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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 10/15/21

Guests: Susan Page, Cynthia Alksne, Irwin Redlener, Bill Kristol, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Rick Wilson


Jan. 6 committee moves to hold Bannon in contempt. Biden sells domestic agenda to voters in Connecticut. WH to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated on Nov. 8. FDA panel recommends J&J COVID booster shot for adults. DOJ to ask SCOTUS to block TX abortion ban.


ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC HOST: That is tonight`s "LAST WORD." You can catch me every weeknight at 6 p.m. Eastern on the Choice from MSNBC exclusively on Peacock. THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Friday night, good evening once again, day 269 of the Biden administration. Tonight, as the January 6 committee prepares to go after Trump allies, Steve Bannon, for defying its subpoena, a process that is just getting underway. Today the president added his full-throated support for their mission.


JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: I hope that the committee goes after him and hold him accountable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should they be prosecuted by the Justice Department?

BIDEN: I do, yes.


WILLIAMS: Not long after that, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden "supports the work of the committee and the independent role of the Department of Justice to make any decisions about prosecutions."

The spotlight will be on the January 6 committee as we enter next week, Tuesday evening, they vote on a report recommending to the full House that Steve Bannon be cited for criminal contempt of Congress that begins a long process in and of itself. Earlier on this network. Betsy Woodruff Swan of Politico describe what will go into that report.


BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN, POLITICO NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Before they take that vote, they will issue a report. I believe this report will be public and the report is going to lay out the case against Bannon. What the committee wants from him, the steps they took to try to get him to cooperate voluntarily, his defiance of their requests and demands for information and finally, language for a House resolution that the committee will vote on holding Bannon in contempt.


WILLIAMS: As this congressional investigation gains momentum, there are new developments in the criminal prosecutions related to that riot and insurrection. U.S. Capitol Police Officer Michael Riley, a 25-year veteran of the force has been charged with trying to help protect one rioter who was charged with illegally entering the Capitol during the 1/6 attack.

A grand jury indictment says officer Riley repeatedly told this man on Facebook to get rid of all social media that would prove he had ever entered the Capitol. Officer Riley has been placed on leave and is facing obstruction of justice charges. Today the Capitol Police Union had issued a statement that read in part, "We need to wait until all the facts of the case are known and this officer has been given the opportunity to defend himself."

Meantime, President Biden making his case to the public for the infrastructure and social safety net and climate bills at the heart of his domestic agenda. He spent much of the day in Connecticut talking up both proposals. Behind the Scenes Biden`s trying to broker a deal to bring Democrats together to support these bills. It`s Democrats holding them up after all.

New York Times report tonight says Biden`s plan to replace fossil fuels with clean energy will probably be dropped because of opposition from Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia which happens to be a coal state.

Meanwhile, the nation`s 42nd President remains hospitalized tonight. Bill Clinton admitted to the University of California Irvine Medical Center Tuesday evening, we learned last night for a non-COVID related infection. Spokesman says he`s receiving antibiotics and is in good spirits. Joe Biden spoke with Clinton by phone earlier today.


BIDEN: I wanted to see how he`s doing. And because I`ve been trying to get a hold. He`s doing fine. He really is. He was very encouraging about why he thought the policies I was pursuing makes sense.


WILLIAMS: This was also the day the FDA`s vaccine advisory panel unanimously voted to recommend J&J booster shots. They said people 18 and up who received the single dose J&J vaccine should get their second dose at least two months after the first shot. That`s a lot of people. They issued no recommendation on mixing brands of vaccines, that was kind of expected.

This all comes as new CDC data is showing those who are unvaccinated have an 11 times higher risk of dying from COVID than fully vaccinated people. As for the restrictions, keeping foreign nationals out of our country because of COVID. Today, the White House said those who are fully vaccinated can re-enter the country starting November 8.

All this as the White House is moving on another front escalating its efforts to protect abortion rights. Justice Department says it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to effectively block enforcement of that restrictive Texas abortion law while the legal challenges pan out.


With that, let`s bring in our starting line on a Friday night, Susan Page, veteran journalist and author, longtime Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today, Cynthia Alksne, former Federal Prosecutor in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, and Dr. Irwin Redlener, Founding Director of Columbia`s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, also Professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Good evening, and welcome to you all.

