IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The 11th Hour, 1/18/22

Guests: David Plouffe, John Della Volpe


1/6 Committee subpoenas Giuliani & 3 other Trump allies. Senate debates voting rights legislation. NY AG takes action to force Trump & his two eldest kids to comply with Trump org. probe. Pollster: Gen Z can be this century`s "greatest generation." Fear of Russian invasion inside Ukraine.



ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, once again, I`m Ali Velshi. Day 364 of the Biden administration. Tonight, the House committee investigating the Capitol riot is escalating its inquiry, reaching deeper into Donald Trump`s inner circle for information about January 6. Tonight, the Committee issued subpoenas for testimony and documents to lawyers who the Committee says promoted the big lie and participated in attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of the election results.

Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Jen Ellis. The panel also sent a subpoena to former Trump campaign advisor Boris Epshteyn. The committee`s letter to Giuliani says, "between mid-November 2020 and January 6, 2021, and thereafter, you actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of former President Trump and sought to convince state legislatures to take steps to overturn the election results."

The panel says Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis also actively pushed claims of election fraud. As for Boris Epshteyn, the Committee says he reportedly spoke with Trump on the morning of January 6 about options to delay the certification of the 2020 election results. The panel says he also reportedly attended meetings at the Willard Hotel where Trump allies reportedly led a war room on efforts to overturn Joe Biden`s whim.

Now, in case you forgotten the baseless fraud allegations and conspiracy theories that Trump legal team put forward as they tried to keep Biden from the presidency. Here`s a little reminder.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER ATTORNEY TO DONALD TRUMP: There was a plan from a centralized place to execute these various acts of voter fraud, specifically focused on big cities, and specifically focused on as you would imagine, big cities controlled by Democrats. There are other aspects of this fraud, that at this point, I really can`t reveal.

They conducted themselves in a way that suggests that there was fraud. One of the things that does involve fraud is not making it possible for the people who are supposed to inspect to inspect. That`s a fraud. That`s a fraud on the voters.

SIDNEY POWELL, PRO-TRUMP LAWYER: What we are really dealing with here and uncovering more about the day is the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China in the interference with our elections here in the United States.

JENNA ELLIS, PRO-TRUMP LAWYER: If the United States caves to corruption or this type of election integrity, disaster, then no election will be secure from here on out. And we all need to be keenly aware of that. We will not back down. We won`t be intimidated. President Trump will not be intimidated.


VELSHI: Earlier tonight, the January 6 Committee Member Adam Schiff commented on the new subpoenas.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA JAN. 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: Rudy Giuliani was really at the center of things. He was one of the most aggressive promoters of that big lie about the election. He was involved in trying to get these state legislators to send alternate slates of electors or to delay sending sites of electors. They were involved in urging the President reportedly to seize voting machines. That`s the kind of thing you see in the developing world. Our inquiry is broader than just what happened on a single day. It`s all of the multiple lines of effort to overturn the election.


VELSHI: Now, today was also the day that Senate Democrats began their effort to pass voting rights protections. Debate got underway this afternoon. Voting is now expected to take place tomorrow evening, but Republican opposition as well as resistance to changing the filibuster from at least two Democrats in the Senate mean almost certain failure. Despite that Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has made it clear he will still pursue a vote and a rule change.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK MAJORITY LEADER: The eyes of the nation will be watching what happens this week in the United States Senate. If Republicans choose to continue the filibuster, their filibuster of voting rights legislation, we must consider and vote on the rule changes that are appropriate and necessary to restore the Senate and make voting legislation possible.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MINORITY LEADER: The partisan election takeover bills Democrats want to ram through this week are not in any way successors of the civil rights legislation from the mid-20th century, some of our colleagues across the aisle reconfirmed they have the courage and the principle to keep their word and to protect the institution as well. But to many of our colleagues across the aisle still want to respond to a 50/50 Senate with a rule breaking power grab.



VELSHI: Earlier this evening, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer added this.

