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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 7/20/21

Guests: Chai Komanduri, Bill Kristol, Christina Greer


A new indictment hits the Trump world. A somewhat unlikely clash on FOX News occurs over COVID. New pressure mounts on the January 6 committee and Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn the election. Tom Brady goes in on Donald Trump at the White House.


JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: He`s got more M`s than a Marshall Mathers L.P.

Ari Melber with "THE BEAT" starts right now.

Hey, Ari.



MELBER: Thank you, Jason.

These hand-offs, they get richer and richer. You`re good at it.

I want to welcome everyone to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.

We begin tonight with breaking news on a new indictment hitting Trump world.

Today, the feds indicted one of Donald Trump`s top advisers and moneymen. And we`re not talking about his Trump Org CFO tonight. We`re talking about brand-new charges today hitting the billionaire and fund-raiser who Donald Trump personally tapped to run his inauguration, arrested today for influence peddling and obstruction of justice.

And that makes this a legal double shot. Prosecutors say that Tom Barrack illegally lobbied for the United Arab Emirates and then lied to them about it, lied to the prosecutors. The feds also indicting two other individuals for capitalizing on Barrack`s friendship and link to Trump to secretly help the UAE.

Now, this comes at a terrible time for Donald Trump in the courts, battling the separate indictment of his own entire company, the Trump Organization and the CFO in that probe, which is ongoing. And we have more about how these intersect for you tonight.

All of this, though, in the new case stems from actions that date all the way back to the 2016 campaign. A reminder for those seeking accountability for the last several years that even very aggressive probes can take years to complete.

Now, the federal prosecutors say this is about far more than failing to just register as a lobbyist, noting the defendant snuck secret information about developments within the Trump administration and handed it off to this foreign government and its intermediaries.

Barrack is accused of shaping then candidate Trump`s energy policy and even ghostwriting part of a speech where the candidate, Donald Trump, would pledge to work together with supportive allies in the Gulf. That`s from the filing.

Well, the tape suggests the plan worked.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti- terrorism strategy.

We will work with them, because we have to knock out terrorism.


MELBER: Now, the feds have this Trump official`s e-mails, his texts, and, apparently, from what we can tell, some encrypted messages that he thought were secret, which may be why he lied so brazenly to investigators, allegedly.

And the evidence tells the story, with foreign officials hailing the amazing success at shaping candidate Trump`s policy and public words, noting that mentioning the Gulf allies was great. And they congratulated their now indicted ally in, again, that evidence that the feds have.

Now, it has been said sometimes that, in this era we`re living through, there is a tweet for everything. Well, the former president is not allowed to tweet anymore. He`s lost that privilege that most people enjoy. But he certainly spent years accusing other candidates of being puppets of rich interests or foreign powers.

The story told meticulously with evidence in this new indictment is that Donald Trump was the puppet himself, with his words literally written and at times spoon-fed to him, whether he realized it or not.

It`s a big story. And, as I mentioned, we`re going to get into the other Trump Org issues.

But we begin now with our experts, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" David Corn has been reporting on this, Chai Komanduri, a veteran of three presidential campaigns, and "The New York Times"` Michelle Goldberg.

Good to see you all.

David, you have been reporting about what had looked like a very swampy situation, whether or not it was ever going to be charged. What is the significance, in your view, of this indictment? And is it broader than one billionaire stepping out on the law, allegedly?

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, for years, journalists have been writing about and trying to get behind the story of Tom Barrack`s influence within the Trump administration and how that overlapped with secret diplomacy, with his own business interests.

There were stories about him pushing a nuclear deal for Saudi Arabia that he would benefit from, while he was doing this back-channeling. He was collecting $1.5 billion -- billion with a B -- dollars from Saudi Arabia and the UAE for investments in a firm, on a fund that he was running.

So there`s a lot of entanglements that "The New York Times" and other media outlets have put out there. And we kept wondering, why is this not illegal? Some of us, Ari. How close is he coming to skirting the law?

Well, it turns out it was illegal.


CORN: And there`s not -- there`s still a lot that has been written about Tom Barrack and the Middle East and Donald Trump and his business interests that are not -- that is not reflected in this indictment. Doesn`t mean it won`t come up.

This is just, as you know -- you`re a student of this -- this is a starting point for a case, not the end point. But I just want to -- if I can just briefly point to one thing, on page 27 of this indictment, if you`re following or playing with us at home, there`s a situation where we`re Barrack talks to this UAE middleman, a guy who is accused, who`s been indicted with him, and accused of being an agent for the UAE, that he`s talked to Donald Trump.


