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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 2/1/2021

Guest: Neal Katyal, Stephen Sample, Tim Miller, David Plouffe�


President Joe Biden turns up pressure on lawmakers to pass COVID aid. Republicans are pushing for smaller COVID aid bill after years of Trump`s deficit spending. House Democrats are moving expeditiously to remove GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments, a decisive step that comes as they pressure Republicans to rebuke the Georgia congresswoman over recently unearthed incendiary past statements. Mitch McConnell harshly condemns Rep. Greene after avoiding comment on Trump for years. Military coup in Myanmar ousts civilian government.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Thank you. Caroline Randall Williams gets tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 13 of the Biden administration and in just eight days former President Trump`s second impeachment trial will begin. Tonight New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told her story of her version of the January 6 riot from inside her office. We`ll have more on that in just a moment.

Trump has until tomorrow to file a formal response to his impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on six, January. As you may know by now, Trump lost his entire legal team over the weekend. He has since name two new lawyers just last night. They are David Schoen and Bruce Castor, Jr., showing as a Georgia based lawyer who has represented mobsters and longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone. Earlier tonight, he previewed his trial argument on Fox News.


DAVID SCHOEN, TRUMP IMPEACHMENT ATTORNEY: Besides the fact that this process is completely unconstitutional, and this is a very, very dangerous road to take with respect to the First Amendment, putting it risk any passionate political speaker, which is really against everything we believe in, in this country foundation of the First Amendment. But I`m going to tell you, I think it`s also the most ill-advised legislative action that I`ve seen in my lifetime. It is tearing the country apart at a time when we don`t need anything like that. I think President Biden missed a great opportunity to be a statesman and to demand that this thing be called off, frankly. This is the political weaponization of the impeachment process.


WILLIAMS: Meanwhile, the Biden White House is ramping up their push for the President`s nearly $2 trillion COVID relief package. Tonight the President met with 10 Republican senators who proposed a slimmed down version of the bill. The group which includes senators Susan Collins and Mitt Romney wants a $618 billion package. Their plan would provide $1,000 stimulus checks as opposed to Biden`s proposal of 14 $100. After the two hour long meeting and went way longer than scheduled. Senator Collins walked out of the White House and spoke to reporters.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R) MAINE: It was a very good exchange of views. I wouldn`t say that we came together on a package tonight. No one expected that in a two hour meeting. But what we did agree to do is to follow up and talk further at the staff level and amongst ourselves and with the president and vice president.


WILLIAMS: Earlier today, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about tonight`s meeting.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He`s happy to have a conversation with them. What this meeting is not is a forum for the President to make or accept an offer. So I think that`s an important to convey to all of you. And his view, it remains what was stated in the statement last night but also what he said on Friday, which is that the risk is not that it is too big. This package, the risk is that it is too small. And that remains his view and it`s one he`ll certainly express today.


WILLIAMS: The negotiations over the COVID Relief Bill come as over 122,000 new infections were reported just today. And this was the day we also saw nearly 2500 deaths nationwide.

Overall, the U.S. has past 26 million confirmed cases. There are also developments tonight on the effort to house the QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee posts in the House.

Today House Democrats introduced a resolution to remove Greene from the education and budget committees. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to speak with the Congresswoman later this week over her past inflammatory statements but it`s not clear what or if he will take action.

Today, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer the speaker`s number two released a statement that read in part, "It is my hope and expectation that Republicans will do the right thing and hold Representative Greene accountable and we will not need to consider this resolution but we are prepared to do so if necessary." Presumably the Democrats have the votes.

Over the weekend, Greene said she spoke to former President Trump and claimed to has his support. And today Greene said she would be visiting Trump in Florida soon. But then just tonight, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released a scathing statement on Marjorie Taylor Greene. It reads in part, "Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country. Somebody who`s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.`s airplane is not living in reality."

The Congresswoman had this response from McConnell, "The real cancer for the Republican Party is weak Republicans who only know how to lose gracefully. This is why we are losing our country." So we`ll leave that there for now.

