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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 10/6/21

Guests: Peter Baker, Susan Page, Eugene Robinson; Tim Miller


House committee investigating January 6 can`t find Trump aide to serve subpoena. January 6 committee interviewed former Trump DOJ official Richard Donoghue. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered Democrats a short-term solution that would extend the debt ceiling into December. President Joe Biden met with business leaders to warn of the disastrous economic impact on the country and the global economy if the U.S. hits its debt limit for the first time ever.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: It is the foremost responsibility of the Department of Justice to defend the constitution. We will continue to protect constitutional rights against all who would seek to undermine them. Attorney General Merrick Garland gets tonight`s "LAST WORD." THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts now.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 260 of the Biden administration as you`ve been following the breaking news tonight is out of Texas where a federal judge has temporarily blocked an almost total ban on abortions in the state of Texas.

Tonight`s decision follows a challenge brought by the Biden administration filed after the Supreme Court rather quietly allowed the Texas law to go into effect.

In his 113 page ruling U.S. District Judge Robert Pittman wrote quote, a person`s right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability as well established, fully aware that depriving its citizens of this right by direct state action would be flagrantly unconstitutional, the State contrived and unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme to do just that. Texas has already appealed this federal judge`s order to one of the nation`s most conservative appellate courts.

Also tonight we are just hours from a major deadline in the House investigation into the 1/6 riot and insurrection. It`s exactly nine months to the day since the desecration of our Capitol and the attempt, let`s not forget, to overturn our presidential election.

The House Select Committee investigating 1/6 is about to face its first major test. That`s because tomorrow is the deadline for four of Trump`s top officials to respond to a subpoena to turn over e-mails call records, other documents related to the Capitol attack what they knew and when they knew it. They`ve all been told to show up for depositions next week.

Former President has threatened to stop his aides from giving any information to the committee saying in a statement quote, we will fight the subpoenas on executive privilege and other grounds. Keep in mind only a sitting president can invoke executive privilege.

Tonight Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the former impeachment manager who is on the 1/6 Special Committee described the next steps should Trump`s allies try to defy the subpoenas.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): That is turning information over the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and trying to get the Department of Justice to demand that these people appear in court and be jailed until the point at which they cooperate with the congressional subpoena. It could be civil contempt, or it also could be inherent contempt of Congress, where we design our own process for hauling these people in and perhaps finding them until they`re willing to cooperate. We`ve got a strong bipartisan committee that is determined to get to the truth about the worst violent assault on the U.S. Capitol since the war of 1812.


WILLIAMS: There`s a problem here and that is the Committee reportedly has been unable to physically serve a subpoena to this man Dan Scavino, the man largely responsible for handling Trump`s Twitter account but who enjoyed the title Deputy Chief of Staff.

Federal marshals apparently can`t locate him. But other officials linked to the Trump White House are apparently cooperating with the one six investigation. Politico reports former DOJ second end command Richard Donaghue spoke to the panel and a closed door session on Friday.

He was a pivotal figure actually in Trump`s relentless pressure campaign to get the DOJ to just overturn the 2020 election. Donoghue took detailed notes on a December 27 phone call between Trump and the acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, in which Trump tried to get the DOJ to straight up declare the election results were fraudulent.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats and Republicans appear near a deal to keep the nation from debt default and the economic meltdown for now, with 12 days to go before the government faces the real possibility of not being able to pay its bills.

The Minority Leader announced Republicans would allow Democrats to vote on a short term extension. All this does is put it off till December when we are likely to have this fight all over again.

McConnell has been adamant that Democrats would get no help from his party and trying to cover our $28 trillion debt much of it racked up during the Trump administration. Earlier today, the President met with several bank and business leaders at the White House talk about just how devastating a potential default would be figuring I guess, big money will get the attention of the Republicans.

Biden also reminded everyone present that raising the borrowing limit was in no way linked to his own economic agenda.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Let me be clear, raising the debt limit is paying our old debts. There`s nothing to do with new spending and what may be coming this year or other years. It has nothing to do with my plans on infrastructure of building back better, both of which are paid for.


