Ahead of the one year anniversary of the riot on Capitol Hill, the members investigating the attack say they are making significant progress. Majority Leader Schumer told his colleagues he will bring voting rights legislation to the floor for a vote before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. And the Covid-19 surge is straining the healthcare system.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The music of Malawi gets tonight`s "LAST WORD." THE 11TH HOUR starts now.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening once again, I`m Ali Velshi. Day 349 of the Biden administration. Former President Donald Trump and his family are now facing new and escalating legal battles just days before in the nation marks one full year since his supporters carried out an attack on the U.S. Capitol.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James has subpoenaed Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. demanding testimony and documents in a civil investigation into the Trump organization`s business practices. Attorney General James has also asked a court to enforce a subpoena for their father.
Earlier today, lawyers for Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. filed a motion to quash the subpoenas that we should know that Trump and his children have not been accused of any wrongdoing in this investigation, and Donald Trump has called the investigation politically motivated.
This all comes as the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection appears to be zeroing in on the communications with Trump while the mob desecrated the Capitol complex.
Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, who`s one of the two Republican members on that committee says that they have quote, firsthand testimony now that he was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office watching the attack on television. We have firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka, went in at least twice, to ask him to please stop this violence, end quote.
Earlier tonight another committee member shared more details about its focus.
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REP. PETE AGUILAR, (D) VICE CHAIR, HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS: We`re making significant progress in our investigation. And we continue to gather information via text messages and via interviews from individuals. And one of those key areas that we`ve discussed all along there are these 197 minutes that President Trump was in the White House when he could have been doing something that to help stop this attack.
Those are some of the questions that we have for additional individuals as well. And this is folks in government and out of government who could have done things that could have helped that day and chose not to.
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VELSHI: Meanwhile, the committee`s Chairman Bennie Thompson says they`re weighing subpoenas for Republican members of Congress to force their cooperation. Thompson says the key issue under examination is whether this panel, this committee can lawfully issue subpoenas to sitting members of Congress.
As we mentioned Thursday will be exactly one year since the insurrection. The Washington Post reports, we`ll learn more about the effort to investigate and prosecute those responsible from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday.
Tonight, the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is linking the upcoming anniversary of the January 6 attack to what he and other Democrats see as increasing threats to the right to vote from bills enacted by various Republican state legislatures.
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SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) MAJORITY LEADER: What happened on January 6 is a direct continued -- continuation of or the big lie. The idea that January 6 is totally a one off is wrong. It`s now being perpetrated by this attempt to take away voting rights.
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VELSHI: That today Schumer sent a letter to Senator saying that he`s going to seek bipartisan support for voting rights legislation, but he added that the chamber would vote no later than the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, January 17th this year, to change Senate rules if Republicans continue to block the Voting Rights bill.
Now as that all unfolds, the nation heads into the New Year grappling with the relentless spread of COVID with the daily average of new cases north of 400,000. Earlier today, a former CDC director predicted the situation may not lead up anytime soon.
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DR. RICHARD BESSER, FMR. CDC ACTING DIRECTOR: These next six weeks are going to be really rough in terms of numbers of cases.
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VELSHI: The FDA today added yet another layer of protection against the virus by authorizing a Pfizer booster shot for children 12 to 15 years old. Now while the current situation as such schools returning to remote learning, New York City public schools are open for in-class instruction.
Today, the nation`s largest school system welcome students back after the holiday break with enhanced testing protocols.
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MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D) NEW YORK: We are going to double down on testing to get as many people are tested as possible. The safest place for our children we know is in a school building. Children that are not in school, they`re not staying in their rooms. They`re out in the street not wearing a mask, summer night getting the food they deserve. So this is the most important thing we can do. Let`s keep our schools open and allow children to receive the support that they deserve.
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VELSHI: The outbreak has affected Biden`s cabinet the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has tested positive he`s isolating. Austin says he last met with the President on December 21 and tested negative on that day.
With that let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Monday night. Philip Rucker, Pulitzer Prize winning senior Washington correspondent for The Washington Post, co-author with Carol Leonnig of the New York Times bestseller, "I alone Can Fix It." Courtney Subramanian, White House correspondent for USA Today. And Professor Melissa Murray of NYU Law School. She was a law clerk for Sonia Sotomayor on the federal bench before her nomination to the Supreme Court. Good evening to all three of you. Thank you for joining us.
