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

Guests: Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, Barbara McQuade, Mark McKinnon, Don Calloway, Don Winslow


The House voted to find Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress for stonewalling the investigation into the Jan. 6. Rep. Nancy Mace comments on voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt. Nine House Republicans broke ranks to join all Democrats in voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Attorney General Merrick Garland gave no hints during a House Judiciary Committee on what the Justice Department will do if the House votes to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: I had a program note on our discussion here tonight you can watch the Peacock Original Film, Civil War on MSNBC this Sunday night at 10:00 pm. That`s after succession so you can watch it, you should record it. You`re going to want to watch it more than once. It is a really important documentary. That is tonight`s "LAST WORD." THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts now.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again day 275 of the Biden administration. The fate of one of Donald Trump`s key ally Steve Bannon, now a matter for the Justice Department. House of Representatives has voted to refer him to DOJ for possible criminal contempt charges. The one time head of Trumps campaign later White House Chief Strategist refusing to cooperate with a subpoena from the House Committee investigating the insurrection, the riot at our Capitol.

Today`s House vote largely along party lines 229-202, with only nine Republicans joining the Democrats in voting yes, there was Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, both members of the January 6 Committee. Also Peter Meijer, Fred Upton of Michigan, John Katko, the upstate New York Republican who negotiated a bipartisan deal for the investigation that was rejected by GOP leadership. Today`s yes votes also included, as you can see Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State. Those seven had all voted to impeach Donald Trump last year over the insurrection. The eighth and ninth GOP votes, Brian Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania, Nancy Mace, South Carolina, who offered two reasons for her own decision.


REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): If Mr. Bannon wants to invoke executive privilege that he should come before Congress, there are other folks that have been subpoenaed, that are working with the Committee to determine what information they`re seeking out.

I want to be consistent because when Republicans are in the majority and a year and a half, as I believe we will be, I want to fight for the ability and the opportunity for us to have subpoena power.


WILLIAMS: Much of the afternoon was taken up by a rather fierce debate on the House floor over the effort to investigate the attack on the very building they were in.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Mr. Bannon, his own public statements make clear he knew what was going to happen before it did. And thus, he must have been aware of and may well have been involved in the planning of everything that played out.

REP. JIM BANKS (R-IN): Steve Bannon was a private citizen before, after and during January 6. So why is the Select Committee interested in Steve Bannon? It`s simple. He is a Democrat Party boogeyman.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Trump now tries to get his followers like Steve Bannon, not to testify here and not to turn over evidence that they have about this vicious assault on American democracy. In America when you are subpoenaed to testify in court, or in Congress, you show up, period.

REP. MICHELLE FISCHBACH (R-MN): We are here, going back and forth, arguing if we should continue down a path of yet another partisan investigation of questionable motives and purpose.


WILLIAMS: As we mentioned, what happens next to one Steve Bannon is now up to the feds earlier on this network. January 6 Committee member Jamie Raskin who you just saw there described the next steps.


RASKIN: Is that the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, US Attorney must go before the grand jury to demand an indictment. And but, you know, we think that it`s very likely given that the gravity of this matter is so overwhelming and that the facts are so clear that he just blew us off, that we think that the Department of Justice will move forward. We`re certainly not going to let anything drag on for eight months, nine months, 10 months, nothing like that.


WILLIAMS: Now the attorney general has given no indication as to whether he`ll move ahead with these charges today during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Merrick Garland again sidestepped a question about his intentions.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The department recognizes the important oversight role that this committee, the House of Representatives and the Senate play with respect to the Executive Branch. The Department of Justice will do what it always does in such circumstances, will apply the facts in the law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution.


WILLIAMS: Now there are however, new signs indicating just how serious the feds appear to be about the sex trafficking investigation involving Trump ally and GOP Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. According to The New York Times, the Justice Department has added two top prosecutors from Washington to the team working on that very case.

The Times puts it this way, the prosecutors want a public corruption investigator with an expertise in child exploitation crimes, and the other a top leader of the public corruption unit have been working on the Florida based investigation for at least three months.


