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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 12/9/21

Guests: Philip Rucker, Eugene Robinson, James Carville, Jon Meacham, Michael Beschloss


Trump loses appeal to block 1/6 records release. Appeals court rules against Trump in fight over WH docs. John Eastman appears before Jan. 6 committee. 1/6 committee hears from ex-Cybersecurity Chief Chris Krebs. Former Trump Admin. Official Kash Patel meets with Committee. Trump supporter Ali Alexander testifies to 1/6 Committee. NY Atty. General seeks to depose Trump in fraud probe.



BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 324 of the Biden administration and tonight against the constant din of the ticking clock that countdown to potential consequences. The January 6 Committee is one step closer to getting Donald Trump`s White House documents and electronic records related to January 6.

Today, Trump lost his fight to hide those records from the committee when a federal appeals court said his claim of executive privilege does not outweigh President Biden`s decision that Congress has a legitimate need to see the material.

Trump has all but certain to head to the Supreme Court for legal relief here and today`s judges put a hold on their own ruling to give his lawyers time to file an appeal. It comes as the select committee heard from four important witnesses today. That would be John Eastman, author of the memo used to try and convince Mike Pence to toss out the election results. That would be former Trump Cybersecurity Czar Chris Krebs who worked for the Trump administration, who publicly disputed the big lie famously said at the time that our presidential election had been free and fair. Former Pentagon Official Kash Patel, also Ali Alexander who organized Stop the Steal rallies after the 2020 election. He happened to meet with the committee today for eight hours.


ALI ALEXANDER, ORGANIZER OF "STOP THE STEAL" RALLIES: It was really just important to me, you know, as a man of faith and a man of peace, to have come here and say stop the steel held 500 rallies and all 50 states in the union and not one turned violent.


WILLIAMS: Alexander also denies his group had anything to do with the violence at the Capitol. The Committee Vice Chair, Liz Cheney said today, the Committee is approaching 300 witness interviews and that the investigation is currently as she put it, firing on all cylinders.

Late today, Maryland Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin who also sits on that Committee offered new clues about their progress.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN, (D) MARYLAND JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE: Everything is moving in our direction at this point. We`re getting a really fine-grained image of what was taking place and the money that was being raised, the money that was being spent, the coordination among the different elements, the interaction of the violent intersect -- insurrection with the attempt to coerce Mike Pence to reject Electoral College votes, all of it is becoming clearer to us.


WILLIAMS: Meanwhile, Mark Meadows is getting closer to being held in contempt that committee meets Monday to vote on that.

We`ve also learned that longtime Trump adviser Jason Miller was scheduled to be deposed tomorrow that`s now been postponed.

Meanwhile, NBC News reporting New York Attorney General, the state attorney general Letitia James is looking to depose Donald Trump as part of her civil tax fraud investigation into the overall Trump Organization. This news first reported by The Washington Post. Trump`s lawyers call the move, "purely political" and wait for it a "witch hunt."

With that, let`s bring in three of the original friends of this broadcast who make up our starting line tonight. And here`s a hint, one of them hasn`t been up this late since New Year`s Eve of 1996. I`m not going to say which one she is, Phil Rucker, Pulitzer Prize Winning Senior Washington Correspondent for The Washington Post, co-author along with Carol Leonnig at the New York Times bestseller, I Alone Can Fix It. Nicolle Wallace, Anchor of Deadline: White House weekdays, a two hour shift every day from four to 6 p.m. Eastern time on this very network. She happened to have been White House Communications Director for President George W. Bush and a Senior Aide to John McCain`s `08 presidential effort. And our friend, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist for the Washington Post. Good evening, and welcome to you all.

Nicolle, we`re all business here as we start off tonight. So, here`s the lead question for you. Given your experience as White House Communications Director and an insider, inside the West Wing in an entirely different era, give us some idea of the scope and contents, what kind of comms would have come out of a day like 1/6 written, dictated, electronic records, what kinds of things to put it another way, just Trump not want the committee to see?

