Carole King and Fat Joe speak out. The final states in the presidential election are called. President Trump finally breaks his post-election defeat silence.
KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.
Hey there, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hey, Katy. Thank you very much.
Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.
And this historic week in America ends with more resolution on the campaign. We have Joe Biden now as s the apparent winner in Georgia. There is still, we should note, a recount under way. NBC does make that projection, though. That's a confident view of the current result.
It grows Biden's total victory to 306 electoral votes to 232 for Trump. That's actually the exact same state electoral margin that Trump won by in 2016, while Joe Biden's edge in the total vote is far higher.
So, that right there is the raw factual context, Donald Trump as the loser of the race for his reemergence late today, yes, President Trump actually speaking for the first time since he became the loser of the election, and entered this lame-duck period.
Now, we are not playing a single excerpt or sound bite from those new remarks in the lead of this news program, because, frankly, we reviewed it, and there was very little news. Trump did not concede or even address his loss directly. He made a passing reference to the future. We will play that for you a little later.
The other news on the campaign trail reinforces the reporting that we have actually been bringing you all week, Donald Trump's mounting losses in the courtroom. Today, a Michigan judge ruling that Trump's attacks on the Biden victory in that state are simply -- quote -- "incorrect and not credible" and thus green-lighting the standard road towards the certification of the Biden victory there.
In other states, Donald Trump's legal efforts are doing even worse.
Now, if you're listening, you may think, wait, what could be worse than losing to a judge like what I just showed you? Well, surrendering, all on your own before you even get to that later stage, which is exactly what team Trump is now doing in Arizona, where Trump's loss is set in stone, so the remaining cases, as we have reported, would not change the state result outcome anyway, Arizona now going blue for the first time in 24 years.
Those are your election updates tonight.
Now, we have a very special show plan for you to end this week. I can tell you I am excited about every part of it. We're going to get to that new clip I mentioned. We're also going to hear from historian Michael Beschloss and from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
And for any music or "Tapestry" fans out there, we have the great Carole King thoughts on this election live by the end of the hour.
But we begin with our political experts kicking us off right now.
We are joined by Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist with "The Washington Post," and David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones," and two individuals we have relied on throughout this entire wild campaign ride.
David, what does it mean to you to see the president emerge, finally, and stay on a script, while avoiding addressing his loss?
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He clearly knows that he lost.
If he really believed -- and he also doesn't believe that it was stolen. If he really believed that -- if you really believed American democracy was being defrauded, and that the will of the people was being stolen from them, wouldn't you say something about it?
Wouldn't you be angry about it? Wouldn't you make your case when you have the cameras and the people watching you? It's easy to sit wherever he may sit when he tweets and put out conspiracy theories that have no backing and say, I was robbed, I was stolen -- it was stolen from me.
But when he comes out there in front of the nation as president, he knows he lost. And this whole other stuff is about building a narrative for his 70-plus-million cultish followers, so they can have the last cause, like the South will rise again, in case he wants to either run again, in case he wants to have a TV network, or come up with some other grifting operation.
He wants to keep that base, and he can keep it if they are all victimized. But he knows it's bogus. That's why he didn't talk about it today, because he has nothing to say.
MELBER: Yes, it was a real tell on a day when, as we mentioned, Joe Biden marks this victory in Georgia, typically a red state, Gene.
We're also hearing from former President Obama talking about the stakes and this dangerous path. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials who clearly know better are going along with this, are humoring him in this fashion. It is one more step in delegitimizing not just the incoming Biden administration, but democracy generally. And that's a dangerous path.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first, we should be troubled by President Trump, right?
You don't have -- a losing president doesn't really we have a right to act like this, to act like a petulant 2-year-old. I mean, it's ridiculous and demeaning and insulting and damaging, damaging to the traditions and rituals of our democracy. And it's awful.
And then, of course, President Obama is right. The fact that other Republicans just won't come out and speak the truth is shameful and should be held against them forever, because it is a shameful abdication of their role.
But the question now is, how many times does Donald Trump want to lose this election, right? He lost it in the tabulation of the votes. He's losing it again now in court. He's going to lose it again in the recounts. I mean, he keeps -- he's just going to lose over and over again.
It may dawn on him at some point that it was bad enough to lose once, but how many times is he going to repeat the experience?
