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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 8/11/21

Guests: Jackie Speier, Robert Reich, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Howard Dean, Paul Butler


Senate is backing President Biden again as he goes big on jobs with the $3.5 trillion plan on track to be passed. More Floridians are dying of COVID, but Governor DeSantis blames media and experts, as the Delta variant wreaks havoc in the state that the federal government needed to send ventilators and testing kits. BJ Pak testified in Congress behind doors that Trump wanted to fire him for not backing election fraud claims. Michigan Police is caught on video drawing gun and handcuffing black realtor and client.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Quote, "We need more cops," he told the "Bulwark" simply. "We need more equipment and we need more training."

Today, in amplifying his call, we attempt to honor the service and sacrifice made by Tom Major in the wake of one of the darkest days in our nation`s history and we honor the brave men and women in uniform that responded on that day.

Thank you so much for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. We`re grateful. "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts now.

Hi, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Nicole. And thank you for that.

I want to welcome everyone to THE BEAT. I`m Ari Melber. And the news tonight is another big win for the Biden agenda coming with two in two days. The president making an FDR style push to reshape the economy and the government`s role in supporting people.

Now a key step has come at a dramatic time. In fact it was super early this morning in the Senate, 4:00 a.m. Eastern Time there in Washington on this crucial test vote for the Democrats, $3.5 trillion safety net plan. Biden and the Democrats winning the party line vote.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On this vote, the yeas are 50. The nays are 49. And the concurrent resolution as amended is agreed to.



MELBER: You can hear the smattering of unusual applause on the Senate floor. The mix there of people being obviously quite tired, having pulled basically an all-nighter to 4:00 a.m. but also some jubilation from the Democrats who carried the vote. It comes hours after the Senate also passed something that we were reporting on yesterday. That is a big deal that would be a multiweek story by itself, something that didn`t happen in the past four years, despite much talk about it. Joe Biden getting an infrastructure bill and getting it on a bipartisan basis. Today the president saying this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the past 24 hours, we have seen the Senate advance two key pieces of my economic agenda. Jobs are up and monthly price increases have come down. Economic growth is up, and the fastest in 40 years and unemployment is coming down. So I would argue that our Biden economic plan is working. And the historic investments are on the way as well. This isn`t accidental.


MELBER: That`s President Biden for you. He looks like his same measured, moderate seeming self, and yet he is flexing on huge spending. We are talking about a lot of dollar bills. And in that sense, the president there in his own respectful way is referring to the fact that his success, along with a united Democratic caucus which includes Schumer and Manchin so far, is scrambling conventional wisdom in Washington.

Consider just the Grim Reaper himself, and those are his words, not mine, Mr. Obstruction, Mitch McConnell. He famously said this year recently he would be 100 percent focused on stopping the Biden agenda. Well, we`re dealing tonight with news about the centerpiece of the Biden agenda, the big spending, not some little side deal. And basically, Mitch McConnell was part of the step of voting for the infrastructure bill.

And not only that, this is the thing about the news, we come in and sometimes the news we get is not what fits the narrative. That`s why we have to keep an open eye, so I`m about to tell you something that might sound, according to people who follow the news, like a prank or an "Onion" article. But this is in the conservative "Wall Street Journal" and this is an accurate quote, and it is Mitch McConnell saying, quote, referring to Joe Biden, "The president deserves a lot of credit for the bipartisan infrastructure bill."

And he says, and this is praise coming from Mitch McConnell and his world view, that this is the new evidence of reality on record that Joe Biden is a moderate. Now, this week is also making a loud statement about what is possible on substance because there is so much in this bill that we often refer to just the price tag. But some of what the price tag funds is money for things that liberals have wanted the federal government to do more of like universal pre-K and more money for child care. The child care tax credit something that we covered in the previous bill.

Paid family leave, medical leave, an expansion of Medicare, there`s climate change provisions in there on the same week that the U.N. is saying we might be going up towards irreversible global warming, and they are also funding part of this by raising some taxes on the super wealthy and corporations.

Now, if you follow this, you may know some liberals say they`re not doing enough on that front, they`re still splitting the difference with Republicans, but it`s a lot of breakthroughs. Now unlike the infrastructure bill, which got 19 votes from Republican senators, this budget plan I`m telling you about tonight, this second Biden victory lap so to speak, this one didn`t get any Republican votes. Democrats have only this narrow path to keeping that caucus together as I mentioned and getting this all done. Keeping moderates and progressives together in kind of a pragmatic marriage, if not a marriage of political love. But you don`t get that much love in Congress. I can tell you that. I used to work there.


