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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 11/8/21

Guests: Peter Baker, Jackie Alemany, Neal Katyal, David Plouffe, A.B. Stoddard, Nahid Bhadelia


Attorney General Merrick Garland continued to remain non-committal about the contempt referral against former White House advisor Steve Bannon. Among those subpoenaed today were campaign officials William Stepien and Jason Miller, as well as Trump`s one time National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. Several were involved in "war room" meetings at the Willard Hotel after the 2020 election, with the goal of denying Biden the presidency. Meanwhile, Pres. Biden is on the road this week to sell his recently passed infrastructure bill.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again as we start a new week, day 293 of the Biden administration. House committee investigating the insurrection, has unveiled his latest move. Six new subpoenas to some high profile Trump allies. They are John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who reportedly advised Trump, Michael Flynn, Trump`s former national security adviser. You know his story. Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, former 2000 campaign aide Angela McCallum, former senior adviser to Trump`s 2020 campaign, Jason Miller, and Bill Stepien, Trump`s reelection campaign manager. Here`s some of what we heard from January six committee member Zoe Lofgren earlier tonight.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA) 1/6 COMMITTEE MEMBER: These are individuals who were heavily involved in trying to overturn the election, being involved in the so called War Rooms at the Willard Hotel, and we need to find out everything they said and did.


WILLIAMS: Some subpoenas and this latest batch focus on the reported use of the Willard Hotel near the White House as a so called Command Center for staging the effort to keep Trump in power. It`s in the Woodward and Costa book called peril.

The committee`s letter to Attorney John Eastman notes that he was quote at the Willard Hotel war room with Steve Bannon and others on the days leading up to the January 6 insurrection where the focus was on delaying or blocking the certificate of the election.

Committee also says he reportedly quote, wrote two memoranda offering several scenarios for the Vice President to potentially change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Like that`s a thing. The subpoena also mentions Eastman`s appearance at the rally that took place just before the insurrection.


JOHN EASTMAN, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: We know there was fraud, traditional fraud that occurred. We know that dead people voted, but we now know because we caught it live last time in real time how the machines contributed to that fraud. All we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at 1:00 he let the legislators of the state look into this so we get to the bottom of it.


WILLIAMS: The House committee subpoena letter to one Jason Miller says that according to reports he took part in a January 5 meeting at the Willard Hotel with Bannon and Giuliani committee says in that meeting, Bannon and Giuliani discussed overturning the election results.

According to investigators, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was also at the Willard. Kerik also happens to be a convicted felon who served time in federal prison but was later pardoned by Trump.

The committee also appears to be focusing on the effort to turn the Trump 2020 campaign into a vehicle for subverting the election. The subpoena for former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien says quote, you then supervise the conversion of the Trump presidential campaign to an effort focused on stop the steal messaging and related fundraising.

As for Michael Flynn, former Trump National Security Adviser for a couple of days who had a starring role in the Russia investigation after lying to the feds, the committee`s subpoena to him says quote, you reportedly attended a December 18, 2020 meeting in the Oval Office, during which participants discuss seizing voting machines declaring a national emergency. The subpoena also notes Flynn`s comments in December of 2020, about actions Trump could take to hold a do over of the election.


GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: He could immediately on his order sees every single one of these machines around the country on his order. He can also ordered -- he could order the -- within the swing states. If he wanted to he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states.


WILLIAMS: This is the first set of subpoenas since the House voted to Bannon and then contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with his they tossed the case over to the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges. Today, the Attorney General was asked about his department`s progress on Steve Bannon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you provide the status of the referral for Mr. Bannon, where you are on that?

MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: No. This is this is a criminal matter some ongoing examination of the referral. And as you know, the Justice Department doesn`t comment on those. We evaluate this in the normal way we do facts and the law and applying the principles of prosecution.


WILLIAMS: There are surprises every day in America that answer was not among them. Meanwhile, the White House is redoubling its efforts to get Congress to vote on its big domestic spending bill that now that the infrastructure bill has passed and is ready for the President to sign it.


Speaker Pelosi is eyeing a possible House vote next week. Earlier today the President offered a more cautious assessment.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I`m always optimistic.


