Don Trump Jr. meets with Jan. 6 committee. Trump family members have testified to Jan. 6 panel. New audio reveals McCarthy slammed Trump days after 1/6. Supreme Court draft opinion sparks protests nationwide. Mariupol evacuees reach safety, share stories of horror. Russian forces resume assault on Mariupol steel plant sheltering civilians. Rep. Tim Ryan will face J.D. Vance in Ohio Senate race. U.S. COVID-19 death toll reaches one million.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Kevin McCarthy, once again, gets tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, a potential reversal on Roe reshaping the midterms. The President raises the alarm on what could happen next. Will that be enough to get voters to the polls?
Plus, more hypocrisy caught on tape. The newly released recording of Kevin McCarthy`s harsh words for the former President and wondering whether to remove him from office.
And in Ukraine, fierce fighting outside that steel plant in Mariupol, while some civilians that still remain trapped, those who escaped share their harrowing stories, as THE 11TH HOUR we`ll get underway on this Wednesday night.
Good evening, once again, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. House lawmakers investigating the Capitol riot have now heard from one of the highest profile witnesses so far, the former president`s eldest son Donald Trump, Jr. According to reports he appeared voluntarily before the January 6 committee yesterday. NBC News says he spent two hours with the panel via zoom. One source describing the session is pretty uneventful. He`s the latest Trump family member to testify. Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Don Jr.`s fiance, Kimberly Guilfoyle have all spoken previously to the committee.
Also tonight, there`s brand new audio of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, recorded on a call with other leaders of his caucus, just two days after the riot, it was obtained by the New York Times. In it, McCarthy called Trump`s actions atrocious, and was looking for a reason to talk to President-elect, Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN MCCARTHY, HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER: What the President did was atrocious and totally wrong. From the standpoint, we`re 12 days away. I mean, the one point I`d make with Biden -- if you have an impeachment and you`re stuck sitting in the Senate, and he needs cabinet members, he`s got Secretary of Defense, he`s got a lot of things he`s got to have moving. And, if you think from a perspective, you put everything else away, this country is very, very divided. Impeachment divides the nation further and continues to fight even greater. That`s why I want to reach out to Biden, I wanted the President to meet with Biden, but that`s not going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: That phone conversation also included a mention of the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY AIDE: I think the options that have been cited by the Democrats so far are the 25th Amendment, which is not exactly an elegant solution here.
MCCARTHY: That takes too long too. It could go back to the House, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Meanwhile, protests and rallies continue in front of the Supreme Court after the leak of that draft opinion that would overturn Roe vs. Wade. Today, President Biden again warned that a whole range of privacy rights could now be under threat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: This is about a lot more than abortion. What are the next things that are going to be attacked? Because this mega crowd is really the most extreme political organization that`s existed in American history, in recent American history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is preparing to hold a vote on a bill that would protect abortion rights nationwide. But Senate Democrats admit the odds of getting it passed slim to none.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW, (D) MICHIGAN: The House has passed the Women`s Health Protection Act already. And we would love to pass it in the Senate. We have something called a filibuster, which means you have to have at least 10 Republicans that are joining us. This is going to be pretty tough to get to 60. So the question is whether or not we could get an exemption or not. That only happens if women across the country are weighing in with their senators and both Republicans and Democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Earlier today Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was asked about that bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI, (R) ALASKA: I did not support it last time because I felt it was over expensive. If there is something new that is on the table today. Obviously, we take a look at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Schumer is hoping to hold that vote sometime next week.
We got a lot to cover. So let`s bring in our experts Jackie Alemany, Congressional Investigations Reporter for The Washington Post and an MSNBC Contributor, Yamiche Alcindor, NBC News Correspondent and Moderator of Washington Week on PBS. And former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, she spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor.
Jackie, let`s start with Don Jr. What does the committee want to get from him? And then let`s get real. What are they likely going to get from him?
JACKIE ALEMANY, THE WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, Stephanie. Don Jr. is the latest member and the closest person really to the former president that was interviewed by the select committee investigating January 6 and they`re interested in speaking with him for a number of reasons.
