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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle, 5/10/22

Guests: Philip Rucker, Neal Katyal, Yamiche Alcindor, Michael McFaul, Julia Davis, Maria Teresa Kumar, Damian Paletta


Senate to vote on abortion rights bill. Tomorrow West Virginia, Nebraska hold primaries. Elon Musk says he would reverse Trump`s Twitter ban. January 6th public hearings set to start on June 9. Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict Zelenskyy warns Russian blockade in Odesa could threaten world`s food supply.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: And those are tonight`s unforgettable Last Words. THE 11TH HOUR with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, a government guaranteed to a woman`s right to choose the latest developments in the battle over abortion rights. Then, as the campaign cloud of the former president is tested yet again, the politics of a Trump return to Twitter, why some Democrats are saying, bring it on. And as missiles fall on Odessa, a top U.S. intel official warns, Putin may be preparing for the long haul in Ukraine as THE 11TH HOUR gets underway on this Tuesday night.

Good evening, once again, good to be back with you. I`m Stephanie Ruhle. And just a few hours from now the battle over abortion rights is moving to the floor of the U.S. Senate. Tomorrow, lawmakers are expected to vote on a Democratic bill that would make that those rights federal law. The first big political test comes just one week after the bombshell leak of that draft opinion which will overturn Roe versus Wade. And Senate Democrats are making it clear, they`re linking tomorrow`s vote to the midterm elections.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK MAJORITY LEADER: We are making sure that every, every senator will have to vote and every, every American will see how they voted the Republican Party, the MAGA Republican Party will suffer the consequences electorally when the American people see that.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY, (D) WASHINGTON: We are going to remember everyone who votes against the right to an abortion. And this November, we`ll use our voices and our votes. We`re not going to let anyone forget.


RUHLE: They want it on record for all our eyes to see. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat who has long supported abortion restrictions, today he said he will vote with his party in favor of legislation to protect abortion access. The only Democrat who has not announced where he stands, not a big surprise, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, but even if every Senate Democrat votes yes, the bill is expected to fail since it would lack the 60 votes needed to defeat a Senate filibuster.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MINORITY LEADER: Safe to say there aren`t 60 votes there at the federal level, no matter who happens to be in the majority, no matter who happens to be in the White House. So I think the widespread sentiment of my conference is this issue, will be dealt with at the state level.


RUHLE: This is also a big election night, we`re watching key Republican primaries in West Virginia and Nebraska, both with races testing Trump`s hold over the party. The polls have now closed in both states. In West Virginia Congressman Alex Mooney, endorsed by Trump has defeated fellow Congressman David McKinley in the primary for the state`s newly drawn second congressional district.

Meanwhile, Trump could soon be back posting those very endorsements, and you guessed it, Twitter. Billionaire Elon Musk says if his purchase of the social media platform goes through, he plans to reverse the ban on the former president who was kicked off the platform after the Capital Riots. We`ll have a lot more on that development later in the hour.

We`re also following the latest developments about the January 6 committee. The panel`s hearings begin June 9, less than one month from tonight. Political reports there are plenty of tapes of witness depositions, and that they could potentially become part of hearings.

And the two New York Times reporters who wrote that new book, this will not pass, are releasing even more audio of Republicans reacting to January 6. In this newly released recording, Senator Lindsey Graham talks of Joe Biden uniting the country and then he criticizes Donald Trump.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: He`s misjudged the passion, he plays the TV game and he went too far here. That rally didn`t help talking about primarying Liz [Cheney]. He created a sense of revenge.


RUHLE: It was a lie. And I told you we had a lot to cover tonight. So with that, let`s bring in our experts Phil Rucker, Deputy National Editor at the Washington Post. He just won a another Pulitzer Prize, this one for public service for his team`s coverage of January 6. Congratulations to you, Phil. Yamiche Alcindor joins us, NBC News Correspondent and Moderator of Washington Week on PBS. And Neal Katyal, Department of Justice Veteran and former Acting Solicitor General during the Obama Administration. He has argued dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

We have got our experts on this important night. Phil to you first, your paper is reporting that Republicans are expecting voters to care more about inflation than they do about abortion even if Roe gets overturned. And at the same time, even though the abortion bill is expected to fail, Democrats want every senators vote on record. Talk about the two strategies?


PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Steph, the democratic strategy here on abortion is clear, they think this could politically be a winning issue for them, in that, if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, it could potentially galvanize women and other voters who support abortion rights, to worry about this election, to get out to vote and to mobilize behind Democratic candidates. And so you`re seeing Senate Leader Chuck Schumer calling for this vote tomorrow in the Senate not because he thinks they`re going to be able to get the 60 votes required to break that filibuster, the math just doesn`t work for him there. But because he wants to put Republicans on record, all of those Republican senators who are going to vote no. He wants them on record and he wants to be able to use it as a campaign cudgel against them in this fall`s November midterm elections to point out to voters that the Republicans are going to endanger right to an abortion, and suggest even further, that they might endanger the right to contraception, the right to same sex marriage and a host of other cultural issues, where Democrats believe they`re firmly with the popular opinion of the country.

RUHLE: Neal, let`s assume tomorrow`s vote fails. Let`s assume Roe gets overturned, what could the Justice Department do, especially if some states that are banning abortion are trying to prosecute women who want to travel to other states to get the procedure?

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: So first, Steph, I don`t want to give up on tomorrow`s vote. You know, I think the Dems have not been particularly strong and in calling for this vote tomorrow, as those clips you were showing shows. I think the case is two things. Number one, this draft opinion is the most radical decision in our lifetimes that will set women back in ways that we`ve never seen in our lives and, you know, Roes a seven to two decision with five of the seven justices appointed by a Republican president. So that`s point one.

And point two is Republicans already nuked the filibuster. It`s done. They did it for three Supreme Court justices, which happened to be three of the five votes in that leaked draft opinion, it looks like. So if you can nuke the filibuster for the far greater thing of appointing for Supreme Court justices, you should be able to not use it for the more modest thing of just reversing one of the decisions that these three justices wrote.

So now the greater power includes a lesser and it`s really ironic to me that Mitch McConnell of all people is talking about 60 votes, since he`s the one who got rid of the filibuster in the first place on the far more greater thing of Supreme Court justices.

Now, with respect to your question about travel. Yes, some states are contemplating laws that would ban their citizens from traveling across the border, to get -- across state borders, to get an abortion in another state. You know, in a normal time, that would violate the constitution. There`s a unenumerated right to travel clause, right to travel, that people think it`s in the Constitution, but the radicalism of that draft opinion, last week, I think, would say that doesn`t exist. And so you would need I think a federal law or something like that, to try and sweep away to preempt the state travel restrictions will obviously be court cases as well, in a normal world. Those would be successful, but we`re not in a normal world.

RUHLE: We certainly are. Yamiche, last week, we talked to you when you were in Louisiana, and Mississippi talking to people about abortion. Tonight, you`re in Pennsylvania, one week ahead of that swing states primaries. Is abortion on voters radar?

I think we don`t have Yamiche`s audio at least -- I do not, YAMICHE, I think you`re muted.


RUHLE: Here we go. I hear you now.

ALCINDOR: Of course, I`m like up late and -- so sorry about that. I`m in Pennsylvania talking to a lot of voters. I`ve talked to young black voters in Pittsburgh. I also talked to union workers, and sat in on a Town Hall for the United Steelworkers. And one thing that sticks in my mind from that town hall where union leaders were talking about the fact that workers` rights and health care should be top of mind. They said that the cultural issues are what the rank and file members, many of them who, of course, have now moved to the Republican Party after abandoning the Democratic Party largely after the messages of Donald Trump. They said that those workers are focused on the three weeks and I said what are the three G`s and they say they`re God, Guns and Gynecology. So they`re the, you have this sort of a simple way to explain what voters are talking about to me.

We should also note though, that when you talk about sort of overturning precedent, I was sitting in on a meeting where a union worker said, OK, you think about Roe v. Wade in 1973, and it being overturned. They were also worried that the 1935 Wagner Act, which is an act that said that companies had to bargain and had to negotiate with collective bargaining had to negotiate with unions. They worry that that can be overturned because right essentially the Supreme Court is showing that they can overturn long standing precedent. So, that`s very interesting to hear that you`re seeing union members say, what the Supreme Court can do this to women`s rights, what else can they do to workers` rights?


But overall, workers are still very much, really very much leaning toward Republicans because of what President Trump and a lot of candidates are saying to them about inflation and about their jobs, and about culture. And Democrats are really scrambling to try to hold on to some of those union workers.

