Johnson & Johnson says its coronavirus vaccine is 72 percent effective in U.S. trial, and comes as only one shot. Dr. Fauci stresses value of new J&J vaccine. President Joe Biden visits troops at Walter Reed Medical Center. Biden ramps up push for COVID-19 relief package. GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene accused of creating toxic work environment. Manhunt is underway for suspect who left pipe bombs in D.C. during Capitol riots.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: And I can`t help myself, I need to explain what`s going on with GameStop and the stock market and why everybody`s getting it wrong. I promise you`re going to feel smarter after we talk about this. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams begins right now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again. As the first full week of a new presidency comes to a close, day 10 of the Biden administration and 10 days in our nation is still battling some persistent infections, the threats from the coronavirus, of course, conspiracy theories and lingering Trumpism in our politics.
Today, there was some encouraging news in the fight against the virus. Johnson and Johnson says, its vaccine has been found to be 72 percent effective at preventing moderate to severe disease in our country. It`s a single dose vaccine. It was 85 percent effective against severe infections. That`s good. That compares to a roughly 95 percent efficacy rate for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, both of them two shots, both of them already approved.
Earlier tonight, Dr. Tony Fauci was asked about the newer vaccine.
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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Even though the numbers when you compare against mild to moderate disease, 72 percent versus 94 to 95. Clearly, 94 to 95 is better, but from a practical standpoint, from what you want to do to keep people out of the hospital and prevent death, this is valuated not only in the United States, but particularly in some of the developing countries because it has some assets that are important. Number one, it`s a single dose, much more convenient, and it doesn`t require a very stringent cold chain, you can just keep it in a refrigerated. It`s relatively cheap, and the company can make billions of doses, so it will have value.
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WILLIAMS: J&J is expected to ask the FDA for that emergency use authorization as early as a week from now. If approved, doses could start rolling out in late February that would be a big help. There are 176,000 new confirmed infections, 3600 new deaths reported across our country just today. Overall, we`re at about 26 million total cases. We`ve lost 437,000 souls.
This afternoon, Joe Biden made his first trip as president over to Walter Reed Medical Center to meet with wounded service members. He also toured the vaccine distribution center there. As he left the White House, the President was asked whether Democrats might end up going in alone, trying to pass that nearly $2 trillion relief package.
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JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I support passing COVID relief with support from Republicans, if we can get it. But the COVID relief has to pass with no ifs, ands or buts.
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WILLIAMS: That was a follow up right there to what the President said earlier in the day during a meeting with the newly minted Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
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BIDEN: We have learned from past crises the risk is not doing too much. The risk is not doing enough. And this is a time to act now. Investments now will help the economy grow. It will not in fact, put be put a drag on the economy of spending this money will do the exact opposite.
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WILLIAMS: Many of the very lawmakers who will be debating this legislation are very much on edge tonight. New York Times reporting several Republicans in Congress have links to organizations suspected of playing a role in the attack on the Capitol. According to the Associated Press, the House Sergeant at Arms is now tightening security for traveling lawmakers back and forth with their home districts with measures that include placing officers at Washington area transportation hubs, but of course that won`t help them at home.
There`s also new information eye regarding those two pipe bombs found near the Capitol on six January, whoever put them there is still at large. Washington Post reports the devices are believed to have been planted the night before the capital attack. Post reports it this way, "The FBI said its agents are using every tool in our toolbox. And I`ve interviewed over 1000 residents and business owners in the neighborhood where the devices were found."
Post also obtained video of a suspect carrying a backpack near where the bombs were placed. FBI has increased the reward for tips leading to the suspect`s arrest and conviction to $100,000.
This evening, Democratic leaders in Congress announced Capitol Police Officer, Brian Sicknick who died from his injuries in the Capitol attack will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol rotunda next Tuesday. Officer Sicknick who is also a military veteran will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
The impact of that riot is still being felt, of course across our country and around the world. Jonathan Swan of Axios referred to the Capitol attack during his interview with Ukrainian President Zelensky, a name you may remember from Trump`s first impeachment.
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JONATHAN SWAN, AXIOS POLITICAL REPORTER: How did you feel when you watched that happen in United States?
