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Transcript: The 11th Hour, 1/11/22

Guests: Phil Rucker, Alexi McCammond, Chuck Rosenberg, Juanita Tolliver, Mark McKinnon, Irwin Redland


President Biden calls for filibuster reform, if Republicans block voting rights legislation, during his big speech in Atlanta. It comes as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to bring the legislation to the floor again as soon as Wednesday. Meantime, the Jan. 6th committee issues a new round of subpoenas, targeting two Donald Trump Jr. advisors and a former White House official who helped draft the speech Trump gave prior to the attack on the Capitol. Plus, the U.S. reports more than 1.3 million new Covid infections just a week after breaking the previous daily record.





REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA) MINORITY LEADER: The President bears responsibility for Wednesday`s attack on Congress by mob rioters.


O`DONNELL: Kevin McCarthy, friend of Donald Trump gets tonight`s "LAST WORD." THE 11TH HOUR starts now.


STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. Day 357 of the Biden administration. Today, the president and vice president we`re in Atlanta, Georgia, the epicenter of the civil rights movement to make their strongest case yet for voting rights. Together, they urge the Senate to pass the new voting protections still being blocked by all 50 Republicans and Biden through his support behind changing the Senate rules to make that happen.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We must stand strong and stand together to make sure January 6 marks not the end democracy. But the beginning. The Freedom of the Vote Act takes on election subversion to protect nonpartisan electors, officials who doing their job from intimidation interference, it`s also time to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

I`ve been having these quiet conversations with members of Congress for the last two months. I`m tired to be quiet.

The threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bill. Debate them, vote, let the majority prevail. And if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules including getting rid of the filibuster for this.

I support changing the Senate rules, whichever way they need to be changed to prevent a minority of senators from blocking action on voting rights.


RUHLE: And why has President Biden made this his number one focus? Well, according to the Brennan Center for justice, at least 19 states have passed 34 different laws restricting access to the ballot. Vice President Harris offered this warning about those very efforts.


KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: There is a danger of becoming accustomed to these laws. We must not be deceived into thinking a law that makes it more difficult for students to vote is normal. We must not be deceived into thinking a law that makes it illegal to help a voter with a disability vote by mail is normal. There is nothing normal about a law that makes it illegal to pass out water or food to people standing in long voting lines.


RUHLE: While back in Washington, the two Senate leaders both took to the floor today with strong statements about voting legislation and reforming the filibuster. Majority Leader Schumer insisted Democrats are ready to move forward.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) MAJORITY LEADER: The Senate is going to act as soon as tomorrow. It is my intention to once again bring legislation to the floor to fight back against the threats to democracy and protect people`s access to the ballot.

Once again, I urge my Republican colleagues to take up the flag of the traditional Republican Party, not only of Lincoln, but of Reagan and H.W. Bush and W. Bush and vote yes to move forward. So we can have a debate, like the debate we just had, or discussion we just had.

But if Republicans continue to hijack the rules of the Senate to prevent voting rights from happening, if they continue paralyzing this chamber, to the point where we`re helpless to fight back against the big lie, we must consider the necessary steps we can take so the Senate can adapt and act.


RUHLE: While Republicans Republican Mitch McConnell fired back promising his favorite move to retaliate.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) MINORITY LEADER: If my colleague tries to break the Senate to silence those millions of Americans, we will make their voices heard in this chamber in ways that are more inconvenient for the majority and this White House than what anybody has seen, and living memory.

Our colleagues who are itching to drain every drop of collegiality from this body have not even begun to consider how that would work. If the Democratic leader tries to shut millions of Americans and entire states out of the business of governing, the operations of this body will change. Oh, yes. That much is true, but not in ways that reward the rule breakers. Not in ways that advantage this president, this majority or their party. I guarantee you.



RUHLE: There`s also new developments tonight in the January 6 investigation, House Select Committee now interested in talking to extra lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, one of the leading figures over and over peddling false claims about election fraud.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson says Giuliani is on a list of a lot of people they want to be talking to. When asked about the possibility of a subpoena for Giuliani, Thompson said the committee is working through the process.

The panel today did issue a round of subpoenas to three separate people all in the Trump family inner circle. The lawmakers demanding testimony and documents from Andy Surabian, Arthur Schwartz, were both advisors to Donald Trump Jr. The committee says those two guys spoke with the younger Trump and others about last year`s rally. The third subpoena which Ross Worthington, he`s a former Trump White House official who allegedly helped draft Trump`s rally speech.