Gates has not been charged with any crime and has denied all wrongdoing. Also tonight and this is significant. The President is signaling he is open to some sort of deal, some sort of reform to the filibuster. This issue was raised during a town hall tonight on CNN.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: When it comes to voting register, I`m clear though, you would entertain the notion of doing away with the filibuster on that one issue. Is that correct?

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: And maybe more.


WILLIAMS: President also said he ventured it -- if he ventured into a discussion on the filibuster right now, he`d lose at least three votes on his shrinking domestic policy plans. But Biden did say he thinks he`ll get a deal. Senate Democrats had hoped to have that deal by the end of this week.

Today, one of the holdouts, wait for it, Senator Joe Manchin said he doubted that would be possible. Manchin also had more to say about the report in Mother Jones that surface yesterday which said he threatened to leave the Democratic Party if Biden social spending bill wasn`t trimmed. Today he again denied that report. But then he explained what he had told the President and Majority Leader Schumer.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I said me being a moderate centrist Democrat if that causes you a problem, let me know and I`d switched to be an independent but I`d still be caucusing with Democrats. That`s anything was ever discussed. No one accepted that.


WILLIAMS: One more item on this busy Thursday night and it`s big news about COVID boosters. Tonight the CDC has officially now approved booster shots for both the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. One day after the FDA authorize the additional shots. The CDC also endorsed the use of boosters that are different brands from whatever the vaccine dose you got originally.

With that, let`s bring in shall we our starting line on this Thursday night. Philip Rucker, Pulitzer Prize winning senior Washington correspondent for The Washington Post, co-author along with Carol Leonnig of the New York Times bestseller "I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump`s Catastrophic Final Year," Robert Costa, National Political Reporter also with the Washington Post, his latest co-authored with Bob Woodward called "Peril" is in its third week on The New York Times bestseller list. And Barbara McQuade, veteran Federal Prosecutor, former US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, worked with the DOJ during the Biden transition, professor at the University of Michigan Law School, her alma mater. In her spare time, she co-hosts the podcast sisters in law along with Kimberly Atkins Stohr , Joyce Vance and Jill Wine Banks. After that wind up good evening, and welcome to you all.

And counselor, indeed, you`re the only lawyer we`ve got here. We begin with you. What did today uncork in terms of a timeline, you hear Congressman Raskin trying to settle the base and say this talk about eight months, nine months, 10 months? Don`t believe it. But isn`t it true, this could be protracted and Bannon knows that.

BARBARA MCQUADE, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Oh, he thinks so, Brian. I suppose we couldn`t see charges if DOJ should decide to file them. I would think within weeks and not months. But if there is to be a trial and perhaps even an appeal after a conviction, that is likely to take months and that`s why I think that this vote to hold Bannon in criminal contempt is much more about punishment than it is about coercing him to comply.

I think they are sending a message to beware of other witnesses who might be inclined to think about defying subpoenas and to protect their own institutional power and the power they have to issue subpoenas.

WILLIAMS: Robert, if you would cast co-author modesty aside for a moment and tell the people watching who have not read your book, Peril. What it is about Steve Bannon the days around one six that is at the heart of this case.

ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: What matters about January 6 is President Trump, what did Trump do? Who did he talk to on the day of the insurrection but also in the days prior? And what we`ve revealed in our book, Bob Woodward and I have reported, that Bannon spoke to Trump on December 30, 2020. He said it`s time to kill the Biden presidency in the crib, have a reckoning make sure he can`t govern, focus on the 6, Bannon said to Trump in a phone call.

And this was a moment where Trump began to pivot and focus intensely on pressuring Vice President Pence to try to move the election to the House.

And on January 5, the night before the insurrection, Bannon at the Willard Hotel steps from the White House with Rudy Giuliani, Jason Miller, talking to Trump who`s calling in from the White House, updating them on Pence, saying Pence is very arrogant, he`s not moving and they make a decision that night, late at night to then issue a statement saying Pence is in total agreement with Trump on moving the election to the House, even though Pence of course, is not.


