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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 11/16/21

Guests: Peter Baker; Yamiche Alcindor, Chuck Rosenberg, Juanita Tolliver, A.B. Stoddard, Irwin Redlener


Chairman Thompson indicated that he would give the former Trump Chief of Staff another chance to comply with the subpoena. And President Biden is pushing his agenda forward on the road, as House and Senate Democrats continue to negotiate his human infrastructure plan. But ahead of the holidays, COVID-19 cases are spiking in some areas. Trump urges appeals court to limit Jan. 6 committee`s access to his White House documents.



MICHELLE WU, NEWLY-ELECTED BOSTON MAYOR: We have so much work to do, and it will take all of us to get it done. So let`s get to work.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The Honorable Michelle Wu gets tonight`s Last Word. And a programming note, you can hear the latest news and updates from all of your favorite ms NB C hosts anytime anywhere on any device with Tune In, go to to listen commercial free with Tune In premium. THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts now.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 301 of the Biden administration and the 1/6 committee is sending an unmistakable signal that a critical witness in their investigation will need to show up to testify or face the consequences which, if we`re being honest, are unclear.

Mark Meadows served as Donald Trump`s final White House Chief of Staff before that he was a Congressman from North Carolina. And like Steve Bannon, he`s refusing to comply with the subpoena for records and testimony.

1/6 Committee met today they`re said to be taking a hard look at criminal contemporary furl just like they did with Bannon.

The AP reporting Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson says Meadow still has time to answer his subpoena. But he warns he likely won`t wait indefinitely.

Earlier this evening, one committee member made it clear discussions about one Mark Meadows are at a serious stage.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D) JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: We had a very good discussion, making sure that all of the elements that would be necessary to support a prosecution are present. We met with the committee lawyers, and I would say this discussion is very much ongoing.

We are going to pursue every piece of evidence so that when we are through, we`ll be able to tell the American public and our colleagues here in the Congress, everything there is to know so that we can take appropriate action, whether it`s a revising the Electoral Count Act, revisiting the Insurrection Act, or a number of many other things that we might want to take a look at.


WILLIAMS: Congresswoman Lofgren added more subpoenas are coming but would not say when. The Committee cites Meadows having been with Trump on January 6 as one big reason they`re hoping to hear from him. Meadows is also reported to have played a role in sending that memo to Mike Pence`s chief of staff explaining how the vice president could refuse to certify Biden`s 2020 victory.

Reports indicate there was one of four such memos detailing how Trump could remain in power by stealing it back despite having lost the election fair and square. AP says the House Select Committee also considering a possible contempt referral against the author of a similar document circulated around the Justice Department. Lawmakers say that former DOJ lawyer Jeffrey Clark showed up for his deposition, but was uncooperative.

Senate report says Clark tried to pressure justice into backing Trump`s false claims of election fraud.

Meanwhile, Trump`s attorneys are busy with his lawsuit to try to keep his White House Records away from this committee at all costs. Today they filed documents with a federal appeals court asking judges to support this claim of executive privilege arguing a defeat would open the door for lawmakers to harass their political rivals. Courtroom arguments in the case scheduled for November 30.

Tomorrow, the House is expected to address what many say is a clear cut example of political harassment with potentially dangerous implications. Lawmakers will vote to censure Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona for posting that altered animated video that depicts him killing AOC and attacking the president.

They`ll also vote to strip him of his assignments on the Oversight and Natural Resources committees.


SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D0CA): He made threats and suggestions about harming a member of Congress. That is an insult, not only an endangerment of that member of Congress but an insult to the institution of the House of Representatives. We cannot have members joking about murdering each other as well as threatening the President of the United States.


WILLIAMS: Well it remains to be seen just how many Republicans will vote against their Arizona colleague, both Republicans on this 1/6 committee that would be Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger say they will vote to censure Paul Gosar tomorrow.

All of this unfolding as the current president kicks off a national tour to talk up is just signed legislation to rebuild our crumbling national infrastructure. Today, Joe Biden was in Woodstock, New Hampshire tomorrow he heads to Detroit.


