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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 11/9/21

Guests: Barbara McQuade, Carol Leonnig, Lisa Lerer, Bill Kristol, Baratunde Thurston, Irwin Redlener


One-sixth committee issues 10 new subpoenas for Trump allies. Biden goes on the road to sell infrastructure bill. Judge denies Trump`s bid to keep docs from 1/6 committee. Experts warn future of pandemic still uncertain.



BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 294 of the Biden ministration. And this evening a federal judge has struck a significant blow to Trump`s efforts to prevent the January 6 special committee from seeing Trump White House Records.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan is denying Trump`s request to block access to those documents. Tanya Chutkan cited an earlier court ruling on subpoenas writing that the President is not king and added the plaintiff is not president.

National Archives, as you know is set to turn over the first batch of Trump`s records to this House Select Committee investigating the insurrection, the rioting at the Capitol. They`re expected to do that by this Friday. They are almost by definition all things that Trump doesn`t want the committee to see.

Trump has filed an appeal tonight to the D.C. Circuit Court that, didn`t take long, this case is likely to end up at the Supreme Court. Today the House Committee issued even more subpoenas for Trump allies. This latest round of requests for documents and testimony comes just a day after they targeted six other Trump allies.

Today, subpoenas went out to 10 former Trump administration officials including some of the most prominent members of his inner circle, former Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Senior Adviser Stephen Miller, White House Personnel Director Johnny McEntee, who began his career as Trump`s so called body man and was in charge of carrying the bags. Earlier on this network, January 6 Committee Chairman Congressman Bennie Thompson spoke about the investigation.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, (D) MISSISSIPPI JAN.6 SELECT COMMITTEE CHAIR: The 16 individuals we have subpoenaed this week, have knowledge as to what occurred before January 6, as well as what occurred on January 6. We think it`s incumbent upon the committee to get them on the record in sworn testimony as to what actually occurred. And what did they do during that time.


WILLIAMS: The subpoena to former Trump spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany notes that she made, "multiple public statements from the White House and elsewhere about purported fraud and the November 2020 election which individuals who attacked the U.S. Capitol echoed on January 6.


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The integrity of our election matters. The Constitution of the United States matters. What we have seen across the country is Democrat official systematically trying to do an end run around the constitution to tip the scales of the election in their favor.

This was a system that had never been tried in American history, mass mail out voting, it`s one that we have identified as being particularly prone to fraud. So, those claims deserve to be pursued.


WILLIAMS: So, Harvard Law graduate right there, the subpoena also says McEnaney was with Trump for several hours on January 6, even as he watched the attack on the Capitol.

The committee`s letter to Stephen Miller cites his role in spreading voter fraud conspiracies and added that he and his team, "prepared former President Trump`s remarks for the rally on the ellipse on January 6." They go on to say, "you were at the White House that day and you were with Mr. Trump when he spoke at the `Stop the Steal` rally."

And as for Mr. Johnny McEntee that subpoena notes, he was in the Oval Office when Trump, Pence and others, "discuss the audit process in Georgia and listen to as Giuliani suggested seizing Dominion voting machines because of fraud."

Meanwhile, Congress is embroiled in another controversy. This one involving Republican House Member Paul Gosar of Arizona. Gosar shared an altered animated video on social media that depicted himself, killing AOC and attacking the president. So far, there`s been no response from House Republican leadership, but Speaker Pelosi posted this reaction writing, "Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated. The Republican leader should join in condemning this horrific video and call on the Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate."

Late today, Gosar issued a statement that read in part, "The video depicts the fight taking place next week on the House floor and symbolizes the battle for the soul of America when Congress takes up Mr. Biden`s massive $4 trillion spending bill." The video, he says is truly a symbolic portrayal of a fight, wait for it, over immigration policy.

By the way Gosar`s own sister was on cable television today saying he`s family profoundly unfit to hold office.


As for the president he`s gearing up for a full-on sales job in support of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. He`ll be in Baltimore tomorrow to highlight how the legislation is going to help modernize the nation`s ports and help break the supply chain backlog.

Also, tonight, another potentially significant step in the battle against the pandemic. Pfizer now asking FDA for emergency authorization to make its COVID vaccine booster shots available for anyone in this country over the age of 18.

