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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 9/2/21

Guests: Nina Totenberg, Bill Nye, Maya Wiley, Barbara Res

Summary

Authorities track rising vigilantism and anti-democracy violence in America. Donald Trump`s inner circle goes under oath. Bill Nye, The Science Guy, discusses climate change. Some key accusations are revealed in a racial profiling lawsuit in California. The Supreme Court fails to block a restrictive Texas abortion ban.

Transcript

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.

Hi, Ari.

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

[18:00:00]

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

And we begin with this.

Authorities are now tracking rising vigilantism and anti-democracy violence, chiefly on the right wing in America, with MAGA leaders openly planning an event this month which pledges to return to the scene of the insurrection.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT BRAYNARD, ACTIVIST: We have our next rally planned. It is in the middle of September, September 18. And it`s going to be huge. And what`s going to define it is where it`s going to take place. We`re going back to the Capitol, right where it started.

We`re going to have members of Congress speak. We`re going to continue to raise the volume push back against this phony narrative and demand justice for these political prisoners.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Justice for indicted individuals and some convicted criminals who launched that attack.

What you saw there was one Trump super fan speaking to another former Trump White House adviser, Steve Bannon.

The activist speaking is Matt Braynard. And he`s discussing plans that U.S. authorities and intelligence have been warning about, a new gathering at the Capitol to, as you heard there -- quote -- "demand justice."

It`s based on a hoax theory that those indicted individuals are somehow innocent political prisoners, but they`re not. Some of them may ultimately be the case and they have every right to go to court.

But in the main, with the evidence that we all documented and live through, you know this part. You don`t need the news for this. We all saw the criminals doing their crimes on live TV. And we saw the framework of right- wing violence exposed, as more and more elected Republicans have come out publicly all year minimizing and defending what we know they don`t even believe in or thought they couldn`t believe in, because, initially, so many of them condemned the violence of that day.

It has been an ugly and revealing scene.

So why is this the top story in the nation tonight? Well, number one, it is critical to be vigilant about any future plots and threats. It is also important to track accountability for the insurrection, from some prominent rioters who face a reckoning the so-called QAnon Shaman pleading guilty tomorrow.

So that`s a type of justice. Talk about demanding justice.

To the ongoing work of the committee probing this insurrection, Speaker Pelosi`s handpicked committee chair now tapping Republican Liz Cheney as a vice chair of that effort, even as some of her own Republican colleagues seem rattled over these new searches for evidence that could or could not implicate their roles in more detail, such as phone and social media requests for the records of 11 Republican members of Congress, all of whom were in on the public effort and the government use of power to try to overturn Trump`s loss in the 2020 election.

Those 11, we should note, according to "The Times," do not currently include Republican Leader McCarthy, who made those waves this week with his thug talk, warning and threatening and cajoling companies to defy the lawful requests of the very Congress he serves in.

So there`s a lot going on here.

Now, if you take a step back with context, January 6 is a date, like September 11, that has become in our civic life more than just another day on the calendar. It is the date of terrorism launched from within, chiefly by Americans, encouraged by an American president.

It is a date and an event many did not see coming, because, before Donald Trump`s efforts at what can really only be described as a very sloppy coup, the counting of electoral votes is not typically a big day in American life.

I cover this stuff. I don`t remember thinking much about January 6 in that capacity one way or the other. Maybe you don`t either. Now, we don`t know if September 18 will be anything like January 6. But we do know on record what I showed you here in the news. Some people want it to be. And we underestimate that at our peril.

Joining me now for the first time on THE BEAT since her run for the mayor of New York City, former prosecutor and civil rights attorney Maya Wiley. Good to see you. And Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones," David Corn.

Great to have you both here.

Maya, we did speak when you were a candidate. You`re a first-time candidate who came out above a lot of people and came in second in that bruising New York race. It may be, according to many New Yorkers, certainly the ones who voted for you, a loss for New York that you weren`t first.

It is also, though, if I may say, in my own personal view, a win to always have you back on THE BEAT. So thanks for being here.

MAYA WILEY, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Oh, it`s a pleasure. I have missed you.

[18:05:00]

And I think I was running around the city when we had that conversation, so this is much nicer.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: I remember you were in the car being a busy candidate.

