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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 10/19/21

Guests: Yamiche Alcindor, Robert Costa, A.B. Stoddard, Michael Wolff, Bill Kristol, Eugene Robinson, Irwin Redlener


The Jan. 6 Committee votes unanimously to recommend charging Steve Bannon with criminal contempt. The former White House strategist was scheduled for a deposition, but he`s still following Trump`s instructions to claim executive privilege. Congress is preparing a criminal contempt referral against Steve Bannon to the Department of Justice. The White House is trying to broker a deal to scale back Joe Biden`s ambitious economic agenda, weighing liberal policy priorities against centrist concerns about inflation and tax hikes in a recalibration of strategy for the legislation.



WALLY ADEYEMO, DEPUTY TREASURY SECRETARY: That`s exactly what we`re seeing here. The President`s goal ultimately is to level the playing field so that wealthy individuals have to pay taxes in the same way that working class pay everyday in America.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: That was Senator Elizabeth Warren and Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo at work and a Senate hearing today. THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts now.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 273 of the Biden administration. Tonight, nine members of Congress investigating the attack on the Capitol the attempt to overturn the election have taken a dramatic and public stand against efforts to stall their investigation and the full house could do so two days from now.

The House Select Committee on January 6 tonight voted unanimously to recommend longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon to be charged with contempt for defying a congressional subpoena and seeking information about that violent and deadly day.








UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aye. Miss Mr. Schiff?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Schiff, aye. Mr. Aguilar.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Aguilar, aye. Mrs. Murphy?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mrs. Murphy, aye. Mr. Raskin?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Raskin, aye. Mrs. Luria?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mrs. Laurie, aye. Mr. Kinzinger?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kinzinger, aye.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): House chair record it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, you are not recorded.

THOMPSON: I vote aye.


WILLIAMS: The Committee originally subpoenaed Bannon, several weeks back asking for documents and testimony about the critical period leading up to the insurrection which has been 286 days ago now, when Trump supporters attempted to prevent Joe Biden from taking office.

In his refusal, Bannon cited the former president`s claim of executive privilege, but of course, Bannon was a private citizen on 1/6 and during the run up to that. Committee says its investigation indicates Bannon had advanced knowledge of what was planned for January 6, and played an important role in formulating those plans.


THOMPSON: When you think about what we`re investigating a violent attack on a seat of our democracy, perpetrated by fellow citizens on our Constitution, and attempt to stop the certification of an election. It`s shocking to me, shocking that anyone would not do anything in their power to assist our investigation.

Mr. Bannon stands alone in his complete defiance of our subpoena. That`s not acceptable. No one in this country, no matter how wealthy or how powerful is above the law.

CHENEY: Mr. Bannon`s excused is that former President Trump wishes to invoke some form of executive privilege. There is no conceivably applicable privilege that could shield Mr. Bannon from testimony. Mr. Bannon`s and Mr. Trump`s privilege arguments do however, appear to reveal one thing. They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6, and this committee will get to the bottom of that.


WILLIAMS: The Committee`s recommendation now goes before the full house which is expected to hold a vote on Thursday. If it passes as expected a criminal referral will then be sent over to the Justice Department. DOJ can then present the case to a grand jury and Bannon could then be formally charged with contempt of Congress. All of that takes time.

As that issue heads to the House floor, President Biden spent today pressuring his own party Democrats to finally get behind his priorities.

Tonight, The Washington Post reporting Biden told Liberal Democrats he believes a deal on a new tax and spending proposal quote, between $1.75 trillion and $1.9 trillion is a possibility. That is substantially less of course than the original Bernie Sanders` budget agreement, which added up to about three and a half trillion dollars.

And tonight, sources tell NBC News the final reconciliation bill is expected to drop the proposal for tuition free community college. That is a big one for Biden to let go of.

This evening, the White House issued a statement on today`s meeting saying that there is quote, broad agreement that there is urgency and moving forward over the next several days and that the window for finalizing a package is closing. That`s the important part there at the end.

