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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 10/25/21

Guests: Philip Rucker, A.B. Stoddard, Melissa Murray, Kara Swisher, Don Calloway, Bill Kristol

Summary

The White House rejected two more of former President Trump`s claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested. Donald Trump called into the "war room" set up at the Willard Hotel as some of his chief allies coordinated efforts to block the certification of Joe Biden`s election win. Whistleblower tells UK lawmakers Facebook worsens online hate. Former Facebook employees claim the company puts profits over people.

Transcript

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Quote, I think we`ll get something I really do the infrastructure bill. It`s a good bill that we need. Joe Manchin gets tonight`s "LAST WORD." THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts now.

[23:00:18]

BRIAN WILIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once, again day 279 of the Biden administration. The President once again making it clear he won`t help his predecessor assert a claim of executive privilege to keep additional material hidden from the House committee investigating January 6.

President Biden`s White House Counsel sent that message in a letter today over to the National Archives. Trump has filed a lawsuit of course to keep documents related to 1/6 out of that committee`s hands. This week that House committee could learn more about the organization, the planning of the rallies that took place in the weeks before the riot at the Capitol, including the one that very same day.

Several people involved in those efforts have been scheduled to appear for deposition starting today the only known witness to defy a committee subpoena that would be Trump ally, Steve Bannon, he awaits the Feds decision on prosecution for contempt of Congress.

We`re also getting a closer look courtesy of the Washington Post at the headquarters for some key figures in Trump`s effort to overturn the 2020 election. Post says Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and conservative lawyer John Eastman holed up in Washington`s Willard Hotel walking distance from the White House in a suite of rooms they called the Command Center. One of the reporters on that Post story says the hotel is where they plot it out scenarios to deny Joe Biden the Presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACQUELINE ALEMANY, THE WASHINGTON POST CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: From November 5 until mid-December. This operation was amateur hour it was Rudy Giuliani throwing spaghetti at the wall figuring out how we could convince Republican legislators into these swing states that something could be done here that they could potentially find, you know, some example of fraud that might change people`s minds/

When John Eastman came onto the scene is when that they sort of brought in his constitutional expertise to map out how exactly that could be done. They were blocked from the White House and had full access to the former president and were able to make their case directly to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Amid the investigation into the assault on our Capitol, there are new reports from several outlets including NBC news on Facebook struggled to control posts from insurrectionists on January 6. The reporting is based on a trove of documents that that Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen turned over to Congress and the SEC. Today she testified in front of the UK Parliament about her former employer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: Engagement based ranking prioritizes polarizing extreme divisive content, it doesn`t matter if you`re on the left or on the right. It pushes you to the extremes. And it fans hate, right, anger and hate is the easiest way to grow on Facebook. We could have a safer platform and it could work for everyone in the world. But it`ll cost little bits of growth as a company that lionize his growth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: NBC News reporting Zuckerberg responded to the reports on a phone call during which he announced the company`s near record revenue and quarterly profits of, wait for it, $9.2 billion.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP

MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO: Good fake criticism helps us get better. But my view is that what we`re seeing is a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Veteran tech journalist Kara Swisher is standing by will join us in moments with her thoughts on all of this. Meanwhile, Joe Biden was on the road again today in New Jersey, promoting the infrastructure bill and his domestic spending plan. Negotiations still underway in Congress. Biden is hoping to get a deal before he leaves for Europe on Thursday.

Also tonight Moderna now says it`s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children. Six through 11 years old tomorrow and FDA advisory panel meets to discuss authorizing Pfizer shots for younger children.

With that, let`s bring in our starting line on this Monday night. Philip Rucker, Pulitzer Prize winning senior Washington correspondent for The Washington Post, co-author with Carol Leonnig of The New York Times best seller, "I alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump`s Catastrophic Final Year," A.B. Stoddard, veteran Washington journalist, Associate Editor and columnist for Real Clear Politics, and Professor Melissa Murray of NYU Law School, who notably was law clerk for Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the federal bench prior to her nomination to the Supreme Court. Good evening and welcome to all of you.

[23:05:04]

Indeed, Counselor. I`d like to begin with you because the White House counsel has again said, there`s no privilege worries here. We`re going to open up the files on the existing records from 1/6. What happen next professor, especially considering this is under lawsuit?

