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

Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 11/18/21

Guests: Phil Rucker, Jackie Alemany, Barbara McQuade, Don Calloway, Susan Del Percio, Vin Gupta


The House is set to vote on a sweeping multitrillion-dollar economic bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, that would expand the nation`s social safety net. House GOP leader McCarthy delays vote on Build Back Better bill with long, wide-ranging speech. The House Minority Leader gave a wide ranging speech in opposition to the social spending bill. Earlier in the day he indicated that he would reward representatives like Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene if the Republicans took back the house in 2022.




CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, I`m Chris Jansing in for Brian Williams. Day 303 of the Biden administration. And tonight there is breaking news on Capitol Hill, a very late night for the House, which was expected to vote on Joe Biden sprawling $1.75 trillion domestic plan hours ago.

But what we`ve seen so far tonight is a marathon effort to stall the vote from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He`s been talking for right around two and a half hours now periodically interrupted by cheers from the Democrats. Here`s a sampling of what he`s had to say about the President`s Build Back Better plan.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA) MINORITY LEADER: You know what Americans are going after one half of those 1.2 million are people who earn $75,000 or less. That`s what you`re trying to pay this bill from. House is not an order, Mr. Speaker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: House will be an order.

MCCARTHY: That as Americans, we`re supposed to expect less. I can look anywhere I want, Mr. Speaker. I`m, Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe the amount of control one party rule wants. They now want to dictate to a member of the floor of where I can look.


JANSING: Now, this performance is largely for effect no Republicans were ever expected to cross the aisle to support the measure anyhow. This all comes just days after Biden`s signed his infrastructure bill into law. Its passage would be another hard fought victory for the president, who spent months negotiating with liberal and moderate Democrats.

The battle is far from over. However, the bill now goes to the Senate where Democrats will now have all have to get on the same page if the Bill Back Better proposal is to become law.

Meanwhile, House members investigating the January 6 Capitol riot appear to be losing patience with former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

The panel has been trying to get Meadows to comply after he defied its subpoena citing Trump`s claim of executive privilege. Today, the Committee indicated it may be ready to ratchet up the pressure.


REP. PETE AGUILAR (D) SELECT COMMITTEE MEMBER: We`re in the final stages of what we`re going to be doing for these next steps here. But Mr. Meadows is on notice. And he knows very well what we want, the questions that we want to ask to him and there has been discussion with his legal representatives.

And so he just continues to Stonewall and I think we`ve shown very clearly what happens when individuals stonewall. His conversations about stopping a free and fair election, about criticizing and stopping the counting of electoral votes, about his coordination with campaign officials on private devices that were not turned over. All of those issues are not privileged worthy, and he has some explaining to do.


JANSING: The committee`s others subpoena denier Trump ally Steve Bannon is continuing to fight his contempt of Congress charges. Today his lawyers tried to get a federal judge to slow walk his case and delay his next hearing until next year. The judge basically said no deal and set the next court date for December 7.

While these two Trump allies may be avoiding the January 6 committee, today Meadows and Bannon were together on Bannon`s podcast speculating about a new role for Donald Trump.


MARK MEADOWS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I would love to see the gavel go from Nancy Pelosi to Donald Trump. You`re talking about nothing down. People would go crazy, as you know, you don`t have to be an elected member of Congress to be the speaker. Wouldn`t you see and she would go from tearing up a speech. They`d have to give the gavel to Donald Trump. Oh, she would go crazy.

STEVE BANNON, FMR. WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: President Trump him for 100 days and sort things out and then step out announced his 2024 campaign.


JANSING: Ironically, the man who hopes to be the next speaker today, the man who`s holding up Biden spending bill tonight said he`s been in contact with Trump as recently as this morning.


MCCARTHY: He called up he was on the golf course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he talked about yesterday at all or?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Campaign stuff?

MCCARTHY: Catching up just, no, not in campaign either.


JANSING: Now that question about yesterday refers to the senator of Arizona Republican Paul Gosar, we`ll have much more on the fallout from that later in the hour.

Also tonight a new report appears to tie Kimberly Guilfoyle, a fundraiser for Trump and girlfriend of his son Don Jr. to efforts to finance the rally that was held before the January 6 insurrection. ProPublica reports Guilfoyle bragged to Republican operative that she had raised $3 million for the rally, quote, in a series of text messages sent on January 4th to Katrina Pierson, the White House liaison to the event, Guilfoyle detailed her fundraising efforts supported a push to get far right speakers on the stage alongside Trump for the rally.