And, David, it`s good to see you again. If you run for mayor in a big city in America and finish in the top, say, three, you will get that kind of intro as well, OK? Deal?

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Something to look forward to.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: OK.

That`s as warm and happy as I can genuinely be amidst turning to what is a very serious story, quite clearly.

And so, Maya, I`d love your views on all of the above, both the accountability I mentioned, which is important in America, and these plans and plots that aren`t just a gathering. People with very ugly views have the right to gather and share their views. And I will defend that, because that`s their freedom.

But this seems to be verging on them trying to have a rerun, as they make false claims about what they want to happen to these indictees and these prisoners, and it seems verging on something else.

So I`m just very curious, and I imagine our viewers are, what you think we should keep in mind here.

WILEY: Well, I think we should keep in mind that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was meant to protect free speech, but free speech was supposed to be about truth-finding.

And what`s so dangerous right now is not the mere fact that we have white supremacists who want to spew hate and lie. It`s that we have lawmakers fighting to protect.

And I don`t think we should at all miss the point that we have a sitting member of Congress, in the form of Kevin McCarthy, who apparently -- and David will talk more about this, I`m sure -- may have something himself to be concerned about hiding from the public in terms of his own communications with Donald Trump, and has threatened, used the power of his office to threaten retribution against companies that might be willing to be forthcoming with evidence for a congressional oversight hearing.

If anything, what we need in this country is transparency. It`s fact. And it`s to have everyone who holds public office to hold central and foremost our Constitution and accountability.

And that`s not happening right now.

MELBER: David?

CORN: Well, this is the big lie part two, which is that what happened on January 6 was not an insurrection, was, in fact, no big deal, and the people arrested our political prisoners or political hostages.

Matt Braynard, who you showed earlier, also on that clip said that the rioters were egged on by the Capitol Hill police officers. He literally said that. We have all seen the videos. They`re not being egged on. But he`s blaming the cops. These guys from the law and order party are blaming the cops for the violence that happened.

We had Madison Cawthorn, who is one of the 11 congressmen, congresspeople, Republicans, whose records are being sought who just a day or two ago, when he was meeting with constituents in North Carolina, called them political hostages as well, and basically political prisoners, made them martyrs, and said we have to do what we can, they should not have been arrested.

I mean, so this is -- we go from the big lie about the election to the big lie about January 6. It`s all a continuation. And then you have people like Kevin McCarthy, and it turns out probably Jim Jordan and others. There are a lot of Republicans who are, as you lawyers would know, fact witnesses in this investigation.

They talked to Trump, or they were involved with the White House, or maybe they were involved with some of the activities before January 6, and they can testify and give us, the public, a fuller account.

Will Kevin McCarthy do that? Will Jim Jordan do that? Will these other members? I can post a list about a month or two ago of just Republican witnesses for the January 6 investigation, and there literally are dozens, including members of Trump`s own family, including Trump himself.

So to get the full accountability would really put the Republican Party in a pretty inconvenient place.

MELBER: Yes. And you mentioned the lies.

A lot of the elected Republicans, they fail the Costanza test from "Seinfeld" It`s not a lie if you believe it. And some people -- some people may be genuinely duped. But we have seen this all play out.

Senator Ron Johnson is one of the kind of most extreme purveyors of all this Trump misinformation. But then, on tape, when he was really asked about it at a time where maybe he didn`t know is going to go all the way viral, he actually says, no, he knows Trump lost. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, you`re telling me that Joe Biden won the state fair and square? Because I don`t see it. I don`t believe it.

SEN. Ron Johnson (R-WI): Well, look at the totals. It`s certainly plausible.

[18:10:00]

There`s nothing obviously -- there`s nothing obviously skewed about the results. There isn`t.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s nothing skewed about the results?

JOHNSON: About the results in Wisconsin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: When he`s not auditioning for FOX News or whatever else he thinks there, from what we can tell them, from the way this was shot, that he thought he was talking to a constituent. He was talking to someone recording it.

And he says, Maya, no, there`s nothing skewed.

WILEY: Yes, well, I think David said it right when he said it was the big lie.

This is about, unfortunately, with the exception of a few, like Liz Cheney, a Republican Party that`s decided that its own power lies in the power of its lies, and how often they can make sure that the American people buy it, which is why the January 6 commission is so important, because its job has to be about truth-finding, about fact-finding, and about making that public to the American people.

