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

Guests: Joyce Vance, Yamiche Alcindor, Susan Page, Michael Steele, Eugene Robinson, Vin Gupta

Summary

A federal judge denied Trump`s latest appeal to block his Jan. 6 records. Members of the House select committee hope to get the former president`s documents soon. They have now issued 16 new subpoenas for Trump allies and aides this week. And a man sentenced to four years in prison for assaulting police and breaking into the Capitol last January says that he is willing to talk with House investigators. Meanwhile, Pres. Biden sold his agenda on the road in Baltimore today.

Transcript

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients gets tonight`s last word. He`s not going to get it because we had a little piece of video for him here that we do not have time for because, you know, it is time now for the 11th Hour with Brian Williams that starts right now.

[23:00:25]

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 295 of the Biden administration. And the breaking news on our watch tonight is that a federal judge has denied this latest request from Trump to keep those documents and records of January 6, away from the committee investigating January 6. Those records that Trump doesn`t want seen are with the National Archives, but they could be just days away from being turned over to the committee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): We hope that these can start to be transmitted on Friday, the National Archives is indicated that they have the material ready, ready to transmit and they are following the President`s request to turn those over to the January 6 committee.

President Biden is the President that gets to decide what is privileged and so he`s indicated that the National Archives should cooperate. So our expectation is that on Friday, we can get this documentation and start to go through it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Indeed, as we`ve been covering here over these past few days, that House committee appears to be widening its reach and showing subpoenas to some of Trump`s closest allies and advisors.

Meanwhile, 10 months now after that Capitol sacking the first sentence for assaulting a police officer has been handed down. Scott Fairlamb of New Jersey received 41 months in prison. That`s the longest sentence yet in the case of 1/6.

Fairlamb was captured on video pushing an officer outside the Capitol punching that officer`s face shield as well as entering the complex itself. Fairlamb pleaded guilty in August to assault into obstructing an official proceeding today after the sentencing. Fairlambs`s lawyer said he was ready and willing to talk to the January 6 committee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARLEY BREITE, LAWYER FOR JANUARY 6 DEFENDANT: He`d still be happy to do that. He wants to be part of the solution, not just the problem. They believe that he has information that could help them get a better understanding as to what some of the people were thinking and what led them to those actions of that day. He can`t speculate, but he can certainly discuss his thought process what led to that thought process and what led to his actions on that day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: The so called QAnon shaman, shirtless Chewbacca, otherwise known as Jacob Cchansley, is also set to be sentenced. He`s pleading guilty to obstruction a proceeding of Congress, prosecutors have asked for the maximum penalty that would be 51 months in prison for him.

This comes as Homeland Security has warned us against issuing its latest intelligence bulletin about foreign and domestic threats. It includes a warning about domestic extremists who quote, promote violence and have called for violence against elected officials, political representatives, government facilities and law enforcement.

Meanwhile, a group of House Democrats moving to introduce a resolution to censure, Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar for posting that edited animated video showing him killing AOC and attacking the president.

At the White House, the focus is on the latest threat to the economic recovery. Here`s something every American knows, inflation hit a three- decade high last month, prices increased in October by 6.2 percent. From a year ago, that is simply unsustainable.

Today, President Biden toured the Port of Baltimore where he promoted his bipartisan infrastructure bill, which you`ll sign on Monday. He also made a case that the legislation could eventually help reduce inflation and fix these supply chain problems.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Many people remain unsettled about the economy. And we all know why. They see higher prices. They go to the store online or they can`t do they go to the store go online, they can`t find what they always want. And when they want it. And we`re tracking these issues and trying to figure out how to tackle them head on. This bill is going to reduce the cost of goods to consumers, businesses and get people back to work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: It`s a big problem for this White House. We`ll talk about it here tonight. President also talked about his social spending plan, which Democrats on the Hill hope to pass next week. Hope is the operative word because of Senator Joe Manchin, whose support is key to the passage of that bill. Well, hope you`re sitting down. He has cited rising inflation as a reason to hold off on some aspects of the President`s domestic agenda.

