Ari Melber has taken over MSNBC‘s 6 p.m. timeslot following the sudden departure of Greta Van Susteren. Melber has been MSNBC’s chief legal correspondent since 2015 and also hosts MSNBC’s Sunday night show The Point.
You can follow the 37-year-old Melber on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. He was married to New York Observer culture writer Drew Grant from 2013 to 2017, and does not have any children. Last fall, Melber won an Emmy as part of the MSNBC team that covered the Supreme Court.
Here’s what you need to know about Melber.
1. Melber Worked on John Kerry’s 2004 Presidential Campaign
As Melber notes on his website, he worked on former Massachusetts Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry’s failed 2004 presidential campaign on the national staff. In 2002 and 2003, he was a legislative aide for Washington Senator Maria Cantwell.
According to his site, he hasn’t donated to political campaigns since 2004 and only donates to nonpartisan charities.
Melber is a Seattle native who earned his B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan. He got his J.D. at Cornell Law School, where he was an editor for the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. From 2009 to 2013, he was a practicing lawyer at Cahill Gordon & Reindel, focusing on the First Amendment. Technically, Melber is still an attorney since he is a member of the New York Bar, but he doesn’t practice law.
2. MSNBC Executives Liked His Policy-Driven Perspective on Topics
Melber quickly rose through the ranks at MSNBC after joining the network. After appearing on several shows, he got his own co-anchor slot on The Cycle, which featured Abby Huntsman (now at Fox News), Krystal Ball and music critic Toure. (The show was cancelled in 2015.)
In a 2014 Columbia Journalism Review, MSNBC executives praised Melber for being more interested in policy and expertise than opinions.
“He really cares about the nitty gritty of the policy we are talking about, and it is obvious he is about solving problems, not just scoring political points or having political blinders on,” The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell executive producer Greg Kordick told the Columbia Journalism Review. Then-MSNBC President Phil Griffin praised Melber’s understanding of Washington.
In April 2015, Melber was named MSNBC’s chief legal correspondent.
3. Melber Traveled With the 2008 Obama Campaign & Wrote a 70-Page Report on Organizing For America
While Melber hasn’t worked directly for a political campaign since 2004, he did travel with President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. He also wrote a 74-page report called Year One of Organizing For America: The Permanent Field Campaign in a Digital Age that included interviews with Obama staff. The report was published by techPresident in January 2010.
OFA was a Democratic National Committee project founded right after Obama’s first election. At first, it was an attempt to get a grassroots movement going to support Obama’s legislative goals.
Melber’s report on OFA’s first year was meant to highlight how Obama was the first president to utilize the web to organize supporters. Melber wrote in his introduction:
OFA marks the first time a political party has deployed permanent field program with its own communications channel to contact and organize volunteers to advance a policy agenda between elections.16 The national parties’ previous experiments with off-season field efforts were limited to electoral goals, like the “50 State Strategy;” gestures towards policy “campaigns” that did not include actual field mobilization; or “citizen corps” that attempted to advance general support for a President’s agenda, but without a dedicated mass communications channel like email, or a coordinated national event program.
4. Melber Wrote for The Nation & Politico Before Joining MSNBC
Before joining MSNBC, Melber wrote for several publications, including The Nation, Politico, The Atlantic and Reuters.
At The Nation, Melber was the net movement correspondent, covering law, politics, public policy and media. His last article for The Nation was “Fighting Facebook, a Campaign for a People’s Terms of Service,” which was written with Woodrow Hartzog and Even Selinger.
Melber also writes articles for MSNBC.com and NBCNews.com. Most recently, Melber contributed to an article about the impact of the Supreme Court ruling that allowed parts of Trump’s travel ban to begin.
5. Melber Doesn’t Have Confidence in Trump Achieving His Goals
In a Politico interview in March, Melber said he doesn’t think President Donald Trump has been achieving his goals.
“At this point, President Trump is not achieving his own goals, from curbing Obamacare and Wall Street power to enacting a travel ban that stands up in court,” Melber told Politico. “So he faces the risk that his first year will become a debate about why he couldn’t get things done, rather than a debate the things he’s trying to do. It’s early, though, so that could all change.”
Melber also recently said on MSNBC that “Everything has changed” in regards to the investigation of possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government in the 2016 presidential election.
“The president of the United States is under criminal investigation for his conduct in office,” he said earlier this month. “Not for what other people did and not for what happened in the campaign or before he was elected, but for his conduct as president.”
Melber added that everything Trump does from now on will be under the microscope. “We are only 145 days in and this is the situation he faces and all history shows everything changes from this day forward when your conduct is office is under review,” Melber told Nicolle Wallace.