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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 11/22/21

Guests: Yamiche Alcindor, Philip Rucker, Joyce Vance, Robert Gibbs, Tim Miller, Kavita Patel


Senate is expected to vote on Biden`s $1.7 trillion social spending bill and what obstacles are still ahead for the legislation. The two right wing personalities were two of five subpoenas issued by the committee today. Meanwhile, President Biden re-nominated Jerome Powell to helm the Federal Reserve and he is considering dipping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices. Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging Americans to get vaccinated or boosted before traveling and gathering with their families for Thanksgiving.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: President John Fitzgerald Kennedy gets tonight`s "LAST WORD" and his last standing ovation. THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts now.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 307 of the Biden administration. The 1/6 Committee on the Hill has started this new week with five new subpoenas for Trump allies. This round includes two big names, his longtime friend and advisor Roger Stone and The noted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Committee`s letter to stone notes he promoted his attendance at rallies on January 5 and 6 supporting Trump`s false claims of election fraud. It also points out he did speak at the January 5 rally and used members of the far right Oath Keepers for security. The letter adds quote, you have stated you were invited to lead a march to the Capitol from the ellipse rally on January 6, but did not end up doing so.

Last December, Trump pardoned stone of charges stemming from the Mueller investigation, but that won`t help him here.

Tonight stone issued a statement in response to the subpoenas had reads in part quote, I`ve said time and time again that I had no advanced knowledge of the events that took place at the Capitol on that day.

Now as for Alex Jones, the Committee says he helped organize the rally ahead of the riot. The subpoena also says quote, as you have stated, the White House told you on or about January 3, that after the ellipse rally on January 6, you were to lead a march to the Capitol where President Trump would meet the group. You and others on Info Wars repeatedly promoted President Trump`s allegations of election fraud, and made statements implying you have knowledge about the plans of President Trump with respect to the rally.

Last week Alex Jones was found liable for damages in defamation lawsuits that were brought by parents of the children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. His attorney responded to today`s subpoena with this statement quote, The First Amendment guarantees the right of assembly and the right of petition for redress of grievances. We will be in touch with Committee staff to determine what our next steps will be.

The other Trump allies subpoenaed include Trump`s current spokesman Taylor Budowich and Trump`s supporters Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence, no relation.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D) HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE: Taylor Budowich reportedly solicited a 501(c)(3) organization to conduct a social media and radio advertising campaign to get attendance at the meeting. Ms. Lawrence and Mr. Stockton helped organize a series of rallies in November and afterwards and we want to know more about what they were doing and who was paying for that.


WILLIAMS: Stockton and Lawrence released a statement saying they weren`t surprised by these subpoenas and added this quote, we are concerned that the timing during the week of Thanksgiving, while most normal businesses closed is further demonstration that this committee is not acting in good faith.

Meanwhile, new video was just released today by the Department of Justice. It shows the rioters breaching a loading dock at the Capitol during the siege. Images so show police trying to use that corrugated steel garage door to keep the surge of protesters out. Police however, were quickly overwhelmed and the rioters streamed in after some of them assaulted the police officers.

Tonight the current president and first lady Jill Biden traveled to Fort Bragg North, Carolina for early Thanksgiving celebration with service members. As Biden also focuses on making his economic plans law inflation has threatened to overwhelm that domestic agenda. Tomorrow he`ll speak to our country about the economy.

Report say the Biden administration is expected to release oil from our strategic petroleum reserves in the coming days in an effort to slow rising gas prices. Today Biden renominated Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to serve a second term, it`s a move a lot of people saw as an attempt to maintain stability in an economy that is still recovering from the pandemic.

Right now there`s increasing concerns about the rise in new cases amid fears about a possible holiday surge. We`ll have much more on that later on in this hour.

Also tonight the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin held a vigil to remember the five people killed when the driver of an SUV ran into a Christmas parade on Sunday and kept on driving. Police say the suspect Darrell Brooks is facing five counts of first degree intentional homicide. He is a repeat offender who was out on bail. His first court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow.


