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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 3/30/21

Guests: Caroline Randall Williams


Two police officers sue Trump over capital riot. Witnesses detail final moments of George Floyd`s life. Witnesses describe Floyd pinned, struggling. Representative Matt Gaetz denies allegations of sex trafficking, claims extortion. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Tuesday a bill instituting early voting at an event that sought to draw a contrast between his state and Republican efforts to curb access elsewhere.


ROB BONTA, CALIFORNIA NEXT ATTORNEY GENERAL: -- important jobs, I want to work with them. I want to work in concert to make our criminal justice system more fair, more just and more safe. Constitution does also provide a direct supervisory role for the California Attorney General over sheriffs and district attorneys. But I want to and will seek collaboration, coalition building, solution-oriented approaches, as much as possible to move our state to where we need to be.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: California`s next Attorney General Rob Bonta, thank you very much for joining us tonight, we really appreciate it.

BONTA: Thanks for having me, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: That`s Tonight`s Last Word. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again, day 70 of the Biden administration. There is explosive new reporting tonight about Republican Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, who`s represented his district since 2017 made a name for himself as one of the Trump iest members of the House of Representatives.

New York Times reporting the Justice Department is investigating Gaetz over "whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old and paid for her to travel with him. The investigation was opened in the final months of the Trump administration under Attorney General William Barr."

Katie Benner, one of the Times reporters who broke this story standing by to join us in just a few minutes. No charges have been brought against the Congressman tonight. He up and down denied the allegations during an interview with Tucker Carlson.


MATT GAETZ, (R) FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: It is a horrible allegation. And it is a lie. The New York Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17 year old woman and that is verifiably false. People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case. What is happening is an extortion of me and my family involving a former Department of Justice official.


WILLIAMS: As we mentioned much more on all of this just ahead in the hour. Tonight, two U.S. Capitol Police officers have filed a federal suit against Donald Trump for inciting the January 6 riot. The suit cites Trump`s speech on that day his conduct and statements leading up to the riot, his failure to take timely action to stop his followers. That complaint also details racial slurs aimed at one officer and the serious injuries both of these officers suffered during the insurrection.

Meanwhile, the current President getting ready to unveil his next big item on his agenda, the Washington Post reporting, tomorrow he`ll announce a jobs and infrastructure package during a visit to Pittsburgh. A second proposal for spending on education and healthcare slated to follow that in a few weeks. The Post says Joe Biden will pay for the plan with new tax hikes, "These hikes will be particularly focused on corporations seeking to reverse much of President Trump`s 2017 tax law. The combined price tag of the plans could top $4 trillion."

We`re also of course, following the latest in the trial of Derek Chauvin, charged in the murder of George Floyd. This was the second day of testimony. Several witnesses described the harrowing final moments of George Floyd`s life. And the court also heard 911 calls from that day.


DISPATCHER: 911. What`s the address of the emergency?

DONALD WILLIAMS: Officer 987 killed a citizen in front of a Chicago store, he just pretty much just killed this guy that wasn`t resisting arrest. He had his knee on the dude`s neck the whole time. He was already in handcuffs. They pretty much killed the dude.


WILLIAMS: That call came from that witness. You saw Donald Williams, who was later questioned by the defense about his interactions with officers on the scene.


ERIC NELSON, ATTORNEY FOR DEREK CHAUVIN: Did you hear any of the conversations occurring between the three officers with Mr. Floyd, yes or no?


NELSON: It`s fair to say that as you were there, you grew angrier.

WILLIAMS: Correct.

NELSON: As you were there and interacting with Officer Thao and Officer Chauvin, you grew more and more upset. Would you agree with that?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

NELSON: You started calling them names. Yes?

WILLIAMS: You heard that. Yes.

NELSON: You called them a tough guy.


NELSON: You called him a bum at least 13 times.

WILLIAMS: That`s what you count in the video?

NELSON: That`s what I counted.

WILLIAMS: That`s what you got, 13. I stayed in my body. You can`t paint me out to be angry.


WILLIAMS: The court also heard the 911 call of another witness, Minneapolis Firefighter Genevieve Hansen, who was off duty when she came upon the scene.


DISPATCHER: 911. What`s the address of the emergency?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Hello I am on the block of 38th and Chicago, and I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man, and I am a first responder myself.

HANSEN (on camera): I offered to kind of walk them through it or told them if he doesn`t have a pulse, you need to start compressions. And that wasn`t done either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did that make you feel?

HANSEN: Totally distressed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you frustrated?



