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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 2/22/2021

Guest: Nahid Bhadelia, Melissa Murray, Ro Khanna, David Plouffe, Tim Miller


President Joe Biden leads nation in remembrance of COVID victims.

Senate committee begins confirmation hearing for Biden Attorney General

pick Merrick Garland. Supreme Court denies Trump`s final bid to shield

taxes. Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed an IRS audit kept him from

releasing tax returns. Trump to make first public appearance since leaving

office at CPAC. Joe Manchin announced Friday he will vote against Neera



BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again.

Day 34 of the Biden administration. Tonight to mark the sorry occasion of

our nation`s loss of over half a million souls to a controllable virus. The

president and vice president did something we have not seen from an

American leader in the full year. Since this pandemic took hold of our

country. They took note of the devastating toll with a moment of silence

and a candlelight ceremony to honor the dead.

Moments earlier, as Joe Biden spoke of the need to remain vigilant against

the virus, he acknowledged the enormous loss.


JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: That`s more Americans who have died in one

year in this pandemic than in World War One, World War Two, and the Vietnam

War combined. That`s more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on


As we all remember, I also ask us to act, to remain vigilant, to stay

socially distanced, to mask up, get vaccinated when it`s your turn. We must

end the politics and misinformation that has divided families, communities,

and the country.


WILLIAMS: Exactly one year ago, no COVID deaths have been reported in this

country and there were about 35 known cases. As of tonight, the death toll

stands at over 502,000 Americans confirmed cases now top 28 million.

While vaccines do now exist, the CDC says fewer than 6% of Americans have

received the shots. As this president works to get this pandemic finally

under control, he`s also trying to get his cabinet nominees confirmed. This

morning his Attorney General Nominee Federal Judge Merrick Garland

testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee almost five years after he

was supposed to testify before that committee after his Supreme Court

nomination was instead blocked by Mitch McConnell in the Senate

Republicans. Today Garland invoked the Oklahoma City bombing as he promised

to go after the rioters who desecrated our Capitol January 6.



prosecution that the perpetrators of the bombing of the Oklahoma City

federal building, if confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white

supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6, a heinous

attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy. This will be

my first priority and my first briefing when I returned to the department

if I`m confirmed. We are facing a more dangerous period than we faced in

Oklahoma City. At that time, I come from a family where my grandparents

fled anti-Semitism and persecution. Country took us and protect us and I

feel an obligation to the country to pay back. And this is the highest best

use of my own set of skills to pay back.


WILLIAMS: Republicans tried to get Merrick Garland to make promises about

Special Counsel John Durham`s review of the FBI is 2016 investigation of

the Trump campaign. Garland would only say he saw no reason to stop

Durham`s inquiry.

And because Republicans apparently believe Hunter Biden would be a central

issue for any Attorney General, Merrick Garland was also asked about the

current investigation into the president`s son.



discussed this Hunter Biden case with the president or anyone else?

GARLAND: I have not. I would not have taken this job if I thought that

politics would have any influence over prosecutions and investigations. I`m

not the President`s lawyer. I am the United States lawyer.


WILLIAMS: Meanwhile, just across from Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court today

cleared the way for Manhattan prosecutors to get their hands on Donald

Trump`s tax returns. The former president has fiercely fought to shield

those documents from prosecutors and the public.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: It`s underwriter. I`ll release

them when the audit is completed.

At the appropriate time, I will release them but right now I`m under

routine audit, nobody cares.

While I`m under audit, I would not get my taxes. There`s no law whatsoever.

Actually, I paid tax but -- and you`ll see that as soon as my tax returns.

It`s underrated. They`ve been underrated for a long time.


WILLIAMS: That last comment referenced reporting from the New York Times

last year revealing that Trump had paid no taxes for a decade and then

seven $150 in taxes the year he won the presidency and his first year in

office. Today Trump responded to the Supreme Court order and the ongoing

investigation with a statement that read, as did his last one like a series

of tweets it reads in part, "This investigation is a continuation of the

greatest political witch hunt in the history of our country."

