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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 9/14/21

Guests: Rick Ross


California votes in the recall election for Governor Gavin Newsom. Musician and author Rick Ross speaks out. New details emerge about efforts to thwart President Trump`s erratic behavior near the end of his presidency. Mark Zuckerberg is under fire for claims he made under oath about how his products affect teenagers. The four officers involved in the death of George Floyd appear in court.



Hi, Ari.


What are you watching for in California today?

WALLACE: I am so disturbed -- and Jacob Soboroff, our colleague, did a fantastic interview with Governor Newsom today -- by what the headline will be in that right-wing information sphere, questions about the integrity of the vote.

There is no evidence of voter fraud. The votes haven`t been counted yet. And I think we`re at the beginning of the beginning of this chapter of one of the two major political parties in this country sowing distrust in our democracy and our elections.

MELBER: I think you put it so well.

We obviously plan to get into some of that. And, as you say, that`s a big tell when it`s happening even before the votes are counted, how much that has become just completely normalized.

So we will be watching it, and maybe we will talk about it again tomorrow.

WALLACE: Any time. You know where to find me.


MELBER: So true. Nice to see you.

WALLACE: Have a good show.

MELBER: Thank you. Always good to see Nicolle.

Now, as we were just discussing, it is all eyes on California, where Republicans have this longshot bid to oust the Democratic governor. It`ll be tested tonight, a vote that will also show if Democrats landed on the right strategy to shackle the Republican Party there to Donald Trump, something that President Biden did in his California campaign appearance right before this vote.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The leading Republican running for governor is a -- the closest thing to a Trump clone that I have ever seen in your state.

He is the clone of Donald Trump. You either keep Gavin Newsom as your governor, or you will get Donald Trump.



MELBER: You will get Donald Trump, more of a threat than a promise to that electorate.

But that is a Democratic view there. It`s also worth noting that many Republican leaders, though, have been on a similar page as exactly what Joe Biden just said. The candidates in this race -- and we did a report on this last night -- have been trying to out-Trump Trump.

They have been leaning into a Trumpian attack on election integrity that Nicolle and I were just discussing. That`s before the votes, of course, are even counted today. The top Republican in the race, Larry Elder, pushing claims about voter fraud driving his potential loss, which sure sounds like someone ready to lose tonight.

Now, we won`t know the winner until all the votes are counted. That`s just like any other election night or election days, if it takes longer, that we cover in the newsroom with the Big Board.

But here`s something that we do know on this Election Day in America`s most populous state, with 40 million people and a political bench that, remember, has propelled folks to the White House from both parties. The blueprint here in California shows that Donald Trump`s big lie is not just some strange piece of revisionist history by the loser of a past election.

It is about the present. It is -- and this is bad news for civics, but it is about the future, because this is a Republican Party that has only been able to win more votes for president once in the past 30 years, as you see right there.

So it`s a party that increasingly is leaning in ways to try to just manage those losses or to subvert democracy to stop the majority of voters who, as you see on your screen, tend to oppose the GOP in the big races.

Now, there are some old-school conservatives who might be aghast at what Trump did, but Donald Trump showed that his sloppy stab at an insurrection was not rebuked by most Republicans. It was embraced.

To paraphrase the great Senator Amidala, that is how democracy died in Donald Trump`s GOP, "to thunderous applause" -- end quote. It`s a movie, but it sort of applies.

Now, when we report on Donald Trump trying to end democracy, even if we reach for all kinds of references, when we talk about the fact that he was trying to stop democracy in America, that part`s not rhetoric. That part is based on the evidence, on his plot to overturn the results in several states, to summon a crowd on the day of the January 6 certification, leading to that insurrection, plus taking other secret measures before he was ousted from power, which were taken quite seriously and met with internal resistance at the very top ranks of the U.S. government.

This is new, and this is big tonight. The Pentagon`s top general was bracing for Donald Trump to possibly start a war, with possible nuclear weapons, as a last-ditch effort to seize some sort of emergency powers.

That new detail is roiling watch tonight. It`s courtesy of a new book by veteran journalist Bob Woodward, no stranger to White House intrigue. He reports on a secret meeting of top U.S. generals to go over the procedures and process for launching nuclear weapons, with the top general reinforcing that he must be directly involved, the implication being he had to be involved in case there was an effort to seize power and make a nuclear strike.


