom have been listening to this while Michael and I were talking. I`m told the president is finishing some of his opening thank yous and shout-outs so we`re going to deep in and listen a little bit. Michael stays. Let`s listen in to the president.

BIDEN: Folks, Georgia was 100 days ago today when I was inaugurated on the steps of the United States Capitol to be your president. And I was looking forward to coming back and seeing these guys.


BIDEN: I agree with you. I`m working on it, man. Give me another five days.


BIDEN: Folks, you all know what they`re talking about. There should be no private prisons, period. None, period. That`s what they`re talking about, private detention centers. They should not exist. And we are working to close all of them. So, folks, look --


BIDEN: Thank you. All right. Thank you. All right. OK. Let him go. No, no, no. I promise you. The only things can keep me from doing that is you keep moving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I voted for you, please.

BIDEN: I promise you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We voted for you, too.

BIDEN: Thank you. Folks, look, it`s been 100 days since I first sat at my desk in the Oval Office and went to work for you and the American people. I want to thank you. I want to thank the American people because I think we`ve gotten a lot done. I promised even before I was sworn in that I would get my first 100 days 100 million COVID vaccine shots in people`s arms. We`ve lost over 550,000 Americans. But we delivered over 220 million COVID shots in the first 100 days.

We`ve vastly expanded access and we got 100 million doses of vaccine enough for every single American. And we`ve done it by getting vaccines to some 40,000 pharmacies across the country, 700 community centers. And now, now everyone over the age of 16 is now eligible to get vaccinated right away. So please do it. Get vaccinated now. Now. Now. Now.

And we promise to deliver emergency relief to the millions of Americans who are in financial distress. And I might add through no fault of their own. So we get out $1,400 checks to the American people, and we kept that promise. 85 percent of households in America have gotten those checks. We`ve already sent out more than 160 million checks out the door. And I want to stop here and give thanks to both your senators. Senators Ossoff and Warnock for making it happen because those two votes, had we not come back and you elected them, those two votes made the difference. It passed by a single vote.

And that means we owe a special thanks to the people of Georgia. Because of you, the rest of the world -- because of your two senators, the rest of America was able to get the help they got so far. The American Rescue Plan would not have passed. So much have we gotten done like getting checks to people probably would not have happened. So, if you ever wonder if elections make a difference, just remember what you did here in Georgia when you elected Ossoff and Warnock, you began to change the environment.

And look, because of you we passed one of the most consequential rescue bills in American history. So, what did you do -- you know, what did you do? What would you do with your vote here in Georgia? Well, you changed America. You began to change America. And you`re helping us prove that democracy, democracy can still deliver for the people.

Look, I want to thank you for all of that. All of America wants to thank you because here is what we mean by delivering for the people. We created in the first 100 days 1,300,000 new jobs. 1,300,000 jobs in 100 days. That`s more new jobs in the first 100 days of any president in history. Folks, because of you --

MELBER: President Biden here speaking in Duluth, Georgia, at this rally. This was one of these outdoor car rallies. As mentioned, we wanted to dip in, he`s certainly invoking and basically presenting some of his greatest hits from last night`s speech. He also was briefly interrupted by protesters who he credited and said he agreed with them and wants to end detention.

We`re going to keep an eye on this speech to see if he breaks any other news, but we`re turning to our other big story and a big guest. The feds` criminal probe into Giuliani has been intensifying, given that new raid we`ve been reporting on and a new confirmation that last year the FBI put questions about Giuliani to a Ukrainian political figure who was also in Mr. Giuliani`s odd video that pushed the discredited Ukraine plot against the Bidens.

It`s the same former lawmaker who also tried to offer a supposed peace plan between Russia and Ukraine to another lawyer working with and for Donald Trump at the time, Michael Cohen. Now Mr. Cohen found that representing and working for Donald Trump put him, as a lawyer, in his own criminal legal trouble. His home was raided, just like Giuliani yesterday. Cohen was arrested just like Steve Bannon.