MELBER: Well, Gene, a casual listener might think that you were just using the word lose a lot.
MELBER: But you are a Pulitzer Prize-winning "Washington Post" reporter, and you are referring -- I just want to be clear, you're referring to actual events, where the objective technical word is losing the case in Michigan, losing the case in Arizona, losing several cases in Pennsylvania.
We walked through some of that last night. And so that's a choice. That is a choice to decide, David, that this grievance campaign is worth something, or even worth that embarrassment for the president, if he doesn't like people accurately referring to him being the loser of the race, and then the loser of these state cases, and then the loser of the certification appeal.
That goes to the future. And to the point you raise, David, I told viewers, we were very clear. We try to give thought to proportion of how we give you the news. So, it wasn't the top thing in the broadcast. It wasn't more important than the Georgia victory.
But I will play now briefly the context for what the president said today. First, you're going to see what we put together, which was the last time before the race was called and the kind of Donald Trump we were seeing, who was still claiming he was on his way to victory. That was Thursday last week, and then a little clip from the one time in this COVID presser today where he referred to, gosh, the future, who knows what's going to happen?
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, that's the way this country is going to win. That's the way the United States will win. And we think we will win the election very easily.
Ideally, we won't go to a lockdown. I will not go -- this administration will not be going to a lockdown.
Hopefully, the -- the -- whatever happens in the future -- who knows which administration it will be? I guess time will tell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: David, that's the one place where he said it. And it was -- it struck me as a classic Donald Trump blurting. It wasn't in the prepared COVID remarks.
It was, I guess I will mention, who knows what'll happen next?
CORN: Donald Trump got to where he is by defying reality. As a reality TV star, it was all about manufacturing reality.
As a candidate, he's lied. And, as president, he's lied more than a couple tens of thousands of times, right? He's not a guy who feels tethered or restrained by reality. I think he tried to B.S. his way through a pandemic. It didn't work. A quarter -- almost a quarter-of-a-million Americans dead.
At some point -- and Gene and I and you, we have been saying this for a long time -- you eventually run into the wall. There is a reality there. People are dying. The election is done. At January 20, you will no longer be in the White House.
And so his whole demeanor today indicated that it's seeping in. Of course, he doesn't like it. And he's going to come up with some Trumpian way of acknowledging this in some fashion. Yes, it was stolen from me. I'm out of here. You guys are on your own. Goodbye. Good luck.
I mean, he's not going to give a gracious concession. He's not going to help Joe Biden one iota in the transition, unlike what Barack Obama did or George W. Bush did. He doesn't care about the country. He doesn't care about the pandemic. It's just going to go through the motions, and he's going to keep looking ahead to whatever his next gig is going to be.
So, yes, he kind of blurted it out today. But it wasn't...
CORN: ... any responsible way.
MELBER: It seems, David, like you're saying he's not keeping it real.
CORN: He's not keeping it real. But, eventually, he will go his way and we will go our way. And he can't keep that from happening.
ROBINSON: Well, he said in that clip that time will tell. But, in fact, time has told. And it's done.
ROBINSON: There's a meme going around that said, Donald Trump had -- has been having the emblematic, the representative 2020 experience, right? He got COVID, he lost his job, and he's getting evicted.
And that's where Donald Trump is right now. And that's not an easy reality for anybody. But it is reality. And David is right. He will probably stomp often, and without any sort of concession or anything like that. But he will, indeed, stomp away.
MELBER: And, Gene, I also want to ask you about -- and you referred to this earlier -- the lack of any voter fraud evidence and the inability for Donald Trump to bend the government to his will.
And there have been people -- and I have heard from some of them -- saying, but wait a minute, what about all these other things that used to work? And what about Bill Barr did seem to play fast and loose with certain things in earlier eras. And it did seem to be a problem. And, again, power moves swiftly, as you guys know from covering this so much.
I want to just show "The Washington Post." Bill Barr had his little memo, and we fact-checked why it wasn't really doing anything. And then you have the Bill Barr Justice Department saying prosecutors assigned to monitor election malfeasance tell Barr they see -- quote -- "no evidence of substantial irregularities, no evidence of the kind of fraud that Barr's memo had highlighted to look for," Gene.
ROBINSON: Well, the government is still staffed largely with people who believe in reality, who believe in facts.