Now, to be clear, there are no public reports that Trump got to that point, though the book has new details on Trump`s thwarted and obsessive demands that Mike Pence try to seize some sort of ability to run Congress himself and just declare that Trump was reelected, a move that Pence, of course, refused to make, also a move that Pence didn`t have the power to make in the first place.

But here we are. I didn`t know exactly what Nicolle would say when we spoke at the top of the broadcast, but she`s right. There is a straight line here from Donald Trump`s futile, sloppy coup to a Republican Party making a lot of noise out of California today before the polls even close with a loser mentality, arguing that, when they`re behind, they didn`t really lose, and maybe you should just let the authoritarians seize power.

I`m joined tonight by two experts who know their way around these issues, a former pollster and strategist for President Obama, Cornell Belcher and "The New York Times" Michelle Goldberg.

Good evening to you both.

Michelle, your thoughts?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I think that there was a moment not very long ago where things actually looked dicey for Gavin Newsom.

And I think what you`re seeing is how the Republican Party`s death grip on Trumpism, how their refusal to break with an ideology and a set of tactics that are an electoral loser, right, that have never won the popular vote in a national election, that are extraordinarily unlikely to win a majority in a California election, but the Republican Party can`t let go of it, I think both, as you said, because they have become fundamentally hostile to majoritarian democracy, but also because they don`t have an alternate set of governing values at this point.

MELBER: Cornell?

CORNELL BELCHER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think, to pick up on that point, because I think it`s a really important point, if you go back to mid/early August, Ari, what you see is the polls are fairly split.

And the recall never had a majority, but it was it was roughly 45/43 or so percent either way. It was fairly split, with a great deal of voters undecided or not even paying attention.

What has happened over the last month or so is, actually, voters started paying attention. And this stopped becoming a referendum on Gavin Newsom and became a referendum on Republicans, and particularly Larry Elder.

And you what you see there, like, I think what you`re seeing in other places, is if this, in fact, becomes a referendum on Republicans or the party of Trump and their policies, that it becomes really, really difficult for them win and garner a majority.

And, in fact, the more that this has become a referendum on the party of Trump, the worse they`re doing in the numbers. And let`s be clear. Democrats have done a very good job. The president was doing it last night when he was there. And Vice President Harris started even before connecting the dots for voters between what`s happening with women`s rights, what`s happening with reproductive rights, and what`s happening with the right to vote, and what`s happening, sort of attacks on workers rights, connecting what Republicans, Trumpism is trying to do nationally to what`s happening there in California in a really smart wave.

They have nationalized the election in California in a way that makes it very difficult for Republican to win it.


And there`s the ethics of this that we`re covering. There`s also the politics, which is how this is decided to some degree.

I mean, Cornell, you`re reminding everyone that incumbent races often turn on the incumbent. That`s why they`re called a referendum, but a recall even more so. I would never compare the current governor of California to the former Chilean dictator Pinochet, but they did have a si or no campaign, which was a recall campaign.

And one of the things they figured out there that`s different than this -- and, again, in case Twitter`s watching, I`m not -- that`s not the point of my comparison -- but the si or no campaign famously didn`t get into who would replace Pinochet. It tried to unite what they thought was a considerable opposition.

Recalls -- we saw that with Schwarzenegger vs. Gray Davis, where you had, of course, a celebrity candidate -- can go either way.

But educate us a little more, Cornell, on, if you`re right -- and we had a guest on last night from California who made a similar argument -- again, I always repeat we will see what the votes are tonight.

But if you are right to the Republicans blew it, are you saying they blew it, if they did blow it, because they didn`t keep the scrutiny and spotlight on Newsom, because they had so many people running that were so objectionable that the spotlight turned to the Elder of the world, Larry Elder and others.

BELCHER: No, I think that`s right.

I think it was a strategic, a really big strategic blunder, when the spotlight was focused on Elder, and he was someone who thinks sexism is -- women are exaggerating sexism, someone who thinks that slave owners actually need reparations, when -- which, by the way, is not that far outside of the mainstream of Trumpism.


When the spotlight became on how unacceptable and how unviable he was to the mainstream of voters there, and you see it in the reporting, all of a sudden, they`re not talking about Newsom anymore, right? And they have issues with Newsom.

MELBER: Right. Yes.

BELCHER: But, all of a sudden, it`s they can work with Newsom, but the other guy simply -- is simply not even viable.

MELBER: Well, to that point -- and COVID hangs over all of this. And you can use the evidence to see where there`s COVID failures, the conservative governors in Florida and Texas truly failing. We have covered that.

