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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 10/14/21

Guests: Barbara McQuade, Kimberly Atkins Stohr, Eugene Daniels, Mark McKinnon, Don Calloway, Vin Gupta


Former President Bill Clinton hospitalized with non-COVID related infection. Jan. 6th committee to pursue criminal referral for Trump ally and former Adviser Steve Bannon. Schumer plans vote on election legislation. FDA advisory group recommends Moderna booster for some Americans. Appeals court keeps TX abortion ban in place. Emotional support dogs join U.S. Capitol police force.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Tim O`Brien, thank you very much for joining us, I really appreciate it.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 268 of the Biden administration and we begin tonight with the breaking news we`ve been covering this evening, on former President Bill Clinton. He is hospitalized tonight in California at the University of California Irvine Medical Center. A spokesman for the former president released this statement tonight. It reads, "On Tuesday evening, President Clinton was admitted to UCI Medical Center to receive treatment for a non-COVID related infection. He is on the mend, in good spirits and is incredibly thankful to the doctors, nurses and staff providing him with excellent care."

Clinton`s doctor says he`s being continuously monitored and is responding well to antibiotics. The California based medical team has been in constant communication of course with the New York team including his cardiologist. President Clinton, a longtime heart patient, of course, is 75 years old. We`ll have more later on what`s known about the former president`s condition.

In the meantime, some of the news of this day includes the bipartisan House Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, escalating their effort to enforce a subpoena issued to Trump Lieutenant Steve Bannon. Trump has urged his allies not to cooperate with lawmakers. Bannon has fallen in line refusing to submit -- or requested documents, and today he was a no show for a scheduled deposition before the House Select Committee.

Today the panel announced it will move to hold Bannon in criminal contempt for not cooperating. More on that later. The Committee Chairman Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi today warned that witnesses who tried to stonewall the committee will not succeed.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, (D) MISSISSIPPI JAN.6 SELECT COMMITTEE CHAIR: We think Steve Bannon as information that`s germane to what happened on January 6, and if he refuses the subpoena, like we expect him to continue to do, then we`re left with no other choice. There are other things available to us. But we think the criminal gets us to where we need to be in the shortest period of time.


WILLIAMS: Thompson says the committee will vote to approve the contempt charge on Tuesday, then comes a vote by the full House. If that passes, it goes to the Justice Department. It will be up to the Attorney General Merrick Garland to decide on prosecution. Those are broad strokes of the process, of course, it could be drawn out by legal challenges or other actions could go to a full trial, appeals could draw it out for years and Steve Bannon knows that.

House members have also subpoenaed other former Trump officials for depositions. Ex-Pentagon official Kash Patel, former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his Deputy Dan Scavino, they were set to appear today and tomorrow. They`ve all been given short postponements by the committee.

Former President has weighed in referring to what he called the unselect committee and said, "They should hold themselves in criminal contempt." Tonight, Committee Chairman Thompson said this about whether Donald Trump would be subpoenaed.


THOMPSON: If former President Trump thinks he can get away with what happened on January 6, by being cute with his press releases, then he has another thing coming. Nobody is off limits to a subpoena from this committee.


WILLIAMS: Trump is facing a more immediate legal issue. However, in his home state Monday he`ll be giving a videotaped deposition at Trump Tower and a New York court case a lawsuit stemming from September 2015 incident. The suit was filed by demonstrators who say they were roughed up by his security guards outside of Trump Tower. A lawyer for Trump did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News. The suit is one of at least 10 civil cases pending against the former president.

Meanwhile, Democrats are planning to make another effort to try to break the GOP filibuster on voting rights legislation. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set a test vote for Wednesday to open debate. This puts pressure on wait for it. Senator Joe Manchin who had helped write a version of the bill he had hoped would win over the 10 Republicans that would need to stay alive.


REP. JAMES CLYBURN, (D) SOUTH CAROLINA: That deal imagine that done what he said he would do. And that`s to bring along 10 Republicans who will vote to allow the debate to go forward. If he doesn`t, we`re going to have to do around this filibuster.



WILLIAMS: Also tonight, there are major developments on the vaccine booster front. As you may have heard an FDA advisory panel has recommended emergency use authorization of a third dose of Moderna`s vaccine for folks over 65 and people younger who are at high risk.

