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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 2/10/2021

Guest: A.B. Stoddard, Phil Rucker, Hakeem Jeffries, Matthew Dowd


Second day of the impeachment of Donald Trump, impeachment managers

presented their case to convict Trump. They show new video of rioters

breaching Capitol on January 6. Senator Lindsey Graham called the

presentation by the House Managers offensive and absurd. Pharmacies prepare

distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Katie Benner, thank you very much for

joining us tonight.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD. Our special coverage of the second impeachment

trial of Donald Trump will continue live until 2:00 a.m. Eastern. "THE 11TH

HOUR" with Brian Williams starts right now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again. This was day 22 of

the Biden administration, day two of Trump`s second impeachment trial

wrapped up just a few hours ago.

If you watch some or all of it, then you know how dark and emotional this

day was. We all witnessed the taking of the Capitol as it unfolded live.

But today, the Democratic House managers introduced new evidence never

before seen video and audio, some of the gruesome sights and sounds that

paint such a vivid and harrowing portrait of the deadly violence unleashed

by Trump supporters.

There was this view from one police officers body cam during the moments he

was under attack while desperately trying to defend the Capitol from


The managers also presented actual police radio traffic, the real time

audio of the panic and the alarm as the rioters surge closer to the

building and started their assault


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Infra (ph) 1, be advised you`ve got a group about 50

charging up the Hill on the west front just north of the stairs. They are

approaching the wall now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re starting dismantle the reviewing stand. They`re

throwing metal poles at us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50, give me DSO up here now. DSO. Multiple law

enforcement injuries. DSO get up here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to give riot warnings. We`re going to try to

get compliance. But this is now effectively a riot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 1349 hours. Declaring riot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s go. We need units outside on the terrace ASAP. We

need units. We`re surrounded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50, they`re reached the scaffolds. Let Capitol

know they have breached the scaffolds. They are behind our lines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50, I copy. We`re still taking rocks, bottles,

and pieces of flag and metal pole.

Cruiser 50, the crowd is using munitions against us. They have bear spray

in the crowd. Bear spray in the crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50. We`re flanked. 10-33. I repeat, 10:33 west

front of the Capitol. We have been flanked and we`ve lost the line.


WILLIAMS: As the line was lost with the rioters now inside the wire,

security personnel inside the Capitol went about the business of evacuating

members of the House and Senate.

The senator saw a new surveillance video of the Democratic Leader Chuck

Schumer and his security detail coming within yards of the rioters. The

group quickly turned around to escape the mob.

Impeachment manager Stacy Plaskett described another close call showing how

dangerously close Senator Mitt Romney came to an encounter with those

rioters if not for the quick thinking of Capitol Hill Police Officer Eugene




passes Senator Mitt Romney and directs him to turn around in order to get

to safety. On the first floor, just beneath them, the mob had already

started to search for the Senate chamber. Officer Goodman made his way down

to the first floor where he encountered the same insurrectionists we just

saw watch breach the Capitol.


WILLIAMS: Indeed, tonight Mitt Romney was asked about this new video



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know you were that close to those folks when you

came down this hall?

SEN. MITT ROMNEY, (R) UTAH: No, no, I did not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you that was Officer Goodman?

ROMNEY: No, I did now know.

I was very fortunate indeed that Officer Goodman was there to get me in the

right direction.


WILLIAMS: The new surveillance footage also revealed congressional staffers

scattering and hiding for their own safety as the mob closed in.

Members of Speaker Pelosi`s staff were seen running into a conference room

where they proceeded to barricade the door as the rioters were on the hunt

for the Speaker.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you Nancy? We`re looking for you.

Nancy. Oh, Nancy. Nancy. We`re are you Nancy.


WILLIAMS: A New York Times photographer captured this image of some of

those same Pelosi staff members, many who hid under a table for hours on

end on six January watching today`s proceedings.

The impeachment managers made repeated references to what they argued was

Donald Trump`s incitement of violence against his own vice president.

Manager Plaskett also introduced new footage of Mike Pence and his family

being evacuated, moments before the mob came close enough to find him.

To build their case of incitement, Manager Joaquin Castro showed one rioter

reading a Trump tweet attacking Vice President Pence that was sent during

the insurrection.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Pence don`t have the courage to do what should have

been done to protect our country, and our constitution, giving states a

chance to certify a corrected set of facts not the fraudulent or inaccurate

ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth.



