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

Guest: Melissa Murray, Celine Gounder, Mark McKinnon, Michael Steele�


Slain Police Officer Sicknick lies in honor at the Capitol. House managers file brief with case against Trump, his attorneys submit documents outlining defense. Most Senate GOP voted to dismiss Trump impeachment trial. Some House GOP want to penalize Rep. Cheney for voting to impeach. House GOP Leader, Kevin McCarthy is under pressure to rebuke Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. Senate Democrats move to fast-track Biden COVID Aid Bill. Axios detailed Trump Oval Office meeting on conspiracy theories that went off the rails.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 14 of the

Biden administration and this day ended indeed on a somber and emotional

note, as we`ve been reporting moments ago, President Biden left the U.S.

Capitol after paying his respects with the first lady at his side to U.S.

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, whose remains lie and under in honor

under the rotunda. Officer Sicknick, who was also a U.S. military veteran

became only the fifth civilian in our nation`s history to be afforded this

honor. He was of course, one of five people who died after the violent

attack that looted and desecrated our very Capitol building on January 6.

We are also one week out from the former president`s second impeachment

trial, this time on the charge of inciting that insurrection at the

Capitol. We now know how House impeachment managers plan to make the case

to convict the former president and what his own attorneys plan to offer as

a defense.

This morning, those House managers filed a sweeping 80 page pre-trial brief

that lays out in rather stark terms. The events leading up to that riot

that day, noting "Trump`s singular responsibility for that tragedy. After

losing the 2020 election, President Trump refused to accept the will of the

American people. He spent months asserting without evidence that he won in

a landslide and that the election was stolen. President Trump announced a,

`Save America Rally` on January 6. He promised it would be wild. He

summoned a mob to Washington exhorted them into a frenzy and aim them like

a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue."

So hours later, Trump`s defense attorneys filed a 14 page response of their

own to the House article of impeachment, which, by the way, included a typo

on the cover page addressed to the U.S. Senate and misspelling the United

States. Trump`s lawyers asserted the constitution, "requires that a person

actually hold office to be impeached and that Trump exercised his first

amendment right to express his belief that the election results were

suspect. Insufficient evidence exists to conclude that the 45th President

statements were accurate or not, and he therefore denies they were false

and denied that the phrase, if you don`t fight like hell, you`re not going

to have a country anymore, had anything to do with the action at the

Capitol, as it was clearly about the need to fight for election security."

The majority of Senate Republicans agree with at least one part of this

argument that the trial is somehow unconstitutional because Trump is no

longer in office. Last week, indeed, they voted to toss out the trial on

those grounds despite the fact that their chamber, some of their own desks

were ransacked. Today their leaders signal that issue could be a deciding

factor against convicting Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you go into the impeachment trial still having an

open mind about the president`s conduct?


listen to the arguments. The issue upon which we already voted, I think

it`s an interesting constitutional question. They would listen to the

lawyers argue the question.


WILLIAMS: On the other side of the Capitol, the House Republican leader

Kevin McCarthy is under pressure to publicly reprimand Georgia

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon believer who spread

conspiracy theories and endorsed political violence. Greene who also has

Trump`s backing met with McCarthy just tonight. McCarthy is also facing

calls to punish Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney for voting to impeach

Donald Trump. Cheney in the leadership, number three Republican in the

House. Her fate as well as Congresswoman Greene`s will be discussed at

private meetings among Republicans on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moving forward on Biden`s

nearly $2 trillion COVID relief bill. The Senate today voted right along

party lines with Democrats edging out Republicans 50/49 to open debate on

the bill. This comes just a day after Biden met with a group of Senate

Republicans in the Oval Office proposing a much smaller they were $600

billion measure. Today Schumer revealed what Biden told him about that




Senate Republicans that the $600 billion that they proposed was way too

small. I think it is his belief, it is Secretary Yellen`s belief, it is our

belief. If we did a package that small, we`d be mired in the COVID crisis

for years.


