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

Guests: Garry Trudeau, Danya Perry, Pramila Jayapal, Sunny Hostin


Senator Mitch McConnell admits that his only focus is stopping Joe Biden. "The View" co-host and Emmy Award-winning legal journalist Sunny Hostin speaks out. The criminal probe into Donald Trump`s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani continues. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal discusses Democratic Party priorities. Congresswoman Liz Cheney punches back with a new response to the GOP. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau discusses his work.



Hi, Ari.

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

Welcome to THE BEAT. I`m Ari Melber.

And, boy, do we have a big show for you right now.

Mitch McConnell admits it, his only focus -- his words -- is stopping Joe Biden, the kind of statement that could shape the rest of this Biden era. And we have the tape later tonight.

Also ahead, "The View" co-host and Emmy Award-winning legal journalist Sunny Hostin joins us live here on THE BEAT. We`re thrilled to have her. And we have so much to talk about, including Matt Gaetz sex crime probe.

But we begin tonight right now inside the criminal probe into Donald Trump`s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the feds now scouring his phones and computers seeking what they believe is potentially evidence of a crime or crimes at his home or office.

Now, Giuliani has been playing this, well, very different than most defendants, very different than what he would normally advise clients. He`s been doing it the Giuliani way, talking.

Now, in an intensifying criminal probe, most lawyers would tell you don`t go out and talk in public and don`t do talk radio, but that`s what he`s doing, bringing up Hunter Biden, doing the kind of things that got his client impeached and got his own offices raided by the feds.


RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They seized all my electronics, except the Hunter Biden hard drive, which they didn`t want any part of.

I guess there are too many -- actually, I can see the problem. There are too many crimes on it -- for them to be -- the FBI is only about 14,000 agents.


MELBER: Now, other than Mr. Giuliani`s word, we can`t say whether or not he truly has Hunter Biden`s hard drives.

The scope of those warrants, though, were for things pertaining to Mr. Giuliani as a subject or more. We don`t have reason to believe they would have had the legal clearance even to get other things.

Meanwhile, also new today, because this story keeps developing, the Justice Department formerly asking for a judge to order an independent lawyer to review the evidence that investigators confiscated in the raid.

The prosecutors specifically citing the precedent. And because it`s Donald Trump, there`s a lot of bad-looking precedent here, the fact that his former chief lawyer, Michael Cohen, was also raided and they used this type of situation to assure that all evidence is treated fairly.

The letter highlights the -- quote -- "unusually sensitive privilege issues that the warrants may implicate."

Now, if you have followed this story or watch THE BEAT, you may recall we covered this from the outset. Whatever one thinks of Donald Trump or Mr. Giuliani, there are rights and privileges associated with any lawyer-client relationship, to say nothing of the extra privilege issues with the president.

Now, Donald Trump is entitled to those legal privileges. The development here is, the DOJ, under this new administration, saying they will absolutely seek to respect that, to have an outside lawyer do it, so there`s not even the hint or whiff of potential impropriety. And anything that is truly privileged as to the client, Donald Trump, would not be used by any potential investigators or prosecutors against Mr. Giuliani.

Meanwhile, another development.

Our own MSNBC`s Andrea Mitchell went to Ukraine, speaking with a former adviser to the president there saying that Giuliani wanted multiple investigation into the Bidens.


IGOR NOVIKOV, FORMER ADVISER TO UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY: It was all about a smear campaign on then not even a candidate Biden, Joe Biden.

So, basically, first request was multiple investigations. So, he wanted Burisma investigated. He wanted the situation with the ex-prosecutor general Shokin investigated.

And he was especially interested in getting Ukraine to make a public statement, and possibly back it up, this crazy allegation that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that meddled in 2016, which is obviously ridiculous.


MELBER: Smear campaigns.

Legal heat ratcheting up on Giuliani. Donald Trump reportedly wouldn`t pay Giuliani, won`t pay his lawyers, and the inner circle here reportedly getting worried.

Joining me now is Danya Perry, former SDNY prosecutor, and Pulitzer Prize- winning "Washington Post" columnist Eugene Robinson.

Danya, what do you see legally in this increased pressure and the development that the DOJ has a plan to go forward with reviewing this material?


Well, we`re getting deeper and deeper into unchartered territory here. There`s just not a lot of precedent. As we have discussed, there are very few raids on attorneys offices in the first instance, I think only one of a former attorney of a former president.

