Law enforcement sheds new light on Capitol riot. Congress opens
formal investigation of Capitol riot. Capitol security officials testify
January 6 riot was planned. White House is in search of support for budget
nominee Tanden. Vaccine advisers to the U.S. FDA will meet Friday to
discuss whether to recommend Johnson & Johnson`s COVID-19 vaccine for
emergency use authorization. New research warns potential surge from U.K.
variant. Donald Trump is expected to attend the RNC upcoming spring donor
retreat in April. Texas is still reeling from devastating winter storms and
for some, recovery could take months.
STEVE PATTERSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: So that sort of speaks to the
nature of the area that Woods was traveling in. That will be a part of the
investigation as well as the speed that he was traveling in all alongside
the fact that Woods is now recovering from that surgery. Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: NBC`s Steve Patterson, thank you very much
for that reports, Steve, really appreciate it. That is tonight`s LAST WORD.
"THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening, once again, day 35 of the
Biden administration. We now have new accounts of the deadly insurrection
the riot at our Capitol. From the very chief of security officials on duty
that day as a mob screaming hang Mike Pence overran the building and
carried out the deadly seeds that went on for hours. Today Congress started
its formal investigation into the attack. Senators from two committees this
morning heard from one Capital Officer who fought off the rioters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. CARNEYSHA MENDOZA, U.S. CAPITOL HILL POLICE: At some point, my right
arm got wedged between rioters and the railing along the wall. A CPU
Sergeant pulled my right arm free and had he not I`m certain it would have
been broken. I received chemical burns to my face that still have not
healed to this day. I witnessed officers being knocked to the ground and
hit with various objects that were thrown by rioters. As an American, and
as an army veteran, it`s sad to see us attacked by our fellow citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Last month, The Washington Post reported that three days before
the insurrection and internal Capitol Police alert warned that Congress
could be the target of a violent attack. But according to three now
resigned officials, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, House Sergeant at
Arms Paul Irving, Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stanger, that warning
never made it to any of the top officials who were charged with securing
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN SUND, FORMER CAPITOL HILL POLICE CHIEF: I actually just in the last
24 hours was informed by the department that they actually had received
that report. It was received by what we call a -- one of our sworn members
that`s assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is a task force
with the FBI. They received it the evening of the fifth, reviewed it and
then forwarded over to an official at the Intelligence Division over at
U.S. Capitol Police Headquarters.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D) MINNESOTA: And so you hadn`t seen it yourself?
SUND: No, ma`am.
KLOBUCHAR: Mr. Stanger, did you get the report?
MICHAEL STANGER, SENATE SERGEANT AT ARMS: No.
KLOBUCHAR: OK, Mr. Irving?
PAUL IRVING, HOUSE SERGEANT AT ARMS: I did not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Today the Post reports another warning about violent extremists
calling for an assault on Congress was sent to a D.C. police email inbox
and to a member of the Capitol Police. The officials who testified today
all agreed the 1/6 attack was planned and that it involved white
supremacist and extremist groups.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUND: We plan for an increased level of violence at the Capitol, and that
some participants may be armed. What we got was a military style
coordinated assault. I witnessed insurgents beating police officers with
fists, pipes, sticks, bats, metal barricades, and flagpoles. These
criminals came prepared for war. These people came specifically with
equipment what you`re bringing climbing gear to a demonstration, you`re
bringing explosives. You`re bringing chemical spray they were planning on
our agency not being at what they call full strength.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Their testimony laid bare the chaos the mistakes the tangled
bureaucracy that prolong the siege, and there were conflicting stories
about the response. In his written statement, that man the former Capitol
Police Chief son said he had spoken to both sergeants at arms about a
request for approval to call the National Guardian right after 1 p.m. That
account was not backed up today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IRVING: I did not receive a request for approval for National Guard until
shortly after 2 p.m. when I was in Michael Stanger`s office.
SEN. ROY BLUNT, (D) MISSOURI: All right, let me get that straightened out.
Mr. Sund, do you know when you asked for National Guard assistance, was it
109 or was it 2 p.m.?
SUND: It was 1:09, sir.