And he may be appointed U.S. ambassador to the UAE or special envoy to the Middle East. And Barrack says to this guy this would -- quote -- "give Abu Dhabi, the UAE, more power."

Well, America first? Here is doing business with the UAE and trying to suck up to them and even become ambassador, using his influence with Trump to do all this. I mean, there`s so much more. We could spend the whole show on this indictment, but it`s a classic case of influence peddling, back- channel communications, and everything that was kind of wrong with the ad hoc, freewheeling way that Trump had in the White House.

MELBER: Yes, I mean, I appreciate you pointing out the details.

And the hypocrisy is huge, Michelle. And I was out today and I got the phone call from our newsroom, Barrack`s indicted. And that was the first way I learned about, so I didn`t have the indictment yet. I didn`t have the context.

But I just thought -- and I think viewers who have followed in these kinds of cases -- I thought, if they`re going after him, they better really have the goods, because he is a very powerful figure, as we see, with money, with foreign heads of state, with the last president, battery of lawyers, endless supply of resources.

And so that was my first just basic thought, Michelle. Then I sat down and read the indictment, as David was mentioning, and it is just packed with evidence. It`s a speaking indictment. And it tells a pretty swampy story.

I`m curious what you think, Michelle, having warned about exactly what pay- for-play and the kind of inexperience and the kind of problems, separate from ideology, separate from people`s other disagreements, perhaps, with this president, the last president, what you think it tells.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think it`s useful to go back to a document that WNYC and ProPublica obtained a couple of years ago.

It was written by Rick Gates, who you might remember, another Trump campaign official who was convicted -- or who pleaded guilty to felony crimes. He was hired by Tom Barrack at one point. And he wrote this memo about how Tom Barrack`s company could leverage its relationship to both the Trump administration and to foreign governments to basically make a lot of money.

And so it`s been clear for some time that something shady has been going on here. And, also, just as we saw Trump fawn over Vladimir Putin kind of constantly take Russia`s side in various diplomatic crises, there`s also a lot that I think is unexplained about Donald Trump`s extremely solicitous treatment of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

We saw time and again Donald Trump veto or override Congress` attempt to cut up arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for their war in Yemen. You saw him override any attempt to impose accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

So, just that I think we have talked a lot more about Donald Trump`s relationship with Russia. His relationship or his administration`s relationship with the UAE raises just as many questions.

MELBER: Yes, I think those are great points. And much of this is still to be investigated. And you need the subpoena power to get even close to what some of the heavy hitters are doing.

Chai, as a political analyst, I`d like to just broaden out with you. This is the part of my job that is sort of easy, but also repetitive, which is to calmly make sure that we`re being clear with the public that this is not OK, that there was a crime spree run out of the White House, that we`re not done yet getting to the bottom of the criminal rot.

And I say all of those as legal and nonpartisan observations, not about the politics of a given administration. We have just some of the people. This isn`t all, but some Trump associates we will put on the screen, just on the illegal lobbying by foreign governments, which is a big deal.

And you can see, Manafort guilty. Gaetz, just mentioned by Michelle, guilty. Giuliani -- we just need to fix the photo, but people know what he looks like.


MELBER: Tom Barrack now indicted today. That`s a real time fact-check. But we will catch up with it.

And that`s just four, Chai. There`s a lot of other individuals -- and we`re going to get to the Trump Org -- where you see convictions, guilty pleas and some who are legally presumed innocent, but facing a lot of evidence.

What are we, as Americans, to do with this at a time where, yes, people want to move forward, Chai, but how do you move forward without a factual accountability for the MAGA crime spree?

CHAI KOMANDURI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, Ari, I mean, in Democratic circles, it`s kind of a scandal when an ex-staffer gets a corporate gig or works as a lobbyist.

The Trump people don`t end up on Wall Street. They seem to end up in prison. I mean, this is a whole different level of corruption and criminality than anything we have ever seen in any White House in recent memory.


And one of the great failings, I think, for Democrats over the Trump era has been that we have never really been able to make Trump`s corruption sort of a cutting issue. He was always able to very skillfully, I think, deflect and say, well, everybody does it, he`s no different, this makes him smart that he did this, and he got away with it.

But it is imperative that Donald Trump not get away with it. This man basically is a criminal who ran a criminal presidency. And he appears to have every intention of doing this again. And unless these prosecutions and this information comes out, we are -- as a nation are in peril once again at being in the clutches of a very corrupt regime, which is what the Trump presidency was.