And here you have the former United States attorney for the very office that is leading the charge here. Last time I was -- I checked, his portrait still hangs on the eighth floor in the executive suite at the U.S. attorney`s office.

So this is all a little trippy. And so the U.S. attorney`s office is running all the paces, going through all the traps, covering all their bases. And they, I think, for the first time -- I haven`t been able to find any other instance -- are actually going out of their way and proactively asking the judge to appoint a special master.

Typically, they`re the ones in a defensive posture saying, no, no, this is not required, we can -- we can put a filter team on this, we`re more than capable of doing it. Here, they`re actually going through the extra step (AUDIO GAP) saying, because of the implications, because of the politics, frankly, we want not only this to be fair -- of course, they want that -- but they want also, it`s important also to present the appearance of fairness.

And so they are finding themselves in this interesting posture of requesting the special monitor. And we will see what Giuliani has to say in response.

MELBER: It sounds like you`re saying this extra layer of review is almost the type of thing that`s more in the interest of Mr. Giuliani and his client, Donald Trump. It`s not for the DOJ. They`re doing it just to be extra fair, so to speak?

PERRY: I think that`s exactly right. I think they had wind -- there were public reports that Giuliani, maybe with Mr. Dershowitz or some others, were going to file their own petition or some action.

And so I think they anticipated that. And so they said, we`re going to put in these extra safeguards. We will request the appointment of a special master, whereas, in the past, they always objected to the appointment of a special master, including in the Michael Cohen case.

MELBER: Really interesting context you`re are giving us. You`re reminding viewers that, while there are similarities here, even the recent history there is different in the unique situation of Donald Trump having a lot of lawyers who seem to get into legal trouble.

And that`s putting it conservatively.

Gene, take a listen to the way Giuliani has been trying to play this out, I mentioned that he`s doing it his way. Call that a Sinatra style, if you want, although he may have more legal problems than Sinatra doing it his way, and doing it on FOX.

Take a look at him on "Hannity" playing that Hunter Biden card.


GIULIANI: The hard drive was given to me because the guy didn`t trust anybody else. He didn`t trust the FBI, because the FBI had it for almost a year and did nothing with it.

They want to destroy my credibility, because I have that entire hard drive. I have the whole thing. I put it out to "The New York Post."

And since then, they have been persecuting me. They have been threatening me. They have done everything they can to destroy every business relationship I have.


MELBER: Gene, in Washington, they say, sometimes, where you sit determines where you stand.

And in America today, what you read and where you get your information may determine where you stand, because people get different versions of this online or wherever. There`s a lot of talk about Hunter Biden. And if there is a legal probe there, we will cover wherever that goes.

But what do you think, politically and perceptually, is happening with Giuliani trying to make -- make it look like he`s on offense, when he -- legally, he`s clearly on defense?


The four words that keep coming to my mind are Four Seasons Total Landscaping. I keep thinking of this as a bizarre and self-destructive way for Giuliani to proceed, because, as you noted in your introduction, any lawyer would advise his client in Giuliani`s situation to shut up, to stop talking, to leave the talking to his attorney.

Rudy refused to do that. And not only that, but the Hunter Biden line, it plays well, I`m sure, on FOX News and some other channels and some Web sites, but it doesn`t play well, I don`t think, with the Southern District of New York. And that`s what he has to worry about.

He has to worry about the prosecutors. He himself is in legal jeopardy. And I don`t see how talking and talking and talking about extraneous things in this manner helps his cause one bit.

MELBER: Yes, I think that`s fair.

Danya, I mean, he has the right to criticize the process or the prosecutors. I will defend his right to do that. This is a free society. If you want to go at the government, you can play it that way. But I think genes make a sound point legally and politically, which is, this is really a sideshow to who controls his fate.

We mentioned Michael Cohen. You mentioned the precedent there. We just spoke with him in a somewhat newsworthy interview, given that he`s got more insight into this than a lot of folks, including a jail stint after being Donald Trump`s lawyer.

Here`s what he told me.


MELBER: Is Donald Trump scared right now?


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. So there is no loyalty between the two. Rudy will do what Rudy needs to do in order to protect himself.


