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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 7/23/21

Guests: Bill Nye


COVID surges across the country. Bill Nye discusses climate change. A new development emerges in the Matt Gaetz sex crime probe. A Republican official reveals what their voter suppression effort is really for. Indicted Trump 2017 inaugural chair Tom Barrack arranges a plea deal.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.

COVID is surging across the country. The CDC is warning this is now a pivotal moment for curbing the pandemic. The rise is happening in every single state as the weak ends, but it`s worse for areas where people are not getting vaccinated as much, leaving the Republican governor of Alabama to say this:


GOV. KAY IVEY (R-AL): Almost 100 percent of the new hospitalizations are with unvaccinated folks. And the deaths are certainly occurring with unvaccinated folks.

QUESTION: What is it going to take to get people to get shots in arms?

IVEY: I don`t know. You tell me.

Folks supposed to have common sense. But it`s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It`s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.


MELBER: Common sense there from a Republican, as she put it, about dealing with the fact that this is a problem among the unvaccinated. And that makes it a problem for everyone.

While politics and ignorance are shaping so many parts of this debate or this dialogue, from FOX News, to conservatives in some far left groups on Facebook, the governor here does not have the luxury of treating this as another avenue for content or another place for political posturing, because people are getting sick and dying.

Her constituents are getting sick and dying in her state, with cases skyrocketing and the rate of people going to the hospital almost doubling in a place with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. Or take Florida, also one of the worst states for vaccination rates, the case count tripling over just the last two weeks.

Everyone wants to move on, but reports show Florida`s whiplash has hospital rates now rivaling the start of the outbreak last year. Now, some people hurting from COVID are speaking out, a former vaccine skeptic now urging others to get the vaccine.


JOSH GARZA, COVID-19 SURVIVOR: If I could do it all over again, I would get it, no doubt. I wish people would at least reconsider or at least listen to what we went through.


MELBER: Doctors are relaying stories of people now asking for the vaccine and being told it`s too late.

A conservative who`s in the hospital now is telling people that he wishes he had a different attitude about all this.

Now, many noticed when FOX News partially changed course on the topic this week, with a PSA and Sean Hannity promoting vaccines. Apparently, even that was too much for some. There was a backlash. Now, Hannity falsely claims he never told people to get vaccinated. We have more on that later tonight.

So, here we are. This is a tough way to end the week. There is so much spin, lies and drama that it would be easy to miss some of the larger facts here. The COVID vaccine is a scientific breakthrough. It marks the fastest development of a vaccine to combat a new virus ever in world history.

We`re month into its massive use, with a great record for safety and efficacy. The vaccine mostly prevents the virus, period. When the virus does break through, the version of the virus that vaccinated people experience is virtually never lethal. And often, it`s so slight, people don`t even notice that they got it in those so-called breakthrough cases.

If we didn`t have this vaccine, you might very likely be sheltering in place in America right now, to say nothing of the other sacrifices, cost and death toll. And yet this effective vaccine is a point of great controversy and ignorance, opening a new weakness in the effort to end COVID once and for all, and tragically reminding us that, for people who claim they don`t want to be force-fed something, the propaganda they are putting in their mind may prove far more dangerous than the antidote they could put in their body.

We bring in our experts now, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" David Corn and national affairs correspondent for "The Nation" Joan Walsh.

Joan, your thoughts on where we are as this week ends?

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC ANALYST: I think it`s a very depressing place to be, Ari.

I think we have made such great progress, and now we`re seeing backsliding even in blue states. It`s much worse in the red states. Of course, I was happy to see what Kay Ivey said about the unvaccinated, blame the unvaccinated, but I don`t only blame the unvaccinated.

I blame a lot of Republicans who for months now have been either discouraging it, certainly not encouraging it, never mandating it, and generally playing this down for almost a year-and-a-half now.

It`s not just about the vaccines. It`s about making masks such a partisan divide. And so I thought about Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott and other governors like her, and then Sarah Huckabee Sanders -- she wants to be the governor of Arkansas, which is one of the hardest-hit states right this minute -- on FOX today saying, nah, no mask mandate, no vaccine mandate. I`m going to be about freedom.


And it`s really vexing, because even those of us who are vaccinated, I know -- I`m learning about more and more people having fairly mild breakthrough cases. And that is because of the unvaccinated mingling among us. And it`s very frustrating to see.

MELBER: Yes, and you mentioned breakthroughs.

