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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 4/30/21

Guests: Danya Perry, Nick Akerman, Nancy Erika Smith, Michelle Goldberg, Ken Frydman, Perry Bacon, DJ Cassidy


The former Trump lawyer went on a tirade against feds after raid on his apartment and office. This after report emerged that the FBI warned Giuliani that he was a target of Russian disinformation campaign in 2019. Former Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg allegedly wrote a letter to Roger Stone admitting sex crime conspiracy for a possible pardon from then President Trump. Former colleague on the former New York City mayor`s downfall, as he scrambled to make a defense after feds raided his properties. In Biden`s first 100 days, U.S. seeing progress on COVID and markets, now he`s pushing for another big plan on jobs.


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

Hi, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Nicole. Thank you very much.

Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber. We have a big show for you right now, including absolutely bombshell new allegations. The confession of sex crimes in writing from an associate known for his links to Matt Gaetz. It`s a big story, and we have that as well as Mr. Gaetz`s denial coming up.

Also, President Biden`s 100th day in office is today. You may have heard about that. And we look at where he`s headed as well as the undoing of Trumpism.

But right now, the developing news in the criminal probe against Rudy Giuliani after his apartment and office were raided by the feds after his phones and computers were seized and after he`s now speaking out. Giuliani is breaking his silence, and this is fascinating. He is, of course, the former prosecutor facing a raid by the office he used to run. He is the lawyer to the former president, although they have had a falling out.

And he is apparently -- looks like a subject of this probe. So he is now speaking out for the first time in depth with details about that raid, and he denies any wrongdoing.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP PERSONAL LAWYER: I have never represented a Ukrainian national or official before the United States government. My sole concentration from the beginning here, Tucker, was to find evidence that would prove what I knew, that he was innocent of Russian collusion. He did exactly what a president should do with the president of Ukraine. He asked him to investigate.


GIULIANI: A vice president. They invaded, without telling me, my iCloud. They took documents that are privileged. The Justice Department spied on me.


MELBER: Now, some of that is Giuliani`s rebuttal and defense. Some of it is true. Indeed, we are learning that the feds did go into the iCloud to basically take or surveil information from Rudy Giuliani. All of this, though, according to public information, is lawful, not some sort of illegal or covert spying. Giuliani also referring how federal investigators took basically seven or eight of his electronic devices.

Now he claims that he also made an offer to them. Now this is on Giuliani`s word. But he claims that he had Hunter Biden`s hard drives in his apartment as one does, and that he offered that to feds. Now there isn`t any outside verification of this. So this is one of those stories where it`s newsworthy, what the feds are doing and what Giuliani is saying, but we`re not here reporting on our ability to verify what`s in his apartment. Here you go.


GIULIANI: At the end of the search, when they had taken about, I`d say, seven or eight electronic items of mine, which is what they took, and two of someone else`s, they weren`t taking the three hard drives which of course are electronic devices. They just mimic the computer. I said, well, don`t you want these? And they said, what are they? I said those are Hunter Biden`s hard drives. And they said, no, no, no, no. No.


MELBER: Now, in court this would be called hearsay, but it`s certainly interesting and newsworthy. This is Giuliani`s rendition of what he said the feds said in response to his Hunter Biden offer. No, no, no, no. Now, we`ll learn a lot more about this if this process goes forward. If there were to be, for example, further filings or indictments or a trial. We`ll get the feds` side of the story. That`s Giuliani`s side.

We do know, though, that a judge approved this raid based on the evidence that Giuliani is searchable, that there was reasonable suspicion, that he has the evidence of a crime in those locations. Now the scope of what they can seize can be quite targeted. Now as for Giuliani`s brazen attitude about his dealings in Ukraine, first reported by the "Washington Post," also confirmed by NBC News, he was briefed all the way back by the FBI.

It`s the same arm of the government that would deal with raids, but not the same people. And the FBI tried to warn him in 2019 that he was being targeted specifically by Russian intelligence operation. This was going on in the context of him trying to gather some sort of dirt on the Biden family for a plot that ultimately got Donald Trump impeached.

"The Washington Post" reporting that infamous trip to Ukraine in December that year occurred after this briefing where they were saying, hey, be careful. These efforts, these Russian-backed efforts trying to make you, Rudy Giuliani, a stooge.

Meanwhile, another individual who ran this famed and independent office, the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, he says based on the available public evidence, Giuliani is in deep trouble.

Now I mentioned that office, and we have a special expert with experience there tonight. Danya Perry is a former SDNY prosecutor and Nick Akerman is a former Watergate special prosecutor and back in the day served in the SDNY as well and overlapped and worked with Giuliani.

