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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 12/2

Guests: Jackie Alemany, Jonathan Karl, Frank Figliuzzi, Kavita Patel, Baratunde Thurston, Bill Kristol


The Biden Administration unveiled new strategies to combat all the variants - including covering home tests with insurance and encouraging vaccinations. And on the hill, lawmakers agreed on a continuing resolution to fund the government until February, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. They will now turn to negotiating the Build Back Better bill.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: I feel it in my heart. 16-year-old Annie Maluku gets tonight`s "LAST WORD." THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts now.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening, once again, day 317 of the Biden administration. And just a couple of hours ago, Congress figured out a way to keep the government lights on with just about 26 hours to go before that Friday midnight deadline. But don`t worry, it`s not like our elected officials have changed. It`s just a temporary fix. It`s a patch.

The Senate voted to pass a temporary funding bill 69 to 28, just enough to keep the government running a few more weeks until February 18 when we`ll be back to this point again.

We`ll have more on tonight`s Capitol Hill developments just ahead.

This was also the day the White House promised to quote, pull out all the stops to contain the still ongoing pandemic. As tonight more new cases of this new Omicron variant are emerging across our country, at least 10 cases of the variant have now been detected across five states.

There is now a second case in California. There`s one out in Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado so far and all but inevitably, we have to say New York has the largest number. Tonight officials there announced five new cases.


GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D), NEW YORK: We knew this was coming. This is not a cause for major alarm. I need to say that because we do not have enough information. We`re not having shutdowns. We`re not changing our protocols. This is not March 2020. We`ve learned an enormous amount over the last 20 months.


WILLIAMS: The patient identified out Minnesota had recently returned from a convention in New York City held at all places at the Javits Center, which earlier this year served as a mass COVID vaccination and treatment site.

Today President Biden unveiled his new strategy to fight the pandemic during a visit to the NIH. The plan includes boosters for all adults more vaccination sites for children and families, free at home testing that will be covered by private insurers and new testing requirements for those travelling internationally.

And beginning Monday, passengers have to test negative 24 hours before boarding an aircraft flying into the United States. Even as Biden laid out the new policies, he acknowledged the political toll this pandemic has taken on our country.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: It`s a plan that I think should unite us. I know COVID-19 has been very divisive in this country. We knew there be cases of this Omicron here in the United States this year. We`re going to fight this variance with science and speed, not chaos and confusion.


WILLIAMS: Meanwhile, just for good for extra here. The Washington Post reports several health experts and scientists warned that the Delta variant, which let`s not forget still accounts for most U.S. COVID cases could still fuel a robust winter surge, particularly in the northeast and upper Midwest. We have a doctor standing by to take our questions on that and the new variant later in the hour.

As we mentioned, Congress has managed to kick a giant can down the road and avoid a government shutdown for now. But there was some COVID drama of course ahead of tonight`s Senate vote a small group of Republican senators Roger Marshall, Ron Johnson, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, did their dead level best to slow things down by demanding a simple majority vote on their proposal to defund Biden`s vaccine mandates for businesses.

Their amendment failed. There was a similar effort in the House, same bill, but Republicans there also tried to force a shutdown over the mandates. They face some fierce pushback, though from the Democrats.


REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): The issue isn`t about shutdowns, it`s about whether or not members of this body will continue to use money. We don`t have to fund mandates indoctrination and the use of force against your citizens. I urge my colleagues to stop empowering the executive branch tyranny over Americans.

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Tyranny. What are you people talking about? We`re talking about universal preschool, and they have it as a communist indoctrination of the American student. It`s insane.


WILLIAMS: That`s about how that went. Meanwhile, members of the House who are investigating the attack the riot at the Capitol are now signaling the public will soon be learning a lot more about their inquiry and about what took place on January 6 exactly. Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney made that plain when she offered this preview.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY) VICE CHAIR JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: We anticipate next year we will be conducting multiple weeks of public hearings setting out for the American people in vivid color exactly what happened every minute of the day on January 6 here at the Capitol and at the White House and what led to that violent attack.



