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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 5/4/21

Guests: Ian Manuel, Chai Komanduri, Emily Bazelon, Joan Walsh, Melissa Murray

Summary

Republican Leader McCarthy is caught trashing Congresswoman Liz Cheney on a hot mic. Congressman Matt Gaetz speaks out in-depth on the investigation he`s facing. Rudy Giuliani speaks out on the federal raid of his apartment and office. Attorneys for Derek Chauvin are seeking a new trial. Why is the public hearing so much about big tech and so-called woke companies from Republicans? Ian Manuel discusses his book "My Time Will Come: A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope, and Redemption."

Transcript

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now.

Hi, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Nicolle. Thank you so much.

Welcome to THE BEAT. I`m Ari Melber.

And we`re tracking several big stories tonight.

A new hot mic moment. These are often the most revealing things in Washington. And, this time, it`s Republican Leader McCarthy caught trashing Liz Cheney.

Meanwhile, Congressman Matt Gaetz actually speaking out in-depth since this bombshell alleged confession letter on sex crimes by an ally of his leaked. So, we`re going to hear what Gaetz is saying to explain any of that later tonight.

But we begin with Rudy Giuliani`s evolution on the federal raid of his apartment and office in what looks to be an intensifying, escalating and serious criminal probe against one of the greatest advocates and former lawyers for the former president.

Giuliani back in front of cameras, running to FOX News, like he`s done many times before representing Trump. And just as he`s done for his own client when he was in legal trouble, now Giuliani is pulling the same problem for himself, making things worse when he talks to FOX.

We have said it before, but, if it`s true, I will say it again to you. Rudy going Rudy. This time, he`s trying to defend himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: May 1 is when I started representing Donald Trump. They wanted nothing on me before that. So, you can`t say that their main interest wasn`t Donald Trump.

So, the day -- just about the day that I begin representing him is the day they go invade my iCloud. So, try telling somebody that it wasn`t to get the material on Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That might sound somewhat reasonable depending on how suspicious you are of the government. But who are they? He`s talking about this starting back during the Trump administration.

They are Trump appointees, including one of the most devoted, politically loyal and controversial attorneys general in American history, Bill Barr, who had to sign off on aspects of his investigation, who may have slow- walked parts of it, but, at the end of the day, they Rudy is you, Trump people, Trump lawyers.

This is a shift, of course, from Giuliani. His legal team first called the raid and the feds operating it as professional the first day that this news broke. Then he went on to saying the raid was -- quote -- "out of control" and even claimed that it was investigators committing crimes, making the high-profile, very controversial allegation that they`re somehow framing him. He said that without evidence.

Now we see it take another step. He`s saying this isn`t just wrong or out of control. He`s saying it`s all an elicit and potentially illegal act to go get Donald Trump. To be clear, there`s not evidence for what Rudy Giuliani is claiming. But if it were true that this was an effort to bother him to get someone else, well, you can get a lot of trouble at the FBI or DOJ for doing that.

Now, then he was asked about "The New York Times"` report about the firing of former U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch at the center of this probe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: I was representing the president of the United States. The whole world knew that. The whole world knew it. And this is -- I mean, this is totally done because they want to destroy my credibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Credibility. Well, you know how we do it around here. We will show you the facts. We will show you what Giuliani has said over time, some of what he`s done over time, and you can decide how credible you think he is.

But, as a former prosecutor, Giuliani understands the feds need evidence of a crime, not just theories and allegations about one of his clients.

What we do know is that a team is scouring those many phones and computers they obtained from him. We know that Giuliani`s lawyer and adviser Alan Dershowitz wants Donald Trump to claim a wide, sweeping privilege over any electronic evidence, which could complicate or at least delay the feds` effort from using that in this case.

Meanwhile, today, Giuliani`s allies also want Donald Trump to pay, fork up for that legal defense, given the $250 million Trump campaign war chest for an effort that, however ridiculous, was led by Rudy Giuliani.

The bottom line, legal experts, including the former top prosecutor at that same Southern District, believe there is evidence to suggest Mr. Giuliani is in significant criminal legal trouble.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: The factual framework, I think, looks really bad, Ari, for Rudy Giuliani.

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think he`s saying to himself, geez, I wish I`d asked for that pardon. I really could use that now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would be shocked if they couldn`t indict right now.

PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: To do it when that person was the lawyer to the former president of the United States is a very significant step.

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE ATTORNEY: I think he`s in deep (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: There you have it.

I`m joined now by NYU law Professor Melissa Murray and "The Nation"`s Joan Walsh.