Dr. Fauci discussing that this week here when we had him on. Let`s take a look.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: For the most part, thankfully, we are seeing that, when you do get a breakthrough case, you are generally protected against severe disease, because there are charts that show the breakthrough cases going up, but the hospitalizations not going up nearly at the same rate as the cases are going up.


MELBER: David?

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: And the other thing here, too, is that it`s not just people are getting sick, and the unvaccinated are now having these last-minute literally deathbed conversions, which is quite tragic and quite sad to watch, but, also, the degree which we don`t reach herd immunity, the degree to which we don`t have most people vaccinated, it allows the virus to transmit and move around.

And that could possibly lead to other variants where. We may not be at the end with the Delta variant. It could be Epsilon and whatever comes after that. And so there is a communal value in saying, we as a community have to do the safe thing.

And even if it`s your own preference not to do, this idea of freedom over anything else, this idea that, if you`re on FOX News, that if you even suggest to people that they should do this, you get shut down by people like Brian Kilmeade, saying, we shouldn`t tell people what to do, it`s about freedom.

Well, no, it`s not just about freedom. You don`t have a freedom to light in the house next door to someone else. You -- this is a sort of stunning development in conservative movements coming out of this. It`s a variant of Trumpism, right?

And then you still go back to Trump. He started all this. And if he -- where is he? Where is he? He could still come out today. He could come out in the next hour and say, you know what, everybody? Let`s put all the B.S. aside. Get your shots. There`s nothing wrong. I`m joining the Biden administration to do this. I`m doing a PSA.

And, of course, we know he won`t do that. But this comes out of the Trumpism, the war on expertise. And you see people like Rand Paul and Representative Madison Cawthorn spending this week attacking Anthony Fauci, pushing conspiracy theories, and as the rates go up in their states, in red states.

And so I`m vexed, I`m flummoxed the way Joan is, too, but I see where this came from. It didn`t happen by accident, and it still could be changed if people take responsibility. But I`m fearful that that`s not going to happen.

WALSH: Right.

MELBER: Well, and you mentioned FOX, and what does it take to create a controversy over there?

They had a lot of anti-vaccine rhetoric. Then you have Sean Hannity playing basically both sides of it. "New Republic" headline claims FOX News is literally killing its viewers, writing that the network`s dishonesty about the dangers of vaccines puts its audience at risk.

Now, Hannity -- we reported on this -- initially came out and seemed to urge people to take COVID seriously.


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

It absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated. I believe in science, I believe in the science of vaccination.


MELBER: Hannity may not have realized it yet, but when he said that night he can`t say it enough, that didn`t prove to be true, or at least prove to be something that he could stand by, his own recent words in front of his own audience, who presumably saw that.

Because of the backlash or whatever his other justifications are, here`s how he then changed his tune just last night.


HANNITY: But I never told anyone to get a vaccine. I have been very clear.

I am simply not qualified. I am not a medical doctor. I know nothing about your medical history or your current medical condition. I think it`s inappropriate for me to do so.



WALSH: Not being a medical doctor -- not being a medical doctor, Ari, has not stopped him this whole pandemic from offering his ignorant and biased and harmful opinions. So it`s really funny that that`s his line now.

But Rupert Murdoch reportedly got the vaccine in December. So did Donald Trump. Between the two of them, they`re killing their own followers. They are.


And so, again, when Governor Ivey trashes the unvaccinated, they have really been poorly treated by so much of their leadership, and particularly so much of their media universe.

And so I`m able to have at least a little bit of compassion for them, given the terrible, terrible, terrible advice they have been getting from people like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity and others on FOX.


David, you`re a writer and an analyst like Joan. But this is more than just traditional political analysis that`s required here. It`s one thing to say, OK, you have this sort of anti-vax energy. And I have been very clear in discussing there`s a MAGA version of it. There`s also a kind of a version Facebook from people who see themselves as spiritual or not necessarily right-wing, whatever you want to call that.

And we`re trying to deal with the facts.

Then there`s, what is the level? What is, in your view, the political valence and intensity of the anti-vax views for FOX viewers that Sean Hannity couldn`t go a day or two? He wilted after what was the original statement that was not all that extraordinary to begin with, to what you just saw last night. What is the political pressure on him to go running like that?

CORN: Well, look what happened.

It`s similar to what happened with the January 6 attack, right? There was a nanosecond. Maybe it was two nanoseconds after the attack. Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy came out, and they blasted Trump. They weren`t for impeachment. But Kevin McCarthy said there should be censure and McConnell laid it on Trump`s doorstep.

