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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle, 8/17/22

Guests: Andrew Weissmann, Joyce Vance, Greg Bluestein, Sommer Brugal, Roland Gutierrez, Mallory McMorrow, Vin Gupta


The New York Times reports federal prosecutors have issued a grand jury subpoena for National Archive documents given to the Jan. 6th Committee. Rudy Giuliani testified before a grand jury in Georgia looking into the 2020 election interference. And the legal battle over abortion rights continues in Michigan.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Kevin McCarthy then spent a year and a half attacking Liz Cheney for saying things like that. I was part of what led to Liz Cheney`s defeat the Republican primary last night in Wyoming. That is tonight`s "LAST WORD". THE 11TH HOUR with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Tonight, the Big Lie investigation got more intense. A federal grand jury wants White House documents related to the January 6 insurrection. Federal prosecutors want to know what did the former guy do as the Capitol was under siege.

The pressure also on his former personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani sat for six hours in front of a grand jury in Georgia.

Then, it is the first week of school. Do you know where your governor is? Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott are fighting the right wing culture war. But is it what parents want were students need. Plus, the CDC admits a lot went wrong with the response to the coronavirus pandemic. No surprise there. But with the monkeypox outbreak happening now, the big question is are the changes coming too late? Big Questions as THE 11TH HOUR gets underway on this Wednesday night.

Good evening, once again, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. There is breaking news tonight from the New York Times concerning the Justice Department`s investigation into the role Donald Trump and his allies played in the days ahead of the Capitol riot. The Time says prosecutors are focusing on critical Trump White House records and quote have issued a grand jury subpoena to the National Archives for all the documents the agency provided to a parallel House Select Committee inquiry.

According to a copy of the subpoena obtained by the New York Times, those materials included records from the files of Mr. Trump`s top aides, his daily schedule and phone logs and a draft text of the President`s speech that preceded the riot.

The Time says the subpoena is not related to the FBI search of Trump`s Florida home. So that means the Department of Justice is running a separate probe into the Trump White House and what the former guy was doing on January 6, but there`s also news about the probe into the handling of classified documents by the former guy.

Tomorrow a federal judge will hold a hearing on requests to unseal the affidavit that details the reasons for that very search.

The Justice Department opposes releasing that document. While Donald Trump and some of his allies want it made public. They have also attacked the FBI over and over for the search. But today, the former Vice President Mike Pence, called for those attacks to come to an end.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The Republican Party is the party of law and order. Our party stands with the men and women who serve on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level. And these attacks on the FBI must stop. Calls to defend the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.


RUHLE: If they are the party of law and order the question is, is Mike Pence, the guy who stands with Donald Trump, it doesn`t sound like it. And what about the Congressional investigation into the insurrection itself? Well, Mike Pence also made very big headlines with this response.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a stain on that generally said if they were to call you the committee to come and testify or talk, would you be agreeable?

PENCE: If there was an invitation to participate? I would consider it. I would have to reflect on the unique role that I was serving as Vice President.


RUHLE: If you are confused and we have not made it crystal clear yet, the former guy and his allies are now the focus of several investigations.

Today, a Georgia Grand Jury investigating possible 2020 election interference heard from Rudy Giuliani. He is considered a target in that investigation. And he spent about six long hours inside the Fulton County Courthouse.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP PERSONAL LAWYER: Grand juries, as I recall, are secret. They ask the questions and we`ll see.


RUHLE: Another key Trump ally is due in a different court tomorrow. Sources tell NBC News Trump Organization former CFO Allen Weisselberg will plead guilty to several criminal charges. He`s expected to be sentenced to five months in jail for his role in a long running tax scheme that the former president`s family business. Sources also say Weisselberg will cooperate against the Trump Organization. But there`s no indication he will cooperate in any investigation into the former president. But remember, that business that he ran was a very small family business run by Donald Trump.


With that, let`s get smarter with a lot of help tonight from our leadoff panel, Greg Bluestein, a political reporter for the Atlanta Journal- Constitution. He`s the author of "Flipped: How Georgia Turned Purple and Broke the Monopoly on Republican Power." Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, who spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor. She`s now a law professor at the University of Alabama. And Andrew Weissmann, former FBI general counsel and former senior member of the Mueller probe.