MELBER: Danya, your view of that unique aspect of this and whether there is something here that Rudy Giuliani may know or have done in concert with Donald Trump that somehow could be out of the purview of what would traditionally be confidential or would pose a risk to Donald Trump, or is it possible -- and I say this even though Mr. Cohen`s been a guest here -- is it possible that Mr. Cohen is overstating the case?

PERRY: Look, Michael Cohen knows what he`s talking about. He`s obviously uniquely positioned.

But, as a general matter, there is a tremendous amount of pressure that is on any single target or subject or defendant who is in the crosshairs of the U.S. attorney`s office. That`s just a fact. They can put a world of pain on any single target.

And here they have access not just to all the electronic devices that were just seized, but no doubt mountains of other evidence. So, Michael Cohen famously said that he would take a bullet for Mr. Trump, and then we all know how that ended up.

So, anyone can say -- I certainly am not in a position to do a psychological profile of Rudy Giuliani, but it is absolutely a fact -- and Michael Cohen is correct -- that there`s going to be a lot of pressure for him to flip, as they say.

And there no doubt will be some interest with respect to whether it`s Mr. Trump -- yes, that`s a big one -- or anyone in that entourage. So, I think the pressure will be on, for sure.

MELBER: Yes, very interesting.

Well, as another one of your -- someone like you who was in the SDNY, Preet Bharara, used to always say, stay tuned, we will certainly do that in this case and anything else going through that powerful office.

Danya Perry and Gene Robinson, I want to thank both of you for kicking us off.

Coming up after our shortest break, just 30 seconds: You may know him as the Grim Reaper. Mitch McConnell admits now it wasn`t about bipartisanship. His focus is stopping Biden -- when we`re back in just 30 seconds.


MELBER: Life comes at you fast.

And, in Washington, D.C., sometimes, it comes at you as a replay of what you already knew. Take Mitch McConnell. He was first shading Biden about bipartisanship. You may have seen some of that on the news. But he`s now admitting that`s all false. There`s a bit of hypocrisy here. I will let him explain.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): One hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration. One hundred percent of my focus is on standing up to this administration.


MELBER: This is Mitch McConnell`s version of keeping it 100. If a Democrat is in office, 100 percent of his focus is stopping the administration, which means, by definition, that no other percent is left -- we can do the math -- for working with the administration or finding a compromise on jobs or COVID relief or anything else.

You heard him say it. And it means that the last few weeks, when he claimed he was concerned about meeting with the president at the White House are hammering out deals, that was false.

And it also echoes exactly what McConnell said about Obama.


MCCONNELL: Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.


MELBER: Mitch being Mitch. This is who he is. And you can say there is a type of candor here, although it`s candor mixed with recent dissembling and lying with those fake complaints about bipartisanship.

And that`s important not only for anyone who wants to understand the big issues ahead of us on this infrastructure bill, at a tough and influential time for what Washington does with the nation as we try to rebound. It also means that the people around the president -- and many of them already know this, don`t get me wrong -- the people around the president, people dealing with Congress must understand you cannot take as a factual matter Mitch McConnell seriously when he says, as he did before, and you may hear it again down the road, that Joe Biden just isn`t being bipartisan.


MCCONNELL: Our president will not secure a lasting legacy through go-it- alone radicalism.

Whatever the Democrats do get done through partisan brute force will be fragile, a president who talked a big game about cutting deals, bringing people together, and building bridges.

Our Democratic friends have become addicted to divide and conquer.


MELBER: But it`s McConnell who`s going in alone, who`s against building bridges, either real in the infrastructure bill, or metaphorical in political bipartisanship.

Meanwhile, as we have mentioned before, you can look at where Americans are. There`s actually a majority of Americans, which includes independents and Republicans, who back Biden on COVID, on infrastructure, and then some of the help for families planned in these new bills.

McConnell doesn`t work with -- doesn`t want to work with Biden on any of this. By his own account, he is ultimately interested in one thing.


MCCONNELL: One percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.


MELBER: We are joined now by someone who has advised his way through these very issues in the Obama/Biden administration, the former Obama pollster MSNBC analyst Cornell Belcher,

How are you?


MELBER: I`m good. Thanks for asking.

This one matters, not because it`s surprising. I wouldn`t call it a scandal for anyone who follows politics. People know about Mitch McConnell. But it certainly would seem to inform how everyone from the Biden White House to Democrats in Congress to Wall Street to anyone talking anywhere about doing anything in the next three years how seriously they take Mitch McConnell, because he`s now fully revealed his hand is the same as the way he approached your old boss, President Obama.

