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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 3/2/2021

Guest: Kavita Patel, Frank Figliuzzi, David Plouffe, Jesse McKinley


CDC will release guidance for those fully vaccinated some time this week. States lift restrictions despite CDC warning. Public health experts criticize Texas and Mississippi for lifting all COVID restrictions. White House pulls Neera Tanden nomination. FBI Director testifies on Capitol riot intel and extremism. Wray defends handing of intel before Capitol riot. Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing multiple sexual harassment allegations, but is denying any inappropriate behavior and ordered an independent inquiry into the allegations.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Very good point. I`m glad you got that in there. Eugene Robinson, Dr. Rob Davidson, thank you both for joining us tonight.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD. And I want to join Rachel in saying thank you for making MSNBC the most watched network in all have cable TV, and the most watched 11pm. cable news show. THE 11TH HOUR with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening, once again. Day 42 of the Biden administration, it brought the announcement of a big advance having to do with the largest and most urgent issue facing this president and our country. Earlier tonight, the President announced that vaccines would be available for all Americans even earlier than he had first promised something that could save countless American lives.


JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: We`re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May. The prior administration had contracted for not nearly enough vaccine to cover adults in America. We rectified that. About three weeks ago, we`re able to say that we`ll have enough vaccine supply for adults by the end of July. This country will have enough vaccine supply, I`ll say it again, for every adult in America by the end of May.


WILLIAMS: This comes as the new Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine is now being administered, shots in arms. President announced something unprecedented. J&J is going to work with Merck combining these two giants in the business to expand the production of the J&J one and done single shot vaccine.

President has indeed invoked the Defense Production Act to help with this. And announced that J&J facilities will now begin to operate 24/7, non-stop. President also said the increased rollout of three vaccines means reopening schools is an achievable goal and that teachers should be considered essential workers.


BIDEN: We want every educator, school staff member, childcare worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March starting next week and for a month, the month of March. We`ll be using our federal pharmacy program to prioritize the vaccination of pre-K through 12 educators and staff and childcare workers. Throughout March, they will be able to sign up for an appointment at a pharmacy near them.


WILLIAMS: Biden added that he doesn`t want to be held to it but he hopes by this time next year things will be back to normal in our country. His COVID relief bill is about to go through its next big test. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer gearing up to bring Biden`s nearly $2 trillion proposal to the floor for a first vote tomorrow. He`s aiming for passage by the end of the week.

NBC News has learned that later this week the CDC is going to release new guidelines saying people who have been fully vaccinated can gather in small groups indoors without wearing masks.

Now meantime, some states have already started to roll back their own COVID restrictions. Texas for starters will end its statewide mask mandate next week. And let all the businesses operate at full capacity. Mississippi ends its statewide mask mandate tomorrow. Texas Governor Greg Abbott today explain the mandates are no longer needed.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT, (R) TEXAS: It is now time to open Texas 100%. Everybody who wants to work should have that opportunity. Every business that wants to be open should be open. Texans have mastered the daily habits to avoid getting COVID. We now have the vaccines, vaccines to protect Texans from COVID.


WILLIAMS: CDC says just under 7% of all Texans have been vaccinated. Just yesterday, the head of the agency warned about the risks of removing mandates too early.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people. Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of COVID-19.


WILLIAMS: This all comes as the decline in U.S. cases has hit something of a plateau. And there are new concerns about another surge driven by these incoming variants.

On the political front the by the administration is regrouping tonight after its first nomination setback. The White House has dropped his nomination of near attendant to have the Office of Management and Budget. Senators in both parties have opposed confirming her largely because of her mean tweets in the past. Tonight Biden signaled there will be a place for her in the administration just not a job that hinges on Senate confirmation.