WILLIAMS: Tomorrow, the president heads to Chicago to promote vaccine requirements today, the number of infections in our country topped 44 million. But in the midst of this still uncontrolled pandemic, there`s welcome and historic news tonight about the development of another vaccine. This is a major victory for our world.

For the first time a vaccine shown to prevent malaria has been approved by the World Health Organization. The disease kills about half a million people every year. About half of those who die from malaria are children on the African continent.

With that, let`s bring in our starting line on this Wednesday night. Peter Baker, veteran journalist and author Chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, Susan Page, veteran journalist and author, longtime Washington bureau chief for USA Today, and Claire McCaskill, veteran Democrat and former U.S. senator from the state of Missouri.

Claire, you happen to be the only known lawyer on this panel. So you get to go first. Here is an excerpt from the federal judge`s ruling tonight and we note because we all live in the real world, Judge Pittman was appointed by President Obama he writes, from the moment S.B. 8, the Senate Bill 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives, in ways that are protected by the Constitution. That other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion is theirs to decide this court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.

So Claire, what does this mean legally? And importantly, at the ground level, what does this mean starting tomorrow morning for women in Texas.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D) MISSOURI FMR. U.S. SENATOR: It`ll be interesting to see whether the providers, the healthcare providers in Texas are willing to reopen their doors based on this decision and begin performing the services that many women depend on because of facts and circumstances in their personal and private lives.

You know, what really is going on here is these legislators were too cute by half. They thought they could use this new scheme of bounty hunters and so to Yahoo`s disbarred lawyers from parts way beyond Texas have sued a doctor who admitted that he had performed an abortion after the six-week cut off.

And all of a sudden the guys that wrote this law going well, this is not what we intended. Well, of course, it`s what they intended. They really were more focused on getting a vehicle to try to overturn Roe than they were actually thinking about how the law would play out.

Now, the problem is, as you`ve noted, in your lead in, Brian, that it`s gotten to the Fifth Circuit. So ultimately, this is going to land at the Supreme Court. The question is, will the Mississippi decision control it, that case will probably be decided before the Texas law will be acted upon. So this may be incrementally an erosion of a constitutional right, that is 50 years of precedent in this country.

WILLIAMS: Peter Baker, the other news today, economic disaster averted and looks like until December, what`s the White House take on what transpired between the two leaders in the Senate?

PETER BAKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they`re arguing that they kind of base down Mitch McConnell a little bit that the Republicans who said that they were not going to provide any votes or raising the debt limit. And not only that, but we`re going to make it easy for the Democrats to go ahead and vote even on their own raise debt limit, back down and gave a couple extra months.

Now that`s not very significant a couple months is obviously not very long. It`s what Congress does best, which is to punt, rather than actually decide anything. But the White House look at this is, you know, making the argument, the Republicans felt at least some chagrin at the idea that they would take a chance with the nation`s credit worthiness and the idea that the country could head into an economic default that would be devastating for Americans across the board.

So they feel a minor tactical victory in the sense that really changed things in the long run. It may give the Democrats more of a chance to decide whether or not they really want to get rid of the filibuster for the cases of the debt ceiling votes, which is something that`s been talked about before wrestlers for last few weeks.


WILLIAMS: Susan page I`m tempted to say that our elected representatives govern like drunks except I don`t want to offend or insult any drunks who may be watching. Congress before you know, it has put off a lot of business till around about December. I`m happy Clara smiling. Sooner or later, there`s going to be quite an agenda waiting for them.

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: yes, that`s right. By the way, do not buy any non-refundable tickets for Christmas travel, because we`re going to be here. This is going to be the crux of the Biden presidency unfolding in December, it looks like.

And I think it`s -- I think it is, well, this is a temporary victory for Democrats that permit McConnell to blink on the debt ceiling, I think is important. I mean, it`s for one thing, Mitch McConnell doesn`t blink very much. So that`s something for another is giving Democrats just a little space to get a deal on the infrastructure bill, which is ready to go whenever they get the reconciliation bill together.