WILLIAMS: NBC News reporting the White House wants to get a relief bill

passed by the 14th of March. That`s the date when extended unemployment

benefits run out for millions of Americans. And if necessary, they are

willing to do it without Republican support.

Biden now has two more cabinet members Senate has confirmed Alejandro

Mayorkas as Homeland Security Secretary while Pete Buttigieg was confirmed

as Secretary of Transportation, thus becoming the first LGBTQ cabinet

member in our nation`s history.

The President also issued three more executive orders today dismantling

Trump`s America first immigration agenda. Part of that includes

establishing a task force designed to reunite families separated at the

U.S., Mexico border. Today while signing the orders, the president defended

his actions.


JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: I want to make it clear, there`s a lot of

talk we could reason about the number of executive orders that I have

signed. I`m not making new law. I`m eliminating bad policy, but we`re going

to work to undo the moral and national shame of the previous administration

that literally not figuratively rip children from the arms of their

families to remove the stain on our reputation for what these separations



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

night, Ashley Parker, Pulitzer Prize-winning White House Bureau Chief for

The Washington Post, Melissa Murray, she`s an NYU Law Professor and clerked

for Sonia Sotomayor while she was on the federal bench, the U.S. Court of

Appeals, and we welcome to the broadcast Josh Wingrave, White House

Reporter for Bloomberg News.

Good evening, and welcome to you all. Ashley, I`d like to begin with you

some real emotion and solemnity in the Capitol tonight. And the timing, of

course, is interesting, a week from tonight, the first day of the second

Senate trial will be over, we`ll be talking about that. Given the fact that

the new president really wants the support of the other party, what is the

atmosphere if you had to sum it up in the capitol city tonight?


we`re seeing tonight, in some ways is a bit of what the impeachment

managers would like to put on display during the Senate trial. And again,

as you saw tonight, as I think we should expect to see you next week, you

don`t need to guild this. You don`t need to over produce this. You don`t

need to hype this, the horror and the devastation of that day, that January

6 day, the insurrection against the United States Capitol by an angry mob,

egged on by a president spewing misinformation and conspiracy theories is

sort of enough the solemnity and again, the horror, that`s what they hope

they can get these senators to not even understand but frankly to remember

and relive that gravity as they are weighing how to vote in this

impeachment trial.

WILLIAMS: Professor, I`ll say this, so you don`t have to speak ill of a

fellow lawyer. The President has struggled to get top tier legal

representation actually for some time now. As we saw over this past

weekend, five lawyers walked off the task. Today, it is an unpardonable

offence to misspell the United States in your lead brief laying out your

defense in a Senate trial. That aside, I also want to read you a quote from

the President`s attorney, Mr. Schoen. This is from the New York Times. He

added that he believed that a conviction of Mr. Trump by the Senate risked

shilling the rights on any passionate speakers. We can`t control the

reaction of the audience, he said. Mr. Schoen pointed to another potential

argument that could help Mr. Trump won not related to free speech that at

least some of the Trump supporters who stormed the capital plan their

attack in advance, suggesting that Mr. Trump was not inciting force. Of

course, Trump was part of the build up four days prior to that.

Professor, once and for all let`s talk about limits on free speech because

we`re going to be talking about this probably for the next two weeks. Where

do my limits, my word is my right to free speech impinge upon your rights

as a free citizen?

MELISSA MURRAY, NYU LAW PROFESSOR: So the first thing to remember, Brian,

is that the First Amendment is a restraint on government from imposing on

the rights of private citizens. So there is a broader question of whether

the First Amendment is indeed a defense for a government official facing

accountability for his actions while in office -- in response, irrelevant

that though, is the broader question of what are limits on the First

Amendment? And it`s very clear that the First Amendment is not a defense

for speech that incites violence. And so arguably, that is what we have

here, for which even if the President was not a government official, there

would be no defense that would fall under the First Amendment.