With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Monday night, Philip Rucker, Pulitzer Prize-winning Senior Washington Correspondent for The Washington Post, Alexi McCammond, Political Reporter over at Axios, and Neal Katyal, former acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration, who has argued dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

I`d like to start, Phil, with you over at the White House. Are you detecting any real worry about this coming collision? And let`s face it, we know which is going to get the media oxygen and impeachment trial in the Senate versus debate and negotiations over the stimulus package, the COVID relief package that Biden wants?

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: Absolutely, Brian, and this has been a concern from day one of this new presidency. They`ve seen the impeachment trial coming. They of course support the Senate moving ahead with those accountability measures after the January 6 insurrection. But there`s been an effort to try to fast track as many of those Senate confirmation hearings and votes for Biden`s cabinet as possible before the impeachment proceedings really get underway.

And there had been some hope of getting this COVID package through quickly and, of course, was the President`s top priority the minute he was sworn in, on January 20. But, you know, legislation is slow and cumbersome, and there does not appear to be a deal in the offing right now. And so we have, as you put it, a collision course here, we`re very likely this COVID package is still going to be up in the air as the Senate begins, the impeachment trial and leaders in that chamber are going to have to try to balance too.

WILLIAMS: And Neal, that`s where you come in. Apparently, the President`s legal team is not going to try to re litigate the crazy. The election was stolen, ad infinitum. Though we have a reminder for everyone watching the President`s role at that rally that day, we`ll discuss on the other side.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: They rigged an election. They rigged it like they`ve never rigged an election before. We will not let them silence your voices. We`re not going to let it happen. I`m not going to let it happen.

Now, it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we`re going to walk down and I`ll be there with you. We`re going to walk down. We`re going to walk down anyone you want. But I think right here, we`re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don`t fight like hell, you`re not going to have a country anymore.


WILLIAMS: So Neal, everything there is a lie. The rigged election, of course, but right down to, I`ll walk there with you. He went back to the White House instead. So they`re not going to relitigate the crazy. They are going to try to litigate that this is somehow unconstitutional to try a president now out of office. Can you help us out on that?

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: Absolutely. But Brian, first, we don`t know that they won`t litigate the crazy after all this weekend, it was reported that all five of Trump`s lawyers left because Trump wanted him to litigate the crazy and they refused like any honorable lawyer. Now he has a new legal team. We don`t know exactly what that new legal team will be arguing, but we do know, and you know, it`s certainly possible that Trump will push them again, to argue, you know, the big lie and all of that.

We do know they are going to also argue that you can`t impeach a former president. And here I think everyone should keep their eye on McConnell, and not Mitch McConnell, but the other McConnell, the prominent conservative jurist, Michael McConnell. He`s made a powerful argument which is light which goes like this. He says, look, it doesn`t really matter whether you think a former official can be impeached or not. This impeachment trial started with a sitting president, not a former one and therefore, he says, it`s "unquestionably permissible."

And look, you know, if a former official can`t be barred from future office holding, that would just make the system -- put pressure on all the other things in our system of government that would go after an official, a lawless official like Donald Trump. And that would mean criminal prosecution, because the founders were all about checks and balances, and the provision of a remedy, and it just can`t be that Donald Trump, A, can`t be impeached for Ukraine because they said America should wait for the election. B, he can`t be impeached for January 6, because he`ll soon be out of office. C, he can`t be prosecuted while he`s a sitting president. And D, he can`t be prosecuted afterwards for actions he took as a sitting president. You add all of that together. It`s just constitutional nonsense. That laced into our constitutional system of separation of powers is the idea that people like this have to face a tribunal. You don`t get to attack or precipitate a violent attack on a coordinate branch of government and go to -- get to go retire in Florida peacefully.

WILLIAMS: Alexi, this brings us to you and let`s talk about AOC after sharing with our viewers, some of what she did tonight, talking about where she was during the insurrection on six, January. This was on Facebook Live.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, (D) NEW YORK: So I hide behind my door, like this, like I`m here, and the bathroom door starts going like this, like the bathroom doors behind me or rather in front of me. And I`m like this and the door hinges right here. And I just hear where is she? Where is she? And this was the moment where I thought everything was over.