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST, "DEADLINE: WHITE HOUSE": Well, I hate to say in a normal White House because any sentence that starts that way is usually revealed by Phil Rucker or one of the other journalists to have not happened in this White House. But White House records is automated by design. Every email you send is BCC to an address that is records that So, anything that anyone wrote to anyone else or into anyone in the White House would -- if it falls into the scope of what the committee had asked for. And if it passed the test that the Biden White House reviewed and said, this does not -- is not going to be protected by executive privilege, that would be part of, this was just the first of three tranches that would go to the committee.


And its vast, it could also include visitor logs, it could include phone records, but you don`t know what will ultimately make its way to the committee. But I think when you lay this ruling, and the prospect that all of the documents from the archives will make their way to the committee over the fact that all of the witnesses are insiders, insiders. They didn`t subpoena any sort of career folks who weren`t either privy to what the Trump team was doing or on the Trump team itself. They are the closest people who have Donald Trump at the White House, the people running his campaign, and the people who organized the event that he headlined on January 6, but the committee keeps saying publicly that they have lots and lots that list, Cheney called them exceptionally interesting documents from Mark Meadows, who is potentially about to be held in criminal contempt. What a bizarre legal strategy he has undertaken. But they have so much already. And the idea of these documents sort of coming in like water, filling in the cracks in the gaps is what has to keep team Trump up tonight.

WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, it is a bizarre choice, as Nicolle put it for so many of these people who`ve had public careers to choose to have contempt of Congress as in effect the last line in their resumes, in effect the first line in their obituaries. But speaking of the deposed Team Trump in Florida and Washington and elsewhere, what`s your reporting on how they`re viewing their fight against this committee?

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Brian, they seem to be losing almost every day against this committee. As Liz Cheney put it today, more than 300 witnesses have participated with this Committee. You know, it was a slow start for this investigation. But there appears to have been really clear momentum the last few weeks, and now we`re learning that all of these text messages from Mark Meadows on January 6 are now in the committee`s hands. That`s important for a lot of reasons.

And so, one by one, Trump`s most loyal allies and advisors are cooperating because they know, they have to, they don`t want to be held in contempt of Congress. They`re trying to cooperate to some degree, it`s unclear if they`re cooperating fully, but they`re providing some information to this committee. And in doing so, frankly, they`re certifying what the committee is doing. They`re making this an official acts, they`re -- you know, Trump wants them to all dismiss this committee as a partisan witch hunt and have nothing to do with it. And they`re not willing to play that game even as they`re unwilling to sort of publicly fully cross the former president.

WILLIAMS: Eugene Robinson, your latest is headlined the January 6 Committee needs to get louder, much louder, made me think of the good trouble admonishment from the late great Congressman, John Lewis. Eugene, they have been previewing more. They have been telling us publicly what they`ve got in hand already. What their plans are. There will be televised hearings. Is that what you`re talking about? Or something way more aggressive?

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Oh, it`s not before time for televised hearings. I mean, I think there should be hearings, I think they should be making more noise. And they have started to do that. They have started to tell us more. But, you know, for many Americans who are not paying close attention this isn`t I fear registering the way it should and this is so important. It is so important to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6. I think everyone on the Committee understands that.

So, say it loud. Bring in the television cameras, make it impossible not to pay attention. Because it is -- this was a rupture in our democracy, the likes of which we have never seen before and there has to be accountability, and people have to pay attention.

WILLIAMS: Nicolle, you cover this committee, if possible, more than we do, how you got a two hour shift every day. We just do one. I don`t need to remind anyone that the clock is ticking. I don`t need to remind anyone that the clock runs out on these hearings, this committee effective the midterm elections. Let`s talk about consequences, though, other than some of the foot soldiers who breached our Capitol on that day.


The plotters and planners, the big names the senior folks that are the stuff of our broadcast, no consequences as of yet. Nicolle, do you think they can hear as loudly as we can, the ticking clock?