And you can't just sort of erase all of that and make anything happen that you conceivably would want to happen. And what would that be at this point anyhow? I mean, as you said, the court cases are our tissue paper, if that.
I mean, they're so flimsy, if you sort of look at what these judges are actually saying. I wrote in my column that the -- the Trump people are being laughed out of court, but that was actually a correction. The judges are not amused.
ROBINSON: They're not happy at frivolous litigation being filed and wasting their time.
ROBINSON: And so, again, it's just running into reality.
MELBER: Yes, it's tissue paper so thin, it might not even stick to a shoe.
I'm over on time.
But, David, I know your musical tastes. Do you have any message you want me to pass on to Carole King tonight, David Corn?
CORN: OK, you have frozen me for a second. So, I didn't hear the question.
MELBER: I said, David Corn, I know your musical tastes. I'm over on time. But is there any message you want me to pass on to Carole King, who's here later?
CORN: Well, I think we felt the earth move this past week.
CORN: It didn't move a lot, but it moved enough.
So, pass that message on to Carole King for me.
MELBER: It would be my honor. And no worries about freezing. We're all living in a Zoom era.
And I remind viewers, if anything goes wrong, it's probably our fault here, as we manage all the different feeds.
David Corn, Gene Robinson, thank you so much.
As mentioned, we have a big show tonight. We're back in just 30 seconds, updates on Obama's new warnings, a special look at Biden's road to the historic 306 electoral votes that have given him a decisive victory. We're going to show you some really special tape.
There's new reporting on a split inside the Trump family.
And with Donald Trump reemerging, we return to Michael Cohen -- when we're back in 30 seconds.
MELBER: Welcome back to THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER.
Let's get right to it, Donald Trump's longtime former lawyer Michael Cohen, the author of "Disloyal," out now.
Michael, Donald Trump finally reemerged. Did he come up short today, in your view?
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY/FIXER FOR DONALD TRUMP: Yes, he's very short.
I mean, I watched him on television, and he looks terrible. He's behaving terribly, as are the sycophants around him. I mean, it's just a total disgrace what he's doing. He's making a complete mockery of the presidency. And he's putting a stain on his presidency of -- of 2016.
I don't understand what he's doing.
MELBER: You been with him in rooms when he's plotted and battled. You have spoken out about that. You have written some about it.
Which Trump did we see when, as I was showing viewers a moment ago, the guy who was there at least Thursday, however wrong he was, seemed to have some fight in him. And he has gotten a long ways by making people think there will always be one more gambit, one more fight, one more aggressive move.
Have you ever seen -- does it remind you of any time where he ends up like this, I mean, no fight today?
Well, when Donald Trump loses, he becomes a baby. And that's basically where he's in right now. He's in complete shock mode. See, first, like everybody, he has emotions too, even though he will pretend that he doesn't.
First, it's anger. And that's what he was expressing was the anger. And now he's in shock mode. What's going to happen to me? That's what's bothering him most. What's going to happen to me, as I now move forward, and all the litigation is going to start?
How do I go ahead and become the grifter in chief, as I'm now setting up this media company that I have been talking about since 2016 and 2015?
So, yes, I have seen him in this mode before. It's not common, but I have seen (AUDIO GAP) on a presidential level.
MELBER: You mentioned the idea of a media or media political project.
You were there. You were in very good graces with him in '16. Do you remember talk then about that? And does that give you any insights into what he's up to now?
COHEN: So, the answer to that is. yes. We spoke about it.
Not only did I speak about it. Jared Kushner was the one that really put it most in his mind, when he said to Mr. Trump that you have to understand that the power does not lie anywhere, except for in the hands of the media. And he was, of course, referring to himself, the fact that he had owned this small paper called "The Observer" that he -- that was really worthless.
But he would talk about how much power that is brought to him. Well, that, looking at now Rupert Murdoch, looking at FOX News, his whole goal is to basically replace FOX News. And he believes that with the 100 million followers that he has, that he will have an institution.
MELBER: Let me play a little bit of -- this was...
COHEN: But here's the mistake that he's making.
MELBER: Let me play Barbara Res, Michael.
Just Barbara Res discussing this as well from the Trump Organization with us. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA RES, FORMER TRUMP ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: The notion of being a loser is something that he couldn't even possibly conceive or believe. So, I don't think he believes that he's a loser quite yet.