IRVING: First conversation I had with Chief Sund in that timeframe was a
rat was 1:28, 1:30.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Acting D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee described
what happened when the call to request the National Guard finally did go
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT CONTEE, ACTING CHIEF METROPOLITAN POLICE: Chief sign was pleading
for the deployment of the National Guard in response to that there was not
an immediate yes of the National Guard has responded yes, the National
Guard is on the way the response was more asking about the plan that you
know what was the plan for the National Guard but my response to that was
simply I was just stunned that, you know, I have officers that were out
there literally fighting for their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Today`s testimony did not hold everyone`s attention. Ted Cruz
back in the Senate after his one day Cancun getaway spent some of the
hearing on his phone. The Senate is also trying to get through confirmation
hearings for Biden Cabinet nominees. Right now three of his picks are
facing some significant headwinds from Republicans particularly though
Budget Office nominee Neera Tanden. The White House is hoping to get at
least one republican senator to cross over and support her.
Xavier Becerra, Biden`s choice for health secretary and Deb Haaland
nominated for Secretary of the Interior both had their first confirmation
hearings today. And Republicans were not inclined to give them an easy
time. Here is Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the Becerra`s nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MINORITY LEADER: I`m hard pressed to
see anyway such a radical and under qualified nominee should fill such a
critical pose at this crucial time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: And it went on like that. However, Politico is reporting
McConnell will vote to confirm Merrick Garland as Attorney General.
President Biden did get two more cabinet members approved today, Linda
Thomas-Greenfield as our U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Tom
Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture, he was approved by the way 98 to 2.
With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Tuesday night, Alexi
McCammond, Political Reporter for Axios, also with us two Pulitzer Prize
recipients from the Washington Post, Columnist Eugene Robinson, and Phil
Rucker, Senior Washington Correspondent. Phil`s best seller, A Very Stable
Genius, co-authored with our friend Carol Leonning is now available in
paperback with brand new reporting. Those two are also hard to work on a
new book about the former presidents last year in office.
Good evening, and welcome to you all. Phil, as I have pointed out, 1/6 is
one of those rare events, especially in the electronic age, that for a lot
of us seems to take on more impact. More weight as the days go on, since
1/6, is there a danger as you watch today`s hearings and the testimony,
that it`s getting cheapened by the posers and the apologists and the
deniers and the white washers who would have us remember a different event?
PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: Certainly,
Brian, that`s been the danger building for some time, especially as
Republican leaders try to downplay the connection between that event and
President Trump or the significance of that riot to their political
I mean, look, this is a sign that domestic terrorism is alive and well in
this country. And the hearing today exposed how little our government and
our intelligence agencies know about the threat that exists in our country.
There was this warning, of course, but it didn`t reach the highest levels.
We are not sure why. But perhaps it`s because people at the FBI didn`t deem
it urgent enough for credible and effort or deeply sourced enough to bring
it to the highest levels of the law enforcement agencies. But nevertheless,
that warning went on heated on January 6, which created a lot of problems
that we saw play out that day at the Capitol. And if we saw also earlier
this week, the hearing of Merrick Garland, his confirmation hearing to be
the Attorney General, he made clear that this was going to be his top
priority and developing policies to combat domestic terrorism that is
rising in this country is an urgent concern for this new Justice
WILLIAMS: Alexi, I`d like to trouble you for a status report on the dynamic
and relationship between the two parties in the two houses. Yes, it`s tight
in the House of Representatives. But think about the Senate, razor thin
50/50 you need the V.P. to break the tie. And it`s also a chamber where
senators are sitting at desks that were ransacked on 1/6?
ALEXI MCCAMMOND, AXIOS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah, I mean, it`s
deeply personal for a lot of these folks whose, you know, workplace was
attacked on January 6, but we`re seeing how this is falling prey to those
partisan divisions that we`ve seen really plagued the Trump era and are
continuing now in the early days and months of the Biden administration. We
see that in the way the Republicans in the House and the Senate. Some
continue to characterize and mischaracterize to your point the events as
they took place in January 6. We see that reflected in Republican state
lawmakers across the country who are continuing to push this, you know,
conspiracy theory that the election was stolen that was rigged that, you
know, this is all a hoax, that it`s not a big deal. So we see this
trumpism, the style of politics continue not just in the House and the
Senate, and here in D.C. but we see it continuing across the country to
really showing you what the Republican Party is still about.
And, you know, we question as Phil just rightly did why certain folks
didn`t take those threat warning seriously, as it was projected to them for
January 6. But the question also remains why folks didn`t take seriously
former President Trump`s words. I mean, he broadcasted weeks in advance of
the January 6 event that it was going to be wild, as he put it, inviting
people to come to D.C. for a demonstration. He put this out in the open and
people just didn`t take it seriously or didn`t think that he was, you know,
being serious when he was putting out those tweets when he still could.