And as that investigation unfolds, the Department of Justice today announced the creation of a new unit to fight domestic terrorism. Justice officials say there are persistent and evolving threats of violent extremism in the US.

And as the nation battles the relentless spread of Omicron, many hospitals across the country are continuing to be overwhelmed. The New York Times reporting today that the number of people admitted for COVID now higher than it was during last winter surge.

With that and a lot of news we`ve got to cover tonight. I want to bring in our lead off guests on this Tuesday. Phil Rucker, Pulitzer Prize winning senior Washington correspondent for The Washington Post and co-author of the must read New York Times bestseller, "I alone can fix it." Alexi McCammond, political reporter for Axios and Chuck Rosenberg, former US attorney and former senior FBI official

Phil, let`s talk about Biden, he was pretty clear. He demanded action on voting rights and said we need to tweak, not scrap the filibuster. Many, many people said we need a plan. That sounds like a plan.

PHIL RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Steph. This was a long time coming for Democrats and voting rights and civil rights activists in this country. They`ve wanted to see the President speak with a sort of forceful authority and really righteous anger that he showed in Atlanta today.

He clearly is prioritizing voting rights now. But for some Democrats, there`s a feeling that it`s a little bit too late here. And there`s also a question of what that plan actually is without the support of Senators Manchin and Sinema in the Senate, the math just doesn`t add up to get to the 50 votes that are necessary to change those rules and to pass this voting rights legislation.

But as you heard from Senator Schumer, Democrats are going to move forward and later in this week to try to bring this to the floor and try to take action. And what you saw today in Atlanta was Biden and Vice President Harris putting it all on the line and really showing that their presidency and their administration is behind this push right now.

RUHLE: Alexi, some progressives, as well as voting and civil rights groups skipped Biden speech today, after the speech, the president of the NAACP said this quote, while President Biden delivered a stirring speech today, it`s time for this administration to match their words, with actions and for Congress to do their jobs.

Was skipping today a warning to Biden? We don`t show up for you on your speech, and we`re not showing up for you or Democrats come election day, if you don`t deliver.

ALEXI MCCAMMOND, AXIOS POLITICAL REPORTER: That wasn`t the message they were sending. And I asked them during this Zoom in which they announced that they weren`t going if what they would basically say to voters for why they should show up and still support the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates if they aren`t able to deliver on Federal Voting rights.

And these folks said, it`s not about ditching the Democratic Party or ditching Democratic candidates or Biden. It`s about continuing to do the work. And I think that`s what their absence said more than anything. They were saying, Look, President Biden, thanks for coming to Atlanta, but we`d rather you be giving the speech in Washington DC to senators on Capitol Hill. Their absence was saying we`re still doing the work here in Georgia and across the country to educate voters to register voters to make sure they know what to do come 2022. Because voting is you know and started the hour with in 2022 and beyond will really depend based on where you live.

RUHLE: Chuck, let`s talk about this new DOJ unit they are designing to specifically handle domestic terrorism. Is it a big deal? It sounds that way.

CHUCK ROSENBERG, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: It sounds that way, Stephanie, but I don`t think it is. Let me explain.


Prior to 9/11, the Department of Justice and the FBI was doing a lot of national security work, but they didn`t have a National Security Division. And after 9/11, they created one, they put a new box on the organizational chart of the Department of Justice.

Similarly, prior to January 6, and for many years, the Department of Justice and the FBI has been doing lots and lots of work on domestic terrorism investigations and prosecutions. But they didn`t have a domestic terrorism unit in the National Security Division, now they do.

Putting another box on an organizational chart is helpful in certain ways. It tells the organization what leadership thinks is important, sends a signal to Congress and to the public. But there has to be more than just the box on an organizational chart. I`m glad they did it. But there`s a lot more work to do. Domestic terrorism is a metastasizing threat, and merely creating a new unit, while helpful is not enough.

RUHLE: Isn`t this the first step to doing that? I think back to what they did after 9/11.

ROSENBERG: Yes, I think it`s the first step. But I think there are other and more important steps, Stephanie. Let me give you an example. You all know that there are crimes of international terrorism, providing material support to al Qaeda or to ISIS is a federal crime. There is no federal crime of domestic terrorism. There`s a federal definition of domestic terrorism in the Criminal Code. But there is no crime of domestic terrorism.