WILLIAMS: Been corrected, got my platform wrong, Instagram Live. In fact, Alexi, what have we learned about these accounts? And why is it important to learn them from her?

ALEXI MCCAMMOND, AXIOS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, thanks for having me, Brian. Happy Black History Month, glad to see you guys on the first day of this month. And I`m glad that you`re showing that clip of what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared on Instagram Live today because it is one of the most raw and harrowing accounts from a member that we`ve had so far about what they actually experienced during the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, then it`s especially important in this moment, as Republicans are looking at one of their own and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and considering what to do with somebody who has these conspiracy theories in mind, pushes these violent and dangerous ideas. And now sits in the halls of Congress next to someone like Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, who said that she felt like she was going to die that day, who said that she felt like she was specifically targeted that day.

And you know what`s really harrowing, Brian, is that Congresswoman Ocasio- Cortez said that on Monday, two days before the insurrection, when she was leaving the Capitol, there was a group of pro-Trump supporters who were completely surrounding her car and harassing her, making it difficult for her to even get in the car to be able to leave. And that was two days before. And so she`s kind of shedding light on this idea that it`s not OK for law enforcement officials say they weren`t aware of the threat that was presented on January 6 ahead of time, because it was clear to her and other members days ahead of time what was really going on, and what they`re really kind of violent and dangerous energy inspired by former President Trump and Republican allies of his who have pushed these conspiracy theories and these lies.

And let`s not forget dangerous, violent and specific violence against women like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman AOC, we`ve seen the president, former President Trump and Republicans do this with other women in the Democratic Party in the past. So it`s really harrowing to hear what actually went on behind the scenes, especially as many of us are left questioning how something like this could have happened.

But the big question, Brian, as Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is pointing out in this story is whether and how certain members of the Capitol Police Force were involved or aware, I mean, the man who she was describing, who broke into her office and was demanding to know where she was, didn`t even identify himself as a Capitol Police Officer. So she talks about how is she supposed to trust someone like that to help her in a really scary moment when she knows that people are there to attack her and others specifically, and the Capitol Police Officer there to protect her doesn`t even identify himself or help her in a way that would seem normal in a situation like that.

There are many questions that are left to be revealed. But I think that this is also the last thing I will say, this is also a preview of what we can expect from the type of trial the Democrats want to present in the Senate against former President Trump. They want it to be emotional. They want to have witnesses that can tell exactly what happened to really show when Republicans go on the record and try to acquit former President Trump, this is what they are acquitting him for, this type of violence and danger that obviously led to death.

WILLIAMS: So Phil Rucker, as Alexi brilliantly pointed out, that`s the backdrop here. And most of Congress still can`t believe the effort to quietly sweep insurrection and looting under the rug and quickly forget about it. So it`s against that backdrop that Joe Biden and if you`ve watched his career, having 10 Republican senators to the Oval Office tonight was very on brand for this creature of the U.S. Senate. Joe Biden is talking about unity. And once Republican crossover voters, and our atmosphere remains so toxic.

RUCKER: That`s exactly right, Brian. And the atmosphere, the toxic atmosphere is only likely to become more toxic as next week gets underway, as the trial and the evidence is presented to remind people as Alexi was just talking about, of the emotion of January 6. But also, frankly, as some really pitched partisan battles are underway over rhetoric, and Congresswoman Greene and what to do about her. And you`re just seeing a lot of tribal fighting right now in Washington at the exact moment, when President Biden is trying to begin his presidency, with gestures of unity, that meeting in the Oval Office this afternoon, that went into the evening, as darkness fell on Washington was really important symbolically, even if you read in parse the statements that came out of the White House afterwards. And from Senator Collins, when she spoke to the cameras, it`s very clear that there is not a deal here that there`s not agreement between these 10 Republicans and President Biden, about how big, how much money should be spent on COVID relief for this package. But nonetheless, there`s sort of a good faith effort on both sides to at least sit down and talk with one another and find some areas of agreement and see if they can`t over the next several days and weeks, come to some sort of a compromise.