There is more breaking news as well involving the Texas law that essentially bans all abortions after six weeks. Tonight, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals most conservative in the country had another chance to hold it off and they did not buy a two to one ruling, they have let it stand meaning the most restrictive abortion law in the land remains in the State of Texas.

With all that it`s time to bring in our starting line for this Thursday night, Eugene Daniels, White House Correspondent for Politico, Co-Author of each day`s edition of Politico Playbook, Kimberly Atkins Stohr, previously WBUR in the Boston Herald now a member of the Boston Globe Editorial Board, and Barbara McQuade, veteran federal prosecutor, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan who worked with the DOJ during the Biden transition. She is a professor at her alma mater University of Michigan Law School. She and Kimberly, by the way, make up 50% of the podcast, sisters in law, along with Joyce Vance and Jill Wine-Banks.

Well, good evening, and welcome to you all. And counselor indeed, I`d like to begin with you. Barb, I didn`t bring a bucket of cold water to this conversation intentionally. But I heard this business of a criminal contempt complaint explained today. Last time it happened in the house was in 1983, it`s got to be voted on by the House then goes to DOJ, meaning the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia, then maybe to a grand jury, then maybe to a jury trial, the House would select a trial lawyer to represent them at trial, then maybe to a series of appeals. And Barb it sure sounds like we`re talking about years and not months. Are we close to right on that?

BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I agree with you, Brian. In fact, it seems to me that strategically if what the committee really wanted here was compliance with the subpoena, the better course maybe to go the civil route, get a judge to order compliance. And then Bannon could be held in contempt of the court`s order and jailed civilly as a method of enticing his compliance for up to 18 months, that can all happen pretty quickly. Instead, by going the criminal route, it seems to me that they may be saying we`re willing to sacrifice the testimony of Steve Bannon, because we want to make a statement here and take a stand, we hope that the deterrent effect of his criminal prosecution, and perhaps imprisonment, will cause all of these other witnesses to comply. So that might be the strategy that they`re employing here.

WILLIAMS: Perhaps we`ll get an explanation from someone close to the committee. Kimberly, you are a storyteller by trade, and a lawyer in your spare time. So, I want to ask you about this 1/6 committee, they have the burden of storytelling on their side, they have the burden of reminding Americans just how critical a day this was, just what an assault our democracy was under. Will things like this Bannon matter, trip them up, slow them up, sally that kind of clear storytelling?

KIMBERLY ATKINS STOHR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it doesn`t have to. I mean, I think that Barb is absolutely right that clearly other people who they are seeking cooperation from, or at least talking with the committee moving forward, and they`re getting a little extra time to decide to come in and how exactly that will do that. And I do think that Steven Bannon is being used as an example here.

But I think the committee very much is just as much as it is tasked to get to the bottom and compel the testimony of the relevant witnesses. It is compelled to, the reason that it is there is to paint a picture for the American public about just what happened, what all the causes that led up to January sixth were, and what action should happen as a result. And they have to be storytellers in that sense, in order to paint that very, very clear picture.

On the other hand, Steve Bannon may very well use this as an opportunity to paint himself as some sort of political victim that this is just a "witch hunt," going after former President Trump and his allies and use that as some sort of political fuel for whatever endeavor he or the former president has next, whether it`s 2024, or something else. So, I think both sides here think that this could be an advantage in messaging in one form or another.

The difference is, and this comes with real criminal penalties. It may take a long time, but there`s serious. So, if Steve Bannon is willing to put that risk on the line in service to the former president, that`s his choice to make.


WILLIAMS: OK, Eugene, over to your beat. And it seems to me from our perch that the Biden White House has kind of methodically approving all these requests for documents, when the former Trump White House comes back and says, oh, no, no, that`s privileged. They`re saying what I think our two lawyers in this segment would agree with. And that is, that`s not a thing absent national security grounds if you`re a former president. Do you have the feeling that their goal is to get as much sunlight on what was taking place in the Trump White House 1/6 before and after as possible?