RUHLE: God, guns and gynecology that has a bumper sticker I never want to see. But alas, here we are. Phil, we`ve been watching the results in tonight`s West Virginia primary, let`s talk about this, because the Republican that last is the one who voted for the infrastructure plan. And let`s remind our audience, West Virginia ranks one of the lowest, it`s like 48 or 49, in terms of infrastructure, who wins the super Trumper. So tell us what`s most important to the West Virginia voter? Is it standing with Trump or is it supporting things that the state needs the most?

RUCKER: You know, it`s interesting that that clearly, standing with Trump is more important, at least to the people who turned out today to vote in that Republican primary in West Virginia. But it`s a real change for that state because West Virginia Remember, it`s the place of Robert C. Byrd, who was famous in the Senate for years and years and years of bringing pork back home to his state, of bringing money for roads, for bridges. For an interstate highway system linking all of those mountain towns in West Virginia, he brought an outsized amount of federal resources to his state, and that`s how he kept winning reelection and being popular there.

But the political mindset of so many Republican voters has changed where fealty to former President Trump is paramount above almost any other issue. And so the other candidate who failed tonight was in fact advocating for the infrastructure program. He was advocating for a more bipartisan approach in order to get things done for his state. But that was not enough to carry the day with Republican voters who wanted fealty and allegiance to Donald Trump.

RUHLE: Yamiche, take us back to Pennsylvania, because this one`s a head scratcher. Republican, Pennsylvania Senate candidate David McCormick, he did not get Trump`s endorsement. After going to Mar-a-Lago kissing the ring asking for it, Dr. Oz did. But I want you to listen to his latest ad.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Dave, I want to congratulate you. You`ve served our country well in some many different ways.

DAVE MCCORMICK, SENATE CANDIDATE: You know why he said that, because it`s true. I`ve risked my life for America. And I do it again in a heartbeat. I came home and helped create hundreds of Pennsylvania jobs. I`m a pro-life, pro-gun, America first conservative. And damn proud of it. I`m Dave McCormick and I approve this message. And I`m asking for your vote to save this great country.


RUHLE: Why is he still hanging his hopes on Trump and pro-life? How much has he talked about that? Because let`s remind our audience, David McCormack until very recently, this guy from Greenwich, Connecticut in New York City, his de facto campaign manager is his wife, Dina Powell, a huge advocate for women`s issues. She founded Goldman Sachs, 10,000 women business, and right now Goldman Sachs is one of those companies contemplating paying their employees supporting them if they need to travel to another state to get the procedure.

ALCINDOR: Well, David McCormick, has been very vocal that he is pro-life. He said it multiple times, including during the debate just last month, saying that he does not believe that abortion should be legal unless it`s for very rare cases where a woman`s life is at risk. So it doesn`t sound like he`s making exceptions for other things like incest and rape. So it doesn`t it makes it very clear that in some ways he is tacking, much like the Republican Party is right now much like the Supreme Court decision that leaked poised Supreme Court decision.

The other thing to note is when David McCormick, is showing video of former President Trump and really trying to in some ways, give voters the idea that Trump has endorsed him. He`s doing what so many other Republicans around the country are doing. They`re trying to tell voters, I`m going to be Trump, like, I`m going to worship at the altar of Trump, I`m going to be as Trumpian as possible, please vote for me. Even if they didn`t get the endorsement. So you see, of course, Dr. Oz is the one here in Virginia -- in Pennsylvania that got the endorsement from President Trump, from former President Trump. But David McCormick is really trying to do as much as possible to keep himself close to former President Trump.

I should also know that Chuck Todd asked David McCormick straight on, how are you going to win this election without the endorsement of President Trump and he would not answer and sort of walked away. So that`s also tells you about the pressure that David McCormick is facing in the state.

RUHLE: Sure is. Phil, we also have new tapes from Lindsey Graham after January 6, he seems to suggest that Biden will bring the nation together and he`s very critical of Trump. You know we heard a very similar thing from Kevin McCarthy and his tapes at any point do these displays of truth from Republicans, did they end up being a real problem for the GOP? Or do they just keep moving these to the side because you don`t hear these tapes on Fox News at night?