MELBER: Yes, I think that`s a key part of all of this and the accounting.

The panel stays.

And I want to bring in just some of the context, as I mentioned, about Trump Org. "The Washington Post" reporting on the arrest of Trump Org CFO Weisselberg, revealing something we didn`t know until today, that, apparently, reportedly, as he sad for his processing, he did something you`re never supposed to do. He talked to those investigators about the allegations against him of misappropriating income, of abusing free apartments from the company.

And in a court filing, we`re learning prosecutors write that Weisselberg stated the commute to work from Long Island was difficult as part of his rationale. Weisselberg basically seeming to admit at least part of the elements of the crime he`s accused of, that he was getting those perks and, let`s be clear, forgetting rule number one for any defendant.

You might want to exercise your right to remain silent.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: You`re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You have the right to remain silent.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You have the right to remain silent.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: You have the right to remain silent.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I choose to waive that right.

AL PACINO, ACTOR: Don`t tell them nothing, man! Don`t say nothing!


MELBER: David, I don`t think you need fancy lawyers, as our montage suggests.

People know about this Miranda right. Mr. Weisselberg avoided comment throughout and now reportedly did speak out. I`m curious what you think of, A, that choice, and, B, whether this is a human side of him, that, against the advice of counsel, he felt like he needed to blurt something.

CORN: Well, having just driven on the Long Island Expressway this past weekend, I know it`s not an easy drive. But that doesn`t allow you to cheat on your taxes. If so, there`d be a lot of cheating on taxes in Suffolk and Nassau County.

I mean, people want to justify their actions all the time. He`s not going to fess up. And here he is. I mean, imagine, he`s been at the top of this food chain making a lot of money, working for this famous guy who has now become president, for decades, for decades.

And it`s all kind of crumbling. It`s affecting the family relationship. He`s now been arrested. It must be, from a human perspective, hard to process, hard to deal with. And he doesn`t want to be thought of as a bad guy. So I guess he just felt obligated or felt he had the urge to speak out.

I don`t think it was the urge to confess his sins. We see that rarely happens in legal settings. But, from his point of view -- and I think this is probably true for Trump and everybody else -- they do these things. I bet Tom Barrack thinks he didn`t do anything wrong. They don`t think this is wrong.

They either think they`re entitled, or they think the rules are loose, or they think everybody does it. And Trump has made it a mantra. If you can get away with it, it`s not wrong.

MELBER: Right.

CORN: So, it doesn`t surprise me that Weisselberg, as Trump often does, just sort of says he did these things, without realizing it`s truly an admission of guilt.

MELBER: Right.

Well, let me take it to Michelle. I mean, to spell out the reason why it`s bad for his case is, his lawyers may want to lean on other arguments, like saying he didn`t really realize how this all worked, or other people took care of the details. And he has now forfeited some of those potential defenses, in the eyes of a jury, by putting on record -- that`s why it`s now a filing -- what he said, Michelle.

GOLDBERG: I don`t know how somebody who is ostensibly at the top of this company can credibly claim that he doesn`t know how it works.

But, again, I just -- I think it`s so striking the sheer scope of either criminality or corrupt, suspected corruption that surrounds this president, both in terms of his business dealings and his political dealings.


I mean, I was thinking back to the presidential campaign. The point, I don`t think it`s -- it`s harder to come up with a list of people who have not been indicted than people who have been indicted, right?

There`s some relatives, Kellyanne Conway. Someone else -- because I can`t off the top of my head. This is a top-to-bottom, multipronged criminal enterprise.


Chai, final thought?

KOMANDURI: Yes, I fully expect Tom Barrack and these other Trump people to cooperate with law enforcement. They have told us for the last five years how they believe in law and order and blue lives matter, and they have a great deal of respect for law enforcement.

So I don`t think there should be any issues in that area. But one other thing that I think we need to keep in mind is, while this is an independent DOJ investigation, Biden and Merrick Garland don`t really want to do this. This is not where their heart is. Merrick Garland is not a political person in any way.

Joe Biden doesn`t like things that are divisive. He very much believes in unifying the country. He very much wants the country to turn the page on Trump and move on. The problem is that Trump is a criminal. And he continues to do criminal things. And we have to hold him to account.

