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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 6/7/21

Guests: Dennis Kucinich, John Flannery


The criminal probe into the Trump Organization intensifies. The biggest lies about the January 6 riot are examined. The Democrats` Joe Manchin problem is discussed. Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich discusses the progressive agenda. New reports emerge that Donald Trump`s chief of staff contacted the Department of Justice about starting election investigations.



Hi, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Shout-out to the offices. Thank you, Nicolle. Appreciate it.


Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.

Well, we -- you know, I lost Nicolle for a second there, because we are on a tape delay, but shout-out to everyone going back to work or being anywhere where you get out in public.

I want to tell you that our top story tonight is something that may be familiar. It is the intensifying New York criminal probe into the Trump Organization. It`s back in the news because the man at the center of it all, longtime Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg, you see him right here, taped exclusively by MSNBC outside of his Manhattan home this morning, where he ducked any questions about the case.



QUESTION: Do you feel pressure from Mr. Trump?

WEISSELBERG: I have no comment. Sir, I have no comment. Going to go pick up my grandchild from school right now. I have no comment.

QUESTION: Thank you, sir.


MELBER: Now, journalists and many other observers would like to hear what Weisselberg has to say, instead of a "No comment."

People would love to get any comment or even denials or whatever he feels is true about these allegations that he has criminal exposure.

But what you just saw is also what most legal experts say is the most legally prudent course, say nothing in public when you have an open grand jury probe grinding on. And there are new clues showing the grand jury probe grinding towards Weisselberg and Trump, who make pretty much all the big money decisions for the company. We know that.

We also know that because a longtime Trump Org executive, Jeffrey McConney, who directly reports to Weisselberg, just went under oath before this New York grand jury. There was news that he would last week. Now it`s official that he has.

Prosecutors scouring potential tax bank and insurance fraud theories, the pressure all part of the wider aggressive effort to turn that CFO you just saw into a cooperating witness.

With these new developments, I want to get right to it.

I have former federal prosecutor John Flannery here and Democratic strategist and MSNBC analyst Juanita Tolliver.

Good to see you both.

John, you heard it there, no comment from someone who looks like he is still adjusting to just how much legal and public pressure that will be on him, the CFO.


There`s really a triumvirate. That is to say that these three men were very close. That is, Trump, Weisselberg and McConney, who`s the new witnesses testify, which means he`s gone and he`s immune. And so only if he doesn`t tell the truth does he get in trouble.

And in depositions in 2015, Weisselberg basically said he handled these expenses on a daily amount, and either Trump would ask him directly to send money for some purpose or other, but Weisselberg said he much preferred the fact that there would be a clearance by memos for every substantial amount of money they transferred, and either he, Weisselberg, or Trump would check that note off.

So that`s a really tight link. And this is a man who`s handling accounts, payable accounts, receivable. And going back to the 2015 investigation involving the charity, we get to learn a lot about their relationship. So I`d say that this guy`s a blockbuster witness.

He could do it alone. They`d like to have Weisselberg, I think, but maybe they`d like to have Weisselberg standing there with Trump. That`s speculation, of course, because we don`t know all the evidence they have. But bringing this heavy hitter in this early is a substantial statement, I think.

MELBER: Yes, I appreciate that, John, because this is something -- we have all been living through these news cycles together. And this is one of those times where, a couple weeks ago, if somebody heard, oh, another -- quote, unquote -- "Trump investigation," as a news viewer, you might say, OK, well, and what`s really going to happen and what`s really going on? How far is it going to go?

This is now hitting the people who Donald Trump says make all the money calls and who he has previously said he`s loyal to. If you are a skeptic of Donald Trump, you might note that loyalty sometimes comes with other baggage. If you`re a supporter of Donald Trump, you might say, OK, great. All the guys he`s tight with are in the grand jury box.

But just briefly, John, this is from the "Trump: Think Like a Billionaire" book, one of those many sequels to "The Art of the Deal," where he said...


MELBER: ... that McConney was doing a terrific job -- quote -- "He looks out for my bottom line as if the money were his own" -- John.

FLANNERY: Strong statement.

And what it tells you is that any big decision, including those that are not kosher, shall we say, he`s going to be standing there dealing with them. And Trump -- if Trump is asking him directly to do something, he is trying to have as few people know about what they`re doing as is possible.

But the trouble with any financial transaction is, the check continues to exist. It`s copied a million times at banks and other places, that there are internal memos, that there are phone calls there. There are all these things to corroborate what McConney may say about their dealings.