Good to see you both.



MELBER: Nick, do you believe that this raid means there is bad news for Rudy Giuliani and he`s at risk of indictment?

AKERMAN: Yes. I think it does mean it`s bad news. It`s very difficult to get a judge to approve a search warrant on a lawyer. Never mind a well- known lawyer like Rudy Giuliani, who is the former mayor of the city of New York, was the lawyer to President Trump.

The government has to go in and provide very specific facts justifying that a crime was committed. And under these circumstances where it is such a high level of person, you would expect that the Department of Justice wouldn`t go in there but with the most refined and detailed facts of criminal activity. And once you do that, you have to ask, well, what kind of evidence is it?

It`s probably pretty decent evidence considering that they`re going in for the search warrant on this individual. And then you got to ask, well, how close are they to actually being able to indict and convict beyond a reasonable doubt?

MELBER: Danya, what did you think of what we heard here from Mr. Giuliani who famously knows his way around this office and referred to that in the interview, his attempt both to minimize the scope of the search and then also tell that story about what he says he offered them?

PERRY: Sure. Well, it`s a little hard to decipher because it`s fundamentally gibberish. I mean, I think my first year of criminal procedure law students have a better understanding of criminal law than the former U.S. attorney. This was not an illegal or unconstitutional search as he also said in his FOX interview last night. The fact that the feds had access to his -- this sort of iCloud, you know, pointing skyward is not unusual and is exactly the procedure they should have followed.

And this was, you know, by the books. And, so, you know, I don`t -- it`s not a defense and he was, as you pointed out, the U.S. attorney who was charged with overseeing, you know, no doubt hundreds of search warrants under his watch. So he knows or should know how it works. And his offer to provide this Tucker -- this Hunter Biden -- I`m sorry. He also confused I think Tucker Carlson and Hunter Biden in his interview.

But his offer to provide that hard drive, first of all, as you say, on his own account, but it would not surprise me at all if the agents refused that offer. They did not have a warrant for anything other than the very specific electronic devices that they seized. So I think that also would have been right by the book.

MELBER: Yes. You make an important distinction there which for viewers matters, which is Giuliani is making it sound like, oh, they wanted devices. I got all kinds of devices. Come on in. Take it. When in fact legally they can only take the devices that are tied to the investigation, in this case apparently tied to Mr. Giuliani. So if he`s got a friend`s device or a Hunter Biden device or someone was over for a cocktail and they left a phone on the table, a warrant doesn`t necessarily give the government that level of powers.

It almost sounded like he wanted to sandbag them again. That`s just my interpretations based on what was a little bit of a bizarre response.

Nick, we wanted to get you in tonight because viewers may remember how you walked us through many aspects of the Mueller probe. Can we talk about collusion for a second?

AKERMAN: Yes. I mean, I think this -- what we`ve learned today --

MELBER: You ready? Well, let me --


MELBER: Well, first, Nick, first I just want to make sure you`re ready. But I figured you were.

AKERMAN: I`m ready.

MELBER: We`ve talked about it -- well, we`ve talked about it before, Nick, and it does look worse now. And I`m one of those people where I go on the news and I talk about how there wasn`t enough evidence yet or the high bar of a criminal conspiracy and sometimes people come up to me in the street and say, Ari, why are you being so technical with it? It looks like collusion. Well, boy, do some of these look like collusion

I want to read from this warning that we mentioned. The "Washington Post" says FBI goes to Giuliani and they say you`re the target of a Russian disinformation campaign, part of an extensive effort by the bureau to warn members of Congress. They also warned a conservative media outlet, here I`m reading from the "Post," One America News, they faced a risk of being used to further Russia`s attempt to influence the election`s outcome.

My question to you, Nick, is, at what point is it not, oh, some scary disinformation campaign? And at what point does it become direct collusion if Mr. Giuliani as an agent and lawyer of the president knowingly and vociferously collaborates on what he`s been warned is a Russian op to try to discredit the man who actually would become president, Joe Biden?

AKERMAN: No. I totally agree. I mean, I think what you have there is evidence. You have knowledge of an agreement basically to side with the Russians, to take on what the Russians are feeding him in order to undermine their chief political rival. I mean, they did it knowingly, which we didn`t really know before as much as we do now, the fact that they were specifically told by the FBI that they were being fed a crock of bull by all of these Ukrainians. Everybody they talked to. And it`s all being orchestrated by the Russian government.