RUCKER: You certainly don`t, Steph. And it`s not just these tapes, remember the speech that Lindsey Graham gave on the floor of the Senate, the night of January 6, where he basically said he was finished with Trump that this journey of a friendship he had with the president was over because of the way the President incited that deadly riot and attack on the Capitol. And yet a fast forward a few days, and Lindsey Graham is on Air Force One, flying around with Trump trying to be his best friend again. And that`s the story of the Republican Party. There are these moments of truth that emerge from Republican leaders where they reveal what we all know, they really believe about Trump, which is that he`s unfit to be president, and frankly, kind of a crazy person. And yet, they won`t actually follow through with that, with actions and in their words, over the long run because of the power that Trump has politically and the connection that he has to so many millions of Republican voters around the country.

RUHLE: Neal, I know the January 6 hearings next month are hugely important. It`s how Democrats think they`re going to defeat Republicans in the midterms. But should they be focused on other elections? There are actual January 6 participants that are currently back in their hometowns running for local office. Should individual -- should those races be getting a lot more attention? Imagine the January 6 rider becoming an election official?

KATYAL: Absolutely, Steph. I mean, the idea that those folks will kind of come into our government. I mean, the whole point of the 14th Amendment in Section Three was to avoid having insurrectionists in our government, and yet, it seems like there`s a concerted effort by these people and vote deniers to, you know, to basically put them back into office. It`s part of a Republican strategy. And I just wanted to say one other thing on the whole question you were asking Phil and Yamiche about Trump`s effect on Dave McCormick and other candidates in a way it`s like, I mean, it`s -- that`s true for the primary, but I wonder about Trump`s sway in the general election. I mean, to me, Trump looks like the human equivalent of the decision to overturn Roe. It`s going to excite your face, but at the risk of horrifying everyone else.

RUHLE: Well, we`ll soon find out. Phil Rucker, Yamiche Alcindor, Neal Katyal, thank you all for starting us off this evening.

When we come back, it is proven to be a lot more war in Ukraine than Putin bargained for. But this country`s top spy warns Putin is not about to back down.

And later, it`s what Trump supporters wanted to hear. But why Democrats might want them the former guys returned to Twitter, THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on this very busy Tuesday night.




AVRIL HAINES, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We assess President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas.


RUHLE: That warning from the country`s top intelligence officer today who told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Putin is now preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine.

Tonight, the house agreed to send Ukraine nearly $40 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid as Putin`s forces continue to hammer Ukrainian cities. NBC`s Cal Perry is on the ground and Kyiv and filed this report.


CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Stephanie, civilians paying the ultimate price in the eastern part of the country. In the Donetsk Region, we understand that 13 villages coming under Russian shelling last 24 hours at least 12 people killed, another seven people wounded.

In Kharkiv to the northern part of the country, fierce on the ground fighting. Ukrainian soldiers taking back at least four villages, we understand from Russian control, with Russian troops pushing back in two separate villages.

And in the southern part of the country, we see Russia`s air campaign at least 25 missiles according to the Ukrainian president fired at the city of Odessa in just a two day period. At least one person killed there, another seven wounded. And what we understand was an airstrike on the mall.

The Ukrainian President going out of his way to talk to world leaders about what he says is a growing food crisis around the world and the World Food Program agrees with him. According to the Director, Stephanie, of the World Food Program, all of the grain silos here in Ukraine are full, enough food to feed some 400 million people around the world. But, of course, Ukraine cannot export any of it. The seven port cities along the Black Sea are under fierce fighting, if not heavy bombardment, like the city of Odessa. There are 44 million people "on the march to starvation." According to the director of the World Food Program, it is as he said, a crisis on top of a crisis when you factor in the rising food prices. Stephanie.


RUHLE: Our thanks to Cal Perry. With that, let`s bring in Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and MSNBC International Affairs Analyst and author of the book From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin`s Russia. And Julia Davis, Columnist for The Daily Beast, the Creator of the Russian Media Monitor, she watches Russian State TV, so we do not have to.

Michael, I want to start right there with what Cal was talking about. Russia now targeting the port of Odessa. Talk to us about how important it is to get this back open and what it will cause in terms of a global hunger catastrophe if it`s not?


AMB. MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Well, you just heard Cal`s excellent reporting, I think it`s one of the stories that are not getting enough attention about this horrible war. The ports closed, I just talked to one of the major port owners a couple of days ago. It`s going to take a long time to get it back online. All the other ports, Mariupol, of course, we know is under siege. And it`s literally starving people around the world.

So Mr. Putin`s war in Ukraine is not just killing people in Ukraine, he`s killing people around the world. There`s no reason he had to close the port of Odessa and the other ones around them. There were there were other military means to do that. He chose to do that because he`s trying to strangle the Ukrainian economy.