Melissa, let`s start with you. The attorney general of New York is now trying to get testimony and documentation from Donald Trump and his two children. What stands out to you there was back and forth between them all today. Are we likely to see members of Donald Trump`s family possibly Donald Trump himself forced to cooperate with the Attorney General of New York State?
MELISSA MURRAY, NYU LAW PROFESSOR: I don`t think we`ll see cooperation in the near term. I think what stands out here is that Attorney General James is not only pursuing this civil question of fraud charges under New York Civil Law, but she`s also participating with the Manhattan D.A. in a criminal investigation. And of course, the Trump lawyers have argued that wearing two hats in a situation like this has somehow complicated her position.
And of course, anything that is revealed in a subpoena in a civil case can necessarily then be used and shared for a criminal investigation. And that, of course, is the worry and again, if they refuse to testify in this civil situation, then their refusal if it later goes to trial, and there`s a jury award can be used against them.
So the Trump admins -- the Trump family is in a hard spot but so is Letitia James with these two hats that civil investigation and this criminal investigation that are being pursued in parallel.
VELSHI: Philip Rucker, Axios is reporting that on January 6th, the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol, Steve Bannon is going to be hosting a special edition of his podcast called The WarRoom. He`s going to have to have Trump`s most zealous supporters, their Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has just been banned from social media. What do you expect to happen on January sixth from Trump in his orbit?
PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You know, Ali, I expect that January 6 will be the most extensive effort by Trump and his acolytes to whitewash history to reimagine for millions of Trump supporters. What exactly happened on January 6, to apply the label patriots to the people who history will regard as insurrectionists, the people who were rioting violently at the Capitol.
I think we`re going to hear from the former president himself, Donald Trump, who`s preparing to hold a news conference on January sits down at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida. But there`s going to be sort of a surround sound campaign, including the ban and podcasts as you just pointed out, including people who will be appearing all day long I imagine on Fox News Channel, on OANN and Newsmax and other pro Trump right-wing media outlets to try to reframe how the American people view what happened on January 6, in a way that is more favorable to Trump and to his supporters.
And keep in mind Ali, that public polling, public opinion surveys continue to show that a majority of Republican voters in America consider the election of 2020 to have been rigged and stolen. And Joe Biden, President Biden to be the illegitimate president, I think we`re going to hear those arguments. Even though they`re not true, even though there`s no evidence to support them, I think we`ll hear those arguments from Trump and his supporters on the 6th.
VELSHI: So Courtney, this is interesting, because as Philip talks about this reframing, members of the committee and others are actually talking about framing this yet more seriously. You heard the reference to the 197 minutes that Donald Trump was in the White House and Liz Cheney has talked about whether he might be responsible through action or inaction. Let`s listen to what Claire McCaskill, the former senator had to say earlier today about the committee.
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FMR. SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D) MISSOURI: It is frightening when you really read the Constitution and realize that their plan could have worked if the Republicans had been in control of the House of Representatives. I think it would have worked had the Republicans been in charge of the house representatives.
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VELSHI: And Courtney, the January 6 Committee has said it`s going to get more aggressive, it`s going to -- you`re going to be seeing public hearings. What do you think? What do you think happens now?
COURTNEY SUBRAMANIAN, USA TODAY WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, as you mentioned this, a lot of what`s taken place so far has been behind closed doors, and they`re expected to move into a more public phase with hearings, to review their findings, issue more subpoenas and really try to pin down the actions of former President Donald Trump that day, reveal more details about preparations and financing for that attack, and really the White House campaign to overturn the 2020 election.
And I think it`s important to know, as Philip did earlier that this comes this more public phase comes as Trump`s supporters, Trump and his supporters continue to try and minimize what happened on January 6. So as much as this Committee investigation is about accountability, it`s also a messaging battle, especially as we know, Trump is going to, you know, attack the credibility of the committee and its, and its findings.
So this is a messaging battle to debunk the, you know, Trump`s false claims about the election. And the idea that the narrative around January 6 is ongoing. And it`s a battle to take control of that narrative, especially if Republicans should take control of the House in November and potentially disband the investigation.