The Department of Justice can`t create one, Congress has to. And I think there`s lots of good reasons for Congress to do that, however, and people will know this better than me. I don`t think Congress can agree that today is Tuesday.

And so waiting on Congress to fill this moral equivalency gap in federal law, I think is well, I think we`re going to be waiting quite a long time. That`s what needs to happen. FBI has the tools. The Department of Justice has the tools. They have the experience. They have the agents, they have the prosecutors, but they could use a federal domestic terrorism law from Congress. That`s what we need.

RUHLE: Phil, if you look closely, today`s his speech could be considered something like a campaign rally. This is the second speech in a row. Biden has taken a direct swing at Trump or as he likes to call him, the defeated former president. That`s a new stroke for him.

RUCKER: It is. We heard for all of the first year of Biden`s presidency or reluctance to even reference Donald Trump, let alone utter his name, or speak of him in any of his remarks. He would occasionally refer to the former guy. But now we hear the defeated former president.

You heard in that speech last week that President Biden gave that he invoked Trump although not by name, but invoked him nonetheless 16 times. He came out swinging against Trump and he did so again today in Atlanta. This is a new rhetorical shift.

My colleagues at The Washington Post`s Tyler pager and Annie Linskey have been reporting on this the last few days, and have determined that there`s a new strategy in the White House, which is not to attack Trump daily like this, but to attack him at big high profile moments when he thinks there`s going to be considerable media attention, such as the speech today in Atlanta, and when he might be able to deliver a message beyond those who are following politics hour by hour.

RUHLE: Alexi, how about Chuck Schumer`s message? He`s pushing to hold votes on the floor of the Senate very soon. When I looked at the numbers, I don`t get it. What does he know that we don`t last? I`ve heard Sinema and Manchin they haven`t moved?

MCCAMMOND: Yes, I mean, look, Steph, as you know, holding a vote like that is going to put folks like Manchin and Sinema on the record and show voters across the country and their state and otherwise, where they stand on this issue, and show people where the remaining continued disagreements are within the Democratic Party.

So, I don`t think that Schumer thinks that this thing is going to be passed into law anytime soon. I don`t think that Manchin and Sinema are necessarily going to be convinced by one speech by President Biden and Vice President Harris.

But it`s not to say that the debate will end after this vote happens. I think there`s going to be a lot of conversations and negotiations going forward.

RUHLE: But we know where they stand. Joe Manchin has said it over and over and over, there`s no surprise there.

MCCAMMOND: Well, you know, I think they`re going to show Americans where they stand. I mean, you know, baby Joe Manchin will try to use this as a moment to get more leverage with Build Back Better, as you know, that has been passed, in part because Senator Joe Manchin is holding that up as well. So, their conversations to be had and the senators say they want to get something done.

RUHLE: All right, Chuck, let`s go back to the January 6 committee. They say they`re working on getting Rudy Giuliani to testify, and I want to share what Republican committee member Adam Kinzinger said earlier tonight.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Obviously Rudy was in a lot of those conversations.


We see an after the fact reporting he was, you know, actively pressing the president on these conspiracies and convincing him and, you know, worming his way in to these meetings. So he`ll have some information, I fully expect he probably won`t be super cooperative. But again, Congress has ways to compel that and we have ways to ensure that he`s telling the truth under oath.


RUHLE: What are the ways to compel? Because let`s be honest, the likelihood Rudy Giuliani is going to participate while he loves the attention and he loves to talk. He`s not going to play ball.

ROSENBERG: No, he`s not going to play ball, Stephanie. And I think there`s a bigger problem with all due respect to the Congressman that he missed. You recall that the FBI executed search warrants at Mr. Giuliani`s home and office. He`s under criminal investigation, as far as we knew. He`s either likely a subject or a target of a federal criminal investigation, that gives him a Fifth Amendment privilege. Look, I`d love to hear from the guy.

RUHLE: Explain that.

ROSENBERG: Sure. We have reason to believe that Giuliani is under criminal investigation. We know the FBI executed search warrants at his home and office more than a year ago. That case has never been resolved. And it`s been very quiet.

But I imagine that because he`s under investigation, he can assert validly a Fifth Amendment privilege to refuse to answer any question, if an answer to the question tends to incriminate him.

So, your point about him not being cooperative is spot on. I`m not sure this guy would know the truth of it hit him in the back of their head.

But putting all that aside, and putting aside to that, I would love to hear from him because he must have tons of relevant information. He also can invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege not to testify. That`s a problem for Congress.