EUGENE DANIELS, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, I think that`s right. I mean, one thing that this White House is making very clear to Donald Trump and anyone who worked for Donald Trump, is that the privilege, executive privilege doesn`t continue with you when you walk out of the door, right? It is with the office, and not with the human being. And that`s something that he`s learning.

And Jen Psaki, the Press Secretary has said over and over and over to us in the press briefing room, that they want to find out what happened on January 6, not just because, you know, they are the other campaign, that was a part of that was a part of this election. But more importantly, because it`s about the democracy. And when you talk to them behind the scenes, they feel that exact same way even more strongly, that this was a scary day, a dark day for democracies, when we keep hearing from folks in the White House, and that they want to make sure that this January six committee has as much information as possible.

Now, it could be -- there is a possibility that at some point, they do, they don`t waive the executive privilege, right? They have said that they kind of, are doing this on a case-by-case basis. It`s hard to see what they would be trying to protect. But I think most of the things that they`re going to start doing is continuing this process, letting things out as much as they possibly can, especially around January 6, after other investigations about the Trump White House, they will then, you know, make their decision there. But I think on January 6 committee, they`re probably most likely going to allow most, if not all, of the requests go on through.

WILLIAMS: Barbara McQuade back over to you and the subject is now abortion. The most conservative of the regional federal courts in our country has ignored the last missive from the DOJ, meaning the Texas law stands. Barb, did this change anything materially beyond? Of course, the immediate needs of women in the state of Texas did this materially put this on an even faster track for the full Supreme Court?

MCQUADE: Well, this was kind of a necessary next step. I don`t think it`s surprising to anybody in light of the fact that this same court ruled administratively about a week ago that said that they were going to stop the order by the district court, that was putting an injunction on the enforcement of the abortion ban in Texas. And this is the same Fifth Circuit Court that back in September and swooped into that district court case and said, we are going to enforce this law and let this stand the books while all this gets litigated.

So, no surprise. But keep in mind, Brian, how extraordinary it is that we are in this posture. We have got standing precedent, Roe vs. Wade on the books, almost 50 years, if the U.S. Supreme Court wants to overrule that it has the power to do that. But a court of appeals, the Fifth Circuit, one of those intermediate courts of appeals, does not have the authority to overrule Supreme Court precedent. So, these days that they are invoking to allow the law to stay in effect and those constitutional rights to be violated while this litigation is pending, is really quite extraordinary.

WILLIAMS: And Kim on a human level, what does this mean for not just the women in Texas but the women in similarly minded states? Are we looking at what is in effect to nations where choice is concerned?

ATKINS STOHR: We are, and we have been for some time. I mean, keep in mind that we`ve been paying a lot of tension of attention to this Texas law because it is so restrictive, the most restrictive in the country. The Supreme Court is taking up a law in Mississippi, which is nearly as restrictive but there have been bans in place in states, restrictive abortion laws for the past several years that have been imposed by Republican led legislatures that have been slowly creating this two-tier system where people with means, people who are privileged don`t have access to safe abortions. And people who are poor, people tend to be black or brown, who disproportionately get more abortions for a host of reasons from economic reasons to just lack of adequate health care and the higher prevalence of pregnancy related complications are less, have less access to it.


I mean, if you were going to place like Missouri, the only place where abortions have been carried out for years is in St. Louis, if you live outside of that area, you have to travel to get it. And so, we have been seeing this creeping up for a long time, this two-tier system that is only getting worse, and certainly even if the Supreme Court overrules and strikes down Roe v. Wade, we`ll still have that two-tier system for some folks, it will remain inaccessible. And for others, it will be out of reach and perhaps and with deadly consequences.

WILLIAMS: Eugene, I saved the toughest question for you only because there may not be any solid reporting available on it. And that has to do with this test vote, six days from now that Schumer has called on voting rights. Is there a plan B in the Biden White House if they put something up and it fails?