Meantime, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance full statement was simply, "The work


The Supreme Court also dealt Trump allies a blow today when it declined to

hear a dispute in Pennsylvania over whether absentee ballots received up to

three days after election day should have been counted in the 2020

presidential election. Tomorrow the investigation into the riot at our

Capitol moves into a new stage with the first congressional hearing on the

topic for high ranking law enforcement officers, three of whom have by now

resigned, will testify before two separate Senate Committees. They include

the former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, former Senate Sergeant at

Arms, Michael Stenger, who both stepped down after the insurrection and

have never spoken of it publicly. Some of the rank and file officers who

came under attack that day, are just now speaking out. Here`s what one

officer had to say about that day.


HARRY DUNN, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: I call it (beep). A couple dozen times

today, protecting this building, is this America? They beat police officers

with blue Lives Matter flags.


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

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

The Washington Post, Melissa Murray, she`s an NYU law professor who clerked

for Sonia Sotomayor while she was on the U.S. Court of Appeals, and Dr.

Nahid Bhadelia, Infectious Disease Physician, Medical Director of the

Special Pathogens Unit up at BU School of Medicine during ebola notably,

she worked with the WHO, which we note the U.S. has since rejoined under

this new administration.

And Doctor, because of the urgency of the matter we marked today in terms

of a death toll of half a million, I`d like to begin with you. Do you ever

allow yourself a kind of what if thinking, what if we had been competent at

this? What if our president had not been a denier? What if we had buckled

down and done the hard work required? Not let politics get in the way of

mask wearing or not? How would our nation look different tonight?


know, I think that to say that to say that this pandemic is going to alter

and it has already altered the course of history for our country. But

really our entire world is not hyperbole, because we mark that 500 deaths

that we`ve had here and we`re rolling towards this other horrible tragedy

with just soon we`ll mark two and a half million people who died globally

of this disease. And that`s not even, you know, the entire number is

thought that the deaths, both here in the U.S. are underestimated directly

from COVID. And that`s not even counting the second wave, Brian. In every

single epidemic that I`ve been part of the people who are -- whose lives

are affected, medical care is affected because of, due to second, you know,

other diseases that could not be attended to because of the pandemic. And

globally, things like dropping vaccination rates, not even taking into

account the fact that this is the biggest economic shock since the Great

Depression. And you`ve already seen 100 and 15 million people being pushed

into extreme poverty globally. To me, as you know what President Biden said

today about remembering as part of healing, that`s important, but we also

will have to rebuild and what we rebuild, you know, we`ll have to not just

pandemic proof our society, but we`re going to have to politics proof from

here on out our pandemic response.

WILLIAMS: Ashley Parker coming right off the doctor`s answer quoting Joe

Biden today, he also used special language designed to resonate with all of

us who have suffered losses in our lives. I just kept writing down

humanity, sympathy and empathy.

Last time we spoke I asked you about this transition in tone and tenor what

it must be like to cover this new presidency. I don`t think his most

vehement critics would accuse him of insincerity on this front and in a

way, he is wearing the pressure of what he sees as job one?


absolutely right. And that`s what made what we saw earlier tonight. So

moving it wasn`t just him, addressing the incredibly stark almost hard to

fathom of human life but it was sort of talking so personally and movingly

about it and we all know his past history with his own grief and in some

ways where those wells of empathy come from. But those moments in the

speech where he talked about the empty chair at the kitchen table, opening

the closet and having a certain scent walked out, remembering the bend and

your loved one smile. That was all so personal.

And it was even perhaps more resonant, when you sort of couldn`t help it,

contrast it with former President Trump and not just his handling of the

virus that got us here but keep in mind today, Donald Trump did put out a

statement, it had nothing to do with the half a million Americans who died

from this virus it. It was, as you said, basically a tweet thread about the

Supreme Court decision. So it`s sort of those adjectives you lay down for

Biden, empathy, sympathy, and then also just that contrast to the

president, who is no longer there, but in many ways got us to this place.

WILLIAMS: Professor, the court of last resort was not enough for the former

president today, the most transactional president in our history, the man

who came to the job, with the least knowledge of the three branches of

government of any president in our history, probably expected way back when

his three appointees to go his way. They of course, as no one needs remind

you did not. My question to you is, what will the public see? Or what will

the public find out as a result of the Supreme Court ruling today? Or will

its impact really be limited to a grand jury room in New York?

