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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 12/17/21

Guests: Murtaza Akhter, Jeremy Bash, Jackie Alemany, Tim Miller, Don Calloway, Cynthia Alksne


COVID surges in parts of U.S. as Omicron spreads. New York reports record 20,000 plus COVID cases. Alex Jones 1/6 Committee deposition postponed. Rioter gets 5 years, longest 1/6 sentence yet. Roger Stone pleads the Fifth before 1/6 committee. Senate Democrats renew push for voting right bill. Tiger Woods returns to competitive golf.


JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: I`m Jonathan Capehart. You can catch me on the Sunday show every Sunday morning at 10 a.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. But you know what starts next, THE 11TH HOUR, that starts right now.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC Host: Good evening, once again. Day 332 of the Biden administration. And tonight, the White House is facing down that troubling winter surge of new COVID cases in many parts of the country.

The Director of the CDC today said the U.S. is now averaging about 120,000 new cases a day, 40% higher than just a month ago. The highly contagious Omicron variant is expected to become the dominant strain in the coming weeks. And from coast-to-coast nervous Americans lined up in cars on city streets, all just waiting to get tested.

But White House COVID Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients resign says this is not a moment to panic. Current vaccines appear to be effective against the new variant.


JEFFREY ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Our vaccines work against Omicron especially for people who get booster shots when they`re eligible. If you are vaccinated, you could test positive but if you do get COVID, your case will likely be asymptomatic or mild. We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. For the unvaccinated, you`re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families in the hospitals you may soon overwhelmed.


JANSING: Just as we saw during the beginning of this two-year pandemic, concern is growing in New York tonight after a dramatic surge in new cases here. New York state reports more than 20,000 new infections today alone, breaking the record of 19,000 set in January of this year.

Earlier today, the Radio City Rockettes said they were scrapping several performances, the popular Christmas Spectacular in New York City because of breakthrough infections. But by tonight, the Rockettes announced production is canceled for the remainder of this season over COVID concerns.

Some Broadway shows and restaurants in New York City are also again closing their doors. At least temporarily over COVID cases. The New York Times points out New Yorkers feel a familiar anxiety to the dark days of 2020. Officials say the new Omicron variant is spreading fastest here in New York and in New Jersey. And Dr. Anthony Fauci says there`s still not enough known about this new outbreak.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Omicron is more transmissible, everything we know about it from what we`re seeing, not only in South Africa, but its distribution throughout the world and as well as in our own country. We see what`s going on in New York City, when we getting beyond double digits of Omicron being the primary variant there in that percentage.

With regard to the seriousness of infection, really, it`s still up in the air right now because there are a lot of confounding issues as to whether or not it is less severe. Certainly, looking at what we see it does not look like it is more severe, but we have to hold with -- and withhold judgment about to the severity being less.


JANSING: And with lots of new cases, Professional Sports Leagues are now postponing games. More than 100 NFL players reportedly have tested positive in recent days. As CNBC reports, "The Raiders-Browns game in Cleveland, originally scheduled for Saturday will be played Monday afternoon. Two games that were set for Sunday the Seahawks versus the Rams and the Washington Football Team against the Philadelphia Eagles will be played Tuesday night. The National Hockey League is also postponing games over rising COVID numbers and the NBA is returning to tougher COVID protocols through the holidays.

There is also news tonight concerning vaccines for young children. Today, Pfizer said its testing of a third dose of its vaccine in children two to under five years old, after researchers found the two-dose regimen failed to generate a strong enough immune response. And just a couple of hours ago in a victory for the Biden White House and appeals court cleared the way for the President`s vaccine and testing mandate for private businesses to take effect.

In that two to one ruling, the Ohio based Sixth Circuit said the OSHA order for businesses with at least 100 employees is valid. Tonight, Politico reports 27 business groups have already filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.

We`re also following important developments tonight in the January 6 investigation, the House Select Committee tried to question longtime Trump ally Roger Stone about the insurrection. But Stone made it clear he didn`t give them any answers.


ROGER STONE, TRUMP ALLY: I did invoke my fifth amendment rights to every question not because I have done anything wrong but because I am fully aware of the House Democrats long history of fabricating perjury charges on the basis of comments that are innocuous, inmaterial or irrelevant. I stress yet again that I was not on the lips, I did not march to the Capitol. I was not at the Capitol, and any claim, assertion or even implication that I knew about or was involved in any way whatsoever with the illegal and politically counterproductive, activities of January 6 is categorically false.



