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The changing tone of American politics. TRANSCRIPT: 10/24/2018, The 11th Hour w Brian Williams.

Guests: Jill Colvin, John Kasich, Bill Kristol

Show: 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS Date: October 24, 2018 Guest: Jill Colvin, John Kasich, Bill Kristol

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: The breaking news tonight, the crime scenes now from east to west and across this country, all of them places where bombs were delivered. All of them also happen to be critics of the administration and frequent targets of the President.

Tonight Donald Trump without mentioning the former presidents who were targeted calls out the media for false attacks and the negative tone in our country. All of this 13 days from election day, the question tonight, what impact could today`s events have on elections that will determine the control of Congress as THE 11TH HOUR gets under way on a Wednesday night.

Well, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. Day 643 of the Trump administration, 13 days out now from the midterm elections. And the President has held as of tonight his latest rally in Wisconsin. As the hunt is on for whoever sent explosive devices to his political opponents.

The targets are all public figures, including President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, her husband the former president. And all are frequently attacked by Donald Trump at his rallies and on social media.

Tonight the President opened his event with this.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to begin tonight`s rally by addressing the suspicious devices and packages that were mailed to current and former high-ranking government officials. My highest duty, as you know, as President is to keep America safe. That`s what we talk about. That`s what we do.

The federal government is conducting an aggressive investigation. And we will find those responsible, and we will bring them to justice. Hopefully very quickly.

Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy itself.


WILLIAMS: The closest the President came to using the names of the former presidents tonight was to call them current and former high-ranking government officials.

Now to this map, the first crude bomb was delivered Monday to the suburban New York home of the billionaire philanthropist George Soros. Of course a major donor to mostly Democratic causes.

Tuesday secret service intercepted a pipe bomb addressed to Hillary Clinton at her home in Chappaqua, New York just nine miles west of Soros.

Wednesday morning secret service picked up another package headed to President Obama`s home in Washington.

Also today a bomb intended for Former Attorney General Eric Holder was incorrectly addressed and it landed at the office of Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. While she had nothing to do with it, the return address on the envelope was her office.

Another package addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, a big Trump critic who the President has called a "lowlife," was delivered to CNN`s headquarters here in New York even though Brennan is affiliated not with CNN but with NBC. CNN was actually covering a story about these suspicious packages when the alarm sounded in their studio and their building was evacuated.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: These are no longer suspicious packages.


SCIUTTO: The FBI is saying they were rudimentary but functional.

HARLOW: Functional?

SCIUTTO: That means they were explosive devices. And to have projectiles, I mean, that`s -- excuse me, that sounds like a fire alarm here. We`ll keep you posted on that.

HARLOW: OK. We`re going to jump in. There`s a fire alarm here.

SCIUTTO: There`s a fire alarm here. You might have heard it in the background. We`re going to find out what the latest is here at CNN.

HARLOW: We`ll be right back.

SCIUTTO: We`ll going to be right back.


WILLIMS: Luckily, the best police department in the world quickly responded. The NYPD bomb squad was quickly on the scene.

Here is how the New York City police commissioner described what was inside the package sent to CNN.


JAMES O`NEILL, NYPD COMMISSIONER: Responding officers identified a device that appeared to be a live explosive device. Additionally, there was an envelope containing white powder that was discovered as part of that original packaging.


WILLIAMS: NBC News reports tonight that an image of that bomb sent to CNN appeared to have a parody of an ISIS flag taken from a meme circulating among some right-wing internet sites.

According to the FBI, the packages sent to Obama, the Clintons, Soros, Holder and CNN were in manila envelopes with bubble wrap inside. They had computer-printed addresses. Six so-called forever stamps along with a ton of tape on the outside it appears. And all packages had a return address of, again, Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida with misspellings.

Senior law enforcement officials also tell NBC News tonight the bombs in those packages were made, they believe, of PVC pipe, contained a timer, had powder used in pyrotechnics traditionally, and likely contained shrapnel.

Also tonight, the FBI confirms that two additional packages addressed to another Trump target and Trump critic, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California, are similar in appearance to the other packages.

We have journalists from the "Washington Post" and Associated Press standing by to join us with their reporting. But first we want to get updated on the investigation.