One, as is already publicly reported and acknowledged by the Committee. He was one of the characters throughout that period leading up to January 6, that was testing Mark Meadows in touch with Meadows and others about some of the plots to overturn the results of the election. But more importantly, perhaps he was one of the witnesses who was actually in the Oval Office. According to a document that was released by the select committee earlier this year on the morning of January 6, with Trump and his top aides.
He had arrived at the White House with Kimberly Guilfoyle and a handful of others according to this document, that the committee was able to receive for records requests. And it was during this time period that Trump made that call to Pence that Don Jr. Would have potentially witness where he was making a final effort to pressure Pence to overturn the results of the election. It`s all but, you know, certain that the committee was looking for Don Jr.`s firsthand take on what that call was like, what he witnessed and the disposition and attitude of his father and then conversations that he had with his dad in the aftermath, especially as he was one of the people who was trying to urgently get in touch with Mark Meadows to ask his dad to condemn this, not repeated for television.
RUHLE: Joyce, let`s talk about this new leaked audio of Kevin McCarthy and remind our audience while Republicans are apoplectic about this leak from the Supreme Court, it was Republicans that taped Kevin McCarthy and have now leaked out that audio, as much as it might infuriate Donald Trump to hear Kevin McCarthy say these things, anything on those tapes that are going to impact the committee`s investigation?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: The tapes are remarkable, because it`s almost like they`re two Kevin McCarthys, and on the tapes, we hear the good Kevin McCarthy, the elected official who understood what the right thing to do was. But again, we know that in the real world, Kevin McCarthy never had the courage to do it, never had the courage to lead his party in a way that could have brought the country back together.
And we also hear even on the tape, Stephanie, just to be frank, someone who`s more interested in positioning the party politically in a way that permits it to forget events that took place two days earlier. This is on the eighth, he`s already talking about meeting with Biden trying to move forward and forget January 6, but these tapes buttress the committee`s argument for hearing from McCarthy, it`s clear that he`s privy to conversations, that he has relationships with people that there is information that he can shed, most importantly on whether the former president truly understood that he had lost the election. Because as you`ll recall, Trump`s intent and his knowledge is very central in all of this. It defies belief and a judge in California has already ruled that Trump knew he had lost the election and was in fact trying to steal it himself. McCarthy`s testimony could shed further light on that.
RUHLE: Yamiche, you are down in Louisiana, one of the 13 states with those trigger laws that will ban abortion. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, what are women they`re telling you.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS NEWSHOUR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Women here in the south are telling me that they are devastated and gutted by the idea that Roe v. Wade is poised to be overturned. I`ve been talking to women who are the head of these abortion clinics both in Louisiana here in Shreveport, Louisiana, which is one of only three clinics in a state that has been inundated by the way with women fleeing and going from Texas, which has an abortion ban starting at six weeks. And also, I talked to the director of the only abortion clinic in Mississippi who says she has no faith that Congress is going to be able to help women. I also interviewed this remarkable woman today, her name is Lillian Newton, she has had three abortions. And she talked to me about what life would be like if she was not able to access that health care. Take a listen to what she told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LILLIAN NEWTON, PATIENT ADVOCATE: Had I not had abortion access when I was at the age of 24, 25 debating my life path, I would have been completely lost. It would have had a negative impact on almost every aspect of my life. Mental Health was specifically I don`t know how I would have made it through an unplanned pregnancy while managing my mental health. I don`t know if I would have made it through an unplanned pregnancy, managing my mental health. I physically was not healthy enough to carry a child and was not making the best life decisions at the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALCINDOR: Now, she tells me that she grew up protesting at the very clinic where she got her abortions. And by the way, Stephanie, she is now working at that very clinic because she said that clinic really, she said saved her life, saved the -- saved her from really having to go through a pregnancy that just she said she did not want. And she told me that she`s really worried that these trigger alarms that are going to go in effect are really going to lock women in this whole region outside of abortion here.
If this law goes into effect, if Roe is overturned, women can have to drive as much as 11 or 12 hours to states like Illinois, and Maryland from Louisiana, and Mississippi to access abortion right. So a very, very concerning situation here.