WILLIAMS: Josh, it`s great to have you on the broadcast. So the White House

is on the record today as saying they will go this alone, if need be

straight up and down party line vote, but they really would rather get some

crossover support from across the aisle?


said today, that 1.9 trillion still remains their number. Of course, that

is a big gap from what those Republicans who the President hosted yesterday

are looking for. They did sort of plant some flags today. Jen Psaki, the

White House press secretary said, for instance, they think dual income

household making 120 grand should qualify, that could be a bit of a

negotiating point, because right now, the threshold is 150. So you kind of

have to sift through it here. And there, you see chances for negotiation,

maybe, or at least a show. It`s unclear to me whether Republicans were

attempting to use the president with yesterday`s meeting, or vice versa.

But at the end of the day, there are all kinds of signs that the Democrats

are prepared to press ahead unilaterally on this. I mean, they just see it

as so core to not only their agenda and their campaign message, but to

success, excuse me of Biden`s presidency early on in these early months.

Remember, they inherited a pandemic that was much worse than they thought

it was going to be on Election Day.

WILLIAMS: Ashley, this next question is a little bit off your beat, but it

deals with something we`re going to discuss later in the hour. And that is

the Republican brand these days. When you think about it, Leader McCarthy

has this dual problem, a push in his membership, to punish his number three

and management, daughter of the former Vice President, at large

Congresswoman in Wyoming, there`s only one congressional district and she`s

it at the same time, a push from larger society at all, to perhaps punish

by removing committee assignments for a full on QAnon believer, and I guess

that sums up the Republican caucus in the House in a nutshell.

PARKER: It sure does, Brian. And it is sort of the existential crisis

facing the Republican Party. And what it reminds me of to reach back to the

sort of near past is the 2010 Tea Party movement, right? Where you had --

there was sort of a Faustian bargain and some political opportunism there

with the Republican Party because they saw these candidates, who were not

necessarily in the mainstream of the party were on the fringe in certain

ways. And they saw a way to win.

And so you had two things happen. One was in solidly conservative

districts, states that should have gone for Republicans. These outlier

candidates won primaries and then lost in a general election, hurting the

Republican Party, of course.

And then you did have some victories, right? They won a lot of seats. But

what that led to with the Republican caucus, was John Boehner, who was

speaker at the time, he was in power. And he was always getting stymied and

having to negotiate with the House Freedom Caucus, these hardline members

who came in on that wave and sort of did not espouse traditional

conservative principles in language and behavior. And that very well could

be the case again. It`s too early to tell, right? McCarthy is grappling

with this in real time, sort of in very highly public fashion, but that

very much seems where the party is headed. Because even though members

privately will say what, someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene is saying with

QAnon, and all the other deeply problematic statements they don`t agree

with. They`re so terrified of alienating her supporters who are sort of

writ large Trump supporters in many ways that they may let the party get

pulled in that direction. That is not just dangerous for the country,

potentially, but dangerous for the Republican Party.

WILLIAMS: Hey, Professor, AOC last night, shared a personal moment on

Instagram Live, part of extended comments her experience on 1/6. As a

result, she had what I think was received as a real moment of personal

power, and it was matched today by several members of Congress. I want to

play for you, Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California who of course

survived multiple gunshot wounds in Jonestown Guiana, and talked about that

day and all of it in context.


REP. JACKIE SPEIER, (D) CALIFORNIA: I was on that gallery floor and told

to, you know, lie down on there. And then I heard the shot ring out and it,

yeah, of course, it took me back in time. And I remember lying my cheek on

the cold marble floor and thinking, can this be happening? Am I going to

die in my own country in this sacred temple of democracy when I survived in

the jungles of Guyana?


WILLIAMS: So Professor, I guess my point is, we`ve heard from these two

powerful members of Congress and 24 hours. So many members of Congress are

witnesses to what happened. This is going to be tried with senators sitting

at desks that were rummaged through. What about calling witnesses? What

should our viewers know about that decision about that choice?

MURRAY: Well, to be clear, it was never going to be the case that this

impeachment trial was like any other ordinary criminal trial or any other

civil trial or proceeding, it always had an element of political theater to

it. It didn`t have the same kinds of standards as criminal trials or the

same evidentiary requirements. It was in a completely different animal, and

this one will be even more so. We have never had an impeachment trial of a

former president that was based on claims of an insurrection against the

Congress itself.

