Mark Meadows reverses decision, refuses 1/6 deposition. Judge sets Steve Bannon trial for July 18. Roger Stone to plead the Fifth to 1/6 committee. Biden warns Putin Against Invading Ukraine. U.S. COVID cases approach 50 million.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: You can see the world television premiere of Paper & Glue Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. That is tonight`s "LAST WORD." THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening, once again, day 322 of the Biden administration. And perhaps because it has occurred to members of the public that as we near the January 6 anniversary, there have been no real consequences for those who were behind what we now know to be a violent, unplanned attempt to overturn a presidential election. Perhaps because of that. One of the members of the committee investigating 1/6 has shared new information with the public on the progress of the investigation.
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REP. ZOE LOFGREN, (D) CALIFORNIA JAN. 6 COMMITTEE: A significant amount of very telling evidence has been accumulated. It is a significant case that has -- is developing, and the staff is working overtime, pulling all the pieces together and connecting the dots.
REEVE: This comes amid the less than surprising news that one of the committee`s bigger fish, Mark Meadows, a former congressman himself and of course, Trump`s former Chief of Staff has decided to skip out on his deposition tomorrow, that reverses a deal he made with the committee. Today, Meadows explained why he just can`t cooperate.
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MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The committee was fully intending to continue to press forward asking about executive privilege, items, things that are protected by that. In addition, we found that in spite of our cooperation and sharing documents with them, they had issued unbeknownst to us, and not without even a courtesy call issued a subpoena to a third-party carrier trying to get information. And so, at this point, we feel like it`s best that we just continue to honor the executive privilege and it looks like the courts are going to have to weigh in on this.
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WILLIAMS: Indeed, the Committee tells NBC News it has requested phone records as part of its inquiry and that they only have sought information on the dates and times of communications.
Nevertheless, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson has again issued a warning that by now, borders on the routine, "If indeed Mr. Meadows refuses to appear, the Select Committee will be left no choice but to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr. Meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution."
Tonight, Chairman Thompson added this about how quickly the Committee should begin that process.
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REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, (D) MISSISSIPPI JAN.6 SELECT COMMITTEE CHAIR: It won`t take long, the potential for doing it next week is real.
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WILLIAMS: Despite his decision to end his cooperation, the Committee says Meadows has already turned over evidence of undetermined value.
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LOFGREN: Mark Meadows said over 1000s of documents, some were documenting his real time communication as January 6 unfolded. He didn`t assert some privilege about that. He sent it over to us. We`d like to ask him questions about it. And it`s ridiculous that he is now having sent it to us refusing to answer questions about it.
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WILLIAMS: On the bright side for Meadows, his new book is out today. You can read all about his time in the White House and his tales of being that close to power. So, you might wonder when the committee holds someone in contempt. What does that mean? Well, it means a trial in July for Steve Bannon, today a federal judge set the date in his case.
And here`s how this works, according to our friends at the Washington Post, "Prosecutors proposed a one-day trial in April to answer what they suggested was an open and shut question of whether Bannon was guilty. Bannon`s defense countered by asking for a 10-day trial in October, beginning just before next year`s midterm congressional elections." That is what less fancy people call running out the clock.
We`ve also learned that Trump advisor Roger Stone plans to plead the Fifth when he goes before the Committee. His lawyer confirmed that in a letter to the Chairman. He`s scheduled to give his deposition later this month.
Meanwhile, at the White House today was high stakes video conference day the President laid out for Vladimir Putin. What would happen if Russia decided to invade Ukraine? The two leaders, through interpreter, speaking for about two hours.
The Kremlin has moved troops and weapons near the border with Ukraine, raising fears of an offensive far larger and much more deadly than its planned and attempted invasion seven years ago. The White House says, Biden warned Putin of the severe economic and political repercussions that would follow any military action.
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JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: President Biden looked President Putin in the eye and told him today that, things we did not do in 2014. He`s not doing this to saber-rattle. He`s not doing it to make idle threats. He`s doing it to be clear and direct with both the Russians and with our European allies about the best way forward.