Cohen`s loyalty was not repaid in any public or visible way by Donald Trump who released the dogs on him telling the world to ask Michael Cohen about Trump`s alleged malfeasance. Cohen was ultimately convicted like other aides, Manafort, Gates, Flynn, Stone. And Trump did use his then enormous powers for some of those former aids, but not all. Now one of Donald Trump`s most famous lawyers and infamous attack dogs stands right now tonight at a crossroads like those other desperate Trump defenders, weighing cooperation and self-preservation versus defiance on behalf of a man who this time Donald Trump no longer holds any power.

Now Giuliani, as we were discussing with our guests tonight, he found and returned to the spotlight he craves by literally making arguments for Trump that even Trump`s own paid staff wouldn`t make late last year. That`s why he was one of the last people standing in the absurd effort to continually contest an election that was obviously and soon quite embarrassingly over. He did it for the attention. For the fame.

And as other experts on soured alliances will tell you, people who do anything for fame can be quite weak. As Aubrey Graham once explained about discarding disloyal colleagues, quote, "The point I`m trying to make is I don`t ever need them. Seen what you do for fame. What would you do for freedom?"

Please, check him for a wire or an earpiece. Well, the idea there is clear. The idea is that if you will sell out just to get some secondhand clout from the boss, you can`t really be trusted. And when the real legal heat is on, when jail looms, you may flip for your freedom.

Will Giuliani do that? Well, the last Trump lawyer in this position had been publicly quite sternly loyal to Donald Trump for years. But as mentioned, when Michael Cohen found no loyalty from Donald Trump in return, he did cooperate. He may be the one person in America who knows exactly what Giuliani is up against right now with the stakes high and the pressure on and the whole country knowing what happened to him.

Mr. Cohen faced the same New York prosecutors, the same pressure on his famous former client. And ultimately the same existential question. What would you do for freedom?

Joining me now back on THE BEAT is Michael Cohen, former lawyer to Donald Trump, host of the podcast, "Mea Culpa," author of the book "Disloyal," and someone who has walked this path and lived to tell about it, and been a guest and an expert for us before.

Thanks for returning Michael.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: How are you doing, Ari? Thank you so much for having me.

MELBER: Yes, sir. I`m good. Thanks. We look at the parallels. Does it surprise you in any way that the feds were in Giuliani`s office yesterday? And what do you think he will do?

COHEN: OK. So, in your introduction on me, there`s a couple of things that are not exactly accurate. First of all, I did not flip on Donald Trump. I cooperated on my own conditions.

MELBER: I -- well --

COHEN: I never signed a --


MELBER: Lawyer to lawyer, though -- I`ll let you finish. I`ll let you finish.

COHEN: It`s your show, I`ll let you do it.

MELBER: I didn`t say flip on Donald Trump. I said, as you and I know legally. I said legally cooperated in that you were no longer someone who was fighting a jury trial. You did cooperate and strike a deal. I did not use the word flip. Go ahead, sir.

COHEN: Right. In all fairness, I also was not arrested. I was advised by my attorney on a Friday night, which was the first time that I had heard about any sort of charges that would be brought against me, either I come in on Monday and plead guilty or then they were going to file an 85-page indictment that was going to include my wife who had absolutely nothing to do with anything which is why I used the money from my HELOC account that I did so that she wouldn`t know.

So, anyway, more importantly, let`s go back to Rudy Giuliani. What is he thinking? It`s not even that he`s thinking it. It`s what he knows. Rudy Giuliani knows that he`s in big trouble as your previous guests had just advised. He ran the Southern District of New York. He knows exactly the games that they play because he`s the one that created that playbook. And they take no prisoners. They did exactly the same thing to me.

And here`s the interesting thing. It may start with just the Ukraine, but that`s not where it`s going to stop because Rudy is actually a stupid guy. And Rudy has no idea about technology. He says very dumb things when especially he starts drinking and he starts wanting to be this -- this Tom Hagan to Donald running around the world talking to people about how, in fact, you know, he`s Donald Trump`s right-hand guy and he can get everything done.

Well, you know, as they say, the chicken is coming home to roost and he knows he`s got problems. He knows that it`s not going to end well. So unlike what happened with me, unlike, you know, Manafort who took it to trial or Roger Stone who went to trial, I didn`t. I pled guilty and I got 36 months. So he`s only right now imagining what does he have to do in order to stay out of prison? Because Rudy Giuliani has no interest in being in prison during the golden years of his life. That I can assure you.