And so the trauma of that day is certainly part of the narrative. It is

laced in the briefs that the House managers filed. It is part of the

defense that the President himself has lodged in his own defense. And it

will be part of the narrative here. And these are jurors who are not like

ordinary jurors. They are partisan in many different respects. But they are

especially partisan in that, they were there. They saw this. They knew what

happened. And unlike any other American they more than anyone else can bear

witness to what happened on that day. And it would be relevant, I think,

for the American public to hear what exactly it was like to be in that

chamber on that day.

WILLIAMS: Josh, also relevant sometimes is APMEX atmospherics, if I can get

the word out, the stuff we can`t see at home, but you can feel being there.

I noted, you and Jen Psaki got into it a little bit today at the briefing,

but I`m tempted to ask what is it like? What`s the contrast like? What is

the vibe, like? What`s the information flow like covering this still 14 day

old White House?

WINGRAVE: Yeah, I think the jury is still out a little bit, the proverbial

jury, you know, the daily briefings obviously, have made quite a

difference. But this White House still hasn`t really decided what kind of

distinction it wants to draw compared to Trump. They, you know, even in

cases where they have a very clear distinction, like managing the pandemic,

which the President -- then President Trump took every opportunity he could

to minimize, they have been caught over their skis a couple times. And you

know, today, the incidents you mentioned, was about whether they`ll keep

the space force and entire branch of the military, which I, you know, I

obviously didn`t think was an out of the realm question. And they`ve since

clarified that they might bring folks up to do a briefing on that. So they

seem to be settling in, right, you know, the rallying cry for Democrats in

particular, the sort of factions of the party with get Trump out. And since

they`ve taken over, I think they`re sort of trying to figure out a new

Northstar for themselves. But I mean, it definitely is different, you know,

fewer people, for instance, they have Plexiglas barriers on their desks.

They have masks, often to mask at all times. Needless to say, this is a

sharp divergence from yesterday, and just tonight, we were with the

President when he went to the Capitol of course, with Officer Sicknick`s

lying in the -- in honor in the in the rotunda.

And in bringing the press pool, I don`t remember a lot of times traveling

with President Trump where he left the press pool.

WILLIAMS: Interesting, all of it, interesting, all of it relevant. Terrific

to have our big three with us to start off tonight, Ashley Parker,

Professor Melissa Murray, Josh Wingrave, again, welcome, and our thanks to

the three of you.

Coming up, the White House says your chances of getting the vaccine will

increase, in just a matter of days. I`ll ask one of the President`s

coronavirus advisors if that`s fast enough, considering the needs.

And later, you know a story is going to be good when the first sentence is

for conspiracy theorists walk into the Oval Office. We will bring you

details from a new report about what might be the most troubling meeting of

the Trump presidency if indeed such a thing can be determined. All of it as

our broadcast is just getting underway on this Tuesday night.




February 11, the federal government will deliver vaccines directly to

select pharmacies across the country. This will provide more sites for

people to get vaccinated in their communities and it`s an important

component to delivering vaccines equitably.


WILLIAMS: This may be a slow rolling game changer here, this new effort by

the administration to get more vaccines into more Americans. The goal isn`t

just to get them distributed but also getting them into underserved


Political reporting today, just 5% of all vaccinations have gone to black

Americans despite equity efforts. For more we`re happy to welcome back to

the broadcast tonight Dr. Celine Gounder, Clinical Assistant Professor of

Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue

Hospital in New York. She serves on the President`s Coronavirus Advisory


Doctor, let`s talk about this racial disparity. No one paying attention in

the year 2021 should really be surprised by it, but we also know it`s not

like we`re going to just start treating everyone equally starting tomorrow.

