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tv   The Beat With Ari Melber  MSNBC  March 30, 2019 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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a country of shakespeare, churchill, the beatles, sean connery, "harry potter," david beckham's right foot, david beckham's left foot, come to that, and a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend. and since bullies only respond to strength, from now onward i will be prepared to be much stronger and the president should be prepared for that. >> that is what british greatness looks like right there. it was a message you'll know president billy bob thornton no doubt needed to hear. a sentiment we hope great britain keeps in mind facing as it is facing this great challenge ahead of them. that is our broadcast for this friday and for this week. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york.
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bill barr making news late on a friday. he will release the redacted mueller report by mid-april and he will testify before congress on may 1st and he will not send the mueller report to president trump in advance for a privileged review, or at least he has no plans to. those are the headlines and we know them tonight because attorney general barr just dropped his third letter in a week. for analysis i have all of them. in a departure from the first two letters, this one drebtly rebuts the criticism that he's heard on what barr tonight calls immediate yeah reports about his initial letter's quotes from the mueller report. as the reality has sunk in about what barr released and what he didn't release starting on sunday night, you probably heard legal experts, commentators who started blasting barr's approach, including the kinds of experts that attorneys general care about, criticism from past attorneys general. >> i think he's wrong. i think he is taking unto
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himself a role that has not typically been used by people in the position that bob barr has had. >> has coach of the odor of political expediency to help the man who appointed him, president trump. >> we don't need you interpreting for us. it was condescending, it was arrogant, and it wasn't the right thing to do. >> barr is basically rebutting some of that directly, writing in the new all right he didn't summarize the mueller report. i do not believe it would be in the public's interest for me to attempt to summarize the report or release it in a piecemeal fashion. that is exactly what critics say barr did, including rushing out the infamous partial quotes, aka a piecemeal review or release, which also appeared to in part benefit his boss, president trump. even if this new letter, we have to tell you that barr refers to his own earlier letter as a, quote, summery
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summary of mueller's principle collusions. he is emphasizing his summarized mueller's conclusions not the whole mueller report. bottom line, donald trump's new attorney general is on defense tonight. he's ending the week explaining his speedy process with his first letter out last friday that said mueller was done and his second letter on sunday night with the four partial quotes. that made a lot of waves last week and then you have tonight's letter he appears to be giving ground on releasing a redacted version of the report and testifying and confirming for the first time ever in his own words that mueller's report is nearly 400 pages long. that is information which if you watched our coverage sunday night we emphasized that barr confusingly refused to share then. then you have this, barr saying that he does not have plans to submit the report to the white
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house for privilege review. that wording could become critical later because plans can change. barr goes on in this brand-new letter to go and say even beyond the legal requirements and name check bob mueller. writing that he is assisting the special counsel, assisting in the process of the redactions to get it all out. so what do we make of all of this? you don't have to be an expert in the process to know this has been a controversial process. the attorney general giving ground partly in response to pressure from democrats who remain pretty powerful with subpoenas in the house, and tonight judiciary chair nadler says that this new third letter still has too much wiggle room in his view. he's demanding the full report with nothing taken out by the original tuesday deadline that democrats set, and nadler pointed to past president when an independent judge has worked with other prosecutors on getting a legally valid release of even that special secret grand jury material.