And, you know, it`s just a reminder that a President`s words really matter.
WILLIAMS: Eugene, you`ve done nothing to deserve this, but here now, a
sampler from Fox News Tonight. We`ll discuss on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY, (D) MISSOURI: We`ve seen these law enforcement agencies
go way over and above to those who say we need a new domestic war on terror
that will give even more unaccountable power to these law enforcement
agencies without any kind of oversight. But that is a scary prospect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s an insult to every American to be told that
their politicians are so important that they`re going to hide behind a
wall. I`m very worried by the steady drift towards an authoritarian and at
times totalitarian government. And you see it at the state level. You see
it in some of the big cities. And now you see it on your own National
Capitol. I think this is profoundly wrong. And that that wall should come
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So another way of looking at those two gentlemen, it`s another
good day for the oath keepers and the Proud Boys. Eugene, I don`t want to
go Colombo on you here. But help me get this right. The Republicans are now
worried about overreach by law enforcement, what`s the chance they`re going
to start saying Black Lives Matter?
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Actually, no chance, Brian,
absolutely no chance that that`s going to happen, I can go on record there.
Look, nobody likes the big chain link fencing that`s around so much of the
Capitol Complex right now with concertina wire at the at the top. I mean,
it is it is hideous, it seems wrong, yet as a sort of interim step to
figure out what needs to be done next. I`m not sure there`s much of a
choice. I hope it comes down soon. But I also hope that it is replaced by
reasonable and timely security measures, which clearly were not in place. I
mean, it`s not as if none of these officials could have possibly imagined
that a crowd stormed the Capitol. It had happened in Lansing, Michigan,
earlier in the year, and you know, last year, and it happened in the
So you would think that they would have looked at that event and said, gee,
we have a great big capital to protect. Maybe on January 6, when there`s
going to be this big event and this big, angry crowd. We should be prepared
and there should have been at a much bigger contingent of not just Capitol
Police but Metropolitan Police and National Guard that could have repelled
or at best deterred the mob before it got to the point that it did. And we
had to tread.
WILLIAMS: Phil, let`s talk about the business of this still new presidency.
Joe Biden knows the Senate better than any modern era president since LBJ.
He is a realist about the Senate, also a romantic about the Senate. But
talk to me about the relationship between keeping going, pushing these
nominees who are in trouble and what he needs to happen for his 1.9
trillion relief package?
RUCKER: Well, Brian, he clearly wants to try to get these final nominations
through that 50/50 Senate and look, the first batch of nominees sailed
through the Senate very easily without a lot of hiccups, but you`re seeing
real genuine obstacles here. Not only the Neera Tanden, but to Xavier
Becerra, the nominee for Health Secretary as well as to the Interior
Secretary nominee. And it`s going to be difficult to get these through
because Republicans are finding -- are finding ways to object to these
nominees in different ways. And there`s a wild card here and that`s Joe
Manchin, the democratic senator from West Virginia.
He came out a couple of days ago and said he would be voting no on the
Tanden nomination and that almost sealed the deal for her because that now
means that the Biden administration will need to get at least one
Republican senator, to vote for her to give her a chance of winning
confirmation. And so far no Republican senator has come forward to say they
would do so.
There`s already talk within Biden circle and here in Washington about who
Biden may nominate, should they have to pull the near Tanden nomination
down. And so it`s a very tricky political game. But the Biden White House
is having to play in the Senate. And they`re looking ahead to that COVID
relief bill. They`re also looking down the road to other elements of his
agenda, including an infrastructure plan, climate change. We could go on
and on with all the policies he wants done. And he`s not going to be able
to get things through unless he has more cooperation and the Senate.
WILLIAMS: Alexi, until Vilsack got through 92 to 7, not as unanimous but
pretty damn unanimous, as they say in the Senate. Let`s talk about these
three outliers, Becerra, Haaland, Tanden. Do you see any through line to
the resistance by the Republicans to these nominees?
MCCAMMOND: Well, we`ve heard the argument be made from some that
Republicans it seems are going after the women of color, the folks of color
who are nominated for these cabinet positions now that`s certainly not the
argument that Republicans are making right on so called identity politics,
as they would put it. They`re saying that these folks don`t have enough
experience or experience. They argue that is up to snuff for what they
would like to see in cabinet nominees for some of course, both Neera Tanden
and Congresswoman Deb Haaland.