MELISSA MURRAY, NYU LAW PROFESSOR: Well, as you know, Brian, Grand Jury

proceedings are secret. And any of the evidence that are used in a grand

jury investigation would remain secret unless there is a trial or some

further investigation where those documents are made public, what the

public may see in time is the path of this investigation, gathering steam

and taking on more contour. So we may see more information about witnesses,

some witnesses may make deals with the prosecution that will become public.

And so this is just the beginning. And that`s the thing. We`ve waited five

years to get to the beginning. And this is what this long process, this

long, arduous process has been about.

WILLIAMS: Dr. DR. Bhadelia, I want to read you a quote from an article back

in your bailiwick from three physicians from Mass General, they wrote this

in the hill, it`s about the virus and the effect the threat of the

variants, "This is a very serious warning to the rest of the world.

Immunity is not absolute, and may have an expiration date. The bottom line,

we are far from being out of the woods, even while there is reason for


This dovetails, Doctor, somewhat with what you just said about how it`s

changed our society and global society. Do you go as far as these three


BHADELIA: I do. And I think no perfect example exists to show us how

dependent we are on the rest of the world as they are on us. Because part

of getting to the end of the acute phase of this pandemic is I think most

of us in my field will say I don`t think this virus is going to be

eliminated, at least not in the near future. But to get to a point where we

can keep this variance from, new variants from growing and growing and

addressing all of us, reaching all of us is that we need to stop the

transmission everywhere. And so we need to think about this as a global

fight. So that new variant once we update our vaccines, they will become

quickly outdated unless we make sure that vaccines get everywhere in the


WILLIAMS: Ashley Parker, back to politics. I don`t want to insult the bar

scene in Star Wars with a useless comparison to CPAC coming up this

weekend. But it`s really going to be something. Can Donald Trump with his

first public appearance before that group insist upon his leadership role

in this party going forward? We already know that one Mitch McConnell and

others may disagree?

PARKER: They certainly May. But he can also absolutely insist that and he

probably will. And in some ways CPAC was where it all started for Donald

Trump. And it`s been an open question. We don`t really know the answer to

what sort of power Donald Trump still wields in the Republican Party. We

know some polls where his approval ratings are still quite high among

Republicans, although they have dropped after the January 6 attacks.

There`s some disconcerting polls as well about the number of Republicans

who believe his lie to the election was stolen. But until he comes out and

speaks to a crowd and again, this is a very specific crowd. This is very

much sort of a MAGA nation crowd his base and see not just how they react

but how lawmakers react who are up for reelection to Donald Trump, and what

he says this very well could be the first past of, does he have the power

he hopes to have and claims he has, or by dint of the fact that he is an

ex-president. And frankly, he is an ex-president who helped egg on an

insurrection against the government he led at the time. Does that in any

way, diminish his clout?

WILLIAMS: And Professor finally to you, while it`s not a term from the law,

by all accounts, Judge Garland crushed it today at his hearing simply by

being a modest man of the law and talking about his family`s history in

this country talking about how he would and would not approach cases. Tell

me about it is believed he actually picked up Republican votes today, if

indeed, he goes on to be confirmed as A.G. Tell me about what he`s going to

find at DOJ what they will find as a kind of new culture, remembering that

he will be the first Attorney General in four years to not view himself as

the President`s lawyer, as he put it today, instead, the lawyer for the

United States.

MURRAY: Well, this was a winning performance from Judge Garland. And again,

this was the performance that I think many people would have expected to

see in 2016, when he was President Obama`s appointee to replace Justice

Antonin Scalia, on the Supreme Court, he obviously did not get that hearing

before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But here we are five years later.

And this was an amazing performance, evocative moving poignant, but then

also really clear eyed about the difficulties facing the Department of

Justice. He spoke about the morale at the department. It is at the lowest

it`s been in a number of years, that people are questioning the

independence of the Department of Justice, all of that needs to be

restored. And at the same time, there are external threats that have to be

dealt with. And he faced those head on today talking about his own history,

fighting domestic terrorism within the United States and Oklahoma City and

elsewhere. And the fact that these strains are proliferating in the United

States today, and they need to be addressed by the Department of Justice,

that is reinvigorated and ready to take on that task.

WILLIAMS: Indeed, he called 1/6 the worst attack on our democracy he could

imagine and said that getting inside these groups rooting it out and

investigating that would be job one for him. Can`t thank our big three

guests tonight enough, Ashley Parker, Melissa Murray, Dr. Nahid Bhadelia

much obliged. Thank you very much.