MELISSA MURRAY, NYU LAW PROFESSOR: Well, as you know, to the press -- the former president has filed a lawsuit against both the chairman of the committee and the archivist to withhold those documents. And a reviewing court would have to consider both the scope of executive privilege here the fact that this is a former president, as opposed to a current president`s invoking it, the fact that the current president has no qualms about having this material released, and also to think about the nature of the communications that allegedly are being sought here.

And so I think we have to sort of think about what the broad range is, why is this lawsuit been filed? And I think it`s likely been filed, because litigation takes a long time, it will have to go through a trial court, then to an Intermediate Court of Appeals, and then ultimately to the US Supreme Court for final determination.

And all of that may be moot if this doesn`t happen before 2022 in the election, and if the Republicans take back the House, they could end this select committee investigation, making all of this irrelevant. So I think the reason why we have this lawsuit while we`ve turned to the courts, and why there`s been no willingness to compromise on this, is to run out the clock.

WILLIAMS: Great points all around. Phil Rucker, what else should we know about this command center at the Willard Hotel known very well, throughout Washington, DC while we point out in fairness, a lot of this detail originated in a book by your colleagues Peril by Woodward and Costa?

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That`s right, Brian. And there`s great reporting here about the gathering, the command center at the Willard Hotel, and who some of those key figures are. But the testimony of those figures, and this is why that January 6 Committee on Capitol Hill is seeking testimony from Steve Bannon and others could really help fill in some of the gaps here. What exactly were the communications that Bannon, that John Eastman, that Rudy Giuliani, that Bernard Kerik and others were having with President Trump in the days and hours leading up to the insurrection on January 6? What sort of coordination were they having with members of the House Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill? Were they coordinating or communicating even with the thousands of protesters who were amassing just outside the hotel on the streets as they got ready to go see the President speak the morning of January 6, at the ellipse just a block or two away? And who was funding all of this?

There`s an important detail in the Washington Post story over the weekend that the Trump campaign was reimbursing for some of the expenses of this command center, which indicates a direct link between the campaign and between the operations at that command center. What were the other funding streams? Were there any other links connecting the campaign or the Republican National Committee or any other formal structures? Perhaps even the government with the operations that were underway and being led by Mr. Bannon.

WILLIAMS: A.B., Condi Rice was in the news recently for exactly one day, having emerged from civilian life long enough to say that while and I`m paraphrasing, 1/6 was terrible, it`s time we put it behind us. Indeed, reporting you have done says Republicans are banking on obviously their own faithful but even some swing voters to put it behind them. What do they base that on?

A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS ASSOC. EDITOR AND COLUMNIST: Well, Brian, the vote -- the polls have shown that since January 6, the voters who make up the Trump base, have turned away from their initial alarm and concern and upset over 1/6, and they have decided it`s no big deal and really have integrated Trump`s rebranding of January 6. He now says that the election on November 3 of 2020 is the insurrection. And that 1/6 was a protest. He said it a few times on talk shows and then he released it as one of his press release statements while this debate over Steve Bannon plant the subpoena was taking place on the House floor last week.

And this has been a successful marketing campaign that you can see in the polling that attitudes among Republicans have shifted to now this being sort of Ron Johnson`s description of no big deal. And if anything, it is the fault of Joe Biden or the Democrats or the media or MTR or something else.

So with that Republicans really close to regaining the majority in the House in next year`s midterms and potentially the Senate Majority as well. Our banking on the fact that maybe swing voters are tuning this out as well and there`s no alarm bells in the polling right now that independent voters and swing voters are alarmed about the threat to democracy or Trump`s continuance of the big lie, or his rebranding of the insurrection.

[23:10:21]

And so we will see as the findings are released from this committee, as we learn more, as we did from this explosive Washington Post reporting, but also from the Rolling Stone magazine report about staffers and members of Congress being intimately involved in the planning of this, and how some of these people are now sharing this with the Committee.

These findings ultimately will determine how these swing voters look upon one six next year when the election is closer, Republicans have made this gamble that it`s not going to matter. But depending on what we learn. We`ve learned a lot since the vote last week on the contempt -- the criminal contempt referral for Steve Bannon, depending on what is revealed, it`s going to it`s going to probably ultimately look like a very risky gamble.

