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Transcript: The 11th Hour, 12/27/21

Guests: Eugene Daniels, Anne Rimoin, Paul Butler, Stephen Sample, David Plouffe, Mike Murphy


The CDC released new guidance recommending asymptomatic people now isolate for five days rather than 10 days. It comes as soaring COVID cases trigger hundreds of flight cancelations for holiday travelers. And the January 6th committee expands its investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republicans gain control and whole control on an impeachment strategy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE), Kurt Bardella, thank you both very much for joining us on "THE LAST WORD." And that is tonight`s last word. THE 11TH HOUR starts right now.


CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, once again, I`m Chris Jansing. Day 342 of the Biden administration. Tonight, as the Omicron variant drives a winter COVID surge in every corner of this nation and frustration levels growing right along with the number of cases.

The CDC is out with brand new guidance for anyone infected with the virus. The agency now shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to five days if asymptomatic, followed by five days wearing a mask whenever you`re around other people.

That revised recommendation comes as the latest data shows new cases in this country are now averaging more than 200,000 a day. And the New York Times says reports from 14 states indicate this current COVID surge is now worse than last winters.

Earlier this evening, Whitehouse medical adviser Anthony Fauci explained the thinking behind the new CDC recommendations.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: You have so many people simultaneously testing positive, you want to make sure that particularly among essential workers, that you get people out there much sooner, and by much, I mean cutting it in half, saying that five days of isolation, then come out and wear a mask for the rest of the time. So you can keep people safe from getting infected from you if you still are infected.

But at the same time, getting you back to what might be an essential function in society on balance. If you look at the safety of the public, and the need to have society not disrupted. This was a good choice.


JANSING: This is just what many businesses said they needed to keep operating case in point. The airlines were staffing shortages due to Omicron have had a huge impact. Today, more than 1,000 more U.S. flights were cancelled.

This morning, Dr. Fauci was asked about the potential for vaccine mandates for domestic air travel. Tonight, he clarified his earlier comments that suggested that was under consideration.


FAUCI: It is unlikely that you`re going to see that happen in the foreseeable future. When I say it`s under consideration, people take the leap and say, well, it`s going to happen tomorrow or the next week. We consider all options when we talk about what we need to do for the public health.


JANSING: Meanwhile, college football fans are taking a huge hit from COVID. So far, at least three Bowl games have been scrapped. This is the second straight year some games are being called off because of the virus.

One veteran sports reporter says teams in a lot of sports are now facing questions about upcoming events.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re already worried about the Final Fours. My friend was saying we`re kind of planning as if we`re going to have the Final Four. But we honestly don`t know I`m planning to go to the Super Bowl. But you know, thinking three and four times about this.


JANSING: Most anyone planning to travel these days is also likely looking to get tested for COVID first, but good luck supplies continue to lag well behind demand both for those rapid at home COVID test kits. And those tests requiring lab work with now all too familiar long lines continuing after Christmas.

Today, President Biden met with the nation`s governors about the Omicron surge. He offered more federal support but says states will have to take the lead on controlling the outbreak.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: There is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level seen how tough it was for some folks to get a test this weekend shows that we have more work to do, it`s clearly not enough provided we know we would have gotten harder quicker if we could have because steps we have to take an increasing number of authorized tests. We`re now able to purchase 500 million at home rapid test to be sent to the American people for free when they requested. And we`re going to continue to use the Defense Production Act produce as many tests as possible.


JANSING: Also, tonight, we`re keeping an eye on the latest developments in the January 6 investigation. Former President Trump`s current spokesman Taylor Budowich, which is now suing the House Select Committee investigating the riot as well as JP Morgan over access to his financial records.

The committee subpoenaed Budowich back in November saying he organized an ad campaign trying to boost attendance at the January 6 rally on the ellipse.

With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Monday night, Eugene Daniels, White House correspondent for Politico. Dr. Anne Rimoin, Professor of Epidemiology at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Paul Butler, a former federal corruption prosecutor at the Justice Department, currently a professor at Georgetown Law. Good to see all of you.

So Anne, on one hand, it`s clear that with the number of infected Americans 10 days can be extraordinarily disrupted to lives, to the economy.


But then you have, for example, the largest nurses union, arguing shorter isolation times will mean more transmission, illness deaths, they were very worried after they changed the rules for medical pros. So given where we are right now with Omicron, are you comfortable with this new CDC recommendation?

DR. ANNE RIMOIN, UCLA FIELDING SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Chris, I think that these guidelines are incomplete. And they are once again, just pandering to, uh, to businesses and to the economy, which is very important, but really leaving behind the public`s health.