WILLIAMS: As today`s video evidence indicated, over and over again, Trump`s

repeated criticism of his own vice president, of course was noticed.






WILLIAMS: House managers also displayed the image of the gallows erected

outside the Capitol to try to underscore the rioters` intentions toward

lawmakers. Anger that they argued was fueled by weeks of Trump`s own




surrendered his role as commander in chief and became the insider in chief.


carefully planned month`s long effort with a very specific instruction.

Show up on January 6, and get your people to fight the certification.


lost, he became even more desperate and incited his base even further.


trying to undermine our elections so that he could remain president.


non-violent options to maintain power.

PLASKETT: He knew who he was calling and the violence they were capable of.

And he still gave that marching orders to go to the Capitol and, "fight

like hell and stop the steal."


Trump claims he didn`t know the extent of the violence that would follow

his speech, it was now happening in plain view. He doesn`t send help.

Doesn`t try to stop it. Doesn`t even acknowledge the attack.


WILLIAMS: With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this

consequential Wednesday night, Phil Rucker, Pulitzer Prize Winning Senior

Washington Correspondent at "The Washington Post," A.B. Stoddard, Associate

Editor and Columnist for "Real Clear Politics," And Daniel Goldman, former

assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. We watched

him questioning witnesses as General Counsel for the House Intel Committee

during our live coverage of that first Trump impeachment.

And indeed, Counselor, I would like to begin with you tonight.

So here now, we retreat to our two nations, one side saying there`s nothing

to see here, move on. The other side, unable to imagine watching today`s

evidence and not wanting to act on it. It was as many found a perfect

combination of prosecution shops and production values.

Though I`m going to start by playing you Lindsey Graham`s reaction to the

entire day tonight on Fox News.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: The not guilty vote is growing

after today. I think most Republicans found the presentation by the House

managers offensive and absurd.

The FBI and the Capitol Hill police actually now understand this was pre

planned. They were planning bombs the night before. So the whole storyline

that Donald Trump calls this by his speech has fallen apart.


WILLIAMS: So Dan, we learned long ago, there`s very little the senator from

South Carolina is not willing to say publicly, period full stop. But how do

you counter -- how do you counter that?


must be left over from -- because what we saw today was not solely focused

on January 6, as Donald Trump`s lawyers would have you believe. What we saw

today was a month long build up by Donald Trump to plant the seed that the

election was rigged even before the election, to incite his followers to

believe that the election was rigged, to fail all legal -- in all legal

recourse and all legislative recourse and ultimately to call a rally for

the same time as the last gasp effort to stop the certification on January


And so it`s not just about January 6, and to the extent that it was pre

planned, it was pre planned with Donald Trump`s words, incitement,

knowledge, and that only makes it worse for Donald Trump.

So, Lindsey Graham is -- and some of the other Republicans who are grasping

for straws, I think in just in terms of what their talking points should

be, are missing the point of what we saw today. And what we saw today in

spades, to me was the graphic violence of January 6, and the graphic video

put together so well, and so effectively.

But more importantly, it was tied so tightly to Donald Trump, who knew what

his supporters or how his supporters would react with violence, who had

previously endorsed their violence, and who use the same language that

previously incited their violence. So this whole scheme was hatched by

Trump and the whole rally on January 6, was initiated by Donald Trump.

So you cannot separate Donald Trump from the events of January 6. And that

was -- that`s a testament to the House managers because that wasn`t clear

before we started this trial. But I think after today, it is very clear.

WILLIAMS: A.B., the video shows nothing less than the taking of our

Capitol, you can see law enforcement officers getting beaten and tortured.

Of course, there was a loss of life.

You`ve covered politics in Washington for many years. Serious question,

take us inside the mind of a Republican senator who watched all that today

comes away and says, I think we`re good. Nothing to see here.


I`ve been saying before, the trial started that I was very disturbed by the

fact that there was a sort of an intentional indifference to the

insurrection displayed by Republicans who were not coming out and saying

that they were so upset, and so traumatized, but what had happened to the

Capitol, the cradle of democracy, and the U.S. Capitol Police who protect

them night and day, 24 hours a day for the elite members of the leadership,

like Kevin McCarthy, who know very well that they save the lives of Steve

Scalise when he was shot and almost killed several years ago.

