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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 10/27/21

Guests: Yamiche Alcindor, Neal Katyal, Jonathan Karl, Eugene Robinson, Mark McKinnon, Carmen Best


Biden expected to meet with House Democrats tomorrow morning before departure to Europe. Trump lawyer behind memo to overturn election caught on tape discussion efforts. Democrats still hashing out safety net bill details.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: President Biden is expected to attend the House Democratic Caucus meeting tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. two sources have told NBC News. He`s going to try to help convince the progressive Democrats in the House to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill that has already passed the Senate. Speaker Pelosi wants them to do that, possibly as early as tomorrow to have that vote as early as tomorrow. That is tonight`s "LAST WORD." THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 281 of the Biden administration. The President may now be delaying his scheduled departure for Europe tomorrow morning so that he can continue to try to persuade members of his own party to pass his domestic policy bills.

Drama sometimes helps in these matters. We`ll have more on that in just a moment. There`s also news from the House committee investigating 1/6 just a short time ago, one committee member confirmed they expect to hear testimony later this week from Jeffrey Clark. He`s the former Trump DOJ official who was reportedly involved in the former President`s effort to overturn the election.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN, (D) MARYLAND HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON JANUARY 6: I think the Committee has acknowledged, was scheduled this Friday for an interview so I believe that that is still on.


WILLIAMS: As we reported the Washington Post says the Committee expects to subpoena John Eastman, the Trump friendly lawyer who outlined that blueprint for overturning the election by having former VP Mike Pence nullify the electoral votes.

Last week in interview with the National Review, Eastman disavowed that plan, calling it "not viable and crazy." But Eastman was caught on camera defending his plan and blaming Mike Pence and a series of undercover videos shot by a liberal activist named Lauren Windsor. She approached him at an event on her own, not on behalf of NBC News saying that she was at the rally on 1/6 and that she was one of his supporters.


LAUREN WINDSOR, LIBERAL ACTIVIST: But I read your memo and I thought it was solid and all of its legal arguments.


WINDSOR: And I just -- I was floored that Mike Pence didn`t do anything. I mean, why didn`t he act on it? Because you gave him the legal reasoning to do that?

EASTMAN: I know. I know, no it`s --

WINDSOR: Supporter to supporter like, why do you think that Mike Pence didn`t do it?

EASTMAN: Well, because Mike Pence is an establishment guy at the end of the day.


WILLIAMS: NBC news reached out to Eastman, and he had no comment. Today, Windsor herself posted more of the video from her conversation with Eastman, who describes Trump`s plans to walk down to the Capitol after that speech he gave on January 6.


EASTMAN: Yeah, I don`t know, yeah. I don`t know because the breaking of the windows stuff had already started before his speech was over. And if he got down there, then all of that would have been blamed on him. I mean, they`re still blaming him, but they would have had more basis for it. So, you know --

WINDSOR: But he`d been planning on coming down, though?

EASTMAN: Yeah, I know. I know.


WILLIAMS: And it goes on kind of like that. Earlier on this network to January 6 committee members said the video bolstered the case for issuing a subpoena to Eastman.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA JAN. 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: Clearly, he was trying to get the Vice President to overturn the election, as you say, a coup. And these are insurrectionists in my view, wearing suits and ties, and they`re not done.

RASKIN: Eastman, he performed, he delivered by saying this is something we can do. A lot of what I`m looking for in the January six committee is what were the Nexus points between the quasi-parliamentary political coup side and the violent insurrection side.


WILLIAMS: We`ve also learned that the former president is once again trying to keep his tax returns away from Congress. Trump`s lawyers have urged a federal judge to block the Treasury Department and the IRS from giving his returns to the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on that case is set for November 16.

As we mentioned the current president`s trying to salvage his plan to expand the social safety net in our country and keep his infrastructure bill alive. President now plans to attend tomorrow morning`s Democratic caucus meeting at 9 a.m. in the House to help convince mostly the liberals to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Tonight, we learned that a big part of that plan to provide paid family and medical leave to millions of Americans was cut from the spending bill largely due to opposition from a 74-year-old man from West Virginia named Joe Manchin.