Now this whole thing then next has to get through the House. But tonight what we can report is this is happening. It`s going forward. The Biden agenda is on its way.

Now I want to get right to it as I mention that House plan and people who know how all of this works, I`m joined by a very special panel of people with unique perspectives on the situation. Congressman Jackie Speier from California, who is part of that House path I mentioned, Robert Reich, who is a progressive labor secretary in a very different time, the Clinton administration, who`s also an expert on economic policy, he`s written several books including "The System: Who Rigged it, How We Fix It," and I mentioned the progressive work that got here, well, we are thrilled to have back on the program, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editorial director and publisher of "The Nation," which has been ahead of many of these issues, ahead of where the Congress seems to be landing, and as always, my former boss.

Good to have all of you here. Welcome.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Great to be with you.

MELBER: Great.


MELBER: Absolutely. I could start -- thank you. I could start anywhere. As mentioned, this illustrious panel. I`ll start with the person in the Congress.

Congresswoman, what does it mean to see this kind of breakthrough, and frankly, I`d be silly if I didn`t ask, what do you say to viewers who might go, if McConnell is praising Joe Biden, should they be worried?

SPEIER: Well, what they should realize is that his 36 years in the Senate is paying off for the American people. He made a commitment to try and negotiate with Republicans and he has delivered on that commitment.

Let`s remember that the infrastructure week happened during the Trump administration every other week and nothing ever happened. This is tangible. It is two million more jobs a year for Americans. It is the biggest investment in rail since the Amtrak was created. It`s the biggest investment in public transit. It`s the biggest single investment in bridges since the highway system was created.

It is huge. And all Americans should be applauding the steps that have been taken by both the president and the Senate.

MELBER: Yes. And Robert, take a listen to President Biden discussing how they pay for it all. Here you go.


BIDEN: This isn`t going to be anything like my predecessor whose unpaid tax cuts and other spending added nearly $8 trillion in his four years to the national debt. The investments I`m proposing will be fully paid for over the long term by having the largest corporations, including the 55 corporations that paid zero federal tax last year, and the super wealthy, begin to pay their fair share.


MELBER: Robert?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER U.S. LABOR SECRETARY, CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: Well, Ari, this is very important because to the extent that in fact these things are going to be paid for by big corporations and wealthy people, then it`s not a problem of inflation because you are not -- you`re paying for everything. You`re not inflating the economy. You`re not making the economy run too hot as a lot of people worry about. You`re also not increasing the debt because by definition, it`s paid for. So even Joe Manchin who was worried about the debt and Mitch McConnell who`s worried about the debt ceiling, they have no grounds for their statements to the extent that taxes are going up on corporations and on the wealthy.

This is really an amazing feat so far. Now, again, those of us who are rooting for Joe Biden and rooting for these things are not only liberals and Democrats. Polls show that most Americans actually want what is contained in that $3.5 trillion bill and also the budget resolution, and also in the infrastructure bill, so these are popular. It`s going to be very hard for Republicans to take them on.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Secular amen for my colleague, Robert Reich.

MELBER: Katrina?

VANDEN HEUVEL: Secular amen for what my colleague Robert Reich just said. Mitch McConnell doesn`t want to be on the wrong side of popularity. Maybe on the wrong side of history. But these are popular plans with people. And what`s so radical, and why can`t we afford better hearing aids for older people or vision for older people, or all of these things that make this more resilient in just countries? So I think, yes, I`m not a huge fan of bipartisanship, I like (INAUDIBLE), but today we saw something important.

Biden has gotten part of his agenda. But let`s not move too quickly. The $3.5 billion budget plan essentially put forward by Senator Bernie Sanders, but a line vote, not a single Republican supporting it last I checked, is going to complete what I would call the human infrastructure. Not that I`m opposed to, you know, broadband access, but the human infrastructure of this country will be made more resilient, more just, and fair with that $3.5 trillion, and that`s going to be a tough haul.


You know, you`d need all 50 caucus members. And I think in Washington today, what McConnell and the Republicans did, not only on this $3.5 billion, but on the voting rights, you`ve got to see the need for fixing the filibuster it seems to me. And that is not necessarily the best bipartisan symbol, but it`s important for the health of this country and security of this country.