RUHLE: Is this Putin`s way of launching a war against the world?

MCFAUL: That`s a good question. I don`t know the answer. I have to say, Avril Haines, her testimony today that you just reported on was deeply disturbing to me. Because up until I heard Avril say that I used to work with her at the White House, and she`s the one of the best we have, her and Bill Burns at the CIA. We have the all-star team in charge of intelligence right now. But just a few days ago, we were all talking about -- and by the way, I watch Russian television too, not everybody has to, but as you`ll talk about remember, it was special military operation, (foreign language), right, in defense of Donbass, that was a new phrase they`ve been using on Russian television, to suggest that the war is just going to focus on Donbass. Avril today suggested otherwise. And that`s scary. That means that Putin is not done with this the Donbass he has plans to move further into Ukraine, whether he can or not, that`s a different question. Intentions and capabilities are two different things, but that he wants to, I found to be very disturbing today.

RUHLE: Julia, your reporting says that the grim reality for Russia is so obvious. Even Putin`s hardcore supporters have to admit his army has been a total embarrassment. What is Russian State TV saying?

JULIA DAVIS, CREATOR, RUSSIAN MEDIA MONITOR: Even the Russian state TV is now prepping the audience`s that this will be a long and painful conflict. They`re trying to draw the parallels to World War Two, and explain that the Ukrainian territory is so large, and the resistance is so fierce that this will take a long time. And also, there were clues and Putin`s own speech on May 9 when he claimed that the Russian troops are fighting on their own land when he referred to Ukraine. And as we know, they`re carrying out attacks still all over Ukraine. And this is unfortunately not going to and fast from all indications.

But even on state media, military analysts are admitting that Russian economy is not capable of maintaining this kind of a burden. And they were not prepared for a conflict of this magnitude, which is why it was called a special operation. Putin saw it as something that would turn out relatively painless and quick as Crimea was minimal resistance with minimal sanctions, that he would be able to finagle his way out of our wait for the West to move on. And now he couldn`t declare war in my opinion, that would be admitting defeat, because that would mean he is not capable to achieve the goals of this operation without declaring a full on war. So I doubt he will do that. But at the same time, it is war. And it unfortunately is going to drag on from everything that we`re seeing so far.

RUHLE: Julia, we covered something last night, I wanted to ask you about Reuters reporting that someone hacked into Russian Satellite TV on Victory Day, and sent viewers this message, "You have the blood of 1000s of Ukrainians and hundreds of dead children on your hands. TV and the authorities are lying. No to war.

People see these protests, OK, you cannot escape the growing number of dead soldiers. At what point are the Russian people going to say, enough is enough. We know you`re lying to us, end this war?

DAVIS: You know, the kind of regime Putin built even though people are protesting and they are speaking out, but the system is so brutally, crushing them, oppressing them, imprisoning them, and also silencing any news about it because he totally controls the media, that we don`t even hear about much of what`s going on. But there are definitely many signs that people are rebelling speaking out. There`s an enormous outflow of Russians leaving the country so people are doing what they can the word is getting in, a lot of people have VPNs, a lot of people have relatives in Ukraine and even on their news, they`ve started showing a lot more than what they did before. And they`re showing statements from our government officials that they`re, of course, misrepresenting in a different light.


But thinking people are clearly getting the message by now that what they`re witnessing is a brutal war. And some of them are motivated by fear not to do anything about it. Some of them are buying into propaganda, but there are Russians that are speaking out and protesting and we should definitely not overlook that. There was in fact, the news website called Lenta, where the former editors had posted a number of articles talking about the brutality of this war, and they fled the country themselves. But as a parting shot, they spread the news and spread the word. So hats off to them. Their names are Egor Polyakov and Alexandra Miroshnikova. And that`s just one example that the Russians are doing things to speak out and many of them realize brutal injustice of what Putin is doing to Ukraine.

RUHLE: Ambassador, do you believe that Putin is starting to feel the pressure from within?

MCFAUL: Well, I think, Julia there makes an excellent points about this Russian society`s way more divided about this war than I think is the conventional wisdom here in the United States. We look at these opinion polls, opinion polls in Russia`s dictatorship, like if somebody calls you on the phone from Moscow, and you`re sitting in Vladivostok and says, hey, my name is Volodya (ph), Natasha (ph), what do you think of Putin? There`s only one rational answer to that. I support him.