Tax returns.


FLANNERY: If you`re going to have a difference in accounting for one purpose, and then you`re going to inflate the value for another, we have the transactions involving the payoff for the lady in waiting that was a campaign violation, but also probably has tax implications.

So you have a number of things. And this is a pretty terrible storm that they find themselves in.

MELBER: Yes. Yes.

FLANNERY: And they`re rounded by documents and records. So that`s dangerous for a defendant.

MELBER: Yes, that`s where the grand jury is going. And, legally, as John`s helped us understand, either they`re going to build enough evidence in that grand jury box and with the documents to go somewhere or not.

This is one of those stories where we are going to likely get an ending.

Politically, Juanita, the last four-plus years have tested all of us in various ways. Part of my job is to sometimes repeat just the reasonable sanity and the facts of what should be normal or not. And I have to remind everyone, this is a big story.

If former President Obama were under serious criminal investigation months after leaving office for how he conducted himself or his business, or if close associates were going to a grand injury, it would be the biggest story in the country.

There is such a level of fatigue for these types of things, even for people who might be interested in the outcome, that I think it gets lost. What does it say, politically and nationally, Juanita, that the standard-bearer of the Republican Party, who many House Republicans rally around no matter what, is in this much sauce?

JUANITA TOLLIVER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Honestly, Ari, it says business as usual, right?

Trump had lawsuits against him, cases against him the whole time he was president. He`s had these investigations, and multiple people, multiple institutions trying to get access to his tax returns. And after two years, New York just got access. You have had so many different allegations, whether it`s sexual assault allegations, whether it`s payments of hush money, as John mentioned, to ladies in waiting so artistically, none of it deterred the Republican Party from sticking beside Trump through and through.

They have said repeatedly: This is our king.

And they`re standing by that through the 2022 midterms. They have already taken that big bet. They`re still following every direction Trump gives them, whether that`s removing Cheney from office, whether it`s backing up the big lie before and after the election.

But insurrection and any other allegations against Trump, they have stuck with him through and through. And that`s not going to change, Ari. He is still a major fund-raiser for them. He is still someone who drives their base, riles them up, turns them out.

And so Republicans, for the sake of self-preservation, for the sake of fear, are sticking with Trump, no matter what potential indictments come from this, because I think the other thing is that any type of allegations against him don`t stick with his base.

They`re still going to show up in turn out for him. They`re still going to be riled up by him at rallies. And so they`re using that evidence as their justification for why they`re sticking with Trump. It`s all self- preservation. It`s all about elections. It`s all about, honestly, undermining our democracy still.

MELBER: Yes, and you mentioned the base`s enthusiasm.

I mean, part of that was built on the idea that he was a successful businessman. That`s also under pressure here, John. I mean, this is a legal proceeding, but it`s also looking at whether he had a hard-charging approach to getting profits, which is fine, or whether he was defrauding stealing ill-begotten gains, which is not fine.


MELBER: I mean, those are two different ways to get money.

I want to play a little bit of what Michael Cohen, who had that front-row seat, along with the other witnesses we`re talking, about what he said. Take a look.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY/FIXER FOR DONALD TRUMP: The only few people that -- in the Trump Organization that know anything about the taxes is Mr. Trump, who knows everything about everything, Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer, Don, Ivanka, and Eric. Those are your five.


FLANNERY: Well, I think he could have added Jeff.


MELBER: Well, let me -- well, yes, exactly. Well, that`s the other person.

But let me press you, John, and say, what happens if those tax returns, which this grand jury probe got, unlike every other attempt, this one actually -- Cy Vance actually won.


MELBER: Happens if they say that, on the line, they interpret things as fraudulent because things were overvalued here and undervalued there, and the Trump folks say, look, this was signed off at the time. The government of New York and the federal government had that information at the time.

I mean, it`s new to the prosecutor, but it`s not new to the tax authorities. What if they say, look, this was all signed off on before?

FLANNERY: Well, Weisselberg, as CFO, one of his responsibilities is what happens at banks. And so there are two different venues for this information.

The bank is getting information and the value of these properties is being inflated for the purpose of the loan. The IRS is only getting the information that says the properties are valued at this amount, which might be lower. So, that may be a complex mathematical analysis to compare the years and the values and the bank applications, assuming that bank applications exist.

But this is a man who`s built his business on debt. And he`s a kind of business that sooner a camel goes through the eye of the needle, to take some biblical reference. So, when we`re dealing with Trump, the biggest mistake he has, I think, like a lot of these guys, is the arrogance. I`m never going to get caught. I can do anything I want.

