IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 10/7/21

Guests: Sam Stein, Daniel Goldman, Kimberly Atkins Stohr, James Carville, Mark McKinnon, Vin Gupta


Senate votes to lift debt limit until December. Jan. 6 riot committee appears headed for clash with Trump. Pfizer requests vaccine approval for ages 5-11. Trump & Allies still pushing election fraud lies. Misinformation fuels anger against health care workers.



BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again day, 261 of the Biden administration, our nation has averted something of a financial catastrophe at least for now. Tonight, your U.S. Senate voted 50 to 48 along party lines to temporarily raise the debt ceiling just 11 days before the deadline, that came after Mitch McConnell allowed it to happen by agreeing not to block a simple majority vote.

However, this does not end the drama over the debt limit. We`ll be back at it again in December, rest assured, when the battle over how much the nation can borrow, starts up all over again.

Meanwhile, a confrontation is quickly shaping up between the former president and the House Committee investigating the January 6 Riot insurrection and attempt to overturn the election. There is now less than an hour left for four former Trump aides to comply with a subpoena for documents related to the Capitol riot and the effort to deny Joe Biden presidency.

NBC News confirming a Politico report that Trump is directing those aides to defy the committee subpoenas. Trump`s lawyer sent them a letter telling them not to cooperate. It also says Trump intends to assert executive privilege. But former presidents don`t get to do that. Here`s what two members of the January 6 committee had to say earlier tonight.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN, (D) CALIFORNIA, MEMBER JANUARY 6TH SELECT COMMITTEE: The former president doesn`t have the authority to order them and not to comply. We`re prepared to take any and all actions available to us to force compliance.

REP. PETE AGUILAR, (D) VICE CHAIR, HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS: The former president has done everything he can to try to get in the way of this investigation. I would expect that we would make decisions relatively quickly on what the next steps might be.


WILLIAMS: Today, that committee issued three more subpoenas to pro-Trump activist plus an organization deeply involved in rallies held before the insurrection. One request for documents and deposition went to Ali Alexander, the leader of the group, Stop the Steal, which as its name might imply was one of the most prominent organizations pushing the big lie.

The panel cited reports that say Alexander referenced possible use of violence to achieve his organization`s goals and had been in touch with the White House and members of Congress. There is also stunning new information tonight about the sheer intensity of Trump`s relentless effort to claim the power. Senate Judiciary Committee today released a nearly 400-page report titled subverting justice how the former president and his allies pressured the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 election. Says it right there in the title. Among the previously unknown revelations Trump directly asked DOJ nine times to help him investigate baseless claims of voter fraud. The report even includes a photo from an Oval Office meeting with DOJ leadership on New Year`s Eve, December 31.

Senate report also describes another Oval Office meeting just three days before the insurrection in which Trump pressured the then acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and others. Trump discussed replacing Rosen with another justice official who promised to pursue the election lies. He only backed down after Rosen his deputy even White House Counsel Pat Cipollone threatened mass resignations. Cipollone is said to have argued Trump`s proposed ban would be a "murder-suicide pact." Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin says the report`s findings show the grave risk during those final weeks of the last administration.


SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIR: We were so close to a constitutional crisis to think that we would allow Donald Trump to question the outcome of a presidential election and to defy all of the legal analysis which said that there was no massive voter fraud that he flat out lost the election. That was a serious moment in the history of the United States. Shame on us if we just pass it by.


WILLIAMS: Republicans on the committee led by Senator Chuck Grassley are out with their own analysis of the President`s actions following his election loss. In addition to citing Trump`s concern about, "what he perceived as an attack on the electoral system, "this report also finds his actions were consistent with his responsibilities as president to faithfully execute the law.

Grassley, by the way, the Dean of the Senate Republicans is speaking at Trump`s rally in Iowa this weekend.

One other item tonight there is promising news on the COVID front at long last. Pfizer has now asked the FDA to sign off on its vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11. We`ll have much more on this medical development later in this hour.