RUHLE: Mental Health, what about financial health, Yamiche, 75% of women who get abortions are living at or below the poverty line? If a place like Louisiana puts in place a ban? Are they then going to offer accompanying financial support to help women, pregnant women carry to term, it`s very expensive to have a baby?
ALCINDOR: I mean, that is a key question because all of the clinics that I that I went to, the directors there, the women who are leading those clinics say that they are overwhelmingly servicing women who are living below the poverty line that they are servicing women of color who simply cannot afford to raise a child that they did not want to have. And I should also tell you that Lillian who was brave enough to go on camera and tell her story, she said that she felt privileged that she was able to access abortion care, didn`t have to wait in line because that very clinic right now it has a waiting list of over 300 women, Stephanie. So right now when you try to get an abortion in the state, you can`t just walk into the office, you are going to be waiting through a number of obstacles before you can access that care.
RUHLE: So Jackie, Senate Democrats are planning a vote on abortion protections next week. Help me out here. Why is it a slim to none chance they will get something passed? The majority of Americans, not majority of Democrats, the majority of Americans support upholding Roe, why can`t Congress get something done?
ALEMANY: There is a creeping and quiet recognition that Democrats really do have limited tools at their disposal to actually do something from a legislative perspective here. Congress could of course guarantee abortion access if they`re able to pass this bill next week nationwide by codifying Roe v. Wade protections into law. But the conversation that we`ve had time and time again, when it comes to getting anything done in Congress is that because Democrats have a razor thin majority, and that to Democrats, in particular, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have made it clear that they`re still not in favor of eliminating the filibuster, that it would require 60 votes to get any laws to codify Roe v. Wade, ultimately pass. There have been some alternative discussions taking place in the White House on the Hill about potential executive orders or regulatory actions that the White House could take. But then there`s a concern that if Republicans do ultimately take back Congress, they`re going over the presidency, eventually, they either would, in return, nuke the filibuster in order to overturn a lot of the changes made or in these Republican controlled states, enact laws and wage legal battles to undo and reverse some of the executive actions that the White House could potentially take. There`s some other various mechanisms that White House officials are currently exploring. But again, a lot of these are -- a lot of these options right now are a longshot.
RUHLE: But beyond Democrats, Jackie, Republicans in swing states in suburban America, they`re not prepared to protect abortion rights?
ALEMANY: You know, it is actually a conversation that you`re -- I wonder if the public is noticing House Republicans, many of them are reticent to weigh in on because as you said, a majority of Americans, including some Republicans don`t want this to happen. And had had always thought that it was had been putting it off time and time again. Two have the conservatives on the January 6 Select Committee have conspicuously not weighed in on this issue either. This is something that a lot of Republicans don`t want to touch. And it just so is politically convenient that at least on the House side, Republicans don`t have as much of a say right now whether anything gets done, but I doubt we`re going to see much Republican support here outside of maybe Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski, who have so far expressed some disillusionment with the process and disappointment with justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch who, in their opinion had made it clear that that they would not be in favor of this actually happening in the courts, and they could potentially support this. But again, that`s still not 10 votes from Republicans that it would take to pass this through without eliminating the filibuster.
RUHLE: Well, you can`t hide and say nothing if Chuck Schumer brings it to a vote.
Joyce, again, President Biden warned that this draft ruling puts privacy rights at risk. We`ve heard about the threat it could mean to same sex marriage. What else could be impacted?
VANCE: Well, because abortion rights rests on this rubric of due process and privacy rights and their other rights that the court has enforced based on that same sort of analysis, the thinking is that everything on that branch of the substantive due process tree could ultimately be at risk. And the primary targets, Stephanie, has to be contraception. There`s a Supreme Court case, Griswold v. Connecticut that made it legal. This is sort of shocking to think back to that in our lifetime. It wasn`t legal for a married couple to access contraception. But it`s Griswold v. Connecticut, the case that does that. In her confirmation hearing Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, declined to say that she believed that Griswold was good law, that could be squarely in the sight of Republican activists who may try to bring a test case and see if that can be the next one of our cherished rights that will fall.
RUHLE: Joyce, before we go, a judge has denied Donald Trump`s request to suspend that $10,000 a day fine that he`s been having to pay for the last week or so because he wouldn`t give up documents. So in theory, he`s been racking up this bill since April 26. But what`s the likelihood Trump`s actually paying any of this?