WALLACE: You know, I -- Garrett Haake and you played that great interview that he did just on the fly, seemingly effortlessly with Jamie Raskin, talked about people who have gotten sort of wiggled off the hook. And the idea of Steve Bannon wiggling up anything was too much for me, but no one has gotten away. There are folks that they haven`t sort of turned inside out in terms of what they know and what they saw. But I think the decision today by this appeals court, and it`s 68 pages, a lot of it is about how extraordinarily important it is for Congress to get all these answers. They are making a legal argument that I think at least some of our legal friends, they would be pretty difficult for the Supreme Court to go in a different direction just on the legal grounds.

But I think this idea of a ticking clock is very much on all of their minds. And I think that what we don`t see shouldn`t worry us as much as it does. It is clear that what they already know shaping the subpoenas is becoming more clear in the letters they put out. If you thought though, that I was going to stay up and put lipstick on at 11 o`clock just to talk about the committee, you had another thing coming.

I think I can safely say I speak for all three of us in saying that to be on this last broadcast is so bittersweet. It was an extraordinary news day. It was kind of Newsday that made you want to throw something against the wall, the idea that you will not be helming this broadcast anymore. I know that that doesn`t mean you won`t be helming and talking us through these times, but your contributions are too many to number, especially to all of us. So, on behalf of everyone that I had seen tweeting, I know Rachel pointed everyone to this moment and to say that all of us are missing something already, even though you`re still very much right there on the air would be an understatement.

WILLIAMS: Bless you for saying that. You were present at the creation, you were -- you and I were anchor partners when this idea came to the boss and we split off and went our separate ways, separate parts of the schedule. Will I miss being the only friend of mine wearing makeup at 11 o`clock at night? No. But I will miss all of you and aspects of this.

Phil Rucker, what you`re watching is an anchor gamely trying to get control of the rudder again. Let me ask you a news question, while I spread the love to my friend, Nicolle Wallace, who has been incredibly gracious in ways that I can never repay. Bannon and Meadows are playing Beat the Clock. It`s very clear. Is there a scenario, Phil, where the committee accrues so much material on them, that their testimony and it may include up to and not limited to taking the fifth becomes less important?

RUCKER: Sure, you know, every day the committee gets more information. You know, the testimony that the words of Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows are less important simply because more of the holes are being filled by outside testimony, by documents, by all the other information that committee is gathering. That being said, there are certainly questions that they have, that Steve Bannon will only be able to answer and there are probably even more questions that only Mark Meadows will be able to answer.

Remember, Meadows, the White House Chief of Staff was physically at the former president side throughout the day of January six. And in all of those days leading up to January 6, and according to our reporting, was really playing both sides of that argument, telling Pence one thing, telling Trump another thing, he is such a central figure. So, his testimony will be invaluable. And yet the committee`s still with all of this other work will be able to piece together a lot of the narrative.

And Brian, I`m just going to take a moment of personal privilege to also add to what Nicolle said and point out that this has been such a turbulent, traumatic period for all of us for -- in the country. For all of us in journalism, we have the gray hairs to prove it. And yet this has been such an hour of calm. And that`s because of the integrity and the smarts and frankly, the wit and grace that you bring to the news every night and we`re sure going to miss it.

WILLIAMS: Well, bless you real good for that. Thank you, Phil. And I feel the same way about you, as I`ve said before, as I`ll say until the day I die, the stars of this show are the people we invite on here.

Again, including but not limited to my friend with the Pulitzer Prize Eugene Robinson, Eugene, you are one of the founding fathers of this. You and I have shared so many late nights sometimes resulting in understandable votes.


ROBINSON: Yeah, that`s absolutely, right. Listen, let me just throw it off the rails yet again, because I just have to take this opportunity to thank you, thank you for the opportunity of working with you on this broadcast, on election nights where you fed us off all staffy and banquets of bad food, other big occasions. You know, you have created -- you and your great producers and your great crew created here on 11th Hour, a show that`s really kind of about the human comedy in the way that the balls act the phrase, all of life, all the commotion, all of what we`re doing, and you have this unique ability to see not just the tragedy and the pathos and events, but also the comedy, often the sardonic comedy, but it`s a broadcast that always leaves viewers knowing a lot more about their nation and their world. And feeling a bit better. Feeling a bit more prepared to face the coming day. And that`s a tremendous achievement. And to have been even a small part of it, I just say thank you, my friend. Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Well, well, thank you so much. It`s your brains and words we`ve been borrowing this whole time.