WILLIAMS: The Committee is preparing to hear testimony from the former Trump DOJ official the one who reportedly tried to help overturn the election. Jeffrey Clark has refused to answer the panel`s questions. Now he`s been referred to Congress to face contempt charges. He gets one more chance to appear before the Committee on Saturday and the Committee Chairman had the following warning for him.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MI) JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I want to underscore how isolated Mr. Clark is. The Select Committee has heard from more than 250 witnesses. They include two of Mr. Clark supervisors at the Justice Department, a former White House Chief of Staff is even cooperating with our probe.


WILLIAMS: Clark has already told the Committee he intends to take the fifth when he appears for his deposition this weekend.

That`s where we are and with that, let`s bring in our starting line on this Thursday night Jackie Alemany, political reporter for The Washington Post, author of the papers early morning newsletter the Early 202. Jonathan Karl, Chief Washington correspondent for ABC News also happens to be the author of "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show New," York Times bestseller two weeks running now and Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence. He`s the author of the book, "The FBI Way" and the host of the podcast, The Bureau. Good evening, and welcome to you all.

Well, Jackie, you get to go first tonight with this question. Our Congress kicks the can down the road, amid attempts to hold it up over mask mandates. What does this augur for what else they`re supposed to get done between now and the end of the year?

JACKIE ALEMANY, THE WASHINGTON POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, Brian, this means that Congress can now focus on actually negotiating out some of these other funding bills that they`ve been putting off. They`ve kicked the can out to February, but they`ve still got the National Defense Authorization Act along with the impending debt limit, and they need to get the Build Back Better infrastructure bill. This is the second part of the infrastructure bill that President Biden has proposed, potentially negotiated, figured out and passed through Congress as well and figure out how they`re going to fund that money.

It`s definitely going to be a long haul, but they have at least avoided this short term shutdown, that really, many reporters did not think was actually going to happen. This was just sort of some formative stagecraft from this group of Republicans. But nevertheless, here we are, it`s gotten done, and everyone will have their weekend.

WILLIAMS: So Jon Karl, let`s go over to the reporting that was involved in the run up to your book. 1/6 Committee is going to hear in a manner of speaking from this Jeffrey Clark, unless he changes his mind. He has telegraphed that he`s going to take the fifth. How is that likely to go? Did he really want criminal contempt as the top line in his resume and remind us his degree of exposure here?

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I think it`s very important to remember the context here. This is Jeffrey Clark, who was one of the senior officials at at the Justice Department in the environmental law, the environmental division, and Trump moved to make him the acting Attorney General in early January.

The acting Attorney General because he promised to use the power of the Justice Department to force the states to effectively overturn the election, and he was only stopped. Trump was only stopped from placing him as the acting Attorney General, when he faced the reality that the entire senior staff at the Justice Department basically every other senior official, besides Mr. Clark, were going to resign and mass if he was made the acting Attorney General and Donald Trump back down. That was on January 2nd.

Now you have him coming before this committee and signaling that he is going to invoke the Fifth Amendment. The committee will go through and they will ask him question after question after question. And he will need to if He intends to invoke the Fifth Amendment over and over again.

And this raises the question of in -- the appearance here, what does it look like when you have somebody that Donald Trump wanted to make the Attorney General of the United States saying that if he answers basic questions about what he was doing and what he was proposing to the President, that he would be potentially giving evidence that would expose them to criminal prosecution. I think a very big moment.

They may not get anything of substance out of Jeffrey Clark, but if he goes through with this, if he actually invokes the Fifth Amendment to refuse to answer questions about what he was doing and what he was promising Donald Trump on the basis that it could be implicating him in a criminal allegation. I think it`s an important moment and important moments and to be marked.


WILLIAMS: An important moment indeed. And Frank Figliuzzi, what if anything should we read into this further committee statement to expect weeks of public hearings? And I`m curious, as a veteran investigator, how do you think this investigation is going based on the distance we all must watch from?

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FMR. FBI ASST. DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: I think we can glean quite a bit from the mirror statement that public hearings are coming soon. And in my opinion, this is primetime viewing. And here`s why. For those who`ve been saying all along, they`re taking too long. I don`t understand the silence from the Select Committee. There`s not enough hearings.