BIDEN: It`s going to be a tough fight. It ain`t over yet, as they say, as the old expression goes, but I feel good and I think people will realize, they are beginning to realize, it`s important to get it done.


WILLIAMS: The administration is also defending its vaccine requirements for businesses with 100 or more employees. The Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals temporarily suspended the enforcement of that rule on Saturday. That was in response to a lawsuit filed against the mandate by Republican led states.

The DOJ tonight asked the court to lift that temporary order and said the legal objections lack merit. Continue to watch this space. We shall see.

With that, let`s bring in our starting line on a Monday night as we start a new week together. Peter Baker, veteran journalist and author, Chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, Jackie Alemany, political reporter for The Washington Post and the author of the papers morning newsletter of The Early 202, and Neal Katyal, Department of Justice veteran, former acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration, who has argued dozens of cases before the US Supreme Court. Good evening, and welcome to you all.

Jackie, I`d like to begin with you. What was significant about this tranche, this group of six subpoenas today?

JACKIE ALEMANY, THE WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL REPORTER: Hey Brian, I think what was significant was just how instrumental some of these figures were to the outside legal operation that was taking place at the Willard Hotel that command center. People like John Eastman, Bernie Kerik, Jason Miller, they were all posted up just a block away from the White House in the week and the weeks leading up to January 6, and trying to implement a strategy for Republican legislatures and Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

That being said, these subpoenas were expected fingers like John Eastman have been a topic of chatter and focus for the committee for quite some time now, as he did author those two memos that outlines just how the president, the former president could execute a strategy to overturn the results of the election.

But what we`re still missing here, what we`re still looking for are potentially threads that directly connect these characters to President -- former President Trump. We do know that John Eastman was in the Oval Office on January 4, where he presented one of his strategies to the President and to Mike Pence.

But in terms of actually on January 6, did they have any conversations? What were those conversations like, especially with someone like Jason Miller, who was doing communications and strategy for the former president? The committee does need hopefully, we`ll get you know, a clearer picture from these witnesses on what those communications with the president were like.

WILLIAMS: Neal Katyal, the committee tells us they`ve interviewed 150 people, but you know the nature of people in the audience, they want to hear from the people they want to hear from. They`re attracted by the big names, people with potentially big roles in the insurrection. Do we have any notion that these six will not pull a ban and that these six will actually cooperate?

NEAL KATYAL, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR: I don`t think we do. I mean, this is, Brian, a gruesome, motley crew that was subpoena today. I mean, John Eastman, Michael Flynn, Bernie Kerik. I mean, this isn`t exactly Lincoln`s Team of Rivals. They`re all kind of cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, and they`re all afraid to tell the truth under oath. And we`ve seen that with Jeffrey Clark, the DOJ official who last week started hiding and, of course, Steve Bannon before that.

And so I think it`s good news. We`ve finally gotten the long awaited John Eastman subpoena, which only raises the question, is John Eastman, a bad enough lawyer to rely on and trust Steve Bannon a second time and his advice? I mean, you know, Eastman, last week said that he couldn`t even remember who told him to write the coup memo.

I mean, come on a coup memo. You can`t remember who asked you to write that. So if the guy couldn`t remember last week, I don`t think he`s going to remember all of a sudden with Congress -- with a congressional subpoena. So I unfortunately think that this is also something that will go to federal court and to the Merrick Garland Justice Department for criminal enforcement.

WILLIAMS: Just to underscore Neal and all your time with DOJ, you were never asked to author a coup memo?

KATYAL: No, you know, turns out I don`t think anyone in 200 plus years has been, you know, not just demonstrates just how absurd this is.


The guy -- the idea that this man stood in the Oval Office that`s hallowed ground and gave advice suggesting such a thing is just incomprehensible. I mean, words have no meaning to these people. The constitution has no meaning to these people. The rule of law has no meaning to these people.

WILLIAMS: Just wanted to establish that for the record, counselor. Peter Baker, as someone who covered all four years of Donald Trump`s administration, give us an idea who he`s closest to on this list of six and who among the six? If not all, half dozen of them could make Trump more nervous than he already has been?