It's a matter of wresting now this loss, as it were, from the victory of Biden. And he will do anything. He will do -- Michael is absolutely right. If all else fails, he will burn down the house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I have been talking to Michael Cohen.
And I think we have -- as I mentioned, sometimes, this happens, the Zoom issues.
Do I have you back, Michael, or no?
COHEN: Am I back?
MELBER: I think you're back. One, two, three?
What I was going to ask you, if you can hear me -- and, if not, we will make do -- is, Barbara was agreeing with you about how much it bothers him to feel like a loser. But, in distinction of what she said, oh, that he will do so many terrible things -- and, look, it's a long ways until January -- but, today, he seemed someone more intent on playing president, talking COVID, than threatening to do anything about the results.
Well, as I have said before -- and, yes, Barbara is right. Donald Trump will burn down the house because it's no longer his house. This acting presidential, this is -- again, this is just part of his building up and to be able to promote to his followers (AUDIO GAP) the fact it's been stolen from him.
He will go on with that narrative for as long as he possibly can. He knows (AUDIO GAP) internally and then showing it externally.
COHEN: He cannot show to the world who he is, which is a loser in this case.
So, what he will do is, he will pretend that he's strong, that he's dealing with it, that he's fighting it. The whole purpose is in order to turn -- it's a money grab...
COHEN: ... something I talked about on your show several days ago.
MELBER: It's all really -- it's all really important, because we need to understand, especially with people who've been there, these facts, and then, proportionately, move on from the situation.
I want to thank Michael Cohen, even with Wi-Fi. At times, you were coming through in waves. But we did get the gist. And I appreciate your time tonight.
I'm going to fit in a break.
But, up ahead, we have a very special segment on the winners and losers this week. We think it will be interesting.
We're also going to dig in next to former President Obama's important new warning. I'm going to tell you what I think about it and why he has tough words for the GOP, blistering comments on the responsibility abdicated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The presidency and the vice presidency is bigger than any of us.
So, I have instructed my team to work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the president-elect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: President Obama four years ago showing professionalism and class to an incoming president who offered very little of that in return.
So, perhaps it's a fitting final contrast for everyone to see Donald Trump is incapable of meeting that standard. You could call it the Obama standard. You could also just call it the typical presidential transition standard, if you want.
But it is one more reinforcement of these times we're living in, tumult, revolt, fear, an America varying between presidents that are so obviously different, Obama to Trump, to Biden.
Now, the former president waited, deliberately, until after the results to offer some more personal candor about all of this.
Obama has intentionally held his long-awaited presidential biography until after this race, a choice that would, of course, keep the spotlight on the Democratic nominee and the current president.
Now, Obama made that choice, of course, before he knew the nominee would ultimately reflect his own choice back in 2008 for who should be president, if not him, Joe Biden.
And as part of this new book tour, we are now hearing from Obama for the first time about some extra aspects of how he views Donald Trump as a severe aberration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: When Donald Trump won, I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning, and I then called Donald Trump to congratulate him.
His margin of victory over Hillary Clinton wasn't greater than Joe Biden's margin over him.
GAYLE KING, HOST, "CBS THIS MORNING": Joe Biden's, yes.
I think about John McCain calling, George and Laura Bush welcoming you and Michelle Obama to the White House.
OBAMA: Could not have been more gracious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Could not have been more gracious.
Everyone knows Obama doesn't really take a lot of cheap shots. If anything, his own supporters have been frustrated sometimes at how measured he can be.
He will look for any reasonable interpretation of opponents' actions. He will try to think through their views. He will discuss that in public. I think those traits actually made him an excellent writer and lawyer, by the way.
So it is notable that today, in these new remarks, Obama does not even see any reasonable way to cut Donald Trump emotional or theoretical slack. Barack Obama is not joining this odd snowflake chorus of enablers who say Donald Trump needs days and days of processing time that no other politician ever gets, or the conservatives who suddenly think one man's delicate snowflake and narcissistic foolery should hold up the national security transition of this country.
No. No, sir.
Today, in these two interviews, Barack Obama hits the stakes and the costs of Donald Trump's failure to concede, an active choice to fan misinformation, which could hamper civic life for a long time to come.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: They appear to be motivated in part because the president doesn't like to lose and never admits loss.