Tomorrow expected to be another important day and Democratic efforts to get voting rights legislation through Congress.


Senate Majority Leader Schumer has scheduled a vote for tomorrow afternoon on a bill that would set national standards for voting access. Today, he acknowledged Democrats still need 10 Republican votes to crossover and move this forward.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Democrats were ready to work with Republicans in good faith if they vote to begin to debate on voting rights.


WILLIAMS: And don`t stop us if you`ve heard some version of this before late today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell predicted the 10 votes from his party. Were unlikely to crossover with that.

Let`s bring in our starting line on this Tuesday night. You Yamiche Alcindor, White House Correspondent for PBS NewsHour, moderator of Washington Week also on PBS, Robert Costa, National Political Reporter with The Washington Post. His latest book co-authored with Bob Woodward, Peril, is in its third week now on the New York Times bestseller list and AB Stoddard, veteran Washington journalist and associate editor and columnist over at Real Clear Politics.

Yamiche, I`d like to begin with you and your beat. If we can agree that this is the, we`re witnessing the simultaneous death of outrage, death of irony and perhaps the death of consequences. It appears the 1/6 Committee is doing their level best and being as aggressive as the law will allow. The question is how closely is this being watched? And that building you cover for a living?

Hey, Yamiche, I think you`re muted.


WILLIAMS: There, that`s so much better.

ALCINDOR: It`s 2021 of course. So my sense is that White House officials are watching very closely what`s going on in the January 6 investigation, though they have their hands full with the infrastructure negotiations and with the voting rights -- vote that`s happening in the senate tomorrow.

But officials at the White House have said and they are and it`s very clear that President Biden sees January 6, as a deep stain in our democracy. He is -- he sees it as an extraordinary event that needs to be properly investigated. That`s why you`ve seen President Biden as well as White House officials be very clear that the President and the Biden administration are waiving, at least for these initial document requests. And he sort of executive privilege claim that the former President is making. So these are -- these this is absolutely being viewed very closely at the White House.

And let`s remember that lawmakers are sending a message here and voting on this contempt charge for Steve Bannon. This is really a warning to other people who want to defy and refuse to comply with subpoenas. So the White House is also saying look at what`s going on with Steve Bannon and make sure that you also in some ways, follow it very closely.

WILLIAMS: So Mr. Costa, you`ve reported on Mr. Bannon a lot over the years, including but not limited to your book. He is a lot of things. He is a platinum level gaslighter. He is one of the architects of grievance politics, which is what we`re witnessing Now tell us what it`s suspected he had to do with the run up to 1/6.

ROBERT COSTA, "PERIL" CO-AUTHOR: Here is why Bannon matters for the January 6 Committee. As our book documents he was talking to Trump in the run up to January 6, December 30. January 5, he`s at the Willard Hotel steps away from the White House with Rudy Giuliani. He`s talking with Trump about how to think about the 6, how to pressure lawmakers, how to pressure Vice President Pence.

And so you see a legal battle that we`ve revealed in the Eastman memo, which is to push Pence to throw out electors and to push the election to the House. But there`s also the political battle that Trump is coordinating. And we`re Bannon conversations with Trump show is Trump was directly part of coordinating that and thinking it through and that`s why this committee wants to learn more about it. And that`s why they cited those specific scenes in the subpoena document and Bannon so far, is resisting the subpoena. Because he knows, as anyone would know, reading the book, that these scenes show him talking with Trump, and that`s, that`s so critical to this story.

WILLIAMS: A.B. Stoddard, a dramatic moment tonight when Liz Cheney as number two on the Committee got her round to speak, I want to play some of what she said for you and our audience will discuss on the other side.


CHENEY: Almost every one of my colleagues knows in your hearts, that what happened on January 6 was profoundly wrong. You all know that there is no evidence of widespread election fraud sufficient to have changed the results of the election. You all know that the Dominion voting machines were not corrupted by a foreign power. You know, these claims are false. Yet former President Trump repeats them almost daily.