JANSING: The Committee has said Stone was in Washington on January 5, and 6 to attend and speak at rallies in support of Trump and his false allegations of voter fraud. We also learned today that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones` disposition originally scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed.

And tonight, The New York Times reports the January 6 committee is, "weighing whether to hire staff members who can analyze social media posts. And examining the role foreign adversaries played in sowing divisions among Americans over the outcome of the presidential election."

And one more January 6 item tonight, a Tampa Florida man was sentenced to more than five years in prison today for assaulting police officers during the Capitol attack wielding a plank and a fire extinguisher. Robert Palmer 63 months sentence is the longest yet for anyone charged in the 1/6 riot.

With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Friday night, Jackie Alemany, political reporter for The Washington Post and the author of the paper`s morning newsletter the Early 202. Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff at CIA and the Pentagon and Dr. Murtaza Akhter, emergency physician at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. He also works in emergency rooms in Pennsylvania and Florida.

It`s good to see all of you on a Friday night. Dr. Akhter, people in New York have been so cautious for so long and yet COVID cases here are soaring, performances, sporting events canceled, it all sounds so familiar, but some officials argue as long as you`re fully vaccinated, especially with a booster just go on and live your lives. Help us understand exactly what the threat level is right now in a place like New York City and whether fully vaccinated people should be taking more precautions?

DR. MURTAZA AKHTER, ARIZONA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Yeah, that`s a great question, Chris. I was in Pennsylvania working just last week, and it was one of those bizarre situations where after having gone up there from Miami, the cases were worse up there. Despite the Northeast having done so much better than Florida in general. That won`t be the case for long. Florida`s going to get it spike very soon. It`s already starting. But in terms of when people say live your life if you`re vaccinated, I`m not sure what that means. It`s very vague statements. If you live your life means you can gather with family who`s all vaccinated. Sure, if everybody`s vaccinated and gathering with those family members, great. If it means going to indoor restaurants, we have no idea what the vaccination status of anyone is. And nobody is masked because by definition you`re eating and you`re in a community like New York, where cases are surging. I wouldn`t say live your life. Obviously, people are going to make decisions as they feel best. But if you can be confident that everybody in your situation is vaccinated or in a very well-ventilated area, I think you`re OK. There are very few places where you can be guaranteed of that is my experience.

JANSING: So, talk about where you are. Describe what you`re seeing in hospitals right now. What`s your big concern?

AKHTER: Well, remember, all the other issues in medicine haven`t magically gone away. I`ve been seeing this for it feels like years now. So, for the people who think, hey, whatever, they`ll just handle COVID When the COVID cases come in, well, God forbid you`re in a car accident, or have the very American problem of being shocked. Or you come down with sepsis and some other cause or you have appendicitis or have a heart attack. If there are no beds available, because there`s a surge in COVID, guess what, you`re going to be stuck waiting in the waiting room, and I can guarantee you that care in the waiting was not nearly as good as in a hospital bed. That`s what you`re facing.

JANSING: Yeah. And if doctors and nurses start getting sick, and even if they`re not seriously ill then they can`t go into work. It all sort of dominoes.

Jeremy, I want to talk about the other big story tonight. The 1/6 investigation busy week for the select committee with the Mark Meadows contempt vote. What are your takeaways after everything we`ve learned so far?

JEREMY BASH, FORMER, CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: Yeah, Chris. I think this was the most consequential week for the January 6 investigation and the bipartisan committee`s activities. You had the text messages and PowerPoint that Mark Meadows produced that showed clearly that there was a link between Senior White House officials and those who were advocating for stealing the election disrupting the election results and engaging in an arm attack on the Capitol. You had individuals like Mark Meadows and Roger Stone plead the Fifth. Obviously, they`ve got something to hide. Roger Stone there in the clip you played, felt free to talk to the press, but he would not face the investigators questions.


And then you have this extensive sentence in the Florida case where someone was sentenced for more than five years for assaulting police officers. And that`s just the beginning of it. Obviously, those who incited the riots will have to be held accountable as well. So, I think there`s new momentum to the committee`s work. And I think the next several weeks are going to be very telling in terms of where this investigation is going to go.

JANSING: And Jackie, what else can you tell us about the committee`s thinking when it comes to Roger Stone? And overall, does the committee seem to think does it appear that the committee is making real progress?

