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Cruise Ship TRANSCRIPT: 3/6/20, The 11th Hour with Brian Williams

Guests: Lanhee Chen, Ro Khanna

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: That day at Regina Coeli Pope Francis told the prisoners, there is no jut penalty that is not open to hope, that is why the death is neither Christian nor human.

Pope Francis gets "Tonight`s Last Word." "The 11th Hour" with Brian Williams starts now

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Tonight even more mixed coronavirus messaging from the commander in chief. The confusion over test availability and the President`s controversial reason for keeping infected patients on board a quarantined cruise ship.

Plus, the ever growing impact on the nation`s economy as Donald Trump suggested American state close to home, places like Austin, Texas, brace for hundreds of millions lost in canceled events.

And wrapping up a momentous week in presidential politics including brand new poll numbers pitting the final two Democrats in a big shake up in the Oval Office as "The 11th Hour" gets underway on this Friday night.

Good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. I`m Steve Kornacki in for Brian Williams. Day 1,142 of the Trump administration and 242 days to go now until the presidential election.

The number of countries with reported cases of the coronavirus has now risen to at least 90. And there are now reports of 100,000 cases worldwide. Today one of the scientists tracking the global spread of the virus noted this key development during a briefing for congressional staff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve recently passed the point on which case for now of more cases outside China than inside China on a daily basis, which I think is a pretty critical shift in this situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: In the United States there are now more than 300 cases in almost half the states, and at least 15 deaths with the latest death being reported tonight out of Florida. There are still not enough coronavirus tests to meet the national demand adding to the fear that the real extend of the outbreak may not be fully understood in the United States.

The Trump administration has been taking a lot of heat for how it has responded to the spread of the virus, and there have been concerns about the President`s messaging when he has spoken in public.

Today, the President visited the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta after he signed an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill that had just passed Congress. His comments today seemed to imply that there was no shortage of test kits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Anybody right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They`re there. They have the tests. The tests are beautiful.

Anybody that needs a test gets a test. But anybody that needs a test can have a test. They`re all set. They have them out there. But as of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test, that`s the important thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: But less than an hour after that, Vice President Pence who is leading the White House coronavirus task force held his own briefing and acknowledged that the government was still working on making its test kits available to everyone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Two of America`s leading commercial laboratories have announced that tests will be available by Monday of this week.

With the announcement of these major commercial labs, we trust in a matter of weeks the coronavirus tests will be broadly available to the public and available to any American that is symptomatic and has a concern about the possibility of having contracted the coronavirus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: During Trump`s visit to the CDC he also spoke about the Grand Princess Cruise ship being held off the coast of San Francisco with 3,500 people currently on board. Coronavirus tests were delivered to the ship by helicopter. And this afternoon Vice President Pence announced that 21 people, 19 crew members and two passengers have tested positive for the virus. The testing came about after a man who was on a previous voyage tested positive and died from coronavirus.

Today Trump said he didn`t want the administration to take people off the cruise ship because it would double the number of those with coronavirus in the states.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are. I don`t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn`t our fault.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: The President went on to praise his administration`s efforts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think we`re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down. We`ve really been very vigilant. And we`ve done a tremendous job in keeping it down. I like this stuff, I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it.

Every one of these doctors said, how do you know so much about this? Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Even so the coronavirus continues to take its toll on the financial market with another selloff today even amid reports that the economy added more than 270,000 jobs last month.

Meanwhile, city officials in Austin, Texas, have now canceled the South by Southwest festival which was set to start a week from today.

As all this unfolds, President Trump has just announced another major personnel shift at the White House. He has tapped Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican House member, leader of the Freedom Caucus and a tireless Trump ally to be his chief of staff. As usual Trump announced his decision on Twitter saying, "I am pleased to announce that Congressman Mark Meadows will become White House Chief of Staff. I have long known and worked with Mark, and the relationship is a very good one. I want to thank Acting Chief Mick Mulvaney for having served the administration so well. He will become the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. Thank you."

Meadows will be Trump`s fourth chief of staff in three years.

Here for our leadoff discussion on a Friday night, two veteran journalists with NBC News digital traveling with the President in Florida, Shannon Pettypiece, Senior White House Reporter and here in New York, Jonathan Allen, Senior Political Analyst, And also joining us from California, Lanhee Chen, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, former policy director for the Romney/Ryan 2012 campaign and notably a former senior official with the Department of Health and Human Services. Thank you all for being with us.