But with that, let`s bring in our starting line on this evening, Sam Stein, Veteran Journalist who`s now White House Editor for Politico, Daniel Goldman, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, also served as General Counsel for the House Intel Committee during the first Trump impeachment and Kimberly Atkins Stohr previously of both WBUR in the Boston Herald, now a member of the Boston Globe Editorial Board, also one of the co-hosts of the podcast, Sisters in Law with Joyce Vance, Jill Wine-Banks, Barb McQuade.

Good evening and welcome to you all. Sam, it was your news organization that broke this story about Trump influence on the 1/6 committee. How if at all, does this bring us into new territory given the players?

SAM STEIN, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE EDITOR: Well, I mean, this is what we were building up, right? We knew that Trump was going to urge defiance of participation from former aides in this committee investigation. We knew that he was going to push them not to cooperate, whether it was, and with respect to appearing before the committee or hand documents over to the committee.

Now we have it reported normally happening. And the question is, what do these four people do with that request from President? Do they honor it? And defy the committee, defy the subpoena and risk all the legal consequences that come with it? Do they fight it out as they can in court? Do they comply, and you know, everything that we know from the past is that they roll up the skate, they will dig their heels in, and they will basically dare the committee to actually flex its muscles that it has.

Democrats seem to be talking much more aggressive game, we saw a couple clips of them saying we will pursue all on any options. But it becomes dicey, obviously, I mean, this becomes a very hyper partisan, hyper political proposition once you get to that stage. So, you know, now it`s -- now the tension is on what the committee does, if in fact, they do end up defying the subpoenas.

WILLIAMS: Well, that`s a great question. And it brings us to Daniel Goldman. And Daniel, here is Professor Laurence Tribe up at Harvard Law School. He says this tonight, challenging assignment, explain why this isn`t criminal obstruction of justice and of Congress committed in plain sight.

Daniel, I don`t have a degree from Harvard Law School, or now that I think of it any college and you are a lawyer and not a politician. So let me ask it this way, that seems right to me. The Democrats have been Charlie Brown by the Republicans at every turn for going on what five plus years lay out for us what the committee can possibly do, can really do real consequences, beyond kind of vague threats and promises?

DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, the committee doesn`t have that many options. But one option that is available that was not really available in the last Congress, when I worked for the House, is to refer over these witnesses to the Department of Justice to initiate criminal contempt proceedings, which is a whole different animal than enforcement in court, through either civil contempt or a civil enforcement action by Congress.

Let`s just take a step back here, because there`s sort of two things going on in parallel. One is Donald Trump, an ordinary citizen of the United States is intervening in an official proceeding and trying to influence others not to cooperate with an official proceeding. That is obstruction of justice. And because he is no longer the president, when he did that, when I worked for the House, he had the patina of being the president of United States and being able to invoke executive privilege. He no longer has that. So, he is interfering in this investigation with absolutely no basis to do so.

As for the witnesses themselves, they would like of course, to rely on this assertion of executive privilege with Donald Trump cannot exert right now, in order to avoid having to testify. I would wait if I were in the House right now, I would wait until next week, when they were subpoenaed to sit for a deposition. And then I would refer that over to the Department of Justice for them to consider initiating criminal contempt proceedings, which could result in the witnesses going to jail. This is very serious. This is much more akin to if you violate a grand jury subpoena than what we`ve seen in the past.

And real briefly, Brian, the reason to wait for that is that there was a recent opinion in the Don McGahn case which basically said that there is no such thing as absolute immunity. So, there is no basis for these witnesses not to show up to Congress. They can try to invoke executive privilege when they are there. But they cannot just defy the subpoena at all. It`s a much more straightforward and simple case than dealing with these documents.


WILLIAMS: We`ll return to this subject after we ask Kim about politics and Capitol Hill. And, and Donald Trump, this guy has been out of office for nine months, he is able to command loyalty from elected republicans and apparently from former employees, is that just simply fear in your reporting?