What`s been going on behind the scenes is hundreds of interviews and depositions, witness statements. They`re prepping for the time where they go public. And now we know that public component is coming soon. And here`s what that looks like. You know, they teach you in law school, never ask a question of a witness unless you know the answer. They now seem to know some of the answers and they`re going to put witnesses on national television, they`re going to ask the questions they know the answers to and those witnesses essentially are going to have three choices. They can tell the truth, they can invoke the Fifth Amendment, or they can lie.

That`s a win all around for the committee because they tell the truth, they get some facts out publicly, if people invoke the Fifth, they`re saying, I think I committed a crime, and I`m going to incriminate myself if I answer your question. And if they lie, they`re going to face criminal charges. So, get ready because the public component is signaling to us. They`ve got the answers. They`re going to be asking the questions on television now.

WILLIAMS: Jackie, we all know the arc of the modern day book tour, the book rollout some members of this panel better than others. You give an advance copy to a publication or broadcast from which they glean what`s going to emerge as the lead story the top two or three stories.

Mark Meadows is out with this new book. Oddly, a British based publication is the first to write about it. Oddly, he`s doing TV interviews preemptively in the UK, but put that aside, the big story that has come out of it in the first couple of days is Donald Trump testing positive days before the presidential debate days before he met with Gold Star families.

So as you watch this next clip, remember Trump came out reacting to it saying it was fake news. So here is the author of the book from where the story was taken, batting cleanup on television.


MARK MEADOWS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, the President is right. It`s fake news. If you actually read the book, the context of it, that story outlined a false positive, literally had a test had two other test after that, that showed that he didn`t have COVID during the debate. And yet, you know, the way that the media wants to spin it is certainly to be as negative about Donald Trump as they possibly can, while giving Joe Biden a pass.


WILLIAMS: So Jackie, in addition to the fact that he picked up a medical degree along the way, what does that little exchange reveal about the relationship to this day between Donald Trump and his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows?

ALEMANY: I`m not, you know, I don`t have the latest on the exact relationship between the two. But it`s safe to say that Trump`s former chief of staff is trying to have his cake and eat it too at the moment, trying to sell books, trying to appear like he is cooperating with the January 6 committee to some extent as his lawyers signaled this week that he is in negotiations and engaging with the committee, while also trying to stay in his former bosses good praises.

The person who he, you know, it largely credits with his current career and prominence in Republican politics. At the moment, the former president is the de facto leader of the Republican Party and Mark Meadows his future employment potentially depends on that.

So what you`re seeing here is him trying to do a little CYA and some cleanup after several confluence of news bites coming out that the former President couldn`t possibly be that thrilled with, it`s been a slew of bad news cycles for former President Trump who`s had to come out and also deny the news that his own chief of staff reported in his book along with two other aides who confirmed to our colleagues Josh Osley (ph) and Ashley Parker was also true, and that he jeopardized the people around him veterans, his staff, dozens of people as well.


President Joe Biden, by deciding to go ahead with all of these public events that he had scheduled, despite his positive diagnosis, and despite publicly and visibly appearing to be sick. But this is the game that I think you`re going to see a lot of Republicans play in the next year. And as the investigation goes on, and as the future of President -- former President Trump is still a bit murky, will he or won`t he run for president? How long can he maintain this this iron grip on the party?

WILLIAMS: Hey, Jon Karl, what`s the chance this committee and its chairman is going to gather up the courage to issue to us the Wilford Brimley pronunciation, a subpoena to the only twice impeached retiree in the entire state of Florida.

KARL: That`s something under debate by the members of the committee right now. And it`s not as easy a decision as you might think. On one hand, there`s a great desire to have Donald Trump come before the committee be put under oath, and be forced to answer these questions under oath about what he was doing on January 6, and about all those events that led up to that day and made that day what it was.

On the other hand, if you -- if Trump is subpoenaed, and if he actually testifies before the committee, he will suddenly, Brian, have the largest audience, the largest platform that he has had to repeat his lies. Certainly, he would be challenged, but he will have the ability to speak to more people than he has had the opportunity to do.

So since he was president of the United States, I mean, this would be something that is seen around the country around the world. And sure he he`s under oath. Sure. Questions, we put to him, tough questions. But you know, he`s got a tremendous ability, as we have seen over and over again, to kind of motor through that, and to repeat rapid fire untruths, which is the fears that that`s exactly what he would do with that opportunity.