WILLIAMS: Also among the witnesses today, young people who were under age at the time, including a nine year old, and Darnella Frazier, who`s now 18. She is the one who recorded the video of Floyd`s death that was seen around the world and of course then sparked worldwide protests. So due to their ages, the judge allowed their audio to be broadcast but what not allow media to show their faces on camera as they testify.


(Voice of) DARNELLA FRAZIER: I heard George Floyd saying, "I can`t breathe. Please, get off of me. I can breathe." He cried for his mom. He was in pain. It seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified. He was suffering. This was a cry for help.

(Voice of) WITNESS: I was sad and kind of mad. It felt like he was stopping his breathing, and it was kind of like hurting him.

(Voice of) WITNESS: Shoving his knee in his neck.

(Voice of) WITNESS: I felt like there wasn`t really anything I could do, as a bystander, the highest power was there, and I felt like I was failing it.


WILLIAMS: Darnella Frazier also described how her life changed after what she saw on May 25 of last year.


FRAZIER: When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they are all black. I have a black father. I have a black brother. I have black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them. It`s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life, but it`s like, it`s not what I should have done. It`s what he should have done.


WILLIAMS: With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Tuesday night, Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance who spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor, Eugene Daniels, White House Correspondent for Politico, co- author of each day`s edition of the POLITICO Playbook. And we welcome to the broadcast, Holly Bailey, National Political Reporter for The Washington Post who notably was inside the courtroom for today`s proceedings in Minneapolis.

And Holly, by way of welcoming you here, I`d like to begin with you indeed, tonight. This was such an emotional day. I think people watching the wall to wall coverage have been surprised by the urgency of it, the tension of it, the humanity of it, in the face of inhumanity at the heart of this, how engaged are the jurors in your view and were they any more engaged on particular witnesses?

HOLLY BAILEY, THE WASHINGTON POST NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, the jurors today look sympathetic, some of them recoiled and shocked at some of the testimony. We know from jury selection that again, a lot of these jurors had never watched the full video of Darnella`s phrases full video of George Floyd`s death. And so a lot of these clips that they`re seeing, that have been presented in court, the last few days are new to them. And so I think, you know, they`re looking at them and sort of digesting it and shock.

One of the things that really struck me today is just this reminder by listening to the voices of these girls, how young they were, and how this moment really is going to shape their lives forever. I mean, how can you walk down the street and see a man struggling with police officers begging for his life and get past that. And I think that was part of the reason that the prosecution put them on the stand today. They weren`t just witnesses. They were a reminder of how this incident has changed so many lives forever.

WILLIAMS: Think about, Joyce Vance, the fact that just watching the video can affect a life change. Imagine having to witness the life draining out of a human being in front of you on that street corner. Joyce talk about the prosecution goal in front loading these emotional and sincere witnesses.

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: So the science that prosecutors operate with, Brian, is the science of primacy and recency. When jurors go into the jury room to deliberate the pieces of evidence that they take with them the most strongly are the first thing that they heard primacy, and the last thing that they heard recency. And really the best witness that the prosecution has in this case is the videotapes of George Floyd`s death. So they were front and center this early in the trial. We will see them I think, throughout the trial as many times as the judge will let the prosecution play them, but expect to see them again in closing arguments so that they are the last piece of evidence that the jury takes with it when it begins its deliberations.

WILLIAMS: Eugene, somewhat thankfully, you are to take us in another area, please. And that is your beat by day this giant initiative, the President is going to unveil tomorrow and the words a lot of Americans don`t like to hear, most of them wealthy, a lot of them work for big corporations, and that`s tax increases. What is the White House level of optimism going into this say nothing of the next tranche of funding for health and education?

EUGENE DANIELS, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right, we`re looking at another $2 trillion, right, 1.9 trillion is what was just passed and signed into law with COVID relief bill, and the White House seems they have the wind at their back rack, they feel, like they had a huge win with COVID relief, and something that we continue to hear. We started hearing it a couple of months ago was that if something is popular with the American people, they consider that bipartisan that it doesn`t just have to be members of Congress agreeing, members of Congress compromising. But the problem here is that you can only use reconciliation so many times in the U.S. Senate. And that is something they`re going to have to contend with. If they want to really get this done they say that this is the President`s plan. He wants to meet with other with members of Congress, talk to them, see what other plans and ideas they have. But he really wants to get this done for the American people. It seems like they`re fine with, you know, pushing things through. We saw that with the like I said with the COVID relief bill.

It is -- the COVID relief bill was kind of the easiest thing that they needed to get done of this really ambitious agenda that the President has, this bill in particular, this proposal $2 trillion paid investments over eight years, but paid for over 15 years with 28 raising the corporate tax rate to 28%. That`s a long, and they`re doing all of that eight and 15 years so that they don`t raise the deficit, but also able to do these ambitious plans. So they`re trying to thread a really, really hit the needle here.