Today he sent this out. By all accounts the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not transitory and is instead getting worse from the grocery store to the gas pump Americans know the inflation tax is real and DC can no longer ignore the economic pain Americans feel every day.

[23:05:11]

And there`s promising news tonight about the pace of vaccinations for our children ages five to 11. The White House says nearly a million American kids have already received their shots. We`ll have much more on that topic later in the hour.

And this comes by the way as a federal judge in Texas ruled Governor Abbott`s order that bans school masks mandates. Well, it violates federal law. It sets the stage for school districts to decide whether they really want to impose mask rules across the country.

And with that, let`s bring in our starting line on this Wednesday night. They happen to be three friends of ours. Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour, moderator of Washington Week also on PBS, Susan Page, veteran journalist, author, longtime Washington bureau chief for USA Today and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, who spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor. Notably, she is co-host of the podcast Sisters in Law along with our friends, Kimberly Atkins Stohr, Jill Wine Banks and Barbara McQuade Well, good evening, and welcome to you all,

And counselor, indeed, Joyce, I have to start with you. This day has been denied. So the same judge who ruled so forcefully that Donald Trump had no standing to keep these documents away from the committee. She went as far in her ruling as to say presidents are not kings. The way the federal system works, you have to go to that same judge who just ruled and asked for a stay and then it gets bumped up the line.

Long story short question, what`s the real chance we`re going to see these documents handed over the committee in the matter of days?

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: You know, it`s hard to assess there is some reason to believe that when the Court of Appeals gets to take a look at this, either tonight or tomorrow morning, they may slow it down a little bit and put some sort of temporary stay in place while they evaluate the case. Of course, it will likely go from that court up to the Supreme Court for them to either say that they`ll take a look at it or to take a pass.

But the wonderful thing about the order that was written by this district judge, judge Chutkan in the District of Columbia, is it`s remarkably clear, and it`s very precise. She takes the standard that the moving party like the former president has to meet in order to be entitled to get the relief he seeks getting an injunction against release of these papers. And she proceeds to make all use a technical legal term here. She proceeds to make mincemeat of the former president`s arguments. There is simply nothing left.

And so when she reaches the point where she writes this beautiful line about the fact that the presidency doesn`t go on forever, and a former president doesn`t have the right to be a king, there is just no legal argument left for comp to stand on. The Circuit Court could easily look at her order and just stamp it affirmed and permit release of the documents.

WILLIAMS: Interesting. We`ll be watching for that. Yamiche, I`m curious as to your reporting on the increasing pace while Democrats want consequences most of all. The increasing pace and I would argue added aggressiveness of this 1/6 committee, in addition to folks being warned never to underestimate Bennie Thompson. What else are you reading into this latest tranche of subpoenas?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS NEWSHOUR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is absolutely picking up pace. The House Select Committee investigating the Capitol attack has doubled the number of subpoenas that it`s due just in the last two days. There up to at least 35 subpoenas now and you see them targeting not only individuals that were sort of in the White House with President Trump on January 6, those who could tell us sort of what the President was saying what he was doing. But the White House response was to January 6.

You also see them now also targeting campaign officials and Bill Stepien, the campaign manager for the Trump 2020 reelection campaign. You also see them going after sort of spokespeople who worked for President Trump, former President Trump after he left office and Jason Miller.

So really, this is the Committee saying we are very, very serious about this. Also, I think it`s interesting that these individuals now have to make a decision about whether or not they want to go the Steve Bannon route, which is deny, refused and possibly then be held in contempt of Congress, or are they going to try to engage somehow with the committee, which is what you`ve heard someone like Mark Meadows is doing who is the former Chief of Staff to President Trump when he was in office.

So, I think it`s going to be very interesting to see what these individuals do. But it really just tells us that this is a committee that is not going to be swayed, and that it`s not going to be moved by anything. And I think you rightly point out that Friday is going to be a big day. Of course, a judge could stop the National Archives and putting out those documents.