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WILLIAMS: New York Times reports, "Mr. Putin was not conciliatory. A Kremlin readout of the meeting said Mr. Putin blamed the tensions on the west. He demanded legal guarantees that NATO would not expand eastward toward Russia`s borders or deploy offensive weapon systems in Ukraine."
Earlier today, one noted Putin critic gave this assessment of the meeting.
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GARRY KASPAROV, RUSSIAN PRO-DEMOCRACY LEADER: The conversation should not last more than five minutes. That`s a message of strengths. Five minutes, here`s what`s going to happen. Thank you very much. Goodbye. So, two hours that`s already Putin`s victory because it means they negotiated the future of Ukraine without Ukrainian in the room. So far again, I don`t think Putin takes Biden seriously.
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WILLIAMS: It is not yet clear if today`s meeting will ease tensions between Russia and the United States or raise them. But Putin is not without friends in the United States. This is the December issue of Newsmax magazine. Vlad, The Great, tweeted out tonight by Ron Filipkowski who writes, "For anyone who thinks Newsmax is anything but Russian Disinformation. Here is the cover of Newsmax December issue. Hundreds of 1000s of Magaz get their news from Putin every day."
And with that, let`s bring in our starting line on a Tuesday night, Ashley Parker, Pulitzer Prize winning White House Bureau Chief with the Washington Post, Jonathan Karl, Chief White House Correspondent for ABC News. His most recent book, Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, is in its second week as a New York Times bestseller, having made a lot of news. And Claire McCaskill is back with us, former Democratic U.S. senator from the State of Missouri. Good evening, and welcome to you all.
Ashley, I want to start with you. And the reaction you`re measuring to Meadows pullback, not thoroughly surprising, but it does follow his sharing of substantive potentially of records and documents?
ASHLEY PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST, WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: That`s right. And I think we actually talked about this on your show last week that when he was planning on participating, it was a little unclear just how forthcoming he was going to be. He seemed to at that point, try to thread the needle between basically not being held in contempt as Bannon was, but not actually really giving anything up in anger and former President Trump.
Now, the thing that has changed and that is fascinating is that Mark Meadows came out with a book. And this is a book that he truly, our reporting says he truly thought the -- former President Trump was going to love. Of course, that was a total mystery of the situation. Former President Trump is furious with the book Meadows, we`ve been told is beside himself, he is trying to get back into Trump`s good graces. And that if you want to understand this sudden kind of confusing about face, that is what you need to look at.
WILLIAMS: Jon Carl, another case of fealty to Donald Trump, and let`s talk about Steve "Beat the Clock" Bannon who apparently was trying to make his trial part of the midterm elections?
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, you know, but the thing -- here`s the key thing about the Bannon case is Bannon is being prosecuted for failing to cooperate. The prosecutors, the judge has no power to compel him to comply with the subpoena. But he can face jail time for failing to do so. That`s what it is. So, this doesn`t really affect the Committee. The Committee is not counting on Bannon losing this case, and then suddenly deciding he`s going to come and testify. This is about sending a message to the others about whether or not they should testify.
So, the trial in July, it would have been better for the Committee to have it in April. But it`s not. It`s not a real flow for them. He`s still being prosecuted. He still faces jail time. And they are getting a lot of cooperation, Brian, from witnesses, including I am told what this is very close to Donald Trump witnesses to this day, a very friendly and cooperative with Trump, I don`t know, to the degree which Trump actually knows about the cooperation of some of these people. But we know the high- profile names, we know those that have been subpoenaed. There are many others who are quietly cooperating with the Committee.
WILLIAMS: Claire McCaskill, what`s your frustration level right now, these days with all of it, with the Feds, with the fact that None of the plotters, planners, none of the people behind 1/6 have paid a price?
CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (D) MISSOURI FORMER U.S. SENATOR: It`s pretty damn high. You know, here`s the thing, the federal government -- to use a phrase, Brian, that you might recall from your earliest time in television in Joplin, Missouri. The Feds move like molasses in January, they are so slow. And there is an awful lot of evidence out there. And it just -- really right now, the 1/6 committee`s biggest enemy is not people taking the Fifth, it`s not people refusing to cooperate, it`s time, time is their biggest enemy. They have got to really put on the afterburners here and try to really shrink this process. Because all this litigation that`s going to be in court as to who has to show up and whether executive privilege is relevant. They`re not going to have time to do that if they don`t go quickly, especially if the House is lost to the Republicans next year.
WILLIAMS: Ashley Parker, even though a war in Eastern Europe would be the perfect period at the end of the year, that is 2021. Most of us don`t want to see that. What was the behind-the-scenes White House readout on the video conference with Putin today, Garry Kasparov notwithstanding?
PARKER: Well, the way it has stands behind the scenes publicly and what President Biden communicated to President Putin today was very much that they don`t want to see war, what they want is what they wanted at the Geneva Summit that I went to in the whole world watched, which is basically de-escalation and the opening of diplomatic channels.
You know, we`ve been told that Putin himself did not mention Russian troops invading Ukraine. Of course, that`s the pretext for this whole zoom. We wouldn`t be here otherwise. But what the U.S. wants was, especially on President Biden is dealing with coronavirus, is dealing with other national security threats is dealing frankly, with some pretty tough domestic politics in bad old numbers. He doesn`t want to have another concern of a global conflagration, the Ukrainian Russian border, that`s what they wanted to communicate, and that`s what they`re hoping got through to Putin.
WILLIAMS: Jon Karl, Vladimir Putin has worked very hard to become a player in our domestic politics, or Russia`s reach into our life and times, and media, especially the social variety is extensive. A lot of it goes unchecked. Do you think he`s counting on or hoping for a return of Donald Trump either through election channels or by force?
KARL: Well, he certainly been there before but he also is looking at a Republican Party that is actually pushing, in contrast to what we saw during the four years of the Trump presidency, a Republican Party that is slamming Joe Biden for being too soft on Russia.
Sure, you have the fringes, the outliers, you know, the true Trump acolytes like you showed the Newsmax magazine cover. But it`s interesting to see Republicans in Congress saying they`re apoplectic that Biden has not taken a tougher line on Putin that the sanctions aren`t already in place. You hear Republican leader saying, why wait for the invasion, send the message now. I saw, you know, Republicans today, comparing Biden to Neville Chamberlain on this, which is quite a turn for a party who had its standard bearer in the White House regularly praise Putin believe, Putin over U.S. intelligence. But you know, he can count on our return of Donald Trump. That`s a long ways away and far more immediate is what happens the day after he invades Ukraine.
WILLIAMS: Claire, let`s talk about the national frog boiling experiment we`ve been a part of. I want to put this Newsmax cover back up on the screen. It might as well be prompt monthly. This as you know is published by a buddy of Trump`s down in Florida, member at Mar-a-Lago. They have often succeeded in making Fox News look liberal. Do you have any surprise left in you, Claire, that the GOP seems cool with this?
MCCASKILL: No. And by the way, how phoney all the Republicans talking about how, you know, Biden needs to be tougher on Putin. Putin wants Trump back in there. He loves Donald Trump as president United States. Putin has his way with Donald Trump and all those Republican senators that are gnashing their teeth about this know that.
Now, I`m going to take just a minute of personal privilege here, Brian Williams. I`m pretty sure I don`t get to be on a screen with you again. And I`m sorry, I know you hate this. But let me just tell you, intellect and humor are a deadly combination. And you, my friend, have both of those in immense qualities in immense quantities. And I just, I think all of us think the world of view and I`m going to miss you terribly.
WILLIAMS: Thank you so much, Senator Claire, Ashley Parker, Jonathan Karl. Jonathan, don`t tell ABC you`ve been on the show about a dozen times. What they don`t know, can`t hurt them. You`re all friends of this broadcast for a reason.
KARL: I loved every minute of it, Brian, I`ve loved every minute of it. Seriously.
WILLIAMS: Thank you. Back at you guys. As I keep saying, you`re the stars of our show.