VELSHI: Melissa, you had heard on December 13th, Liz Cheney used a very specific series of legal terms. You and I had talked about this before the New Year, talking about whether Trump through action or inaction, deliberately, I`m not being a lawyer. I don`t remember the exact terms but deliberately obstructed and official proceeding of Congress.
We now hear about this 197 minutes the idea that Ivanka Trump went in and asked him to intervene. This whole idea that Donald Trump knew what was going on, and could have had an opportunity to do something about it. What does that amount to? Is that culpability and responsibility, something significant?
MURRAY: Well, it really all depend, Ali. You -- an omission or failure to act is not a crime unless you actually have some affirmative duty to act under those circumstances. And of course, that`s the question whether the President of the United States as the commander in chief had some affirmative obligation to do something in those 187 minutes.
My understanding is that when Representative Cheney was talking about and now she`s talking about it in terms of dereliction of duty, it could be prospective, the idea of beefing up federal laws to include something like dereliction of duty as a crime going forward. But again, it may also be retrospective, trying to think about whether this president at that moment had an affirmative obligation to act and fail to do so.
VELSHI: Phil Rucker, let`s talk a little about this, what Courtney was talking about, the idea that many people have references and will increasingly be referencing, and that is that if the House of Representatives switches to Republican control in in November, Republicans have shown very, very little interest with very few exceptions, in holding anyone to account to what happened -- for what happened on January 6, that could entirely go away.
We could end up in a situation where no one is held to account except for a few people who`ve been convicted of trespassing and various other things having to do with the actual insurrection.
RUCKER: That`s right. You know, there are criminals who will be held accountable for their actions by the Justice Department, of course. But in terms of the investigation in Congress, it is widely assumed by both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, that if and when Republicans reclaim that majority, in January of 2023, presumptive House Speaker Kevin McCarthy would almost immediately disband the January 6 commission or at the very least, defang it make it so that the inquiry slows down, dries up stops, and there`s no more effort to try to hold Trump or people around him or, for that matter, fellow Republican members of Congress accountable for their actions in the run up to and including the day of January 6.
VELSHI: Courtney, let`s talk a little about the other matter of for a lot of Americans and that is these exploding COVID numbers and we`re going to talk a little bit more with Dr. Nahid Bhadelia about the significance of greater hospitalizations despite the fact that we have so many people getting COVID right now. What`s the White House thinking about right now about How to Deal with COVID?
SUBRAMANIAN: Yes, well, you know, Biden and Harris are actually due to meet with the COVID Response Team tomorrow and he is expected to deliver remarks and an update on the administration`s latest strategy which includes surging resources and personnel to hospitals, ramping up availability and affordability of tests which we know there was a lot of frustration with over the holiday season and trying to find tests as people were trying to gather with their families, and redoubling booster and vaccine efforts.
This of course, comes as cases are surging of I think about one out of every 100 Americans have been reported as a positive COVID case in the last week, which is, you know, the biggest surge we`ve seen in the pandemic and more than three times as many new cases in any previous wave in during the Coronavirus pandemic.
So, we should hear -- we should expect to hear from the President tomorrow. You know, updating how the administration is rolling out this new strategy and reminding Americans to use the tools we know that work which is boosters, vaccines and masking.
VELSHI: Phil Rucker, let`s talk about what we heard from Chuck Schumer today both on Joy Reid show and in his dear colleague letter in which he is holding a vote. He said no later than January 17th, Martin Luther King Day. He is trying to get a vote that that deals with this filibuster that is stopping so much legislation from going on, on the basis of being about voting rights and democracy itself. He`s hoping that two to particularly two Democratic senators come around, but he doesn`t know that they`re going to.
RUCKER: Yes, and those senators, of course, are Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona who have expressed a great deal of hesitation about changing those filibuster rules in the past. But there is hope, from Schumer and other Democratic leaders in the Senate, that they can sort of leverage this January 6, one year anniversary, the emotion around what happened at the Capitol, and the very plain threat to American democracy that continues to this day, that they can leverage all of that this month to force Manchin and Sinema to come around on the filibuster, and get behind the idea of pushing through this voting rights legislation, which of course, has been a cornerstone of the Biden agenda for a year now, but has fallen behind other issues like infrastructure and stimulus spending in terms of the Biden priorities.