Shannon, let me start with you. The President today at the CDC, we played that clip talking for instance about the cruise ship, not wanting the passengers to come into the actual physical United States because then they`d be counted in statistic. What are you hearing from folks in the administration, folks around the President about that visit, about what he`s trying to communicate here and what he actually is communicating here?

SHANNON PETTYPIECE, NBC NEWS.COM SR. WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, none of what he communicated is what anyone in the administration has been trying to communicate, and you pointed out the example of that contrast between what the Vice President was saying about the testing kits and what the President is saying about the testing kits. I mean we see this time and time again where you have people in the administration, people in the White House working on a well-crafted message that is then completely blown up by the President.

I mean, it started very early in the day today where the White House said, you know, the President wasn`t going to be going to the CDC. They didn`t say why. And then the President tells reporter it was because there was someone at the CDC that they thought had coronavirus. And it turns out that test was negative. And so now he`s going to go, but basically contradicting what his own staff had said earlier in the day.

And of course I think one of the most striking things he said out of that mini press conference he did with reporters was as you pointed out about this, the number of passengers on the cruise ship. You know, the administration is trying to take the posture that they`re not making the decision for political reasons, for optic reasons. You know they see that narrative in the medium (ph), they push back of that.

Then the President acknowledges basically saying the quiet part out loud that he`s making a decision about what happens with these cruise passengers based on how the numbers look. And then he throws this caveat about how he`ll let other people make that decision but it`s his clear preference that he does not want these cruise passengers brought back into the U.S. because of what it would do with the statistics. So, clearly him having a political optical calculous in that decision which is something his allies have been trying to counteract.

KORNACKI: Lanhee, we mentioned you have a background with HHS. I wonder what goes through your mind when you see those two statements we played there from the President on the issue of testing and from the Vice President sending two seemingly contradictory messages. What is the impact of that kind of messaging?

LANHEE CHEN, FMR. SENIOR HHS OFFICIAL: Well, I think, you know, at a time when you have the American people on edge, a time when people want information, obviously information is power in this case, it`s really important that the government speak with one voice. It is a whole of government response. It is something this administration I know has been working hard to coordinate.

But the challenge is, you know, when you look at pandemic planning, when you look at this is the way, this has been done before, the emphasis has always been on can government speak with a single voice about what the current situation is, what the upcoming situation will be, and what the government is doing to respond. So it does create a challenge, I think, both for the administration but also for the American people in terms of the information they`re hearing and trying to figure out from what sources they should be acquiring that information and the accuracy of that information being called into question.

KORNACKI: Also comments today from President Trump about the governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, a Democrat, of course Washington, one of the states right now hardest hit by the coronavirus. The President went after him, take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I told Mike not to be complementary of the governor because that governor is a snake, OK? Inslee.

We have a lot of problems with the governor. And the governor of Washington, that`s where you have many of yours problems, OK? So Mike may be happy with him, but I`m not. OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Jon Allen, I`m curious what the President -- we`ve seen this before. We`ve seen in moments like this, he went after Sherrod Brown I think at one point during a crisis last summer. What is he trying to accomplish with a comment like that, calling Jay Inslee a snake?

JONATHAN ALLEN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: I think he is trying to distract from his problem, I guess. The enemy right now is coronavirus. It is not Jay Inslee.

And to speak to Lanhee Chen`s point a moment ago about the whole of government approach and trying to speak with a single voice, the problem the Trump administration is having right now to sort of cut to the chase is it can`t do that because the President is saying things that are distracting from what would be the whole of government approach to this, not only within the Trump administration at the political level, but at the career official level, and at the state government level working in coordination with the Trump administration.

Jay Inslee the Democratic governor of Washington and Mike pence the Vice President of the United States obviously on the same page, and here`s the President of the United States attacking the governor of a state over a coronavirus.

This is a disaster for the White House from a public relation standpoint. But more important than that, Steve, you`ve got a situation with what the President is saying creates a public health risk because he`s telling the public not to worry about something that it should be worried about. And it sends a message when he attacks the governor like Jay Inslee, the public health officials in state and in local governments are at risk of being attacked from the President. If they do the things that the administration is asking them to do that are not in concert with what the President`s talking points are.