SCHUMER: If the Republicans block cloture on the legislation before us, I will put forward a proposal to change the rules to allow for a talking filibuster on this legislation.


VELSHI: Meanwhile, several groups are pushing the senators to enact voting rights. Today, the NAACP President Derrick Johnson sent a letter to all 100 senators in which he wrote, "our democracy may be standing in it`s vital our, the bedrock of freedom in America lies in our sacred right to vote. We still have time to act, but the window of opportunity is rapidly narrowing. "

Well, with that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Tuesday night. Ashley Parker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning White House Bureau Chief with the Washington Post, Carol Leonnig is a Pulitzer Prize Winning Investigative Reporter, also with the Washington Post and co-author of -- with Philip Rucker of The New York Times bestseller I Alone Can Fix It. Daniel Goldman is the former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He also served as General Counsel for the House Intelligence Committee during Donald Trump`s first impeachment.

Welcome to all of you. Thank you for joining us. Carol, let`s start with you. How big a deal are tonight`s subpoenas?

CAROL LEONNIG, THE WASHINGTON POST INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, it gets right down to the core, the core group that was around Donald Trump in the days and actually to be honest, we have efforts to try to push the big lie and to try to block a peaceful transfer of power. It`s -- to me pretty striking, the group that has been chosen here, they`re lawyers, they gave the president legal advice. But they also were meeting and giving him advice about how to live the American public and how to kind of mangle the Constitution, which they didn`t appear to understand very well to make claims about why Vice President Pence could block the elections certification for Joe Biden, then the President-elect, these subpoenas also go to the heart of individuals who are with the President and speaking to him directly, which I think is really key alley. People who know what the President said about these efforts to mislead the public and do it in multiple stages.

VELSHI: Daniel, let`s talk about executive privilege. There have been a number of people who brought it up have said that they don`t have to give this committee evidence because of executive privilege. Rudy Giuliani`s lawyer, Robert Costello called the subpoena political theater and said Mr. Giuliani would be covered by executive privilege. Should Mr. Trump invoke it, as well as attorney client privilege. Can you please explain these two privileges and how they come into play here?

DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Certainly, Ali. And that is true. But only those privileges are at play, but only as to Donald Trump. And it`s important to remember that the letters requested information about conversations that at least some of these individuals had with members of Congress, as well, which of course, would not be subject to either privilege. Executive privilege is the concept that the President should be able to have free discussions with his senior staff and those around him without fear that it would come out later in a congressional hearing or in other matters.

And so, it pertains to conversations that Donald Trump had himself with others around him. It does not include conversations that are unofficial, perhaps with the campaign, and certainly the Supreme Court has held that does not include conversations that relate to improper misconduct or other illicit activity. Attorney client privilege relates only to a lawyer and his client in this case that would include potentially Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, who at various points represented either the campaign or Donald Trump.

The problem with attorney client privilege for these individuals is that there is an exception in for attorney client privilege under the crime fraud exception, which basically means that if you are doing something improper, illegal, fraudulent, then the attorney client privilege cannot be a shield to the disclosure of that information. The bottom, Ali, is that neither have them are good privileges would probably, would hold up in a court of law but they`re certainly at play and could hinder the January 6 Committee from getting this information without going to court.


VELSHI: Ashley, Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump have been close for years, although they did run against each other for the primary for the Republican nomination. Can you remind us of the dynamic between these two While Donald Trump was president, and why Rudy Giuliani would be so important to the committee?

ASHLEY PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST, WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: Absolutely. So, Rudy Giuliani when Donald Trump was President, you have to keep in mind Trump came into office, not knowing sort of the typical people, you would know if you had come up through a traditional path being say, a governor, House member, a senator, you didn`t know many people in Washington. And so, his core group of supporters and allies and people who trusted were people who had known from New York from the business world, and one of those people was Rudolph Giuliani. So, Giuliani often had a sort of unofficial role in the President`s orbit, sometimes his personal attorney, but a very outsized one is someone who Trump would call late at night from the residents, you know, kind of get around his various chiefs of Staff to get in touch with him, from like, the way Giuliani fought for him on television. And inside the White House, or well, before January 6, there was the sense that Rudy was making trouble, creating chaos and unnecessary headaches for the official White House team. But they couldn`t really control him or rein him in, in part, because on the whole, then President Trump, like what he was seeing in his friend.