We`ve seen republicans pull up their old tweets, Brian, as ways to sort of
get at this partisan politics that we saw plague again, the Trump era that
Republicans want to try to flip the script and use now on Democrats
including today we saw Senator Barrasso say to that, you know, Deb Haaland,
oh, you tweeted in October 2020, that Republicans don`t believe in science.
Do you believe that`s true of me, someone who has a medical background? And
so you`re really seeing those partisan politics come out to play and we`re
seeing that as a through line. But, you know, it`s of course not lost on
folks that these are all people of color. And that`s part of the argument
on their allies, parts on Democrats part, on the Biden folks part that
they`re really highlighting these folks BIOS (ph), their experience, the
historic nature of their nominations, and that`s just something that
Republicans are interested in talking about or considering.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, Deb Haaland, just to choose one 30 fifth generation New
Mexican, the most American member of the House of Representatives, as a
Native American, we have ever had in our nation`s history. Beat 35
generations in this country.
Eugene, final question to you, it was an emotional scene last night, caught
a lot of people off guard. The candle lighting ceremony, the Biden`s, the
Harris` on the back of the South Portico, is this going with the -- this
horrible, horrible death of over 500,000 souls? Is this going to be the
closest thing perhaps we have seen, to a single issue presidency since the
presidency `43 was handed after 9/11?
ROBINSON: I think for the foreseeable future, it essentially is a one issue
presidency. It`s COVID, COVID, COVID. You know, the COVID relief bill is
the number one priority for the Biden administration, the program to get
vaccines out to upgrade the scientific work that`s being done on genomic
sequencing of the various strains to know what we`re dealing with, more
testing, opening the schools, this is going to occupy the next months,
certainly, and maybe the first year of the Biden administration.
And I think it`s going to not just set the tone but tell the story of the
potentially of this administration. They know they have to get this right.
And they have to move quickly and decisively. And that`s what they`re
trying to do. The question is, will Democrats stick together on COVID
relief? So far they are and it looks like they will. And I think he`ll
probably get something pretty close to where he wants the 1.9 trillion,
maybe not quite that much but looks like he`ll get most of that through.
We`re doing fairly well on vaccines, but not well enough. You know, this is
going to be the story of the Biden administration, much as 9/11 was the
story of the George W. Bush administration.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, I reckon you`re right, clarity for you amid the confusion
tonight from our big three Alexi McCammond, Phil Rucker, Eugene Robinson,
great thanks for being along with us.
And as we thank our guests before we head to a break, a quick update now on
the other big headline you`ve no doubt seen today. Tiger Woods remains in
the hospital tonight after a violent one car crash outside LA this morning.
He was on route to a golf course for a Golf Digest event. He was
immediately sent into surgery for multiple leg injuries. That includes a
"shattered ankle and two leg fractures." That`s late news tonight according
to the LA Times.
LA County Sheriff`s Office says Woods struck a center median took out two
signs crossed into the oncoming lane. His SUV then rolled finally stopped
several 100 feet away. Despite all the damage his injuries have been deemed
non life threatening. Sheriff`s deputy who was the first on the scene was
among the members of law enforcement who spoke to reporters earlier
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEPUTY CARLOS GONZALEZ, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: When I
arrived on scene, Mr. Woods was seated in the driver`s seat. I asked him
what his name was. He told me his name was Tiger and that moment I
immediately recognized him. The interior passenger compartment of the
vehicle was in tacked, the airbags didn`t deploy successfully. Again, he
was wearing his seatbelt. I think this also kind of speaks to the marvel of
modern automobiles and that they`re much safer than they`ve ever been
WILLIAMS: Indeed, we will have a late update on Tiger Woods condition later
in this hour.
Also coming up for us tonight, the race to beat the variants, can America
get enough people vaccinated with enough time to stop a dreaded fourth wave
of this virus? Our next guest has a controversial strategy to get it done.
And later, is the GOP cool with becoming the party of the big lie more than
it already is? Our veteran Political watchers have the inside story for us,
as THE 11TH HOUR is just getting underway on this Tuesday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. RICHARD NETTLES, JOHNSON & JOHNSON JANSSEN MEDICAL AFFAIRS: We will
have 20 million doses of the vaccine to be made available by the end of
March and we`re prepared to ship immediately upon emergency use
authorization, nearly 4 million doses of our vaccine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Approval of a third COVID vaccine could be just days away and FDA
committee meets virtually this Friday. To consider this term, we`ve all
learned emergency use authorization of the Johnson & Johnson version. And
Pfizer and Moderna are now promising to double their vaccine shipments by
spring, which we`ve been assured is coming. But one Health Organization
tonight is warning that may not be enough to stop a potentially devastating
surge of these variants.
