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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 7/16/21

Guests: Barbara Arnwine, John Flannery, Peter Rosenberg


Pop star Olivia Rodrigo advocates for vaccinations alongside Dr. Fauci. Deejay Peter Rosenberg speaks out. The FBI arrests two California men accused of plotting to bomb the Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, California. Vice President Harris meets with Texas Democratic legislators who are taking extraordinary measures to try to protect voting rights. President Biden goes big on jobs.



Hi, Ari.

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

Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.

We have a big show. We begin with breaking news on domestic terror.

The FBI arresting two California men accused of plotting to bomb the Democratic Party headquarters there in Sacramento, California. This indictment alleges these two individuals were well on their way of wreaking havoc, that they had specific, detailed and serious plans to attack, one of the accused men found with five, five different pipe bombs, over 40 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

All signs of this was a very active plot intended to kill. One suspect saying to the other, according to this information: "Do you think something`s wrong with me, how I`m excited to attack the Democrats?"

A suspect writing: "After the 20th, we go to war." That`s alluding to the Biden inauguration.

All of this, investigators and experts say, looks like fallout from Donald Trump`s big lie, a continuation of how serious this is. We have been reporting on aspects of this from January 6 on or throughout the whole four years, depending on which type of violence threats you put in the counter.

But, basically, we know what`s going on out there. We also know from the government warnings about domestic terrorism and white nationalist groups these false claims that Biden lost and Trump won, these false claims that Trump might somehow return to power illegally during these four years -- he won`t -- and the insurrection, all of this is the context for ongoing threats, attacks and attempted attacks on democracy that we`re seeing.

Now, here`s more of the context I mentioned; 216 bills have now been introduced in 41 different states that basically, in summary, allow legislators to politicize, criminalize or interfere with elections. That`s according to the Brennan Center and other expert groups.

The plot unfolding in plain sight is to build together through some means that might be technically legal, like passing these laws, and other means that are obviously not, when you look at this indictment, to create the intimidation and the tools to potentially overturn an election in the future, if that is what these individuals deem necessary.

I want to give context to this, because we have been reporting on this, as I mentioned, for a while. It`s been put a number of ways throughout history. One historian said a failed coup is practice for a successful coup. This is an idea that experts, journalists and lawmakers across the spectrum, that many of us have been warning about for quite some time.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day and ensure that an attack of that kind cannot happen.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Stage what is essentially a bloodless coup.

MELBER: A failed coup, without consequences, becomes a training exercise.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him.


MELBER: We begin our coverage with Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general and MSNBC analyst, and Michelle Goldberg from "The New York Times."

Neal, part of the January 6 investigation and discussion has talked about the lead-up, the warning signs and how seriously they were taken. I very much hope, as a human being and as an American, that this is not a warning sign of more of these or worse such coordinated actions.

But it seems that the news tonight is, we are seeing yet again these exact type of warning signs, and they come with political encouragement.


And I don`t think, like, when you look at the indictment that was handed down, at the federal indictment in Sacramento today, that you can ignore the big thing, the inspirer in chief, Donald Trump, because what happened in Sacramento, what happened on January 6, it all happened under his watch.

And you said in the lead-up to this that this was all fallout from Donald Trump`s big lie. And that`s exactly right. I just came back from two weeks in England, where I met both high-level government officials, as well as corporate leaders and ordinary Brits. And, to a tee, everyone is shocked at what happened to the United States.

I mean, they`re calling us a declining civilization. I mean, the Brits are calling us that. And the damage to our democracy by what this big lie has been and all of the incitement and encouragement of violence and the -- it`s not just the damage to our democracy, but to the perception of our democracy around the globe.

And we can`t forget people died on the Capitol. This isn`t like there are two sides. There are no both sides to this. People died on sacred ground, on hallowed ground, our Capitol.


And yet Republicans don`t even want to, like, have an investigation. They don`t want to even have a commission to look at this? I mean, that is the starting stage, as you say, or setting up the next big lie, the next coup.

MELBER: And, Michelle, legally and journalistically, we`re quite precise, we try to be, when you have incidents, plots thwarted or even actually plots carried out and crimes, about whether they were responding to people and how to sort of attribute that responsibility.

But there`s a lot of information here already about this plot -- and we will update as we go and learn about it -- that it was very much a political project to carry out, join in and further inspire a right-wing movement, that that`s literally what they said they wanted to do.