Remember, President Trump in his final year of office, I don`t believe he spoke to Speaker -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at all in that final year. So it`s a real departure. When you look at how this President is handling the opposition party in Congress.

WILLIAMS: Hey, Counselor, back over to you, Congresswoman QAnon here from Georgia was duly elected to Congress legally. Does Congress have the power beyond stripping her of her committee assignments? That`s what they did to Steve King of Iowa. Does Congress have the power to expel one of their own members?

KATYAL: They absolutely do. But before talking about that, Brian, I just want to say a word about AOC tonight. I think all your viewers should see the full video because the excerpt just doesn`t do it justice, who is incredibly moving and powerful in ways. I can`t even begin to describe. And I mean don`t disrespect to the house managers who are phenomenal. But you know, watching that you think, you know, AOC should be a house manager. You know, we get hung up sometimes on having a law degree and stuff like that. What a powerful, brilliant communicator and someone who just encapsulates everything that happened on January 6, in just ways they`re transcend the moment.

With respect to Congresswoman, the Congresswoman, Congress has two different mechanisms available to remove her from office and I do think they should be used. I don`t think stripping her of a committee is enough, it doesn`t capture the gravity of what she is and what she stands for and the positions she`s taken.

And look, she probably welcome someone stripping someone from a -- stripping her from committee, I mean, look, she`s not exactly a hard worker or someone who spends her time looking up any facts. So she`s not on a committee that just gives her more time to, you know, spew her loony nonsense. So Article One, Section Five of the Constitution says each House can punish members for disorderly behavior and with the concurrence of two- thirds expel a member. So that will require a two-thirds vote.

There`s also a separate possibility under the 14th amendment of excluding someone who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion or giving aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. That may be done with a majority vote, but it would probably require some judicial tribunal to evaluate that. Again, I think we should welcome that. We should welcome process here. You know, there shouldn`t be a rush to judgment. But you know, these statements are concerning in ways that even by the standards of the Republican Party are concern.

WILLIAMS: Alexi, final question to you, what`s McCarthy`s motivation these days? Do you think he is motivated to publicly crack down on Greene? Or do you think he`s cool, with Congresswoman QAnon being the brand of the Republican Party?

MCCAMMOND: Well, you have to look to his colleague in the Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell, who could have made the choice to keep quiet on this situation especially now that Donald Trump is gone and not properly the leader of their party anymore, but he came out with that strong and forceful statement that you read earlier. And of course, that`s not enough. Words and a strong statement is not enough to hold folks in your own party accountable. You have to follow through on those words, but we see how Congressman Kevin McCarthy is not doing that. He`s taking his time. He`s meeting with Donald Trump. He`s considering the calculus and the dynamics of his party, what the base wants, what others and in Congress want, what he can stomach to do to really hold her accountable. But I think that`s the big question. We`re seeing how Marjorie Taylor Greene is going and saying that Donald Trump has her back as if that still matters. And maybe she knows something that we don`t know right now, that that does still matter. And maybe McCarthy knows that that still matters. And that`s what he`s following. But that`s the big question moving forward is whether and how the Republican Party is going to allow itself to be controlled, not just by Donald Trump, but by these Donald Trump figures like Marjorie Taylor Greene, like Republican state legislators who are trying to do a number of things that Trump and his, you know, supporters couldn`t do before Joe Biden was inaugurated.

So it`s deeper than just Marjorie Taylor Greene or Kevin McCarthy. It`s on the state level too. And I think that the Republican Party is going to have to decide if they want this to continue, especially ahead of 2022.

WILLIAMS: Great point, thank you for making it, couldn`t ask for three better guests to start off a new week, Phil Rucker, Alexi McCammond, Neal Katyal, our great thanks. Thank you very much for starting us off.