KIMBERLY ATKINS STOHR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s not just fear. I believe that Republicans see that his methods of politics, especially with a party that is continuing to shrink, has been affected. I mean, if you look at 2020, yes, Donald Trump lost the presidency, but they didn`t see the sort of beating that Republicans could have taken in congressional races, for example. That`s why we have an evenly split Congress and then believe that it is an attempt to just hold on to that power any way you can. I think that`s why you see attacks on election laws, because they know that voting rights, because they know that the fewer people vote, the better that they make out here. But I think there`s also something more broadly going on with Donald Trump himself. He is out of office. But one thing that I found very interesting about this Senate report was saying how his ongoing claims that the election was stolen, his ongoing perpetuation of the big lie continues to pose a threat, the threat is not over after him leaving office is one of the things that is spurring folks like those who stormed the Capitol on January 6, to take those actions and that there could be more. So, this is a really serious report. Yes, it lays out and gives detail to reporting that we`ve already seen done in the past. But it also really creates a very clear message for Americans why they should care about this, why this is a big deal, and why this is still an ongoing threat, given what the President continues -- the former President continues to claim.

WILLIAMS: Hey, Sam, I saw you on social media tonight commenting on this. Let`s talk about Chuck Grassley. He gets a pass generally and press coverage all day long and twice on Sundays as the kind of cantankerous but lovable dean of Republican senators, he`s going to run again, a reelection term that would bring him to I think, if my math is right, age 94. Let`s underscore what it means that Chuck Grassley is speaking at a Trump rally this weekend.

STEIN: Well, first off, I thought you`re going to talk about my social media lament of the Red Sox tonight. So, I`m glad that we didn`t go down that route. As for my social media commentary on Chuck Grassley, I thought this was an extraordinary thing. I hear you have an actual -- the dean, the Dean of the Senate, especially on the Republican side going to a Trump rally, right after he announces his reelection campaign, and this is someone who while he did not vote for impeachment, the second time around did put out a fairly blistering statement that condemned Trump for how he handled the post-election lead up to the January 6 riots. He had here today, he issued a report, I thought this report in some ways was even more notable than the Senate Democratic Judiciary Committee report.

In that it said essentially, Trump should be absorbed in almost applauded for not going down the route that he explored nine separate times, that he was just testing the system and doing his constitutional responsibility. Make sure that the vote was done accurately. It`s a wild conclusion to reach, akin to saying someone who`s, you know, conspiring to rob a bank and asking all these people to help him do it should get a pass because he didn`t ultimately go through the actual act of robbery. But that`s where we are an immediate symbolize that the institutional Republican Party, the greybeards, the people who you would think it would be the ones to say, you know what, we don`t want to go down this route, that they have memory hold to a large degree or at least deliberately, January six and moved on because they think it`s advantageous for them.

WILLIAMS: And Daniel Goldman, in your first answer, you kind of matter of fact, stated that Donald Trump this does meet the definition of obstruction of justice in public and out loud with his orders conveyed through the letters to the former employees. What about that? What about consequences there for all the folks watching or heard that part of your answer and are wondering where the consequences are for the former president?


GOLDMAN: Look, I`ve been saying for a while now that the Department of Justice needs to open up an investigation, a different but overlapping investigation into Donald Trump and his close associates` post-election conduct, because in many ways, what they did between November and January 6 was even far worse than what they specifically did on January 6. And it prompted and perhaps caused the horrible consequences that we saw from the insurrection and the rioting, and that it requires a criminal investigation. This is perhaps part and parcel of it or perhaps a separate investigation. But it all dovetails together with what is clear effort, a clear intent to overthrow the government, to overturn the election. And what we learned in the Senate Judiciary report today, adds to that fire. And we`re basically learning something just about every week about how it was actually worse than what we knew before. And it just requires an investigation because we cannot allow a president or other senior government officials to try to overturn an election without at a minimum a criminal investigation into seditious conspiracy, subverting the election, whether it be obstruction of justice for what he`s -- for what he did today, can all be part of it.

WILLIAMS: Kim, as you`re probably aware of Fox News Tonight scored a rare and exclusive phone interview with Donald Trump and in surviving the withering questions from Sean Hannity, Trump Let it be known again, that he thinks McConnell should be replaced atop the GOP leadership in the Senate. This may call for a prediction on your part and it may I borrow from your reporting. But is McConnell going to be, are there indications tougher the next time that the debt ceiling comes up in December having been called out this time?