It remains to be seen if he`s accurate. But the way this office and the attorney general -- this office being the DA, and the A.G. are bearing down on him, I think he`s met his match.

And the feds are sitting back, I would say cowardly, because they have the goods, and they`re not acting. And I think they`d like to have the state deal with it. And I think the state may deal with it. And I think that what`s being presented to the grand jury is being presented. It`s not so much, I think, an investigation as a presentation going toward a point of conclusion that they already know.

MELBER: Right.

FLANNERY: And I don`t think they want to wait six months, because that runs up against Vance`s date.

So I think we`re more likely to have something in three months. Now, all of that is speculation, I know. Things can go wrong. They certainly do in investigations. But I think that we`re on a track here that is unpleasant - - I`m going too long, right? -- is unpleasant for Trump to deal with.

So that`s my analysis of this mess.

MELBER: No, I appreciate it. I appreciate you reaching summation.

I am running out of time.

Juanita, I give you the final word on this one.


One thing that did pop into my mind, Ari, is that, how does this grand jury tie in to what we`re seeing from Trump and his response? Of course, he`s saying his favorite phrase, it`s a witch-hunt. Of course, he`s saying it`s unfounded.

But at the same time, he`s still perpetuating this big lie, because we know that, if he`s president, he is not able to be prosecuted as a sitting president. And so is this his way of scratching his -- like some type of conspiracy theory, some type of way to try to get back in office so that he is not able to be prosecuted? Potentially, right?

Like, this could this be the source of his big lie? Could this be his primary motivation? Maybe.

MELBER: Yes, I mean, we haven`t had this situation before where someone out of office is both trying to play the angles on the law, but also, as he did when he gave the statement, he sort of threatened, oh, this makes it essentially more likely that he would run, which is indeed a strange way to plot your course, but not out of the ordinary from the way he`s talked in the past.

John and Juanita, want to thank both of you.

FLANNERY: Thank you.

MELBER: And we have a lot coming up in the program.

I have a special fact-check I want to share with you debunking 10 of the worst lies about the January 6 riot, how it`s gotten Orwellian, why it matters, what you need to know, because the truth will set us free as we deal with these issues. Neal Katyal here later.

And Cornell Belcher here on the Democrats` Joe Manchin problem.

Plus, the one and only Dennis Kucinich in the flesh on progressive politics.

All that ahead. Stay with us.


MELBER: Senator Joe Manchin is often considered the Democrats` 50th vote. And now he`s clashing with his party for opposing a critical voting rights bill, which has effectively given Republicans veto power by conditioning everything on Republican support.

He still opposes any reform to Mitch McConnell`s key obstruction tool these days, the filibuster, drawing heavy criticism, Manchin defending his stance as what he says is a push for more cooperation with McConnell.

But that doesn`t make a ton of sense, a position that even FOX News` Chris Wallace dismissed in an interesting round of questioning.


CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Senator McConnell, the head of the Republicans in the Senate, says that he`s 100 percent focused on blocking that Biden agenda.

Question: Aren`t you being naive about this continuing talk about bipartisan cooperation?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I`m not being naive. I think he`s 100 percent wrong in trying to block all the good things that we`re trying to do for America.


MELBER: And that is the whole point. If you think someone`s 100 percent wrong, and you have the power to stop them, why wouldn`t you?

So this line of questioning continued on FOX News, with Wallace pointing out that Manchin`s position seems to strengthen Republicans` ability to do those things he claims to oppose.


C. WALLACE: The question I have is whether or not you`re doing it exactly the wrong way. By taking it off the table, haven`t you empowered Republicans to be obstructionists?

MANCHIN: I don`t think so, because we have seven brave Republicans that continue to vote for what they know is right and the facts as they see them.


MELBER: Let`s get into it.

I`m joined by Obama polling guru and MSNBC analyst Cornell Belcher.

Good to see you.

What did you think of that colloquy, as they say in Washington?


CORNELL BELCHER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I`m glad that someone over FOX is still doing straightforward news. And that was a really sort of telling interview, because I think he does point out that the naive sort of nature, or, at least strategically, how problematic it is.

Look, I think, Ari, we can all agree philosophically with Senator Manchin that voting rights and protecting our right to vote shouldn`t be a partisan issue. But, clearly, it is a partisan issue, when you have one party relentlessly trying to, in fact, undermine the right to vote and set up a way to rig elections in the coming future.