Prosecutors can overcome that, by immunizing and compelling someone to testify. Congress, in theory could try that route. But it might undermine any ongoing prosecution that the Department of Justice is conducting. This is a more difficult issue than the Congressman imagines.

RUHLE: Of course, the White House has other issues they`re dealing with. Phil, at this point, is the White House strategy around COVID and Omicron, to let this wave crest recede, and then get back to normal because as the days pass, you hear from more and more business leaders that are saying, yes, this thing`s going to move, and we`re all getting back to work or you`re not getting paid. That`s the most aggressive we`ve seen from the business community.

RUCKER: It certainly is Steph, and it`s a different approach than we saw in previous waves of the Coronavirus last year and then the year prior. The attitude in the White House is let`s get back to normal as quickly as we can. Obviously, they`re dealing with the hospitalizations around the country with the testing issues, with making sure that as many people are getting vaccinated as possible, but there`s also a focus on trying to get this economy more opened up getting life back to normal, getting people back in offices whenever it`s safe and appropriate to do so.

And also a determination from this White House not to impose any sort of lockdowns or extreme restrictions of the kind that we saw in those early months of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.

RUHLE: There`s a lot of determination when it comes to a political agenda for the President to get his whole party under 110. Alexi, before we go progressives, what is their plan to get in line, GOP style, hold your nose and get behind Trump? Or are they going to stand firm to what they believe and what they want? Whether it`s with voting rights or Build Back Better? Biden, excuse me.

MCCAMMOND: Sorry, you`re asking about progressive, they`re going to continue doing what they`ve been doing, which is employing the leverage that they have as a unified caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has been moving as a solid block throughout this entire Congress and congressional session.

And so I don`t see that going away anytime soon, especially when Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, you know, has become a leader within that movement internally. And I think that`s especially true with voting rights, especially because they have the backing of all these folks on the outside the voting rights leaders, the civil rights leaders, the activist members of the King family, so there`s no reason for them to capitulate to anyone at this point.

RUHLE: Because at some point, Joe Manchin and progressives have got to get on some sort of similar page to get something done those activist groups, while massively important don`t have a vote Manchin and Sinema do.

MCCAMMOND: Yes, but I guess the argument they would make is it`s to folks versus you know, thousands and thousands and thousands across the country who are asking for these voting rights to be passed into law or asking for measures within the Build Back Better Act to be passed into law and help them, that only live life but participate in elections this cycle and next.

RUHLE: And if you want those thousands and thousands of votes for years to come, you better deliver.


Phil, Alexi, Chuck, always good to have you. We`re going to leave it there. Coming up, we`ve got a lot more to cover. Why would anyone be against protecting voting rights or saving lives from COVID? Turns out the answer might be the same for both. I`ll get into what our political experts and one of our top doctors have to say. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on this Tuesday night.



SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Let me say this plainly and simply and straightforward. There is no widespread effort to suppress minority voting rights in America. It`s nonexistent, it doesn`t exist. This has nothing to do with this. This has to do with power.


RUHLE: Well, that is not plain simple or straightforward. So let`s get practical. Here`s a reminder, this is what is in the legislation Democrats are trying to pass. The Freedom to Vote Act would expand voter registration and Election Day access, provide universal mail-in voting, make Election Day a national holiday and ban partisan redistricting. The John Lewis Voting Rights Act would reinstall federal oversight for cities and states with histories of voter discrimination.

With us tonight to discuss, Juanita Tolliver, veteran political strategist to progressive candidates and causes. And Mark McKinnon, former adviser to both George W. Bush and John McCain. He`s also among the co-hosts of the circus on Showtime.

Mark, we just went through this thing. Now Republicans have branded themselves as the party of patriots. How does that square with any patriot who wouldn`t want to make Election Day a holiday?


MARK MCKINNON, FMR. ADVISOR TO JOHN MCCAIN AND GEORGE W. BUSH: Great question, Stephanie. I mean, this really boils down to -- I mean, I respond first of Marco Rubio by saying the root of this is the 2020 election and President Trump claiming that there was widespread election fraud in the system. And the fact is, there is none. There is no widespread systemic fraud, that then the greatest fraud perpetuate in American politics today is the notion that there was.

But all these discussions that we`re having about the voting rights bills, and federal holidays, and mail-in voting, all stem from the 2020 election and the lie that President Trump, so then, and we`ve had millions of dollars of lawsuits, we have the Texas Attorney General, we`ve had others, we`ve had the Arizona audit. All of them have shown nothing.