I`m reading here from the two charged with plotting to bomb the headquarters. According to the indictment -- that`s the feds, government information -- "The defendants plan to use incendiary devices to attack their targets, and hoped their attacks would prompt a movement," Michelle.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, one of their attorneys told "The Washington Post" that this was just hyperbole and that they sounded like thousands of other Trump supporters out there.

And I`m not sure how much comfort we`re supposed to take from, that, in a way, they do sound like many members of the Republican Party, including many elected officials. But that isn`t a statement about their innocence. It`s a statement about the profound irresponsibility of the party and its leadership.

And so this was a group -- there has been reporting that they reached out to the Proud Boys, A group that Donald Trump shouted out to and that was, of course, heavily involved in January 6. There`s some association, it seems like, with the Three Percenter militia, another group that was associated with January 6.

And so I don`t think we know yet how far along this plot was. Sometimes, the FBI catches sort of bumbling people that maybe never actually would have been able to pull off whatever they had in mind.

But, as for the actual inspiration, I don`t think that there could be any question.


Yes, and it also goes to, Neal, the complete laundering, normalization and degradation of the barriers that we have in civilization. I mean, you have done a lot of work of this. Michelle wrote about this from before Donald Trump was elected.

And it has consequences, because if you can normalize a type of hate and vitriol, or hate of the other side, or the notion that some people are less than human, whether that`s based on race, or literally based on the idea that only Republicans should wield power, from QAnon to MAGA to Trump, people start to actually believe that.

And so I want to point you do something I never thought I would say, which is, we have a former president mounting a full-blown O.J. defense. O.J. infamously said -- and it was dark because it was about, of course, people`s lives lost, although, legally he was not convicted, but a lot of evidence of taking two lives.

And he said, oh, if I did it, later.

And Trump now has the, if I did it with a coup, saying: "If I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I`d want to do it with is General Milley."

This is from his statements, because he`s not allowed on social media. And viewers of THE BEAT will know I rarely quote from Donald Trump`s statements, for a variety of reasons. But this one, I want to point the attention to, Neal, because when you`re accused of murder or a violent coup, you want the person, if they`re any decent at all, to say, well, of course I`m not into that.

He`s not saying, I would never do a coup, as he contemplates running for office again. He`s saying, if I did a coup, I`d use a different team, Neal.

KATYAL: A hundred percent.

Trump can`t even deny what I think the story is about General Milley. So, instead, he just goes in personally attacks him and the like. And it`s a kind of magic trick that he`s trying to do, which is to create collective amnesia about what actually happened on January 6, which is people died.

I mean, he wants to say, oh, it was peaceful, and this and that. There was blood in the Capitol. And it`s the same thing, as Michelle was saying, the attorneys in Sacramento. They`re like, oh, this is just talk.

It`s not just talk. First of all, you and I -- I 100 percent support people`s right to free speech. People should be able to criticize Trump, praise Trump, all those kinds of things. But you cross the line when you say you want to blow up the Democratic headquarters, and you have thousands of rounds of ammunition, and five pipe bombs, as well as military manuals, like the U.S. Army`s improvised munitions handbook, handy.

That is -- that`s a line far too far. And that`s why the law criminalizes that type of behavior, those types of threats, and, of course, criminalizes what happens on January 6. So, Trump wraps himself in saying oh, I`m peaceful and the like?


Give me a break. I mean, the first thing you do as president, your chief responsibility as commander in chief is to protect the American people. And if you can`t protect them in the Capitol Building, where can you protect them? And this guy just sat on his hands, did nothing, except a lame Twitter video hours too late, which did nothing.

And the result is the result.

MELBER: And I`m running short on time.

But, Michelle, most people are familiar with the ritual after certain types of terror attacks, that people call on certain leaders of certain groups or religions to condemn, condemn, condemn, whether or not there is a strong link or not.

Does the Republican Party leadership have a responsibility to condemn on camera, in public, in person, not just random statements, what was busted today?

GOLDBERG: I mean, of course they have a responsibility to condemn it.

And, also, I think the media has a responsibility to ask them to condemn it, right? The same people who will ask, for example, leaders of Black Lives Matter to condemn every act of arson, every act of vandalism, the same people who have demanded over the years that Muslim leaders condemn every act of Islamic terrorism should absolutely be demanding that the leaders of the Republican Party condemn the -- condemn the acts that are ostensibly being done in the name of their leader.

MELBER: Yes, all fair points on a very serious story and one that does not look to be over.