And, right now, unfortunately, we have a situation in this country where we`re not all getting the same news, we`re not all getting the same facts. And as long as we have a situation where our own lawmakers are putting their emphasis on their own political power, rather than protecting democracy. We`re at risk.

And I want to make one other point about this. The police officers, the Capitol Police who testified before Congress, some of whom were veterans, one was a black man who said and told us that he was called the N-word and at -- in the same conversation where they kept talking about the big steal.

Well, the big steal going on right now is that the American public literally has our democracy at risk and potentially being stolen right out from under us if we continue to pretend like there`s anything in -- at all other than Republicans that are attacking their own if they`re doing their job.

MELBER: David?

CORN: Well, I go back to Kevin McCarthy.

After January 6, both he and Mitch McConnell, although they didn`t support impeachment, said the right things, that Donald Trump was responsible, that this was a horrendous activity. I mean, Kevin McCarthy called for Trump to be censured, censured.

That`s a pretty big deal from the leader of your party in your -- in the House. And yet they looked around about a nanosecond or two later, and saw that the party still remained a cult of personality for Donald Trump. And they had no political support on their side of the aisle for being reasonable or for recognizing reality.

And they quickly dropped it. Has Kevin McCarthy call for censure since? No. In fact, he`s out there downplaying this and getting into fights about procedure. He has no interest at all in portraying what happened on January 6, because he and other Republicans are either witnesses or co- conspirators.

MELBER: Yes.

CORN: And the party can`t really sustain that.

So he wants to sabotage the January 6 committee and investigation.

MELBER: Yes, I think it`s all it`s all really important. And it`s got to be excavated, so that it can be dealt with.

And, David, the final question, I guess, is the shortest one. Will you or will you not run for mayor of D.C.? Can you rule that out in a Shermanesque statement tonight?

CORN: I am not a resident of Washington, D.C., any longer.

But I might go back to White Plains, New York, my hometown one day, and explore political options there.

MELBER: Shout-out to White Plains.

And for anyone who might have missed the very top of the show, because that happens -- we prefer you to watch from 6:00 all the way to 7:00 -- this is a callback joke. And this is not a real part of the interview.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: I just don`t want people to get confused in that sense.

But David`s a good sport. And ex-candidate Maya Wiley, great to have you back, both of you.

We have a lot more in the program. We have a Trump Org insider here on the new subpoenas in the criminal probe, because there`s actually grand jury news tonight. We will get into that.

Also, some key accusations in a racial profiling lawsuit. It`s aimed at a so-called Rodeo Drive task force. We`re going to get into how it shows racial profiling in America in what is, by the way, an overwhelmingly liberal government city.

And the harsh reality of climate change. We`re looking at these weather disasters and the bigger picture. And I got to tell you, we have a special guest I`m excited about tonight. Bill Nye, The Science Guy, comes back on THE BEAT.

So we are going to live and learn together.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:18:19]

MELBER: Donald Trump`s entire organization continues to operate under a mighty cloud since its indictment just two months ago, a day that featured the company`s chief financial officer walked away in handcuffs.

Now Trump`s inner circle going under oath, with two aides facing a grand jury in New York this afternoon. brand-new heat. "The Washington Post" reporting on new signs that the DA, Cyrus Vance, is simply not done with Matthew Calamari Jr., forced to talk under this new subpoena.

Now, his lawyers, to be clear, say he has done -- quote -- "nothing wrong."

Another longtime Trump moneyman will also testify, Jeffrey McConney. This would be his second time facing the grand jury.

Now, it`s a secretive process. We don`t know if more indictments are coming or not. I will tell you that very clearly. But we are getting new insight into who the prosecutors think they can indict, as court filings show an earlier reference. You may remember this.

There was this earlier reference to a Trump official who committed crimes, according to prosecutors, and tagged -- was thus tagged as a unindicted co- conspirator. Well, that is McConney, the moneyman I just mentioned, suggesting he`s cooperating to avoid meeting the fate of his boss, the indicted CFO.

Now, let me tell you something about Cy Vance. He is still working on all this. His likely replacement, though, is a lawyer named Alvin Bragg, who beat out seven candidates to become the Democratic nominee to replace Vance as DA and is now expected to win the general election, because it`s an overwhelmingly democratic electorate in Manhattan.