Guilfoyle`s texts reviewed by ProPublica represent the strongest indication yet that members of the Trump family circle were directly involved in the financing and organization of the rally.

The January 6 Committee subpoenaed Katrina Pierson back in September, Kimberly Guilfoyle says so far she has not received any official requests from Congress. Her attorney tells ProPublica she had nothing to do with fundraising or approving speakers for that January 6 rally.

There are also developments in two of the most closely watched trials in the nation right now. Closing arguments set for Monday and the trial of the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. Both sides rested their cases this afternoon, after a day in which one of the defendants admitted under cross-examination, Arbery had not shown a weapon or verbally threatened him, said he hadn`t spoken at all before he was gunned down.

And in Kenosha, Wisconsin, jurors in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse appear to be focusing on the instructions about the charges. The panel deliberated for a third day with no verdict. Late today the judge agreed to a request from one juror to take those instructions home.

And Sources tell NBC News, the FDA may be just hours away from signing off on Pfizer and Moderna vaccine boosters for all adults in the US. That decision expected to come as soon as tomorrow.

With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guest this Thursday night Philip Rucker, Pulitzer Prize winning senior Washington correspondent for The Washington Post, co-author with Carol Leonnig of the New York Times bestseller, "I alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump`s Catastrophic Final Year," Jackie Alemany, political reporter for The Washington Post and the author of the papers morning newsletter, The Early 2020. And Barbara McQuade, the veteran federal prosecutor and former Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan who worked with the DOJ during the Biden transition, and is a professor at University of Michigan`s Law School. She co-hosts the podcast Sisters in Law along with Kimberly Atkins Stohr, Joyce Vance, and Jill Wine Banks. Good to have all of you tonight.

So Phil, before we get to what we`re seeing still going on right now on the floor of the House. How big a deal is this for Joe Biden getting this through the house?

PHIL RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You know, Chris says significant incremental development. But it`s not the end of the game for Joe Biden in terms of passing this massive spending bill which of course is key to his domestic agenda. It pays for so many social programs that Democrats have been clamoring for.

As we know we`ve seen it play out day by day over the last several months, Democrats have been arguing over the scale of that bill, and over which measures would be included and how to pay for it. There have been disputes between progressive members and more conservative moderate members of the Democratic Party.

The passage tonight the expected passage tonight in the House with Democratic support is an indication that the progressives have come together with the more moderate Democrats, but it`s not over because it then heads to the Senate, where Senator Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat, remain something of an outlier. He has made clear that he`s not yet decided whether to get behind this bill.

I think we can expect there to be several weeks of negotiations to come on the Senate side. Although Senate Leader Schumer has indicated that he hopes to be able to bring the bill to the floor for passive sometime before Christmas.

Keep in mind that Biden very much wants this piece of legislation to pass and be signed into law by the end of the year because he is aware that next year it`s all politics and the Democrats in both parties and both houses are going to be focused on the midterm campaign. So it`s really a narrow window of opportunity here to get this measures passed and signed into law.

JANSING: Well, speaking of politics, Jackie, we see Kevin McCarthy continuing to talk at various times. Democrats from who are sitting there have responded from, you know, the gallery and Ron Klain, the White House Chief of Staff texted this or tweeted this. It`s a Sandberg quote, If the facts are against you argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell. What do you make of this long speech tonight from Kevin McCarthy, Jackie?

JACKIE ALEMANY, THE WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, Chris, and I`m actually in a gallery right now, which is right above the entrance to the floor where we are all sitting and watching Kevin McCarthy on our -- almost a third hour of his remarks that are designed to delay the vote that grant was once asked to get through Build Back Better bill, which is now running a little over $2 billion for Democrats and Republicans at home for Thanksgiving.

But the disdain for Kevin McCarthy the Democrats out is palpable right now in chamber and as we`re looking on of answering phone calls, typing away on their cell phones and hearing on conversations and not so voices throughout McCarthy`s stem winder.


As he, you know, keep popping from sort of extraneous anecdote to anecdote, and talking very little about Republican policies, making it pretty hard to follow his remarks. The most notable moments of his remarks so far have actually been the point where there`s been some tension between Democrats and McCarthy, you have people like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Tim Ryan and leader McCarthy, Tim Ryan, staying in how long it was going to take him for him to keep on talking because no one was listening, with McCarthy reporting back for him to put his mask on.