[23:10:00]

But if Friday comes, those documents are put out that also is just sort of a new treasure trove of information to go after more people for this committee.

WILLIAMS: Yes, it`s going to be hard to disagree with that evidence. That`s for sure. Susan, given your longtime perch at America`s newspaper, wondering what you think Americans will care most about in 2021. The 1/6 committee results, the investigation, or perhaps what they`re paying at the gas pump, and I`ll add a third, Aaron Rodgers vaccination status.

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, that`s a hard choice. But I would say Americans traditionally worry most about what affects them at home at their kitchen table. So the price of gas, the price of groceries, those are likely to be the most compelling issues when they`re voting. And those are the issues that are now dragging down President Biden to the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, there is a sense among some Americans, that the White House is not focused on the issues that matter most to them. Now, it`s things like inflation.

And that there is this disconnect between what the White House is trying to do and what they want to see happen in their own lives. This is a big -- this is a big challenge for President bide. He wants us to think of him as an FDR figure. But if inflation is a big concern, and Americans feel like he`s just not addressing what worries them, they`ll look more like Jimmy Carter.

WILLIAMS: And Yamiche, let me bounce right back to you before I go over to Joyce. This is so important. Do they not get this? Have they not seen the price on top of every pump in this country? We talk about the supply chain, we talk about the importance of the trucking industry and the shortage of truck drivers. But what they`re paying for diesel, what we`re paying for gasoline, that`s just one component. Inflation has been known to crush past presidents.

ALCINDOR: That`s right. Well, when I talk to White House officials, I do sense this sort of growing sense of urgency. And the President has said that he`s trying to direct it has directed the National Economic Council, as well as the Federal Trade Commission to do what they can to deal with inflation.

President Biden, he ran on being a president for everyone understanding working class issues, he often talks about his sort of working class upbringing in Pennsylvania and in Delaware. So this is a president that has to understand, just -- because of his background, that people are very much worried that the target that they`re about to put on the table in a couple of weeks, that it didn`t cost more than it would have cost, even if they decided to put hot dogs on the table if they can`t afford a turkey this year, when you see the prices on everything going up the president and somebody has to understand that that is directly tied to the sort of people`s feelings about this administration.

I will say there are some critics who have pointed out there or some critics have said that the White House they feel is too focused on long term goals, the Build Back Better Act and what it could do in a couple of years. It`s one of these short term problems. But I put that question to Brian D`Souza, Director of the National Economic Council, and he said that the Biden administration is thinking about this, that they are trying to figure out ways to deal with this inflation issue.

WILLIAMS: And Joyce Vance, back to you, a piece you wrote that I read is that the gist of it is that this Bannon ruling at DOJ is taking a long time longer than we want it to as the headline said, that`s a good thing. And that`s the line that caught my attention made me read the piece, bring our viewers into your reasoning.

VANCE: Well, it is a good thing. We know the last time Congress made a referral like this to DOJ it took DOJ just a couple days, more than a week to act. They went ahead and they indicted Rita Lavelle, the former administrator at the EPA, and they lost that case at trial. And a result like that would be devastating here.

So I`m not discouraged by the fact that this is taking a few weeks. Ultimately, DOJ in my judgment will have to indict this case. There is not another good remedy around that permits congressional subpoenas to retain any teeth. And if DOJ does not ultimately choose to act, then the committee will be hamstrung at every turn by witnesses who choose not to comply with their subpoenas.

But giving DOJ a little bit of grace here so that they can compile the evidence and work through the legal issues, ultimately will lead to a stronger case and with what`s going to be a very difficult prosecution. It might look simple on the surface, but there`s some complicated legal issues. And Bannon is certainly not going to go without a full-fledged fight so good on DOJ for taking its time here.