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that's the headlines and the facts tonight. now we turn to our experts. glenn kershner, former federal prosecutor. aiesha moody mills and howard fineman. glenn, bottom line, what does it mean to you that there is now a third friday letter the attorney general going further than what he has. >> ari, what it means to me, you know, we can quibble with the attorney general's decision to use the word "summary" in his first letter and then in his second letter say i never tried to summarize anything, but let's set the semantics aside. you know, what he did was he tried to set out some of bob mueller's conclusions, but he went so far beyond that because what he did, ari, is he put his thumb on the scale and he said, you know what? bob mueller cannot exonerate the president. he can't clear him from having committed obstruction of justice. so let me go ahead and do that myself. i'm going to say there wasn't
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enough evidence to charge -- >> and let me ask you for your analysis. the first letter previewed a second letter. so we knew that part. the third letter arrives out of the blue today. and it's not required by the special counsel rules. so this new letter, on the right side of the screen for viewers, looks like giving ground to the democrats and in its own language acknowledges public criticism. the best -- the best thing you can say about that is he's being transparent about that motivation or those facts. the worst thing you could say, as we reported from sunday night on, is that he's now coughed up information like the nearly 400-page length that could have been available from the start. >> yeah and you know what? it's good if he's trying to be transparent and he's trying to answer the criticism. it's also good -- i think my favorite part of that letter is he said bob mueller himself, the special counsel, will continue to be involved in the redactions. that gives me comfort because i got to tell you, ari, i don't think bob mueller will stand for
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ultimately an incomplete or misleading version of this report to come out. i think he will want to make sure the american people and the congress get it all. >> aiesha? >> well, i think that that's an interesting point. bob mueller did spend many, many, many months of his life with this investigation been so i would hope that he would speak out if it was either being misrepresented or fully represented. i got to say something for a moment, ari. i hoped you led with alea's four-page letter. >> we touched on that reference earlier this week. so we are -- our minds are melded here. >> you know, great minds. it's always -- the great minds. but, yeah, it's obvious that barr was trying to tip the scales and really tell the american people what they should believe about this report and how they should interpret it. and that is inappropriate, unfair, so i am thankful that the democrats are holding him to
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the fire to produce all of it. because, look, here's the other piece of it, is that there are so many kind of background pieces with regards to the investigation that would give some insight as to the scope and the nature of what we are learning about donald trump. whether or not it's directly related to russia isn't really the question moving forward. so i think it's important that we get access to that, and that he drops it all. >> howard, what a difference a week makes. we are exactly a week out from -- >> seems like a million years ago. >> right. we're literally a week and one hour out from the ending of the mueller probe, and i want to put on the screen something very basic that's very important. 73 words on the screen are all we have from the mueller report. >> right. >> that hasn't changed. in the week. we have the 73 words out of what we now know to be nearly 400 pages. what do you think as a student of washington and the inner branch relations here about what
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barr is doing. >> all right. well, since this is friday and we're in the middle of march madness, let me use a basketball analogy, if you don't mind. you know how toward the end of a game when one team thinks it's ahead and they spread the floor and they start tossing the ball around to keep from getting fouled to stop the clock? that's my interpretation here. because, first of all, barr is saying that the president has -- is not going to decide on any kind of executive privilege claims. my plan, barr says, is to do that myself on his behalf. okay, that's number one. number two, my interpretation of having mueller involved is a little different here. mueller's an institutionalist. he's going to want to protect other prosecutions that are going on. i'm not sure he's necessarily going to be for totally putting everything on the table. that remains to be seen. and i'm backtiming this from the congressional hearings that are going to take place when barr and maybe mueller and other people are going to be up there
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and people -- and members of congress are going to be questioning them about what happened here, and why more of this report wasn't released. okay? and why so much was redacted, which is what i think's going to happen. and they're going to blame each other. barr is going to blame mueller. mueller's going to blame barr. trump is going to blame barr. and it's going to be a stall toward the end of what the white house thinks is the -- is the game here. >> go ahead, aisha. >> i was just going to add that i think, you know, it's fair for the american people to get what's appropriate to be moved around in the public, but i do believe that we should make sure that congress has access to the full file because congress still has an investigation and a job to do and i don't want to kind of conflate and confuse the two. sure, there might be some information about an ongoing investigation that perhaps shouldn't be, you know, smacked all over the front page of every newspaper, but that doesn't mean the congress shouldn't have access to it. >> glenn, let's take a look again at what i summarized, to use the word of the day, from
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this letter. because barr says, look, i'm aware of these media reports and statements, which he says, quote, mischaracterize his original letter as a, quote, summary. we can put this up on the screen. then he says it was not and did not purport to be an exhaustive recounting, but a summary of its principal conclusions. to the normal person in the world waiting on a nearly 400-page report, what are we to read into barr's fixation, concern, obsession with how he's been quoted or covered this week? i mean, that -- that is kind of funny, if nothing else. >> yeah, it's such a minor point, and it seems to suggest that maybe attorney general barr has some thin skin, but, you know, this sort of semantic debate over, you know, what the meaning of summary is, it just doesn't matter. and, you know, the other thing ari, if i can say, when barr put