And here`s the difference a Pulitzer Prize makes, where I`m from -- you throw around words like balls act, you`re going to get thrown out of wherever you`re in. That`s just a fact of life. To these three friends who I will continue to see in the real world, but I will miss most of all in this forum are ever loving thanks to Phil Rucker, Nicolle Wallace, Eugene Robinson. Thank you all for coming on. These many, many years and many late nights.

Coming up, another friend of ours, James Carville is here to talk about what`s next for the Biden presidency and the Democratic Party as we near the end of Joe Biden`s first year in office.

And later, celebrated historians Michael Beschloss, Jon Meacham together on the state of our democracy tonight and what`s at stake for all of us who love this country. The 11th Hour is just getting underway on a more emotional than average, Thursday night, as we look up at the residents from the West Wing.




REP. MATT GAETZ, (R) FLORIDA: We are going to take power after this next election. And when we do, it`s going to be the days of Jim Jordan.

REP. JIM JORDAN, (R) OHIO: President Trump, the leader of the Republican Party.

GAETZ: And Marjorie Taylor Greene.


GAETZ: And Dr. Gosar.

REP. PAUL GOSAR, (R) ARIZONA: The DOJ is harassing peaceful patriots.

GAETZ: And myself, an armed rebellion against the government.

The notion that Republicans are going to take control the House and we`re going to hold hands in the warm spring rain with the Democrats and legislators is ludicrous.


WILLIAMS: That`s a new ad out today from the Democratic National Committee and it seems that the Republican narrator is perfectly content with that portrayal of him in his party. Matt Gaetz posted this request on social media, in fact, "Please run this ad in the Florida congressional District 1."

Back with us tonight is an old friend, James Carville, Veteran Democratic Strategist who rose to national fame with the Clinton Presidential Campaign. He`s now the co-host of the "Politics War Room" podcast.

James, it`s great to see you at another time. We`ll talk about LSU`s new coach and what that did to Notre Dame. But wow, what a story. Anyway, back to politics, is this better that the party is getting more aggressive? As you and I have discussed, the toughest ads for on behalf of the Democrats have all been made by lapsed Republicans here to four.

JAMES CARVILLE, VETERAN DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right. Well, Matt Gaetz will probably be in a penitentiary about the election comes around. If you remember, he`s the subject of a massive federal investigation, but having sex with underage females where it goes, but there`s good chance he will be. And you know, yes, they got to hit hard when anytime that Jim Jordan opens his mouth, he should go into well of the House and read all of the Ohio State athletes that said, he knew that they will be molested by a wrestling coach.

When Lauren Boebert opens her mouth, some I should go to the well and read a story out of the New York Post, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch by a journalist named Jonathan Levine, talking about how Lauren Boebert and her husband met and read that into the Congressional Record. We got to stop this namby-pamby, censor somebody take committees away, and just call these people out who they are. And that -- and it`s all --

WILLIAMS: Why aren`t they doing that, James? Why aren`t they as aggressive as you just laid out? Why aren`t they as aggressive as all that we are free to read on social media about all the people you just mentioned?

CARVILLE: The Democratic coaches, wow, yeah, they human battle? No, you know, and they just, they now were -- we got less than a year ago between these off year elections. And they got to start hitting and hitting hard and start telling the truth. And if people hadn`t Matt Gaetz sit up there and criticize anybody given what the trouble adhesion. And Paul Gosar got five siblings that I`ll tell people to vote against him. Read what his siblings say into the Congressional Record.

Look, Brian, I have an equivalent Ph.D. in White-Trasholog. And Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, they can hold their best. They could be the subject of a dissertation. I`m serious, and we got to start calling these people and hold them accountable. That`s what I say.