They knew that. I mean, the idea that they somehow just didn`t believe our own intelligence sources is absurd. I mean, this is the same attitude, the same way they`ve treated U.S. intelligence throughout this entire episode, starting in the 2016 campaign. So to me, this shows actual knowledge. They are told that they are just being puppets for the Russian government, and they don`t care.

They take it on completely and go along with the program because they`re more concerned about working with the Russians to get rid of Joe Biden so that he is not a threat in the presidential election.

MELBER: It`s wild. It`s wild. And a lot of this has come out afterward, after the Mueller report, after the Trump folks left office.

Danya, I want to read to you what Preet Bharara said. Many will remember him as a U.S. attorney in the Southern District that Trump initially kept on, tried to cultivate, then dramatically ousted along with the other U.S. attorneys. He agrees with something you said on this program when the news broke. SDNY is probably far along, given what showing they have to make of probable cause to do this search in the first place. There is a good likelihood of a charge.

Based on what we know, Danya, would that charge be something just about foreign lobbying and filing which, while serious, would be seen by many as quite narrow? Or do you see other potential felonies afoot?

PERRY: Well, based on the discussion that you and Nick just sad, there certainly could be much more serious charges. And, again, not to minimize how serious a charge like that would be, each charge carries with it the penalty of up to five years in prison. And this conduct, as we understand it, certainly goes to the core of what FARA is meant to protect against. This is -- lack of transparency is one thing, but this is another level.

So if he is acting as a foreign agent, you know, without registering, that`s a FARA violation. But if he is actually, you know, that there could be other national security implications that go far beyond and that carry much stiffer criminal penalties.


PERRY: So I do think some of this news is very troubling here and also it`s got to be troubling for Mr. Giuliani that it`s coming out.

MELBER: It`s a lot of heat. It goes to what Donald Trump was doing long before he knew that Biden would even be the nominee. It was thwarted. It failed. But, boy, are the feds interested in looking at who did it, whether it was felonious and whether that rises also to the level potentially of the person for whom it was supposed to benefit, former President Trump. So there`s a lot here, big story of your Friday night.

Danya Perry and Nick Akerman, thanks to both of you.

We go to just our shortest break of the hour, 30 seconds, with developing news tonight on the Matt Gaetz investigation. Truly the biggest and worst day we`ve seen yet in this probe that we`ve been covering when we`re back in 30 seconds.


MELBER: Turning to an explosive new alleged confession in the Matt Gaetz sex crime investigation. What I`m about to report to you right now is a bombshell that would change everything if true. "The Daily Beast" reporting on an alleged confession letter they claim was written by a well-known Gaetz associate, Joel Greenberg, who alleged by wrote, Congressman Matt Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women as well as a girl who was 17 at the time.

This is a potential breakthrough. If it sounds familiar, this is the indicted Gaetz ally at the center of this whole DOJ probe. Now according to "The Daily Beast" accusing Gaetz directly of a major sex crime felony in writing. That`s "The Daily Beast" reporting. You can see immediately, and I haven`t even gotten all of it, why it sounds like such a bombshell.

I also have to do what we always tried to do around here which is tell you what we know and what we don`t. As of this hour, NBC News has not verified this account or been able to obtain or see this underlying letter. But "The Daily Beast" does say they have this explosive letter. They say they verified it. And it alleges that, quote, payments were made to several of the girls, including the individual who was not yet 18, a minor.

Now, when it comes to what we`re reading from, this written confession, it`s not just some random person making an allegation against a politician. This is a Gaetz ally who spent time with him, as these photos attest, who`s now under huge legal pressure criminally to not only give the feds factual information but information with evidence that the feds can use in court.

So with that in mind, note that Greenberg alleged he also says he saw the acts occur firsthand. And he goes on to directly implicate Gaetz saying, "payments were made to these girls on behalf of the congressman," end quote.

Now Gaetz faces this criminal probe that`s ongoing, including serious potential charges like sex trafficking and possible sex with a minor. For his part he denies all allegations. He has not been charged with a crime.

So let`s take this hit. If you`ve been following this story, it`s been a doozy even before this allegedly written confession. Why would Greenberg put any of this in writing in the first place? Well, that`s also very interesting. "The Daily Beast" reporting this was his last-ditch effort to save himself when he reached out to a very controversial Trump ally and felony defendant pictured in this infamous video, long-time adviser to Donald Trump, Roger Stone, who faced his own legal trouble.