MELBER: Yes. And as you said, Katrina, the security of our democracy itself.

Robert, we have something a little special here that is relevant to you, but really to all three of you, as we look at the recent history. Basically, the panel is going to stay, but I want to explore this shift that the Biden deal offers and this links to an economic liberal as mentioned who served a president, let`s recall, who declared big government was over.


BILL CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know big government does not have all the answers. We know there`s not a program for every problem. We know and we have worked to give the American people a smaller, less bureaucratic government in Washington. The era of big government is over.


MELBER: A lot of applause there in that room and it was until it wasn`t. We should mention Robert Reich, one of the most prominent liberals in that Cabinet, as labor secretary, he broke with some of that centrist Democratic thinking at the time. He detailed in a later book about it. And criticized everything from the compromising with Republicans to reforming welfare, which ended six decades. Remember, this was a Democratic deal that ends of six decades of guaranteed help to the nation`s poorest children. That`s how the "Times" put it. Something many progressives criticized.


REICH: I and others urged Bill Clinton not to sign that welfare bill. He did it. I remember that day. Everybody knew that he was making that decision. I -- when he ultimately decided he was going to sign the Republican welfare bill, I was -- I was obviously angry and depressed.


MELBER: So, Robert, we go out to you first. There`s nothing automatic about the shift. I mean, there are plenty of times where the nation, the country, may be more oriented towards certain policies and Congress doesn`t catch up with them or the parties don`t. I`m curious, given what a sea change we seem to be living through, what you think about all this?

REICH: Well, there is a great pendulum that swings in politics and in the nation, Ari. And that pendulum seems to have swung or in the process of swinging. We don`t know, we shouldn`t count our chickens yet, but it seems to be, swinging toward the people rather than toward the powerful. And when I make a distinction between the people and the powerful, I`m making a distinction that transcends political parties.

I mean, what we have seen over the last -- really the last 12, 14 years is an upsurge of populism, some of it on the left, some of it on the right, but a distrust of elites and a concern that the game is rigged for those at the top. I think that what we are now seeing in America because of the popularity of these programs is a kind of a demand by average Americans, by working Americans, and by poor Americans, that they be heard. That they be responded to.

Enough of most of the nation`s wealth and income going to the top. Enough of the privilege. Enough of the socialism for the rich that we`ve observed for years. Finally, finally, there`s a possibility that with regard to childcare and elder care and the climate and climate change and Medicare, things that people need, they may be on the verge of getting.


VANDEN HEUVEL: Just to say what Robert --

MELBER: Yes, and Katrina -- well, Katrina, let me --

VANDEN HEUVEL: This is at the center. Yes.

MELBER: Let me hand it to you --


MELBER: Well, I just want to say -- no, no, I just want to say this as clearly as possible. I disclosed that you`re my boss so people know you`re my old boss so they know I respect you. But I think it would also be objectively true to note that this was not just an automatic shift and that Joe Biden may not, to many progressives, be the obvious standard bearer for this. But I`m curious, if you can enlighten us on the road here as mentioned, whether it`s the "Nation" magazine, progressive thought, movement organizing, people`s movements --

VANDEN HEUVEL: All of the above.

MELBER: What took us from what we just showed which was Bill Clinton -- yes, go ahead.

VANDEN HEUVEL: All of the above. I mean, I think it`s been both cyclical in terms of history, but it`s also the movements of our time and the swing of the reaction against a Democrat like Bill Clinton who says, you know, the era of big government. It`s not the era of big government right now. It`s movements seeking to improve the condition of working people, poor people`s lives, and to lift up a country that is not about the center or the left or the right, really, but what`s at the center of people`s lives.


What`s at the center of their lives and how do you speak to people who have been left behind by those who haven`t really cared and as Reich, Bob Reich says, it`s rigged. There`s a sense of rigged. The danger is that rig can also lead to paralysis and disengagement. What we have seen from climate to racial justice to working families, a whole slew of movements, which you, Ari, we`ve talked about. And the rise of that infrastructure. Not a sexy word, but that infrastructure inside the progressive community of the Democratic Party has moved us in this direction.

MELBER: Congresswoman?