And for that I want to bring in Bill Bratton, Former Commissioner of the NYPD and Boston Police, Former Chief of Police in Los Angeles. And Frank Figliuzzi, Former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence who worked on the anthrax investigation back in 2001.

Commissioner, as you well know, because we`ve been through anthrax, our building here is very well equipped for this kind of thing with machinery and detection. I need your assessment of what you witnessed today and what are you looking for?

: Well, I think certainly the response was exceptional here in New York City. That seeing that firsthand on the part of the federal government agencies, FBI, et cetera very quickly identifying these devices, they`re now all down at the FBI lab if I understand it.

WILLIAMS: We have a live device at Columbus Circle in New York City.

BILL BRATTON, MSNBC SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That`s correct. Described as a live device as to what it will eventually turn out to be remains to be seen, whether they were capable of exploding, whether through error of design or never having that capability in the first place.

But the net effect was fear. A tremendous amount of fear. Fear that`s still being felt.

In my world, the security world, a significant number of clients calling in, asking for information. And this where the NYPD is a great -- does a great job. They have 19,000 subscribers to their shield program set up by my predecessor, Commissioner Kelly after the 9/11 events, to alert and keep informed with as much intimacy as possible information about threats. And today was a clear example of the benefit of that.

Nineteen thousand security directors getting information including pictures, descriptions of the devices, what to watch for, and procedures to follow.

WILLIAMS: Frank Figliuzzi, so much to go on here already. Given just the little bit that we know, you see a package wrapped in that much scotch tape, you think, well, that`s good because tape is kind of a DNA magnet. Think of all the things from your person, your environment can stick to it and then be tested.

But what were you looking for in terms of construction? Is this a -- to your view, based on what we know, sophisticated bomb maker?

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FMR. FBI ASSIST. DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: Brian, the reports we`re getting so far indicate a primitive type device. In fact, as Commissioner Bratton referenced, we still don`t know for certain whether or not these devices were capable of detonating.

In fact, if they were and if the report is accurate about the CNN device being live, then the question I have in my mind is why didn`t they detonate? Was this a deliberate attempt to send a message, invoke fear, tell us that something more is coming, or have we seen the end of this?

I would say we`ve not seen the end just based on historical experience with mail bombers and serial bombers. They keep going until they`re caught generally. This is perhaps a first round and we may see a change in methodology and what the bombs look like moving forward. But tonight the FBI and law enforcement is racing the clock because of the possibility that more bombs are out there and perhaps this time they may go off.

WILLIAMS: Commissioner, I want to quote two guys you know. David Gergen has served four white houses. I think he`s a Republican by registration. He said on CNN tonight, "The President has unleashed the dogs of hatred in this country." Governor Cuomo of New York called this "political terrorism."

Do you agree that this is the kind of the definition of terrorism, the fear and uneasiness you just described?

BRATTON: Mayor De Blasio in his comments today labeled it terrorism in a conversation with John Miller. Later in the day, deputy commissioner for counterterrorism. This is clearly an act of terrorism. Terrorism at its most basic form is intended to spread fear and disruption, particularly in the political world. And that`s exactly what happened today.

The unresolved fear there are more of these devices, certainly in the law enforcement world is working very hard to alert various politicians, if you will, others that have been targeted. Either by the President or media or whoever to be on the alert for these types of devices continuing to come at them.

The CNN event today, the reason for the very large-scale evacuation of the whole complex, that`s a huge complex, was the white powder.


BRATTON: The idea that they didn`t know what that was. I don`t believe there was powder in any of the other envelopes. At least I have not heard anything to that effect. So the CNN device and envelope seemed to have a different configuration than the others who was sent out there. And because of the uncertainty of that powder, the anthrax threat or concern, that`s why the wide-scale evacuations were conducted.

WILLIAMNS: Frank, the Commissioner reminds me that most bombers turn out to be a lone wolves, male, have whatever gets in their head that they need to do this. As you look at kind of putting together a profile, what else would you think of?

FIGLIUZZI: Well, first, I think it`s really important to emphasize that the investigators on this case are going to have to keep a very open mind. It`s very attractive to make certain assumptions. And they`re obvious assumptions. Someone might say this is clearly some guy who`s a right- winger, mentally unstable, motivated by hatred, perhaps stoked by rhetoric from the White House.