Coming up for us, something we don`t hear a lot about when we talk about coronavirus. That`s the good news. Why our doctor on deck is optimistic if America stays vigilant.

And later, democracy under fire only this time, it`s not here. It`s half a world away. It`s a unique challenge for the new American president. All of it as THE 11TH HOUR is just getting underway on a Monday night.



DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You need to get vaccinated when it becomes available as quickly and as expeditiously as possible throughout the country. And the reason for that is that there is a fact that permeates virology. And that is that viruses cannot mutate if they don`t replicate.


WILLIAMS: Today`s massive snowstorm in the northeast stalled vaccination efforts across the region today, with the notable exception of a mass vaccination site at Fenway Park up in Boston, where the state started vaccinating senior 75 and over.

And despite problems with the rollout of the vaccines like limited supply, New York Times is pointing out there`s plenty of good news on the vaccine front. David Leonhardt writes, "All five vaccines with public results have eliminated COVID-19 deaths. They have also drastically reduced hospitalizations." There`s no quarreling with that.

With us tonight, Dr. Stephen Sample, ER doc at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in Jasper Indiana, also happens to be a volunteer clinical faculty member at Indiana University School of Medicine.

And Doctor one of the reasons we are always proud to know you is your service to the guard. I`d like to begin there your Air National Guard unit was deployed post insurrection to Washington, what was that experience like for you?

DR. STEPHEN SAMPLE, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN IN JASPER, INDIANA: Good evening, Brian. That experience was exactly what I hoped it would be. It was boring, boring, boring. We packed all of our stuff. We went to D.C. and we sat around on our butts for a week. And we came back home and that is absolutely the best case scenario that we could have asked for. You know, you know what I do for a living. My unit trains for mass casualties of various types. And absolutely should I have been called to use my skill set we were going to be having a very bad day in D.C. So if it came out just the way we hoped.

WILLIAMS: Well, while thanking you for your service, I`ve never been happier to learn that it involves sitting around on your butt. Now we turn to mess topic of coronavirus. And I have so many questions for you. Situation currently in Indiana, is there resistance? Are there supply issues? And finally, why aren`t we vaccinating teachers if we hope to open schools safely?

SAMPLE: Those are all excellent questions. So I just got back from D.C. So I`ve actually been off work for the last couple of weeks. And I came back to a vastly different situation than I left. When I left our hospital was full, you know, between a third to half of our patients in house or COVID. And I`m coming back to a wildly different situation in Indiana, I think over the last seven days, our case average has been about 2100 and change per day. This time last month we were at well over 4000. So we`ve cut our average daily cases in the last month in about half. Our reproductive time is down. Everything is looking very positive right now. So I`m coming back to a good spot. I`m hoping to find a nearly empty hospital when I go back to work next week.

Moving on to your next question, I think I missed one of the why aren`t we vaccinating teachers? Man, that`s a good question. My cousin, Angie (ph) is up my rear and all the time about that. She is a teacher who has some high risk medical issues and she`s asking me the same thing. I don`t have a good answer for that, Brian. Honestly, if I started to speculate, I`m just going to get myself in trouble. I think teachers need to get the vaccines. We`ll leave it at that.

WILLIAMS: OK, and your optimism that we were told about when our producer spoke to you today is because you were gone but a few weeks and came back to a markedly different situation to what do you all the fact that all the numbers are heading in a good direction?

SAMPLE: In my opinion, I think we have just finally seen the peak of the back to back events of Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year`s and you just watch the spike happen just like we predicted it would. And now that those things are over, I think we`re starting to just see the natural incline. You know, in virology, there are ups and downs and this is a weird virus, anyway, you can watch it regionally as it spikes in levels. But we`re in the low right now. I couldn`t be happier. And so now we`re just in a race to get shots in people`s arms.

You know, Indiana just opened up vaccines, vaccine appointments 65 and unders today, which I`m super stoked about because that means my folks came, lineup and get their vaccine right now because we`re looking to expand our bubble. I`m ready to hug my mother again. And I know she`s ready to hug me, so.