And doesn`t that mean that spending time with him is wasting your own time?

BELCHER: Yes, well, Ari, it`s deja vu all over again.

And the question is, can he get away with it, right? And I`m glad you all showed the polling data out there around what he`s, in fact, talking about stopping, right? He`s talking about -- he`s trying to stop upgrading and repairing America`s infrastructure, and repairing bridges, and updating our energy system and our water system.

He`s against accessing broadband to rural areas. So, the question becomes - - and this is what Democrats failed to do, I think, Ari, in 2009-2010, for the midterms -- is, they failed to make Republicans and Mitch McConnell pay the price for blocking things that the vast majority of Americans want.

So, the question really becomes, Mitch McConnell is going to be Mitch McConnell. But can House and Senate Democrats and challengers to Republicans...


BELCHER: ... in some of these tough swing districts, can they put forward the case that these things that you overwhelmingly, American people, want - - you know your bridges needs repair, you know your infrastructure needs repairing -- we`re trying to do that, and the other party is simply trying to block it.

And by the way, Ari, they`re not even the conservative party anymore. They`re -- one thing I will disagree with Biden on this, Biden talks about they`re in a mini-Republican revolution. Ari, the revolution is over. The conservatives have lost. The authoritarians have won.


BELCHER: And they`re about to march Liz Cheney out of leadership because she`s a conservative, and not a tribal -- not a tribalist, right?

So, the question becomes -- and I think Mitch McConnell thinks this -- that he can rerun the 2010 strategy all over again, and it`s going to work for him. The question is, can Democrats stop him?


And, Cornell, it reminds me that old song, stop in the name of Mitch before you break my infrastructure bill? I`m sure you remember that one.


BELCHER: No, I don`t think I do, actually, Ari. I don`t remember that one at all.

MELBER: It`s classic.


MELBER: I mean, I changed some of the words, but only to make it apply.

And by that, I mean, sir, how do you, with good conscience, with the steaks that are on the table right now, not look at, if you`re in the White House, reforming the veto that Mitch McConnell is exercising? Because he said, well, I`m going to burn the place down if you mess with these obstruction tactics, filibuster, et cetera.

Now, he`s saying, I`m going to use 100 percent of my energy, power and focus to stop you. Nobody knows who will control any of the levers of the Congress, House or Senate, in the future, or after the midterms or any other time.

Do you think, at this point, this goes to that larger conversation Democrats are having about using the power they have when dealt with someone who admits he`s going to do 100 percent of what he can to stop them?

BELCHER: I think that the Democrats have to make the case that we are in extraordinary times, and extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions, and that, when you see one of the political parties not actually acting like a governing political party, they`re not actually trying to govern, when -- in a time of crisis, I think Democrats have to make the case that these are extraordinary times, and so we`re going to do extraordinary things.

But they have to explain it to the American people, why, in fact, we`re going to blow up -- because I think we have to blow up the filibuster, right, and get the permission from the American people to blow up the filibuster, because these are extraordinary times. And the other party is simply not going along and trying to govern.

I think, if Democrats do that, they have a chance here. But they have to do it.

MELBER: Understood.

Stay with me, Cornell. We have mentioned you`re often the adviser to these big principals.

We also want to bring a principal in, so we get the governing perspective.

Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has been kind enough to join us, a Democrat from Washington.

How are you?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): I`m great, Ari.

Cornell, great to see you.

MELBER: Great to have you both together.

What`s your thoughts on all of the above and whether Mitch McConnell, whether you want to call it being true to his own form, or doubling down, or supersizing his turtle vibes towards Biden? Is there something that should be done about this now, given the scale and the scope of what lies ahead for America, at a time where there`s a lot of stuff to be done?

JAYAPAL: Well, first of all, this is Mitch McConnell.

I mean, if we had any doubt, this is who Mitch McConnell has been. This is who he is today. It is who he will be in the future. He is all about blocking. So, don`t give me this bipartisan stuff that he keeps putting out there and other Republicans keep putting out there.

Democrats need to learn from what happened in 2009. I was not here in Congress back then. I was on the outside and saying, come on, Democrats, just move, because the only thing this guy has is to stop progress for the American people.

So we need to be moving forward as quickly as possible, because he has now laid all of the cards on the table as far as what the Republican agenda is.