VELSHI: Carol Leonnig, blet`s talk about what this means in terms of the narrative, of where the committee is, as it narrows in. You mentioned this, in your first response, as it narrows in in that circle around Donald Trump is this as close as it gets before you get to Donald Trump and or his children.

LEONNIG: It`s pretty darn near as close as you can get to the children and Melania. I mean, remember, Rudy was having and Steve Bannon were having more conversations with Donald Trump in some respects in this time period, that his own family members were. I covered prosecutors for a long time, so I sometimes think like them, but these are concentric circles of witnesses. And as we get closer and closer, what`s happened, we`re getting towards sort of the end, you can feel not the very end but close to the end. And the committee`s had all this time, 400 witnesses they`ve already interviewed.

You can imagine that it strategically what they`ve done is they`ve moved in through the circles they`ve talked to people who talked to Rudy Giuliani or on the receiving ends of his emails, who spoke was Sidney Powell, when she gave her slightly cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs claimed that this whale had somehow interfered in our election through machines designed by Hugo Chavez, you can imagine that these concentric circles are closing in where the committee has information about what all of these four people saw, did and said, and now they want to ask them point blank. Did you dispute this? Is this how it went down?

I also think another thing that`s really important is these individuals were pushing things that were so clearly fraudulent. And so, I would echo what Daniel said. Jenna Ellis was pushing the idea that the Constitution barred Pence from opening the envelopes. Well, Jenna Ellis doesn`t have any constitutional law experience, as we`ve learned in the last several months, and she fabricated some of her claims about her experience with constitutional law.

Sidney Powell, we`ve already discussed the Venezuela issue. Boris Epshteyn, and Rudy Giuliani were on a podcast with Bannon, forgive me, let me let me be clear Giuliani for sure was on that podcast with Bannon and pushing the idea that state lawmakers could participate in blocking the certification of this election and they were working with Donald Trump. Lots of these things had had also built into them. And that`s also critical as we, see the committee trying to seek answers from these people for why they were making the claims they were making on Donald Trump`s behalf.

VELSHI: Daniel, you have the benefit of having seen this from a few perspectives. You`re even a prosecutor and you worked on the first impeachment of Donald Trump. But in that first impeachment, we got a lot of information out of the impeachment. That wasn`t public knowledge, things that happened behind closed doors. In this case, these lawyers, Giuliani and Ellis and Sidney Powell, they all did everything. It`s almost like we all saw it all happen at the same time. What does the committee get or learn or how do they benefit from subpoenaing them and their testimony?


GOLDMAN: Well, a number of things. We would get the conversations that they had with others behind the scenes, you might get information about the fact that they knew what they were promoting was completely bogus. You might get information about Donald Trump`s mental state, was he aware that the lie that he was pushing was actually fraudulent. This all relates, I think a little bit more towards a criminal investigation where they trying to fraudulently overturn the election, then it does to January 6, per se, but certainly it relates to the lead up to January 6, but there`s an incredible amount of information that you would get, not only they just about the conversations that they had, but also pressing them, cross examining them about these claims, about whether they believe them about the influence that they had, who else was involved, the list goes on.

But it raises another issue, Ali, which is an additional privilege, so to speak, which is, at least Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, we know are currently under criminal investigation. And certainly, the big lie has to at some point fall under the broader investigation of the Department of Justice. So, they may have Fifth Amendment privileges available to them as well.

VELSHI: Ashley, let`s talk about the White House and there`s two sides of this worrying about democracy coin, one is getting to the bottom of January 6. The other one is the voting rights battle that`s in the Senate right now. What`s the White House`s thinking tonight?