And we do see some signs of progress here. We know that we`re going to end up with a bill that about $2 trillion. Still, it`s going to be some debate about what it is going to include and what is going to exclude. But this comes just at the right moment for President Biden, who is really getting hammered. You look at his job approval rating in the new Quinnipiac poll out today, 38 percent. That is dismal news for a president. He is ready, willing, and needs some kind of progress, some kind of victory coming pretty soon.

WILLIAMS: Well Claire, this is where you come in again, and let`s talk strategy and runs hits and errors. I presume you share the frustration of a lot of Democrats with the White House messaging effort, where`s the barnstorming? Where`s the big themes, telling Americans, what could be in these bills for them where they live? Do you think the Democrats should take these victories, perhaps Texas ends up being a victory, perhaps even kicking the can down the road till December is seen as a victory within the Senate chamber and get their fight on?

MCCASKILL: Yes, I think it`s really important that every single Democrat realize that Americans know what they`re fighting about. They know it`s a fight about process, and trillions and trillions of dollars, but they don`t know what they`re fighting for. They do know there`s something about roads and bridges.

But I think most Americans don`t really know what`s in this larger reconciliation package that is the heart of the negotiation right now. How big will it be, what programs will be included, what taxes will be raised and on who. And I think it`s really important that they get away from the top line discussion of how many trillion and whether or not Manchin and Sinema are going to do anything with the filibuster and hone in on the very popular parts of this bill that most Americans support.

And I agree with, with Susan. Listen, political pressure built, and it was serious and substantial. And Mitch McConnell did blink, and he will blink again, because he is not going to let his members be the ones that are known forever as the first political party to cause the United States of America to default on the full faith and credit of this great nation.

WILLIAMS: Peter Baker, you know, we had Chris Matthews on this broadcast when his book came out, I asked him how Tip O`Neill would go about selling these huge initiatives that the Biden presidency has come up with and is fighting over currently.

And Chris Matthews said without hesitation, he would have nationalized it. They`d be out campaigning in all 50 states, prominent Democrats having press conferences in front of the decrepit bridge that is in every major city, some of them more than one across the country, reminding people what they`re going to get. So long way of asking you if there`s any acknowledgement at the White House level that the selling of this, the messaging of this has left a lot to be desired, and left a lot of selling points on the table, by the way.

BAKER: Yes, it`s President Biden has been playing an inside game for most of the year. He`s been focused on how to manage to get this through a very complicated congressional situation where the Democrats have basically no margin for error. Republicans aren`t playing on the larger social spending bill and therefore he`s -- his negotiations are entirely with his own party where he basically can`t afford to lose a single vote in the Senate, and only three in the House.

So he has played that inside game, but you`re right. What that has done, as Senator McCaskill has said has left the American public kind of confused as to what we`re actually debating. All they hear are numbers.


They hear, you know, tactics. They hear progressive versus moderate, but they don`t here`s what`s at stake which is to say a bill that it basically encompasses one of the largest social spending initiatives we`ve had since LBJ in the great society where the President wants to expand Medicare. He wants to have universal pre-K, childcare for parents, free community college, climate change, all of these things that President could be talking about, does talk about from time to time, but it`s gotten lost in the wash of this very, very messy sausage, grinding, legislative fight.

And I think that that has kept the public off, you know, the table. They`re not engaged in this. They`re not lobbying their members of Congress one way or the other pro or con, about what`s in this bill, what should be in this bill, or whether they should do the bill at all. Because it does sound like such a Washington fight.

WILLIAMS: Susan, Don Winslow, I noted, tweeted before we came on the air tonight, quote, can we bring back consequences? I miss consequences. So along those very same lines, it`s a great point, Susan, let`s talk consequences were they pertain to the 1/6 committee.

Let`s assume that most if not all of these big boldface names that have been subpoenaed are going to tell them to go pound sand. What about consequences? And what about the rights of us, the taxpayers, the citizens, the people concern that our democracy had a very close call and continues to wanting some consequences?