There`s a feeling among Democrats and especially among activists in some of the most important battleground states like Georgia, and Texas, that something has to be done immediately on voting rights, or else the democracy could truly be threatened. And I think Schumer is trying to push that forward in the weeks ahead.
VELSHI: Any likelihood of any Republican support on an effort like this?
RUCKER: Conceivably, there could be but I`m not aware of who that Republican is right now. As you know, it`s a 50-50 divided Senate and the Republican senators, especially on an issue like this have been pretty in lockstep behind their leader Mitch McConnell. I think it`s unlikely to expect that support and Democrats are operating under the assumption that in order for this to pass, they`re going to have to do it with 50 Democratic votes, plus, of course, Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tiebreaker.
VELSHI: I appreciate your time. The three of you Phillip Rucker, Courtney Subramanian, and Melissa Murray, we appreciate that.
Coming up. One of our top doctors is here on a New York -- new warning from New York Governor Kathy Hochul amid a massive surge of new infections in that state. We`ll also discuss new reporting on some Americans getting unauthorized fourth doses of COVID vaccines.
Later, our political experts on that new deadline from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, we were just talking about as Democrats ramp up pressure for tougher voting rights laws. THE 11TH HOUR is just getting underway on a Monday night.
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GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D) NEW YORK: We`re not in a good place. I`m going to be really honest with you. This is the winter surge we predicted. There`s a lot of human interaction. And what happens when humans gather, they spread the virus and we fully anticipate on top of the surge that`s already been ongoing, that there`s going to be a another wave that`s occurring as a result of these holidays.
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VELSHI: But new cases soaring nationwide. As we mentioned, the FDA has approved Pfizer`s booster dose for children ages 12 to 15. The FDA also shortened the wait time for everyone 12 years of age and older to get a booster shot from six months to five months after the initial series.
New York Times analysis shows that hospitalizations have risen nationally 41 percent over the last two weeks, but experts point out that hospitalizations have not risen as fast as cases have. And that may be a more important barometer.
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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: When you have multi, multi, multi-fold more people getting infected, the net amount is you`re still going to get a lot of people that are going to be needing hospitalization, and that`s the reason why we`re concerned about stressing and straining the hospital system. As you get further on, and the infections become less severe it is much more relevant to focus on the hospitalizations as opposed to the total number of cases.
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VELSHI: Back with us tonight is Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious disease physician and the founding director of Boston University Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Policy and Research. Dr. Bhadelia, good to see you. We need you now more than ever to try and make sense of this because we`re in the confusing stage of COVID. Lots and lots of people are getting it. There`s a sense that it`s less severe, but the numbers are so great that the net result is that more people continue to be hospitalized. How do you square that with people who are saying this is not a big deal if I get it now?
DR. NAHID BHADELIA, INFECTIOUS DISEASE PHYSICIAN: Yes, Ali, I`m going to start by saying for the individual if you`re vaccinated and boosted the chances of you getting severe disease are very low. That`s why vaccination and boosted -- boosting has been sort of forefront of trying to get people on the other side of this pandemic.
The way that I`m thinking currently of this pandemic is two phases, the acute phase, the current surge that people, the experts and modeling are sort of suggesting maybe between six to eight weeks here in the U.S. seeing what we`ve seen in South Africa and UK about this highly transmissible variant.
And then we can talk about what comes after this, the endemicity, the what metrics are important. The reason this surge is, you know, different is that these high number of cases, at least during this surge matter for two reasons, one is what Dr. Fauci just said, which is when you have this huge number of cases in a community, the virus finds people who are unvaccinated and finds people who are vulnerable. And hence you have increased number of hospitalization.
In some states, you know, New Jersey, for example, is reaching the same peak that they had last winter, despite, you know, the numbers that we`ve seen, because there`s so much more virus, finding people who are unvaccinated who are vulnerable.
The other reason the surge, and the cases matter for this short period of time is anytime you have an infectious diseases, that`s millions of cases within a short period of time, and you have people who have to take time off work. What you`re looking at, potentially is the impact on just our society continuing, right? You`re seeing shortages of workers in health care and schools, you might see that in, you know, essential services, water, food production, transportation, and we`re not even at the peak. We`re predicting millions of cases a day, or a million rather, I should say is the highest has been predicted.