WILLIAMS: So Professor, A.B. just said a lot there, in addition to the piece, she`s written on this same topic. If the committee has this ticking clock, and they`re looking to go after organizers and funders, you know, a very basic question is who paid for all those buses that descended on Washington, DC, all those hotel and motel rooms? What`s the fastest way they can go about that?

MURRAY: Well, to be clear, the question is the clock and time running out one way that the committee can deal with this is to refer more of these to criminal investigations or prosecutions at the Department of Justice and have the executive branch take this up, those prosecutions would survive a midterm loss that disbanded the committee if that were to happen. And so that might be one way of proceeding and might be longer in the long term, but would be at least a way to propel this going forward and to allow it to get around that staff gap of the midterm elections.

WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, your colleagues, write this tonight about President Biden the days ahead offer the opportunity for a major breakthrough for Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress, after party leaders confronted firsthand the tough political reality of governing with only a narrow majority in the House and Senate. It`s not like they didn`t know that coming in.

But I need to know from you, your knowledge of where negotiations stand now. And what is the possibility the President is going to affix his signature to a bill, any bill beyond you know, the naming of national peach month between now and when he is wheels up for Europe on Thursday?

RUCKER: Yes, Brian, President Biden very much wants to have one, if not both of these bills, signed and done by the time he leaves for Europe, in part because there`s a major climate conference convening this weekend. And he wants to be able to announce there that the United States has signed into law, some major climate change legislation that, of course, is contained in what had been a three and a half trillion dollar social spending package that`s now being whittled down effectively and half.

My colleagues on Capitol Hill are reporting at this hour that it appears they`re honing in on a deal for about 1.7 5 trillion or there abouts yet they`re still haggling with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Senator Kyrsten, Sinema of Arizona, over a couple of the key elements of that bill, specifically the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid, the expansion of a paid family leave program, and some of the climate measures that Manchin is opposing, in part because of the power of the coal industry in his home state of West Virginia.

And so those negotiations are ongoing, but we`re hearing both from the White House and from Democratic leaders and even from Manchin himself today signs of optimism that a deal could come together in the next 48 hours or so. Biden very much desperately wants to see that happen because he doesn`t want to go to Europe empty handed. He wants this done.

And also looming on the calendar or the elections next Tuesday, specifically the Virginia gubernatorial race. Democrat Terry McAuliffe is in a real dead heat with the Republican there and would very much like a talking point, and that Democrats governing here in Washington can get things done. There`s hope among the Democrats, that a deal could help McAuliffe win that race next Tuesday.

WILLIAMS: And A.B. as Phil alluded to the entire Biden campus getting a taste of what it`s like to govern as a Democratic president in a world where Manchin and Sinema insists on being called Democrats among other challenges.

[23:15:04]

Look at the bill that first started. How many trillions of dollars were we talking about? How many trillions of dollars to the guy like Bernie Sanders want? Look at what Biden`s likely to get? How does he go back and cover and explain all that?

STODDARD: Well, I think Biden has been a realist about this, mostly all along, and he knew what he was dealing with his math. Look, give Joe Manchin credit. He did outline this to his leader in the Senate in July. And they`ve known in the end, it would be pared back.

You have to tell your coalition whether you`re moderate or progressive that you fought all along, that you fought the big fight. And that`s what the different factions of the Democratic caucus have been doing in both chambers. But I do think that they`re going to come to some kind of agreement. Bernie Sanders knew wouldn`t be 10 billion. He knew wouldn`t be excited trillion. He knew wouldn`t be six. He said 3.5 was the floor, but he knew wasn`t the floor.

And so I think we`re going to come to sort of some kind of resolution soon, and people will celebrate what`s in it. For some, for the progressives, it will be many, many initiatives with short funding streams. And for the moderates, it will be ultimately the price tag, but I do think that he`s going to get -- the president`s going to get something very soon and they`ve known all along it was not going to be the size and scope of the initial offer.

WILLIAMS: And it`s only Monday, to Phil Rucker, A.B. Stoddard, Melissa Murray are starting line on this Monday. Great thanks for joining us tonight.

Coming up for us, veteran tech journalist Kara Swisher joins us to break down what we need to know from those thousands of leaked Facebook documents, what employees were saying about their role in the January 6 riot as a company an.