SPEIER: I would say, Ari, that what we`re giving the American people is a fair shake now. I mean, when you look at the huge tax cut that Trump got through reconciliation, it was $2.3 trillion when all was said and done, and it went to the richest 1 percent in this country. We`re turning the tables now. We`re saying, all right, for the rest of the country, we want to make sure that you have universal pre-K. That you have childcare. That you have in fact some chance of making it in this country, with community college that is going to be free.

That senior citizens, as Katrina pointed out, how about giving them hearing aids and giving them dental care and vision care? I mean, things that they don`t get because they can`t afford it. So we`re just redistributing the money in a way that benefits all Americans. Not just the filthy rich.

REICH: I think it`s also very important not to assume --

MELBER: Yes. Well, there you have it. Robert, I have to fit in -- I have to fit in a break because we`ve been going 17 minutes. It`s our longest segment, but I`ve got to Ron DeSantis on some COVID problems, but an open invite to all three of you to come back.

So, Congressman Speier, Robert Reich, and Katrina Vanden Heuvel, my thanks.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you, Ari.

MELBER: As promised, we have to get into break, but when we come back -- thank you -- we have a fact check that you`ve got to see to believe on the MAGA governor that has become a poster child for COVID failures. So I`m going to do my fact check breakdown. And also a doctor and government experienced leader, Howard Dean, is here.

We also have late breaking news today from the January 6 probe. A federal prosecutor blowing the whistle on Trump trying to abuse power for the big lie. It may sound familiar but accountability matters. This is a new story. It broke late today. And a story I want to bring you before the hour is over. Police called out on a black realtor and his client where they drew guns while people were just trying to do their jobs.

Stay with us. We got a big show.



MELBER: This current COVID resurgence is hitting one state especially hard. Florida. That`s where Governor Ron DeSantis is finding his long effort to attack basic proven COVID safety measures is blowing up in his face. But far more importantly, it`s blowing up in the face of his constituents. COVID cases and hospitalizations there in Florida breaking all-time records. Experts say the state`s ICU`s look like a, quote, "war zone."

This is a time when state need objective, sober leadership, but DeSantis is only doubling down on his partisan ideological approach blaming everything from the media to immigration policy for what is happening in his state instead of addressing what he and the state government can do now to curb the spread.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: Obviously media does hysteria. Joe Biden has taken to himself to try to single out Florida over COVID. You try to fear monger. He`s imported more virus from around the world by having a wide-open southern border. And this has been a really negative thing throughout this whole thing with some of these, quote, "experts," some of the media.


MELBER: While DeSantis talks about these, quote, "experts" with scare quotes, the actual experts and leaders are the people figuring out how to Americans deal with this. People who face the risk of infection or death. And that`s regardless of whether they`re in a red or blue state. The federal government now jumping in with emergency measures to try to help Florida, trying to combat some of his failures there from the DeSantis administration, sending 200 ventilators, 100 nasal kits. This is literal triage. And that is actual government leadership and policy.

And while the policy tools to combat COVID have evolved over the past year and a half, DeSantis has not. He seems very eager to just keep relitigating fights over lockdowns, which aren`t even the main thing going on right now, or masking, when the urgent issue in Florida right now starts with getting people vaccinated, despite what has been a very effective levels of right- wing disinformation and other problems. And the other issue in Florida, if you`re making a list, that would be high on it, is getting more government support to the hospitals and public institutions on the frontlines.

But instead, DeSantis has been sticking to his talking points.


DESANTIS: There will be no lockdowns. Got to think the president for his support of Florida. The question is, we can either have a free society or we can have a biomedical security state. This is the seal surmounted obstacles to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. Some of these people get put out there all the time when they`ve been dead wrong over the last year. So, too, with the Martin County School System, find a way to provide parents with a meaningful choice.

Make America great again.

Let me tell you this, if you`re coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I`m standing in your way. I`m not going to let you get away with it.


MELBER: Stupid. And the politics don`t stop. The facts show DeSantis is literally exploiting this ongoing, deadly epidemic in his state to politic and to fundraise his political operation combining attacks on Dr. Fauci with its political fundraising operation. They`re hocking T-shirts as well as beer koozies that proclaim "Don`t Fauci My Florida." Now for a governor in the middle of a deadly virus, the first point here would be, grow up.