ATKINS: Look, I think Mitch McConnell has sort of mastered this ability to distance himself and try to move on from Donald Trump while simultaneously not running afoul two of Donald Trump`s priorities are losing support from his supporter. So, I suggest, I predict although I don`t love doing predictions, that he will continue to do the same thing. Certainly, Donald Trump has not forgotten the speech that Mitch McConnell made at least for that one day after January 6, condemning him. But one thing I think that this shows the way Donald Trump can attack those who are formerly his allies, of course, Mitch McConnell is the reason for Donald Trump, one of Donald Trump`s greatest accomplishments in office, which is the rightward shift of the federal judiciary with his appointments, how he can turn on a dime on those who don`t do his own bidding. We see that in this report, I think that is a lesson for these four folks who stand real criminal liability if they try to fight these subpoenas on this really baseless claim of executive privilege. The moment I mean they can ask Michael Cohen, the moment that Donald Trump is done with someone. He is done with them, and they could be left out on their own with very serious charges, having to face a lot of legal expenses to fight them. So that is one thing they should consider when they are making their next legal moves.

WILLIAMS: I want to thank you all for taking our questions and starting us off tonight, Sam Stein, Daniel Goldman, Kimberly Atkins Stohr, our great things.

Coming up for us, the big lie turning into Washington`s longest running drama. It would be cute if it didn`t mean real consequences for our democracy. Moreover, the top performances today in the House, shocking details in the Senate of just how far somebody wanted to go to simply stay in office. Now what, James Carville and Mark McKinnon join us with some suggestions.

And later what it`s really going to take before we can declare the pandemic behind us. One of our leading doctors will take our questions tonight, all of it as THE 11th HOUR is just getting underway on this Thursday evening just beneath the Truman Balcony.



SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: -- his priorities, OK, and he knows I have my priorities. And he`s my president, and I want him to succeed. I want our country to succeed. And that means we all have to communicate and be honest with each other. And I think that`s the dialogue we have.


WILLIAMS: It`s Joe Manchin`s world, the rest of us are just grateful we`re allowed to live in it. The President`s economic agenda hinges largely on support from the Senator from West Virginia. On his thinking right now, Hans Nichols of Axios reports at this way, "Manchin is telling colleagues that progressives need to pick just one of President Biden`s three signature policies for helping working families and discard the other two by forcing progressives to choose among an expanded child tax credit, paid family medical leave or subsidies for childcare. Manchin is complicating any potential deal but also signaling his willingness to negotiate."

Back with us tonight, two friends of this broadcast James Carville, Veteran Democratic Strategist who rose to national fame with the Clinton presidential campaign. He is co-host of the Politics War Room podcast and Mark McKinnon, former adviser to both George W. Bush and John McCain, also among the co-hosts of the Circus, Sunday evenings on Showtime and on demand thereafter.

Gentlemen, welcome to you both. And, James, I really want to hear you out. Let me proffer two things. Only Democrats are to blame right now for Joe Biden`s agenda being frozen solid. The blame goes no further than the Democratic Party. Democrats are also watching right now, as Donald Trump like a mob boss tells his former Kappos not to rat. So, what is the solution to you, what would your advice to your party be?

JAMES CARVILLE, VETERAN DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, first thing on the first question, OK, we have 50 votes, we got to get out 50. And then the Vice President, that`s the world we live in. Senator Manchin is an Italian Roman Catholic Democrat who gets elected in West Virginia. There`s not very many of those. So, he is -- and he`s been, he said pretty, pretty much up front, he willing to negotiate. That`s the big thing. I think they will end up with something. I did -- it`s Bismarck`s adage, you shouldn`t watch laws of sausage being made, so don`t just stop watching the sausage and give it some time. And they`ll come up with something, I`m fairly confident of that.


But he represents a different constituency comes from a different place, then a lot of people in the Democratic caucus and is not going to do any good attacking him or anything like that. It would -- and I think President Biden indicated that they`re talking and that`s what -- you know, he`s open to negotiate and give me one or three, maybe I`ll end up with 1.8 of three, you know, these things have a way of resolving themselves at some point, but it takes time. It takes time. It really does.