McCarthy has tried to, you know, bribe some daggers that we`ve heard from the Publican party about inflation, that this was going to be the most expensive Thanksgiving that Democrats voters had ever had. But again, you know, I think the resounding message here has been from Kevin McCarthy has been one of this that he is here to stay, he is the starter sort of laying down the marker for his speech was run per speaker next year, if Republicans take back the House. This has been a pretty tenuous week for him and his leadership as well, mind you. So this feels like it has less to do with Build Back Better and more to do with the state of the Republican Party.

JANSING: Real quick, Jackie, how many people are in the gallery? We can see from this shot we`re looking at and does anybody have any idea how long he`s going to talk?

ALEMANY: We do not have an idea. And unfortunately, we can`t bring cameras, where we are in the gallery, but there are around 20 to 30 reporters watching, looking at the body language, some members nodding off, again, texting a lot of tensions. So everyone`s taking really good notes. Hopefully, so readouts, once McCarthy does.

JANSING: All right, we`re going to keep our eye on that. In the meantime, tonight, Barbara follows more wrangling on the Republican side in court. I wonder what you make of the judge`s decision on the pace of moving forward in the Bannon case, clearly, his lawyers would have liked to have slow walked it a lot more than the judge was willing to do.

BARBARA MCQUADE, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Yet, Chris, it was interesting. And in fact, it was one of those deals where bands lawyers said, Your Honor, for your benefit in the public`s benefit, we ought to delay this so that you can handle all of those January 6 defendants on your docket and the judge said, you know, I can do both. I can handle this case. And I can handle those cases, too. So you don`t need to worry about me, when can you be ready. And so, Bannon`s lawyer proposed a January next date in court, and the judge pushed it back to December.

You know, it`s interesting, the defendant has a right to a speedy trial, a trial within 70 days, that is to protect the interests of the defendant from wallowing in prison are having the cloud hanging over their head while they`ve been charged, but not yet had their day in court.

And here, what we see is Steve Bannon wanting to extend that date, even longer, and so that`s part of the game for him. It`s just not having to testify and preventing Congress from getting the remedy that could be used as a stick to coerce others to testify.

But I think the fact that he has been indicted is enough of an incentive for anyone who is interested in preserving the rule of law to get in before Congress and also preserving their own hide, to get in there and testify.

JANSING: And, Phil, you mentioned as we could get, we see that the Kevin McCarthy is continuing to talk. You mentioned that then the real fights going to come in the Senate. And you outline the reasons why but how prepared is the White House for this fight? And how confident are they?

RUCKER: Well, Chris, I think the fact that the bill is passing through the House tonight are expected to pass through the house tonight is a sign of at least some moderate confidence on the part of the President and his team at the White House. Remember, they`re more aware of the exact position that Senator Manchin as well as Senator Sinema from Arizona have on this. These negotiations have largely been playing out in private with President Biden and some of the top aides at the White House.

And, you know, I don`t think that they would -- that Pelosi would be moving forward in the house. And I don`t think the White House would be expressing as much public confidence if they didn`t think that they were likely to get to a right the right place with Manchin and Sinema over on the Senate side.

That being said, you know, they can`t be too confident, because remember, this has been going on for months now. And without a resolution. And I think, you know, there was some hope that after the Virginia, the poor election results in Virginia a couple of weeks ago for Democrats that that would light a fire under some of these Democratic senators who`ve been holding out and that doesn`t quite seem to have been the case. But I do think there`s some confidence tonight on the part of the President and his team because they`re hoping the Senate can get this done in the period in December when they return after Thanksgiving and before Christmas.


JANSING: Yes, watching this tonight, Jackie, the general mood is what we would expect, I think and what we have been seeing on the Hill, which is this huge divide, but tell us a little bit more about how it was or was not impacted by yesterday`s censure, and if the White House is going to be able to navigate that as it tries to do other things like deal with the looming shutdown or raise the nation`s debt limit things that have to be done next month.

ALEMANY: December is certainly going to be a tough month for Democrats. There are many things on their plate, including primarily convincing Joe Manchin, who is still undecided on the Build Back Better infrastructure plan. The key part of Biden`s campaign platform and economic agenda, convincing him to get on board and coordinate.

And I think, right now you`re going to see him practice revelling in victory, once discussed through the House, and they get to Thanksgiving break, and they go home next week and get to temporarily sort of out the fake asset that they signed this, this is a good week for Democrats, especially after the month, and for the month that they`ve had in terms of the party wrangling and discord over setting the parameters of Build Back Better.