WILLIAMS: Whole lot of people are waiting for the stuff of regular life to come back online. Doc, welcome back home. Welcome back on the broadcast. Thank you so much for coming on and always taking our questions, be well good luck at work and thanks for the work you do.

Coming up for us what to do with the problem Mitch McConnell calls cancer on the Republican Party. That would be the Congresswoman from Georgia. We`ll talk about her next.



REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: Someone needs to tell the truth. Someone needs to say what history needs to hear. So here I am. The Republican Party has lost its way. Republicans must say enough is enough. It`s time to unplug the outrage machine, reject the politics of personality and cast aside the conspiracy theories in the rage. It`s time to turn back from the edge of darkness and return to the ideals that have long been our guiding light.


WILLIAMS: Just to emphasize that gentlemen, as a Republican member of Congress, Adam Kinzinger, he`s siding with the Democrats who want Marjorie Taylor Greene, removed from her committee assignments that would be Education and Budget.

House Democrats fine that resolution today that would strip the QAnon congresswoman of those assignments. If Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy doesn`t do -- do so himself this after Mitch McConnell seemingly noticed the damage this was doing to his party and denounced her in a statement.

Back with us tonight to talk about all of it. Tim Miller, a contributor to the Bulwark and the former communications director for Jeb Bush and David Plouffe, former Obama, campaign manager and Senior Advisor to President Obama also happens to be on the board of directors of the Obama Foundation.

Hey, Tim, I thought of you tonight when I read this from Bill Kristol. He writes about tonight`s statement by McConnell, classic McConnell at once true and disingenuous a clever way to please donors while paying no price avoids taking on Trump, but tough on a first termer, but most amusing is that it`s such a knifing of McCarthy. Now, the only question from the media. Will Kevin show leadership a la Mitch?

Ad Tim, I guess the question to you is what will that walking profile encourage Kevin McCarthy dude, do you think?

TIM MILLER, THE BULWARK CONTRIBUTOR: We might hoping for that Jerry Maguire clip again, Brian. You know, I`m trying to live up to Bill`s cleverness here at the Bulwark, but he sets a high bar and he`s exactly right. Look, this, McCarthy is in a horrible position of his own making, and it`s not as if we could feel bad for Kevin McCarthy. He absolutely made his bed here. He`s going to have to lie in it.

But, you know, he has a house caucus, that the majority of them are more aligned with Marjorie Taylor Greene than with Adam Kinzinger. You know, I wrote this morning for Rolling Stone about those 10 brave Republicans that voted for impeachment, and what their mindset is, and Kinzinger is the one who`s the most ready to fight. He`s the most ready to punch back at the Taylor Greene`s in the Pogo stars and you know, the Lauren Bogans, some of the other ones just aren`t sure they don`t think that`s where their voters are.

hey don`t think that`s what the caucuses, this is what McCarthy has to manage. If he goes and attacks Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan is going to be the minority leader in about two minutes here now so he`s stuck. And that`s why you saw him flying down to Mar-a-Lago into Uday and Qusay Hussein`s drawing around to meet with President Trump and suck up to him the other day.

WILLIAMS: David Plouffe, I heard some hand wringing by Democrats over the weekend about not talking too much about MTG Marjorie Taylor Greene because it gives her too much oxygen, while others and especially the weaponized Republicans in places like the Lincoln project say no, no, no. Make her the face of the Republican Party. Are you kidding? Embrace this go whole hog.

Arguably, we`re talking here tonight about AOC. She is a bigger than normal figure as a sophomore member of Congress, because the Republicans in part because obviously of her personal story, but also in part, Republicans chose to make her or try to make her the face of the Democratic Party. Where do you come down on this?

DAVID PLOUFFE, FMR. OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, first of all, Brian, I believe that Marjorie Taylor Greene is just at the front of the line. There`s going to be dozens more just like her seeking congressional offices and statewide offices. The align of QAnon disciples.