JACKIE ALEMANY, THE WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah, to add on to what Jeremy said, I think this week has been a blockbuster week for them. And I think people are really just starting to tune in and it`s a preview for what we`re going to see next year, the committee finally putting together a lot of the evidence that they`ve been collecting over the past few months and telling the American people a story with that information. That being said, there`s still a lot of unanswered questions here. And, you know, we saw some of them spelled out by committee members this week, during that contempt hearing for Mark Meadows when the committee voted to hold him in contempt, and then sent it to the house for a full vote that approved to hold him in contempt as well.

Roger Stone, at least comparatively, I think is a little less integral to the committee`s work. At this point in time, what we have really seen is just how key Mark Meadows and some of the people who were in former President Trump`s inner circle are to the committee`s work, they`re still trying to piece together that 187 minutes what the President was doing, while the violence was underway at the Capitol. And the people who would know that best are less likely to be people like Roger Stone, who were sort of his peripheral players, and more likely be people like Mark Meadows, Johnny McEntee people who were in and out of the Oval Office on January 6.

JANSING: Jeremy, what`s your reaction to this new reporting from the Times tonight that the committee may hire new staff to look at social media, the way they put it, digital footprints could help congressional investigators connect players and events. And maybe for some folks even more intriguing, they would look into potential foreign efforts to divide the country after the election. What do you make of it?

BASH: Well, I`m quite sure, Chris, that the committee is already analyzing social media because, of course, much of the January 6 events were planned there. But I think their foreign interference pieces is very interesting. You know, up until now, we`ve sort of regarded this as mainly a domestic terrorist incident. Although there were Neo-Nazis, fascist anti Semites and racist in the crowd. We haven`t seen clear evidence of a foreign nexus. But clearly, there`s a reason why the committee wants to look into this. And if there is a foreign Nexus, whether it`s witting or unwitting by the participants, I think that`s going to up the stakes here significantly in showcase just how much of a national security threat this armed mob posed to our election, our democracy.

JANSING: And of course, Jackie, Washington is shifting into holiday and recess mode. But what should we be looking for from Democrats in these waning days of 2021, especially when it comes to build back better and now voting rights?

ALEMANY: I`m not sure we can be looking for all that much from Democrats. They`re finishing the year off rather frustrated after not being able to push through President Biden`s biggest economic agenda, the build back better than nearly $2 trillion social spending package long with voting rights, which was another is another huge priority for the administration that lawmakers pivoted to earlier this week when they realize it was going to become -- sorry, I have an angry puppy, whose sleep schedule. I`m disturbing. But I think lawmakers soon when they realized that they weren`t going to be able to hash out Build Back Better because of the Joe Manchin roadblock, they pivoted to voting rights as a sort of distraction deflection tactic. And, you know, they already have various bills drafted.

Joe Manchin was warming to some of these rules changes. You had people moderate Democrats like Mark Warner arguing that because they made some rules changes in order to pass the debt limit last week that Democrats should be able to apply that to get something done to be able to go home to talk to their constituents. Instead, you`re going to see lawmakers go home empty handed. And including actually having to speak to one of the major priorities and proposals that was implemented by the administration, the expiration of the child tax credit that cut child poverty by 40%. And lawmakers also declined to renew that program with a standalone bill. So, all in all, again, a rather frustrating end of the year for Democrats who are going to have to sort of finesse some new talking points as they head home with little new to show for.


JANSING: Yeah, I mean, it`s not just that they`re not going to be able to go back and say we did Build Back Better. We did voting rights, but they`re going back at a time when we see these COVID cases on the rise. People have had it. They don`t want to be thinking about whether or not they can get together with grandma, because their little one is unvaccinated. I mean, how does COVID and the rising number of cases play into all this? I mean, number one lives, right? But there`s a political angle to this as well.

ALEMANY: Yeah, that`s a really great point, Chris. And I don`t think that - - I honestly think that we are really at an inflection point, really today. The conversation beforehand was all about inflation. We were making a comeback. Joe Manchin`s biggest default argument and resistance to passing another massive spending bill was that with inflation rising with people getting back to work, with us overcoming the pandemic, that it wasn`t necessary to pass such a bill. Again, I think that conversation might potentially switch as we come into the new year, these next few weeks, and the way the administration navigates them are going to be really crucial and potentially the major impact the way people like Joe Manchin, maybe view the urgency with getting something passed again, and some of these social spending programs renewed.

JANSING: It`s worth mentioning, I think, Doctor, that Kamala Harris earlier today said they didn`t see Delta coming. They didn`t see Omicron coming. We don`t know where this is going, right? Scientists have their, you know, best guesses, but we don`t know. And so, as we are in this moment, with a lot of worried people out there, I wonder how worried are you? And can you give us some more specific guidance, as people want to know if I`m fully vaccinated and boostered? Is it OK to travel? Is it OK to gather with family and friends?