Back with us again, tonight, we`re so happy to have Michael Osterholm. He
is a professor, the director of the aforementioned group, the Center for
Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota. He`s also
a Former Member of the President`s COVID-19 Advisory Board.
Michael, tell us your thinking on these variants. All due respect to
Johnson & Johnson 24 million doses, even though it`s one shot is not a lot,
it`s not the volume of these other two, I understand they have to make this
stuff on spec prior to approval, and it`s a big business for them. But tell
us your thinking on the variants as we`re in this foot race to get people
DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, MEMBER OF BIDEN CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: Well, for
the audience, just to remind them that variants are mutated forms of this
virus and variants have been occurring since the beginning of the pandemic.
But more recently, we`ve had what we call variants of concern of one is the
type of variant that actually increases the transmissibility, or the
infectious of the virus. The second bucket of concern is ones that actually
provide for more serious illness. And the third one is that it actually
avoids the immune protection of either a vaccine or natural infection.
The variant that`s really front and center right now that we`re most
worried about is what we call B117 or the UK variant, which is now
circulating throughout the United States at a lower level, but rapidly
increasing. If this variant were to take off, as has been seen in England,
Denmark, Ireland, Israel, et cetera. We could be in for a major surge of
cases, in the next five to 14 weeks, are races how to get vaccine into
those who are most vulnerable.
To date, we know that over 80% of the deaths occur in people 65 years of
age and older. And at the rate we`re going right now, there will still be
30 million Americans 65 years of age or older who will not have had any
vaccine by the end of March.
WILLIAMS: What`s the solution as you see it?
OSTERHOLM: Well, a group of us it`s not just our center, but a group of
what I would call academic scholars and experts in this area, have proposed
that number one, the data becoming increasingly clear that a single dose of
the mRNA vaccines, the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccines actually provide
quite good protection. And while we want everyone to get a second dose
eventually, right now, we could really stretch our vaccine supply
substantially if we gave a single dose going forward, and then move the
second dose to what might likely be the time period after this surge.
The other thing we could do is just direct more of the vaccine to 65 years
of age and older. Right now only a third of it is going there. The other
thing we can do is for people who have previously had COVID, we now know
that one dose of vaccine together with your previous infection gives very
good protection. We don`t need to go to doses there.
And finally, there has been studies showing that the Moderna vaccine is
actually in a sense overpowered. We can cut the dose in half and still have
very good results. If we could do some or all of these different
approaches, and do them quickly. Because this variant is breathing down our
throats, we could potentially save many 1000s of lives. And I think now
it`s fair to say that the data are there. We`ve heard over and over again
from people, particularly in our government say, well, we`ve got to stick
with the science. There`s no new data. That`s simply not true. It`s been
evident in the last two to three weeks, the number of papers that have been
published looking at one dose issues around this vaccine, now`s the time
for us to consider seriously these different options.
WILLIAMS: Fascinating stuff to hear. I want to play something for you from
Fox News this Morning that people are thinking about because they`re trying
to figure out how to live their lives in the post vaccine world. I`ll ask
your opinion on it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My parents are 80 years old, they got vaccinated. Can
they go see their grandkids? You know, the answer is yes. You know why?
Because you just explained to them the vaccines 94% effective, the chances
of a kid getting in and being falling ill are infinitesimal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILIAMS: Michael, is he right or wrong?
OSTERHOLM: I think he`s right. We have to learn to live with this virus in
a way that we haven`t to date. Imagine an entire country vaccinated and
still telling people that they have to isolate, they have to quarantine,
they have to continue to wear their mask and it`s not going to happen.
Grant you that it doesn`t mean that everybody`s vaccinated going to be
perfectly protected. But we have to move on. We`re not there yet. But I
think over the course of the upcoming months as vaccine increases in our
communities, we need to try to get back to that new normal.
My concern right now is front and center with this new variant. But I think
overall in the long term Yes, that`s the right answer.
WILLIAMS: Just fascinating stuff tonight comes with our thanks for taking
our questions and always finding a few minutes to discuss this with us.