With that, let`s bring in our starting line on a Monday night. Yamchie Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour, moderator of Washington Week also on PBS. Philip Rucker, Pulitzer Prize winning, senior Washington correspondent for The Washington Post, notably co-author along with Carol Leonnig of The New York Times bestseller, "I alone Can Fix It," and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, who spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor. She hosts the podcast sisters in law along with our friends Kimberly Atkins Stohr, Jill wine banks and Barbara McQuade. Good evening and welcome to you all.

And counselor, indeed, I need to begin with you given the news at the top of our broadcast tonight. These two notable names are big names that come out seemingly late in the game on the subpoena list, though we don`t get to know how long the game is planned for. What`s your read on this latest round of subpoenas?

JOYCE VANCE, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, it looks like Congress is doing what prosecutors typically do. They`re following the money. They`re trying to figure out who funded the events on January 6, which will be very telling and helping them place accountability. But they`re also doing something else that I think a sign that they have actually gotten a fair bit of information as they`ve been interviewing cooperating parties. They appear to be zeroing in on conversations that were attempted or perhaps had with the White House by people who were concerned that there was a risk of violence and connection with January 6.

And so now Congress is trying to figure out did those conversations take place? If so, what was the reaction inside of the White House? And they`re beginning to crossover from merely learning the truth into figuring out where accountability should be found.

WILLIAMS: Yamiche, some members of the base, especially those who appeared daily on social media are kind of trolling the Committee over their perceived lack of aggression and their perceived lack of speed. Having said that, though, I`m curious to get the reaction from your view at the White House of the committee activities this week.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS NEWSHOUR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the President and White House officials have been very clear that this committee`s work is essential. The President has said over and over again, that January 6 was a dark moment, and that it really needs to be probed, and that people need to be held accountable. And what we see today is really a subpoena of people who would be really, really knowledgeable about what went in to January 6, that planning of the rally on what the safety concerns were. You have some of the people that that were -- that are subpoenaed now on the committee laying out that some of them are even so worried about the sort of safety issues there. But they were in touch with a liaison, Katrina Pierson, a liaison, who was then supposed to tell white -- former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, about the safety concerns of the people who are planning the rally.

So these are Trump supporters saying, Hey, I might be worried. Then, of course, you have Roger Stone, who is a close ally of the President -- of the former president. You have Alex Jones, who is some -- Alex Jones, someone who of course, has spread a lot of misinformation and disinformation over the years.

So this really, in some ways, is just the committee barreling down and looking even more closely at some of the people would know that knowledge. So the White House has been very clear that they want to make sure that they stay really independent of sort of justice issues. But obviously, the White House is paying attention. And as we know, they`ve waived executive privilege for at least the initial set of documents, because they understand and think that this is this needs to be probed.

WILLIAMS: Phil indeed, to Yamiche`s point, they are paying attention remind us if you would the short version of Roger stones, relationship with the now former president how it has changed, if at all, and his relationship with groups like these would be army men, the proud boys.

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brian`s to Roger Stone is a figure who has operated in the dark corners of American politics for decades now, when Donald Trump was just a real estate mogul and reality television star, it was Roger Stone in Trump`s ear, teaching him about politics, trying to get him involved with the hard right, trying to shape his ideological agenda.

And of course, when Trump decided to run for president ultimately, in 2015, Roger Stone was front and center as a key advisor. He ended up not working for most of that 2016 campaign. He was more of an outside figure, then, but he`s operated within the Trump orbit ever since. And there have been moments when he`s been close to President Trump, former President Trump and moments when he`s been distant from former President Trump. He`s also of course had his own legal challenges, his own connections to the Russia investigation over many years. He`s a rather complicated figure with a notorious past in politics, but he very much channels Donald Trump`s ID.


He understands what Trump wants. And what he understood what Roger Stone understood in December and early January, was that Trump wanted to overturn the election and Stone went to work to try to galvanize Trump supporters here in Washington, in the run up to January 6, and on social media and around the country, to do their part, to apply pressure to the Congress to effectively reject the Electoral College results in a bid to keep Trump in power, despite having lost the election.