Now, in one of his last interviews before winning that race, he came on THE BEAT, where he said he will follow the facts in this Trump case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALVIN BRAGG, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY CANDIDATE: I led the team that held Trump and his children accountable for their misconduct with the Trump Foundation.

[18:20:05]

So, I go where the facts go. I do know that, in complex investigations -- I have come into them late in the stage before, being brought in to try complex cases. It`s important to have consistency and continuity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Continuity would certainly mean staying assertive. That`s how this DA`s office has been running.

But where is this case headed under the current DA, Cy Vance, and that next one we just showed you? Well, Trump Org insider Barbara Res is here. And attorney Maya Wiley stuck around, so we`re going to get into all of it in just 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Joining me now is former Trump Organization executive Barbara Res and Maya Wiley back with us.

Hello to both of you.

Barbara, what do you think about the grand jury heating up here and those people going in?

BARBARA RES, FORMER TRUMP ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it`s very good to have Jeff back.

Apparently, Jeff is immune. So he`s talking. And the fact that they are bringing him back in encouraging that they think he`s got something to offer.

And Calamari`s kid, he`s going to be useful. He can talk about on his own perks, and perhaps his father`s perks, and maybe he has some more information about Donald Trump. So I`m encouraged by it.

MELBER: Interesting. These are -- yes, these are individuals who are around the same orbit and some of the same allegations or questions about the misuse of company resources, which according to prosecutors, defrauds the public and has created what they call a criminal enterprise.

Now, Trump Org can fight that in court, we will see where that goes.

It is a big deal, Maya, that everyone expects the law to be equal and justly carried out regardless. But this is a big change after over a decade of Cy Vance.

Here`s how he, the current DA, talked about these kinds of cases, his general approach. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CYRUS VANCE, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I, as DA, have to be guided by evidence and the elements of the crime and my experts in the office.

And if I stop being guided by any of those things, and start being guided by outside influences, whether it`s money or whether it`s public opinion, then I`m not doing my job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: He says he follows the evidence and the facts.

Mr. Bragg, who`s now the nominee and really being treated in New York as the likely DA, told us he follows the evidence and the facts. So everybody`s saying the same things, Maya, but do you think that there is any potential shift or difference when the new DA comes in, which is really in just a couple months?

WILEY: You know, what I expect from Alvin Bragg is a very aggressive prosecution of this case, and nothing less.

Remember, Alvin is someone who`s an assistant United States attorney, as well as someone who served in the attorney general`s office for the state of New York. This is something that he was born to.

He`s a committed New Yorker. I think we were all deeply disturbed when we heard the news that Cy Vance`s office had left the Trump children go, Ivanka, and -- go when they had the potential deal that was fraudulent with one of their buildings and how they were advertising it.

And turned out that that ended up benefiting Cy Vance`s donations for his reelection. I`m not suggesting he did anything unlawful. I`m saying it did not look good to the public. I think Alvin Bragg is very aware of that, not as a New Yorker, but as an attorney, and as someone who has been committed to the rule of law, and I think we`re lucky to have him.

And I think he`s going to be a very aggressive prosecutor of this case.

MELBER: And it`s interesting really getting your perspective on that, because that`s going to matter, especially if there are tough calls to make, especially if they get more out of this grand jury proceeding, as I mentioned, testimony today and forthcoming, and they have to decide, do they want to take some big -- take on some big challenges.

[18:25:08]

Barbara, as for the actual issues here, I want to read a little bit from "The Wall Street Journal" coverage. They talk about, again, these other officials, not as well known, but senior and long-serving.

It says: "The elder Mr. Calamari has for years lived in an apartment at Trump Park Avenue and has driven this Mercedes that`s leased to the Trump Organization. And then his son lives in Trump Park East."

And they can live where they want. The prosecutors are looking at whether this was an effort to cheat on taxes and defraud.

Barbara, how common -- or did you hear about these kinds of arrangements when you were there? Or is this something that, to your knowledge developed later, or was super secret?

RES: As far as apartments are concerned and big things like that, I hadn`t heard about anything like that.

Cars? Yes. I had a car myself, actually. But I don`t think that he was giving out apartments that workers could -- clearly could not afford at that period of time. But I see the evolution of it. And I`m sure that Matt has an apartment that Trump gave him some way or some other.