Counselor Weissmann, we need you to help us out there is a lot of reporting. And I want to start with this new New York Times report. DOJ prosecutors are now asking those -- for those White House documents that the National Archives gave to the January 6 committee. Does that mean that the walls are starting to close in on Trump and all that we`ve heard from the Gen six committee is now making its way to the DOJ who`s taken action?

ANDREW WEISSMANN, FORMER FBI GENERAL COUNSEL: It means some of what the January 6 committee has is making its way in there because they still -- the department justice still doesn`t have everything that the January 6 Committee has. They gave a specific request for things related to false of the fake collector scheme that was provided so that sort of witness testimony, and presumably some documents.

But with this grand jury subpoena, which apparently was issued in May, they asked the National Archives, essentially for all of the White House records, that is a really good sign if you`re looking for sort of widespread laws sort of broad DOJ investigation.

There is a legitimate question, however, which is DOJ apparently issued this subpoena in May of this year, the House issued its subpoena in March the year before. So one question is sort of historically is just sort of why`d it take DOJ so long, but if you`re looking at it from the perspective of where we are now, it certainly is a good sign in terms of the department having a broad scope in terms of its investigation.

RUHLE: All right, let`s turn and talk about another investigation. Joyce, you wrote this on your blog about the investigation into the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago quote, DOJ flatly says that it has an ongoing criminal investigation, one that continues even though the execution of the search warrant is complete. Those are a lot of scary words. What do they mean, what are you looking for here?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, I think perhaps we`ve blown past this very important point that DOJ reveals in its pleadings, you know, stuff, Merrick Garland loves to make the point. He`s made it repeatedly now, that DOJ does not talk about its cases in the public that when it speaks, it speaks in court. And it speaks in its pleadings.

And here in the pleadings, we have DOJ telling us that this search warrant at Mar-a-Lago was about more than going in and reclaiming classified documents and bringing them back to a secure place. In fact DOJ clarifies there is an ongoing criminal investigation. And although they don`t tell us who the targets are, you know, you have to infer a little bit here. And maybe it isn`t, maybe it isn`t the former president.

But the fact that one of the places they explicitly sought and received authorization to search was the office designated as the 45 Office, that would appear to indicate that Trump is a real target and is in real danger from this investigation as well.

RUHLE: Do you expect a judge tomorrow to agree to release the search warrant affidavit? The Department of Justice does not want it to happen. They`re saying it will put their case as well as potential witnesses at risk. And Trump is saying Go for it. Let`s see it.

VANCE: I`d be very surprised if the judge released this. The normal course of business is that DOJ and other prosecutors are permitted to conduct their investigations in secret. DOJ lays out the reasons for that. You don`t want to give the folks that are under investigation, a roadmap to where the investigation is headed, because that would permit them to interfere with it. It could mean that witnesses would become intimidated and might not be available.

And since the government`s whole goal in these investigations is to get to the truth. It`s essential that they have access to those witnesses. That I think is one of the primary reasons, but also this sort of an affidavit contains material obtained through the grand jury that has to be kept secret. That`s a legal requirement. There`s likely a lot of classified material in this search warrant that needs to be protected, and even the rights of people who are under investigation but haven`t been charged their rights or best protected when something like this affidavit remains sealed. So I think it`s awfully unlikely that we`ll see the entire affidavit unsealed tomorrow.


RUHLE: We got another one. Andrew, ABC reporting that weeks before the Mar- a-Lago search Trump loyalists, Kash Patel said he would take the classified documents and publish them on his own website. What in the world is he doing? Is he basically putting the crime out there and trying to normalize it because the Department of Justice is paying attention to this.

WEISSMANN: So the Kash Patel piece I find fascinating and I`m sure DOJ is all over this to Kash Patel in June of 2022. So, you know, just couple of months ago was designated by Trump as his representative to the National Archives in terms of the presidential records.