Professor, there`s more than one way to make the argument. We just heard, though, in that battery of quotes, some of them lawyers on THE BEAT, that there seems to be a consensus that this is legally bad for Rudy Giuliani, that it has to be more than a parking ticket or a wild theory to get the DOJ to sign off at the highest levels for this kind of raid.

MELISSA MURRAY, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, that`s certainly true.

And Giuliani certainly would know it. He was the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He knows that that office doesn`t go on fishing expeditions without serious -- serious intuition that there`s something there to be found.

And, more importantly, because this is a search warrant of a lawyer`s home and residents and items, it`s going to engender evidence that likely may have questions of attorney-client privilege.

In those circumstances, that kind of search warrant would need to be vetted and reviewed at the highest levels of main Justice, especially for someone who is the personal attorney for a sitting president. So the fact that the Southern District of New York continued with this investigation, continued to execute this search warrant suggests that they and main Justice think that there is something here to be found.

MELBER: Yes, and I will put it bluntly, Joan.

If you`re a prosecutor in that Southern District, you don`t want to take a big, nationally televised swing at a prominent lawyer for the former president who used to run that very prosecution office unless you`re darn sure you have got it, because that could blow up in your face, blow up your whole career.

Now, on paper in law school, they teach us they just follow the law, they don`t think about their own careers. That`s the obligation.

Well, Joan, sometimes, they do. This looks like something where you need to really have your ducks in a row.

And the context I want to play for your analysis beyond the law, Joan, is, this all circles back to what Giuliani was doing recklessly in public, often admitting plots that could involve crimes because they were foreign- entangled. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?

GIULIANI: No, actually, I didn`t. I asked the Ukraine to investigate the allegations that there was interference in the election.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You never asked anything about Hunter Biden? You never asked anything about Joe Biden and his role with the prosecutor?

GIULIANI: The only thing I asked about Joe Biden is to get to the bottom of how it was that Lutsenko, who was appointed, dismissed the case against AntAC.

CUOMO: Right. So, you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?

GIULIANI: Of course I did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOAN WALSH, "THE NATION": I don`t know. I don`t know, you guys. I mean, he needs a lawyer, obviously. He needed a lawyer a few years ago, right?

He`s been going on TV for several years now incriminating himself, incriminating his favorite client, Donald Trump, in all kinds of things. And it`s just getting worse. You would really think that there would be somebody in his life, maybe Alan Dershowitz, maybe someone else, who would just get the hook and pull him off stage for a while, because this is not going to end well.

And when you go on with Sean Hannity, OK, you guys are the lawyers. I`m the journalist. You`re both journalists, too. But I watched that interview and I was like, wow, this is a master class in interviewing.

Not really. I mean, it`s the way I would interview my daughter if she were accused of something bad. It was tender, loving. You can`t really be accused of a FARA violation, could you? That doesn`t make sense.

And just letting him spout off the Joe Biden is the biggest crook ever in the White House? Well, someone needs to get the hook. I don`t know who it is.

MELBER: Well, and, Joan, you`re bringing us back to something that has both legal and political significance, which is how the way Giuliani rolls, particularly when he thought he was bulletproof with his with his friend the president in the White House, and now with a cocoon of FOX and misinformation, he does seem like someone who still thinks he`s on offense.

And I can`t prejudge where the case goes. But the professor and I legally can tell you, when your home`s being raided by the feds, legally, you`re on defense. But he`s still out there saying, oh, I had Hunter Biden`s stuff. They wouldn`t take that.

Yes. Well, if they`re not authorized by a judge to take something that is, for whatever reason, in your room, they`re not going to take it, by the books.

He`s out here saying, oh, let me attack Joe Biden. He could use his airtime how he wants, Professor, but it`s not consistent with the -- what he needs to do, which is legally defend himself.

And since Joan brought it up, let`s take a brief look at one other moment from that interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: I`m probably the biggest anti-communist you ever met. There`s no way that I`m a Russian agent or anybody else`s agent.

I was a lawyer who was representing a client who was innocent. The biggest burden a lawyer can have is to represent an innocent man. And I did it damn well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Professor?

MURRAY: It`s not a crime to represent someone who`s innocent. It`s not a crime to represent someone who has committed some kind of wrongdoing.

But what it is a crime to do is to represent a foreign government without first registering your representation with the United States and the Justice Department. And that`s really the crux of this.

It may be a very difficult charge, if that charge is brought, to prove, but that`s the crux of this investigation, as we understand it right now. And I think, at this point, any good lawyer would advise his client who had just been the subject of an executed search warrant to just be quiet at this point.