Amid all of this as the ongoing investigation into the January 6 riots and looting of our Capitol Building, it has now moved on to what the FBI knew about the attack and when they knew it. The FBI Director Chris Wray, a Trump appointee went before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions about their handling of intelligence, including a report from one FBI field office a day before the riot, which warned of specific appeals for violence, including a call for war.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: The information was raw, it was unverified. In a perfect world, we would have taken longer to be able to figure out whether it was reliable. I didn`t see the report myself even until after the sixth. But the way in which it handled at least as I understand it strikes me as consistent with our normal process that raw unverified information was passed within I think 40 minutes to an hour to our partners, including the Capitol Police, including Metro P.D. and not one not two, but three different ways, one email one verbal, and one through the law enforcement portal as to why the information didn`t flow to all the people within the various departments that they would prefer. I don`t have a good answer for that.


WILLIAMS: Now, the FBI director was blunt about the nature of the attack and one about debunking dangerous falsehoods about who carried it out.


WRAY: That siege was criminal behavior, plain and simple in its behavior that we, the FBI, view as domestic terrorism. We`ve already identified individuals involved in the criminal behavior who we would put in the racially motivated violent extremists who advocate for what you would call for white supremacy. The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it`s not going away anytime soon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based on your investigation so far, do you have any evidence that the Capitol attack was organized by "fake" Trump protesters?

WRAY: We have not seen evidence of that at this stage certainly.

We have not to date seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to Antifa in connection with the six.


WILLIAMS: Bracing to hear the FBI Director use the phrase domestic terrorism. With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Tuesday night, Philip Rucker, Senior Washington Correspondent for The Washington Post, Dr. Kavita Patel, Clinical Physician, Former Senior Policy Aide during the Obama administration, now a non Resident Fellow at Brookings and Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for counterintelligence.

Good evening and welcome to you all. Dr. Patel, I`d like to begin with you about how demoralizing it might be to you and to those in public health. On this day when we learned such good news such advancement in the area of vaccines, enough for every American adult by the end of May, at the same time as our mutual friend, Eugene Robinson just said in the waning seconds of Lawrence`s broadcast, the State of Texas opens everything back up no mask, no problem. The problem with that is what happens in Texas doesn`t stay in Texas nor to its residents?

DR. KAVITA PATEL, FORMER AIDE TO VALERIE JARRETT IN THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: Yeah, absolutely, Brian, and you couldn`t have said it better that it`s just such a slap in the face to be told by the President. That`s great news that will literally doubling capacity so that we can get more vaccines sooner to Americans. CDC coming out with that ever desired guidance on what we can do when were vaccinated, Brian, to have some semblance of normal relationships and social interaction. And then to have, you know, Governor Abbott, Governor Reeves and countless other governors, by the way, Brian, who take pride in saying there are no mask mandates, you don`t have to wear them. These are individual liberties. We need to reopen the economy. And they`re pitting Public Health and Science against reopening the economy. It`s not either or it`s disturbing that this continues to be the trend and it is going to result in more people having getting COVID in Texas. Outside Texas, more people will get COVID or people will be hospitalized and die as a result of it.

WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, turning to politics. It`s beyond belief for a lot of people given the daily scorching we all read from the former president`s Twitter account that a cabinet nominee is rejected because of mean tweets in her past. This is how your paper puts it tonight about the withdrawal of the Tanden nomination. Senior Democrats have increasingly talked up Shalanda Young who had initially been chosen as Tanden`s Deputy at OMB. Just hours before the White House poll Tanden`s nomination, young appeared before the Senate Budget Committee where she won praise from Democrats and Republicans. GOP senators made it clear they would prefer her for the top OMB job.

Phil, what are the politics here? Was this really real politic by the new president? Who knows what he really needs from the U.S. Senate starting tomorrow?

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: Well, look, President Biden is focused on that COVID relief plan that he needs from the U.S. Senate. He hopes to get Neera Tanden through and as the nominee for the OMB and Ron Klain, the Chief of Staff at the White House was working hard to try to muscle those senators to go along with the votes just weren`t there. This is a 50/50 divided Senate and when Joe Manchin, the Democrat from West Virginia and asked a couple of weeks ago that he would be a dough for Neera Tanden, that meant she would need to win support from at least one Republican senator. There was thought earlier this week that Lisa Murkowski from Alaska could be that one Republican, but it was not in the cards. And once it became clear for Tanden that she didn`t have a path to win confirmation she announced tonight she was withdrawing her nomination, she will probably land in the administration elsewhere and an appointed job to, you know, President Biden indicated as such in his statement, but nonetheless, it`s a real political blow.