And later, what we`re hearing from Barack Obama about two very important governor`s races just about a week out from election day now, why the former president isn`t holding back criticizing Virginia Republicans. All of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway for this new week, kooking at the West Wing on a Monday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:20:55]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAUGEN: An ad that gets more engagement is a cheaper ad. We have seen that it over and over again in Facebook`s research, it is easier to promote people to anger than to empathy or compassion. And so we are literally subsidizing hate on these platforms. It is cheaper substantially to run an angry, hateful divisive ad and it is to run a compassionate, apathetic ad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen explaining how people engage with divisive ads on Facebook. NBC News was given a trove of leaked documents that underscore the internal anger at Facebook over the spread of misinformation and calls to violence.

According to the documents employees blame the company for what happened on 1/6 quote, I`m struggling to match my values to the employment -- to my employment here, an employee wrote in a comment, I came here hoping to affect change and improve society. But all I`ve seen is atrophy and abdication of responsibility.

It`s an important night to have back with us, Kara Swisher, veteran technology and business journalist, contributing opinion writer at The New York Times, host of the New York Times podcast called Sway. And in her spare time host of the podcast called Pivot with Scott Galloway, which exists mostly to give our friend Scott something to do.

Kara, I`m going to assume that you have been through more of these documents than certainly most of us who are here to listen to your answer. I note that Mr. Zuckerberg says it`s a selective leak. Most leaks are doesn`t make the material in them. Untrue. But good kind of -- good try blaming the media. How bad is it?

KARA SWISHER, THE NEW YORK TIMES CONTIBUTOR OPINION WRITER: I think it`s pretty bad. I think as we`ve talked about many times, Brian, that this is a growing problem for Facebook on a number of areas. And I think the one that struck me the most with these this trove of documents. And by the way, there are more coming because there`s a lot of them is the obsession with stopping their employees from speaking out.

And I think one of the things that was interesting here were these employees dissent. And I thought that was the most striking part. And they`re going to have a real problem with labor as a company and continue to have it because so many people, not just one, not just two, but a lot of people were talking about the faults that Facebook had in what happened and but it was January 6, or Donald Trump and I spent that`s one of the issues.

The other was the incredible international problems that they had and have created. And I just interviewed Maria Ressa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize. And she had warned me about this in 2015. And to see this so clearly in these documents is really disturbing. And then they knew about it.

WILLIAMS: Of course traveled to other continents remind you that in a place like Africa, Facebook is the portal to the internet.

SWISHER: Yes.

WILLIAMS: It is bigger there than it is here.

SWISHER: Absolutely, everywhere in the world. 90 percent of news is through Facebook. Facebook is the internet. It`s not the portal to the internet. It is the internet. And you know, they`ve managed it kind of sloppily in many countries. And that`s one of the things that really disturbed me.

And then of course, as Maria told me many years ago, we`re just the canary in the coal mine, it`s going to come there to the US and here, you know, the employees are very clearly pointing to Facebook`s culpability in helping make amplify the problems of hate on the internet and then later to the Capitol.

WILLIAMS: Kara are they capable of change on their own?

SWISHER: I don`t know. I honestly thought these responses that Mark had today. You know, despite the fact that look, their earnings are up they`re doing great Wall Street loves them, that`s besides the point although it`s sort of an interesting situation is that they like their business. It`s just their business may be predicated on some real problems.

I mean, as Atlantic`s said today, Facebook proved to be the perfect hype machine for the coup inclined. And one of their employees I thought had the most interesting text from the many texts were just heartbreaking was history will not judge us kindly. I think that was completely on point.

[23:25:00]

WILLIAMS: How do they prevent themselves from being the community bulletin board for insurrectionists?

SWISHER: Well, community don`t burn for everything. And of course, Facebook`s not responsible for every terrible human behavior, look that`s been going on a long time. And that`s been one of Facebook`s defenses. But when you amplify this stuff, and when you provide this kind of Renee DiResta, who`s as a researcher at Stanford calls it ampliaganda, it`s a terrible word, but amplified propaganda. When you become the platform for that, and you own employees are warning you about it, and you don`t either get smaller or cut it back or do something. And you lean into the idea that in rage -- that engagement equals enrichment, you`ve got a real problem.

And so I think this is a really, I think they`re at a crossroads, and they may just stick it with the defense and hope to, you know, sweat it out. I think that`s not what they should be doing. And I think this name change this week, which apparently they`re going to do on Thursday is part of that of trying to shield Mark Zuckerberg from further criticism.