And his son, my God, I mean, Trump Park East, he`s just out of school now. I don`t even know if he finished college. Something is wrong there .

MELBER: And, Maya, I wanted to get your view on the counterargument. As we say around here, you really have to look at both sides of the case, and then people can make up their own mind.

But one of the stronger types of arguments legally that was offered by Trump`s lawyers -- and they spoke sort of in front of that courthouse the day of the first indictment -- they said, look, the DA went all the way to the Supreme Court to get Donald Trump`s own tax returns. They have been under a microscope for years. The DA`s time is running out, which is partly true, in terms of him personally, that office.

And they said the best that the DA came up with is stuff that is not typically handled criminally. And there`s certainly a precedent for civil cases on these tax matters, that they`re not always indictments. And so they said, this is the best they got, and we have been under a microscope and they didn`t get that much.

What is your view or even potentially analysis or rebuttal to that argument?

WILEY: Well, then I would ask, why did Trump`s lawyers work so hard to keep his tax returns from the district attorney? And why did Michael Cohen, who was a personal attorney to Donald Trump, actually testify before Congress, make -- actually say that he was guilty?

And, remember, he didn`t get a plea deal, and then testified before Congress, getting no personal benefit, but, like, obviously, hoping he might get some, but said, look, tax fraud and insurance fraud were (AUDIO GAP) and even implicating at one point Mr. Calamari`s father, the COO of Trump Org.

So, all I would say is, it is certainly true that we don`t know all the facts. We haven`t seen all the evidence that we know the district attorney has. And, by the way, no self-respecting prosecutor is going to tip their hand publicly, let alone to the defense attorneys, unless they have to.

So we simply don`t know. But I would just say that the behavior of Donald Trump himself has demonstrated that he`s got plenty to fear.

MELBER: Strong.

RES: Can I say one thing also?

MELBER: Please.

RES: This practice of paying people as consultants that work five days a week, eight hours a day in the office is nothing new. That was around a long time ago.

And everybody knew about it.

MELBER: Yes. And so you`re mentioning more than one thing there and the double dipping. I mean, they paid family members who were employees, executives, as consultants.

"The New York Times" report on that put a lot of heat on I think it was Ivanka Trump and the idea that might be illegal. That is one thing that, as of yet, has not surfaced as a charge or a claim in the DA case.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Go ahead, Barbara.

RES: I`m sorry.

There are other employees that they did that with also. And I do think that might be part of it, this failure to pay any tax for these people, security tax, that kind of thing, because they are truly employees, but they are working as consultants.

MELBER: Right, all very interesting and an update on a case that some may not have thought about recently with a lot going on in the news, but the grand jury is at work today. So it`s a big deal.

Barbara and Maya, thanks to both of you.

Up ahead, we have several reports, including something that we want to show you about the evidence of racial profiling in Los Angeles, a so-called Rodeo Drive task force.

Also, an unusual new indictment that`s tied to the murder of an unarmed black man. We have talked about accountability, and how, in some places, some of this stuff is changing. We`re going to bring you that story, if you haven`t heard it yet.

[18:30:09]

But, first, you have this flash flooding across the New York area. You have record high temperatures all through this past summer, over 115 degrees in Portland. What is going on?

Bill Nye, The Science Guy, is going to walk us through it, and even what you might do about it, when we`re back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: America`s currently confronting multiple deadly disasters.

There`s torrential flooding all across the East, remnants of Hurricane Ida dumping massive rainfall. It`s actually caused what they estimate is a one- in-a-500-year flood in some places. The West battling these infernos, the Caldor Fire burning up parts of California. Whole towns have effectively been wiped off the map; 25 people are now dead across three states from the storm.

Massive flooding over New York City. We have seen the images on TV and online, some really scary stuff. The city actually got its first ever flash flood emergency. That`s some of what it looked like in the subways, underwater, paralyzing what is America`s largest city, when you obviously can`t commute there.

Now, there are rescues under way, and some residents around New York really lost everything.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF LOPEZ, FLOOD SURVIVOR: I`m left with nothing. We`re homeless right now.

[18:35:00]

But this all -- we`re all going to come together. And we`re going to figure out a solution. And we will go from there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s one problem.