PAGE: Well, you know, one of the lessons I think of the Trump administration was the lack of consequences for defying congressional oversight. So here we see a test of that, again, does anyone think any of these people who were subpoenaed will comply with the subpoenas for documents tomorrow? I don`t think there`s anybody in Washington you think they will.

So the question is, what will the committee do about it? Will they have this kind of immediate criminal referral? I mean, it seems unlikely that they`re going to send out the sergeant at arms to arrest him and bring them back to the Capitol, even though I gather that`s something they did a century ago.

What`s at stake is the reality rational oversight if, if by delaying action and defying Congress, they run out the clock, which I think is their strategy, where does that leave congressional oversight? Where does that leave the separation of powers that has made America work and where does that leave at the end? Where does that leave our democracy?

WILLIAMS: Well, you guys all bury great questions in the midst of great answers to our questions. Great, thanks to our starting line tonight I to Peter Baker, Susan Page, Claire McCaskill, greatly appreciate the three of you starting us off.

Coming up. Chuck Schumer called on Republicans to get out of the way. Now some Democrats are declaring victory after what is after all a decision to kick the debt crisis down the road.

And later, one of our leading pandemic experts calls today`s billion dollar decision from the Biden White House big news. She will explain why it was so important. All of that and more as the 11th Hour is just getting underway and view of the Washington Monument and clearing skies right after this.




SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): I think their play was make Mitch take us as close to a debt limit crisis as we can to see if the democrats fold. And when we didn`t, they realize that a global economic meltdown led by a U.S. debt limit crisis was going to blow them up with everybody else. And so they pulled the plug on the plan. Mitch folded and now we`ve got time to go ahead and do build back better.


WILLIAMS: Sheldon Whitehouse democratic senator from the great state of Rhode Island as we mentioned perhaps hoping to earn the gratitude of a grateful nation. Mitch McConnell ever The Statesman said he will not block a debt limit extension that runs until December. It`s a tentative deal to end the standoff. We`re still waiting on a final vote.

Meanwhile, a new Quinnipiac poll shows President Biden`s approval rating continues to drop as his agenda remains stalled. You heard us mention this in the previous segment. He`s hit a new all-time low 38 percent of those questions, saying they approve of the job he`s doing.

We`re going to talk about this and some other matters with two friends of this broadcast. Back with us tonight, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Washington Post, and Tim Miller, a contributor to the Bulwark and the former communications director to Jeb Bush, gentlemen, good evening.

And Eugene, I think it was during 13 days in May the quote attributed to Bobby Kennedy said to his brother, you went eye to eye with the Soviets and they blinked. While the Schumer-McConnell dynamic may be less fraught than that. Is that basically what happened here? Is this a victory for the Democrats? And a thank you note to McConnell?

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Well, you know, the situation is somewhat less fraught, but it was pretty fraught. I mean, we`re talking about a global economic collapse, potentially of the U.S. defaulted on its debt.

And yes, McConnell blinked. There`s no question about that. And you have to chalk this up as a victory for the Democrats. They get something -- they get what they really wanted. They get yes, only a few weeks, maybe a couple of months of extension of the debt ceiling, but the politics will be exactly the same when this comes up again, you know, when it runs out again, and we`re once again at the brink.

And meanwhile, they have time, once again, not only -- not just to agree on the reconciliation bill, the bill back better agenda, but also to talk about it and to explain it to first decide what`s going to be in it, and then let people know, so they can sell it. And that`s what they ought to get about doing now. They have a big victory today. But let`s get on with governing now. And those approval numbers will stabilize. And hopefully for Biden will go up.

WILLIAMS: Tim, two things. Number one to potential readers, your dramatic depiction of the criminal complaint against Corey Lewandowski, this week was absolute required reading. That`s number one. Number two, is our actual question. How much should Biden then the people around him be worried about these polling numbers and here`s a free shot. How much of it is the result of really crappy reporting by mainstream news media using kind of false equivalence standards that stopped in 1978, and is as if Donald Trump was never president.