WILLIAMS: And Frank, tell me if Meadows strategy is going to be to go in there and say, Look, don`t ask me to talk about my intimate dealings with the President, does he hurt his own case by having written a book about his time in the White House serving this president?

FIGLIUZZI: There`s a great piece out today in Politico on this very topic. The question is, Can Mark Meadows have it both ways? Can he simultaneously say I`m going to honor the request of the former president who wants to invoke executive privilege? So I`m not going to talk about things I did in the White House, while he`s simultaneously trying to market a book where he discloses things that he did in the White House.

So, I don`t think he can have it both ways. I don`t know if Mark Meadows is a gambler, but somebody should tell them when you`re playing against the house, the odds are against you. He`s -- he doesn`t get to make the rules up here. And I think he`s going to find himself in some deep trouble. He`s trying to run out the clock. He`s playing a game. He`s doing the President`s bidding of delay, delay, delay, but ultimately, he`s not going to going to win this one. can`t have it both ways.

WILLIAMS: It`s a lot and with it comes our great thanks for our starting line on a Thursday night, Jonathan Karl, Jackie Alameny, and Frank Figliuzzi. Appreciate you starting off our conversation tonight.

Coming up for us. A closer look at the Biden plan to battle this virus and this quickly spreading new variant. We`ll talk with a leading healthcare expert. And later, the bitter national debate over vaccine mandates moved from the streets into the halls of Congress today. One of our political observers who`s standing by to talk to us calls it an opportunity for the Democrats. We`ll ask him to explain all of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Thursday night the night of the tree lighting in Washington.




GOV. TIM WALZ (D) MINNESOTA: There`s will not be the last variant and that`s not a doom and gloom perspective. That`s just science. There will be another one. The question is, you know, do they send more people to hospital? Do they defeat our vaccines? And at this point in time, we simply don`t know. But I`m just really proud that the state was on top of it.


WILLIAMS: Perhaps you remember science that`s Minnesota`s Governor warning this mutating virus is far from done with us. And as the governor points out, there`s much we still don`t know yet about the transmissibility. And the virulence of this latest strain, except for the fact that we`re going to see a lot more cases.

Back with us tonight, thankfully, Dr. Kavita Patel, clinical physician, former senior policy aide during the Obama administration, who`s a non- resident Fellow at Brookings and one of our public health experts, for good reason. Doctor, I hate to say that with a backdrop of zero appetite for more restrictions. Here`s the question in your view, are the Feds doing everything they can do everything they should do to protect the population, whether they want it or not, from this coming variant?

DR. KAVITA PATEL, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Brian, the short answer is no. But it`s not because I think that the efforts to date don`t have merit. It`s just when we`re dealing with a pandemic that`s constantly throwing us curveballs, it`s somewhat our expected but like Omicron, and just kind of cropping up all across the country not necessarily expected at this time.

I think there`s so much more we should always be thinking about doing. I think the President tried to reflect that today in his remarks that, you know, he`ll this isn`t the beginning and end with his plan. I hope that we can see some of the things around international travel upon return, since we`re talking about some of the cases that are of note initially with Omicron, California, and probably some of the New York cases, Colorado.

We know there is international travel involved and I can`t help but think, you know, testing on return, or at least having even a kind of a minimum quarantine period that suggested even vaccinated, Brian, those are things along with maybe domestic travel requirements, extended masks to march, but there is always more that we can do. And as we see the situation evolve, I suspect they will do more.

WILLIAMS: I know you can see how travel restrictions on people coming into this country, again, from certain places can also be unfair. Do you fear we`re being unfair to a country like South Africa where someone to bring this to them, they discover its spread. And a lot of people have argued they`re being penalized for it.

PATEL: I do. I`ve felt that way since we saw travel restrictions, as you were called early in 2020, from President Trump, of course, that was accompanied with a lot of racist comments that still unfortunately persisted to this day. But we know from decades of evidence.

Brian, the use of travel restrictions really had its merit centuries ago, and we were dealing with a plague and very limited borders. We have such porous borders, that limiting it based on just this emanating origin theory that it came from Southern African nations, when we have now proof that it was probably present in the Netherlands and in other places, maybe even weeks earlier, Brian, it begs the question, what are we doing? We`re buying time, but how much time are we buying and what for presidents laid out a plan. We need to move from crude measures to the ones that really target this.