PARKER: Well, the White House knows what -- anyone who is following this knows, which is as of now at least Democrats are set up to fail because they have at least few members who have said they will oppose any sort of rule change that would allow the Democrats to pass these two pieces of voting rights legislation but the White House would you saw White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying as much today publicly at the briefing sort of said, this is of critical importance. It`s fundamental to our democracy. And we think it is important to move forward on a vote and have every senator be on the record for where they stand in this moment of history. And that was something President Biden said similarly, with a sort of new aggressive tone and pasture in his voting rights speech in Atlanta the other day, the same thing that this is one of the things he ran on, is the existential crisis of our time, and they need to push forward and move forward in any way they can, and at the very least, lay down a marker of who voted on what, stood where in this critical moment.

VELSHI: Thank you to the three of you for kicking it off tonight, Ashley Parker, Carol Leonnig, and Daniel Goldman, we appreciate your time.

Coming up, the great reset, can the Biden White House get a do over before the midterms? Doesn`t really need what? We`re going to talk to our political experts.

And later, they say that youth is wasted on the young. What about their votes? We`ll talk to one pollster who speaks the language of Gen Z and can tell us how they`re channeling fear and passion to save America. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on a Tuesday night.




REP. JAMIE RASKIN, (D) MARYLAND HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON JANUARY 6: What these four subpoenas have in common is that these four individuals were all apostles of the big lie. They were spreading the big lie in public. They were spreading it in courtrooms. They were spreading it in official and unofficial ways. And remember, our committee is not a criminal investigatory committee. Our committee is an investigative committee for the American people to figure out what happened to us. And how did we get set up for a situation in which we almost lost our democracy.


VELSHI: Apostles of the big lie. For more on our breaking news on those new January 6 committees subpoenas, we want to bring in David Plouffe, former Obama Campaign Manager and Senior Adviser to the President and Michael Steele, the former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. And he`s the host of the Michael Steele podcast, gentlemen, good evening.

To you, David, there`s been a cast of intriguing characters who have been investigated and subpoenaed by the committee. Some of them are names the public had never heard of before, including Jeffrey Clark, some senior and important people, but you didn`t know what they were up to. These four who have been subpoenaed today are names everybody knew and watched in real time. What do you make of these subpoenas? What do you think it means about where the committee is?

DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, it`s getting closer and closer to the president. So, this is the clown car that was surrounding him, you know, really, prior to the election, as they set this all up, that the election may be rigged. And then from election day, all the way through to January 6. So, you know, it`s getting closer and closer to Trump. And, you know, hopefully, at the end of the day, here, we`re going to, A, learn what happened, and who was involved, B, that there`ll be consequences, including criminal where that`s appropriate. And C, we do everything possible to make sure this is a one-time event. We`re surrounded every day by evidence that coup 2.0 was well underway. Trump, but just last week, talked about how important it was to make sure there were vote counters, essentially in his corner here, regardless of how people voted, who would call the election where he see it.

So, this could not be more grave, in terms of strength to democracy. But yeah, these are people who are surrounding the Oval Office, the desk in the Oval Office, who were on conference calls with Trump, you know, all day long. So, they were witness to the insurrection and how it was organized.

VELSHI: You know, Michael Steele, David calls it the clown car that was driving this thing. But, you know, we -- when we watched it, when you watched the press conferences, the stuff that Sidney Powell would come up with or Jenna Ellis or Rudy Giuliani at the Four Seasons landscaping company in Philadelphia, it -- a lot of people didn`t take it seriously. They did think a clown car. What`s the danger here? We`re now seeing the intersection of what we were watching in public with what was going on at the Willard, the War Room at the Willard and what was going on in the Department of Justice and realizing how much, how serious this could have been?

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Yeah. I think David put it just right. They were clowning around with their law degrees. They were clowning under the color of their profession, as attorneys and using that profession and using the, you know, the importance of those degrees, particularly talking on a subject as important as, you know, elections and the process and all of that in such a way as to confuse, obfuscate and in many cases lie.