TIM MILLER, THE BULWARK CONTRIBUTOR: Well, a lot to unpack there, Brian, unfortunately, most of the Lewandowski material is not appropriate for family cable show, so we`ll just leave that there and people can read it if they wish.

As far as Biden`s approval numbers, look, I think that some of this stuff is out of his hands. And some of it`s in his hands. I think the comeback of the Delta virus is a big reason why we`re seeing the disapproved numbers go up. Obviously, you can point to red state governors really more than Biden in that but he`s taking the brunt of the pain. I think that happens when you`re the president.

I also think this Quinnipiac poll in particular might be a bit of an outlier. So I think everybody you know, in the Democratic Party should take a deep breath before, you know, fully hyperventilating over it. I think your point about, you know, the media feeling like they need to kind of play both sides of this and give Biden the same treatment they gave Trump plays into this.

But I think that the administration would be remiss to just assume it`s all of those factors that are out of their hands. They`re -- They`ve fumbled the ball on some things that are in their hand. You know, they had an infrastructure bill that was on the one yard line that they decided not to punch in. Now they`ve had this intro party fighting. I think Biden shown patience, it is very possible that both these bills will pass nobody will remember this next November and then I`ll be fine and dandy.

But they got to make sure that actually happens. And they also have a problem on the border I think that they`ve stepped in as well. So, you know, he`s got a lot to deal with some of it. I think has been unfair, but some of the things they need to remedy.

WILLIAMS: Eugene, the always quotable Rick Wilson said this tonight on Twitter, For the 97th time, for the love of god Democrats, do not play softball. Exercise your power to the outer limit, because the other side is most certainly going to do so.

This was last voiced on this broadcast by the noted political analyst, Stevie Van Zandt, who actually had a point. So in that vein, when are the democrats going to find a wartime consigliere instead of the collection of mostly former student council presidents that currently makes up the Democratic caucus.

ROBINSON: Yes, I mean, they got to be more vicious and tougher and more ruthless, more -- they got to play like the other side is playing and stop, you know, bringing pen knives to gunfights. You know, the Democrats have always lagged behind Republicans in sort of go for the juggler communication, strategic communication. They have -- they`re not as good at coming up with the pithy phrase that sticks in the public mind. They`re not as good as or as disciplined as driving at home over and over and over again.

And they kind of learn to do that. That`s the modern world of politics. That`s how Republicans are managing to exercise such power in Washington when they don`t actually have power in Washington when Democrats are dominantly at least in control. But so they got to be better at that.

WILLIAMS: Sheldon Whitehouse actually sent today I believe, on Nicolle Wallace`s broadcast, where Democrats were nice people and the guy has a point for better or worse. That is their branding in 2021. Both of these gentlemen have agreed to stay with us.

Coming up for us why a former top GOP strategist thinks the Republican Party has gotten even more radical since the insurrection.




STEVE SCHMIDT, VETERAN REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Republican Party is more extreme, more radical than it was on the date of the insurrection. It`s more hardened. It`s more hardened and it`s fake to delusions. We have a real life autocratic movement in this country.


WILLIAMS: Our friend Steve Schmidt not mincing any words about the current state of the Republican Party. Meanwhile, Donald Trump, who is poised to run again in 2024, continues his efforts to undermine faith in our democratic system.


DONALD TRUMP, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: The interaction took place on November 3, that was the insurrection when they rigged the election. The big insurrection. The real insurrection. Really the crime of the century that took place on November 3, but not on January 6.


WILLIAMS: So that`s about how that went. Back with us tonight, thankfully, Eugene Robinson and Tim Miller. Tim, do you concur with Mr. Schmidt, that the party is more extreme today than they were on the afternoon of 1/6?

MILLER: Well, Brian, you know that Steve is sometimes, you know, interested in using a little bit of hyperbole in his language. But I do not think that that is the case here. I think that there`s really no argument counter to what Steve said that the party has gotten more extreme since January 6.