And there`s a real hypocrisy here, Brian, remember not only did Republican senators stand by President Trump day after day after day when he was issuing new tweets of his own. But they also voted to confirm Richard Grenell to be the U.S. ambassador to Germany. He later became the Acting Director of National Intelligence and he has a Twitter profile on par with Tanden`s if not more hyperbolic in the attacks that he makes on various political officials and journalists as well.

WILLIAMS: Frank Figliuzzi, you watch today`s hearing, knowing that some members of that committee prefer to work by gaslight, how would you sum up the job the FBI Director did in light of that?

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: I think Chris Wray spoke truth today. And he spoke truth to some people in the room who continue to perpetrate lies. And here`s what we learned today, as you said, this is being labeled an act of domestic terrorism. That`s an extremely important. Why? Because it goes toward what we label, how we label the people, who pulled off this violence. They are not American. They are not patriots. They didn`t do an American thing of patriotic thing. They did a terrorism thing. So we label those people who pulled off the violence as domestic terrorists.

And importantly, the people who incited encourage, cultivated what led to that violence, some of those people, very senators in the room now have to be looked at as radicalizers. So that label is more than just semantics. It`s more than just a label. It`s an important message that begins a de radicalization process by depriving people of this notion that they were part of some greater good for society. So there`s that we learned that it`s false, that there was widespread voter fraud. So that big lie, we continue to cut away at that and erode that and expose it to sunshine. We understand that white hate, white supremacists are now what Chris Wray describes is lethal in terms of their violence. And that they were present at the Capitol insurrection. Again, this tells people this is not an American thing. We now have to see white supremacy as a threat to our democracy. That`s an important message.

WILLIAMS: Dr. Patel back to your bailiwick, and let`s go one deeper on these governors. One photo that`s making the rounds for good reason tonight on social media reminds us of a former president who declared the mission accomplished. It wasn`t then it`s not now. We`ve got men and women serving their forward deployed on the ground right now tonight. Governor Cuomo of New York writes a book about the fight against coronavirus, while New Yorkers are still dying. The governors of Texas and Mississippi are loosening these restrictions while the variants are still sneaking into our country. I`m tempted to say it`s a uniquely American thing to do. I`m also tempted to say if you really want your game highlight to make ESPN spike the ball before you reach the end zone?

PATEL: And that will guarantee a highlight a meme and probably to go viral on social media. But you`re -- This is, look, let me just go back to the facts. Houston, large city in Texas was the first United States city to demonstrate evidence of all five of the concerning variants and we know that they`re much more widespread. Top 20 counties in the country that have the highest cases of COVID, 11 of 20 are in the state of Texas. So Texas does like to say, go big or go home. But this is one case of going big, that is the wrong direction.

And it`s, Brian, what`s frustrating is we`re so close, we`re so close. We`re not just in the end zone, we`re about to make that. We`re really about to like, make any analogy, touchdown field goal, you know, put the ball in the net. And yet what we`re sending in as a signal is that you can just kind of do what you want. And then finally, the healthcare providers really were reeling from truly reeling from this. I can`t even tell you, from EMS drivers to the nurses and doctors on the frontlines. They`re stunned at just the cognitive dissonance in the message that says, Jackson, Mississippi still doesn`t have water. Imagine kind of this environment in the United States in 2021. That`s where we`re at.

WILLIAMS: Indeed, it is. Phil Rucker, over to the politics of this, Director Wray managed to say what he managed to say, today, including that phrase domestic terrorism in front of some senators who were insurrection triggers, if not just insurrection curious, let`s talk about this 1/6 commission and the question with the gaslighting already going on right wing media and in the Senate and House chambers. Is that just going to devolve into politics? Will we ever really know? Will we get a report on our desks and be able to read what happened on 1/6 and who was behind it?