None of them have been saying this has shaken me to the core. This was

immediately perceived, because around them on conservative media, the white

washing and sort of the January 6 truth or ism had begun as something that

they should not touch, and might upset their voters who still would like to

walk around, posting on Facebook that this was a, you know, false flag

Antifa operation.

So, I agree with Daniel and everyone else today, the vows managers laid out

incredibly powerful case about the premeditated incitement that started

many, many, many months ago before the election by Donald Trump, and

including, of course, every incendiary thing he said on January 6, the


But what Republicans are going to be able to do is cling to the word

peacefully, if already said the likes of senators Cruz and Johnson. It`s

really the criminals who did this not Donald Trump. We didn`t see that the

arguments today meat a threshold for the definition of incitement, and

they`re going to lean back on that constitutional argument.

Why? Because the Democrats did not deliver the Articles of Impeachment

until after Donald Trump was gone, and they limited it to incitement.

Everyone today has observed the most powerful arguments were about what

Donald Trump didn`t do and refuse to do. And so the fact that they didn`t

focus an article on his dereliction of duty as commander in chief. In

everything we heard today seems strange to me. You were never going to get

17 senators. What you were going to do is make it hard on them.

And I think the fact that they limited this very narrow argument to

incitement gives a free pass to the senators who are desperately looking

for one.

WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, have you any reporting that disagrees with our

central holding that both sides go back to their corners, that they`re not

going to get to 17? Perhaps you have reporting of some movement today

beyond Senator Cassidy of Louisiana?


know Brian, no hard reporting yet about any additional Republican senators

considering convicting former President Trump. But a couple things to note,

there were a number of Republicans in that chamber, who according to those

watching from the gallery, or according to their colleagues were physically

taken by what they were watching, they were paying attention. They seemed

emotional, some of them look down at their papers, some of them reached out

to grab the shoulders of others.

And so you can tell that the power of the presentation by the House

Democratic managers today resonated with some of those Republican senators.

Now, it`s a huge leap to go from reacting emotionally to what you saw play

out in this trial to actually voting to convict the former president and

risking censure from your own party, which is, of course, what has happened

to Congresswoman Liz Cheney and other Republicans. So I don`t know if those

votes are going to materialize or not. But the presentation today did have

an impact on a number of those Republicans.

WILLIAMS: Dan Goldman, if this were truly a trial before a jury of our

peers, and assuming our peers are nothing like Mike Lee, would this be the

stage in the trial where someone might want to discuss a deal?

GOLDMAN: I think you would have had a deal probably long before this trial.

You know, the analogy just falls flat. Because in a courtroom, you have a

judge making legal rulings, the senators would not if they were in a

courtroom, would not be able to consider the constitutional argument as a

basis for conviction or acquittal.

You would also have a situation where the jurors would be instructed as to

what the law is, and that they could only consider the evidence that`s in

front of them. They would also be instructed not to make up their mind

before they started. And we certainly know that is not the case here.

So, it is, I think, tempting to compare it to a courtroom, but it`s just

not a courtroom. That also, though, plays to some advantage for the

Democrats because I think that the hyper technical defenses that A.B. was

referencing about Trump`s dereliction of duty, but not inciting the riot

really fall flat to anyone who watched this.

The fact of the matter is, his dereliction of duty after the riot began

goes directly to his intent to incite the insurrection. That is why that

evidence is so relevant, and it is directly relevant to his inciting the

insurrection. It is a scheme that is effectively being charged.

And all of that evidence before and after it goes to the central charge

that he incited this insurrection. The Republicans and Trump`s lawyers were

certainly tried to narrow it to January 6, they`ll try to disavow any

association with the rioters and throw them under the bus as fast as they

possibly can. But that`s why that evidence of Trump`s dereliction of duty

of his failure to intervene is so important because it shows that this is

what he wanted.

And what I`ve been stressing all day long, and I urge people to do this as

well is go look at that 6:01 p.m. tweet on January 6 that Trump issued

where he basically said, I told you so. I told you that if you did not go

along with my demands, Mike Pence and the congressmen, that bad things

would happen. Remember this day forever.

That is a chilling, chilling tweet. And to me it would certainly be the

nail in the coffin in a courtroom. And unfortunately, it may not be here. I

shouldn`t -- Unfortunately, it doesn`t seem to have that impact, I should


WILLIAMS: A.B., during your first answer I wrote down when you use the

phrase, intentional indifference. I`ll counter you with nihilistic

performance art.