Coming up, after a break as I regain my personal privilege, Juanita Tolliver and Mark McKinnon, are with us tonight to talk about the novel plan to avoid a catastrophic default of our nation`s debt with only the votes of Democrats. And you didn`t think that was possible.
And later, it sounded like potential bad news for Pfizer today. And indeed, we`ll talk with one of our public health specialists about what these numbers early as they may be out of South Africa may show us. All of it as THE 11TH HOUR is just getting underway, our Tuesday night edition, looking at the Capitol Christmas Tree, the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial just beyond.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say when you drew those two red lines, and now it`s important for me to help indirectly raise the debt ceiling?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MINORITY LEADER: Well, the red line is intact. The red line is that you have a simple majority party line vote on debt ceiling. That`s exactly where we will end up.
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WILLIAMS: For House tonight took a major step forward approving a bill that could give, you heard the man, Senate Democrats, the ability to go it alone, and raise the debt limit all by their lonesome without that guy and the GOP.
There`s a lot of convoluted legislative maneuvering going on. It`s Washington, but Axios sums up the action this way, "The reason the Senate is going through this complex process is to allow Republicans to say they didn`t vote for increasing the debt limit, despite clearing the path for Democrats to do it on their own."
Here to talk us through it, Juanita Tolliver, Veteran Political Strategist to progressive candidates and causes and Mark McKinnon, former adviser to both George W. Bush and John McCain, he is among the co-hosts of the Circus on Showtime. Good evening, friends and welcome.
Juanita, I am hoping you can explain this to me, what is going on there. You look at McConnell, who is still treated and carries himself like the majority leader in this case, some days de facto surrounded by members of his caucus, forgive me grown ass men and women who are now going to take a dive on the debt ceiling vote genuflect on cue, on his command. Tell our audience what is going on here?
JUANITA TOLLIVER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What`s going on here, is that McConnell knows that he is responsible to the corporations and wealthy donors that give to his campaign who do not want to see the markets go haywire if the U.S. were to make a historic action and default on their debt, that is his sole motivation. That is the motivation of the 10 senators who are willing to step up and pass the procedural vote to get this to a final much simple majority vote. And that`s what this reflects the GOP doing the absolute least when it comes to legislating and doing the absolute most to make sure it looks like to the public that they didn`t lift a finger to help Democrats in this process. Because what we know is going to happen next in this process is Democrats are going to have to assign a number when they vote -- with that simple majority to raise the debt limit. And you better believe that GOP candidates across the country are going to be running that number as well as additional spending. Well, we know the truth is this is to cover debt accrued and accumulated under Trump, right? Like this is not about new spending. But that is the ultimate narrative here that Republicans are trying to sell.
So, the more they can be hands off about this. And as McConnell pointed out, technically not vote for it, they`re going to lean into that, especially going into the 2022 midterms.
WILLIAMS: I knew you could explain it. And thank you for that.
Mark McKinnon, imagine if Republicans had a legislative agenda that they were affirmatively trying to pass, speaking of which I`m going to share with you part of a Wall Street Journal forum tonight with Senator Joe Manchin. We`ll discuss his remarks on the other side.
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SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: I probably have differences with most of my colleagues, respectfully. And these are all very intelligent good people that mean well, and they`re representing their constituents. I`m representing my constituents. And we all to respect that. Man, I`ve told people, if you look at my record, and my involvement in public service, I`ve never changed. I have never changed. I am the same person I says I`m fiscally responsible and socially compassionate.
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WILLIAMS: So, Mark, is it safe to assume the modest Maserati driving houseboat living man from West Virginia is a no on the Biden bill?
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO JOHN MCCAIN & GEORGE W. BUSH: I think in its current form, surely. Yeah, and I don`t think in any form probably this year. I think he wants to push it off. He wants to negotiate it. I don`t think he`s necessarily ultimately a no, but I think there`s going to have to be a lot of give on the part of the bill to make dissatisfy Manchin.
And listen, I think there`s certainly a scenario where it may not even happen, but I think Manchin is pretty dug in, and it`s going to have to be I think a pretty significant looking bill before it passes Joe Manchin smell test.