The second would be, if you take DeSantis` shirt and beer koozies at their word, well, let`s think about it. The grim fact is many people in Florida now wish these policies were Faucied. So I`m sorry to discuss this at such a stupid level, but the governor made the shirt. A lot of people are saying, if you want to keep it at this second-grade reading level, please, Fauci my Florida because the facts show there would be fewer people fighting to breathe in hospitals in Florida, and fewer people dead in Florida, if the mainstream proven policies including a more robust vaccination program there was working, and being applied.

And while I`m willing to speak at a stupid and second grade level if that`s the chosen way to talk, I want to be very clear about how serious this is. I mentioned people fighting to breathe. In Florida, the people fighting to breathe include a lot of small, little children because Florida now leads the country in these pediatric hospitalizations of children. And that is another grim fact. And again let`s look at that as human beings because it shouldn`t have anything to do with partisanship.

That`s the state of reality for what DeSantis is doing right now. I mentioned all that because look where he`s headed. Banning safety measures like mask mandates and threatening to dock pay of school officials who take a different approach.

Now I want to be clear, having said that some of what Mr. DeSantis is saying and doing is stupid, I want to be clear about how this all works respectfully. There are legitimate debates about balancing safety measures with other competing values, but DeSantis is not engaging in many of those types of debates. What he is doing is a MAGA style trolling exercise in the middle of the deadly outbreak.

So you say, OK, Ari, well, you`re saying that, prove it. All right, let me explain. For example, one can easily argue that it is valid to debate how do you encourage vaccinations while respecting personal freedom? For example, there`s no federal or criminal mandate to get vaccinated in America right now. The Biden administration right now has been balancing that very set of issues in its vaccine rules for federal employees and they`re exploring how to respect religious objections.

That`s what I would refer to as a valid debate. That`s totally different from DeSantis playing politics with, for example, basic health information. He literally tried to ban any verification process to find out who`s vaccinated. And that just comes down to information. So he`s the one trying to in a very 1984 style way restrict information while claiming he`s for liberty and freedom.

How do you know that`s over the line? Well, I`ll give you one piece of reasoning. A federal judge recently blocked Florida`s attempt to ban that kind of vaccine information saying that vaccine documentation or passports cannot just be banned outright by the state.

Wow. Freedom.

Now for context, parents know many states and localities assess kids` health and vaccination information. That`s just information and transparency. Just like some businesses will exercise their freedom. There`s that word again. Their freedom to offer their services, businesses or gatherings, for only vaccinated groups. That is a choice on the freedom spectrum. And many are choosing it based on the advice of experts and because it`s safer.

Now it`s not like Governor DeSantis can stop private enterprise from that freedom, can he? Well, guess what? He tried to do that, too. He was threatening really large fines against a cruise line that just was trying to require vaccination proof for its private customers. That was so extreme a judge rebuffed him there as well. Meanwhile, Florida parents also suing DeSantis over some of these similar tactics.

The whole thing is a mess. A mess largely of his making. And Delta is of course a challenge in many places regardless, but experts are saying that DeSantis` policies measured out are raising the death rate. They`re keeping Florida in this state. Breaking its own records. A kind of pandemic horror show.

Again, I want to be very clear about why we care about this and why journalists report on it. Because of the news and human significance this has a very real human cost.


MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: If Florida and Louisiana were countries and not states, they would be number one and two in the world for the incidents of COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just insane to go from one COVID patient to having all COVID patients again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s definitely taken a toll on us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All ages from COVID are dying. And it`s gotten concern that I don`t want to get COVID and pass away from it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was dying. I won`t wish it on my worst enemy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lost an adolescent, you know, children`s hospital. 16 years of age to COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s just extremely busy and it`s putting a lot of strain on the EMTs, paramedics and firefighters.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re back to square one. That`s why I`m frustrated.


MELBER: This is real. This is not a forum for political fundraising. This is not a time to attack Dr. Fauci or the CDC or other public servants to make yourself money, to enrich your political operation in a deceitful play for MAGA voters or to try to position yourself for the next election or a presidential run so that you appeal to MAGA voters living in some other state at the literal cost of your own constituents who are struggling to breathe, who are dying.

And for all that talk about people wanting to just get through 2020, remember that, people said that in Florida like many other places. Yes, let`s get through 2020. Well, Governor DeSantis` documented failures here on policy have made 2021 far worse for people in Florida than 2020 ever was.

We`re not here to diminish an entire state, but, boy, Florida is not where you want to be in 2021. Largely, not exclusively but largely because of these documented failures by DeSantis. And that means 2022 could be even worse in Florida.