In fact, the only thing of some of them shown is that in like a handful of cases, there was some voter fraud for President Trump. So it doesn`t exist. But that`s the root of all this legislation. All the things we`re arguing about is that Republicans have been convinced three quarters of Republicans today in the Republican Party still believe that the 2020 election was stolen. So they think that any of these efforts by Democrats are simply designed to make the fraud even greater when in fact we know that`s not the case.

RUHLE: Those Republicans still believe it, or they`re trying to still sell it to people who know better and warp other truths.

Juanita, perfect example, the branding around kill the filibuster, it`s quickly getting misunderstood and misrepresented, just like defund the police, where we don`t necessarily need to get rid of either, but both need reform and improvements. Is that what Democrats need to lead with? Because Republicans are going to make this a talking point and run with it, just like they did defund the police?

JUANITA TOLLIVER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, Republicans are going to lie just like they have every other election cycle. I think Democrats need to focus on getting these bills passed, right, forget the messaging, get to action. And I think that`s what breaks through seeing President Biden deliver as rousing speech as he delivered, it still did not dig into the actions and how he`s going to put the weight of his office to tip the scales to make sure that this gets through a Democratic Senate. Right, like that`s what it comes down to in the action.

And so, and I also appreciate Mark emphasizing that Republicans like Marco Rubio, Republicans throughout their entire conference, perpetuated these lies that Trump started, they were the ones who refused to even say that Biden was the president elect after the election was called for months.

And so they planted that seed, state legislatures controlled by Republicans picked up that mantle and ran with it, they are all committed to making sure that they obstruct elections and obstruct voters will going forward. And that`s why these bills are so critical.

And so the next thing Democrats needs to do is focus exclusively on getting this done, because if they don`t, the next election in 10 months might be the last one that we recognize, Stephanie.

RUHLE: But of course, a president isn`t a lawmaker. He`s a signer and an influencer. I want to play more of what the president had to say today.


BIDEN: History has never been kind to those who have sided with voter suppression over voter`s rights. And it`d be less kind for those who side with elections aversion. So I asked every elected official in America. How do you want to be remembered? Do you want to be the side the side of Dr. King? Or George Wallace? Do you want to be the side of John Lewis? Or Bull Connor? Do you want me to side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis? This is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy.


RUHLE: Mark, how much more can he do? He gave the big speech, but he can`t make laws. He can use the bully pulpit and twist arms. Did he move Manchin at all?

MCKINNON: Well, he certainly didn`t move any Republicans with that speech, Stephanie. I mean, he`s basically saying you`re with us or you`re racist and Mitt Romney expressed that thought.

But I don`t think that was really his intent. I think that the Biden realistically recognizes they`re not going to get any Republican votes on any form of this -- any form of these bills, but the key is going to be Manchin.

And, you know, I mean, we could talk about this thinks of Manchin all program long, but he -- Biden`s going to have to pick that lock on this one and my guess is that at the end of the day, what it may boil down to is certification and that`s where filibuster may come into play for Manchin it if they can really just nail it down to certification issue rather than how we cast ballots or count ballots. That`s going to be the crux I suspect for Manchin.

RUHLE: Tweak it, don`t scrap it and you might get something done. Well, our audience is in luck. Juanita and Mark have agreed to stay with us. We`ve got more to cover.

Coming up. We`re going to discuss the impact one very influential Republican could have on swing voters heading into the midterms. We`ll have more when THE 11TH HOUR continues. You don`t want to miss this.



RUHLE: Bill Kristol of The Bulwark writes Donald Trump is an unusual wildcard heading into the midterms, quote, the great bulk of the Republican Party`s candidates will be aligned with and perhaps seen to be marching behind a former president who was not popular with swing vote voters, whose visibility could motivate lots of Democrats to get out vote and whose behavior could make it far easier for Democrats to link Republicans to unpopular causes.

Still with us, Juanita Tolliver and Mark McKinnon. Juanita, what do you think of that analysis of Bill Kristol? Does he have a point?

TOLLIVER: Look as toxic as Trump is, I wish he would have that much weight going into the midterms. But we saw otherwise in the 2021 gubernatorial races, right. Like that`s what Democrats ran on almost exclusively in Virginia. But that did not do enough to mobilize voters. It`s clear that Democrats can`t rely on that, but they have to deliver other wins in order to be able to persuade voters to come out.