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his thumb on the scale and said, you know what? i'm going to short circuit this and say the evidence doesn't support an obstruction charge. i see that as an opening statement, right? it's not evidence, it's just somebody's opinion. and you know what we tell juries when we're trying cases -- >> disregard the opening statement. >> not to disregard but they're not evidence. and you know what is evidence? the evidence. that's why we need to see the mueller report. we need to reach our own conclusions about the evidence, not attorney general barr's opening statement. >> and so that goes to my -- my final question to howard here moving beyond the law and into debate. the attorney general has every right to wage a public debate within, of course, his ethical and legal obligations. one way to wage this debate would have been to say on friday mueller finished without charging a conspiracy. there is no chargeable conspiracy. that is the biggest, most important demolishment of the
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expectation that there may have been a chargeable conspiracy, and everything else in the report we'll wait on and fairly deal with, communicate with congress, go through a valid process and turn it over. he didn't do that. he felt the need or decided to go farther and say i'm going to give you my opinion on obstruction. if you've been following the news, you might know, i don't think a president can easily obstruct justice and a whole bunch of other stuff. why not, in your view, just focus on no chargeable conspiracy? >> well, because i think -- i think bob barr is part of the team. i think that's clear. you know, you showed the three -- the three documents that we all are familiar with. the fourth document, of course, is the memo he wrote in june of 2018 -- >> right. >> -- basically saying that this is -- this can't be done. and that's sort of where he came down. he came down where he said he was going to come down long before he ever became attorney general. i think they're working with the white house attorneys, whether it's emmett flood or others who
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have been in there. i think mueller and barr, who have respect for each other, feel that they have to get the facts out, but they also have to protect the institutions here. they think they're doing the constitution's work. and i think they're all going to work together, and as i said before, pass the ball around when they're quizzed both about what's redacted and what isn't and what conclusions were drawn by bob barr. >> very interesting stuff with developments we didn't know we were going to get this late into a friday afternoon evening. howard fineman, aisha moody mills, clen kershner, thanks to each of you. i want to share a programming note. house chairman adam schiff is going to weigh in tonight. rachel maddow interview. 9:00 p.m. eastern. you may not want to miss that. coming up, we dig deern into the battle over the mueller report and what you the public will be allowed to see. also i have some witnesses from our memorable mueller panel back to talk about the end of the probe and what they think is in a report that their words contributed to. later, obama's attorney
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general squaring off the vice president of the united states responding to holder's interview on this very show. you might want to see that. we're going to show it to you. and then, if it's friday, it's just blaze and amy mohideen in a "fallback friday" for the ages. all that coming up ahead. i'm ari melber. you're watching "the beat" on msnbc. re watching "the beat" on msnbc. when considering another treatment, ask about xeljanz xr a once-daily pill for adults with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis or active psoriatic arthritis for whom methotrexate did not work well enough. it can reduce pain, swelling, and significantly improve physical function. xeljanz xr can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened. as have tears in the stomach or intestines, serious allergic reactions, low blood cell counts, higher liver tests and cholesterol levels. don't start xeljanz xr if you have an infection.
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we are back. attorney general bill barr making news late today with this letter addressing the release of mueller's final report. we are looking at, and i can show it to you, a third letter that's giving more insight into how many pages mueller's report will be, close to 400, as well as barr's strategy. two questions that were unanswered from sunday's letter. >> what do you take from the first the facts before we get beyond that. >> well, i wonder why we don't even know the number of pages in the report. >> if barr told us mueller wrote a report that was 50 pages or 200 or 500 that alone would be a great piece of context for these four. are you suggesting that the longer the report, the worse barr might look for having tried to pull this off by sunday night? >> absolutely. >> writing today that we'll get the answers from his report in mid-april and we'll get the answers from barr himself when he goes under oath on may first. i'm joined by daniel alonzo, a former federal prosecutor and
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district attorney for manhattan where there is an open case against paul manafort. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> big question here. this letter, had it come out on friday or sunday, might have made bill barr's rushed two-day release of conclusions look worse, not better, because everyone would have known that he reached those conclusions on a 400-page report which no matter how talented a lawyer, you only read so fast? >> you know, that's politics. i get it. i get why people want to criticize him, but he's now sent a letter that says he's going to do something which before today there had been no definitive statement. so i think it's a pretty sigalert th significant letter that he sent. sure, it would have been great to have it earlier, but i think it's good he sent this today. >> i think you have a fair point that the pledge he makes is a giant step forward for transparency, but is it not our jobs to try to understand when and why he's releasing information? it would seem that he withheld the length of the report to make his review look more valid in those two days.