PETER BAKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that`s a good question actually. You know, it`s an interesting list too. Then, of course, were convicted felons, who were pardoned by President Trump Michael Flynn and Bernie Kerik. Jason Miller has served as a campaign spokesman was really I think one of the people who`s probably closest to the President in that timeframe and served as spokesman for the first few months of this year before breaking off start his own social media startup. He`s now kind of at odds a little bit with President Trump in the sense that they`re not competitors in that social media space, although he`s still very friendly and supportive of the president.

Bill Stepien was a political director of the White House, a Chris Christie aide, who later became the campaign manager sort of ran things and Brad Parscale was pushed aside and 2020. But none of them were, you know, as close as Steve Bannon once was.

Now what`s interesting, and Neal, being the lawyer who never would a crew member knows better than I about this. But what`s interesting is all six of these are not federal employees. None of these people work for the government, and therefore, you know, if they`re going to try to resist enforcement of these, they`re going to have to make some novel legal claims, because typically, executive privilege has not been found as far as I`m aware to cover people who didn`t work for the government.

The purpose of executive privilege has traditionally been to protect the President`s liberation`s on the governance of the country, not on advancing his campaign interests. I don`t remember any campaign manager whoever was covered by executive privilege.

And so while Steve Bannon is already sort of paved this way, these six now are heading down that same path. Where does the limits of executive privilege lies? There any kind of legal claim that shields them, otherwise they have to go to the committee to tell what they know or face to face the consequences.

WILLIAMS: Jackie at the risk of repetition, most of these six are not refined members of the Washington aristocracy, legal or otherwise. I mean, again, Bernie Kerik has served federal time as a convicted felon. We`re looking though, I`m guessing at the possibility of another contempt vote. If one, two, three, four, five or all six say we`re not going to do this.

ALEMANY: Well, you read my mind, Brian, because I actually just got a text in from the former New York City Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who issued was issuing a fiery statement in response to the House Select Committee saying that he will not be threatened, intimidated, forced into bankruptcy or silenced by the committee and that he`s actually going to produce some of the investigations and expose election irregularities, according to this statement from Kerik suggesting that he is going to cooperate with the committee and provide the documents that they have requested.

But I think it`s worth noting that some of the documents that the committee have requested play into that legal argument that Peter Baker just mentioned, which is that the committee is seeking the hotel bills and the evidence that shows that Bernie Kerik actually footed the bill for this, the legal operation stay at the Willard Hotel.

And the fact that campaign funds were used to finance efforts to subvert Biden`s victory can complicate the former president`s argument of using executive privilege to shield documents and testimony from the Congressional committee according to several legal scholars, including some conservative scholars and legal professors like John Hue (ph), who actually provided some legal advice to people like John Eastman. So we could be headed for contempt here but people like Bernie Kerik might actually be willing to cooperate.

WILILAMS: Neal Katyal, our new attorney general is as doctrinaire and cautious, it seems, as Bill Barr was a shill for his president that having been established. Why do you think the long wait on DOJ is processing coming down with a decision and opinion on Bannon?

KATYAL: Yes, I mean, it does take time to both investigate this. And of course, you know, there may be a grand jury that has to be involved as well before there`s an actual criminal indictment. So I am willing to cut the Garland Justice Department some slack on that.


I think it`s really important that you do this by the book, Garland is the opposite of those joke attorneys general that we`ve had over the last four years. But I think patience has its limits, Brian. And, you know, if they don`t do that soon, I`m going to get really concerned because we want the Justice Department to go into federal court and indict Steve Bannon because he`s not, he`s afraid to tell the truth under oath. And we want to adjust for him to go in and say to the courts rule on this, within a week or two. There`s no need for delay here.

Peter Baker got it exactly right. The idea that Steve Bannon is covered by executive privilege, I mean, come on, give me a break. The guy was not a federal employee. This is a, you know, a loser claim of executive privilege every day of the week in any court.

And so it should be an expedited, quick proceeding, not your usual Donald Trump`s special delay things out until, you know, everyone forgets about it and moves on. And so this delay by the girl and just department is concerning to me a bit right now. And it`ll be very concerning to me next week. If it`s gone, you know, three weeks after the house is voted contempt. And yet we haven`t had an indictment. That`s a problem.