This is about Trump and Bannon, and Giuliani coordinating an effort to overturn an election and prevent Biden from taking office.

WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, I know you recall all too well the presidency of Donald Trump that you covered, let`s just say this White House and DOJ do not enjoy the same symbiotic relationship. It was as if DOJ had moved in to the West Wing for a time there. So how does the White House handle this going forward?

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brian, this is an administration, the Biden administration that is trying to stick to the traditional norms, the traditional independence that the Justice Department enjoys from the political machinations at the White House. They`re trying to restore that pillar in our government that was solid in the years of the Trump presidency.

And so this becomes a very tricky political football for Merrick Garland, the Attorney General to deal with. We`re seeing right now from the Biden White House a desire to keep some distance from the ultimate decision that the Justice Department is going to have to make about Bannon`s fate. And yet, you know, we`ve heard some suggestions from President Biden, that he thinks these subpoenas should be honored and should be enforced on Capitol Hill.

And, you know, we also heard from Merrick Garland today saying that he would be reviewing this, looking at the law and looking at what`s right. He gave a very vague statement, it was not the sort of political leaning that we were used to seeing from the various or from the two attorneys general who served under President Trump, who were much more willing to get out there politically, and to do some quarterbacking on behalf of their boss, the President, not so right now.

And so we could look for the Justice Department in next days and weeks to come to be taking a more sober assessment that the facts of the case as it relates to Bannon and whether his executive privilege argument holds up considering that he`s now a private citizen, and had not been in the government since the end of 2017.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely, right. Hey, Barb, let`s go from unsavory topic to unsavory topic, and talk about Mr. Gaetz. You probably don`t want to be Congressman Gaetz right now, as we set the top of the broadcast, DOJ has taken two big hitters off the bench and put them into this Florida investigation.

I want to quote our mutual friend, your co-host, Joyce Vance, who was a guest here last night. She said this on social media today, it`s not unusual for DOJ`s Public Integrity section to work with a US Attorney`s Office on a case involving a politician. But it suggests that someone thinks the case is going somewhere. Barb, do you concur?

MCQUADE: I do, Brian. I mean, this is asking for resources to come out of Washington, the Public Integrity section is not large. And so they have to be very selective about the cases that they`re going to join and devote those resources to, and so they get lots of requests and lots of referrals all over the country, but they are the specialists who have the expertise to come in and assist the local prosecutors. So the prosecutors in Florida certainly know their court, know their judges, know the process in their community. But having those specialists from Washington who have focused on these kinds of cases in the past can be very helpful.

But I agree with Joyce, in that, because of the scarcity of those lawyers, they`re only going to go where they`re needed, when there appears to be something that`s about to happen. So it suggests to me that they are looking very seriously about filing charges in this case and staying in for the long haul, meaning the trial that would follow.

WILLIAMS: Robert it is OK to use the word transactional in your answer. Here`s the question, how strong is Bannon`s allegiance to Trump and vice versa?

COSTA: Bannon is doing exactly what Trump wants. He is now back in the Trump`s circle in a sense. He was out of it for years after his break with President Trump in 2017. But it`s clear he was talking to President Trump during the final days of the administration.

But Brian is not just about the phone calls between Bannon and Trump. Think about the proximity of where this Willard war room was on the night of January 5th. We tried to answer as many questions as we could in our book, Peril. But there are many unanswered questions for this committee, especially this one.

Did people who were in the Bannon and Giuliani war room at the Willard communicate or have any exchanges in any way with the gathering crowd of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who are outside that same hotel that same night, that was the mob that was getting gathering in and hollering and clashing with police on the night before, and they were in the same exact block as Bannon. Giuliani, Jason Miller, and others and for the FBI, the DOJ and Congress.


The real question is where did lines intertwine if they ever did?

WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, let`s move forward to tonight`s event in Baltimore, the CNN town hall with the president who indeed made news, bunch of reporters on Twitter were saying that all their reporting over the last few days went down the drain when Biden went ahead and verbally superseded everything. They`ve been told. He opened the door toward fiddling around with the filibuster. But still, Philip, the question comes down to what do you do about Sinema and Manchin who remain amazingly Democrats?