And also, as you pointed out, we`ve got the Delta variant surge in parts of the country that are a problem today and here and now.

WILLIAMS: Well, I saved the toughest what I view as the toughest question for last, if we see cases go up measurably that kind of upward arrow that gets all of our attention. How to know if that`s Thanksgiving, a newly emboldened Delta variant, or the new variant making its presence known in our country?

PATEL: Yes, this is a tough question. But it`s one that actually we`ve gotten slightly better at answering. We`re doing more of what we call genetic surveillance, trying to understand exactly what you`re talking about. We have been doing from compared to several 100 tests a week that we were doing genetic sampling on in a nation a year and a half ago to now tens of thousands of tests a week. Could we be doing more? Certainly. Places like Texas and Florida have actually had very little genetic sampling capacity compared to states like New York and California.

So Brian, in short, yes, we do know these things, but there`s usually a lag on that information. So we have a lag on when these cases kind of crop up. We have a lag in hospitalizations and deaths. And we will have a lag on the genetic information, which is why we have to go back to the basics vaccinations. And I know people are tired of it but in your crowded spaces masks that Javits Center seen you showed I can pretty much guarantee at that anime convention probably even if they required masks indoors. People were a little lax about it. Quality masks and air circulation that`s what we`re going to have to do until we know more.

WILLIAMS: I`m right there with you. Our guest tonight once again has been Dr. Kavita Patel. Doctor, thank you as always for taking our questions. Coming up after our next break. The President says he hopes his COVID plan can unite the country. Roll that one around for a bit. We have two political insiders standing by live their doubts about that.




BIDEN: I know COVID-19 has been very divisive in this country has become a political issue. This is a moment we can do what we haven`t been able to do enough of through this whole pandemic, get the nation to come together, unite the nation and a common purpose to fight this virus. To think of it in terms of literally a patriotic responsibility rather than somehow you`re denying people their basic rights.


WILLIAMS: So you see his demeanor now counter the President`s kind of hopeful, quiet optimism there. With this that took place in my home state today. These are Republican state lawmakers storming the floor of the New Jersey State Assembly in defiance of the legislature`s proof of vaccination policy. As one reporter pointed out, they all still had the option to vote remotely.

We welcome back tonight two good friends to this broadcast, starting with Baratunde Thurston, he`s a formal wear enthusiast author, activist, comedian, former producer of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, also happens to be the host of the podcast How to Citizen. In his spare time, he`s a founding partner in POC, a new media company where he`s currently writing a series on race in America called After the Tide. And Bill Kristol, casual wear enthusiast, author, writer thinker politico, is a veteran of the Reagan and Bush Administration`s, editor-at-large in his spare time over at The Bulwark. Gentlemen, good evening to you both.

Baratunde, I want to start with you and I brought something for you. I want to show you what happened when Democratic Congresswoman Norma Torres was trying to speak on the subject of the virus on the House floor we`ll discuss on the other side.


REP. NORMA TORRES (D-CA): You can boo all you want. But many of you have continued to spread this pandemic by refusing to get -- by refusing to wear a mask. We are seeing a full display of the political theater that the Republicans bring to Congress. Zero.


WILLIAMS: So Baratunde, that`s our politics. We have 800,000 of our fellow souls dead, gone. I`m curious as to whether you have any thoughts on -- whether we`ll ever see unity again, because obviously, we drove past the exit for unity many miles back.

BARATUNDE THURSTON, AUTHOR, ACTIVIST AND COMEDIAN: I agree with that last statement, Brian. Bill, I`m sorry, we didn`t coordinate the formal versus casual wear tonight. But it`s good to have the B team back together. I think we share an exhaustion in this country. I`m tired of COVID I`m sure you`re tired of it. Clearly, President Biden is tired of it. And people across the political aisle are exhausted.

When they came out with the Omicron title for the variant, I`m like, what`s next Marvel villains, are we`re going to have a Thanos variant. I`m over it. But the pandemics not over. And unfortunately at every possible turn this Republican Party has seemed to want to side with the pandemic against the American people, don`t want to wear masks, don`t want to get vaccinated, don`t want to get tested to not spread the virus amongst themselves and their own communities.