DANIELS: No. There doesn`t seem to be a plan B. And the reason is because there`s only Plan A, right? There is nothing if there was something that this White House that this President could do that, he could sign to put federal voting rights legislation back on the map to put some more teeth into the civil rights legislation, they would have already done it. They know that they can, even though Vice President Kamala Harris has been working on this issue, a lot of what the White House knows its ability, the ability that it has, is to pressure, right outside pressure, use other groups to then do pressure on the Senate. Because something that President Biden has not said is that he is open to getting rid of the filibuster, even just for voting rights. You`ve heard that over and over from civil rights leaders that that is what they want to see. The President has not said that he`s open to that. And so, until he does that pressures, Senator Manchin, Senator Sinema to get on board and whatever other moderates that might not also agree to get rid of the filibuster at this point, then there`s almost nothing that can be done. I think that is what is frustrating, voting rights advocates, because they see the president, you know, having all of these meetings go all over the country twist arms, for infrastructure for the care economy. And not that -- and not doing the exact same thing for voting rights, even though he calls it an, says there`s an existential threat to the country if there`s not better federal voting rights legislation, I think.

So, you have the president saying one thing, and then seemingly not doing another to actually shore that up. So, there`s not a lot of hope that this test vote is going to do anything and more importantly, that is going to lead the administration to do anything because there`s not much that they can do.

WILLIAMS: Eugene Daniels, Kimberly Atkins Stohr, Barbara McQuade, our thanks to our starting line for taking all of our questions on a Thursday night.

Coming up for us, a consequential off year election that`s being closely watched. And while Trump isn`t on the ballot, he of course, is a factor, our political experts here to talk about what`s at stake in the race that so many view as an important test for Democrats and Republicans.

And later Dr. Vin Gupta here to break down everything we need to know about today`s recommendation from the FDA on boosters. And the latest information on former President Clinton hospitalized in California tonight, all of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Thursday evening overlooking the U.S. Capitol.




REP. MADELEINE DEAN, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: I see it as a sign of extraordinary insecurity and weakness. Any one of these people shouldn`t need a subpoena at all. As an American, as a patriot, as a citizen who suffered the insurrection that was not an attack on Democrats in Congress, it was an attack on the entire government including the Republican sitting Vice President.


WILLIAMS: Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, Democrat of Pennsylvania, the refusal of Trump allies to comply with the January 6 committee subpoenas raises an obvious question, what do they have to hide?

Back with us tonight, Don Calloway, Democratic Strategist, Founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund, and Mark McKinnon, former adviser to both George W. Bush and John McCain. He is among the co-hosts of the Circus on Showtime.

Gentlemen, good evening to you both. Mr. McKinnon, just to show you that I am never above a shameless plug. We`re going to preview Sunday night`s episode of The Circus by running a snippet of a conversation Mr. Heilmann had with Mr. Schiff of California. We`ll discuss on the other side.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA JAN. 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: We need to get answers to how this attack on the Capitol took place. Why took place, what we need to do to protect the country going forward? And frankly, what was the President`s role before during and after that insurrection? Do we need to use every tool to get answers? And I think the answer is yes.


WILLIAMS: Of course, because it`s the Circus, the interview had to be shot in a restaurant or bar. But I digress. Mark, what do you make of what Schiff just said there? And where are we going to see consequences?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO JOHN MCCAIN & GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I think it`s pretty clear now that the committee intends to not only issue subpoenas but enforce subpoenas. And the question is, I mean, it`s pretty - - it`s also clear that any of Trumps allies, including and especially Bannon, are going to defy them, they see it as a badge of honor. They also recognize that there`s not much teeth in the current subpoenas as drawn up by Congress. And I think that`s got to change by the way in the future. I mean, Bannon is obviously going to draw this out over months and months. And criminal penalties, I think are only up to a year, which are not particularly consequential and unlikely to be imposed. So, I think Bannon and company are just going to flout this, again, they`ve -- the more they do this, the stronger they are on Trump`s side, so they kind of love it. I expect the Steve Bannon is proud to have a subpoena is bragging about it.

So, but I do think that the Democrats finally are dropping the hammer, going to lay out the subpoenas and then they`re going to push it to the wall which they need to do.

WILLIAMS: Don, what does the committee need to do? This is a two-prong question really to be legit in the eyes of Americans and legit in the eyes of worried Democrats?

DON CALLOWAY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: That`s a great question, Brian. A great two questions if you will. I think the first thing they need to do is my man Chairman Bennie Thompson has to be ready to use the authority that he has in the form of subpoenas and civil and potentially even criminal penalties.