Having said that, if you`re going to look at, objectively, what we`re hearing from voters, Michelle, there were people angry in New York in the long run about what they saw as Governor Cuomo`s failures, which were myriad, but did include COVID issues, and California throughout the way has had anger over some of those issues. That`s just a part of what we`re hearing.

And, yet again, the Republicans really got off COVID and got on to whatever Larry has ever said. My goodness. Go ahead.

GOLDBERG: Well, I`m actually not sure that they totally get off COVID.

I think there`s a lot of anger retrospectively among -- particularly among people who weren`t crazy about some of the school shutdowns, right? I think that we`re going to realize in retrospect that they went on a lot longer than they had to, and were really catastrophic for a lot of families.

But this is no longer about what happened regarding COVID in the past. It`s now about how we`re going to handle COVID in the future. And one thing that Larry Elder says he wants to do is get rid of all mask mandates, get rid of all vaccine mandates.

So, parents were maybe angry that schools were shut. They also want their schools to be safe. And so he turned it from a referendum on kind of ways that people were frustrated about Gavin Newsom`s handling of COVID to really a referendum on COVID denialism.

MELBER: Really, really interesting point there. So that`s the state of play.

I also want to show -- and, Michelle, I`d love your view on the civics of this -- the contrast and Nicolle did mention here between these two candidates on whether we are going to respect the rule of law in elections in this country or not, here, as we are, on an Election Day in the most populous state in the country. Take a look.


JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Whether or not you win or lose, will you accept the results of the election tomorrow?

LARRY ELDER (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I think we all ought to be looking at election integrity, no matter whether you`re a Democrat, an independent or a Republican.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): What that sends -- what that message sends to the United States people all across this country that vote somehow doesn`t matter, that this whole thing is rigged.

I mean, they are quite literally trying to dismantle democracy and trust in this country, in our very nation.


MELBER: Michelle?

GOLDBERG: Well, look, I think that Larry Elder is a product of the Trumpist takeover of the Republican Party.

And so the fact that he`s already directing people to a petition that says that he lost because of fraud tells you what he really thinks about his chances in this election. But I don`t think -- none of this casting aspersions on our electoral process has to be rooted in sincerity.

It`s rooted in an immense cynicism and really contempt for the democratic process.

MELBER: Yes, exactly.

And that`s why it does relate to the trolling. You have got a lot of people out there who would rather sort of entertain and figure out what their next viral talk radio content is than offer governing solutions. That may hurt the candidacy, but it certainly perpetuates the cycle of bad faith arguments.

I want to thank Michelle Goldberg and Cornell Belcher here, both of you, for kicking us off.

Coming up, we do have a look at Joe Biden squeezing McConnell on some key votes and how something you got to see to believe, if you haven`t heard about it yet, politics at the Met Gala, AOC`s tax the rich dress and what it really says to people who need to understand the inequities in our tax code. We`re going to get into that later.

Also, a fact-check for Mark Zuckerberg, under fire for the claims that he made under oath, by the way about, how his products affect teenagers that apparently his own company knew were not true. It`s a big story. We have that tonight as well.

Stay with us.




BIDEN: I have never seen the wealthy do poorly when the middle class does well. That`s never happened.

So, to accelerate that process, we need to invest and innovate.


MELBER: President Biden touting his agenda there on a safety net in a speech. That was just late today.

Democrats pushing to fund ambitious programs with new taxes on the rich and big corporations. There`s a long-running argument here about economic fairness, and it was offered up through fashion by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the famously fancy rich and famous Met Gala last night.

You could see as we zoom there that it says "Tax the rich" on her dress. This was a kind of attention hack of the glamorous event to push that message. The Met frequently hosts New York government officials, so nothing new there. But AOC is famous, politically hip, and a sure target for political opponents.

Now, keep in mind she wore the dress to push inequality into the conversation and juxtapose it to that night`s famous excess, which made many headlines, so a deliberate juxtaposition here. That`s the whole point, and yet it`s something that some of her right-wing critics seemed to miss or deliberately miss.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: Socialism today means wearing a tax the rich dress to a celeb-fueled party charging 30K a ticket.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez summed up the plan with her dress at the Met Gala last night, "Tax the rich" written in red letters on the back of her dress. She doesn`t really seem to be aware of the audience that goes to the Met Gala, but OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their plan raises taxes on corporations and high- earning individuals, a theme that Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, the comrade, summed up with her tax the rich gown at last night`s swanky Met Gala.