I don`t know what in the world Kash Patel can be thinking in terms of saying I`m going to spread out in the world classified documents. But when you look at the timing of when Kash Patel is saying this, when he gets appointed by the former president to be the representative to the National Archives, and the search that was done in Mar-a-Lago, I don`t think there`s a coincidence, this is all happening within days of each other. Because you can imagine the department saying, you know, there is top secret material at Mar-a-Lago.

And we have Kash Patel, a designee of the former presidents talking about making this public. So from a national security perspective, you could really see the urgency of the department taking action to protect all of us.

RUHLE: If Andrew Weissmann actually said on our show coincidence, I think not I would be the happiest person in the world. Joyce, something else happened today that made very big news, Mike Pence said he would consider an invitation to speak to the January 6 committee. Here`s what I do not understand why in the world, hasn`t he been subpoenaed yet?

VANCE: You know, Congress has run into a little bit of difficulty trying to enforce it subpoenas that has to rely on the Justice Department and except in the most egregious cases, Steve Bannon was the first one. DOJ hasn`t really backed Congress up in the way that Congress might have hoped that they would, there would be a lot of difficult legal issues that the former vice president could throw up to try to at least delay testimony.

So it`s really in the committee`s interests to try to get to a negotiated situation where Pence would agree to come in and testify given the way the clock is running, that could be a better move for them to make. Of course, if DOJ decides that it needs the former vice president`s testimony at some point, those issues don`t really apply. DOJ would be able to issue a subpoena. It would be extraordinarily unusual, it could even be inflammatory.

But if Pence`s testimony is essential, and it very likely is to get to the heart of some of the January sixth issues involving whether the former president is culpable or not, then he should be issued a subpoena and it should be his honor to testify truthfully.

RUHLE: He certainly knows a lot. All right, Mr. Bluestein. I`m coming to you. As we mentioned earlier, there`s also very big news involving Rudy Giuliani. Kristen Welker is following that story for us. Watch this.


KRISTEN WALKER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Today, Mr. Trump`s former attorney Rudy Giuliani testified before a federal grand jury in Atlanta for six hours. It`s where he led the President`s efforts to overturn the state`s 2020 election results.

GIULIANI: It is clear that the count you have right now is false.

WALKER: Giuliani was told he`s the target of the probe. His attorney saying he would invoke attorney client privilege if asked about conversations with his former boss.


RUHLE: Nobody knows Georgia better than you, Greg, what do you know about what happened behind closed doors?

GREG BLUESTEIN, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, six hours of testimony and we have no indication that he said much of anything at all behind those closed doors. His attorney wouldn`t say whether he answered any of the questions but as you just heard, he was either -- he suggested he would either invoke attorney client-privilege or invoke the Fifth Amendment now that we know that Rudy Giuliani is a potential target of criminal investigation.

But what we do know is that investigators are looking at at least two different things they`re scrutinizing Giuliani over his role and peddling election fraud lies at December legislative hearings in the State Capitol in Georgia, and also his role in quarterbacking the fake electoral plot in Georgia, the 16 fake electors of who are also facing potential criminal charges.

So the prosecutors, the investigators, they`re looking at him for those two reasons. We know that from witnesses who have also gone before the special grand jury, and were asked direct questions about those two issues.

RUHLE: Joyce, how worried should Donald Trump be does attorney client- privilege fly in this case?

VANCE: Attorney-client privilege isn`t really much of an issue here because it only applies in a situation where the client is seeking advice from the attorney and they are alone, the presence of any other person in that conversation voids the privilege.


In this situation, we`re really talking about Giuliani running a little exercise down in Georgia, that`s far away from that attorney-client relationship and sort of the places where the privilege is pointed to protect. So the real privilege that Giuliani could use here if he chose to, and one suspects he did would be to assert his Fifth Amendment right to avoid incriminating himself. But six hours is a long time. And it would -- go ahead.

RUHLE: No, no, no, yes, six hours, six hours of saying nothing.

VANCE: It`s a long time. And it could be prosecutors asking all of the questions on their notepad and Giuliani meticulously asserting the Fifth Amendment in response to every question and refusing to answer. But it`s also possible and it wouldn`t be the first time that a witness implied in public that he was not cooperating when in fact, he was.