RUCKER: You know, it is a real problem for the Biden presidency and has been for months now. The fact that there are divides on multiple issues among the Democrats, and there`s not any room for division when you look at a 50 plus one Senate Majority that they currently have.

On this issue of the filibuster, Biden has resisted coming out for the filibuster for months now, despite pressure from the liberal flank of the Democratic Party, who have felt that on a number of issues, chief among them, this voting rights bill coming out to get rid of the filibuster is essential for passing that legislation which they see as core not only to the Democratic Party`s sort of values and agenda, but core to the party`s very survival when you look at the tougher voting laws that have gone in, in so many states around the country, in the run up to the 2022 midterm elections.

And so Biden saying he`s willing to consider, you know, getting rid of the filibuster in order to pass the voting rights legislation is a pretty significant moment for this presidency. It shows that his hope for bipartisanship may be waning especially on that issue of voting rights and that he`s willing to do what some could call the nuclear option in order to get that piece of legislation through after many months now 10 months of it sitting without much progress on Capitol Hill.

WILLIAMS: We have covered a lot of ground with these three friends tonight greatly appreciate our Thursday night starting line of Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, Barbara McQuade, thank you.

Coming up for us. 288 days after hiding from rioters, the House votes to hold a suspected insurrection ringleader in contempt. And we are left of course with the question. That would be why most Republicans apparently don`t want to know what Steve Bannon knows.

And later he was busy writing books as a best-selling author until he saw what was happening to our country. He decided to fight the good fight on social media and videotape and you have probably seen his work on this broadcast and others.

All of it as the 11th hour gets underway on this day marking the 10th anniversary of the memorial to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.




REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREEN (R-GA): The Democrats, you know what they declared the revolution on January 20th. They`re the ones that declared the Communist Revolution. And now it`s up to all of us to stop it.


WILLIAMS: Just to repeat that woman is a member of Congress. MTG decided to sit down and share a bit of her wisdom with the only podcast host under active subpoena from Congress. They should promote the show that way maybe. To that end, here is how Republicans on the House floor chose to characterize the bipartisan investigation into the attack on the Capitol.


REP. MATT GAETZ, (R-FL): Why are we here on the floor of the House of Representatives listening to the Democrats and socialists and their Republican puppets reviewing Steve Bannon`s podcast.

REP. JIM BANKS (R-IN): The Select Committee despises Steve Bannon is politics. So they`re abusing their power to put him in jail.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): We know what this is really about. This is about getting out President Trump. When President Trump was president Americans got their Christmas presents on time. But they`re coming after him.

GAETZ: Because they can`t Build Back Better, they`ve just decided to build back meaner.


WILLIAMS: 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, also among the co- hosts of The Circus on Showtime. Gentlemen, good evening to you both.

Don, I`d like to begin with you and I`d like us both to begin by listening to something Adam Schiff said earlier on this network.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I was surprised, you know, it`s telling about this euro when you`re surprised and delighted to get as many as nine Republicans to uphold our system of checks and balances and hold people to account when they ignore congressional subpoenas.


WILLIAMS: Don, here`s the question. Were you surprised and were you surprised at the ability of McCarthy to in effect say we need you on this one we need you to get behind the white supremacist.

DON CALLOWAY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know, I have some time ago stopped being surprised that the duplicity of a Kevin McCarthy. He is some of the worst elements of the Republican Party and the Republican cognoscente packed into and a more acceptable than Donald Trump is more socially acceptable package, if you will. So no, I`m not surprised that Kevin McCarthy is a feckless spinelessness.

Overall, if I think about it, I`m a lot more surprised that Democrats overall have moved to hold Steve Bannon in contempt. As you recall a few weeks ago as you called it, we got spicy between myself and the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Steele, because I didn`t think that Democrats were willing to take the political risk in the light of the `22 midterms to hold Steve Bannon accountable and his ilk accountable for dismissing the congressional subpoenas.

So, I`m just really shocked and yet encouraged at this overall turn of strength and turn of somewhat intestinal fortitude by the Democratic Party which I did not see coming whatsoever.