If you are listening to some of the talk radio that Trump voters are listening to, if you're watching FOX News, if you're getting these tweets, those allegations are presented as facts.
So, you have got millions of people out there who think, oh, yes, there must be cheating because the president said so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Now, where do we go from here?
Former President Obama is telling everyone it's bigger than Trump. He addressed his top Republicans abdicating their responsibility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: They obviously didn't think there was any fraud going on, because they didn't say anything about it for the first two days.
But there's damage to this, because what happens is that the peaceful transfer of power, the notion that any of us who attain an elected office, whether it's dogcatcher or president, are servants of the people. It's a temporary job. We're not above the rules. We're not above the law. That's the essence of our democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That's deep. The jobs are temporary. We are all temporary. What we're trying to build to on our best days, democracy and justice, that's permanent.
I got to fit in a break, but let me tell you, coming up, we are learning a lot about the coalition that actually brought down Trump. And we have something very special and new to show you with that.
We also have a special Friday conversation about the way forward with some very special guests, including -- you know I'm psyched -- the one and only Carole King.
MELBER: For good reason, this election had a longer period of time for people to vote, with the extended early and mail voting for the pandemic.
And then, of course, we know it took longer to call. America spent five long days and nights watching those results come in on the big board, until Saturday, when Joe Biden became the president-elect, and Donald Trump became the loser of the race.
Even then, some state calls were still pending until today. Those last remaining state calls have finally arrived, NBC projecting by the apparent winner of Georgia and Trump winning North Carolina.
All of that taken together grows Biden's Electoral College lead to the final count of 306 to 232, a resolution to an election with record-breaking turnout and days of suspense, as Americans were riveted watching these results and reactions pour in.
So, given this historic week, we have actually been working on something special for you right now, our take on just some of the highlights from election week and the coverage and the memorable moments on THE BEAT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Election night in America, it's here.
CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, not going to be like any previous election night.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: It is going to be a big night tonight. No matter what happens in the end, we are in for the long haul.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: The numbers start to add up as we get late in the night.
MADDOW: Man of the year Steve Kornacki is at the board.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Biden sitting at 209, Trump sitting at 212, Florida, Georgia.
MELBER: How many hours have you slept since this thing started?
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Our man, our champion living on Diet Coke and adrenaline this week.
MADDOW: The other potential externality here could be legal challenges.
MELBER: The federal courts of the United States, which have been dealing with elections for literally hundreds of years, they're not Twitter.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, "MORNING JOE": We have an announcement to make. Joe Biden, he is president-elect.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse coalition in history.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: The generations of women, black, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women.
MELBER: Congresswoman, it seems like it's still emotional for you today. Is it still sort of sinking in?
REP. DEB HAALAND (D-NM): It's a moment that will resonate with so many women of color and young girls across this country.
MELBER: Do we need a reckoning with how far Donald Trump got here, which shows how far we have to go?
We should not forget Trumpism, its causes, its anger.
What do you think of this many people dancing to this song "F Donald Trump," your uncle?
MARY TRUMP, AUTHOR, "TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH: HOW MY FAMILY CREATED THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS MAN": I understand it entirely.
MELBER: Robert De Niro joins us on THE BEAT.
ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: In all of those parts, there's a certain dignity somewhere buried in there that I don't think a person like Trump -- I know doesn't have.
COHEN: Donald Trump is acting like a crybaby. It was a fair election. The election is over.
MELBER: Was that a low-key reference to Drake's "Over."
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's over for Trump. Yes, it's over.
MELBER: In other words, you lose on the law or you lose on the facts
Is essentially channeling Nicki Minaj's classic, "No Frauds," where she made it quite plain, I don't need no frauds, don't need no drama, don't need no lies.
This is legally relevant. Bill Barr's memo is so weak, it is so soft, it does not even merit association with any hard-hip-hop lyrics.
No matter what song you sing, this wouldn't change a thing.
BIDEN: Stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They're Americans.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, FOUNDER AND CEO, THRIVE GLOBAL: This is a profound message.
MELBER: Some of those who lost aren't even acknowledging the fact that they lost.
ERIC TRUMP, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: This is absolute fraud. We're going to win Pennsylvania.
MELBER: Trump finally left the White House for the first time today since becoming the loser of this race.
What ends with the loser of the election quietly typing tweets into the night. The game's over. Donald Trump is the loser. Trump is the loser of the race, the loser, loser, loser.