One reporter from ABC News posted this from Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state who said, "We are not going to let one man tell millions of women in this country that they can`t have paid leave."


Democrats are still far apart on many of the other things Biden wants to do. Tonight, the leader of the House liberal bloc said as of now there`s no agreement.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL, (D) WASHINGTON JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I don`t believe that we have a deal from the two senators that we have been waiting on four months. We need those two senators to get on board so that we can show the world that we are actually going to deliver for people in a significant way so that we don`t keep pushing people away from democracy and government right here in our own country. They see us not fighting for them. They see us not delivering for them.


WILLIAMS: Those two senators she`s talking about, those who insist it`s not about them, of course, are Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

With that, let`s bring in our starting line on a Wednesday night, shall we? Yamiche Alcindor, White House Correspondent for PBS NewsHour, moderator of Washington Week, also on PBS. Jonathan Karl, Chief Washington Correspondent over at ABC News, longtime White House Correspondent. His upcoming book called Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, is coming out on November 16. His current book Front Row at the Trump Show is currently out in paperback. And Neal Katyal, Department of Justice veteran, former Acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration, who has of course argued dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Well, good evening, and welcome to you all. Yamiche, you know well the kind of rules surrounding presidential power. You don`t exert it unless you think there`s going to be a return because that`s a precious commodity. Tell us what you know about these plans to delay his departure. So, he can give a final sales pitch in the House?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS NEWSHOUR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are several sources that are now saying that President Biden is expected to go to Capitol Hill tomorrow to meet with Democrats to really try to seal this deal, and to really marshal and unite Democrats around voting for the infrastructure bill.

It`s interesting, where the President and finds himself, he has been really trying to exert pressure trying to be a closer, trying to be a mediator and chief. But now comes the time where Democrats, both progressives and moderates have sort of worked out much, much of the details. And now they`re really looking to the President to say, OK, we need you, before you go off to Europe to really put this together.

The question, though, is whether or not that`s going to work. Today, we saw a lot of different developments on the bill, but it`s still unclear what`s in the bill, what is sort of clear talking to White House sources and Capitol Hill sources is that really important things like paid family leave are being seen as entirely out of the bill. Now, that doesn`t mean that it`s -- that can`t change in the next few hours. But that`s really, really a big deal for so many. I`ve been talking to advocates, I`m just tonight talking about how they see that as really a blow to women of color, a blow to working class people in this country.

The other thing that`s big is that Joe Manchin is really at the center of a lot of these changes. Not only is he opposed the paid family leave, but he also was opposed to the billionaire tax, which President Biden came out today and supported. It`s a new sort of tax that Senate Democrats came up with to try to pay for this bill. But tomorrow is going to be a very interesting day because the President does really want a win before he gets on a plane to go to Europe. He wants to be able to tell different countries at the G20, at the climate conference that is going to be attending the pope as well, that he`s getting things done here at home. So, we`ll have to see tomorrow. It`s a big, big day and a lot of moving parts

WILLIAMS: So, Neal Katyal, over to the 1/6 committee, over to the Hill, if you were either running the Committee or perhaps advising the staff, what would you want ask to messers Clark and Eastman?

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: Well, I think Jeff Clark just has to come and tell the truth. I mean, this is a guy who was a low level environmental lawyer, running temporarily the Civil Division, and he decided to try and, you know, overstep his bounds by far, the, you know, basically try and match an eight to become the Attorney General, and displace Jeffrey Rosen, that could be the acting Attorney General, we need to know the story about what happened, and particularly what did Trump say to him? And what did he say to Trump? And what was Trump`s role in this whole thing? I mean, it`s been, Brian, almost a year. And we don`t have answers to those basic questions, which is just in on forgivable.

As far as John Eastman, I think a subpoena on him is inevitable. He tried last week to say, as you were saying that he didn`t believe his own memo. And that story was incredible. Like, he forgot who told him to even write it. He could, you know, that was part of his story. I mean, I`ve had hundreds of cases, you never forget, who tells you to write a memo on something even like a bankruptcy case or something like that. And if your task is to write a legal memo to justify a coup and overthrow an election, yeah, I kind of think you remember who told you to write that memo.