But if you look at the numbers, you look at, like opposition figures, look at the Navalny YouTube Channels, they have millions of viewers now. They`re rivaling Russian state television in terms of numbers of viewers, I think that tells you something bigger is going on.

By the way everybody should follow, Julia`s Twitter feed. That`s where I actually get most of my news about Russian news. So thank you for that public service that you do. That all said, that does not mean there`s pressure on Putin, which is to say, yes, there could be millions. There are 10s of millions of Russians that don`t support this war. But they don`t -- it`s not a democratic system. They don`t have a way to express that. And so far, I don`t see it putting pressure on Putin to stop the war, maybe in the future, but not yet.

RUHLE: Navalny`s YouTube channels, millions of viewers while he sits in prison. Ambassador Michael McFaul, Julia Davis, thank you both for joining us tonight.

Coming up, during the 4267 days he was allowed on the social media platform. Former President Donald Trump posted 57,000 tweets. Why some of his harshest critics are saying come on back, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.




ELON MUSK: It was not correct to banned on Trump. I think that was 1000 mistake because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice. He is not going to be on Truth Social. Banning Trump from Twitter didn`t end Trump`s voice. It will amplify it among the right and this is why it is morally wrong and flat out stupid.


RUHLE: He`s on Truth Social and not getting much traction. Elon Musk said today he would reverse Trump`s permanent ban on Twitter if his deal to buy the social media giant goes through.

With us tonight to discuss Maria Teresa Kumar, the President and CEO of Voto Latino, also an MSNBC Contributor. Maria, always good to see you. Trump has already said that he will not return to Twitter. But if he does, who should be more worried Democrats or Republicans?

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, VOTO LATINO PRESIDENT & CEO: I would say the most -- the people that are most worried are the people that have been impacted by what Trump did on Twitter. And what I refer to that, Stephanie, is that the El Paso shooter was inspired by what the President said and sadly, got into a car and drove 10 hours to have the most -- the biggest terrorist attack in our nation`s history since the Oklahoma City, bombing. This man, if you recall, in 2020, killed almost 23 people because he had been inspired by what Trump had said about the Mexican invasion.

We all need to look at what happened in Pittsburgh with the synagogue where there was a massive killing, again, people that were inspired by President Trump. Words have consequences. He was using his position on Twitter and elsewhere to encourage violence, dismissiveness and to break up the country in ways that we have not seen. And so when Elon Musk speaks, Stephanie, saying that we need to make sure that President Trump has a space to ensure that the rest of the country can hear him because he has followers. Those followers have a tendency of being extremely violent and causing harm. It translates from what is said online to real life violence. So I encourage Elon Musk to talk to the most marginalized among us who are incredibly vulnerable to the hate speech that happens when Trump is on Twitter.


RUHLE: Let`s talk about somebody else`s words. Trump`s former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, he`s continued his book tour today, and I want to share a bit of what he said to our colleague, Nicolle Wallace.


MARK ESPER, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Not everybody who served in the Trump administration was a bad person, and it goes back to, there were a lot of good people serving, not because they were there to serve Donald Trump, or were the Republican Party, they were there to serve the country. We need good people to serve. Because look, if good people don`t serve, who you left with?


RUHLE: OK, even if what he`s saying is absolutely right. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. I want to know who is the target audience for Mark Esper`s book, for Deborah Birx` book, for Bill Barr`s book, it`s clearly not Trump supporters. And people who don`t support Donald Trump aren`t buying into any of this. They`re saying, why the heck didn`t you do anything when you were in office? Nobody wants to hear about it now. Who are they writing these books for?

KUMAR: For themselves, and to the idea that it`s a very lucrative position to come out of an administration as volatile and divisive as Trump was, and to have a book deal and then go on tour. And shame on those folks that pay to listen to those lectures. Because, yes, good people can be in these visit positions of power. But if you don`t use it to warn the American public during the time in office, where he could have been removed for causing great harm, they are complicit. It`s oftentimes says, well, you know, people feel better at night, sometimes saying, well, I`m there for all the good reasons, but it`s not all good reasons. If you wait until the last, you know, until the very end, after all is done, and then you`re trying to make a buck. We could agree on that, Stephanie.

RUHLE: Well, let`s talk about the very end, before they left office. Because Esper, Barr, especially Mike Pence, they have all been enablers and apologist for a very long time. But in the end, when Trump wanted to overturn the election, did they save us from a lot worse? Matt Gaetz and Jim Justice were in those jobs -- Jim Jordan?