America has rejected Trump. We can remember exactly how we got here, but also forget Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a lot of work to do moving forward. I'm excited that democracy won.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The jubilation has poured into the streets and cities and towns across the country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are thousands of people in the streets of Times Square right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The last four years have been really hard for parents. And I feel like we have created a better opportunity and a better world for our children. And that means a lot today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: On this one, the voters get the last word.
We're going to fit in a break.
Coming up, the legend Carole King is here for a special conversation about 2020 with our friend historian Michael Beschloss and more -- right after this.
MELBER: Fridays are special on THE BEAT.
We like to take time to reflect with special guests from across the entire spectrum of news, politics, and culture. It's part of our "Fallback Friday" series. And this is the first one since the election was decided. So, we're going to do it up big.
We are joined by Emmy-winning historian Michael Beschloss, the author of nine books. He's been with us every step of this campaign. And the Grammy-nominated rapper Fat Joe, the Bronx Terror Squad sensation known for hits like "What's Luv?," "All the Way Up," and he's also been with us through this whole Trump era. He's advocated bridging divides, voter participation.
And let me be clear. The man they once called Joey Crack is now effectually known as Joprah because of his hosting skills in this pandemic. He's got this show on I.G. and REVOLT that's featured everyone from Andrew Yang to NBA champion Danny Green to top Biden officials.
Great to see you both.
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thank you all.
FAT JOE, MUSICIAN: Hey, thank you, Ari.
MELBER: Thank you.
Michael, we're going to start exactly in your wheelhouse of history. I think a lot of people feel like we're living through a historical moment. What are you reflecting on here as we wrap the week?
BESCHLOSS: Well, I think we had a really close call. I think, if Donald Trump had been elected this time, which he has not been, we could have lost our democracy that -- next year.
That has not happened and it's not going to happen, because he's not going to be president. At the same time, the next couple of weeks, I think we have got to watch out that he might exploit and abuse presidential power either to try to hang on or use the government for bad purposes, State Department, Defense Department.
He's talking about firing the FBI director, the CIA director. That is not normal. That's not what we normally see from outgoing presidents. We have got to watch this really carefully.
MELBER: Really fair.
Fat Joe, I have gotten to know you through all this. I have gotten to know you a little bit. One of the most important things is the way you have used -- you're a person with a following and a platform. And you could go any which way with that.
You have been using your platform in the Trump era to get people involved, to build bridges. How are you feeling now, watching him lose on Saturday and this week?
FAT JOE: Well, not just me. When you see the people dancing in the streets, I have never seen that before.
It felt like Gadhafi died or Saddam Hussein died, when you see these visuals of people dancing in the streets when dictators are tumbled. And I have never seen nothing like that.
Me, I was very exciting. I'm very happy for it. But the moves he's making are very frightening moves. And I know we are trying to take the high road and trying to act like we don't see what's going on.
But when you fire the heads of the Defense Department, and you put your guys in there, now you're going to fire the FBI, the CIA, this is scary stuff. And I have been watching everybody, and nobody really wants to say that. But we're pretty scared.
If you want to know what the public is thinking, what the American citizens are really thinking, this is a very scary time. And we are hoping this is just one big bluff.
MELBER: Michael, you're nodding.
BESCHLOSS: Yes, totally agree with Joe.
A week that he should be feeling all the way up, I would say, instead, a lot of people are feeling that they have got to watch out to make sure that democracy is not stolen on the two-yard line at the end of these last four years, which have been a very long four years.
MELBER: Joe, are you going to credit him for that?
FAT JOE: I mean, he's on point, no pun intended. He hit it.
MELBER: It was smooth. And Beschloss...
FAT JOE: He hit that one out the park, Ari.
MELBER: Beschloss just finessing it.
BESCHLOSS: As long as I don't have to pay a royalty.
MELBER: Well, speaking of royalties, speaking of royalties, both of these esteemed guests stay.
And we bring in another music legend, rock 'n' roll Hall of Famer, singer/songwriter Carole King, four-time Grammy winner, Kennedy Center honoree. If you're watching at home, you know the drill, over 25 million albums sold, the powerhouse, of course, behind "Tapestry" and all-time classic songs like "A Natural Woman," and someone who also spent time with us over this year, which is why we wanted to check back in with you, Carole.