KORNACKI: There`s also the matter, we mentioned this in the introduction, and if you were watching the stock market all today this week, the past two weeks, the marketing continuing to fall. The President was asked about that as well today. Here`s what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, all we can do is do what we do. I mean, we`re getting a lot of business from people staying. You know, in other words, which I always like anyway, you know that for a long time. But people are staying here and spending their money here as opposed to going to Europe and other places.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So Shannon, the President there, trying to offer some positive spin on that. I wonder what is taking place behind the scenes in the administration in terms of trying to address -- I know the President certainly has touted positive economic news the last few years hoping to run on that for re-election behind the scenes. Are there actions that are being discussed here to try to prop up the economy and boost the markets?

PETTYPIECE: Yes. I mean, there`s a number of things they`ve had on the table for over the past couple of weeks that have been discussed. There is -- late last week there was a discussion about tax cuts, some sort of tax cut program, maybe like the Bush tax cuts where essentially people, you know, get a 2000 or a thousand dollars check in the mail, some sort of stimulus package, which, I mean, we saw the, you know, financial package, the $8 trillion they gave to help combat this, small business administration. I mean there`s a lot of things they`ve been discussing hear. But, I mean, the economic piece of this, obviously there`s a very tragic human toll too, but the economic piece of this is also going to be huge.

And, you know, I don`t know if the White House really has their hands around that because they do seem to be putting publicly and even when they talk to reporters somewhat privately a very positive spin on this. But they are very well aware that the economy is the President`s number one selling point for re-election.

The President using the stock market as an EKG of his presidency`s health. And if the legs get kicked out from under the economy, and of course, we`re still a way from November, but the economic impacts of this could be very long lasting if we look at what`s happened in Asia and what`s happening in Europe who are a few weeks ahead of us, that it is a real threat to the presidency.

And I think may be people are trying not to panic about it too soon, and let things see where they play out. But I mean this week I think the stock market really drove home that. They need to be considering this a lot more seriously.

KORNACKI: And Jon, the more recent news now in Washington, the last couple of hours, the President putting it out there on Twitter, we mentioned this as well. Mick Mulvaney out now as the acting chief of staff, and now Mark Meadows, Congressman Mark Meadows is going to become the chief of staff. What do you make of that move?

ALLEN: It`s been a move long in motion. The rumors of Mick Mulvaney being out have been long in waiting and the rumors of Meadows coming in long in waiting.

Look, Mark Meadows is somebody who has been close to the President for a long time. It makes sense on the level that Mark Meadows is somebody who really gets politics. We`re in an election year.

The President trusts Meadows. He`s somebody who`s acted in a way as an adviser, sort of an outside chief of staff to the President. One of the first phone calls the President makes before he makes decisions and one of the last phone calls the President makes before he makes decisions.

I think Mulvaney was somebody who the President had lost confidence in. And I don`t think it`s entirely incidental that this is happening while the coronavirus thing is kicking up and the President`s having some P.R. trouble with that.

Meadows has good relationships with reporters. He`s good on television. The President likes that as well. And so make sense for a lot of reasons for the President.

If you`re Meadows, you`re giving up a safe house seat for a job that has been not one with a long shelf life. So we`ll see how long that lasts.

KORNACKI: Yes, Lanhee, every time there is one of these moves, the chief of staff, we always have the conversation about, you know, is this going to create some new order? Is this going to rein in some of the -- is it going to change the sort of public facing nature of this presidency? What do you make of meadows, his ability to interact with the President? Do you think this presidency will look any different in any way with Mark Meadows in there as chief of staff?

CHEN: Yes, I doubt it. I think the reason why the presidency is the way it is right now is because of the President. And you know, he likes to be out there speaking on his own behalf. He likes to be out there making his own case. He believes he`s his most effective spokesman.

And you know, the changeover to Mark Meadows, I do think that Jon is right. It reflects the political reality of it being an election year and Meadows being very skilled in that way.

But in terms of it having some fundamental change on White House operations or a change on how the President conducts himself and how he`s out there on the campaign trail or not even on the campaign trail, but out there at various events, I doubt it because this has been the way this presidency has operated since day one. So I wouldn`t expect a big change because the person at the top of the White House org. chart changes.