But, we have to understand that this could even be a group. It could be a domestic organization. It could be a white hate organization. It could be somebody simply experimenting with mail bombs that wants to throw the law enforcement off his tracks. So he`s come up with these targets. We don`t know.

We have to be led by the evidence. The evidence will speak for itself. And it`s quite likely that someone knows who this is because this person has spoken out before about his grievances or if it`s a group, they`re out there. People are right now scratching their heads saying, "I wonder if it was Joe or that group or those people who rented that place or have been in the basement for two weeks doing this or that and making purchases." So the public health -- help here is going to be crucial in addition to solid painstaking investigation.

WILLIAMNS: But Frank, one quick word here, and then I`ve got to bring in our journalists, reassure the folks watching. There is a lot to go on. Even though these are small devices, you`ve got where the jiffy bag was bought, the tape used, the glue on the stamps, the ink in the printer. Is there a human hair that fell into the envelope by accident, giving you a total DNA profile of someone?

In this day and age, investigators are so good, thankfully. There`s at least a lot to go on.

FIGLIUZZI: Brian, it`s a treasure trove of evidence. I would give anything to have this amount of evidence. The DNA, the hair and fiber, the purchase -- I`ll give you an example. We had a case back in 1989. We traced nails, carpenter nails, put in packages to the hardware stores that sold them.

I never thought you could do that. You can do that. The FBI will do that. This will get solved.

WILLIAMNS: And Commissioner, you just mentioned misspellings, which are sometimes intentional to throw people off.

BRATTON: That`s correct. But this is since that one of the things guarantee the investigators are now doing, they`re searching of social media. Potential suspects who may have advanced threats against any of these individuals. The fact that there are a number of misspellings. That`ll be another avenue of pursuit.

I can almost guarantee also that the forces on the right are going to be claiming this was in fact perpetrated by somebody on the left.

WILLIAMNS: Oh, that`s already happening.

BRATTON: It guaranteed.


BRATTON: It`s the world we live in.

WILLIAMS: Welcome to our world. Can`t think of two gentlemen, we`d rather have on a night like tonight to start off our coverage. Bill Bratton, Frank Figliuzzi, thank you both.

If you take a look at some of President Trump`s rallies over just this past week, many of his go-to targets have received these suspicious packages.


TRUMP: Crooked Hillary is a great unifier.

Maxine Waters, do you get that one? You get that? Good old Maxine, low IQ individual, low IQ.

Do you ever see when the fake news interviews them and then they try and cut it? But they rather they`ll go to a person holding a sign, who gets paid by Soros or somebody, right? That`s what happens.

By the way, by the way.

CROWD: CNN sucks.

TRUMP: Don`t worry. I don`t like them either. OK?


WILLIAMS: For more, we welcome in our political panel, Phillip Rucker, a Pulitzer prize-winning White House Bureau Chief for the "Washington Post." Jill Colvin, White House Reporter for the Associated Press. And Robert Costa, National Political Reporter for "The Post" and Moderator of "Washington Week" on PBS. Thank you for your patience. Welcome to all of you.

And Phil, this correlation between critics of Trump, targets of Trump, and all those who got a potentially deadly surprise in the mail today. As you do your reporting, any recognition from the Trump forces that there may be some responsibility they bear for tone at minimum?

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, Brian, it`s an important question today. And we`ve been looking for any of that recognition throughout the day. The White House has not recognized, or at least acknowledged that the President`s rhetoric in any way has influenced this.

And in fact the President in his public remarks this afternoon at the White House and then on the campaign trail at a rally tonight in Wisconsin stopped short of accepting any sort of personal responsibility for the inflammatory contributions that he has made to the political discourse this fall. But as you just showed in those video clips, the President`s rhetorical targets have been very clear at rally after rally after rally.

And those very targets became the targets this week of these mailings of these bombs, these explosive devices that were sent. There is no evidence from investigators connecting the shipments to any sort of political campaign or plot or any motivation that is directly related to Trump.

But again, there are a lot of questions being raised in the political world about the President`s rhetoric. The President for his part has been saying that the rhetoric as a whole needs to come down a notch. He`s been calling for unity. He`s even blamed the media for playing a role in the rhetoric. But he has not accepted any personal responsibility for the way in which the tone of his speeches has contributed.