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translation): We were very shocked. I was very surprised. I could not imagine that something like this was possible in the United States of America. I believe this was a strong blow to democracy of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: And with that, let`s bring in our lead guests on a Friday night Jonathan Karl, Chief Washington Correspondent for ABC News, longtime White House Correspondent we get to periodically steal him away from the mothership in his capacity as the author of Front Row at The Trump Show, for which he is now receiving treatment, Dr. Kavita Patel, Clinical Physician and former Senior Policy Aide during the Obama administration. She is now a non resident fellow at Brookings and is among our Medical Contributors. And Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Presidential Historian, also a professor on the American presidency at Vanderbilt occasionally advises President Biden on historical matters and major speeches once again, relevant to our conversation. Jon happens to be among the co authors of the book, Impeachment: An American History, which these days becomes relevant about every two years or so.
Good evening, and welcome to you all. Doctor, because it`s such an urgent matter, I`d like to begin with you. We want to be hopeful about these headlines about the Johnson and Johnson inoculation, it has so much going for it single shot, more stable liquid, it can go places the other vaccines can`t. How preoccupied should we be with this 72 percent efficacy, first of all, considering the annual flu shot is between 40 and 60 percent efficacious. Second of all, you heard Dr. Fauci`s explanation there?
DR. KAVITA PATEL, FORMER AIDE TO VALERIE JARRETT IN THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: Yeah, absolutely, Brian, good evening to you. And we should not be concerned. I think that we were so incredulously lucky at being those high efficacy rates with the first two vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. But remember, the Food and Drug Administration set a 50 percent bar at the beginning to think about what would be efficacy that would be worthy of authorization. As you mentioned, the flu shot even in his best years is about 60 percent. So 72 percent and especially the 85 percent reduction in severe and moderate and severe COVID is huge.
I do think the important piece here, though, is that you got to see the results. Again, South Africans trained about a 52 percent performance against the South African strain. And all that tells us is that all of these vaccines need to get into arms as quickly as possible to create a brick wall of defense against the strains becoming dominant in the United States.
WILLIAMS: John Karl, I`ve been so looking forward to catching up and talking to you on the air. Number one, because you wrote so personally, about your experience covering the last president, I`m so curious to learn what it`s like covering this new crowd and to throw water on my first question, let me also ask you, where does Biden think he`s going to get these Republican crossover votes for a $2 trillion measure?
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it`s been remarkable, first of all, to see actual press briefings that take place on a daily basis, where it is in combat with the press where it isn`t a back and forth of insults. And whether you actually, you know, aren`t being habitually told things that are true.
But your question about Biden is a really good. And Biden came in and he`s been consistent since the campaign, and through his transition of talking about working with the Republicans, reaching out for Republicans. He`s going to be a president, not just for those who voted for him, but those who voted against him. And he has come in and he has had a very aggressive agenda. The words have stayed the same. He`s talked a lot about reaching out with Republicans to Republicans, but he has pursued a series of executive orders and executive actions that has been even beyond what we saw with the early Trump days, and with Barack Obama. And it looks like on the first major legislative initiative, Brian, the COVID Relief Bill, he wants a $1.9 trillion bill. All of the Republicans made it clear from the beginning, all of them, from Mitt Romney and Susan Collins on down the line, that that was not something they would go along with, and it looks like Democrats are going to do what they can do to push this through the Senate without a single Republican vote, and probably through the House in a similar fashion using what`s called reconciliation.
But what`s fascinating about that this is, you know, not reaching out in his first major legislative initiative. But look at the relationship with Mitch McConnell. It`s still actually good as he`s pursued this. Mitch McConnell has yet to vote against a single cabinet nominee for Biden. He may well not vote against any of them. And I am told that McConnell and Biden talk on the phone quite regularly. I also know that Biden has reached out to other Republicans, including Susan Collins and Rob Portman. So, he`s continuing the outreach of but the agenda so far has been very much an aggressive progressive agenda. He hasn`t compromised yet. But he continues to have good relationships with Republican leaders, at least in the Senate.
WILLIAMS: Great assessment, of course, Portman has a chance to be a hero on his way out the door, having announced he`s not going to stand for reelection.
Jon Meacham, how is it that the party of Margaret Chase Smith is now the party of Marjorie Taylor Greene, and with each new day, each new big dig into her social media, we learned something else. Just in the last 24 hours, she believes it was a Jewish funded space laser that started the 2018 wildfire, the worst in California history. Because it was trying to apparently defoliate for high speed rail, which is as far as I know how you go about such a thing. I know we`ve had some doozies, Jon, but have we ever had an elective representative in Congress, this disconnected from reality, that`s a high bar?
JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I don`t think so. And I must say as an Episcopalian, I`m a little concerned that we don`t have a high-speed laser. So, I`m going to talk to the --
WILLIAMS: Yeah, how do you think, we, catholic feel?
MEACHAM: Well, exactly, you know, and the Presbyterian said wanted to be predestined. So, we could go on. So -- but mercifully, we won`t.
The answer to your question is that the party of Margaret Chase Smith was also the party of Joe McCarthy. And there is a strain in the Republican Party that goes back to the end of the Second World War, born in the paranoia and the fear, some real fears about communism. The sense that FDR had sold us out at Yalta was kind of the Pearl Harbor and mixed metaphors of right-wing conspiracy thinking. You saw it move through the John Birch Society. And you`ve now seen it, flower and new and in a new century.
And I think, not to be overly grand about it. But, you know, Abraham Lincoln had to arbitrary between slavery and freedom. Franklin Roosevelt had to deal with capital and labor. Joe Biden is basically confronting an America where he has to find a way for reality to triumph over fantasy. And I think that that`s a remarkable challenge for anybody to go to what, John, was saying, I think my own view of the way to do it is to produce real results for people however you have to do it, and then argue to that percentage of the country that`s reachable, right? I mean, because there were 34 percent of the country, according to Washington Post, in 1955, still approved of Joe McCarthy after he had been censured, right? So that`s a pretty good number to think 35 percent, it`s probably not reachable.
But of the 74 million people who voted for Trump, some number of those, presumably, are reachable by reason. And I think that has to be the focus, not just to the administration, but of citizens, because I`m on a little campaign here to stop calling the country divided, because division suggests there are two equivalent camps that are at war with each other. I don`t see that the Democratic Party and the center left or in any way, equipment equivalent in their reflects of opposition or their conspiracy, thinking, as you alluded to, as the right is. And so, I would propose a test for every elected official, every citizen, and that is, do you believe Joe Biden is a legitimately elected and duly inaugurated president? And if you can say yes, then you have assented to a common conversation about the country. If you say no, then you are continuing to participate in a mendacious cult of personality. That`s about the acquisition of power and not the preservation of our democracy.
WILLIAMS: That`s a lot to think about right there. Dr. Patel, someone suggested to Donald Trump, hey, refer to yourself as a wartime president, it was clear the first briefing he ever mentioned that he loved that notion, the phrase, the idea, didn`t have the first clue how to act in that capacity. Well, Joe Biden does and is, and I am guessing you are thrilled at the return of competence and diligence and rigor and expertise and regular briefings for a public hungry for information.
PATEL: Yeah, absolutely, Brian. And we`ve already seen evidence of that. And you can tell even just in the amount of information coming not just from the White House directly, but you`re seeing kind of all of his cabinet members. And at any chance anybody involved in his executive team get, they`re constantly and consistently reminding people that getting America and the economy, especially all of the aspects of function back to normal really is going to rely on having a handle on the pandemic. And he`s been very blunt and very honest about how the dark days are ahead. And I think that just that reality check, acknowledging as he did today at Walter Reed service members, and as hard as this vaccine distribution feels, and it`s really hard right now, he is acknowledged that he`s going to spend day and night trying to figure out how to improve it.
And just the fact that you`ve seen so many scientists and Dr. Fauci himself, be able to comfortably talk about the difficulty with mutations and strains and technical issues related to these vaccines themselves, that`s such a refreshing 180. And it is not meant to be political. He really meant it when he said that science is going to lead. And it has nothing to do with politics. It really is bringing the American people to facts as we uncover them. And as we discover the data and that happens on a daily basis.
WILLIAMS: John Karl, back to politics. And it`s never fair, by the way coming off, Meacham. I`m convinced Meacham and Beschloss meet daily to divide up the list of the best words, and then they come on here and use them on this broadcast. But, Mr. Karl, have the Republicans in plain English kind of settled on a brand, which is, Lord, we`re scared to piss off the mega crowd?
KARL: Well, I think there`s a division within that party about whether that is the approach or it`s to try to turn the page. Right now, that is the approach that is in the lead. I mean, just watch what happens when the Republicans in the House meet next week, as a as a conference. And one of the items potentially on the agenda is whether or not to remove Liz Cheney from leadership because she had the temerity to support impeaching Donald Trump and only impeaching Donald Trump, but very strongly saying that he bore responsibility for what happened on January 6.