MELBER: And, Professor, how unusual is it, in your view, to have a lawyer under this sort of situation publicly say, oh, this isn`t about me, it`s about my client?

It`s tricky. But he still has obligations to that client and shouldn`t be dragging them into this casually.

MURRAY: Well, that`s certainly true. And there may be a whole spate of legal and professional ethics questions about how one continues to represent a client when you, yourself, as the lawyer, are in legal jeopardy.

But I think we have seen over the last four years that what passes for legal representation in Trump world is very different from what other lawyers might do. I mean, we saw the same kind of playbook roll out with Michael Cohen when he was in this same situation, facing down a search warrant, and also demanding some sort of recourse for his client, whom he believed to be part of a deep state plot to bring down a sitting president.

So, again, we have seen this before. We have seen this for four years. It`s more of the same.

MELBER: Do you think that part of the reason, Professor, that it looks so odd is that Donald Trump seems to operate with arm`s length even for lawyers and other agents and employees who`ve been with him for many years? He seems to constantly be shifting out agents, lawyers, accountants.

And he will say publicly, hey, reliance, a legal doctrine that sometimes gets you out of things if you can say you didn`t know what they were doing. He almost seems to be deliberate about it.

MURRAY: Well, there does seem to be a great deal of distancing.

Again, we saw this with Michael Cohen. I think we`re seeing it here. I think we already saw it in the post-election landscape, when he refused to pay Rudy Giuliani. And now there is, of course, discussion that the Trump war chest should be deployed to aid Rudy Giuliani in these particular circumstances.

But I think that`s highly unlikely, for all of the reasons you suggest, but not the least of which is that this president or this former president seems to be at great pains to keep this particular lawyer at arm`s length.

MELBER: Joan, do you think these two individuals will continue to split?

WALSH: Oh, I certainly hope so. But, obviously, as the professor raises, there`s no way that Donald Trump is paying his legal bills, because he didn`t pay legal bills when he had actually authorized folks to do work for him.

So the notion that he or Alan Dershowitz think that this might be a different situation, it just shows us, I think, how deluded Rudy Giuliani and the people around him are. And it would be very entertaining and perhaps great for the country if these two guys go out each other, because I think they know a lot about what each of them has done.

MELBER: Yes. And who could have seen this coming, Donald Trump not paying his lawyers? Only a person with a passing familiarity with everything Donald Trump`s ever done in his life, only that kind of person.

I`m supposed to fit in a break.

Joan and Melissa, thanks for kicking us off tonight, you guys.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Appreciate it.

This is our shortest break, 30 seconds, but coming up in the program: Derek Chauvin seeking a new trial. We will explain why.

But first, next: Matt Gaetz is actually speaking out in his first big interview since that Tucker Carlson fiasco -- when we`re back in 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: He`s back, but you can decide how clear he`s being.

Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz basically dodging some key questions about the federal sex crimes probe, which includes possible sex with a minor and sex trafficking allegations.

These are basically his first extended comments since that bombshell Daily Beast report, which we also reported on, about an alleged can fashioned letter from Gaetz`s indicted ally that accused Gaetz of having and paying for sex with a minor.

Here is how Gaetz responds:

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEBASTIAN GORKA, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Tell us your version of events and what you have lived through in the last month.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Well, the things the media has said about me are lies. And the truth will prevail. There is a desire in big government, in big media, in big tech to target, deplatform and destroy those who champion the America first cause.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MELBER: Whatever you make of that broader criticism, it`s very much the Trump playbook, because Mr. Gaetz didn`t actually give any version of the underlying events. Just talk about the media.

Now, this is also the first interview since what many viewed as a train wreck appearance on FOX News with Tucker Carlson, who himself said it was one of the weirdest interviews he`s ever done.

For context, we turn to "New York Times" legal writer Emily Bazelon.

Thanks for being here.

EMILY BAZELON, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Thanks for having me.

MELBER: What did you think of that answer there and his attempt to come out and speak to a relatively friendly audience after that really bombshell set of accusations in The Beast?

BAZELON: I mean, I think we see Matt Gaetz here deciding not to just stay out of the limelight, not acting as strangely as he did on Tucker Carlson`s show, so, in that sense, doing a little cleanup, but, as you said, not giving any specifics;.

And it`s easy to accuse the media of lying without saying what they`re lying about. He`s just clearly decided that the best defense here is to go on offense.