VANCE: Probably slim to none at this point, Stephanie, of course, this is the case that the New York Attorney General is pursuing. It`s a civil action looking into Trump`s business practices. And he was supposed to turn over documents. In fact, his lawyer had stipulated that he would do that in late April, come the deadline, they turned over nothing said that they didn`t have anything and objected to the subpoenas, which they`d already agreed to comply with. So the judge imposed this fine, although the New York Attorney General, at least to date hasn`t acknowledged that she`s collecting, she will be entitled to these sorts of civil contempt actions are meant to coerce testimony in this case to coerce the documents out of a party. And as long as Trump continues not to turn them over, the Attorney General has a right to go to court to enforce this order. And this judge who I think is angry based on judge and groans order where he says it`s sort of remarkable that that, you know, Trump has this obligation to detail how and why and who searched for these documents, and to certify that they came up empty handed, and they did none of that.
Back on April 26, his lawyer said she`d file an affidavit under oath explaining what happened. That still hasn`t been filed in court, as far as I`m aware., Stephanie. So I think the President -- the former president is in trouble on this one.
RUHLE: Yet another day, same story. Trump doesn`t give up his documents. Trump doesn`t pay up, but he needs to.
We`re going to leave it there ladies, Jackie Alemany, Yamiche Alcindor, and Joyce Vance, thank you for starting us off this evening.
Coming up next, as more civilians escaped Mariupol, Russia now targeting critical sites that keep Ukraine`s lights on and the trains running.
And later, a once unthinkable milestone has arrived, 1 million COVID deaths in the United States. We`ll look back on over two years of a pandemic with a frontline doctor. THE 11TH HOUR, just getting underway on a Wednesday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): You can`t imagine how scary it is when you sit in the shelter in a wet and damp basement, which is bouncing, shaking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did your father tell you when you left? What did he say to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): He said we`d meet each other soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: It`s hard to hear that. They are just some of the hundreds of civilians who have now been evacuated from the steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, but many more may still be trapped there as the Russian attack gets even more intense. Our own Cal Perry following today`s developments from Kyiv, he joins us live. Cal, we are now going into day 71, Mariupol has been described as decimated, obliterated, but still there are civilians there. What`s the latest?
CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: So the latest is that steel plant, which is actually a compound, it`s a complex, it`s a number of buildings, not one building. According to the mayor, Russian troops have broken into that complex. They`re inside the outer perimeter that existed there. And they are fighting just above where the civilians are.
At one point today, the government lost communications with the people inside that steel plant. So it`s possible that what you saw there from our colleague, Matt Bradley, interviewing the civilians, those could be the last civilians to make it out of there. That may have been the last window. Russia has actually started pulling back some of its troops from Mariupol. I think there`s real concern that this could be it. This could be the end of that last sort of stand out. And what happens to those civilians, we just don`t know. We know there are also hundreds of wounded Ukrainian troops in and around the basement of that steel plant. What happens to them? We just simply don`t know as Russian forces now look like they`re completing their takeover of the entire city. Stephanie.
RUHLE: Talk about this reporting we`re hearing about Ukrainian trains being targeted, possibly, the electricity grid?
PERRY: Yeah, so look, yesterday we had over 18 cruise missiles fired at targets across the center, and western part of the country including five drones in addition to those missiles. They struck, as you said railway targets, not just the stations but the tracks.
There were then 14 trains delayed sitting there, unable to go anywhere. That`s a pretty obvious message that Russia is done with weapons, making their way to the front via rail. The rail system here has kept alive. I think the supply chains to the eastern part of the country to that front. Well, Russia has done a pretty good job of taking out at least a dozen or so of those targets. Then in addition to that, you have these power substations that were taken out, so the power in Lviv was out for most of the past 24 hours, it`s starting to come back, but spotty in places. But again, that grid is going to be quickly overwhelmed.
Stephanie, when you talk about the 7.7 million people who were internally displaced, almost 15% to 20% of them are trying to make their way home. Well, they`re coming home not just to oftentimes bodies buried in their gardens and their homes completely destroyed. But they`re coming back now to an infrastructure that cannot support them, a place that doesn`t have food, water or power, to be able to support people who are trying to return to their home. So you get sort of a picture of how Russia is not just killing people on the front here, but making it a livable for the people who remain.