He was arrested here. He was raided. He was prosecuted. He was convicted. The only way out of this mess was that he ultimately received a very controversial pardon from his longtime friend, Donald Trump. So "The Daily Beast" has obtained text messages they say are from Greenberg directly asking Stone to get for him what he got for himself, a pardon. Quote, "If I get you $250,000 in Bitcoin, would that help or is this not a financial matter?" One message asked.

And on January 13th, Stone reportedly replying, quote, "I hope you are prepared to wire me a quarter million because I`m feeling confident." A reference to his confidence that he could indeed get a presidential pardon for Greenberg, which did not occur.

As a tax collector in Florida, he`s indicted on charges that includes sex trafficking, identify fraud, stalking, and misusing taxpayer money. Greenberg`s lawyer has suggested there would be some sort of cooperation. "The Daily Beast" reports Greenberg asked Stone to get him a pardon from Trump there. All of this means that the confession that we just read from, allegedly that confession letter was designed to help Stone make the case for the pardon.

Now there is more to this story. And as always, you need to get all of it. Gaetz`s publicist telling NBC in response to all of this, "Congressman Gaetz has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with a 1-year-old as an adult." Adding, quote, "`The Daily Beast` story contains a lot of confessions from Mr. Greenberg. It does not add anything of substance and certainly no evidence for the wild and false claims about Representative Gaetz."

Now, "The Daily Beast" story appears significant because it includes this alleged confession and accusations of new, possible pardon scandals coming out of Trump world. It`s a big deal, and our guests are going to walk us through it. As to Gaetz`s response, let`s be clear, if Mr. Greenberg only has, say, words, accusations and zero evidence, that may not go very far in court. The question facing Greenberg and the investigators and of course Gaetz himself is whether this very serious accusation can be proven.

To get into all of it now, we`re joined by "The New York Times" Michelle Goldberg and attorney Nancy Erika Smith who has worked on many harassment cases and knows her way around exactly these tricky issues.

So thanks to both of you for joining us. We`ve been covering this story. This is clearly the biggest development in it. I took great pains, Nancy, to emphasize what we know and what we don`t, and that NBC just hasn`t been able to verify that letter. So walk us through legally what you see here.

NANCY ERIKA SMITH, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, "The Daily Beast" did get a handwriting expert and they compared the handwritten letter, and there were typed versions, with various pieces of handwriting that they know were Greenberg`s. So that`s pretty significant. "The Daily Beast" also claims that they viewed 150 Venmo payments from Gaetz to Greenberg and very oddly named what they were for. So we`re looking at, at least a minimum, for one count is 10 years in prison, not less than 10 years in prison for sex with a minor.

Then we`re looking at interstate travel for sex. Then we`re looking at soliciting prostitution. Then we`re looking at trafficking a 17-year-old. And then possibly, I have always wondered whether this was pornography because Greenberg said he saw the acts firsthand in his letter. And we know that Gaetz showed nude pictures around the floor of Congress. So was there an element of pornography going on here with underaged girls?

Really, my heart goes out to these high school aged girls who were preyed upon by these men more than twice their age. I was shocked when I read that Greenberg said he confronted the 17-year-old, and she apologized for allegedly not telling them she was 17. That level of depravity is hard to get your head around. But it shows a treatment of women. I mean, that`s an admission of a treatment of women like, it`s your fault you`re so young, and I paid you for sex and trafficked you. There is a lot here and --


MELBER: Yes. Nancy -- Nancy, speak more about that because this obviously has all the makings of a political scandal and the pardon piece which I want to get to with Michelle. But you`ve advocated and represented people in various ranges of these types of cases. And you`re speaking of the fact that allegedly, and again I`m being as precise as I can with this kind of story but allegedly this involves alleged victims. It involves real people. It`s not just a story about whether Mr. Gaetz will stay in Congress or not. Speak more on the point you`re raising there.

SMITH: Yes. It`s really shocking to me how the young, very young women have been treated. The last time I was on, you were talking about a young girl who was terrified and who had maybe tape-recorded Matt Gaetz`s former girlfriend in order to protect herself and maybe have something to bring to the prosecutors. It`s sort of reminiscent of Monica Lewinsky being abused by Ken Starr.

The victims are not discussed at all. A 17-year-old girl apparently in a group sex act -- that`s how it reads from the confessional letter that allegedly was written by Greenberg. He says he saw the acts firsthand so clearly there`s not just some private sex act going on. We know that Gaetz loved to show nude photographs of young women he was telling people he was having sex with. It`s so exploitative, it`s so shocking that it hurts me. And I feel, really feel for these young women who are caught in such a difficult legal position.