What we know here is this virus is very contagious. We know that the best thing to do is to take people who are contagious out of commission, and sideline them so that they`re not able to continue to transmit it.

Now, the UK, for example, use rapid tests regularly, they shortened their time, of isolation, and then they use rapid tests. They require people to rapid test out. These guidelines are based on a scarcity of rapid tests and leaving them out deliberately. We need to be -- these guidelines will be just fine if we had five days, plus rapid testing out. But at this point, we`re leaving it up to everybody`s judgment. And it could potentially be a big problem and give us a lot more opportunity for spread of this virus.

JANSING: I think all of us probably know somebody who thinks that they have it or have had it and they couldn`t get a test. So, you know, do they stay home? Do they not stay home? It`s a tough decision to make.

So Eugene, we heard the President say that there`s no federal solution to this outbreak. I want to read what the Wall Street Journal editorial page is saying tonight about that, quote, if Mr. Biden is beginning to make a rhetorical turn toward coping with COVID, since the virus is probably here to stay, this would be a welcome shift. He was wrong last year when he suggested that any politician had the power to control the pandemic. If this is the way Mr. Biden is going, then he should also notify the Supreme Court that he plans to have OSHA withdraw its overbroad vaccine mandate.

Look, Biden`s comments getting a lot of attention on the right, some saying that Trump was slammed for similar remarks. Is, Eugene, this White House saying anything about Biden`s comment about the impression the President may now be changing his view on how we contain the pandemic?

EUGENE DANIELS, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I don`t think so they haven`t said that. That doesn`t mean that can`t change. But, you know, this is something that we started to hear this a little bit not from President Biden, but from aides. And from folks within the administration talking about how we have to live with this pandemic.

Dr. Fauci, for example, said that weeks and weeks ago, talking about how every year we`re probably going to have to get some type of shot, like when it comes -- like when you think about how we get a flu vaccine, the same thing with COVID.

And so part of what they`re attempting to do with these new CDC guidelines, is look at the science but also figure out a way to make sure that people don`t spread the virus and make sure that the economy continues.

And I think the doctor is right, the idea of having rapid test is much more important than I think we`re talking about, the administration talked about having 500 billion. But that`s rapidly move, excuse me. But that is not enough when you talk to doctors and health experts, when you think about the people who want to wrap a test out who want to be able to see their families. Before I came to see my family looking for a rapid test, you couldn`t really find one and had to go get just get a PCR test. Because one, it`s safer, and then you`ve no more information, but also because you couldn`t find it.

So the administration does have some work to do when it comes to that, but they want people to realize and they have come to realize that the changes that they that we`ve wanted to do over the last year just haven`t been realistic. And you have -- especially the right wing of American society, not wanting to do those things. So they have to figure out more of a middle ground.

JANSING: You have to be able to separate Anne, you know, the political part of this from the medical part of this. There has been a lot of what I think most people think is legitimate criticism that we`re behind on having testing available. I want to play something that Claire McCaskill said earlier on this network.


FMR. SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D) MISSOURI: The failure of America to have free available rapid tests is really being shown right now. What happened, who dropped the ball on rapid cheap tests for America. I need the Biden administration to step up and fix that today.


JANSING: Well, I mean, obviously on the promise, you can`t fix it today. I mean, the time to fix it for this Christmas was, you know, months ago. So look, the administration say they finalize the deal for 500 million tests. They`re going to get them out to people next month. But where does that leave us? How significant is that given what we know about where Omicron is now?


RIMOIN: Well, Chris, the those 500 million tests are going to be a drop in the bucket when we have a tsunami of cases that are going to be washing over us. We need to be literally swimming in rapid tests at this point. Everybody should be able to have a rapid test whenever they need one, just like they do in many other countries. Europe has done very good job at this.

You know, if you`re going out to dinner with friends, you should be able to rapid test. If you are going to have a gathering with people, you should be able to rapid test. If you are going to work, you should be able to rapid test, if your child is going to school, you should be able to rapid test.

We need to be able to have information for action available not only for public health, but for the general public to be able to make decisions about their risk and about their safety. And until we have this available to us, we are still going to be operating without enough information.

JANSING: I want to go back to the politics of all of this. But let me ask you, Paul, about the January 6 investigations. Speaking of politics, there a couple things that are notable, I think about this new lawsuit from Trump`s spokesman, Taylor Budowich, it`s the latest move from a Trump ally just slowed down the inquiry, clearly.