So what happens next? Let`s get some expertise on medicine and government policy. Dr. Dean is here when we return in just 60 seconds.


MELBER: We`ve been covering record-breaking COVID problems in Florida. We`re back with doctor and governor, Howard Dean.

Thanks for being here.


MELBER: Is Florida worse off specifically because of Governor DeSantis` leadership and choices, and what grade would you give him on COVID?

DEAN: I`d give him an F. You know, you`d like to call him a crack pot. No, he`s not. Rand Paul is a crack pot because he believes crazy things. DeSantis doesn`t even believe what he`s talking about. He`s totally unfit to govern in any way and he`s an embarrassment to every governor, I mean every governor, both Republicans and Democrats. A guy like this should never be in public authority.

The good news here for the people of Florida is that people are actually beginning to stand up to this. In the last 24 hours, there are a number of large school districts that have ignored DeSantis` crazy order. DeSantis is doing this to position himself to run for president with the MAGA people but what he doesn`t realize, and he`s a smart guy. What he doesn`t realize is that COVID sank Donald Trump`s presidency and it`s going to sink DeSantis because the people of Florida -- I don`t think DeSantis could carry Florida if he ran for president right now.

The thing that`s going to really kill him is the businesses in Florida that are really getting hammered right now. Who in their right mind would take a vacation or go visit anybody who lived in Florida right now? You literally really risk your life, especially if you have children.

MELBER: Yes, you mentioned the public views there in that state. It`s a state that often trends conservative but here`s how DeSantis is doing. We checked on this among just likely voters there. He`s dropped to under 44 percent. Biden doing better than him in a place where Biden is associated more with COVID safety measures than DeSantis.

How does that reenforce I guess the point you`re making?

DEAN: Well, it doesn`t surprise me at all but the most interesting thing is that he could take down Marco Rubio because DeSantis is a really unpopular Republican governor. It`s very -- Rubio has never been a strong candidate, but you`re right, Florida has trended moderately conservative over the last few elections. He`s going to have a strong challenger and he`s not a good campaigner. So it`s highly -- the canary in the coal mine here is Marco Rubio.

When Rubio starts objecting to DeSantis, because Rubio doesn`t have a backbone anywhere, when he starts objecting to DeSantis, you know, he and his pollsters will have decided that DeSantis has become a liability.


You never would have said that four weeks ago, but it`s really clear from a political point of view. This is a disaster. It`s not just bad medically, it`s not just bad ethically, it`s dumb politically.

MELBER: Yes, and as you know, Governor, there is a difference between people who are largely in parliamentary roles, like Congress, that play a role, of course but individual members of Congress say words and cosign bills. Governors make big decisions. You had to go in there and decide what to do about your budget, about your healthcare, about your police force, right?

And so we`ve got this in the Republican Party, but some of these folks don`t have the kind of real time results DeSantis has. So Rand Paul also seems to be positioning himself. He just posted, and we`ve showed some of this, a bunch of stuff that wasn`t true. I`m not going to repeat it, but YouTube, which is an independent part of Google, said it violated their factual guidelines. He`s been just kicked off YouTube. We have that headline. And yet unlike DeSantis, you can`t draw as much a direct line to his constituents or his record.

I`m curious what you think happens within a Republican Party where governors are going to bear the brunt of this and as we were just reporting and as you`ve alluded to, excuse me, if this goes on to 2022, at a certain point, it`s a human and economic cost saddling a state where people look up and go, well, whatever people want to think about what they read on Facebook, other states don`t have the problem that this state has, and it doesn`t have the length of time it has.

DEAN: Nor does it have -- Florida is a big state. Nor is it going to have, as in other state going to -- well, Texas is just as bad. School boards are now refusing to obey Greg Abbott. I mean, these are two of the craziest incompetent governors in the country and they`re in really big states. There are a lot of people going to suffer because of this. You know, both these states are essentially being forced by right-wing governors who really don`t give a damn except about anybody but themselves. That is very much in the Trump model.

And when the citizens start paying for it, as they did in Georgia with Kemp`s incompetent leadership, suddenly things happen. I think Donald Trump had more to do with electing Governor Warnock and Jon Ossoff than anybody else. Now both of those men ran great campaigns, but Georgia is a tough state for us and they both won because of Donald Trump. And that`s -- so what happens here when the sane people in the Republican Party realize how much damage is going on.