And Susan, because you cover all of Washington, I`d like to begin with you. Please critique the process and performance as much as you`re willing to do thus far of this 1/6 committee. And do you fear expectations are going to exceed reality on cases like Bannon, where the reality is we`re looking at months, if not years?

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: You know, I think the January 6 committee is doing everything it can think of to do to get this investigation going. But it`s hard when you have the former president claiming executive privilege for somebody who wasn`t working at the White House at the time, Steve Bannon, not a claim that most legal scholars think that much standing.

You know, the idea of voting criminal charges or recommendation for criminal contempt charges, is intended to send a pretty tough message from the committee. But, as you say, this is entirely possible to get wrapped up in court challenges and kind of delaying tactic by Steve Bannon and by others in the hopes they can just run out the clock until Republicans win control of the white -- of the House of Representatives in next year`s midterm elections, if it does that, as many Republicans expected will.

WILLIAMS: Cynthia, same topic, 1/6 committee, one of their members was on our air earlier tonight, I want to run this brief snippet. We`ll discuss on the other side.


REP. PETE AGUILAR, (D) CALIFORNIA JAN. 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: Our goal isn`t to be punitive. Our goal is to get testimony. But if someone isn`t going to give testimony, we`re going to use every tool available.


WILLIAMS: Of course, Cynthia, you have that to which a lot of rabid Democrats say no, let`s get punitive here. What is likely to happen when some or all of this lands at the doorstep of Merrick Garland`s DOJ?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, when it finally gets there, it`s sort of moving at a snail`s pace, they`re going to vote and then, I read in Politico tonight, they hope to have the vote on contempt before Thanksgiving. I mean, for God`s sake, I could write the Constitution of Iraq before Thanksgiving. I don`t know why they`re waiting so long. And then it gets to Merrick Garland, and he`s got to make a decision about what to do. But let`s say he decides to go forward, which is what he should do. But that means you`ve got to go to the grand jury, doesn`t take very long. But then there has to be an arrest, there has to be an arraignment. And there`ll be a long discovery process. You`ve got to get yourself on dockets in the D.C. ports. The D.C. courts are really busy right now, nothing is moving very quickly.

So, the idea that they could wrap up this investigation in the spring like they say they`re going to do and have Bannon`s testimony by then is fantasy, they`re not going to have it. Who`s going to stall and who`s going to succeed to stall until after the midterms. The Democrats lose the House, as Susan says, the subpoena could be withdrawn, the whole thing`s moving. We`ve all wasted our time.

WILLIAMS: OK, that`s a lot. Doctor, some nights it actually feels preferable to discuss the pandemic over politics. Let`s go there. Today, the recommendation on J&J boosters was expected. It was also expected they would say or do something on brand mixing, which we kind of know anecdotally people are already doing on the real market every day are people left to their own on this front, Doctor?

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, EXPERT ON PANDEMIC INFLUENZA: Well, and they are not really left on their own because the recommendations have not been given. So, in a certain sense, you might say they can try to just get the different vaccine as the booster. But the reality is that we really prefer people to wait until the process is completed. Right now, only the FDA advisory committee has made some recommendations about the booster shots from Moderna and J&J then as to go to the full FDA and then the CDC Advisory Committee then the CDC. All that is not important to the public, except to say that there`s still answers that are pending. And by the way, the issue of going from politics to COVID is like if only that were entirely true, we have far too many politics now infiltrating, unfortunately, the public health discussions around COVID. But the fact of the matter is we`re still waiting for more data for some more definitive conclusions, Brian.

WILLIAMS: Susan, back to you and the dreaded subject of politics. Pelosi in the White House have made this new deadline of Halloween to get these negotiations done, have you any reporting on negotiations, enough to know that there`s a measurable chance of kicking even that deadline down the road?


PAGE: You know, I don`t think there`s anything that makes that deadline, hard and fast. And we know that generally, Congress will take as much time as it possibly can to get something done. So, it`s not impossible that will meet the deadline. But I would not like if you`ve got a farm, I would not be betting it on the idea that that`s going to happen.