WILLIAMS: A.B., that was one of those you can run, but you can`t hide moments when you wanted to see in real time the face of every elected Republican who have to know that she is telling the truth. Here`s the question for you. How many anti-Bannon votes will there be on the Republican side of the aisle in the House?

A.B. STODDARD. REAL CLEAR POLITICS ASSOC. EDITOR AND COLUMNIST: I had a feeling you`re going to ask that question. I just am going to be stunned if any of them find any courage. I think they`re going to rationalize a vote at the direction of their leader at their other leadership to just say this is a partisan committee, because Congressman Kinzinger, and Congresswoman Cheney are not real Republicans. They`re taking part in a partisan effort to attack people and don`t end the former president. And this isn`t a fair process. So they can`t abide supporting it in any way.

And so I think they`re going to just say that it`s an illegitimate vote to begin with and write it off. I will absolutely be stunned if anybody steps forward to support it beyond the two that are on the Select Committee.

WILLIAMS: Well, thank you for your candor. Though, I`m not sure it`s a message people want to hear. Yamiche, Biden`s meeting with the Democrats. The price of this bill is coming down and remind the good folks watching that that won`t be graded as good news by all the Democrats.

ALCINDOR: That`s right. The President today spent a lot of time meeting with members in his own party to try to scramble to really unite as already so he can get these infrastructure plans through. He met with House progressives as well as House moderates. He also met with Senator Sinema as well Senator Manchin.

And what came out of this meetings and what has been clear in talking to White House sources that -- is that the President put a actual top line number, it`s 1.9 to 2.2, around $2.2 trillion. That is about a trillion dollars less than what House progressives were going for, which was $3.5 trillion.

That said House progressive today when I was talking to them at the White House after they met with the president, they sounded optimistic. They sounded like they really wanted to get behind with the strategy that the President was doing. They were calling him the mediator in chief, the closer here.

That being said, there are already some critical things that we know are also coming out of the bill. So free college, free community college, I`m told is coming out of the bill, also paid family leaves, the timing of that it`s going to come down something like it from 12 weeks to four weeks. There are also some other provisions that are kind of come out.

So this is a bill that is absolutely getting slimmed down. But the President has been saying for weeks that this has to happen in order to get Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema on the same page.

WILLIAMS: So Robert Costa, do the Democrats you talk to get the optics that in effect, this is ballgame. Obviously, the eighth inning comes up in 2022. The ninth inning comes up in 2024. This is for control. This is for all the marbles and they`re not leading by many marbles in the House to name one chamber. And thus far, the President`s agenda has been crippled by blue on blue and fighting.

COSTA: Brian, I just keep thinking about a scene from earlier this year with Senator Bernie Sanders in the Oval Office talking to Biden and saying to the President, you have to go big transformational progressive agenda. And his argument Sanders makes privately to the President and others is that, in his view, authoritarianism is on the march in the United States, and that if the Democrats don`t succeed in having a progressive transformational agenda, it`s not just about what happens in elections in 2022 and 2024.

Sanders believes, and he says this in the book, that it will be about democracy in America that the working class and voters who were persuaded by the siren song of Donald Trump might not come back to the Democratic Party, if they feel the Democratic Party is not providing them with what they need on climate change, on infrastructure, on these core issues. And that`s a real test for the whole party, not just this White House.

WILLIAMS: A.B. because this is cable news. We are always allowed to speak of Aaron Sorkin`s work. So tonight has me thinking of the American president and Sidney Allen Wade and the fossil fuels bill and the gun bill and how she lost out. I`m thinking who`s going to tell Dr. Jill Biden, Community College educator that the community college provision joins the list of things that is falling out of this bill because of the price tag.

A.B., is there at least going to be the chance for Republican support if this car drives off the lot at a significantly lower price?