WILLIAMS: Joyce Vance, I imagine as a law professor, you teach your students that a good lawyer should be come out of law school ready to argue both sides. So with that in mind, if Stone or Jones hired you to be their lawyer, and I would pay cash money to be that that pitch meeting, but if that were the case, could you make a case against cooperating with these subpoenas?

VANCE: Well, there`s cooperation, and then there`s cooperation. And I suppose the case that they can make is to limit the questions that they will answer and the documents that they will turn over. And there may perhaps be some legitimate scope here. But the reality is when you`re served with a congressional subpoena, absent a question of privilege, or some other legitimate defense, and these are clearly folks that are engaging on the campaign side of affairs, not the government side. So there`s no executive privilege any place in sight.

You know, you are obligated to comply with a subpoena, whether you like the investigation, whether it`s law enforcement or Congress, as American citizens, we have certain obligations, and one of those is to comply with lawful subpoena. Does that mean that this crowd will I think, likely not, they will throw up all sorts of red herrings. My first amendment rights are being invaded is one that we`ve already heard in this regard.

But just because you have first amendment rights doesn`t mean that you don`t have to answer questions about your activities when a body with subpoena power makes a legitimate inquiry. So my advice would be go ahead and cooperate. What do you have to hide here?

WILLIAMS: I misspoke. Stones relationship was with the Oath Keepers, and not the Proud Boys. So followers of groups of this ilk, I`m sure will be -- will hear me stand corrected. So let`s see here, Yamiche, let`s pivot if we can into the actual business of governing. Is this one of the weeks when we learn whether the Biden White House can walk and chew gum, meaning the work continues on this massive social spending bill, the work continues to try to control inflation, things like gas prices? Oh, by the way, the government is set up to run out of money shortly, as is the U.S. military?

ALCINDOR: Well, in some ways, when I talked to White House officials, they would sort of underscore that the reason why President Biden ran for the office and why they felt like his experience was, um, one that would allow him to handle the responsibilities of the presidency is because he can walk and chew gum. He walked in, of course, on during during the middle of a crisis with the pandemic, that has just been really, I think, it`s intensified because of inflation, because of him trying to pass these big social policy plans.

So the White House is absolutely trying this, based on my reporting, to trying to do all of these things, juggle all of these things. It`s very, very hard, of course, because I think in some ways, you see this in the President`s poll numbers, because Americans essentially are deeply anxious about their lives. They`re anxious about the virus, they`re anxious about sort of arguing with their in laws over Thanksgiving, this week, when it comes to the vaccines and who`s coming. It`s also they`re focused on the price of gas, the price of meat, the price of groceries, all of those things, people look to the White House, rightly or wrongly, to really deal with.

Add to that, the President is really trying to push through this transformational bill, as he puts it, this social policy plan, and while the House was able to pass it, which was a big deal, the Senate is now going to possibly pull out important things, including possibly paid family leave something that Senator Manchin has not at this point back and something that a lot of progressive women and a lot of progressives period really want to see in the bill.

So this is going to be I think one of the weeks where we`re going to see them do that, but because we don`t see we`re not going to see any actual governing it`s a holiday week the president`s going to be a Nantucket for the rest of the week working a bit I`m sure. But mostly, I think you`re really going to see that over the next couple of weeks. Because there are all sorts of things to get done between the budget between sort of running out of cash and the debt limit and of course passing the Build Back Better Act.

WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker like you, I`m fascinated that you may singled out in laws at Thanksgiving we`ll have our investigative unit look into her -- the underpinnings of her reasonings there, but Phil while I have you too, another point Yamiche made this uptick in cases.


Give me the level of concerned in the Biden camp, about this pandemic that we cannot seem to stamp out?

RUCKER: Well, Brian, there certainly is concern in the White House, but also throughout the federal government with the various COVID officials who now for nearly two years have been trying to protect Americans and trying to get rid of this virus that simply cannot go away.

Here in Washington today was a big day. It was the first day that the mayor`s order mandating masks inside of businesses, inside of restaurants. That mandate has been lifted as of today. And it of course, coincides with what we`re seeing the rise in cases around the country. And so there`s actual concern here in Washington that the lifting of the mask mandate may not last very long. If these cases continue to spike, we may be back to wearing more masks and further shutdown.