Coming up for us, as Texas puts itself back together, I`ll talk to a Member

of Congress demanding answers about what he calls a total meltdown. And

later, will the big lie lead to the Great Divide inside what is left of the

Republican Party? We`ll ask to campaign veterans what the former

president`s iron grip means for the GOP. After an emotional day at 1600

Pennsylvania Avenue, the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Monday




JOLI AMMONS, TEXAS RESIDENT: We had a $1,800 total for Monday and a $2,000

total for Tuesday and I was just shocked.

SCOTT WILLOUGHBY, TEXAS RESIDENT: Every day, they took a little bit out a

little bit more a little bit more until when it was all said done. It was

almost $17,000. There was no disclosures, there`s no warnings.


WILLIAMS: It`s unbelievable. It`s adding insult to injury for the 1000s of

Texans now being blindsided with exorbitant electricity bills following

last week`s deadly winter storm. The governor has ordered companies to

temporarily halt cutting off power for non payments. That`s big of him.

Several investigations are already underway into the state`s energy crisis,

including one led by House Oversight Committee member Ro Khanna who

promised this, "Once the dust settles here, I also plan to hold a hearing

with the leaders responsible for this total meltdown."

For more we are happy to be joined by the aforementioned Congressman Ro

Khanna, Democrat of California. And Congressman, thank you very much for

coming back on the broadcast. I guess I`d start this way when members of

Congress from Texas you know who they are, they tend to be a vocal bunch.

And politicians back home in Texas asked you, what`s a liberal Democrat

from the Bay Area in California doing, heading a hearing on our problem in

our state? What`s your answer?


Congress for the United States and the subcommittee I chair on the

environment. The oversight committee has jurisdiction over the United

States. This is our responsibility. And one of the most outrageous aspects

of this crisis is politicians getting up there and lying to the American

people that somehow this was caused by renewable energy when the facts are

so obvious that the failure was actually of the natural gas pipelines. Yes,

there were some failure of wind. But wind is such a small percentage that

Texas has been largely dependent on natural gas. They failed to weatherize.

They have this problem in 2011. There were reports saying they needed to

weatherize. They didn`t make those investments. They`ve been selling the

country on deregulation, and now we see the consequence.

WILLIAMS: Sooner or later, we`re going to realize that infrastructure

should be an enormous challenge and enormous goal for our country. Are we

calling it by the wrong word? There`s nothing unsexy other than

infrastructure, as I always say, FDR had a different word for it. He called

it jobs?

KHANNA: Brian, that`s absolutely right. And it`s actually one of the few

places where we should be able to get bipartisan agreement. I mean, when

you have that kind of public investment in jobs, you`re absolutely right.

That`s what FDR said. You`re creating opportunity for people in

communities, you`re building the foundation for economic growth, and you`re

protecting people from natural disasters, like we just saw. So if there`s

ever a clarion call for having that kind of politics, it`s now Adam Serwer

at a great piece in The Atlantic and he said, look, the politics of

cultural grievance can win you elections, but when you have real crises,

like a power outage like a pandemic politics of grievance does not work.

You actually need competence you actually need vision and that`s the moment

we`re in.

WILLIAMS: Congressman, while you`ve done nothing to deserve this fate,

please join us in listening to Ted Cruz on Hannity Tonight, we will discuss

on the other side.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (D) TEXAS: Texas has some of the lowest energy prices in the

country, its cost of living is affordable. There`s a reason people are

fleeing the state of New York. There`s a reason people are fleeing the

state of California, the grid failed 4 million Texans. And so we need to

have a serious examination about why that was, why the grid came short, but

one of the major elements of that is actually the policy that Schumer is

pushing for the whole country, which is the Green New Deal.


WILLIAMS: Congressman, there`s so much there. I don`t think he wants to

commission a new marketing slogan Texas comm. for the low cost of living

stay for the cold and dark. I do think he might be alleging that Chuck

Schumer somehow turned out the lights, what do you make of that?