STODDARD: Oh no, if the two are combined, you won`t see any Republican support. If they are voted on separately the physical infrastructure transportation package that received 19 Republican votes in the Senate has a good chance of attracting some House Republican votes.

What`s interesting is that Nancy Pelosi in early October said in a letter to her colleagues, after they extended the surface transportation funding until October 31, let`s get this done, the sooner the better to get those jobs out there. Really pushing again for separating the bills.

The President has stuck with progressives on pairing them. What`s interesting about the developments today is we woke up with pounded like they would blow the Halloween deadline. It now sounds like progressives were convinced by the president at this meeting today that they have to make the Halloween deadline because he`s attending a climate summit where he insists on having resolution and having passed these bills.

If you had them separated, you would find Republican support if they were main combined. And they can do this by week from Sunday. You`re not going to see a Republican support. And Joe Biden has known that these things are coming out on Community College for a while.

WILLIAMS: OK, it was a good chance to quote Sorkin anyway. Great, thanks to three friends of this broadcast our starting line on a Tuesday night. Yamiche Alcindor, Robert Costa, A.B. Stoddard, thank you so much, folks for starting us off.

Coming up for us. Few writers know the target of tonight`s House Select Committee vote better than Michael Wolff. He is standing by to join us next. And later, what do we know about a potential new variant in the UK, which sounds for all the world like a new streaming service, it`s called Delta plus, as if delta itself wasn`t enough. Tonight we`ll ask one of our leading physicians how worried we should be all of it, as the 11th Hour is just getting underway beneath the Capitol dome, with the flags flying at half-staff in honor of a great American statesman.




STEVE BANNON, FMR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP: It`s going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is strap in the war room a posse. You have made this happen and tomorrow it`s game day. All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. Just understand this all hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It`s going to be moving, it`s going to be quick.


WILLIAMS: The unmistakable role Steve Bannon played on January 6 is exactly what House lawmakers are fighting to ask him about. My next guest logged hundreds of hours with conversations with Trump`s former chief strategist Michael Wolff writes this in his newest book "Too Famous" and we quote, Bannon understood that Trump was crazy, but a major audience draw and the far-right wing was nutty, but delivered a significantly higher than average response rate. An, too, that the working man in America had gotten a bum deal and maybe Bannon could strike a positive blow whatever that might be on the working man`s behalf from a luxury hotel suite.

With us for more the aforementioned Michael Wolff, author of three books about the inner workings of the Trump White House. Here to talk about his newest work called "Too Famous, the Rich, the Powerful, the Wishful, the Notorious, the Damned."

Michael, it`s great to have you back on the broadcast. Thank you very much for coming. And because of the news tonight, because he`s one of your leading subjects, let`s talk about one Steve Bannon, men`s wear and personal icon grooming -- grooming icon that he is. Is he the architect, the designer, the builder or just the cheerleader of 1/6?

MICHAEL WOLFF, USA TODAY COLUMNIST AND CONTRIBUTOR: Or none of the above. He is -- Steve Bannon is a man who does everything for an effect. And the effect is not necessarily connected to the reality. So Steve -- for Steve to get up ahead of steam and start to announce that there`s going to be revolution this in the streets The world is going to change is actually Steve`s conversation almost -- in almost every moment.

That is -- so making the cause and effect line and this is what`s going to be hard for the Democrats in this, is never so clear. I mean, it`s going to be the same with Donald Trump. All of these people are actors, their game is theater. Their game is not action. Nevertheless, without question, it is their rhetoric and it`s an, you know, it`s incredible rhetoric. That`s what Bannon is. I mean he`s a genius in the rhetoric department.

And so the all of the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6, certainly took inspiration from Bannon and as well from the president, but was Steve and the president shocked by what ultimately happened. You know, I can`t say for sure but I you know, I know them both very well and I would say that that they were pretty dumbfounded.

WILLIAMS: Quick follow up before we move on. Is his -- is he a coward at heart? Would any part of him want to come in face the music and try to give as good as he gets?