KORNACKI: All right, Lanhee Chen, Jonathan Allen, Shannon Pettypiece, thank you all for being with us.

And coming up, more on the drastic steps that some cities are now taking to try to contain the coronavirus.

And later, with Biden on top, we`re going to ask the Sanders campaign how it plans to make a comeback in the next primaries four days from now, next set of contests. "The 11th Hour" just getting started on a Friday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D-TX): The first and overriding concern is the public health and safety of the people that live here and the people that would visit us. That was the focus and to remain to focus through all the discussion.

But at the end of the day this is a hard call to make because it does have a huge economic impact. I know I`m heartbroken for the businesses in our community that really rely on this event. For their income for the year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: In a major move, city officials today in Austin declared a local disaster and canceled this month`s popular South by Southwest festival. This over coronavirus fears.

The decision will no doubt have an enormous economic impact on the city and the area. "The New York Times" reports, "Last year, the various events associated with South by Southwest, which also include programs on gaming, comedy and education, contributed $356 million to the economy of Austin, according to figures circulated by the festival."

Here with us tonight, Maya Wiley, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, now with a New School here in New York, and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Professor and Assistant Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin.

Victoria, you are at the scene of what we were just talking about, so let me ask you about it. For folks who aren`t immediately familiar with South by Southwest, I`ve heard of it for years. I`ve never been. Describe what this means to Austin. What the event means and what the impact of canceling it will be.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, LBJ SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: Right. So the impact is multidimensional. As we heard Mayor Adler talk about the numbers, the figures, hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue come in with South by Southwest. So there`s that piece of it.

There`s the cultural component. South by Southwest has been a feature of the Austin culture for over three decades. It is part of who we are. It is part of our DNA here in Austin. So my heartaches in knowing that South by Southwest is canceled.

And then the other pieces is understanding that South by Southwest has always been this beautiful space of creativity that really is a launching pad for creativity nationally and internationally. So, lately we`ve come to think about South by Southwest about the Googles and the Twitters and the Facebooks, but really it`s about these thousands of filmmakers, musicians, writers who come here and have a space to create. And as of late, we also see educators, gamers, all types of creative types come here, and this is their space. That is no longer the case.

And I think the other two groups that are really going to be severely affected by the cancellation small business owners and then the service industry. So for 10 days all restaurants, hotels, bars, everything in Austin is packed. What this means is a lot of headaches for us Austinies, but we take it, we don`t mind it because we know it is so important to economy, it is so important to the folks here. And it`s just, Steve, I can`t express to you how much it hurts, but knowing again that this was a move that the mayor had to make.

KORNACKI: That`s my other question to you. And I wonder if this is something cities around the country and really around the world are going to be dealing with in the coming weeks and the coming months, having to make wrenching decisions with real economic consequences just like you`re describing. The reaction on the ground, the folks you`re talking with there, do they share what you just expressed, the sense of this is terrible for Austin, but it is the correct decision?

SOTO: You know, I think in the last couple of days as we`ve seen the crisis of the lack of testing kits come to the fore, I think that has pushed folks to understand that this was the lesser of two evils. There had been a petition to cancel South by Southwest that had been, I don`t know, five or six days. But I would say in the last two to three days, we saw that ramp up, and that`s when we saw these conversations, because of the lack of leadership that we`re seeing from the White House. We`re seeing the CDC not giving us the answers that we as a nation want.

So I think that what we saw in the last 48 hours was the precipitating cause of this and what ultimately is making folks say this sucks. We`re going to lose a ton of money, but better safe than sorry, especially because we`re not seeing the federal reaction. We`re looking to the state and local level to protect us.

KORNACKI: So Maya, Victoria is telling us what`s happening in Austin, Texas. We`re sitting here in the largest city in the United States and then there have been some reported cases around here, certainly it`s in the news here as it is everywhere else. What is your expectation of big cities like New York and what they`re going to be dealing with in the coming weeks?

MAYA WILEY, FMR. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTY. SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY: Well, I think we`re getting a preview from Austin. I have to say I go to South by Southwest every year wearing my faculty hat. The New School is usually represented well in South by Southwest. So I completely agree with Victoria.