I agree with Tim, that is where most of the House caucuses. They much more side with her than Kinzinge. And I think that that`s where so much of the energy is in the grassroots right now. First of all, and listen, there`s a new video that comes out every day, OK, it`s newsworthy, and how we every member of Congress, but I think what is newsworthy, she didn`t ever self is newsworthy, and I think it is not a stretch to say what she represents is where the energy of the Republican Party is today.

And I would not hold my breath about Kevin McCarthy doing anything about her because he understands where a caucus is. He understands where Trump is. He understands where so much of the grassroots energy is, and ultimately, whether he becomes a symbol that actually moves votes in 2022. I`m not sure about that. But I do know what she`s going to do is in really provide a lot of incentive for people who believe that things she knows to seek office, she is not going to be the exception. She may be more than rule as we look at 22.

WILLIAMS: Wow, so many more questions. What we`re going to do here is have both of these gentlemen stay with us fit in a break. When we come back, we`ll talk about the Senate doing two things at once next week. And further, we`ll talk about the problem the Republican caucus may have with its membership.



DARLENE SUPERVILLE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: So what would you say is more important to the president at this point on this first legislative test? Is it going big or going bipartisan? It seems like you can have both.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I think the President believes we can and there is historic evidence that it is possible to take a number of paths, including through reconciliation, if that`s the path that is pursued and for the vote to be bipartisan.


WILLIAMS: Jen Psaki handling a question from Darlene Superville of the Associated Press. The Biden administration is facing its first major legislative test trying to pass this bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill in the midst of next week`s impeachment trial.

Luckily for us, we have David Plouffe and Tim Miller still with us on standing by. David, your first rodeo. This is not nor is this your rookie season in cable news. You know how this works. You know what gets the oxygen? Is it going to be debates and proposals surrounding a $2 trillion dollar coronavirus relief package? Oh, let me guess or is it going to be the President`s second impeachment trial before the Senate? Tell me how the Biden White House is going to navigate this?

PLOUFFE: Well, I think they`ve handled the impeachment question really well, which is, you know, the Senate needs to work its way through its procedure. And their focus is going to be on this relief package that and making sure that we are upping both the production of the vaccine, the distribution of the vaccine, the user experience on the back end, but I think there`s a lot of questions that question we just showed Brian was can it doesn`t have to be big, or does it have to be bipartisan, and I think bipartisan is nice to have. And I think the President will do all he can to attract Republican support, but big is a must have.

I think it`s unlikely you get another shot at this. This is your one time to inject as much help into the economy to state local to help schools. So kids get back into school.

So and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and his -- their team knows that. So the notion that somehow they`re going to say, you know what, so that we can show that we got some Republican votes, we`ll do half of what we think is necessary.

So they`re going to go as big as is needed right now. And I think they`re going to probably keep trying to get Republican support, but they`re not going to chase it around. You know, I think they`re going to be very solid. So that`s where the focus needs to be. Because we`re racing against the clock here to get schools open. You`ve got summers again, are you having a summer where kids, you know, can`t be an after school and in camps, you`ve got economy it particularly retail and restaurant, it`s been absolutely clobbered. You`ve got more people than even pre pandemic living without much of a financial lifeline. So the clock is ticking here.

And so my guess is you`re not going to be talking about this question, Brian 60 days from now. We`re going to know very, very soon all administrational know, very, very soon, if there`s votes there. And if they`re not going to, they`re going to move on and do a big package with mostly Democrats.

WILLIAMS: And Tim, as he so often is, Neal Katyal was right about tonight`s AOC Instagram live video, it probably should be seen for its emotion, and the retelling in total, and playing snippets is unfair to the event, but we`re going to do it again. Here, again, a portion of what she had to say to our audience, I have a question coming out of it for you.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: I really just felt like, you know, if this is the plan for me, then people will be able to take it from here. I felt that if this was the journey that my life was taking, that I felt that things were going to be OK. And that, you know, I had fulfilled my purpose.


WILLIAMS: So the Congresswoman there, Tim, was talking about the possibility of dying during the insurrection. She also tonight talked forthrightly about being a victim of sexual assault in the past. I raised this because of the power of witnesses.