Out West, there are those fires that are threatening Tahoe. It is just a terrible scene for firefighters, apocalyptic images, firefighters fighting what are really truly hellish conditions. The thick red smoky haze is everywhere. This is here around Lake Tahoe today.

Scientists have warned all of this, they know, the evidence shows, is exacerbated by climate change. President Biden today calling for action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To the country, the past few days of Hurricane Ida, and the wildfires in the West and the unprecedented flash floods in New York and New Jersey is yet another reminder that these extreme storms and the climate crisis are here.

We need to do -- be much better prepared. We need to act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: As promised, Bill Nye, the science educator, the TV host, the author of the "Great Big World of Science," is here.

Thank you, sir.

BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: Thank you.

MELBER: What is happening?

NYE: Climate is changing because we`re adding all this heat to the atmosphere, and because we have added carbon dioxide to the atmosphere especially.

And it holds in heat, and the world`s getting warmer. Warmer world puts more energy in storms. More energy in storms, more heat, means more -- leads to more evaporation of water from the sea surface. And it ends up on the land when the conditions are wrong.

It`s -- everybody, we have been talking about this for 30 years. And it`s just time to get to work.

MELBER: When people say, oh, but, Bill, I have seen hurricanes before, and some are stronger than others, and, gosh, I don`t know, what is the data or evidence that says they are actually more extreme, more fierce more often now because of human-caused climate change?

NYE: Well, the evidence is -- for us in the science community is overwhelming.

And so the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, issued its most serious, most strongly worded statement yet. And so what we need to do, everybody, is everything all at once.

Part of the problem, not only was Ida, not only is Ida an enormous storm, carrying a huge amount of water, but as decades of going on, we have paved more and more of, in this case, New York City. And so when the water lands on the hard surfaces, people call hardscape, hardscapes, it just has nowhere to go.

And so this leads to catastrophic flooding. And if you are a viewer, not in the New York area, not in the Northeast, not in the Eastern Time Zone, keep in mind there are eight million people in New York City. It`s an enormous place with enormous number of your fellow citizens.

And they have a tremendous effect on the economy. So, when you shut down an enormous city like New York, it affects all of us economically. And, of course, the individual suffering is -- well, it`s miserable.

So we have to do everything all at once. And that would be no longer put carbon dioxide in the air, get new sources of electricity. And then we have to modify or change the way we build especially the suburbs, where we make these hardscapes, where the water can`t escape.

MELBER: What are the biggest drivers of that carbon emission now? I mean, if you could really change the entire car market or the amount of air travel, where would you start there and just the tangibles people can grasp?

NYE: Well, so as far as cars go, just keep in mind we want to electrify all ground transportation. And by we, I`m talking about the engineering community.

We want electric cars, electric buses, electric trains, and not kidding, everybody, someday, electric airplanes. And this technology looks achievable. And people go on about these billionaires flying their rockets and so on, but keep in mind they`re working ultimately toward hydrogen fuel, which would, on paper or in certain plants, engineering plants, is doable.

If you had hydrogen fuel, for certain applications, you could avoid -- you could avoid putting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But for us in the engineering community...

MELBER: And, Bill, if I`m not mistaken, that`s also what was used in the very end of "Back to the Future," a little bit of hydrogen banana, and it makes the car travel through time.

(CROSSTALK)

NYE: Yes, right. Sure.

If you can`t trust science fiction movies for a future, an optimistic view of the future, where are you going?

(LAUGHTER)

[18:40:00]

NYE: But, seriously, folks, a big idea, everybody, I want everybody to grasp, is recycling water bottles is good. Of course, we want everyone to live responsibly.

But that`s not going to do it. We need big ideas.

MELBER: Yes.

NYE: We need big changes.

MELBER: Bigger things, yes.

Well, Bill...

NYE: Yes. And so, everybody, I`m not joking you. Be sure to vote. Be sure to vote, so that we keep going forward and not regress.

MELBER: Right.

And, as mentioned, there is a president here who`s actually calling for this. There are some provisions of this recent spending bill to deal with climate, but not to the degree of what you and other experts have said, and, frankly, sadly, been proven right about the scale of this.

This is not something we`re doing for somebody else or some later generation, although that is also fine. This is something we need to do for ourselves right now, as you saw there, in the fires, in the flooding. This is real.