MELBER: And in the same interview, he was asked about legal action if these things being said about him are so false or potentially defamatory.

He basically pivots. Take a look.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GORKA: The outrageous allegations against you, sexual impropriety, underage and everything else, and then somebody trying to extort you and your family, don`t you have a very strong case against these people? Are you taking legal action, Matt Gaetz?

GAETZ: Yes, we are working to bring the -- my exporters to justice.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MELBER: Whatever the talk of extortion, everyone should understand The Daily Beast reports on the alleged confession letter, which was written by Joel Greenberg. NBC News didn`t verify that letter. We have always mentioned that.

But they do report the Greenberg route that Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women, as well as a girl who was 17 at the time.

So, when you look at that response there, again, you can`t tell if Mr. Gorka is so bought into the theory that he wants to tee it up, or he`s finding a friendly sounding way of actually calling out the fact that Gaetz may not want to have a separate case on this if it`s not strong, if people are not indeed lying about it.

BAZELON: Right.

I mean, maybe there`s a hint of skepticism on Gorka`s part, because, if you`re going to make this big conspiracy charge about people in the Department of Justice and this tens of millions of dollars of extortion, right, against your family, you would think you might have some evidence to back that up.

If Gaetz doesn`t have any evidence and doesn`t move forward with some way of proving it, then it just looks like a giant distraction. I suppose we don`t know the answer yet, just as we also don`t know whether the allegations against Matt Gaetz are going to prove out.

This is a story in which there`s lots of throwing around of huge accusations, and it`s very unresolved.

MELBER: All fair points.

Emily, I will take a point of personal BEAT privilege to say one of the reasons we really think you`re a great guest is, we can always get more than one piece of analysis out of you. The way the stories have been these days, obviously, many legal developments.

And so there is some news here on basically the postscript of the Chauvin trial. I want to get Emily`s view on it.

To update everyone, this is late-breaking today that former officer Chauvin filed a motion for a new trial. Now, motions for new trials are fairly common. He is alleging that it`s not a fair trial. He was, of course, found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd.

The news comes his reports also revealed that one show Chauvin juror to participate in an MLK commemorative March in Washington, where members of Floyd`s family addressed the crowd.

Walk us through what this means, Emily, and how typical it is for defense lawyers to try to find ways to quibble with or make procedural challenges to a verdict.

BAZELON: I mean, it`s completely common, really required to file a motion for a new trial, as the defense did here. And they`re making a pretty standard list of reasons.

They`re talking about how the judge didn`t order a change of venue, he didn`t sequester the jury, various rulings they didn`t like during the trial. It all looked like pretty standard fare.

I think what`s interesting is this accusation about the juror, right? The juror, as I understand it, answered in a questionnaire that he had not attended any protests that were motivated by the death of George Floyd, and yet he was at this particular event that you mentioned.

And so I think that one question is whether he didn`t understand that event to be a protest commemorating George Floyd. What exactly was in his mind as he was attending? And it`s possible that the judge will call him in and try to ask some questions to make sure that he wasn`t dissembling in some way.

And I think that is the issue, whether he was being honest, from his point of view, about his perspective and what he had done leading up to the trial.

MELBER: Right. And, as you say, in contrast to the rather standard procedural rulings, like everyone saw that defense wanted a different location, they didn`t get it, that`s not usually going to overturn a jury verdict, if there is some scintilla or slice here where you can get into, was a juror deliberately dishonest up front, how did the voir dire work, that kind of thing?

But, as you reminded us, pretty standard. Indeed, a criminal defense lawyer is supposed to exhaust all such potential remedies.

Emily, on more than one topic, thank you for joining us today.

BAZELON: Thanks very much for having me.

MELBER: Appreciate it.

Coming up, another hot mic bomb. They live, but do they learn. It can happen to anyone, often happens to politicians. Leader McCarthy caught trashing his own colleague Liz Cheney. We have the audio.

And, later, a leaked internal GOP memo, why does it explain and rebut the very woke criticism we have been hearing from some in the party? We will get the answers, because it is "Chai Day."

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: New Republican strategy documents show how the party is trying to rebrand as populist and against some corporations, which leads to this now recurring talk of woke companies, which is drawing some mockery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Let`s just cut to the chase. The big tech platforms are owned and operated by woke capitalists. They`re leftists. They`re liberals.

SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": There`s no way Mark Zuckerberg is woke. At most, he`s switched on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Now, there are other reasons this supposed clash with some corporations does not add up other than that.