MELBER: Yes. Well, and it`s a lot of heat, Michael. Take a listen to Donald Trump here on FOX Business.


TRUMP: Rudy Giuliani is a great patriot. He does these things. He just loves this country. And they raid his apartment? It`s like so unfair and such a double -- it`s like a double standard like I don`t think anybody has ever seen before. It`s very, very unfair.


MELBER: Is Donald Trump scared right now?

COHEN: Yes, I think he`s scared. And as I have said on other programs and, you know, to the press, Donald -- we have seen this before. We saw it when they came and they raided my hotel, my home, and my law office, right? And you decided that you didn`t know who I was, that he was very angry that they had raided one of his attorney`s offices. Donald Trump doesn`t care about Rudy Giuliani.

Donald Trump didn`t care about Rudy Giuliani until Rudy was actually doing free legal work for him. And Rudy didn`t care much about Donald Trump until such time as Rudy needed Donald`s power and the office of the presidency in order to drum up business. So there is no loyalty between the two. Rudy will do what Rudy needs to do in order to protect himself. What`s interesting, though, is where Donald turned around and -- you were talking about this, and said that I never directed Rudy to say that, right?

I never directed it. I never. Well, where did he learn that word from? He learned it from me when I turned around at my sentencing and I said that I was directed, right, to pay the hush money payment by Donald Trump. I was directed by him to do it for his benefit.

MELBER: So, let`s look at that, Michael.

COHEN: And so, what he finally -- yes.

MELBER: Let`s -- let me jump in on that. That`s a very important point you raise and there is a connection here, right? Mr. Giuliani is involved in the very sorted and discredited events around keeping Trump in power that led to two impeachments, Ukraine and challenging the electors. You were not involved in that stuff, but as you pled to there were a range of offenses. But the one you decided, that was not for your personal benefit. That was work you were doing.

And as you say, these New York prosecutors here in the Southern District, they go hard. They got you to plead on that. But what does it tell you that being a lawyer for Donald Trump seems to pull people deeper and deeper into these choices about how far they want to go? In your case it was arranging something that at least those prosecutors found to be a provable crime. And in Giuliani`s case not provable crime yet, I can`t say that, but clearly under investigation for possible crimes related to keeping Trump in power when he then lost the election.

COHEN: Yes. Look, that`s unfortunately what happens when you work in Donald Trump`s orbit. You start to almost believe that you`re invincible, that you have a Teflon coating. Very much. You almost believe that you are a mini- Donald Trump and that you can get away with anything, and that notion is what brought me down. And that`s the same notion that`s going to take Rudy Giuliani down.

MELBER: Yes. And briefly, do you think that Mr. Giuliani came up with these different ideas, the Ukraine Biden investigation which is clearly something that the FBI is asking questions about, these later shenanigans leading up to January 6th. Do you think he just came up with himself as a really creative brainstorming freelancer or do you think he was acting at the direction and behest of Donald Trump?

COHEN: It`s always at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald Trump. I talk about that a lot both on the podcast and in my book. There is nothing that goes on that relates to Donald Trump that Rudy Giuliani, myself and everybody that worked with him and for him did not first discuss with Donald for his approval. It`s just the way that it works. It`s the way that it worked at the Trump Organization.

It`s the way that I saw it working in the White House. You know, I do also want to tell you, one of the things that you brought up is Andrey Artemenko. By coincidence, while I was looking for documents for the district attorney, you know, I turned over a series of boxes and documents to them a couple of weeks ago, I actually found a document that I could not find prior to my self-surrender to Otisville.

I found that alleged peace plan. It`s a one-page document that was given to me by Felix Sater and Andrey Artemenko typed up by Felix Sater that is not -- and I`ll send it to you if you want to see it, you could post it.

MELBER: I`ll take it. Yes.

COHEN: There`s one sentence on there saying that, you know, we should lease the area of Crimea to Russia to stop all the violence that`s going on there. That`s the one sentence about this alleged peace plan that I was in. It`s just more fodder that came up about me to make me look like a much worse individual than certainly what I was. You know, I, in one respect, I did break the law, right?