And if he -- I know he`s strong enough of a leader to be willing to do that, but he`s got to communicate to the American people that yes, he`s willing to do that. Last week you had me on, and I got beat up by your Twitter followers for saying that we shouldn`t do that. I wasn`t saying Democrats shouldn`t enforce it, I was saying that we should understand that that probably comes with serious political consequences, then again, I have to remind myself that the political consequences would be suffered by that middle aged white man voter who has long since left the Dominican -- excuse me, at the Dominican, the Democratic Party, and therefore we shouldn`t be chasing this unicorn of a voter that we haven`t had since 1960.

So, Bennie Thompson has got to be strong, and be prepared to enforce because these congressional subpoenas like Mark said, are only as strong as the teeth that they have. And Democrats have got to make it very clear that we`re willing to go strong. I think that answered both prongs of your question, Brian.

WILLIAMS: Yes, by the way, in a Twitter fight, my money`s on you, Don, any day.

Mark, let`s make a transition in topic over to this development tonight. The last hurdle has been taken down meaning in Texas, the most restrictive law of the land is enforced in that state. Do you have any read on where Texas voters male and female, both parties are on this?

MCKINNON: Well, Brian, Texas is the tip of the spear on all Republican legislation that is going as far right as possible. We see it on voting rights, we see it on abortion, we see it on guns, we see what`s happening on the border. The question is, when does the pendulum swing too far? And when you talk about vigilante justice, when a woman`s dealing with one of the toughest decisions in our life, I think that that`s way over the line for a lot of people, including and especially women in Texas, that is just way beyond what anybody anticipated, I think.

I think that it`s been a convenient talking point for Republicans in primaries. I don`t think anybody really expected this sort of this sort of law to go, to be put in place, it would be so restrictive and have people vigilante justice on the part of citizens taking people to court. So, I think there`s going to be real repercussions for this, Brian. Looks, even look at Ron DeSantis in Florida who looked at the Texas law and said, well, that may be a bridge too far. And if DeSantis saying it`s a bridge too far, it`s probably a bridge too far.

WILLIAMS: Both of these gentlemen are sticking with us. We`re going to take a break.

Coming up, when we continue our conversation, we`ll talk about the effect of Trump and Trump ism on this widely watched Virginia governor`s race and how it just might backfire for the party that Trump personally controls.




TERRY MCAULIFFE, (D) FORMER GOVERNOR AND VIRGINIA DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Last night was a total game changer. It was one of the saddest things ever seen. So, at a Youngkin rally, host, as you said there by Steve Bannon. He started off by doing pledge of allegiance to a flag that was up here on January 6 for the insurrection. That alone is disqualified.


WILLIAMS: So that happened last night. Supporters of Republican Glenn Youngkin also called the insurrection a peaceful protest. That`s what we remember from 1/6, correct. A reminder that American flags were used as weapons on January 6 to assault police officers. For his part, the Republican candidate for governor and the Commonwealth of Virginia issued a statement calling it, "weird and wrong to pledge allegiance to a flag connected with January 6."

Still with us are Don Calloway and Mark McKinnon.

Hey, Mark, I want to get your reaction. The candidate stayed away from this rally for the Republican ticket in Virginia. Donald Trump calls into the rally and they pull the stand with the flag, and we all remember what flags and flag poles were used for on this day. Does this go into the unforced error category?

MCKINNON: Sure does, Brian. And this just testifies to the problem that Republicans really have with Trump still on the radar screen. Youngkin in this race, absent Trump and given Biden`s standings would actually probably be doing pretty well.

This whole campaign has been Youngkin trying to avoid any attachment to Trump. And McAuliffe has done a pretty good job of hanging Trump around his neck. So, this race is a really good example of how Trump is problematic for the future of the party because absent Trump, Youngkin maybe, would be running away with this race. But given Trump`s baggage and the anchors that he puts on the candidates, it`s a problem and it`s going to end up until Trump`s off, out of the picture.

WILLIAMS: As you will know the new polling out of Fox News today has McAuliffe at 51, Youngkin 46. The Democrats are bringing in the big artillery. They`re not fooling around here. So, they`re flying in Obama, Pelosi, Abrams out of Georgia, Dr. Jill Biden will be there. Joe Biden has already visited, Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta. Mark explained to folks why a gubernatorial off year election in the Commonwealth of Virginia is a high stakes affair?