But it`s going to be short lived. And Joe Manchin has no problem throwing cold water on a lot of his economic plans, especially as we`re seeing from the CDF pouring today, which doesn`t seem to be somewhat of a problem for moderate House Democrats, that it does cause more of a deficit than originally intended, and that the package itself was bigger than the $1.75 trillion parameters that Manchin and the Senate had agreed to.

So, there are a fair share of issues not to mention several provisions that Democrats are bracing to get left out of. We reported that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told the congressional the Congressional Progressive Caucus last week, doubted that a family leave was ultimately going to make it over the finish line in the Senate version of the bill.

So I think that is also going to further expose some interpreting tensions here as they act that out, although Republicans are going through the same sort of tensions right now over issues not related to politics.

JANSING: So Barbara, let me go back for a second before I let you go with those texts from Kimberly Guilfoyle. How important could they be to the January 6 Committee? And are you surprised that she`s not been called yet?

MCQUADE: I am, and I think that it could be that this information was not previously known about her. But I think by bragging that she raised $3 million for this rally, she has invited herself to appear before that committee and testify, because I think it is a legitimate question to ask, What on earth was $3 million going to pay for?

And I think that to the extent there is some belief that some of the people who stormed the capitol that day may have been part of an organized effort, may have been part of the whole staff the steel effort. I think tying that into Trump`s immediate family and inner circle can be a really important development, so be careful with credit for because it could earn you a subpoena.

JANSING: Barbara McQuade, Phillip Rucker, and Jackie Alemany who`s newsletter is The Early 202, 2020 seemed a little old, 202, thank you for that. Appreciate all of you tonight.

And coming up. The Senate could soon take up the President`s nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better bill. Our political experts assess its chances in that chamber.

And later, giving thanks and getting COVID, why health officials are worried about this season of giving. We`ll ask one of our top doctors about the wisdom of rolling back all those restrictions right now. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on a Thursday night.



JANSING: We`re still waiting for that House vote on President Biden`s Build Back Better plan. Kevin McCarthy has been holding the floor for more than two and a half hours now. Speaking in opposition to the bill. Whatever the outcome, it will eventually need approval from the U.S. Senate. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he wants a vote by Christmas but of course passage will depend on support from all 50 Democrats. And Joe Manchin for one still isn`t saying if he`s in favor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you haven`t made a decision on whether to vote for the bill?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): No, no. I`m still looking at everything. Absolutely.


JANSING: Back with us tonight, Don Calloway, Democratic strategist and founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund and Susan Del Percio, MSNBC political analyst and a veteran political strategist. Great to see both of you.

So Don, I`m told that Kevin McCarthy just spent six minutes describing the painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. What do you make of what`s going on, on Capitol Hill right now?

DON CALLOWAY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Kevin McCarthy is kind of a fraud. I mean, you know, he`s - he doesn`t send me tweets any easy, clean cut guy, but he`s just as pernicious in terms of blocking action on major progressive items that are frankly good for all people. So the Build Back Better agenda contains as we know, a whole lot of the human infrastructure provision, like broadband like -- the bipartisan infrastructure bill and Kevin McCarthy is putting on an absurdist act of political theatre right now with this whole filibuster using a tool that is available to him as minority leader but as not -- is not generally available to House members.

So what he`s doing is irrelevant. It`s a piece of showmanship, but it`s good to know that he can talk because he didn`t have a whole lot to say. (INAUDIBLE) censored yesterday.

JANSING: Well, I want to play an exchange from the House floor earlier. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What hogwash from the other side to say that this bill helps the children with the child tax credit. Your child tax credit is for one year, but your tax break for millionaires is for 10/

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): This is a wonderful place. I got tell you, our child tax credit is one year more than your child tax credit. We did one that well this year. We`re going to do one next year. And we`re going to keep going.


JANSING: Susan, would Democrats as a whole be better off if they sold this Build Back Better plan in terms like we just heard from Congressman Ryan is rebranding it as an antidote to inflation and significant help to American families the way to go?


SAN DEL PERCIO, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It would be great, but we`re too far down that road at this point, I think the best that they can do is keep going to specific examples of where and how this helps people. Say that a middle class family earning $75,000 will get this tax credit, and will also be able to save X amount of dollars for pre K, you have to make it real right now, I still feel that in discussing the Build Back Better plan, the Democrats are telling the public, that we`re giving you what we think you need versus acting as if we`ve heard you. And you asked, and we are delivering for you.