I mean, look, on January 7, you have people like Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, Mitch McConnell, all speaking out and saying that this had gotten too far that the big line going too far, that we need to start to move forward. You know, Trump had done some good things, blah, blah, blah, you know, they had to throw the bone to the base.

But overall, they were, you know, upset over for good reason, over the fact that our Capitol was seized by Trump supporters that he incited and he sat there. Now, today, nine months later, you cannot run for national office as a Republican without essentially taking the position that what happened on January 6 was either good, or an Antifa false flag.

You know, Josh Van Del (ph) in Ohio was in an interview today saying that he thinks that we should have a, you know, 11/3 Commission, not a 1/6 Commission to look into all the imaginary fraud that he, you know, is pretending he thinks happened, because that`s what the voters want of him.

So you have unanimity within the party on this now. That was not true on January 6. So what you have is really a pro insurrection party. It`s true across the board. It`s true all the way down to local offices. And I think Steve`s observation on that is right.

WILLIAMS: Eugene, let me show you a piece of video. Perhaps you`ve already seen it. This is Lindsey Graham back home in South Carolina this past weekend.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): So bottom line is I took the vaccine, I`ve had it, it kicks your butt. If you haven`t had the vaccine, you ought to think about getting. because if you`re my age -- I didn`t tell you to get it, you ought think about.


WILLIAMS: So hardly see Everett Koop there, you could argue he knows his audience in large part because his party has given rise to so much of the anti-vax movement. Eugene, what do you make of that moment?

ROBINSON: That`s just pure insanity, it`s just crazy. The Republican Party is not only irresponsible I think it is clinically insane at this point because it is insane to boo at the mere suggestion that you might take a shot that would -- that will save your life, that will keep you from dying of a deadly infectious disease that`s all it will do.

And the fact that the Republican Party or some sort of bizarre political reasons has become anti vaccination is just -- it`s just insane, Brian, and you have to wonder how does this end, how does this party ever get back into the orbit of reality as long as it is in Thrall to Donald Trump and the sort of Trumpism. And I don`t know the answer to that, but it deeply worries me because one of our political parties is just out of its freaking mind.

WILLIAMS: I, for one have enjoyed not getting measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, polio, thanks to the vaccines that were mandatory when we were all kids. Hey, Tim, I got 60 seconds for this answer. Here`s the question. I know that Mike Pence is deploying his Platinum level serious face getting ready for a run for the big house. Is America ready for what Mike Pence is cooking?

MILLER: I don`t think I need 60 seconds, Brian. No, sir. It`s not going to happen for Mike Pence. Couldn`t happen to a better guy, but I don`t think that he has any sort of really real bass within the party. The Trumpers don`t like him, the Trump skeptical folks have already moved on to Ron DeSantis. And I think it`s time for Mike Pence to move stage left or else he`s going to be in some lonely pizza ranches in Iowa over the next few years.

WILLIAMS: Pizza ranch for the win. Our guest tonight two friends Eugene Robinson and Tim Miller. Gentlemen, thank you. We`ll do this, again, greatly appreciate it.

Coming up for us. Why waiting in line for a COVID test could soon be a thing of the past even for the anti-vaxxers.




JEFFREY ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Today`s billion dollar investment to further expand testing production puts us on track to quadruple the amount of at home rapid tests available for Americans by the summer. So that means we`ll have available supply of 200 million rapid at home tests per month starting in December, with supply of tens of millions of additional tests coming on the market across the next few weeks.


WILLIAMS: If we`re being honest, this should already have happened. The administration`s new billion dollar push underscores the critical role that testing has in slowing down this pandemic. The U.S. is way behind a lot of other civilized nations, most notably in Europe and Asia in terms of testing frequency and availability. Many Americans still lack access to regular and affordable testing.

Back with us tonight, Dr. Kavita Patel, clinical physician, former senior policy aide during the Obama administration, also happens to be one of our public health experts and a non-resident Fellow at Brookings.

Doctor, I want to read you a quote from Dr. Joffe at Brown University. He says, quote we wasted all of last year when rapid tests would have saved thousands of lives. They`re still enormously important. We need to make cheap antigen tests widely available. Today`s White House decision helps a lot.