MELBER: Swanky, indeed.

Anyway, the actual tax plan here is a reversal from the approach of the Trump years. Some progressives say it doesn`t go far enough to hit the accumulated fortunes of billionaires, a huge part of the wealth gap today.


But Democrats say the whole point right now is, they`re focusing on yearly income to build a coalition. They`re going after past wealth, something Elizabeth Warren and others have proposed would be a larger uphill battle.

Meanwhile, there`s the push for voting rights, which has renewed some hope that Joe Manchin might join Democrats in at least changing the rules to enable an up-or-down vote on that topic.

So you take it all together, is there a breakthrough coming? Is it time to say yes to the dress?

Historian Jon Meacham has, we hope, some of the answers when we`re back in just 60 seconds.


MELBER: Historian Jon Meacham, as promised, is here.

He`s the author of many books, including "The Soul of America." He`s written some of Joe Biden speeches, including the inaugural address.

And while we were partially cheeky, which is befitting a Met Gala conversation, you are known for rhetoric. You are known for basically how you use words to get a message across or change minds.

And so I want to, in that spirit, just read a little bit of more of what AOC said about what she was up to and get your take on it. She says on Instagram: "The medium is the message. The time is now for child care, health care and climate action for all. Tax the rich."

Your thought on this message?

JON MEACHAM, NBC NEWS HISTORIAN: Well, I think she was trolling the right wing, unquestionably. It worked, in that we`re talking about it. So, in that sense, the medium is the message and it had the desired effect.

I don`t think anything Representative Ocasio-Cortez could do is really about reaching the middle, which is an ever diminishing, small part of American life. And I think that`s an interesting challenge for the fall for the president and Democrats in Congress, which is, how do you govern a country where everything is at 51/49, or in the case of the United States Senate, it`s a tiebreak, right?


MEACHAM: You have to bring in the executive branch to do it.

And it`s glib and easy to say, well, Joe Biden got 81 million votes, this is the Democrats` time, but it`s a big, complicated, disputatious country. And that`s on one side.

In the pro-Democratic side, uppercase D in this case, we have had this conversation in America really since 1980, really since 1978, since we`re talking on a day when California votes. Remember Prop 13, which was a property tax rollback, which, like the election of Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain, kind of foreshadowed the Reagan Revolution of 1980-`81.

And it was in 1981, in August at the ranch there above Santa Barbara, that Ronald Reagan signed the rollback of taxes. It dropped the marginal rate, I think, to 28 percent. And I think the highest it`s gone since then is 41 percent.

And what President Biden -- at least, what the House Ways and Means Committee is proposing is still within that conventional realm. And I think that`s -- for what it`s worth, that`s important to remember as conservatives scream bloody murder about these evil tax collectors are coming to get everything, is that what President Biden has talked about is within a coherent American conversation.

And what the Republican Party wants is to break up that conversation. They want to say that elections they lose are stolen. They want to -- they want to actually break this covenant. Within the covenant, we can disagree.


I don`t love paying taxes. I suspect you don`t, but it`s the price of living in a civilized society.

MELBER: All well put. And the word disputatious, you don`t hear that on TV every...


MEACHAM: I was going to have that actually -- I was actually going to have that on the back of my blazer, but I thought it would be a little too much.


MELBER: As you should. As you should, if this is how we`re all talking.

I mean, I want to stretch that point out, as we sometimes do here on THE BEAT, that -- what you`re raising, because you talk about that level of polarization, right?

You talk about having, whether people understand or not that, as a historical factual matter, this is not some unprecedented thing, oh, my God, what would happen -- quote, unquote -- to the economy or Wall Street if you had some of these tax rates? We know because we have had them previously.

And then you go to something else, which, again, we mentioned, it`s interesting that you have written books and you have also written at times for the president, because you go to that word sacrifice. And you think about the era we`re in, and you think about who has been sacrificing.

A lot of the people either were already in the public sector professions -- we thought about the people who were brave in Afghanistan, we think about the public responders, first responders at home public sector, doctors, nurses, hospitals -- and then a lot of it has been just the luck of this horrific virus.

That`s how we have been dealing with sacrifice. And we haven`t had -- gotten to a place yet where this president is saying, hey, by the way, a lot of people have already given up way more than a couple points, or what do they call on Wall Street, basis points or whatever, given up a couple of points or the third home or the Met Gala ticket or whatever the heck it might be at that life level, life stuff.