KHANNA: You don`t want sad, Brian. The governor of California, my home

state, Gavin Newsom, he didn`t take a shot at Texas. He said, let`s do

everything that we can do to help our fellow Americans. Representative

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she didn`t take a shot at Texas. She said let`s

do everything we can to help. Here we have people in California in New York

saying people in Texas are our fellow citizens. Let`s put their needs

first. I don`t understand why Ted Cruz at this moment is politicizing it.

It`s almost like he doesn`t believe we`re the United States of America. If

someone is hurting in Texas, it`s as much a concern to be as an American,

as if they were hurting in any other state. And it`s so divisive at this


WILLIAMS: Well, who is buying the argument that this is somehow connected

to the Green New Deal? You correctly pointed out. AOC has raised $5 million

for people in a state other than hers.

KHANNA: It was just such a lie. I mean, the reality is event this was clear

the cause they didn`t invest in the weatherization. They didn`t anticipate

that there would be this kind of winter. It`d be understandable if it was

the first time but 10 years ago they had reports telling them to make these

investments. And it actually is easier if you think the weatherize wind and

to weatherize renewable energy than it is to weatherize natural plants. So

if anything, this should be an argument for having more renewable energy.

And those are the facts that need to come out. But one of the things we

need to explore is this disinformation campaign. I mean, it`s this

information not just about elections, but disinformation, about the

climate, disinformation about renewable energy and it`s an epidemic crisis

in our democracy that`s being fueled by social media and certain cable news

and really preventing good policy.

WILLIAMS: Congressman, thank you so much for coming on. Democrat of the Bay

Area in the great state of California, Congressman Ro Khanna has been our

guest tonight. Thank you. I appreciate you taking our questions.

A private citizen in Florida, the only one to be twice impeached wants to

make it even clearer that the party that`s sold out to him is still firmly

in his grip or should be.



GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): I would not support him for reelection in 2024.

He`s going to have a voice but as former presidents do, but there`s many

voices in the party and again, he should not define our future. We`ve got

to define it for ourselves.


WILLIAMS: Asa Hutchison of Arkansas trying a new slant and that is vowing

not to support the president in 2024. Donald Trump will make his first

public appearance as a former president when he speaks at CPAC, the

Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday.

Maggie Haberman of the Times writes at this way, quote, Trump has signaled

to several allies and advisors in recent days that he is focused on running

for president again in 2024. Mike Allen over an Axios reports that

according to top Trump allies, quote, Trump plans to send the message next

weekend that he is Republicans presumptive 2024 nominee with a vise grip on

the party`s base.

Lots of talk about we have the two perfect guest to do it back with us

tonight. David Plouffe, former Obama campaign manager, senior advisor to

President Obama also happens to be a member of the board of the Obama

foundation and Tim Miller is back with us contributing to The Bulwark and

the former communications director for Jeb Bush.

Tim, just like the Congressman, you`ve done nothing to deserve this. But

here`s where we`re going to start. Join me and listening to Lindsey Graham

tonight on Fox News.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): He will position himself as the alternative to

Joe Biden. He I think will make a speech that will unify Republicans on

policy that I think he has been working the phones I was with him all

weekend. He wants us to win in 2022. And stay tuned. I think you`re going

to see over the next couple of months. Donald Trump lead the Republican

Party on policy and give us the energy we need to take back the House and

the Senate.


WILLIAMS: So Tim, it naturally follows he was such a policy guy for four

years in the White House that he would just kind of morph into this role.

Your reaction?

TIM MILLER, THE BULWARK CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, , wasn`t Lindsey Graham done with

President Trump on the night of January 6, that lasted about 12 minutes,

right. I guess it was just one trip to the airport getting yelled at by

people in Red Hats and all of a sudden Lindsay was back on board.

Here`s the problem is, I was encouraged by what governor Hutchinson of

Arkansas had to say. The issue with that is that Donald Trump`s former

press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has, you know, declared that the

Arkansas State House hers and clear the Republican field of lieutenant

governor and soon to be the Attorney General of the state of Arkansas,

because all that matters to Republican voters is fealty to Donald Trump.