Neal and Michelle, I want to thank you for kicking us off here.

And I want to tell everyone what we have coming up. There are new witness claims that tie Donald Trump directly to the scheme his CFO was indicted for.

Later tonight, historian Michael Beschloss is here on the Biden agenda and a bigger perspective of how he`s tackling inequality.

Plus, something very interesting, Olivia Rodrigo, a huge pop star, teaming up with none other than Dr. Fauci on vaccines.


OLIVIA RODRIGO, MUSICIAN: "If Olivia Rodrigo tells you to get vaccinated, you get vaccinated."

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Here`s one that says: "I got my first dose of the Fauci ouchy."



MELBER: It`s a remix coming to a radio near you.

We have got more on that and what the Biden administration is doing on this outreach, why it could save lives, while sounding good, with good music. The Fauci ouchy.

Stay with us.



MELBER: Donald Trump`s company and his top moneyman have been indicted.

That puts tremendous pressure on that indicted CFO, Allen Weisselberg, who has been fighting the case. If he doesn`t flip, legal filings today do not directly prove Donald Trump`s potential knowledge of those alleged crimes, even though they happened at the company he`s founded and run for a long time.

But now a new witness is actually doing that, drawing that link. A Daily Beast report says Jennifer Weisselberg told prosecutors on this case that Trump personally guaranteed the scheme to hide employee income through paying school costs, a potential tax crime. She also says she personally saw Trump do so in 2012, telling her then husband that, instead of a compensation raise, he would, Donald Trump would, cover tuition.

And, tonight, I can tell you THE BEAT reached out directly to Jennifer Weisselberg. She confirmed this same statement, The Daily Beast account of what she told prosecutors. She says she saw it and she says she told the DA`s office about it.

Now, this tuition-for-income arrangement may sound convoluted. But it`s actually quite important to the prosecution`s case, because they allege that, for Weisselberg, the whole scheme boiled down to the fact that he was never paid in full.

So the Trump Org would write down his compensation, but never basically complete it, instead of hiding it through these side payments. So you can really think of this simply like that old term paid in full, or the movie "Paid in Full" or even the classic Eric B. & Rakim album "Paid in Full."

But, here, the guy in charge of the books was paid off the books. He was never paid in full. The DA says that`s a crime and they have the evidence to bust him for it.

Now, what does this mean legally for the road forward? If prosecutors do have this eyewitness to Trump`s involvement, why isn`t that in the indictment? Why isn`t that even a reason to potentially charge Trump, if warranted?

Well, there are two leading contenders for possible answers. One, more developments may be coming later. Or, two, this evidence that Donald Trump allegedly knew of tuition payments, that alone doesn`t automatically prove legally that he was involved in hiding if those payments were properly counted.

Now, you might be thinking, OK, Ari, give me a break. Given his decades of tax dodging, many, many people would say, Donald Trump`s criminal intent in a scheme that he personally approved is a logical presumption.

And I`d say to you, yes, that may sound logical, but you need more than logic in court. You need evidence to prove it to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

So, with that framework in mind, we want to bring in former federal prosecutor John Flannery.

Thanks for being here.


MELBER: What is the significance of an eyewitness saying Trump was in on the payment? And what more do you think a prosecutor would want of evidence to tie that all together?

FLANNERY: Well, I read one report -- and I don`t know if it was accurate or not -- that Jennifer Weisselberg also said that they were doing this to avoid paying taxes -- to evade paying taxes.

If true, that would be an additional move, if this is coming out of Trump`s mouth, towards proving his intent for what this transaction was about.

Now, as I understand it, he signed this and maybe more checks himself, proudly taking care of a grandchild, I suppose, $50,000 for the school each year.

Now, I wonder, because the date reported in the news is June the 25th. And I think the indictment was June the 30th. And there is a statement in the 15th count to that indictment against Weisselberg that talks about Donald Trump`s detailed general ledger.


And it`s talked about in the context of them obstructing justice by taking out, removing from that ledger an event in September, which may have to do with the payoffs for the ladies, if you will.

But it also is telling us that these guys have a separate set of books, which you have mentioned before, which are contradicting what they`re doing publicly. And that means that we have the kind of proof you don`t normally get in a paper case.

I have always said, as a prosecutor, in a paper case, you don`t catch the geniuses, because it`s very hard to put together that trail, just as you suggest. But I think, here, what we may have is, we may have checks. We have one or two witnesses. Her husband was supposedly present. We don`t know what`s going to happen with the former CFO.