And then of course, things got worse for, yeah, and then things worse for Eastman today, because, you know, there`s now three John Eastman`s was the guy who wrote the memo saying how to coup, ones the guy who disclaimed the memo months later saying I was just exploring how to coup and now we`ve got the new guy who disagrees with the second guy and says, I`m all in on the coup, and it`s solid. And there`s no reasonable argument against his legal memo. And, you know, it`s just in comprehensible and I call John Eastman, a Trumpian, legal scholar, except that he`s neither legal nor a scholar.


WILLIAMS: Well, I was going to say there`s news on the Eastern front tonight. Politico reporting, he has parted ways with his current lawyer and his hiring another one. John Karl, what does this committee need to do to really impress upon the American people? How important 1/6 was, what end game was supposed to be on 1/6, the Democrats has no one needs remind you have been routinely, Charlie Brown by the Republicans for the past five years?

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, the purpose of this committee, their task is to do something dramatic, is to correct the record for history. But to portray exactly how horrific what happened on January 6 was, and who was behind it, the President`s role, the people around the president, and to do it in a kind of a dramatic, factual way that will break through. And, Brian, the bar is high here, because we had that happen already. I mean, we`ve had it happen during the Senate impeachment trial, you remember how dramatic the playing of that video was on the floor of the Senate, going minute by minute what was happening on January 6.

So, this committee needs to do something beyond that. And they have two advantages that the impeachment managers did not have. One is the ability to call witnesses. And the other is the ability to subpoena documents from the White House. And this is why this battle over executive privilege is so important to get at the documents that will show what was going on around the president on January 6, while the riot was happening, and in the time leading up to that riot.

And this is not simply communications back and forth with aids. But it`s also things like the video outtakes, you know, he did that one horrific video on January 6, where he told people to go home, but he also said we love you, and justified what they were doing. That was -- I am told one of several takes in the earlier takes were deemed unacceptable because he didn`t even tell them to go home. I think that seeing that, and those are - - those were shot by videographers that worked for the U.S. government. Those were shot by videographers working at the White House.

They are -- they would be covered under the Presidential Records Act. There`s a photographer that there was with the president was with Trump all the time, what images were captured from that day. This is all part of what they can do. And this is why that this battle over executive privilege is so important is to get compel and force the testimony of the people that were around the president something the impeachment managers couldn`t do. And to really establish in a cold, factual way, what Donald Trump was up to when this was all going down.

WILLIAMS: Yamiche, back over to you, and a point you made toward the end of your first answer, and that is Joe Biden arrives at the summit in Scotland where did the notion first arrive that this had to be a hard and fast deadline, he had to put pen to paper before stepping foot on Air Force One? Is it really a case where the allies are sitting around the table, critiquing him on build back better before the final rose ceremony?

ALCINDOR: Well, the sense is that the deadlines that were really put in place were deadlines that Democrats put in place themselves. Let`s remember that we`re sort of in the second chapter of this, there was an earlier deadline that Democrats blew through. And this was now a sort of conversation amongst Democrats that they wanted to try to get something done before the President left office, Senator Schumer`s on the record saying that he wants to try to get both of these bills through on October 31, that by the end of the month, we also have to remind people that there are 1000s of workers at the Department of

Transportation that couldn`t be furloughed, come Sunday, if one of these bills doesn`t get voted on. So, there are real Americans that are also going to lose the paycheck if this isn`t worked out. And that`s, of course, sort of how Congress works in a wonky sort of explanation that I won`t bore you with.

But the point is that there are real consequences, both the hard deadlines and also the soft deadlines. When it comes to whether or not allies and other countries are waiting around to see what President Biden is going to do, I don`t think so much that at least talking to my sources that there`s going to be some sense that France is going to yell at President Biden, how did you not get that deal done but I think there is this sense that President Biden having really had this global message that America is back, that his administration was going to be transformational. It would be best for him, not required. But it would be best for him to be able to go to that climate conference and say, look, what we just did, look what the Congress just passed, look at the ways that we`re going through now.