MCKINNON: Well, this is going to make huge news, Brian, whichever way it goes, people are going to say this is a harbinger of what`s going to be for 2022. And it`s interesting to see that McAuliffe is pulling in all the Democrats and Youngkin is running away from Trump.

And one of the things that poll shows which I think is interesting is that Democrats, despite difficulty right now in Congress, with the president and with the Congress, are still 10 points more popular than Republicans are in Virginia. So, it`s a Democratic leaning state right now. And if McAuliffe can take advantage of that, bringing the troops, galvanize the Democrats in the state, who are still pretty positive about Biden. So that`s the game for McAuliffe. But at the end of the day, it doesn`t matter what, you know -- the only thing is going to matters who wins because if McAuliffe wins, it`s going to be a big win for Biden and if Youngkin wins, it`s going to be a big win for Trump.


WILLIAMS: By the way to our viewers who might wonder if Don Calloway has entered the witness protection program, he`s having some Wi-Fi issues, and we`re trying to get a stronger signal out of him so he can hear us and vice versa.

Oh, Don, there you are. Thank goodness, we were worried about you. I want to play for you, and exchange between our friend Andrea Mitchell and Terry McAuliffe. We`re going to talk about his significance on the other side.


MCAULIFFE: Now, if I were running the show here, I get everybody in a room.


MCAULIFFE: Let`s get everybody in room, lock the door. What do you need? What do you need? And let`s get this thing done.


WILLIAMS: So, Don, explained to folks watching who might wonder, OK, so you`re running for governor of West Virginia? Why so much talk about the president congressional Democrats filibuster, why talk about the process inside Congress?

CALLOWAY: Because you want to show expertise in a post Trump world where people are trying to get back to some normalized version of American leadership, you want to elect people that can demonstrate some knowledge of what`s going on. Unfortunately, those issues on some macro level are probably germane to Virginia. But unfortunately, the average person watching T. Mc perform right there doesn`t know that these aren`t Virginia issues, and probably doesn`t make the distinction between Virginia political problems and Washington, D.C. political problems even though the towns are just 90 minutes apart.

What they`re looking for is expertise. And T. Mc is a pro. He knows how to sound smart and gets because he is a smart guy. But he knows how to sound competent, but still somehow relatable. And I know that was a weird moment to get his expertise on whatever is happening with the Biden administration. But we also have to remember that T. Mc is the consummate democratic insider. So, these conversations that are happening on Capitol Hill, these conversations that are happening within the administration are certainly coming across him because he`s a very substantial democratic fundraiser, in addition to being a democratic elected official.

T. Mc is a unique dude. But I just think it`s incumbent upon me to say that Youngkin is a Republican, his commercials if you`re here in the DMV area, clearly never say that word, as long as a young man running for A.G., but I believe in transparency and politics. So, I figured I`d put it out there.

WILLIAMS: There you have it. That`s why we`re so happy to have you back. Don Calloway, Mark McKinnon, gentlemen, we`ll keep doing this again, because you`re both friends of this broadcast. Thank you both very much for staying up with us.

Coming up a rare, unanimous decision about a booster shot. And another big decision is on the way from the Feds. Dr. Vin Gupta is taking our questions, he`s standing by, we`ll be right back with him.




JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: The FDA is reviewing data on Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters. We expect a final decision from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC in the next couple of weeks already, or the one out of three eligible seniors have gotten their third shot. They`re free, available and convenient to get.


WILLIAMS: So, an FDA panel has approved Madonna`s booster shot for those who qualify. Tomorrow they move on to consider J & J. A larger question remains about whether boosters are needed for all Americans over 18.

Important back with us tonight, Dr. Vin Gupta, a Critical Care Pulmonologist in Seattle who has advised us on public health throughout this pandemic. He also happens to be on the faculty at the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Doctor, I promised to our audience at the top of the hour that we would talk to you about the condition of former President Clinton, and we will do that right before we move on to these vaccines. Based on what is out there and available, based on your knowledge and expertise, what do you think happened here?