WILLIAMS: And Joyce, a question that calls upon your legal judgment and just what we`ve all watched these past five years, I see increasing numbers of Democrats who want to see consequences, whether it`s the fact that it`s been 10 months since we saw that disgusting display at our Capitol. The fact that there`s a Republican congressman from Arizona posting a video that features the animated death of one of his congressional colleagues and his own siblings are on television saying he is unfit to hold that office.

[23:15:12]

As you look at the world, given your legal background, do you see areas where consequences are lacking where the possible is not being reached for?

VANCE: Trump lowered the standard so thoroughly on so many fronts, that our democratic institutions are strained. I think in many cases, really to the breaking point. And the issue here is whether or not the American people can regain their confidence and their trust in those institutions. That`s a tough path forward, because the American people don`t have one unified view of who we are and where we`re going, and what those institutions should look like. But simply restoring them to traditional Democratic values is a heavy lift.

And it`s one of the primary jobs for this administration, whether it`s something we talk about a lot or not, ultimately, the gorilla in the room here, and it may not even be the gorilla in the room, we just live with it every day is will DOJ hold the people who were the most responsible for the instruction accountable.

DOJ has done a phenomenal job of working through the low level and the mid- level cases. But we`ve seen nothing from the people who were there on the ellipse, who were involved in promoting the big lie. They may be criminally liable. They may not be but DOJ is going to have to find some way to communicate with Americans with what will be radical transparency for an agency that`s not used to being very transparent, to tell us what they`re doing, what their decision making processes, and most importantly, why Americans can still trust the institutions of our government.

WILLIAMS: I`m so glad I asked and people who only saw the Trump administration would be forgiven for assuming that the Attorney General was the President`s personal lawyer that is never supposed to be and is no longer the case. Our thanks to our starting line tonight, Yamiche Alcindor, Susan Page, Joyce Vance. As always, we appreciate the three of you so much.

Coming up for us. The Republicans who voted for infrastructure in their home districts are under attack by the former president of the United States who happens to run their party. How dare they vote for roads and bridges for the folks back home.

And later one of our top doctors is here with us tonight to tell us what we need to know about this increase of COVID cases in some areas from the Rockies to New England after weeks of decline, yes the news is a time still withering. All of it however beneath the Washington Monument as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Wednesday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:21:21]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): At this moment, when it matters most, we are also confronting a domestic threat that we`ve never faced before. A former president who`s attempting to unravel the foundations of our constitutional republic, aided by political leaders who have made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: So she`s talking there about Donald Trump, who is the head of her political party, like it or not, and who is now leading the charge against those 13 House Republicans who had the temerity to vote for President Biden`s infrastructure bill to bring stuff back to their districts.

From the New York Times we quote, The vicious reaction to the passage of the bill, which was negotiated by a group of Republicans and Democrats determined to deliver on a bipartisan priority reflects how deeply polarization has seeped into the political discourse within the Republican Party making even the most uncontroversial legislation, potentially toxic vote.

Thankfully for us back with us tonight, among the first friends of this broadcast, affectionately known around here as long haulers, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the Washington Post, and Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland also happens to be the host of the aptly named Michael Steele podcast. Gentlemen, it`s great to see you both.

Michael, it turns out the Democrats aren`t the only divided party. How are the Republicans going to sort this out? Imagine it you vote to bring infrastructure, money and jobs, good jobs back to your district, you get attacked viciously and ostracized by the former president who somehow still runs your party. How does this work?

MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, Brian, the kicker is that what these 13 voted for was less than what Trump wanted to spend for his infamous infrastructure weeks. So I don`t know what they were voting against. And I don`t think anyone in their districts fully understand what they were voting against other than the fact that it has Joe Biden`s imprimatur on it and not Donald Trump`s. And if that`s the basis on which the party continues to operate, they will become even less relevant than they are going forward.

The Biden ministration has turned a corner. Now it`s going to be up to Democrats working with the administration to maximize that opportunity. Meanwhile, the Democrats -- the Republicans are going to have to figure out how do they go back and not sell something that everyone in their districts when they see those shovel ready projects go and sit they go? Well, no, no, that`s not a good road project. That bridge shouldn`t be repaired. No, no, no. People going to look at them crazier than they already do.