I`ve also had the pleasure of knowing Mayor Adler when I worked with Mayor Bill de Blasio. Austin is really important city.

Look, but this is exactly what we`re facing. And I think I just want to underscore what Victoria said. Mayor de Blasio has begged for more tests. And that`s because as a city, if you are trying to figure out where the -- where you need to contain a problem in order to prevent more people from getting sick, it`s because you can test and see where it`s happening.

Here in New York we have -- we learned just this week that we have more -- almost 3,000 people in self-quarantine, 3,000. Those are people who if we could test them might not need to be in quarantine. They might be able to go to school. They might be able to go to work knowing that they`re not infecting anyone.

So this notion of the test itself, its availability, critically important to every community, rural, urban, everywhere, in order to make sound decisions including to be able to not overreact. But how can you be sure you`re protecting your residents if you don`t get trustworthy information, if you`re not getting consistent information, and if you can`t do the testing?

KORNACKI: And all of it so critical, especially a city like New York and others like it. The population just so close together, so densely populated.

WILEY: Riding subways.

KORNACKI: Everybody coming into contact with everybody else it seems. Well, there is the discussion we`re having now, and seems like we`ll be having for the near future at least. Our guests are staying with us.

We are going to switch gears just ahead. What`s next in the race for the White House after one of the most dramatic weeks really ever in presidential campaign politics when "The 11th Hour" continues?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think lack of talent was her problem. She had a tremendous lack of talent. She was a good debater. She destroyed Mike Bloomberg very quickly like it was nothing. That was easy for her, but people don`t like her. She`s a very mean person, and people don`t like her. People don`t want that. They like a person like me that`s not mean.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: The president had more to say about Elizabeth Warren today, one day after the end of her campaign, and now we`re getting our first snapshot of the race without her in the running. A new Morning Consult national poll that was conducted after Warren suspended her campaign yesterday gives Joe Biden a 16-point lead over Bernie Sanders, 54-38 percent.

Still with us Maya Wiley and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto. I`ll start with you, Maya. We`re getting a sense from that poll that the Warren supporters, there were all these theories that these were just going to be Sanders voters if she ever left the race. It looks like they`re splitting evenly right now. You look at that poll, Sanders needs more than an even split with Warren supporters to get back in this thing with Biden. Is there any chance he could convince Elizabeth Warren to back his candidacy and try to help his numbers there?

WILEY: Well, you know I can`t predict what Elizabeth Warren will do. I will say that as we know, she didn`t do that in 2016. She waited until the general election, and then she backs the nominee, which was Hillary Clinton, so we don`t know.

What I will say is he is the person with whom she has the closer alignment on policy, and so we could expect to hear her say favorable things about him on policy. On the other hand, I think she will -- if she`s not going to make an endorsement, she`ll be very careful not to spread her praise equally, and I think the reality of this campaign and of this primary has always been that the voters weren`t splitting along pathways that seemed to suggest, oh, well, if you like this, this particular person that means -- if that person`s out, you like this other person.

Those lanes never really existed in this primary, and they don`t exist now. So, I`m not sure even if she endorsed you`d necessarily see a very different split in voters.

KORNACKI: Right. Of course there`s the gold standard for endorsements for all time will now by Jim Clyburn endorsement. But not every endorsement is that.

WILEY: And look how he endorsed. I mean, when Jim Clyburn -- there are two aspects to that that are important to remember. One is he is deeply beloved in South Carolina in a way that -- because he has such deep and long standing history there as does his family. It`s a local state for lack of the way of saying it.

But the others, the way he did it. I mean, the man was almost in tears.

KORNACKI: Right.

WILEY: It was heartfelt in a way that went beyond politics and that level of emotionality which was truly authentic is something that just an endorsement doesn`t necessarily get you.

KORNACKI: Right.

WILEY: That was something truly different.

KORNAKCI: Yes, it came with a little more feeling. I think that`s fair to say.

Victoria, it seems to me looking ahead to some these states coming up on Tuesday, we`re going to have closer look at the minute at the board just to tease there for the audience. But it seems to me there`s a bigger question looming over all of these. Because we can look at these states and say Sanders could be well-positioned here based on what happened in 2016, might have an opportunity there.