And so, the consequences are, as we`ve already seen played out for some of these characters is not just what`s in front of them right now. But what`s already come before with, you know, various actions taken against them and their legal -- in their standing in the legal community. I think for the public, what they have to understand is just what those actions have wrought, the response from professionals in the legal community from judges who heard their cases, and now from the January 6 committee, all saying the same thing. A, there was no fraud. And B, the fraud was actually what was being perpetrated by the individual standing before the court, and now standing before this Committee on Capitol Hill.

And I`m hoping the public understands and takes to heart exactly what that means that the big lie was, in fact that and that anyone out here still pushing it is lying to you and needs to be shut down. And is, you know, to David`s point, we`ll see how seriously now the committee moves to enforce the subpoenas to bring that pressure yes, as Congressman Raskin said they don`t have the legal authority to prosecute that`s not their strength. But they do have the ability to make a compelling case that the Justice Department with Nate`s get this can only prosecute.

VELSHI: This is interesting, David Plouffe, when Congressman Raskin was speaking to Rachel, one of the points he made is that they don`t have criminal investigative -- you know, criminal authority, but they do represent the American people. And the point here is that in through these hearings, if the American people can be convinced of the wrongdoing that occurred and the things that need to be put into place to prevent it from happening again, that would be a good thing. But people aren`t really moving on this. Do you think that these subpoenas and the idea of public testimony by some will move the needle on public opinion to make people realize what Michael was just talking about?

PLOUFFE: You know, not with the diehards, but they`re not going to be moved by anything the MAGA diehards. But I do think the more there`s testimony from people who are as close to Donald Trump as you could get, I do hope some of these hearings are happening in the evening where they`ll get more original viewing. So yeah, I think over time, listen, I think where we are, is basically two-thirds of the country thinks what happened was wrong, and are worried about democracy, by the way, that should be 95%. But it`s not we can change that right now.

But obviously, it also matters what the Justice Department thinks about this, because while this committee does not have criminal jurisdiction, the findings in these committees obviously are things to DOJ can take forward. And look at all the people who are there on the 6, who`ve been found guilty, who`ve pled guilty, who were going to serve time in prison, and the people who organized this, who funded it, who had the idea in the first place, who continue to say was the right thing to do, so far have not been held accountable from a criminal standpoint. And I think that, you know, hopefully that changes, because again, this was kind of a hapless crew around him. The next one won`t be, it will be well organized, it will be better staffed, it will be more airtight. And that`s, you know, what we have to prevent. And I think the consequences of the last one have to be strong enough to help hopefully be determined for the planning on the next one.

VELSHI: Guys as always, thanks for your analysis. We always appreciate it. David Plouffe and Michael Steele are staying with us. We`ll be right back after a quick break.



VELSHI: We have some breaking news, moments ago New York Attorney General Letitia James posted on Twitter, we are taking legal action to force Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump to comply with our investigation into the Trump organization`s financial dealings.

I want to welcome back Daniel Goldman, former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He also served as general counsel for the House Intelligence Committee during the first Trump impeachment.

I don`t know if you`ve had a chance, Daniel, this is brand new information to go through the reporting on this but it does seem that the Attorney General of New York State is making the case that Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump provided misleading financial representations to institutions that the former president, "had ultimate authority over a wide swath of conduct by the Trump Organization involving misstatements of counterparties, including financial institutions and the Internal Revenue Service." What do you make of this if you`ve had a chance to look at it? What`s new in here and important?

GOLDMAN: Well, what`s new is some details about what her civil investigation relates to. We`ve known there`s been an ongoing civil investigation into the Trump Organization in the Attorney General`s Office, which is separate and parallel to the criminal investigation that the attorney general is involved with, as well as the Manhattan DA`s office who`s leading that investigation. And it was certainly around the Trump organization`s finances but now what we are learning from this filing in this press release tonight is that the allegations are that Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump were very involved in exaggerating or misstating statements of assets and finances in order to obtain loans, insurance and tax credits, and to over inflate the value of various properties.