And so in that scenario, having everybody gets sick might also have other societal elements, which is why we don`t want to shut down, we don`t want lockdowns, and we don`t want to be, you know, let it rip. What we want is for us, all of us, including those of us who are vaccinated to continue to have a modicum of precaution, including wearing those masks and using those tests.
VELSHI: Now, one of the conversations that I`ve heard people having is that is this the way we get to herd immunity. We had people who were resistant to get vaccines, who were now getting them were people who are getting boosted. And then we`re getting a whole lot of people who are actually getting the virus.
Now, what do we know about the antibodies that you get either from the vaccination or from getting Omicron for instance? How long are we protected for? And does that actually contribute to us? Becoming heard of you?
BHADELIA: Yes, I think this is sort of the tough lesson. This is, you know, this trial by fire almost that we`re going through. The hope is that, you know, unfortunately, this big wave of cases that we`re seeing is going to do one of two things. One is, after the initial crisis, that there`s a period after the surge that we`re talking about that what you might see is, as you said, you`re sort of increasing the baseline level of immunity in the population.
Now, we don`t know how long antibodies would last, right, against COVID. We`re still learning about this after you sort of - after you`ve had the boosters, after you`ve had your initial infection will be of another variant. But we do know that every time you have increased the baseline population immunity, at least the immunity against severe disease, you increase that at the population level.
So the health care systems hopefully the next time, you know, you have a variant may not be as overwhelmed because you`ve created a lot more of the people who`ve had some sort of exposure to this virus that might keep them from getting critically ill.
However, that`s the hope, you know, and hope is not a good public health policy, as we`ve learned from this pandemic. And so what we need to do is make sure everybody is vaccinated, everybody`s boosted, and then follow to see over the long term how this virus behaves in the setting of potential new variants.
VELSHI: From a personal risk perspective, people are thinking what you know what if I get this thing it boosts my antibodies, and I`m fine. About 60 percent of the cases we have in the United States, we now believe are Omicron, which means 40 percent are still Delta, which still can cause more serious illness.
BHADELIA: Yes, and you can`t know. I mean, there`s a lot of the research labs and diagnostic labs can send out a sample, percentage of the samples that are tested at diagnostic laboratories are sent for sequencing, but not every sample is sequenced, which means that if you`re somebody who just got sick, you don`t know if you got Delta and Omicron, and that actually has clinical, you know, importance, because some of the monoclonal antibodies don`t work against Omicron the way they do against delta and vice versa, right?
So if you are unvaccinated, for example, that better, but -- and so -- and not only that, but you can`t, you know, stay well, I might get Omicron, or it won`t be severe, because you can`t guarantee you`re going to get Omicron and not Delta. And hence, I think the best strategy during the surge, we can talk about endemicity, we can talk about that metrics later. But the best part during this acute setting, as for all of us to continue to make take advantage of those tools.
VELSHI: So one side of this spectrum is people who are going out of their way to say hey, maybe I`ll get this thing and it`ll be good for me. The other side is people who are going out and getting a fourth booster shot. That`s not something that`s authorized right now. Good idea, bad idea. How do you look at that?
BHADELIA: Yes, I think that my heart goes out the stories that you`re seeing as people who are seeking out potential additional boosters and those who are immunocompromised. And this is a subset of the population whom you don`t see that increase in antibody. You know, that`s why the initial boosters were actually added to people the regiment of people who were immunocompromised and if an additional one is authorized in the future I can perceive that that might be the group that we look at.
But we just don`t have the data yet, you know, on in terms of whether that should be recommended or not. The best thing that if you`re immunocompromised, the best thing you can do today is make a plan with your doctor about how you will access what`s right for you, right? It does -- is there another dose that you should be taking? And if not, then, you know, what other strategies in terms of accessing, for example, oral antivirals, or pre-positioning yourself to be able to get access to monoclonal antibodies, what you could do to reduce your chances of getting severely that right now is sort of the plan that I would suggest patients.
VELSHI: Dr. Bhadelia as always, we`re grateful to you for your guidance and your advice. Nahid Bhadelia is the -- is a founding director of the Boston University Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Policy and Research. Thank you for being with us.
The January 6 Committee lays out why its investigation is so important for the future of our country as some warn that our government still faces a threat from a movement that is openly contemptuous of democracy in the 11th Hour continues.