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i mean, at a certain point, 300 pages 400, hundreds more with evidence. at a certain point, no human being could reasonably reach many conclusions in that what was a 46 hour time window. >> let me push back. you and i talked last week about how i thought the report would be very long. >> you were right. >> that's not shocking. this is what lawyers do. we digest long reports and we boil them down. now, do i think that the attorney general was keeping his options open about maybe not releasing the report ultimately? possibly. he certainly didn't make the pledge a week ago that he made today. so certainly today's very significant. a week ago could well have been keeping his options open. but we are where we are. >> understood and appreciate the pushback. as a prosecutor, what do you think of when we put up on the screen so everyone understands a week later everyone is still working off just these 73 words from the mueller report? what does that context tell us about what we don't know? >> it certainly tells us we want
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to know a lot more. so, you know, i'm dying to see what's in the actual report. so those 73 words are significant, as the attorney general says, as a summary of principal conclusions of the special counsel, but they're going to be ill relevant in mid-april. >> do you view this as a situation where the pressure on barr has worked or has been irrelevant? >> i think probably it worked. and, you know, we kind of knew that was going to happen, right? this report was going to see the light of day in some way, in some fashion given that regulation puts it on his shoulder to decide what's in the public interest. >> former federal prosecutor dan alonso with some context tonight, thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. now we're about to turn to hear directly from two mueller witnesses on this news today and a whole lot more when we're back in just 30 seconds. (vo) parents have a way of imagining the worst... ...especially when your easily distracted teenager has the car. at subaru, we're taking on distracted driving [ping] with sensors that alert you when your eyes are off the road.
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the all-new subaru forester. the safest forester ever. high-stakes battles over the mueller report continuing tonight. attorney general barr pledging this redacted version by mid april. dems demanding an unredacted version sooner. this is all, when you think about it, though, a remarkable partly of a process where washington is transfixed on a report that most people haven't seen, including the president and the congressional leaders. the only people who have much of an idea about what's in this nearly 400-page report are first dog officials obviously like mueller and his supervisors, rosenstein and barr. second, the people in trump's orbit like the mueller witnesses who we've talked toto provide information about key parts of the probe. we've been gathering their views and testimony directly for that very reason. they were in mueller's office. they provided information that
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will inform the report. so keep in mind that long before trump won the election or bob mueller was ever appointed, there was this fact that the probe began with the fbi scrutinizing four people linked to trump. michael flynn, paul manafort, carter page and george papadopoulos. and now we have more information. the probe is over. what are the results? when you look at those people who were involved here in this probe into trump aides, paul manafort convicted on a range of charges. mike flynn convicted for lying to the fbi. george papadopoulos convicted for lying. and then the last man standing, carter page not charged let alone convicted on anything through the conclusion of this probe. so it is with great interest that we welcome back to "the beat," carter page, one of the first four, as well as michael caputo, a former trump adviser, who has given us his views and
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insights throughout. i really appreciate both of you coming back on "the beat". carter, how do you feel as the one out of the four who ended without charges? >> i feel bad for everything that's happened over the last several years, but what we saw on monday -- sorry, on sunday was basically stating the reality that i've been trying to say, you know, going back to my many conversations with chris hayes and, you know, countless discussions in the media. this is -- it was almost a no-brainer. and i think what we see now is a turning point where there are much bigger investigations which are now on the horizon. and i think, you know, we saw some discussion about that in the house intel committee yesterday, so -- >> is your message to everyone that there were crimes but none by you? >> i think, you know, go back to those -- the initial letter on sunday, right? those -- there really was nothing, you know, conspiracy related. >> no chargeable election conspiracy. >> absolutely. yeah. so, and that's -- i mean, that's
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the whole point of it. actually, you and i had the first -- the first time i ever talked about it on tv about my may 2017 series of e-mails that i sent to mr. mueller and mr. rosenstein. and as i told you, ari, you know, those -- all the -- everything that mr. mueller was doing, i think was on the up and up, but, you know, as per those new investigations were starting -- investigations, i think there's some big questions on mr. rosenstein and the fisa warrants. >> you thought mueller was fair in what he found about you. >> absolutely. >> let me turn to you, michael. we've had these discussions. you told us it was clear from the questions they were looking hard at collusion or believed in it. let's take a look at that. >> in may of 2018 they believe that there was still -- they still believed in russian collusion. it was very obvious to me a lot of the questions they asked me showed it very clearly. >> what is your response to them finding no chargeable collusion? does that mean in your view they honestly found the facts? >> i believe they dug deeper