But he doesn`t talk that way. And that`s why I mentioned that sometimes you have been called upon to write for him, because he is, at the end of the day, a kind of a uniting moderate. I think what AOC would say, and then I will have you expound on it, is, she wore the dress there -- she`s telling us she wore the dress there precisely because she wanted to point out, if you`re a fancy person that can afford a 30K ticket or one of the celebrities who gets them comped, so the really rich celebrities and the artists -- and we to them sometimes.

And they make great music, or they make great art, and they have make a lot of money. They could pay a little more. That`s what she`s saying, Jon.


And, look, everybody -- not everybody, but I`m certainly for capitalism. Joe Biden is a capitalist. He made a really good point in the clip you showed, which is that, historically, when the middle class does well, the rich do well. And that is, in fact, the case.

One of the reasons our democracy is in crisis is that too many people who, in post-World War II America believed that they could join the middle class, do not believe that is possible anymore.

There`s a hugely important number. Economists estimate that it takes about $130,000 a year, $130,000 a year to lead what you and I would think of as a classic post-World War II middle-class life, where, if you`re a family of four, you save a little bit of money, you go on vacation. That`s a huge middle-class signifier. You have two cars. It`s a number, and it`s a big number because median income for a family of four now is around $60,000.

It`s up a little bit, but one of the dramas of the last 30 years, 32 years, is that that number has not gone up as rapidly, understandably, because of the mathematical reality of compound interest. If you have a lot of money, you tend to make a lot of money.

That`s market capitalism. I know that what the president`s talking about is not undoing the rich. It`s about opening up avenues of opportunity. And, by the way, if you care about market capitalism, you better open up those avenues, because, if you don`t, you clog them, and you create chaos, and you create people lying about elections and wanting to end the system.


MEACHAM: So, this is an -- and the other the other word I would use here if -- and I`m not a Democrat. I`m not a Republican. I have voted for both. Unlikely I will be doing that going forward until the Republicans have a sanity infusion.

But what you have to do is think of this as an investment. What was the Interstate Highway System? An investment. What are public schools? They are an investment.

MELBER: Right.

MEACHAM: And if you don`t do that, if we don`t see our history as it takes two wings to fly, which is public investment and private enterprise, we`re going to fall apart.


MEACHAM: And this has been true, by the way, since the question of infrastructure divided Jefferson and Hamilton.

MELBER: Well, Jon, you said it takes two wings to fly. And did Red Cafe not say, I fly, we fly together?

And in that -- on that...


MEACHAM: Was that -- Mr. Cafe and I have often talked about this, yes.


MELBER: I will tell him you said hi.

Shout-out to Jefferson. Shout-out to the Met Gala. Shout-out to a reasonable way to make our disputatious country civic and civic-minded again.

Jon Meacham, good to see you, sir.

MEACHAM: Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: Absolutely.

As for Donald Trump`s sore loser problem infecting the whole Republican Party, Rick Ross has something to say about why being a sore loser hurts more than yourself. He`s on THE BEAT later tonight.

Also, four of the former officers that were involved in George Floyd`s death arraigned today. That`s a case we`re staying on. We have an update on that for you.

But, coming up next, a story that we will always bring you, Mark Zuckerberg fact-checked by Facebook`s own records on an important story that affects everyone, including teenage girls in America.

That`s next.


MELBER: Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, facing a new scandal, this one involving internal secrets exposed.

Now, Facebook had claimed to be the most transparent platform online. A new leak shows that, within a month of that very claim, newly leaked internal documents reveal the company giving special treatment to millions of powerful users, "The Wall Street Journal" reporting on that scandal, which involves an elite program, XCheck, which basically operates to shield millions of powerful users from the company`s normal enforcement process.


One of the shielded accounts? Donald Trump himself, allegedly getting the special treatment before ultimately getting his two-year suspension. But that came, of course, after he lost the election.

And the company`s own research suggests that its hit app with younger users Instagram is increasingly toxic for teenage girls. The company has internal research which shows that 32 percent of teen girls said that Instagram makes them feel worse about their bodies, 6 percent of users developing what were called suicidal thoughts related to the platform.

Psychiatrist Angela Guarda says that Instagram can escalate eating disorders in vulnerable teens.