RUHLE: Cal, you have been covering this war since the beginning. Last week, when President Zelenskyy was on the cover of Time Magazine, it talked about one of the most important fights he`s in, the fight to keep this war in the attention of the West, to have the Western media continue to focus. But look at the last two days, when Roe versus Wade headlines crossed, Americans quickly shifted Ukraine into the rearview mirror, you are a reporter on the ground. Tell us why it is so important that we cannot lose interest there.
PERRY: Because the losers of this war are the Ukrainian people, are civilians who are being killed in this country who are not necessarily on the front. And there are a great deal of Ukrainian -- Ukrainians dying on the front, people who weren`t soldiers, people who were just civilians one day, and then soldiers the next. And young Russian soldiers who may not have known what they were doing here, who may have been lied to. And we`re hearing those stories. I mean, the humanitarian catastrophe that`s going to play out here in Europe, and in places like Africa, where there just won`t be the food supplies because of what`s happened here in Ukraine. It is for all those reasons and more.
You hear the Ukrainian President say, he wants leaders to arrive here, not with cakes, not with presents, but with real tangible things like weapons. This is a man who spoke to the last American President Donald Trump and told him we need weapons to fight the Russians, and was not just sort of laughed at, but it became an international incident. And that call became a piece of American and Ukrainian history. Well, now this country is at war and Europe is at war with Russia. And NATO`s question about his existence is now coming up. And you have a steel factory where there are children in the basement and the Pope is begging for both sides to stop.
My point is, a long way of answering your question, none of these things are going to change in the next month, in the next few months. And if President Zelenskyy is right, and we go to this slow, cold war in the east, none of that`s going to change. But the interest needs to stay the same if civilians here are going to be able to rebuild their lives, and frankly, there`s going to be a push for peace. The interest has to remain the same. Stephanie.
RUHLE: Are you worried that the WEST will lose interest? You`ve just experienced the last two days of us probably not calling on you for hits all day long on MSNBC, like we had been for the last six weeks?
PERRY: Yeah, not just the West America. I mean, I think we`ve seen how American foreign policy can change on a dime. It will be my question, one day, if I get to speak to President Zelenskyy, I`ve been asking government officials, do you worry that -- that the dedication that America is showing is not going to be there in the future? And of course they do. They were a great deal. They see the midterms coming in the United States. I mean, they see the political landscape and how it can change. And again, for people here for Ukrainians, this is a fight for their lives. This is a fight for their homes. I spent most of the day yesterday touring an area outside the capitol that was completely destroyed, again, where bodies are still buried on the side of the road. And so for these people, this is about their existence. This is about their future. And so yes, people here are worried and again, they want long term commitments.
Stephanie, you know this better than anybody else, your relies on Russian gas, right? So if interest wanes here, what happens with that? Is Europe able to stand up Ukraine? People here are very afraid of that absolutely.
RUHLE: Well, Cal Perry, I am grateful that you are there. I am grateful for what you do. Thank you and please stay safe.
Coming up, the battle for Ohio`s all important Senate seat taking shape. We`ll ask Michael Steele and Juanita Tolliver if Democrats can sway some of those Republicans who voted against JD Vance, there was a lot of them, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TIM RYAN, (D) OHIO: Matt Dolan, who was the anti-Trump candidate in the Republican primary, got 23% of the vote. He said the election was legitimate. He didn`t go just Trump`s ring. And he got 23% of the vote and those voters are going to be Tim Ryan voters, we`re going hard after them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan now running against Donald Trump`s pick in the Ohio Senate primary JD Vance, but in a crowded field, that endorsement still earned Vance less than a third of the vote, twice as many Republican primary voters cast their ballots for somebody else. So the question now, who gets their vote next?
With us tonight to discuss Juanita Tolliver, a Veteran Political Strategist to progressive and causes. And Michael Steele, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland.
Michael, could Tim Ryan be right? He might not get all 23% of that vote. But could he get votes from Republicans who voted against Vance?