In addition to selling his new plan for roads and bridges, he`s also making a pitch for his other policy initiative. Let`s not forget that nearly $2 trillion social spending bill.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: My plan to build back better for our people is going to reduce inflation. I`m confident that the House is going to pass this bill. And when it passes, it will go to the Senate. I think we`ll get it passed within a week.


WILLIAMS: House Democratic leaders are pushing to pass the bill this week. Speaker Pelosi has already said nobody`s leaving for Thanksgiving until that`s done.

As for the President`s other domestic priority, the pandemic there is concerning news on that front tonight. Rising COVID cases across our country are sparking fears of some sort of holiday surge again. NBC News reports the FDA may be just away from just days away rather from authorizing booster shots for everyone who wants one over the age of 18. We`ll have more on the COVID headlines later in this broadcast.

Also tonight the jury in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse resumes a second day of deliberations in just a few hours, jurors spent about eight hours considering the charges today before being sent home for the night.

Rittenhouse himself helped randomly select the trials. Six alternate jurors, the remaining 12 Jurors from the pool of 18 are now considering his fate.

With that, let`s bring in our starting line on this Tuesday night. Our guests to start us off. Peter Baker, veteran journalist and author chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, Yamche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour, moderator of Washington Week also on PBS and Chuck Rosenberg, Justice Department veteran, former U.S. Attorney, former senior FBI official who notably happens to be the host of the MSNBC podcast, The Oath. Good evening, and welcome to you all.

And Yamiche, are we going to find out if this committee is contempt curious? Or how serious they are? Because if you`re Mark Meadows, don`t you have reason to think oh, I don`t know, maybe let`s try our hand at beat the clock. It looks like Bannon is going to take his time going through the halls of justice.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS NEWSHOUR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, based on my conversations with sources, and based also on just the public comments of the lawmakers that are on this committee, they`re very, very serious about trying to make sure that these subpoenas are enforced.

Let`s remember that Steve Bannon who has now indicted on federal charges, he`s in a different category, because he wasn`t working at the White House. So in some ways, when you have a Mark Meadows, who`s trying to claim executive privilege, that is sort of another person who could be used as an example for a lot of the people that they`ve subpoenaed, who were working in the White House.

So for my understanding, we`re not sure if they`re actually going to vote on contempt charge, but we should be looking at these activities, these increasing subpoenas as really a sign that these lawmakers are not going to just take a note from Mark Meadows not going to take being stood up lightly.

WILLIAMS: Peter Baker, did anyone in Biden world in the scope of your reporting, foresee an effort not by them by Congress and by an independent DOJ to in effect, go after prior enemies from a prior administration? The difference being of course, this is an actual Department of Justice and not a wing of the West Wing?

PETER BAKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think this was an always inevitable likelihood that they saw and that members of Congress saw because we know that the Trump tactic has been to, you know, withstand or defy congressional efforts to impose oversight that was true. During the impeachment, the first impeachment that was true during any number of committee inquiries in the last few years of President Trump`s term. We know that`s their approach.

The difference is that you have a democratic Justice Department is that of President Trump`s Justice Department, a democratic Justice Department`s going to be much more sympathetic to the Democratic Congress in enforcing these subpoenas.

Now, you know, Steve Bannon doesn`t seem to mind that he`s been charged criminally and he`s going to have this fight. He seems to almost be relishing it makes him a kind of a martyr for, you know, his side of the political spectrum. Mark Meadows in a slightly different position. Obviously, he also, you know, is on the right side of the, you know, that is the political right of the Republican Party.

But to Yachime said he was a White House Chief of Staff and a member of Congress. He never been quite the anarchist that, you know, that Steve Bannon likes to play. He`s on the other side. He`s legislative executive vice before, but you know, he`s got a president or former president who`s telling him not to talk and so he probably has a stronger case, but doesn`t mean he`s got a strong enough case. Once a judge gets a hold of it. We haven`t seen anything quite like this since the Nixon era in 1970s.

WILLIAMS: Chuck, I`d like to play for you some of the comments from Bannon`s lawyer, Trump`s former impeachment round to lawyer Mr. Schoen and after we play those, we`ve taken the liberty abutting some of the comments from Bannon himself that may be a bit of a counterweight to what his attorney says here.