I should also say, I`ve been talking to some sources at the EPA. And there are things that, of course, the Biden administration is doing that is not related to Congress. And they`re trying to hit goals through different rules, through other executive orders. But there is this sense among Democrats that time is winding down. And let`s also remember that the Democratic base wants to see something get done, because there wasn`t a voting rights bill that could be passed, there wasn`t the policing reform bill.

So, this is also the democratic facing, what are Democrats getting for us? And lastly, I`ll say, you know, next Tuesday, this coming Tuesday, there are a lot of elections around the country, but chief among them, the Virginia governor`s race, and Terry McAuliffe, who was a Democrat running in that race has said very clearly, I would love Democrats to give me something that I can run on and really be a closing argument and say, look what we could get done if you elect me as governor.

WILLIAMS: OK, that`s a lot. Neal, two things for you, number one, it is Clark hiring a new attorney. Number two, I need your reaction to this exchange from this was Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island with the Attorney General today. We`ll talk about this exchange on the other side.


SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, (D) RHODE ISLAND: Please tell me it has not been constrained only to people in the Capitol.

MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The investigation is being conducted by the prosecutors and U.S. Attorney`s Office and by the FBI field office. We have not constrained them in any way.

WHITEHOUSE: Great. And the old doctrine of follow the money, which is a well-established principle of prosecution is alive and well.

GARLAND: It`s fair to say that all investigative techniques of which you`re familiar, and some may be that you`re not familiar with, because they post eight your time, are all being pursued in this manner.


WILLIAMS: So, Counselor, what do you make -- What`s your takeaway from that exchange there?

KATYAL: I think it`s the two people doing their job, the way it`s supposed to be done. The senator asking hard question. And the Attorney General being careful and lawyerly, and not essentially answering the question. And that`s actually I think, Brian, something we should be celebrating. We`ve lived through joker, attorneys general in the last administration, who broke every norm and rule of the Justice Department. But the norm is really what Garland is doing here, which is like if there`s a criminal investigation, he`s not supposed to be tipping it off in, you know, on the Senate floor, or something like that.

I think the key for Garland is not how he`s answering these questions, you know, in a hearing, it`s whether or not there`s going to be real action at the end of the day. And so, if he doesn`t seek to jail, Steve Bannon, if he doesn`t do a full investigation of Donald Trump, if he doesn`t prosecute the January 6 insurrectionists, if he doesn`t do those things, I think he`s going to be a failed Attorney General in the end of the day, because the facts here are so far everything, we know, pretty darn compelling.

Now, if he does those investigations, and actually finds that these people were all innocent, OK, so be it, but he`s got to do the full investigation. I believe he will do those things. And I think he can`t confirm that in a response to a question by a senator. That`s fine. And just because Republican attorneys general have acted like hotheads and broken the norms, that doesn`t mean Merrick Garland is going to or has to.

WILLIAMS: So, Jon Karl, the undercurrent of what Yamiche, Neal are saying is time. The clock is ticking. The base especially is getting nervous and antsy. I want to read this from the author and activist Don Winslow, who was a guest of ours a few nights back. For the journalists interviewing members of the January 6 Committee, you should ask three simple questions. One, why did it take six months for the January 6 committee to be formed? Two, why did it take nine months to issue your first subpoena? Three, why are you doing closed door hearings? Mr. Winslow, among others, believes they should be in primetime, open up the drapes and televise it all. But you see there, Jon, people want to see punishment and too many people are dissatisfied, because what they`re seeing seems plotting.

KARL: And Senator Whitehouse got a critical question here, which is not just going after the people that actually literally invaded the Capitol building. This was something that went far beyond the insurrection that we saw on Capitol Hill. This was an -- by all means necessary effort to overturn a presidential election and to seize power.