Look, Liz Cheney is not going to be removed. It would take two-thirds of the Republicans. There aren`t two thirds the Republicans in the House to do that. But more than half of them have signed on to a letter, calling for a special vote to remove her. That`s an amazing thing. And you`ve seen no court corresponding action against Marjorie Taylor Greene. You`ve seen, you know, some outrage at what she has said. But, you know, and McCarthy -- Kevin McCarthy, the Republican Leader is going to have a talking to her that hasn`t happened yet, by the way. He says it`s going to happen next week. But I don`t get any sense that she`s going to be removed from her committee assignments, or any of the steps that were taken when Steve King, the congressman Republican from Iowa, said some clearly racist things and McCarthy to his credit, took actions, tripped his committee assignments, but that`s not happening now. And why is that not happening? Marjorie Taylor Greene is somebody that was lauded by Donald Trump as a star, as a star. Marjorie Taylor Greene is somebody who won a Republican primary with the support of Mark Meadows, who at the time was Donald Trump`s Chief of Staff, and also the support of Jim Jordan, Donald Trump`s, you know, perhaps greatest champion in the House, so yes, tough times ahead for the Republicans.
WILLIAMS: But she has hutzpah, she wears a face mask that says censored while speaking on live national television. That`s a tough one to pull off. John Karl, Dr. Kavita Patel, Jon Meacham, what a way to start off for us tonight. We`re much obliged to our big three.
Coming up, a House divided to put it mildly, even though we`ve been admonished not to use the D word. We`ll talk to one Member of Congress, who says the security threat is real. And MTG, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon Congresswoman should be thrown out after turning the GOP into a cult.
And later, just who is The Devil You Know? I`ll ask the author behind that provocative title, Charles Blow standing by to join us as the 11th Hour just getting underway on a Friday night.
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REP. CORI BUSH, (D) MISSOURI: You should care enough about your colleagues and if you don`t believe in that, if you don`t believe that we should have safety, if you don`t believe that, that this is a true health crisis where a 400,000 people in this country have lost their lives, if you won`t, if you will not honor that and respect those families and respect the people in your community, 750,000 you are supposed to protect that you are supposed to serve and represent. If you won`t do that then let go of this job. It is not for you.
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WILLIAMS: That woman Congresswoman Bush is moving her office away from her Republican colleague, the QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene citing the safety of her staff. The two of them got into a heated exchange earlier this month, as Greene live streamed herself, of course, walking through a Capitol tunnel. It was about the wearing of masks. It`s yet another indication of the heightened tension on the Hill.
Politico sums it up this way, Some House lawmakers are privately refusing to work with each other. They write. Others are afraid to be in the same room. Two members almost got into a fistfight on the floor. Speaker of the House is warning that the enemy is within. Forget Joe Biden`s calls for unity, members of Congress couldn`t be further divided. There`s that divided board again.
Well for more, we are happy to welcome back to the broadcast, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington State. She happens to be the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and sits importantly on both the House education, more on that in a bit, and Judiciary Committees.
Congresswoman, it`s hard to know where to begin. Thank you for being with us. First of all, what are your thoughts about having seated on your education committee, a woman who, first starters, believes a Jewish funded space laser started the largest fire to your south in California history?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Brian, it is stunning, absolutely stunning that Republicans would seat Marjorie Taylor Greene on the Education Committee given exactly that view of, you know, Jewish funded lasers being the cause of wildfires but equally stunning that this is a woman who believes that Newtown and Parkland, the shootings were staged. And the insult to those families is difficult to describe. But even more than that, Brian, and I think this is what your last panel was getting at. This isn`t just about Marjorie Taylor Greene. This is about the Republican Party. This is about the Republican leadership. And Marjorie Taylor Greene represents what I have come to believe are three fundamental truths about where the Republican Party is today? Number one, she epitomizes radicalization in clear, broad daylight. That is the conspiracy theories. That is the violent extremist groups that she is associated with. She is the epitome of all of that, but proudly and in open daylight.
Second, she epitomizes the discarding of democracy for the big lie. The big lie, of course, being the election being thrown or being fraudulent that she and other Republicans have ascribed to. And also, the big lie about exactly what is happening in this country, whether whatever issue you look at, there is a lie being told about what is actually happening in this country.