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than anyone even suspected they would. you know, say what you will about these fellas, the men and women on the mueller team. i don't like a lot of what they did. i don't like what they did to roger stone and paul manafort, et cetera, but they're a strong team and they're very thorough, and probably the strongest investigatory team we've put together -- our federal government has in decades. and if they found no collusion, no evidence of anyone conspireing to collude ---ors in >> no chargeable collusion. >> right. but at the same time, i believe that they were never going to find it. but -- and i think it's important to note that they were still interviewing people two weeks ago with questions about potential russian collusion. >> what does that tell you? >> it tells me they were crossing all the ts and dotting all the is in this report which turns out to be a pretty substantial report. >> we expect our inference being somewhat of you provided will be in the report. some of that goes to why they
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didn't find an election conspiracy. these are -- these are legal developments that people have to take in factually. they also found, they say, obstruction, not by either of you, but they say they found it. when i sat with four of the witnesses, two of them including you, there was a discussion about who was questioned the most about whom. and stone's name kept coming up. and you and mr. nunberg had an exchange about that. as we watch this back, let's recall that two days later the feds came to stone's home to arrest him on the indictment. take a look. >> roger's not donald trump, okay? he's not going too get away with witness tampering. he should shut up. >> how is he witness tampering? >> when he goes around and lies and says i was the only person that he told as a joke that he met with julian assange, give me a break. give me a break. that was wrong. >> mr. nunberg was right about where it was headed. days later stone indicted on witness tampering and obstruction crimes.
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why did stone do what he did providing evidence of obstruction if there was no chargeable conspiracy? >> you know, i'm not the expert on that, but i can tell you a lot of what he's been charged with, the idea, for example, on your show, randy credico saying he gave no evidence, roger has all the text messages and e-mails to prove that and he'll prove that in court. pushing off saying it was all corsi, patently false and roger will be able to prove that as well. i think he's shown those e-mails publicly. >> i pressed mr. credico last night. help us understand then. what did that mean that there was this discussion about wikileaks, it wasn't chargeable? why did roger appear to mislead about it? >> i don't think he did. i think when he sat in these hearings to testify that he gave his best responses to his recollection. you remember some of the things he's been criticized for as to how he was conversing with
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people, they asked him, did you do necessarily and texts. he said i think i did texts and no e-mails, and somehow it's a lie he was actually doing e-mails. why would roger stone do that? if he's texting and e-mailing, why would he lie? he just didn't remember. >> mueller says he repeatedly tried to prevent randy credico from testifying. the president has tried to do that very publicly. it's quite obvious. but he's the president. the point on the show was whether stone would get away with it. why do you think stone was trying to prevent people from testifying? >> i don't think he was preventing people from testifying and the idea in the mueller probe that somehow taking away his dog was a threat of some kind, roger stone has been threatening to take away his dog for years. roger stone has a house full of one-legged dogs. he doesn't like the way that he treats his dog. >> is this just the bizarre defense? bizarre banter? >> here's the interesting thing, ari. after two years of this, of driving, you know, countless people out of their jobs, causing all kinds of havoc in
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people's homes, mere witnesses, the mueller team finds themself at the end of the hallway, at the end of this entire game and they're staring at jerry corsi who believes the most wild conspiracies in the world, roger stone, and randy credico who wears women's underwear. that's where they find themselves. >> i don't know why you're getting into that. >> because dozens of years of yale law school education and they end at the freak show tent. >> well, look, we try to treat people with respect here. you're calling various people some including on the panel with you freaks. i want to keep it on point. let's look at the mueller indictment of stone on the substance of what you say which is that stone, according to mueller directed stone, not corsi, to contact the head of wikileaks. understand why people are looking at all this and saying if this is all it was, what mr. caputo just outlined and nothing more, why were there so many lies?
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the president did lie and did dictate a misleading statement about trump tower and he did call people rats and he did try to get mueller fired, according to his own white house counsel and his own legal spokesman resigned over those concerns of obstruction crimes. do you have a view being so inside this of why? >> listen, i think you want to talk about lies, let's talk about the obstruction of justice in the fisa court. >> i know you're hot on the fisa, but i'll give you a deal. you answer me my question and then you can add on about fisa. how about that? >> fair enough. >> listen, i'm focused on sort of the macro picture of collusion with the russians and the whole fisa premise was based on russian sources which was then used to mislead a court. right? so most of those people that you're alluding to, i've never had any relationship with. it's hard for me to opine. you know, i just -- i think it's a real shame in general.