And here`s what I`m talking about Josh Hawley, who now has a perfect voting

record against every one of the Biden Cabinet nominees thus far, has

decided apparently on his new swashbuckling brand, prep school, Stanford

and Yale Law notwithstanding, he put his feet up on the railing today. He

took in today`s session up in the gallery and was reading and he did all of

this, knowing journalists could see him.

Further the words tonight of Lindsey Graham. It`s beyond gas lighting. It`s

something different.

Where did this nihilism come from and take roots so deeply in what was

formerly known as the Republican Party?

STODDARD: Right, Brian, that`s the central question about the threat that

still remains that long after this impeachment trial there will not be a

third impeachment trial Donald Trump, there will be Donald Trump

penetrating the state parties, the local parties, the grassroots,

pretending he`s running again in 2024, and then lording over these people

who still fear him in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the

elections in 2022, before the next presidential election.

And Josh Hawley plays it so shrewdly, right? He knew that that would be

reported on out to his -- what he sees as his future base, so that he could

look like he didn`t give a crap and it`s all such a joke.

Others who respect the institution, like Senator Roy Blunt, mentioned

tonight, that he thinks that they might be using some videos from Seattle

in Portland. And again, it will be some false equivalence to an attack on

our government in historic, unprecedented, deadly attack on our government

to -- in attempt to overthrow our government, a bloody coup to Antifa riot

and BLM protests that turned violent that they`re hoping will serve as a

counter argument to show that all rioting that turns deadly is terrible.

So it runs the gamut from the total nihilists, like Cruz and Hawley who

know better to the people that are just like Senator Cassidy trying to do

the right thing but waited until he won a second term, which he just did by

40 points. It doesn`t mean he will not be mocked at the grocery store,

because he will, but you can sense he`s struggling to do the right thing

and be a statesman and preserve the institutions.

So, this will be a range of people making their excuses to vote for acquit

for different reasons and different levels of queasiness. But we`re not

going to see 17 senators vote to convict.

WILLIAMS: Sometimes we have to be real around here. And our thanks go to

Phil Rucker, to A.B. Stoddard, to Dan Goleman. After the day, we`ve had

greatly appreciate the three of you starting us off tonight.

Coming up, he`s called this an open and shut case. Former House manager,

current Democratic caucus chair, Hakeem Jeffries standing by to join us

next as our special coverage of this second impeachment trial of one Donald

Trump, private citizen, continues.



SEN. JOHN THUNE, (R) SOUTH DAKOTA: They were very effective. They had a

strong, strong presentation put together in a way that I think makes it

pretty compelling.

I think they`ve done a good job connecting the dots.


WILLIAMS: Praise today from the number two Republican senator about the

House manager`s presentation. It is not clear though how Senator John Thune

intends to vote.

John Thune was a loyal Trumper for these past four years. And we have

learned over the past four years, nothing is cheaper than faint praise

followed by a vote for Trump and his team.

We are pleased to be joined tonight by one of the impeachment managers

during the first impeachment trial, New York Democratic Congressman Hakeem

Jeffries, currently serves as chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

Congressman, thank you so much after the day you`ve had for making time for


We at home, those of us watching these videos, hearing the real time police

radio transmissions are still coming to grips with how close a call this

was. You were there, you later learned your family at home was threatened.

Is it possible that you members of Congress are still learning as you watch

some of this with the rest of us exactly how close we all came?


Well, good evening, Brian. It`s great to be with you. And absolutely today

was riveting and it was chilling at the same time. Because it wasn`t that

clear to me until today how close we all came to the possibility of grave

injury, if not death.

The House impeachment managers presented a case that was clear, convincing

and compelling. And it may -- it was obvious that those individuals who

Donald Trump radicalized some into Washington incited and then told the mob

to march on the Capitol were there to do bad things, like assassinate Nancy

Pelosi, hang Mike Pence and hunt down members of Congress. That`s not

hyperbole. Those are cold blooded facts that were put on display at the

trial today.

WILLIAMS: So tonight on Fox News, and with a straight face, Lindsey Graham

tried to put it again, on the Speaker somehow. His goal is to find out as

he put it what Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it, as if she somehow

played a role in this. It`s all part of the vague, gas lighting, lighting

fires as distractions. How do you deal with that?

JEFFRIES: It`s very hard to take Lindsey Graham seriously at this

particular point in time. And it`s sad because during the days in which he

traveled alongside John McCain, he projected that he was a much different

figure than the individual who he`s turned out to be.