So, it should be bipartisan, but it is very -- it should be bipartisan, but it`s very partisan. I mean, it`s sort of, to me, tantamount to, look, the chickens saying we can`t protect the chicken coop until we get the fox to come in and help us protect the chicken coop, right?

Philosophically, I understand what he`s trying to say. But, from a practical political standpoint, it`s a head-scratcher.

MELBER: And that would make Mitch McConnell the fox, raising the question, what is FOX News? I mean, they would want dibs on the fox roles, I would think. Just -- I`m just being logical.


MELBER: But...

BELCHER: I think they would what dibs on -- I think that -- yes, I think they would want dibs on the fox

And that and I`m trying to picture now Mitch McConnell as a fox, which is kind of uncomfortable.

MELBER: Well, I will tell you this, to continue your wordplay.

Chris Wallace, the original FOX News, seems to think that Joe Manchin is getting outfoxed by Mitch McConnell. He`s basically saying -- I mean, that`s why the exchange so interesting. He`s basically saying, well, fine, Senator, but now that Mitch McConnell`s publicly said what all the liberals have said about him that they don`t like and what all the conservatives say they do like about him, it`s actually the thing that`s just true about Mitch McConnell.

He`s a huge obstructionist. So, if you wanted to have leverage to work with Republicans, wouldn`t you need to at least hold open the option that you would reduce the power of this obstruction tactic, whether it`s for certain bills -- that was one idea, Stacey Abrams and others saying, for the voting bills you were just discussing -- or maybe for more bills?

BELCHER: Well, to take this animal analogy one step even further and get even further in the South with you, Ari, perhaps he`s just playing possum.

He is a pretty smart guy, right? He doesn`t get to being where he is right now without being -- especially in a very red state, being a really sort of sharp guy. So, perhaps, like the old folks say in the South, he`s simply playing possum and he`s putting all this out there, and waiting for an opportunity to really sort of the Mitch McConnell and Republicans continue to sort of pushing and blocking all this.

And he can say, look, I have tried to be bipartisan on this. I went out further into my party would have allowed me to, and I have taken the arrows and the slings and accusations from the left wing of my party. And now he`s in a position now to push us this in different direction because, in fact, he came out this way early on.

So, perhaps, perhaps he may be just playing possum. Maybe, maybe, maybe he`s playing possum with the foxes.


I didn`t know you`re going to get this folksy. But Cornell Belcher has layers.

I kind of want to go fuzzy wuzzy was a bear. But I just -- I don`t have time. I needed to ask you about this Liz Cheney thing, so merciful for anyone who is still watching.

Liz Cheney said something that`s getting noticed. And I do think, whatever people think of her ideology, she`s proven to be pretty straightforward about what she thinks is going on. So what I`m about to play, either it`s true, and it is chilling about democracy, or some people may say, well, she`s a politician, they don`t believe her.

But this is what she says is the reason that some Republicans privately offered up to her for why they wanted to stand up to Trump on impeachment, but were literally afraid.

Take a listen.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I have had a number of members say things to me like, we would have voted to impeach, but we were concerned about our security.

That you have members of the United States House of Representatives for whom security, their personal security or their family`s security, their concerns about that affected the way that they felt they could vote.


MELBER: Cornell?

BELCHER: We are officially in a banana republic, where -- this is worse than Putin`s Russia, where our elected officials are afraid to act because they fear for their own safety and security.

This is a slippery slope and a dangerous place for America to be, when our elected officials will not act on courage and do what they in fact know what`s right because they fear reprisals and they fear for the lives of themselves and the lives of their family.

This is a terribly dark moment in American democracy. And I hope we can find the courage to do what is right and what many of them know is right.

MELBER: Yes. And it`s striking what they are, according to Liz Cheney, confiding in her, that, faced with a historically unusual, violent attack on the Capitol to press them, their response is, they`re afraid of another violent attack, so they won`t stand up to the first one.

It`s really striking.

Cornell, thank you on more than one topic.


MELBER: Yes, go ahead.

BELCHER: Well, thank you for having me.

MELBER: Thank you. All right, well, we will -- and we will finish. I mean, some of these things are staying in the news. So we will finish that topic when we have Cornell back.

I want to thank you again.

We have our shortest break, 60 seconds.

A special report fact-checking the Republican lies about the riots, one of our themes tonight. We`re going to get to that tonight.

But, first, a special guest who helped write the liberal playbook and how to take on McConnell now -- when we`re back in just 60 seconds.


MELBER: We have been talking about Mitch McConnell tonight.