It`s just a problem that continues to persist. And it`s a political headache for this administration, the Biden administration, which is really trying to grapple with it and really deal also, with the fact that so many millions of Americans are still hesitant to get those vaccines even as now, Americans are being urged to get their booster shots. There are so many who still haven`t even gotten the initial vaccination shots. And that of course, is what medical experts believe is contributing to the continuation of the virus here in the United States.

WILLIAMS: Pandemic of the unvaccinated they`re calling it. Phil Rucker, Yamiche Alcindor. Joyce Vance, our thanks to our first starting line of this holiday shortened week.

Coming up for us. Our friends, Robert Gibbs and Tim Miller are here to talk about what`s at stake for the President as he faces this long to do list that we mentioned, including passing his social spending bill.

And later remember this time last year good, because those rising cases around the country are sparking concern just ahead of Thanksgiving. As promised, we`re going to talk to one of our leading public health experts about the recent uptick in both boosters and travel ahead of the coming holiday weekend. All of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this first of the week Monday night the view from the West Wing.




JASON JOHNSON, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: I think Joe Biden has been just he`s -- his mindset is trapped in Amber from the 90s where you could go back and play squash somewhere or racquetball and work these kinds of issues out, we`re not there anymore. And I don`t know, for all everybody on the panel who travels around the country, clutter in the Midwest, up, mid, north, wherever, wherever as we go. I`ve not met one regular voter anywhere who`s like, you know what, I think we need some more bipartisanship in Washington. No one ever says that, no one outside of DC says they want more bipartisanship. What people say is they want things to get done.


WILLIAMS: Democrats have a lot to get done by the end of the year. In fact, first, there`s the most massive social spending bills since Roosevelt. Then there`s the looming government shutdown deadline, the debt ceiling and a must pass military defense funding.

Joining us now to talk about all of it, Robert Gibbs, former Obama campaign Senior Advisor, White House Press Secretary Of course, under President Obama, he also his co-host of the Hacks on Top Podcast, and Tim Miller, whose clothing choice may give away which of the 50 states he joins us from tonight. He is a contributor to The Bulwark and the former communications director for Jeb Bush. Gentlemen, good evening to you both.

Mr. Gibbs, I presume you heard what Jason Johnson said this afternoon, which -- we just ran there agree or disagree?

ROBERT GIBBS, FMR. OBAMA CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well, I agree with the passion of it, of course, meaning the Democratic Party and many in the Democratic base feel that acutely. I remember in 2009, in the first year of the Obama administration, hearing those same arguments.

The problem with what Jason said is the reality of the world we live in, right? We have 50 Democratic senators, so to get anything done almost assuredly requires the tie breaking vote of the vice president. And that`s before we even delve into the idea that in reality, you need 60 votes.

So, while I appreciate it, the passion behind it. I don`t think the statement honestly lives where we currently live in our government, and in governing this country. I understand that frustration. And I think, you know, if you look at something like Build Back Better, I think the process of this has far overwhelmed the substance of it. I can imagine if we`d have started at 2 trillion, and we`re whittling this down to 1.75 or 1.5 trillion. People might think this was a huge victory rather than starting it 6 trillion or three and a half trillion and then 2 trillion.

And so I think it`s just -- it`s a hard message when you`re governing the country to have a little patience. But I do think we`re on the cusp, as you mentioned, of passing something as big as to list Joe Biden among the pantheon of people like Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

WILLIAMS: So Tim, to part of Roberts point there, is there any chance that all of us have overstated the importance of Build Back Better to the Biden presidency, considering the talk always devolves to dollars? And Americans walking around today really can`t name anything in the bill?

TIM MILLER, THE BULWARK CONTRIBUTOR: I think for sure Brian and Mahalo for that introduction. Look, I don`t want to pile on Jason, when he`s not here. So Jason, we can debate this next week or two weeks or something. Bring Jason on. But look, you can`t get anything done with just one party. This is fantasy politics, right? Like this idea that Joe Biden should be able to wave a magic wand and solve everybody`s problems. You know, maybe Joe -- maybe Biden leaned a little bit more into bipartisanship and some folks on the left would have liked but he passed this massive infrastructure bill that that, you know, should provide very real results for people.