As we have reported right here on THE BEAT, this talk didn`t just come out of nowhere. It echoes a very deliberate P.R. attempt outlined in GOP documents to find ways for Republicans to say they`re confronting corporations and representing working-class voters, from the attacks on woke companies and big tech, to picking a fight with China that emphasizes support for working Americans.

Now, keep in mind, these are basically telegraphed, strategic Republican moves. It`s designed to create the idea that they`re clashing with these companies, when the Republican Party`s support for Wall Street is not really changing on big ticket money items, like taxes, labor regulation.

Instead, they are focused on fairly vague ways to kind of play-act this fight with corporations, from wokeness, what does that even mean, to China? How do you even address it? It`s all become something of a MAGA buzzword salad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I think corporate America, by trying to genuflect at wokeness, I think they have gone down a really bad road. What about the fact that you`re doing business with the Communist Party of China?

PETER THIEL, CO-FOUNDER, PAYPAL: There`s something about the woke politics inside these companies, the way they think of themselves as not really American companies.

And it`s somehow very, very difficult to -- for them to have a sharp anti- China edge of any sort.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The last speaker was Trump supporter and tech billionaire Peter Thiel, an early Facebook backer, also a reminder that not all of Silicon Valley is somehow automatically anti-Trump.

As for the GOP memo, it makes the political point that many Americans have a negative view of big tech, so Republicans should focus on what they call a grievous suppression of conservative speech.

Now, as a matter of policy, if you think about this just big picture, this could be bipartisan. There are liberals who are plenty concerned about Silicon Valley`s outsized influence and its impact on speech.

But this Republican critique is actually pretty self-interested. It`s not about changing the laws or helping the workers at this or other companies. It`s really all about whether Republicans get to talk the way they want on all platforms, as the memo puts it, whether there`s a concern about suppression of conservative voices.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If we do not push back against Google and Twitter, we will lose our democratic ability to talk to each other.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Big tech should be ashamed of how they`re so clearly trying to aid the Joe Biden campaign.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Big tech is trying to silence any voice of dissent.

BEN SHAPIRO, CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let`s take an example. Let`s say that we think that Facebook is politically biased in favor the left, which it seems pretty clear at this point they are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The last guy there is Ben Shapiro.

In the last 24 hours, he`s got two of the top performing links on Facebook of his political views. He`s up there, right behind FOX News, and right ahead of another right-winger, Dan Bongino, suggesting they`re doing pretty well on Facebook, even while they play victim.

But this is broader than just that micro view. The debates over why Trump`s messages, including a call for insurrection and whether that got him suspended from maybe more than one media platform for good, Twitter forever, Facebook for some time -- in fact, they`re going to decide tomorrow whether to reinstate Trump`s account.

But the bigger picture is, researchers who looked into the matter actually don`t find evidence that there is a top-down anti-conservative crusade here. Indeed, the bigger concern is disinformation.

And that brings us to the heart of the question. You look at all this taken together, and you have a party that desperately needs to deal with a pandemic recession and a new president who`s giving out stimulus checks and building roads and bridges and finding Republicans support it.

How do you rebrand as working class with made-up, fairly professorial arguments about woke companies and things with China that you can`t really explain as policy, when your big solution is, you should get allowed -- be allowed to talk more on Facebook?

I want to bring in a very special guest to get into the answers to these questions.

And that is our deep-dive political conversation, which is always a special day here on THE BEAT. We call it "Chai Day" for political strategist Chai Komanduri. He worked on three presidential campaigns. And this is actually part two of a series he`s contributed to, as we try to understand why we`re hearing so much about big tech and woke companies from Republicans.

Thanks for coming back, sir.

CHAI KOMANDURI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you, Ari. How are you?

MELBER: I`m great.

What I love about some of the points that you have been exploring here -- and I mentioned this is part two -- is that it`s very easy to immediately get bogged down, whether you`re at a dinner party or spending too much time on Twitter, in responding to the one little thing in front of you, even fact-checking, well, wait, they are popular on Facebook, as we mentioned.

But you`re arguing there`s something much broader going on? What is it?

KOMANDURI: Yes, I think, first of all, we need to sort of differentiate GOP opposition to, say, trade with China and Democratic opposition to trade with China.

When a person like Sherrod Brown, who is very much protectionist, opposes trade with China, he does so as part of a larger program to keep workers` wages up. It includes pro-unionization efforts. It includes support for universal day care, et cetera. The whole goal is to help workers keep more of their paycheck and have more security in their jobs.