Michael Osterholm from the Twin Cities tonight. Our thanks.
OSTERHOLM: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: Coming up for us the identity crisis, now facing members of the
Republican Party as the former guy tries to tighten his grip on the GOP.
And now a friend of his says he wants to be involved in policy of all
things, all evidence to the contrary.
WILLIAMS: So Trump is scheduled to speak at this CPAC Conference on Sunday
while Americans go about living their lives. Politico reports Trump is
expected to attend the RNC upcoming spring donor retreat in April quote,
the RNC is donor retreats are a prime stop for future presidential
candidates who use the event to establish relationships with, wait for it,
Back with us tonight A.B. Stoddard, veteran Washington journalist and
associate editor and columnist over Real Clear Politics and Matthew Dowd.
He is the founder of Country over Party. We should point out he is a Texan
who has a new appreciation for a hot shower since the cold and dark outage
of late and in the past Matthew was chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney
presidential effort back in 04.
Welcome to you both.
AB you write with your usual candor and clarity, quote, just six weeks
after a deadly insurrection against the U.S. government. Republicans are
past their horror and hopping eagerly back on the Trump train. The new 2021
ticket price they must buy into his big lie. That brings us to the question
A.B. if Trump is the banner under which they all must run, under which they
all must try to raise money. He lost how can that be a winning strategy?
A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND COLUMNIST: Whatever
he says goes so you saw that nothing made it more clear than the House GOP
whip. Steve Scalise going on TV this Sunday after his visit at Mar-a-Lago
where apparently they just talked about their families, and how chill and
relaxed the President has been in his post presidency period at his resort.
And he just could not bring himself to say that this was a free and fair
election. He said yes, legitimately Biden won when he was pressed by
Jonathan Karl of ABC News, because the electors said that on December 14th,
but basically he said a lot of things swing states just didn`t follow their
own state laws. And a lot of people are very concerned.
So what you do is instead of spreading the big lie, you never defy Trump,
you never disavow it. And you never just spell it you sit and you never
discuss how pernicious and dangerous it is, as Liz Cheney and Adam
Kinzinger and others have. You just sort of try to circle around it,
because, quote, your constituents buy into it. And that`s what`s going to
keep you in Trump`s orbit if you want to keep your job in 2022.
WILLIAMS: Matt, voters have a funny way of kind of market testing ideas on
their own, and figuring out what works and what`s going to fly. How is this
going to fly, especially in Republican, tightly contested suburban races
two years from now?
MATTHEW DOWD, FMR. CHIEF STRATEGIST TO BUSH-CHENEY CAMPAIGN: Well, I think
it does well in Republican primaries. So I think that`s the issue. And
that`s the real problem for the Republicans right now. They know that
Donald Trump tests at 80-85 percent popularity among the voters that will
participate in Republican primaries, even in Republican primaries in purple
states or in, you know, suburban districts that are swing districts.
The problem is, every time they venture into capturing that Republican
primary vote, it more and more offends the people in the general election.
So it`s OK in a red state or a deep red district to do that. But when you
start to try to win in suburban areas around Houston, suburban areas around
Dallas, suburban areas in Michigan, suburban areas in California, it
becomes exceedingly problematic.
And I think that`s the problem they`re in, though, it doesn`t seem like
they`re in any way trying to confront that general election problem, that
they just keep pushing that off, and it`s somehow they think is going to
solve itself. It`s almost as if they`re going through this primary they did
in 2015 and 2016, where they thought that Donald Trump problem would solve
itself or he would peter out, or nobody would deal with it, and then or
somebody else would handle it, and they didn`t have to. And then what they
ended up having is Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, and then Donald
Trump, the republican president, and now Donald Trump, the republican ex
president, so I do think it`s his party.
I don`t think there`s any question anymore that it`s Donald the GOP party
is now the Trump party. And everything that Donald Trump does from tone to
what he cares about to the conspiracies he pushes is the Republican Party.
The GOP looks like they`ve accepted that. CPAC has definitely accepted that
in what they`re doing and the people they have featuring. And so that`s the
difficulty it works in a Republican primary. It`s incredibly toxic. Now in
a general election.