But it`s also showing us more I think about where the House committee is going with this. What do you see that they`re looking for by focusing on Budowich`s bank records?

PAUL BUTLER, GEORGETOWN LAW PROFESSOR: So the committee is investigating whether Budowich played a role in financing the insurrection. He`s already turned in 1,400 pages of documents, and he testified for four hours before the committee.

And Chris, apparently, that raised even more questions, including whether this guy final $200,000, the -- from undisclosed sources to finance the attempted coup, but now the committee is trying to uncover those sources. They subpoenaed his bank records, and he`s suing to try to keep the records secret, they`ll almost certainly lose that litigation.

And at this point, it`s probably a moot point because the committee likely already has the records. His bank said that unless he produced a court order on Christmas Eve, then they`ll not to turn over the records that they would. So usually, Trump cronies go by his playbook or trying to run out their clock. But this time, that strategy probably did not work.

JANSING: OK, Eugene, you know, there`s new reporting out that the Republican governors of Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee, have extended unemployment benefits to people who have lost their job over these met vaccine mandates, other Republicans could soon follow.

And the White House is about to defend the vaccine mandate to the Supreme Court. Is there any kind of White House plan B for the mandate, given the deep political divisions? What are you hearing from inside the administration?

DANIELS: I mean, I think this is an administration that feels very confident in this mandate. They are so mean talk, they hate the word mandate, they like to call it a requirement, especially because for them it is a testing requirement, or excuse me, a vaccine requirement. And with testing attitude, I think they`re -- what they`re trying to do in attempting to be to have done for months, and for weeks and weeks, is making sure that they`re fighting against Republican talking points, as they put it, about it being a mandate, about forcing people to get the vaccine when there is that testing aspect.

But like we`ve been talking about getting the test is not as easy as we want it to be as, I think the administration wants it to be. So they have a lot of work to do there.

The plan B, I don`t think that there is one. There`s not one that has been shared with any of us reporting wise. But I think one of the things that this administration has done and proven to do is and even when they were a campaign, they make a decision, and they kind of go full steam ahead. And that has continued this entire administration, that`s something that we`re going to continue to see.

They feel that this requirement, this mandate is sound, and that they`re going to be there -- they feel confident in that whether that ends up being true, we`ll have to see, but they do feel like this is their plan A and they`re kind of sticking to at this point.

JANSING: You know, Paul, let`s talk about the legality of this and the fight that is going to ensue. And, you know, I think there`s also another part of this, which is that with Omicron, I certainly heard it over the holiday break. I know a lot of people have heard it from folks who are not vaccinated. See, what`s the point of getting vaccinated because all of these breakthrough cases are happening anyway. You can get vaccinated and you`re still not protected. That doesn`t play into it legally, but it does push the right frankly in their cause what they believe is their righteous cause.

BUTLER: Yes, that`s right. And so what Biden has done is to force federal government employees contractors to either take the vaccine and probably soon the booster or force them to submit a formal regular COVID test.


The Supreme Court has never formally ruled on whether Biden could go even farther. And as require that is every person in this country who was medically able to get the vaccine and to get the booster. I think that there`s old case law that suggests that Trump -- that Biden probably does have that authority.

But so far, they seem to be going with the method of trying to cajole people who are reluctant, rather than to force them beyond people who work for the federal government and a new contract with the federal government.

JANSING: Are the folks, Anne, within the medical and scientific community who have been looking from the very beginning of this for answers and trying to push frankly, governments, whether it`s on the state level, or the federal level to do what they thought was scientifically sound.

Had they largely given up on mandates at this point? Is there a sense that that was the only thing or is maybe even still the only thing that can get us where we need to go? It was interesting listening to Anthony Fauci, who seemed to suggest that it was a good idea to have, you know, mandates for getting on a domestic flight and then coming back and saying, look, it`s just one of the things we talk about. We talk about a whole range of things, essentially.

But where, where`s the thinking right now on mandates, and how it realistically fits in to fixing this problem?

RIMOIN: Well, Chris, realistically, mandates are going to get people to do things that they don`t necessarily want to do, or are maybe putting off. So I think that the mandates are still going to make a very big difference. You know, I don`t want to get on an airplane, especially if we don`t have mandates for good quality, high quality masts, we don`t have mandates for vaccines. You know, we don`t have strong a quarantine and isolation protocols at this point.