WILLIAMS: Mark about this figure of nine Republicans, you and I are old enough to remember what my father called the Republican Party, the law and order party. Remember that?

MARK MCKINNON, FMR. ADVISER TO JOHN MCCAIN AND GEORGE W. BUSH: I do wasn`t that long ago, Brian and that`s a great point because it testifies to where we are that we`re encouraged that there were nine Republicans that voted and that`s a lot. But it was more than just those who voted for Trump`s impeachment. There were a couple of others. And I noted that one of the Congresswoman who was, I think you had a clip on earlier, mentioned that the she was voting for precedent raises that she said, Listen, we think we`re going to be in power after next November, and we want to be able to enforce subpoenas.

So I think she recognize, you know, the obvious, which is that Congress should have the power of subpoena on either side, they should be enforceable, it should have teeth. And I think one thing that we`ve discovered through this process, by the way, I know that Steve Bannon is delighted to have this going on. And I think he will promote his podcast exactly the way you described. He sees it as a badge of honor. Trump, of course is going to think it`s fantastic.

And we know that the law doesn`t have that much teeth. I think the penalty is a year at most. So I hope through this process, one of the things that comes up the backside is that the power of subpoena gets strengthened by a future Congress.

WILLIAMS: Don, what is your level of confidence in Merrick Garland,

CALLOWAY: I have a pretty good, pretty high level of confidence in Merrick Garland. Merrick Garland, this is his first opportunity, perhaps in his legal career, or at least in the last 25 years, to act in a way that is non-judicial, meaning he can take aside and go hard at it, as opposed to having to be this even handed judicious figure on the circuit court, and all of the years that he was auditioning for the Supreme Court and the seat that was stolen from him, which would have probably been the crowning achievement of his career.

Well, that lens has shifted, and now he exists and perhaps not a partisan fashion, but in a fashion where he can take a clear position here and there is a clear position on all things related to January 6, be it congressional subpoenas, which we`re dealing with in the instant case, or the overall much larger umbrella attempt to thwart democracy in the interest of one Donald J. Trump.

So I think Merrick Garland, his personal feelings about not being on the Supreme Court aside here. He`s going to do the right thing. And I think that, you know, it`s fairly noncontroversial to be passionate and pursue justice in light of what happened on 1/6, so I expect a lot out of Merrick Garland.

WILLIAMS: Mark McKinnon, I`m coming to you after the break. Both these gentlemen are going to stay with us. Coming up, the governor of Texas continues his push to prove he loves Trump the most.



WILLIAMS: In the state of Texas Governor Greg Abbott appointed an attorney who briefly represented Donald Trump and challenging the 2020 election results to be the new Secretary of State in Texas. Not to be outdone in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis`s following Abbott`s lead on COVID asking the legislature to block the Biden administration`s vaccine mandates.

Still with us, Don Calloway, Mark McKinnon. Mark, this is so unbrand. I don`t know how immersed you are in the minutiae of Texas politics these days. But what should we know, what should we think about this new guy evidence put up as Secretary of State and if we weren`t in polite conversation, we would probably ask, Is he a stooge who would fold with one phone call from Abbott`s boss?

MCKINNON: Well, sure he was he was one of the lawyers that made the Texas appeal on behalf of Donald Trump. So he`s bought and paid for by Donald Trump already. And this is fascinating to watch the back and forth between Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis to see who can kiss the boots faster and shine and better.

This is an interesting thing on the Texas front, on the elections front, because Abbott i think is also responding to Trump`s pressure to audit the state of Texas, which by the way, Donald Trump won by a lot, which is ridiculous. And Abbott offered to audit the four largest of course, Democratic counties. That wasn`t enough for Donald Trump. So I think this is in part a response to that.

But let me just note that the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, offered a million dollar reward a year ago for a single any example anybody, anywhere can find a voter fraud. Well, today, it was reported or yesterday that he paid $25,000 for somebody from Pennsylvania who found one example of voter fraud and guess what, it was somebody who voted fraudulent with a twice for Donald Trump.