KUMAR: Well, I mean, we could say -- right, yeah, we can speculate. But at the same time, when it came, I`m not just asked for in that, but we also the Republicans, Mitch McConnell, McCarthy, they were all recognizing that this president was unstable, but instead of giving the -- you know, using their authority and warning the American people that this man is unstable and said they`re either in book tours, or now, you know, backtracking and giving him Donald Trump a space to potentially run again for 2024, a twice impeached president, one because he was trying to exploit a Ukraine in order to get and go after a presidential candidate, his opponent. And two, he was impeached because he was trying to overthrow a fair free election. He shouldn`t be eligible for office. Instead, they should make sure that the DOJ is doing their job and ensuring that he`s actually going to jail for the crimes that he`s committed against the country.

RUHLE: Well, don`t hold your breath on that one. Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you for joining us tonight.

Coming up, what President Biden is saying today about the fight against inflation, the challenges ahead and what he might be able to do about it when THE 11TH HOUR continues.




JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: I want every American to know that I`m taking inflation very seriously, and it`s my top domestic priority.


RUHLE: Despite President Biden`s attention to the issue, this is what you need to remember, presidents have very limited power to curb inflation. As the New York Times points out, Biden`s efforts have done little to tame inflation, which is running at its fastest pace in 40 years, the result of snarled supply chains that have led to shortages of goods, the war in Ukraine, which is driving up energy prices and rapid consumer demand. Consumer demand, that means we have disposable income and we`re out there spending.

I want to bring in Damian Paletta, Economic Editor for The Washington Post. Damian, we`re getting new inflation numbers tomorrow. But even without that data, we know inflation is bad. People are suffering. Wages are up, but prices are going up faster. So what is the President saying about it? What is he doing about it?

DAMIAN PALETTA, THE WASHINGTON POST ECONOMIC EDITOR: I mean, I think what he`s trying to do is tell Americans that he feels their pain, he understands, you know, what many Americans especially lower income and middle class Americans are experiencing and he`s doing everything he can to address it. Yeah, he`s talked a lot about, you know, cracking down on companies for price gouging, trying to break up monopolies. He wants to expand the Affordable Care Act to bring the price of health care down. He wants to invest in clean energy to make give Americans more options in terms of, you know, these really high gasoline prices.

So I think he`s, you know, saying he wants to do a lot, but a lot of these things are hard for him to do by himself. I felt like we were starting to make some progress on inflation before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which obviously drove gas prices really high and created a major problems with wheat and grain all over the world. So I think, you know, that was like a terribly timed invasion on many levels. And it`s only now we`re kind of looking into the rest of the year, but the really high prices on a number of products and there seems to be no relief in sight.

RUHLE: Republicans want to capitalize on this. Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott today calling on the president to step down over inflation. But here`s the thing. What are Republicans offering on the other side? Biden`s Economic Adviser Gene Sperling reminded us tonight what`s actually in the Republican plan. Watch this.



GENE SPERLING, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: What`s the Republican plan? The only plan that we see out there is from Senator Rick Scott, who is not just any senator, he`s head of the Republican Senatorial Committee, he put out a plan that was praised by the chairwoman of the Republican Party that basically called for a $2,000 tax increase on every lower moderate income family with children and virtually half of the smallest small businesses.


RUHLE: So I get people are not happy with the price of things under Biden, do they realize what Republicans are offering them on the other side?

PALETTA: Well, I think it`s interesting to watch how uncomfortable many Republicans are with Rick Scott`s plan. And as Gene Sperling pointed out, I mean, Rick Scott has not any senator, he`s the head of the Senate, you know, the Republican campaign to get senators reelected. But you know, Mitch McConnell is very uncomfortable with this plan, and so many others. I mean, unfortunately, as we know, that really -- the only way to combat inflation is through the Fed raising interest rates. And we`ve seen an incredible amount of stock market turbulence in the past few weeks that, you know, the NASDAQ, which is a lot of technology companies, has been falling sharply. And that might be a way to get inflation down as for the stock market to really, you know, shed many, many points. But that`s going to be painful for a lot of Americans too. And so there`s going to be, it`s going to be really hard for there to be a soft landing here. We`re going to have to kind of brace ourselves, maybe they`re going to be able to get gas prices down a little bit, but they reached a record high today. And I think, you know, neither party seems to be in complete control. And there`s a lot of finger pointing right now. And it`s really unfortunate, because a lot of Americans are suffering.