So how do you combat it? And is your local CVS, Walgreens one way because

it makes this vaccine more approachable?


before we start proposing solutions, we need to understand what the source

of the problem is. And is this a problem of access? Is this a problem of

vaccine hesitancy? I suspect it`s some of both based on what I`m seeing on

the ground among healthcare workers who can get the vaccine in their place

of work at the hospital, we are seeing significant differences among

different racial groups as to whether they`re getting vaccinated. And I

think that is a marker of hesitancy. You cannot steamroll through what are

very legitimate reasons for not trusting the system. And the really the

only way to repair that trust is to make real change, to address long

standing historical inequities. And that`s simply not going to happen


WILLIAMS: Yeah, that`s going to take up continued public education

campaign. You`re right. I want to play you some of Dr. Fauci`s comments to

Chris Hayes on this network earlier tonight.



INFECTIOUS DISEASES: One of the wildcards, Chris, that we have to keep an

eye on the mutations, the mutants that are out there, because if they

become dominant, that then could lead to another surge.


WILLIAMS: Doctor, I don`t need to tell you these mutations scare the hell

out of everybody. They scare the hell out of people who`ve already perhaps

had their first shot, people hanging all their hopes on their two vaccine

shots. How should people view this?

GOUNDER: Look, I`m not an alarmist. But this is as scared as I have been

since the beginning of the pandemic. We have several variants that we`re

worried about. We have one from the U.K., which is more transmissible, so

that means it spreads more easily from one person to another. That means

more cases, more hospitalizations, more deaths. We have two other variants,

one out of South Africa, one out of Brazil, those are concerning, because

the immune response triggered by the vaccines seem to be less protective,

still effective, but less protective, trending in the wrong direction

against those mutant strains.

And now we`re seeing a hybrid mutant, which has some characteristics of the

U.K. variant as well as some of the South African variants. So not only

more transmissible, but also evading some to some degree the immune

response triggered by the vaccine. So this is really a problem. And we need

to be slowing spread of the virus, whether it`s through vaccination, or all

of the other things we`ve been doing all along as quickly as possible.

WILLIAMS: Is there also going to come a time of people living in various

states are waiting for all their seniors and frontline medical workers to

get the vaccine? Will there come a day when in your state they say, OK,

ages 16 to 65, general population, come on out, it`s all yours.

GOUNDER: There will eventually come a time perhaps later this summer, but I

think right now, my key message would be, especially with the rise of these

variants. This is not the time to let down your guard, you absolutely need

to double down on the masking, the social distancing, the good ventilation,

sticking to your household bubbles, all of that stuff needs to continue

until we can get everybody vaccinated.

WILLIAMS: I have not heard you quite as alarmed. You`re right since the

very start of this coming up on a year ago, Dr. Celine Gounder, thank you

as always, for coming on the broadcast and taking our questions. We always

appreciate it.

Coming up for us, new reporting on what`s being dubbed the craziest meeting

of the Trump presidency. And yes, it is tough to pick just one.


WILLIAMS: Axios is out with a stunning new piece of journalism on what it

calls the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency. It is the work of

Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu and it must be read to be believed.

The December 18th meeting included lawyer Sidney Powell and Trump`s newly

pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Axios reports

Trump was obsessed with election conspiracy theories, while White House

staffers considered at all quote, an unending sea of garbage churned up by

the bottom feeders. They go on to say what Flynn and Powell were proposing

amounted to suspending normal laws and mobilizing the U.S. government to

seize Dominion voting machines around the country. That gang is how close

we came.

For more, we are joined by Mark McKinnon, former adviser to both George W.

Bush and John McCain, among others. He is now one of the co-hosts, one

would say co-stars of the circus on Showtime. And Michael Steele, former

chairman of the Republican National Committee, former lieutenant governor

of the great state of Maryland. Now the star of the Michael Steele Podcast,

gentlemen, good evening to you both.

Mark, I`d like to begin with you. I am indeed a loyal circus viewer.

Hopefully, in this atmosphere freed of John Heilemann, you`ll be able to

let your flag fly. I`ll start with this cuckoo Axios article along the way,

they mentioned what many people feared and suspected that during this time,

Trump had basically cast aside the business of being president, the

business of our country, and indeed was obsessing over this and just this.