I think that the only thing that we can count on at this point is to have mandates put in place to make sure that we have at least some public health safety in place. And I think it`s very -- going to be very important for people to remember that these mandates are not going to be enough. Everybody is going to have to think about now, these new guidelines. We`re all going to be a little bit less safe. We`re going to have people who are going to be infectious, essentially able to leave quarantine or leave isolation, and they`ve basically done away with quarantine at this point.

So, what we can do at this point is be very, very cautious or high quality mask, get boosted, get vaccinated and do everything you can to think about your own risk.

JANSING: Just an interesting travel note, Delta has sent out a notification to anyone going to Italy that to get on a plane now, you have to have a specific mask a KN95, or an FFP2, which I`m not even honestly sure what that is, but I`m sure it`s another one of the high quality like there -- is that exactly what you`re holding up?

RIMOIN: This is what -- yes.

JANSING: I got my -- I`ve upgraded my mask too. Eugene Daniels, Dr. Anne Rimoin, Paul Butler, thanks to all of us. Takes take care out there.

Coming up, what the new CDC quarantine guidelines mean for the nation`s ever so weary healthcare workers. We`ve got an ER doc standing by.

And later, nearly one year after the right at the Capitol we`ve got a closer look at where the investigation is going and the politics that stay. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on a Monday night.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you support the minimizing of the quarantine period from 10days to five as the airline groups have recommended?

BIDEN: I look to my medical team. When I get a recommendation, I follow it.


JANSING: Just days after the CDC shortened quarantine guidance for healthcare workers over the objections of many of those workers. The agency today expanded that guidance to the general public.

The new rules cut isolation time in half to five days for asymptomatic people. It comes as hospitals are reaching their breaking point across the country facing surging cases of the more contagious Omicron variant.

In Indiana, hospitals put out a full page ad in the indie star begging people to get vaccinated, boosted, tested and masked. It warns, we can`t do this alone. We have more patients in our hospitals than we have beds.

Back with us tonight is Dr. Stephen Sample, an E.R. physician at Memorial Hospital and Health Care in Jasper, Indiana. He`s also a volunteer clinical faculty member at Indiana University School of Medicine.

So, this is where we are. I mean, we`re back to having to have health care professionals beg people to do the right thing. What are you seeing in your hospital right now?

DR. STEPHEN SAMPLE, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN IN JASPER, INDIANA: Good evening, Chris. Thanks for having me back. We`re seeing about the same thing right now. Just a ton of cases. We`re super busy. Every day is busy. There`s no good days anymore at work. There`s no days where you leave the hospital and say well wasn`t so bad.

You know, we would be busy without COVID right now just with the everyday winter illnesses and all the sick people that are out there. But when you add COVID on top of this just every day feels like a draining nightmare.

JANSING: So on Christmas Day you tweeted this, if it was ever question in the age of modern broken medicine, healthcare workers are expendable cogs in a very giant wheel, as evidenced by the recent COVID guidance from the American Heart Association and the CDC. Back to Work y`all. Screws seen safety.

Would you continue to say that now that the CDC is expanding their short and quarantine guides to the general public and I apologize for my particular reading of your tweet, because I`m sure you could do it much better.

SAMPLE: You read it perfectly. I`m less mad tonight than I was on Christmas Day.

JANSING: But you were (INAUDIBLE). Tell me what the motivation is. I mean, look, we feel frustrated for you without a doubt when I see more, you know, headlines in newspapers of, you know, doctors saying just do the right thing versus saying do the right thing. But what at that moment put you to that point.

SAMPLE: You know, within a couple of days, we got some guidance from the CDC that basically said, hey, if your hospitals are really bad, you guys can go back to work just you know, suck it up and do it. And health care workers across the board from doctors and nurses and respiratory therapists and janitorial staff, we`ve been used and abused and we`ve been begging people.


But, you know, my message hasn`t changed. I`m not even sure why I come on TV anymore. I`ve been saying the same thing for two years, and a portion of the population heard it and a portion didn`t.

But then in succession, the CDC said, yes, you guys can go back to work if it`s really bad, even if you`re infected, even if you`re mildly symptomatic, if the hospital is really bad. And then the American Heart Association released new CPR guidelines that said, don`t, you know, don`t withhold CPR until you get a mask, until you get your proper PPE started anyway.

Well, you know, I don`t want to describe CPR in detail, but CPR is messy. And there are lots of fluids and lots of aerosols. And to suggest that on top of all this stuff that we just have to deal with the medical community there -- our collective had just about exploded, you know, it just felt like just another kind of kicking the ribs.

Now that they have shortened the quarantine and isolation measures for everybody. I`m a little less mad, though I do have some fundamental problems with what`s going on right now. I think.