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REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS) JANUARY 6 COMMITTE CHAIRMAN: We can critically close to lose in this democracy as we`ve come to know it. And so it`s our duty as patriots, as Americans, as members of Congress to make sure that we get it right.
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VELSHI: As we near the one year anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, there`s a very real sense that there remains a clear and present danger to our democracy. The New York Times Editorial Board marking the New Year with this dire warning writing, quote, January 6 is not in the past, it is every day. The Republic faces an existential threat from a movement that is openly contemptuous of democracy, and has shown that it is willing to use violence to achieve its ends. No self-governing society can survive such a threat by denying that it exists. Rather, survival depends on looking back and forward at the same time, end quote.
Back with us, Donna Edwards, former Democratic member of Congress, now a Washington Post columnist, Matthew Dowd is a former George W. Bush strategist and founder of Country Over Party. Good evening to both of you. Thank you for being here.
Donna, this is a -- this is I think the issue that a lot of Americans are confronting. They -- There are a number of people who want to say, look, this happened. It didn`t succeed in overthrowing democracy and interfering in Congress`s work, let`s move on. And others are saying it`s current. It`s not a thing you can look past.
DONNA EDWARDS, FMR. U.S. CONGRESWOMAN : Well, I think the numbers prove that in a Washington Post, University of Maryland poll that was released just a couple of weeks ago showed that, in fact, fully a third of Americans believe that violence is a, you know, response that is sometimes needed against government, 40 percent of those Republicans and independents.
And so this is not something that is a theory. In fact, the numbers bear out something like 62 percent of Americans in another poll demonstrated that, you know, they believe that they expect violence after the next presidential election. I mean, this is extraordinary in the United States. And I think it is something that we have to view as a clear and present threat, and not just something that happened a year ago.
VELSHI: But Matthew, what does the committee do about this, because the bottom line is, folks are pretty dug in, I don`t know how many people there are in the middle of this conversation, because it`s quite binary, either you believe democracy is important that needs to be preserved by any political party in America, or you don`t really think there was a threat to democracy in the first place?
MATTHEW DOWD, FMR. CHIEF STRATEGIST TO BUSH-CHENEY CAMPAIGN: Well, I see it is not binary. But it -- there`s three groups of people in the country in my view right now. And they`re basically a third, a third, a third, and what the where -- they`re the third is basically fine with an abandonment of democracy if they achieve the ends they want, which is they want to abandon any kind of all men and women are created equal. That`s at the fundamental nature of this.
And then there`s a third who are very concerned, like all of us that we`re losing our democracy, as the New York Times, editorial said, every single day. We`re losing our own ability of self-determination, and determine our destiny, and all the ways that manifests itself through public health decisions, ability to do anything on climate change, we`re losing that democracy, and then it doesn`t allow us to do the things we need to do to protect our society.
The part -- the third that I think the committee can affect is the third of the people that, you know, today are like, where am I going to get -- where am I going to pick up dinner, I have to drive, you know, 10 miles to go get my son or whatever the things they`re thinking about. They`re not thinking about either one of those. And that`s the group that I think as the factual basis of all of this, and what happened in the evidence cloud, and I hope to god there`s public hearings can be moved to a bigger concern and understand the crucial nature we`re at.
And one thing I`ll add to this is, this is not new in our country. But what is new is that one political party is now completely consumed by this. I mean, we had a third of the country that wanted to stay with a monarchy. We had a third of the country that seceded from the Union. We had a third of the country that was against women`s right to vote. We had a third of the country that was against civil rights. So we`ve always had an element but we`ve never had one of the main political parties be completely taken over by that our
VELSHI: Donna, how do you have that conversation with people who because, you know, those of us who study and talk about this every day, it seems like a stark choice, but there are a lot of Americans who, to Matthew`s point, are going about their lives are concerned about the virus, they`re concerned about their kid`s education, they`re concerned about inflation, they`re concerned about a whole lot of other things, not the slippage of democracy.
EDWARDS: Well, I think Matthew is right about that 1/3 and I would urge the both the committee in terms of the way that it`s presenting the evidence about what happened on January 6, and all the rest of us to stay focused on that because that other third is intransigent. We are not going to move them and so it doesn`t seem very much point to try to speak to them but to speak to the part of the country that believes in democracy wants to preserve our republic is committed to constitutional governance and I think that that is the majority of us.