And so when you hear what Lindsey has to say, when you hear it at

Hutchinson, when you hear what all these republicans have to say, what is

undergirding all this is that everybody realizes Republican voters want

Trump and that`s why an open races over the next two years all across the

country, you`re not going to be hearing any Republican voters that are,

excuse me, Republican politicians and sound like me. You`re not going to be

hearing me that sound like how Mitch McConnell said of the day after the

impeachment with his finger wagging speech, they`re not going to sound like

Mitt Romney. They`re all going to sound like some version of Sarah Huckabee

Sanders, like some version of Lindsey Graham tonight over on Hannity,

because that`s what their voters want. And so and they`re stuck and they`re

scared, and they missed their opportunity to get rid of them.

WILLIAMS: So David, for lack of a better term, the burn it all down caucus

is going to be with us for a while. Axios further reports that payback? Is

the president`s chief obsession, his chief motivator, it just makes for a

lousy bumper sticker, does it not?


think for the Republican Party, Brian, is if you look historically, in

national elections, presidential elections, in core battleground states,

whether they be senator or governor, generally, the party that wins those

races is the party whose base is more closely connected to the middle of

the electorate, and the Democratic Party from 1968 to 1992 as you know,

only one of the White House wants 76. And that`s probably only because for

part of Nixon.

So the Republican Party right now, and by the way, they`re putting all

their chips on Donald Trump, who failed to get over 47 percent of the vote

twice. But Tim is exactly right. The people who voted in primaries give

most of the money, who are most active on social media, they would pledge

lifetime loyalty to Donald Trump and his family.

And so if you look at the 22, Senate map, you`ve got key Senate races in

Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, these are places where I

think Trump continuing to be the face of the Republican Party will hurt his

party in those competitive Senate races, much less looking down the road


Now, I think Trump motivation here is obviously he`s the probably the

greatest narcissist ever to be on planet Earth. But, you know, I`m sure he

thinks to the extent he looks like he could run for office and be the

nominee that may help them in his legal issues. I doubt that`s the case.

And that`s the one thing is Donald Trump going to look as attractive the

Republican primary voters two years from now three years from now than he

does now. Maybe he will. But I would definitely take the short on that.

WILLIAMS: And Tim, I sucked at math, but I know he came in second at the in

this last election. I`m asking this because of the new polling that shows

that three out of four, like 76 percent of those who voted for him, would

support it again. And again, caveat with standing on math, that doesn`t

look like a winning number.

MILLER: Well, Brian, that tracks with about 70 percent of people that voted

for him that think that he legitimately won, and is the president in exile

down in Mar-a-Lago and that, you know, Hugo Chavez stole the election from

him. So no wonder they would want him to run again in 2024.

I mean, this is the problem. You`re that disconnected from reality. You

know, you mentioned the CPAC speech. They set this up for him where his

first speech after the presidency will come right after the announcement of

the winner of the CPAC 2024 straw poll that very important straw poll.

Trump will get to declare victory after losing the election. He`s so

desperate as David said, to be a winner and to be a narcissist that he

wants to declare victory and something when he comes back to see you can

sell in Orlando. He`ll be declaring victory in the CPAC straw poll. And you

know, that I think is a reflection of sort of where the mute movement is

right now.

WILLIAMS: Wow, way to ruin this suspense. Our guests have both agreed to

stay with us. While we fit in a break, coming up for us, elections have

consequences. The Biden White House sees firsthand the difficulty now of

managing a slim majority in the Senate. We`ll talk about that after the




SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) MAJORITY LEADER: Well, everyone heard that one of

our democratic senators Joe Manchin doesn`t want to vote, I vote for her. I

am working with President Biden to find the extra votes so she can be

passed. I think she`d be a very good OMB leader.


WILLIAMS: So Schumer is very narrow majority may cause problems for near

attendant that`s Biden`s pick for budget director. Today, Republican

senators Susan Collins and Mitt Romney said they indeed would oppose her

nomination after West Virginia Democrat, mind you, Joe Manchin announced he

would vote against her on Friday.

Right now, Tanden needs at least one Republican to walk across the aisle

and support her nomination.

Back with us, David Plouffe and Tim Miller. David so much to discuss here.

Number one, Joe Manchin. As a Democrat, I went through his voting record

voted for sessions Barr, Pompeo, and Kavanaugh, and yet he is offended

apparently by the tweets that this woman has put out over the past several

years viewers of this network know her from her many appearances.