Secondly, on the filibuster, we are this week doing a national week of action the filibuster, eliminating or reforming the filibuster, which is designed to have members of Congress -- and we have over 20 events across the country led by members of Congress -- to educate our constituents on, what is the filibuster? It`s not the "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and stays up all night and does something to go up against the establishment.

This is about the tyranny of the minority, something that the founders never wanted, were very clear that they never wanted. They always wanted the majority to rule, not the supermajority. They did not want the minority to be able to stop things.

And this is a relic of the Jim Crow era. This is what Southern segregationists used to stop progress on civil rights. Now, this is the same tool that Mitch McConnell wants to use to control the Senate. So, tomorrow, we will be having a national progressive town hall with Senator Padilla, with Derrick Johnson from the NAACP, Cori Bush, Sean Casten, not just progressives, but people across the caucus, who know that the urgency that Cornell talked about is what is at stake here.

There`s an urgency around policing and passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. There`s an urgency around voting rights and passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, an urgency around immigration reform, around a $15 minimum wage, around democracy reform and H.R.1.

These are all bills that have already passed the House. And we need to pass them in the Senate and have the president sign them, because, at the end of the day, the American people are hurting. We have been through a dark, miserable year, year-and-a-half, four years, if you think about the Trump administration.

And we need to have help to people. And it`s significant that the majority of Americans support the American Jobs and Families Plan, just as they did the Rescue Plan.

MELBER: And, Congresswoman, do you think people know what the roadblock is?

JAYAPAL: I think people don`t understand, nor do they care about the procedural pieces of why something can`t get done.

And so that is why Mitch McConnell during the Obama years picked up on that, because he knew that, if you go back, as Democrats, that got everyone to come out and vote for you and give you a House majority, a Senate majority, and a White House, that if you went back and said, well, I`m really sorry, but this -- there`s this dead guy, Byrd, and there`s a rule, and the parliamentarian, who`s unelected, has to rule on whether or not we can pass something, and the bottom line is we don`t have anything to deliver, nobody`s really going to care much about that.

And so Mitch McConnell understood that, and he understands it today. And it`s why I think we can educate people about it through the issues that they care about, and then show that the process is just a relic of Jim Crow era, and that Democrats have the power to reform it, just as the Republicans changed it for Supreme Court majorities and for taxes.

I mean, the only reason the Trump tax got passed is because of this reconciliation provision, so -- that says you don`t need 60 votes for their Trump tax cuts, for these budget items, but -- and you don`t need it for Supreme Court justices, but somehow you need it for voting rights or for any of these other things that we care about.

MELBER: Yes, I think you would make a lot of important points.

And I long ago worked in the United States Senate as a staffer. It`s all made up. I mean, you could have a vote rule. You could have a cloture rule. You could have exceptions to it. You can change it for judges, as you mentioned. You could change it for reconciliation. You could say, oh, budget is 50, everything else is 60. It`s all made up.

And so, depending on the stakes, when you think about, as you mentioned, what we have been living through and what Americans expect government to do, there may be reasons to make it up differently, to have up-or-down votes. And, by the way, if something can`t get a majority, then maybe it shouldn`t pass.

But a supermajority, as you say and as Cornell was discussing, is not necessarily what the founders had in mind anyway.

Really interesting discussion at what could be an inflection point. I want to thank the congresswoman and Cornell, both of you, for edifying us.

Coming up next, we have a very special guest on some big news. I mentioned this earlier. I`m excited about it, "The View"`s Sunny Hostin on THE BEAT next.


MELBER: Welcome back.

We talk about the news and the law with all kinds of great people.

And, right now, we have someone so well-versed on both, a very special guest who`s actually making her BEAT debut.

Sunny Hostin is, of course, a former federal prosecutor, three-time Emmy- winning journalist,a renowned TV personality. You, of course, probably have seen her sitting alongside the dynamic women of "The View" over the years, where she pulls no punches.


SUNNY HOSTIN, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Perhaps this -- something good will come out of this, because I think this guy is a pig.

If I can finish what I was going to say, then maybe you would hear me.

When you`re talking about a president that brags about grabbing women by the genitals.

What happened to our country`s promise of give me your tired, your weak, and your poor?

When you`re talking about a president that pays hush payments to the women and lies to American people on a daily basis.