WILLIAMS: Peter Baker, question to you about process considering how many presidents and White Houses you have covered. We were on the air here Friday night so late. It was Saturday morning, before we got off we were covering the vote in the House and everyone was talking about putting the bill in a fast car down Pennsylvania Avenue, getting it to the White House for signature by Joe Biden.

I think a lot of people were surprised to wake up today and learn that signing ceremony. The signature won`t go on paper until at least a week from now. The President`s waiting for members of the House to get back from their week long break. How common is that? Because it`s certainly belies the storyline that this was urgently needed that these so called shovel ready projects in all 50 states are on the hook waiting.

BAKER: Yes, they did say -- they did tell us they had to get it done, had to get it done, had to get it done. But the reason they had to get it done was more political than it was substantive policy. It wasn`t because they needed to get the highways, you know, started tomorrow. It was because they wanted to get it done. Because they realize that longer it hang around on the hill, the more danger there wasn`t it wouldn`t get done at all, right, that they wanted to get it done because it was already to be, you know, to be to pass and the longer it stayed that sat there, the bigger the danger was.

Now obviously, there`s no danger because it`s been passed. And it`s just a matter of wedding signature. It`s not unusual for a president to wait a few days, even a week or so to sign a bill in order to stage, you know, a PR event like they`re going to try to stage. The Congress is out of town. President by would like to have one of those traditional big. I assume East Room or Rose Garden events with members of Congress behind him showing solidarity and celebrating the victory that they`ve had here. They want to sort of milk this politically as best they can because in fact, it was done on a Friday night.

Remember, Brian you and I know we`ve been here a long enough time that you usually shovel the garbage news out on Friday night. You don`t usually bring your biggest victory of your presidency on a Friday night so they want to find a way to get attention for our Congress that attack he`s going to wait till he can get the cameras, you know, in the best position he thinks he can do for that.

WILLIAMS: Can`t thank our starting line enough for getting us underway and high fashion on a Monday night for a new week. Peter Baker, Jackie Alemany, Neal Katyal. Great thanks to the three of you.

Coming up for us after our first break. More on what today`s subpoenas from this committee mean to the former president those around him lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for that matter. And later, the president hits the road after a big win. Can he sell it to actual Americans? Our political experts are standing by tonight to weigh in on why the message really matters this time and why it`s really got to be right. All of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Monday night beneath the rotors of Marine One.




REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA) JAN. 6 COMMITTEE MEMBER: If we can`t effectuate our subpoenas, we`re no more real Congress than a court that can`t compel witnesses to testify in a case in that courtroom. So, we`re using all the tools that we have the country deserves to know about every element of this plot, who is involved, how far along it went, and what we need to do most importantly to prevent this kind of attack on our democratic process in the future.


WILLIAMS: For more on this new round of subpoenas from the January 6 committee, we are joined tonight by two friends at this broadcast David Plouffe, former Obama, campaign manager and former senior advisor to the President and A.B. Stoddard daughter, veteran Washington journalist, Associate Editor and columnist for Real Clear Politics. Good evening to you both.

A.B., how much do these subpoenas? How much does this one six investigation matter to actual Americans, Americans who are going to be called upon to vote in, say midterm elections, Americans who are struggling with exactly how much it costs them to fill up their tank right now?

A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS ASSOC. EDITOR AND COLUMNIST: Well, that`s the question, Brian, I mean, I think because of the results in last week`s elections across the country, particularly in two blue states, for Democrats staggering losses across their coalition, independents, Asians, Latinos, women, all the people they need to hold on to for next year. They are assessing the polling and just what it is that is motivating these voters.

I have spoken to members of separate groups who have commissioned polling in the last six months on the threat to democracy, and it is no big deal to voters right now. That doesn`t mean that should the committee come up with a complete report with devastating findings about a coordinated plot involving people at the highest level, including the President that that will not focus the minds of the voters that put Democrats in power in 2018 is a check on President Trump and then defeated him and help Biden win in 2020.


We don`t know what they`ll find. Certainly Trump and his allies, including the people who were subpoenaed today will do whatever they can to make sure they have time to run out the clock. And that a full and complete examination is not possible.