And a lot of the parts of the country the Democrats haven`t done very well. I`m happy to hear they`re out doing their campaigning on it. There are a lot of events throughout December on it, you know, rural broadband. There`s a lot of elements of the infrastructure bill that they can and should sell.

I think that next -- looking ahead to next year if we`re just going to talk about the raw politics of this rather than the impacts on people, the economic recovery he reappointed Powell to the Fed today, you know, dealing with COVID, as I know, you`re going to talk about in your next segment.


I feel like all of those things are more important than getting all the items to Build Back Better, and making sure that the Democrats do as well as they can in the midterms. Now, you know, there are policy reasons to want to, you know, advance, you know, what pass through the house, even though there`s some elements of that bill that I personally don`t agree with. That I think is a political matter. You know, that isn`t as important as I think some on the left are trying to make it out to be just looking ahead to, you know, the midterms.

WILLIAMS: Mr. Gibbs, people are falling all over themselves to say, well, of course, Joe Biden`s going to run for a second term. And as a press guy, you understand the underpinnings for that. You can`t have a distraction one year into a presidency. You can`t have questions around.

But here`s what our friend A.B. Stoddard writes, There is nothing reassuring about the oldest president to ever be elected, promising three years out that he can handle a second presidential campaign, let alone a second term when the odds are that he cannot Democrats may hope Biden will stand for reelection. But should his polling remain abysmal, they are likely to change their minds.

Robert, the question is, Can you envision? Can you envision an effort to replace him at the top of the ticket?

GIBBS: Not if he wants to run for reelection? No. I think that`s what sitting presidents get to make that decision. I don`t think you`re going to find an effort to move him out. I don`t think that would make, quite frankly, a ton of sense. Look, I think it`s a little crazy that we`re talking about with three full years left in a term, who`s going to run for president on either side?

And look, I think, you know, we have to acknowledge that. In 2020, Joe Biden and Donald Trump ran as the two oldest presidential candidates, the likelihood is that Donald Trump is going to run again against Joe Biden, and they`ll be the two oldest presidential candidates plus four years on the record they set before but I don`t think there`s going to be any real desire to replace Joe Biden should he want to seek reelection.

WILLIAMS: I don`t know what else would talk about in the media. If not, who`s going to run three years from now. Robert and Tim are sticking around. Thank goodness. And coming up after this break, we`ll continue our conversation. Even if a fallen Trump insider`s latest prediction about 2024 is right. He is twice impeached former boss is still making people within the party he controls nervous. We`ll talk about that.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why? Because first of all, he`s an incredibly fragile ego, he lost by what, 9 million votes. The first time he will lose by more than 9 million. The second and his fragile ego cannot stand to be considered a two time loser.


WILLIAMS: Was a notable prediction there actually from Trump`s former fixer and lawyer now fresh off house arrest his ankle can breathe free. Whether Trump runs or not remains to be seen. But either way his influence is causing some angst within the party as we`ve chronicled here.

The New York Times puts it this way. One year after his defeat, Mr. Trump is not only looming over the GOP, but also along with his imitators, posing the biggest threat to what is shaping up to be a fruitful year for Republican candidates. It is the former President`s insistence on playing a haphazard Kingmaker that is most troubling to Republican officials and strategist.

Still with us, Robert Gibbs and Tim Miller. Tim Miller, I note that Trump`s preferred candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania pulled out after a domestic legal case. Here`s the question and the same rule as Fight Club. The only thing you can say in your answer is Glenn Youngkin. Is there any reprove proof that any Republican, again not named Youngkin, can succeed after pushing Trump away?

MILLER: What`s the good news for Republicans in Pennsylvania? Dr. Oz is right on Sean Parnell`s heels now that Parnell is out of the race, it`s been a lot of buzz for us to enter the race in Pennsylvania. Look Brian, I don`t think so. And I`m going to break your fight club rule and break (INAUDIBLE). I`ll say this about Youngkin.


MILLER: Here it is, though you have to get this. There`s a reason why it works. OK, it was Youngkin had a had a convention. It was a shorter, it was a shorter year. And he was running against this absolutely insane pro- insurrection candidate and Amanda Chase.