So I don`t know what they think the upside is here. I mean, I really wish someone would put up microphone in front of one of these individuals, and ask them, so how will you not sell this good thing to your community? And what will you say to them when they say, I`m glad we got these resources, because now my husband`s gone back to work on the construction -- for the construction company, which he was furloughed from. I`m glad this is money coming back into our community because we can make improvements to the community center.

I mean, what, how do you answer that? And that`s the problem. Republicans find themselves when they follow someone who is leaderless.

[23:25:00]

WILLIAMS: Eugene, it`s a little dicey. And on the other side of it, have you heard much criticism for members of the squad who, in kind of a protest, no vote voted no on infrastructure. I`ve been to AOCs district in New York City. It`s an urban New York City congressional district. You walk around and it occurs to you, you know what this place could use some infrastructure. So how does she explain that to the folks back home in her district, even though she`s not under attack by her party, like the other side of the aisle?

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: You know, I think she`ll figure that out. Listen, you asked him I heard a lot of criticism of them. And in fact, I have not because, you know, the bill did passed it got the row. And so, I mean, we`ll see. I suspect that she`ll say it`s a good thing. And she`ll applaud it and say, I wish I just wanted the Build Back Better bill to pass before this passed. And that`s the only reason I voted against it. But of course, I supported and of course, I support all the projects.

I think it`s easier, not as heavy a lift for her to get on the right side of this issue, as it will be for the likes of Kevin McCarthy and others who voted against bringing home the bacon in the form of steel and concrete for their constituents. That used to be a really stupid thing to do for a member of Congress. And I think it still is a really stupid thing to do for a member of Congress.

WILLIAMS: It was unheard of back in the day, along with so many other things. Michael, I got like, 45 seconds. Is there any middle ground in the House? You talked to a lot of people? Does anyone like meet in a parking garage, Democrat and Republican, maybe moderates to work together? Is there a flag in a flowerpot signal when they`re going to meet to talk does any of that happen anymore?

STEELE: They put the key under the mat outside of a remote hotel and, you know, some dark part of DC. No, there`s no incentive created by the leadership to go across the aisle and get some things done. So, members do find ways to craft, you know, a relationship around some legislation. The stuff that you`re not seeing or hearing about Brian every day, but on the big things that really, really matter for helping the country move forward on COVID and the economy. No, that incentive is not in place right now. And it`s a very tough spot in Washington to be if you`re a member who wants to get some good stuff done.

WILLIAMS: Eugene`s just happy because I worked in an old bleak Washington Post reference. Eugene and Michael have vowed to remain in place. Coming up for us, Joe Biden says he intends to get prices down. He intends to get store shelves stocked and more people back to work, but our citizens also known as voters hearing him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:31:46]

BIDEN: The bill we passed last week. And the steps were taking to reduce bottlenecks at home and abroad were set to make significant progress. We`re already in the midst of historic economic recovery. And thanks to those steps we`re taking very soon we`re going to see the supply chain start catching up with demand. So, not only will we see more record breaking job growth, we`ll see lower prices, faster deliveries as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: So that`s the president on the road Baltimore this afternoon promoting his plan. But some Democrats worry the White House is not doing enough of a sales and messaging campaign for what they consider a victory for all Americans that the White House is hiding under a bushel.

Still with us, Eugene Robinson and Michael Steele, and Eugene, that right there is messaging to which Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York head of the DCCC says yes that and now 24 more stops in half the states in the union. Keep going tell people what we`re doing for them how their lives are going to be improved. And speaking of messaging, I want to show you this we`ve edited a clip of a Trump, I`m sorry, a Lincoln Project ad about infrastructure that might just mention the former president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For four years, Donald Trump promised us infrastructure week.