AKHTER: Well, I can`t speak for the Vice President, but I can`t say Omicron is coming. And so that science at first knew that Delta was going to come. The health experts knew that Omicron was going to come. It`s here. It`s very transmissible. And now it does seem to be a bit milder, which could be a huge perk if it outcompetes that Delta variant, and is indeed milder, than some might view that as a minor victory for a member if it`s so transmissible, that many people get infected, you`re obviously going to have a huge surge in cases and naturally, some of them, a lot of them are going to need to get hospitalized.

I will say if you`ve been fully vaccinated and have had the booster as well, you`re probably in pretty good shape. But if you haven`t had the booster in particular, if you haven`t been vaccinated, it`s the same case as it was before, you`re really putting yourself at significant risk. Unless you`re a hermit or live in a hazmat suit. I have yet to meet a hermit, by definition, and I`ve yet to meet people walking around in hazmat suits or astronaut suits. So, if you`re going to be interacting with people, which most want to do, especially with the holidays, you have to be vaccinated.

JANSING: Dr. Murtaza Akhter, thank you. Jackie Alemany, Jeremy Bash, I appreciate it very much on this Friday night.

And coming up, Mitch McConnell is now among those eager to see what the investigation into 1/6 an event he calls horrendous turns up next.

And later, the President promises the battle against the other team is far from over when it comes to protecting the sacred right to vote. Two of our favorite political observers help us wrap up this week. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on a Friday night.




SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MINORITY LEADER: We`re watching the investigation that`s occurring over in the House, reading about it like everyone else. And it`ll be interesting to see what facts I find. It was a horrendous event. And I think that what they`re seeking to find out is something the public needs to know.


JANSING: That`s quite a turn for the Senate Minority Leader. Seven months ago, Mitch McConnell struck a dramatically different tone over the creation of a 1/6 commission.


MCCONNELL: I`ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats slanted an unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January the six. It`s not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress.


JANSING: Back with us tonight, Don Calloway, Democratic Strategist and Founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund and Tim Miller, a contributor to the Bulwark and former Communications Director for Jeb Bush. Good to see you guys.

So, Tim, let`s remind our viewers what Mitch McConnell said back in February. Let`s listen.


MCCONNELL: January 6 was a disgrace. American citizens attacked their own government. There`s no question, none. President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.


JANSING: And now Tim, McConnell seems to be all for uncovering what caused that riot. What`s going on?

TIM MILLER, THE BULWARK CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Chris, first, I see that Jackson State Sweatshirt, Don`s wearing shot a big recruiting week for them at Jackson State this week. So very timely.

Here`s what`s going on with McConnell. If McConnell over the Christmas break, stumbled upon a magic lamp, and a genie came out of the lamp and he had three wishes, and no one would know that he`d had those wishes. The first one would be to take Steven Briars seat and be able to appoint another conservative to it. That`s what he cares the most about. The second thing that he would wish for is that Donald Trump would just go away.

Mitch McConnell understands that what Donald Trump precipitated on January 6 was horrible. He -- it was because of Donald Trump that the Senate chamber that he still loves was breached. It was because of Donald Trump that he is not the majority leader right now. Those two Georgia Senate seats were lost because of Donald Trump`s actions between November and January 5. In private, there`s no love loss. The problem is the thing that Mitch McConnell cares about the very most, being majority leader being able to appoint those judges requires him to play ball with Donald Trump.


If he was the one to push Donald Trump overboard, it would cause a crack up in the Republican Party, the MAGA voters, the Trump voters would turn on him and he would not be able to lead this party -- he would turn into a bit what Paul Ryan is to be a board member at Fox, it`d be out of out of politics. And so, he`s stuck. He`s stuck. If he wants to stay as leader, you know, he has to continue to play this footsie with Donald Trump, while knowing on the inside that what Trump did was wrong. And while wishing that he could just move on from Donald Trump to Ron DeSantis, who have or whoever else in 2024 but he can`t do it. And so sometimes that desire slips out interviews like this, and I think that explains his behavior today.

JANSING: Although we should know, Don, despite his best efforts, the twice impeached former president can`t seem to convince Republicans to get rid of Mitch McConnell as the leader of the GOP. Politico reports in this way tonight, despite months of attacks, the Trump led campaign to depose the Senate Minority Leader has resulted in firm pledges from just two Republican candidates and no senators. And it has failed to turn up a formidable challenger to run against McConnell.