DR. VIN GUPTA, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Brian, just looking at reporting, it looks like the former president had a urinary tract infection meaning, however it was caused, there was an infection in his bladder or potentially in his kidneys. And his body responded and that response, Brian is called sepsis, there was inflammation. Maybe his heart rate was elevated. It sounds like some of his labs for elevated suggesting had this infection. Often for your viewers out there, any of your viewers have been impacted by sepsis or an infection, they have low blood pressure, they have a high fever. So that`s exactly what it looks like the president experience, critically, Brian, early intervention is vital. So, recognition of this clinical syndrome, sepsis is vital early so we can get antibiotics and people early, which is exactly what happened, that the President is awake, alert, talking is really important. It`s going to be critical to understand this, healing medications to support his blood pressure, or is he off of those types of medications? Was he ever on them? And how quickly -- that`s going to dictate how quickly he gets out of the hospital and ultimately back home.

WILLIAMS: All good questions as we noted, he`s been a hard patient for almost two decades. He is 75 years old. And also, the folks around him tonight made known that he was walking around, joking with the staff, complaining about hospital food. So, all good indicators there.

Doc, let`s pivot now to the Moderna booster, this still has to be a CDC approved before people can line up and get it but on the Moderna, they`ve decided just to half dose is good enough because of the potency of the first two shots?

GUPTA: That`s exactly right, Brian, you know, frankly, and this is what vaccine experts on these panels was -- were already noting to media is that two doses of Moderna, even if you`re high risk seem to be pretty darn good, many months out at six months out. And so that`s why they`re saying there is some question, do we actually need that booster, but they have decided to greenlight a half dose booster, I think in part for consistency purposes.

My mother, for example, got two doses of Moderna, I`m wondering what she`s going to get the booster. I`ve heard something similar. So, to avoid confusion, to remain consistent, recognizing that we need to be humble about the uncertainty that lies ahead, it was the right move. But that is the reason why that half dose was it was indicated because those first two doses of Moderna were a higher concentration than the first two doses of Pfizer.

WILLIAMS: I want to play you something that came out of the FDA panel meeting today. This is pediatrician and noted vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit, and Doc I`ll ask you to interpret what he`s saying here on the other side.


DR. PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE: I just think that we continue to send warm messages out there by using terms like breakthrough and by making people feel that they`re not protected unless it`s on a third dose. The problem in this country is vaccinating the unvaccinated. I just worry that we haven`t clearly defined what the goal of this vaccine is, because if the goal of this vaccines is to prevent asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infection that is a goal for which we have set no other vaccine. (END VIDEO CLIP)


WILLIAMS: So, Doctor, as I hear that all I`m hearing is it`s so clear we need to prioritize vaccinating the unvaccinated and breakthrough is scarier to some people than the reality of it. Is that about right?

GUPTA: That`s right, and Paul Offit, Dr. Offit is exactly correct here. I see this as a one doctor, no vaccine, Brian that has ever been made in history was ever intended to prevent somebody from testing positive from a contagious airborne virus. That`s just not the way these vaccines protect you against those types of pathogens. We cannot now redefine what it means to be vaccinated and what the end goal is here. He is exactly correct. The purpose of vaccination is to prevent serious disease to keep you out of the hospital. If we`re trying to redefine the end outcome is, we want the vaccine to protect you from mild illness or from testing positive. We are never going to achieve that goal at scale. We`re setting ourselves up for failure.

And by the way, all we`re doing is creating a situation where the unvaccinated and I`ve heard this directly think that vaccines don`t work. While terrifying those have gotten to dose of the shot and are otherwise protected.

WILLIAMS: We have about 45 seconds left, can you give us a quick update on virus levels, case numbers, deaths or where you are Pacific Northwest?

GUPTA: Well, you know, Seattle is a hub for a five-state region, Brian, Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, you name it. So, what we see here in the Pacific Northwest in Seattle is indicative of the stress across the region. I`ll say the stress across the region is what we`re seeing across the country, 15 to 1800 Americans dying day over day, over 10,000 Americans still dying weekly. We`re not through this pandemic quite yet. Cold and froze around the corner. I urge all your viewers to please stay vigilant end of the winter is when we can really emerge from this safely.