WILLIAMS: James, any criticism for the left?

CARVILLE: Well, you know, just understand 50, just understand the concept of 50. All right, you got to get everything, the concept of a four-vote majority. I don`t really want to be criticizing anybody because one day everybody`s going to go to sleep one night, and they`re going to go progressive, but they will be a moderate, they`ll be - -they`re going to wake up Americans. And I think that`s going to happen. And everybody`s going to go down and say, OK, what can I do to advance this? Because I`m telling you, what, get ready to have an explosive economic recovery here, the COVID numbers are starting to look pretty good. And if the Democrats and Trump`s in legal trouble, don`t kid yourself, he`s in profound legal trouble.

So, if the Democrats show some motion and some momentum here, but they`re not going to have a bad 2022, but they got to get in, could be a very positive turn to things here in the United States. It`s very possible and the same is going to happen from being a Pollyanna, but none of these things are farfetched at all.

WILLIAMS: All right, Mark, I got one for you. Join us in watching Ted Cruz on the Senate floor on the subject of the debt limit.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: In the game of chicken, Chuck Schumer won this game of chicken as two trucks drove towards each other on a country road one or the other was going to turn or you were going to have a lot of dead chickens. I wish Republicans hadn`t blinked we shouldn`t have done that.


WILLIAMS: So, Mark, other than the new nihilism, which taken at face value means he is would have been cheering for a trigger of recession. What is going on there?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO JOHN MCCAIN & GEORGE W. BUSH: Oh, it`s just playing the politics of the moment, Brian, and it`s so hypocritical because, you know, not only did the Republicans vote to increase the debt limit during the Trump presidency, but what we`re voting on now is for the -- is to pay off the Trump debt. So this is Republican debt that the Democrats are responsibly voting to pay off and that Ted Cruz is simply playing to the cameras for the political moment but the reality is that at the end of the day, you know, if we did tilt into an economic crisis that would be on the Republican. So, the game of chicken, you know, maybe an apt metaphor, but it`s going to be the Republicans are going to get, you know, run over by the truck unless they start acting more responsibly for the debt that they create, by the way with a huge tax cut for the country for higher income earner. So, listen, it`s pure political theater and apostasy. But Ted Cruz is pretty good at that.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, he is pretty good at that. Both of these gentlemen to our viewers have agreed to stay with us.

And coming up when we come back and continue our conversation with them, a republican congressman exposes the divide between reality and Republicans in Congress.




REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D) MARYLAND: Who won the election in Arizona? Donald Trump --

REP. ANDY BIGGS, (R) ARIZONA: We don`t know because the -- as the audit, it demonstrates very clearly, Mr. Raskin, there are a lot of issues with this election that took place. We`re going to go through those today. But you can continue -- speaking of the big lie, you could continue to perpetuate it as long as you want.


WILLIAMS: That was Mensa Society, Regional Vice President and Republican Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs today still refusing to say out loud what we all know to be fact Joe Biden won the 2020 election in Arizona, Joe Biden is indeed the President of the United States.

Still with us, James Carville and Mark McKinnon. Mark, here`s the question, what would it costs Republicans to say that Joe Biden won the election fair and square in 2020?

MCKINNON: Well, Brian, that`s what`s just so amazing. This purity test that Trump is rolling out is that even in the face of obvious facts, I mean, Republicans got a bunch of conspiracy theorists to run an audit. And even they couldn`t find, even they discovered that Joe Biden won more votes, not less than Donald Trump, after they controlled and paid for the whole audit themselves. They`re completely controlled by Trump, and they found more votes for Biden. That just testifies to just how much of a stranglehold Donald Trump has.

The greatest fraud in American politics right now is the notion that there was election fraud. That`s now been almost a year, millions of dollars spent hundreds of lawsuits and they`ve yet to come up with literally a single example of voter fraud on the Democratic side. Dan Patrick, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas offered a million dollars for any examples of voter fraud. If you had to pay out of nickel, the Texas Attorney General`s Office spend 22,000-man hours trying to find fraud, they found six bad dresses, which figured that out to man I was about 300 hours per interest, and by doing --1300 hours per dress.