You know, in a way, it`s a little surprising, because we know, pretty much the general contours of where Congress is going to end up, we think, at about $2 trillion funding some programs, but not all of them are big issue developing on these on the climate provision of the package. But it`s not really rocket scientist to figure out kind of the tradeoffs. Democrats will have to make to hold themselves together. It`s taking a long time for them to do that. There`s a lot of frustration at the White House. And there`s frustration with the White House, the President hasn`t taken kind of a more forceful stand in pushing Democrats to get going on this.

WILLIAMS: Of course, Susan, you`d concede, and they would to that pushing Democrats still every conversation comes back to Manchin and Sinema.

PAGE: Yeah, that`s exactly right. And that`s one reason the climate change provisions, I think they`re going to be so problematic, because on that, it really is Manchin, again, the rest of the caucus, and there are any number of progressives in the caucus, for whom the climate change provisions are the most important parts of this the thing they see as most crucial for us to do. So, I think that could well be the hardest to crack in this whole negotiation.

WILLIAMS: Cynthia, let`s talk about the law, specifically abortion rights. So, the DOJ, if I have this right is going to ask the Supreme Court to rule against the Texas law. What does that mean, but what could also happen at the supreme court level at the same time?

ALKSNE: Well, nothing good. Yeah, I don`t know how else to say, nothing good. What the Department of Justice is going into doing is they`re saying, let`s just hold off basically on this law and wait until it goes through the process. Let`s put this day in effect that the federal judge in Texas put in effect until the case could be litigated about whether or not it violates the Constitution.

The appellate court in Texas said, no we`re just going to -- we`re going to let the law go forward, and then we`ll litigate it. Justice is coming in and trying to go back to the district court`s opinion and say no, let`s hold it. The problem is when you go to the Supreme Court, it`s the same Supreme Court, let this horrible law go forward in the first place and not only let it go forward they were going to sneaky about it. I mean, they didn`t even have the guts to admit what they were doing. They kind of went on a process ground, and they didn`t even bother to mention that they were gutting Roe v Wade for the women of Texas.

So, I don`t see how the outcome is going to really be any good. I mean, either they`re going to just say, OK, we`ll just hold the Fifth Circuit stay or they`re going to say let`s wrap it up in with the dog`s key (ph). That`s going to be happening in December one is going to argue, but in that case, it looks like they`re going to get Roe v Wade. So, you know, heads you win. I mean head you lose tails you lose, we just are losing, that`s just unfortunately .

WILLIAMS: Cynthia, Does -- sorry I lost your audio for a second. Does Roberts want his court to be known for this?

ALKSNE: No, I think Roberts wants a court that believes in starry decisis which is the philosophy in (inaudible) as it is written and if was -- if case x decided that the law will be one particular thing when the next case comes along, we support that and follow it and we build on it. But what`s happened is this is more, you know, the Thomas court now it`s not the Roberts Court anymore. We`ve tilted to the right and there`s no, you know, stereo decisis is great as long as Thomas agrees with it otherwise, Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

So, no I don`t think Roberts wants it. I think that`s why he voted with the liberal justices on the Texas case but it`s -- he`s not in the majority in that. I mean, the Republicans have said they were going to overturn Roe v. Wade, they said they were going to appoint justices that want to, and now they have the majority of the justice, and we just have to face that, that`s what`s happened.

WILLIAMS: Dr. Redlener, over to medicine we go. It is a flu shot session and increasing talk about widening the population of people who can get boosters. Can they be delivered together? Is there any danger of that?


REDLENER: Most people in the field, Brian, think it`s safe to give the two shots in proximity to one another. I certainly have that belief as well. And I think that`s what`s going to be recommended.

WILLIAMS: And finally, as a pediatrician, watching the mask debates going on around the country, the CDC study in Arizona that a COVID outbreak was three and a half times greater at a school where kids aren`t required to wear masks. I am certain you are undergoing a certain amount of frustration as an observer.

REDLENER: You know, it`s absolutely mind boggling that there are people putting up a fight against masking children who are essentially still ineligible to get vaccinated. So, we`re very limited and the tools we have to protect kids and the people that you`re in contact with. There was just a new study, pointing out that even infants as well as young children, can carry high viral loads in their nasal pharynx. And they are susceptible. And, you know, we have now 25% of reported cases are in children and it`s just unconscionable that there are people resist resisting mask wearing given all the data in favor of using mask. And certainly, using mask if you can`t get vaccinated, Brian.