DONALD TRUMP, FMR. U.S PRESIDENT: $1 trillion in infrastructure investment, world class infrastructure, infrastructure week, infrastructure, we call it infrastructure week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The so called builder said only he could deliver a new roads, bridges and airports.

TRUMP: I alone can fix it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But who got the job done?

BIDEN: Finally, infrastructure week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: So Eugene, here`s the question, have outfits like the Lincoln project which are made up of lapsed Republicans? Have they become the video production wing for the Democrats who would according to one of the founders of the Lincoln project, bring a copy of Proust to a gunfight?

ROBINSON: You know, they do actually and they also bring a briefing book to a culture war, but maybe that`s a discussion for another segment book. Look, absolutely. The president needs to, if I were advising the White House, I tell him to do what he did in Baltimore, everywhere. You know, two or three of these a week all around the country, and point to the project, go to the site point to the project and say, This is going to happen and it`s going to be -- this is what it`s going to mean, for this community and for you and for jobs and for development for everything else. He needs to do that.

The other thing if I were advising the White House, I`d say to that they need to right now act urgently and be seen to act urgently on gas prices. I know the tanks in the supply chain and everything that can`t solve all of that immediately. Gas prices have so visible, the effect everybody and I think there`s frustration in the White House is working on it but it`s not being seen to work on it, it`s not being seen to have an effect.

[23:35:07]

You know, if you need to release some something from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, do that, work at an inner international agreement to do that, bring all the oil executives into the White House tomorrow and say, look, what do we need to get these prices down? But I think that`s an important thing. And I think that in and of itself, would would do wonders for the president`s approval rate.

WILLIAMS: Yes, I feel a column coming on, Michael, perhaps you too. So Michael, the speaker says they`re going to vote next week on the second bill. Can you say Joe Manchin -- is he tuning up is Maserati to roll right over that document?

EUGENE: Speed boat. The speed, Brian. It`s the speed boat.

WILLIAMS: The motor yacht.

STEELE: He`s go into roll over again, bad boy. Back up, roll over again. Back up. Look, I mean, yes, it`s going to be -- it is going to have a long, treacherous road ahead of it. But look, they`re going to do what they need to do in the House. And that`s going to be the first big important step and whether or not that translates into affirmative action, if you will, in the Senate. We`ll see.

But they`ve got I think for a lot of the progressives, A, they want to argue that on have the bargain that they made honored that there will be a vote. And B, I think that you will probably find there is movement there for that that bill to pass. The problem and the challenge will still remain the Senate. But first steps are first steps. And I think Nancy is going to honor that commitment that she made to the progressive wing of her party, her caucus, and you`ll see it get done next week, then the real work will be on Manchin and Sinema to come around. The problem remains. It`s a lot of money, even though and this could be a little bit of a leverage.

The American public has warmed up to the idea of what`s in this bill. And I think they are kind of looking at what they`re getting on the heart infrastructure and saying, yes, we could use a little help on the soft infrastructure as well. The problem goes to what Gene just mentioned, prices cost and with gas prices going up, it`s just a reminder that the economy may be a little less stable. And therefore the question of spending that much more money could be problematic.

WILLIAMS: Yes, it`s rough out there. These are two nice guys, ladies and gentlemen, to non-COVID related long haulers around here, Eugene Robinson and Michael Steele. Always a pleasure. We`ll do it again. Coming up for us after this break. A segment that is so very 2021 sadly, the good news nearly a million kids have rolled up their sleeves. The bad news over thousands souls are still dying of COVID in our country every day. Dr. Vin Gupta standing by when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:41:25]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFFREY ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID RESPONSE COORDINATOR: By the end of the day today, we estimate that over 900,000 kids ages five through 11 will have already gotten their first shot. 700,000 additional appointments are already on the calendar at local pharmacies. Parents and families across the country are breathing giant sighs of relief.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: So despite the good news there from the White House COVID Chief, the CDC warns the level of community spread in our country is still too high from the Washington Post, quote, 24 states have seen at least a 5 percent increase in cases over the past two weeks, led by New Hampshire with a 63 percent increase Vermont with 50 percent, New Mexico 48 percent, Minnesota 42 percent, Nebraska 37 percent.