I think what we find ourselves is, we have now inched into the family and into Trump himself. And the walls are closing on him personally. And what the indictment and this information suggests is maybe that was the last meeting they had with her on June 25 before this June 30 indictment.

And the fact that they have in the indictment the fact of this other book is to tease us -- this general ledger that corresponds to Donald Trump, this teases us that other things may be seen coming down the road that track this and perhaps other misconduct using that general ledger, because it only suggests that there`s one element taken out in September 2016, which is during the presidential election, which is in much controversy with Mike Cohen and so on.

But it tells us something else about their investigation.


No, I think that`s all interesting, the way you tie it together, and that they may have gotten very close. Anyone can do the quarterbacking and say, well, they could have been more aggressive. We don`t know yet where they`re going. You`re making the point that there`s a lot of paper that`s bad, but whether they have enough to feel that they have Trump on intent, of course, is one of the open questions.

Now, John, I`m going to fit in a break because we have a lot coming up. But will you stick around, so we can get a little more cultural by the end of the hour with you?


FLANNERY: I would love to fall back with you.

MELBER: We are going to fall back. There it is.

So, John, stay near your camera. I`m going to see you soon.

We have now our shortest break in the show. It`s just 60 seconds.

When we come back, something super important, Vice President Harris huddling with voting rights activists after those protests on the Hill. We have a very special guest next.


MELBER: Democratic legislators are taking extraordinary measures to try to protect voting rights.

Vice President Harris met with some of those protesters who put their real life in the middle of all this by choosing to do civil disobedience and get arrested on Capitol Hill.




MELBER: That was the scene at the peaceful protest Thursday,"This Little Light of Mine."

That was also sung by activists in Charlottesville in 2017 when staging a pivotal counterprotest against the horrific white supremacist events there.





MELBER: The recent history is important. The song`s roots go back all the way to the civil rights movement.

A woman known as the Voice of Selma, Bettie Mae Fikes, doing perhaps the most well-known version, where she used that song and that platform, people listening, to call out opposition figures by name.


BETTIE MAE FIKES, SINGER (singing): Tell Jim Clark.

CHORUS (singing): I`m going to let it shine!

Tell Jim Clark, I`m going to let it shine!


MELBER: Just last year, Fikes had the honor of singing at the funeral for John Lewis, a somber day in this history.

So, the point here is, nothing about this is ancient history. You can use all kinds of examples, from policy to culture, to see that, in our living memory, if we`re listening, there are people here who have been warning us and who have been fighting and sometimes tragically getting hurt or dying to try to protect our democracy to make good on what we were told America was supposed to be, a place where we govern ourselves, which we can only do if every single person has the equal and unfettered right to vote.

That right, as a factual matter, is under assault by many Republicans in America today.

To educate us further, I`m thrilled to tell you that we do have, amidst all these sad stories, a wonderful guest.

Barbara Arnwine is the president and founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition. She was also one of the nine protesters arrested yesterday, and someone who I have gotten to know over the years and learned about law from.

So thank you for coming on THE BEAT.

BARBARA ARNWINE, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, TRANSFORMATIVE JUSTICE COALITION: It`s a pleasure to be on. And thank you for all your great work that you do all the time and keeping these issues in front of the American public.

MELBER: Well, thank you, Barbara.

Let`s get into you as one of the individuals there. Why was this important to you to take this step? A skeptic might say, you could be heard at a distance. You could be heard on TV. What were you conveying? What do we need to know about this protest and the stakes?

ARNWINE: That we`re not going to wait, that we are at a pivotal moment in history right now. We have to defend our democracy. We have to defend the right to vote, with all these attacks all over the nation on the right to vote.

It is time, Ari, for direct action. We can`t just sit back and say we hope people feel better about voting rights, they`re going to vote the right way. We went into the heart of the Hart Building and stood there.

And I`m telling you, there had to be hundreds of staffers watching U.S., Senate staffers, who report to their bosses what`s going on. And you know what they`re going to tell their bosses? Black women are mad. Black women are through with this voter suppression and that we`re going to take every step in our means to make sure that the For the People Act is passed.

We`re not going to sit back and talk about some filibuster being acceptable. We`re not going to sit back and talk about we don`t want to hurt people`s feelings. It`s time. It`s time for real action.

MELBER: I hear that.