So, does this in any way suggest waning influence by Trump? Can Mitch McConnell breathe a sigh of relief just yet?

DON CALLOWAY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, definitely not. I mean, listen, Donald Trump is going to maintain his vise grip over the bulk and, frankly, the growing energy in the Republican Party, but every now and then we see the National Republican Party kind of pat Trump on his head and send him on his way and let the adults continue to conduct their business. That`s what`s happening here. Donald Trump is not going to have any outsized influence on the actual machinations in terms of Senate procedure in the Senate Republican caucus. I mean, you think -- do we think Senator Boozman of Arkansas really, really cares what Donald Trump has to say that much, he`ll play the game just enough. And I would say that`s probably the same for Cornyn and any other number of the old line hardcore Republican senators, they`re going to appear in a rally or two, they`re going to appear in public to not officially break ties with Trump, but they`re not going to let Trump dictate who his Senate Republican leader is, they`re not going to let him dictate what they do to a on any number of procedural matters that are going to come before the United States Senate. And this is one of those. So, you know, they`re not going to rebuke them in public, but they`re certainly not going to let him dictate what happens in the Senate, which is so unique and so uniquely powerful.

JANSING: Tim, I also want to ask you about the congressional report today that concluded the Trump administration engaged in deliberate efforts to undermine the pandemic response, silencing top public health experts, including a senior CDC official, here`s how former CDC Director Robert Redfield responded to the report.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: I think Nancy Messonnier (ph) is a really an important and enormous public figure, done great service to our nation when she basically told the truth of what she felt was coming there were some people that weren`t really, really happy about her comments, but I think is everyone knows her comments were right on. There were some decisions after that, unfortunately, that limited CDC`s ability to communicate effectively to the American public.

JANSING: I think for a lot of folks, Tim, nothing they learn about this surprises them. And yet are we finally starting at least in writing and after investigation starting to get sort of the full impact of the former President`s actions and how millions of lives are put at risk?

MILLER: Yeah, the most surprising thing about that cliff, Chris, is that that little bit of truth broke through over on Fox. You know, look, we were covering it, the Bulwark is the Silencing Nancy Messonnier way back in March in spring of 2020. And she was really the first person to sound the alarm on an early conference call at the very beginning of when we were learning about this pandemic, back when Donald Trump was still, you know, talking about how his friend, Chairman Xi has things under control over there in China. So, you know, look, Olivia Troye, came -- left the President`s COVID Task Force, came out to her great credit before the election and spoke out about this and blew the whistle and it`s good to see now that further investigations are going on that there are other people that are corroborating? You know, what Olivia Troye was telling the American people, and warning the American people about the for the November 2020 election.

JANSING: You know, we`ve been listening to this, Don, over the last couple days even at the top of this program, experts predicting deadly COVID outbreaks, particularly among the largely unvaccinated, did all the disinformation groundwork that was laid back then make it nearly impossible now to convince people who haven`t gotten a shot already to get?

CALLOWAY: 1,000%, at this point I think that a lot of reasonable and rational adults have concluded that COVID will always be with us. It`s something that our kids and grandkids will know about.


Now, granted, it may not always be a deadly pandemic, and we will get to a place where we will learn to manage the various upcoming and forthcoming variations, but it will always be with us. And that is directly because of how we handled it from the beginning. And that is acutely on Donald Trump because of how he chose to sow distrust in government institutions. He undermined Dr. Fauci in his -- in addition to his own appointees, and the way he handled it, the way he consistently sowed the seeds of distrust among authority. But this was -- this distrust in our institutions, this distrust that our basic public servants are out to serve the public and not themselves. That distrust started in the Trump administration from the moment he came down those steps at Trump Tower as a candidate it started long before COVID. But it`s certainly extended that it manifests itself as worse since with this COVID response.

JANSING: And I have to ask you, Don, did Tim sartorial point, the Jackson State shirt tonight, is that chosen the way I choose my clothes which is what`s at the top of the laundry basket or is that a statement on Travis Hunter?

CALLOWAY: Is the statement on Travis Hunter. Listen, I was Alabama and then we`re in the swag but we`re so proud of Coach Prime, because what he`s doing is laying the roots for fundamentally flipping the balance of HBCU College Football power, tipping it toward us for once in an opportunity and away from the power grip that the Big Five has had over the NCAA. So very excited for everything Coach Prime is doing, and we wish him luck in the celebration (inaudible).