Well, progressives say they have President Biden`s back to go big and go it alone with this talk of a $6 trillion jobs plan, if they can ram it through.

And that brings us to something special here on THE BEAT tonight, someone who`s been pushing a lot of these progressive ideas for many years.

You may recall the name Dennis Kucinich, who has been shaking things up. And many of the things that he has consistently advocated for were at one time dismissed as fringe or far left. And yet, today, you can decide for yourself how they sound.


FMR. REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH): Up with the rights of workers. Up with wages. Up with health care for all. Up with education for all.


QUESTION: You are very liberal.


QUESTION: I`m shocked.

KUCINICH: I`m the voice for getting out of Iraq, for universal single- payer health care, for getting out of NAFTA and the WTO.


LARRY KING, CNN: Isn`t marriage inherently a man and a woman?


KING: Inherently?


Wake up, America! Wake up, America! Wake up, America!



MELBER: Wake up.

Well, I`m joined by Dennis Kucinich, the former mayor of Cleveland, the former congressperson, the former presidential candidate, who also has a new book out, "The Division of Light and Power," about taking on corporate power. It`s out tomorrow.

Thanks for coming on THE BEAT.

KUCINICH: Ari, thank you. And thank you for that intro. Wow.


MELBER: Well, I play the intro because, with all respect, there are many people who will remember where you stood for, and some younger viewers may not have been following politics the first time you ran for president, et cetera.

And so, with that in mind, I want to ask you straight up, do you feel like the Democratic Party, and, writ large, much of the nation has come towards you?

KUCINICH: I think that`s probably true, not totally.

But I think the American journey has always been towards a center point of recognizing the urgency of the economic rights of people, their social rights. And we will back and forth, but I think the center point of the country moves in that direction.

And, well, people were saying, well, he`s so far left. Actually, I have always considered myself pretty much in the center. But the center that I have always been trying to find was the underlying unity that I discovered when I went across the country. That was what I found.

I didn`t find -- I found that Americans look for ways of trying to come together on the central issues. And we have our differences, boy, do we ever, now, but I think it`s so important to approach things not as a partisan, but as an American first.

I can argue Democrat, Republican any time, liberal, conservative anytime. What about the country?

And that`s where my concerns are always.

MELBER: Let`s take a look at you back in the day on "The Daily Show." Here we go.


JOHN OLIVER, "THE DAILY SHOW": Help me understand how you have been reelected as a congressman in the state of Ohio.

KUCINICH: Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding.

OLIVER: Are you quoting the musical "Hair"?

KUCINICH: The dawning of the age of Aquarius, and a chance for peace, to rule the planet and love to rule the stars.


MELBER: We love "Hair" here.

Let me ask you this. How much does style matter in modern politics? Because, sometimes, you were mocked or dismissed or whatever for style. But now we have lived through an era with Senator Sanders, where I think you guys are on the same page economically, obviously, the past president on a different page, but where more outlandish style doesn`t seem to be the so- called disqualifier it once was?

KUCINICH: Well, first of all, that was a very funny clip from John Oliver, who has been unbelievable.

But Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, above all, to thine own self be true. Every heart vibrates to that iron string, to believe what`s true for you could be true for others. You have to be true to yourself, and not worry about where -- what other people think.

That`s why this book, "The Division of Light and Power," it`s about when I was true to myself as a young politician, as a young mayor, and I didn`t hesitate to take a stand. And, really, it`s -- Ari, it`s a book about corporate espionage, corporate sabotage, about mob-directed assassination plot against me.

And all I was trying to do was to represent the people. And now the story becomes relevant because, at the opening of the book, it says, people wonder where city hall is. I said, it wasn`t just to a building on Lakeside Avenue in Cleveland. City hall was in the banks, boardrooms. It was the boardroom of utility monopolies. It was in the mob`s meeting places, and that I was the mayor, and I fought city hall.

And so we -- people wonder where it is. Well, that`s still a question for every city in America. We have to know where the centers of power are.

MELBER: Right.

KUCINICH: And I think this book, "The Division of Light and Power," is a guide towards understanding how government actually works.

It`s not the legislative, executive, judicial branch that some of us learned about in civic. There`s another branch with a dollar sign on it. And we have to be very careful about protecting our democratic rights in this society.

And the book is really about that. And I appreciate being on and how much time you spent reviewing the things that I have done.


Well, I got 30 seconds left. And that`s the final thing. You worked in Congress. How do you actually dent the corporate power over both parties in Congress?