MELBER: Appreciate you making that point, and that was another detail on "The Daily Beast" article which, again, as you say, if true allegedly sounds like very guilty because it alleges that Mr. Greenberg got this information and then followed up on it with the understanding or belief that this was a minor.


MELBER: Michelle, as if this all wasn`t enough, honestly, we haven`t even hit the pardon part yet, which is that apparently, according to this reporting and what they say are direct communications between these people, a sex crime pardon goes for about a quarter mill as far as Roger Stone considered it, and he`s not nobody. He`s one of Donald Trump`s closest, longest confidants who himself ended up getting a pardon. So again, I mentioned that that`s different than someone writing something randomly on the Internet. These are people in a position to know.

Now, I want to make sure before I go to Michelle that we are, as part of our reporting, obligated to read this statement. This is new from Mr. Stone. Quote, "I made no effort whatsoever to secure a pardon for Mr. Greenberg. I took not a dime from him or anyone else seeking a pardon. I have seen no substantiation or actual proof of any of the wild accusations he has made against Congressman Gaetz."

Mr. Stone continues, quote, "Desperate men often tell lies in an effort to implicate others in their own crimes in an effort to lessen the penalties against themselves," end quote.

Michelle, our standards department, which has rigorously gone over this story requires that defense from Mr. Stone. And he`s entitled to his denial. Your view on all of the above and what sounds like a potential pardon scandal.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I don`t know. I am not a lawyer. I have no idea if it`s a crime to try to sell a pardon if you don`t do it. But I do -- because it does seem like there was a going rate, I hope that Joe Biden`s Justice Department is looking into the way, you know, to kind of the corrupt dealing in pardons both with Roger Stone and maybe with other figures in the Trump administration because there`s been a lot of reporting about a lot of money passing around, and, you know, a lot of -- you know, kind of this is basically just a cash transaction for a lot of people.

The other thing I would point out is that, again, I`m not a lawyer, but Greenberg is a person who was known to make false accusations against his political enemies. So it means to me --


GOLDBERG: -- that if prosecutors are cutting a deal with him, they wouldn`t just do so on his word. Right? He`s a person who appears to have committed many, many different crimes, who is an unreliable narrator, as Roger Stone said. But to me, that`s all the more telling about why prosecutors are willing to cut a deal with him. It would suggest at least to me that it`s likely that they have more than just his words. And, you know, another detail of "The Daily Beast" story that I thought was so interesting is that it talks about Roger Stone sending messages on this app Signal that are meant to quickly disappear, but Greenberg is taking pictures of all of them.

If that`s his M.O., I would -- you know, it`s likely that that wasn`t just his M.O. with Stone but his M.O. with Gaetz as well.

MELBER: You raise several tantalizing things. I`m short on time. But, Michelle, to that point I want to read from some of those messages because there aren`t many possibilities. Either they were correctly obtained somehow from Signal or a phone, meaning they`re real, or they were somehow fake, in which case there would be retractions. There aren`t a lot of other options.

And Michelle, reading from one of them here, allegedly, you have, quote, Stone saying this is treacherous territory with a lot of different players, such as Jared and Giuliani playing a hand. Giuliani referenced there, Michelle, while he`s dealing with his own legal issues.

GOLDBERG: You know, again, the amount of -- I understand that the Justice Department probably wants to move on from the Trump administration, that it`s politically fraught to prosecute a former administration except in certain instances like this Giuliani probe where it was, you know, ongoing from Bill Barr and this kind of the criminality appears inescapable. But I really think there needs to just be a sort of top-to-bottom probe because the amount of criminality that you saw in this former administration and the assumptions of impunity that you see in all of the people around it, right, that you just kind of write out your crimes, name a price, send it in and get your pardon.

You know, and Matt Gaetz behaved as a person who sort of assumed that the laws don`t apply to him and his entire time in national public office coincided with the Trump administration. So it seems that these were the norms that people got used to during those times and I think there just needs to be -- we just need a lot more sunlight into everything that happened.

MELBER: All fair points on a big day in this story. Michelle Goldberg, and Nancy, I`m over on time, but we`ll have you both back because these are big stories.

Michelle and Nancy, thank you.

We`re fitting in a break because we have news from the president marking 100 days and how he`s reversing Trumpism on policy. But how is this Giuliani raid rattling Trump? We have a very special guest on that coming up. What happened to America`s mayor? An exclusive interview with an old colleague who is watching the downfall in horror. Stay with us.


MELBER: It`s a question that`s been percolating honestly for years now, but never more seriously, more gravely, more bizarrely than this week.