JANSING: For once. All right, these gentlemen have both agreed to stay here a little longer and talk politics, maybe little sports.

Coming up, the President`s heading into the holidays with much of his wish list unfulfilled. More on what happens next when the 11th Hour continues.




JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: I`ve never seen anything like the unrelenting assault on the right to vote. But each and every time it gets brought up, that other team blocks the ability even to start to discuss it. That other team would use to be called the Republican Party. We`re going to keep up the fight until we get it done, and you`re going to keep up the fight and we need your help badly.


JANSING: The President`s message to a roomful of graduates from HBCU, South Carolina State University. Chuck Schumer has vowed to pass voting rights in time for the 2022 election. And today, Senate Democrats held a special meeting on a path forward on voting rights as well as the Build Back Better plan. But there`s still no sign of progress on either of the President`s priorities.

Still here, Don Calloway and Tim Miller. Don, is this going to get done is voting rights going to get done?

CALLOWAY: Unfortunately, listen, it`s not going to happen between now and the end of the calendar year. And, you know, my fear is well documented that if you go into next year, which is typically a do-nothing year, in terms of congressional activity in the cadence of Washington, D.C., if you get out of this calendar year and go into next year, there`s a very even much lower chance it`ll happen. Because folks don`t like to take risky votes are engaged in this type of tight rope stuff. Of course, voting right shouldn`t be tight ropes up, but folks don`t like to do this type of stuff in the election year for fear of electoral ramification.

So, I fear that if you don`t get it done this year, you don`t get it done at all. But it kind of goes back to where we`re Democrats and this administration`s priorities from the beginning. Without voting rights, there is none of the other stuff that matters. There`s no action on climate change. There`s no action on gun control. There`s no action on paid federal family medical leave and a humanitarian infrastructure package. So, this really concerns me. I wonder where the priority on voting rights was from the beginning. But even then, obviously, Republicans haven`t signaled that they`re ready to let go of the Jim Crow filibuster, and have a real discussion on preservation of democracy, little D.

So, I`m particularly concerned that we`re going to move into next year with a hodgepodge of voting rights that have been laid to suppress and restrict votes in state legislatures and we`re going to look into a universe where federal action has done nothing to curtail that voter suppressive activity.

JANSING: Actually, Tim, last night, we talked about your latest column in the Bulwark, the headline of it says, Joe Manchin is the Only Thing Standing Between America and Senator Cletus Von Ivermectin in 2024."

You go on to write, "in this political environment, the existence of a Democratic senator in West Virginia is just a notch below loaves and fishes. Manchin does it by going along with the Democrats just enough to get by while bucking the party loudly enough to keep the Trump voters in his state happy."

Well, now that you`re actually here. What`s the Build Back Better reality check, you say the Democrats need to walk away with?

MILLER: Look, I think that there`s a lot of this internecine fighting, and there`s intra party pressure on Sinema and Manchin. I think when it comes to Sinema that makes sense, Arizona is a purple state. When it comes to Manchin, Joe Biden got 29% of the vote in West Virginia 29%. I mean, Joe Manchin cannot be expected to carry this burden of going on with every single thing that the left flank of the Democratic Party wants to pass, or else that`s political suicide, or else what you`re asking him to do is just end his career in the Senate. And maybe that`s what progressives want him to do. But he has no chance to win again in West Virginia unless he can distance himself from the party.

So then what`s the way to move forward? Well, the reality check should be, what of these popular issues can we use to wedge some Republicans to try to get them to vote for our agenda? Because right now, while all these pressures on Sinema and Manchin, there are 50 Republicans who are just sitting back in their lazy boys smoking their pipes, not worrying about anything, there`s no pressure on Marco Rubio who has an election next year to vote for extending the Child Tax Credit.

JANSING: But you know, Florida, can you put pressure on Marco Rubio?

MILLER: Yeah, look, if you look at these agenda items inside BBB, if you take this, you know, take it away from having this huge package and make it a smaller package. That`s -- you know, I`m just pulling this out of the air but for example, you know, we`re going to tax people over $500,000 a year in order to pay for that, we`re going to pay for universal pre-K for everybody in Florida. That might be -- that might be something that`s popular enough that you put some pressure on Marco that he has to -- he has to actually listen to, you know, advocates who are coming to his office and saying, we want this.