Even Lindsey Graham said, I have had enough of this. And that lasted for about 20 moments. And then, all of a sudden, it was like, it wasn`t a big deal, it was tourists coming in, we don`t need an investigation, we should just move on, and the left is the problem here.

It`s -- so there`s something similar about this denial of reality. Anything that seems to inconvenience the Trumpian view that you should listen to experts, that there is a reality, and that Republicans and extremists have made mistakes, you get shut down for being reasonable, even for a New York minute.

And that -- and, listen be personal about it a little way -- a little bit. I know Tucker. I used to be on another network with him and debate him there. And he was conservative, and I was progressive. And we disagreed.

But, afterwards, we talked about our family and our kids. He was more journalistic back in that point than he has become now. And it`s just staggering to me that he can do what he`s doing, that he can come out there.

He`s done that this week, even after Sean Hannity, and keeps raising skepticism or things that people should -- reasons why people should fear the vaccinations. And he`s gotten vaccinated. I`m sure most of his friends and family have. I`m sure his parents, if they are around.

And for him to do this, when he`s already making a ton of money doing his show.


CORN: And he has the ability, because he`s at the top of the food chain, right? He`s not at the bottom.

He`s the one who tried to tell Donald Trump a year ago, be serious about this. He could do the pivot even better than Sean Hannity. And he could a clever -- he is a very smart guy. He can find a clever way to do it that would cover up everything he has said up to now.

And he has decided not...

MELBER: Well, Sean couldn`t pivot, because he landed on his face, you know?

CORN: Yes.

I think Tucker is more -- is steering that ship more than Sean is, and that he -- and he can bring Trump into the picture. They could do this if they wanted to. They are deciding not to do it.


MELBER: But is it, David -- is it -- is it a ship of fools, David?

CORN: Yes. We won`t sing the song, but it`s a ship of fools. You can sing the "Titanic" theme, because it is a disaster. It`s a self-inflicted disaster.

I`m taking too much time from Joan. But it`s just really aggravating and sad and tragic. And, like Joan, I care for the people being hurt by this, even though they would see me as the enemy.

WALSH: Yes. I think you make...

MELBER: I think you have both made important points.

And you both -- I mean, Joan, I will give you the final thought. We`re ending where we began, which is you also said you don`t see this as a time to demean or belittle the people who are getting some of this information, but, rather, they`re living their lives. They have been told, oh, this is where -- these are the influential leaders of your life. This is the person on TV.

And, sadly, some of them are believing lies.

A final thought, Joan.

WALSH: Just I think Tucker Carlson is smarter than this. I think he knows exactly what he`s doing. He`s taken a very, very dark turn in the last four or five years.

And so it`s almost worse coming from him than from Hannity, who I don`t know how much he has upstairs to begin with. Tucker knows what he`s doing.


Joan and David, thank you both on an issue that I know is heartfelt. I know you both care about it, as do a lot of people watching.


We`re going to fit in a break, but coming up, a Republican official revealing what their voter suppression effort is, in their own words.

Also, this indicted Trump ally getting some billionaire treatment at the bail hearing today. We have a report on that.

And later tonight, Matt Gaetz doing something most people facing FBI probes never do.

All that, plus, as we look at the world and science and climate change and everything we can learn, I`m thrilled to tell you Bill Nye, The Science Guys, is on THE BEAT as well.

Stay with us for a very special edition.


MELBER: A top Republican getting himself in trouble by admitting an elicit partisan motivation for election meddling, and thus breaking the Cardinal rule dating all the way back to "Fight Club."


BRAD PITT, ACTOR: Welcome to Fight Club.

The first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club.


MELBER: You don`t talk about Fight Club, because you don`t talk about something that is an illicit secret.

You don`t talk about something where, if people knew what you were up to, they would shut it down just for knowing it`s happening.

And yet a top Republican now admits the party`s call for these Trump-style audits is only a partisan ploy to try to curb Democratic votes.


Asked about a way that new audits would be targeted, this Republican replied: "What`s the point? All the small counties are red."

Now, just to break this down completely, when you think about Fight Club, they`re talking about the purpose of these so-called audits and admitting that they are basically an abuse of power, and they only want to help red areas and hurt blue ones. The admission here is that the whole point is partisan, not a truthful or legitimate audit.

Now, you may have already figured that was the goal. But if you`re keeping track, that statement is exactly the kind of illegal evidence the Supreme Court has already held will be used to overturn election laws as partisan.