But I think what the House impeachment managers have done is to stay

focused, be respectful of the Senate as it sits in a trial court of

impeachment, and urge them respectfully, to follow the facts apply to law

be guided by the Constitution, and let the truth fall where they may,

because if they follow the truth, then I think there`s no other verdict,

but to convict Donald Trump of inciting a violent insurrection.

WILLIAMS: New York congressman Hakeem Jeffries, thank you for always being

generous with your time and taking our questions again after the day we all

witnessed on Capitol Hill, thank you very much.

Another break for us and coming up the impact of two days of damning

evidence into the motivation behind an act of insurrection, that taking the

physical taking of that building.


WILLIAMS: During today`s trial Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, a former

guest on this broadcast delegate representing the U.S. Virgin Islands,

presented never before seen video evidence of rioters breaching the Capitol

on 6th January.


PLASKETT: Note as the video begins we are seeing the inside view as the mob

approaches from outside and beats the windows indoors. And a lone police

officer inside response and begins to spray the first man who enters but is

quickly overwhelmed.

I want you to pay attention to the first group of assailants as they break

into the building. The second man through the window is wearing full

tactical body armor and is carrying a baseball bat. Others are carrying

riot shields.


WILLIAMS: Just keep remembering that is our Capitol Building we`re


Here with us tonight to talk about it. We`re so happy to have Jason

Johnson, a campaign veteran journalist contributor at The Greo, professor

of politics and journalism at Morgan State. We`re also happy to have

Matthew Dowd founder of Country Over Party and in the past, former chief

strategist for the Bush-Cheney presidential effort in 04. Gentlemen, good

evening to you both.

And, Matt, a special welcome to you, I`m going to play for you. Mark

Warner, what he said during an appearance with Nicolle Wallace late today.


SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): I pride myself on this job and try and always try

to put myself in the other person`s shoes, but proud of trying to be

bipartisan. God, I pray that testimony may have some of my Republican

colleagues rethink how they`re going to vote, rethink who they are and what

they`re going to stand for.


WILLIAMS: Matt, do you have any hope that what we saw, what we all witness

today has the power to move any Republican votes?


I`m a very helpful person. I`m like my Irish heritage where the famous

Yates quote of the Irish have an abiding sense of tragedy which sustains

them through temporary periods of joy.

I have hope, but I had my realistic outlook is I don`t think it`s going to

move many it may move a couple. Obviously, Bill Cassidy moved in one way,

move once in one vote. But I don`t have an expectation. And I don`t think

it`s because of Donald Trump.

I`ve said this before, I think he`s a proxy for the real bigger problem,

which is the Republican primary voters, and that`s who I think these

republicans are afraid of. They`re not afraid of Donald Trump. Nobody is

really afraid of Donald Trump. It`s the Republican Party, primary voters.

And that really is in America today to that segment of the population, and

we can have a deeper conversation of why that might be. But that`s the

problem. And that`s what is motivating those Republican senators.

WILLIAMS: Jason while I will match Mr. Dowd, Yates with a Moynahan the

definition of being Irish is knowing sooner or later, the world is going to

break your heart. I`ll ask, we move on to you and I have something for you

to. Here is Jim Jordan, whether you like it or not.


SEN. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): The language you talked about, were Democrats last

summer, Democrat members of the Congress said there needs to be more unrest

in the streets while there was unrest in the streets. And somehow that`s

not incitement. But when the president says peacefully and patriotically,

make your voices heard, they`re going to impeach him. I mean, this is what

Americans so despise. There`s lots of things that hate about this town.

They hate when we spend their money on crazy things. But what they mostly

hate is the hypocrisy and the double standard that the elite in this town

get to have.


WILLIAMS: So Jason, what about that sort of what about ism, and as sound

bites go, that was refrigerator magnets. He`s got unrest in the streets. He

threw the elites in there at the end. But this is Fox News and prime

tonight. You saw a lot of flames from BLM protests in the past few months.


Jim Jordan is just like a QAnon Mad Libs. I mean, you know, he leads

terrible lasers from outer space. He`s going to do that. He`s always been

sort of a disingenuous feckless hack for wherever he thinks the political

winds are going, I mean, number one, he`s lying because Trump had already

been impeached, but two, and I`ve said this all along about this sort of

ridiculous argument, which is, I watched a lot of protests last summer the

whole country did. I was at some of the protests last summer. I don`t

remember anyone saying we`re doing this for Nancy Pelosi. I don`t remember

anyone saying we`re doing this for Maxine Waters.