George Conway said tonight, we are watching the moral collapse of the

Republican Party. Mark, do you concur with that?


Brian. I think the party has been clawing its way to the bottom for a while

now. We`re at completely a dysfunction junction. The story that of Axios is

incredible. If we pitched the circus as fiction five years ago, we would

have been thrown out. But I guarantee you there`s 10 Hollywood pitches

based on the story from Axios in the last 24 hours, it`s a stunning story.

And what`s amazing is a first of all, what you said is that the President

checked out completely was not running the country, he was trying to figure

out a way to save himself. And if you think about the --secondly, I`d say

that I think Axios is bugged the White House. I mean, that`s sourcing they

have, it`s just incredible.

So I recommend everybody read it to believe it, and you still won`t believe

it. But it strikes me that if you had a medical equivalent of lawyers, but

it was that you had a bunch of medical physicians in the White House, who

said, you`re going to die. And so Trump refuses to believe that and brings

another physician said, give me a second opinion, give me a third opinion.

And then you had these legal freaks come in and basically say, well, yeah,

just inject a bunch of chlorine in your veins or put light in your, your

eyeballs or something.

And so he was just willing to bring in anybody who would tell him anything

he wanted to hear, no matter how crazy it was, in order to overturn the


WILLIAMS: Michael Steele, I don`t remember much about high school psych

class. I do remember cognitive dissonance, and that`s a term we`re going to

be dusting off a week from now when think of it, Republican members of the

Senate, some of them sitting at desks, that were ransacked in a chamber

that was ransacked, are going to tell themselves not to buy the case, the

democratic impeachment managers are making. Michael, what if Trump faces no


MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, that is very likely, Brian that he

won`t face consequences, because members of the U.S. Senate will sit at

those very same desks. And they will continue to do the bidding of Donald

Trump. They think that their political calculation as they begin to set up

2022 is that by just letting it go away, ignoring it, not drawing a lot of

attention to it, it will keep Trump relatively at bay, it will keep the

Trump base that rabid part of his base, relatively at bay. Because they

don`t want to see happen in their states or in their districts what`s been

happening to Liz Cheney, who is an honorable member of Congress, who was an

honorable Republican who took the risk of standing up for her country, over

the insanity of this president and his insistence that the election was


They unlike her will fall duly in line. The fact that is taken speaker

McCarthy, I mean, he gives Hamlet a whole new storyline to be or not to be

to, do what I do. I mean, dude, get a grip. This is not complicated.

And to very much what Mark was talking about, you can`t script this out in

real life, yet. In fact, it is real. And we saw the dire consequences from

what Trump has wrought on January 6, and yet still, you will have a

significant majority of the Republican members of the Senate say it really

didn`t happen that way.

WILLIAMS: Hey, Mark, quick question before a break, when you think about

it, they took the Capitol, the writers took the Capitol, they took

possession of the building temporarily. Is there any in your view? Any

getting Republicans to conviction votes?

MCKINNON: I don`t think so, Brian. I mean, I think they`re locked in we had

the Rand Paul vote, which was, you know, kind of a smoke signal to the

chimney to all Republicans. And so we know that 45 senators are very likely

to vote against. I don`t think I, you know, I can`t imagine what will

happen between now and then it`s going to change that outcome.

WILLIAMS: All right. Both of these good gentlemen have agreed to stay with

us while I fit in a break. Coming up, Congresswoman QAnon and the fate of

the party that welcomed her to Congress.



KARL ROVE, EPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: If you believe that the Jews control a

space laser that starts fires in Northern California, and that there`s some

unnamed high ranking government official who`s got a heretofore unknown

security classification called Q and all the nutty things that flow with

that you should be taken off the prestigious House Education Labor

Committee and confined to the dark recesses of the furthest building away

from the House floor, and then let the voters decide in the next election.

She has a problem for our party.


WILLIAMS: What a shame we have to get religion mixed up with our space

lasers, longtime Republican political strategist, Karl Rove on his party`s

Marjorie Taylor Greene problem. Tonight remaining with us, Mark MacKinnon

and Michael Steele.