WILLIAMS: Amazing, Don, here we are in 2021. Did you ever think you would see this race to be all things Trump, two grown men who are willing it seems to do just about anything to get the love of the crowd that loves him?

CALLOWAY: You know, I think we started along this path, perhaps in 2015 when Donald Trump descended from the escalator talking about Mexicans sending their words people, but I think it was actually long before that. I remember being shortly out of college or reading books such as the end of reason by Al Gore. Coincidentally, I gave a lecture at North Carolina Central University yesterday to environmental justice students, and none of them almost knew who Al Gore was. So congratulations, gentlemen. We`re all old.

But no, I think we have long since distilled our politics into a cult of celebrity into an exercise of sound bites, and then to a far less with each passing day substantive exercise and that`s why I would warn Democrats in my good friend Mark`s state of Texas not too unlike tomorrow, Matthew McConaughey or across the country not to elect the you know, sexy candidate of the moment, part of good governance which Democrats have always pursued is electing professionals who understand public administration, who understand how government is supposed to be run as a vehicle to make social change as well as promote the public good. And I`ll stick 30 measures in such.


That stuff matters. And I would encourage us to look to elect professionals and capable humans. And let that be one of the overarching lessons of this extraordinarily bizarre Trump era and the era of those who choose to emulate his behaviors.

WILLIAMS: I don`t know if you`re calling for only competent people in politics, that`s going to take a nationwide sea change. We`ll see what we can do. Hey, Mark, I know that you guys are talking about the Virginia gubernatorial race this coming Sunday on The Circus. What are you hearing from people actual living breathing people who intend to vote in the Commonwealth of Virginia?

MCKINNON: Well, Brian, you know, there`s a lot of data out there that`s come out in the last couple of days, it shows the race kind of moving that for example, McAuliffe was up nine with independence, now is down nine. I`ve been on the ground. So my experience is anecdotal, but it`s also a time during campaigns, you know, when I would know what I`d be on the ground, two weeks out, you know, throw away all the data, I just look at the momentum. And I got to tell you, it feels like a real momentum shift for Glenn Youngkin.

And I was on the ground with him at a, you know, he`s kind of tapping those parent schools. He`s run a hyper local race while McAuliffe has run a very nationalized race, trying to hang Trump around his neck Trump. And Youngkin has done a very agile job of keeping Trump at arm`s length and making it all about Virginia, local schools and parents.

And I got to say that the rally that I was at, it was very organic. It was very pumped up. I mean, people were on fire, and it just feels like a wind as a Youngkin`s back right now. Now, obviously, it`s a state that Biden won by 10 points. McAuliffe is bringing in all the big guns, Obama, Biden, Harris was there today. We had that on our cameras as well for our 100th episode, which will be Sunday.

But it`s, like I said, I think Youngkin is really gaining some ground right now. Whether or not he can make enough in a pretty Democratic state is the big question, but he`s running very -- is really keeping Trump at arm`s length and running much more of a Reagan sort of Bush compassionate, conservative message, unifying not dividing like Trump. He`s making a very on Trump like campaign.

WILLIAMS: Mark, you`re the third person to come on this broadcast in the last couple of days and say something similar, and I respect your expertise in this area. Don Calloway, Mark McKinnon, Lincoln University on the board. Gentlemen, thank you both very much for coming on. Coming up for us. Author Don Winslow is here to talk about whatever happened to consequences.




STEVE SCHMIDT, FMR. GOP STRATEGIST: What we have seen is a great mass act of corruption in the sense of intellectual corruption, the corruption of ideas and belief in principle and surrendering it to the cynicism of power.


WILILAMS: Former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt, who by the way will be our guest on the broadcast here tomorrow night, mincing no words he never does on those 202 House Republicans who voted against referring Steve Bannon for criminal contempt.

As our next guest recently posted as was roundly quoted on this broadcast. Can we bring back consequences? I miss consequences. Well, a bunch of us do as well. So we welcome to the broadcast Don Winslow known on Twitter for his viral political videos with over 200 million views. He`s also a best- selling author of nearly two dozen crime and mystery novels, including his newest "City on Fire." It`s out in April of next year.