So the real issue here for Donald Trump is that he doesn`t know. He doesn`t know. And there`s uncertainty. And he has to be worried that his former lawyer will cooperate in Georgia.

RUHLE: All right, Greg, let`s commingle prosecutors and politics because DA Fani Willis has subpoenaed Governor Brian Kemp. We all know he was praised for resisting Trump`s pressure to intervene in the election. He did the right thing. But he doesn`t want to testify. So what`s going on? Is he trying to get Trump`s endorsement? Is he trying to get back in his good graces here?

BLUESTEIN: That`s what Democrats are saying here in Georgia. And up until today, it looked like he was going to cooperate. There was even a date on the books for a few weeks ago for a videotaped testimony. That did not happen.

Now we know in vivid detail how those negotiations fell apart because we even have emails that were part of a court filing to and from Governor Kemp`s attorneys and DA Fani Willis but Fani Willis is laying down the law. She is saying that he cannot make excuses. He cannot move the goalposts and accusing Governor Kemp`s attorney of just acting dishonorably, essentially, and trying to avoid him testifying.

The governor`s attorney counters that, you know, we`re getting closer to the midterm election, it would take valuable time out of the campaign to out of fundraising, all the things the governor has to do. We`re getting too close to the November election. So at the very minimum, they`re asking that he testify after November, either early next year, or later this year.

RUHLE: Andrew, let`s now talk Allen Weisselberg, former Trump business CFO, he didn`t just work for the Trump Organization for a few years. He worked for Donald Trump. He worked for Fred Trump. He has been with this family for decades. He is expected to plead guilty tomorrow, even if he does not directly implicate Donald Trump himself. Trump had to have signed every check and approved everything.

So ultimately, isn`t Donald Trump going to be responsible if laws were broken? For years, he co-mingled his personal finances and his business finances.

WEISSMANN: This, I think is the sleeper investigation. You know, everybody sort of wrote this off when they heard that Mark Pomerantz, and Carey Dunne the lead prosecutors on the matter had resigned, and people thought that this case was going nowhere.

This is going to be a really interesting play. Now Weisselberg gets out of this a five-month term. So he caps his exposure. But the government`s here, the Manhattan DA`s office gets quite a lot because as you said he is pleading to actually be indictment, 15 counts, a massive tax scheme. And it wasn`t for just Weisselberg. This was a scheme run by the Trump Organization where it`s alleged that the Trump Organization profited to the tune of millions of dollars and various executives did. And that Weisselberg is going to be a witness if called at the trial in October of the Trump Organization.

And it`s one thing for Weisselberg to try and have some PR spin now to say, Well, I`m not cooperating against Donald Trump. But when you`re on the stand, and you`re talking about, as you said, Stephanie, a small family run organization. What does that mean? Organization only works through people. So he`s going to have to identify people and the indictment alleges that these are checks that were signed by the head of the organization, which is Donald Trump. So this is a very bad development for Donald Trump.

RUHLE: Well, that is no sleeper. We will certainly be paying attention come October. Greg Bluestein, Joyce Vance, Andrew Weissmann, thank you all for starting us off tonight.

When we come back, it is back to school in some states, but two red state governors are busy fighting, not for their students to fight in their own culture wars.


Is this the kind of leadership we need to make our schools smarter, safer and better? We`ll get into it all. And later, the CDC says it learned its lesson about major outbreaks and then making changes. Some critics say the changes came too late. And they need to handle the monkeypox outbreak now and do it a whole lot better.

One of our favorite doctors will be here to help us get some answers. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on a very busy Wednesday night.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little boys and little girls follow in the rules getting ready for the first day of school. Politicians say they make our land safe and free. They`re supposed to stand for you and me. Keep our children safe for you and me. Keep our children safe for you and me.