I am so relieved that this is what justice finally looks like.


MELBER: And long before she became known to so many people watching from their living rooms and being on that Emmy-winning talk show, Hostin was a longtime legal journalist reporting on some of the biggest trials and providing analysis for over a decade across many networks.


HOSTIN: I`m Sunny Hostin with the top stories on this Monday morning.

She had no shame. I think she sort of had the mistress crazy eyes.

Good morning, and welcome back to "In Session." I`m Sunny Hostin.

Sunny Hostin is on the case. I prosecuted child sex crimes and sex crimes against women.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m 30 years old.

HOSTIN: Excuse me. Excuse me, sir.


HOSTIN: Not that I should call you, sir, but excuse me.

All that was missing was like the cuckoo birds going around her head.


MELBER: Hostin is now embarking on a new challenge, launching a production company that focuses on social justice. And, as if that wasn`t enough, dayenu, she`s out with her first novel, "Summer on the Bluffs."

I`m thrilled to say Sunny Hostin joins me now.

How you doing?

HOSTIN: You went way back, Ari.


HOSTIN: I`m doing OK.

MELBER: Way back.


HOSTIN: I`m doing great.

MELBER: Way back in the red and black. Way back in the red, black, and lumberjack, as Biggie would say.

Good to have you.


HOSTIN: It`s so good to be here.

I can`t believe this is my first time on your wonderful show that I watch every night.

MELBER: Oh, thank you.

HOSTIN: I`m sort of surprised at that.

But I`m happy to be here.

MELBER: We`re excited to have you.

On the personal note, I will mention viewers can see, from looking at your life, you make even productive people feel a little unproductive. You`re doing a lot of great stuff I want to get in to.

But let`s start with his big legal news, when you look at everything going on, including a story we have been covering, the legal controversy surrounding Congressman Matt Gaetz. We have mentioned he denies any misconduct. He hasn`t been charged.

And yet an ally of his that he`s appeared with has been indicted on sex crimes. There is an alleged confession letter. What do you see in a case like this? What`s important legally for everyone to keep in mind?

HOSTIN: Well, listen, I was a federal prosecutor.

And as a federal prosecutor, you`re always pretty happy when you have a cooperator. That is a pretty good thing for a federal prosecutor, for any prosecutor, really. And I think the most important thing that most defense attorneys will tell someone like a Matt Gaetz is stop talking, stop talking, stop talking.

So I am a bit surprised that we keep on hearing little things here and there from Matt Gaetz. But this is extremely serious. I prosecuted child sex crimes, trafficking and crimes against women for a living. These are cases that are taken extremely seriously.

And I`m extremely concerned that you have someone that appears to be a cooperator talking. And this is something that we don`t know enough about, I think, to really give an opinion a sitting congressman, but something that we should all be pretty concerned about.

MELBER: Yes, you mentioned that.

And it`s a theme with both Mr. Giuliani, who we mentioned earlier and Mr. Gaetz, which departs from whatever the standard advice would be.


MELBER: And, really, to your point, it`s at the intersection of law and news.

Once the news stories run their course over however many days, these stories do tend to fade, but then, when the subjects, Giuliani and Gaetz, both start talking again, they`re creating more news, which, given the tenor of the stories, you think they wouldn`t want.

For your reaction, let me play a little bit of Matt Gaetz doing just that, speaking out again in a discussion with former Trump official Gorka. Take a look.


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.


MELBER: Sunny?

HOSTIN: Again, it`s not smart at this point to say anything.

It`s certainly not smart for Matt Gaetz, who`s clearly the target of an investigation, to continue speaking to the media, to continue speaking to others, perhaps in Congress. He`s making witness after witness after witness. This is a very good place for a prosecutor to be in. He doesn`t know who is bugged and who isn`t, who has a wire, who doesn`t have a wire. He`s making himself part of the story.

I think what has been most surprising to me, Ari, is Rudy Giuliani. I mean, he is being investigated by his former office. We used to say when I was a federal prosecutor -- I was in the District of Columbia -- and we felt that we were the best office, of course, amongst U.S. attorney`s offices.

But the Southern District of New York is often said to be sort of the crown jewel at the Department of Justice in terms of a U.S. attorney`s office. He headed that office. When you have your former office investigating, you know some of the best of the best of the best are there.