WOLFF: Steve, yes, I would say he`s a coward. But even that, I mean maybe I would just say he`s a showman. And all that matters to him. Is the show is him at the center him at the center. Have that show.


WILLIAMS: All right, let`s talk about the book and I want to begin with the table of contents to give future buyers and idea of what they`re getting here, divided into categories and people, all of whom are famous enough to be called by their first names just reading randomly. Jared, Rudy, Tucker, Ronan, Harvey, Yun, Arianna, Tina, Bloomberg, Hillary, Rupert. Obviously, they are tied together in this collection and written about and published because of their fame. Is there another single quality they have in common, is it vanity for example?

WOLFF: Well, I`d said need for attention incredible amounts of attention. It`s flying too near the sun or more accurately too near the media sun. And it is also an -- and in every case, a kind of genius ability to, to use the media for their own ends.

WILLIAMS: I`ve been trying to find ways to impart to people how unbelievably intimate. The transcripts are of a scene, conversations between Bannon and Jeffrey Epstein with a cameo by Epstein`s lawyer and friend, Reed Weingarten. I have never been so happy to have never known Jeffrey Epstein, though I feel now that I have a true sense of him in this book. Tell folks how it came to be that you have literal conversations and the inner workings of the now deceased Jeffrey Epstein, in this book.

WOLFF: You know, in about 2014, and I had had a prior acquaintance with Epstein, he was involved with a group of people that I was involved with trying to buy New York Magazine, a failed bid. And -- But in 2000, that was before he went to jail when he got out of jail, then I didn`t see him. And then in about 2014 he called me and they said would you like to write a book about me, one of the things that seems to happen to me an awful lot is people call me up and want a book written. Considering the kinds of books I usually end up writing, I don`t know why that should be, but it is. And I said I, you know, I don`t know, I mean, and he said you can, I can -- I will give you complete access, you can come whatever you`d like. You can be and people always then say this to me, a fly on the wall.

So what takes place in the book is really several scenes in the last months of his life. So as he and the people around him more the people around him then Epstein himself are start to realize that it`s closing in on him that there`s no exit here, he`s not going to get out. And they start to think what to do and maybe how to how to make a plan for him to strike a deal or rehabilitate himself somewhat or do something.

And that`s what -- in this happens inside his house in New York, and inside his house in Paris, and through a combination of recordings and what my -- what people have told me, I think that I`ve been able to put together a incredibly accurate and incredibly vivid picture of what took place in houses that Epstein and almost never went out of in the last months of his life.

WILLIAMS: And the aircraft as it comes into Teterboro airport in New Jersey with Epstein aware that the feds are waiting at the bottom of the air stairs. We know how that story ended. We will not know how every story in this book ends. But they`re all here. The book again is called "Too Famous," it`s in stores starting today, wherever you buy books. We are grateful to the author Michael Wolff for joining us to talk about it tonight. Michael, thanks. Great to have you.

The Politics of accountability, coming up next, whether for an attack on democracy or a party figurehead, who yet again finds a self-centered way to speak ill of the dead.




THOMPSON: I want our witnesses to understand something they`re playing. If you`re thinking of following the path, Mr. Bannon has gone down, you are on notice that this is what you will face. If they fail to cooperate, we will be back in this room with a new report with the names or whoever else mistakenly believes that they are above the law.


WILLIAMS: The gentleman from Mississippi who chairs this panel has a warning tonight for anybody else planning to defy a subpoena from the committee intent on investigating January 6.

Back with us again tonight. Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Washington Post. And Bill Kristol, author, writer, thinker, Politico veteran of the Reagan and bush administration`s editor- at-large at the Bulwark.

Bill, I`d like to begin with you because I was thinking of you a few minutes ago we were talking to A.B. Stoddard. And first of all, I`m curious as to whether or not you think the Committee is going hard enough, but also the conversation I had with AB about Liz Cheney. Her remarks tonight made you harken back to the old days of all of five or six years ago made you wonder if any Republicans could be shamed into voting against Bannon, knowing that what she was saying was correct.