DAVID SCHOEN, ATTORNEY FOR STEVE BANNON: As a layperson, once privilege is invoked, in my view, at least and based on the advice he got from his lawyer, Mr. Bannon had no choice. I met him yesterday for the first time. What I will tell you this having met him, I would not believe for a second that Mr. Bannon in any way intended for there to be condoned, accepted, ratified, or otherwise, any violence on January 6, or any other day, I just don`t believe it.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: It`s going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is strap in the War Room a posse, you have made this happen. And tomorrow, it`s game day. All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It`s going to be moving. It`s going to be quick.


WILLIAMS: So Chuck, is the lesson here for anyone else, students in the audience, perhaps spend more time with your client before saying what he did on CNN?

CHUCK ROSENBERG, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: You know, Brian, Mr. Bannon seems to know more about what Mr. Bannon is thinking than Mr. Bannon`s lawyer does. Yes, that`s exactly right.

But look, all of these things that they are saying publicly, are for public consumption. It doesn`t really matter when you`re inside the courthouse, what you say outside the courthouse to try and influence public perceptions. What matters is what happens in the courthouse, the evidence that`s produced, the things that a judge rules as admissible or inadmissible. And the arguments that you make to a jury if in fact, this ends up before a jury.

So, you know, it`s interesting to hear Bannon and Bannon`s own words, but it doesn`t really have any effect on the trial of Steve Bannon. And that`s what we ought to keep our focus on.

WILLIAMS: Yamiche, I want to read you something that is the definition of hutzpah, we knew these would be coming. This is merely the first. This is a tweet from a Republican member of Congress down in Alabama. This is really fantastic. Completion of Birmingham`s Northern Beltline has been a priority of mine since I was elected to Congress and new funding for the project has now passed, see my full statement here.

Yamiche, only problem is he voted against it. So are Republicans going to continue doing this with a straight face?

ALCINDOR: Absolutely. And that tweet reminds me of the moment where President Biden, when he was speaking about infrastructure, at one point, he pulled out this card that listed a number of Republicans who were sort of touting infrastructure, even though they were pushing back on the idea of getting infrastructure.

So you have just today, the Republican National Committee Chairwoman saying that this is reckless spending, saying that President Biden`s going to -- he`s going to regret the fact that he pushed through this bipartisan infrastructure bill and signed it into law. But now you already have Republicans realizing that Americans who are in the middle of a pandemic or in the middle of paying more for everything from gases to turkey, but they are now looking at their roads and bridges getting fixed, or at least about to get fixed, and saying, well, at least the government`s doing something for me.

You look no further than New Hampshire where the President went today, you have an 80-year-old structure that has been on the repair list since at least 2013-2014 for repairs. The president rightly went there and said, Look, this is the type of issues that we want to solve. And when you talk to political analysts, whether they`re Republican or Democrat, the one thing that they can agree on is that Republicans and Democrats have been really focusing on infrastructure, saying that they want to do this for a number of presidencies.

And here`s President Biden hoping that this $1.2 trillion bill that it helps him not only sort of convince Americans that the government`s working for them, but that his administration in particular, is really an administration that should be getting their support. As we see the President`s poll numbers have been sinking.

So this is really the White House, I think, trying to go on a tour as we see he`s going to be in Detroit tomorrow, trying to convince Americans look at what we did for you. And of course, I just go back to that tweet that you just put up. I think we`re going to see more tweets like that.

WILLIAMS: And becoming right off Yamiche`s point, Peter, a question that doesn`t call for a judgment on your part, but rather, the Democrats you`re talking to by way of your daily reporting. Is there still a messaging deficit? If you live in Keansburg, New Jersey or Keokuk, Iowa, are you any closer to knowing what you`re going to get? I guess we know that New Hampshire is getting a bridge and Portman mentioned yesterday, Ohio`s getting a bridge, but is there still that deficit?

BAKER: Well, they`re not going to accomplish this just in one or two days after the bill signing, right. This is going to for them have to be a sustained effort to sell this program to the public. Now they start off with an advantage which is the public is generally for the last ABC/Washington Post poll showed that 63 percent of Americans supported the infrastructure package, they want their bridges and they want their ports and airports and broadband.

Now, you know, for Biden, the problem is turning Saying that into political support for him because the same poll showed him 41 percent.