So, with that, let`s bring in our starting line on this Tuesday night, shall we? Lisa Lerer, National Political Correspondent for The New York Times, Carol Leonnig, Pulitzer Prize-winning Investigative Reporter at The Washington Post, co-author along with Phil Rucker, who always takes up all the airtime, of The New York Times bestseller, I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump`s Catastrophic Final Year, and Barbara McQuade, a Veteran Federal Prosecutor, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, worked with the DOJ during the Biden transition, notably is a professor at her alma mater University of Michigan Law School, also notably co-host of the podcast, Sisters in Law along with our friends, Kimberly Atkins Stohr, Joyce Vance, and Jill Wine-Banks.

Well, good evening to you all. And Counsellor, I`m duty bound to begin with you about these legal headlines tonight. Is the bigger news, this round of subpoenas, or is the bigger news, a federal judge who says, open the door of the archives and let the sunlight in?

BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I think, Brian, it`s got to be the judge`s order. Certainly, we could anticipate that the congressional committee would be seeking some of these subpoenas, maybe we didn`t know the names, but this order is significant. I think many of us anticipated that Donald Trump would do everything in his power to stall and delay the turning over of these documents. But at the end of the day, she made it very clear that he`s no longer president, although he can express his desires to President Biden, it is President Biden who gets to decide whether this privilege should be asserted, and here because of the overwhelming national interest in what happened on January 6, Donald Trump has lost.

Now, there may be an appeal. We may see that as we go forward. But if nothing further happens, if the court does not act by Friday, the National Archives will turn over those documents to the committee.

WILLIAMS: Carol Leonnig, there are other authors out there and Jonathan Karl, our friend from ABC is among them. He has a new book that talks about this young man Johnny McEntee, who prior to working for Donald Trump and enjoyed the privilege of a football tricks he used to do at the University of Connecticut which years ago went viral.

Well fast forward till now, while he`s not a household name as of tonight, he may be about to be. Here`s what Jonathan Karl says about him. In 2020, his power was undeniable. Trump knew he was the one person willing to do anything Trump wanted. McEntee in his enforcers made the disastrous last weeks of the Trump presidency possible. They back the President`s manic drive to overturn the election and help set the stage for the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Just days before January 6, McEntee sent Pence`s office and absurd memo making the case that Pence would be following Thomas Jefferson`s example if he used his power to declare Trump the winner of the 2020 election.

Carol, I know he came up in your travels, your research along with Phil for your first and second books. Tell us more about this young man who`s about to be better known.

CAROL LEONNIG, THE WASHINGTON POST INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Johnny McEntee was indeed a University of Connecticut football player. He had also an amazing ability to win in electronic gambling, which got him into trouble with the national security clearances early in the administration. He rose like a meteor in the Trump White House because he had the quality that Donald Trump values more than anything else, which is, you know, basically blind loyalty. He did what Donald Trump wanted. And in the final days, just as Jonathan Karl describes, he not only helped push along with a team of others, these election fraud claims, these really specious claims that were demonstrably false and that many in the White House newer, false. He also was the Enforcer on installing more loyal lights everywhere in the government, that paralyzed this administration when it was facing, you know, Donald Trump`s own solicitation to rioters to come to Washington, where things would be as he said, wild.

WILLIAMS: Lisa, I asked you some version of this question all the time, mostly because your answers are always interesting, and that is the degree to which the Biden White House is paying attention to this special committee dedicated to investigating 1/6.


LISA LERER, THE NEW YORK TIMES NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, I think they`re certainly keeping an eye on it, but I do think it`s an open question on whether this committee and the continued work in this committee benefits Democrats. It`s not clear from the polling that voters still want to get to the bottom of this, this is something they still want to hear about. But clearly, there`s a case to be made for fully investigating what happened in the name of democracy and the name of security and the name of good governance. And there`s a lot of really important reasons for our country for this work to continue. Whether it becomes a political benefit for Democrats as they approach the midterm is an open question. And I think more Democrats will not looking in any way to undercut the work of the committee are sort of questioning the politics of it very quietly, after seeing this election where we saw results in Virginia where Democrats ran very heavily, trying to sort of rally their base by talking about Donald Trump and not finding that that was a very successful political tool for them.