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Sure. I mean, he`s going to have to work it, though. I mean, the -- you know, it doesn`t translate one for one from a primary -- from a Republican primary, which largely has hard, right, Senator, right, sometimes voters. So he`s going to have to work in edge those voters closer to himself. So it`s going to matter how he sounds on a lot of issues in this race. And keep in mind that, you know, Dolan had the benefit of a little bit of a surge at the end there. But again, what were those voters who -- what is the composition those voters were -- why didn`t they swing towards Mandel or and certainly JD Vance. And so that if he can figure that little part of the formula out, I think he can pull a good portion of those voters to his side, and make that mad dash against JD. Because JD is not the popular candidate in this this race. He wasn`t in the primary. But for that last minute endorsement, Mandel probably would have kicked him out and beat him.
RUHLE: Well, Trump may have put them over the top, but he certainly didn`t -- you wouldn`t call Trump a kingmaker, not in this case, and not in Michigan, Juanita. We saw an upset there when a Democrat won a congressional district only -- this is the only ever time, this has ever happened. It has always been held by a Republican. Now, of course, the Republican chevy has said some extremely offensive things about rape. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, having three daughters and I tell my daughters well, if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Lie back and enjoy it. Is this a warning for the GOP, some of those fringe candidates are just too much even for their voters?
JUANITA TOLLIVER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely, Stephanie. And you saw the women`s reactions. And so in the moment that he said it, because it is that disgusting, that ignorance and just harmful. And it just shows that if you call out this type of behavior, voters are going to respond to it. And that`s what Carol Glanville did, she walked the line where she raised the tension about that statement. She called it out for what it was, and challenged him in real time. But once she had the attention of Republican voters and voters in general, she pivoted back to the issues that matter to them. Her platform was about the economy. It was about jobs. It was about education.
But what she did in standing up for what is right and standing up for against that statement resonated with voters on both sides of the aisle. They want to see her punch back. And honestly, I think that`s the lesson for all Democrats, you cannot ignore the harmful statements, the conspiracy theories, the lies coming from the right, you need to challenge it in real time and then pivot again back to the issues that matter to voters.
RUHLE: Mr. Steele, assuming it holds what kind of Supreme Court decision reversing Roe mean for Republicans in swing districts, right? The flavor Republicans you used to be.
STEELE: Oh, let me tell you, there are a whole lot of angina going on in D.C. Let me tell you, Mitch McConnell is not a happy camper. This was not the conversation he wanted Republicans to have over the summer and going into the fall. It was not what Republicans in swing districts want to have to go stand in front of a very, very an agitated, angry and animated crowd of women and men on this issue.
So that, you know, you saw it yesterday, when McConnell stood at the podium, and like Peter, on Holy Thursday night denied anything related to the subject, you know, at hand, it`s like, no, I, you know, abortion, what abortion law, what law, you know, and you know, we`re just going to worry about what happened in the league, and the country`s like, nah, that`s not the conversation we`re having right now.
And so Republicans are going to have to figure out how to pivot into some kind of answer here. Because you now have you -- you`ve gotten your dream. You know, this has been a an effort in the making for a long, long time. I`ve been in a lot of those meetings. So now you`re here, and a lot of us at the time was like, OK, what about childcare? What about supporting these women? What about programs that they`re going to need? If you say, you have to carry the child to term and with the draconian laws that are being put in place right now? What the hell do you think is going to happen with a 10 year old girl who`s been abused by her father? She can`t stay in that house. She`s now pregnant with his child and you`re telling her she`s got to carry to term but you`ve got no resources available for? That`s the summer of 2022 for Republicans and McConnell and a lot of them are not happy with how this has played out with the Supreme Court, particularly given those cases that forced this issue right into this cycle.
RUHLE: Juanita, are they going to be ready to answer those questions? If Republicans are insisting that a woman has to carry her pregnancy to term, 75% of women who get abortions are at or near the poverty line. Are Republicans going to make some sort of commitment to say, I`m going to financial -- we`re going to make a financial commitment to these women, or to start requiring child support starting at six weeks pregnant, having a baby is expensive?