And so, Bill Nye, we appreciate you walking us through it. And maybe someday we could make climate change the science fiction, rather than the reality. That would be good, and make the reality of even better truth.

The book is the "Big World of Science."

Bill Nye, a veteran of THE BEAT, we appreciate you.

We`re going to fit in a break, but I have got several stories coming up that I told you about, including the evidence of racial discrimination, this in L.A., in a very Democratic city, but you need to know what`s going on and why people are calling for change.

And a big, big story out of the Supreme Court, big day for law.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:45:36]

MELBER: Flagrantly unconstitutional, that`s what Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor calls this Texas abortion ban, which is now law.

The Supreme Court on which she sits is not blocking it, a bit of a departure from the way some other cases have gone. In a 5-4 ruling, we basically have a conservative majority court operating to, for now, back up Texas.

Chief Justice Roberts did, however, join the court`s three liberal members in dissent, calling the statutory scheme unusual and unprecedented. That`s a Bush appointee.

Sotomayor accuses the conservatives, meanwhile, of basically burying their heads in the sand about what is, in her view and many experts` views, the de facto ending of Roe v. Wade in America.

The Supreme Court has basically stopped the operation of Roe v. Wade in Texas. The law that we have been covering there bans abortions after six weeks, which experts say and many people already know is just a period of time where, as a practical matter, the person who might exercise what the Supreme Court said is a personal choice and right wouldn`t know they`re pregnant and be able to do so.

There is also no exception in Texas for rape or incest.

Today, Florida lawmakers are now considering a similar law. They just saw the green light from the Supreme Court this week. South Dakota`s Republican governor also talking about tightening up their approach.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, of course, put three conservative justices on this court. And one of the arguments at the time, maybe you were there and remember it as well, even if that happens, Roe is sacrosanct, Roe is a -- quote -- "super precedent."

That`s what we were told, including by some conservative activists who were trying to find pragmatic ways to sell those justices on the court.

Meanwhile, in the era of COVID battles, we hear a lot about liberty and smaller government and personal freedom. Where are the Republican libertarians on this personal freedom? Where are they wanting to make very big decisions for other people, while going around saying you can`t tell them to even put on a mask when they`re in a restaurant?

We are witnessing not only hypocrisy in the party of right-wing big government. We are witnessing, according to the experts, the basic rollback of Roe v. Wade in plain sight.

And we turn to an expert who has followed these issues considerably for NPR. I bet you know her voice, maybe even know her face from being on MSNBC as well, NPR`s legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg.

How you doing? I like the roses.

(LAUGHTER)

NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: Thank you. There`s actually crepe myrtle from my garden.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: All right. Fantastic.

Nina, we have we about this before. I actually want to play something for you that speaks to I think what is really a lot of anger and concern out there.

Here`s Susan Collins saying, basically, no one had anything to worry about if these Trump justices got on the court. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh will overturn Roe v. Wade.

DANA BASH, CNN: Because precedents are overturned...

COLLINS: I could not vote for a judge who had demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade.

As the judge asserted to me, a long-established precedent is not something to be trimmed.

He noted that Roe had been reaffirmed.

I asked him, is it sufficient if five current sitting justices believe that Roe should be overturned? And he said no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Is this Supreme Court -- quote -- "reaffirming Roe" this week?

TOTENBERG: No, it`s definitely not doing that.

And there`s this case. And we can discuss this case in a minute. But in a couple of months, of course, when we hear a direct challenge to Roe in a case from Mississippi, which has a 16-week limit. I think this bans any abortion after 15 weeks.

And the state is now asking the court directly to overturn Roe. And a number of other conservative groups and pro-life groups are doing the same. So there is the opportunity for the court. And that would be -- could be with six members, because Chief Justice Roberts has always been hostile to abortion rights in general.

But it`s possible that six or five members of the court would constitute a majority to overturn Roe.

[18:50:06]

In the meantime, we have got this case. And to be fair, Ari, the court majority said, look, we`re not ruling on any constitutional question here. But we shouldn`t take this up for procedural reasons.

The liberals, not the chief justice, but the liberals, by and large, I think, treated that as something of a sham. But the essence of the problem in this case is that the Texas legislature on purpose made it very difficult to get this case and this law before any court.

And so no court has even had a hearing on this piece of legislation, which delegates private individuals to sue for unlimited damages, it appears, anybody who is involved in aiding or abetting an abortion beyond roughly six weeks.