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just -- i think there is a lot that needs to be done from a policy perspective for our country and it's just too bad we get focused about these things too -- so long. >> what does it tell you that corsi was very assertively warned about a potential indictment and then the probe ended without him getting indicted? >> i think he could be the luckiest man in the world. i think he should buy a lottery ticket or ten. i'm surprised. i also believe that it indicates that corsi gave them information they were looking for probably on roger stone. we'll probably see him brought in as a witness at roger stone's trial. >> so you would expect this mueller report, which you guys have provided information, you've been deemed cooperative, is going to have more of the clues or explanation to what corsi and maybe credico and these others gave up about stone's attempts to, according to michael cohen, brief donald trump about -- about getting advanced warning on wikileaks. >> no doubt. i'm not sure how much will be revealed because we have a trial coming up with roger in november, and that might present
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some kind of issues, but, you know, back to your question about why did people lie -- >> mmm-hmm. >> i've been wrestling with that myself. i think a lot of things have been labeled lies were not lies. but in addition when we look back at how this all started, how hillary clinton's campaign tried to create the russian to collusion narrative in order to discredit the president's election, the president often times would, you know, talk about the russian interference in our election and russian collusion and he wouldn't make the distinction between the two. >> were you saying that people were overly defensive and critical. >> i believe there are a lot of people, including myself -- >> if donald trump hadn't fired james comey and talked about russia, none of you might have been in this. >> as you know, at that time donald trump thought he was doing the bidding of the democrats. in fact on stephen colbert that might when they announced comey was fired, everybody stood up and cheered. >> do you think that was the worst advice he ever got? >> i think it was among the worst advice he ever got.
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>> carter? >> i think what chairman graham has been asking for with this second special counsel looking into all these questions as to what exactly mr. comey was doing throughout the 2016 election and the early months of the new administration, i think we'll have a much better sense. >> and lightning round yes or no, you expect there to be pardons? >> yes. >> no idea. no real relationship with the white house. >> and you expect the mueller report to add to good news on obstruction or subtract from it for trump? >> i think it will be a mixed bag. there will be some bad things in there too. >> i think generally good. >> i really appreciate we've been able to draw on your primary experience both throughout this process which informed our understanding and now afterward and you're both in a position to tell your stories and you are one out of four. >> thanks, ari. >> one out of four, the other three charges.
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carter page on "the beat." michael caputo, great to have you back. i appreciate it. coming up, vice president mike pence criticizing for comments he first expressed here this week on voting rights, his view of american greatness. holder has a new answer for pence. we're going to bring you up to speed later. later the legendary just blaze and a man mohideen for a special "fallback friday." n mohideen fol "fallback friday." or delicious. or fun. but since you need both car and home insurance, why not bundle them with esurance and save up to 10%? which you can spend on things you really want to buy, like... well, i don't know what you'd wanna buy because i'm just a guy on your tv. esurance. it's surprisingly painless.
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pg&e wants you to plan ahead by mapping out escape routes and preparing a go kit, in case you need to get out quickly. for more information on how to be prepared and keep your family safe, visit calling out attorney general eric holder for criticizing the trump/pence campaign slogan, make america great again. pence criticizing holder right here on this program this week on how america can be a democracy when so many people in this nation weren't allowed to vote throughout history. >> there's a lot of talk about america being a leader as a democracy, quote, unquote, in the 1800s when women and
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african-americans couldn't vote. what kind of democracy is that? >> that's exactly right. i hear these things, let's make america great again. exactly when did you think america was great? it certainly wasn't when people were enslaved. it certainly wasn't when women didn't have the right to vote. it certainly wasn't when the lgbt community was denied the rights to which it was entitled. >> holder critiquing the idea that you have to go back in time to recapture american greatness. he said america has done great things, but that progress comes by looking ahead. >> it takes us back to i think an american past that never, in fact, really existed. this notion of greatness. america has done superb things, has done great things and has been a leader in a whole range of things, but we're always a work in progress. looking back to make america great again is inconsistent with who we are at americans as our best when we look at the uncertain future, embrace it and make it our own. >> see, that's what holder told us. many headlines about this interview rushed to a binary take down where pence seized on that.