WILLIAMS: James new polling out today, 41% of Americans support Build Back Better, notably, one quarter of those asked don`t have an opinion. I try to read as much as I can. I`m not sure what`s in it. What`s the fix for this kind of thing?

CARVILLE: We`re starting to see a little bit of it. People are -- this economy is really good. And you know, people are starting to talk about what`s in the bill, only 10% of the people knew it was in a bill. That was the case a month ago, I`m surprised, we got 25% that are unsure, you could get 22% of that 25 if they knew it was in that. And the communications, there`s got to be hard hitting, it`s got to be streamlined. It has to be repetitive, and that is what constitutes real good communications. And I think that people are starting to see this. And communicators in the Democratic Party are starting to see this but we have to be a lot more direct and a lot more hard-hitting in our communication because this has been politically rough year accomplishments and legislatively 2021 has been one of the better years we`d have, you would know it for bringing it fresh, but it has been. And we got to start telling people that.


WILLIAMS: James, you and I were fused over years of political coverage. We were fused in the aftermath of Katrina, which laid waste to your home and the area of the country that I love. And we were also fused by being on the air the moment you knew, the moment it occurred to you that Hillary Clinton had lost, and the next president was going to be Donald Trump, which was an incredible moment to witness in real time, whatever the aftereffects were, that we`re still talking about and dealing with now. What is your message, as you`ll forgive me, but we`re within a couple years of party elder to the up and comers, to the progressives on the left, to the moderates in the middle, and a good many Democrats still insist we`re a center right country?

CARVILLE: Well, first of all, love your country, and I`m sure most all of them do. And then communicate directly in simple plain English. And when you do something good, take credit for it. And when they do something bad, blame them for it. It just really isn`t that much more complicated, but you have to do it directly. You have to do it plainly and clearly that people hear you.

And the Biden administration has an incredible story to tell. And I can`t wait for him to get out and start telling it and then I think when people start hearing it, that they can be a change, but we got to start telling our stories better. We got to be better storytellers. That`s essentially what communications is. It`s just nothing more to storytelling. And we got to get better at it and quick.

WILLIAMS: Hey, James, just a guess on my part, you do Christmas up pretty big in your house?

CARVILLE: Oh, yes, I love Christmas. Are you kidding me? I went out gorgeous red shirt for the show tonight. You know? Yeah, it`s a great time of year and my kids are going to be home and go to my sister`s and it`s just great. It`s a wonderful time of the year. And, you know, down here, it was great.

WILLIAMS: And that was you, as a new head coach.

CARVILLE: Yeah. So, I just want to do something toast you and can`t be as eloquent as some of your past, Pulitzer Prize winning guests are, but the best way I know to do it is, regardless champagne and toasted and put a great time have had in, you know, mid-career move here. I can`t wait to see who`s next Brian Williams.

WILLIAMS: Bless you for that. Thank you. All the best back to you, have Merry Christmas, you and the family. We`ll try to do the same. Our guest tonight has been James Carville, unique among political analysts.

Coming up, there we go, we`ll continue our examination of the perilous state of our democracy with two of the great historians of our time.




JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: Democracy doesn`t happen by accident. We have to renew it with each generation. And this is an urgent matter on all our parts in my view, because the data we`re seeing is largely pointing in the wrong direction.


WILLIAMS: It`s a troubling trend all over our world and most alarmingly right here in the United States. So, who better to talk about the preservation of our democracy, then to renowned celebrated decorated historians who off camera are best friends, and I will be forever grateful that I get to hang out with them both on rare occasion.

Back with us tonight, celebrated author, Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss, his latest work in a bookshelf full of works his Presidents of War. And Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, Presidential Historian, the Rogers Chair in the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University. He occasionally advises this current president on historical matters and major speeches.

Gentlemen, good evening to you both. My friends. We flipped a coin. I`m going to start with the same question to both of you, Jon, your first. As long as we`ve all been alive, in my memory, our presidents have started the State of the Union address with some form of my fellow Americans, the state of our union is strong. Can we say that right about now, Jon?

JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I don`t think so. Certainly not with candor, and with confidence, and that`s the problem of the age. You know, democracy is very counterintuitive. This is a human undertaking. We`re all fallen, we`re all frail. We`re all fallible, and what is a democracy, but the sum of its parts. The word means the rule of the many. And the rule of the many can lead to complications and chaos. And the remarkable thing about the United States, I think. And I think we`ve all -- all three of us have talked about this, is that we`ve lasted this long. And I think that, you know, our mutual friend, Ben Bradley used to say, when something happened, and if he didn`t think it was a big deal, he`d say, when the history of the world is written, this isn`t going to be in it. Well, the fall of the American republic, that will be in it. And we`re 11 months and two days away from the most significant physical assault on our democracy. That didn`t even happen during the Civil War, right? The electoral count, Winfield Scott sent troops to Washington on the 13th of February 1861 to make sure secessionist didn`t interfere with the electoral count.

And nobody got into the Capitol. Well, it did happen this time. And we have to do everything we can. And what Michael has rightly called for a long time, longer than I`ve been on this, in this corner as well. That this is a genuine national emergency.

WILLIAMS: Michael Beschloss, same question.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It is, but the genuine national emergency is that Brian Williams is leaving the 11th Hour. So let me just say bye peace, then we`ll get on to democracy. Two subjects aren`t connected. Brian, as historians we know tonight, you`ve had an astounding 28 years at NBC News. Very difficult to believe. That`s more than a quarter of the history of the NBC National Broadcasting Company, more than a third of the length of serious TV news. So, this is a large monument to what you do my friend.


And viewers who are watching, we`ve all watched, Brian, for all these years, the intelligence, the wisdom, the kindness, the more than sense of humor, and especially these last five years on the 11th Hour, at a time of horrible troubles a nightmare oftentimes, for our country.

Brian, you made this country better at a time we all needed it every single night. This has been a course in civics and democracy, in some cases, for people who didn`t really know how precious and how fragile it was. Every single night you spoke truth to power in the best democratic tradition.

Now, everyone knows how much, Brian, loves history. Certainly, Jon and I do. You may not know that he collects historical artifacts and letters of anyone who`s watched this program or watched him not only for 28 years, but he was doing other things before he came to NBC knows that Brian loves the history of presidents, obviously history of cars, and he loves the history of important anniversaries.

Now, someone may have noticed that the week he chose to end his run here at the 11th Hour and NBC is the 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I`m sure completely by coincidence, but my gift for you tonight, I thought I would look for something appropriate presidents and cars and anniversaries. I`m sending you tomorrow, this exact scale model of Franklin Roosevelt`s limousine 1938. As you can see, the hood opens, the doors open. This is pretty exact even the seats go up and down. You`ll be getting from that from me soon, Brian, as an addition to your -- I know excellent collection, all I can say is, before we get to the serious, more serious stuff about democracy and the troubles we`re having.

Thank you from all of us grateful Americans. And I know I speak for Jon and saying we can`t wait to watch your next chapter as it now opens.

WILLIAMS: Bless you for that, Michael, thank you very much. It was far too generous. All I can say is, I`ve never forgotten that these are the cheap seats. My name is on none of the books on the bookshelves in my house. You two gentlemen are well representative. And that`s the difference.

I`m going to keep these guys in their chairs adjust over a break, largely because they have no other plans on a Thursday night. We`ll continue our discussion right after this.



WILLIAMS: We are back. Our guests Michael Beschloss and Jon Meacham. Jon, I`m coming to you, and I swear to God, if you invoke my name, I`m going to kill your bike and drive down to your house. I happen to know that this week, and someone would enjoy our conversation because he loved a good laugh this week, you`ve been remembering Bob Dole, whose wishing life kind of came true lying-in state in the Capitol today, he always wanted friends from both sides of the aisle. And here, this man from Russell, Kansas attracted the most powerful Republicans and Democrats to his casket in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, genuine consensus American hero, I fear Jon will never see his like, again.