JANSING: Yes, well, look, and I certainly don`t want to pile on, but I think I`m going to pile on a little bit right now, because I saw it the attorney general in your state who opposes vaccine mandates said when he was asked why he opposed mandates, he told a reporter he doesn`t believe the numbers anymore.

Your thoughts and we don`t want you to stop coming on television, because I like to think there are still people who are out there who are listening, but, you know --


JANSING: Does that describe a lot of what you hear? And what fuels that frustration?

SAMPLE: It does. You know, in our AG, I mean, he -- this guy has never met a scientific consensus that he wouldn`t question. He`s wrong on climate change. He`s wrong on environment. He`s wrong on everything. So it`s no surprise that he would be wrong on this.

But for this guy to get on TV in the middle of a pandemic and say, well, let you know, he endorsed basically some public health conspiracy in his own state. Well, it turns out, Todd, you`re the attorney general, if you think there`s a conspiracy, it seems like you have the power to look into it, right? Or do you really believe that Todd, I don`t think that you do. Right.

So it`s just -- he`s feeding the, you know, he`s fanning the flames and feeding the fuel of people. He`s talking to his base. He`s talking to the people that are going to vote for him. The next time he goes out, he`s actively making it political. He`s in court right now trying to stop vaccine mandates.

You know, when this is all looked back on by history, people like Todd Rokita and his ilk, they`re going to be directly responsible, you know, for the deaths of human beings and his fellow losers. And it`s just ridiculous that he would go on TV and say that I`m over it.

JANSING: I`d love to -- yes, over it. I`d love and on a more positive note, though. I mean, there is a lot of thought. I mean, they`ve already -- they`re already saying in South Africa, you know, they`re past the peak there on the downside of the Omicron surge. And, you know, I think there`s a sense that this is what`s going to follow in Europe and the United States. And I wonder if there`s anything else there right now that gives you hope?

SAMPLE: Well, I hope so, you know, I hope that we follow South Africa`s trend though. You know, myself and others of us out there kind of putting our ear to the ground. I don`t know that I really trust South Africa`s data right now. You know, they`re in the southern hemisphere. It is their summer right now. Right. And it`s wintertime here.

And they have a really different population in terms of vaccinated and previously infected, even some different variants that went through South Africa. So I don`t know that we can directly extrapolate that. I think that this may be a longer slower burn here.

My only hope is really that so many of us are going to get infected. So many of us are going to get infected that at the end of this that many more of us have some degree of underlying immunity.

Now what that means for me and my colleagues in the emergency departments and the ICUs of the country means it`s going to suck in January. I will tell you that right now.

JANSING: OK, well, that wasn`t exactly the necessarily the threat of hope that I was hoping but I do appreciate. No, look, look, I think we all need to hear it because we`re tired of hearing it. We have to be reminded of it because sometimes we need to be reminded of it to do the right thing, even people who have been doing the right thing all along. So I do appreciate that Dr. Stephen Sample. We remain grateful for you taking the time. Thank you so much.

And coming up, in just 10 days, we`ll mark the one year anniversary of the attack on Capitol Hill. A closer look at the new clues on where the January 6th investigation is heading when the 11th Hour continues.



JANSING: As we approach the anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, the January 6 committee is expanding its investigation. New reporting from The Guardian indicates members are now honing in on conversations Trump was having with allies at the Willard Hotel in Washington the hours before the riot, quote, Congressman Bennie Thompson has said the panel will open an inquiry into Donald Trump`s phone call seeking to stop Joe Biden`s certification from taking place on January 6 hours before the insurrection.

Thompson also reportedly suggested that House investigators had already started to consider ways to investigate Trump`s demand that Biden not be certified as president on 6 January.

Here back with us tonight David Plouffe, former Obama campaign manager and senior adviser to the President, and Mike Murphy, veteran Republican strategist and co-director of the Center for the Political Future at the University of Southern California. He`s also co-host of the Hacks on Tap podcast. Good to see you guys.

Mike, what are these latest moves by the January 6 committee tell you about the direction they`re heading in? Do you see a criminal referral coming maybe even against Trump?

MIKE MURPHY, VETERAN REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, I, again, I`m not a lawyer, thank God, but I do believe a criminal referral is more likely than not just because the evidence is piling up. And to their credit, the committee has been quite aggressive and they should follow the money and they should try to get that narrow band of phone calls.

So, you know, whether or not it has a huge earthquake effect on the election because we`re so tribal and dug in. You know, I wish I was more hopeful about. But to get justice, if there`s criminal things that deserve referring and my gut guess is there are on the pattern of behavior we`ve seen from some of these characters in the lunatic fringe of my own beloved Republican Party.