WILLIAMS: Such as the life we`re living and our politics presently in 2021. How to put this a journalist, a lawyer and a doctor walk into the 11th Hour we are so happy they all did, great thanks to our starting line tonight. Susan Page, Cynthia Alksne, Dr. Irwin Redlener, thank you for spending part of your Friday night with us.

Coming up for us, the President concedes there`ll be compromised before he can build back better. Two season political observer standing by to talk with us on the chances of that happening.

And later the republican party and those that are under the control of one man who tried to stay in office and overturn his own defeat. Nothing about it is normal, which is why we wanted to talk to Rick Wilson tonight. All of it as your 11th Hour is just getting underway beneath the rotors of Marine One on a Friday night.




BIDEN: We`re convinced we`re going to get it done. We`re not going to get $3.5 trillion dollars. We`ll get less than that. But we`re going to get it, and we`re going to come back and get the rest.


WILLIAMS: President Biden acknowledging the obvious today yet also sounding an optimistic note on his build back better agenda on where the negotiations stand. However, the hill tells the story this way, "After one- on-one meetings between the president, Manchin and Sinema, Democrats don`t seem any closer to agreeing on a framework then a month ago." And so it goes, and here to talk more about it with us tonight, two friends of this broadcast Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Professor and Assistant Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas, Austin, and Bill Kristol, author, writer, thinker, political veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations, importantly editor-at-large over at the Bulwark. Thank you for coming on both of you.

Welcome Bill, I`d like to start with you. Critique two things for me, how is Biden selling the agenda? And how has the sales effort ban with the ultimate customers, the American people, the messaging?

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yeah, I think not as well as they could have done, the Biden administration. And the Democratic Party as a whole, when just doesn`t sense the kind of sales job you had when Ronald Reagan sold his tax cut in his first year or even President Obama with Obamacare that was problematic. It turned out in terms of the political effects in the short term, but certainly they made the case to the American people.

I mean, I thought the clip you showed was very revealing. President Biden saying well, we can`t quite get $3.5 trillion, but we`ll come close and get the rest. I mean, their numbers the one thing people know about the bill, and my colleague Sarah Longwell has done a couple of focus groups of Democrats, independents, people who voted for Biden the last couple of weeks, they`re pretty lukewarm about the bill. Now, these are swing ish voters. They`re not the most rad that are progressive, particularly. But they are sort of $3.5 trillion. That seems like a lot of money. Those Democrats, all they want to do is spend money and are their tax increases in there. They`ve sort of picked that up. They don`t really know what the bill is for. The Democrats and the administration, I think should always describe it as this is a childcare bill. This is a health care bill. This is an education bill.

Now they do that sort of, but it`s not the lead item and the building back better. I don`t know what does that mean, you know, call it the Health Education and welfare bill or something, and then really sell the parts of it. I don`t think there`s that much pressures as a result, there`s no pressure on Republicans, and not that much pressure, really a Manchin and Sinema to sort of come around faster than they have.

WILLIAMS: So, Professor over to you this, Joe Manchin, who has now been mentioned, it`s 23 after the hour, we`ve mentioned his name, five times, his detractors say that`s fine with him, despite his ah shucks exterior, but one Joe Manchin of West Virginia has virtually cleaned out a lot of the green energy provisions that were so important to Biden and so important to Democrats on the left, does this make him because, we, in the media need labels? The most powerful man in Washington?

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s pretty darn close, right? I mean, just the way our institutions are set up, right? folks may not like it, but at the end of the day, Congress is a check on the executive branch. And the fact that the President can`t just get his agenda through regardless of having a majority or not in Congress is a fact. So, Manchin holds so much power and the other reason, he holds so much power and more so than Kyrsten Sinema. And we usually talk about them both in the same sentence, is the fact that his base of support in West Virginia is quite stable. Sinema on the other hand, if you dig into the numbers if you dig into Arizona politics, it`s a lot shakier. So, I think if anybody`s going to blink in terms of Senate Democrats, it`s going to be Sinema.