What happened to Rudy Giuliani? He`s in the crosshairs of this ongoing federal probe conducted by the very office he used to run, to great acclaim at one point, the Southern District of New York. It is a turnaround for a man who once ran for president, who was dubbed as America`s mayor, who was seen as someone who represented at least a certain version of hardnosed New York justice. He had his critics, but he was not then considered in those past decades a would be criminal.

I`m joined now by Ken Frydman. He was press secretary for Giuliani`s victorious and much remarked upon 1993 mayoral campaign. By the time the Trump years came to us, though, he has been speaking out. He wrote, quote, "The man I worked for in `93 is not the man who lies for Donald Trump." And we`re also joined for perspective on this unusual inquiry into the president`s lawyer by MSNBC presidential historian and the author of many books, Michael Beschloss.

First person to say Watergate gets a free cocktail here on this Friday tonight, Ken, but I know that mixed in with fitting Giuliani baroque humor, and boy, he likes to mix it up. He talks about "My Cousin Vinny" and all the rest when he does his appearances, Ken, is something that I know you discussed as painful for you. Do you have an understanding of what happened to him and why he`s -- why he`s acted this way and yoked himself so tightly to Donald Trump because he is afforded all his rights and presumed his innocence legally.

But even if not charged, he has done things that are seedy, that are ugly, that are full of lies, but not just for his own personal enrichment. They appear to be on behalf of someone else, on behalf of Trump.

I`m going to jump in. I don`t think I or the audience can hear Ken. Let me put the question to Michael, and Ken, try -- our folks are going to check in. Will you try unmuting, double check that? But, Michael, you first.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, MSNBC PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, you know, I have been trying to think, Ari, of some historical examples that would give us some light on this and there is not much. There was a mayor, as I`m sure you know, of New York from 1926 to 1932 whose name was Jimmy Walker who was sort of a man about town in a real way and broke an awful lot of rules. And one of them was a law that says a mayor should not be shaking down contractors with the city of New York to get contracts. That he did.

It was investigated in 1932. Franklin Roosevelt was running for president. Roosevelt was worried that if he went after Walker, he would lose the support of Democratic leaders who liked Walker in New York City. So FDR, who was very shrewd, waited until he had been nominated in the summer of `32 and then pulled the plug on Walker, 1st of September, 1932. And that was the end of him.

But Walker was not like Giuliani was. He was not a presidential candidate. He was never remotely called America`s mayor as Giuliani rightly was for his leadership in 2001, and he didn`t have the kind of fascinating complex record of strengths and flaws that Giuliani showed as mayor in the 1990s.

MELBER: Fascinating. And I think we have Ken back. Ken, go ahead.

KEN FRYDMAN, PRESS SECRETARY FOR GIULIANI 1993 MAYORAL CAMPAIGN: Well, as I was saying, Rudy has become increasingly reckless and greedy. Money is an aphrodisiac. He`s made a lot of it. I`ve spoken to a lot of people in Rudy world this week, and none of them are surprised, including me. We`re dismayed and disappointed. But, you know, we`re not shocked by any means.

I was told that he was warned not to go into business with Parnas and Furman, but he decided anyway to do so. And he took $500,000 that`s coming back to bite him now. It`s very hard for all of us to reconcile arguably the most effective mayor and U.S. attorney in the Southern District with the man whose apartment and office were raided by the FBI this week at the behest of the Southern District of New York, an office he used to run.

I mean, the ironies are just impossible to invent here.

MELBER: Let me play a little bit of the -- I mentioned the run that you worked on, the mayoral race, and the way that he ran because again we keep talking about the Southern District. That was his calling card to be mayor at a time when it was unexpected that he would win initially. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Integrity, that`s the first quality that comes to mind when I think of Rudy. He`s honest and he`s very kind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rudy Giuliani for mayor.


MELBER: Can`t hear. Can`t hear. Ken, when you look at that -- excuse me. I was just having an audio issue. But, Ken, when you look at that, when he now goes out there and acts completely aghast that he`s even being searched, and the way he conducted himself in this interview, we showed some of it earlier, based on your knowledge of him, is that genuine or is this an act?

FRYDMAN: No. It`s bravado. He`s got to show that, you know, he`s tough and -- but he`s challenging them to come get them. But I should caution your listeners and viewers that a warrant is not an indictment and it`s not a conviction. So everyone should let the process play out before they pre- judge.