RUCKER: Well, Brian, I think all of us as Americans, sure hope that there will eventually be a statement of fact, as you`re referring to, that will lay out exactly what happened. That is a day that will live in infamy in the history of this country, and the public deserves a full accounting of what took place, but the politics are very much in this sphere here. You know, one thing that was so interesting about Wray`s testimony today, is he debunks some of the theories that are circulating out there that are false. And they`re not only being spread on, you know, by right wing trolls on Twitter, but they`re being spread by United States senators, conspiracies like that the people who, who led the riots at the Capitol were Antifa, or were some sort of paid protesters. That`s, of course, not true. And Wray made clear that the FBI has no evidence to suggest it is true. But the fact that there are elected leaders in this country, you know, willing and eager to perpetuate these theories, tells you all you need to know about the pursuit of truth and fact sort of a common narrative for all Americans to believe it`s going to be some time, I think, before everybody can get on the same page there.

WILLIAMS: And Frank, back out to you in the southwest. And as you speak, I want to just remind our audience, this is indeed the author of the book behind him on the FBI way. So believe, Frank, when he tells you about the FBI, so much of the storyline, Frank of 9/11, was missed signals. Is it your fear that that through line is going to continue when the report is written about 1/6?

FIGLIUZZI: Yeah, it`s not only missed signals, but in some ways the mistakes made, the failure of imagination as some people call it is so much bigger than what happened with 9/11 in the lead up to nine 9/11. Here, here`s why I say that. I was in the Bureau in the lead up to 9/11. We knew, the intelligence community knew something was going to happen something big, the chatter was indicating it. Why did we know it? We had lawful authority to intercept, watch, monitor. We knew who the bad guys were. We saw something was coming. We just couldn`t figure out what it was.

You move to January 6 in the lead up to that we barely in the U.S. intelligence community law enforcement committee barely saw this. And when we did see something, what happened? We kind of shrugged in the law enforcement community and sent an email the night before, to the Capitol regional law enforcement. So we`ve got to move forward. An independent commission needs recommendations to say we need a domestic terrorism law. We need the tools in the toolkit to prevent the next act of domestic terrorism. We need more resources on this issue. So it`s an ongoing problem. Law enforcement`s way behind the curve on social media here and that`s what`s fueling all of this. So, we`ve got some lessons learned, but we`ve got to take action soon and we need that into independent commissions sooner rather than later.

WILLIAMS: Scary stuff all around us with some sprinklings of good news today, three terrific guests to start us off tonight, Phil Rucker, Dr. Kavita Patel, Frank Figliuzzi, our thanks for being here.

Coming up for us, maybe this will help stop the big lie, the one issue where the FBI Director says he agrees with Bill Barr. And later, more calls for New York`s democratic governor to step down. We`ll talk with the New York Times reporter who has been way out front on this story, as THE 11TH HOUR is just getting underway on this Tuesday night.



SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D) NEW JERSEY JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Do you agree with the Attorney General Barr statement that there is absolutely no evidence of voter fraud that could have changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election?

WRAY: I agree with Attorney General Barr.

BOOKER: And to be crystal clear on this as FBI Director who is -- these would be federal crimes, you`re aware of no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, correct?

WRAY: We are not aware of any widespread evidence of voter fraud much less that would have affected the outcome in the presidential election.


WILLIAMS: So the FBI Director with a pretty stark takedown of the big lies still being pushed by supporters of the now former president.

Back with us tonight to talk about all things, Political David Plouffe, former Obama Campaign Manager, former Senior Adviser to President Obama, was also on the Board of Directors of the Obama Foundation and Tim Miller, contributor to the Bulwark and former Communications Director for one Jeb Bush.

Gentlemen, good evening. And, David, I`d like to begin with you as our smart viewers already know, there are no cameras allowed in federal court, Lord knows no cameras allowed in the Supreme Court. Just the voices, we are able to hear the tapes in real time of the oral arguments. So here`s what I have for you. This was oral argument today. Here is the lawyer for Arizona GOP getting questioned by Justice Barrett of the Supreme Court and as you`ll hear, he says the quiet part out loud.