So, the Winslow made three points, I think the first two are very good points. The third one on closed hearings, you know, as you know you have a good a good investigation, a lot of work behind closed doors before the public hearing commences a lot of discovery, a lot of gathering of facts. But this committee if it is going to be successful, Brian, is going to have to have major primetime hearings, televised hearings in primetime by next summer. And there is a real deadline on all of this. And that is the next is the midterm elections. Because you don`t know if Republicans are going to take over Congress in November of 2022. And if they do, this committee goes away. This committee, and they know they`re keenly aware of that deadline. And I think that there`s a lot of fair criticism of what has taken so long to get to the point we are now but they need to get into a position where they can have a full on primetime hearings by next summer before you`re into a fall campaign.

WILLIAMS: Great thanks to our starting line on this Wednesday night, to Yamiche Alcindor, Jonathan Karl, Neal Katyal, appreciate the three of you coming on.

Coming up for us, our political experts react to the stunning new numbers on just how many Americans seem to think the 2020 election should still be overturned.

And later, the former chief of police in Seattle is with us to talk about her new book on policing and race in America. And what congressional inaction on things like police reform means for the future of her profession, all of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Wednesday night.




REP. RO KHANNA, (D) CALIFORNIA: Am I disappointed on things that are out? Yes, but if you look at what is in which is an investment in the education and health of this country, I still it`s making progress.


WILLIAMS: Make of that what you wish there`s plenty of disappointment to go around truth be told as more and more provisions are going over this the side prior to building back better. And while hopes for quick deal are fading, as we mentioned, there is this chance Biden will delay his departure for Europe tomorrow after spending more time with those House Democrats.

Back with us tonight, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Columnist for the Washington Post and Mark McKinnon, former Adviser to both George W. Bush and John McCain, he is among the co-hosts of the Circus Sunday nights on Showtime.

Gentlemen, great to have you back. Eugene, I got one for you to start this off. This is the editorial board down the hall from you at your beloved Washington Post. And they write, "As they approached a deal on the outlines, they appeared to be at risk of producing legislation that is so compromised and slapdash that it would amount to a tragic missed opportunity. On the spending side, Democrats might skimp on permanent structural reforms so they can fund more programs that are smaller or short term on the revenue side, their plans might easily result in massive new debt. This is not what Mr. Biden promised."

Eugene, indeed, can they really call this a victory? Can they say this matches the President`s standard of transformational legislation if this is going to be death by 1000 cuts?

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Well, look, Brian, if they are able to pass a package with something between $1.75 and $2 trillion worth of new spending, that`s a big deal. That`s a very big deal.

Now, it is likely because of the way this has played out, over weeks and months, that a lot of people will be talking more about what`s not in the bill than what`s actually in the bill. Only Democrats could manage, you know, somehow not to be able to talk about the stuff that they will be doing, where people that people need, and we`ll want universal pre-K without tax credit for as long as people would like climate change funding that`s in there and acceptable to Joe Manchin, et cetera. All the stuff is really a big deal. And I`m not sure it`s that bad and ideal, or that bad politics, to have some of these provisions, theoretically, sunset and a few years because as we all know, it is very difficult to stop programs if they become popular and useful, and people really liked him.

WILLIAMS: Mark, as you may know, every day all the cable networks have a conference call, during which we agreed to the minimum number of Joe Manchin mentions each day and each night and coming to work tonight, I was worried we were going to fall short of our quota. But luckily, he`s back in the news but seriously, to Patty Murray`s point, what do you say to that argument? You`re really going to let one 74-year-old guy from West Virginia kill family and medical leave?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO JOHN MCCAIN & GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I think it`s an outstanding question. I know that seems to be what Joe Manchin is certain what where he`s drawing a line. But I have a feeling maybe that may be back on the table. You know what I think -- I think Eugene made some great points. And part of the problem here is just the expectations were so high, you know, the notion is the transformational along the lines of LBJ or FDR just created enormous expectations that could probably never realistically be met. And I think the reality is that it, you know, 1.5 or $2 trillion, you human infrastructure is going to have a lot of good stuff in it. And is in itself transformational.