So, and by the way, it`s getting worse even after the Arizona audit. Now I`ve just spent the last week in Texas. Trump is giving Greg Abbott hell but they`re not doing an audit in Texas. And oh, by the way, somebody should remind the president he won Texas and he won a big.

WILLIAMS: So, James to take Mark`s argument and turn it upside down, if you wanted to fuzz up the results of the 2020 midterms and the 2024 presidential in advance you would launch a nationwide campaign to fuzz up confidence in our electoral system?


CARVILLE: See Georgia, 5 January 2021, you can`t jump this crocked election. So, some people say to him, some Republicans didn`t show up. So, I mean, look, it`s 30% of the people in this country that don`t believe in evolution. We still have geology departments. We still have medical schools. I mean, these people that believe this are just chronically stupid, and we just have quit paying attention to them and move on. Paul Gosar says, siblings have campaigned against him. He`s such a buffoon, but we can`t be tied down by these idiots. We got to get going and end up president shunted Manchin and everybody else got to get together, hammer out a deal and let`s get this country rolling here, we`ve got some good things getting ready to happen here. Let`s get into growth. And, you know, we`ll see, but this is more Fridays, it`s insane how many times, you know, how many times you got to help people Earth is round? It just is, and if you don`t believe it, OK, fine. We don`t need an argument anymore. It`s just a waste of time. It`s a waste of breath.

WILLIAMS: James, how much patience do you have left? How soon do they have to get at it?

CARVILLE: You know, I don`t know, I don`t -- you know, everybody puts a deadline enough to quit talking about deadlines and talking about numbers and talk about how this is going to affect people. And, you know, what these Republicans doing on debt ceiling is, first of all, is it any constitutional and second, it`s horribly unpatriotic. That plan would matches at a very difficult time when they`re talking about, you know, doing away with military people, Social Security, Medicare, having a worldwide, the session of depression. And this is what Ted Cruz was talking about.

I mean, my dad in passing this country`s in trouble. People have at least rallied together not trying to hurt the country. I don`t even get it. It`s utterly absurd. They`re so obsessed with power and politics that they don`t care about the country anymore. So, I think Senator Manchin is watching us. And I doubt if he`s very impressed by it. I just don`t think -- I don`t think he`s the kind of guy who believes in defaulting on the debt, I really don`t.

WILLIAMS: Well to end on an up note for our viewers, no other broadcast to our knowledge offers a segment with only men in hats. James Carville, Mark McCann, always a pleasure, gentlemen, thank you both, have a good rest of your evening.

Coming up, the other threat, Alaska health care workers are facing after caring for COVID patients in their wards in overcrowded hospitals.



WILLIAMS: While new infections and hospitalizations are falling nationwide, some parts of our country are still experiencing overwhelming outbreaks. In some places the death toll is still on the rise. Tonight, some hospitals in Alaska are having to ration their health care and already stressed health care workers are also having to battle pandemic politics. And tonight, we get our report from NBC News Correspondent Ellison Barber who has been covering the surge in Alaska.

ELLISON BARBER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Bryan, Alaska is isolated, it is beautiful. But none of that means it is immune to COVID-19 or the tension that so often surrounds it. In Anchorage where you have the biggest hospitals in all of Alaska, healthcare workers tell us they are being berated, physically assaulted, just for doing their jobs. And they say a lot of the hostility, the aggression that they`re seeing, it is rooted in misinformation, disinformation, and politics. Listen.


GREER GEHLER, ER NURSE: I got assaulted when I swab somebody for COVID, who was literally on the verge of dying from COVID. She didn`t believe she had it. And she struck me in another nurse after we swapped her.

KIMBERLY KLUCKMAN, ICU NURSE: Sometimes when I go to work, I feel OK, when I go home, other times I can`t stop thinking about what I had to deal with.

GEHLER: Those comments and obscene gestures and threats, I mean that`s what sticks with us even more than the lives that we save. And that`s one of the reasons why a lot of folks in the ER and the ICU quit.