They`re not giving him credit for this accomplishment, so he wants to get out there. He wants to say, look what I`m doing, we`re finally delivering for you. This is what he promised in the campaign. And he`s going to have to do more than just a couple stops this week to make that point. But the bigger question for him is, can we get the next bill through. Because if he doesn`t turn this into momentum for the next bill, that becomes really problematic for him.

WILLIAMS: Chuck Rosenberg, a legal question. When Bannon raised the notion of privilege, everyone said right away while you weren`t with the government, he had long since left on his journey of personal growth and personal grooming. Mark Meadows, however, was right there in it. He was right there in the Oval Office, alongside the president up till and including January six, does he have a different privilege case?

ROSENBERG: He has a different case. But there are two issues here. Brian, the one is does a former president have a residual privilege? The answer is theoretically, yes, according to a 1977 Supreme Court case, but practically no. Because the court also said in that case, that whatever residual privilege a former President enjoys, it`s really determined by the current president. We yield to that person because that person speaks for the Republic and makes decisions on its behalf. That`s issue number one.

But there`s a really important second issue, which is, if Bannen or Meadows or anyone else for that matter, you and me, rely on the advice of an attorney in good faith. And the attorney tells us something that turns out to be wrong, but we still believe her and we still act on her advice. We may have an advice of counsel defense.

And so that`s something to look for in the Bannon case, whether or not he relied on counsel with respect to Meadows, he may want to argue privilege, he may certainly want to litigate privilege or have someone else litigated and abide that decision. But it`s not a completely frivolous case for someone like meadows, as you pointed out, who was part of the President`s inner circle when he was president.

I don`t think the privilege claim actually survives, but it`s not as privileged as someone like Bannon, who was out of the White House and not a government employee, inserting it.

WILLIAMS: Much obliged to our starting line on a Tuesday night, Peter Baker, Yamiche Alcindor, Chuck Rosenberg, thank you, to the three of you very much for starting us off.

Coming up. Joe Biden has a bridge repair he wants to sell you how is that effort going? Our political experts will wade into that. And later, the proud New England state that beat COVID until it didn`t, what went wrong? And what can the rest of the country learn from the soaring infection rates there now and in other parts of our country, all of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Tuesday night with Thomas Jefferson in the distance.




BIDEN: Because that`s why I ran. That`s why these folks ran so building -- they`re taking care of their legitimate needs, and to make sure democracy delivers for everybody. And despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans, we can work together. We can deliver real results. We can deliver real people, results that are going to affect their lives.


WILLIAMS: On a snowy day in New England in case anyone missed the point, the President actually walked across an old bridge during his road trip to New Hampshire today. It`s a victory lap for his infrastructure bill right when the speed bump in the road is bigger spending bill is getting closer and closer.

Schumer says the goal is a vote by Christmas but that only makes us want to check out Joe Manchin`s pocket calendar. Here`s how the New York Times puts it quote after completing the signing ceremony for the trillion dollar infrastructure bill, Mr. Biden returns to a much harsher reality historically low approval ratings, unified Republican opposition to the centerpiece of his domestic policy, growing alarm in the party about the prospect of losing control of Congress next year and a surprising surge in inflation. Put it that way. Sound serious.

Back with us tonight, Juanita Tolliver, veteran political strategist to progressive candidates and causes and A.B. Stoddard, veteran Washington journalist, associate editor and columnist over a Real Clear Politics. Well, good evening to you both. Juanita, how much pressure is on Democrats, elected members of Congress to pass that second bill?

JUANITA TOLLIVER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Let me just put it this way they hear every time the clock ticks down. They`re feeling the weight of time running out on them, especially ahead of the midterms. And they know they have to deliver. I think what was truly a helpful indicator about the need to deliver was that Washington Post/ABC poll that shows 63 percent of people support the bipartisan deal. 58 percent support the Build Back Better plan, but 51 percent would still vote for Republicans.

And I think that ties to the fact that Democrats know that they have to move quickly to pass this legislation so that people feel the tangible benefits, people feel and see the impact in their day to day lives ahead of next November. And so the sooner they pass this, the better. And you`re hearing that urgency, not only in the timeline, you mentioned that Schumer name but also in the threat from Speaker Pelosi to keep people through Thanksgiving if she has to in order to get this bill out of the House because they know people want it. They know they have to deliver on it and also that people have to feel it so that Democrats can have some type of advantage going into the midterms.