JUSTICE AMY CONEY BARRETT: What`s the interest of the Arizona RNC here in keeping, say, the out-of-precinct voter ballot disqualification rules on the books.

GOP LAWYER MICHAEL CARVIN: Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats. Politics is a zero-sum game.


WILLIAMS: So David, I guess we`re saying voter suppression out loud now in front of the kids. If you`ve got a bad message, bad candidate, find a way to win by one kind of like what Trump tried to do in Georgia? Is that how it works.

DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Unfortunately, Brian, it`s the way it`s working now. And I think it`s going to work for many years. Yeah, give that lawyer in A for honesty, but an F for democracy.

And listen, Joe Biden gave us some great news on vaccination timing today, we see cases going down all over the country. Obviously, governors of Texas and Mississippi are going to make our full recovery harder, but we`re going to get through the pandemic. I think the biggest issue right now faced in the country, is these relentless assaults on democracy. So January 6, was an abomination that will live with this country through history. Trump`s coup attempt was unsuccessful. But what we`re seeing is all across the country in dozens of states, dozens of laws on the books now or they`re trying to get passed to make it harder to register to vote. There`s even states like Arizona, where they want to give the state legislature the ability just to say if they don`t like the election results, they can choose a different result. So this is a relentless assault. So I know before the election, we said that democracy was on the line. And I think all that Trump`s last gave is, Brian, he was a reprieve. Because this is going to be a systemic effort to try and rig elections, to steal elections, to basically take away the franchise from people and to make the electorate is old and white as possible.

WILLIAMS: Tim Miller, that`s a lot, you have written and spoken about what you see as two paths back for the Republican Party, share them with our viewers, please.

TIM MILLER, THE BULWARK CONTRIBUTOR: I think that the correct path back for the Republican Party of actually trying to expand their appeal to people of color to college educated voters to people in the suburbs and in the urban areas. I think that ship has kind of sailed that it was the path that that we were proposing back when I was at the RNC when I was on the job campaign. Obviously, the party rejected that, the voters rejected that. The path now that the Republicans have chosen is basically in line with what David had said. And I think that this is an important distinction because this is different than what has happened in the past.

You know, there always were efforts of voter suppression. You know, I`m not going to pretend like the good there. This is a new thing, though, the good old days where there weren`t voter suppression efforts, there were. But this is the first time in modern times that one of the major political parties has stated that they`re not interested in winning a majority of the vote, their current Republican Party has decided that their path back is by maintaining power through the tyranny of the minority by taking advantage of the fact that the Senate over weights towards smaller states and towards more white states and towards states with more working class voters. And by winning narrow Electoral College majorities, you know, without losing the popular vote like they did in 2000 and 2016, and trying to quash the number of, you know, urban votes, black voters who can vote in the city, young voters who are trying to get registered. That is the path that the Republican Party has chosen. And as you saw right there, as you heard, rather, they`re saying out loud in the Supreme Court. And so this is very different, you know, from your father`s voter suppression efforts.

WILLIAMS: Indeed, and if we`re still teaching civics in schools, we had better be honest about it and bring it up to present day in real time. Both of these gentlemen have agreed to stay with us while we just fit in a break here. Just ahead, no mask, no problem, it`s Texas. And the governor of Texas, he sure likes to stay on brand.



GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): COVID has not like suddenly disappeared. But it is clear from the recoveries from the vaccinations, from the reduced hospitalizations, and from the safe practices that Texans are using. That state mandates are no longer needed.


WILLIAMS: We`ve identified the truth in there and that is that COVID has not disappeared in Texas. There were indeed another 6,000 new cases reported there just today that we know of. According to The New York Times, the state`s been averaging over 200 reported deaths a day over the past week, yet like the red state of Mississippi, Texas is rolling back its COVID restrictions, despite fears that they may be staring at a fourth wave no mask. No problem.

Remaining with us tonight, David Plouffe and Tim Miller. And Tim, I want to read this to you from a potential gubernatorial candidate in Texas, Mr. O`Rourke, he calls today`s announcement a death warrant for Texans add them to the 44,000 plus he killed as he failed to confront the pandemic botched the vaccine rollout and those who froze to death because he cares more about energy company`s profits than keep Texans alive. Abbott is killing the people of Texas.