Susan Collins, I`m just assuming is troubled by the whole thing. And Axios

is saying this, which is what I want to ask you about. House Democratic

leaders are quietly mounting a campaign for Shalanda young, longtime

congressional aide to replace near attendant as nominee for Director of the

Office of Management and Budget. People familiar with the matter tell


David, you know, you`ve been around the block a couple of times. Your first

rodeo, this is not. You don`t get stories like that talking about

alternative candidates when your candidate is in good shape.

PLOUFFE: Right. Well, that seems wildly premature to me. I still think they

have some time to find that one Republican vote and if not, you go to plan


Yes. So listen, first of all, you`d much so yes, there`s a challenge with

having a narrow House Majority and certainly a challenge with having 50

Democratic senators, but that is a far preferable problem than having 48.

And if you look at, you know, within the first 60 days of his

administration, Joe Biden`s going to get a COVID relief package through,

you know, basically his design, perhaps the minimum wage is going to have

just about every nominee sailed through.

So this has reached a hiccup. I don`t understand why Neera Tanden is

immensely qualified for this job. And I think generally presidents when

they put forward qualified candidates should get support from both parties

but certainly unanimous support from your own party. So on substantive

grounds, this makes no sense.

My guess is some of these democratic senators who are in tougher states may

want to you know cherry pick a vote here to, to suggest that you know, they

still retain their independence at the end of the day this is not, you

know, Joe Biden used to say often when I worked in the White House with

him, you know, since dying on a small cross. This one note makes no sense

to me. But I think the big parts of Joe Biden`s agenda are going to get

through, even with that narrow majority. And I think that`s important to

focus on. But I still think it`s worth fighting for Neera Tanden because I

think she`s a special talent. And I think she do an amazing job at OMB,

which is one of the tougher jobs in government.

WILLIAMS: Tim Miller arguing she`s been on Twitter after four years of the

Trump administration. That was last week -- we drove out a laughable

territory a week ago on that, but our mutual friend Bill Kristol said this

same thing on our broadcast last week, he feels like he`s onto a theory

here. I feel like there`s a little bit of sexism going on here. It just

seems like these tweets sound harsher to these old guys, because they`re

coming from a woman, Tim, What say you?

MILLER: Yes, I mean, look, I think that the Republicans, sure there might

be some sexism there, but they`re just looking for any scalp that they can

get. And I think that the Republicans obviously are not arguing in complete

bad faith.

You know, like, if Mitt Romney wants to decide that he is going to draw a

hard line on people`s behavior on Twitter and whether or not, you know,

it`s within the bounds of what he thinks is the appropriate decorum. I`m

going to give Mitt Romney that leash because he`s been doing that for four

years, but the 49 of the rest of those yahoons (ph) have been allowing the

commander in chief of the United States to send out things about how Seal

Team 6 is really dead and alive and yea, white power. And I`m very

concerned about the white genocide that`s happening in this country and

QAnon on and the election was stolen, we could go on and on all night,


So the idea that they care about the Director of the Office of Management

and Budget`s tweets, is something I`m not going to buy. So hopefully, Joe

Biden can bring out the old Senate dealmaker, Joe Biden and get Richard

Burr one of these guys across the line in exchange for, you know, putting

an Office of Management and Budget auxiliary office down there in

Wilmington, North Carolina or something like that. And Neera who`s

immensely qualified to have this job gets appointed for a job that she

richly deserves, and if not, I hope Biden puts her somewhere else in the

administration and, and the Republicans are forced to just deal with

someone else.

I don`t really see what anybody`s gaining on this except for the

Republicans trying to stick it in the left eye, which is, I guess, the only

thing that they exist to do these days.

WILLIAMS: Well, Burr has a great idea. He could throw that new sensor on

the pile with his old one from the GOP back home in North Carolina. You

gentlemen are both so good at this. That`s why we keep having you on and

having this conversation. David Plouffe, Tim Miller, two friends of this

broadcast, our thanks.

Coming up in a nation with a vaccine shortage right now, I look at the

reason why thousands of doses are going in the trash at the end of every

day. This is a report that we hope will bring about change.


WILLIAMS: Tonight in too many places the vaccine remains in short supply so

many who qualify for the shot at this point can`t find one. But health

officials say leftover doses are going to waste because of an FDA

regulation that prohibits pooling the small amounts of vaccine that are

left behind in the vials. NBC News correspondent Catie Beck has more on

the benefits and risks.