JANSING: Don, do you agree with Susan, because I think there are a lot of Democrats who have not liked the way that this messaging has come out. But we also know when you look at many of the individual components of this, and you look at the polls, people are in favor of it.

CALLOWAY: Yes, absolutely. Well, once upon a time (INAUDIBLE) in favor of the Affordable Care Act, they railed against Obamacare. Build Back Better is not up there with the great American slogans of all time, such as a new deal or great society. So obviously, you know, this is not our best work in terms of branding and marketing.

But if you look at what`s in the substance of the bill, it`s something that generally people agree with, regardless of what my former Missouri House colleague the answered is, Jason Smith has to say about it. Imagine dealing with him every day, 10 years ago, on a smaller stage, it was not pleasant.

JANSING: Susan, if you were a betting woman, and Christmas is not far away. How far would you say the Biden administration is from getting the votes it needs in the Senate.

DEL PERCIO: That`s a tough call. I may be by the end of the year, but I don`t hold that a lot of hope, which is also part of the messaging issue that the Democrats have. The Democrats right now in the House are saying look at our great success. We`re passing this piece of legislation, except they`re not passing it. They`re only passing it in House. It has to go through the Senate.

And we`re going to see the same arguing Democrat on Democrat arguments in the media that we did for the last three months when it comes to this bill. And, you know, I just -- I don`t know what Chuck Schumer`s thinking I guess he didn`t ask Joe Manchin, what should what Joe Manchin was doing before he made that comment about before the end of the year.

JANSING: Don and Susan have agreed to stay with us. Coming up. The Republicans rushing to back Paul Gosar day after the House voted to censure him. When the 11th Hour continues.




REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Yesterday was a very sad day in the Congress of the United States because we had to censure one of our members for promoting violence against another member. You see their behavior on the floor says they shouldn`t have a gavel be anywhere near them ever. But no, we would not walk away from our responsibilities for fear of something they may do in the future.


JANSING: A day after the century of punishing Paul Gosar for a violent video depicting the killing of a fellow Congress member. Republican leaders are doubling down in his defense. The top Republican in the House today suggested he would reward members of his party who have been stripped of their committee assignments if the GOP wins back control of the House.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you plan to give Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar their committee assignments back if you take the majority?

MCCARTHY: They`ll have committees that the committee assignment they have now they may have other committee assignments. They may have better committee assignments.


JANSING: Gosar also received an endorsement from the former president today, The Washington Post summing up Republican reaction this way. Trump and McCarthy`s remarks underscore that the festering distrust among members of Congress after the January 6 attack on the Capitol is only likely to worsen in the lead up to next year`s midterm elections. Still with us, Don Calloway and Susan Dell Percio.

Don, given what we heard from the House minority leader today, how worried are you that Republicans will in fact, not just take the house in 2022, but will exact direct retribution from Democrats?

CALLOWAY: This is a very good chance they`ll take the House as unfortunate as that prospect may seem, but not only will they take the House, but as we saw Kevin McCarthy plans to reward plans to elevate members of Congress who have done the most absurd things possible, including advocate kill it -- January 6 was not in this very calendar year. It`s a next level abdication of the mantle of leadership and the responsibility of leadership.

So, you know, I`m worried that they`ll get the House but you know, Susan and I have been around DC a long time. This thing lives in (INAUDIBLE). It comes and goes. But I`m extraordinarily worried about the worst elements being validated, not only in the Republican Party, but with people outside who listened to these people who still consider theirs, and what behaviors might emulate by watching Republican leadership having elevated the worst behavior.

JANSING: Yet to that point, Susan, would it be naive to think that distrust among members of Congress and reaction about from some extreme elements on the right, can`t get any worse?

DEL PERCIO: Oh, it can get worse. And I predict it will get worse, a lot worse, especially during the primary season with House candidates and potentially Senate candidates as well. Republican primaries, I should say, because you`re going to see the most extreme Trump wackadoodles out there talking nonsense. They were going to be validated now by leadership. They used to be shunned by leadership. That`s all changing.

And, you know, Don said this comes in cycles, and I do agree with him there. But we`ve never seen in a cycle, the most extreme of a party dictate the leadership of the party. And that`s what scares me to death. And you`ll look at what Nancy Pelosi said, Sure, I`ve had policy disagreements with her many, many times. But she said she will not let doing her -- doing the right thing. She won`t -- she`ll make sure the right thing gets done no matter what threats the Republicans may make. She`s not going to stop doing her job.