And we can`t let it slip away in the way that it`s slipping away. All around the world, the United States cannot be part of that formula.
VELSHI: All around the world is important. That`s another note to keep in mind. Keep in mind because this is not just happening in the United States. Both of our guests are staying a little bit longer. Coming up. The next two weeks could be critical when it comes to protecting the right to vote in this country when the 11th Hour continues.
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SCHUMER: There is too much at risk here. If obviously they were saying yes to us, we wouldn`t have to worry about this. But we do have to worry and we have to keep pushing. But when senators go to them and say I will lose my election unless we do something about voting rights. Saying to them, we will not for changing the rules. But we`ve changed our mind too much is at stake. And it`s a constant, constant discussion. And we`re going to keep going until we succeed.
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VELSHI: The Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says so far there is still no confirmation from conservative Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema that they will support a rule change in order to pass voting rights legislation. Chuck Schumer set a deadline for two weeks from today in a Dear Colleague letter writing quote, We hope our Republican colleagues change course and work with us. But if they do not, the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17th, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Still with us, Donna Edwards and Matthew Dowd. Matthew, that is the Senate Majority Leader, but there`s a lot of pressure on the President and the White House to do more and say more about voting rights. What`s the hesitancy on the part of the White House? Why haven`t we seen more? Is there fear that getting involved in this could backfire?
DOWD: Well, I think they made a calculation and I`ve criticized them for this. I think they made a calculation that they would get things like infrastructure through and all those things. And that is what was important. But what happened in the midst of all of that is we`re slowly losing our democracy. So I think that`s part of it. They made a priority that wasn`t this, because they just thought if they did those things, it would all -- things would be better and public would look at them better.
I think the other part is, and I sort of see it as like the five stages to understand who the Republican Party really is. And I think the President, and I think many of the Democratic senators were in denial about who the Republican Party had fundamentally become, that who they are. And what they are wasn`t really about Donald Trump. Donald Trump was this representative of who they were. And they I think, they thought getting rid of Donald Trump. And we`ll go back to some past normal case. And I think they`ve it`s taken them almost a year to move from denial, to bargaining, to sadness, to anger.
And finally, now that I think they`re finally understand the party they`re dealing with acceptance, but I think for too long, they have tried to go back to a time that no longer exists, and treat the Republican Party like the party from 10 or 20, or 30 years ago. And I think it took them a while, especially Joe Biden, who grew up in a time of a different Republican Party, to finally come to that conclusion.
And I think it`s late, it`s not too late, it`s late. And I hope they put the full force. To me, this is the most important issue. Every other issue we want to deal with is contingent on whether or not voting rights and whether on our democracy exists in this country. None of those other issues matter or can be accomplished if we lose voting rights.
VELSHI: So Donna, the issue here is the filibuster. And to me the filibuster is like supply chain discussions. There are a whole lot of people who never thought about this, until this current period. Now they have to think about these things. Claire McCaskill, who was known as a moderate sort of summed up the Majority Leader`s sentiments earlier, let`s listen to how she put it.
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MCCASKILL: How can it be fair that Republican legislatures all over the country are trying to suppress voters with a simple majority. But yet, the Congress is not allowed to address those suppression efforts with the same simple majority. That`s a pretty easy argument to make, and, frankly, for everyone to understand. So hopefully, by putting pressure on Joe and Kyrsten, they do the right thing, and we can get a carve out for the filibuster.
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VELSHI: If only I could apply -- I could explain the supply chain as well as she just explained what we`re facing here with the filibuster. But how likely is that simple, straightforward argument that she is making to succeed?
EDWARDS: Well, the filibuster is a rule. It`s not a law. The Senate has the ability to change it. They demonstrated that just a month or so ago when they change the rule in the Senate to allow for a vote on the debt limit. So, it can be changed. And I think it is imperative for Democrats to do it, because it`s a moral imperative, first of all, to ensure voting rights for all Americans.