KUCINICH: You know, look, let`s face it. Citizens United was a body blow to our democracy. And at this point, the only thing you can do is to demand that the candidates reveal where their money is coming from.

But then you have the issue of dark money. And that`s a problem. And it`s going to continue to be a problem.


KUCINICH: So we have to confront people wherever we see them publicly, and find out, who`s really behind them? Sometimes, you feel Congress and government is like people are wearing these patches like drivers do at the Indy 500. And you don`t really know if the people are having any way to get a word in edgewise about the policies.

So -- and, again, that`s -- the book is about that, too.

MELBER: All right, Dennis Kucinich, thanks for coming on THE BEAT.

The book, as mentioned, is "The Division of Light and Power." Check it out.

When we come back, we have Neal Katyal on the program. We`re going to get more into where this Trump Org investigation is headed.

Also, new explosive reports on Donald Trump`s chief of staff trying to overturn the election. Was that a separate crime?

But, first, the special report I promised you. We have heard about insurrection lies and the spin. Our special report gives you what you need to know about a story that`s not going away, but that is fixable -- next.


MELBER: We`re now almost halfway through 2021, but politics is bringing us back again all the way to "1984," George Orwell`s iconic book exploring how fascism is intertwined with lies, that it needs movements that are built around lies.

Orwell famously wrote: "The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears as its final most essential command" end quote.

And, sure, many politicians are known to spin. Many people lie from time to time. That`s not what Orwell was discussing. He was talking about diagnosing something deeper, how authoritarian governments demand mass acceptance of their own separate truth, and why that`s so dangerous.

So, while the world saw the reality of the MAGA insurrection January 6, a violent attack that`s already led to over 550 indictments, including 40 for using deadly weapons, and while Republicans are now blocking the commission to investigate what we all watched in real time, the greater Orwellian problem is getting worse, with some Republican officials basically going a whole different direction.

I want to be clear, there are people who`ve been honest about January 6, including inside the GOP, although that`s a low bar. Senator McConnell said it was an insurrection that very day.

But, tonight, you need to understand, you need to know that what you have seen here and there is something broader, and that`s something we`re seeing accelerate, more and more Republicans and conservative leaders embracing lies about the attack.

There are signs that blatantly rejecting the evidence of your eyes and ears has become a litmus test for some hard right figures. This matters for truth and justice, and how these lies spread matters for our future as a country.

So, right now, we turn to a special fact-check to swiftly shred 10 of the emerging lies about these riots.

Now, for this fact-check, we are not going to re-air any misinformation its own. Anything you hear will be played with the actual documentary evidence of what actually occurred.

Number 10, the megaphone over at FOX News which had been invested in laundering Trump`s election lies and turned to an alternative take on the insurrection.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: What happened today will be used by the people taking power to justify stripping you of the rights you were born with as an American.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS: Obviously, this is a huge victory for these protesters.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: Reports that Antifa sympathizers may have been sprinkled throughout the crowd.


MELBER: Number nine is an agitator who spoke at the rally, egging on some of the people who would storm the Capitol, Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, who later lied about who showed up.


REP. MO BROOKS (R-AL): Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass!

It could be any number of other groups, anarchists or what have you.

It never occurred to me that anyone would engage in any kind of violence as a result of my speech or any others.


MELBER: Number eight is another Republican congressman, Paul Gosar, who`s pushing the lie that he says these hundreds of indicted attackers for violence and trespassing and crime, he says they were not violent.


REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): The truth is being censored and covered up. As a result, the DOJ is harassing -- harassing peaceful patriots across the country.

Imagine this, that you get -- go back home once we conquer the Hill. Donald Trump is returned to being president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re storming the Capitol. It`s a revolution.


MELBER: Then there`s Congressman Ralph Norman, who says what happened was wrong, but then lies about it being a mob of Trump supporters, which was the whole political point.

We can, of course, refresh your memory.


REP. RALPH NORMAN (R-SC): At 2:07, a mob of Trump supporters breached the steps. I don`t know who did a poll that it`s Trump supporters.

RIOTERS: We want Trump! We want Trump!

RIOTERS: Stop the steal! Stop the steal!


MELBER: They wanted Trump. They said so.

Congressman Gaetz trying the same ploy.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and, in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group Antifa.

RIOTER: If you do not stand down, you are outnumbered. There`s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) million of us out there. And we are listening to Trump, your boss.


MELBER: They weren`t masquerading. They were the real MAGA deal. They were embraced by MAGA. They represented MAGA. And now we have even more evidence from the court filings that they were MAGA.