A court tries to avoid getting involved in this stuff, because they say it`s political. But they also say if politicians are only writing the rules to help themselves, to hold onto power, to be partisan, well, those are the kind of laws they will overrule.

The admission comes as Texas Democrats remain in Washington, fighting new voter restrictions in that state.

Now, joining me now, we have someone who knows all about these issues and where the lines are.

David Plouffe most famously ran President Obama`s first victorious 2008 campaign, where he was campaign manager.

And, David, let me share a little bit more of this quote here that`s making waves, this Texas Republican about not auditing certain counties, again: "All the small counties are red."

What do you think is important here for people to understand? And what do you say to skeptics who look at this and go, well, OK, but don`t most politicians just do things for their own side?

DAVID PLOUFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Ari, it`s repugnant, but it`s honest.

And so this -- so, first of all, when I see that, it should give more incentive, more permission structure to Democrats in Washington to do everything they can to pass voting rights legislation, because this is an existential threat.

Now, I saw, after Barack Obama won in 2008, you will recall the Republicans had a big 2010. They won governor`s mansions in Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, and quickly tried to suppress the vote, made it harder to vote early, made it harder to register.

We were able to somehow organize our way through that. But what`s going on right now is so much more insidious than that. It`s, of course, making it harder to register, making it harder to vote. It`s targeted at minorities, college students.

But they want to basically make elections irrelevant and decide who wins an election almost no matter who votes.

I will say this, though. There`s an element of potential political malpractice here. We saw this in the Georgia run-off elections, where the Democrats won control the United States Senate. When you shout loudly enough to your base that you can`t trust elections, that they`re rigged, even if it`s 5 or 6 percent of your base says I may not worry about turning out, you could cost yourself the election.

So -- but I think, for Democrats, you have to use every lever, the power of Congress, the power of lawsuits, the power of organizing, to fight through this.

But we have reached a breaking point here. The Republicans now are saying it out loud. Basically, their view is, we should never lose an election, we should never lose power ever again. And that`s how you lose democracy.

And remember, when Barack Obama made that statement during the convention of 2020, everybody was shocked that, how could it be that serious? Well, we see now how serious it is.

And I think this is still the most important issue facing us, even with COVID, even with the economy, because, if we lose this, we lose the country.


You mentioned what Democrats can do. There has been, of course, more intraparty debates about this. Reading from an article that says the voting rights gulf is sort of widening: "White House officials, close allies of President Biden expressing confidence it`s possible to out-organize voter suppression."

That means deal with the fact that it`s happening.

"We cannot litigate our way out of this and we cannot organize our way out of this, " says Sherrilyn Ifill from NAACP.

And I`m curious for you at what point does the point you just raised about Republicans also become a cautionary tale to political organizing for Democrats, which is something where you, President Obama, and some of the folks you worked with obviously have quite the track record, which is whatever you can`t change, you have to get over.

And you dealt with that in some of the states that you won. And you guys pulled out, in `08, victories, I believe, in Indiana, Virginia, places where Dems hadn`t done as well. Where is the line, in your view, politically, of not making people feel like, gosh, even when Democrats win elections, they keep losing these other skirmishes or they don`t -- quote, unquote -- `fight as hard" and that can be politically demoralizing?

PLOUFFE: It can be.

So, first of all, I`d say you have to exhaust every remedy prior to organizing. So, we need to pass voting rights legislation in Washington. My hope is that Manchin and Sinema will agree to do a carve-out to protect our country. Seems like you could create a permission structure for that, particularly given comments like you read today.


The Republicans are being clear about their aims. You obviously have to file every lawsuit and be as aggressive as you can there. Get stays. You have to win the messaging war, which is to try and turn some of that energy against the Republicans.

And, by the way, that`s not just base Democrats. I think most swing voters find this abhorrent. And so I think you can make some political gain there.

And then you have got to organize. Yes, so if people have to bring I.D., if voting, early voting has changed, those are really, really burdensome organizing issues, where you have got to have more people, more money to make sure people are ready to vote.

But what you can`t do is say, we`re going to let the rest of this stand because we can out-organize them. You have got to exhaust every single remedy.

MELBER: Right.

PLOUFFE: And we were able to do that between -- you remember, in 2012, we got a lot of relief in a lot of states after they had passed restrictive voting laws.

So you need -- it`s not one or the other. You have got to do both.

MELBER: You used this term twice in the interview, and I remember it figuring into your book about the campaign.

Tell us once and for all, what do you mean politically when you say permission structure?