Nineteen people just -- in the Republican Party just voted for Joe Biden`s infrastructure bill. That should tell you --

MELBER: Right.

DEAN: -- that time is just about up for this nonsense and this -- you know, this is nonsense that`s costing people`s lives. It`s just not -- as you pointed out, senators can rant and rave all they want. They have one vote. Governors, when they rant and rave and do nutty things for their own political benefit, they really harm constituents. And the American people are not stupid and they are gradually coming to understand that these men don`t give a damn about America and they don`t give a damn about anybody but themselves. That is not a good idea in a democracy.

MELBER: Strongly put. Bluntly put. And again, not put on a partisan basis. You`re discussing the actual leadership and impact on the people in that state, which is any public official`s first obligation so --

DEAN: Yes. And there are good Republican governors. I mean, Asa Hutchinson reversed his position. I give him full credit for that.


DEAN: Yes. He made -- and he said I made a mistake signing the bill. You know, there are Republicans who want to -- we have a great Republican governor here. I mean, we have the best COVID record in the country and it`s largely due to Phil Scott, who`s a Republican. So this is not partisan.

MELBER: Yes. Yes.

DEAN: I just don`t like crackpots and I don`t like crackpot who espouse crackpot theories for their own benefit like Donald Trump, like Greg Abbott, and like Ron DeSantis. They are not interested in the well-being of their people. And when you`re in an executive position, you ought to at least have the decency to give a damn about the people that elected you.

MELBER: Yes. Thank you, Dr. Dean. Appreciate all of it.

When we come back, late-breaking news on an effort to subvert democracy by Trump that`s getting caught. Stay with us.



MELBER: Breaking news from inside the Senate probe on Donald Trump`s election lies campaign working with the Justice Department to overturn his loss. This is brand new. I mentioned this earlier in the hour, now we have it. BJ Pak was the top federal prosecutor in the Trump administration in Georgia, today he testified behind closed doors. That`s why these probes matter. We`re told it was about three hours and investigators learning he was forced to resign.

This was two days after Trump`s infamous and possibly illegal secret call with the top elections official in Georgia trying to find votes that would effectively steal the race for Trump. Now in the new testimony, we`re learning the resignation came because DOJ officials warned Trump intended to fire him for refusing to sign on to the lie that, quote, "widespread voter fraud have been found in Georgia." Pak telling investigators Trump had been dismayed that he investigated allegations of voter fraud and did not find evidence to support them.

This is a big one, and we`re joined now by former federal prosecutor, Paul Butler.

Paul, it is only through independent oversight and Congress` role that we`re learning about this. This person, just like you as a prosecutor, probably had very strict rules while he was in government. What are we learning here and does this add to evidence that Donald Trump was trying to commit a crime in overturning the race?

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It absolutely does. Trump called Pak a never Trumper, but Pak was actually a conservative state representative in Georgia before Donald Trump appointed him to be the head federal prosecutor in Georgia. And as he was attorney, he actually did investigate the Georgia election and found no evidence of widespread fraud. He told Trump`s people that the election had also been investigated by the FBI and Georgia state officials and nobody found fraud. Why, Ari? Because there was no fraud.


MELBER: Right. And when you take it together, you have what looks a lot more like a plot to use the English word or potentially a conspiracy to use the legal one. Our colleague Rachel Maddow was all over this at the time. I want to play a little bit -- this was her putting some of the pieces together from what we publicly knew then. Today`s report would definitely confirm further some of what she was questioning. Take a look from at the time.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: The president sort of randomly, sort of parenthetically, throws out a complaint that, in his words, a U.S. attorney, a federal prosecutor in Georgia who he himself appointed is somehow a never Trumper. That was two days ago. Now, today, suddenly and without explanation, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia has just resigned. Without explanation.


MELBER: The probe is already revealing information as I say out of Congress. Do you think that the Justice Department has a higher obligation here to look at all of this as a potential conspiracy because if it was then there are maybe valid charges.

BUTLER: Absolutely. The timeline here is key. On January 2nd, Trump called the Georgia secretary of state and begged him to say that there was fraud in the election. On January 4th, BJ Pak, the Georgia U.S. attorney, resigned and now we know it`s because Trump was mad that he wouldn`t lie about fraud in the election, and two days later, Ari, January 6th, terrorists stormed the Capitol and tried to stop the certification of the election fueled by this same lie.