Indeed, doctor, I heard today if you live in the UK twice a week walk in walk out. Free testing. How far behind are we on this?

DR. KAVITA PATEL, FMR. OBAMA WHITE HOUSE AIDE TO VALERIE JARRETT: Yes, Brian, good evening. We have been very far behind other countries. The UK for example, you can call a phone number or send a text and you`ll immediately at your doorstep receive five free antigen tests.

And I think testing is important to individuals. It`s also important to remember that testing can help us detect where we have outbreaks where we can kind of actually do some of that contact tracing before we get some of these large spread events.

And honestly, it could have helped us probably avoid some of these situations with Delta where many of us felt like we got caught by surprise with a variant. It was so infectious.

WILLIAMS: I`m curious as to where you put the fight right now. The numbers fight each other to a lay person looking at them hospital admissions are down. Yet a lot of ICUs are still fall. Our death rate seems to be fixated around the 2,000 souls per day level. How is the system holding? Where do you put us on this fight?

PATEL: Yes, so the system is holding I`d say our system is still in life support, Brian. We`re still experiencing in many hospitals, even in places where we don`t have kind of the country or the state looking red because of our high cases. We`re still experiencing many of the kind of aftershocks that you would from people who didn`t seek care. Recall that in many places, Florida, Texas and others, we still had people waiting for days just to get an ER bed.

So this is still a pretty critical time. And we shouldn`t forget that parts of the country, Alaska, parts of Idaho, Missouri, Oklahoma, and then now unfortunately, Brian, parts of the Northeast are also experiencing either an uptick or they`re not seeing the declines. So we`re still kind of in the thick of this and most of the country.

But as you point out the good news first we`ll see cases come down which we`re seeing hospitalizations coming down which we`re also seeing. Deaths are usually the last indicator to follow. But we`re vaccinating close to a million people a day that number absolutely will decline.

WILLIAMS: Let`s talk about something really important to the wider world. I`ve traveled throughout Africa, some of the trips with NGOs distributing something as simple as a malaria anti-mosquito net to save lives.


They`ve been doing this same work carefully for years and years. And now this really incredible game changing news that the WHO has approved the first ever malaria vaccination, and I`m assuming you join the rest of the world and applauding this.

WILLIAMS: Yes, Brian, it feels like we`re in a bit of a kind of a Renaissance era for vaccines in general, because not only have we had this incredible productivity through the COVID vaccines for different types of technology, messenger RNA, other types of viral vaccines.

But this malaria vaccine, I hope is the first of what will be many generations of malaria vaccines that can actually give long lasting immunity. This is incredible life-saving access. At last, it has limits, it lasts for several years. So we`re looking at something that would need to be repeated. And that can be hard in many countries.

However, it should be understood that this is the type of advances in science that can actually take us not just out of the pandemic that we`re experiencing now. But as you point out, pandemics and epidemics that much of the world has gotten used to unfortunately.

WILLIAMS: And let`s not let the anti-vaxx fervor become an unfortunate American export to the rest of the world. And let`s hope people get this vaccination. Our thanks as always to Dr. Kavita Patel for taking our questions. Thank you. Good to see you. Thanks for coming on.

Coming up for us. Two big efforts are underway in California. First there`s cleaning up the black sheen and tar balls from an oil spill. Second, finding out who if anyone is responsible and when they learned about it.



WILLIAMS: The depressing and disasterous oil spill off the California coast has now poured over 140,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific. You can see it in the water. You can see it on the beaches. It`s covering the fish and wildlife that have already died as a result. Reports now suggests the spill could have been much smaller, more containable, had a pipeline company acted on it much sooner. We get our report tonight from NBC News correspondent Miguel Almaguer.


MIGUEL ALMAGUER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight the massive spill and the missteps as authorities pinpoint the cause for this still unfolding disaster. We now have a clear timeline of what went wrong. According to federal documents obtained by NBC News, Beta Offshore received a low pressure alarm on its massive underwater pipeline at 2:30 a.m. Saturday, but investigators say it took more than three hours for the company to shut the leak down. It was more than six hours after the initial alarm before Beta Offshore reported the incident to the National Response Center.