WILLIAMNS: And Robert Costa, as recently as our broadcast last night, we were surmising that fear was just going to be the closing argument as we approach the 26 -- 2018 midterms. And there`s this caravan coming. There are kind of sketchy Middle Easterners as part of the caravan. They are coming for your home, your property, your family. Does this change that now?

ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Fear is not just the title of a Bob Woodward book. It`s the story of this year`s midterm elections. A dark cloud hangs over the upcoming November contest.

You have fact checks about the President`s language on the immigrant caravan that`s coming up, the 5,000 or so migrants from Central America. Different statements without evidence from this administration about those immigrants and their experience. The Kavanaugh confirmation charged up the culture wars. And now political violence at the fore of our national debate.

It has brought -- as much as Democrats are talking and some Republicans talking about health care and other important issues on their campaign trail, it really is the broader culture, fear, violence, facts. That`s really what`s at the center for both parties.

WILLIAMNS: Jill Colvin, it was I guess a violation of protocol for a sitting President not to mention two former targeted presidents. It`s such a small club, after all. But, let`s not forget John Brennan, former CIA director, was on this list as well.

I`m going to play for you what he said today. Remember, as a long-time overseas station chief, as they say, he doesn`t scare easily. And we`ll talk about it on the other side.


JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Unfortunately, I think Donald Trump too often has helped to incite some of these feelings of anger if not violence when he points to acts of violence or also talks about, you know, swinging at somebody from the press or the media. That`s why I have spoken out so strongly. Some would say very stridently. Because of what I think is a continued failure on the part of Donald Trump to live up to what I think should be all of our expectations about what an American president should be doing, especially in times like this.


WILLIAMS: John Brennan who was of course called a lowlife by the President. Jill, the question is can Brennan speaking like this cause other Brennan`s to speak out or if there were any potential profiles in courage, especially on the Republican side, would we know about it by now?

JILL COLVIN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think at this point, everyone pretty much knows what the President`s M.O is. You know, there have been endless opportunities at this point for members of the Republican Party to stand up when the President goes after people like Brennan or Eric Holder or any of the litany, the hundreds of people that the President has gone after now in his three or four years in the political spotlight. And that`s something that we really have not seen happen.

I also have to say that, you know, the President`s message today was one of calling for unity. He really kind of advocated this idea that we should have this new moment of civility in politics.

And the idea that President Trump is going out there with this message just reeks of hypocrisy. This is a President who won an election, who campaigned using incredibly inflammatory rhetoric. This is a candidate who at his campaign rallies used to urge his supporters to beat up protesters, who would come to his rallies to protest his messages. And he`s somebody who has consistently, each and every person on the list that was targeted today and endless others, has used inflammatory rhetoric against them. And so it`s interesting to have the President now saying that this is the moment for civility.

WILLIAMS: Indeed. Our guests have agreed to stay with us. We`re going to take a break and continue. And coming up, the President at a rally tonight calling for peace and harmony as we mentioned while taking another wide swing at the media.

And later, important news, a big ruling in Georgia today that could impact its already close governor`s race. THE 11TH HOUR just getting started on this busy Wednesday night.



TRUMP: We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony. We can do it. We can do it. More broadly, there`s much we can do to bring our nation together. For example, those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective. We have to do that.

The language of moral condemnation and destructive routine, these are arguments and disagreements that have to stop.


WILLIAMS: Something tells me we`ll be playing that clip from time to time. Some more of the President at his rally in Wisconsin earlier tonight, again urging people to come together after explosive devices were mailed to CNN and a number of high-profile Democrats including two of our former presidents.

Tonight`s rally was much different than your typical Trump rally although he did slam the media. And later Democrats over immigration, his tone was subdued. There was no mention, for example, of Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters.

At one point Trump even admitted he was holding back.


TRUMP: Lee is radical far left opponent is Tammy Baldwin, who wants a socialist takeover of healthcare. Yes, I`m sorry, trying to say that very nicely. I`m trying to -- see normally I`d scream, they want a socialist takeover. Now I say, who wants a socialist takeover.

I`m trying to be nice.