They don`t really think the election was stolen. They don`t really think Dominion makes crooked voting machines. A.B., of course, set me right by saying, yes, no, that`s not going to happen.

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I suspect not but will be yet another test to Brian of Republicans whispering in privates, you know, personally know better, but then, of course, voting, you know, all the one or two of them well, but Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger Not to hold anyone accountable for January 6. So that`s really the underlying issue, isn`t that, I mean, for nine months now.

We`ve had repeated attempts by the Republican Party, not to look at January 6, not to hold anyone accountable for January 6, not to get a full accounting of January 6, we now have the president, President Trump, former president invoking executive privilege, kind of ridiculously, like conversations with people outside of the government, and Bannon and now defying a subpoena.

So they don`t even want to talk about it. But Republicans, Mitch McConnell said today, I saw that, well, yes, he was asked about it. And he said, Well, I think the voters are care about the Biden administration. We want 2022 to be a referendum on the Biden administration, not on -- not on just kind of some disputed issues about 2020. That`s not quite correct quote, or something like that.

That is what their -- I means the degree of memory holding of January 6, that event the day after that, Mitch Mitchell, and others said, This is terrible. And we need to really come to grips with this. The whole Republican Party is now for moving on.

WILLIAMS: Well, Bill that now that you mentioned at let me run exactly what McConnell said. Eugene, requesting your indulgence, we`ll run this and discuss on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned at all comfortable with your party embracing the former president whom you said was morally responsible for the January 6th attack?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, I do think we need to be talking about the future and not the past. I think the American people are focusing on this administration, what it`s doing to the country. And it`s my hope that the `22 election will be a referendum on the performance of the current administration, not a rehash of suggestions about what may have happened in 2020.


WILLIAMS: So that was some Platinum level pivoting right there, Bill, and I`m reminded of the new Quinnipiac poll showing 78 percent, Bill, of Republicans want the last guy in office. So that`s not kind of thinking of the future as much as it is the past.


KRISTOL: You can explain this, right.

ROBINSON: What I`m going to explain is that so Mitch McConnell said, not a rehash of 2020. We`re talking about what happened in 2021. We`re talking about what happened on January 6, the day that Republicans forgot as if we went straight from January 5 to January 7.

And so McConnell is playing a political game and playing a word game with that demurral, but basically, they do want to memory hold the capital insurrection. They want a memory hold those scenes of police officers being beaten within an inch of their lives of the American flag by, you know, a treasonous mob, incited by then president who happened to be a Republican, Donald Trump, and that`s what they want us to forget about.

And I think it`s just the duty of citizens, not just Democrats, but all of us. Now, not to forget that this happened, but in fact, to investigate and to come to terms with it, and to know everything we can know about it. And I`m glad the Committee is proceeding as best it can to do just that.

WILLIAMS: Eugene, you know your readers so well, your role in your column, whether intentional or tangential is to keep hope alive and kind of cheer folks up. And I`m wondering if you feel this 1/6 Committee is embarking on what`s going to become a plotting drawn out calendar.

ROBINSON: Well, you know, keep hope alive. I hope not. I suspect that there will be more plodding and will be more drawn out than we would like. At least they have the Committee has promptly voted the whole Bannon in criminal contempt.


Now the House would have to vote then it goes to Justice Department. I hope the Justice Department would then move swiftly to try to enforce the subpoenas either subpoena from Congress have some meaning, or they have no meaning. And guess we`re going to find out whether Congress actually has subpoena power or not.

WILLIAMS: And, Bill, back to you on the on the 78 percent of Republicans wanting Donald Trump in 2024. I`ve asked you five different versions of this question, what breaks that? Does anything break that at all? Is there any one who breaks through or not?