I cannot believe that, after a search warrant is executed at your apartment that the next thing that you want to do is give an interview on FOX News. It really doesn`t make any sense, especially because someone like Rudy Giuliani knows what it takes to get a search warrant to go into someone`s home.

You have to have probable cause that a crime was committed. And in order to get a search warrant for someone who was sort of the personal lawyer for the president of the United States, you not only have to go up the chain at the Southern District. And I have gotten some of these search warrants. They`re very difficult to get.

You have got to go to your immediate supervisor. Sometimes, you have to go all the way to the U.S. attorney. And I would suspect that, in this case, it may have even gone -- it certainly went to the deputy attorney general, but it may have even gone to Merrick Garland before it went to a district judge, a magistrate judge, before it went to a federal judge.

They all thought perhaps that there was evidence of a crime. So, for Rudy Giuliani and someone like Matt Gaetz to talk and talk and talk, if they are indicted, they have made their cases much more difficult to defend, in my humble opinion.

MELBER: Yes, all great points, and from experience.

As mentioned in your introduction, tell us what moved you to write this novel and, if you care to, what else you`re doing as well with this production company.


Well, the novel, by the way, was much easier to write than my memoir, because memoirs are quite painful to write. Your friends get angry with you. Your family gets angry with you.

But this was such a joy, quite frankly, to write, because it`s the escape that I wanted to read about. We have gone through such difficult times, I think, over the past year-and-a-half. I know my family suffered incredible loss. We lost both of my husband`s parents to COVID.

And so we have been reeling.

MELBER: I`m sorry.

HOSTIN: Thank you.

We have been reeling. And I just thought, why not read about some sort of escape? And I was -- it was really difficult, Ari, for me to find a beach read that was centered on people that look like me, right, just women of color, women of a certain age, of a certain seasoning.

And Toni Morrison said, if there`s a book that you want to read, but it hasn`t been written yet, then you must write it. And I thought, I`m looking for this book that I want to read. I`m going to write it. And that was sort of the impetus of writing this book.

And I placed it in Martha`s Vineyard, Oak Bluffs, because it`s my love letter to Martha`s Vineyard. I love vacationing there. But most importantly for me is because it was one of three places that my friend Larry Graham -- he died this year -- wrote in "Our Kind of People."

These were the only places in this country at one time that black people could buy waterfront property, and one of them was Oak Bluffs. One of them was Sag Harbor in the Hamptons. And I thought, I`m going to place it there. And, hopefully, people will want to read about historical fiction, and they will want to go visit Martha`s Vineyard and join Obamas and join me and Valerie Jarrett, and come and see what a magical place it is.


I love that. And I loved the invocation of that sound and sage advice from Toni. And that could apply to anything. It could apply to what you want to post or a blog or anything that anyone could do, even if some people find it daunting to write a whole book.

But we`re glad you did.

Sunny Hostin`s debut here.

I hope you will come back on THE BEAT.

HOSTIN: I would love to.

MELBER: Let me remind everyone, this new book we were just discussing -- great. Let`s do it.

The new book is "Summer on the Bluffs." You can check it out.

When we come back: Liz Cheney punching back with a new response tonight to the GOP.

Stay with us.


MELBER: Now, I have to tell you, sometimes, with everything going on, it takes comedians and comics and the funny people in our society to jolt us with some truth.

There was this recent "New Yorker" cover that highlights the gap between the tidy Zoom lives we sometimes present talking on the screen the to the reality of the stressful and messy real lives outside of that camera screen.

And when you think about this, whether it`s cartoons that capture the way we live now, or political cartoons that so many of us who follow politics rely on for truth, there really may be no more long-lived source for political comedy and insight in the United States than the long-running comic strip "Doonesbury."

Did you know it`s now in its 50th year satirizing the politicians who control parts of our lives, holding the powerful to account with sometimes biting humor?

Garry Trudeau becoming the first comic strip artist to ever win a Pulitzer. Did you know? And his short film "A Doonesbury Special" has won prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. It even netted an Oscar nomination.

Trudeau first came to many people`s attention with his scathing critiques in the Nixon era. But he has kept on going all the way through the recent Trump era. And he`s still going strong today.

Why am I talking about Garry Trudeau? Well, the good news is, I`m talking about him because he`s our special guest tonight. Garry Trudeau is here.

His new anthology, which we have here, is "Dbury@50: The Complete Digital Doonesbury." What a beautiful thing.