KLUCKMAN: We just need you to calm down and maybe we step back and really reevaluate where this anger is coming from.


BARBER: In recent days contentious assembly meetings over in indoor mask mandate have really shined a light on some of the harassment and courage healthcare workers are facing. The people we spoke to they said that this is not something that is just now happening. They say it has been building for months. The big picture question is how will this impact their industry moving forward? They`re already dealing with an unprecedented health crisis, add in verbal, even physical assaults, and some people are walking away from the profession. We already have a nationwide nursing shortage. It`s difficult to recruit health care workers to places like Alaska and some worry that all of this will make people think twice about entering the healthcare profession. Brian.

WILLIAMS: What a situation there, Ellison Barber, reporting from Alaska for us tonight, with our thanks. For more on what we just heard, we welcome back Dr. Vin Gupta, a critical care pulmonologist in Seattle who has advised us on public health throughout he`s on the faculty at the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Doctor, your reaction to that report we just saw?

DR. VIN GUPTA, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening, Brian, it`s sobering to hear that. I`ve heard that from colleagues, not here in the United States but in other parts of the world. I`ve been fortunately not too experienced that myself. And I`ll say for all your viewers, we don`t talk a lot about this. And I`ll reference my own experience here just a few days ago. But health care workers shortage, as Ellison emphasized in that package is the existential crisis of our time. From a healthcare standpoint, the reason, Brian, that we have hospital services is not because we don`t have ventilators or beds, physical beds, or frankly, docs. It`s -- we don`t have enough nurses, other support staff like respiratory therapists.

I had a patient transferred to me two nights ago in the ICU from a hospital in Western Washington near the Pacific Ocean, because that person no longer had access to a respiratory therapist. We are moving people hundreds of miles so they can access skilled staff not to get a ventilator or advanced therapies.

WILLIAMS: Wow, an incredible turn of events. Doc, stay with us. We`re going to take a break. We`ll continue our discussion in just a moment.

And coming up, in fact, we`ll talk about how shots could be going into millions of smaller arms in just the next few weeks in our country.




JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: I`ll agree that Guinea is safe and effective vaccine for kids five to 11 is a really important next step. If there is approval, or authorization and CDC recommendation we are ready. We have the supply.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think this could begin before Thanksgiving?

ZIENTS: Again, up to the FDA and CDC scientific processes but yes, it could.


WILLIAMS: So, White House COVID response coordinator there with some welcome news for a lot of parents remaining with us is Dr. Vin Gupta. And Doctor, that does not mean that parents are without obstacles. I want to play a clip for you and our audience from California. These are parents walking their children to school.


PROTESTER: This is rape. They`re trying to rape our children with this poison. He`s going to be traumatized because you put that mask on him. You don`t let him breathe freely. You`re traumatizing him.

PARENT: That`s my choice! You better respect my choice!

PROTESTER: No, no. You are propagandized. You are not being told the truth.

PROTESTER: Masking children is child abuse. You mask your child, you`re a child abuser.


WILLIAMS: What a country we live in, Doctor, what a great job the anti- vaxxers have done getting their message out. That`s the situation in Beverly Hills. For the parents brave enough to go ahead and vaccinate their children, what assurances have you for our audience that they`re making a safe choice?

GUPTA: Well, you know, Brian, the reason this has taken a longer time is because Pfizer, Moderna, all the companies here in the United States have double clicked on this specific issue, safety, what`s the right dose, because what we are seeing is in 16- to 29-year-olds, so slightly older group than the five-to-11-year age group that we`re talking about here. There tends to be a higher risk of very mild myocarditis that inflammation of the heart.


So, what we don`t want to do is pose younger kids and unnecessary risks, since we know that it`s less likely for them to end up in the hospital. That`s why we`re trying to figure out that right, right dose. That`s why it`s taken a lot longer to make sure that we`re studying this state for safety, for effectiveness. And that`s why, frankly, other countries across the world have said, you know what, instead of two doses, maybe we`ll go for the one dose option. There are discussions that we have to have here with the FDA, who`s going to lead it to determine is it going to be two doses at a lower dose, spread three weeks apart? Is it going to be maybe one dose is enough for those that are less than 12 years of age? These are the essential questions in the next two to three weeks. That`s why every parent out there should feel rest assured that safety has been top of mind in addition to effectiveness, and what`s going to ultimately end up being recommended is what`s most safe for children less than 12 years of age, one dose or maybe two doses with a diminished concentration.