I paid off Stormy Daniels` hush money in order to, you know, prevent all that information from coming out prior to the election. Now I always have said it and I`ll say it again. I did it at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald J. Trump. Rudy Giuliani`s is much different. This is a FARA violation that actually also potentially involves national security. Who knows what he was doing? Who knows what Rudy was saying?


COHEN: Rudy was at -- you know, at this point in time, he was out of complete control.


COHEN: And, you know, Rudy is willing to do anything --

MELBER: When we ran --

COHEN: -- and to say anything for financial benefit.

MELBER: Well, we ran longer than planned, but this has been very interesting and at times illuminating. And we will take the peace plan, Michael, so send that over. I always appreciate your perspective. And as mentioned, you are the single most qualified guest on this story in the country tonight. I appreciate you coming on THE BEAT.

COHEN: Always. Thank you, Ari. And I`ll send it to you.

MELBER: Michael Cohen -- yes, sir. Thank you.

We turn now on this story to Emily Bazelon, a legal staff writer for the "New York Times" magazine.

Emily, Michael Cohen certainly is someone who`s been in this position. Your reaction to some of what he said and what looks to be significant legal pressure on Giuliani?

EMILY BAZELON, STAFF WRITER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE": Well, I think, you know, Michael Cohen has a pretty good idea of the risk that Giuliani is facing right now. Seems to think that Giuliani should be taking it very seriously. And I think the other thing that`s important about Cohen`s perspective is that he always emphasizes that Donald Trump directed the illegal activities that he engaged in, and that that`s just how business was done. And so, this notion that Trump necessarily has some significant distance from Giuliani in his view doesn`t really add up.

MELBER: I want to play a little bit of the collusion aspect because there`s been more and more evidence to sort of come out even post-Mueller probe. And I also think that you can look back on the very substantial allegations against Donald Trump trying to cheat in or collude with a foreign power to stay in power in the United States. And it looks worse after January 6th. Here`s some of what Giuliani would say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: America`s mayor stepped foot in Ukraine for the first time in two years.

GIULIANI: There is evidence in the Ukraine of collusion. Biden is involved in it. I can prove somebody else committed the crime. And that`s why I started it.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: So, you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?

GIULIANI: Of course, I did.


MELBER: It`s like any massive conspiracy theories. There is a lot of double allegations. But at the end of the day, you have someone in Rudy Giuliani who are doing -- who`s doing things in that Ukraine plot and trying to help Trump that are bad enough that even Donald Trump knows to deny it in public, which is why we showed earlier Trump disputes that he asked Giuliani to do much of this. What does that tell us?

BAZELON: Well, it`s just in retrospect seems so clear that it was a huge bet on Trump winning the election. As long as the smearing of the Bidens and these allegations of collusion in Ukraine, which of course remained totally unproven, as long as they helped Trump win, then they were good for Trump. They were good for Giuliani. It`s only when the attempted winners become the losers that it bears risk.

I mean, it does make me go back to this question of why Trump didn`t pardon Giuliani before he left office, didn`t pardon other people. It seemed like that was about to happen at the end.


BAZELON: Right. And now you think to yourself, like, huh, these people really are at risk of being prosecuted. They missed their chance.

MELBER: Right. It`s as if the timing of the crimes you do for Donald Trump is the most important thing because he`d no sense of shame or guilt or anything about pardoning so many aides around him, Stones, Manafort, that, you know, this will go down in many ways as more extreme than Watergate with regard to the coverup. Whether the underlying crimes are the same, historians can debate for years. But the coverup was all out in the open including those pardons.

People like Matt Gaetz were allegedly reportedly seeking pardons, like preemptive, but Giuliani didn`t get one. It`s all a story that`s clearly not over.

Emily Bazelon, we wanted your legal journalistic take in addition to Mr. Cohen`s experience as a participant, thank you for being part of our coverage tonight.

BAZELON: Thanks for having me.

MELBER: Appreciate it.

You`ve been watching this special BEAT episode. We`re 42 minutes in without a break. We`re going to take a quick one. When we come back how Biden is pressuring Republicans. Stay with us.