MELBER: Michael, what do you think of the position we`re in? Everyone knows people got used to all kinds of stuff the last few years, and everyone is saying, OK, we`re going to move ahead. We heard the president this week talk about focusing on all the important stuff ahead. But it`s not nothing that the former president remains under criminal investigation in Georgia for trying to overturn an election, potentially illegally, and that his lawyer just saw his home and office raided even within the higher standards overseen by Merrick Garland, an independent former judge and AG which is all the play-by-the-book standards to do that to a lawyer. This isn`t nothing. This seems to go back to Watergate or other scandals.

BESCHLOSS: I`m glad you mentioned Watergate so that I can, and do I get my cocktail on the air or off the air, Ari, for mentioning Watergate? We`ll negotiate this. In any case, we`ve got an ex-president, Donald Trump, who is in greater danger of being in big, legal trouble than any other president in the history of the United States emphatically, including Richard Nixon. And that`s why I`ve said for at least the last five months since the time of the election that I do not think that there is much chance that Donald Trump is going to be a presidential candidate in 2024 because I think he`s going to be so overwhelmed and exhausted by fending off all these problems that he`s going to have larger problems to deal with.

MELBER: All very interesting. Ken Frydman, as mentioned, I got to -- I`m sorry. I got to get in this break with what we have coming up. We`ve got some special stuff.

Ken, good to see you. Michael, stay with me.

FRYDMAN: Thank you.

MELBER: Up ahead, Governor DeSantis following the Georgia playbook. We`ve got you covered on the facts. But first, as promised, I mentioned this, there`s other news we need to get to. President Biden marking officially his 100 days with a big message on jobs and overruling Trumpism. That`s next.


MELBER: You know, there is a common saying often online that if you`re being honest or authentic, you`re keeping it 100 percent. Well, I can tell you Joe Biden is keeping it 100, 100 days in office, that is. And he`s doing it with a call back. He`s long been known as Amtrak Joe for those famous commutes from Delaware. Today he went right to an Amtrak station in Philly to promote the infrastructure plan which invests billions in railways so it`s not just a photo-op and celebrating their anniversary, a trip that has started, when you think about it, way back in the day.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Biden took the train home to Wilmington.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody literally in history has ridden Amtrak as much as me as a conductor.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): When he took that first train trip from Wilmington to Washington.

BIDEN: Over 8,000 roundtrips I have made. Literally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Amtrak Joe loves his choo-choos.

BIDEN: I ride my favorite way, Amtrak, Amtrak.


MELBER: There it is. We`re joined now by senior writer with FiveThirtyEight and a friend of THE BEAT, Perry Bacon.

How are you doing, man?


MELBER: Good to have you. As mentioned, he`s keeping it 100 days. And Amtrak was a fitting place. Everybody gets the association. Walk us through what you think he`s been able to do in rallying public support for big spending and really big government.

BACON: Yes. This has been a presidency I did not expect. You know, he is really in these first two big bills, first the stimulus which was very large. Then the polls suggest (INAUDIBLE) the bills popular as well, Biden, you know, campaigned as I am sort of an older white, moderate guy, but he`s really talking, you know, sort of big, bold economic policy to the left of Obama and to the left of Clinton in a lot of ways.

I`d be curious to see if he got one bill passed, he`s got to get through what I call Prime Minister Manchin for his next bill. So it`ll be interesting to watch how they can get Manchin to sign off with this second spending bill.

MELBER: Yes, Manchin has like his own extra pocket veto. Since we`re looking now officially at 100 days, I do want to show some of the list of the accomplishments Biden invoked in that big speech through the 100 days.


BIDEN: Together we passed the American Rescue Plan. I`m sending $1400 rescue checks to 85 percent of American households. During these 100 days, an additional 800,000 Americans enrolled in the Affordable Care Act. The economy created more than 1,300,000 new jobs in 100 days. More jobs in the first 100 days than any president on record.


MELBER: Fact check true. Perry, you are here as a political journalist, not a booster. Though true, how much credit does he get for that and how much of that is this cyclical wave coming out of the punishing year we`ve had?

BACON: It`s both. I mean, we definitely -- the economy was going to come to the upswing out of the COVID relief. I think it would have happened with President Trump. Trump was even saying good things are going to happen. Give me a little credit when he was leaving office. So I think that said, I think two things worth noting is Biden`s approval is 54-42. Trump`s was sort of the reverse, more disapproves. So I think Americans are calmed by Biden in the way there weren`t.