That is not what the GOP does when they oppose trade with China. They oppose foreign trade simply because they oppose foreigners. And the same thing kind of goes through -- is true with big tech. The whole reason they fight against big tech is because of the deplatforming of Donald Trump.

It is because they know that they very much need full access to these platforms to spread lies and disinformation. That is very different from the liberal argument against big tech, which is to try to stop the spreading of lies and misinformation on the Internet.

It is crucial for the conservative movement that they have access to these platforms. It is a movement that is heavily reliant on scapegoating and conspiracy theories and pushing emotional hot buttons. And nothing does that better than social media and the Internet. Look at the rise of Trump.

MELBER: Yes, I mean, you just laid that out pitch-perfect. Makes sense.

Because you mentioned the deplatforming, as they put it, or what many of these companies call enforcing safety rules...

KOMANDURI: Right.

MELBER: Although I have argued on this program it is tricky. And I don`t know about an unreviewable corporate power to do that, although the insurrection would be one of the violent ends where you want to avoid that.

But we do have a headline for you, Chai. Breaking late today, Donald Trump, after talking about creating a social media platform, instead of doing that or starting an app or a tech company or any such matter, instead, he`s launched a blog.

It`s a section of his Web site that operates like a WordPress blog.

And so, Chai, I`m not here to make Donald Trump look ridiculous. Today, he`s done that all by himself. They didn`t need to pretend or lie that they were going to create an app or a tech platform. If they put millions into it, that would have been an interesting thing.

What does it tell you that he is going straight BlogSpot, straight LiveJournal, straight back to `95, baby?

KOMANDURI: Well, the reality is, he couldn`t put it together. He didn`t have the access to the kind of engineers and venture capital, quite frankly.

Perhaps his friend Peter Thiel refused to help him out in that regard. He could easily have helped him out in terms of putting that together. But he couldn`t put it together. He`s -- really, what this shows you is how much Donald Trump needed the platform of Twitter, how much of the conservative movement needs access to Facebook to really push their message.

Without Twitter -- as Franklin Foer, the writer for "The Atlantic," said, Donald Trump started out as Cecil the lion and he ended up as president of the United States. That was entirely the result of Twitter. It is something that he learned, quite frankly, when he did the birther conspiracy, and he was able to use Twitter to move that conspiracy theory and get the media to cover it.

Now, nobody covers almost anything he has to say. And that will basically be true of this blog that he is putting out. It`s just going to be another blog on the Internet, uncovered by everybody except for a few people on the right-wing media. It`s really very sad and pathetic.

But that`s kind of where Trump has ended up. He`s just ended up as just another blogger on the Internet, not the most powerful man in what was once the most powerful part of the United States.

MELBER: Yes. You lay it out, and it`s striking.

I know you flagged something that Pat Buchanan used to talk about. Let`s take a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAT BUCHANAN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s a campaign for the working men and women of this country whose interests are being ignored and whose jobs are being sold out in these trade deals done for the benefit of corporations that don`t give a hoot about the United States of America or American workers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The migration of ideas is always fascinating to chart, and some endure for different reasons. Some are labeled extreme and then become not only mainstream, but required.

You argue that Pat Buchanan was Donald Trump`s forefather, for better or worse.

KOMANDURI: Correct.

I mean, he really created this formulation of fortress America. And he really discovered that, if you combine protectionism against foreign trade, anti-immigration rhetoric, nativism, you -- it would be acceptable to a broad group of Republicans, mainly because, while it might seem hypocritical that, on one hand, your favor tax cuts for the rich and deregulation for corporations, and, on the other hand, you`re in favor of protectionism, keep in mind that seven out of 10 CEOs are white males.

Seventy percent of factory workers are white, the majority of whom are male. What you`re doing is, you`re creating a white male protection racket. Basically, for corporations, you`re agreeing not to regulate them. You`re giving their white male CEOs tax cuts. For the predominantly white male factory workers, you`re offering to protect their jobs against foreign trade.

You`re also offering to give them mental comfort against the sight of brown people in their neighborhoods. You`re also providing protection against the political claims of women and minorities. All of this goes to a white identity element that Pat Buchanan was really at the forefront of creative.

However, the thing that Buchanan did not have that Donald Trump did have was social media. If Buchanan had access to the tools of social media, the way Trump had, perhaps history would have been different 20 years ago.

It was Donald Trump, however, who used these same tools to rise.

MELBER: Yes, I think that`s a trenchant point.

It`s something really old-school Chai fans -- and there may be some out there now -- may recall, because you have also discussed the link between some of the hate-mongering in the `30s and 40s and spread by the communications platforms of that time and radio and how the politics and the animus sometimes and the hate of different eras is really dependent on the adopted media platforms, which -- that`s why we call it "Chai Day."