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he tweeted images of great moments in history from george washington to world war ii to basically troll holder, a kind of a straw man argument that maybe eric holder is against those things. now, he posted a reply saying america is great. make america great again means you think america is not great quote, bed backward looking. america is at its best when we look forward. holder seeking to have a broader conversation about greatness, more than a forward slogan might encapsulate. and this we think is still a nuanced discussion worth having. i'm joined by rich benjamin, a political analyst and author where you spent a lot of time in, quote, the whitest communities in america trying to have these conversations. >> yeah, ari, and while i was there you'd hear the phrase let's take our country back. i want to take my country back. the question arose take it back from what? and i think that's what trump's
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make america great again was signalizing as though he could take it back in terms of race, in terms of gender, in terms of a dirty energy economy and all of it. >> what does it mean to you that vice president pence who is presumably busy wanted to jump on this conversation? whether he saw the interview live on "the beat" or saw the discussion, the headlines i showed? he wanted to lean into this, but not necessarily to reckon with the voting rights point that holder was making, that a democracy defined by everyone having the right to vote makes this a young democracy indeed. >> he just wants to double down on the symbolism of it. it reminded me of the time where trump went to the cpac conference, hugged the flag and said i will protect you. so for me i think it is symbolic trolling that the vice president is doing without any policy substance of addressing any of what eric holder said.
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>> i want to play president obama who obviously was holder's boss and threaded some of these needles in a way that seemed to build bridges, something we desperately might be lacking right now. take a look. >> what greater form of patriotism is there than the belief that america is not yet finished? their endeavors gave the entire south the chance to rise again. not by reasserting the past but by transcending the past. >> that's what america is. not stock photos or air brushed history. we respect the past but we don't pine for the past. we don't fear the future. we grab for it. >> it's interesting that there's a reference to air brushed photos there, because that's a little bit of what exactly was happening in the twitter troll. >> it's a lot of what was happening in the twitter trolling. >> by a little mean, i mean a lot a bit. >> a lot a bit.
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i wish obama had given that speech sooner than later, but in fairness to him, the context was the 50th anniversary of selma, but it really came so late and and it was really prescient, and he couldn't have foresaw trump's election when he gave that speech. >> is it unhidden -- i'm sorry, hidden or unsee rule of american politics that you have to constantly speak about reform as an appeal to greatness rather than just acknowledging some of these things might not work well? we need to fix them? >> yeah, i think it is. two things. one is you appeal to the past and you appeal to how you've come up. i was born in a log cabin and i will make things great and i identify with you. that's very nostalgic and backward looking versus i see the future, america's economy is not a zero-sum game where we're fighting each other like "game of thrones," but we can make this better for all of us. >> interesting. you've given a lot of thought to these issues including how to break through on them and not
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just have the trolling. rich benjamin, thanks for being on "the beat" tonight. who needs to fall back in we have a producer behind kendrick lamar and jay z.'s hits. just blaze mere tonight right now along with ayman mow deep when we come back. when we come back. b from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase relieves your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one. flonase. how about letting your hair down a little? how about a car for people who don't play golf? hey mercedes! mix it up a little. how about something for a guy who doesn't want a corner office? hey mercedes, i don't even own a tie. do you think i need a mahogany dashboard? hey mercedes, can you make it a little cooler in here? [ a-class ] i am setting the temperature [ a-class ] to 68 degrees. we hear you. we made a car that does, too. the all-new a-class. all-new thinking starting at $32,500.
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it's friday on "the beat" after quite a week. so you know it's time to fall back. i am joined by hip-hop producer
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and deejay extraordinaire just blaze who has produced top hits for artistsilize jay-z, kanye west, eminem. seven grammy nominations. also a character in a video game, nba street volume 2. goals. and we're also joined by msnbc's own ayman mohideen. who was on the ground covering the revolution in egypt as one of the first western journalists to cover the trial of saddam hussein. he anchors the first look. you guys are busy people. >> yes. >> just blaze, who needs to fall back? >> oh, man. you know what? big game sport hunters. i'm not a fan of hunting in general, but there was an incident, an executive from illinois earlier this week. >> right here. >> this clown hat guy. shot a lion while he was sleeping. the video just surfaced.