How are you feeling watching all this from Saturday on?
CAROLE KING, MUSICIAN: Oh, man.
First of all, thank you for having me on with such esteemed panelists. I really appreciate both of you, all three of you.
FAT JOE: Thank you.
C. KING: I just want to say that, like, Martin Luther King -- I'm going to quote, not literally -- but he spoke about a mosaic of people all coming together to achieve justice.
And I just want to say, I am so honored to be a part of that mosaic. So, that's how I'm feeling about that.
I don't even want to talk about -- Ari, you're so good at pinpointing the facts, the loser of this race.
I want to talk about Joe Biden. And I guess I would call Fat Joe and say...
MELBER: Not Joey Crack. Joe Biden. That's fine.
C. KING: Joe Biden.
And I want to quote Fat Joe and say, you got to flow, Joe.
He is flowing.
C. KING: He is totally flowing.
The other day, when they asked him, the reporter asked him, how are you going to work with Republicans if they won't even acknowledge you as president-elect, and he just kind of looked at the camera and went, they will, at that moment, I think everything in me calmed down, because he's got this.
MELBER: Carole, I'm curious what you think, having lived through a different period of tumult, of civil rights advocacy, of counterculture becoming the culture, and then the backlash.
I mean, we live through these cycles. Michael can teach us about them. And you had that in Vietnam and civil rights and the women's movement. And then you had the Nixon law and order backlash. And you have some of that now.
I'm curious what you think about this moment and whether you see either overlap or contrasts, because there was a diverse coalition, as we pointed out in our coverage, particularly women of color, and new and young voters, which you can think about other areas where the young people led us.
C. KING: Yes.
Well, young people tend to lead. But, also, I'm not even going to go into a possible song lyric. They follow what's good about our generations, but they also reject. And they -- we have found a way to come together in this instance. We found a way to come together. I remember marching with elders to oppose the Vietnam War.
And I now, being an elder, I love this coalition. And I feel that the young people, and I feel how they're feeling, and I feel people of color. Again, I spoke about the mosaic.
But I also want to say, being an elder, I can see across the spectrum in the way maybe that Michael can, because he -- that is his work. There are cycles. There are always going to be cycles. But I feel like we're on that -- again, Martin Luther King, that arc of moral justice.
And I think it is bending towards justice, but it winds, it twists, it takes -- it diverges. And I think we are on a great path. There will be setbacks, but I believe in our path. I will never give up. And I love seeing the young energy.
BESCHLOSS: I totally agree.
And Carole's music, for decades, through some of our most troubled times in American history, has been right at the center of it and allowed a lot of people to resist and to protest at times when that was crucial.
She knows that the founders of this country felt that people who protest bad policies are, if anything, just as good patriots, if not better patriots, than those who are in the government.
Am I allowed to say one thing, Ari?
BESCHLOSS: I was saying a little bit earlier, the last four years have been a very long four years.
And, Carole, a lot of your music has given me a lot of comfort, but particularly "Up on the Roof." I can't tell you the number of times I have listened to you sing that. And it made me feel an awful lot better that we might come to a tranquil time that looks as if it may be ahead.
Thank you so much for that.
C. KING: Well, thank you.
And credit to Gerry Goffin for the lyrics.
BESCHLOSS: Indeed. Indeed.
I love that.
What I'm going to do is thank Carole King and Michael Beschloss, two people who've been on this ride with us we wanted to catch up with.
Fat Joe, I'm going to ask you to stick around, because, Joe, we have a little more business to deal with you, all right?
FAT JOE: OK, let's go, Ari.
MELBER: We got a -- and we got a different person, another guest coming in. We're trying to get it all in on this Friday. So, Joe stays.
FAT JOE: You want that number one ratings, Ari.
FAT JOE: We touch the screen together. And this is 20 of those in a...
FAT JOE: ... baby.
MELBER: So, for those who know, they know, and those who don't know, you're about to find out.
Again, thanks to Carole and Michael.
We will be right back with Fat Joe and a mystery guest right after this.
BESCHLOSS: Thank you.
C. KING: Thank you.
MELBER: America's turning the page on Trumpism.
And who can forget the bond created, yes, right here on THE BEAT between who you see here, Fat Joe, and conservative Bill Kristol. They found common cause in their concern about what they saw as a threat to democracy.