So obviously, there`s clear, very clear and very important reasons for this work to continue whether it works out politically in Democrats favor remains to be seen.

WILLIAMS: Professor McQuade, let`s talk about Merrick Garland, the Attorney General who is as studied and measured and cautious, as we said last night as Barr was a shill, lot of Democratic anxiety that this Bannon case, the disposition of it, the decisions surrounding it is taking way too long. Do you think the anxiety is warranted from your knowledge of DOJ and what you`re seeing?

MCQUADE: I don`t think the anxiety is warranted. Things take a long time. I do understand the frustration with Merrick Garland. I felt it a little bit in some of the things that he has done. I think it`s hard for him to separate himself from the job he held for so long as a judge, and now see himself in the executive branch where you`ve got to be an advocate and a doer. But it does take some time to put together a decision to prosecute any case, you have to get your ducks in a row before you indict, things like discovery, motion practice and being ready for trial within 70 days.

It also wouldn`t surprise me, Brian, if there weren`t at least a few voices at the Justice Department who weren`t saying maybe we should file civil case here instead of criminal charges, that could compel the testimony of Steve Bannon, and could get a clear ruling from a judge about executive privilege and some of the other things, advice of counsel privilege that Steve Bannon has urged. So, it may very well be that there are some sticky legal issues that they`re working through. But I do expect that at some point, they`ll have a decision that could be days, if not weeks away.

WILLIAMS: Carol, let`s talk about yet another author. And that`s Don Winslow, famous for his works of fiction, but he has also injected into the social media conversation, questions surrounding consequences along the lines of, does anyone remember consequences? Who misses consequences? Well, question to you on consequences, what can they do to those who don`t cooperate? DOJ broadly, anything 1/6 related, if it literally has taken an act of Congress to put bans case before the A.G.?

LEONNIG: You know, this is a really sticky area because it hasn`t been tested. Usually, when people are subpoenaed to come before Congress, they do come before Congress, and they give their testimony. And they don`t claim executive privilege when they haven`t been a senior adviser to the President for four to five years.

So, a lot of this is untested territory once again, Brian. But, you know, it`s clear that they could seek a criminal contempt referral, they could seek to have a bench warrant for someone to show up and potentially be in jail if they don`t agree to give testimony in their order to do so. I mean, it`s not something that we`ve seen a lot in this country, but it`s potentially possible. It just hasn`t been litigated down to the ground. So, we know whether or not this will work or not.

I think the one thing that your question events is though that is the big picture here is everything that`s happening, whether it be on the archives front with a decision tonight by Judge Chutkan. And the President`s already appealed that decision within a, you know, eyeblink with the January 6 members who`ve been subpoenaed and who are Trump loyalists and friends and advisors like Jeff Clark from the Department of Justice who was in a wink going to become the Attorney General because he was willing to do what Donald Trump wanted him to do. That person refused to cooperate last week, everything on all fronts. From the Trump side, from Trump World his stall, slow it down appeal, don`t participate. And ultimately, Brian, there`s going to be an election a midterm election where this committee may end up getting nowhere if the Republicans take over the House, this committee will be shelved. And those questions will not be answered.


WILLIAMS: Barb McQuade. Let me bounce back to you before I bring in Lisa Lerer for the last word, and it`s this question. I think about it a lot. Federal judges appointed for life. They are usually masters of their own realm. They have a staff many of them have been forced by the end of the cases they handle to have security with them driving them to work. They are king and queen of their courtroom domain. Do they get frustrated? When a federal judge like the one in question today who made a very broad pronouncement, when it is instantly either cast aside or questioned, at least in a de facto way, if an appeal is filed, that would blow right past it.