There is not a lot of evidence that that can be replicated in the current Senate races and we`re looking at. We have Herschel Walker running in Georgia. We have Eric Greitens and a pro-insurrection Attorney General in Missouri. We`ve talked at nauseam at the clown show in Ohio, we just mentioned Oz and Parnell in Pennsylvania. You know, in these long lead-two year things, you know, you don`t have the option to kind of stay above the fray the way the man who shall not be named did successfully in Virginia.

So I think it`s going to be really hard to replicate for Republicans in the midterms. I think it`s their biggest challenge, frankly, looking ahead to the midterms. And I just want to add one really quick thing to what gives it said before the break, you know, we`re one year in with Biden and I think he`s you look ahead to 2024. You listen to the Cohen comments, Rayken`s (ph) numbers were horrible in `81. Clinton`s numbers were horrible in `93. Right.

And so I just -- I do you think that people like we have this desire that like the -- what is happening right now, you know, needs to be relevant to project out to what`s happening three years from now. And I just think though, if you look at COVID you look at what`s happening with the economy, things might look very, very different for Biden next November than they do right now. And so I just want to sort of reinforce that point in caution, you know, people getting jumpy, like my friend A.B. did, looking three years ahead.

WILLIAMS: No, I know that and it`s probably a huge contributor is probably the tiny number of Twitter users who account for about 97 percent of Twitter traffic.


WILLIAMS: And that becomes the kind of conventional wisdom on the left.


So, Robert, the other thing Tim left out about the future, among the question marks is law enforcement that continues to grind at its own pace. What do you make of today`s round of subpoenas, for example?

GIBBS: Yes, I think whether it is subpoenas from the January 6 insurrection committee in Washington, whether it is a legal proceedings in the Southern District of New York, I think the idea that Trump is going to emerge, unscathed is certainly unlikely. And I think we`ll bring, you know, several train cars worth of baggage turning perspective, presidential campaign.

Look, Michael Cohen knows Donald Trump far better than I ever will. He worked for him for a long time, as you mentioned, was his fixer and his lawyer. But I have a hard time believing that Donald Trump is simply going to exit stage right and go play golf peacefully for the rest of his life. Despite what many people might hope, I think the pole is going to be far too strong for him to want to avenge his loss. And I think he will do everything he can to drive himself to the nomination to drive others away from it.

I think the challenge is going to be whether it is what we talked about earlier around him picking clumsily primary candidates that may not fare well in general elections in these off year campaigns. But I think there`s a -- there are a number of challenges to Republicans don`t want to don`t think you`re going to win campaigns in 2022 or 2024 if your message is centered in 2020.

WILLIAMS: Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming on and for taking our questions tonight learned a lot in this discussion. Robert Gibbs and Tim Miller as far out west as you can get and still be in the United States, greatly appreciate it. Another break for us and coming up, COVID cases surging again and the timing could not be worse. And as a major newspaper put it this will not be the post-pandemic Thanksgiving so many of us had hoped for.




DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Unvaccinated people are at 14 times greater risk of dying from COVID-19 than people who are vaccinated. When looking at hospitalization rates, unvaccinated adults had nine times higher rate of hospitalizations than vaccinated adults. Infections among the unvaccinated continue to drive this pandemic hospitalizations and deaths.


WILLIAMS: The uptick of new COVID infections is worsening the CDC director there Dr. Rochelle Walensky said today the seven day average of new cases increased by 18 percent from just last week. From the New York Times, we quote, federal medical teams have been dispatched to Minnesota to help at overwhelmed hospitals. Michigan is enduring its worst case surge yet, forgive me, with daily case loads doubling since the start of November.

Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm went on to tell the New York Times quote, this thing is no longer just throwing curveballs at us. It`s throwing 210 mile an hour curveballs at us.

It`s a good night to have back with us once again, Dr. Kavita Patel. While she has not played a single inning of Major League Baseball, she is a clinical physician and former senior policy aide during the Obama administration. And she is one of our public health experts, a non-resident Fellow at Brookings. So Doctor, that`s a a depressing portrait. We`re averaging a death toll of 1000 souls a day. Can you tell us just what it is? We`re headed for this Thanksgiving?