So, here we are in this first "Fallback" after Trump became the election loser, and we're bringing them back yet again. After looking at some of this great video, it makes my heart warm.
Fat Joe, Bill Kristol, thanks for coming back together.
BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER: Great to be with you both. And great to be back with Fat Joe.
KRISTOL: And that was a memorable evening.
It's got down in the annals of hipster New York, basically, that night, we went together in some SUV down to Lower Manhattan. People are still talking about it. That's what I'm told, at least.
MELBER: Well, I'm still thinking about it.
KRISTOL: One of the great things about the fight against Trump is that it allowed me to meet Fat Joe. And I really feel it's been great working together, to the degree we have, and partying together, to the very limited degree that we have.
MELBER: Fat Joe, put us on -- and for those who don't know about their history, we gave a little bit of it.
How do you feel about and did you think back in the day you would be finding common cause with Republican Bill Kristol?
FAT JOE: No, it's just something that I can't believe it. It's infectious. It's addictive.
Twitter goes crazy every time I come on here with him. And you, I mean, they just can't believe, Bill Kristol, Fat Joe, Ari. I don't know. It's something that works. Whoever booked us all three together at the same time, it's like, they need a grand prize.
MELBER: Let me get you...
KRISTOL: I don't know why people are surprised. We're hip. We're all hip. We're pop culture icons, right, the three of us. Let's face it, you know?
MELBER: Bill, hip is the eye of the beholder, we always say.
I want to show you guys something that's been going around, as America has just been experiencing, not only, of course, the election, but then the tenterhooks waiting for the results.
This was one of these memes, one of these fun videos. And it's sort of -- we will put it up here. You can see how long Nevada was taking to count. And they imagined, here's United States. There's little Nevada. And there's the whole world waiting.
And it just shows -- Joe, I have never seen as many people making as many memes and videos and comments on a race. And we cover a lot of elections. This year felt different, Joe.
FAT JOE: You know what? The cliche, the slogan every vote counts really took place in this election.
And so, like, the beauticians that do my wife's hairs, the barbers, everybody, every -- if I could have showed you like my family tree of how many people voted, my aunts, my uncle. Like, every voted -- every vote counted.
And we needed everybody to really believe in the system. That would have -- that's the only way we won. You know what I mean? So...
MELBER: Yes. Let me take...
FAT JOE: Because, obviously, let's not ignore the fact...
MELBER: Let me take that point to Bill, because you're saying something that is the electoral facts.
Bill, without new voters, Joe Biden doesn't win.
KRISTOL: Without new voters, he doesn't win. Without some people who voted for him -- for Trump in 2016 who were persuaded to come over, that four years of that was enough, he doesn't win.
So, it's one of those years. It was pretty close. So, every group mattered. I think all of our efforts, I hope, mattered. An awful lot of work still to be done, though, I mean, next couple of months, preventing mischief from Trump, and also getting people to be serious about this terrible pandemic, and then helping Joe Biden and those who are willing to work with him.
And I hope there are some Republicans, because we really need to address these problems. And I'm worried about the Republican Party, as I have been for years. But, for now, at least, we can heave a sigh of relief that it's going to be Joe Biden, who deserves a lot of credit himself.
I really agree with Carole King on that. I'm not sure anyone else but Biden could have pulled this coalition together and held it together, Biden and Kamala Harris.
MELBER: Joe, I got 40 seconds to Joy Reid.
You get the final word of the week.
FAT JOE: I just want to send this message out to Donald Trump.
(singing): It's too late baby. Yes, it's too late.
KRISTOL: That was great.
MELBER: There's no topping that. There's no topping that.
You know, we have been through a time.
FAT JOE: That's for my girl Carole, you know?
MELBER: It's been an ordeal in many ways, but that doesn't mean we haven't learned along the way and met some great people and seen people come together.
And that's a spirit we all need, no matter where you started out in this election.
Fat Joe, Bill Kristol, thanks to both of you.
KRISTOL: Thank you.
FAT JOE: Thank you, my brother.
MELBER: Appreciate you guys.
And thanks to everyone at home watching THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER. I hope you have a great weekend.
I will be back here Monday night 6:00 p.m. Eastern. You can always find me online @AriMelber on Instagram or Twitter or wherever you get your information.
Right now, keep it locked. It's Joy Reid.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.END
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