And we want to put this in context tonight, because this is a story about tech, about politics, about regulation, but also about potentially anyone in your family.

American teens spend 50 percent more time on Instagram than Facebook. So this is where they are often for hours and hours a day. And now the company has basically admitted internally that Instagram is so toxic for young women that it said in a secret briefing -- quote -- "We make body image worse for one in three teen girls."

That`s the company`s own view. That`s their own findings, which they were hiding, while also lying and claiming to be so transparent.

All of this is context because the report I mentioned was given to Mark Zuckerberg. We can`t say for sure how much he read it, but he had it. And its context for him claiming this under oath earlier this year:


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, FACEBOOK: The research that we have seen is that using social apps to connect with other people can have positive mental health benefits and well-being benefits, like helping people feel more connected and less lonely.


MELBER: I`m joined now by Laura Bassett, editor in chief of Jezebel.

Thanks for being here.

LAURA BASSETT, MSNBC COLUMNIST: Thanks for having me, as always.

MELBER: This is an important story because it reveals something about a super powerful company.

Facebook reaches way more people than FOX News, for example. They were clashing with the Biden administration over pushing out COVID lies. They profit off the things that are the most viral, whether they`re bad for your health, or, in this case, according to the company bad for the mental health of teen girls.

Your views on what this story reveals?

BASSETT: Well, look, I mean, you can say social media in general is bad for people`s mental health. Is that Facebook and Instagram`s fault? They have a particular business they`re trying to sell.

I think the real problem here is that, as you said, they saw the internal data showing that they are increasing teen suicides. They`re increasing depression. They`re increasing social anxiety. And they have the internal reports. They have that information. And they are downplaying it to the public.

So I think the real problem is the cover-up and the lying. They should be able to be honest and have a conversation with us about, OK, we know our product is making people feel bad. Let`s have a conversation about how we can make it better.

Instead, they`re just making it so much worse by pretending like everything is fine.

MELBER: Yes, you make a really important point there about the honesty, because, again, these are relatively new companies. The country hasn`t necessarily adjusted to how it wants to regulate them.

And because they don`t technically charge for their product, right, if a company was regulated on Wall Street and had blatant financial lies, that`s illegal. It could get in a lot of trouble. Here, they hide a lot behind saying, well, we`re a -- quote -- "free service." People can use it or not.

There certainly isn`t currently a mechanism to get to these facts. This is from, as I mentioned, "Wall Street Journal" and other intrepid journalists getting the information.

But when you find out that the so-called cost of this free service is that level of impact on minors, parents might react differently, or the government might react differently. But even ferreting out that information is quite hard at this juncture, Laura.


I think there`s two problems here. One is a problem with sort of social media in general and kids growing up in this Internet-, social media-heavy culture, and that`s not necessarily Facebook`s specific fault.

But then there`s a problem specifically with the company, Facebook, which owns Instagram, which is lying to the public, and which, frankly, in many ways, before this report came out today has been a scourge on society, a scourge on democracy. There are so many problems with Facebook.

It spreads massive amounts of disinformation. We at Jezebel just reported a piece today about how Facebook is profiting off of ads saying that abortion reversal is a thing, which is landing women in the hospital. It`s not really a thing. It`s pseudoscience.

And so they are -- they`re strangling social news -- I mean, excuse me -- they`re strangling local news financially, while spreading disinformation. And this is becoming a huge problem for democracy.

And every single day, we find out new ways that Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are ruining people`s lives. And, at some point, something has to be done about it.

MELBER: Yes, I appreciate that. And good to know what your outlet is doing.


And it really goes to whether the country wants to have the larger debate over how to regulate these new companies. If they started out small or innovative, or hey, you can try them or not, so be it. On a lot of schools and campuses, opting out completely isn`t really socially available to people, and asking 12- or 14-year-olds to figure that out all on their own also is difficult.

So there may be a much larger need to actually have rules to protect people, and especially protect minors.

We will stay on it. A lot of this reporting was important.

Laura Bassett, thank you, as always.

BASSETT: Thank you.

MELBER: Coming up, we have another report on the way that Donald Trump`s loser mentality, owning himself with election lies, is hurting himself. That`s coming up.

Also, an update on that story I mentioned, the four officers also involved in the death, the murder of George Floyd in court today.



PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA, JUDGE: We, the jury, in the above entitled manner as to count one, unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony, find the defendant guilty.



MELBER: It has now been 81 days since Derek Chauvin heard that verdict and was hauled away to prison, convicted for murdering George Floyd.