I think the bigger question is what is the mood of the democratic primary electorate right now. Do they want to keep this fight going? Do they think it is worthwhile to have this fight going? Do they see such a clear divide there that it needs to be hashed out for months or weeks longer in primaries? Or is this a party that after Joe Biden having that big Super Tuesday and taking the lead, is this a party that`s just eager to get this over with, unite, and get on to the general election against Trump?

SOTO: So usually you need two out of three of momentum, money, and message to win in politics. We saw that Joe Biden came in with an extraordinary amount of momentum, not a lot of money and not a lot whole of message. So he broke that rule.

But over the last couple of days he`s been able to build on the momentum piece, bring in money from folks getting excited about his campaign. The question for me is he going to come forward with the message? What you just said, Steve, let`s just unite, let`s unite and go forward against Trump.

So, I think that if in the next couple of days he can hammer home this message, whether that`s unite, whether that`s something else, I think then Biden is potentially unstoppable.

However, after 2016, I promised myself to never say never, so, you know, Bernie Sanders is still not out of the race. Michigan, I know for him right now is his firewall, but if I were a betting woman, which I`m not, I do think that the momentum and the money right now are on Biden`s side.

And then looking a little more ahead, Steve, to the states that come on the 17th, I want to highlight Florida because Florida is blowing me away. When you look at those polling numbers where Biden is ahead Sanders by 30, 40 percent, mainly because of the Cuba, the Castro, the Democratic socialist issue, that`s where you see the weight of those comments of that vision which played relatively well in California and other states.

In Florida it crushes you. So I think that, you know, we`re going to see what happens on Tuesday, but potentially the real nail in the coffin is on the 17th when those groups of states vote.

KORNACKI: I swear we did not cooperate this ahead of time, but you have just set up our next segment beautifully, so I want to give you an extra bit of thanks for that. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Maya Wiley as well, thank you for joining us tonight.

And Victoria did just set that up because when we come back, we are going to take a look from the big board at the delegate race for the rest of March, and when you look at the delegate race, you will really get a sense of the challenge that Bernie Sanders is facing right now. We`re going to go through all of it when "The 11th Hour" continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Joe Biden was not expected to win in Minnesota, not even close, we just in 12 hours turned it around and just like in Michigan I predict the same. He won big time. We are asking you to do in these next few days is to pull off another Minnesota surprise. OK? Come on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Well, there was Amy Klobuchar talking about Joe Biden big unexpected win in Minnesota on Super Tuesday. This is also unexpected. The delegate race, Joe Biden leading Bernie Sanders. We`re past Super Tuesday. Biden`s ahead, nobody was expecting that even a week ago.

And I want show you now why that is a problem for Bernie Sanders. Why there`s a particular challenge he has because we are in a delegate race right now, Biden versus Sanders. This is about who can end up with the most delegates here.

And you see Sanders, he`s trailing by fewer than 70 right now. So you look at and you say that`s very close, Sanders got a shot. He`s got a shot, but let`s be clear about the challenge Sanders faces. So first of all, what you`re seeing here they are still counting delegates from Super Tuesday. A lot of states, you know, they have to go through the congressional districts, close to the 15 percent threshold for some of these candidates. So, there are more delegates that are going to be allocated from Super Tuesday.

The first thing I want to show you here is what we think roughly. And I want to be clear. This is rough. These are rough estimates here, roughly what the delegates will look like after everyone is allocated from Super Tuesday. So that should be this. Here we go, it should be about a 70- delegate advantage for Joe Biden.

OK, now, we go to next Tuesday, lets get those states up on the screen, in yellow, there are six states that are up next Tuesday. Let`s take a close look at those states. Let`s start on the west coast, Washington, this is the state that Sanders campaign (INAUDIBLE) most excited about. He won by more than 40 points here in 2016, but Washington was a caucus state in 2016. It switched to a primary in 2020.

We`ve seen Sanders doing far worse in primaries than caucuses. Washington in fact hit a nonbinding primary in 2016 in addition to those caucuses. Sanders didn`t even win the primary. He only won the caucuses. The delegates then came through the caucus. This time they come through the primary.

So let`s say -- but let`s say Sanders wins Washington, there`s a poll out today that has Biden up by a point. Let`s say that Bernie Sanders gets a narrow win in Washington. Let`s also say he gets a win in Idaho, another state he won the caucuses huge in 2016 has switched to a primary.