Because I think Trump also recognizes that even though his toxicity levels are high, he won`t swing it. But that does go into the calculus behind his decision to not announce a 2024 run this year, or his decision to kind of hang back because he`s aware that he could potentially be a drag over Republicans. I just don`t think the drag is going to be as big as a girl could hope for.


RUHLE: Mark, Trump`s got a death grip over his base but not enough to win him an election. And Biden`s calling him out for the second time in a row. He mentioned former President Trump, watch this.


BIDEN: The violent mob of January 6, 2021, empowered and encouraged by defeated former President sought to win through violence, what he had lost at the ballot box to impose the will of the mob to overturn free and fair election. And for the first time, the first time in American history, they stop the peaceful transfer of power. They failed. They failed. But democracy --- but democracies vision -- victory was not certain. Nor as democracy`s future.


RUHLE: DFP defeated former president, that`s what Biden is calling him. Do you think it`s a good move that he started to go after Trump?

MCKINNON: I do. I think that`s A class trolling right there, Stephanie. I think that`s the kind of thing that really gets under Trump`s skin.

RUHLE: But he can`t tweet about it.

MCKINNON: Well, you know, Trump is paying attention. And I think that -- I think that Trump does feel like he`s going to have a big impact in the in the 2022 election or certainly take credit for whatever happens. And, you know, if I didn`t know Bill Kristol better, I`d say he`s smoking something and be wildly optimistic about the, so you know Bill too, the -- about the impact of Trump and then the negative downward pressure you might have in the 2022 election.

But I also think you`re right that you have to look at the 2021 election, and look at what happens when Republicans run without Trump on the radar screen like Glenn Youngkin did. And they have a huge potential upside if they can keep Trump off the radar screen.

RUHLE: If they can, then to that point, is it possible that the whole he has over the base might get Republicans too many radical candidates that when primaries, but they`re going to alienate moderates?

MCKINNON: Well, very possibly, and I think that that will be the sort of thing that people will look at after `22 elections by those fringe candidates who`ve really gone down the rabbit hole 100 percent, and are really creating a framing message problem for Republicans when the Republican Party becomes the party of Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, and not Glenn Youngkin. And that`s where you have the problem.

So, if Trump has too many of those sorts of candidates out, you know, campaigning and losing, then then some of that shine wears off of Trump.

RUHLE: Juanita, I know. It`s still early. And you mentioned it a moment ago, Democrats could unite in voting against Trump. But it is a great big party with a lot of people with a lot of priorities. Is there one top issue that can drive Democratic voters in the midterms together?

TOLLIVER: Look, I think that you have to act on all of the issues, Stephanie. I, of course appreciate the energy that voting right is getting right now considering that sort of foundational rights that should be protected and preserved. I do think still that Democrats need to move forward on Build Back Better, move forward on accountability for January 6, because these are things that voters want to see develop, want to see get across the finish line.

Because if voters go into these midterms, with a question mark, in their mind about how their lives were improved, or impacted by this President, compared to the defeated former guy, right, that is not a place Democrats needs to be, that`s not going to be helpful for them in these midterms at all.

RUHLE: Then won`t that mean, though, some sort of compromise within the Democratic Party to get something done, right.


RUHLE: As important as Build Back Better is and it`s hugely important. It says the we dismiss the hard infrastructure package, which was a huge win. Donald Trump spent four years talking about infrastructure week, a former real estate guy and got nothing done. Biden got a huge hard infrastructure package done, and we dismiss it like it`s nothing.

TOLLIVER: I don`t think that it`s being dismissed, Stephanie. I think it`s about a question of who is being held more by each of these components of his agenda, because we know women stand to gain, family stand to gain, children`s stand to gain from Build Back Better, where of course communities gained from and jobs in the economy gain from the bipartisan infrastructure deal. People want more of the tangible that impacts their daily lives, circumstances. And that`s what they`re taking into the voting box with them.

RUHLE: You know, who`s going to gain in the heart infrastructure bill, a whole lot of commercial real estate Titans that are going to get huge contracts, those same Titans that have wind that Biden got to progressive, they`re going to get a whole lot richer when those deals come through.


Mark, Juanita, thank you both for joining us this evening. It certainly made us smarter. And a reminder, Bill Kristol keeps it straight. Coming up. We`re going to ask Dr. Irwin Redlener is a possible fourth shot is needed to fight Omicron as we could be nearing a peak of new cases when the 11th Hour continues.



DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: There`s no doubt that there is an extraordinary divergence of risk between a vaccinated and unvaccinated person. If you look at vaccinated versus unvaccinated, there`s a 17 times greater chance of being hospitalized and a 20 times greater chance of dying if you are unvaccinated versus vaccinated.


RUHLE: A 20 times greater chance of dying. Meanwhile, the U.S. recorded the highest daily rate of new COVID infections in the world. COVID hospitalizations also up 83 percent over the last two weeks. But scientists are also seeing good signs, signs that the Omicron wave may have peaked in the UK and at the same time it may be about to happen here.

With us tonight to discuss, Dr. Irwin Redlener, Founding Director of Columbia`s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, also a professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. OK, let`s start with the good news is Omicron peak and if so, what`s next?

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, EXPERT ON PANDEMIC INFLUENZA: Yes, well, I hope so. Stephanie, although, you know, so many times the modelers and predictors of where this is going have not actually been all that accurate. Yet, we are looking at the U.K. There are good signs that it may be going away. And I guess if we`re worrywarts here, we`re thinking about is there some other variant that`s going to follow Omicron that could have entirely different behaviors, but for right now, let`s assume we`re going to have good luck and Omicron will go away.


RUHLE: If there is a fourth shot specifically for Omicron, but the waves over, is it worth taking it?

REDLENER: Well, it`s -- let me break this down a little bit because this is a really important question, it starts with when we first noticed that we had Omicron appearing out of South Africa, we realized very quickly that the two shots that most of us consider to be full vaccination would not work effectively against Omicron.

So we moved to a third shot, a booster shot philosophy, and that proved to be pretty effective against Omicron. But still not good enough. And now we have Omicron really raging out of out of control. And besides the hospitalization increases in cases that you mentioned, Stephanie, is also been now a -- an increasing trend for more fatalities.

So there`s two other strategies, let`s say vaccines strategies, one is, and all the manufacturers are working on this, that they`ll come up with a vaccine that`s specific to deal with Omicron. The problem is that by the time they get that tested and approved and developed and manufactured, we may be over Omicron.

So what I`m looking forward to is what the Army Walter Reed Research lab is working on, which is a vaccine that will deal with any and all COVID, with all Coronavirus is, in fact, and that will be the game changer. I think that the world`s been waiting for. We`ll have to see. That`s probably going to be many months away.

But I think that`s how it breaks down. Two shots not enough, we definitely need a third. We might need a fourth as Israel`s doing. Omicron, specific, you know, I`m not so sure because of the timeline. But the big hope will be in the one vaccine that deals with all variants that we know of.

RUHLE: it is common sense that public health should be something that brings us together, but today was another revolting example of how political it`s gotten. And I want to share another heated exchange between Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Fauci, 100 percent brought receipts, some calling it amazing, and others are saying it`s devastating. Watch this.


FAUCI: What happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue, is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there. A person was arrested, who was on the way from Sacramento, to Washington, DC, at a speed stop in Iowa. And they asked, the police asked him where he was going. And he was going to Washington DC to kill Dr. Fauci. And they found in his car, an AR-15, and multiple magazines of ammunition.

And you see, Fire Dr. Fauci with a little box that says, contribute here. You can do $5, $10, $20, $100. So you are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political game.


RUHLE: Anthony Fauci has devoted his life to science and medicine, to protect Americans working for our government, not private industry. And guys, like Rand Paul have gone after him, put him at risk and raise money off of it. How much do you think Republican leaders like Paul, have heard us in terms of getting out of this pandemic?

REDLENER: Well, unlike other senators, Rand Paul is a doctor. And his words carry it seemingly more weight, I think in the Congress, but also among the general public. General public doesn`t know that Rand Paul may not know that Rand Paul is a fool. I don`t -- he lots of say that about a senator.

RUHLE: He didn`t say about anybody.

REDLENER: He`s a fool. And we`re fringing in the medical community. I, OK. I`m going to take that to the bank. But yes, the guy is totally reckless and irresponsible.

Listen, if he was just some guy talking about Fauci, that`s one thing, but he carries weight, Stephanie. He`s endangering the public who will by his misinformation. His attacks on Fauci aren`t really a thinly disguised attack on our entire public health system. It is outrageous. And I don`t want to say about it, but my God, he should know better. He`s an ophthalmologist and what he`s knows about infectious disease or spreading, pandemics, and so on. I don`t know where he picked up whatever nine information he has.