And then third, she represents what the Republican Party has become, a one- man cult. This is not a party of principles anymore. This is a party of one person. If you look at what the Arizona Democrat -- the Arizona Republican Party did, they censured Jeff Flake, Cindy McCain and Governor Ducey, why? Because they were not loyal enough to Donald Trump. This is a party that had an opportunity after the insurrection to take a different tack. But they didn`t.
Two-thirds of Republicans in the House voted to continue to overturn the election in spite of the most violent attack on the United States Capitol since the war of 1812. So the question is not whether Marjorie Taylor Greene should be in Congress or anywhere near it, I believe firmly she should not. The question is, what are Republicans doing about it? And so far, the answer is pretty darn silent.
If Kevin McCarthy goes and has a conversation with Marjorie Taylor Greene next week, I can guarantee you not much is going to change because she is a QAnon conspiracy theorist that is a group that is on the FBI`s domestic terrorist list, along with the Proud Boys and many of the other groups that were a part of this violent assault on the Capitol and the attempt to overthrow the government at the inciting of the former president.
WILLIAMS: A well-deserved position on that terrorist list, I hate to say it. Congresswoman Jayapal, thank you very much for coming on. You have -- you`ve set it all, especially about your colleague in the House. Pramila Jayapal with us from home, we appreciate you having us in.
Coming up for us, Nancy Pelosi warned of this danger from within. The FBI is worried about outside forces as well. They have to be. Frank Figliuzzi, on that portion of this story when we come back.
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MALCOLM NANCE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TERROR ASYMMETRICS PROJECT: There were likely assassination teams as what we would call a murder self within that group and we`re finding the FBI is charging people for that very conspiracy. They intended to go in find and kill high value person just like Nancy Pelosi and AOC. What we`ve seen happen is only the beginning of what will be a long-term series of insurrections.
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WILLIAMS: Boy, it`s not like that isn`t scary enough. As we reported a manhunt is underway to find the suspect believe to a planet two pipe bombs discovered near the Capitol the night before the insurrection, one at Republican headquarters, the other Democratic headquarters, thankfully here with us tonight to talk about it Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI assistant director for counter Intel. He`s the author of the great new book, "The FBI Way: Inside The Bureau`s Code Of Excellence."
Frank, I`ll make this simple. You guys always look at things different from us civilians. When you look at this grainy surveillance video of this guy hoodie sneakers backpack, what do you see that we may not?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FMR. FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: Well, I`ve spoken with FBI agents today who are working this case and they need the public`s help. What they`re seeing on this is someone who planned, built bombs ahead of time planted two bombs the night before the insurrection and thought he or she would get away with it, but they need the public`s help. They need a crowdsourcing approach to this because they want the public to know a few things first, those two bombs were live. They were viable, explosive devices.
Number two, they need help with identifying the person who`s wearing these particularly unique Nike Air Max speed turf shoes. They`re black, gray, and yellow. I`m told that they are unique in that they were a little in addition in terms of that color and combination of make and model, only offered for sale during a certain period of time, someone out there knows.
Someone out there knows someone who has warned, purchased or sold those shoes to someone they need that help. They`ve also released the timer, photo of the timer`s used in these devices and they think someone may recognize that. They`re scouring geolocation data off of cell phone towers in the area. They`ve narrowed this down to January 5 in that neighborhood between the hours of 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Eastern. And also, they are coming up fairly empty on evidence regarding forensics and others that might point -- other clues that might point to a suspect.
But they believe that components they`ve found from the bomb were purchased at a major retailer may be things like places like Lowe`s or Home Depot, and they`re looking for that needle in the haystack purchase that combines the sneakers and the purchase at a Home Depot or Lowe`s or other national hardware retailer. They need the public`s help someone knows something, someone heard something, someone should report what they know.
WILLIAMS: I also didn`t mean to assume or assign a gender no one has made any comments could be he or she as you correctly pointed out. Frank the other night, I paraphrased you and your frustration that federal charges for this era. And sadly, this may be an error of domestic terrorism don`t really exist to your satisfaction, you made the comparison. You can make it better than I can. It`s like picking up someone after a bank robbery, Federal crime and charging them with having trespassed on bank property.
FIGLIUZZI: Yes, I understand that reasonable minds differ on this and we need to have that national discussion. But clearly, the charges we`ve seen so far, are not reflective of the gravity of what happened. Someone tried to steal our democracy on January 6, a number of people and if they had tried to steal money from a bank, they would be facing more serious consequences than trespass or stealing Nancy Pelosi his podium.