KRISTOL: You know, obviously, we don`t know. We`ve been surprised from my point of view on the downside consistently over the last six, seven years, but things can change, you know, really, the kind of the bubble could burst conceivably. But I`d say we have an awful lot of evidence from January 7 on where there were plenty of occasions January 6, being the most notable where the bubble could have burst. The fever could have broken whatever metaphor one wants, and it hasn`t and it`s gotten worse, in some ways.

I mean, that`s what`s most amazing. He`s not president anymore. He doesn`t have the kind of, you know, they shouldn`t have the kind of sway that he once had. And yet he has it and people are competing to be more Trumpy than ever in the primaries and so forth.

So, you know, I guess my shorthand answers if people say the fever should might break. You know, in politics isn`t fevers, it`s not medicine. The fever breaks when someone breaks it. People have to stand up. Liz Cheney is been very impressive, I would say over the last what, eight, nine months, but what`s equally striking, obviously, right, that she`s alone.

WILLIAMS: Yes, well, to extend your medical metaphor, we`d have more time to talk if I didn`t have a upcoming segment about a new variant from the UK speaking of the fever breaking. Eugene Robinson, Bill Kristol, two friends of ours. Thank you, gents, so much for coming on tonight.

And coming up, why scientists are indeed keeping an eye on this new mutation of the Delta variant in the UK and what more we need to know.



WILLIAMS: We mentioned this before the break talked about it last night. In fact, the BBC reporting health officials are keeping a close watch on the Delta Plus variant. In the UK tests are underway to understand just how much of a threat it could pose. But right now, there`s no indication, no direct proof that is that it`s more transmissible than what we`ve been dealing with.

Thankfully with us to talk about it. Dr. Irwin Redlener, founding director of Columbia`s National Center for Disaster Preparedness who advises us on public health, also a professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. All right, Doctor, what do we know about delta plus? And more importantly, perhaps, what do you yet want to know about it?

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, EXPERT ON PANDEMIC INFLUENZA: Right, Brian. So yes, the Delta Plus variant has been in existence for some couple of months now in the UK. And the thing about this is like all viruses Delta, the Coronavirus mutates, the reason that these viruses exist is to survive, they survived by mutating.

Right now the Delta variant plus is the one that`s of concern. And it`s about 10 percent of the cases in the UK, and other countries and we see a smattering of it in the U.S. even as well.

The thing that would make us really set up and pay attention, Brian, would be if this variant or any other variant, either is significantly more infectious than the form that they previously existed in, or it`s more dangerous medically, or it`s somehow is resistant to treatments and to vaccines.

So far with the Delta Plus variant, Brian, it actually is a little bit more transmissible, maybe 10 percent. Some people think there`s no evidence at all yet that causes more severe illness, or that it is in any way resistant to the vaccines. So this is a time of watchful waiting, and making sure we`re tracking exactly what this delta plus variant is doing.

In the meantime, it`s not actually called a variant of concern. It`s a variant of interest. And it`s just a matter of watching and making sure we have things under control.

The other big point about this, Brian, is that it is very vulnerable, like the other variants to the various vaccines that are out there. So the big message, as always, is people should not worry about the coming variants which are going to be inevitable, but we should be worrying about making sure that as many people as we can possibly get needles into arms, get vaccinated as soon as possible, Brian.

WILLIAMS: And I also want to ask you about the other news this week, and that is FDA on the verge of making it possible to mix-and-match vaccine brands. in that subset, are there combinations that are better if you have a baseline to shop Moderna, is it better for you if you get the Pfizer, if you have the j and j. Is any booster the best option?

REDLENER: Well, let me start with the J and J situation. So if you`ve had the single J and J shot, which was recommended the single, a single dose, it is probably going to be recommended that all those people eventually will need to get a booster shot. And a lot of people think that a booster of an mRNA type of vaccine would be good for those people who got the J and J originally, and that would apply to either Moderna or Pfizer as the third shot or the booster shot.