This is a man who`s not like Nixon. He`s not gone quietly back to California and is sulking and writing his memoirs. This is a man who`s actively planning to once again run to be president of the United States. It`s extremely important for the nation`s future, not just in understanding of the nation`s past.

MELBER: Well, I think you make a great point in closing.

And we went we went a quarter of the hour here without actually saying Attorney General Garland. If the thing works independently, he shouldn`t have his hands all over the case, because this has been in development and investigated, but, sooner or later, there are policy level calls.

And I think Chai is right to remind us, when there have been policy level calls, Garland has been running from anything that would look like an assertive approach to this, which may be his personal constitutional vibe. But there are a lot of perils for that, when you have people out here trying to bomb the Democratic headquarters in California and Donald Trump trying to defend January 6 terrorism.

So we have a lot to work on.

I want to thank Chai, David and Michelle for kicking us off.

We`re going to fit in a break.

When we come back, a somewhat unlikely clash on FOX News over COVID, new pressure on that January 6 committee and the Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn the election, which connects to what we have been covering, and Tom Brady going in on Donald Trump at the White House with a new president, with Joe Biden right there.

We will get into all of it. Stay with us.



MELBER: COVID is surging in the U.S., and misinformation is contributing to vaccine hesitancy, which is the framework for an intense clash we saw at a hearing today, where the normally even-keeled Dr. Fauci told Republican Senator Rand Paul that he`s basically a liar.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress. And I do not retract that statement.

Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly. And I want to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about.

I totally resent the lie that you are now propagating, Senator. You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individual.

I totally resent that.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): And it could have been. And it could have been.

FAUCI: And if anybody is lying here, Senator, it is you.


MELBER: That was the boiling point of a larger dispute they had about the virus` origins, among other things.

Now, there are legitimate debates about science and policy in this arena. For example, some are justifiably critical of the early rush to label any questions about COVID coming from a lab in China as a conspiracy theory, when, in fact, that`s now one of the leading issues that the U.S. intelligence is probing as its possible real origin.

But other facts are not in doubt. COVID is up 200 percent in an epidemic that increasingly divides by region, because it`s in the places with fewer vaccinations where we`re seeing people do the worst, like Arkansas, Florida and Missouri.

And experts say misinformation in conservative areas is a big concern here.

So, consider this from FOX News, all of this from just last night.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: What about the efficacy of the vaccine itself among adults?

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated is simply untrue. That`s a lie.

BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: Why does it matter how many COVID cases we have in this country?

CARLSON: But there are a lot of those people giving you medical advice on television. And you should ignore them. Obviously, we`re not doctors.


MELBER: You`re not doctors.

Tucker may be accidentally quoting the D.J. Khaled-Drake hit where Drake says, I`m not a doctor.

And let`s just remix the lines to help FOX out, because Tucker could more accurately say, fact-checkers pulling up like I`m giving out conspiracies. No, I`m a propagandist, not a doctor. Call it a remix for all the non- doctors.

I am being a little facetious here, but, of course, anything to break through and make people pay a little more attention, because the results of all this, of Tucker`s rants, the results are deadly serious.

We have an epidemic among the unvaccinated. That`s a fact; 99 percent of U.S. COVID deaths are now in that pool of the unvaccinated. That`s a fact. Vaccinations protect most people from ever getting COVID. That`s a fact. And the minority of people who are vaccinated, but do contract a version of COVID, are finding the doctors were right, that vaccination protects you and ups the odds that any COVID you might eventually get is more mild.

Indeed, it can be so mild, you don`t feel it. And that`s been a theme in some of these recent high-profile cases of vaccinated people who did contract mild COVID, including some officials at the White House and the speaker`s office.

Now, you still have the right to decide what goes in your body. I`m not here to tell you what to do. I can tell you vaccination is a safer choice, but you make up your own mind.


However, we are now in a position this far into this pandemic, with everything we have lived through and that we know, and we still have people misleading the public about the underlying facts of how to make these decisions for yourself, how to make up your mind.

And these people work for media entities. And it`s wrong.

So, next, we turn to someone who is not a pop star, but is a doctor, which is far more in demand these days, even here on THE BEAT.

Dr. Patel joins me in 60 seconds, along with Christina Greer.


MELBER: We`re back with Dr. Patel and Professor Greer.

Doctor, when we hear this is a U.S. pandemic among the unvaccinated, what does that mean? Why is that important?


So it`s important to -- as you mentioned, almost 100 percent of deaths that we`re seeing -- and they are increasing, by the way -- are in people who are unvaccinated. And hospitalizations, as well as new cases, are primarily in the unvaccinated.