Let`s put Beto O`Rourke down as unambiguous but Tim this fits into the -- this is Abbott and DeSantis, and Noem using that weird up is down, down is up reverse four years ago psychology of bragging on what they haven`t done to protect their people.

MILLER: Yes, look at what Greg Abbott did today was deeply misguided. And it`s all for show and it`s all for the politics. Brian, I think you gave the two key names there of DeSantis and Noem, he looked at what happened at sea pack last weekend and saw that the stars of the show were the two people that were the most unwilling to deal with the reality of COVID. The most willing to give people fanciful, happy talk about the election being stolen, about COVID not being a big deal. That was DeSantis and Neom. They are the two people who I think are on Trump`s heels if Trump decides to step away, or if the legal bug catches on.

I will give this one caution to Democrats, though. I don`t think that the Democrats right now can let the Republicans be the party of saying we`re going to open up the economy because as David said, Joe Biden announced today that the vaccines are coming and that we`re going to have them by May, which is way ahead of schedule.

And I get a little bit worried when everything I hear about from the Democrats is always Chicken Little Chicken Little about what`s happening when we`ve got all this great news coming. So yes, Greg Abbott is an idiot. But at the same time, I think that the Democrats need to be mindful of how, you know, their messaging on this sometimes.

WILLIAMS: I`m putting Tim down in the ambiguous category. Hey, David, I have a quote for you. Along the lines of the argument Tim just made, a senior administration health official told Politico, Whitehouse believed that Texas and Mississippi announcements posted on Twitter within 30 minutes of each other were a coordinated effort by Republican governors, that it expected to see similar announcements in the coming days.

And here`s where all of this boxes in the Biden White House, they`re Democrats, so they`re culturally predisposed to be careful and keep people safe. Trump used to talk about our states, he meant -- he was talking to his base, he meant the red ones. Joe Biden actually has that kind of that protective role over all 50. And the territory he spoke about them today, this does make a problem for the new president.

PLOUFFE: Well because he`s concerned about people`s lives and our economy. I think Tim makes a good point. But the message here, with every adult, with there being enough vaccinations, every adult by the end of the day, we`re just talking about a few weeks. And I think that`s got to be the message in Texas.

Now the truth is a lot of citizens in Texas and Mississippi, if there`s other states, they`re going to continue to act responsibly cautious. But these states don`t have walls around them. So obviously, there`s going to be acute pain as Beto O`Rourke said in Texas, because of this decision.

But this is going to potentially lengthen the entire pandemic for all of us. And this is where data comes in. The Biden administration is very transparent, good and bad about the coronavirus and what`s happening out there.

So if we see cases spiking in the states that go to 100 percent restaurant capacity, even though there`s no mandate, I think the message is you don`t have to wear masks anymore. That`s going to be known to everybody the cause of this.

But yes, I think Biden looks at this not red states versus blue states. But how do we make sure we continue to bend the curve here, so that we save lives, but so we can get the economy fully open, get schools fully open everywhere in the country. And that`s what`s your response about this.

I think it`s not a, you know, never versus now, the question is, sorry, let`s just wait a few weeks. We are on such a good path here with vaccinations with cases going down. But when you open up in Texas as a major state, you`ve got major airports.

I think I heard recently, Houston`s the only major city in the country with all five variants in there. And so if you open the state`s way up, it`s not just going to cause problems there. But it`s going to cause problems for the rest of us. I live in California, all throughout the country.

WILLIAMS: Yes, indeed. It`s not Vegas. What happens in Texas doesn`t stay there. Our thanks to both gentlemen David Plouffe, who has we note traded the Delaware banner for the outline of the Golden State. Tim Miller, who has traded his man bonds for free flowing locks. You`ll both be hearing from Leslie Jones. Gentlemen, we can appreciate your time anymore around here. Great having you on coming on.

MILLER: Thanks Brian.