There`s a guy who writes books in New England famously called Don Winslow, one of America`s greatest storytellers. That guy`s name is Stephen King. That`s all the intro Mr. Winslow needs. Thank you very much for coming on. We`ve been looking forward to it.

And I want to hear what did it I want to hear to quote another author what the tipping point was, you`re a guy living your life writing books, minding your own business. What was it of all the things we`ve witnessed happening to our country that made you a maker of videos? How did you start the first one who`s paying for this operation? They`re not the length of the Irishman. But these are hefty, and people are indeed sharing them?

DON WINSLOW, BESTSELLING NOVELIST AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Sure, listen, we`ve come to a point in our country. I`m concerned about our country. I`m worried that words lost their meanings. Facts had no meanings. Actions had no meanings. This started very early in the last administration, when we heard about alternative facts, what`s an alternative facts?

So my partner, my friend, my buddy, Shane Salerno, and I, you know, I`m not a big name. I`m not Stephen King. But I have something of an audience. We have something of a platform. And we decided to do our best to try to tell Americans in simple plain language, what was going on? And that`s what we`ve done.

WILLIAMS: Don, I want to play word association on just one question. I`ll say two words, and you can go off Joe Manchin.

WINSLOW: Listen, Joe Manchin is for selfish purposes, blocking very important critical legislation in terms of voting rights. Voting rights is the whole story right now, if we don`t get that we`ve lost everything. He has been blocking that playing games with that for his own selfish, private political purposes.

WILLIAMS: Let me ask you a potentially painful question. I asked James Carville on the show this week. And I intend to ask more of our guests who join us from the left side of the aisle and the ledger and that is in your heart, do you think the Democrats are up to this?

WINSLOW: Yes, but they have to fight. We have to get aggressive. We have to start fighting. We have to bring the case to the American people. Look, it took nine months to get this commission from the time of the events of January 6, some of the most shameful events in American history. A sitting president tried to overthrow the government of the United States, first through a coup and then through a violent insurrection as you`re showing now, and Republicans are trying to tell us it didn`t happen that what we see did not happen.


And so these events now nine months have passed since that before we get this Commission going. That`s vital because the Republicans are playing their usual Trumpian stall tactics. Run out the clock, run out the clock, run out the clock. The clock is the enemy right now. They want to run this thing out until the midterms until after the midterms. We need to get the American people to see what really happened before the midterms.

WILLIAMS: It`s all what I call part of the frog boiling experiment. You mentioned it trying to get us to not believe what we saw on live television. The video we play here every night. I know that in your bio, you spent a brief time of your life as an investigator, and I imagined the cases you investigate did not have hours and hundreds of angles of crimes being committed on video, some of it airing live on social media platforms in real time for all the world to see. That`s what we`re being asked not to see now.

WINSLOW: Well, that`s exactly right, Brian. I was an investigator for 15 years. I`ve never had evidence like we`ve had evidence. Steve Bannon, the director of chaos for the Trump syndicate, that day before the insurrection told us all hell was going to break loose on audio and video.

And it`s so critical. Now it is so critical that these hearings become public, that they`re televised. That`s what made Watergate Watergate. You didn`t see John Dean testifying behind closed doors. It was on television for the American public to see. And that`s what we need to do now.

WILLIAMS: If I gave you the following, if you can picture the face of a clock, and if midnight is the end of our democracy, kind of like the debt clocks, you see in a couple American cities, what time is it right now?

WINSLOW: 11. We were in a crisis. We`re absolutely in a crisis. And listen, if the Republicans win the midterms, and history says that that`s likely, which is why we have to fight so hard to make sure that this doesn`t happen. Look what they`re going to do. The first thing they`ll do is vote to impeach President Biden, because they`re liars. And they`re cowards. The second thing that they will do is shut down any investigations of the January 6 events and the events that preceded it. And the third thing that they will do is set Donald Trump up to run again and win.