I hope they do it. And I hope we learn everything. And I wouldn`t be surprised if Trump is more connected to it, than it has been proven so far.

JANSING: But of course, the nervous question, David, a lot of folks are asking, are we going to learn this in a timely manner, whatever that means to different people. Look, the Washington Post reports tonight, that there`s a plan to begin holding public hearings in the New Year by the committee. A rough timeline includes those hearings stretching into spring, an interim report in the summer, a final report some time ahead of November`s election. But there`s also that fear, that means the committee`s work is going to drag on too long to be effective.

Are they moving quickly enough in your estimation?

DAVID PLOUFFE, FMR. OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, Chris, I mean, this is about whether democracy survives or not. So yes, I think we`d all like to know it as quickly as possible. But the real deadline here is to have the report itself, the finding, the recommendations, any criminal referrals. And I agree with Mike, it seems more likely than you might have thought a few months ago that there might be that, that they happen in time to prevent the next coup attempt, which will be the 2024 presidential election.

So I know we`re all focused on next November. There`s a critical elections, but the timing really here is preventing the next one. That`s why there has to be justice here, there has to be accountability, including I believe, criminal referrals, or otherwise it`s going to happen again, and it will probably be successful.

So and I hope those hearings are prime time. I hope they pick times of the day where the entire country can view them. I understand most of that`s going to be viewed through social media. But, you know, these are going to be some pretty high profile events, I think.

And I agree with Mike, we`re very tribal. So at the end of the day, this is less about any party gaining advantage. It`s really just the pro-democracy side of our country went out. And I think that`s very much a question today.

JANSING: Are you sensing, Mike, any movement in your beloved party? I mean, NBC has this new reporting today, in interviews with more than a dozen local GOP officials in four key presidential battlegrounds. Most indicated that they had moved on from the arguments about 2020 a notable shift from some of the most forceful Trump defenders during his second impeachment and throughout his first years out of office.

So, I guess the question is, how do Republicans distance themselves from Trump? Are they do you see more candidates following in? You know, Virginia Governor elect Glenn Youngin`s books? I mean, what are you hearing on the ground and sensing?

MURPHY: Well, you know, in politics is David knows well, perception is reality. So the perception particularly in kind of the chattering class has been the Trump is an invincible dictator of the Republican Party. Well, his reign has been based on fear that two thirds of Republican officeholders fear trouble in their primary. If Trump was abducted by Martians turn round, none of them would shed a tear.

Now, when we look at polling data among Republican primary voters, who are not all Republicans, but the ones you care about in a primary, Trump has been popular for a long time, but you can chart it and see the popularity is dropping. If you ask a presidential question of those voters in a scientific poll now, Trump will get 45 to 50 percent of the vote of strong plurality makes from the front runner, but others will get half the vote, some of whom aren`t even that well known.

So Trump is declining. The question is what is his half-life and what will happen to him between now and the primary season next year, but a majority of Republican officeholders would love to be liberated from Donald Trump, but they most of them are cowardly about it and dare not say it because they`re focused on their own primaries. It`s not exactly a profiling courage factory right now in the GOP.

But if Trump shows weakness, a lot of people they will want to, quote, move on. That`s about 45 percent of the vote, but they`re afraid to take on Trump. So it`s up in the air now. We`ll see what the slope of the decline is. So he can still be the nominee again, no question.

JANSING: We`re going to cut into the time for our next segment. But it begs the question for me, David, if Trump is on the decline, tell us whether you agree with that or not. Is it just part of the natural, you know, way that things go? Its people are looking for the new shiny thing? Are people just exhausted by him? Or is it a real shift of people saying, you know, this business about continuing to fight 2020 is nonsense. It`s destructive to democracy, and that`s why he`s in decline?

PLOUFFE: Well, sadly, I don`t think it`s about the -- it`s destructive to democracy. I think the Republicans who are beginning to speak out I mean, some of them have been there all along, and they deserve --


PLOUFFE: -- great credit for putting country ahead party, but I think for the most part, they don`t think it`s more politics. I will point out 45 to 50 percent is nowhere near 100. OK. When we ran against Hillary Clinton 2008, she was one of the strongest front runners in my party`s history but, you know, she was a 45 or 50.


So our view was OK, there`s an opening there, but seem like it`s a lot of people.