WILLIAMS: So A.B. nation turns its lonely eyes to you. What are the chances they will pass that bill by Christmas?

A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS, ASSOC. EDITOR AND COLUMNIST: Well, Brian, unfortunately, anytime you say by Christmas is here, admitting that it could slip into the new year. They have a bunch of perilous deadlines coming up with government funding and the increasing of the debt ceiling by December 3. That`s really in legislative days with Thanksgiving around the corner, legislative days, or the time that members of Congress spend here and it`s not a lot.

So, if you say by Christmas, unfortunately, combined with Senator Joe Manchin`s stated publicly stated desire to kick this into next year it`s making Democrats nervous that this could slip into January.


This is extremely challenging once it goes to the Senate. Will get to the House really quickly the next week or so, probably. They will fall into line over on the House side, as the speaker wishes and do this before they leave for Thanksgiving. It`s when it gets to the Senate where it`s going to be re basically revisited. And we don`t know which programs will actually pick in. If they make it into the final draft before the midterm elections, will voters actually feel different provisions that Democrats are touting right now in the bill that are popular with voters?

All of this is up to a 50/50 Senate and dealing with those holdout senators, once it`s over there. So we do not know what will be in the final bill. We don`t know if those programs will be felt by voters by the midterm elections. We don`t know if it will be voted on by Christmas.

This is really a tough, tough time for Democrats. They were excited about celebrating yesterday. No small thing that was bipartisan. Five Republican senators were at the White House for this infrastructure signing. But they have stomachache right now about the Build Back Better fight going forward.

WILLIAMS: Indeed they do. And Juanita, a lot of it keeps coming back to messaging. Why can`t the White House serious question hire an ad executive and ad agency, a television producer, someone with a specialty in selling someone with a specialty in communication, selling things to oh, I don`t know, all 50 states?

TOLLIVER: Look, I think they`re definitely relying on a lot of the Democratic campaign committees to help with a lot of that work. But what you can fully expect to see is what we saw from today with the president walking across that bridge, but also applying it to every other piece, that investment that will come from the bipartisan deal that will people will feel a tangible impact, whether that`s getting access to the internet or getting access to clean water, whether that`s the ports being cleared up quicker.

We saw reports that poor capacity has increased by 30 percent. Things are moving. Investments and freights and making sure that products gets a store so that people have adequate selection to choose from. That`s what this is going to come down to. And that`s what we need to hear not only from the President as he continues his tour, but all of his cabinet members, mayors and governors.

Remember, he had those mayors at the signing as well, Democrat and Republicans, because they know the value of this in their own communities. And the more messengers he has out there, the better because this needs to be a consistent drumbeat not just this week, but I`m talking about every single day until the midterm elections so voters know exactly what to expect when to expect it and who to thank for it.

WILLIAMS: Our two learner guests have agreed to stay with us over this break. And coming up when we continue our conversation new reporting on how the Republican leader in the House is trying to tamp down divisions in his party that are being caused by the man most people regard as McCarthy`s boss.



WILLIAMS: New reporting tonight is shining a light on GOP leader Kevin McCarthy`s efforts to get his own party in line in the wake of the bipartisan vote on infrastructure. Some far right members, as we`ve reported have started going after their fellow Republicans who had the temerity to vote to bring infrastructure back to their districts. Sources telling NBC News quote, at a closed-door House Republican caucus meeting, McCarthy called on lawmakers to stay unified not to attack their Republican colleagues. McCarthy suggested that they should focus their fire on Democrats Build Back Better bill, one of the sources said.

Fortunately still with us, Juanita Tolliver and A.B. Stoddard. So A.B., our mutual friend Eugene Robinson has a new column that argues it`s the Republicans who are in embarrassing disarray, not the Democrats. Do you concur with that thesis?

STODDARD: Well, I think that, yes, the Republican mesh show continues and contort since a new, embarrassing form, you know, on a monthly basis, it is certainly a hot mess. But the focus in this town and on the national news for the last couple months after the withdrawal from Afghanistan has been the Democrats fighting with each other and not able to meet their deadlines for when they promised the bills, were going to come out of the House and Senate and get passed and this extension and this negotiation and this promise.