WILLIAMS: Mark, I realized what side of the aisle you hail from originally and I asked this insincerity. Do you think he is a positive thing in any way, a positive force for this process? Do you think he belongs in the Democratic caucus in the Senate? Could they work out a trade? Can they do without his vote?
MCKINNON: I don`t think they can do that as vote. I mean, that`s why everybody calls him President Manchin. But I do think it is hard. He supports President Biden. He supports fundamental democratic ideology. He`s from West Virginia. And it shouldn`t be a surprise to people that he`s a conservative Democrat, but Democrats should be on their knees thanking him every night that he was elected in West Virginia, because look, I mean, Donald Trump won that, was 70% of the vote, and no other Democrats won statewide, nor could they. So, Joe Manchin is a unicorn in that state, and they wouldn`t have gotten the other infrastructure bill through had it not been for Joe Manchin.
So, listen, Joe Manchin is just going to bring things back to a, you know, moderate middle for the Democrats. And I think in the long run, that`s probably better for the party anyway.
WILLIAMS: Well, you`re right about West Virginia state so red, it`s visible from space. Both of these terrific guests have agreed to stick around while we fit in a quick break.
And coming up, the hold the former president has on his party.
WILLIAMS: As we might have mentioned before, Donald Trump still has a stranglehold on his party despite losing the House, Senate and White House for Republicans in just four short years. Many view him as the likely nominee straight up in 2024 for the party he controls. That`s what`s intriguing about a new Wall Street Journal poll that finds him in a statistical tie with one Joe Biden.
Still with us, Juanita Tolliver, Mark McKinnon.
Hey, Mark, I want to read you something our mutual friend Eugene Robinson has written. This happens to be about Georgia. We`ll talk about its applications beyond Georgia after this. The Republican Party has lost both U.S. Senate seats to Democrats and stands a real chance of losing the governor`s mansion as well. And all of this reflects the GOP is devolution into a cult of personality devoted to former President Donald Trump, a nationwide phenomenon that could affect key races elsewhere as well.
And it seems to me, Mark, you`re going to say something along the lines of our mutual friend may be right about Georgia, but in other places it sells, and it sells big.
MCKINNON: Well, but the splitters are starting to a rough, Brian, in interesting places. Georgia is a really good example that where Donald Trump is now endorsing David Perdue to run against Brian Kemp and Steve Bannon`s endorsing Kemp over Perdue or at least he`s saying Perdue is out, is a ridiculous candidate and doesn`t fit the mold at all. So, he`s got these crosshairs with Trump on the Georgia race.
And then you have people like Dan Crenshaw today standing up and taking on the Marjorie Taylor Greene`s have basically the most of the Freedom Caucus to say that they`re just a bunch of performative artists who, you know, are not really, you know, when you look at the record, what`s more important is, are you conservative, or are you just kissing Donald Trump`s hind quarters? And the fact is, he held up Adam Kinzinger is example somebody who actually has a much more conservative voting record in support of Donald Trump than does those than those people`s like Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene at all.
WILLIAMS: Juanita, a messaging question for you. How should, is there an overarching way to answer this? How should Democrats handle Donald Trump going into the midterms with one caveat, and maybe not have Terry McAuliffe in charge of messaging?
TOLLIVER: Right. So, I feel like starting out in 2020. So, you already have your villain, and it`s not Trump. Keep in mind, he`s not on the ballot. So, he`s not going to generate that level of intention or fear or anger that we saw in 2020. I think you can directly juxtapose the turnout in 2021 in Virginia for an example of that, but your villain here is Gaetz, is Taylor Greene. It`s Gosar, it`s Boebert, it`s all of the people who are identified as the most extremist parts of the GOP who are Trump approved and Trump adjacent, who are spouting violent rhetoric, harmful things every single day, day in and day out. That is your villain. And that clip I saw circulating on social media of Gaetz, saying, this is what`s going to happen when we take power. That should be cut and included in Democratic ads and districts across the country. Show people what Republicans plan to do if they get power to mobilize them to get out and vote in the midterms. Because they`re not joking when they say it`s going to be all about revenge. It`s got to be revenge hearings, revenge investigations, revision impeachment hearings even, revenge and removing Democrats from Committee seats for no reason at all, only to say they did it and only to score political points. Because they`re all leveraging Trump`s playbook. But the Democrats have an explicit villain that they need to continuously point out over the next year to really get into voters` minds about turning out for 2022.