PLOUFFE: Well, we`re seeing that, by the way, around COVID, which is, with the rise of Delta, you`re seeing some people like Kay Ivey even Ron DeSantis and Steve Scalise saying, OK, I wasn`t going to really push vaccines -- in Scalise`s case, I wasn`t going to take it. But now that Delta is on the rise, I will take it.

So, where there`s something that -- basically, an off-ramp people can take. So, for a Manchin or a Sinema, who said they don`t want to get rid of the filibuster, what are the conditions to allow them to say, I don`t -- I`m not going to get rid of all of it, sadly, in my view, but I am going to be accepting a carve-out to protect our Constitution, protect our democracy?

The permission structure is all the laws that are being passed by Republicans around the country, statements like the one you mentioned with the Texas legislature, for people to say, hey, I didn`t really want to do this, but you have left me no option, this is the only recourse.

So that`s what I mean by permission structure. What gets somebody to do something different today than they said they were going to do yesterday?

MELBER: It`s very interesting, because you think in an interesting way, which may be why then Senator Obama put so much faith in you to run his campaign.

And so, when you put it like that, it`s very different from a lot of the political narrative, where people have to win or crush other people or who`s dunking on whom. You`re talking about a way that someone can keep their stance, their public stance, what they might call their own integrity, depending on the issue, while getting somewhere you want to go.

So we always learn things from you, David. We appreciate the lesson, sir.

PLOUFFE: Thank you, Ari. Good to be with you.

MELBER: Thank you, David Plouffe, on THE BEAT.

Coming up in 60 seconds, we have this new twist in the Gaetz probe and Trump`s indicted ally in court today.

I will see you soon.


MELBER: A top Trump ally in court today.

This is 2017 inaugural chair Tom Barrack appearing in front of a judge, facing judgment, facing this legal process. He is set to be released from jail on a very big bail one that most people could certainly not pay even with a loan. It`s a $250 million bail.

Barrack will be back in court Monday for arraignment. Reporting is that he`s expected to plead not guilty and to fight this case. The charges related to foreign lobbying and the idea that he lied to the FBI.

Also today, two Democrats in Congress demanding an investigation into whether the Trump DOJ somehow suppressed or delayed the process of this probe. Now, the timing is interesting. I say interesting because we don`t have enough public information yet.

But CNN has reported that prosecutors believed they had enough criminal evidence to indict Barrack last year and held off at that time.


I want to get into all of it now.

And I`m joined by federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade.

I want to get into all the above with you.

Let`s start with what it means when you have a quarter-billion-dollar bail.

BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I have never seen a bail that high, Ari. As you have commented, it`s very high.

But what a judge is trying to do in federal court is make a decision, number one, whether the person before him is either a danger to the community or a risk of flight. And in this instance, prosecutors argued that Tom Barrack is a risk of flight. He has substantial assets. He has contacts all over the world. And so it would be very easy for him to flee.

So you want to set an amount that provides a sufficient incentive for him to come back. And so, for you or me, that number might be much lower. But for someone like Tom Barrack, with his wealth, to provide an adequate incentive, $250 million was necessary.

Now, that doesn`t mean he paid it up front today, I think he paid something like $5 million to -- up front. But if he fails to appear, he would owe the U.S. government a debt of $250 million.

MELBER: Yes. And even the $5 million up front is not something most people can get their mind around how you would do that.

As you say...

MCQUADE: You don`t carry that in your wallet?

MELBER: As you say -- go ahead.

MCQUADE: I was just going to say, you don`t carry that in your wallet?

MELBER: Exactly. I mean, no.

And I mean, I think these rules are dicey, because when we talk about equity, it`s everyone should be treated similarly, which doesn`t happen all the time in court. When we talk about the reasons, sure, if somebody is not a flight risk or otherwise a proven risk of a violent offense, they are presumed innocent and thus it`s totally fair that they should be out and be able to provide for their defense.

Unfortunately, Rikers Island and other places are full of less wealthy, less-connected people who can`t even get out on smaller bail. So they be might be in on $100,000 bail, which means they`re in, not out. That`s the financial side.

Let`s talk about this delay thing. I want to be very clear with viewers, there`s not enough evidence here to say that there was meddling at the DOJ, or you can enlighten us, your view.

But, boy, are there a lot of stories about things going up or over the line with demands made under the Trump Justice Department. What do you make of the timing, if anything, here in the indictment?

MCQUADE: Well, I guess there are a few different possibilities.

We know that the conduct that`s alleged in the indictment was over in 2018. And here we are, in 2021, with these charges being filed, three years later. And so I think that does cause some questions.