Kevin McCarthy needs to start doing his job and be a responsible governing partner but he can`t do that because all he cares about right now is auditioning for Donald Trump, because he wants to make sure he holds on if the Republicans take back the House that he does become majority leader.


JANSING: Yes. And if you look at the other way, gerrymandering is going, Don Calloway, there are plenty of places now where the Republicans are redrawing those districts to their advantage. But, again, given where we are right now, what are some of those 2022 primary fights going to look like on the Republican side?

CALLOWAY: Look like they look in Texas right now, where candidates call themselves Republicans for Congress, they call themselves conservative, and it`s a battle to be essentially who can say and do the craziest things in service of the, you know, the pursuit of landing a Trump endorsement or landing the endorsement of the most furthest right or that`s crazy.

I mean, these are things that we would not have even considered acceptable to discuss in polite company, just five, six, and certainly even 10 years ago, and you will see these elements, the worst elements being celebrated and elevated in Republican primaries. So we`re in for some really, really scary times, particularly in those districts that are safe Republican season that a Democrat won`t be competitive, so that these candidates who come out of the primaries don`t have moderate (INAUDIBLE) elections.

JANSING: Well, the messaging Susan has been pretty clear when you hear Kevin McCarthy if you`re Marjorie Taylor Greene, if you`re Gosar, not only are we going to stand behind you as a party, but you could get even some plum committee assignments as a result of that.

DEL PERCIO: Yes, and it`s funny how he said that just a day after Donald Trump said Kevin McCarthy is not doing enough to stand behind a Marjorie Taylor Greene. So this is just an automatic knee jerk reaction. I mean, at this point, basically, Biden will need to see COVID decline, the economy kick up, and for Democrats to have any prayer holding on to the House, you need to see these extremists when primaries in swing districts so that way, maybe they don`t lose as many swing seats as potentially could in a way because they have such Trump extremist on the Republican side.

JANSING: Susan Del Percio, Don Calloway, thank you both appreciate it. And coming up, Dr. Vin Gupta is here to cut through the confusion on boosters and break down what you need to know about rising cases ahead of thanksgiving. When the 11th Hour continues.




GOV. NED LAMONT (D) CONNECTICUT: CDC speaks Latin I can`t figure out who`s eligible, who`s not eligible. If you smoked while you were in high school back then 1970s you`re eligible. I think if you haven`t been vaccinated, or in you know, more than six months, now`s the time to get the booster.


JANSING: That`s the governor of Connecticut referring to confusion surrounding booster shots. The FDA is expected to approve expanding access to all adults by tomorrow. With hospitals jam packed and infection sharply rising, a growing list of states including Connecticut, have already broadened eligibility ahead of the Feds final OK.

The national rate of new infections has soared by 20 percent over the past two weeks, and the virus is still killing more than 1,000 Americans every day. And that`s all before tens of millions of people start travelling and gathering for Thanksgiving a week from tonight.

Back with us, Dr. Vin Gupta, critical care pulmonologist in Seattle, who has advised us on public health throughout this pandemic. He`s also on the faculty at the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Always good to see you.

Look, we heard the criticism from Connecticut`s governor about confusing messages on booster shots. We`re seeing more breakthrough cases right before the holiday. So here`s the key question. Do all adults need a booster shot or not?

DR. VIN GUPTA, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Chris, good evening. Great to see you. They do. But the degree of need depends on who you are. And unfortunately, we`ve lost the ability to have any nuance in our public health messaging. That`s just a sad reality. And we need to be able to have some nuance because I believe that actually builds trust, and minimizes confusion.

So it`s all to say that grandma and grandpa or if you or a loved one has cancer or is on dialysis, some clear, serious underlying medical condition. It`s an absolute must for you to get that booster shot. If you haven`t already, Chris, before we say you travel for the holidays, if you`re otherwise healthy, less than 65. Or without serious medical conditions, like I just mentioned, it`s a nice to have. We know that that booster shot at six months will likely mitigate the chance that you`ll ever test positive for COVID and have a mild braking infection, really zero out your risk of transmission.

So it`s beneficial for everybody. But again, that nuance is important because there`s distinctions on who need it, who needs the shot more versus who needs it less and why we`re doing it. And that distinction is important because lastly I`ll say because we still want to get the unvaccinated vaccinated in rationalizing, this discussion is really important for that.