There`s been some suspicions since Michael Cohen`s testimony in the House almost two years ago that this is the investigation, Michael Cohen said that they -- Trump organization would inflate the valuations of some of their assets in order to get larger loans but then deflate those same assets in order to pay fewer taxes. So, what we are now learning is that the New York Attorney General`s Office is indeed investigating that as part of the civil investigation and is seeking to force the former president, his Sunday Donald Jr and Ivanka Trump to sit for depositions. Those three had already filed a motion to quash the subpoenas in court. And the Attorney General is now responding to those motions in this court filing.


VELSHI: There are -- it`s a lot of reading for people who are interested in this sort of thing. There`s a lot of detail in here as to what they allege the misstatements were. They are a lot of them. But one of the more interesting things here is that we know that these allegations go back some time, and the Attorney General of New York relates to things going back to at least 2004. But what`s most interesting is that he discusses the fact that until 2017, the former president had sway over some of these decisions. And then since 2017, Ivanka Trump was the main conduit. So, the issue at hand here is how close or how far the former president was, to the more contemporary of these allegations, letting alone the stuff that we know about or we believe to know about that was -- that`s a little bit over.

GOLDMAN: Yeah, from the little that I`ve been able to read in the last couple of minutes, it does appear that the allegations that I`ve seen at least are the former president`s role in overseeing these statements and certifying these statements, ended around the time that he took over and Donald Trump Jr. largely took over while Ivanka Trump handled the relationship with Deutsche Bank. But what`s interesting is that Deutsche Bank is also one of the banks that is alleged to have potentially been defrauded. And the key conduit at Deutsche Bank is a woman named Rosemary Vrablic, I should say, who are, at least I think there`s been some public reporting that she has met with investigators to explain the -- at least her side of the story of Deutsche Bank side of the story.

So, there certainly is a lot of information that is available to the Attorney General. Some of the Trump organizations accountant at Mazars also has been in front of the investigators. The interesting thing and this is a little inside baseball, Ali, is it`s unusual to be pushing so hard on a civil investigation that has a parallel criminal investigation. You cannot use a civil investigation as a stalking horse to develop evidence that you could then use in a criminal investigation. And that`s one of the arguments that the Trump`s lawyers make for why these subpoenas and for depositions are inappropriate now, and it is a legitimate argument. So, we`ll be interesting to see how this plays out going forward.

VELSHI: The Trump legal team prior to tonight had addressed this issue in which they said the state attorney general referring to Letitia James is engaged in a criminal investigation that has an active grand jury. It cannot issue subpoenas for testimony under the guise of a civil investigation that will immediately become available to its own criminal investigations. The lawyers argued in their motion to quash the subpoenas that continued to subpoenas are an obvious improper and run around the rule. So, let`s talk about the fact that this is a civil investigation that Letitia James is talking about, what are the potential penalties for something like this versus a criminal investigation?

GOLDMAN: Well, the primary penalty is money damages. In a civil investigation, there are ways depending on the types of organizations that the organization or the entity would have to be reformed, reshaped, or there may be punishments in terms of being a director. But for some individuals, that happens more with charitable organizations, which is what happened with the Trump Foundation, you may recall, Ali, that the New York Attorney General sought to dissolve the Trump Foundation because it was essentially being used as a slush fund, not for the purpose that it was designed for. And the board of directors of that Trump Foundation, which were the children of Donald Trump were prohibited from being a board member for any charitable organization for a number of years. So, there can be penalties depending on what type of organization there is. But primarily it will be fines and damages, that by the way, it could be a lot of money and could have a significant impact on the ability of a corporation or an entity such as the Trump organization to continue offer depending on a significant -- I`m back, I might have lost you there.

VELSHI: Looks like our internet might have just run out of juice but we appreciate Daniel Goldman sticking around for us, to help us analyze this. Daniel, thank you as always.

Coming up, how the younger generation coming of age in a time of chaos and fear is shaking up the future of politics. The author of the new book, Fight, joins us next when the 11th Hour continues.




JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: One of the most powerful voices we`re hearing the country today is from our young people. They`re speaking to the inequity and injustice it has grown up in America. Economic injustice, racial injustice, environmental injustice. I hear their voices, if you listen you can hear them too. Are we the work of the next president to restore the promise of America to everyone?


VELSHI: Well, my next guest argues that those young voices that then candidate Joe Biden mentioned played a critical role in his presidential victory. In his new book veteran pollster John Della Volpe explores the misunderstood and powerful influence of Generation Z in changing America.

Now, Pew Research Center defines Gen Z or Zoomers as those between the ages of approximately 10 and 25. He writes this "Zoomers have endured more adversity than any generation of young Americans in at least 70 years, and they know it. The failure of older generations to resolve these challenges weighs heavy on them. For them, America at times has resembled a dystopia. But they won`t sit back and take it. They`ve decided to fight their own war against injustice and inequality right here at home. They can be this century`s greatest generation."

With us tonight, the aforementioned John Della Volpe, a Director of Polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. We should point out, John`s company was hired by the Biden campaign to lead youth polling. The title of his new book out today`s Fight: How Gen Z is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America. John, welcome. Thank you for being on the show tonight. Let`s answer that question. How was Gen Z panel channeling their fear and their passion to change America?


JOHN DELLA VOLPE, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL DIRECTOR OF POLLING: Thanks so much for having me, Ali. As, you mentioned earlier from the President`s remarks I don`t think there`s been any generation in at least 75 years, who has endured more trauma, more quickly than this generation, generation Z. In fact, most things that we think we know are actually, first wrong. Millions lost their homes to the Great Recession. They go to school, their school age, and their schools are unsafe, the safest place is unsafe, because a lockdown the school shootings, add on top of that the whiplash from Obama to Trump global warming, concerns about the very fundamentals of our democracy. And what this generation has said is that they have this urgency, and other generations have let them down. They`re choosing to fight, they`re choosing to empower themselves in to change the very nature of what it means to be American, and to fight for this democracy. They`re angry, and they`re more determined than any generation, I think, in America today.

VELSHI: So that`s a hopeful message, John, the -- but in there, you talk about their anger and their fear, given fear and anger, what`s to stop Gen Z from falling for fear mongering politicians who are looking to exploit that anxiety? That`s kind of exactly what Donald Trump did to a different population. So why would this generational, this demographic group be less susceptible to falling for conspiracies and nonsense than older generations?

DELLA VOLPE: Well, clearly, there is a segment that does fall frankly, for that, you know, it is not -- it`s not a monolith. But what this generation does is people have said for many, many years, they`ve done this incredible, like, B.S. detector, right? They can sense injustice. And unlike any group of people I`ve seen, they stand up and they use their voice, whether it`s in a small focus group or town meeting, I see whether it`s in the school cafeteria, or when it`s related to our elections.

Ali, in 2018 and 2020 we saw record turnout among this generation, when baby boomers have the chance, when millennials have the chance, when Gen Xers have the chance, they voted roughly half the rate in midterm elections as Gen Z, and they broke all records in 2020, even when Obama was on the ballot. When you think about this generation Gen Z with millennials who share the same values, they will only vote baby boomers and 2024. And their differences and values and opinions are essentially night and day when it comes to politics.

VELSHI: John, in the last few years, we`ve seen a number of people motivated to get involved into politics for an actual fear of the erosion of democracy. When it comes to Gen Z, are they worried about big things like democracy? Are they worried about big things that are affecting their lives like climate, like gun violence, like social justice? In other words, does it all add up to democracy? Or is it a different set of concerns?

DELLA VOLPE: It absolutely does. There is a significant concern about our skin of our democracy, concern about the potential of a civil war, like your guest earlier talked about, that was a key finding from the last IOP survey that we released in December, Ali, but there are essentially five factors I think that have that have led to the formation of this generation of values, the first of which is the Occupy movement. It wasn`t led by a Gen Z, but it clearly has had a significant impact in how they think about economy capitalism. You know, the very wealthy versus those who are working two, three jobs just to try to keep a roof over the head, number one.