WILLIAMS: Thank you for taking our questions tonight. Our guest again this evening has been our friend Dr. Vin Gupta.

Coming up for us, an attempt to ease the trauma that is still so raw for those who were defending our capital on 1/6.



WILLIAMS: It was over this past summer when the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection held their first hearing. During that hearing, you`ll recall some of the officers who responded to the riot at the Capitol explained the lasting toll the attack had on their physical but mostly mental health and now there is a new therapy program available for Capitol Hill police officers, and it`s a welcome sight. We`ll put it that way. NBC News correspondent Garrett Haake has the story tonight from Washington.


GARRETT HAAKE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Capitol Hill in Washington, there are new officers in town, younger, freer and more easily distracted by squirrels than your typical police. Meet three-year-old Lyler (ph). The Capitol Police Department`s first ever full-time emotional support dog. four-year-old Leo (ph) joined the force this fall too.

CAROLINE EDWARDS, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: Dogs come up to you and they`re all happy. Police officers don`t get a lot of people who come up to them. We`re happy to see them.

JEFFREY ALBANESE, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: I think it makes a world of difference, it does for me.

HAAKE: For Capitol Police officers Caroline Edwards and Jeff Albanese, the sights and sounds of January 6 are still vivid today.

EDWARDS: Those images, the smells, the yelling, the -- you know, the chaos that day was a warzone.

ALBANESE: Just hearing the calls for help, hearing that the locations that people needed help.

HAAKE: The two officers are among many battling anxiety, depression and lingering injuries from the attack, four responding officers from that day have also since died by suicide.

Capitol Police now working to prioritize the mental health of officers with tools like peer-to-peer counseling, helping cops talk to other cops about what they`ve experienced.

DIMITRI LOUIS, WELLNESS COORDINATOR U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: Over time, all agencies have recognized that it takes a lot more than just physical wellness, to have a well officer.

EDWARDS: Petting a dog can make your whole day better.

HAAKE: You`re like five times as happy just talking about it.

EDWARDS: I know.

HAAKE: A new best friend for the men and women in Capitol Police blue. Garrett Haake, NBC News, the Capitol.


WILLIAMS: Who`s a good dog. Coming up for us, an incident from a school district in Texas, that should put all school districts, all teachers, all librarians on alert.



WILLIAMS: As it is time for the last thing before we go tonight, let us set the scene for what you`re about to hear. This happened in Texas, which will sadly make sense in a perverse kind of way once you`ve heard it.

You`re about to hear a recording from the South Lake Texas School District where they`re under pressure to police the books in the school libraries. A fourth-grade teacher there was reprimanded for having a book about anti- racism, for example, the district sat down in order to vet all books and avoid anything with a singular narrative that could be considered offensive.

The voice you`ll hear was recorded during a training session with teachers, the speaker you`re going to hear is Gina Petty, the Director of Curriculum talking about the effect of this new Texas law.


GINA PETTY, DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM: We are in the middle of a political mess. And you are in the middle of a political mess. And so, we just have to do the best that we can. And so, we`re going to go and we`re going to do, you`re going to do what you do best in that to teach kids.

TEACHER: I think we`re all just really terrified.

PETTY: I think you are terrified. And I wish I could take that away. I do. I can`t, I can`t do that. You are professionals. We hired you as professionals. We trust you with our children. So, if you think the book is OK, then let`s go with it. And whatever happens, we will fight it together. We will. There`s a lot of districts that are in the exact same spot we`re in, and no one knows how to navigate these waters. I mean, no one.

As you go through, just try to remember the concepts of 3979 and make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspective.

TEACHER: How do you oppose the Holocaust? What?

PETTY: Believe me, that`s coming up.

Teacher: So, "Number the Stars"?


WILLIAMS: That`s powerful stuff there. Gina Petty did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

Just for the record here because these are serious times, and this kind of talk is pernicious and dangerous. There`s no other perspective on the Holocaust, 6 million Jews were rounded up in some cases work to death, starve to death, shot, gassed, they were exterminated. Any books saying otherwise, any other perspective on the Holocaust has no place in our schools. It`s anti-history. Then again, there`s been a lot of that going on these days.

That`s going to do it for our Thursday evening broadcast with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.