RUHLE: It`s hard to watch, isn`t it? That harrowing ad was produced by the group Mothers Against Greg Abbott. And in case you missed it, that is an elementary school child dressed in body armor for his first day of school. It is meant to remind voters that Texas has not passed any new gun safety laws since the school shooting in Uvalde at the end of this last school year, and it`s not just in Texas, that they`re dealing with back to school tensions.

Florida has a teacher shortage so severe its Republican governor is now recruiting former military personnel and police officers to try to fill those gaps. And yesterday Ron DeSantis slammed the institutions that train a license the teachers they do have.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R) FLORIDA: I think the schools of education and the specific way they go about it, I don`t think is the right way to do it.


RUHLE: With us now, Sommer Brugal, Education Reporter for the Miami Herald and Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, you have seen him here before, because his district includes Uvalde. Sommer, you are out in Miami Dade today for the first day of school. What are students and parents telling you?

SOMMER BRUGAL, THE MIAMI HERALD EDUCATIONAL REPORTER: Yes, thank you for having me. It was really an exciting day to be honest. A lot of students were excited to be back. But we were talking to parents that mentioned concerns about safety. That mentioned concerns about just how their children are going to be safe in a school environment, especially as large as Miami-Dade County.

You know, we`re also talking to teachers ahead of, you know, ahead of today. And during the school day today, we had reporters from across the newsroom scattered across the district talking to teachers, and they definitely you know, a couple of them definitely raised concerns about, you know, a couple of new laws that are going to be that are already in effect and are going to be kind of tested out in this new school year.

RUHLE: Roland, your governor in Texas is spending all sorts of money on things that will do nothing to teach or protect children, things like busing immigrants to New York and Washington, nothing on protecting your children from gun violence. As I said, you represent the families in Uvalde. What are parents that are telling you? Are they ready to send their kids back to the classroom to teachers feel comfortable going back?

ROLAND GUTIERREZ, TEXAS STATE SENATOR: Well, Stephanie, no, they`re not. And they`ve made it very clear to Governor Abbott that they`re not ready. It was I believe on your show or on your network where MSNBC called him up out for not going to the community. Finally, two weeks ago, he began to start to go to Uvalde and he got an earful. And yet he still has refused to do any of the things that those community those constituents asked him specifically to call a special session raising the age limit to 21 to buy a long gun in Texas.

It took Rick Scott 23 days after Parkland to do that in Florida. And yet this governor in Texas doesn`t have the fortitude necessary to do the right thing or to listen to his constituents.

RUHLE: Sommer, you`ve reported on Florida`s teacher shortage, yesterday while talking at a teacher recruitment event. Your governor said that Florida is the place where quote, woke goes to die. I need you to get real with me, is wokeness whatever in the world that actually means is that actually a significant problem in Florida schools and I want to remind our audience, our kids are suffering coming out of COVID, we`ve got one to two years of significant learning loss. But wokeness that`s the problem for Florida kids.

BRUGAL: You know, I think it could depend on who you ask in which parents you ask. I think there is, you know, a growing group of parents who might agree with that, that there is this you know, so called woke ideology that it`s that`s being infused into our education system.

But on the other side, there`s a large number of people who would fully disagree with that. And I think our governor`s, you know, words and things that he said yesterday, I think just kind of underscore how he has been using education, and how he has been using these terms such as wokeness in the classroom and woke ideologies, to really use education as this kind of part of his political identity, political platform especially ahead of, you know, this upcoming election.


RUHLE: Roland, Texas is also facing a teacher shortage. It`s not a surprise teachers are woefully overworked, underpaid, and now under attack, how do you get more qualified teachers in Texas classrooms? It`s crucial.

GUTIERREZ: You know, it`s really hard. We just saw a survey in Texas where 70 percent of the teachers, or actually in Texas, were actually thinking that they wouldn`t come back to teaching over the next several years. Because of a lot of the issues that are happening in the legislative process.

Sometimes I think that Abbott is DeSantis`s Mini Me, because what Florida does, Texas does. We had a weak watered down CRT bill, this last in a special session because Abbott said we have to do something about CRT, yet he won`t do anything about guns.