This party has chosen spectacle as a part of his platform, chosen trolling as its platform. It shows him performance art and theatre as his platform and not service to the country. Whether we can still come together other than our shared sense of exhaustion, I don`t know. Because now they`re chatting out let`s go brand to just immaturity on top of immaturity, it makes me exhausted even more than COVID already has to be honest with.

WILLIAMS: Bill as you and I have said many times, the previous administration was not burdened by the feeling of any custodial role over caring for the health of Americans. This White House, some argue to a fault feels that custodial role what are they to do, Bill, in a country where we do indeed have winter arriving and a new variant arriving and by the way the White House is preaching to two distinct countries pretty much right now both of them to Baratunde`s point have no taste no appetite for new restrictions.

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: They know what the two countries is distinct as Baratunde`s address tonight. Baratunde emailed me before the show and said look casual, we look casual tonight, right? This is just isn`t -- just typical, right, Brian. This happens all the time. They set you up this way. Here I am. You guys looking terrific. And I`m just schlub here on late at night.

But, you know, just to emphasize Baratunde`s point. I mean, the point that was made on the floor of the house, it`s really extraordinary. The Republican Party after President Biden made that conciliatory statement today and asked for patriotism and advanced, very reasonable, really pretty modest, I would say steps to deal with this -- with the Omicron variant, which is quite threatening.

The Republicans insisted on one vote, one amendment to be voted on the floor of the Senate (INAUDIBLE) resolution, and it was an amendment prohibiting federal funding for any vaccine mandate, and not just for vaccine mandates for private business that President Biden has imposed, or something that comes up in the courts, but even the vaccine mandate for the federal government itself for its own employees for the military. A lot of the reporting hasn`t captured that.

So it`s not just to kind of libertarian Oh, the government shouldn`t impose on business. It`s the government shouldn`t actually require its own employees, own military to be to be vaccinated. So the Republican Party is in effect, not just against the mandates, but in many ways against the vaccine. And of course, you see that at the state level where they try to stop private businesses from having their own mandates, where they give unemployment benefits to people who choose to quit rather than get vaccinated or even get tested once a week.

So it`s a real problem for the president since he is the president of the whole country. And to his credit, he knows that. I just think he has to go ahead and get as many people vaccinated as possible. Get as many people to get boosted as possible, make the tests as available as possible, and rapid test, especially which are very, very important, I think, get money to hospitals to deal with some of the illnesses, unfortunately, we`re going to see and, you know, you can`t keep hectoring people forever.

But you certainly can`t paralyze yourself and doing the right thing for public health. Because some chunk of the country unfortunately isn`t doing the right thing. And because one of our two major parties is encouraging its voters, its supporters, not to do the right thing, or at least certainly not doing nothing positive to encourage responsible. That`s a genuinely extraordinary phenomenon for one of our two major parties to be this irresponsible, this reckless and to take kind of take pleasure in being this reckless, right?

WILLIAMS: Very true. It`s become part of their public brand, in the midst of the custodial responsibility returning after a four year absence at the White House. Both of these gentlemen are staying with us. You are watching the B team as in Baratunde, Bill and Brian. And coming up when our conversation continues, just who is the fringe and who is the base in today`s Republican Party?




REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): This government should be shut down. You want to know why it should be shut down. Because the people in here. The people in here cannot control themselves. The people in here don`t understand how to balance the checkbook and the people in here do not deserve, deserve the responsibility on how to spend the American people`s money.


WILLIAMS: So keep in mind that freshman member of Congress, a conspiracy theorist stripped of all committee assignments, said this week she indeed is the base of her party and not the fringe. Thankfully still with us our Baratunde Thurston and Bill Kristol.

So Bill, here`s how I want to ask this because I hear a good number of people on the left on cable news all day, insisting, as they put it, there are more people like us than there are like them. You take the United States, shake it upside down and drain the water and the trees and the cars and the Taco Bells and whatever else ends up at the bottom of the sink.

So you just have people and you hand out two ballots one for her one for Joe Biden tell people they must make a choice. Are you going to find Biden supporters however casual in numbers that outweigh the kind of grievance fueled burn everything down crowd the new nihilism, the Marjorie Taylor Greene mindset?