But should it occur, I think it will change the calculation, and it will be on every Republican candidate next year, depending on what the committee finds to answer questions about the revelations, and they will be asked whether or not you know, they support whatever the narrative is coming from President Trump at that time.

WILLIAMS: David, I want to continue in this vein, by way of saying that politicians of both parties tend to fetishize things. The Republicans did with Benghazi, even though McCarthy admitted it was a harassment vehicle largely. The perfect phone call Democrats were convinced that when Americans heard the truth, they would get this guy, they did not. Democrats are convinced that running against Trump still has an upside even though they learned to the contrary, in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

So how should we look at one sex, especially your role in your party at a time when to buy bacon, eggs, gasoline, you need a mortgage broker?

DAVID PLOUFFE, FMR. OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Brian, you know, I really, this is going to sound like a West Wayne episode. But you kind of have to put the politics secondary here. I mean, we came this close to losing our democracy between November of the election year and January 6, Adam Schiff put it right. Yes, we want to find out what happened. And I agree with A.B. I think once that gets aired, I think it will raise the significance of this and hold people accountable.

But the most important thing maybe as a deterrent, so that January 6, 2025 we`re not faced with this again. So you got to follow every lead.

Now, of course, if this is all voters are hearing, that would be a mistake. You just passed an infrastructure bill, there may be the Build Back Better plan coming on its heels. So Democrats are going to have a lot to talk about, about how we`re cutting taxes, and we`re saving you money. We`re helping you get health care, we`re helping you take care of your children and your aging parents. That has to be mainstream, that has to be the main arguments.

But I don`t think you can take a dive on this whatever the poll say. And I think that`s what the Republicans are counting on, that people will lose interest, that maybe the polls suggest that this isn`t a winner for Democrats. I think you got to follow this wherever at least, unless you can tell by the people reacting.

You know, this was not a bunch of people showing up. This was organized, it was well funded. Donald Trump is at the top of that ladder, but many of his minions were working day and night, not just to have a -- an event on January 6, but to try and overthrow the results.

So again, Democrats have to be able to do both things, which is get to the bottom of this, bring full accountability and make sure it`s a deterrent. That never happens again, but they also have to speak to people, you know, in their cars, as they`re driving to go way, you know, fill up their tank, is there going over the bills for the month. There`s no question that I`ve learned in politics, like, it`s hard sometimes because you get issues dropped in your lap, and you`ve got your core message you want to pound but you can never ever forget that this election next year will be determined largely on the economy, and Joe Biden`s approval rating.

And so if the economy gets better, Democrats do a good job of messaging about how they help to get better, we should see Biden`s numbers, you know, at least get into the high 40s.

WILLIAMS: A.B. to you on messaging. Twitter is endlessly helpful, as you know. And on Twitter, there are any number of suggestions that the Democrats make 50 commercial spots, one for each state in the union with a laundry list of deliverables, customer service telling folks what`s coming for where they live? Do you think the party has the means the ability, the drive to do something like that?

STODDARD: Well, they`re flush with money, even though they`re pulling banks, and they certainly are reading the polls. And as I said, the data coming out of the election results last week from all around the country actually, and really focusing on where their liabilities are. So they need to make a course correction and they need to really sell their agenda, the first bill that passed. And whatever comes out of the second bill when it passes, largely because they have seen polling, Brian, that shows that Americans do not appreciate or feel or remember what they got out of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that was passed in the winter, early spring, and that is a huge alarm bells for Democrats.


That in the height of this before we were vaccinated, Americans did not really appreciate and then remember their $1,400 checks and everything else that came out of that.

So that is a warning sign or the Build Back Better agenda when they pass it. They better really tell people what`s in it, because a lot of the money in that bill won`t even be spent and felt anyway `23 to `24. So the messaging will be critical when looking at the midterm elections next year.

WILLIAMS: Critically for us, both of these guests will stay with us while I fit in a break. And coming up what`s at stake for this White House as they prepare to sell all of this to the American people when we come back.




PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: I mean, look, a lot of this sells itself because communities never needed to be persuaded that their bridge needed to be fixed or that their airport needed an upgrade or that their ports needed investment. They`ve been trying to get Washington to catch up to them. But I do think it`s important for us to go out there, especially in communities where a member of Congress or the Senate played an important role. And as you know, members from both sides of the aisle played important roles in delivering this bipartisan win and I can`t wait to be out there celebrating good news.