RUHLE: But there`s also a lot of economic winds, right? Look at jobs, look at wages, look at the deficit, for example, which in other times people care an awful lot about, except now when it`s going down, does the President get no credit for that?

PALETTA: That`s a great point. I mean, we are at 3.6% unemployment, which is amazing. It`s great. And we`re adding over 40,000 jobs a month for the last 12 months. And I`ve never lived through anything like that before. So yes, you know, inflation is rough on a lot of Americans. But the fact that so many people have jobs is tremendous. Stock market has come down a bit, but it was at a historic high. There`s a lot of positive things in the economy that we should kind of celebrate. And I think, you know, as we the next few weeks play out, and we see you have a situation in Russia and Ukraine goes, we`ll know a lot more about whether some of this inflation is just temporary or something that`s going to be longer lasting. But when you have 3.6% unemployment and so many Americans with jobs, and so many Americans who have great equity in their homes, like they didn`t maybe a couple of years ago, that gives us a lot more to kind of work with heading into something like this than the alternative.

RUHLE: All right, Damian Paletta, thank you for making us smarter tonight.

Tomorrow, our 11TH HOUR one-on-one, my exclusive interview with Airbnb CEO and Founder Brian Chesky on his prediction that work from home is here to stay.


BRIAN CHESKY, AIRBNB CEO AND FOUNDER: My prediction is this is where the world`s going to be 10 years from now. And all the CEOs hauling their employees back to the office. That`s their prerogative. But here`s what I would say. The companies with the best talent will usually win. And if you are limiting your talent to a commuting radius, you`re not going to have the best people because the best people will live everywhere.


RUHLE: You`re going to want to catch our exclusive conversation tomorrow night with Brian Chesky right here on THE 11TH HOUR.

And right now we`ve got breaking news in the other primary we`re watching this evening. NBC projects, Jim Pillen has won the Nebraska Republican primary for Governor, Trump endorsed businessman Charles Herbster in that race, he`s a longtime Trump ally, who was in Washington with Trump`s family during the rally that took place before the January 6 attack. Herbster is the first candidate endorsed by Trump to lose a Republican primary in 2022.

Coming up, our friends of The Daily Show with their own unique take on former Trump officials cashing in, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.




ESPER: It`s important to our country. It`s important to the Republic, the American people that they understand what was going on in this very consequential period, the last year of the Trump administration and to tell the story about things we prevented really bad things dangerous things that could have taken the country in a dark direction.


RUHLE: Understand now. The last thing before we go tonight, cashing in, as we mentioned Mark Esper who you saw right there is the latest Trump official to be criticized for waiting to share such important information until he was selling his own book. Well, Esper says, Trump suggested shooting Black Lives Matter protesters and other things like launching missile strikes on Mexican drug cartels. Well, our friends over at The Daily Show created a parody video of the kinds of things these former Trump officials say well, they`re selling their books. Take look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President did want to use the Navy to scour the ocean for Osama bin Laden`s corps because he, "wanted to use it as an epic Halloween decoration." He did say can we release bees into China? I didn`t even know what that meant. So I told them, even if you could arm a pigeon, would that really scared North Korea, I thought the public needs to know about this right now. Which is why I`m releasing this book right now. Three years after it happened. Mic check. Mic check. I had to be the adult in the room. I had to be the adult in the room. Did I know the President was committing an act of treason? Of course. It was stunning. And then I realized that act of treason would be an incredible title for my book. I said Mr. President, you cannot nuke an olive garden. And that`s when he fired. I saw the President commit more crimes every day than I thought was possible. He exhibited no knowledge of any topic. He refused to read. He was the most dangerous person to ever hold the office and I saw with my own eyes. Will you support him in 2024? Well, yeah. IT`S either him or

The topic he refused to read, he was the most dangerous person to ever hold the office and I saw with my own eyes, will you support him in 2024? Well, yeah, it`s either him or a Democrat. So of course.


RUHLE: Now, to be very clear, none of those things mentioned actually happened. And if any of them did, we`ll just have to wait for the next book to come out to find out.

And on that note, we wish you a very good night from all of our colleagues across the networks of NBC News. Thanks for staying up late with us. I`ll see you at the end of tomorrow.