Now, today, he and the three other officers with him during what was deemed that murder appeared in federal court. This was through a remote teleconference for the formal arraignment.

Those other former officers, J. Alexander Kueng -- well, Chauvin, of course, then J. Alexander Kueng, which was accused of helping restrain Floyd by kneeling on his back, Thomas Lane, accused of helping restrain Floyd by holding his legs, and Tou Thao, accused of holding back bystanders, so they`re all arraigned here on federal charges.

Prosecutors argue that they did a separate illegality, violating Floyd`s civil rights as Derek Chauvin murdered him. They are accused of willfully depriving Floyd the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable force by an officer and also failing to provide medical care.

All four pleading not guilty.

Chauvin appeared from his maximum security prison cell wearing a white T- shirt. He was seen taking notes. The others were with their lawyers. They`re wearing suits. The proceeding today, which is quite a serious start to the legal fate of these other officers, took about two hours.

Now, the three officers are requesting to be tried separately. They argue that being tried with Chauvin would create unfair prejudice, so there will be a hearing to decide that issue at a later date. They are all allowed to make their case in court for what should be a fair trial.

Now, Chauvin was, of course, convicted of murdering George Floyd. He was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison, a very unusually severe sentence, compared to the way officers usually get leniency if they`re convicted at all.

We want to remind you what Chauvin said the day he was sentenced.


DEREK CHAUVIN, CONVICTED FELON: There`s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things will give you some peace of mind.

Thank you.


MELBER: Feds are also investigating the Minneapolis Police Department`s broader practices.

The case against all the officers that were at the scene will move forward. And, as mentioned, we will continue to report on it for you.

We also have an update on that story that first broke yesterday, this California man arrested outside DNC headquarters found with a bayonet and a machete in his car. Now, he appeared in court today. And based on what we have from court documents, when he was removed from his vehicle, which, as reported, was covered in white supremacist symbols and a swastika, he, according to these court notes, then said -- quote -- "Why are you all pulling me over, when there are brown people hurting white people?" -- end quote.

That is just some of the evidence offered against him there in these proceedings.

Now, the arrest comes in the context of another story that we mentioned earlier in the broadcast, authorities in Washington on high alert ahead of a quote so-called Justice For J6 Rally. That`s this Saturday.

A judge ordered this individual held without bond.

Going to fit in a break, but, when we come back, Donald Trump`s election lie blowing up in his face -- a special interview after this.



MELBER: We have something very special right now.

My next guest is the legendary Miami rapper, entrepreneur and author Rick Ross. He is returning to THE BEAT. You know the name and you know the music. He`s a five-time Grammy nominee. He founded the Maybach Music Group. He has so many energetic solo projects, plus the collaborations that people know and love, working with people like Drake, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Kanye, Lil Wayne.

He is the author of the new book -- we got it right here -- "The Perfect Day to Boss Up: A Hustler`s Guide to Building Your Empire." And he has been on the "Forbes" hip-hop list and is known for his successes and his spirit.

Rick Ross, great to have you back, sir.

RICK ROSS, MUSICIAN/AUTHOR: Thanks for having me, my brother. Thanks for having me.

MELBER: I want to read a little bit from the book, Rick, because your business and the business we cover a lot, politics, have some things in common.

You have to be big and believe in your future before you win, but you also have to know how to handle the loss, or the L. And you write about that.

You say, in the case of the most recent president: "Donald Trump, if he had accepted his defeat, and walked away with any remaining shred of dignity, I probably would have spared him there. But Donnie" -- you call him Donnie in the book -- `couldn`t take his L. Taking a loss stings. That`s why so many people like Donnie just refuse to do it."

And we put together, thinking about your point here, a little bit of what you call Donnie, or former President Trump, and other people in politics and music and how they deal with losses.

ROSS: Right.

MELBER: I want to get your analysis, but take a look at this.




GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you look at race by race, it was close. The cumulative effect, however, was not too close. It was a thumping.

TRUMP: I just want to find 11, 780 votes, because we won the state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the main, the big categories of album, record, song, you are not nominated.

TAYLOR SWIFT, MUSICIAN: You know what? Like, this is fine. This is -- I just need to make a better record.


MELBER: What is your lesson about people who know how to bounce back from losses and what does that take?