MCQUADE: I think judges recognize that there is a process and that all trial decisions are subject to an appeal. I think that when there is a stall that is apparent that there is some frustration that goes forward. But there`s a process for that, including expedited hearings, one of the things that frustrated me so much with some of the prior challenges that Trump filed on some of these subpoenas was that it took more than a year to get them resolved. You know, as we saw with, you know, the Nixon case in Watergate, as we saw just recently with SB 8 before the Supreme Court, courts can act quickly when there is an emergency. And so, I am hopeful that in this instance, if the Court of Appeals decides to intervene with this case, that they`ll do so quickly and not let it drag out for years. As Carol said, there`s -- if we go beyond the 2022 midterms, this whole investigation maybe invalid.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely, absolutely a possibility everyone`s looking at. Lisa, final question to you. And, again, deals with the Biden White House, even pro-Biden forces loyal Democrats have hopped on the criticism of messaging. What good is passing legislation trying to do good things, if you keep it a secret? The Baltimore trip, I guess, is a start. But Lisa, is there any evidence that message on messaging is getting through?

LERER: Well, I think it`s exactly as you put it, in the intro, this is going to be a full court press by the administration, not just by the President, but by cabinet officials, Democratic members of Congress to really push the benefits of this bipartisan infrastructure bill to get in these communities and tell voters this road, this bridge, this electrical grid, is something that Democrats and the Biden ministration delivered for you.

I think there is an open question at a time when Republicans have been very eager to run on culture war issues, and we saw them be fairly successful in these off-year elections last week, running on things like schools and, you know, more culture war, things like critical race theory. And at a time when people you have to really convince voters of a recovery that they may not be feeling in terms of gas prices, in terms of inflation of grocery goods, supply chain holds ups, whether pushing a message about roads and bridges will be sufficient to convince voters to support Democrats and what the many people in the party widely expect are going to be pretty tough elections for them.

But this is what President Biden has talked about since he`s come into office. He said that the way to restore faith in democracy and in government is to show voters that government can get things done and particularly get things done on a bipartisan basis, which this bill was. So, I think the messaging campaign around this infrastructure bill and the midterm elections that follow really test the strength of that theory of the President`s.

WILLIAMS: Greatly indebted to Lisa Lerer, to Carol Leonnig, to Barbara McQuade, our thanks to our starting line on this Tuesday night.

Coming up for us, as these subpoenas stack up, Democratic demands for accountability grow louder as that friend of this broadcast likes to say remember consequences. Follow up question, is there anyone Republicans want held accountable?

And later, ICU beds are filling up again in certain parts of our country. We will talk to a leading public health expert and activist who warns that while the COVID medicines are game changers, it`s still way too early to let our guard down. All of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Tuesday night.



WILLIAMS: Tonight, over a dozen House Republicans who voted to pass the infrastructure bill, voted to pass the infrastructure bill are facing severe backlash, maybe even punishment. Punchbowl News, they cover the Hill reports that this way, "The GOP leadership is bracing for rank-and-file lawmakers to attempt to strip committee assignments from the 13 Republican lawmakers." One of those lawmakers Michigan`s Fred Upton says he`s already received multiple death threats.


REP. FRED UPTON, (R-MI) VOTED IN FAVOR OF INFRASTRUCTURE BILL: I have a colleague if you know that put out two phone numbers of 13 members voted that way. I`m concerned about my staff. They`re taking these calls. They`re threats to them. These are very disturbing adult language to say the least. That truly is frightening.


WILLIAMS: Here to help us get into it tonight, two friends of ours, Baratunde Thurston, author, activist, comedian, former producer over at The Daily Show, he`s the host of the podcast, How to Citizen, he`s a founding partner in Puck, a new media company where he`s currently writing a series on race in America, called "After the Tide." And in his spare time, he`s also going to be hosting the upcoming PBS series. America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston. And Bill Kristol joins us as well. Author, writer, thinker, Politico veteran of the Reagan and Bush Administration`s editor at large at the Bulwark.

Gentlemen, good evening to you all. Bill, I want to play for you before we react to the stunning news of committee assignments being stripped if you voted to bring a new bridge to your district. Here is Mitch McConnell, in Kentucky on the infrastructure bill.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MINORITY LEADER: Infrastructure, however, enjoys 75% approval rating passed on a bipartisan basis. And I think it was the right thing to do.


WILLIAMS: So, Bill Kristol, that`s how Republicans used to talk. What do you make of this current era? Are they allowed to be for anything in Trump`s Republican Party?