Otherwise, the FDA is still looking into the question of whether, you know, if you got one mRNA vaccine, could you get another one as a booster shot and the, you know, all the results are not in yet. So the FDA has not ruled yet on how to handle the mix-and-match question, Brian.

WILLIAMS: With your indulgence, stick around with us, I have to fit in a break. I have another question for the good doctor on the other side when we continue.



WILLIAMS: Dr. Irwin Redlener remains with us. And Doctor, I`m using time I don`t technically have let`s talk about the winter. Last winter, we went through that awful surge, it kind of matched in exterior darkness are the darkness of the pandemic season. I am so curious to hear your projection for this winter, including but not limited to the highly vaccinated northeast.

REDLENER: Right so let me make this quick prize. So we`re back in weapon whack-a-mole land here and that the trend is starting to edge downward in some of the warmer states in the south. But edging upward in the colder states including Oregon and Wash -- State of Washington, North Carolina and other places. And what this means is that we`re going into winter season with a virus that may well be more transmissible in cold climates, but we`re also spending a lot more time indoors, Brian, crowded together in ways that we didn`t have to do in more temperate -- temperature times.

So we don`t know what`s going to happen yet. But the main message now is we`re not done with the Coronavirus yet, Brian, and we`ll have to wait and see what the winter holds. But again, it speaks very strongly to make sure that you and your loved ones and your neighbors and friends are vaccinated to prevent any kind of involvement in a more intense winter season of SARS- CoV-2, Brian.

WILLIAMS: That`s why we have you on speed dial. Dr. Irwin Redlener has been our guest again tonight for good reason. Doc, thank you so much. Coming up for us. When we were kids, a guy named Art Linkletter built a career on the phrase kids say the darndest things. Well, these days it`s QAnon nonbelievers.




JORDAN KLEPPER, THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH CORRESPONDENT: I`m back in my first Trump rallies since January 6 2021. A day no one will ever forget unless you`re a Republican member of Congress.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight in this current era, it is not uncommon for a comedy show or network to do a better job covering the news than a network devoted to covering the news. And on occasion when it happens, we`re the ones who should be honest about it and highlight their work as we`re doing tonight.

If you see a lot of social media, then you know that Jordan Klepper does just that for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Klepper dives into red America, Trumps America and his interviews blow the minds of way too many Democrats and yes, coastal elites and the mainstream media who have no other regular exposure to Trump`s America while living their lives in blue or Whole Foods America, the same folks who were mystified with Trump`s rise, same folks who never watched an episode of The Apprentice over 14 seasons.

Well, Klepper has done it again and again in this snippet we will show you that`s part of a longer segment from the last Trump rally in Iowa. It`s tinged with sadness when you hear just how firmly the QAnon conspiracies have taken hold.


KLEPPER: Yes, the online conspiracy following a mysterious character known as Q was more popular than ever.

Is that a cue?


KLEPPER: Are you a Q supporter?


KLEPPER: Wasn`t Q whole thing that Trump would be reinstated as president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s never left. There`s no doubt in my mind 150,000 percent.

KLEPPER: That he`s still president united states. Really? Does he still hold the powers of the presidency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he`s been flying around the world on Air Force One that says something.

KLEPPER: I thought Joe Biden`s technically at Air Force. No. So they`re faking it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It`s not even a presidency.

KLEPPER: Who is running the government right now?


KLEPPER: He`s running the government?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the military.

KLEPPER: And he`s running the military. So we should blame him for what happened in Afghanistan?


KLEPPER: But it`s still his fault.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s way beyond my --

KLEPPER: -- understanding.


KLEPPER: Thank you for talking with George and George seen the president, current President Trump.



WILLIAMS: So you see in Trump QAnon world in that man`s world Biden has never been president. It does make you wonder how Trump would be allowed to run for a third term in 2024.


Anyway, the work of Jordan Klepper of The Daily Show to take our own late night show off the air tonight and that is our broadcast on this Tuesday evening with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.