And this standoff and this is this has been the focus that has taken all the heat off the Republicans, as they continue to have internal squabbles about moving forward with or without Donald Trump. And then the loudest members on the right, who are in service to Donald Trump, you know, create all these scandals, including Congressman Gosar, who has, you know, sent out this video where he is killing another member of Congress, in what he said was just sort of a cartoon and he was using to appeal to young people.

However, they take this every time they have these meetings like today where Kevin McCarthy gets up in a family fight and tries to take everybody side and doesn`t resolve anything. They basically snore about this they don`t think it`s reaching persuadable voters they don`t think that it takes, you know, getting much notice. They feel that the majority next year is in hand. They`re going to win no matter what and so none of this really is material the way that it made them, you know, a bit more nervous before the 2020 election. Now they sort of think, you know, our voters don`t notice, swing voters don`t notice it doesn`t matter we`re going to take the House back and the Democrats continue getting bad headlines so and get bad polling and so you know, no big.

WILLIAMS: Juanita, I`m very curious as someone that being you who watches the Democrats so closely especially in the House of Representatives I noted the latest retirement is Congresswoman Jackie Speier of the bluer than blue democratic delegation from the state of California.


And in addition to having seniority and being an outspoken member, she has such a unique story among members of Congress, by our unofficial count, she has survived more gunshots than any other elected official. In Washington, she was left for dead on the tarmac in Jonestown Guiana. Her boss, the congressman was the one conducting the investigation she later was able to run for and win that seat. It gives her a certain moral authority, and especially on the issues that are dear to her.

And I`m just curious on top of all the pressure on the Democrats in 2022. And we`re not necessarily talking about a safe Democratic district like this one, you must be counting down to the last noses hoping for no more retirements, especially in swing districts, and hoping a few things break your way.

TOLLIVER: I think that`s exactly right, Brian, in terms of just trying to hold the line as much as possible, recognizing how Republicans in state houses across the country have essentially rigged the system with redistricting and gerrymandering districts beyond recognition and order to secure some type of majority for Republicans.

But you`re absolutely right. I think taking the fight across the country to every district, every state is a strategy that Democrats are looking to deploy this midterm cycle. And that`s something that hopefully could yield some type of returns. And I`m not talking about necessarily securing additional seats versus maintaining as many seats as possible.

I also think that to the point A.B. made about Republicans being a mess, I think that mess is going to continue and that extremism that left a stamp through Trump and his leadership style and through the folks that McCarthy knows he can`t reel in, could leave a bad taste in independent voters` mouth, as well as some Republicans voters, if especially if President Trump was forth with his plan to challenge some Republicans in the House who voted for the infrastructure bill or to continue to poison the Republican Party with his extremist approach.

And let`s be real violent rhetoric that a number of them have adopted, and that could ultimately lead to Republicans undermine undermining themselves in the midterms as well.

WILLIAMS: As Chris Christie is finding out on his book tour, you can`t simply wave away what the modern Republican Party has become and pretend that it can be altered or changed with the wave of a hand. Juanita Tolliver, A.B. Stoddard, I can`t thank you enough terrific conversation tonight. Thank you for your forthright answers to our questions.

Coming up, one of our top public health experts on what we need to know about surging COVID cases in some areas of our country. Of course times right before families get together for the holidays.




DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: You`re starting to see the winter and late fall months approaching, which means people are doing more things indoor. And then you have the real issue of 60 million people in this country who are not vaccinated who are eligible to be vaccinated. We were stuck at around 70,000 new cases a day. The latest counts is now into the 80s.


WILLIAMS: Take it from the man has been attacked for being a scientist. NBC News data showing over half of our country now seeing an uptick in new cases. Over the past two weeks new cases in the state of Vermont have jumped 60 percent and across New England cases have risen in every state but Connecticut.