But it`s also a political imperative. Not only will senators and representatives face an election in which Republicans across state legislatures have gone aggressively changed the rules for voting, change the systems and the structures for voting to suppress the vote. And they`ve done it so that Republicans can win and Democrats can lose and so Democrats need to make sure that there is guaranteed fairness in the system. I think it`s possible for them to do that. It is a rule it is not a law. It is easy for the Senate to change.
VELSHI: Thank you to both of you. This is an important topic and fortunately or otherwise, we`re going to be discussing it a lot over the next few weeks. Don Edwards and Matthew Dowd, I appreciate your time tonight.
Well, heading over the holidays is still proving to be a problem for many folks and air travel update when the 11th Hour continues.
VELSHI: Airlines have been struggling against the COVID-19 surge and bad weather for over a week. Since Christmas Eve, thousands of flights have been cancelled or delayed, leaving holiday travellers stranded. NBC News correspondent Tom Costello has more on today`s winter storm causing even more frustration for travellers.
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TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Adding more misery to weary and strat to travellers coming back from the holidays, a massive storm stretching from the Deep South Florida and Alabama to the nation`s capitol in the bullseye today, hit with up to a foot of snow.
Air Force One returning to Joint Base Andrews in virtual whiteout conditions. The President emerging from the plane in a blinding snowstorm. In the I-95 corridor, thousands of cars stranded and stuck accidents and power outages Amtrak also affected. At the center of the bullseye, Reagan National Airport, topping the list of most affected airports today. 84 percent of departures canceled.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve been here since seven o`clock. I`ve been delayed three times and then cancelled.
COSTELLO: Today, storm the latest blow to airlines and hundreds of thousands of holiday passengers. Since Christmas Eve, more than 18,000 flights cancelled hit hard by airline and TSA staffers calling out sick with COVID then a series of winter storms. Today alone, 3,000 flights cancelled.
(on camera): Here at Reagan airport, the snow coming down so heavily they had to close the main runway for plowing at 8:00 am.
(voiceover): Thousands of passengers stuck.
KYLER WILLIAMS, STRANDED TRAVELER: I`m trying to fly back home. I`ve been out since three in the morning this morning. And my flight got changed twice.
COSTELLO: The cancellations rippling across the country from Chicago O`Hare to Fort Lauderdale, where Andrea Lynn and her kids have been trying to get to Detroit since Friday.
ANDREA LYNN, STRANDED TRAVELER: We had to stay an extra couple days and hotels are outrageous on New Year`s Eve. So we were kind of trapped.
COSTELLO: While a truly has been a perfect series of storms for the airlines, consumer advocate say the airlines also bear some blame.
BILL MCGEE, CONSUMER REPORT`S AVIATION ADVISOR: The airline industry has been understaffed for months even before this latest surge with COVID going back to the summer.
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VELSHI: Our thanks to Tom Costello for that report. Coming up, why one outgoing Republican congressman is perfectly suited for his new job, when the 11th Hour continues.
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DONALD TRUMP, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: This was the first guy came out of nowhere. He`s saying these people are corrupt. He`s still saying it. And he was unbelievable. Devin Nunez is unbelievable.
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VELSHI: The last thing before we go tonight, that was of course former President Trump praising the efforts of former California Congressman Devin Nunes to ensure Trump`s acquittal in his first impeachment trial. Because of those efforts, Trump would later award Nunez the Medal of Freedom in a private ceremony exactly one year ago tomorrow.
Well today, Devin Nunes resigned from Congress seat that he`d held for the past 19 years. It would seem that even in retirement, the former guy has not forgotten his loyal friend and has now bestowed upon him a new honor, CEO of Trump`s new media group.
As Rolling Stone so aptly put it, Devin Nunes quits on constituents to spend more time with Trump.
Our friends at The Daily Show pointed out what being a Trump media executive is actually a job that Devin Nunes has already been doing.
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DAVID NUNEZ, FMR. CALIFORNIA CONGRESSMAN: Welcome everyone to the last gasp of the Russia collusion conspiracy theory. The Democrats colluded with Russia. Burce Ohr and his wife working for Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS, funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.
The top (INAUDIBLE) and his lover. A simple media operation.
The conspiracy theory is dead.
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VELSHI: We should note that Trump`s new media group is already under federal investigation so best of luck to former representative Devin Nunes. That is our broadcast for this Monday night with our thanks for being with us. On behalf of all of my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.