WILLIAMS: Do you know the new name has it been selectively leaked to you?

SWISHER: Oh, no, not at all. They don`t talk to me at all anymore. Because I`ve been such a critic of this since I met Maria Ressa and started to see this. They won`t speak to me at all. We asked for 12 to 15 employees who I`ve known for a decade, and none of them will talk to me, top employees that is. But I`ve heard it`s meta, supposedly, and it`s Thursday, but I`m not so sure what it`ll be. But it`s coming.

WILLIAMS: Well, I actually wanted to ask you a personal question about that having read everything you`ve written on this topic and heard I think every word you`ve spoken on this topic, going back to when you were complaining that they had to realize they were a publisher. They had to go through a metamorphosis. This company born in a Harvard dorm had to grow up fast because the world had come to them.

SWISHER: Right.

WILLIAMS: What is it like to you to see thus far, and Lord knows where we`re going? The arc of their story compared to your comment and criticism all the way?

SWISHER: You know, I am not thrilled to be right. You know, I don`t like it. I don`t like that this is what they do. Because there`s so many amazing people there. And that`s what came through in these documents, the employees. There are people who are who care a great deal. Their leaders are not listening to them. And that might be that -- because those leaders aren`t the right leadership company, no matter how well they do in Wall Street.

This is a company that is showing deleterious effects on society. And something has to change either in their attitude or their accepting of their responsibility. Or maybe they shouldn`t be this big a platform that all kinds of solutions here, none of which they seem to want to embrace, but their employees know what to do, and know they can do something about it. And it`s really sad that they`re not listening to them.

WILLIAMS: Our guest truly is the voice of authority on this topic. Kara Swisher, thank you so much. Always a pleasure to have you on.

SWISHER: All right. Thank you, Bryan.

WILLIAMS: Coming up for us after our next break when Barack Obama shows up to campaign it usually means the Democrats are worried enough about the campaign to call in Barack Obama and in Virginia the former president is taking it right to the Republicans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:31:47]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FMR. US PRESIDENT: When your supporters hold a rally, where they pledge allegiance to a flag that was flown at the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6. The biggest threat to our democracy in my lifetime. When you don`t separate yourselves from them, when you don`t think that`s a problem. Well, you know what? That`s a problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: We are just one week away from two consequential elections for governor, New Jersey and Virginia. President Biden was in Jersey today where he met with the incumbent Governor Phil Murphy. And he heads back to Virginia tomorrow where polls show Terry McAuliffe tied with Republican Glen Younkin.

Back with us tonight, Don Calloway, Democratic strategist, founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund, and Bill Kristol, author, writer, thinker, political veteran of the Reagan and Bush Administration`s and editor-at-large at The Bulwark. Gentlemen, good evening, and welcome to you both.

Don, I think we can take it as a given for this conversation, that as a presence, and as a speaker, Barack Obama is a singular figure in our country, and not just in our politics. Having said that, I know Democrats who acted like Virginia was going to be a layup. I know Democrats who acted like New Jersey was going to be a layup. You don`t call in Michael Jordan for a layup. What do you make of the President`s speaking style on the stump these days and these two races?

DON CALLOWAY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: The President speaking style is very clear that he`s never running for office again, which is why he can kind of go with this almost urban folksy plain speak thing that seems to be very effective. You just wish that he could have done it when selling his agenda to the American people. I think he sold it effectively. But he was almost a little too pedantic and academic at times as president, but now he`s an unbridled man and can speak as he sees freely. So that`s a positive asset, not only in these gubernatorial races, but going into next year, and then even 2024.