You know, if you look back in Obamacare, how did the Democrats pressure Republicans on Obamacare? Medicaid, right, like Medicaid expansion was really important, you know, Republicans on the States took on a lot of water for opposing Obamacare, because of Medicaid expansion, because of, you know, that pre-existing conditions was popular, what are the popular provisions in BBB that the Democrats can actually, you know, remove from it and take out and go on offense against the Republicans, rather than just hopelessly banging away at a guy who represents a state that Joe Biden got a quarter of the vote, you know, 29% of the vote. Like, that`s not a reasonable plan.

CALLOWAY: Listen, at some point --

JANSING: Don, is that an alternative?

CALLOWAY: Look, you made some good points, and some ones that I want to wrestle with for a second here, Tim, first of all, correct, that the entire Republican caucus should have the moral burden on his shoulders just as much as Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. But we know that moral compasses are something that they have not had for at least 10 years now. So, let`s take them out of the picture.

If you look at Joe Manchin, I don`t care what Joe Biden got, as far as his presidential performance in West Virginia, this is about the call of leadership. What does Joe Manchin want to do? Protect his own seat, or does he want to move forward on quality jobs, want to move forward on paid medical leave and in favor of a living wage, worker protections, so on and so forth.

And frankly, I don`t believe that Joe Manchin would put himself in a position of political jeopardy or political suicide, and not for going with the far-left agenda. But for going with a basic centrist Democratic agenda. Joe Manchin was elected governor. He`s been in the private sector, the public sector, his family as well, unless known in that state. He is uniquely situated to be able to explain to the people why he`s doing and by no means do I fear that we`re going to be having him confused with somebody who`s going along with the far-left liberal agenda. Joe Manchin needs to have a self-check and decide why he`s a Democrat at all.

JANSING: I sent an hour-long podcast that we are going to have to like, go at midnight and do, but thanks, guys. Don Calloway, Tim Miller, fantastic stuff. Thank you, guys.

Coming up, the former guy was known for blasting people who take the fifth calling it disgraceful, but it`s also strategy. We`ll dig into the delay tactics in the January 6 investigation when the 11th Hour continues.



JANSING: It was no surprise that longtime Trump loyalist Roger Stone refused to answer a single question before the January 6 committee today and plead the Fifth. It wasn`t also all that long ago when the man Stone so staunchly defends was saying things like this.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Taking the Fifth, I think it`s disgraceful. The mob takes the Fifth. If you`re innocent, why you`re taking the Fifth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, horrible, horrible.


JANSING: But as of tonight, three members of the former guys inner circle have done just that.

Let`s bring in Cynthia Alksne, former Federal Prosecutor in the civil rights division of the Justice Department. Hey, Cynthia.

So, the last time Roger Stone refused to tell the truth about Donald Trump during the Russia probe, he had his sentence commuted. So, what`s the angle now? Stone and the others taking the Fifth of a just hoping to run out the clock until after the midterms?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think it`s smart. I mean, it`s almost checkmate, in a way, because the prosecutors can`t really do anything once he takes the Fifth, he doesn`t have to testify. And we`re not going to get the information. If Meadows had been smart, he would have not turned over documents early on, would have taken the Fifth with some combination with executive privilege, and he probably never would end up indicted. Same thing with Bannon, if he had taken the Fifth, he wouldn`t have been indicted. So, you know, anybody can take the Fifth if they reasonably believe that what they say may tend to incriminate them, and then the prosecutors are stuck with that answer. So, it was a smart thing to do. I can`t believe more people didn`t do it. They didn`t do it sooner.

JANSING: Alex Jones, meantime, is the latest subpoenaed person to have his deposition postponed. He was due to talk to the Committee tomorrow. Is the committee being too lenient? Do they need to keep things moving? Do they need to put pressure on?

ALKSNE: They definitely need to keep pressure on. This whole business about I`m cooperating, I have to say, I don`t really have much faith in that. But they seem they seem to be doing a pretty good job. And I think we can trust them in this process.

JANSING: You know, the longest sentence so far was handed down today in January 6.


JANSING: Now, this is a guy, and he was very, seem very remorseful. He said it was a shame that he saw when he took a fire extinguisher to people at the Capitol. Is this something -- let me just read for you what the judge said because I think it`s telling. It has to be made clear that trying to violently overthrow the government, trying to stop the peaceful transition of power and assaulting law enforcement officers in that effort is going to be met with absolutely certain punishment. Will this have any impact on any upcoming cases? Might other people decide they want to cooperate or plead? Does it have any impact when you see a sentence like that?