And that really goes to one of the criticisms that we heard from people in the voting rights and civil rights community and just progressives, writ large, and you`re one of the leaders, as I remind viewers, that Joe Biden said something that, even if his heart is in the right place, he appeared to say something that many people in the community say is at least a tension, a logical tension.

Let me read, for example, from "The Washington Post" here.

Biden described the Republican assault here on democracy as an existential threat, yet -- quote -- "He refused to endorse the obvious solution to pass voting rights legislation and reform the filibuster to do so."

Do you agree with that point? It`s one thing for Joe Manchin to say, logically, he`s not as concerned -- I think that`s obvious -- and another thing for Joe Biden to say this is existential, but he won`t really weigh in and put the screws on -- I mean, he is president -- put the screws on the couple remaining Democratic Senate votes, use the power of the office, press them however he can, lawfully, but political pressure, to take something that was never a law or a constitutional prerogative.

It`s a tradition, one with roots of racism. Why not do that? Do you think Biden is coming up short?


I`m sorry. I really like Joe Biden. I really like this administration. I think they have done some amazing things. But, on this one, they got to do more.

I mean, when I listened to his speech the other day, I kept waiting. I kept waiting for something about the filibuster. I kept waiting to hear him say, Senator Schumer, no August recess until the For the People Act is on my desk.


Where was that?

I kept waiting for him to say, we`re going to those 17 states where there`s been these 28 voter suppression bills passed, and we`re going to talk directly to the people and talk about how we`re going to stop this.

I did not hear him say, I`m calling every single senator into my Oval Office. I`m going to meet with every single one of them, and over and over until they tell me, yes, that they`re going to vote the right way.

I mean, this is what you call an LBJ moment. That`s what we need. LBJ, when he saw what happened on that Pettus Bridge -- and I`m so glad that, tomorrow, we`re going to be honoring the legacy of John Lewis with 150 candlelight vigils around the country.

But when he saw what John Lewis and so many others went through on that bridge, he called for the passage of the bill. He gave a speech, but then he called all those senators in. And he, one on one, brought every bit of his presidential power to bear on them.

That`s what I want to see. Nothing less is acceptable.

MELBER: Yes. Yes.

ARNWINE: I`m going to tell you that we are going to be back and we`re going to keep on doing direct actions.

We`re going to keep on doing everything until this bill is passed.


Well, that`s why we wanted to hear from you tonight on this story that we have been staying on.

I will say to viewers, if you didn`t know her then, you know her now, Barbara Arnwine, a leader on a lot of these issues.

Thanks for coming on.

ARNWINE: Thank you for having me.

Everybody, light up a candle for John Lewis tomorrow.

MELBER: Appreciate it.

Amen to that. Hopefully, I wish, that`s something we could all agree on.

I`m going to fit in a break.

Coming up: Democrats going big on jobs. Historian Michael Beschloss tells us why something here is more important than we might realize or even then those of us in the media have been covering. So we`re going to get that larger view.

And, later, Dr. Fauci and pop star Olivia Rodrigo teaming up, doing something important. We will show you the tape.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe this is actually a historic day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Biggest bill ever. Debate grows over the $3.5 trillion piece of legislation.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): This is a big F`ing deal, one of the biggest F`ing deals that`s been passed in decades and decades.


MELBER: Democrats making it clear they`re going big, they`re going gigantic, this multitrillion dollar plan that expands health care, education, child care, family leave, and Democrats say will juice the economy, provide more jobs and support.

So, even if it doesn`t pass -- and Democrats say they are doing everything possible to pass it without Republicans -- this moment we`re living through also shows where the modern Democratic Party is headed, where its ambitions are.

And it`s a response also to income inequality, a gap that has, of course, gotten worse in the pandemic, which hit the poorest the worst.

Now, these plans also do things for the middle class. And this is part of the shift in the debate that has been running through American politics for a long time.

It was now 40 years ago when President Reagan said government was the whole problem and could never be the solution. Twenty years before that, it was President Johnson, who has actually come up for other reasons tonight, who was saying that the government is the only entity in our country that will ever fully be able to wage a war on poverty.

That`s how we got Medicare, Medicaid, the Great Society. And then you had the attacks on it from aspiring politician Ronald Reagan.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now we`re face to face with the Great Society. And along the way, we have added $31 billion to our debt.

Well, now the wraps are off the great society, and a multitude of messages and legislation has made it plain we`re to have the welfare state with an unprecedented federalization of American life.