WILLIAMS: President Biden is set to hit the road for his part on Wednesday to do just that. It`ll be in Baltimore to sell this infrastructure plan, stakes are high with Biden`s poll numbers decidedly underwater and the midterms looming as we`ve been talking about.


Washington Post puts it this way. White House officials know that traditional knock on Democrats is that they never seem to take credit for their achievements, failing to win over voters, even with policies that are broadly popular. Democrats also know they can`t let that happen this time.

Interesting final point there, thankfully still with us David Plouffe, and A.B. Stoddard. A.B., again to you, the only crueler thing I could ask of you would be to explain trigonometry. But does the first bill passing and danger the second bill passing? And what links them when is it going to be voted on?

STODDARD: Well, if the passage of the first bill didn`t threaten the passage of the second bill, it would not have been held hostage for three months. The president could have had a signing ceremony in August with several Republican senators who supported this bill. And instead, we`re looking at the barrel of the week before Thanksgiving it best, but it could go later than that.

I do think that there has been enough of a commitment from different factions of the Democratic Party and the Democratic caucus to each other that, that will -- it will pass, we just don`t know when and I think that the problem for Democrats on messaging the second bill, you heard Secretary Buttigieg talking about the, quote, hard infrastructure bill, it`s very popular with 70 percent of Americans.

On the second one, they promised a lot of programs that will not end up the final bill. So the public will be extra confused about what`s in it. They will not see projects in their communities was a drive down the road. And that is going to be the steep challenge on messaging is to make sure that they hone in on the benefits of the Build Back Better Act once they get past.

WILLIAMS: Well, I got that to look forward to. Hey, David, I want to read you this from the Washington Post about the current Democratic Party, the party of 2021 often functions, more like a collection of smaller tribes spanning an ideological spectrum from socialism to centrism. As a result, when voters and politicians are asked to define what it means to be a Democrat, the answers are often as varied as the diverse constituencies and coalition`s that make up the party.

I know that the Speaker of the House is fond of pointing out wherever cameras are present, the diversity of her Caucus and the nature of being Democrats, especially in the House of Representatives, David, but sooner or later, does this bother you? Because sooner or later, it`s going to be ballgame for the Democratic Party here?

PLOUFFE: Well, Brian, I`d rather have this problem and challenge, then a smaller more cohesive party. That`s a minority party. So with majorities, you know, comes this challenge. But listen, I think once the Build Back Better bill passes, you know, I think for the most part, the big legislative period of Joe Biden`s first two years anyway, we`ll be done. So Democrats seem to spend the next year, you know, doing not just storytelling, and that`s important.

But as projects are actually on the ground, but the reality is important, because if people don`t feel it in their own lives, no matter what you say, it`s harder to press that through. But the most important people in 2022, of course, are going to be the candidates, who are running in these swing House districts and swing senate districts. And there`s no doubt.

Listen, we had an election and a lot of places last week, not just Virginia and New Jersey, and there were some places where Democrats did well, but for the most part, you know, it was a 10-alarm bell fire, OK. I`ll be there rural areas. Now with Glenn Youngkin got the kind of margins that Vladimir Putin gets in Russia. OK. You can`t be losing rural counties, big swaths of 90-10. We have to get back to 25 or 30 percent. And we saw some pretty big shifts particularly amongst non-college voters.

And Joe Biden, by the way, earlier this week talked about that specifically said, a lot of the people are going to benefit from the infrastructure bill, you know, didn`t attend college. There are people out there working for their hands so we`re going to rebuild this country. That`s super important.

So base voters, by the way, I think are going to be the -- still a challenge. But you got first communicate to the people who helped get you there. And so we deliver, and that`s super important to keep them enthused, then you`ve got to turn your attention to swing voters. And there`s no doubt coming out of next week the Democrats have a steep, steep hill to climb.