Number two, we have Trump in the chaos that was created when Steve Bannon was on the National Security Council, borders were close et cetera, number two. Number three, after that, we have the Parkland movement. We have Greta Thunberg, who created the climate strike in the shadow and inspired by the Parkland kids. And fifth, we`ve got 17-year-old Darnella Frazer who without her and her iPhone, on Memorial Day in 2020, we might not have ever known who George Floyd was in that rise to fight systemic racism. So, they see systemic issues with related economy, gun violence, the climate or racism, and no generation has solved this problem. So, it`s Gen Z`s fight to do that and empowering themselves.

VELSHI: They`re also the most internet generation so I think you and I are going to have to book a little more time to talk about what they encounter on the internet and how we deal with disinformation and misinformation but an important book, John, thanks for being with us tonight. John Della Volpe is the author of Fight: How Gen Z is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America.

Coming up, new reporting from inside Ukraine as the White House warns of a possible Russian invasion in the near future, when the 11th Hour continues.




JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So, let`s be clear, our view is this is an extremely dangerous situation. We`re now at a stage where Russia could at any point want an attack in Ukraine.


VELSHI: White House with a stark warning over the situation in eastern Europe, 1000s of Russian troops remain assembled near the Ukrainian border and efforts teases attention had been unsuccessful. NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel has a report from Ukraine tonight.


RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While Russia denies it wants war, it does want the world to know it has its sights set on Ukraine. New videos show Russian troops preparing for battle near the Ukrainian border. As fresh columns of Russian tanks arrive in neighboring Belarus, which has said it will follow Russia`s lead whatever happens.

Russia has positioned about 100,000 troops that could invade Ukraine from the north, east and south. A bipartisan delegation of American senators visited Kyiv yesterday with a message for Vladimir Putin who insists it`s Russia that`s threatened by decades of NATO expansion.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D) MINNESOTA: Our message is there will be consequences if he chooses to violate the sanctity of this democracy.

ENGEL: Diplomacy is in high gear before Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Kyiv tomorrow. The head of NATO warning war is a real possibility.

JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: The risk of a conflict is real. NATO allies call on Russia to de-escalate. Any further aggression will come with a high cost for Moscow.

ENGEL (on camera): Secretary of State Blinken is due to meet Ukraine`s President tomorrow and Russia`s Foreign Minister on Friday. Russia denies reports that it has already begun to thin out its embassy here, which could be an ominous sign or just more messaging from President Putin. Richard Engel, NBC News Kyiv.



VELSHI: Coming up, why NASA is paying very close attention to an object that is twice the size of the Empire State Building and is moving at 1000s of miles an hour, when the 11th Hour continues.


VELSHI: The last thing before we go tonight, an asteroid estimated at 3451 feet wide, which is twice the size of the Empire State Building passed by the Earth earlier today at more than 43,000 miles per hour.

Now, not close it was five times as far away as the moon, but it will be two centuries before this asteroid is projected to come that close again. Now this particular asteroid was discovered in 1994. It is one of 1000s that are tracked by those in charge of planetary defense. NASA is actually working on a plan to defend Earth from dangerous asteroids in the future. This fall, NASA will deliberately crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to test their ability to redirect the asteroids path. NBC`s Gadi Schwartz discussed the plan to deal with potentially threatening asteroids with the astrophysicist Dr. Jonathan McDowell.


GADI SCHWARTZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It does seem like we will actually have a defense mechanism on the horizon, right?

DR. JONATHAN MCDOWELL, ASTROPHYSICIST: The ability to defend ourselves against asteroids is going to take a long time to develop. So, we should start now. Unlike the dinosaurs, who there was nothing they could do, right? We actually had have the capability to do something about this.


VELSHI: And that is our broadcast for this Tuesday night with our thanks for being with us. On behalf of all of my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.