And also with us, a friend of the show and someone who knows Garry as well, David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones," a George Polk Award winner in his own right, and the author of three "New York Times" bestsellers.

What I`m saying is, both of you guys have done some good work. Thanks for being here.


MELBER: How you guys doing?


GARRY TRUDEAU, CARTOONIST: Just great. Happy to be back.

MELBER: I`m really happy to have you back, Garry.

I will say, in full disclosure, there are stressful parts of this job and there`s some fun parts. And getting to meet you in the context of interviews is cool, because I was a kid and a poli-sci major reading your cartoons.

What are you reflecting on? What are your insights having this great 50- year run?

TRUDEAU: When you work in syndication, it`s just -- it`s just getting through the week. It`s like a lot of jobs.

And I don`t set the bar too high. I have to set it at good enough, because a deadline is a deadline. And I would like steady excellence. That would be purely aspirational for me. But I seem to be temperamentally suited to do my work in a short period of time and move on.

MELBER: I wanted to ask you about taking that into the Biden era, because everyone understands that it may be a good thing for the nation when there`s a little less grist for cartoonists and satirists and "SNL" coming out of the White House.

"SNL" itself has struggled at times to find even a great way to mock Biden. Take a look at just some of the people they have tried out.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Notice anything different about me? Grandpa Joe got the glow-up. You know, I was Irish man. Younger, yes. Taller, sure. Better. Eh.


JIM CARREY, ACTOR: It`s a spooky time, filled with demons and darkness. Also, it`s Halloween.


CARREY: For some Trump voters, it`s the only day they will wear a mask.


TRUDEAU: It`s a problem for all of us comedy professionals.

And after five years of caricaturing this baroque presence of Donald Trump, this -- drawing Joe Biden is something of a letdown. And I have checked out some of what my colleagues and editorial cartoonists have been doing, and I`m sad to report that most of them just look like drawings of an old white guy.

And you know that they know because they`re putting labels on him. They`re labeling him Biden. You never had to do that with Trump. I`m spoiled by Trump. It was such fun drawing him.

But I also have a long history of simply drawing -- of not drawing the president, of drawing the White House and then having the voices emanate from it. And I may have to go back to that.

MELBER: Your thoughts on all of the above, David?

CORN: Well, Garry knows I`m a big fan of the strip. I started reading the first -- reading those first strips, and -- when I was a teenager and saying, wow, this is something is different. This guy`s doing something that no one else has ever done with comic strips with political humor.

And a lot of the people who -- there aren`t a lot of real-life characters in your book that you depict graphically. I mean, there are people we have referenced. Nixon is just behind the White House, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Jimmy Carter. And you have all these references.

Donald Trump, though, you got on him in 1987. You started drawing him. You jumped on him in 1987. And you have had an over 30-year relationship with this image. Why him initially?

TRUDEAU: I saw Trump as a full-blown comic strip character right out of the box.

So I just kind of drafted him and dragged him into the strip and started drawing him. And the steps that he took to assuage his vanity seemed extreme. And it was just irresistible. I had to keep drawing him.

CORN: I do think, Garry, at times, whether you wanted to see it this way or not, you have been viewed as a First Amendment hero in fighting for -- at least expanding what a comic strip can do and putting yourself in front of people who would say, no, this goes too far.


Well, look, we`re going to wrap this up the way we went into it, which is David and I complimenting and fanboying over Garry, and him just being chill about it.


MELBER: Garry Trudeau and David Corn, appreciate both of you.

The book, "Dbury@50: The Complete Digital Doonesbury," check it out.

And up ahead, when we come back, as promised: Liz Cheney out with new remarks hitting on the Trump -- quote -- "cult."

Stay with us.


MELBER: Tensions mounting in the GOP.

The number one House Republican is now actively trying to oust the number three House Republican, Congresswoman Cheney, all because she fact-check Donald Trump`s election lies.

What`s new tonight, within the last hour, Liz Cheney punching back. She`s got a new opinion piece in "The Washington Post."

She warns, history is why watching. She says the party is at a turning point and needs to -- quote -- "steer away from the dangerous and anti- democratic Trump cult of personality," that coming from a longtime conservative fighting for her leadership post.

That`s the update on that story we have been following.

And that does it for me. I will see you again at 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. You can always find me online @AriMelber on social media, on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, @AriMelber.