So yes, listen, I have always believed and I will eat these words, probably, that Trump`s not going to run again. Because, you know, imagine this guy with his ego, running for the Republican nomination and not getting, I still think he would be the front runner today. But that 45 could go down to 42, 40, 38. And I think, Chris, people are looking for the shiny new thing. And I think there`s a sense that Trump is damaged Electoral College goods.

So I think there`s going to be a lot of auditions for other candidates. And I think that he`s going to be interesting to watch. Because with these poll numbers, you say, how does he not run, but the thing we know about this guy, he`s so brittle, he`s so thin skinned, he`s really a baby. That, you know, losing the nomination is probably the thing he could stomach least in his entire life these days.

JANSING: Many future discussions on who the shiny new thing might be, but David and Mike are staying with us to talk about tis the season when people start setting their priorities for the new year, a potential wishlist for the president on the 11th hour continues.


JANSING: Voting rights reform one of the issues at the very top of the Biden administration`s agenda, but the real momentum has been in the states at least 19 of them passing 34 laws restricting access to voting just this year.

Still with us, David Plouffe, Mike Murphy. David, among the states were voting rights faced some of the most significant challenges in 2021 have been the places critical to elections Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Democrats know this. But is there any sense you have that this has a good chance of passage?

PLOUFFE: I think it`s got a better chance than you would have said 90 days ago because it`s going to require Manchin and Sinema and a few other senators. It`s just not those two, to agree to carve out on the filibuster as we get on judges and recently on the debt limit to protect democracy.


And I think, Chris, it`s important. Yes, part of that will be to make sure we remove these restrictions making it harder to vote, largely targeting minorities, but also to secure our democracy, because the most insidious thing is the Republican drive here to allow their own state legislators to decide who won elections no matter what the voters say.

So that`s the permission structure. I think that a Manchin and Sinema, some of the other Democratic senators, to go up to a microphone and say, I did not want to do this. But the Republican actions in the states have forced me to do so, so that we can protect our democracy.

So I still think it`s a long, challenging climb. But it`s the most important thing in front of us right now, even with COVID, even other economic needs, because I think we are this close to sliding into an autocratic future in the United States.

JANSING: Well, Mike, is there silhouette you see for Joe Biden, who frankly owes black voters for his election to salvage this can anything stop Republicans from rolling back voting rights?

MURPHY: Well, when in doubt, win more seats. That`s my advice to the Democrats. And it is an election year. So sometimes the issue is more within grasp as a political weapon than the legislative victory is. I mean, David, lined up the way it would have to. There`d have to be a partial filibuster, pull back, will Manchin do that. If I had to bet I`ll bet he doesn`t. He`s a traditionalist, but boy, oh, boy, the pressure will be on him.

There`s also a more limited bill Manchin is kind of floated a framework, you know, maybe there`s some way to get there. But I think now that we`re in an election year, the Democrats with the reality of a 50-50 Senate, which is not a liberal Senate, because a Manchin and Sinema, they start looking for issues to fight over to get an election outcome rather than have a huge appetite to pass things, they`re not going to have the votes to pass, because they have to break the narrative of Biden looking weak and ineffective, which is killing him politically.

So I think it`s time for kind of a new playbook for this year for them. I don`t normally give them advice. But we`re in an insane time right now.

JANSING: In our last minute, David, what does that playbook look like? Because frankly, if, as you have just stated, we are in a situation where this is really a down and dirty fight for salvaging democracy is a watered down version, as some people would view it better than nothing.

PLOUFFE: Well, you`re not going to get what the House of Representatives passed. You`re going to get Manchin lay out a framework, which by the way, got a lot of plaudits from progressives, Barack Obama praised it. So it`s going to be something like that, which will do to two things, you have to make sure you protect democracy so that people get the most votes win elections, and Republicans can`t decide who`s going to rule this country for decades.

And then, of course, you want to remove some of these limitations on voting. So we`ll be more narrow, but it will protect for democracy, and it will also make it easier for a lot of people to vote. So we have to live in the real world. And that`s the same with the Build Back Better.

I still think there`s a chance to pass significant elements of that. Because Manchin actually supports more than I think a lot of people would realize of what some of the progressive support, but it`s good to be scaled back.

But listen, the Republicans could take control. At the end of `22, I hope they don`t. So that`s the other thing if you don`t pass these things now, you could be waving a white flag for a long time.

JANSING David Plouffe, Mike Murphy, always great to see you guys. Thank you so much for being on the program.

And coming up, COVID and weather are teaming up this holiday weekend to follow up flights across the country and update on those travel troubles when the 11th Hour continues.