It`s a lot to ask. Dr. Vin Gupta, critical care pulmonologist in Seattle who advised us on public health throughout this pandemic. I also wish he taught speech. He`s also on faculty at the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Doctor, I know it must seem to our viewing audience like we`re always talking scary stuff. And we don`t emphasize the good news when we get it. But from the stories we`re hearing from Colorado to Vermont, where they did such a good job at mitigation at the height of this thing. It is scary. They listen to these spikes.

DR. VIN GUPTA, MSNBC MEDICAL COORDINATOR: Good evening, Brian, so good to see you. It is and you take Colorado for example, just with colleagues in Colorado last week. Unfortunately, their fully vaccinated rate is 66 percent, Brian, what we know now in the Delta variant is that even if 20 percent of your population, adult population is unvaccinated, that`s enough to cause hospitals to get overloaded. So we have minimal room for error.

To your point, we are not through this pandemic for all your viewers out there. We`re still very much in the midst of this continued Delta surge, likely through the end of Q1 2022. That`s when I think we`re really going to be able to put this behind us. But we`re so looking at 10,000 weekly deaths week over week well into the wintertime Brian. So that`s just the reality of it.

WILLIAMS: You mentioned your travels to Colorado. Tell me about your travels down to Oregon to talk to workers about the vaccine. What was that about?

GUPTA: You know, I was invited by a by warehouse workers, farm workers and their employers at that are facing a big decision. As you know, Brian, do they mandate the vaccine? Do they do weekly testing? And because deadlines are motivating, they said let`s talk about it.

And so I was invited. I`ve been had the privilege to talk to different organizations started earlier this morning. We had a great conversation. There was engagements among this group that previously I had not seen really probing questions. Pregnant women, for example, asking questions that they previously didn`t have -- didn`t really have an opportunity to ask this according to them. Other questions about what does natural immunity mean?

Now we actually have answers, Brian. We know that natural immunity while gives you some protection. Now we have data suggesting vaccination protects you five to 10 times much more robustly from hospitalization. So, we can cite actual data now and have concrete discussions and this is reassuring to people.

WILLIAMS: And is it axiomatic in your line of work that the percentage of kids we can get the vaccine into is only as good as the percentage of parents who believes in it?

[23:45:02]

GUPTA: That`s absolutely the case. You know, I was -- we were training our Air Force Reserve unit this weekend and a lot of my fellow members have kids, and they were saying, Oh, hey doc, it was -- we finally got over the hurdle. We vaccinated ourselves but it`s a different discussion when we`re talking about kiddos. And that`s where it`s going to be really important dive deep in the data, Brian, in an accessible way. To your point speech matters. The Pfizer vaccine that data we have incredibly reassuring a third of the adult dose, no issues with myocarditis that I know is top of mind for a lot of parents, extremely safe and keeping kiddos who tested positive.

These are the types of discussions that we need to have an accessible ways. I think parents are reachable, but it`s going to be a tougher bar to climb.

WILLIAMS: I don`t mention it often enough to our viewers that in the doctor spare time he serves his country in the Air Force Reserve and is no stranger to the interior of a C-17. Dr. Vin Gupta has been our guest again tonight. Doctor, thank you for all of it. We appreciate it.

Coming up for us. Kyle Rittenhouse, this young man takes the stand to defend himself against homicide charges and today it got dramatic.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand in his own defense today in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He`s a young man who brought an AR-15 to a racial justice protest last year as one does apparently. And he`s on trial for killing two people and injuring a third. NBC News correspondent Gabe Gutierrez has our report from Wisconsin tonight.

[23:50:17]

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me God.

KYLE RITTENHOUSE, 18-YEAR-OLD WHO SHOT AND KILLED TWO DEMONSTRATORS: Yes.

GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As he described for the jury that tense moments before he opened fire. Kyle Rittenhouse broke down.

RITTENHOUSE: There were three people right there.

GUTIERREZ: The judge calling a short break, some jurors appearing sympathetic as they walked out. Rittenhouse`s mother within earshot sobbing. It was a dramatic seventh day of testimony in the trial where the now 18-year-old faces six charges including intentional homicide after shooting and killing two men and wounding another during last year`s protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

RITTENHOUSE: I didn`t do anything wrong. I defended myself.

GUTIERREZ: Rittenhouse, speaking publicly at length for the first time described how he`s come to Kenosha to provide medical aid and protect property from rioters, and how the first man he shot Joseph Rosenbaum chased him.

RITTENHOUSE: I didn`t notice Mr. Rosenbaum until he came out from behind the car and ambushed me.

GUTIERREZ: He says Rosenbaum had threatened him earlier at least twice yelling.

RITTENHOUSE: If I catch any of you, too loud, I`m going to kill you.

GUTIERREZ: The prosecution then began an aggressive cross examination.

THOMAS BINGER, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Everybody that you shot at that night you intended to kill, correct?

RITTENHOUSE: I didn`t intend to kill them. I attended it -- I intended to stop the people who were attacking me.

BINGER: You made an intentional decision in the middle of that incident, to turn and point the gun at Mr. Rosenbaum, correct?

RITTENHOUSE: Yes.

GUTIERREZ: With a jury out of the room, the judge suddenly raised his voice.

JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Don`t get brazen with me.

GUTIERREZ: Admonishing the prosecutor accusing him of improperly trying to introduce testimony that the judge earlier prohibited.

SCHROEDER: You`re an experienced trial attorney and you`re telling me that when the judge says, I`m excluding this, you just take it upon yourself to put it in because you think that you found a way around it. Come on.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): After those tense exchanges the defense is now asking for a mistrial with prejudice, meaning that the requests were granted Rittenhouse could not be retried. The judge has not ruled yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Our thanks to Gabe Gutierrez for that report from Wisconsin tonight. Another break for us and coming up our first of its kind history quiz where you get to play along at home.

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[23:56:32]

WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go here tonight, something of a history buff myself I`ve read a ton of books on history and for all the stuff I don`t know which is a lot. We have my friends like Beschloss and Meacham to come on the air and lend us their spacious brains. But this may stump even them.

We have a history quiz for you tonight. And here it is, I`m going to read you a quote. They are the words of a member of Congress from the deep south. As I read it, here`s the question, is it from 1861 or 2021. So here`s the quote, To all you oppressors, you have drawn a line in the sand, be prepared to defend your position, because some of us are free Americans and we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees. Freedom is what`s at stake, and some of us are prepared to carry that fight with every drop of our blood. So, powerful words there, were they spoken in 1861 or 2021? Here`s your answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CLAY HIGGINS (R-LA): Ladies and gentlemen, the oppressors intent is for you to comply with their mandates and commands. And they don`t expect you to comply with their commands until the end of COVID. They expect you to comply with their commands until the end of time.

Let me be very clear. To all you oppressors, you`ve drawn a line in the sand. Be prepared to defend your position. Because some of us are free Americans, and we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees. If you want to get a vaccine, get it. If you don`t, don`t. That`s called Freedom. Freedom is what`s at stake. And some of us are prepared to carry that fight with every drop of our blood.

On January 3, 2023, Republicans will be sworn into the majority in this House behind this year. The hallowed halls of Congress shall once again be under the control of Republican conservatives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: That rootin-tootin fella in the snazzy black hat is Clay Higgins, an actual member of Congress from Louisiana, all that talk about blood and dying and defend your position that reminded us that just today, Homeland Security warned that members of Congress along with educators and health care workers are under increased threat from domestic extremists who`ve been whipped up after being fed a steady diet of lies.

So in a country with 400 million guns, give or take, now would be a good time to start paying attention.

That`s 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.