And if you think about this -- remember, this is truly exponential spread. So one unvaccinated person getting sick is more likely to infect anywhere from four to six other people with the Delta strain much more easily, Ari, than even a year ago.

And a vaccinated individual is much less likely to even get sick, period, and much less likely to give it to someone else. So it`s very clear that our rising numbers, 28,000 new cases in the last day, and hundreds of deaths, are exclusively driven by unvaccinated individuals.

MELBER: Christina, I want to bring you in as a professor and an analyst.

So many of our problems are intractable, they`re difficult. And we can have good faith debates even about what`s going to fix something. Sometimes, you try a policy, you look at the data, and you find out 10 years later it didn`t even do what it was supposed to do.

We`re not in that situation right now. We`re in a situation where we know a lot more than we used to, and we have some of the fixes, and many of them are available. And so that`s why it`s particularly an acute failure. And it is becoming increasingly, obviously, an information failure.

I showed a lot of clips. I always want to give people the full picture. Sean Hannity has said some things that are very misleading in the past on this issue, but he`s changing his tune. And I want to show it for people. Take a look.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: We have been saying, please take COVID seriously. I can`t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don`t need any more death.

Research like crazy. Talk to your doctor or your doctors, medical professionals you trust, based on your unique medical history, your current medical condition, and you and your doctor make a very important decision for your own safety. Take it seriously.


MELBER: What do you see here in the rhetorical clash on the right, at a time when people need to know the facts?

CHRISTINA GREER, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Well, sadly, Ari, it sounds like chickens are coming home to roost.

I mean, we had Donald Trump for four years saying that anything that you see on the media, unless it was FOX News or some other right-wing media, was false, it was fraud, it was fake news. And so when you have physicians, such as Dr. Patel, who have studied this, who know the science, who happened to be on networks that aren`t right-wing networks, Trump supporters and many Republicans are just taught to believe that anything that a doctor says that`s not on a network that they follow is completely false and should be thrown away.

And so we even had Americans drinking bleach because the president said so or drinking chemicals from fish tanks. I mean, these are people who are so bent on believing anything that Donald Trump says, or his sycophants, they`re denying reality in so many ways.


And so now you actually do have some people on the right, some people from FOX News recognizing it`s a terrible business model if you`re going to kill off your supporters.It`s immoral to continue to spout falsehoods and what I would consider lies, knowing that we have the data and the science that says vaccinations are helping individuals.

Sure, they`re one or two particular obscure cases. But, by and large, we have the percentages that show the vaccinations work, and it helps the greater good and greater society, which so many people who follow Donald Trump and his ilk refuse to believe.

MELBER: Fair, yes.

GREER: And so the larger question is, when Donald Trump says that there`s no such thing as reality, now we`re seeing how it comes into play, not just in politics, but in policy and in real life as well.

MELBER: Right, very real-world consequences, totally apart from somebody`s politics.

And, Doctor, one of the other dynamics here, with conspiracy theories online, the virality, but also sometimes how the media can end up on the wrong side of it, is the scandalously false claim can get repeated in a way that it gets laundered or normalized, and the everyday normal claims less so.

Now, we strive very hard here with our experts and our fact-checking not to fall into that trap.

In that spirit, let`s be the change. I want to play something from Mitch McConnell that`s fairly standard. It`s not like you need to bake a cake, but, in its ordinariness, should also be seen, so we`re not just kind of looking at some of the extreme mumbo jumbo.

And here he was saying the very straightforward thing about getting vaccinated. Take a look.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): These shots need to get in everybody`s arm as rapidly as possible, or we`re going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don`t yearn for it.

I want to encourage everybody to do that and to ignore all of these other voices that are giving demonstrably bad advice.


MELBER: Doctor?

PATEL: Yes, that`s -- I mean, look, I have got to give credit to Sean Hannity, to Senator McConnell, to anybody who`s got the courage to speak up.

Unfortunately, we should see more people, and not just on the Republican side, but across media outlets and social media, speaking up.

What we`re illustrating right now is kind of this notion of confirmation bias, Ari. People tend to want to click and watch things that kind of confirm the biases that they have inherently. And so if you are wired to believe, as we have heard for four years, that we can`t trust Fauci, or you can`t trust science, that you should be skeptical of what doctors tell you, then of course you`re going to kind of get drawn into those sources no matter what they are.