WILLIAMS: Coming up, the growing calls for something to happen in the New York State Capitol involving this man. Will he last in that job?



REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): These allegations are very serious against Governor Cuomo, made by serious individuals and deserve a serious and independent investigation. Now that the attorney general has taken over the investigation, it will be fully independent and thorough. And I await the results of that investigation.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I associate myself with a gentleman.


WILLIAMS: The scope of the investigation into sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo may be far broader than first anticipated indeed the New York Times reporting the team which will be hired by Letitia, James the New York State Attorney General will have far reaching subpoena powers to request troves of documents and compel witnesses including the governor to testify under oath.

Last night, the Times reported a 33-year-old woman accused Cuomo of an unwanted advance at a 2019 wedding. There are indeed photos of the encounter. It came after two of the governor`s former aides accused him of sexual harassment last week.

On Sunday, Cuomo denied he ever inappropriately touched her proposition to anyone. Here to talk about it with us tonight. We welcome to the broadcast Jesse McKinley. He is Albany bureau chief for the New York Times and these days if you want to find his byline, look out front, front page of the paper edition top of the New York Times website for good reason.

Jesse, let`s make clear to our viewers who may not follow New York state politics. This is the second of two crises for a guy who long ago was pasted with the overreach label, after all those press conferences after winning a special Emmy during the COVID crisis, after writing a book about his expert handling of the COVID crisis, which continues Oh by the way, we learn upwards of 11,000 seniors died in New York State nursing homes.

JESSE MCKINLEY, THE NEW YORK TIMES ALBANY BUREAU CHIEF: That`s all true. You said overreach, you might say about overexposed. I mean, the governor was really everywhere over the last year and his poll ratings reflected that, you know, for a brief time he touched in the mid 70s, nearly 80. In this state, he was an insanely popular. He was considered, you know, kind of a must see TV pretty much every day with his press conferences. He was active on cable news networks such as this one.

And in the last six to eight weeks, he has had a terrible fall from grace as a result of what you said the nursing home scandal. And now this sexual harassment allegations which have now are in triplicate, you know, last week was a former aide saying that he had kissed her in his office. We reported on Saturday of a 25-year-old woman who had been -- who believed she had been propositioned by the governor. And then yesterday, myself and Matt Flegenheimer reported on that wedding incident.

So in Toto, it has been a very, very tough couple of months for the governor. And he`s facing some pretty serious repercussions at this moment.

WILLIAMS: You indeed, right this. Coumo`s outside presence in state politics seems to be cutting both ways. In his current political crisis, many privately expressed spite toward him, but few in his party have dared to take him on. That`s a very nice polite way of saying he doesn`t have a lot of friends. It`s better to have friends when you get in trouble, like the one like the trouble he`s in now. When do we know if he survives this or not?

MCKINLEY: Well, I think these things, you know, there tends to be a kind of a fake velocity to these news events where you think things are going to happen very fast. And some things happen very fast. But in fact, these things can unroll somewhat slowly.

I think the governor himself is probably pal playing for time. I think that, you know, this investigation launched by Tish James could take weeks, it could take months it could take till the end of the year. And I think for Governor Cuomo, that`s just fine by him, so long as there`s no other allegations that come out anytime soon.

Now, that being said, at the same time, enemies are accumulating for Governor Cuomo, more and more Democrats inside of his own party are saying he has to go, including Kathleen Rice for the Congresswoman from Long Island, the working families party, kind of a left wing party here in New York.

So the calls are getting louder. The question is, how sustained will those be, and if he can last through, you know, this very bad period that he`s in right now.

WILLIAMS: And give us the briefest biographical sketch of New York`s lieutenant governor because her name and identity may become germane to state politics before this is over.

MCKINLEY: Yes, I think there is no irony lost that Kathy Hochul could become the state`s first female governor as the result of Governor Cuomo`s behavior towards women. Kathy Hochul is a Buffalo area politician. She served briefly in Congress. Her husband was a prosecutor out of Western New York. She is considered a very competent, very affable woman who could potentially as I said, become the state`s first female governor. I don`t think we`re quite there yet. But certainly her name is trending on search right now.