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: They`re only allowed to be for, Brian, things that Trump is for. Trump was for infrastructure, in fact, somewhat infrastructure week became famous, right? Phrase, because Trump kept saying you wanted to pass an infrastructure bill. That turns out, you can only be for infrastructure, if it`s at the right time for Trump. And if it`s Trump`s infrastructure bill, and if it`s Biden`s infrastructure bill, even if what 40% of Senate Republicans voted for it, you`re a traitor, as they say, is the word they use, if you vote for it. So, we it`s a very sick politics. I`m afraid we`re not looking at.

WILLIAMS: Baratunde, it is the rare member of the House of Representatives where, you know, by sight, they`re siblings, because they come on television, so much to say how much their brother is unequipped to be a member of Congress, such as the case with Paul Gosar. So let me get this straight, they may penalize Republicans in the House, who voted to bring infrastructure spending back home to their districts. But any penalty for Paul Gosar now he`s good, not so much?

BARATUNDE THURSTON, AUTHOR, ACTIVIST AND COMEDIAN: Yeah, it`s it said, and to quote Bill, it`s sick. It`s good to be back here with you, Bill. Brian B team back together. I love this reunion. And I`m not surprised. I feel like a parent that`s no longer angry with certain parts of the GOP. I`m just disappointed. But I`m definitely not surprised that this part of a party that cosigned insurrection, doesn`t want to invest in America, because that would actually move people forward, that would solve some of the problems. And these are not folks who are interested in solving problems, even for some of their constituents, like you could get to your Trump rally more easily on roads and bridges that don`t collapse. You could spread your online anti-American screed more easily on broadband that actually works. There`s literally something in this for everyone, even people I strongly disagree with. So disappointed, not surprised. And I`m really sad to see the turn and again endorsement of language even leading to political violence. We`ve seen enough of that already.

WILLIAMS: Bill Kristol, let`s wander into a devil`s advocate argument. A lot of people were excited to see the Senate race up in New Hampshire, Senator Hassan, the Democratic incumbent against Chris Sununu, son of John or so it was thoughts, Sununu says now that he`s not going to run, is it at all possible, and if the Democrats turn themselves around, get out of their way and do their jobs, that people may be counting Republican Senate chickens a bit too quickly?

KRISTOL: Yeah, I think so. I think one reason Chris Sununu chose not run, is if your governor -- if you run for re-election, and if you can just run for re-election as governor, you can sort of stand-alone. I mean, young can show this in a way, right? It is a referendum on, especially for an incumbent and how you`ve done as governor of your state. If you run for the Senate or the House, if you run for federal office, you`re running to be part of Trump`s Republican Caucus in the House, which was seen but even in the Senate, Mitch McConnell Senate. That`s the facts.

The truth, you`re going to be running for the Senate at the same time that Josh Mandel is running for the Senate and Sean Parnell is running for the Senate, Herschel Walker is running for the Senate, you are expected to be happy about your future Republican Catholics and so forth. So, I actually think this is a product, Sununu, I`m sure he`s being sincere when he says he prefers being governor than senator. But I think a lot of this is a product of, he does think you can still be as sort of decent person and a Republican governor, and I think he`s unsure that he could function and the way he would want to in a Republican Senate.

WILLIAMS: Both these gentlemen are staying with us. Baratunde, I`m coming to you with a question on Joe Biden after this break.

Coming up, a leading congressional Democrat warns the White House is not doing nearly enough to sell the President`s infrastructure victory. Are Democrats indeed ready to go on offence? We`ll talk about it when we come back.




REP. SEAN PATRICK, MALONEY, (D) NEW YORK DCCC CHAIR: We can win elections and stand for something. But we also need to talk like human beings. And I actually have a lot of respect for James Carville. And I think what he`s saying at its best is that stop talking like a bunch of lawyers and a bunch of faculty eggheads and go out and talk to folks who pick a shower after work and who have to understand why what we`re doing is going to put food on their table, help them pay their bills, guarantee him a decent retirement. And we have the best voice in the Democratic Party to connect with working- and middle-class families and Joe Biden.