MELBER: And it goes back even further.

Historian Michael Beschloss discusses how, in the Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln was signing bills on the Transcontinental Railroad and land grant colleges, you had other similar debates, adjusted for the issues of their time, about just what the federal government is supposed to do, and is it the best or proper mechanism to spend a lot of money, which is ultimately your money, on infrastructure or education?

Sound familiar? Well, here we are echoing.

And we have, we think, the right guest for it, the historian I just quoted, NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss.

We want to mention a shout-out to his new show,"Fireside History With Michael Beschloss," which will debut on Peacock starting this fall. That was news this week.

So, congrats on that, sir.


I`m supplying both the fireside and the history, along with a team of our great colleagues and the wonderful NBC News archive that covers a whole century.

MELBER: I love it, because we get to dip into some of this stuff, but I have no doubt that your show is going to be distinct in that way and really use that material. And I`m sure we will end up leaning on it and promoting it here as well.

So stay tuned, everyone.

As for the living history, Michael, this goes to a flip on Bill Clinton famously saying, as a moderate Democrat, the era of big government is over, which was a sign of how far Reaganism had permeated.

Joe Biden, without saying it, seems to be, with this bill, saying the era of liberal government is now over.

BESCHLOSS: I think he is.

And he`s tapping into a big historical thread in American life. Go back even -- Abraham Lincoln, you were right about the land grant colleges that he encouraged and the Transcontinental Railroad. If not for the Civil War, we might be remembering President Lincoln as the president who did these big public works projects that changed the country.

And Lincoln did that because he was a member, before he was a Republican, of the Whig Party. Whig Party, as you know, was for what they called internal improvements, roads, canals, railroads, because they felt that that was part of a great nation. Progressives picked that up.

The New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt said, it`s a matter of our national security that we have to restore our economy. We have to do buildings. We have to do roads. We have to do dams and things like that, a lot of deficit spending, to make sure that this country survives the Depression and maintains its position in the world. That`s what progressives do.


Same thing with Dwight Eisenhower, oddly enough, who thought of himself as a conservative, but, 1956, he was the one who said, we have got to have an Interstate Highway System. It`ll help the economy, plus national security. It was called the National Defense Highway Act.

He said, if there was a nuclear emergency, there weren`t enough roads to get people out of cities.

And, finally, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Space program, Kennedy said, unless we spend $20 billion space, we`re going to lose the Cold War. LBJ in the `60s said, we have got this big boom. This is the moment to spend it on things like housing and anti-poverty and education.

So that goes all the way through history. What we don`t have in this era is a party which says, keep the deficits down, keep government small. Republicans were that party until last 20 years or so. Republicans said to Eisenhower, don`t spend too much money on the highways. They said to Kennedy, don`t spend too much money on NASA. Make sure that this is done in a frugal way.

George W. Bush`s administration said, deficits don`t matter. Then we get to Donald Trump, who spent money like a drunken sailor.

MELBER: Well, you make several great historical points there for our context, including the fact that the Republican Party can`t be taken seriously as a deficit reduction party. So that`s changed the sort of the guardrails.

And then, two, something I hadn`t thought about a while, which is, if you think Friday rush hour traffic is bad, imagine the traffic when you`re fleeing a nuclear winter, and why they wanted those railroads and more. They wanted good highways in the Cold War era.

So, Michael, always many things to think about with you at the end of the week. Thanks for being here.

BESCHLOSS: Oh, my pleasure.

Have a great weekend. And happy Friday, Ari. Be well.

MELBER: Happy Friday.

Still ahead, pop star Olivia Rodrigo with Dr. Fauci. We will show you the tape.



MELBER: There`s been much progress on vaccinations, but COVID infections are now technically rising all over America, 49 states.

And the Biden administration is doing everything it can to try to finish the job, especially with lingering vaccine hesitancy. So now they have drafted a pop star who, if you haven`t heard of her, I guarantee you your kids have, Olivia Rodrigo, promoting vaccinations.

This is a very smart way to tap into her huge platform, huge audience and a lot of young people. She went to the White House and did several things, including preparing this new video with Dr. Fauci telling young people the shot is good for you.


RODRIGO: Today, we`re here in the White House and we`re going to read some tweets about the vaccine.

"If Olivia Rodrigo tells you to get vaccinated, you get vaccinated."