WILLIAMS: So, Mark McKinnon, provided you are both right, here`s the tougher question, Mark, you went through the red on red of violence that we see going on all of it, the verbal variety, Juanita touched on it. Who would you rather be going into the midterms? And this is about infighting, both parties have it? Would you rather be the Democrats or the Republicans?
MCKINNON: Well, listen, just as a historical matter, Republicans are well positioned to do well, in the midterms. I think these are larger questions for 2020.
I would just say, Brian, that I`m kind of shocked by that poll that heads up between Biden and Trump. I`m surprised that it`s that close. I wouldn`t be expected at this point, given the shape that Biden`s in and all the challenges that he`s had and incumbent who`s just out of office, kind of you know, spinning plates that he`d be in much better shape than he is right now. So, I think that`s actually suggest some vulnerability and some weakness.
WILLIAMS: Juanita, have you seen an improvement or uptick in the White House messaging, something we have complained about when you guys have been on before hiding their economic message under a bushel and the like. They`ve been getting out more, they have commissioned a new series of television ads, are you seeing improvement?
TOLLIVER: Definitely seeing improvement in message discipline. But I think we have to recognize the uphill battle that Democrats are facing when even they`re putting up historic rates of growth, historic rates of new jobs created, month after month, showing that the economy is trending upward. That`s still not landing with the public, because we saw in that Wall Street Journal poll, that the public still thinks Republicans are better suited to handle the economy, even though the facts show that that Trump left office with a negative number of job gains for his presidency, while you have Biden here making historic gains.
And so, I think that they need to combat that with additional information getting out there. I also want to recognize the negative slack that they`re getting from media on the day to day in covering their historic gains in the economy. And so, one thing to combat that is not only call it out, but emphasize the long term, power for power blow for blow comparison between themselves and trump every single day so that people have no question about where they stand in the progress that they`re making.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, I know that studies out there and it`s a big talker this week, and I`m not going to defend the MSM except to say that it`s awfully hard to do kind of empirical analysis of positive coverage and negative coverage, especially when there`s a time shift involved.
But look at the time. Look at our two friends, Juanita Tolliver, Mark McKinnon, with our thanks for coming on, to both of you, thank you so very much.
Coming for us --
MCKINNON: -- regardless in your next chapter, Brian, whatever it may be, we need you out there.
WILLIAMS: Well, thank you. Thank you, you. You keep wearing that hat. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Coming up for us after this break, a tip of the hat from Mark McKinnon, the early mixed clues about this latest variant that has been at the top of our news for so many nights. We will ask Dr. Irwin Redlener, what worries him the most as a public health professional, when we come back.
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DR. PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE: I was actually on service last week at our hospital, Children`s Hospital Philadelphia and we were seeing many children with this disease, children who not just came into the hospital, had to go to the intensive care unit, placed on ventilators. And I can tell you, not one of those children was vaccinated and often their parents weren`t vaccinated. You see children struggling to breathe. You see children on ventilators, you see their parents crying, knowing that this can all be prevented. It`s just hard to watch.
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WILLIAMS: That is the very highly regarded doctor and FDA Advisory Board Member Paul Offit, highlighting the damage this virus is doing to children. The U.S. is now approaching 50 million reported cases right now we`re averaging a little over 1000 deaths every day, most if not all from the Delta variant, remember. But a small preliminary lab study out of South Africa got a lot of media attention late today because it suggests the Pfizer vaccine may be less effective against this new Omicron variant.
Wall Street Journal sums it up this way, "The Omicron variant of coronavirus can partially evade the protection afforded by vaccines, but scientists say the shots should still defend those inoculated from severe disease." In other words, keep us from dying, keep us out of the hospital.