Now, it could very well be it just took that long to get the evidence together. In a case like this, with an international scope, gathering records from around the world and gathering these e-mails which are quoted in the indictment can take a fair amount of time, longer than you might think.

But three years is a long time. Some speculation. I certainly don`t know. One theory may be that my friend Joyce Vance offered earlier today is, is it possible that prosecutors were waiting until the Trump administration had ended to avoid the possibility of a pardon? I suppose it`s possible.

I was lucky enough to work as a prosecutor in a time where I never had to worry about anything like that. So I don`t know.

And then, of course, the other thing that comes to mind is, was there anything about the leadership of William Barr, when he was the attorney general, that was pushing back against these charges? In a case like this, U.S. attorney`s offices are largely independent, but a case of this magnitude, for sure, the U.S. attorney would flag it for the deputy attorney general and the attorney general, so that they could ask questions and get a briefing, and stop it if they wanted to.

Ordinarily, as long as the evidence is strong, they want to be brought in and given a heads-up about cases like this, but they don`t do anything to stop it. There is the possibility, though, that the attorney general could say, no, I don`t think you should bring that, for whatever reason there is.

So those are all possibilities. And we don`t know the answer to that yet.

MELBER: Yes, all interesting.

And you gave us more thinking, including whether they were playing Trump pardon chess as well.


MELBER: Barbara McQuade, always good to see you. Hope you have a very nice Friday.

Still ahead, as promised, we have an update on this news for Matt Gaetz amidst that open sex crime probe. It`s not good news.

Also, new facts on what has affected and demolished some of these

Republican talking points on climate change.

Bill Nye, The Science Guy, is here on THE BEAT with the fact-check.

Stay with us.



MELBER: President Biden says a priority is addressing climate change.

Senate Democrats now planning what should be a party-line vote on the $3.5 trillion package. It includes a push to get the U.S. on 100 percent clean energy by 2035. Scientists say this is clearly becoming an existential threat. We`re living through it this summer with evidence piling up every day.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Deep inside the Arctic Circle, where outside at the moment it is hot enough to sunbathe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is dramatic, right? This is going back to last week in Germany. They`re referring to that as a one-in-1,000-year flood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burning hotter, faster and more explosive than ever before.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: Haze from the Western wildfires now sweeping across the U.S., sparking the worst air quality alerts in 20 years.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": The sun is blowing red in New York. You know what they say? Red skies at night, sailor`s delight. Red sun in the sky, we`re all going to die.



MELBER: We`re all going to die.

Happy Friday. I`m joined by Bill Nye, The Science Guy, involved in so many projects, including -- check it out -- author of the "Great Big World of Science."

Thanks for being here.


MELBER: People are feeling the extreme weather. Is it primarily caused by climate change?

NYE: Well, of course. Yes, we would all say that. Now, it is very difficult to connect any single event, like the heat dome, as it was called, in the Pacific Northwest with a climate model. This would be a computer model full of numbers with vorticity and fluid mechanical equations. It`s quite complex.

But with supercomputers, people are running the models. It`s becoming clear that these events certainly are consistent with predictions.


And the things that are happening can be experienced in person, and so that`s what we call -- in the media, we call that a local news story, right?



MELBER: And then you have the larger -- go ahead, Bill.

NYE: Yes.

The old saying all politics is local, pretty soon, it`ll be all climate is local.

MELBER: Right.

NYE: And everybody -- this is very serious problem. We have been talking about this a long time.

And I think part of it, which is for me connected to the problems we`re having with people getting vaccinated, is people are scared. People are frightened. And I understand. It`s a scary thing.

As I like to say, if you like to worry about things, you`re living at a great time.


NYE: So we have got to get together and embrace the idea that -- I feel -- that people are frightened. And we want to be sympathetic to their concerns.

However, when it comes to the pandemic, everybody, the big, the key idea is, the more this virus has a chance to replicate, the more it has a chance to change. And we`re calling them variants. In evolutionary biology, we would call it a mutation.

And that`s the problem. As so many, so many people get infected, infected, infected, this thing is changing. And that`s going to make it hard on everybody.


Well, now we`re talking about COVID, because you`re The Science Guy, and you brought it up. I mean, mutations and these other terminologies are very important for the experts who do what they do, like you. As a communicator, as a writer, I would say they might want to think through what`s going on in a way people can digest.