My suspicion is that that CRT bill is going to come back in the spring. We`re going to see a much stringent CRT bill, let`s face it, these aren`t problems. But this is how things, how bad things begin. And it`s how bad things may have begun historically, it`s how the Nazi, it`s what happened in Nazi Germany, they began to burn books, they began to tell people how to think that is what`s happening with people like Rick DeSantis. People like Greg Abbott. People need to wake up. We`re certainly a woke problem. But it`s the fact that people need to wake up as to what`s happening with these two leaders in this country.

RUHLE: All right, well, so if Greg Abbott has done nothing on gun violence, you don`t have enough teachers and Texas has an enormous power grid problem. OK. These are three issues that impact people across your state and the governor is doing nothing. If he`s doing nothing on any of those, what is he doing for the people of Texas? And the reason I ask is because this guy may have his eye on the White House.

GUTIERREZ: Yes, no doubt that Greg Abbott has his eye on the White House. And, you know, I got to believe that will, not cannot happen. But we`ve seen it all, I think in these United States. I think that it`s high time that people understand that Greg Abbott has probably had more and I don`t mean this. This is not sarcastic. It`s had more to do with people dying in this state than any governor, any governor in our history. 800 people have died during the winter storm and 2021. 19 kids, five massacres already and this man has done absolutely nothing other than waste our money on political stunts with regard to his Operation Lone Star, and let`s not have people forget that the Operation Lone Star police, those were the guys at Uvalde and those were the guys that failed these kids.

RUHLE: Speaking of money, there are people in Texas still dealing with bills from that horrible freeze and power failure. What was it now, two years ago, still suffering. Sommer Brugal, State Senator Roland Gutierrez, thank you both for joining us tonight.

When we come back, she is the Michigan mama who went viral with her passionate response to extremists and liars. She`s fighting abortion bans and militias and a threat to democracy in her own state. We`ll ask her about what she is doing to ensure what happens in Michigan doesn`t just stay in Michigan when THE 11TH HOUR continues.



RUHLE: Since Roe was overturned states across the country have been scrambling to navigate abortion access. The Detroit Free Press reports that today in Michigan, a judge temporarily extended an order that blocks prosecutions of abortion providers in the state`s biggest counties. That hearing will reconvene tomorrow.

For more we`re very happy to welcome Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow. Mallory, how critical is this case? What I`m trying to understand is what the Michiganders really want when it comes to abortion rights. It`s a big state, you have a lot of views.

STATE SEN. MALLORY MCMORROW (D) MICHIGAN: It is a big state. We are a state of 10 million people. But overwhelmingly, people do not want us to go back to our 1931 law, which makes abortion a felony with no exceptions for age rape or incest. And right now our Republican legislators want to extend that felony to a 10 year prison sentence. Nobody wants to go there. And right now, there is one judge standing in the way of that our rights are just hanging by a thread. It`s devastating.

RUHLE: I want to talk about something else in your state. You tweeted about a situation with a Michigan library saying quote, this is canceled culture. The library got stripped of its -- the town got stripped of its library because it contained books that just had LGBTQ people in it. Just just for having those books, they defunded the library. How do you fight that?

MCMORROW: It is such a scary time that we`re living in. It`s a few books that often aren`t even checked out that feature characters who are LGBTQ and there was an organization in this town that coordinate an effort to defund the library so they`re going to put another effort on the ballot and this library may disappear in 2023, depriving an entire town of every single book in it.


And my husband also pointed it out, the same library has something like 13 copies of 50 Shades of Grey, and nobody had any issues with that. So it is just -- it`s terrifying right now the idea that you can eliminate all of the books, because there are a handful of books that just acknowledge that gay people exist.

RUHLE: I can`t even handle that you just said that, like, do me a favor. If you want to read that book, just buy it, please don`t check it out, and then return it to any of those 13 copies.


RUHLE: But then here`s what I don`t understand. OK? If the majority of people in Michigan do not want to go backwards in terms of abortion, if the majority of people in Michigan think it`s crazy, to deprive a town, a county of its library, how come these things might happen?