WILLIAMS: Still with us tonight, Philip Rucker, Jill Colvin, and Robert Costa.

Jill, I know by your count you`re north of 100 Trump rallies that you have attended in your still young lifetime. Having acknowledged that, listen to this. This is more on him on the media tonight. Then we`ll talk with you on the other side.


TRUMP: As part of a larger national effort to bridge our divides and bring people together, the media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories.


WILLIAMS: Media have. It`s plural. So Jill, that part has largely gone unabated tonight, the attack the media portion.

COLVIN: Yes. And that section of it, it very much seemed like the President was at least in part trying to assign some blame to the media for these attempted attacks that we`ve seen this week.

Notably, the President did not later on in his rallies usually, you know, these rallies are pretty formulate. The President sort of has a set list of pieces that he goes through, different sections that he brings up in certain rallies and we hear a lot of. And the President did not notably do his usual bit where he asks basically his crowd to turn around and boo the news media. He often criticizes the press for not showing enough of his rally crowds, complains that the cameras focus too much on him and don`t show the people who are there enough. The President did not do that.

See at that moment what the President does, he typically have the entire stadium or arena of thousands of people who turn around, many of them, they boo the press, they jeer the press, you know, they raise middle fingers, some people in the past have tried to spit at reporters. And so he did not have the optics of that happening tonight.

That said, during some of the preamble, you know, there were a number of speakers before the President arrived at that airport hangar. And there were moments earlier on where the press was booed. There was also one of the speakers talked about Hillary Clinton and you had one of those "lock her up" chants that Trump`s crowds often erupt into.

So even though you didn`t see those elements when Trump was on stage, they still happened tonight at that rally.

WILLIAMS: Oh, there you go. And Robert Costa, you never have to explain away your hype man, of course. Trump said, we heard him there, trying to be nice. How long of a life span do you give that?

COSTA: I wouldn`t even characterize his remarks tonight as nice. I mean, he used very heated rhetoric talking about the socialist takeover of the national health care system, a system that is right now it`s not a single payer system. There is Medicare and Medicaid, but this is not a single payer system.

You have the President, he`s always tempered for a moment at the urging of some of his advisers. But this is a President who cannot resist political combat. And he`s betting that incendiary messages will really rally his base to turn out this fall and perhaps save the Republican Congressional majorities.

WILLIAMS: Mr. Rucker, we heard Commissioner Bratton predict this would happen. It`s already happened. I`m going to read your own writing back to you. "A number of Trump supporters advanced the false flag theory on social media and talk radio, arguing that the potential explosive devices may have been sent by liberals with the intention of reversing the mob argument and painting Democrats as victims of unruly conservatives."

I want to show you a photo of a DeSantis rally said to be of the crowd in Florida tonight. Lower right, "Fake News, Fake Bombs."

Phil Rucker, has this already gone around the world of politics?

RUCKER: Well, it`s gotten on the air. Rush Limbaugh talked about --


RUCKER: -- this theory on his show that millions of people, many of them Trump supporters around the country listen to. And he`s just one of many conservative, you know, talk radio hosts and pundits and people with big social media followings who have been advancing this false flag theory throughout the day.

I don`t think it`s going to go away. It`s important to point out and I think most of the viewers understand this, that this is not a theory based in any concrete evidence of any kind. It is as of right now completely unfounded.

We don`t know anything about who the suspect is or suspects. It could be multiple people or group of people who sent these packages. We simply don`t know and are waiting for law enforcement to tell us.

And one thing, Brian, I think is worth pointing out. You mentioned you played that clip at the beginning of this segment about the President saying it`s time for people in the political arena to stop demonizing their opponents.


RUCKER: Start talking about them as morally deficient. I mean, this is a President who campaigned for the better part of two years by calling his political opponent crooked, crooked Hillary. Perhaps he`ll follow his own counsel. But he`s the one who has created these nicknames.

WILLIAMS: Yes. I couldn`t help but notice a device arrived at the office of low IQ, Maxine Waters today as well. Hey, thanks to our panel and let`s take a minute to point out that but for an apparent inept bomb maker we could be covering such a very different night in America tonight.

But we are blessed to have with us Phil Rucker, Jill Colvin, and Robert Costa.