Since the beginning of the year, I was looking back at a morning console poll, her poll numbers, her approval rating among Democrats in Arizona, has gone down by over 20% from January to October. She has folks who are already gunning to run against her in 2024. But Joe Manchin, he`s sitting pretty, he`s got a lot of support at home. And he knows he has that power to work with.

WILLIAMS: Bill, you made such a good point that if people know anything about this bill, they`ve heard the price tag. They haven`t heard about the deliverables. Or related question, how much time if they got to do this really?

KRISTOL: Yeah, that`s a good question, Brian. I mean, they passed a course with what, 67, 69 votes. I can`t remember the Senate, pretty good bipartisan margin and the infrastructure bill, which then they hit got it because of internal party bargaining got held up in the House. So, President Biden has neither though he has almost 70 votes in the Senate had actually a bipartisan vote in the Senate for the less controversial measures. He doesn`t have that to tout as a success at this point. I don`t -- I mean, they have time and technically the sense that a lot of these things can be passed, whatever they`re passed, but -- and I don`t think his support, it`s holding, OK, it`s drifting down, but he`s not in some terrible situation. So, he has time to get out on it.

I do, as Chuck (ph) said -- my colleagues there along with that all these focus groups, people don`t have a sense to have a clear message. What is the Biden -- they focused on COVID? And they`ve done a decent job, I would say, and they have a pretty clear message on that, you know, mandates vaccines, and that`s a great testing, I think they need to make the bigger deal as they make progress on vaccinating the kids, I think, of COVID, the economy`s pretty good for all the worries about inflation, that, you know, he`s not getting much credit, doesn`t seem at this point from voters for pretty decent performance on the pandemic, I think a pretty decent performance on the economy. Because all the public knows is there`s all this squabbling on the hill, which they can`t really follow very well. I can`t follow very well either. But anyway, stuff isn`t getting signed. And it`s an awful lot of money as the tax increases and then after what it goes for.

WILLIAMS: Bill, I keep trying to tell you I have listened to those podcasts with Sarah Longwell and where I`ve also heard your voice and those focus groups are sometimes incredibly scary, always interesting to listen to, especially at this point of time in time as you reference.

Both of our guests have agreed to stick around, we have to fit a break.

And coming up when we continue our conversation, whether it`s voter turnout worries in Virginia, or abortion rights in Texas, it`s been yet another week proving the immortal words of Tip O`Neill. All politics is local. We`ll talk about it when we come back.




REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, (D) TEXAS: The key is that we need to have the tools of federal law to stop this kind of siege across America and it will occur. If they can`t get you at the ballot box, if they can silence your voice at the ballot box, then they will attempt to silence you by writing you out that is not a democratic republic. It is not democracy. And I don`t think we can allow that to stand, not as a state, but as a nation.


WILLIAMS: To that end, Charles Blow had this to say about Texas in his latest piece in The New York Times. "When Jim Crow was originally established, it spread from state to state like a contagion, each subsequent state taking lessons from the ones before it. Mississippi was one of the states at the vanguard of the first Jim Crow, Texas may well be at the vanguard of the next."

Indeed, still with us are Professor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto and Bill Kristol.

Professor, sadly, in all the right ways, because you`re joining us from Texas and educating young minds there, we get to start this segment with you. So, we`ve all become familiar with the Texas brand these days, making it tougher to vote, making it tougher to get an abortion, no mask, no problem. No vaccine, no problem. If you want to carry a gun, that`s perfectly OK with us. Is there any indication this is going to be Texas` leading exports to other red states?

DEFRANCESCO SOTO: Absolutely. And we have seen it for hundreds of years that`s contagion that Charles Blow talked about, for better for worse, fates are laboratories of democracy, right? So, this is where you can fiddle with new policy, try it out and other states are going to pick it up. But in this case, to your point, Brian, we`re seeing states being laboratories of curtailing democratic rights, small the democratic rights, which is so troubling.