But he`s no better than every other citizen who`s been duped by conspiracy theories on the internet, and it`s disgraceful, and to put a -- to put Dr. Fauci life on the line and to frighten his family is really unconscionable. I have other words, but we`ll talk offline about that, but it`s just a horrible thing that Fauci being attacked by the likes of Rand Paul.


RUHLE: Well I`m sorry to our audience because I cannot wait to hear what you really have to say offline. I may have to fill them in tomorrow. Thank you so much for joining us this evening. Whether or not he`s a doctor, he could be decent. He could be honest. Coming up next, the IRS kicks off its busy season with a warning about tax refunds that story when the 11th Hour continues. Prepare yourselves to be frustrated.


RUHLE: Tomorrow morning, we get an official update on inflation. The new consumer price index numbers are out and they are expected not to be good. Barron`s predicting quote, inflation in December likely rose at the fastest annualized pace in four decades. Translation, everything you buy is expensive right now.

And on another financial front, it looks like the IRS is now getting hit with COVID. You might want to get started on your taxes as soon as possible especially if you`re expecting a refund.


RUHLE (voice-over): The system schoolteacher Lauren Tracy filed her taxes online for the first time last year.

LAUREN TRACY, FILED HER TAXS ONLINE: We got all everything squared away. It wasn`t that complicated.

RUHLE: But then she realized because she had been furloughed from a previous job she was due a bigger refund.

TRACY: I filed $1,050 through my amended tax return and on paper and I`ve heard nothing about it. Everything is showing as received.

RUHLE: Nine months later Lauren is still waiting for that refund.

ERIN COLLINS, NATIONAL TAXPAYER ADVOCATE: There are over 6 million individual returns that have not been processed.

RUHLE (on camera): And that`s from last year?

COLLINS: Correct.

RUHLE (voice-over): And this year, Treasury Department officials have a warning for taxpayers prepared to be frustrated. Due to the pandemic, the IRS is entering tax season with a significant backlog and the department is facing staffing shortages.

Last year fewer than 15,000 workers had to handle 240 million calls.


The IRS his workforce is the same size as it was in 1970 with a budget nearly 20 percent less than 10 years ago, and COVID has only increased challenges in the agency, especially for paper returns.

COLLINS: IRS employees have to be in the building to process their paper returns. COVID with a social distancing, restricting the employees in the building, it limits how many employees can work at one time.

RUHLE: To avoid delays and getting your refund, experts advise file online, triple check for errors and choose direct deposit. And if you have to file a paper return --

COLLINS: The IRS will work first in first out so the sooner you can get your return in the sooner you are in the beginning of the process.

RUHLE: And if you do end up waiting for a refund, at least you`ll collect some interest.


RUHLE: And as a reminder, the Build Back Better plan has 80 billion bucks set aside specifically for the IRS. So if it does get passed, it`s got the potential to speed up those refunds. Coming up, the Hot Mic moment in the middle of many, many tense ones in the 11th Hour continues.


RUHLE: The last thing before we go tonight, as you could probably tell from is back and forth with Senator Rand Paul today. Dr. Anthony Fauci has had enough. And later in the hearing, Dr. Fauci also had a heated exchange with Republican senator Roger Marshall of Kansas about his financial disclosure.


SEN. ROGER MARSHALL (R-KS): Yes or No. Would you be willing to submit to Congress and the public a financial disclosure that includes your past and current investments? After all, your colleague, Dr. Walensky and every member of Congress submits a financial disclosure that includes their investments.

FAUCI: I don`t understand why you`re asking me that question. My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so for the last 37 years or so. 35 years.


It is totally accessible to you if you want it.

MARSHALL: For the public, is that accessible to the public?

FAUCI: To the public. To the public.

MARSHALL: Great. We look forward to reviewing it.

FAUCI: You are totally incorrect.

MARSHALL: Well, we look forward to reviewing it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Marshall, Dr. Fauci has answered you, it is public information. And he`s happy to give it to you if you were to ask. Senator Moran.

FAUCI: What a moron. Jesus Christ.


RUHLE: We`re going to end the night with Jesus Christ. That is our broadcast for this Tuesday evening. Tune in tomorrow morning to get my interview with Republican congressman in January 6 Committee member Adam Kinzinger, right here on MSNBC at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. Until then, I`m going to crawl under this desk and go to sleep. On behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good evening.