WILLIAMS: Don Winslow has been our guest tonight. People who like what they have heard tonight, like what they`ve seen, he is just as active and just as outspoken on social media, where you can follow him on Twitter and see the videos he has produced and put out on his own with his partner. Don, thank you very much for joining us. And thank you, I know you`re a loyal viewer, we appreciate that. Great fun having you.

WINSLOW: Thank you. Thank you. And thank you for having me, Brian.

WILLIAMS: AComing up for us after this next break. We have a report tonight on this new Delta Plus variants in the UK. And the most important question of course, whether or not it poses a threat to us here.



WILLIAMS: Coronavirus cases in our country are still trending downward but we`re on the verge of winter and people are feeling at least cautiously optimistic as the holidays approach. In the UK however, cases are surging again, and there is concerned that is another new variant this delta plus may be to blame. NBC News correspondent Matt Bradley has a report from London.


MATT BRADLEY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight the UK reported more than 50,000 new cases its highest number in three months as officials are investigating a new mutation of the virus being referred to as Delta Plus. Overall cases are up 18 percent in just the past week, deaths have risen by 11 percent despite Britain`s fast and thorough vaccination program.

British doctors now demanding answers and action.

PROF. RAVI GUPTA, CAMBRIDGE INST. FOR THE THERAPEUTIC IMMUNOLOGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If we don`t learn from previous mistakes, then we keep making them and unfortunately, people`s lives are being lost daily as a result of this.

BRADLEY: But so far the government has said it won`t impose its so called Plan B, including requiring masks indoors and vaccine passports. Instead, they`re urging more people over 50 to get booster shots and say COVID`s pressure and Britain`s health system is still bearable.

SAJID JAVID, UK SECRETARY OF STATE FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE: It remains a threat. We`re looking closely at the data and we won`t be implementing our plan B of contingency measures at this point.

BRADLEY: And just yesterday Dr. Anthony Fauci telling Lester, Delta Plus does have mutations. But at this point, it`s not cause for alarm in the US.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: We`re keeping an eye on at it. But there really is no reason at this point to be overly concerned about it.

BRADLEY (on camera): Well, here in the UK that delta mutation was formerly called AY4.2, it makes up 6 percent of cases. But scientists still don`t know whether it`s deadly or more contagious than the original Delta.


WILLIAMS: Matt Bradley with that report from London tonight with our thanks, of course. Coming up. The Democrats who aren`t watching what`s being said about them on the other side are ignoring it at their peril, as we will show you.



WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, this is one of the many services we provide. We keep up with the crazy so you won`t have to specifically these two clips identified by the folks at right wing watch. The first one is a conspiracy quack named Rick Wiles, who has discovered a secret ingredient in the COVID vaccine and he seems to have figured out the motive behind it.


RICK WILS, CONSPIRACY THEORIST: This is a global coup d`etat by the most evil cabal of people on the planet in the history of mankind. And if it is not stopped, in the very near future, they will win. That`s what`s that state control of the world. They`re planting -- they`re putting eggs in people`s bodies. If you didn`t see yesterday`s true news, you need to watch it. It`s an egg that hatches into a synthetic parasite and grows inside your body. This is like a sci-fi nightmare. And it`s happening in front of us.


WILLIAMS: Works for an outfit called Trunews. Next up this next fella Josh Bernstein, who seems nice, he has his own live stream and hates Democrats.


JOSH BERNSTEIN, THE JOSH BERNSTEIN SHOW: The Democrats are a terrorist organization. They are no different than ISIS. They are no different than al Qaeda. They are no different than Boko Haram. They are no different than Hamas. They are no different than Hezbollah. They are no different than North Korea. They are no different than the old Nazis. They are no different than the communists, because that`s what they are. They`re no different than the CCP. These people are pure bred evil, satanic communists, and they want to rule over us and it`s not going to happen. It is never going to happen.


WILLIAMS: Any national Democrat who is tempted to dismiss any of it as fringe would be well counseled to look back at what was considered fringe just five years ago, and for those of you playing our home game, you can simply Google the famous frog boiling experiment.


That is our broadcast for this Thursday night with our thanks for being here with us on behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.