With us for more, Dr. Irwin Redlener, founding Director of Columbia`s National Centre for Disaster Preparedness, he advises us on public health, pediatrician by training he is professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Doctor, before the break, I said I would ask you what worries you most? Let me add to that. What do you make of this study small as it is these numbers worrisome as they are out of South Africa about Pfizer?
DR. IRWIN REDLENER, EXPERT ON PANDEMIC INFLUENZA:I was hoping you`d forget to ask me that question, Brian. You know, what worries me most is what`s worried me for many, many months now is the basic disease itself. This is a raging pandemic. And it doesn`t let up we get these little brief respites and then we get back into another surge. That worries me a lot. And the Omicron variant just adds fuel to that fire. But I think we`re going to be in continuing trouble since we still have so many Americans at least 100 million not yet vaccinated, you know, we`re going to bout to reach 800,000 deaths from COVID-19. And I`m going to predict right here that if things go continue to go the way they are, we`ll see a million deaths from COVID-19 by the end of the first quarter and 2022.
And the other thing that really troubles me, Brian, is the effect on children as Paul Offit was saying, this is no joke for children, even though the -- you know, the rates of infection are less than with adults. But this is numbers are really -- get our attention here. We had 133,000 cases of COVID diagnosed in children last week alone with 500 hospitalizations and eight deaths. So, we`re still in it. So now we get Omicron. And what are we to make of this? So, the variant is going to be -- I`m sure shown to be much more contagious than previous variants that that`s pretty much the case. We don`t yet know really how sick this is going to be making people. We don`t have enough cases yet. And most of the original cases were in younger people. So, it`s very likely that we`ll see a lot a lot of cases. And we`ll see how it goes with the seriousness of disease.
So, to your question now, about are these new -- is the new variant as vulnerable? Is it going to be affected and is the -- are the vaccines that are currently out there going to be able to prevent the disease? Will probably not prevent the disease, in other words, people will still get infected. But here`s what it is, in terms of if you have been vaccinated. So, if you`ve already had COVID, and you have now two vaccines, or if you`ve had three doses of the vaccine, you`re going to pretty much be -- I believe will show -- will be shown to be safe from getting very sick or from dying. It`s the people who have not been vaccinated yet who are going to be in the most trouble as is always the case with COVID-19. Vaccinations mean stay out of the hospital and staying alive.
WILLIAMS: How should people who received Pfizer who liked me, when I was out in my car today when I heard it on radio news, how should people react? Even though in your community, in the medical community, this is a tiny non peer reviewed study. This is raw data coming out of a country where they`re still scrambling because this variant was brought to their shores now it has come to ours. How should Pfizer recipients greet this news other than your instructions, get everybody vaccinated and those vaccinated need to get boosted?
REDLENER: Well, if you`re talking about the very small study, not peer reviewed, that showed that there was something like 40 times less likely be protected from the vaccine with Omicron than with the other variants, with Delta even. And that, of course, is a worrying piece of information to hear, especially driving in your car. But it is a potential problem.
However, we still believe that the vaccines will prevent, as I was saying earlier, serious disease and deaths. And don`t forget that one thing that people should remember is that what they`re measuring in these little research studies right now that we have so far on Omicron is they`re measuring, neutralizing antibodies, but there are other parts of your immune system and your immune system, which can also protect you from getting very sick T-cells and B-cells and so on that people have heard about. So, I think it was worries it for sure, including inmate but I think we`ll need a lot more data before we can draw a really serious conclusions, Brian.
WILLIAMS: Dr. Irwin Redlener, a true public health professional, has been our guest tonight with our thanks for as always taking our questions and giving us clear answers in return.
Another break in our coverage tonight and coming up new reporting on the dangerous situation in the State of Hawaii where a powerful storm has dumped over a foot of rain in some areas, that when we come back.
WILLIAMS: The Governor of Hawaii has declared a statewide state of emergency as a powerful storm caused widespread flooding across that chain of islands over a foot of rain has already fallen. In some parts of Hawaii, 1000s of customers are without power. This is after blizzard warnings were posted just days ago for Hawaii`s highest elevations. We get our report tonight from NBC News Correspondent, Emilie Ikeda.