MELBER: Do you think then that the Texas law could stand, even if the court doesn`t formally overturn Roe?

TOTENBERG: I think it could conceivably stand.

But I think, eventually, some judge somewhere in Texas, and maybe many judges, will conduct a trial that grants damages to somebody who drives somebody to an abortion clinic, to a receptionist at the front desk, even to a clinic, maybe to -- family members against family members.

The critics of this law call it a Stasi-like law, where people are informing on one another. But the state is not the enforcement mechanism of this law. It`s people on the street, anybody, without a personal vested interest.

And I don`t know how the court will view that, if it ever confronts the issue. But, in the meantime, it does have the whole question of Roe before it sooner, rather than later.

MELBER: Yes, and I think you walk through it well, including, of course, the procedural distinctions.

But it`s certainly an inflection point in this jurisprudence. And we will see what the court does.

Nina Totenberg, as always, thank you for joining us.

TOTENBERG: Oh, thank you for having me, Ari.

MELBER: Absolutely.

Coming up, we turn to the story I promised you, new evidence of racial profiling in Los Angeles.

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[18:56:49]

MELBER: Turning to a big and actually quite unusual legal development in a case you may recall regarding Ahmaud Arbery, who was murdered.

The former DA who initially handled this case, Jackie Johnson, has now been indicted in what the AP calls an effort to shield the men who actually killed Arbery from ever being charged initially.

Now, the charges against her include violating her oath of public office, as well as obstruction. Now, one of the people who killed Arbery was also a former investigator under Johnson, the kind of conflict of interests we have scrutinized in the program; 24-year-old -- excuse me -- 25-year-old Arbery was jogging in Georgia last year when the two men followed him, shot him and killed him.

Now, this trial will begin in February.

The other story I mention that`s very important because it reveals so much of what we have been covering here in law and order and justice involves Beverly Hills police. They have this task force that`s now under fire for racial profiling.

Now, this was designed to, according to the P.D., be a safe streets initiative, and it dealt with a place that`s quite famous in America, Rodeo Drive. But a new lawsuit filed by a well-known civil rights lawyer, Benjamin Crump, actually has evidence that, when they arrested 106 people over a period of just under a year, 99 percent, 105, were black, and the 106th individual arrested was Latino.

That is an overwhelmingly discriminatory tab. The suit cites an incident also caught on body camera footage where police stopped someone who was actually a very senior official, the vice president of Versace footwear, Salehe Bembury.

And he actually in real time was criticizing the officers for what seemed like racial discrimination and the lack-of-evidence stop. He was being searched for a bag of shoes that he himself designed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SALEHE BEMBURY, VICE PRESIDENT OF VERSACE FOOTWEAR: What is unfortunate is, like, I literally designed the shoes that are in this bag and I`m being (EXPLETIVE DELETED) searched for it.

I was just walking down the street, and it`s a little ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, like, I told you the why, right? Just because...

BEMBURY: I understand, but the pat-down feels excessive.

Because I feel -- you hear it in my voice. I`m uncomfortable. I`m nervous. You understand the climate that we`re in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. No, no, I understand. Is there anything I can do to make you feel more comfortable?

BEMBURY: Not really, dude. Not really.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re not in handcuffs or anything, right?

BEMBURY: Like, your boys are pulling up. I`m uncomfortable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s just a little bit of what we`re learning.

And this is in a city that, of course, is largely more liberal, run by Democrats.

That`s why these are not always partisan issues. Now, what does the city say? They say this task force was designed to curb what they had as documented burglary, shoplifting and other violations in the area. They are not disputing the facts of the arrest data, which I`m showing you are discriminatory.

The lawsuit brings up the larger issue of how racial profiling works and how it escalates these police interactions, some of which can turn more violent.

In L.A. as a whole, 28 percent of all stops involve African-Americans, who make up nine percent of the population. Or take San Francisco, another largely liberal city. black residents there are 5 percent of the population, but 26 percent of the stops. Or, across the U.S., we have a study of over 800 separate places where black people are arrested at five times the rate of white Americans.

This is important. It is not partisan. It`s a bigger problem than that. And we will stay on the story.

Thanks for spending time with THE BEAT.

"THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" is up next.