As you no doubt know, Lindsey Graham is saying Democrats called one witness will bring in the FBI to which a lot of Democrats said, great, they can speak to the level of criminality in the crowd of thousands that surrounded the Capitol. Where do you come down on witnesses if they`re half as compelling as the Congresswoman?

MILLER: Brian, your viewers are going to think we planned this, you read my mind tomorrow in the Bulwark. My article is about calling Lindsey Graham`s bluff, calling witnesses. Hopefully the president the United States should testify. The former president of the United States. I think he should be encouraged too and dared too.

I think that this watching AOC`s video earlier, my rage about January 6 just came up within me again, obviously, I felt sympathy for her, but just anger that this was allowed to happen. And you can feel as the weeks go by the kind of emotional valence start to get sanded down

You know, as we get further away from it, and we get into the politics of politics, people should feel angry. Because what happened was absolutely unacceptable and unAmerican and I and I hope that a senate impeachment trial, draws on that emotion and forces the Republican senators to look in the faces of these victims to rewatch these videos and to understand what they were complicit in.

WILLIAMS: Tim Miller with the last word in this segment, we will go ahead and seek out your piece saying same. Gentlemen, I can`t thank you enough for being on two friends of this broadcast, David Plouffe and Tim Miller, Tim Miller greatly appreciate it.

Coming up for us. The Biden administration`s first foreign policy challenge has arrived from the other side of the world.


WILLIAMS: Tonight Biden administration facing one of its first major foreign policy challenges the new president is threatening to renew sanctions on Myanmar, the former Burma after this weekend`s military takeover of its democratically elected governments. We get our report on this tonight from our chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel.


RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After nearly a decade sharing power with civilians, Myanmar`s military staged a coup, setting up checkpoints, taking over TV stations, which played military propaganda, and detaining civilian officials, including their leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Once seen as a champion of democracy, a Nobel laureate. Suu Kyi spent nearly 15 years in detention before entering a pact with the military. She was welcomed by President Obama.

AUNG SAN SUU KYI, STATE COUNSELLOR OF MYANMAR: He always says the most important thing is national reconciliation and peace.

ENGEL: But Suu Kyi had long fallen from grace accused of staying silent at what`s often called the genocide against Myanmar`s Rohinga people.

(on camera): Suu Kyi made a deal with the military and in the process lost her credibility because of atrocities she refused to recognize. Now the military ended that deal. And Suu Kyi is back in detention. Richard Engel, NBC News, London.


WILLIAMS: And coming up for us, if it`s news to us, it must be news to you. We`ll explain what we mean.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, it is a note to our faithful, loyal viewers. If you live somewhere other than the Northeast, let me just go ahead and apologize for the entire news media. Because the major networks are headquartered in New York, the simple truth is when it snows here in the northeast, they act like it`s a national story.

Sure, and let me clue you into a trick here we justify all the attention. We give to it by saying things like 60 million Americans are in the path of this storm. But the truth is, we act like since it`s snowing here. Everyone must be interested in our snow storm.

Now that we`ve established that and been forthright about it, here are some pictures of our snowstorm today, roughly between one and two feet in the New York metropolitan area on up through New England.

On the upside during this mean season of Capitol ran sackings, toxic, rancid politics and let`s not forget an uncontrolled pandemic. Here`s what we learned. Animals and kids thrive in thunderstorms, as snowstorms that should be and thunderstorms.

The Washington Zoo captured their pandas just being pandas today skid down that hill on your back like no one`s watching even though we`re watching. Do those barrel rolls down the hill and just generally enjoy the snow.

We get to see the Biden dogs on a day like this Major and Champ enjoying the fresh snowfall on the South Lawn. Other dogs took that as their cue and enjoyed every inch have a genuine swirling blizzard. Not a good day or night for planes, trains or automobiles but they`ll have their day. Today, every dog had theirs.

And that is our broadcast on this Monday night. Did I mention it`s snowing here? Thank you so much for being here with us. On behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News. good night.