WILLIAMS: That`s a lot and that right there is the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, DCCC if you live in Washington, Sean Patrick Maloney, who happens to be an upstate north of New York City democratic congressman, with an urgent call for action by Democrats and the White House. He has a big job ahead of them.

Here`s what he told the New York Times, "My message is `free Joe Biden.` That campaign needs to start now before the next crisis takes over the news cycle."

Still with us thankfully, Baratunde Thurston and Bill Kristol. So, Baratunde, here`s the question I was warning you about, because this may trigger a tough love response. Is Joe Biden, the best person to sell this plan?

THURSTON: Yes. And, Brian, he is one of the best, he`s among the best, but we shouldn`t put this all on Joe Biden and with respect to Representative Maloney, who runs that DCCC organization. I`ve been getting DCCC mails for the past decade, and they are violent assaults on the sanctity of my inbox. They try to terrify me, hover doom and gloom over my mind and scare me into giving money to an organization that doesn`t inspire belief, doesn`t inspire action doesn`t inspire me to get on the phone and call my friends and say, yo, this is what`s in this plan. We got better childcare so more of us can work power this economy. We got affordable medications, so more people cannot be sick. Even if you don`t care about human health. You care about workers` health.


So, there`s something in that for everyone. I agree we have to simplify some of the language. I think Joe Biden can do a part of it. But I also think we need to deploy messaging in a very different way, these op-eds and top down. That`s not how people get the information, we are in a lateral information ecosystem, we are in digital spaces. And we need everybody out there on all of the fields and all the screens, selling this in a different way, not based on price tag, because that just scares people, based on benefits that for all this time, past decades, I`ve only gone to the people at the very top, this bill back, bringing some balance. I like it. But we need more people, we need to upgrade our messaging infrastructure, just like our bridges.

WILLIAMS: I didn`t mean to interrupt. Let`s go there on messaging, though, to your same point for folks who regard Facebook, Fox News and TikTok as the holy trinity of where they get their news, who are following every move in the Aaron Rodgers story. How do you tell that audience that the rickety bridge they take to work every morning is going to get replaced? Thanks to your friend, the president.

THURSTON: I don`t think you contort Joe Biden into a TikTok dance star. That`s pandering. It looks false. It`s not authentic to who he is. There are ways for him to be a messenger for some of his policies. I do think you tap people who already have audiences and already have trust. Trust is being distributed. Brian, it`s not about a top politician or top media organization. It`s peer to peer. We`ve known this for a very long time. Ad agencies and marketing companies have known this. It`s time for our political organizations to play like they understand it to. Individual politicians get it, much as I disrespect per morality. Marjorie Taylor Greene gets it, AOC gets it. There are people who are playing by the new sets of rules. The party`s well behind the people, and they need to catch up to.

WILLIAMS: All right, Bill Kristol. Here`s another tough love question. How do you convince voters the economy`s fine with people taking money out of their 401(k)`s to fill up at Sunoco? It really is like, someone at the White House just realized what we`re all paying for gasoline in this country.

KRISTOL: Yeah, I think you need to acknowledge reality. And the worst thing you can do I think, Baratunde, would implication of what he was saying. What you`re saying, is if you seem to be out of touch, and just denying what`s obvious -- what is true, I mean, people know to be true when they go to the supermarket or the gas station, then you have no credibility. If you acknowledge that look, it`s pandemic and we`ve had to get the economy going again, and our supply chain problems and there is some temporary what hopes inflation, but we know what we`re doing, that`s a much more credible message.

And to some Baratunde`s point, we did these Republican voters against Trump effort in 2019, 2020 I think most voters, the one thing we found is people did not want to hear from top down, they didn`t want to hear from elected officials. They didn`t want to hear from, you know, actors and fancy ads. What seemed to work though, was hearing from people like themselves on genuine iPhone, little quick, you know, messages that you could then put on that magnify by digital media and on TV even. But someone who would say in our case, it was trying to get people who might have voted for Trump to switch. So, we found people, authentic people saying in their own words, that look, I`m switching, I`m voting for, you know, this time I can`t vote from again, I`m not crazy about Biden, some of these people would say, but Trump can`t risk four years and Trump. But that`s not the conventional political ad because no, but the Biden campaign in the Democratic Congressional code is not going to put up an ad saying I`m not crazy about Biden. But a lot of people feel that way. But then you`ve got to tell them no, we still want -- don`t want to let the Republicans take charge.