Coming up after a break, the governor of Ohio, John Kasich, joins us to talk civility in politics after this unsettling day.


WILLIAMS: We are back after this busy day. And a short time ago earlier this evening we spoke with the Republican governor of the State of Ohio, John Kasich, about this unsettling day across America.


WILLIAMS: Governor, this was another troubling day in this country. The tone of this country is something you have talked about often. Obvious question is does the President bear some responsibility? Obviously not for the bomb making or the recipients, but does he bear responsibility for the tone that allowed him?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Sure. Sure, he does. And it`s part of the reason why I never endorsed him and I`ve never been personally critical of him but yes, he does bear responsibility for the divisions. He has the biggest megaphones.

But I think, Brian, you and I have been observers and participants in this business for a long time. When we see Hillary Clinton say, and I said this not long ago in the media, that when she said "When they go low we need to go low" or Eric Holder, when you go low we need to go low, everybody needs to knock it off.

But obviously the guy with the biggest megaphone is the one that really has to be careful. I`m told that at his rally tonight he offered some conciliatory words. I`m pleased to see that. I think it`s important. We don`t need to savage ourselves. We`re not in a zero sum game where I win and you lose and I then have to devastate you because you`re my opponent or call a bad person.

We can have a great lively political discussion, political debate, and we don`t have to separate and polarize in anger. It leads to crazy things. And Brian, I`ve talking to a couple of my friends. When you get this frenzy going in the country, you remember back when you were in high school or when you were in college, when you`d go to those pep rallies and people get so revved up and get so angry and then all of a sudden one of the people that is -- kind of lives on the edge does something stupid.

And I think in an environment where you have all of this name calling and all everything is so critical, and this person`s bad and this is horrible, what happens is somebody who`s not very well balanced might do something crazy. And I think we saw some of it in the last two days.

WILLIAMS: Let me ask you history buff to history buff, what does the word "Nationalism" mean to you?

KASICH: Well, it means looking inward to me. It means, everything is about revving up your own folks. That`s what that word means. I think that our leaders in our country forever, particularly since -- well, even starting -- well, the very, very early, early on we saw our leaders saying that we had a global responsibility.

And we think about World War II and we think about Franklin Roosevelt recognizing that we need to be involved. It started with Lend-Lease and then ultimately led after Pearl Harbor to our involvement, if we hadn`t been involved in that who knows what would have happened to the world.

But here`s what`s interesting, Brian. When that war ended, we fought the Germans tooth and nail. We fought the Japanese. What happened? We helped rebuild them. Why? Because we recognized that we all live on the same planet.

And World War I solution didn`t work. World War II it was about rebuilding, creating relationships. And it served us well for 70 years by keeping the peace. That`s the way I think we need to think of as Americans. And of course the leaders who are running the government in our country.

WILLIAMS: I wanted to get you on the record on foreign affairs, specifically on the Saudi matter. Are you comforted at all knowing that CIA director Gina Haspel has not only traveled to the region, she has apparently been given access to the recordings said to exist of what we now know was a murder?

KASICH: Well, I`m glad that she`s over there and she`s getting the information. I happen to think that the United States and the Brits, the French, the Germans should have our own complete investigation. And Brian, this whole business about these arms sales, 110 billion, which apparently the Obama administration had engaged in.

Somehow we want to trade our values and our morality for the fact that we want to be a major weapons merchant in the world doesn`t strike me as a America`s on a shining hill as Reagan once described it. And really is -- to quote the refrains from John Kennedy, who saw us having a bigger purpose.

Look, I think those arms sales should be frozen, period. And I think that this Magnitsky Act needs to be put into play. People need to be severely punished, and we need to mean business because if we don`t, if we shrink it really could encourage other people to do things that we would just shake our heads over.

WILLIAMS: The governor of the state of Ohio John Kasich. Governor, always a pleasure having you on the broadcast. Thank you so very much.

KASICH: Thank you Brian. Good luck. Thank you.