So, I think part of the problem has been messaging on the part of the Democrats, first of all, talking about price tags instead of policies and then just -- and then on execution and creating these sort of artificial deadlines. I just wish that Senator Sinama and Machine would get on his boat and just float up the Potomac for a few hours and work this thing out. I`ve just -- we keep coming back and they, you know, Sinema works out a deal, it goes to the White House and gets one. The other Manchin doesn`t agree with, the Manchin agrees to some Cheetos and agree with, but you just get those two on the same page, I think we I think we got a deal.

WILLIAMS: Just them and their food tastes are on that. Both, it`d be safer. Both gentlemen are going to stick around a bit. I got to fit in a break. We`re going to continue our conversation. And when we do, it`s been almost 400 days since Joe Biden was elected President of these United States. Yet an alarming number of our fellow citizens are still not convinced. Let`s just say.



WILLIAMS: Trump and his supplicants continue to pound at home this ongoing lie that the election was somehow stolen. Trump wrote a letter filled with lies to the Wall Street Journal which published it in its entirety.

In our country, if you mentioned something often enough, a certain percentage of people will start to believe it. Indeed, a new Politico morning console poll finds an alarming number of our fellow citizens, 35% still say they believe the election should be overturned.

Still with us, Eugene Robinson and Mark McKinnon. Mark, you know, Stuart Stevens was on a couple nights back on set again. And every time he says that it just stops your heart that there`s one political party that is pro- democracy anymore. What do you do about this germ mark, even if Trump went away tomorrow never said another word, never authored another ridiculous letter to The Wall Street Journal? It`s in the bloodstream.

MCKINNON: Well, you`re right, Brian. And it`s just -- there`s no better evidence if you just repeat a lie enough, even in the face of zero evidence that people will believe it. It`s hugely problematic for the Republican Party for our country for our democracy. The greatest fraud in American politics right now is this notion that there were systemic election fraud. In the face of just give you three quick examples. Arizona audit paid for by Republican Trump supporters not only found no fraud, they found more of a vote for Joe Biden.


Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick offered a million-dollar reward for anybody could find any fraud and it not until last week that he offer up the first reward of $25,000 for one person in Pennsylvania that found a Trump voter voted twice. And then three, the Texas Attorney General`s Office spent 22,000 man hours trying to find election fraud and found 12 bad addresses. That`s about 1300 hours per bad address. There simply is no systemic election fraud and almost zero fraud period. There`s just a handful of cases of idiots who, like just walked into the, you know, put up the wrong address or in some cases, the guy in Pennsylvania voted for Trump twice.

WILLIAMS: So, Eugene, let`s talk about the other side of this, a while back, you were on talking about your column which basically said the Democrats are doomed storyline is overwrought, would you buy, A, Democrats can`t get out of their own way or be Democrats can`t find their own keister with both hands and a flashlight?

ROBINSON: And both of those are kind of true. But I`m still not convinced that Democrats aren`t necessarily doomed number one, they are the only sane pro-democracy political party operation in this country right now. And that actually does count for something. It counted for something. And in the election, last November, I think it will continue to count for something. So as messy as the spending battle is and as bad as the Democrats are, at messaging.

In the end, they are standing up for American principles of American government, American democracy, you may disagree with some of their policies. But look at the Republican Party, it is in thrall to Donald Trump, and an absolute lie that`s been found to be alive, by the way, not just behind the media, not just in the examples that Mark gave, you know, 16 federal courts, federal judges, in case after case after case found there`s absolutely no substance, absolutely nothing there, this did not happen. And I have to believe that believing in what actually happened in the end in the long run is better politically than believing in something that is just fiction, that`s just (inaudible).

WILLIAMS: It is a toxin. It is a dark force in our politics that`s going to affect every election of every kind going forward for a good long while I fear. Eugene Robinson, Mark McKinnon, and both of these gentlemen are friends of this broadcast, we thank them both for coming on again tonight.

Coming up for us, 30 years of insight into how policing works, and when it doesn`t. We`ll talk with former police chief, Carmen Best about her new book, Black in Blue, when the 11th Hour continues.



WILLIAMS: Nearly a year and a half since George Floyd was killed. Still, there`s no police reform measure at the federal level, it should surprise no one in 2021 that the votes just weren`t there for it.