Michael, this was notable this quote because of where it originated, The

Wall Street Journal editorial board tonight and I quote, If bowing before

all things Trump is the litmus test for being a loyal Republican, the party

should get used to continued losses in the suburbs. This falls right in

with the conversation we were having before the break. What do you say to

suburban voters when you`ve got to be on a national ticket in four years?

She was -- we were just -- we were kidding about the space lasers?

STEELE: Well, let`s put this all together this way. If you continue on the

road, you`re on it. And if you believe that, that you`d rather have

Marjorie Taylor Jones, over a Liz Cheney, that you would prefer to embrace

QAnon, and Proud Boys and white nationalism, if you would prefer to ignore

the realities of what Trump incited on January 6, and you plan to go into

2022, 2024, 2026 on the net to say is lose baby lose. Because that`s

exactly all, that`s all you got left. Because there`s no way the country

looks at you and say, you can govern anything, if that`s the kind of people

and leadership that you want to get behind and support.

WILLIAMS: So Mark McKinnon, are you capable of surprise anymore where this

party is concerned? And I`m joking, but it`s a serious question. What`s

going to be the brand, because sooner or later, they`re going to need to

run on something. And as the journal notes, it`s suburban voters that they

have to concentrate on look at the numbers from last time.

MCKINNON: No question, Brian. And that`s coming out and Trump`s own polling

now that`s been leaked. That shows that he lost the election not because

there was election fraud but because he had problems in the suburbs.

Exactly what you`re pointing out.

And here`s the problem for the Republican Party, there was actually an

opportunity here because you take Trump off the ballot. And you look at

what happened in 2020. Republicans exceeded expectations by a lot in the

House and by a good bit in the Senate, even though they ended up losing it.

The fact is, Republicans without the Trump overlay have a lot of

opportunity and a lot of possibility in 2022. But if you put Trump back

squarely in the equation, which he is doing, and then you overlay Marjorie

Taylor Greene, and her ilk, you`ve got a huge problem. And that`s why Karl

Rove and others are speaking out very forcefully.

I`m actually encouraged by the extent to which not just sort of

establishment Republicans, but even like, kind of the young leadership of

the Republican Party, people like Dan Crenshaw, and others, they`re

throwing a flare as well. I think everybody realizes, and are realizing

quickly and Republican Party that she is a big, big problem.

WILLIAMS: So Michael Steele, give me 30 seconds your prediction of what

comes out of the meeting with leadership, what happens to her in the House?

STEELE: It just -- it really depends Brian on just how much internal

pressure there is within the whole caucus House and Senate for Kevin

McCarthy to sit her down. And Karl Rove`s words, set her aside in the

farthest building away from the House floor.

But the problem is, you have 140 some members of that House caucus, who

stand with her who are just as QAnon crazy and Trump obsessed as she is.

And so I don`t know how he weathers that, how he has that kind of a force

inside his own caucus, because at the end of the day, he still wants to be

speaker of the house.

WILLIAMS: This is why I think of you guys all the time. Along with all of

our other guests. These are strange times we`re living in. Mark McKinnon,

Michael Steele, what a pleasure having you gentlemen together and on our

broadcast. Thank you. I`m tipping my figurative hat back at you.

Coming up, the world`s richest man is quitting his day job when THE 11TH

HOUR continues.


WILLIAMS: Let`s talk about a guy. He knew what the internet could do before

most Americans knew how to send an email. Harnessing its potential made him

a very wealthy, very famous man, who also left a string of small businesses

in his wake.

Jeff Bezos announced today he is stepping down as CEO of Amazon and make no

mistake for all the critics. Amazon changed the world and kept millions of

American households afloat during the pandemic to the tune of $100 billion

in sales just the last quarter. More on the Bezos announcement tonight from

NBC News correspondent Jo Ling Kent.


JO LING KENT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After more than 25 years

and billions in sales, Jeff Bezos is leaving his post to CEO this summer

handing the reins of the massive disrupter he built to Andy Jassy, the

current head of Amazon Web Services, and an internal email. Bezos, who will

become executive chair said I intend to focus my energies and attention on

new products and early initiatives. I`m excited about this transition.