Federal officials were in the dark for hours as oil spewed from the cracked pipeline five miles off the coast at a depth of 98 feet. Government documents also show the first reports of a possible spill came in Friday night, roughly 12 hours before the pipeline was shut down.

MARTYN WILLSHER, AMPLIFY ENERGY CORP. PRESIDENT AND CEO: We`re not aware of any spill until 8:09 a.m. on Saturday morning, I promised you if we were aware of something on Friday night we, I promised you we would have immediately stopped all operations.

ALMAGUER: With a 13-mile oil sheen spotted by the Coast Guard, authorities quickly found oil slick marine life and dead fish.

(on camera): Operating in federal waters off Southern California`s coast. The rig at the center of the spill has an oil pipeline that runs about 15 miles back to shore. That pipeline and this rig are more than 40 years old.

(voice-over): Closing in on a cause for the rupture, federal officials are investigating if a cargo ships massive anchor like this one may have accidentally dragged and split the pipeline open. What we do know is the damage to the environment and its wildlife could be catastrophic, a disaster that perhaps could have and should have been stopped hours earlier.

(on camera): There could be criminal charges if investigators determined there was negligence involved with a spill. But that investigation into what happened here and along the pipeline could take weeks or even months.


WILLIAMS: Or thanks to Miguel Almaguer for that report from the California coastline. Coming up for us. This week Holocaust deniers spray painted anti-semitic graffiti on the walls at Auschwitz. It`s insulting enough to the innocent souls who died there. And it`s time some Republican political types show the proper respect as well. The story when we come back.



WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, Marjorie Taylor Greene staying on brand has somehow compared the treatment of the 1/6 insurrectionists to the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust, just as she previously compared mask wearing and vaccines to the Holocaust.

You may remember a few months back she apologized for her initial remarks after she was invited to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington where they explained the Holocaust to her. But then this morning, she went back to her go to material.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREEN (R-GA): And you`re not a domestic terrorist. If you went to the Capitol on January 6 supporting President Trump and hearing about election integrity, and not wanting to see fraud in our election systems, that doesn`t make you a domestic terrorist. What happened on January 6 was a riot. And it needs to be treated as so these people are have been locked up held in solitary confinement. And now the FBI and the Department of Justice is putting Americans all over the country.

But you see, here`s what`s going to happen. See, people are going to be set up with this intimidation because we`ve seen it before in our history books. We`ve seen it before with the brown shirts. We`ve seen it before with the stock vote. We`ve seen it before in countries like Russia. We see it now in China.


WILLIAMS: Then there`s Mike Flynn, he loves talking about the Holocaust as he did just this week. And as you listen to this, remember, please this guy was the National Security Adviser in the White House right before he got in trouble for selling out his country.


MIKE FLYNN, FMR. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: You`re going to wake up one day, and you`re going to be you know, in metaphorical way you`re going to be told to get on a train, like we saw in the in the late 30s and 40s in Nazi Germany. And all those -- all that (INAUDIBLE), all the people that get on that train ended up going to their desk. I get on that train, I`ll take a -- I`ll take a bullet before I get on that train.


WILLIAMS: So that`s Mike Flynn. And just a thought here it`s probably best if people just stop comparing any slight, any burden to the Holocaust, especially the insurrection enthusiast. While yes, it`s often a showcase for their ignorance, and they mentioned it for the sheer shock value.

The actual Holocaust, as its name implies was the darkest chapter of the modern era. 6 million Jews were exterminated and the last of the survivors are leaving us at an alarming rate. Our fathers and grandfathers went to war to save the world from tyranny.

About the Holocaust, it is said that we must never forget. But that does not mean constant mentions by a freshman Congresswoman or a disgraced former general. The phrase never forget, when you think about it doesn`t apply to you if you`ve never taken the time to learn about the genocide you so freely mentioned for a fact.

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