So I think it`s incredibly responsible for media to also admit when we get it wrong. Look, I will be the first one to tell you we didn`t know enough about this virus a year ago. We know a lot more now. And we have unquestionable evidence of the benefits of a vaccine over the risks.

And I think that that`s -- Senator McConnell, I wish every other member of Congress would echo that exact statement. Not sure Congress is the right audience, though. I think Drake and other people kind of saying this will have more effects on people who might have contemplated and not really gone and made that behavior change.

But I do think that conservative media outlets owe it to their viewers to tell this story.

MELBER: Well, I appreciate you echoing the Drake shout-out, because Professor Greer sometimes makes me feel like Drake`s not welcome on THE BEAT.

But he`s not a doctor, like Tucker. And if you want to get into it, Migos have a new album out. And they have a song about vaccinations as well. And we shouted out Olivia Rodrigo earlier in the week for meeting directly with Fauci and Biden.

And, look, anyone with a platform -- I`m half-joking, but half-serious, anyone with a platform can be a part of the factual part of this and we do shout that out.

So, Dr. Patel, Professor Greer, thanks to both of you.

Mentioning Dr. Fauci, I want everyone to know, tomorrow, Dr. Anthony Fauci is my guest live right here on THE BEAT. So, I hope you tune in or DVR it. That works as well. So you can catch everything he has to say, including probably some reaction to that fiery hearing.

Dr. Fauci on THE BEAT tomorrow.

We have a lot more in tonight`s show, including Republican lawmakers who tried to overturn the election now getting promoted to the January 6 committee.

Plus, Tom Brady`s straight roasting at the White House. You got to see it.

Stay with us.



MELBER: Speaker Pelosi using her power to demand accountability for the January 6 insurrection.

She won this battle to create a commission, even with the Senate sitting it out. And the first hearing is now slated for next week. The Republican leader has made his own picks.

There was initially a political push to try to boycott the committee.. Now Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is taking a different tack. And you can see it in the names, tapping people like Jim Banks of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, freshman Troy Nehls of Texas, and Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota.

Three of these individuals who are going to be on the committee to investigate what happened were part of sharing the same goals as the people doing the rioting, because they voted to basically try to overturn the election. They voted against certifying President Biden`s win. Four of them voted against having the commission they now serve on.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): This is really Nancy Pelosi just playing politics.

QUESTION: Do you think have any indication that Speaker Pelosi that will improve the numbers that you have chosen?

MCCARTHY: Why would she not?


MELBER: So, there are, of course, many legitimate reasons why you might not want some of these people on the committee.

Now, Jim Banks is saying: "Pelosi created the committee to malign conservatives and to justify the left`s authoritarian agenda." Interesting use of the authoritarian word as projection.

Many remember Jim Jordan as a Trump loyalist and a partisan Republican, the defender of all MAGA defenses.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Well, I mean, we know what this is about. This is impeachment round three for the Democrats, same thing. For five years, they have been going after President Trump.

QUESTION: Have you heard from Donald Trump since you were selected?

JORDAN: I have not. I have not. I mean, I talk to the president regularly, but I have not talked to him in the last couple days.


MELBER: This is who we`re talking about:


JORDAN: This is step one in the Democrats crazy efforts to impeach the president of the United States.

I wish every single American could spend some time around the president because of the love he has for our country, for our laws.



MELBER: Understood, yes. Good.

Meanwhile, Liz Cheney has been discussing her view of who`s responsible, name-checking Jordan, saying: "That guy Jim Jordan, that son of a B." She`s describing how what she viewed as these maniacs going through the place, the rioters.

She said she was standing in the aisle. And he said: "`We need to get the ladies away from the aisle. Let me help you.` I smacked his hand away and told him, she said, according to this new book "I Alone Can Fix It," and said: "Get away from me. You F`ing did this."

Speaker Pelosi says she`s mulling McCarthy`s picks. She does have the power to deny them. And that sets up another clash in what has become a complete brawl over what, in a different era, would be a traditional nonpartisan national security investigation of a rare and deadly attack on the Capitol itself.

I`m joined now by the director of Defending Democracy Together and editor larger of The Bulwark, Bill Kristol.

Thanks for being here, sir.


MELBER: A lot of politics around this kind of thing. The commission has powers and thus will matter in a way that other things in Congress may not.

Your view of where this goes?

KRISTOL: I think it could matter.

People have been sort of downplaying it. We know everything already. We have got dramatic videos, God knows we do know a lot about what happened, but still people under oath. What did the president do that day? Why didn`t he do anything? Why didn`t he call the secretary of defense and the attorney general or take phone calls from I guess the vice president even, right?