WILLIAMS: And coming up for us tonight, Bill Kristol is here. We`ll ask him about this unsettling day across our country when THE 11TH HOUR continues.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not right. Nobody should be sending bombs, that stuff with anybody. I don`t care who they are. I disagree with them politically. But that`s wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to calm down a little bit and respect each other. And respect each other`s views.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we should pull together as a country. There shouldn`t be that separation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One really important thing, there`s a left-wing and a right-wing and we need to remember we`re on the same --


WILLIAMS: Some very sensible Wisconsinites there tonight. That was our own Vaughn Hillyard talking to Trump supporters in line ahead of the Trump rally there tonight about these bombs sent around to prominent Democrats and to CNN.

A stark contrast to the "Lock her up" and other chants about CNN so often heard from Trump supporters. Tonight the President suggested everyone come together in peace and harmony as he put it. Well, let`s talk about that.

With us Bill Kristol, a veteran of Reagan and Bush administrations and Editor at Large of the "Weekly Standard." awfully nice to have you here after again what I keep calling an unsettling day. I`m going to read back to you what you tweeted today. "He could cancel the rally, fly back to the White House and read a sober ten-minute speech from the Oval Office. He could at least for a moment behave as a President, not a rabble rouser."

Then our friend Steve Schmidt took it another step further. "Trump has stoked a cold civil war in this country. His rallies brim with menace. And he has labeled journalists as enemies of the people. That someone would seek to kill their political enemies is not aberrational but rather the inevitable consequence of Trump`s incitement."

And when you think about it, this is the biggest attack in our history on former heads of government, on senior members of Congress, on the news media, now being investigated by an FBI that`s been diminished by the President. What do you make of today now that it`s over?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I`ve been unsettled by it as you have been. I think the President did, as we were saying in the break, the bare minimum today. He didn`t rabble rouse as much as he normally does. He read statements that were appropriate.

He certainly didn`t go out of his way to do anything more than that. He still could. I mean, what if he invited president and Mrs. Obama and President and Mrs. Clinton to the White House tomorrow and they had a -- he and Mrs. Trump and they had a photo op in the Oval Office and said we are all from different parties and different races for that matter, different persuasions, but we need to stand together and our politics needs to be about decent civil debate.

I mean, that would be something. That would be a bit more of a message to his -- some of his supporters who have gone off the rails. And the general tone of those rallies has been so indecent really. And close to violent to provoke. You can`t really blame. I don`t think Donald Trump for some person or small group that sent these bombs if that`s what they were or devices or something.

But the climate is really bad and he should do more. And everyone should do more. But he should do more. Mostly -- he`s the President of the United States, right?

WILLIAMS: Yes. As of his wheels up time in Wisconsin one of the pool reporters had reported he had yet to call the former presidents just to give them even a cursory update on the investigation. And this is live south lawn of the White House. The president back home after his event in Wisconsin.

Bill, I ask you all the time about turning points. I had a colleague in my office, Republican, arguing that this may be one. How will we know one when we see one?

KRISTOL: It`s a good question. Often you don`t see them until later. Let`s see if other Republicans change the tone of their campaigns. One of the most distressing things to me is someone is trying to hang in there with the Republican party and save it is how many Republican campaigns have become Trump-like in their own rhetoric. Ads that are just really over the top. Statements that are being made.

Let`s see if people tone it down. Do they suggest their opponent is, I don`t know, as Ron DeSantis in Florida suggested to Mr. Gillum that they get together and have a joint appearance for 20 minutes, right. They simply talk about have a decent political debate.

It doesn`t seem like much of that is happening. By I sort of agree with you, this is a pretty big moment -- it`s too big a moment to let it go with a couple cursory statements and then we move on back to the bitter campaign tomorrow.

I mean, that maybe is what happens. But then it really does become, OK, this is the kind of thing that happens every now and then in our democracy, right. In three months from now they`ll be some other, some else will get the idea of doing this.

So, I think not using it as a moment, if I can put it that way, not trying to turn it into an inflection point, to do a turning point is itself missing an opportunity and the way letting us slide further and further down this path.

WILLIAMS: A point well made. Think of it. We`re having this discussion in a building already hit once by Anthrax (ph) where tonight we have long weapons in the hands of security in the lobby. Thank you. It is always such a pleasure to have you on the broadcast.

Coming up, the news from the midterm elections. It is enough to require our friend Steve Kornacki at the big board with the numbers when we come right back.