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i think it's corny. it's very cowardly. there's no sport involved in that. if you're hunting to eat, that's one thing. if you're hunting to kill an animal and hang a head on the wall, i don't respect that. >> and to hunt a sleeping beast. >> yeah, you know, there is no sport involved in that. the way i look at it, you want to impress me? go fight that lion with bare hands, knuckles, teeth. hunting it no fun when your prey doesn't move. >> truth. >> indeed. >> it's corny. it's cowardly. >> ayman mohideen, who needs to fall back? >> journalists it's an unspoken rule you don't want to criticize other journalists, but this week in toledo, ohio, a group of news anchors were trying to be cool, be millennial and trying to speak to their viewers in what some thought was a condescending way. >> when trying to be cool goes wrong in the news. all right. let's take a look. >> good morning, tps students
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it's texting week and it's time to slay all day. >> yeet. stay woke and be on fleek. >> say bye felicia to that testing stress. weather is going to be lit, right, chris? >> a hundo p chance of success. steve, what about that traffic? are we going to okuuur? >> better than okuuur? fomo won't be an issue. >> how did i miss that? i didn't expect it to be that cringe-worthy. >> by the way, i'm pro-cringe. that might be too much for us at "the beat." >> it's too painful to watch and you don't know whether to laugh or -- >> cry. >> it's -- >> can you help us, just blaze?
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i mean, you're pretty cool and hang out and work with a lot of cool people. what's the secret to not ending up like that? >> just stay in your line. >> right. >> ultimately, i've always -- my contemporaries, you know, i'm not like most of them, you know what i mean? in the sense that my interests are different, you know, my hobbies are different, my working everyday life. >> you work with kanye but you're not like kanye. >> exactly. our differences are what makes it special and our collaborate efforts work. that -- i don't know what to call that. it's just -- you know, people, when you're trying to identify with millennials or just a younger generation period, it rarely ends well. that's a perfect example of why. >> yeah. >> you don't want anything to feel forced. when i'm with these guys, i play my role, they play their role. nobody is looking at each other sideways. we are who we are. that respect is mutual. >> that's true when you're with
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beyonce. >> yeah. >> you don't try to be beyonce when you're produce for her. >> she says i have something you need to do or i say i have a record you need to sing. we play our roles respectively and that's it. i'm not up there doing the bootylicious dance on stage. >> i think there is a way to connect with your audience without being patronizing and condescending. >> there is always a meeting. so somebody ran through this script and co-signed it. >> you're right. that's how it works. this isn't something i didn't know about until you brought it to us. we talked about why you shouldn't hunt animals that aren't asleep and you probably shouldn't do that, whatever that was. ayman mohideen, just blaze, thanks for being on "the beat." catch ayman on "morning joe's" first look, weekdays 5:00, "the
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breakdown" and sunday at 4:00 p.m. and we have one more thing when we come back. one more thing when we come back. ng chair woulk great in our new house. ahh, new house, eh? well, you should definitely see how geico could help you save on homeowners insurance. nice tip. i'll give you two bucks for the chair. two?! that's a victorian antique! all right, how much for the recliner, then? wait wait... how did that get out here? that is definitely not for sale! is this a yard sale? if it's in the yard then it's... for sale. oh, here we go. geico. it's easy to switch and save on homeowners and renters insurance. you wouldn't accept from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase relieves your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one. flonase. (client's voice) remember that degree you got in taxation? (danny) of course you don't because you didn't! your job isn't understanding tax code... it's understanding why that... will get him a body like that... move!
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the most adventurous forester ever. that wraps "the beat" for tonight. i'll be back monday at 6:00 p.m. eastern when we will be launching a new series on legal and justice issues in the united states with neal katyal, you may know him for write the rulings for the special counsel or argue under obama for the supreme court. a senior doj official as well. we want to welcome his expertise to msnbc writ large and specifically "the beat" where we're going to be tackling some important issues in the weeks ahead. i also wanted to tell you that in a couple of weeks, for those of you who might be in new york, i'm going to be hosting a panel willing the new yorkers job, a legal expert and "the view's"
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sunny hosten ain. you can find out more about it at the 92nd street y. we'd love to see you there april 8th. get more information at do you have one that got away? >> he's just my first love. >> except in her case, he really disappeared. >> he's going to call me in a couple of days. he never called. >> his family in agony. >> i sent his letters to oprah winfrey, to "america's most wanted". >> a rookie detective finally broke the case. >> i said, oh, my gosh, i think i've hit pay dirt. >> a strange phone call revealed a secret. >> david needed to be gottenid


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