Our next guest has a unique perspective on how to effectively change policing in America after three decades serving the city of Seattle, former Police Chief Carmen Best writes in her new book, Black in Blue, "to beat racism and sexism to fight against police brutality to truly become one nation that recognizes just how much Black lives do matter, just how much minority groups matter, we must first and foremost erase racism and sexism within our own households."

So back with us tonight, the aforementioned, Carmen Best, former police chief city of Seattle. She is also the author of this new book, Black in Blue: Lessons on Leadership, Breaking Barriers, and Racial Reconciliation

Chief I`d like to begin with another quote from inside your book. And it reads, I am a huge supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and a firm believer in not abolishing the police or defunding it to the point that police officers can no longer keep their job or carry out their daily tasks. As was the case when the city council in Seattle decided we had to do it was 50% less money. Chief talked about the circumstances that led to your departure from that job.

CARMEN BEST, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, good evening, Brian. And thank you for having me. I`m so glad to be here to talk about, Black in Blue and Lessons on Leadership and Breaking Barriers and Racial Reconciliation. You know, what led to my leaving ultimately was the fact that the city council was going to cut the budget for the police force, effectively ensuring that we would have 50% left less officers to respond to calls for service in a city that already was seeing some issues around gun violence and other issues. We really needed to have a police officer response.

And by the way, in order to do that we would have to last in first out which meant remember the officers, mostly women and minorities, when we`ve done that big push to hire them would lose their job effectively making the department less diverse than before.

WILLIAMS: I hear my fancier friends in New York City complaining about the fact that ATVs and dirt bikes and motorcycles have taken over the nighttime streets of the city, no matter the borough you`re in. And I tell these folks, a lot of them haven`t spent an hour or a day wondering what it would be like in the shoes of a police officer. Exert common sense, if someone says you should be defunded. Are you really going to put out 100 or are you going to work to the rule as written? And that, Chief, I`m afraid is what we`re seeing in a lot of cities?

BEST: Brian, I`m afraid you might be right about that. I talked about that quite a bit Black in Blue, the level of morale and the issues. You know, many of the officers I would say the vast number of officers I talk about this hardworking people really will sacrifice a lot on behalf of others a very difficult job. And then many in Seattle in particular, but across the nation are leaving the job because they don`t feel supported by the public and in most cases by elected city officials or other officials. And that, to me is a real tragedy.


WILLIAMS: I was hoping that so many of the young people we saw in the streets and there`s never been a better or more kind of brutal cause to hit the streets for after George Floyd died, I was hoping that some of them may be moved to sign up, get on the waiting list to enter the Academy, try to change policing from within. If that doesn`t happen, and if there`s nothing from the federal level, then what`s going to happen to policing policy?

BEST: Now, there is this strange dichotomy that we`re looking at, do we end up with a police force or not having a police force? And how do we operate the society without someone there to help enforce the laws and the rules that are so needed? It`s really sad to see that there`s this, you know, contingent or element out there that believes we`d be better off without having public safety servants, when that`s just not the case. We need public safety, we need police officers, we also need alternatives to situations when people are in crisis, and that it`s important as well, but it`s both, it`s not either, or you need both things, to invest in, invest in your cops, invest in public health, invest in public safety, invest in mental health, because they intersect in ways that really do cause issues with public safety.

WILLIAMS: Chief quick question before the break. COVID, first case of COVID was in the Seattle area you write in the book about how it had a unifying effect that everyone was together in the fight. What happens within you when you see these police officers walking off the job? Because they`re anti-vaccine?

BEST: Yeah, well, you know, one of the things I talked about in the book, Brian, is how police officers are just a microcosm of the society as a whole. And so many of the issues that we`re facing as a nation we`re facing as a police department as well. And there will be people that, you know, don`t want to, for their own personal reasons, get the vaccination. That said, it makes me incredibly sad, because we need to make sure that when people and officers are contacting the literally 1000s of people every single day that they`re doing so in a way that is the most safe for everybody.

I will say quickly that I`ve seen officers put themselves in harm`s way to protect others, so surprising that they won`t take this shot for the safety of so many themselves, their families and coworkers and the public that they serve every single day.