Back with us tonight at a critical time, Dr. Irwin Redlener, Founding Director of Columbia`s National Centre for Disaster Preparedness. He advises us on public health. In his spare time he`s a professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Doctor, as no one needs to remind you, Vermont was a model of mitigation in New England. They are currently reporting a 72 percent vaccination rates. So can you tell us why the resurgence there and if it`s happening there, God forbid states like North and South Dakota, Mississippi, Alabama and the like.

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, EXPERT ON PANDEMIC INFLUENZA: Right, Brian, we`re in a very, very difficult in that precarious situation as far as what we might be expecting over this next couple of months, as Dr. Fauci said, and don`t forget, you know, state of Vermont got about 630,000 people in it. If it`s 72 percent vaccinated, we`re talking about 150,000 to 170,000 people not vaccinated.

And here we come now rolling into the winter time. The winter time, I mean, the Coronavirus could not wait for winter. We have people indoors, much, much more. We have family gatherings for the holidays. We have possible increases in virus transmissibility and growth during the winter. And we have all this pool of unvaccinated people. I mean, the virus if it was a, you or me, we`d be completely excited. This is our season.

The frustrating thing to Brian is what we can do is we can vaccinate more. This is the big weapon, the ultimate tool to keeping you from getting sick and keeping your friends, relatives, neighbors and community safe. And this is still in my view, Brian, pretty slow going and I`m worried about this next couple of months.

WILLIAMS: So today`s news, the FDA is, don`t stop me if you`ve heard this before, on the verge of approving the Pfizer vaccine. No questions asked for all American adults for their booster. I am guessing that approval in this case means that horrendous term emergency use authorization. The term upon which the anti-vaxxers base their criticism that it`s somehow an experimental vaccine. Has anyone in the United States government had the idea of changing that term giving it a new designation or are we that unable to get out of our own way?

REDLENER: Well, I don`t know whether people are actually thinking Think about that Brian, but it`s a darn good idea.


I mean, the fact of the matter is if that`s your excuse for not getting vaccinated, that it has this particular designation, it`s pathetic in a way. I don`t know how to be, you know, more polite about it, but it`s a sad state of affairs. The fact is that you had your two vaccines of the Moderna or Pfizer variety, and it`s more than six months since you got it, your immunity level as been dropping, there`s no question about that. And the booster shot will get it right back up to where it needs to be.

But the problem is, of course, for the people that have already gotten vaccinated. Getting a booster shot is a very logical next step. But we still have millions and Fauci said 16 million. I think it`s maybe closer to 100 million Americans who have not gotten vaccinate not even their first shots.

So it`s a little early to be speaking to them about the boosters Brian, but they need to wake up and smell the roses here. And the roses are horrible, and they`re dangerous. And they mean that you the unvaxx may be in for a very rough and dangerous winter of disease and fatalities. And that`s just the way it is.

WILLIAMS: Stay with me for this analogy. But friends of mine who are first responders say the invention of Narcan has made drug abuse more brazen. It has changed the notion of consequences because Narcan is a miracle drug. We`ve seen it bring people right back to life. Is that your fear the relationship between this new drug at $600 a throw that you can take as treatment versus the prophylactic vaccine to prevent getting sick and hospitalized?

REDLENER: You know, for doctors and people in the medical profession, Brian, this is a very tough situation to sort out because I`ve been talking about getting a medication that you could take orally to treat the COVID virus is a game changer. It would be a game changer. It is a game changer.

The problem because it can save lives. That`s it. You get symptoms, you test positive for COVID. Here`s a prescription you take it to your pharmacy, take it for five days, and your symptoms should be gone. The problem is we don`t want, we don`t want people to think, oh well now that we have an oral medication, why bother getting vaccinated? That`s what I`m concerned about.

That`s the caveat to this tremendously great information that Pfizer and Merck overseas have developed these new oral medications. We cannot let it stop people from getting vaccinated in the first place because we think they think the drug may save their lives so why bother getting vaccinated.

WILLIAMS: Our guest again tonight again with our thanks for taking our questions. Dr. Irwin Redlener, greatly appreciate it. Coming up for us. Parts of our Pacific Northwest are in a state of emergency tonight after yet another round of extreme weather. Sadly the bulk of it heading east that story when we come back.