So, I very much agree with I think what Baratunde was implying that rethinking the way in which you communicate this thing, but again, saying with gee, the President has to do it. We in Congress can`t do it. The President has to do it. I don`t really think that`s a serious thinking about communication strategy.

WILLIAMS: Our thanks to our guests, friends of this broadcast, Baratunde Thurston, who will be spending the rest of the evening cleaning his inbox and Bill Kristol, gentlemen, it`s always a pleasure. Thank you both so much.

Coming up for us, a dramatic rise in COVID cases, overseas and in some states and our country is overwhelming some health care systems and hospitals. How worried should we be?



WILLIAMS: The CDC says the recent decline in COVID cases in our country appears to be slowing. And in some parts of our country the virus is once again on the rise and that`s bad.

In Colorado they just today enacted what`s called crisis standards of care that allows hospitals to take unusual steps to deal with already stretched resources.

Back with us tonight is Dr. Irwin Redlener, Founding Director of Columbia`s National Center for Disaster Preparedness. He advises us on public health. He`s also professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Doctor, I know that in your line of work when someone spikes a fever in Sweden, you hear about it, I`m exaggerating, but not by much. So, you`ve been noticing these localized spikes we`ve seen in Europe, the news we talked about here last night in China, which happens to be per capita, the most vaccinated nation on Earth. And I have to ask you the question, I`ve asked you 50 times, how worried does all of it make you?

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, EXPERT ON PANDEMIC INFLUENZA: So, Brian, obviously, this is something we have to be attentive to, and not just China, but also in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. And I think we`re going to be seeing the rise in the United Kingdom and Great Britain again. And here in this country, of course, we`re seeing issues happening now that we`re worried about. We`re watching in Colorado and some of the New England states and so on.

So, I`m worried about the term worried. I think we should be vigilant is what I think. And I think we should need to -- we need to stop getting extreme in what we think is or is not going to happen. I think that`d be the wisest thing for most of us. How to take this, you know, a few days ago, a former FDA, Director by the name of Scott Gottlieb predicted that the COVID pandemic was going to be over in early January, which was an absurdly optimistic and non-based on anything opinion that just gets people thinking in the wrong direction. I think what we have to do now, Brian, really is to take all this with a grain of salt and pepper and say, listen, we`re going to follow the rules. We`re going to get vaccinated we`re going to keep our distance and the wintertime is in general worrisome because it`s colder weather, viruses may replicate more, we`re going to be indoors more, we`re going to holiday parties.


So, all this does not spell good news or glide path out of this anytime soon. So, staying vigilant and following the rules and making sure you and yours get vaccinated is really what we need to do right now. Am I worried, professional? I am. But I think what, what it means for all of us in the country, is to be vigilant. And by the way, following the actual experts, you know, like at the CDC, as opposed as a football player is also another good idea that I`d recommend.

WILLIAMS: You took the words right out of my mouth. So many of us are following the Aaron Rodgers story. I`m a big NFL fan myself, I`ve been watching the season he`s had with great interest. And what has happened recently has made me and so many other fans so sad. How damaging is something like this?

REDLENER: Well, you know, this horrendous. I have people in my own family, I`m sorry to say, who are anti-vaxxers, who are taking, you know, non- approved medications and other kind of superstitious nonsense to try to deal with COVID. But, you know, Aaron Rodgers is a superstar. He`s a hero to millions of his fans and children. And first of all, he lived in August when he tried to skirt the issue of, was he vaccinated. He said, well, I`m immunized, which of course, everyone understandably thought him to mean that he was vaccinated, which of course he wasn`t.

He`s getting his advice from Joe Rogan, a complete, you know, out outside the mainstream crackpot who`s promoting all kinds of ridiculous non-proven methods of dealing with COVID. So, he`s demonstrating to his fans to very - - to people are very receptive to what he`s saying, to first of all, the fact that he lied publicly. And second of all, he put God knows how many of his teammates and his -- the people he confronts on the football field when he`s playing at risk. It`s just shocking to me -- he got to, you know, he got a fine of $14,000 the man makes $22 million a year, plus endorsements. It`s not even a slap on the wrist. It`s sort of like a wave in the air $14,000 to him is worth about, you know, $50 to a guy making $75,000 here. This whole episode is really concerning, Brian, and something we could do to take stronger steps to deal with people like that, in my opinion.