JANSING: So to that point, Dr. Gupta, 10s of millions of Americans are expected to travel and gather, right. New York City plans to allow fully vaccinated crowds to gather for the Macy`s Parade in Times Square for the ball drop on New Year`s Eve. But how could an idea is any of that at this point?

GUPTA: I think we need to start normalizing with protocols, normal life as it existed in winter of 2019. Chris. So I`m in favor of gathering as we did with guardrails. So if everybody is vaccinated as they will be in Times Square, if they`re taking proper precautions, if they`re staying home if they`re symptomatic, and using common sense that we should let people gather here we need to provide rational off ramps.

Chris, and this is vital, because if we don`t start doing that, as public health messengers, as people that are helping to shape some of this policy, we will lose credibility. If you`re fully vaccinated, otherwise healthy without symptoms, you should be able to gather because the risk of Delta to you is minimal. And your risk of transmission also is quite low.

JANSING: Let me ask you about a question that I think is on a lot of people`s minds and that`s hospitalizations among those who are fully vaccinated, but have not gotten a booster shot. What do we know?

GUPTA: You know, I`m going to essentially directly quote Dr. Walensky, CDC Director, Dr. Walensky, who said this morning that what we`re seeing is an uptick. Yes, we are seeing an uptick in the non-boosted fully vaccinated elderly crowd ending up in the hospital that that`s where that signal is arising from the elderly fully vaccinated, but non boosted, which is not surprising, Chris, that`s exactly the group, the elderly 60 and over or if you have a high risk condition that we`re worried about, hence why we message so strongly on that group needing a booster shot. That`s exactly what`s ending up in the hospital higher rates with these breakthrough illnesses, it makes complete sense, it shouldn`t surprise any of us, which is why we have to double down on clear messaging.


JANSING: Let me play for you something that an infectious disease physician in Vermont said earlier on this network, take a listen.


DR. TIM HALEY, INFECTICIOUS DISEASE PHYSICIAN: We`re a bit of a victim of our success. Unlike New Jersey and New York that had pretty high percentages of their citizens who got infected, something like 3 percent of Vermonters got infected. So that means that there are very few people who have infection induced immunity to add to the ranks of those who are more safely protected with vaccines.


JANSING: So 72 percent of Vermont`s population is fully vaccinated. How does low infection induced immunity contribute to the rise in infections? Is this likely a problem in some communities other places as well?

GUPTA: You know, Vermont has an excellent fully vaccinated rate. And I think the comments from that Id position a little confusing, actually, just for all your viewers out there, it is really clear now based on studies published in major journals, Chris, over the last few weeks that natural immunity say you recovered from COVID, they have some antibodies in your bloodstream versus the antibodies from the vaccine, that that natural immunity is five -- is 20 percent as effective at keeping you out of the hospital, in our preventing serious illness, Chris.

So that is that`s really important to understand here that natural immunity while it may play a role, it`s nearly as effective as vaccine induced immunity.

JANSING: OK. We`ve only got a minute left, but I want to ask you about going back to work because Tim Cook, Apple has moved back there start date to February 1st. Considering the pandemic`s unpredictability. Is there a month where returned office would be safe, where things could be under control? Are we still in that grey area that nobody really knows?

GUPTA: You know, the Apple decision is perplexing to me and I`m sure to their workers as well. I would not advocate any private sector company, public sector company to return to the office in the depths of winter when we`re going to have cold flu, battling and unpredictable flu season, weekly COVID. That`s approximately maybe 10,000 weekly deaths week over week, doesn`t make any sense to bring people back to work given that reality.

I`d say April 1 at the earliest, Chris, probably frankly late --


GUPTA: -- spring is going to be the better strategy to prevent whiplash. We have cold and flu season that`s going to be unpredictable. Look at the University of Michigan, outbreak of flu amongst the unvaccinated, high plateau rate of COVID deaths week over week well into the end of February at least. We need to be sensible here about what return to work looks like for those who have the luxury of still staying home is to prevent whiplash and to build trust. Really consistency here is key. That`s why I think April, May is is going to be the best strategy here to prevent back and forth.

GUPTA: Dr. Vin Gupta always good to see you. Thank you so much. And coming up, see if this sounds familiar, he became a darling of the far right for his often controversial statements. And now despite having never held office, he very well may be running for president. Yet he`s not who you think. We`ll explain when the 11th Hour continues.



JANSING: A far-right TV personality from France was supposed to be speaking in London tomorrow ahead of what is expected to be a run for president next year. But his appearance was cancelled after event planners took a closer look at just who would be speaking. Eric Zemmour is currently on trial for inciting hatred after controversial comments about unaccompanied migrant children. And as we hear from NBC News correspondent Matt Bradley, his story should sound very familiar.