And the second thing, at least your clip did not show this but I would say I`m sure I know Biden mentioned a lot, I think the most important thing that`s happened in these 100 days and probably in any 100 days of presidency since 9/11 is this massive number of people that are getting vaccines. That is a hugely important thing. And that wasn`t all about Joe Biden, but he has, as president, managed the process, been very involved in it. And that vaccine distribution is the most important thing any president has done in a long time. Hugely important to everybody living in America.

MELBER: Yes. You almost get the sense, Perry, that having someone who`s experienced in government and cares about its outcomes can be drastically different than someone who looks at it all as an endless culture war and PR exercise of incredibly selfish proportions. It feels different.

It`s good to see you, sir. Thanks for here.

BACON: Good to see you, Ari. Thank you.

MELBER: Go ahead. No. Final thought? Go ahead.

BACON: That experience you`re noting is I think important. It looks like not only the experience helped him compared to Trump, but Biden has been governing in the Senate in a way that Obama and Clinton were. And I think if you look at how the government is being run, like Obama did a lot of good things, but Obamacare, that Web site was not rolled out well.

And if you look at this vaccine process, I think that Biden has got a really experienced staff around him. And I think he`s experienced. And I think that experience, he`s really trained himself up to be president in a way that the last several presidents have been governors or senators, but like a vice president who spent all this time in governing is a really important thing.

MELBER: Yes. Great point. Perry Bacon, thank you. Good to see you, sir.

We`ve got a quick break. And when we come back, a fact check on the truths you need to know in a special conversation. We`ll be right back.


MELBER: Florida Republicans pushing a voter suppression bill and now Governor DeSantis says he`ll sign it. Democrats say it`s another Jim Crow bill that has new I.D. requirements, limits on how you can use mail-in ballots, makes you sign up for a mail-in ballots on a more regular basis, and what critics say is a partisan observation for ballot counting, plus new restrictions on drop boxes. These are the kind of restrictive voting laws we`ve told you about and we will keep an eye on them and how they affect your right to vote.

Now I`m going to fit in a break, but when we come back, Michael Beschloss is back with us for a very important discussion to end the week. Stay with us.


MELBER: It`s Friday on THE BEAT, so you know it`s time to "Fallback."

We`re joined by the world-famous DJ Cassidy. He DJ`d both Obama inaugurations and Obama`s 50th birthday. He`s also spun at Jay-Z and Beyonce`s wedding. Pretty good gigs if you can get them. In the COVID era, he created Pass the Mic, a sing-along on Zoom which now has his own TV show on BET.

And back with us, Emmy-winning historian Michael Beschloss. One publication touted him as knowing more about America`s presidents than perhaps anyone on earth. Ten books under his belt.

Cassidy and Beschloss are here together. Good to see both of you and we`re going to get right to it.

DJ Cassidy, what`s on your "Fallback" list?

DJ CASSIDY, "PASS THE MIC" CREATOR: Well, Ari, first of all, thank you for having me. Quite an introduction. I appreciate it. First on my "Fallback" list, Orange County lawmaker Don Wagner -- have you heard about this? -- asked Orange County Health Care Agency director if they were putting tracking devices in the vaccine. Now, I live in L.A. I do weekend trips to Laguna Beach. I might have to start going to Santa Barbara for a while.

In the words of the late great prodigy of mob deep, Illuminati want my mind, soul, and my body, secret society, trying to keep their eye on me.

MELBER: Trying to keep their eye on him.

DJ CASSIDY: But, no, Ron, not this one, not this time.

MELBER: Really well done. I mean, Michael, you`re a presenter, but so is DJ Cassidy and the mob deep prodigy bars, they apply. Michael, what`s on your list?

BESCHLOSS: How can I top Cassidy? There`s an unemployed politician called, I just want to get this name correctly, because I haven`t seen it lately, Rick Santorum, is that the proper pronunciation? Of Pennsylvania, who said lately, and I`m reading this horrible quote, "There isn`t much Native American culture in American culture." It`s a disgusting comment. It shows how little he knows about American culture and history, and its central importance, the central importance of Native American history and culture to all of our history.

And I guess the main thing is, if I were taking history or culture lessons, I would not take them from Rick Santorum.

MELBER: A fair point. I`m running over on time. In one sentence, Cassidy, tell people what Pass the Mic is.

DJ CASSIDY: Pass the Mic is a personal, intimate sing-along, in which I pass the mic from home to home, from legendary artist to legendary artist for them to sing along to their most iconic and prolific records.

MELBER: I love it. And it`s been a great thing. And I know it`s brought a lot of joy and a lot of cultural conversation during this era, so we did want to shout that out. A busy day with all of this news.