People protested last year because unarmed black people like Breonna Taylor

were shot in her home by cops. So the idea of associating state sponsored

violence, but somehow rest with the fact that the president of the United

States tried to have his own vice president killed is a ridiculous and

disingenuous comparison what it speaks to, and it is sort of mentioned what

you said at the beginning, Brian, we have a large number of Republicans.

They`re not afraid of their primary opponents. They`re not afraid of their

primary opponents. They agree with the insurrection. They wanted to see it

happen. They wanted to be in that number when the Saints and the Patriots

came marching into the building, they wanted to participate.

And that`s what I think is the dangerous thing that everybody needs to

understand. These guys are not being buffeted by some frightening outside

force and in their hearts at home. They`re crying at the table saying,

gosh, I wish I could get out of this. They are full fledged engaged in this

activity. And I hope that even after this impeachment, that there`s a

commission in an investigation to how many of them may have been complicit

in helping this happen.

WILLIAMS: And Matt, before we go to a break, do you agree with me that I

guess, nihilism is uniquely Irish or at least Irish in Part, do you agree

with me that there is a new performative nihilism afoot in the husk of the

remnants of the republican party?

DOWD: Well, there`s a PT Barnum S. Circus like atmosphere in the in the

10th. They`ve designed that they want to keep only a certain brand of

American. And as I listened to Jim Jordan, I`m struck by the fact that

every time there seems to be an issue, it says, if we`re going to bring up

people of color, we`re going to bring up people of color, because that`s

fundamentally, Brian, that`s fundamentally what`s at the base of why these

thousands of Americans stormed the Capitol. It`s because they fear, a lack

of power, a loss of power and a loss of place in America.

And this is a thread that has gone through American history, and you can

trace it, but you could trace it all the way back, but trace it fully back

to the end of reconstruction. And it traces all the way through everything

we`ve experienced the death of Emmett Till, the death of Medgar Evers, the

death of Martin Luther King, the death of Heather Heyer, the police -- the

deaths from police brutality.

And every time we come to this, that is the real issue. That`s the root of

this is -- there is a certain segment of a population that fundamentally

believes there`s real Americans, and there`s not and when the real

Americans lose their power, they saw in this instance, on January 6, to

nullify election, just like what happened in 1860 and 1861. It said same

thing. They use different words. They have different slogans, but it`s

exactly the same line that is traced all the way back. They fundamentally

do not believe all men and women are created equal in this country.

WILLIAMS: While sad, that is an accurate viewers guide to 2021. Both of

these gentlemen are going to stay with us. We`re just going to sneak in a

break. Our conversation continues. On the other side, we`ll talk about the

new president.


WILLIAMS: President Joe Biden today continued to counter prom -- counter

program the impeachment by going about the business of running the country.

Today that meant a trip to the Pentagon to talk about things like our

relations with China. The Associated Press summing up his strategy this

way. For now, the White House`s public approach to the proceedings has been

impeachment? What impeachment?

Remaining with us tonight, Jason Johnson, Matthew Dowd. Jason, what about

this strategy of being President of the United States? I noted, he didn`t

trash anyone on Twitter today. I`m not sure that`s sustainable. Serious

question, how long can he go about kind of ignoring the impeachment

elephant right down the street?

JOHNSON: I think that Joe Biden can ignore all the elephants and the rest

of the GOP. I think it`s a smart strategy for him to ignore what`s

happening. This is Senate business. I know that for many of us, his

reaction is sort of like an athlete saying no, I don`t really read fan

tweets. We know he`s paying attention to the impeachment. But he`s got a

country to run. There`s 400,000 people who have died of COVID. I like the

idea that Joe Biden has shown that he could be a responsible president of

the United States while the Senate does his business without him trying to

put his finger on the scale.

WILLIAMS: Matthew Dowd, I do a question for you. What is the state of play

on calling witnesses? What`s your prediction? Do you think we will see so

much as a single witness?

DOWD: First, I think the state of play is right now, my sense is they`re

not going to call them, I think they should call witnesses. I actually

think witnesses would give fiber to it and a muscle to the testimony and

present it in a way that it`s real. And not just a -- you`re not selling

something. You`re basically have real people saying real things, especially

if certain witnesses that can testify it whether they had conversations

with Donald Trump or people in the crowd that said, I went there because of

Donald Trump and they stand up and say it as a person.