MELBER: President Biden back out on the road in Georgia today pushing this trillion-dollar spending plan, education, health care, jobs. It`s a vision he laid out in that address to Congress. The "New York Times" described it as a call for big government.


BIDEN: My American Families Plan guarantees four additional years of public education, the very first in America, starting as early as we can. So we guarantee that low- and middle-income families will pay no more than 7 percent of their income for high quality care for children up to the age of 5. The American Family Plan puts directly into the pockets millions of Americans.


MELBER: That`s what the president says. What does the public think? Well, take a look at new polling. The majority of people under 35, seniors, lower income earners, middle class, high earners, black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Democrats, independents, you can see how many people think the government should do more. On the other side, there are Republicans and white Americans who have a different view.

So, is Biden trying to change America or has Biden already started moving much of America?

We welcome to the program Daniella Gibbs Leger and Michael Steele back with us.

Good evening. Daniella, what do you think about the core point here that Biden now appears to be moving on spending in big government from a position of broad strength?

DANIELLA GIBBS LEGER, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, COMMUNICATIONS AND STRATEGY, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think (INAUDIBLE) we talk a lot about what it means to be bipartisan. And I think we have to take it out of the context of what happens in Congress and look at what the American people actually support. And when you pull it apart, there is a lot more support in this country. (INAUDIBLE) for the government (INAUDIBLE).

MELBER: Let me jump in and also play a little bit of -- I mentioned to viewers last night we were at the White House and I have another piece of it that Jen Psaki spoke to me about that we haven`t played yet. Let`s take a look at that.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And a big part of his vision is, OK, we`ve stemmed the emergency, we`ve stemmed the crisis, we`ve started to stem the crisis, but how do we build for the next generation? That`s what the American Jobs Plan will do. That`s what the American Families Plan will do. So, part of this is going to be for looking about what the future can look like for the next generation.


MELBER: That was the pitch, Michael. And I`ll mention we`re working on other audio issues. But on that point, Michael, I also want to read from how this is playing. "The New York Times" tries to basically play it straight as they interpret these kinds of big speeches and events. I was struck by what they see here. They call it a breathtaking scope of change sought by a 78-year-old president who spent a lifetime as a more conventional lawmaker.

After presenting himself during last year`s campaign as a transition candidate, they write. He`s following the volatile tenure of Trump. Mr. Biden has since his inauguration positioned himself as a transformational president, Michael.

STEELE: Actually, I would agree with that. In fact, throughout much of the campaign, going back to the week he announced when I said on our air here that Biden would be not just a nominee but likely the next president, it was in that space that he -- that he now, I think, appropriately occupies as a transitional, transformational style president.

Now, what that ultimately plays out to be remains to be seen, obviously. But what the president has done is he`s staked a big goal. He`s actually staked his presidency on that transformation. He staked his presidency on that transition, that transition away from Trumpism and the transformation into a better America that is global in one sense, right, in terms of our redefined and new relationships broadly speaking globally, but transformational here at home where we now no longer look at our neighbor as other but recognize that we`re kind of all in this soup together, and we all have to pull together to get some of these big things done.

This is going to be the next test from where I`m sitting to see if he`s able to do this. Put it all out here very big, Ari. This is the grand vision. This is the goal for America. But then serve up pieces of it because he recognizes he`s not going to get $6 trillion worth of change done in the next year, right, before the next election. But he probably can get $1.2 trillion more of change done. He`s already gotten the $2 trillion on COVID.

He can probably get another trillion in infrastructure, and I`ll help Republicans -- using Biden`s voice here, I`ll help Republicans define what infrastructure is, so I think he has an opportunity to put the Republicans in a position where they`re going to actually have to come and say what they`re for as opposed to what they`re against. We all know what that is. And I think it`s going to be interesting to see how he does that.

MELBER: Yes. And as you say, I mean, for those of us who`ve covered and lived through these battles over the decades, the reference is to, quote- unquote, "big government used to be pejorative on the Goldilocks idea that it was too big and wasn`t working." And right now Joe Biden leaned into that last night. He really detailed the case, well, it`s big to meet the scale of the challenge and the problems, why would you want to go small at this moment? I thought that was striking.