Early in his career, Bezos left his job in finance, founding Amazon in

1994. He spoke with NBC News about that career move in 1999.

JEFF BEZOS, AMAZON CEO: But I might really have regretted not having

participated in this thing called the internet that I thought was going to

be a really big deal.

KENT: And it was what began as an online bookseller grew fast.

BEZOS: Work hard, have fun make history is our motto.

KENT: Ultimately becoming a mega online retailer with more than a million



singularly responsible for every major thing that they`ve done over the

past 25 years.

KENT: The company is often criticized for undercutting small businesses by

aggressively lowering prices. Bezos is now one of the richest people in the

world. His recent divorce from McKenzie Scott was one of the most expensive

ever after his affair with Lauren Sanchez was splashed across the tabloids.

Bezos says he isn`t retiring, but after decades of overseeing every major

project, he`ll be taking a major step back.

(on camera): Bezos will also stay involved with the Washington Post, which

he owns and Blue Origin his private space company, Amazon, meanwhile, is

facing antitrust investigations that will likely fall to the new CEO.


WILLIAMS: Our thanks to Jo Ling Kent for that report from Los Angeles. And

coming up, just as elections have consequences, lawsuits due to something

you`re gong to want to see when we come back.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight. Spare a thought for Fox News.

They enjoyed the hard earned and richly deserved nickname of state run

television during the Trump years when their anchors seemed to be anchoring

just for Trump.

They still are witness Tucker Carlson last night standing up for the QAnon

congresswoman. But the tragic part is a sizable chunk of their audience has

moved on. After Trump turned on Fox 4 correctly calling Arizona for Biden

and turn networks like OAN and Newsmax they now anchor directly at Trump.

But we learned today even Newsmax has limits, because the folks at Dominion

Voting Systems have real good real aggressive lawyers. Here`s how this went

on Newsmax today when their two anchors welcomed their next guest, the

chopped foam pillow maker and Trump Oval Office advisor Mike Lindell.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened with your Twitter account and the

company page?

MIKE LINDELL, TRUMP OVAL OFFICE ADVISOR: Well, first mine was taken down

because we have all the election properties, Dominion machines. We have 100

percent proof. And then I -- when they took it down a mighty recycle, I put

it back up my personal. I put it was a minute --

BOB SELLERS, NEWSMAX ANCHOR: Mike, thank you very much. Mike, you`re

talking about machines, that we at Newsmax have not been able to verify any

of those kinds of allegations. We just want to let people know that there`s

nothing substantive that we`ve seen. Let me read you something there. While

there were some clear evidence of some cases of both fraud and election

irregularities. The election results in every state word certified, and

Newsmax accepts the results as legal and final, the courts have also

supported that view.

So we wanted to talk to you about canceling this culture, if you will. We

don`t want to re litigate the case you`re making Mike, because we

understand where you are. So let me ask you this. Do you think that this

should be temporary because it appears to be permanent? Could you make an

argument that it is temporary?


SELLERS: Could you make an argument that this could be a temporary banning

rather than permanent?

LINDELL: No, I want it to be a permanent because, you know what, the

agendas because I`m revealing all the evidence on Friday of all the

election problems with these machines. So I`m sorry if you think --

SELLERS: OK. Mike, can I ask our producers? Can we get out of here,

please? I don`t want to have to keep going over this. We at Newsmax not

been able to verify any of those allegations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait a minute. Mike, hold on a second. Everybody hold

a second. Mike, Mike, hold one second.

Let`s talk a little bit about just what is happening overall in terms of


LINDELL: My company and myself in this country is canceled culture.


WILLIAMS: Mike Lindell, ladies and gentlemen joined there by Newsmax anchor

and an empty chair. Dominion has already threatened to sue Newsmax for

defamation. As for us, that`s our broadcast on a Tuesday night. Thank you

for joining us. On behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC, good





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