TOLLIVER: It`s expensive, and having a baby that you don`t want is harmful and multiple levels. And absolutely, they are not going to have any response to this because this isn`t about people. This isn`t about caring about people or the children themselves. This is about control. This is about exerting control over basic rights and a basic freedom to women and pregnant people to access abortion. That`s all this is about. And now Republicans have no cover to hide behind that. That`s why you saw Mitch McConnell him and Han as Michael laid out, he has nothing to say about this, because they`re ultimately the dogs who caught the car. And now they`re like, oh, but we actually don`t want this. They do want it. And they`ve been plotting for this for decades, Stephanie. They`ve been filling the court with Federalist Society approved judges. They`ve been forcing through nominations, like we saw with the restaurants multiple times under Trump and McConnell`s leadership in the Senate. And this is now what they`re dealing with.
And back to Ohio. Remember, in that -- those primary candidates all came out and said, we are prolife, we support this move for by the Supreme Court if this is the decision that`s ultimately rendered. But that`s the other thing that Tim Ryan is going to be up against, because he`s made it absolutely clear in the right way that this is about freedom for women. And that`s going to turn off some of the even some of those anti-Trump voters. And so when he thinks about this conversion rate, he is to calculating the fact that those anti-Trump voters and most of the Republican primary voters are probably anti-abortion too. And so he`s going to have to make a choice about just how hard he`s going to go after them when the reality is that abortion is going to be a deciding factor in that election to.
RUHLE: Summer is about to heat up. Juanita Tolliver, Michael Steele, thank you for making us smarter tonight.
Coming up, we`re going to mark the milestone we have all been dreading when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
RUHLE: Back on May 24, 2020, The New York Times dedicated its front page to the incalculable loss of 100,000 people to COVID-19. Tonight, we have hit a grim and dreaded other milestone. More than 1 million Americans have lost their lives who COVID. The pandemic as the AP writes, leaving empty spaces in homes and neighborhoods across the country, whether we aware of them or not. It is almost impossible to wrap your mind around the pain of the past two years. But I think back to something Mount Sinai Hospital Chaplain Rocky Walker told me during the early days of the pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROCKY WALKER, MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL CHAPLAIN: In the middle of all this sadness, there is -- there`s so much goodness that people are -- people are displaying not just other co-workers which they amaze me. But the patients themselves, the ones that are not intubated that can talk.
Stephanie, you have no idea how many times in a day, a grieving family member will stop crying for their family member who we`ve just told them has died. And they stop to thank us, you`re seeing some of the most wonderful things happening in one of the most darkest times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Humanity in the face of darkness. With us tonight, Dr. Stephen Sample, he`s an E.R. physician at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in Jasper Indiana. And Kristin Urquiza, Co-Founder of the nonprofit Marked By COVID.
Dr. Sample, you have devoted countless hours to trying to save people from COVID. We`ve now lost more than a million people. What do you think about tonight?
DR. STEPHEN SAMPLE, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN IN JASPER, INDIANA: You know, I don`t even know that I have the words to express it. I don`t know, when we start to get to numbers like a million gone. I don`t know that anybody has even the real capacity individually to understand that. And so we go back to our individual losses. Because the bigger the number gets, the more unreal it gets a million people in two years. It is insane. And it compounded by the fact that so many of those came. Most of those have come post vaccination. It is -- it`s awful. And we haven`t really had time to sit and even sit with it because then Ukraine went to war and now the Supreme Court and so there`s always something occupying us to kind of delay our collective grief, I think.
RUHLE: Kristin, after you lost your dad to COVID, you turned and devoted yourself to teaching other people about the virus. What are you thinking about tonight?
KRISTIN URQUIZA, CO-FOUNDER, MARKED BY COVID: Thinking about how this was preventable. Thinking about the literally hundreds if not 1000s of grieving individuals that I have met over the course of the last couple of years and how much pain and suffering is out there behind doors and hidden from view as it seems like so many want to move on, when we need to pause for a minute and recognize these losses a million people gone, that is not normal nor is it OK.
RUHLE: Kristin, how has this virus changed you?
URQUIZA: I`m not the same person I was two years ago. I`ll never be the same person. I am really - I describe myself as a high functioning not OK person. What I have really learned over the course of the last couple of years is that in a pandemic, money talks and big business matters a lot more than people`s lives. And that`s not the world I want to live in.