But again, if this time, you know, 51 weeks from now, you know, Joe Biden`s approval ratings are in the high 40s to low 50 because the economy continues to strengthen and more so for the most part, we`re done with COVID. It`s turned endemic. Democrats have shown they can get some big things done. Democrats will be in better shape. So a year is a long time. politics these days it didn`t used to be


But the warning signs coming out of last week`s election are profound. And the worst thing you can do when you`re behind it halftime in sports or politics is suggest you`re not behind. And the Republicans have been pretty clear about what they thought happened in that race. And I would study very carefully what they`re saying. It doesn`t mean they`re right about everything. But I always believe when your opponent`s willing to say why they thought you lost, you should pay careful attention to that.

WILLIAMS: Great thanks to our friends David Plouffe and A.B. Stoddard for hanging out with us tonight and taking our questions greatly, appreciate it guys. Coming up for us. And infectious disease expert is here to tell us how the anti-vaxx movement is sadly now impacting the acceptance of other vaccines as well suppose it was inevitable.




DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Things are going in the right direction with a diminution of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The deepness of the deflection is not as good as it was, let`s say a month or so ago. We have about 60 plus million people in the country who are eligible for vaccinations who have not yet been vaccinated.


WILLIAMS: Let`s call the future of COVID uncertain New York Times columnist David Leonhard has noticed a troubling trend he writes this, quote, the gap and COVID death toll between red and blue America has grown faster over the last month and in any previous point, the immunity from vaccination appears to be much stronger than the immunity from infection, which means that conservative Americans will probably continue to suffer an outsized amount of unnecessary illness and death.

Indeed, let`s put a finer point on it. The death toll in some red Trump counties is as much as five times higher than blue counties where vaccination rates are higher. With more we`re so happy to have back with us tonight Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious disease physician founding director of Boston University`s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research.


Doctor, I said before the break, this was probably inevitable, no less heartbreaking, talk about this contagion of the anti-vaxx community and how it`s not stopping at just the COVID vaccine.

DR. NAHID BHADELIA, INFECTIOUS DISEASES PHYSICIAN: Brian, I think that you`ve seen increasing anti vaccine sentiment even before the COVID pandemic. In fact, in 2019 WHO ranked, you know, vaccine hesitancy is a top 10 issue globally, and there was a 50 percent increase in measles cases. I mean, we had basically controlled measles in 2000. And right before the pandemic, we had the most cases of that disease. And what`s happened during this pandemic is twofold.

One, I think, you know, there`s this potential hesitancy and politicization of the COVID-19 vaccine has created more space for many of these anti-vaxx advocates. But what you`re also seeing is this increasing identification of your political ideology with vaccination is actually eroding support for other childhood vaccination. There was a YouGov poll just last week that show that over the last year, the support among Republicans for routine childhood vaccination requirements dropped from 59 percent last August to 46 percent. That`s less than half this year.

And that`s worrisome because we`re also looking at a global picture where, you know, there have been massive disruptions in childhood vaccinations because of the pandemic itself. In fact, globally, 23 million kids have missed a vaccination. So we`re walking into some dangerous waters for other infectious diseases as well.

WILLIAMS: Doc, as you remember, China gave Trump an enemy a distraction for the malpractice that was going on here at the start and the height of the pandemic. China`s back in the news. This is Financial Times, China`s efforts to eliminate COVID-19 are coming under increasing pressure, with officials warning of a grave challenge in the months ahead. The current wave of cases has reached the majority of the country`s 31 provinces, in the broadest outbreak since the early days of the COVID 19 pandemic last year.

They go on to say Doctor, China on a per capita basis is the most vaccinated nation on Earth. It`s also the largest percentage of humanity in one country. Are we looking at the possibility that what grows in China could come to the rest of the world variants included?

BHADELIA: Well, I think there`s a, you know, China`s been maybe the most draconian in terms of its containment efforts, right. They -- I think -- their efforts have been successful, but they`re not efforts that could have been carried out anywhere else. You know, within the nation travel restrictions, just massive lockdown, suddenly massive testing. And they`ve suffered economically a lot as well.

And so what you`re seeing now with this Delta wave really knocking at the door. You`re seeing this in Russia as well as major outbreaks. It`s coming up against potentially a population where the disease hasn`t gone through as much, you know, the Delta wave hasn`t affected them as much and now it`s sneaking through.

But even though they`re vaccinated the other concern is the two major vaccines used in China are inactivated virus vaccines that seem to be they don`t have the same amount of antibody response and particularly in older patients may not protect as maggots against severe disease.