ROSS: A lot of times, the desperation that we can show when confronted with a loss, when sometimes you may -- you may really have an opportunity to come back, because, believe it or not, when I go places now, the criticism I heard of Donnie is not as critical as it once was before.


And that`s crazy to say, but, sometimes, you got to master the art of taking the loss and not letting your emotions deal with everything. Sometimes, you got to do what`s best for business, even when it feels personal.

MELBER: Yes, names are powerful.

President Trump had many nicknames for other people. You have many nicknames. We have discussed that before. Why do you call him Donnie?

ROSS: That was just something that stuck. Whenever his name came up, that`s what stuck with me. So that`s what it was.

MELBER: Another part of the book that you write about that`s really familiar to everyone who lived through last summer -- we just mentioned pandemic -- but is the issues in policing and Black Lives Matter, not new to hip-hop, not new to you and artists you have worked with.

I have pointed out that hip-hop was ahead of a lot of the journalism and the politics of this country. Maybe people are catching up. But you write about this in a heartfelt way, Rick.

And let me just read a little, so you tell us what you`re getting at.

You said: "He and I were around the same age. Like me, George had gone to college on a football scholarship and dropped out to pursue a passion for music. As upsetting as the video was, I wasn`t shocked in the least bit."

Tell us what you`re conveying there, especially to parts of America or white America that was surprised, that didn`t -- that said they didn`t know that was this bad.

ROSS: I mean, seeing a lack of compassion from these heartless officers isn`t something new, not in the community I`m from, Carol City, Miami Gardens in Miami. There has always been violence. There`s always been accusations of officers being violent.

And I remember, just in middle school, a kid that I actually was in school with, him and his twin brothers were shot by officers. One passed away. And it was just one of those things that you learn that -- you`ve just seen more often, more often.

And now seeing this in video, seeing this in video, it was painful, but it didn`t surprise me.

MELBER: Rick, the last thing I want to ask you about is the "Lemon Pepper Freestyle," which you also did with Drake, but previous to this album. Another pandemic hit. Very hard.

I mean, Drake goes on and on there. It`s got a style. And it`s interesting to those of us who follow that he wanted to go, whatever it was, four or five minutes, but he wanted Rick to set the tone off the top.

So my last question to you is to tell us about these bars, when you say: Spinnin` vinyl, Teddy P, or is it Lionel? Not a model, but I know I been your idol. Big bank, sparkin` weed without a lighter on fire because I`m just a different writer."

What are you saying there?

ROSS: What I`m saying is like, I`m just so hot, that if I pick up a spliff, it would ignite itself. You understand?

Just because by wordplay, my ideas, my concepts, they come together. And when I`m being creative in the studio, I`m thinking of a lot of different things. It`s like a film in my mind. That`s just a way it come together sometimes.

MELBER: Well, that kind of brings us full circle, Rick, because that`s that poetic, allegorical wordplay that, the paper is going to burn up, whether as you say is the papers of the spliff or the book, which is "Boss Up," which people can get now, "The Perfect Day to Boss Up: A Hustler`s Guide to Building Your Empire."

Rick Ross` return to THE BEAT, we love it. We hope to have you back, sir.

ROSS: Can`t wait, hopefully.

And, hopefully, Donnie pick up a copy. He should pick it up. It`s dope.

MELBER: There you go.

ROSS: That`s right.

MELBER: There you go.


MELBER: Thank you, Rick.

ROSS: Thanks for having me.

MELBER: Now, we don`t know if Donnie, or Donald Trump, whatever you might want to call him, will pick up a copy of the book, "How to Boss Up."

I do want to tell you the other big, important thing tonight before I sign off. And that is, the California recall, the top story we started with, has -- going to all come down to the wire tonight.

MSNBC will have special coverage. We`re going to have Steve Kornacki at the Big Board, of course. You can always catch him there on election nights.

We`re also going to have everyone you know and everyone you hopefully trust, Joy, Chris, Rachel, Lawrence, and Brian Williams, because it is a West Coast thing, taking us into the late night on that.

If you`re looking for more information from me, including more of that Rick Ross interview, you can always find me online @AriMelber at social media, @AriMelber, or at, where you can subscribe to my free newsletter.

In fact, I will post a link on social, because we have a longer version of the Rick Ross interview. Sometimes, as we go along with artists, there`s stuff that didn`t even make air. So, you can find us there.

Thanks for watching THE BEAT, as always.

"THE REIDOUT" with my friend Joy Reid is up next.

Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How you doing? Great to see you.