WILLIAMS: Yes, first responders they take on great dangers that is sure. Chief Best has agreed to stay with us for just this break. And coming up, we`re going to continue our conversation. I want to ask the Chief about this growing threat of domestic violence, domestic extremism, why it matters so much for our police forces across the country.



WILLIAMS: Still with us is our guest, Carmen Best, former Police Chief in the City of Seattle and newly minted author. Chief I want to talk to you about domestic terrorism. We`ve been told over and over again from the Department of Homeland Security as no one needs to remind you that it`s probably the leading domestic threat we face it means that local police officers are by definition, the first line of defense, domestic terrorists have to strike somewhere and wherever they strike, there will be police officers on duty, back to what we said about first responders. Talk about the responsibility that places on departments and the force and things like training and equipment.

BEST: Well, absolutely, Brian. I talk about this actually in Black in Blue. The fact that having our first line responders, our police officers, they`re the ones typically that we`ll see when things are out of order. We have a very strong contingent of the federal force, whether it`s to the FBI or other federal agencies that often will come in and investigate these domestic terrorist cases. But it`s really the officers that will be the first ones, there in the neighborhoods, they`re on the streets, the ones are going to see with something is awry or out of order. They`re the ones will often get at the anonymous tips and information because of their availability within the public. And that can be such a help for us in curtailing domestic terrorist acts, and things that happen in our homeland. So, these issues of not having enough officers on the street actually affect the overall safety of the nation, and in terms of domestic terrorists and domestic acts.

WILLIAMS: And as we`ve been watching on 1/6, of course, it was law enforcement officers who`ve got a beat down from the very same people who go home and say they`re big fans of law enforcement officers.

Our thanks to former Police Chief Carmen Best. Again, the book she has just authored is called Black in Blue: Lessons on Leadership, Breaking Barriers, and Racial Reconciliation. Chief, thank you, always a pleasure.

Coming up for us, when members of the audience say the darndest and often most dangerous things tonight we have something to show you.



WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, another installment of we watch this stuff so you won`t have to, but this is a moment you should see. Let`s set the scene for you. There is an ardent Trumper named Charlie Kirk, his organization is called Turning Point USA. There he is. And he`s currently on what he calls the critical racism tour. As all major tours do this one recently made a stop in Nampa, Idaho, on the campus of Northwest Nazarene University, where Charlie Kirk called on a man in the audience who had a question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, we`re living under a corporate and medical fascism. This is tyranny. When do we get to use the guns? No, and I`m not -- that`s not a joke. I`m not saying it like that, I mean, literally, where`s the line? How many elections? Are they going to steal before we kill these people?

CHARLIE KIRK, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: So, no, I know -- hold on, stop, hold on. Now I`m going to denounce them and tell you why. Because you`re playing into all their plans. And they`re trying to make you do this, that`s OK, just hear me out. You started with a compliment. So at least give me a little bit. They are trying to provoke you, and everyone here, they are trying to make you do something that will be violence that will justify a takeover of your freedoms and liberties, the likes of which we have never seen. We are close to have -- hold on, we are close to have momentum to be able to get this country back on a trajectory using the peaceful means that we have at us. So, to answer your question, and I just think it`s, you know, overly blunt, we have to be the ones that do not play into the violent aims and ambitions of the other side.

They fear let me say, this very clearly, they fear us holding the line with self-control and discipline, taking over school board meetings. They`re the ones that are willing to use federal force against us. And I know that people get fired up, we are living under fascism, we are living under this tyranny. But if you think for a second that they`re not wanting you to all of a sudden get that next level where they`re going to say, OK, we need Patriot Act 2.0 if you think that, you know, Waco is bad, what do you see what they want to do next?


WILLIAMS: Again, just to give you an idea of what`s out there, and again, national Democrats who aren`t dialed into this, or who are ignoring this kind of talk do so at their peril and ours, as we all prepare to live another day under tyranny and fascism or as they`re known by their other names, vaccines and masks during a pandemic.

That`s going to do it for our Wednesday night effort with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all our colleagues at these networks have NBC News, good night.