And one of the one of the things that Representative Sheila Jackson Lee mentioned in her clip was the issue of redistricting. And throughout the whole fight of voter integrity bills or voter restriction, I was never losing sight of redistricting, because this really, truly scared me because even in an ideal world, where we didn`t have voter restrictions, where we were able to knock them down, I always knew that once we came into session and to draw the maps, that Latinos, African Americans, communities of color, we`re not going to be drawn out. One quick example of this in Texas, the growth that we saw in Texas 95% of that growth was fueled by communities of color. The latest maps that had been approved by the Texas State Senate did not add one district of a majority minority. Instead of that what we`ve seen is the practice of fracking, where we`ve seen in the suburbs of Dallas, a Latino entity and an Asian entity being cracked. So, this is what truly worries me that even if you have the right to vote, and we know that`s being curtailed, that you aren`t going to have a community of interest to really have that translated. And to me, this is what`s so worrisome because it sticks for the very least for the next 10 years.


WILLIAMS: In fact, the graphic we showed as we went to the last break, Texas has already become a brand in the worst way. It`s from a campaign rally in Virginia and it says, Don`t, Texas, Virginia, reminding people to vote November 7.

Hey, Bill, I have a quote for you on the Virginia race and politics at large. This is from the New York Times, "With former President Donald Trump out of office, congressional Democrats in a bitter standoff and Virginia Democrats have claimed every political prize. Mr. McAuliffe is straining to motivate the liberal voters in his increasingly blue state. At the moment, one that is being watched closely by both parties for clues about elections next year, he is bumping up against a fatigued electric."

Bill, this isn`t the first time I`ve heard this kind of new excuse on lower turnout, do you buy it?

KRISTOL: I don`t think so. Obviously, we`re not going to have 2020 level presidential turnout in an off year, governor`s election, but I actually think turnouts now picking up. It`s a little harder to vote earlier, there was a huge early voting opportunities somewhat easier to do with drop boxes in the pandemic for a presidential election. There`s adequate early voting and mail voting here in Virginia, there`s no problem with it, but it`s little people I think are less likely to take advantage of it earlier. And so, a lot of people be voting in the next two weeks. So, I actually turned out will be decent. And I actually think Democrats will be pretty motivated by two weeks from now at least on election day, election Day appears here.

Just one word on Texas. What`s so striking about this, for me, Texas was not always this way. I mean, Texas was if anything rather modern Republican Party, George W. Bush was the governor of Texas, he did education reform, he appealed to Latinos and got a pretty good share of their vote. Cornyn was elected senator and whenever that was, 2002, kind of a former judge, thoughtful guy. I mean, this, Rick Perry was the governor of Texas, people could have their own opinions about him, his presidential race didn`t go so well. But he had a pretty liberal education policy -- liberal immigration policy. He opened up access to the University of Texas system. You know, it was not a liberal state. It was not a liberal Republican Party. But nothing like this. It really is a good, unfortunately, or accurate, I guess you`d say, epitome of what has happened pretty quickly and pretty recently. There were problems in Texas 15 to 20 years ago, but that did not seem to be the way things are going. So, as you say, Brian, when people now use Texas, this kind of shorthand that`s very, very revealing. And for anyone who cares about a sort of older, conservative, kind of older kind of republicanism and conservatism, very depressing.

WILLIAMS: I agree. Well, it wasn`t quite Portlandia, it wasn`t Mississippi either. To our guest tonight, Professor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Bill Kristol, always thank you for coming on and taking our questions.

Coming up for us, his organization argues it`s time to choose Democracy or Trump because they argue you can`t have both. Rick Wilson of the Lincoln Project joins us live next.



WILLIAMS: Our friend Susan Glasser of The New Yorker writes this about the former president. The story of the Trump presidency still has important unanswered questions. Trump is not only preparing to run again but is determined to mold the GOP into a single-issue party, the ideology of which consists solely of disputing the legitimacy of the election that turned him out of office. The Trump presidency is not yet, alas, simply a matter for booksellers and book writers, it`s an active crime scene."

So back with us tonight is Rick Wilson, longtime Republican Strategist who has since left the party. He`s the author of two of those books on the Trump presidency, Susan Glasser was talking about importantly the co- founder of the Lincoln Project.

Rick, I want to have you on because I of course follow you on social media. And I remember where I was, when I read your thread about the 1/6 committee to wit, "I have some bad news,` wrote Rick, `after multiple calls I have some extremely grim news. As of now the 1/6 commission is dead already and will not enforce the subpoenas. Trump wins. The 1/6 terror plot will go unexamined and unpunished. To say I`m livid is putting it mildly. This is staffs wrong, led wrong and a gutless exercise to get back to talking about infrastructure. They`re not taking the risks seriously, they`re not taking the data before them seriously, and they`re eager to run out the clock. Livid."