But we`ll say, we`re trying to give you a scenario where Sanders wins where he can win. Just to show you what the delegate math would look like, not a prediction here, but let`s say Sanders gets Idaho as well, North Dakota, they were a caucus state. They`re basically a primary state this time. Again, let`s give Sanders a win there, just trying to show you the math. Let`s look at Missouri. This state was like 50/50 Clinton-Sanders in 2016. We`re going to say it`s razor thin again. Lets look at Michigan. Sanders got that win in Michigan last time around. He`s pulling out all the stop try to get again.

Let`s say Sanders gets a narrow win in Michigan again, we`re giving him wins in all five of these states. Then you get to Mississippi, and Mississippi`s a state where it looks like Sanders is going to get blown out. It`s getting a blown out because he is -- his support with black voters is so small, especially in the deep south.

Next door in Alabama last week, Sanders lost 63-16. In Mississippi in 2016, Sanders lost 83 to 16. Very likely you`re going to have something like that happen again. So we`re saying Sanders competing very well in these states, winning these states, getting blown out in Mississippi.

Now look what this does to the delegate math. It takes Biden from up 70. On the strength of that huge win in Mississippi, this is what happens. Biden stays ahead. Look at that. He`s now up 82. Biden`s lead increased. That`s the reality of delegate math in a one on one race.

If you`re losing states narrowly, you`re not winning a ton on delegates. If you`re winning states big, you`re gaining big on delegates. Now take a look at here. Advance it. Let me get this off. This is the 17th, Victoria was talking about this. The polls have been brutal for Sanders in Florida. Brutal.

Lets say -- and he lost it by 30-plus points in `16. Let`s say it happens again. His campaign says they`ve attracted new Hispanic support. Let`s say he wins Arizona by 10, let`s say Illinois was a close state in `16. Let`s say it`s a one-point race. Ohio stays, Sanders lose by 13 and 16. Let`s say he loses it by 10. He`s winning Arizona by 10, losing Ohio by 10, Illinois is basically dead, even but Florida looks brutal for Sanders this is what happens to the delegate math.

Now Biden`s up 173. You see what happens? And then one more here. This is the 17th of March. You go a week later, Georgia comes up. Georgia everything we`re talking about in Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, same problem for Sanders. He got buried there in 2016. If he gets buried again -- if he gets buried again, there it is. He`s more than 200 delegates behind. In a one on within race one race, to overcome 200.

So that`s the problem for Sanders. It`s the states where Biden can blow him out. Sanders has got to find a way to change those dynamics or he`s got to find states where he can blow Biden out. And it`s tough to see that right now on the map.

Anyway, I`m out of breath. Coming up, from front runner to underdog in one week. How the Bernie Sanders campaign plans to win big on Tuesday when "The 11th Hour" continues.

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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did everything that I could to prevent the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which turned out to be the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history of our country. I opposed that war. Joe Biden voted for that war. I voted against the Wall Street bailout. Joe Biden voted for the Wall Street bailout.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Senator Bernie Sanders campaigning all-important state of Michigan tonight, where he continued his offensive against Joe Biden ahead of next week`s contest. Right now Biden is leading in the delegate race as we just showed you, this following his ten state wins on Super Tuesday, and Sanders is looking to close the gap.

And with us to talk about all of it, California Congressman Ro Khanna. He is also the co-chair of the Bernie Sanders Campaign. Congressman, thank you for joining us.

We showed it just a minute ago. I think we can put it back up on the screen here. There is a new national poll out today conducted in the wake of Elizabeth Warren`s withdrawal. Sanders versus Biden nationally, and it shows Biden up 16 points, 54-38% over your candidate. I wonder what would you say to the Democrat right now who is saying, look, Joe Biden is ahead in the delegate race. He just won ten states. I just want to beat Donald Trump. Let`s just get in line with Joe Biden.

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): I`d say two things. First, obviously Senator Sanders is the underdog, but this race has gone back and forth so many times. At one point Pete Buttigieg was up. At one point Elizabeth Warren was up. Joe Biden was up and then down. So it would be way premature to say that this race may not change. It may change in the next debate.