At number five, there`s a tactic of minimizing this, which involves saying something happened, but maybe it wasn`t a presidentially organized plot to violently overturn an election, it was just some misfits, a claim debunked by the evidence in those indictments ,as well as the extensive plotting.


REP. PAT FALLON (R-TX): So, was January 6 an insurrection, or could it be more accurately described as a mob of misfits?



MELBER: The feds view that as way more than misfits.

Now, we have our finalists. And it does get worse. During this actual attack, there were members of Congress who tried to help police barricade the doors to the House.

On your screen, you can see Republican Congressman Andrew Clyde going shoulder to shorter -- shoulder to shoulder, I should say, with armed officers. Some people hailed him for it at the time. And it looked commendable.

But, tonight, how does it look when you see that that same person who faced that danger, that Republican congressman -- you`re going to hear his voice likening it all now to an orderly tourist visit? What runs through his head, given what he lived through, what he did that day, and what he`s saying now as he spews this garbage?


REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): There was no insurrection. And to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bold-faced line.

If you didn`t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.


MELBER: Tourists don`t take the Capitol by force. Violence is what was in play.

And that brings us to Congressman Gohmert lying about the fact that many of these trespassers were armed -- that`s documented -- and because there were so many armed, boy, it could have been far worse.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): There`s no evidence, as has been said on January 7, that this was an armed insurrection, armed meaning with firearms. There were no firearms.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here are just some of the weapons that were confiscated or seen being used, a baseball bat, a fire extinguisher, a wooden club, a spear, a Taser.


MELBER: Senator Johnson, meanwhile, echoed Trump`s praise for those people who broke the law, who attacked police.

And his lie is also important to see because it`s a reminder that many top Republicans know this was terrible. That`s why they have to lie about it. So, Johnson just falsely claims the people on team Trump who attacked police actually respect police.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law.

RIOTERS: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!


MELBER: Coming in at number one is the person who summoned the original crowd to Washington and fed them lies about his failed campaign.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we`re going to have to fight much harder. You will never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.

Frankly, we did win this election.

We love you. You`re very special.


MELBER: Those special people took him literally. And they still do.

And while Trumpism does have less power now, this whole thing was a violent attack by a slice of the electoral minority against the results in a democracy of a larger majority. But these lies are also part of the long- term playbook to end a democracy, to grow an alliance of liars who know better, and some of their followers who may not, united around the idea that they are the ones who are rightfully aggrieved, that they are on the side of democracy.

There`s nothing novel or new about this type of threat within this system of government. To return to some other bars from George Orwell, he also wrote that to even -- quote -- "see what`s in front of one`s nose needs a constant struggle."

And he had tips. He recommended keeping a written record of important events, for starters, and counseled clarity and courage in the face of would-be fascists.

And while our last word on this fact-check could logically go to Orwell, where we started, we have one more idea for you tonight, as we all deal with this as a nation, because it`s not going away yet.

In summation of this fact-check, let`s just hear a little bit from the police who were so brutally attacked and their families. Let`s hear from the people who had to live through the reality, not the lies, but the reality of the severe results of the violent insurrection, who are then further disrespected in public by the lies you saw tonight from some of these elected Republicans.

This is also the evidence.


AQUILINO GONELL, UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE: It was very scary because I thought I was going to lose my life by there.

GLADYS SICKNICK, MOTHER OF BRIAN SICKNICK: And Brian had a work ethic, like, second to none. And he was just there for our country.

SANDRA GARZA, GIRLFRIEND OF BRIAN SICKNICK: It`s been excruciating. We just -- we want members of Congress to ensure that it doesn`t happen again.

HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: "Priority. Help. Help. Somebody`s trapped. We need help. Shots fired."

SICKNICK: This is why I`m here today. Usually, I stay in background. And I just couldn`t. I couldn`t stay quiet anymore.


MELBER: They lived it. Let`s listen to them a little bit.

When we come back, Neal Katyal is here on all of this and more. Stay with us.



NORMAN: At 2:07, a mob of Trump supporters breached the steps. I don`t know who did a poll that it`s Trump supporters.

RIOTERS: We want Trump! We want Trump!

RIOTERS: Stop the steal! Stop the steal!


MELBER: We have been fact-checking the January 6 lies.

We`re joined by Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general.

Neal, this was a criminal act perpetuated by a conspiracy theory. So the fact that it`s greeted with new conspiracy theories that try to erase it is not as shocking as the fact that they`re being embraced at such a high level.