I don`t know if they`re going to end up in that point. I think the

testimony so far has been so powerful. And the defense attorneys for Donald

Trump have been so weak. I don`t expect them to get stronger. But I -- if I

were them, I`d want witnesses right away. And I think what also and I

think, Brian, that`s why what you`ve done on the show tonight on the other

shows, the main point of this is not the punishment of Donald Trump. It`s

the finding the truth, and it`s assessing accountability.

And I think the punishment is the least important power. I think the

American public needs to hear the truth and find out who they should hold

accountable. And if we only we get that that`s a win big win for the

American -- for America at this point in time.

WILLIAMS: I think the words you just spoke may get -- may garner repetition

tomorrow, because I think the point you just made is terribly, terribly

important. As we watch this unfold on television. We saw 1/6 in real time,

but we`re seeing it the way we didn`t see it that day.

Jason Johnson, Matthew Dowd, gentlemen, really excited to have you both

with us tonight. Thank you very much for hanging out with us.

Coming up for us. We`ll turn to some good news on the coronavirus front

especially for anyone on the time consuming job to find a dose of the

vaccine. We`ll have that report when we come right back.


WILLIAMS: We are back and starting Friday. If all goes according to plan if

the supplies are there, and barring any bottlenecks, a lot of Americans are

going to be able to get vaccinated in the same way we`re used to getting an

annual flu shot in what could be a turning point in getting this pandemic

under control. Big chain drugstores like CVS, Walgreens are gearing up to

start delivering shots in the arms. We get our reports tonight from NBC

News correspondent Tom Costello.


TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a Walgreens in West

Hartford, Connecticut pharmacist Juliet Provost was today checking her

vaccine vials preparing to start on inoculations on Friday.

JULIET PROVOST, PHARMACIST: Our phone volume has increased tremendously of

patients just calling asking about the vaccine. When can they get it are

they eligible where they can find more information.

COSTELLO: For weeks hospitals, clinics and health departments have been

responsible for vaccinations. Now the Biden administration is enlisting

retail pharmacists nationwide, including Walgreens Rite Aid, Walmart,

Publix, Costco and CVS along with smaller regional chains. CVS will start

with 300 locations and 11 states expanding to 10,000 stores as more doses

become available.


ability to provide 25 million vaccinations per month. So we really have the

opportunity to contribute significantly to the expanded vaccination of the


COSTELLO: CVS began a pilot program last month on Long Island.

Where Barbara Soldan signed up.

BARBARA SOLDAN, LONG ISLAND RESIDENT: It was absolutely nothing. I feel


COSTELLO: A top priority for the CDC ensuring underserved populations have

equal access to the vaccine.


make sure that we see a substantial number of pharmacies located in

socially vulnerable areas.

PROVOST: There`s been a dire need for this vaccine. And we`re so excited

that that`s coming our way.

COSTELLO (on camera): To get vaccinated at your local pharmacy, you`ll need

to be eligible under your state`s vaccine rules then sign up online or

through the pharmacy telephone hotline.


WILLIAMS: And our thanks to Tom Costello for that report tonight. Another

break for us and coming up. You`ve heard of the big lie. It`s what brought

a crazed mob to Washington but there was another lie and it`s one that

needs to be called out.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, the genuine sadness of today`s

impeachment presentation. And let`s talk about the millions of Americans

who fueled by grievance or anger actually believed they could somehow

overturn the election results by force. They believed in a fake landslide.

They believed there would somehow be mass arrest that maybe they could

murder the vice president or Speaker of the House by hanging and at all

those rallies where they`ve been whipped into a froth and we now know that

something Trump told them repeatedly was just a throwaway line to make them

feel good. We now know it was a lie.


DONALD TRUMP, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: We`re riding down the beautiful

Pennsylvania Avenue and I look outside at this police. I love our police.

We got it.

We love our police. Yes.

We love our police. I stand with the heroes of law enforced. We love our


So we want to thank you and the police law enforcement, great. You`re doing

a great job.


WILLIAMS: That is our broadcast for this Wednesday night. But please stay

with this network. Coming up our coverage continues with an extended look

at today`s presentation by the House managers. Joshua Johnson is standing

by to take you the rest of the way for now, for us. On behalf of my

colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.




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