MCMORROW: Right now, this version of the Republican Party is being taken over by far right Trump backed conspiracy theorists, and they`re winning. It is the loudest voices in the room, we`re organizing, and it`s a concerted effort to get the rest of us so worn out and exhausted that we just quit. That is what`s happening right now. We know that an overwhelming majority of us don`t want these things. We want our kids to have access to books. We want the rights to make our own decisions to our bodies.

And part of the reason that I`m staying in this, and so is the governor in our Attorney General in a state like Michigan where there are consistently death threats against women legislators, is because we can`t let this version win. We have to send a loud message for Michigan by defeating them this November that this version of the Republican Party will not win. And hopefully we kick it back to normal and we can get back to debating tax policy instead of whether or not people have the right to exist and women are full citizens.

RUHLE: Then what`s your playbook for Democrats? Because people often say that Democrats have facts. But Republicans, they know how to win fights. You earlier this year had Republican colleagues making awful false allegations about you. You fought back hard and you won. Right now Democrats have a lot of wins under their belt, how do they fight to win on messaging midterms around the corner?

MCMORROW: I mean, the attitude is we have to fight. We have to get in our minds. This is not a normal time. It is not a time where we can just talk about policy and win because right now there is a culture war, but it is manufactured. It is the Republican Party manufacturing issues to get you so angry and hateful and fearful towards somebody else to deflect from the fact that they`re not doing anything to bring down inflation, that they`re not doing anything to bring down health care costs, but Democrats are.

So step one is we have to fight the culture wars and win by showing how ridiculous they are that it is just scapegoating and it`s a distraction. And then that opens the door for us to celebrate. Democrats, we`re not really that good at celebrating. We`d love to nitpick each other. We have a lot to celebrate right now.

So we`ve got to show people what they`re doing on the other side is absolute garbage. Here`s a lot of what we are doing and what we can do more of in a state like Michigan where the Michigan Senate has been GOP controlled since 1984. If you give us a chance, give us a chance to lead and we will not let you down.

RUHLE: The woke war is made up. You heard it here. Mallory McMorrow, thank you for joining us. Coming up, the CDC says it has learned a big lesson from the COVID pandemic and they`re making changes or those changes working. Dr. Vin Gupta is back on what it means for the agency and what it means for us the American people who need critical information on public health when THE 11TH HOUR continues.



RUHLE: Big changes coming at the CDC. Earlier today CDC director Rochelle Walensky announced a complete overhaul of the agency including how it analyzes and shares data and communicates information to the public. That last part really important.

With us now to discuss MSNBC medical contributor Dr. Vin Gupta. He`s also a critical care pulmonologist and a faculty member at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. I`m so glad you`re here as always, we need your help. Rochelle Walensky said that the CDC `s COVID response did not reliably meet expectations. They`re making big changes. Do you think these changes are enough? And what`s your take on the whole thing?

DR. VIN GUPTA, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Stephanie, good evening. And for all your viewers out there, we absolutely need a credible trusted CDC, Stephanie, that first and foremost is nimble in a crisis is able to effectively engage in rapid response. Part of that is designing executing smart policy quickly with the best available data at that moment, not letting that perfect be the enemy of the good, but part of it also, Stephanie, is crisis communication.

Specifically, what is the message? Who`s the messenger and how are we going to communicate it? You do not get how taught as a physician, I`ll say this, how to crisis communicate at the bedside. So while these reforms are welcome, and I applaud Dr. Walensky for accountable leadership, execution here is going to be key and specifically how Do we crisis communicate.


And if I may just point of personal privilege here, Stephanie, and we`ve been at this for two and a half years. I think we have a slide here of lungs with and without COVID that I wanted to show your viewers here to drive home the point. This is what was posted. I posted this early in the rollout of the vaccines to help clarify why do you get vaccinated. Normal lungs on the left, COVID ravage lungs on the right. This is why you get vaccinated to stay out of the hospital, leveraging visuals, some storytelling, clear messaging, didn`t over promise of what the vaccines could do versus what they could not do. This is what we really need to be trying to internalize hopefully moving forward.