CATIE BECK, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shots go into arms 4,000

times a day at the Inova Vaccine Clinic in Fairfax, Virginia. For many a

dose of relief.

DR. STEPHEN JONES, INOVA HEALTH SYSTEM CEO: This is the happiest place on


BECK: But while the clinic`s pharmacy team hustles to keep up with demand,

they are flagging a flaw in the process.


very first day we`ve noticed that there was waste left in the individual


BECK: Residual vaccine left in vials and forced to be thrown out. A single

vial of Pfizer vaccine used here yield six full doses, but pharmacists say

there`s often a half dose left which under FDA rules cannot be used.

They`re just going in the garbage.


BECK: The pharmacist here who prepared the shots decided to measure how

much is being wasted. First, pooling residual liquid in 10 vials than 100.

They found the discarded vials yielded eight to 10 percent more vaccine.

JONES: Ultimately, when there are enough vaccines wasting some at the

bottom won`t matter. But right now we are millions of doses short.

BECK: In this location alone that would be 400 additional doses daily.

Nationally, it could mean tens of thousands more shots in arms every day.

MASSIAH-WHITE: Oh, it`s huge. It`s for such a scarce resource. It`s

significant. And currently we`re just throwing those out at the end of the


BECK (on camera): Those vials ended up here in the basement. Most of them

have visible amounts of vaccines still left inside. And pharmacists

estimate that if combined, this rack alone could come up with somewhere

between 10 and 15,000 doses. Instead of being given out they have to be

thrown out.

(voice-over): The FDA says it`s rule against pooling COVID vaccine is an

infection control measure needed for vaccines made without a preservative,

saying cross contamination using the same needle and syringe has occurred

with other medications when this practice was utilized, causing serious

bacterial infections.

But pharmacists say there are already sterile protocols in place, and they

are routinely allowed to pull other drugs like antibiotics, chemotherapy

drugs, even the flu shot. They`re urging the FDA to change its position.

MASSIAH-WHITE: It`s heartbreaking. It makes me sick to my stomach. You know

knowing how many people still need the vaccine.

BECK: Many still waiting their turn without time or vaccine to spare. Catie

Beck, NBC News, Fairfax, Virginia.


WILLIAMS: Something tells me they`ll find a solution. Coming up for us. We

are not used to hearing what we heard today from the man standing behind

this seal.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, the dead are those for whom the

bells toll. The National Cathedral in Washington striking the bells 500

times for a death toll now over 500,000. They played Amazing Grace at the

white house tonight flanked by a sea of Memorial candles on that South

portico. Flags on our federal buildings will remain at half staff for the

next five days to mark our nation`s deep and ongoing wound.

From our first school textbooks were taught that we are lucky enough to

live in a great nation and we are. We are further taught there`s a phrase

for it and that`s American exceptionalism. But what an unexceptional day

this was in our nation`s history.

We`ve now lost over half a million souls. We in the news media have

struggled to illustrate a number so high it seems a femoral like when we

say we`ve lost the equivalent of the population of Atlanta or Miami. Or

when the New York Times this weekend used a graphic where every last life

was represented by a black dot.

Those lights lining the reflecting pool that we saw on inauguration eve

they represented 400,000 dead. We`ve lost 100,000 of our brothers and

sisters since then. It has killed more Americans as you heard that our

world wars and Vietnam combined. We in the US represent about 5 percent of

the world`s population yet we leave the world in coronavirus. Our death

toll is the highest in the world. And no one should make any mistake about

the malpractice, about the lies that were told to us by our president and

those who worked for him.

The benign neglect as Americans died. Denialism was pushed by adults who

knew better in a country capable of far better.

Here`s what we know about the dead. Most of them died alone. All of them

had hopes and dreams and people who love them.

In the Jewish tradition, it`s customary to save the deceased may their

memory be a blessing. And that has never been more meaningful, really,

their memories and legacies are all we have. How striking it was today --

how striking it was today to hear such personal notes in such hushed tones

from our president, humanity and empathy and sympathy in the face. Have a

loss that makes us all feel so helpless. How many of them would be alive

had the virus that killed them not been first denied? May their memories be

a blessing.

That is our broadcast for this Monday night as we start a new week with our

thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all my colleagues at the

networks of NBC News, good night.




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