But his main thing right now, if you think about it, no matter how much truth he speaks, he`s not convincing Republicans to switch their vote to Terry McAuliffe, and he`s not convincing Democrats not to vote for Glenn Youngkin. Ultimately, what he`s doing is waking Democrats up reminding people with a week out he had Stacey Abrams and some others that there`s a --

WILLIAMS: Don at first, you froze and then we took your voice and now your voice is gone. And we will try to reestablish luckily Bill Kristol standing by as well. Bill, I want to play for you some of Glenn Youngkin on Fox News. We`ll discuss on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA GUBENATORIAL CANDIDATE: This is Virginians, not Republicans versus Democrats. Yes, the nation is watching because they recognize that when Virginia and stand up and take a state that has been blue and elect a Republican governor is going to make a statement, that`s going to be heard not just around the country, but around the world, that we`re going to stand up for those values that mean the most to Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[23:35:00]

WILLIAMS: So Bill, as we established last time, we discussed this he`s done a rather effective parent`s rights campaign event tour, which in the wrong hands, bumps right up against that kind of quiet anti-vaxx movement. He has managed to toe the line thus far. His been endorsed about six times by Donald Trump, but has managed to the best of his ability to avoid Donald Trump. What is a guy like this and a statement like the one we just heard? What does it mean for the Democrats?

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: You know, we`ll see how effective it is really his closing ads, he is an ad with a fair featuring a parent from Fairfax County here, who claims her son was made very upset cut nightmares from reading a novel. She doesn`t say how old he was or what novel it was in the closing ad and that the parent objected, and the school board was unresponsive. And that`s bad. And this was an issue in Virginia. And there was actual legislation that we call a veto, and to get parents to kind of veto over certain readings in school

Now, fact that her son was a senior. And the book was Beloved by Toni Morrison. So this is not some kind of exotic weirdo book being forced down to sixth grade or something. I don`t know that we want parents to be able to choose, you know, which books should be on the AP English reading list. I guess those lists are kind of made up nationally, aren`t they? That`s the test is about. This is an AP English class.

So anyway, we`ll see if that whole effect, the whole attempt to run against the school boards, run against the public school establishment claim that, you know, middle American values are being trampled on by the elites, liberal elites here Fairbanks County.

I am a little dubious that that works. And I don`t know the closing with that is the most -- is a sign of great strength. I wonder if Youngkin`s old polls showing a little bit down. He`s not closing with a much more positive message. McAuliffe`s actually closing with a more of a positive. I was a good governor, I can do it again. I can bring jobs back message as well as trying to attack him and obviously, as for his ties with Trump, we`ll see.

WILLIAMS: Don, we heard most of what I think you said we lost what you were saying at the end take a quick swing at New Jersey for me and why Democrats there are swimming way harder than they thought they were going to have to.

CALLOWAY: They`re swimming because I do this for a living and I don`t know the name of the dude that Phil Murphy is running against, that says all you need to know that Barack Obama would have to go up to New Jersey for a race for an incumbent Democrat against a guy who has virtually no name recognition outside of C (ph) caucus.

I think the bottom line here is that Democrats have to remember in the DGA, my good friends over there, have to remember that we`re all old enough to remember New Jersey electing a Republican governor, Massachusetts electing a Republican senator. So we can`t take any of these days for granted particularly in these off cycle odd number years, where ultimately it comes down to Democratic turnout.

And if you catch people sleeping, if Republicans cast the right amount of political fatigue, then we can hit a perfect storm and they could end up taking charge in the seats. Remember, these elections are all important because the states are the seat of democracy where Republicans will attempt to subvert the process in 2022 and ultimately in `24.

WILLIAMS: His name is Jack Ciattarelli. I can tell you because as a New Jersey Shore person all summer long there were those banner planes trailing a banner that said merely Jack to get the name recognition out there. And indeed to your point no democratic governor of New Jersey has received more than one term in over 40 years, so both interesting races to watch. Thankfully for us both these gentlemen are going to stick with us. I`m going to slip in a break here.

Coming up when our conversation continues. The political impact of a small minority of workers taking on vaccine mandates that a majority of Americans support.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:42:07]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS HOST: I cannot stress this enough. This is not about left or right. This is not about who`s conservative or liberal. Take the political speaking points and toss them for now. I`m begging you. Toss them and think of what`s good, not only for yourself, but for those around you. Life is too short to be an ass. Life is way too short to be ignorant of the promise of something that is helping people worldwide. Stop the deaths. Stop the suffering. Please get vaccinated, please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: An emotional play from Fox News host veteran anchor Neil Cavuto following his COVID-19 diagnosis on the very network that`s still peddling vaccine misinformation on a nightly basis.