EMILIE IKEDA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Heart stopping rescues in Hawaii, a sheet of rain drenched the archipelago five or 10 and under miraculously pulled from a raging river under the cover of darkness. The day`s long rain event known as a Kona low notorious for its slow-moving nature, dumping nearly two feet on Maui in less than two days and up to three inches an hour and parts of Oahu.
HIRO TOIYA, HONOLULU EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR: Stay vigilant, pay attention to your surroundings, and really don`t take any chances at this time.
IKEDA: Chaos on roadways now more like rivers, tourists here for a taste of paradise seem wading through the heart of Waikiki.
The honeymoon hotspot now a tangled mess, winds toppling trees and knocking out power to 1000s.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The tree literally towed right before we stop, you know, it`s a great thing, nobody got hurt.
IKEDA: The threat of landslides top of mind after debris barrel down Kauai slopes earlier this year.
(On camera) Why are we seeing such significant rainfall rates in Hawaii?
ROBERT BALLARD, NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HONOLULU OFFICE: This type of weather system tends to bring us really intense rainfall. When you have deep tropical moisture interacting with our mountains and our volcanoes summits, it really serves to wring out that moisture really quickly.
IKEDA: Tonight, a state of emergency as hundreds flocked to Oahu to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, ceremonies pressing on before a backdrop of grey skies and flood watches. Emilie Ikeda, NBC News.
WILLIAMS: Literally the definition of trouble in paradise. Another break for us. And coming up, we watched the crazy, so you don`t have to.
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, keeping an eye on the far right it`s been said by people way smarter than I am that many of today`s Democrats living in blue dots and what is largely a big red country, too often tend to dismiss or ignore or miss entirely what`s being said on the right were comments quickly become belief systems where outlandish lies become truth to the aggrieved yearning for a way to explain just how their lives turned out. The Democrats then express surprise when they get creamed on social issues.
Well, tonight, two samples from the folks at right wing watch. In the first we learn that Trump has kind of been president of the world this whole time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the proof will be forthcoming that over the last year ever since November 3 of last year until now they will find out that there is not a person on the planet that has exercised more power and authority than President Donald Trump. That will be revealed. And it`s been it`s been bigger than being -- if anything, he made a shift from President of the United States to President of the world, in the sense of how he`s being used and what`s taking place.
Now for those who want the proof, that`s why you have to get through the fog of war or be above the fog of war to actually know what`s taking place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: And you see, here`s the thing, conspiracy theorists are just like us, except for the conspiracy theorist part. They have homes and mortgage payments, cars and car payments, loved ones, pets possessions. They are the people we see at the food store. And yet, it`s only when you talk to them in line at the deli counter that you realize they have that special something.
Our second sample tonight is to make you aware that you`re a Nazi. And please know, as you watch this, this man is a pastor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those of you who are really big supporters of the vaccination program, whether you realize it or not, you are a new Nazi. You are part of the Nazi propaganda operation. Because this is a global Nazi operation. This is mass genocide, the killing off of maybe one to 2 billion people if they`re not stopped. They vaccinated vast numbers of people in many countries in India and across Europe and Australia. These people are going to die in the next one to two years.
Now, they`re vaccinating the children. They`re going to kill off the little innocent children. Children are going to have heart attacks at age five and six, who`s going to stop these mad men? We went to war to stop the Nazis. We have to go to war now to stop these Nazis. Fauci is America`s Josef Mengele. He`s a madman. And he`s being allowed to run around free and he`s killing people. These pharmaceutical CEOs are mass murderers, Bill Gates is a mass murderer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Said the man with the cross on his lapel. Nobody`s killing children here and just to recap the vaccine saves lives. Mass deaths say on the order of 800,000 Americans that`s what happens without the vaccine. And Dr Fauci and Bill Gates have security details because sometimes the crazy becomes weaponized. And that sadly is our world in December of 2021.
That is also our broadcast for this Tuesday night with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.