The vice president ends up talking to General Milley, I think we now know, and saying, you have got to get down here. The president is just enjoying what`s happening. He`s basically, as he himself has almost said at this point, on the side of the rioters, or the insurrectionists, not on the side of the U.S. government.

It`s pretty extraordinary, honestly. So, I think bringing that home with testimony under oath from people in the Pentagon, people in the Justice Department that day, maybe members of Congress, could be interesting.

And I would point out, I mean, look, the three, Jordan, Nehls, and Banks, are going to be just there to disrupt things. The other two, what is -- Kelly Armstrong, I think it is, from North Dakota, second term, he said some pretty strong things right after January 6. Might be a little different.

And then Rodney Davis from Illinois did vote for the commission, and has sort of said this is a terrible day for American democracy.


KRISTOL: Is it possible that Davis will break a little bit from his own party, join Liz Cheney on a few votes?

Suddenly, if you get votes that are 9-4, 10-3 on some procedural matters, or maybe on the final report, that would be, I think, pretty -- that might really say something, that it -- so, I think McCarthy was under pressure not to pick simply obstructionists.

I don`t want to put too much -- believe me, to any hopes on it. I don`t want to put too many hopes on this. God knows how many times the mainstream establishment Republicans have disappointed us.

But I do think Davis and maybe Armstrong are a little bit different from the Jim Jordans of the world.

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

And to the extent we can glean anything, again, from the records, it would seem that McCarthy politically has a multipronged strategy, because he`s got the sops to the right, who will make the moments or talking points and feed that so-called beast, and then he`s got some other people who may or may not engage on this substantively and who, as you say, are not all in the same league on the votes and thus might take a traditional justice or law enforcement approach.

What does it mean to you that several members of the committee share the same objective as the rioters, which was to use that day, January 6, to overturn the election?

KRISTOL: I mean, a majority of Republicans voted that night to overturn the election electors, at least from one or two states, two states mostly.

So, they -- and with no evidence, with no evidence at all, in a totally unprecedented way, utterly unprecedented, and therefore legitimizing the efforts to cast doubt on the election, playing along with Trump`s big lie. That`s the majority of the Republican Party. We should never forget. That hasn`t changed.

One interesting thing I saw recently, though, in some private polling, but also confirmed by public polling, 20, 25 percent maybe of Trump voters, of Republican voters in 2020 aren`t happy -- weren`t happy about that vote. They think that was the wrong thing to do.

I do wonder if Democrats really hammer away not so much at the insurrection itself, though that`s important, too -- that`s really a Trump issue, and a few members of Congress, Gosar and some others, but most of these people didn`t say much one way or the other. The insurrectionists didn`t know they were, probably.

But that vote, I mean, think of that. That evening right after the insurrection, after the violence, after the big lie -- we have seen the consequences of it -- they still vote to overturn the election results from Arizona and Pennsylvania.

MELBER: Right. After, yes.

KRISTOL: I think that`s more of a political issue...


MELBER: No, that`s...

KRISTOL: Those was more members of Congress. And they could be challenged in a Republican primary. They could have Democrats running against them. They`re tough districts mostly. They`re pretty Republican districts.

But independent, Republican-friendly Democratic nominees just saying can you believe this guy saw the insurrection up close, and then voted to, in effect, justify the big lie, continue the big lie that`s already done so much damage that very evening?


MELBER: Yes, I think that`s an important point.

Bill Kristol, I want to thank you.

Coming up, I want to tell everyone we`re looking at the future the Supreme Court, and we have some very special MSNBC coverage, including some Rachel Maddow that you got to see.

That`s next.


MELBER: All eyes are on the Supreme Court, as it may decide new key rules for voting rights and abortion in the upcoming term.

Liberals pushing harder to find some way to nudge the court`s oldest Democratic appointee, meanwhile, 82-year-old Justice Breyer, to retire, so President Biden might get a younger liberal jurist on a court that now has three Trump justices.

Well, in the United States, politicians get lots of attention, but some of the realities we live with or even take for granted today came from the justices on the court, like the basic right for people to marry, regardless of the gender of their partner.



PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Two gay man or challenging a state law that makes it illegal for two members of the same sex to engage in sexual relations.

The biggest gay rights decision in the history of the Supreme Court. The court by a 6-3 vote today struck down a Texas law.