WILLIAMS: Well, I`d like to be a fly on the wall at the McConnell household
these days. Both of our guests have agreed to stay with us. We`re going to
slip in a commercial break. Why the nomination of one of Biden`s Cabinet
picks is hanging by a thread tonight that is among the topics we`ll take on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): My friendly advice to President Biden is to
withdraw your attendance nomination and select someone who at the very
least, has not promoted wild conspiracy theories and openly bash people on
both sides of the aisle that she happens to agree with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: It`s hard to get through that with a straight face but he managed
that`s the senior senator from Texas, former judge who for years let`s not
forget enabled exactly that behavior by the former president in his own
Democrats need one Republican two crossover to support Tanden`s OMB
nomination after the democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced his
opposition. The odds appear to be shrinking. Sources are telling NBC News
Tonight Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told his conference during a
Tuesday lunch meeting that he wants them to stick together and oppose
Back with us A.B. Stoddard, Matthew Dowd. Matt, I`m going to start this
segment with you, as Alexi McCammond pointed out quoting the Democrats, the
optics here are horrendous. We`re talking about three nominees facing stiff
headwinds. All three are people of color.
DOWD: Yes, and it`s this the level of hypocrisy and ridiculousness is
especially listening to Senator Cornyn who`s the Senator from here, one of
the senators from here that we have a quite a pair with Ted Cruz and the
Cancun saga and now John Cornyn talking about you know, it`s an amazing
level of, of just a hypocrisy. It would be like the Houston Astros
lecturing the Los Angeles Dodgers about not stealing signs.
I mean, that would be the equivalent here and the -- I`m going to be a full
disclaimer, Neera is a friend of mine, Neera has been a friend of mine for
15 years. I have a great deal of respect for Neera in her capacity, her
qualifications. I am sure today she`s wishing that she had been more
circumspect in this but the idea that after we had Donald Trump as
And many of the senators including democratic senator Joe Manchin, voted
for Rick Grinnell, who has had the most toxic communications ever before he
was approved by the United States Senate, and Brett Kavanaugh, and we watch
that unfold in the Senate.
And so, I just think this call now by a series of people that, I mean Neera
Tanden is would probably be a jaywalker compared to Grand Theft Auto
tweeting that we`ve seen over the last five years. So it`s unfortunate for
Neera, she`s caught up in this but I think it just so underlines the level
of hypocrisy that exists in Washington DC today.
WILLIAMS: Well put, and A.B., whether you want to or not. We`re going to
talk about Ron Johnson, the rare conspiracy theorist who is a regular on
Meet the Press, the paper back home is accusing him of white washing 1/6
and here is why from today`s hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Very few didn`t share the jovial, friendly,
earnest demeanor the great majority, some obviously didn`t fit in and he
describes four different types of people, plainclothes militants, agents
provocateurs, fake Trump protesters, and then discipline uniform column of
attackers. I think these are the people that probably plan this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: As I always say, we paid extra to have those translated from the
original Russian. So A.B. here`s the deal. You`ve got comments like that,
that are tinged with nothing to see here. No big deal. You have the
indignity of Hawley who was asked by a reporter if he was a co-insider
today, you have the casual indifference of Cancun Cruz, and then you have
this. This has got to be factored in when we talk about the Republican
Party, A. B.
STODDARD: Brian, I think of Hawley and Cruz, I don`t think they can hold a
candle today to Ron Johnson, whose new nickname we have to credit our
friend Charlie Sykes is Ron Anon, because he is so intentionally heading
straight into a tunnel of delusional conspiracy lies that he knows or not
true in order to fend off primary challenges next year in Wisconsin when
he`s up again.
He is a smart man he knows better, like John Cornyn quote about Neera
Tanden, he has decided to move on from hypocrisy. He knows that voters
don`t care. And it really is all about sort of fighting the Democrats and
fighting reality and putting up a big stink, that is what gets you credit
and gets you small donor clicks and gets you eventually I believe the Trump
endorsement and Wisconsin next year. So he is -- he shame and hypocrisy and
all those feelings left a long time ago.
The idea that he was trying to pose this as paint this, as some kind of
church picnic, where everyone was having a wonderful time. The day we
learned a retired New York police officer was involved in the beating with
an U.S. Marine flag flying on a flagpole of a D.C. Metro cop in the
insurrection is almost beyond belief. You would laugh if it wasn`t so
But Ron Johnson will -- we can expect more of this. He has cut a path. He
doesn`t believe that there was enough weaponry there that day. He thinks
everyone was having a wonderful time, and that Trump supporters are so pro
cop. There is just no way they would have violated any laws and beaten
other cops in pursuit of getting inside to mess with the certification of
the Electoral College.