So, Rick, I don`t need to tell you that as soon as that went up, heads exploded, hair caught fires, simultaneously, toilets started flushing counterclockwise. The Giants had a winning season. I`m just kidding about that last one. In real life --


WILLIAMS: -- Liz Cheney put out a statement, the committee put out a statement. So, as they say, in dental school, you`ll hit a nerve. Have you been dissuaded at all from what you wrote? Or do you stand by it still?

WILSON: I`m not going to be -- well, let`s say this. I believe their intentions are not bad. I believe that my statement was correct, I don`t believe that they`re pursuing this with a degree of vigor that merits the type of targets they`re talking about. We`re dealing with people like Steve Bannon and Roger Stone and Ali Alexander, and all these people that were all -- the spectrum of people on stop the steel, we are not at this point hearing from the committee that they`re meeting regularly. They`ve had three months they`ve done almost nothing. And the fact that they`ve got a few witnesses who are grudgingly going to kind of sort of think about sitting down with them, is nothing until we hold to account people who are defying them. Unless you put Steve Bannon in the hot seat, unless you put Steve Bannon in an orange jumpsuit, stripping him of his polos, put them in an orange jumpsuit and zip ties, this guy is going to run rampant. He is out the other night, essentially telling his followers that Trump will be reinstated. He is one of the architects and masterminds of an insurgency in this country that needs a response more than the kind of traditional Washington, let`s go slow. Let`s take it incrementally. This requires a set of responses and policies from Congress.

I mean, they`re already basically saying we`re going to wait until Thanksgiving to have a vote on the House floor about referring Steve Bannon at the Justice Department. This man does damage every second he walks around in this country, and they need to pick up the pace.


I want them to prove me wrong, Brian, I want them to say, hey, that Wilson was just paranoid, the people that were talking to him, they`re just, you know, they`re exaggerating, but I`m not wrong. They will slow roll this thing. And Bannon and company believe in Trump`s people all believe they can run out the clock, they can play this out until the very last dog dies, and that they won`t have any accountability. Democrats must treat this as it should be treated, which is a counterterrorism investigation. They got to take this seriously. If these guys were an al Qaeda, they`d be having JDAM dropped on their heads. These people were intent on overthrowing our government, you have to treat it that way. It wasn`t a tourist visit.

WILLIAMS: So, Rick, I know you`ve spent a long time -- you`ve written about this, you`ve thought about this, what is the problem, is it that, as I like to contend, the Democrats tend to be culturally, former student council presidents and the Republicans of this era are Stone Cold Killers.

WILSON: There`s a word that we can`t use on polite television, but it rhymes with rat trucking. And they won`t do it. They won`t play the game. They won`t get in here and use knives. They bring a copy of Proust to a gunfight, these people that they are running up against like Bannon, they will put them against a wall.

What they don`t seem to have internalized is that people like Steve Bannon helped to become -- helped to architect the attack on the Capitol that by the grace of God did not end up with congressmen being dragged from their offices and killed. Because if they`d found Nancy Pelosi or if they found, frankly, even Liz Cheney, they would have killed them. You have to take this seriously. These are not people that are the old Washington, this isn`t the old days of Ronald Reagan and Tip O`Neill sharing a beer that is dead, it is gone.

The Republican Party right now is a sole source operation dedicated to Donald Trump and Donald Trump only, whatever electoral fantasies he has, that can be translated into whatever direct action that Steve Bannon and those people come up with, will be executed on. They should not think for a minute that this is over. As I like to say an unpunished coup is a training exercise.

WILLIAMS: So last question, I have about 60 seconds to give you. You don`t see anyone with the courage to break out from the bootlickers, you don`t see an individual Republican willing to stand up and carry the banner as perhaps a new version of the party?