MELBER: Yes. And when you put it up that clearly, I think everyone can see how many different levers were being pulled. Over 400 people awaiting trials for what you said happened two days later. Whether there will be trials for what happened days earlier of more powerful people is a big question. We`ll stay on it. Thanks to Paul Butler.

I`m going to fit in a break, but up ahead, brand-new video that`s putting heat on Michigan Police and their treatment of completely innocent people who were just working while black. Stay with us.



MELBER: Turning to a disturbing incident out of Michigan that sheds light on America`s ongoing police problems. A realtor was showing a house to a client, this was during the day on August 1st. The kind of routine activity that happens constantly around the nation. But they were then confronted by a police officer, gun drawn, advancing on the house. This was after a neighbor called the police reporting something that didn`t happen, falsely reporting a break-in. But the neighbor allegedly thought that the car there might have been the same as one that had been also on the street during a different actual break-in a week before.

The incident is getting new attention because there`s brand-new video. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just turn around, put your hands behind your back for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does this work? (INAUDIBLE) real estate?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that all right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Yes, he`s our realtor.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn around for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this all I`ve got to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Just roaming the house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry for the inconvenience.


MELBER: The stop proved to be wrong, the handcuffing proved to be wrong. The video brand new. And this is the kind of thing that you might not hear about. The realtor and the client, who are both black, which may be relevant, are now speaking out.


ROY THORNE, CLIENT: They keep the guns drawn on us until all of us were in cuffs. So that was a little traumatizing, I guess. You know, under the current climate of things, you just really don`t know what`s going to happen.

ERIC BROWN, REALTOR: If you guys were in that house, if you`ve got to walk up to that house, I don`t think the neighbor would have called. And if she would have called, I don`t believe that the officers would have reacted the same to you.


MELBER: Now what did the police say about this incident? Well, they have to say something because of the video and the attention, so they have rushed out what they call out an internal review and it acknowledges that, quote, "Innocent individuals were placed in handcuffs," and then asserts that, quote, "race played no role in the officers` treatment."

I got to tell you, we wanted to get this into the program tonight so you heard about it, but this kind of incident is so common it usually doesn`t make the news at all. There are over 600,000 innocent people stopped and frisked at the height of that controversial policy in New York, for example. The majority of those individuals were minorities. And the Michigan Police basically have what might look like a close call here because the officers were the ones escalating the confrontation. They were the ones first drawing weapons against people who were unarmed and who were lawfully in the house, who were obviously innocent.

Now had shots been fired, this stop could have marked another incident on the lethal police shootings that we continue to track. Those continue at the same rate this year as last, despite the wave of protests and reforms in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

That`s an update we wanted to give you on a story that continues. Now when we come back, I have something very special to share with you. It involves Obama, Kamala Harris and a little baby.



MELBER: I want to tell you about one more thing before we go tonight. These waves of protests against police brutality have upended so many parts of American life, from new laws to a much wider cultural reckoning. Vice President Harris recently met with George Floyd`s family, but not just the family, also she met with an artist advocating police reform, Atlanta`s Lil Baby. He`s been making waves. He`s on Barack Obama`s newest playlist, and he`s a global music sensation with over 10 billion music streams.

Now as you see here, I just got to catch up with him at his Atlanta studio. We talked about his music, his life, why he says police reform requires nuance and what makes his grandmother proud. He also opened up with some new details about that meeting with Vice President Harris.

So this is an exclusive interview, we think it`s important. We`re excited about it. It airs tomorrow night right here on THE BEAT at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. Tune in or DVR it.

And finally tonight, I want to ask you what you think the most important or most memorable protest song is, because Lil Baby`s BLM song "The Bigger Picture" was one of the most streamed protest songs of the year. And if you haven`t seen it, we`ll touch on that tomorrow, but what do you think all time is the greatest protest song? Tell me @arimelber on social media or as always you can connect with me at

Now that does it for me. I hope to see you tomorrow. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts now.

Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How you doing, Ari? I`ll put in a vote for "We Shall Overcome" which feels like a strong contender. I`ll just throw that in that voting now. It`s not final but that`s my contender. Have a good day.

MELBER: A very good one, Joy. You too. Have a good one, too.

REID: Thank you very much. Have a good night.

All right, good evening, everyone.