KRISTOL: Well, we had an election 2020 it was reasonably close. There were more Biden voters. But of course the Republicans picked up House seats. I always come back to that. That has so colored the way the Republican Party`s behaving. They don`t feel they paid a price. They didn`t pay much of a price for supporting Trump. They didn`t pay much for price for having people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, she wasn`t yet in Congress, in their midst. And they`ve gone through the last 9, 10 months and they`ve tolerated people like Marjorie Taylor Greene and they let her become more powerful. And they dumped Liz Cheney leadership, but all kinds of things have happened. They`re really subservient to Donald Trump.

And now they think they`re going to win the House in 2022. And polls suggest that that`s quite possible. So, one would hope that they don`t represent much for majority and gerrymandering is helping them. There are a lot of other things going on, but they`re not paying the price you would expect them to pay for being so irresponsible.

WILLIAMS: So Baratunde, when we read that 19 Democrats as of yet have chosen not to run for reelection in the house for 2020. What do you think they know perhaps that the rest of us are going to find out?

THURSTON: Brian, they know that we are in a very divided spot. They know historically that the non-presidential party does well in those first midterms and we`re geared up to do that.


And they know that this Republican Party has made its fringe, the center of its political identity. They worship at the altar of the MyPillow dude. They embrace political violence, they chant, let`s go, Brandon. This has dominated the direction that we go.

And the sad part is, we all want to see both sides work together in some way. Many of us like the idea of compromise. But it`s hard to compromise between one party that embraces small d, democracy, the Democratic Party, and the other party that doesn`t embrace democracy, the Republican Party. When you compromise with that, you get less democracy.

So I still believe there are more of us than them. I believe those of us who believe that need to speak more loudly, but I have no promise or guarantee that we`re going to pull this through and bring it together, not in the near term.

Here`s where I keep my faith. In Part, I tell you, I wear this tux for you, Brian, thank you for having me on. And being a part of this B team. I raise a toast to your classiness. And the way that you handle discourse in these difficult times, is a model for a lot of what we all need to do more of. So thank you so, so much for letting me be part of this. Bill, it`s been a pleasure to serve with you as well. Cheers.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, my friend. Thank you, my friends. I will be taking my leave a week from tonight. This has always been about gentlemen like you, it`s always been about having smart people on this broadcast. So a dumb guy can sit here and return your toast. Thank you. We`ll be talking along the way, Baratunde Thurston, Bill Kristol.

Coming up for us, Amazon calls their warehouses fulfillment centers, but his true fulfillment really possible in a cardboard box or even worse. With so many kinks in the supply chain, we have a report on all of it coming up.



WILLIAMS: Welcome back. Everybody has an opinion on Amazon like why do they ship a three pack of chopstick in a refrigerator box filled with 60 of those plastic packing pillows. But I digress. The same company that has crushed the American brick and mortar retail sector also kept millions of American households stocked and operating during a nationwide shutdown.

They are indeed the go-to supplier for millions who want what they want right then. And the Christmas season is their crunch time. It`s their Super Bowl, but then there`s the supply chain. Our report on all of it tonight from NBC News correspondent Tom Costello at an Amazon distribution center.


TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s the final few steps of your Amazon delivery usually arriving just two days after you click buy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One down 150 to go.

COSTELLO: How do they do that? At the old Silverdome sight outside Detroit, Amazon`s newest fulfillment center, 8,000 Yellow robots in constant motion, delivering a smorgasbord of unrelated products to pickers like Justin Walch (ph) filling hundreds of orders a day.

(on camera): Your job is just keeping you busy constantly. How do you do this?

JUSTIN WALCH (ph), AMAZON EMPLOYEE: You got to keep track of everything and look at everything at the same time. So you`re basically multitasking at all times.

COSTELLO (voice-over): The most popular item this year, airpods with each order the nearest robot with airpods rolls up.

(on camera): If it`s smaller than a baseball bat, they have it at this fulfillment center. 20 million items everything from deodorant, to jewelry, to romance novels.