The encouraging news is that in the last two hours as you played in the clip, the FBI has now made what appears to be the first arrest for conspiracy, two Proud Boys members in connection with the interaction. That means serious charges are coming but there`s still no law on the books against domestic terrorism. We define domestic terrorism in the law. We don`t outlaw, it`s the only Criminal Investigative program in the FBI where they can investigate you for it. But they can never charge you with it. It doesn`t exist.
WILLIAMS: Frank Figliuzzi, author, friend of this broadcast, stay close to a camera. We will always have questions for you, Frank. Thanks for joining us on this Friday night. And coming up for us. New York Times columnist Charles Blow, he is here to explain why he thinks it`s a good idea for black Americans to go on a journey, which we will explain after this break.
WILLIAMS: In his latest book, New York Times columnist Charles Blow calls for black Americans to head south to achieve racial justice and power through a reverse great migration. He writes this in part quote, I`m not advocating for a black nationalism, but a black regionalism not to be apart from America, but stronger within it, through consolidation and concentration. The goal is not sedition but liberty.
And for more Indeed, we are so pleased to welcome to the broadcast that celebrated New York Times columnist, Charles Blow, author of the powerful new piece of writing "The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto." Notably, he is also author of the astounding and personal memoir, "Fire Shut Up in My Bones."
Charles, it strikes me that another towering book, The Warmth of Other Suns, could be the preface for your new book, because in so many ways, it leaves off at the end of one migration, you are talking about another for the haters, please, pre but what your book is not about for the fans, please preview what your book is about.
CHARLES BLOW, AUTHOR, "THE DEVIL YOU KNOW": Right. So, I`m trying to advocate for black people to move back to the place where they were before the Great Migration. So, at the end of the Civil War, three southern states were majority black, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, another three states were within four percentage points of being majority black, most other states were heavily black.
And the only reason that that did not hold, only reason that people black people were not basically a regional power in the south was that they were in part chased out of the south by white terror. And that I make the case that not only can that victory, not stand, that last opportunity for real regional power, must be recaptured. And so, I`m advocating that people move back to those space states so they can have greater influence in their political lives.
WILLIAMS: I want to read you a quote from someone we both know, a guy who has flown his missions in life and certainly in the struggle, in fact, met his late wife in jail who among us can say that? This is Congressman Jim Clyburn in South Carolina. I do not want to be unfair about this. But one of the reasons I don`t like this unity argument is because I`ve been black all my 80 years and in the south, the South was unified against me. There was Southern unity for segregation. So, you have to be relative about this. You can`t you can be unified and be in human, unity is to me something we have to be careful about. I`m assuming you concur.
BLOW: Yes, because here`s the problem with this idea. Unified with whom? Where is the center point between me and a person who would demean my own sense of humanity? Where is the center point between me and the person who cheers on the caging of children is separating a family? Where is the center point between me who and the person who believes that Haiti and African countries or S whole countries, what does it mean? What do I have to give up morally in order to be unified with you? Is anything worth that?
WILLIAMS: Charles blow, I hope we sell a bunch of books tonight, because it`s important people read and understand your very productive -- provocative point. And the point behind the provocative title in this book, the book is "The Devil You Know, A Black Power Manifesto." It has been our great pleasure to have the noted New York Times columnist, Charles Blow among our guests tonight. Thank you. Have a good weekend and good luck with this by the way.
BLOW: Thank you so much Brian.
WILLIAMS: Coming up, our next guest wrote an anthem of the Women`s March. She`s now collaborating with the woman who delivered the spoken word Anthem of the Biden inauguration.
WILLIAMS: That was our next guest. We played that video for you a week ago on the exact four-year anniversary of the Women`s March and we are so excited to have the artists behind the song with us here tonight. She is the artist named Milck and her latest calling was a collaboration with the woman of our moment youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, head of President Biden`s inauguration.
So, let`s talk about all of it. And for more we welcome to the broadcast the singer songwriter, activist, Milck. I can`t thank you enough for coming on. I heard from so many musician friends of mine who weren`t aware contemporaneously of the song at the time of the march who were just knocked out by it, it has notes of a spiritual, the high harmonies are so beautiful talk about your motivation and your process and bringing that to life.
MILCK, SINGER/SONGWRITER: Thank you, Brian. And it`s really good to be with you. I love the piece that you aired last week. The visuals are really powerful and kind of brought home all the last four years.