The thing that`s alarming is that, you know, China`s vaccines, half of the 7.3 billion doses globally are actually Coronavirus Sinopharm and so if there is waning immunity from these vaccines in China, we have to look at other countries that were heavily vaccinated with those vaccines as well.

WILLIAMS: One of these nights I promise nothing but good news. We`ll get there. Dr. Nahid Bhadelia will be with us when we do that, our thanks for taking our questions here tonight as always, doctor. Coming up for us, we were just talking about no fly rules. Well, coming up a look at some of the emotional reunions today now that vaccinated people are finally allowed to fly into our country.



WILLIAMS: This was a big day for the hopes and dreams of people all over the world who have put off seeing that new grandchild perhaps seeing an ailing loved one in person because they weren`t allowed to fly here during the height of the pandemic. Well today, finally, the U.S. reopened its borders to fully vaccinated foreign visitors from dozens of countries and we get our report tonight from NBC News correspondent Tom Costello.


TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At airports nationwide today hugs, tears and laughter as Americans reunited with family and friends. A two-year wait for Jill and Mark Chambers in London.

JILL CHAMBERS, TRAVELER: Now it`s a Christmas slips and boxes especially that English people get.

COSTELLO: Who spent the weekend packing for today`s flight to see her sister in Connecticut.

CHAMBERS: Absolutely been the hot most hardest thing I`ve ever done. I missed my sister so much and the children and her husband. And it`s just been devastating.

COSTELLO: It was January 2020 when President Trump shut down most flights from China to contain COVID. The travel ban then quickly expanded. But with vaccination rates rising, the White House today reopened U.S. borders to nationals from 33 countries.

(on camera): But to travel to the U.S. most adult travelers must provide proof to the airlines that they are fully vaccinated and provide a negative COVID test taken within three days of departure.

(voice-over): Starting early this morning, heavy traffic at both the Canadian and Mexican borders vaccines required but no tests. Overseas today airlines reported mostly full flights to the U.S.

ADIT DAMODARAN, HOPPER ECONOMIST: We`ve seen searches increased 340 percent for travel to the U.S. which is absolutely massive.

COSTELLO: reports the most in demand us destinations for foreigners, New York, Miami and Los Angeles. Domestic airline ticket prices expected to move higher in the weeks and months ahead at JFK airport this afternoon. Mark and Jill Chambers finally reunited with their American family.

CHAMBERS: I just can`t (INAUDIBLE) in the plan because I knew I was going to see my sister. And it`s been absolutely overwhelming. A whirlwind for a week. I love you so much.

COSTELLO: Happiness replacing heartache as America reopens to the world. Tom Costello, NBC News at Denver International Airport.


WILLIAMS: I`m duty bound to say that montage there at the end reminds us that love actually is all around. When we come right back, a unique way of remembering what happened on the sixth of January.



WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, a new infomercial you may not have seen it`s for a new commemorative product. Fair warning, it`s not entirely on the level. OK, it`s entirely made up which might have occurred to you anyway when you hear the voice on the ad sounding suspiciously like Bill Maher.


BILL MAHER, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" HOST: You watched it on TV. Now you can relive every moment with the Franklin men`s Pharaohs of the coup commemorative coin collection. Beautiful, one of a kind coins all distinctively handcrafted by American laborers.

You`ll get Senator Josh Hawley, the guy who stole the podium. The guy bear spraying a Capitol police officer. The guy who attacked police with a crunch. The hanging off the Senate balcony guy. The camp Auschwitz sweatshirt guy and of course the QAnon shaman complete with his majestic.

Each coin comes with a certificate of authenticity and is guaranteed to increase in value. Each month you`ll receive a brand new coins remind family and friends. I`m not just trolling you, I`ve completely bought into this. And, this commemorative Rudy Giuliani syrup dispenser, so you can have breakfast every morning with America`s mayor. Don`t miss your chance to own a piece of MAGA history may not resemble actual history.


WILLIAMS: Our thanks to Real Time with Bill Maher for that bit of 1/6 creativity from their show this past Friday night and that is our broadcast for this Monday evening as we start a new week together with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.