WILLIAMS: Jesse, we know how hard you`re working. We know what`s coming up on 10 minutes to midnight. We can`t thank you enough Jesse McKinley, who is guiding the coverage of this story from his perch as Albany bureau chief for the New York Times, our thanks for coming on and taking our questions tonight.

Coming up for us, the COVID long haulers, many of whom are still in grade school, it`s a story you will want to see.


WILLIAMS: Doctors are trying to learn more about how to treat people with these lingering coronavirus symptoms as we`ve discussed on this broadcast. They`re known as long haulers we had as a guest one of the first women who organized them as a group as a clearinghouse. There`s still no national guidance on how to treat long-haulers because this is all still new. And while the CDC says kids are likely to get severely ill from the virus. Some of those long haulers are indeed children. NBC News correspondent Kristen Dahlgren has our report.


KRISTEN DAHLGREN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From around the world children listing their COVID symptoms and just how long they`ve stuck around one long holler recently pleading for answers from Dr. Fauci.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My heart races and I can`t either right. No, no other doctors can help me. Can you help me?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR: We don`t know enough about it Hudson.

DAHLGREN: Different than the severe inflammatory syndrome that can affect some children. This is now being called long COVID. Just last week, the NIH launched a billion dollar initiative to investigate between 10 and 30 percent of adults infected with COVID will become long-haulers and early studies hint the impact on children could be just as profound.

15-year-old Chloe has had symptoms since July.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Than inability to get a deep breath, fatigue. I get headaches every week, lots of headaches.


DAHLGREN: Why certain children are impacted is still a mystery. Baltimore`s Kennedy Krieger has opened one of the first clinics dedicated to long COVID children.

DR. AMANDA MORROW, KENNEDY KRIEGER INSTIUTE: These are usually high functioning very healthy children who did not have any previous illnesses or medical conditions.

DAHLGREN: Many just had a mild case of COVID. Long COVID signs for parents to look out for include shortness of breath, fatigue and dizziness. With no cure, doctors are trying to treat the symptoms. But for many like Chloe, there is still little relief.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t want anyone else to go through this.

DAHLGREN: Once a straight A student, she`s now barely getting by.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just want to see our own Chloe back.

DAHLGREN: An increasing number of families looking for answers as symptoms linger. Kristen Dahlgren, NBC News.


WILLIAMS: Coming up, it was a prediction made one year ago today we`ll leave it to you to decide how it is held up.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, now that we are within the one year anniversary mark of the coronavirus arriving in the United States. From time to time here we will take stock of where we have been because there is so much gaslighting going on, because there are so many politicians whose political survival depends on us kind of fuzzing up and forgetting the details. Like who tried to get it right. Who the deniers were.

Here`s an installment from a man who was later sidelined. We call Dr. Fauci, the nation`s foremost infectious disease specialist for good reason. Here now, Dr. Fauci with our own Richard Engel. This was one year ago today.


RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Washington`s National Institutes of Health, America`s top virus control official Dr. Anthony Fauci says the coronavirus is spreading and America may need to take drastic actions.

(on camera): What are we dealing with this coronavirus, COVID-19?

FAUCI: We`re dealing with clearly an emerging infectious disease that is now reached outbreak proportions and likely pandemic proportions.

If we get a major outbreak of this coronavirus in this country, that would mean perhaps closing schools temporarily, getting people to do more teleworking, canceling events where there is a lot of crowds in confined places, canceling unnecessary travels so that you`re not on an aeroplane for five hours with a bunch of people who might be infected.

ENGEL: That would be a huge step. It would have enormous economic, societal, psychological implications.

FAUCI: It would but it would be temporary, but it would be necessary.


WILLIAMS: Think about it. That was a year ago today in the time since that interview because of denialism, malpractice, mismanagement, we`ve lost over 515,000 Americans. And sadly on that note, that`s our broadcast for this Tuesday night. With our thanks for being here with us, and for that matter, thank you for making us number one at 11:00 Eastern Time every night. On behalf of all my colleagues here at the networks of NBC News, good night.