RUHLE: Wow, Dr. Sample, how has it changed you? You spent a lot of time frustrated hours treating people that we`re still denying COVID existence?
SAMPLE: Sure. I think I`m an E.R. doctor. So we`re all a little cynical by nature we have to be. But I think I have to really work on my own cynicism, and my attitudes towards fellow man, because I`ve seen a lot of stuff that has been really painful to me, as a physician, you know. I have been told in exam rooms, that I`m either uninformed or lying directly to the patients about their conditions, even while I go next door, and break bad news to the family, you know, and it also makes every single cough and bad cold that checks into my emergency department. It also sends a little shiver up my spine and you wonder, oh, my gosh, is the second wave here, is the third wave. Now, I think we`re on the sixth or seventh wave that starting to rise, but certainly, certainly it has affected the way I look at people around me and I don`t like that about myself very much right now.
RUHLE: Has it changed the way you practice medicine? Did you ever think in the last two years, you don`t want to do it anymore?
SAMPLE: Yeah, I`ve thought a lot about I don`t want to do it anymore. And, you know, emergency medicine and medicine in general is going through struggles pre-COVID. And all of those struggles have been compounded, just everything that has been brewing in the background has come right up to the forefront, between doctor and nurses shortages. But yeah, it`s hard. It`s hard to want to go in every day. It`s nice. It already has been nicer now, because recently we have been in more of a, you know, sort of a downward swing. And the people that we are seeing with COVID aren`t as terribly sick as they were. But it`s always there in the back of your mind. Are we going to do this again?
RUHLE: Kristin, you lost your dad, and how isolated and alone you must have felt. Yet at the same time you are grieving with 1000s of other people, what has the sort of the collective grief been like for you?
URQUIZA: I mean, it was so isolating. I wasn`t able to be with my dad. And it felt like nobody was talking about the fact that these were real people that were dying. I felt alone. And when I first spoke out, it was such a healing piece of healing action for myself, because people started to come forward and say, oh, my gosh, you finally said what I was thinking of stealing that I was robbed, that this was preventable, that this shouldn`t happen.
Our collective grief, though, has not been recognized on the scale that it needs to be recognized in order for us to really grapple with what`s happened to us, not only individually but as a society. And that`s partially why Marked by COVID is working for permanent recognition through a COVID Memorial Day, permanent memorials, but also a COVID commission to ensure that we codify lessons learned from this experience and pass that on to future generations, so this never happens again. And we can`t push this pandemic into the memory hole like we did the 1918 pandemic. We just can`t.
RUHLE: What was your dad named Kristin?
URQUIZA: He was Mark.
RUHLE: Well, Mark, we`re thinking about you tonight. Dr. Stephen Sample, Christin Urquiza, thank you both for joining us.
Coming up, she argued, she has not found the right to be honored this way. Didn`t matter. She`s about to be a Hall of Famer anyway, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
RUHLE: The last thing before we go tonight, we always have time for this woman. This lady earning the right and many others the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2022 inductees were announced earlier today. The list includes Pat Benatar, Duran, Eminem, Eurhythmics, Lionel Richie and Carly Simon. You may have noticed it also includes despite her best effort, country music legend Dolly Parton.
Remember back in March when Dolly said she was respectfully bowing out of the running for fear of costing another artists their spot. She explained she was extremely flattered and grateful to be nominated, but didn`t feel she had earned the right because she doesn`t do rock and roll. Well today, Dolly said she decided to accept the honor because it`s the fans who vote. Dolly already has plenty of awards including two Grammys, and in 1999 she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She turned down a proposal to build a statue of her at the Tennessee State Capitol last year after revealing she turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom not once but twice.
And on a night when we note the million people lost to COVID, please remember Dolly Parton, the Queen herself she donated a million dollars to Moderna`s vaccine effort. And she is the one who has encouraged everyone to get the shot.
Tonight, in her statement thanking the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Dolly said, "I`ll continue to work hard and try to live up to the honor." Well, it is an honor to get to speak about her tonight.
On that note, I wish you all a very good night and 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.