FAUCI: Here`s one that says: "I got my first dose of the Fauci ouchy."


RODRIGO: Someone said: "Olivia RodriGo to the vaccine clinic."

Very true.


RODRIGO: All the funny puns. As long as you`re getting vaccinated, that`s great. Whatever it takes.

The sooner all of us get vaccines, the sooner we can, like, hang out with our friends and sing songs and all of the fun things.

FAUCI: All right.


MELBER: RodriGo is the kind of vaccination pun that we encourage you`re on THE BEAT.

But, in all seriousness, it`s only about 42 percent of young adults that are fully vaccinated right now. It`s a higher rate, 56 percent, for older Americans.

The White House hoping Rodrigo can help change that.


FAUCI: If I tell you the greatest concert that I have ever been to, you`re going to faint.


FAUCI: It`s The Temptations, The Four Tops. I`m sorry.


FAUCI: I`m a really -- I`m a really old guy.

RODRIGO: I saw your bobblehead today.

FAUCI: Did you like it?

RODRIGO: Yes, it was amazing. It was great.

I need like a Fauci candle and the Fauci bobblehead right next to each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what Man Crush Monday means?

FAUCI: No idea.


RODRIGO: Post picture with their boyfriends, and they will be like, oh, Man Crush Monday. This is why I love you.

So, it`s a big compliment.

FAUCI: All right, well, whatever it takes. If Man Crush Monday makes you get vaccinated, go for it.


MELBER: Seems like they had a good spirit and some good chemistry.

To give you a little context of what the White House is up to, they seem to know what they`re doing. Some of the most popular shows on TV will pull several million viewers, five, six million. Rodrigo has over 14 million followers on Instagram alone, plus millions more on music streaming services.

So she`s got a lot of people listening to her.

Now, I want you to stay with me, because we have John Flannery coming up, as we end the week in style, next.



MELBER: Joining me now, a man whose media imprint ranges from sports to music.

Peter Rosenberg does sports commentary on WWE and ESPN. He`s a nationally known deejay and host at Hot 97, a perch where he`s really interviewed most people in the rap game, which led "The New Yorker" to dubbed him one of the most -- quote -- "influential hosts on hip-hop radio," while Busta Rhymes said Rosenberg is one of the only deejays who still supports -- quote -- "filthy, under the nail, holy, sacred, pure, unmixed, undiluted, untampered with, real hip-hop ish."

And, perhaps most importantly for THE BEAT, Rosenberg has a long-running emotionally charged relationship with Drake, which included the Canadian rapper calling to blast him for criticizing his music video about charity.

It`s a long story, everyone, and we don`t have time for it right now.

We do have time to tell you that Peter Rosenberg has a new compilation album out now,"Real Late." It features Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface, and many more. It`s called "Real Late." I`m saying it repeatedly because you could buy it, order it, or it`s merch for your family members, and look cool.

We also have another multifaceted man in media to round out the week, prosecutor John Flannery, a veteran of Rudy Giuliani`s SDNY with experience prosecuting the mob and political corruption. He served as special counsel for Democrats in the Clinton impeachment. And he`s here all the time, but not usually with a deejay.

John, Peter, good to have you.

FLANNERY: Good to be here.


Hey, John.

MELBER: I love it. I love it. You guys dressed differently for the occasion, as befitting what you do.

We begin with the bow-tie.

John, long week. What needs to fall back?

FLANNERY: Well, in the sports category that Peter is so familiar with, I`m upset with the Olympic committee for barring Sha`Carri Richardson, the sprinter, from being in the Olympics. I think they could have worked out something.

And the thing that`s really annoying is to say that she was doping with an enhancement drug, pot. The only enhancement I have ever observed anybody I ever knew from pot was that they got bigger and fatter. And I don`t think that would help her speed, which is something like 10.83 seconds to do a 100-meter dash.

And what they should have done is let her go and do the 400-meter run. That would have made sense to me. But they didn`t do that either, even after...


MELBER: Yes, I think that`s...


FLANNERY: ... asked them to do it.

So that`s my "Fallback" thing.


MELBER: It`s an important one.

Yes, John, it`s an important one. And it speaks to how some of those rules seem really outdated, especially as pot is legal in so many places.

Peter, welcome to THE BEAT.

What`s on your list?

ROSENBERG: I`m actually going to keep it sports as well.

It`s interesting. We know that three soccer players in England, three black soccer players in England missed their penalties in the Euros on Sunday and that, as a result, England lost to Italy.