MEACHAM: Well, never strong, but goodness gracious. Look at what Dole represents. Not that he`s a perfect guy. He`s a ferocious -- was a ferocious partisan, but he put the country first. And that`s the power of example here, because it`s a lot easier blessedly to learn from sinners than from saints, which is good given the relative proportion of the two in the population.

Dole was somebody who understood the game played the game. But when it came down to it, when there was a decision to be made for the good of the many, for the good of the country. Kids have school lunches because of Bob Dole. And George McGovern, you know, just the Americans Disabilities Act. The last time I saw him was in -- seconds, the last time I saw him, was down in College Station on the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

And by the way, Beschloss has never given me a car. So, let`s should, I guess, I`ll retire to get one. So, I want to mention that. And the fact that he has that right at hand is really concerned.

BESCHLOSS: Of course.

MEACHAM: But we will -- thankfully, Brian, you`ll have a little time off now. So, we can do the intervention on Beschloss, so this will be good for everybody involved. Everybody involved. And he`s very much concerned that we`re not stopping him from doing this.

In College Station, and it was like Adams and Jefferson, to some extent, right? Here, these two rivals, Bush and Dole, they`re part of a double helix. And there they were, they were both in wheelchairs. It`s the 75th Anniversary of the war that changed both their lives, that changed the country, changed the world. And they -- there was a kind of commonality. CS Lewis once said that we picture lovers face to face, but friends side by side, their eyes look ahead. And there`s something to hold them together. And Dole understood that.

And you can cut my mike but you you`ve been a gift to the country, you`ll continue to be a gift to the country. I will say, I thought that Dole was the only big funeral of the week. I didn`t know this was kind of beat one, too, you know, Brian Williams, the -- but you save these because the eulogies will not be as good, I suspect in the fullness of time. But you`ve been fantastic and are fantastic. And now you can cut the mike.

WILLIAMS: Those thoughts have occurred to me this week. I ought to take notes, write this stuff down because it`s never going to get any better. It`s a little bit like -- it`s journalistic Zoloft at this point. Just use it.

WILLIAMS: Let me use the reminder of my time to --

BESCHLOSS: It has advantage of being true

WILLIAMS: Thank you. Another great quote from contemporary American politics. Let me use the remainder of my time to thank you both, for your friendship, mostly for letting us borrow your brains regularly on this broadcast. We`re going to have a weekend together with our significant others at our place. I don`t know whether the History Channel or Comedy Central should be here to shoot it, but it would make a dandy document.


Jon Meacham, Michael Beschloss, my friends, my brothers, thank you, friends forever.

Coming up, here something I`m not allowed to know about, followed by some words I was able to successfully string together this afternoon.



WALLACE: Hi, it`s Nicolle, again. I was lucky enough to be one of the first guests on the very first 11th Hour and it is my privilege to get to share some of the most memorable moments from the last five years.

WILLIAMS: And good evening, and welcome from our headquarters here in New York. Where have we heard that music before, 20 days until the first presidential debate 63 days or 62 depending on how you count until the election. And while it may not be the 11 o`clock hour where you are watching. We are rapidly nearing the 11th Hour for this presidential campaign.

WALLACE: It`s not a campaign overhaul, they need to take this away from the candidate.

WILLIAMS: Do you, Chris Christie, think Donald Trump should release his tax return?

CHRIS CHRISTIE: He`ll release them when the audit is over.

WILLIAMS: That`s a big difference to use the expression likely indictment when all the reporting is to the contrary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fine, it just it doesn`t change it when -- what`s in voters` minds right now.

WILLIAMS: Tonight, as we come on the air, it`s the election of Donald Trump that is driving protesters out into the streets of several American cities.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENT: Your organization is scam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?

TRUMP: Let`s go. Go ahead. Quiet, quiet.


WILLIAMS: It was harrowing television, the first time around it`s just as harrowing to see it again tonight, isn`t it? Donald Trump today became our 45th President completing the most unusual and unlikely rise in the history of the presidency.

A showdown between the President and the justice department we have never had a president give Nazis the benefit of the doubt. The president today has praised the leader of North Korea. He sided with Putin over the home team when given the chance. We are now at the start of the third government shutdown of this presidency.