STEELE: Right.

MELBER: That`s the other thing I wanted to play from, as mentioned, being at the White House and their optimism. This is Jen Psaki, I think the viewers know, and the White House communications director talking. Again, airing for the first time because we have more sound than we got to use but talking about their approach to that speech. Now that we`ve heard it, let`s take a look.


KATE BEDINGFIELD, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The most important thing is for people across the country not to feel like you`re talking down to them or, you know, speaking in some, you know, arcane sort of industry terminology that doesn`t mean anything to the average person.

PSAKI: He really wants to make sure my mother and my cousins are understanding what he has to see.

BEDINGFIELD: He always says to us, you know, I want the people in the neighborhood that I grew up in in Scranton to know exactly what I`m saying when I talk about this.


MELBER: That was their goal before the speech. Your view, bottom line, did he meet that standard of clarity last night?

STEELE: I think he did. I really do. I think he has for some time. I think he has brought the American people along in this conversation going back to before he became president, and certainly during the transition. And I think he now has their attention. And we`ll see how well he`s able to hold it. Look, I`m prepared to fight the president on some of these big-ticket items because there`s a whole lot of money that`s about to be spent, and we`ve got to be clear about what that means and how it impacts not just our future but most importantly, our current economic situation.


STEELE: But the reality of it is, I`m willing, like a lot of folks are, to listen to what you have to say, to see what you put on the table, and let`s begin the debate. And I`m hoping my party gets past --


STEELE: You know, the easy gotcha, you know, in talking about Dr. Seuss, and instead puts together a plan that they think can compete up against what the president is offering, and let`s have that debate across the country.

MELBER: All great points, as always, from Michael Steele on more than one issue, and I will say, Michael and I, we wanted to hear from Daniella as well, the audio issues prevented that. I would never normally speak for you, Michael, but I think I can say for both of us, we`re sorry we didn`t have her. We`ll fix that up and get an answer.


MELBER: And good to see you, sir.

STEELE: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

MELBER: Thank you, Michael.

And thanks, everyone. We got a quick break but coming up our newsroom just got breaking news. New details on the type of warrants that was served in the Giuliani raid and what they mean about what investigators are looking at. I have the details for you right after this.


MELBER: Breaking news on this federal raid in Rudy Giuliani`s office. This crossing this hour from the "New York Times" reporting that one of the warrants is directly about that impeachment probe that I was mentioning earlier this hour about Rudy Giuliani`s alleged activities relating to the former U.N. ambassador of Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. She was famously fired by Donald Trump. And the feds are seeking, according to the "Times," quote, "communications" between Giuliani and Trump officials about the ambassador before she was recalled in April 2019. The implication being that the legal issues that got Donald Trump impeached may create criminal legal issues potentially for Giuliani.

Now finally tonight before we go, I did want to tell you about an NBC push called "INSPIRING AMERICA" that highlights extraordinary people doing great things. Today we highlight the first woman to serve as a head coach on an NBA team, Becky Hammon.


HODA KOTB, NBC NEWS HOST: Did it dawn on you in that moment that I`m about to step into history right now?

BECKY HAMMON, ASSISTANT COACH, SAN ANTONIO SPURS: No. What dawned on me is I want to beat the Lakers. I want to beat them really bad. I think when you`ve been told no, and then you do it, and then you`re told not to get it, and then you do it again, it builds a confidence in your, it builds a resiliency in you. You don`t have to believe it. I have to believe it. It`s so much bigger than anything I could have like thought of or imagined or dreamt of.


MELBER: As an important series, we wanted you to know about it. You can learn more about these individuals on "INSPIRING AMERICA" this Saturday and Sunday. And it`s airing both on both MSNBC right here as well as NBC.

A final note, I wanted to share with you, you`ve seen perhaps some of our references and coverage of our special, exclusive look inside the Biden White House this week, and if you missed it, you can check out our Twitter page @thebeatwithari. That`s @thebeatwithari, and you can see why I was doing the elbow bumps and walking around the White House grounds. And what we learned from these Biden officials.