Meanwhile, red state governors continue to push back on vaccine mandates. Kay Ivey in Alabama looking to ban vaccine mandates. And in Florida so on brand Ron DeSantis now offering $5,000, excuse me, bonuses to police officers -- let me take a drink here. OK. $5,000 bonuses to police officers in other states who he says aren`t being treated well, because presumably, as first responders, they`re being forced to take the vaccine. Don Calloway, Bill Kristol are still with us. They`ll get me out of this talk for a while about our friends in the red states.

KRISTOL: Yes, have a little sip of water there, Brian. The vaccine thing is really extraordinary. You know, if you had told me 10, 20 years ago, unfortunately, the Republican Party is going to go into authoritarian direction, populist demagogic, authoritarian direction, I would have said you know what, it`s going to be wildly anti-immigration and use terrible scare tactics on immigration and immigrants. It`s going to play the race card, it`s going to get all upset about the Toni Morrison novel being assigned in an AP class in Fairfax County. That`s the kind of authoritarianism we`re likely to see a kind of hyper patriotism. How dare you say there any dark spots on the history of this country?

The one thing I wouldn`t have predicted really is vaccines. Where does that come from? People have been taking vaccines this country a long time. They really have never been to my knowledge much of a political breakdown on it. Even in Trump that we did, of course, demagogue COVID on the masks, he even -- he wasn`t a real leader in the effort against vaccines. He obviously totally taken credit for it and did it for the vaccines and for their swift development and did so at times.

So for me, it shows a level of conspiracy theory and thinking, a level of hostility such as any part of the establishment anything that the authorities say is a good thing we`re going to be against. I don`t know. It`s -- I find it just more distressing. I mean regular authoritarianism, populism and nativism is bad enough but this level of kind of conspiracy theorizing in which people are doing things that are hurting themselves, killing themselves and their neighbors is really terrible.

[23:45:11]

And it`s not, you know, you to kind of keep thinking it`s going to go away. But as you say, Republican governors today, this week, continue to cater to the anti-vaccine actions.

WILLIAMS: Much better here. Thank you for that Bill. And thank you for the thoughts contained there in doubt. Don, I have one for you. I`m going to play for you something from a woman named Tina Polsky, Florida State Senator. She`s going to talk here about a meeting she had with the Surgeon General of Florida, who was of course appointed by Governor DeSantis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STATE SEN. TINA POLSKY (D-FL): I said just please wear a mask. I have a very serious medical condition. At that point, I had not made myself public. And again, he just refused to do it. So after enough time to pass and I saw he wasn`t going to I said, I know all I need to know can you please leave? He didn`t -- certainly didn`t care about my health. So I don`t know how he`s going to care about the public health and 21 million Floridians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: So Don, just repeating the man she`s talking about is the Surgeon General of the State of Florida. Has there ever been anything more Florida than that story?

CALLOWAY: Has a Florida man. No, I you know, there`s no real explanation for any of this. I find it odd that Baby Trump down there in Florida has also appointed an African American Surgeon General, much like Sr. Trump did. I don`t know that that has anything to do with anything. I just find it incredibly remarkable that that gentleman would fail to (INAUDIBLE) all of the creed of his profession so profoundly. It`s really sad. It really makes no sense.

But I will say to the folks in my communities who are likely to vote Democratic, we really messed up when we made toothless rednecks and magnetites the face of the vaccine hesitant community. And there are a lot of folks out there in educated spaces and thoughtful spaces, who are likely to vote Democrat, African American urban communities who aren`t really adopting the vaccine at the rate we would like.

So I applaud Neil Cavuto who despite being employed by that rancid hellhole loop, I had a lot of experience with over to Fox News, chose to speak out. You very rarely see that type of truth spoken with that level of humanity over at Fox News. So I applaud Neil Cavuto, but at the same time, I wonder how much job security that really gives him for the long haul.

But there`s no real explaining the gentleman who was the Surgeon General of Florida, and I`m glad that the state senator had the good sense to get herself to safety and ask him to leave.

WILLIAMS: Yes, a couple of things here. Number one, obviously we`re thinking of Neil Cavuto who has lived bravely and forthrightly with multiple sclerosis for over two decades and talked about it on television. And secondly, we just think of Dr. Fauci`s words that had the polio and smallpox vaccines come out into this kind of anti-vaxx environment. We would be -- we would have our hands full to this day with smallpox and polio.