WILSON: I have enormous respect for what Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are doing right now. And I have a modicum of respect for the 30 or so other Republicans who whisper in my ear and other people`s ears, that oh, they aren`t, they doing a great job. Isn`t that wonderful what they`re trying to do, but I can`t because my primary or I can`t because my district there`s not -- courage is the first virtue and unless someone has the courage to defy it at even at the cost of their job, then we`re going to continue with this because Trump is a terrorist. He terrorizes Republicans into submission. And the ones that have adopted the whole Trump hottie ethos are going to keep doing what they`re doing. They`re going to keep trying to scare the hell out of everybody else in the party. You know, as Donald Trump does, from the top of his capitalist enterprise on down.

WILLIAMS: Our guest tonight has been Rick Wilson. Rick will do this again. Thank you very much as I said after thinking about you.

WILSON: Thanks for having me.

WILLIAMS: Since that day on Twitter. Rick Wilson, our guests on a Friday night.

Another break for us, coming up, organized labor is getting organized, and they`re getting the attention of employers across the country.



WILLIAMS: Tens of thousands of American workers have walked off their jobs in search of safer working conditions, shorter hours, higher wages, and amongst some are now calling "striketober" and more workers could be marching on picket line soon as one organized labor expert tells NBC News, "workers are feeling like they`re working harder than ever, and they put themselves out there during COVID and risked their lives for what?"

NBC News Correspondent Erin McLaughlin has our story from Los Angeles tonight.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, Hollywood is on the brink of calling cut. With 60,000 behind the scenes workers threatening to walk off set, potentially halting production of your favorite series films and live shows.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not nervous about the strike. I`m excited.

MCLAUGHLIN: The Union IATSE alleging the explosion of streaming combined with the pandemic has elevated and aggravated working conditions, bringing those behind the scenes to the breaking point, creating what it says are excessively unsafe and harmful working hours and unlivable wages, also noting a consistent failure to provide reasonable rest.

CHELCIE PARRY, IATSE FILM LOADER: So, they expect us just continue working no matter the conditions, no matter how long we`ve been at it.

MCLAUGHLIN: Now Hollywood heavyweights are speaking out in support of the workers.

OSCAR ISAAC, ACTOR: It`s staggering. I mean, the amount of abuse that I`ve seen, no one give (bleep), you and it`s -- I`ve seen a lot of that.

The alliance of Motion Picture and Television producers, saying it deeply values the crew members and is committed to reaching a deal. The Alliance includes Universal Pictures. Part of our parent company, NBC Universal, anger over worker`s rights is hardly confined to Hollywood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re on the right side of history.

MCLAUGHLIN: From auto and agriculture to health care workers, it`s all part of a growing nationwide showdown between employees and employers sparked in part experts say by the pandemic, now spilling on to the silver screen.

(On camera): If ongoing negotiations fall through 1000s here in Hollywood are set to join the picket lines starting Monday.


WILLIAMS: Thanks to Erin McLaughlin for that report from Los Angeles tonight. Coming up for us, the men who never came home from the coast of France, the families that were never the same. What would they make of those who are using that sacrifice to try to win a losing argument?



WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, it`s Friday so we figured we should end on something humorous. We`ve selected something produced by our friends over at The Daily Show. It`s about people who weren`t trying to be funny, but they simply have run out of other ways to cast doubt on the vaccine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My grandfather`s both fought in World War Two. They fought and they took up arms against tyrannical governments. We now have to fight against a tyrannical government which is saying that you have to take these injections, or you can`t be involved in society.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We took the beaches of Normandy, our people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people are going along with this because they`re afraid, a few brave souls are not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a lot of Americans who say, listen, I`m going to stand up and inspire others to fight for freedom and liberty and push back on these oppressive mandates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are doing a phenomenal job standing up for what they believe in the face of tyranny.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much for coming on with us. You are a hero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do admire anyone that stands up principles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that`s a principle that every American should hold dear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an amazing moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much for coming on tonight, for your bravery. I appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We wish you all the best. Thank you for all the work you do. God bless you 9/11, this Saturday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is kind of the beaches of Normandy. This is our generations World War Two and maybe it`s the World War III.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Rake, thank you. This is wild.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is about the Constitution. We have rights as individuals to do whatever we want if it doesn`t hurt anybody else.


WILLIAMS: The Daily Show with that dandy matchup, though, no fair, they had great raw material to choose from.

With that, that`s our broadcast for this Friday night with our thanks for being here with us. Have a great weekend unless you have other plans. On behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.