WILLIAMS: If you`re following the Georgia governor`s race, this is important news. Just today, a new ruling has given voting right advocates in Georgia a big win. This is from a federal judge who has ruled that Georgia election officials may no longer reject absentee ballots because of that problem of mismatches signature.

Instead the judge said the Secretary of State who again happens to be the Republican candidate for Governor Brian Kemp must give voters a chance to fix the error before denying their ballots. Previously, Kemp`s opponent Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams has called the signature mismatch law a form of voter suppression.

And now with just 13 days to go until the midterms, our National Political correspondent Steve Kornacki is with us again at the big board. Hey, Steve.

STEVE KORNACKI, NBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brian. Yes. And with this news we also have some news of our own on Georgia, brand new NBC News Marist Poll on this governor`s race in Georgia. Obviously, one of the most closely watched in the country.

Here`s what we`re finding Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state, you were just talking about leading in our poll by one point 46, 45 over Stacey Abrams. Keep in mind though, there is a third candidate, getting here the libertarian Ted Metz getting four percent.

Why that is so crucial here, Georgia, sort of unique among states. They have a runoff provision in governor`s races. And so if neither Kemp nor Abrams gets 50 percent on Election Day in November, if Metz gets a few points, keeps them both under 50, this goes to a runoff. That runoff would be held on December 4th. So that is the wild card there.

And this governor race, the intensity in it, the high interest in it, we may be seeing a bit of a ripple effect in two congressional races in Georgia. Remember rationally Democrats trying to pick up 23 seats. Well, here`s a blast from the past.

Remember about a year, year and a half ago, a special election in Georgia 6th district, those suburbs north of Atlanta, Jon Ossoff was the Democrats candidate. The Democrats poured in $30 million, he fell short. Karen Handel won that special election.

Now, she`s running for a full-term. And look at this a poll out this week shows there only leading by four points. This is making Republicans nationally nervous. Just this week, they threw more than $1 million into this race at the last minute, trying to keep Handel ahead in this race.

Interestingly, in the poll, you`re seeing right here. Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for governor leading in this district by a point. So, could Abrams actually end up having an effect helping Lucy McBath, the Democratic candidate here?

And next door, the 7th district. Again, suburbs just outside Atlanta, traditionally Republican, Trump though did not do as well as in this district as Republicans normally do. Again, poll this week showing the Republican incumbent there, only ahead by six.

Ahead in this race but it shows you, in those suburbs Democrats, this is the kind of place, if they get that extra burst of energy, this is one to keep an eye on, potentially, on election night. So it`s the governor race in Georgia, there`s couple congressional races to Brian.

WILLIAMS: Man, that also Ossoff/Handel race seems like it was 10 years ago. That was long night.

KORNACKI: And back in the news.

WILLIAMS: Oh my goodness. Steve Kornacki, thank you for all of it. Look forward to seeing you the next time.

Coming up, a big news story that almost got by today, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The stock market is up almost 40 percent since Election Day, think of that. Almost 40 percent.

And your 401(k)s, you look like a bunch of geniuses. Thank you Donald very much. You`re all great investors, right?


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go here tonight, is a situation that deserves watching. As you heard there this President is mighty proud of the stock market, and deserve at least so as it`s been on a run, reflecting an overall healthy economy.

But amid, the destructions of the coming midterm campaign say nothing of those targeted by bombs today. Unless you`re one of the people with CNBC on all today, it got by almost unnoticed this evening that the Dow Jones Industrial average has erased all of its gains for the year.

And headlines like the one on CNBC website tonight, get your attention. The selling on Wall Street just won`t quit. And here`s how bad it could get.

Well, the answer seems to be bad, in part they sight something called the fear gauge, the CBOE volatility index, which happens to be at 25, and that`s the highest it`s been this year since the market spiked a while back.

While it`s true, unemployment is at its lowest it`s been in decades, and output and confident are both running high. There are also worries out there about interest rates, about those tariffs and the resulting price hikes passed along to American consumers, worries about the Chinese economy and the up coming midterm elections.

So if you`re going to afford to, hold on for a potential wild ride. And just to keep things fair CNBC also has a column quoting an expert who says a big market rally is coming.

That for us is our broadcast on a Wednesday night. Thank you so very much for being here with us. Good night from NBC News headquarters here in New York.