WILLIAMS: And in about 45 seconds, what do we need to know about this coming flu season?

GUPTA: Well, I`ll say as a pulmonologist, we are worried about this twindemic as we`re calling it, this concept that people are now going to be more vulnerable to flu in a way that last year we didn`t see any flu, this year maybe it comes back with a vengeance. So really important for everybody in the audience right now, get your flu shot, now is the perfect time to get your flu shot. Because in two weeks -- if you get your flu shot tomorrow, Brian, in two weeks, you`ll be protected. And you`ll be protected through the end of February early March, which is the perfect window.

WILLIAMS: Next week for me, Dr. Vin Gupta, grateful as always for your time and taking our questions tonight. Coming up for us, an unusual moment in Washington today just when you thought the U.S. Senate was out of surprises that story when we come back.




SEN. DICK BURDIN, (d) ILLINOIS: Nearly every night, Tucker Carlson appears on Fox News and distributes bogus information and science to hundreds of 1000s of households across America. Tucker Carlson is the biggest antivax quack in America.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, that`s kind of the definition of good news, bad news, isn`t it? On the upside you get to hear your name, read aloud in the U.S. Senate such an honor unless your name is Tucker Carlson.

Fox News was in the news today because it`s their 25th anniversary. More and more of the network is getting publicly shamed for its role in giving oxygen and attention and credibility to the anti-vax movement. And generally casting doubt on the vaccine through countless guests on countless segments. Indeed, and emergency room physician who`s been a guest on this broadcast, posted a video today calling out Fox News among others specifically for a scene he witnessed in his emergency room involving a very sick patient.


DR. ROB DAVIDSON, MICHIGAN ER DOCTOR: Dr. Rob here just got done with no shifting ER and just, you know, had to share again, same things, but I had a patient today, specifically, we`re giving them dexamethasone, because they had COVID. And they`re hypoxic. And it`s one of the few things that is shown to definitely improve outcomes and hypoxic people with COVID-19. And this person was adamant pressing the nurse to make sure they weren`t giving him a vaccine, that it was, in fact dexamethasone. Asked her multiple times because he`s so against getting the vaccine even laying there, strapped to all these tubes and lines and having oxygen still against the vaccine. I don`t get it. I could pretend like there`s something I understand about it. But I just don`t understand.

And I and I again, we got to put some blame on the people who are so steadfast against it. But just the poisoning of people`s minds by Facebook. And Facebook groups like Fox News, by Republican politicians who are out there questioning vaccines who are posing mandates, we need mandates, because we got to get people vaccinated. I don`t care how we do it. You know, if you don`t want to get vaccinated, then you just don`t get to participate in parts of society the rest of us do, like flying on airplanes, like going on buses, like going in subways. And that`s just how we got to get there. Because we`re not going to get there any other way. I`m absolutely sure of it.

And so now we have just another day of hosts of people coming in who were not vaccinated, who now have COVID, who are either sick enough to be hospitalized, their origins low or they`re not as sick but they qualify for monoclonal antibodies. They won`t take a fully approved, FDA approved vaccine, but they`re willing to take an emergency use authorization monoclonal antibody treatment, vaccine is approved, the treatment is not. Vaccine cost about $40 to the U.S. government for the two doses. The monoclonal antibody is about 1200. I don`t get it. If my frustration is showing us because it`s there, we`re all frustrated paramedics, doctors, nurses, techs, all of us just so fed up. We show up, we do our jobs, we love doing our jobs. We like taking care of the people in our community. We just wish they would take care of themselves, so people be safe, get your vaccines, get your loved ones get vaccinated, and we got to get through


WILLIAMS: A report from the real world tonight to take us off the air which just might be the new benchmark for true vaccine hesitancy. That`s our broadcast for this Thursday night with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.