WILLIAMS: Some of them beaten with blue Lives Matter flags. Terrific.
Thanks to our guests which the subject matter was happier. A.B. Stoddard
Matthew Dowd, thank you both.
Coming up for us, the damage as we were discussing about Matt Dowd`s Texas,
the damage that Texans are living with, after the storm after the
catastrophic power failure. Five board members from the company charged
with the state`s failed power grid have announced their resignations. We
have an update on the Texas disaster when we come right back.
WILLIAMS: Powers back on largely but the nightmare remains in Texas
investigations underway into what caused the power grid failure the left
much of the state of 30 million people in the dark, no heat, no water,
freezing temperatures. By now most of the board members of that utility
have resigned but that`s likely little consolation for those whose loved
ones are still coping with the aftermath. NBC News correspondent Morgan
Chesky has our report from Texas tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MORGAN CHESKY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight in Texas
struggling families still in need of food, water and shelter.
CATHY SAUL, TEXAS RESIDENT: (INAUDIBLE) damaged in here.
CHESKY: Cathy Saul`s thankful she`s OK. Last week water from a burst pipe
caved in her ceiling. Her home already dark from losing power.
(on camera): The inside of your house is filling up with water outside it`s
10 degrees. What are you thinking?
SAUL: I`m thinking I`m going to do now. Freezing. Cold. I`m really do.
CHESKY (voice-over): In Houston Monica Were (ph) tapped out savings to put
her family of six in a hotel, water damage making her home unlivable.
MONICA WERE (ph), TEXAS RESIDENT: I opened the door and walked in. And I
stepped into puddles of water.
CHESKY: The widespread damage raising new details about the Texas power
grid. NBC News is alert in late 2020 the Texas Public Utility Commission
governor appointed ended its relationship with Texas reliability entity, a
nonprofit making sure energy companies follow state guidelines including
REP. RAFAEL ANCHIA (D-TX): When you fire the entity that`s supposed to
ensure reliability in the system with no backup plan. That was a failure of
oversight as well.
CHESKY: In Dallas vaccination sites now back open, prioritizing thousands
who missed their shot due to weather.
(on camera): And tonight we`ve learned that four board members of ERCOT,
the agency that manages the state power grid have resigned each of them
lived out of state. Texas Governor Greg Abbott says he welcomes the
resignations and plans to further investigate.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WILLIAMS: Our thanks to correspondent Morgan Chesky for that report from
his home state of Texas. Coming up for us an update on the condition what
is known tonight about Tiger Woods.
WILLIAMS: As promised the last thing before we go tonight is an update on
Tiger Woods. He remains in the hospital tonight after undergoing surgery
for multiple leg injuries broken bones, A shattered ankle. Initial reports
that rescuers had to use the jaws of life to extricate him from the car
turned out to be untrue. They simply used hand tools to remove the
windshield and pull them out that way.
While his injuries were on the severe side, he was lucky to be wearing a
seatbelt. Lucky to be driving a new car happens to be a small SUV made by
Genesis the luxury brand of Hyundai Motors.
The impact was so great however uprooting trees before it came to arrest,
that just about everything forward of the windshield became a crumple zone
or was sheared off. It`s also fortunate he was only eight miles from a
He was apparently on route for a golf outing with NFL stars Drew Brees and
Justin Herbert. He was coming off his fifth back surgery, like his golf
outing yesterday with Dwayne Wade and David Spade it was likely mostly
pointers he was handing out and taking no swings himself.
Single-car crashes have a finite number of causes. Distracted driving is a
big one these days but that`s usually provable by cross checking the
onboard computer in the car with the timestamps on the driver`s cell phone.
There`s driver impairment and obstruction or a hazard like an animal or a
pedestrian, mechanical failure, of course or another vehicle that we may
not know about yet.
Like other Pinnacle athletes with names like LeBron or Serena or Tom Brady,
there is intense public interest in Tiger Woods that way surpasses his
sport. As a veteran sports reporter set on this network this afternoon, at
that level of play every day, the minute Tiger Woods wakes up people want
things from him, a smile, a handshake, a autograph, a picture that will
never go away.
And starting tonight a new wave of public interest now begins. It will be
about the recovery of Tiger Woods. We will all watch. We`ll all be members
of the gallery for this one. All of us having learned never bet against
Tiger Woods we join his family and friends in wishing for a strong
That`s our broadcast for a Tuesday night with our thanks for being here
with us. On behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good
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