The song is a product of my own healing. I think as artists, when we heal ourselves through our artwork, we in turn naturally heal others. And that song was my reckoning with my past with sexual assaults, and being a woman, being a woman of color, and feeling like I needed to be silent in order to get by in this world. And it was a moment for me to change the story and take it back. And when I brought it to the Women`s March, I really felt that same feeling of desiring to take my power back in my personal life when I was watching the nation go through the political evolution as it was in 2016.
So, in 2017, January, I decided to take it and I decided to sing with a bunch of strangers to create harmony, because harmony has been one of my favorite ways to reclaim trust in myself. I think a lot of us who have gone through abuse, lose trust in ourselves. And when we learn to sing our own notes and trust ourselves when others are singing different notes around us. It`s a really healing emotion. So, wanted to bring that to the Women`s March as an offering. And we are what happened with it going viral was beyond my imagination.
WILLIAMS: Well, we could play it here every night and never do your work full justice. It is simply gorgeous. Let`s talk about Amanda Gorman, who is, I think we can all agree having a cultural well-deserved moment put it this way. When was the last Super Bowl that heard from a youth Poet Laureate? Oh, wait, we`ve never done that before. So, it`s perfectly fitting with everything being upside down. Talk about your collaboration with her.
MILCK: Yes, I think it`s my dream come true to hear poetry during the Super Bowl. I was asked to create a piece with Amanda Gorman for the National Day of racial healing. It`s the fifth annual National Day of racial healing it that was the day before the inauguration that we really the collaboration video that we created over the holidays. And working with Amanda was really special because I had already written somebody Beloved, this song that came from my own experience of realizing I am a woman of color. However, I`m also woman of color that doesn`t need to fear for her life doing day to day things.
And so, realizing my experience as an Asian woman in America has been really important to understand how to like, pick up alongside black and brown people in the United States. And so, when Amanda came and brought her poetry to the song, like one of my favorite lines that she taught says in that pieces, you know, instead of calling people out, let`s call people in. And I find that to be a really powerful sentiment, and I hold it dearly, to my heart. Because I feel like it`s easy to blame others or blame others.
And the piece we make, we`re hoping that we can all come to a place where we can actually heal, which is acknowledging the pain and having accountability, and then figuring out how to move forward.
WILLIAMS: Well, two terrifically talented women together in one project around here, we think you`re great. And thanks to the power of television, a whole bunch of our viewers now know you`re great. Thank you very much. Don`t forget us. Give us a call when you come out with your next project or magnum opus. Milck, thank you for being our guest. Have a good weekend. We`ll keep an eye on you. We`ll keep listening to your great work.
Coming up for us, I look at where we`ve been and where we are tonight.
WILLIAMS: Oh, there`s a voice we New Jerseyans gifted to the rest of the world. Last thing before we go tonight taking Frank`s advice there we thought we would leave you softly, it`s been a week hasn`t it for that matter. It`s been a couple of years that we have witnessed here together. So, in order to leave you softly on this Friday night, we thought it might be a good time to take stock of where we are and the return of normal.
Tonight, marks the end of Joe Biden`s first full week in office, not one American citizen that we`re aware of has awakened and said to themselves while reaching for their phone, Dear Lord, what has the President said or done now? Are we at war, has Rudy stopped dripping?
Another thing there were white house briefings every day this week, none of them a platform for lies or statements supporting the Dear Leader. None of the Biden children has been hired as advisor or counselor to the President. Dogs are back, Major and Champ Biden are exploring the 18-acre fenced in yard. Of course, who`s going to tell them they`re about to be joined by a cat.
The President today calmly took reporters` questions before boarding the helicopter. He yelled at no one berated no one. And there was this, a wife kissing her husband goodbye. In this case, First Lady Dr. Joe Biden wishing the president a good flight as he took off to visit wounded service members at Walter Reed.
All of it the way the president used to look the way the presidency used to look. Now let`s remember this was the week our government issued a bulletin warning us about the danger from our own fellow citizens. And we have QAnon congresswoman out there who believes the massive 2018 California wildfire was caused by a Jewish space laser.
But it turns out the work of the presidency can be done at lower volume. The anxiety that over the past four years has become America`s leading export to the world. Anxiety is coming down.
And so, for us, that`s our broadcast for this Friday night and for this week with our thanks for spending this time with us. Have a good weekend unless you have other plans. On behalf of all the men and women at the networks of NBC News, good night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END