It`s deeper, frankly, than some other days.

Thanks for coming on, Chai. Good to see you.

KOMANDURI: Thank you.

MELBER: Yes, sir.

We got to fit in a break, but up ahead: the hot mic moment. Well, we actually just got the audio, my producers told me. We`re going to play it for you and get reaction.

Big problem for Kevin McCarthy -- when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Turning the news out of the Capitol, what some are already calling an epic hot mic moment, and we have just gotten the audio.

We are talking about the most powerful Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy, blasting the third most powerful Republican in the House, the pretty famous Liz Cheney.

Now, last year and into the insurrection, she was taking on Trump`s lies. According to Axios, McCarthy has -- was basically getting ready for a FOX News interview this morning, but was off-air.

As you probably know from watching us here on TV, we have our mics. We try to know when we`re on- or off-air. Now, this can happen anyone. The point is not that it happened or that it`s embarrassing, but that it`s regulatory about this political tension.

Here`s what he said, caught on the mic, about Cheney.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MCCARTHY: I think she`s got real problems. I have had it with her. I have had it with her. It`s -- I have lost confidence.

Well, someone just has to bring a motion. But I assume that will probably take place.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MELBER: There`s no two ways around it. It`s a big deal. It matters whether McConnell`s in charge or not. It matters whether Liz Cheney has a seat at that table or not.

And you`re just hearing now someone who thought he was telling us secret. Oh, hey, anybody can bring the motion. It`s going to happen. Let`s get rid of her. Let`s further Trumpify our leadership ranks. That`s what we`re learning here.

And then this is interesting, because we always try to decode what`s really going on in our nation`s capital. Moments later, when he knew he was on air, on the prepared FOX interview, well, here`s how McCarthy sounded, a little softer, while acknowledging problems.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCARTHY: There`s no concern about how she voted on impeachment. That decision has been made. I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message.

It`s more concerned about the job, ability to do, and what`s our best step forward, that we could all work together, instead of attacking one another.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: "The Nation"`s Joan Walsh covers many stories for us. She was kind enough to jump back in front of the camera as we got the audio there.

I didn`t know we were going to get this actual. It`s much more interesting to really hear it and hear the tone. And we don`t often get backstage like this. I -- having now heard it, I am reminded of something very simple Fat Joe said, Joan. Mic is on, and you got to know your way around the mic in a wide array of fields.

Mic was on. He didn`t know it. He`s obviously stepped in it. Your view about what matters here and the tension here in the party?

WALSH: I mean, we know about this tension.

And so part of me is actually skeptical, because he should have known mic is on, because we all get told that like the very first time we do television. So, I don`t know. I think this is what he wants to unfold, maybe not the way he wanted it to unfold, Ari, maybe not the speed at which he wanted it to unfold.

But he`s been...

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Does he want his fingerprints on it?

WALSH: Well, hmm. You`re really -- we just heard this, so you`re just getting me unfiltered.

Yes, I think he does. I think he does. I think he thinks that this is going to put him in better standing with Donald Trump, who is the only person he cares about. And so I almost never just give you an off-the-cuff response like that.

But, as you made me think about it, I think he probably does. And I think it`s going to be interesting. We know she`s going away. I don`t know what her endgame is. And I`m really sorry that Kevin McCarthy is making me feel bad, a little bad, for Liz Cheney. But he is.

But I -- they can`t have somebody like her in their ranks.

MELBER: Right.

And I think you just zeroed in on the key point, as you said. We`re just all processing this as we go, but the key point there being they feel they can`t have her in their ranks. And she didn`t disagree on any policy issue or anything for the American people. She just did what she thought was the truth, and speaking truth after Congress was raided and people were killed. I mean, that`s the key.

So, because our next special guest, I got to go.

But, Joan, thank you for jumping back on the line with us. I appreciate that.

And let me tell everyone, what we`re going to do next is really important. We have been talking and covering justice issues in America. It`s something I know a lot of you care about. It`s something I care about.

Let`s learn together. There`s something special we`re going to do next with a guest who has been in and out of this system. We`re going to hear how this really works in American prisons -- right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Let`s turn to an often unseen fact in American life.

Fact: Tens of thousands of prisoners in the United States are locked up in complete and total solitary confinement every single day. What does that experience involve?