RUHLE: Listen, it`s easy to attack the CDC now but are we forgetting during the Trump administration, they were not able to communicate with the public the way they wanted to. The former president was preventing it. Members of his team were changing content on their website. And also COVID was changing while they were communicating with us. I mean, all the different strains. They never experienced a pandemic like this in your or my lifetime.

GUPTA: So that`s exactly right. Which is why you`re right, neither administration has been perfect. The last thing we need to be doing is bandwagoning on the criticism of the CDC and Dr. Walensky. I applaud again the move today for accountable leadership, and many mistakes were made in 2020. Some mistakes were made here and 2021.

Moving forward, how do we deep politicize the agency? Let`s make the appointees to the directorship and Deputy Director be completely removed from the presidential cycle. They should not be -- the agency heads for these important health agencies need to not be presidential appointees. They should span the terms of different presidential administrations so we can rebuild public trust, Stephanie. But again, storytelling, having visuals and then critically authentic messengers, the public in matters who`s messaging on these issues and a crisis here is we have to identify the right people.

RUHLE: Well, that`s what we should do in the future. But for now, can we trust them because I want to ask about monkeypox. There CDC is reporting today that there`s 14,000 cases here. Are we doing enough? Should we be concerned I`m about to send my kids back to school.

GUPTA: So just to emphasize here I think monkeypox like many other contagious viruses and other diseases, infectious diseases is highly contagious. It`s transmissible through many different routes of transmission. But clearly, let`s be clear here the primary mode, as multiple studies have shown Stephanie, for all your viewers out there, especially parents, it`s through -- it appears to be through sexual contact, close skin to skin contact, oral and anal sex, primarily in demographics, such as men who have sex with men. Let`s be very clear.

Is it possible that school children will get exposed to infected? Yes, because anything is possible. There`s different routes of transmission, is it likely? No, it`s not. And I do believe the FDA and CDC have responded to the early criticism have ramped up the response. We have more JYNNEOS vaccine. FDA commissioner Califf is pursuing a strategy of basically one dose of the vaccine now can be distributed at five individuals that we can basically met out an intradermal vaccination approach that will still connote some protection, Stephanie.

So, while imperfect on rollout, I do think that there has been improvement here and it`s really critical to know here who is at risk and who`s not.

RUHLE: Dr. Vin Gupta, you said it best trust and communication are essential when it comes to public health. And we are very lucky to have you here. Thanks for joining us. When we come back, a big night for our good friend Al Franken that featured plenty of jokes, and even some fact checking when THE 11TH HOUR continues.




AL FRANKEN, FMR. U.S. SENATOR: It is so great to be here. I`m Al Franken. I`m the only former U.S. senator. I`m the only former U.S. senator to guest host Jimmy Kimmel Live.


RUHLE: The last thing before we go tonight a very special shout out. We wanted to congratulate our friend Al Franken on a pretty unique accomplishment hosting Jimmy Kimmel Live, quite possibly inspired by our own for facts sake. He called out the former guy`s social media posts from a few days ago, yet again, Trump pushing the big lie that he had more votes than Biden, and the former senator would not let that lie stand.


FRANKEN: Now, Trump keeps saying that he quote, got more votes by far than any sitting president in the history of our country. I know that sounds good. But it doesn`t mean much when you lose by 7,052,770 vote.

Now you`ve heard of Ireland, right? That`s more than the entire population of Ireland. It`s the entire population of Ireland plus, every single person in Nebraska combined, plus, a completely sold out Michigan Stadium and Ann Arbor. And everyone who works at every Burger King in America plus, every person the average American will meet in their entire life, plus, every major league baseball player and NBA player, plus a Southwest flight at maximum capacity. Throw in every person today who`s got monkeypox in Indiana. And there`s still be six people left over. That`s the entire Allman Brothers Band. That`s how many people Donald Trump lost by.



RUHLE: Well, there you have it, a former senator, a comedian, a late night host. And right there now a mathematician. I hope that clears up any confusion about the big lie. And if you`re looking for more of that fact checking stick with us right here at THE 11TH HOUR, we have the facts. And Al Franken right there he happens to be one of our favorite guests.

And on that fine note, I wish you all 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.