WILLIAMS: Red flag warnings are up in an area of the country at high risk of wildfires as powerful winds have moved. The same storm system has been battering the Pacific Northwest. Now moving over the north central region of the US as this image from our friends at NOAA shows us NBC News correspondent Miguel Almaguer has more on the extraordinary damage this storm has left behind in Washington State.


MIGUEL ALMAGUER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This deadly and devastating day looms deliberate and unreal, unrelenting blow to the Pacific Northwest, a quadruple catastrophe. Record rain, fierce flooding, whipping winds and multiple mudslides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re in a bad way out there`s a lot of water and it`s only getting higher.

ALMAGUER: With northern Washington State in the storms bull`s eye, more than 500 people have been forced from their homes as daring rescues unfold near the Canadian border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A child with them holding, it`s a very small child.

ALMAGUER: The Coast Guard plucking a baby. Three children and six adults from fast rising waters. In just hours, six inches of rain swamped the region a state of emergency amid these deadly conditions.

SARAH IVANHOE, WASHINGTON RESIDENT: It`s bad it`s pretty deep, it`s fast.

ALMAGUER: Sarah Ivanhoe and her 15-year-old son wading through freezing water until fishing boats could rescue them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is up to our knees or ankles and outside in our yard. For me it was like up to my waist in some spots.

ALMAGUER: Facing parallel on both sides of the border massive helicopters lifted over 300 to safety. Many trapped overnight after a highway buckled in a landslide killed at least one in Canada, back to back atmospheric rivers helping to dump 40 inches of rain in just 31 days. The wettest fall on record for Seattle.

With climate change fueling the intensity and frequency of storms like these powerful gusts nearly toppled the big rig over the side of a towering bridge as landslides reshaped the geography here. the brunt of the storm has passed but not the flooding. Tonight one disaster now followed by another for a region still deep in misery.


WILLIAMS: Incredible scenes there. Our thanks to Miguel Almaguer for filing that report from that devastation in parts of the Pacific Northwest we turn to international relations. Coming up. Russia has really done it this time said no one who ever worked for Trump.




NED PRICE, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: It was dangerous. It was reckless. It was irresponsible. And we will and have been consulting with our allies and partners around the world to make clear to the Russian Federation and anyone else who would consider such a dangerous operation that this won`t be tolerated.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, here is what our State Department spokesman was talking about there and why even our Secretary of State has criticized it. The Russians have done something stupid and reckless. Despite the robust support Russia gets in "PRIMETIME" over on Fox News, I doubt even they would support this one.

In a piece of classically Russian mine`s bigger than yours performance art, Russia used its own weapon fired from earth to blow up one of its own satellites in orbit. Here`s why it was stupid and reckless. Every in this computer animation represents a piece of space junk from nuts and bolts to actual trash from spent booster rockets to decommission satellites the size of an SUV, the estimates start at 20,000 pieces of it. And now there are thousands more thanks to this and they stay up there for decades. Years. In fact, before they reenter, and burn up if we`re lucky.

And here`s the real world consequence. This is what it sounds like when NASA has to wake up the crew of the Space Station and have them get to a safe chamber.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Station, Houston on space-to-ground to for an early wake up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Mark, good morning. Sorry for the early call. We were recently informed of a satellite breakup and need to have you guys start reviewing the safe haven procedure.


WILLIAMS: Can you imagine there aren`t that many places to go on board. There are 10 humans who are not with us on Earth tonight because they are in space. Seven of them are on our space station, including two Russians, three of them are onboard China`s new space station.

This move by Russia has endangered all of them by a factor of four. Here`s the Associated Press quote, even a fleck of paint can do major damage when orbiting at 17,500 miles an hour. Something big upon impact could be catastrophic. Axios absolutely goes there in terms of why this is the equivalent of Putin buying a red Corvette quote, it could also reflect a certain degree of insecurity on the part of the Russians, says space analysts Todd Harrison. Maybe they`re insecure in their technology and they needed to prove to themselves that they could still do this.

Indeed, that same expert used a space term referring to Russia and we quote, they produced a crapload of debris and now we all have to live with it.


It has been suggested that this would be a dandy job for any number of billionaires with spaceflight ambitions, unmanned spacecraft could round up and capture at least a percentage of what`s up there. And it would be harder for the haters on earth, to criticize a mission to save lives. Just a thought.

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