Well, that`s how we turn to our next guest. Ian Manual spent 18 years in solitary confinement. It began when he was just 15 years old. As a young boy, he was involved in a botched robbery attempt, and it resulted in a woman getting shot, an undeniable tragedy. She survived, but suffered severe injuries to her face.

Now, he was charged, despite his age, as an adult, and, under our system, sentenced to life without parole, going on to spend nearly two decades, including that stint in solitary confinement. He was released after 26 years behind bars.

He celebrated his freedom by having dinner with that shooting victim, who supported his release and forgave him for those crimes committed as such a young person all those many years ago.

Ian Manuel joins me now. And he`s sharing his story in a new memoir, "My Time Will Come," which advocates major reforms to solitary confinement, including its use on children.

Thanks for coming on THE BEAT.

IAN MANUEL, AUTHOR, "MY TIME WILL COME": Thanks for having me, Ari.

MELBER: Yes, sir.

There`s many aspects to your story, what you have been through. I`m curious if you can help educate us on what it means to be a person subjected to that kind of long-term solitary confinement, and why you oppose its use as it`s currently practiced in the United States.

MANUEL: Well, because it`s cruel and unusual punishment to treat any human being like that, particularly a child.

And I`m advocating that children -- no child be placed in solitary confinement for an extended period of time. It`s torture. And it`s not like they just kept me there and left me there. No, I was sprayed with high- powered chemical agents.

I was injected with psychotropic meds that I didn`t need. I had my stomach pumped. I was tortured, man. No human being should ever have to go through that. So I`m advocating that they eradicate the use of solitary confinement and place a cap on it for adults as well.

MELBER: Yes.

Can I ask you? One of the things that happens is sort of a dehumanization of people. There are people who make mistakes, and they pay for their mistakes. They`re still human beings. And this is still a society with a Constitution, with human rights, supposedly.

MANUEL: Yes, sir.

MELBER: Can you tell us what it does to you as a person, how it affected you as a human being to be in there that long?

MANUEL: It crushes your spirit.

I mean, I lost my entire immediate family during my incarceration. My mom, my dad, my brother, both grandmothers, everyone died while I was in solitary. It took the Equal Justice Initiative and Bryan Stevenson to appeal my case to the United States Supreme Court...

MELBER: Yes.

MANUEL: ... for me to get out of prison.

MELBER: Yes. Wow.

MANUEL: Solitary is just something...

MELBER: Let me ask you.

You made me promise you -- you made me promise you I would give you a heads-up. And we have about 40 seconds left, because you said you wanted to share something else. So, we`re at that point, I got to tell you.

MANUEL: Yes, my poetry.

Poetry helped me survive solitary confinement. So I will share a little bit of it with you right now.

It`s called "Every Time I Breathe."

Every time I breathe, I`m thankful for the oxygen from the trees, and little things like little bees that get overlooked until they sting.

You know, I -- it`s hard to do the depth of my poetry in such a short period of time, but it`s what helped me survive by diving into my imagination, and living my life in a solitary confinement cell. Had it not been for poetry, I wouldn`t have survived.

MELBER: I love hearing that. I like getting just a couplet.

For anyone who thinks that was too short, that`s on me, not Ian, because we try to fit so much into these news hours.

I really appreciate you sharing some of what you have been through, sir. We can only imagine it. We can only bear witness to it. We weren`t certainly there.

And for those who are interested in more, I want to give a shout-out. Ian Manuel`s book, the memoir "My Time Will Come," is out. You can check that out.

And my thanks to Ian.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Finally tonight, accountability watch.

You probably recall Republican Senator Josh Hawley`s infamous fist-pump to that MAGA crowd shortly before the Capitol riots. This is the same senator who started at all by being the first senator to join in the unusual challenge to the Senate certification of the election results.

Well, he was just asked about all this. Here`s what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAWLEY: I waved to them, gave them the thumbs-up, pumped my fist to them, and thanked them for being there.

And I had every right to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The senator was one of the single most vital advocates of that day. And while anyone can try to create some distance between what the worst offenders did, which he can say he didn`t know in that moment -- the Capitol had not been breached yet -- with what he knows now, to come out here and say everyone had every right to be there, and he`s perfectly proud, he`s showing you exactly who he is.

What America does about that, well, that`s what elections are for.

That does it for us tonight. And we will be back tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. I hope you join us.

And, as always, you can find me online @AriMelber on Instagram, on Twitter.

We talked about solitary confinement and those poems tonight. You can reach out to me on any of these platforms if you want to talk more about those issues or who else you would like to see on THE BEAT @AriMelber on any social media platform.

"THE REIDOUT" starts now.