(voice-over): Each order packed, labeled and scan a million packages every day just here. And Amazon operates hundreds of these centers nationwide using software that tracks every purchase made in your zip code. Then stocks up for the next mouse click. From here your order could make its way to Amazon`s brand new air hub at the Cincinnati Airport, where another fleet of 2,000 robots runs on batteries and barcodes carrying packages pre- sorted by zip code, then two cargo containers and a plane waiting outside.

(on camera): Amazon has 110 planes cargo planes in the fleet worldwide, 12 flights a day running out of Cincinnati. This plane, these packages headed to Seattle.

(voice-over): Fall supply chain delays have affected nearly every retailer. Amazon says it expanded its transportation network to keep products moving.

DAVE BOZEMAN, AMAZON TRANSPORTATION SERVICES V ICE PRESIDENT: We`re using 50 percent more ports to bring product into the country. This has allowed us to really drive over 20 percent more inventory in stock. And we feel good about that going into the holidays to have the right selection.

COSTELLO: The final stop your local delivery station and a fleet of vans lined up early in the morning.

(on camera): Each one of these vans is delivering how many packages a day?

ELIZABETH DREISBACH, AMAZON INSIGHTS SENIOR STATION MANAGER: Anywhere from about 230 to about 370 depending on their route.

COSTELLO: That`s a lot of stops.

DREISBACH: A lot of stops.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Every turn and the delivery route also determined by Amazon software to maximize efficiency and speed your package to your doorstep. Tom Costello, NBC News, Detroit.


WILLIAMS: Unbelievable. Coming up for us, presidents from Andy Jackson through FDR and JFK have relied on the advice of their so called Kitchen Cabinets. Well tonight we have further proof there`s indeed wisdom in certain kitchens. When we come right back we`ll show you.



WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight comes from the folks at Midas Touch, a return appearance on our broadcast by the woman in her kitchen in California known by her social media name, Politics Girl, who just happens to know more about politics than many people working in politics. Well, tonight she talks about who the real Americans are and just what the Republican Party has become.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Real America is done with COVID. That`s what Congressman Jim Jordan said real America is done. I mean, that is how the Republicans are acting. It`s why their hospitals are overflowing and their vaccinations are stalled. It`s why right wing radio hosts are dying by the dozens and people are sterilizing themselves with animal drugs.

We were supposed to be on our way to freedom from the virus this summer. The vaccination number said we would be. So what happened? The Republicans happened. Fox News happened. The other propaganda networks happened and red not real America happened.

People continue to blame the Democrats and the President when it`s clearly those people that are keeping this crisis going. But that`s the point, right? If you can`t win votes on ideas, you suppress votes through laws and gerrymandering. If you can inspire people to come together, you drive them apart. If you can`t stop your opponents from helping the people, then you must stop the people from helping themselves.

Real America, I don`t think so. I could find you a hell of a lot of Americans who feel pretty real and fight the virus every day. We could just start with our derided, underappreciated abused health care workers. Red America is done with COVID. But COVID is not done with them.

In fact, the new statistics are that one in 500 Americans have now died from COVID. So when will this Republican base realize their party does not care about them but their leadership is literally letting them die to keep things in chaos and own the libs.

Republicans are letting children die to stoke a cultural war about masks. They`ve convinced their followers that they are real patriots, but it is just a clear manipulation tactic to pump you up so you feel like the hero and you don`t see that they`re the villain. They don`t care about you. They are against health care and child tax credits. They voted for trillions of dollars in tax breaks for the ultra rich and against raising the minimum wage. They voted as a bloc against voters rights and equal rights. They are all in for spending endless money on wars in foreign lands the question spending money on clean water and crumbling infrastructure here at home. They defended the IRS so they couldn`t afford to go after the wealthy tax cheats for crying out loud.

They don`t care about you. They don`t care about your family, your well- being they care about your vote because they care about their power. They will lie to you and steal from you and control you with fear and anger and blind nationalism but they don`t serve you, you serve them and you might not want to see it and I get that you don`t want to hear it from me. But all you have to do is look. And for the record, we are all real Americans, whether we like each other or not. We`re stuck together so we may as well consider working together. Believe it or not we care if you die. It`s your leaders that don`t.


WILLIAMS: Politics Girl to take us off the air tonight. And with that our broadcast for this Thursday evening coming with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.