MATT BRADLEY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He`s been called racist, sexist, and anti-semitic. He`s also been called the French Donald Trump. And it`s a comparison Eric Zemmour seems to savor as he prepares to run for France`s presidency next year.

ERIC ZEMMOUR, FAR-RIGHT COMMENTATOR (through translator): I was very impressed by Trump`s campaign in 2016. I appreciate it as a connoisseur of the technique that Donald Trump has with the media to not accept the rhetoric that the media imposes.


BRADLEY: Zemmour has never won an election nor held public office. Instead, she made his mark as a television pundit, railing each night against Francis woke political elites, the immigrants he says are destroying French civilization. And recalling a time when France was great, and how it could be made great again.

OLIVIER UBEDA, ZEMMOUR ADVISOR: It doesn`t turn around the words you say the words that can be shocking, because we`re not used to that. And our time, where everything has to be nice and cool and not bullying anybody.

BRADLEY: The rhetoric seems to be working. His show was watched by millions, his books are bestsellers. And he`s surging in the polls before he`s even declared his candidacy.

This might look like a campaign rally, but officially, it`s a book signing.

(on camera): France has always had a far right. But with Zemmour, it`s going mainstream.

(voice-over): Zemmour is far from universally loved. Just last month, the protests against his visit to the western city of Nant turned violent. But his popularity has surged past old far-right stalwarts like Marine Le Pen, and he`s even more extreme is more. Zemmour has been convicted for inciting racial hatred.

He`s defended France`s Nazi collaborationist Vichy Regime called migrants, thieves, killers and rapists, and even promised outlaw giving French children Muslim names, and yet Zemmour himself is the child of North African Jewish immigrants. An irony not lost on many Jewish leaders.

SERGE KLARSFELD, HOLOCAUST RESEARCHER AND NAZI HUNTER (through translator): What he said concerning Jews is less important as to what he says about Muslims. In speaking of Muslims, he speaks like Hitler. He has a beastly vision of society. And what he says is either them or us.

BRADLEY: Zemmour says he`s not against immigrants per se, but he demands that immigrants assimilate but they become French the way he believes his Jewish Algerian parents. Like Trump, one of the Zemmour`s new gripes is wokism (ph) that distinctly American export.

ZEMMOUR (through translator): I think this is a very serious ideology dangerous that we have to fight against without restrictions and without hesitation.

BRADLEY: But he`s the first to acknowledge the limits to his likeness to Trump as a more stylish himself an intellectual, he writes his own books, some of them scholarly works on French history.

ZEMMOUR (through translator): You see, it`s not the same world. Trump is very American, and I`m very French almost to the point of being a character (ph).

BRADLEY: Both larger than life personas use division as a path to power. Matt Bradley, NBC News, Leon, France.



JANSING: Coming up, the latest controversy out of the mouth of the Oxford educated senator from Louisiana when the 11th Hour continues.


JANSING: The last thing before we go tonight, a shocking moment in a Senate hearing today. When Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana suggested that Biden`s pick for top banking regulator may have communist loyalties. Here as part of his exchange with Saule Omarova, who was born in Kazakhstan during the Soviet era.


SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I don`t know whether to call you professor or comrade.

SAULE OMAROVA, PRESIDENT BIDEN`S PICK FOR BANKING REGULATOR: Senator, I am not a communist. I do not subscribe to that ideology. I could not choose where I was born. I did not remember joining any Facebook group that subscribes to that ideology. I would never knowingly join any such group.

There is no record of me ever actually participating in any Marxist or communist discussions of any kind. My family suffered under the communist regime. I grew up without knowing half of my family. My grandmother, herself escaped death twice under the Stalin regime. This is what seared in my mind. That`s who I am. I remember that history. I came to this country. I`m proud to be an American.


JANSING: Our own Nicolle Wallace reacted to Kennedy`s comments on Deadline Whitehouse earlier this afternoon.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: This is a disgrace not just to the country. It`s a disgrace not just the United States Senate. It`s a disgrace to the party of Ronald Reagan, who described the United States of America as a shining city on the hill not because it was bright or shiny but because it was a beacon for people like this Biden nominee.


JANSING: And that is our broadcast for this Thursday night with our thanks for being with us. Brian, we`ll be back tomorrow night, on behalf of all of my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.