WILLIAMS: And so far, State Farm insurance, one of his biggest endorsement deals is standing with him. Dr. Irwin Redlener, a little medicine, little sports, a little bit of everything on a Tuesday night, our thanks as always.

Coming up for us, what is taking place on a hillside in Virginia is so special and so rare. We will have to wait a century before we ever see it again.



WILLIAMS: This is the scene at Arlington Cemetery. Already one of the most moving and impressive and dramatic places in our country. High on a hill, solemn protected 24/7 by the U.S. Army`s Old Guard, the Tomb of the Unknowns, those lost in battled and known back to God. For the first time in a century, the protective ropes and stanchions designed to keep the public at a safe distance are pulled back to allow people ordinary citizens all kinds of people the chance to pay their respects and leave flowers and mementos up close. It`s all meant to mark the centennial of the tomb 100 years ago in 1921. The first remains of three unknown U.S. servicemen since World War One were laid to rest there.

Arlington got us to thinking about my friend, Max Cleland. Back when he was a young captain, Cleland outside of case on in 68. He picked up a live grenade which cost him three of his limbs. Max Cleland came home to the States with a Purple Heart bronze star, silver star and one arm. And with the help of the magicians at Walter Reed, he put himself back together. He went on to get involved in politics, U.S. senator from Georgia, later defeated by a disgusting GOP smear campaign that he was somehow not tough enough on terrorism. The attack ad showed him next to imagery of Osama bin Laden. After his defeat, which laid him low, Cleland was named VA Secretary. And as an enlisted man, grievously injured, he had this way of talking to fellow veterans that fancier Washington types never quite mastered.

Max Cleland has died at the age of 79. And we have lost an actual patriot, one tough guy who leaves behind his own chapter of our American history. We`re back with a final word right after this.



WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, as the old song says, we got a thing going on. Think about it. We`ve been meeting this way at this same time, this same place for an awful long while five years give or take. Next year is my 40th year in the business, the earth was still cooling, in fact, when I started as a reporter. And so that got me to thinking and that led me to write something that we made public earlier tonight. And in case you missed it or demanded a dramatic reading, here it is. And it reads like this, "Following much reflection and after 28 years with the company, I have decided to leave NBC upon the completion of my current contract in December. I have been truly blessed. I have been allowed to spend almost half my life with one company. NBC as a part of me and always will be, 28 years, 38 countries, eight Olympic Games, seven presidential elections, half a dozen presidents, a few wars and one SNL.

`Good friends were in great supply at NBC. I was fortunate that everyone I worked with made me better at my job. I have had the best colleagues imaginable. That includes great bosses. I was on the air for the launch of MSNBC. My return years later was my choice. As was launching the 11th Hour that I`m as proud of as the decade I spent anchoring nightly news. I wanted it to be called the 11th Hour as it was late in the 2016 campaign back then. And I wanted it to air at 11 p.m. Eastern time. I ask all those of you who are a part of our loyal viewing audience to remain loyal. THE 11TH HOUR will remain in good hands produced by the best team in cable news.

`Special thanks are due to our guests on the 11th Hour. The journalists who made our broadcast what it was, they are our stars. And in this era, stars have Pulitzers. This is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another. There are many things I want to do, and I`ll pop up again somewhere.

`For the next few months, I`ll be with my family, the people I love most, the people who enabled my career to happen. I will reflect on the kindness people have shown me and I will pay it forward."

So that`s all of it. And we get to meet here in this way for a few more weeks. And the good news is you get to keep watching. As I said the 11th Hour is way bigger than any one man or woman. The truth is our secret has always been it`s always about our guests. That will never change. So, we`ll be talking and come to think of it. I`ll see you back here as early as tomorrow night. That`s our broadcast for this Tuesday with our thanks for being here with us as always. On behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.