JANSING: One stranded Traveller put it simply that vividly. It was a gut punch after a 2020 Christmas that saw countless family gatherings cancelled. 2021`s Omicron surge meant airlines were forced to ground flights by the thousands. But today`s decision from the CDC could get more of a slang once again. A report tonight from NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders.


KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, beyond the snowstorms and wicked winds that caused delays and cancellations. Those airline employees who are forced to call in sick and quarantine due to Coronavirus now, maybe back on the job sooner. The decision by the CDC to reduce quarantines to five days down from 10 means airline employees just like health care workers who tested positive can now return to work sooner if they feel better.

CLINT HENDERSON, THE POINTS GUY SENIOR NEWS EDITOR: I do think airlines are in a position to begin to catch up in the next few days.

SANDERS: In part because of the fast spreading Omicron variant airlines were facing employees (INAUDIBLE) just this past weekend. That led to more than 2,500 flight cancellations and that began a domino effect. The whole family today with a long morning delay from Michigan to Florida.

(on camera): What time did you guys wake up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We woke up at about 4:00 in the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We kind of woke up at like seven and still been there on time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got on the plane, everything was fine and then one of the pilots didn`t show up but.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our turn into two hours, two and a half hours. But we finally got here.

SANDERS (voice-over): The Flight Attendants Union had one of the 10-day quarantine to remain fearing anything shorter was caving to business pressure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we`re doing is we`re saying that profits are more important than people and that`s just the bottom line and we can`t abide by that

SANDERS: This comes as flight attendants who are physically closest to passengers were forced yet again Sunday to break up a fight one unmasked passenger confronting another who had pulled his mask down to eat.

(on camera): Airlines again encouraging those who might be anxious to take a deep breath and do not do what we just saw on that video. Kerry Sanders, NBC News, Fort Lauderdale.


JANSING: And coming up, our friends at the Washington Post reminisce about the year about two ends when the 11th Hour continues.



JANSING: The last thing before we go tonight, as the Washington Post puts it this year got weird. So here`s a look back at few of the wildest political moments of 2021.


BIDEN: My predecessor Oh god, I miss it.

TOM BRADY, AMERICAN FOOTBALL QUARTERBACK: I think about 40 percent of people still don`t think we won.

BIDEN: I understand that.

BRADY: You understand that, Mr. President?

BIDEN: I have people on Republican Party who think we`re sucking the blood out of Cuba.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anything that the National Forest Service can do to change the course of the Moon`s orbit?

BIDEN: The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I started the Neanderthal caucus.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA) MINORITY LEADER: Did you get a bathroom break and I didn`t?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leader McCarthy says it`s against the science.


BIDEN: Tell that quarterback he`s got to get the vaccine.


BIDEN: have the freedom to kill you with my COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Explain to me why the key sticks to me?

FAUCI: You do not know what you are talking about. You`re ranting again.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, FMR MSNBC HOST: Perhaps you remember your first edible.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Nicki Minaj`s cousin`s testicles not swung. It`s Nicki Minaj`s cousin`s friends testicles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For God`s sakes a living, out difficult is this to understand.

DONALD TRUMP, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: Take the vaccines. You got -- no that`s OK. That`s all right.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: I love all Olive Garden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unlimited salad, garlic breadsticks.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Just for the record, I like the Olive Garden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m tired of your shenanigans. You have guests respected the blueberry bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I`m going to go inside and right after this and make a steak.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fake news just doesn`t get it, do they?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That wasn`t a fan of our last president`s character.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would not have gotten to this if it were still the last president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really? That`s hard to believe me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anthony, you`re too smart for that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, he worked for Trump. So I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re not going to blame this on President Trump on my show.

UNIDENTIFIED Male: It was an episode of a show, Laura.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doc sues not a real doctor. But he does seem small.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was cancelled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s beginning to look a lot like arson.

BIDEN: Finally, infrastructure week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to build it and we`re going to build it back better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Build Back Better. Blah, blah, blah.

BIDEN: Benefits Everybody. Hurts nobody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love upstate. I love downstate. I love the whole state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a great deal of respect for women. My mom was a woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did it. That matter disputed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You tells us nothing all of its lies.

PELOSI: Thank you, Facebook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m here live. I`m not a Cat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boy that went sideways. Thank you all.

MCCARTHY: Thank you all very much.


JANSING: Our thanks to the Washington Post for collecting the memories. My mother was also a woman. That is our broadcast for this Monday night with our thanks for being with us. On behalf of all of my colleagues that the networks of NBC News, good night.