Second, I`d say the vice president is now the recent front-runner for about a week. I think we should make sure that he`s tested, that we actually debate the ideas before sending someone in to battle against Donald Trump. There should be a robust debate. There should be scrutiny about both candidates` record, and I think that will actually strengthen whoever the nominee is.

KORNACKI: Do you think Joe Biden would beat Donald Trump?

KHANNA: I do. I think either of them would. I believe Senator Sanders would have a better chance because he will do well in Wisconsin. He will do well with voters we need in Michigan and Pennsylvania, particularly those voters, working-class voters who went to Donald Trump. But of course I think Joe Biden can beat Donald Trump, and I would do everything in my power to help whoever the nominee is.

KORNACKI: So your -- it`s interesting because you`re arguing in those critical states we talk about all the time, we`ve talked about nonstop since 2016, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, we`ve got a primary in Michigan next week. If Bernie Sanders can`t beat Joe Biden in Michigan, given what you just said about Sanders being a better candidate for Michigan, does that sort of erode the rationale for his candidacy?

KHANNA: I don`t think so. I mean we have to do very well in Michigan. But as you know, the primary electorate is different than the general electorate, and my view is that Bernie Sanders can win back a lot of the Donald Trump voters and when put together a coalition that can win that state in a general election. But there`s no doubt that we have to do very well in Michigan. Whether that`s a win or whether that`s coming very close and splitting the delegates, we need a strong showing there.

KORNACKI: One of the factors in this 16-point Biden lead in this national morning consult poll, those Elizabeth Warren supporters not breaking decisively really, you know, either way here. That plenty going to Biden, to Sanders as well. Given the ideological common ground between Warren and Sanders, Medicare for all comes right to mind, there are other issues as well. Does that surprise you? And how would you explain that?

KHANNA: Well, I think we have the obligation, the burden of making the case. And right now probably many of those voters were very passionate about Elizabeth Warren. They`re just taking a look at the other two candidates. Vice President Biden and Senator Sanders have high favorability. Vice President Biden is better known. He was a two-term vice president. So we need to make the case that when it comes to Medicare for all, free public college, universal child care, a wealth tax, all of the things that Senator Warren was running on, that it is actually Senator Sanders that is advancing that agenda and that this should not be about personality. This should be about whether you believe in a progressive future for the Democratic Party or not. And I think that`s our case that we have to make.

KORNACKI: All right. Congressman Ro Khanna, Democrat from California, supporter of Bernie Sanders, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

KHANNA: Thank you, Steve. Appreciate it.

KORNACKI: All right and coming up, the other way the coronavirus is going viral when "The 11th Hour" continues.

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RICHARD ENGEL, CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: They were horrible rumors and that caused mass acs of brutality whenever you had a frightened public because of -- of an epidemic. But right now you have this spreading at a ferocious pace, and it`s monetized. This is an internet where clicks are valuable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course.

ENGEL: So for the first time you`re seeing people who are deliberately trying to get attention by using rumors about the coronavirus.

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KORNACKI: The last thing before we go tonight, coronavirus conspiracy theories and rumors are almost as difficult to contain as the virus itself. And as the misinformation spreads across social media, so does the fear. NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has been talking to the medical experts about what is taking place right now around the globe.

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ALEX KRASODOMSKI-JONES, DIRECTOR, LONDONCENTER FOR ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL MEDIA: The World Health Organization has described coronavirus as being an infodemic. People are starting to panic. And people are starting to get scared and people looking for information on line.

ENGEL: Alex Krasodomski-Jones is director at London Center for Analysis of Social Media.

KRASODOMSKI-JONES: You can find examples of conspiracy theories who are normally worried about UFOs or afraid about a flat earth or they`re worried about the Illuminati, or some kind of Zionist conspiracy. They will now leap on a new, high, and attention-grabbing event like coronavirus in order to push that message.

ENGEL: Online was the perfect place to go viral.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And don`t miss Richard`s special report on the battle to contain the coronavirus. "On Assignment: Outbreak." It`s Sunday night, 10:00 p.m. eastern, and it`s only here on MSNBC.

And one more thing, a reminder, clocks spring forward in much of the country early Sunday morning. This is the bad daylight savings time. That is our broadcast for tonight. Brian will be back on Monday. Thank you for being with us and good night from NBC News headquarters in New York.

  THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.                                                                                                     END