The Democrats have just become the check on this President, Donald Trump just the third American president to be impeached.

The World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus, a pandemic.

The protests that erupted in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. Now, of course a nationwide movement.

The death tonight of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

President of the United States has tested positive for COVID-19.

Today, it finally indeed became official, they are now President-elect and Vice President-elect.

Day 1448 of the Trump administration was disgraceful and dark and sad and humiliating because an angry mob took over the U.S. Capitol with seeming ease. A lot to take in. We have the very best in the business standing by to continue our conversation.

MEACHAM: This is a vital, vital moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fascism did not rise in the 30s because it was strong, but because democracy was weak.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened on January 6, what`s happening with the virus? Those are facts that are going to be looked at with great disfavor by historians many, many years from now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know how you do this every night, Brian, keep your subtle but amazing humor, in fact.

WILLIAMS: They got physical at NATO with --what we love to call the Montenegro, Heisman. Today`s White House Easter Egg Roll, that`s him on the left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fake Trump protesters, I think these the people that probably plan this.

WILLIAMS: As I always say we paid extra to have those translated from the original Russian. That`s the men`s grooming icon, Steve Bannon, on his podcast today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You had me at Hello. You had me at Hello.

WILLIAMS: That is obviously we have rolled the wrong clip here. I thought this was going to be of the McCarthy and Trump meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been a good man or (inaudible).

WILLIAMS: Perhaps you remember your first edible. He`s just a boy standing in front of New Hampshire asking them to love him.

The 11th Hour is way bigger than any one man or woman. The truth is our secret has always been it`s always about our guests that will never change.




WILLIAMS: Well, look at the time, I`ll try to keep this brief. After 28 years of peacock logos on much of what I own, it is my choice now to jump without a net into the great unknown, as I do for the first time in my 62 years. My biggest worry is for my country. The truth is I`m not a liberal or a conservative. I`m an institutionalist. I believe in this place, and in my love of country, I yield to no one. But the darkness on the edge of town has spread to the main roads and highways and neighborhoods. It`s now at the local bar and the bowling alley at the school board in the grocery store. And it must be acknowledged and answered for.

Grown men and women who swore an oath to our constitution elected by their constituents, possessing the kinds of college degrees I could only dream of, have decided to join the mob and become something they are not while hoping we somehow forget who they were. They`ve decided to burn it all down with us inside. That should scare you to no end as much as it scares an aging, volunteer firemen.

To my co-workers, my love and thanks and I say again, everyone I`ve worked with has made me better at what I do.

To my family, love and thanks doesn`t begin to cover it. But now, I have the time to better express it. My friends know who they are. No one`s been blessed with better friends.

To the guests on this broadcast, as you heard the nice man say a few minutes ago, it`s always been about you. Otherwise, I`d be staring into the camera for an hour, five nights a week and nobody wants to see that. You are the 11th Hour and will continue to be the 11th Hour. This is where I thank you, however for being so great for explaining these last five years.

As a proud New Jersey native, this is where I get to say, regrets I`ve had a few but then again too few dimension what a ride it`s been. Where else, how else was a kid like me going to meet presidents and kings and the occasional rockstar. These lovely testimonials that I can never truly repay make me hyper aware that it has been and remains a wonderful life. It`s as if I`m going to wake up tomorrow morning and Bedford Falls. The reality is though I will wake up tomorrow in the America of the year 2021, a nation unrecognizable to those who came before us and fought to protect it, which is what you must do now.

My colleagues will take it from here, I will probably find it impossible to be silent and stay away from you and lights and cameras. After I experiment with relaxation and find out what I`ve missed and what`s out there. Every weeknight for decades now, I`ve said some version of the same thing. Thank you for being here with us, us meaning the people who produce this broadcast for you. And you, well, without you, there is no us.

I`ll show myself out until we meet again. That is our broadcast for this Thursday night. Thank you for being here with us. And for all my colleagues have the networks of NBC News, good night