Your thoughts on that?

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, kudos to you and your whole team for that incredible presentation of facts.

And you`re absolutely right. There`s been a concerted effort on the part of the Republican Party to try and erase those facts. You have leaders like Senator Thune who have said, we won`t look backward.

And I thought what you did so powerfully is say, look, this was an armed assault on our nation`s Capitol. People died on sacred ground. And the Republicans strategies to try and forget. I mean, the January 6 mob is the only thing Donald Trump has ever made that he won`t stick his name on in giant gold letters.

And, sadly, for him, I think it`s going to be the thing he`s going to be most remembered for, because we can`t let him forget. And it`s jaw-dropping to me that the self-proclaimed party of law and order, these Republicans, are saying that we could -- saying that we could live through a lot riot, watch a meticulous presentation of what happened during the impeachment, and then proceed -- they`re like, forget about it, and say, well, we should go back to arguing about Dr. Seuss and things like that.


And you mentioned the production there. I appreciate the shout-out, and I will join in it, because it takes a whole team of journalists to comb through all that. And then the facts are there for people to understand.

While I have you, Neal, I wanted to also get to this blockbuster story, Trump`s chief of staff breaking DOJ protocols, demanding they launch probes that would ultimately try to help Donald Trump -- quote -- "nullify the election results while he still had control of the government."

It`s a related story in "The Times."

And, Neal, it`s one of those bombshells that, if it had come during the administration, or before the election, or by any president, it`s Watergate-level stuff. Walk us through your take on the story.

KATYAL: A hundred percent, Ari. I think this is a huge story.

I don`t think that Justice Department has in modern days seen an abuse of powers that`s both this brazen and this bananas. I mean, it`s kind of like Bill Barr went to an ayahuasca retreat with Alex Jones or something like that.

I mean, the story is that these e-mails show the chief of staff to the president, Meadows, trying to get the acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, to get cuckoo investigations going. I mean, at one point, they like send the YouTube clip of supposedly Italy trying to interfere in our elections.

And they`re trying to gin up investigations in the states and have the Justice Department, the imprimatur tour of our hallowed Justice Department, side with these cuckoo Trump theories.

And that just illustrates what these folks are about. They`re not about respect for institutions. They didn`t give one whit about what that would do to politicize the Justice Department. They just called and tried to do it anyway.

And, fortunately, the acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, appears to have done the right thing and refused all this. But that`s got to be the subject of congressional hearings. Jeffrey Rosen`s got to testify. He`s got to tell everyone what he knows.

I mean, this is like Benghazi times a million. And we had so many hearings about that. We need a hearing about this.

MELBER: Yes, and it gives context to what was going on with January 6, because it shows how, behind the scenes, in secret, these were very real efforts. This was not just to, oh, save face, e-mail fund-raising.

There may have been those other goofy things, but this was in their minds deadly serious.

Neal, the Trump Organization probe has gotten a lot of attention. We have this top executive now testifying before the grand jury, McConney, who directly reports to the CFO. And just today, MSNBC caught Weisselberg, the CFO. Take a look.


WEISSELBERG: I have no comment.

QUESTION: Do you feel pressure from Mr. Trump?

WEISSELBERG: I have no comment. Sir, I have no comment. Going to go pick up my grandchild from school right now. I have no comment.

QUESTION: Thank you, sir.



KATYAL: Yes, so grand juries are secret. We`re all trying to read tea leaves here. These tea leaves look very, very bad for Donald Trump and the Trump Organization.

There`s an obvious very strong investigation going. How much is about the organization? How much is about Trump? How much is about Trump`s kids, who were running the organization during his presidency? That`s all right now a black box.

But if I`m any of those entities or those people, I am quaking right now. This is very, very serious.

MELBER: Fascinating.

Neal, always good to have you.

Everyone, you can find this and other cocktail segments And you can always find me across social media @AriMelber or connect with me

And when we come back, an update on Maya Wiley.


MELBER: News at the intersection of law and politics in New York, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez throwing her sought-after endorsement to a candidate and former BEAT guest Maya Wiley, who says today the issue of police reform made the difference.


MAYA WILEY (D), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: What is so exciting about having Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez`s endorsement is that it`s really about the fact that I am the only candidate in this race that has a true position for police reform.


MELBER: Widely seen as a big boost for Wiley. And interesting to see police reform playing out that way.

We will continue to cover all of the candidates for mayor in New York, and fairly, of course.

That does it for me.