ALKSNE: I think it does. Now remember, he was -- he didn`t just do the fire extinguisher. He threw the fire extinguisher. He threw a metal pole like a spear. He said the -- you know, use the fire extinguisher all the spray on the officers. Then he pled guilty. And then he lied about it and tried to claim it was self-defense in some kind of a post. So, he not only assaulted the officers, but he also kind of tricked the court and then lied about it. And he paid dearly for it.

JANSING: I just want to ask you one more thing going back to the 1/6 committee. What you might be looking for. The New York Times, for example, we talked about this a little earlier, is going to do apparently a deeper dive by hiring some people to look into social media. What are you looking for that we maybe haven`t seen yet from the January 6 commission?

ALKSNE: Well, I just think they`re slowly moving up. They`re slowly moving up the witness count. I`ll tell you one thing that I`m very worried about. And that is this drumbeat and pressure for them to give some of these people immunity. And I just think you have to be really careful with that. If you give a witness in a congressional hearing immunity, you`re basically making it impossible for prosecutors to prosecute them down the line. And that all came out of the Oliver North case. It`s a little bit complicated, but ultimately just so the viewers know, anybody who gets immunity is not going to be prosecuted criminally later. I think that`s a big problem and the other thing that I`m really worried about while we`re, you know, baring our soul, I`m just afraid Garland`s not going to do anything.


JANSING: I`m sorry, who`s not going to do anything?

ALKSNE: I don`t Garland --

JANSING: Oh, Garland.

ALKSNE: It doesn`t look to me like --

JANSING: Merrick Garland.

ALKSNE: Yeah, I don`t think there`s any litigation going on. There`s no evidence of a grand jury. There`s no evidence that witnesses are being called in. And I`m afraid that I mean, he seems like very decent, honorable guy. He`s very good on voting rights. But he`s ultimately an appellate judge. And what we have is an appellate judge who was accustomed to a lot of caution, and afraid to get in the political fray. And right now, we need that, we need somebody who`s willing to put the Justice Department, you know, put the pedal to the metal of the Justice Department and, you know, get serious about a grand jury investigation. And I think we are going to have to start to admit to ourselves, he`s just not going to do it.

JANSING: A lot of people keeping their eyes on that.

ALKSNE: That`s my greatest fear.

JANSING: Yeah, a lot of people keeping their eyes on that to see what he will do. Cynthia Alksne, thank you for being with us.

And coming up, the combat that a lot of people were convinced might never take place when the 11th Hour continues.


JANSING: A lot of folks thought it couldn`t be done. But this weekend less than a year after almost losing his leg in a car accident, Tiger Woods is back on a golf course, playing in a family challenge tournament with his son Charlie. NBC News Correspondent Sam Brock has our report from Orlando.


SAM BROCK, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For all the magic and twists and turns that sports can bring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A scene we thought we may never see again Tiger Woods back in a tournament.

BROCK: Tiger Woods playing competitive golf 10 months removed from a nearly fatal car accident that fractured his leg in multiple places is one few might have predicted.

TIGER WOODS: If you would asked me, after those three months in the bed but I`d be here I would have given you a different answer but there are no days off, we worked every day.


BROCK: He`s miraculous return wasn`t alone, Woods playing with his sensational 12-year-old son, Charlie, in the build up to a weekend exhibition, pairing champions and family members. Though Charlie looking every bit the champion.

(On camera) as they wrap up 18 holes today, it marks the first time the Tigers played in public since these two teamed up here last year.

(Voice-over) The duo almost perfectly in sync during driving range warmups. Tiger says he`s still lacking some signature traits on his swing.

WOODS: It`s just not as powerful. I still have the speed.

BROCK: Tiger says he doesn`t have the endurance to walk a full course or play at the tour level right now. But he did rip a 320-yard drive today like the old Tiger.


JANSING: Sam Brock thank you for that. Roughs assignment today.

Coming up, witnessing the ceremonial walks, 60 years overdue when the 11th Hour continues.


JANSING: The last thing before we go tonight is a moment 60 years in the making, President Biden was the commencement speaker this morning at South Carolina State University`s graduation ceremony. The school is the HBCU alma mater of Representative Jim Clyburn, who graduated back in 1961. There were no December graduation ceremonies held back then. So instead, Clyburn could only receive his diploma in the mail. But today the 81-year-old congressman who many credit for reviving the then struggling Biden presidential campaign finally got the chance to walk across the stage and be handed his diploma.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bachelor of Science History, James E. Clyburn.


Summa Magna Congressional Cum Laude.



JANSING: And that is our broadcast for this Friday night with our thanks for being with us. On behalf of all of my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.