Like, maybe this is COVID 21. Maybe they need to tell people this is the newer, scarier COVID, to your point, or this is the deadlier COVID, because what you`re saying links with what a guest said earlier tonight, David Plouffe, who knows how to make arguments, was talking about permission structure.

And there may need to be a permission structure for people who said, I wasn`t that concerned about it in `19. I lived through `20 without it. My city is reopened. And we`re like, cool, no disrespect to whatever choices you already made, but this is COVID 21. And it`s more transmissive. And it might end up, some of these strains, proving more deadly. So you need to rethink that, Bill.

NYE: That would be a great message. Yes, Dr. David, yes, that was great.

It`s going to take a lot of pushing. And just for -- I know we`re on MSNBC. And my concern always -- it`s great to see you. Thanks for having me on. My concern always is that we`re preaching to the choir. I know the other side watches this show, but, everybody, you have got to vote in the midterms. This has to be a different kind of midterm, where the status quo is maintained, instead of reversed or pushed back against.

We have got -- we have got to be on that. And you -- I know people on the other side don`t agree with me on all sorts of things. But, look, you guys, this COVID thing is very serious. Climate change is very serious.

MELBER: Well, you say preaching to the choir, and you say where you are. But, of course, Bill, we don`t really have choirs in synagogues.


NYE: Oh, yes, well, more power to you.


NYE: You have cantors, though. Doggone it, don`t we have a cantor?


NYE: That`s right.


NYE: Right.

MELBER: We do have cantors, the cantor being -- yes, the cantor reading from the good book, as it were.

And we, of course, welcome all denominations or nondenominations.



NYE: He or she...


MELBER: Let me put one thing up on the screen. I -- go ahead. Finish your thought.

NYE: Yes.


NYE: ... people, right?

And so we want the cantor or cantor or cantrix to imbue in the people the idea that her or his congregation, the idea that -- or his temple, her temple -- that this is very -- these are two very serious problems. And one is going to make the other one worse.


NYE: And you can start on either side.

MELBER: Look, I`m not even sure -- I`m not even sure what we`re talking about. But I like it, because I always like it when you`re here.

Before I let you go, I`m going to put on the screen the other serious point I wanted to make, which was look at the number -- look at the number of disasters in the U.S. this year alone. And many of them are basically estimated to be multibillion-dollar disasters.

And one thing I want to get you the next time we`re on is talk about climate change is discussed as if it`s going to cost us something to do something. But doing very little or nothing, as we see on the screen, is also costing us billions.

So, if you will come back, we will get into that side of it too, Bill. And thank you for being here.

NYE: Thank you, Ari.

Let`s change the world.

MELBER: Hey. Amen. That`s a thought to end the week on.

Our thanks to Bill.

When we come back, I want to tell you we have some special local news around here, speaking of local, because it is our fourth birthday, four years on THE BEAT.


We wanted to share some of our highlight moments, some of our favorite guests. That`s coming up later.

But, first, the Matt Gaetz news I told you about, a warning amidst a sex crime probe about following the money.

Stay with us.


MELBER: Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz facing a sex crimes probe for possible sex trafficking and sex with a minor, allegations he vehemently denies.

Now, while on an investigation, he`s on a fund-raising tour. And he`s basically pushing all of his MAGA lines. Some of the greatest hits, though, on this tour not working. In fact, it looks like they`re losing money, spending four times as much as they raised on a tour that apparently was supposed to be a funding exercise.

Gaetz has also been attacking the feds, who are still conducting the investigation of him.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): We will fight the corrupt forces in the halls of government! We will fight the corrupt forces at the Department of Justice and in the FBI!



MELBER: That`s just a little clip of what the scene looks like.

He was calling FBI agents corrupt. And he will be awaiting any charging decision.


GAETZ: The FBI is not getting better. They`re getting worse.

I want to figure out what side the FBI is on. I need the facts from you.

Snitching really is a tool of the repressive security state. The FBI is busy trying to make us all believe that our family members and our neighbors are extremists.

I do believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to smear me.


MELBER: Is it policy or is it personal?

Well, the pressure is on. Reports are a charging decision could come as early as this month. If there are charges or no charges, we will, of course, report the outcome of what has been a case with a lot of intrigue.

Now, up ahead, I want to share with you something very special we have been working on with a lot of our favorite guests and moments. We`re going to air it for the very first time next.



MELBER: We`re wrapping the week and tonight`s show right now.

And I want to say a very big thank you to you. This weekend, we are actually celebrating an anniversary. It`s been four years since this show launched, our fourth birthday.