Great thanks to these two gentlemen friends of our broadcast for good reason. Don Calloway, Bill Kristol, gentlemen appreciate it very much. Coming up for us assessing the damage from something called a bomb cyclone in the West, just as another storm slams into the East.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:51:50]

WILLIAMS: From coast to coast this evening and this week severe weather is affecting the lives of millions of our fellow citizens from the tornadoes in the Midwest to heavy rain on the East Coast tonight and on the West Coast. Something called a bomb cyclone has caused landslides and flooding in its wake. NBC News correspondent Steve Patterson has our report from California tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

STEVE PATTERSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the West blessed but the destructive power of a bomb cyclone. A swift and massive drop in air pressure combined with an influx of extra tropical moisture causing a daily use of rain and high wind. Eight million under flooded wind alerts, tens of thousands still without power. Forecasters calling it the single strongest storm to ever hit the West Coast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Individuals are stuck in a large amount of water here/.

PATTERSON: Just outside Seattle tragedy, two people killed by a fallen tree. In Northern California, historic rainfall. Residents racing to keep water out of their home. The storm pounding the region of result of climate change driving extreme weather more frequently but the globe`s warming climate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A week ago we were saying the drought we`ve got no water and here we are a week later going too much water.

PATTERSON: The storm up ending trucks toppling trees into homes and forcing evacuations, burn scars now pathways for dangerous debris. And this is the reason why this storm system has been so dangerous. Inside of these burn scars were in the devastation that`s been left behind from the Dixie fire. And you can see this massive rock slide coming down cutting off access to a major highway here in Northern California.

Meanwhile, tornadoes flattening homes across Illinois and Missouri as another powerful storm system turns across the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can`t open the lid off the house.

PATTERSON: 35 million now under flood alerts across the Northeast. Residents bracing for heavy rain and high winds. While the recovery out west is just getting started.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

WILLIAMS: Our thanks to correspondent Steve Patterson for that report tonight. Coming up for us a fight between networks has broken out on the airwaves for at least on cable that you must see to believe and we will show it to you next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:57:49]

WILLIAMS: Perhaps you`ve heard of Newsmax, perhaps you`ve even seen a bit of Newsmax the network that is basically programmed for one viewer, even though he`s just one of millions of retirees living in Florida. Well, there`s trouble in that Florida paradise or more accurately, trouble on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. That`s because Newsmax is going directly after Fox News for being too liberal and they`re doing this out loud and in public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEATHER CHILDERS, NEWSMAX ANCHOR: Welcome back to American agenda. Fox News facing more backlash today following a series of recent controversy.

BOB SELLERS, NEWSMAX ANCHOR: National correspondent Michael Carter and brings us the latest on Fox going woke.

MICHAEL CARTER, NEWSMAX NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So what do major Fox News personalities think about the White House press secretary? Chris Wallace hails from FMCS news division, where factual news judgment is supposed to take precedence over one`s own political and personal perspective.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: And Jen Psaki I think is one of the best press secretaries ever.

CARTER: Fox News often says it supports a variety of perspectives. Five days earlier, Tucker Carlson had nothing but insults for Psaki.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Here`s his grouchy little flak today, almost impossible to believe this person is real.

CARTER: So which is it for Psaki, best ever? Or grouchy a little flat? There`s similar confusion over FNC stance on climate change. Fox is rolling out a new Weather Channel which says it`s taking the climate issue seriously.

Hard left NPR gleefully reported how there`s a seeming disconnect between what the Fox hosts often report about manmade climate change versus how the Murdochs run the company.

GEOFF DEMBICKI, NPR CLIMATE REPOTER: The important thing to realize about Murdoch`s media empire is that they not only acknowledge climate change at a corporate level, but they`re really seen as industry leaders in it.

CARTER: Even former President Donald Trump attacking Fox over the weekend, objecting to a critical ad run by Fox News Channel. What good is it if Fox News speaks well of me when they continually allow horrible and untruthful anti Trump commercials to be run?

Trump was already displeased with Fox over its 2020 election night coverage and despite parting ways with two decision desk executives Bill Sammon and Chris Stirewalt it`s bringing back analyst on in Michigan.

[00:00:04]

All of this has conservatives wondering if Fox is making a permanent hard left turn in. New York for Newsmax, I`m Mike Carter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Well, Newsmax directly taking on the long established liberal network Fox News, this will certainly be fun to watch from the sidelines. That is our broadcast for this Monday evening as we start a new week with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.