A total victory for the advocates of same-sex marriage. The court has gone the whole way, said there is an absolute constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST,"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Today made history, the biggest gay rights ruling ever in American history.


MELBER: Depending on how far back you go, some of the newscasters might look extra spry there.

And that`s because we have actually been combing through a quarter-century of Supreme Court coverage, as MSNBC marks its 25th year anniversary this month.

Now, we all lived through that 2020 presidential race recently, where the loser of the election desperately tried to get the Supreme Court to intervene somehow. Now, the court refused. And that`s because, at the time, Donald Trump`s lies, and Rudy Giuliani`s arguments were so empty, there was no valid reason to even hear them at all in court.

But if you go back further, that`s a major contrast to the court`s 2000 Bush v. Gore case, where the decision played out on MSNBC as Americans were watching rapt, wondering what would happen, waiting to find out literally who the next president would be, waiting in real time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here comes our runner. Here comes our runner, Matt.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Reversed. The decision has been reversed. The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed the decision of the Florida Supreme Court.

Here we go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me where to go. Hang on.

I`m looking for the summary.

B. WILLIAMS: Narrowly give legal cover to what appears on early, early, early secondhand reading tonight to be enough to declare it a Bush victory, a de facto victory to George W. Bush`s campaign for president.


MELBER: That`s how it went down, messy, confusing. This was just real late-night rulings, a legal victory that proved to be one of the court`s most controversial.

Indeed, the Supreme Court`s forays into elections and voting rights have earned it some of its biggest bruises in the public mind. You will recognize more MSNBC journalists covering some of those types of cases, along with a battery of Obamacare decisions, that continued all the way into this most recent term.


P. WILLIAMS: The Supreme Court has upheld the health care law.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: What a day, a landmark 5-4 ruling.

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: A law that will improve the lives of millions of Americans.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Shelby County v. Holder is one that I believe will go down in the annals of history.

P. WILLIAMS: This decision strikes down a key part of the Voting Rights Act.

ALEX WITT, MSNBC HOST: The Supreme Court, by a very close margin, a vote of 5-4, has struck down the District of Columbia`s 32-year-old ban on handguns.

P. WILLIAMS: This is the first time in American history that the Supreme Court has said what the Second Amendment means.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The biggest case of the term is a 7-2 decision.

P. WILLIAMS: For the third time, the U.S. Supreme Court has spared Obamacare.


MELBER: What else can we learn from all of this legal history?

Well, the justices do swear a very old oath, to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Why is it written that way? I will tell you, because the founders knew some of democracy`s greatest opponents are our fellow citizens, would be American traitors and terrorists, who would overthrow democracy`s results when they lose.

Now, that may leave a lot more work for the court in the years ahead, as we all saw on January 6 of this year.

Now, this segment tonight is part of our marking of MSNBC`s 25 years of journalism. MSNBC also asked me to write a bit more about the court as part of a series of anniversary essays by many of our colleagues.

And so I want to let you know tonight you can go read that now, if you`re interested. My piece, you will see up here on the left there,"Can America`s Least Democratic Institution Continue to Protect Democracy?"

Go to right now, and you will see what`s on your screen. That`s, where you can see my court essay and essays by Joe and Mika and many others as part of our anniversary.

Now we have one final story ahead.

But, first, we promised you Tom Brady roasting Trump with Joe Biden along his side, and we have got it for you. Take a look.


TOM BRADY, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Not a lot of people think that we could have won.

And, in fact, I think about 40 percent of the people still don`t think we won.


BRADY: You understand that, Mr. President?


BIDEN: I understand that.




MELBER: Turning to a breakthrough in the influential, but often cloistered fashion business, the global powerhouse LVMH made a big play acquiring Off- White, a hot brand in over 40 countries. It`s led by designer Virgil Abloh, who is also the Louis Vuitton artistic director.

Why is this on the news? Well, the move is making major waves beyond fashion. As "The New York Times" puts it today, it makes Abloh -- quote -- "the most powerful black executive at the most powerful luxury goods group in the world."

It also continues his disruption of a influential field that has often lacked diversity. Abloh also created a Post-Modern Scholarship Fund during last summer`s BLM protests and is on track to be a name you will hear a lot more about probably in and beyond fashion.

Now, that does it for me on THE BEAT.

I have to tell you, there is a very special edition of "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" up next. We were talking about MSNBC`s anniversary.

Well, it`s also happy anniversary and first-year birthday to your show.


MELBER: Congratulations, Joy.