Tonight, we have gathered some of our favorite moments from these past full four years, from breaking news, and really big interviews, and wonderful guests, to occasional dad jokes, and, yes, the occasional awkward silences.

Here`s some of the four years we have spent together on THE BEAT.


CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC HOST: The premiere of THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.

Ari, we are totally psyched. Good evening.

MELBER: Thank you, Chris. I appreciate that.

Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.

Let me tell you, we have a big show tonight. The first look at previously secret documents.

Did you speak to the FBI?




MELBER: That is an admission of guilt.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn`t this ridiculous?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it`s not ridiculous, Sam.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): There`s a fundamental question about whether what he`s done is even legal.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He knows he can`t win.

MELBER: The United States faces a COVID crisis.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: We`re dealing with a very formidable virus.

MELBER: On January 6, we saw a mob storming the Capitol.

You can see these protesters gathering spurred by the police killing of George Floyd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re the aftermath. We`re the casualties of war.

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST, "POLITICS NATION": We can`t let Trump play us off against each other.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is not a woman in America who isn`t now reliving some experience.

GRETCHEN CARLSON, FORMER FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We`re shifting the blame and the shame to the actual harassers.

MELBER: What brings the tears?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a hard fight, a really hard fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s very important for us as the culture to own the culture.

SHERYL CROW, MUSICIAN: It`s important to be an artist and to speak truth.

MELBER: Here we are live in New Hampshire on primary eve.

We are here at the Red Rooster in Harlem.


MELBER: Trump finally left the White House since becoming the loser of this race.

Was that a low-key reference to Drake`s "Over."


SHARON STONE, ACTRESS: I have a little rap here for you.

MELISSA ETHERIDGE, MUSICIAN: Can you fetch my automobiles?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Truth hurts. That`s a lyric.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me say it the way Biggie Smalls would say it, Ari. Even when I was wrong, I got my point across.

MELBER: Are you really majority leader if you`re not running this like cardio?

BRITTNEY COOPER, PROFESSOR, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: Hip-hop say, do the ladies run this? Yes, we do.


MELBER: We run things. Things not run we.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You going to street like Sesame?


MIKE LUPICA, "THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": The line from Drake, which is a wise man once said nothing at all.

MELBER: You almost wonder if it`s leading to an awkward silence.

The awkward silences.


MELBER: I mean, what can you say?

Wasn`t it Pusha T who said, I believe there`s a God above me, I`m just the God of everything else?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is weird, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is super weird.

CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC HOST: I`m amazed that millions of people watch this show.

MELBER: There is a saying in television news of a hard turn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I know hard turn. And, luckily, I can make one.

MELBER: For a dollar, define collusion.

BILLY EICHNER, COMEDIAN: Oh, God. It`s when you collude.


MELBER: Your microwave dinners that we have heard about.



REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): It`s like dangling the shiny object. See, here, look at it.

MELBER: I`m talking to an empty chair.

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, ASTROPHYSICIST: Earth is in space. And we`re all on Earth. Deal with it.


MELBER: All right, I don`t always see these in advance. So that`s really funny.

JACK BLACK, ACTOR: This is a disaster.

DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: It`s dangerous for me to even step into the political arena. Poopity-scoop.

MELBER: It is Friday on THE BEAT. And you know what that means. It`s time to fall back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you need to fall back and not give your guests homework before they come on the program.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is ending toxic masculinity right here.

MELBER: We have to, as we say in the business, recuse ourselves out of this segment. It`s a legal recusal joke, a big hit around here.

Classic Miranda joke.

Do you have time, though, for a bad Passover joke?

It`s a lobbyist registration joke.

Do you have a favorite economist joke?

JARED BERNSTEIN, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Well, you know the Rapper 50 Cent, right? Given recent increases in inflation, his name is now 64 Cent.


MELBER: That`s how you`re watching THE BEAT.

Kamala Harris is?



RICHARD LEWIS, COMEDIAN: I`m the original beatnik on your show. Remember that.

MELBER: I appreciate you spending some time on THE BEAT tonight.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Thank you so much.

MELBER: Thank you, sir.


EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: If you don`t know, now you know.


MELBER: And now you do.

I want to thank our wonderful guests, the production staff, the crew, our team that puts on this show every night. And I want to thank you.


If you have you spent any of these nights with us over these four years, we do this as the news. We need an audience for it. You have made THE BEAT what it is. Thank you for watching and DVRing.

That`s it for us.

"THE REIDOUT" starts right now, with Tiffany Cross in for Joy.