DR. KAVITA PATEL, CLINICAL PHYSICIAN: Yes, Brian, this is going to be an interesting kind of intergenerational mix of people who are traveling at record numbers. And because cases are rising, particularly as you noted in the Midwest and Northeast, we`re probably going to have many scenarios I`m already hearing about them, you might as well, where people are saying, you know, I was exposed to someone, I`m supposed to quarantine but I, you know, I really want to see my family. And there will likely be some breakthrough cases that get generated from that.

But as you point out, and as Dr. Walensky commented, this is still really continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated. However, we`re going into a colder season, we`re also seeing a lot of flu activity much higher than last year, of course. And I think to your point, what we`re hoping for is a decoupling of deaths and hospitalizations. So we see cases increasing, but we`re really watching those hospitalization and death rates because we hope that those holds stable or decrease, which really indicates that vaccines are working at preventing death and hospitalization. And what we`re seeing are milder cases.

But this is going to be kind of a nail biting four to six weeks to see how the holidays affect case loads and health systems around the country.

WILLIAMS: And Dr. Patel, I want to play for you a bit of comments today from Dr. Fauci. This is a warning about immunity from vaccines.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: The effectiveness overall against infection declines from 87.9 percent to 48.1 percent, as well as the vaccine against the vaccine efficacy against death in people less than 65 and greater than 65. So we know we need boosters.


WILLIAMS: So doctor, I was thrilled to hear you on one of our broadcasts say that the benefits of the booster come as early as 48 hours after the shot. Is that another way of saying that everyone if they are able, should move in the next 48 hours if they have Thanksgiving plans with family and friends?

PATEL: Yes, absolutely. I think we`ve all kind of had that two weeks Brian fixed in our heads. And that is true for that first series doses one and two to take effect. Think of the booster truly as a boost of what has already been established in your immune system. So we do see antibody levels rising at 48 hours and Pfizer presented data last week to the FDA and CDC that reinforce that you can see a reduction in infections in less than seven days.


So bottom line, if you`re over 18, it`s been six months since the dose two or two months since one dose of J and J, you need a booster and you can get it tomorrow. And it can actually make a difference on those intergenerational or holiday gatherings this week.

WILLIAMS: No pressure, but a nation turns it`s lonely guys to you. They would love to hear some form of good news. So I`ll ask it this way not knowing how you`re going to answer. Our gatherings this year, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, as worrisome to you as they were last year?

PATEL: No, they`re not. And I think because we`re seeing social networks, Brian, where most households where people are vaccinated, are fully vaccinated or if children are eligible, partly vaccinated, that creates a safe environment for celebrating. You know, a year ago, Brian, we didn`t have these vaccines. So think about the effects that we can create just by having our household gathering, vaccinated masks off. I`ve got family coming in. I`m hopeful about this holiday season, but I`m also being cautious if I have an 82-year-old father, I`m going to take those precautions that are necessary. That includes making sure we`re vaccinated, that also might include for households having access to at home tests that you can do, they`re not foolproof, but they can be helpful.

And then finally, ventilation if you need to, and you`re worried wearing masks and quarantining on either end for three days to just make sure that you`re not in any high risk activities, if you`re worried about anybody in your household, but Brian, this should be a much better winter. But it`s again up to us we still have 30 percent of the population that needs to be vaccinated and 70 percent that needs to have some form of boosting at some point in time.

WILLIAMS: Thank you for that answer. We hope people at home are paying attention. Our guest tonight once again has been Dr. Kavita Patel with our thanks. Another break for us and coming up, a look behind the scenes over what will be an industry under great stress over these next six days.



WILLIAMS: As we have reported by the end of this week, airline bookings are expected to have increased a full 100 percent over this time last year. That`s a whole lot of people traveling a whole lot of volume that is about to descend on a travel industry that is not yet shall we say in fighting shape, and still trying to shake off a pandemic. NBC News correspondent Tom Costello has our report tonight on what to expect.


TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two years after the last big Thanksgiving homecoming, Americans are tonight on the move again, navigating rain delays in the northeast and South Florida from patch roadways to crowded airport terminals.

Atlanta`s airport the nation`s busiest now back to normal after mass panic on Saturday when the TSA says a passenger grabbed a gun he left in a carry- on bag at a TSA checkpoint, causing it to discharge. Thousands of passengers ran the FAA pausing aircraft operations on the ground. The suspect got away with his gun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we`re all a little stir crazy at this point and willing to buck the crowds in order to get away.

COSTELLO: Meanwhile, today is also the deadline for TSA officers to comply with the vaccine mandate. The agency says 93 percent of its officers are vaccinated or have requested exemptions and screens a pandemic record 2.2 million people on Friday, nearly as many on Sunday.

At Chicago O`Hare, United Airlines is in the thick of it to see their operations firsthand.

(on camera): We`re getting access to something most people never get to see in person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But give them a lot of taxes they owe it alpha 19 and back so it`ll be a while.

COSTELLO (voice-over): We were invited into United Airlines ramp tower where controllers coordinate every single plane moving in and around United concourses at O`Hare.

(on camera): It`s a tightly choreographed logistical ballet 500 flights moving on the ground every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This (INAUDIBLE) 5415 Bravo, three push bootheel north.

COSTELLO: This is United`s biggest hub. While other airlines have struggled with staffing in recent months canceling thousands of flights. United insists it is staffed up with 99 percent of employees vaccinated.

MIKE HANNA, UNITED AIRLIES AIRPORT OPERATIONS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT: We have our staff on the property. And one of the key things that we did throughout the pandemic is we didn`t furlough any pilots.

COSTELLO: That`s allowed United to bounce back quickly from the pandemic as passenger traffic rebounded. Across the USA the busiest days to fly this week will be Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. And tonight the push is on.

(on camera): So if you are flying over the next couple of days, the airline`s say download their app, use that it has good information, check in on the app. Get to the airport two hours early. Check your bags if you have any bags. And if you do get bumped the airline may try to reschedule you, you can also reschedule yourself using the app.


WILLIAMS: Problem is we can`t fly using the app. Our thanks however to Tom Costello for that report. Coming up after our final break. What this day used to mean and a once solemn place that has sadly been turned into a circus because of our politics today.



WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, on this very day 58 years ago, Americans feared our country was coming apart. Life stopped in the middle of the afternoon. Americans went home from work and school by the millions. Lyndon Johnson who started that day as vice president and ended the day as president said years later, the biggest question he had all day long was when would the missiles becoming.

Our young president John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in an open car in Dallas, Texas. The U.S. military was on hair trigger alert all over the world. And the Kennedy family was planning a funeral with the help of the federal government.

This day every year always attracts people to Dealey Plaza in Dallas where an X on the pavement marks the spot where the first shot hit its mark. They gather on the grassy knoll for decades, it was the epicenter for American conspiracy theories. But this year was different. This year for the past several weeks, in fact, the area has been taken over by QAnon and it`s related cult groups. They are waiting for the return of John F. Kennedy and his son John Jr. They in fact believe this man is what JFK Jr. looks like today. They say the plan is for JFK Jr. to be Trump`s running mate in 2024. And they have banners and flags to prove it.

It`s sad. It`s tragic. It`s sick. It`s twisted and obscene. Imagine a grievance filled life so devoid of purpose, so disconnected with reality and the country that cares for you, as to make someone leave home as some of them have and empty their savings as some of them have to go and be part of something where they claim their slice of insanity.

Behavioral specialists tell us we`re not supposed to pity cult members or conspiracy theorists. So let`s not do that. Let`s instead focus our pity on the Kennedy family. They lost their modern era patriarch, the President of the United States to assassination, his brother to assassination and the son of the President of the United States to a plane crash.

Let us also remember the Bessette family. They lost two daughters when that plane crashed in 1994. You don`t get over that. You learn to wake up the next day and the day after that and hopefully keep on living some semblance of a life.

The Kennedy and Bessette families deserve our respect and our sorrow after their staggering loss. They do not deserve the circus of lost souls that is now soiling a sacred place in American presidential history.

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