And then there was a huge racist outbursts online, not to -- I don`t think shocking to anyone who follows sports or anything on the Internet, for that matter, that that happened.

It actually made me think more about the United States. Now, I was disgusted by the comments we saw online. But, frankly, who`s surprised when we see eggs saying terrible things on the Internet? That`s what the Internet is.

However, the U.K. managed to arrest four of those people so far who were people online being racist and disgusting. It seems like there`s swifter justice for people saying racist things online in England than there were for people who attacked our Capitol on January 6, certainly at least faster.

And then, furthermore, it made me think about the announcement we got from the NFL today. Our beloved football league has decided to once again -- they did it once last year -- they`re going to play the black national anthem at all league games between 2021.

Meanwhile, you and I both know, John knows, Colin Kaepernick was never given a job again. We know that that was absolutely absurd, made no sense. And, furthermore, we just found out this summer through a lawsuit that the NFL has essentially been asserting through documents that black players started out at a lower intelligence level, which is why it`s harder or less likely for them to be compensated for brain injuries.

MELBER: Right.

ROSENBERG: So, literally, we found out maybe the most racist, disgusting thing we have ever learned about this league.


ROSENBERG: And what we`re going to get is the black national anthem.

MELBER: I appreciate the points, the rigor you present them with, Peter, and also the double-talk.

Let`s be careful. Symbolism can be fine, but let`s be careful if it`s trying to buy out on substance.

I`m going to do a "Fallback" this week, because it`s special when we have deejay Rosenberg here. I`m going to tell Drake`s haters to fall back, one of the greatest international artists of our time, who continues to give great music to all people and do a lot of interesting stuff, and has some of the most enduring base of haters, for whatever sets of reasons.

And because we have Rosenberg here, we have something special. You have been in this game for a while. People learn a lot from you. Let`s take a look at one of your very old-school interviews with none other than Champagne Papi, Drake.


DRAKE, RAPPER: Kanye said that -- so, Kanye some great things about me in the press. And I was like, cool. But I haven`t been on "Rosenberg" yet.

ROSENBERG: You`re saying -- is that hot water with lemon or is that tea?

Is that tea?


DRAKE: Look, I never drink tea before a show. It`s just cold out here.

ROSENBERG: You don`t understand how big you`re about to be in the Jew world right now.

DRAKE: You don`t understand how big...


ROSENBERG: Dude, normally, I would be mad.


ROSENBERG: Normally, I would be mad about someone interrupting my interview.

But it`s Kanye. Peter Rosenberg, man.


ROSENBERG: You don`t know. Kanye, do you know who I am, by any chance?


ROSENBERG: Before I let you go, a couple of your favorite hip-hop albums like all time, like classics.

DRAKE: Kanye,"Graduation."


MELBER: The knowledge is firm. The camerawork is shaky. But you spend time with legends.

That was back when Drake would admit that he loved Kanye. That`s change.

I got 45 seconds, Peter. Do you agree that Drake`s haters need to fall back? And what is the state of Drake today?

ROSENBERG: Well, Drake is a now and all-time great. He has -- I have said this to you before, I think.

He has the greatest supply of hits in hip-hop history. I do think -- I did say on the Internet this week I do think his assertion -- all the comparisons to The Beatles, I think we need to ease back a little bit.

We`re in different eras.

MELBER: Agree.

ROSENBERG: And I think that`s a very tough comparison.

But I will say, Ari, to who I know is the world`s most public and loving Drake fan, he`s an icon. He`s an absolute all-time icon. I`m critical at times, but I will never deny the status of Drizzy.

MELBER: And with 20 seconds left, where would you tell John Flannery to start? What album or song should he start with for a Drake course?


ROSENBERG: John, if you want to dig into Drake, in my opinion, the best record he ever made, played out is it may be, is "Started from the Bottom," my favorite Drake record of all time.

Shout-out to New Jersey`s own Mike Zombie on the track. That`s where I would start.

MELBER: Shout-out to...

FLANNERY: You have to read this stuff. You have to listen to it if you`re going to going to be on Ari`s show. It`s the only way.

MELBER: Well, and here we are.

John Flannery and I started out at the bottom in law school. And here we are with deejay Rosenberg.

And what a fitting note to end the week on.

Thank you, Peter. Thank you, John.

That`s THE BEAT.

Dr. Fauci is up next on "THE REIDOUT."