WILLIAMS: You raise a fascinating point about using opinion polling as their view of bipartisanship, knowing full well the Senate. They`ve been dealt in the Senate. They are up against.

Holly, we spring back to the story you are covering. Let`s talk about members of the Floyd family. For those of us who can`t see the whole scope, how present are they and what was -- how are they doing, what was their reaction to this emotional and tense day two?

BAILEY: The Florida family has been very present here in Minneapolis for the past few weeks since jury selection began way back on March 8, and they have a single seat in the courtroom. As your viewers might know there`s a - - the courtroom is socially distanced because of the pandemic, there`s a limit on the number of people who can be inside. So there is a chair set aside for the Floyd family and a chair set aside for an associate of Derek Chauvin, which has remained empty since this trial and this jury selection began several weeks ago.

But, you know, today his nephew is in the courtroom. And he didn`t watch the video. You know, the Floyd family has talked about the agony that they feel when they see this horrific video of their uncle, their brother, you know, under the knee of Derek Chauvin and so they struggle with it. I mean, and as we`ve seen in court, it`s not just Darnella Frazier`s video that is -- that has been presented, it`s several people filmed different levels of footage of George Floyd`s interaction with police that day, and so it`s plays throughout the hours every day in court.

WILLIAMS: And Joyce, important point that should be said, because of the agony that that video can trigger, because we know that anyone who wishes to see it of course can, this news organization and others are severely limiting how much we aerate, look at what it`s sparked around the world and around our country. The big question for you, Joyce, given your courtroom appearance and your view of this case, does the defense call former Officer Chauvin?

VANCE: It`s always risky to have a defendant testify. Of course, the defendant is cloaked in the presumption of innocence. He has no obligation to establish his innocence. It`s up to the government to prove his guilt. So you come to a point in every trial, where the defense has to decide whether they`re going to put their client on the witness stand. Typically, they don`t let them testify in police cases that I have tried. It is rare to see an officer take the stand because of the damage that can be done in cross examination, which is unpredictable, even with a well prepared witness. The defense didn`t promise one way or the other in their opening statement. If I was a betting person, I would bet that we would not say Officer Chauvin take the stand, but the evidence against him is compelling. And ultimately, he may be forced to explain his intent. So maybe we will, in this case, say him testify.

WILLIAMS: And Eugene, as we go back to your beat, let`s talk about the reason why there is but one chair in the courtroom for a revolving member of the Floyd family. And that is our current pandemic. The White House is surging vaccines to the American public. And as we`ve said before, they`re in a foot race with these new variants. They`re in a foot race contentious with all the states that are pretending everything`s fine and opening up. How frustrated are they at the moves being made to counter this effort?

DANIELS: Yeah, I mean, they`re intensely frustrated, right? They are working, obviously, extremely hard. The American people are giving them high marks on the pandemic, but also the actual relief plan that they just push through. And you saw the CDC director the other day, kind of talk about how terrified she is right? Getting emotional, talking about, you know, telling all of us to just hold on, right? We`re kind of at the finish line here. And all of us are frustrated, right? Like, I hate being at my house still all the time, not being able to leave, but what the health experts and the members of the administration that I speak to, they are really worried that, you know, right now we have spring breakers all over the country. In Florida, we`ve been seeing that quite a bit. And people not taking it as seriously, like you said, these states were masked mandates are no longer a thing and people are just operating as if everything is normal. And at the same time, we have variants rising, we have people getting colder than the normal COVID more so and that`s rising around the country as well, as they are trying to get vaccines in people, right? We -- they`ve obviously doubled their goal on the first 100 days to 200 million shots in people`s arms. But even that, I talked to health experts the other day that said even that feels like not enough when you add in all of the ways in which they feel like they`re kind of being undercut.

WILLIAMS: After a long day for all three of our leadoff guests, we are much obliged to Joyce Vance, Holly Bailey, Eugene Daniels for joining us and starting off our broadcast tonight. Thank you all.

Coming up for us, the latest details on the federal investigation into republican Florida Congressman and Arden Trumper Matt Gaetz over an alleged relationship with a 17 year old, one of the reporters who broke the story joins us next.

And later, just as our country is forced to relive the killing of George Floyd, another video of another heinous hate crime against the Asian American community, a deeper look at this moment in our country with two of our favorite thinkers. All of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Tuesday night.



GAETZ: This former Department of Justice official tomorrow was supposed to be contacted by my father so that specific instructions could be given regarding the wiring of $4.5 million as a down payment on this bribe. I don`t think it`s a coincidence that tonight somehow the New York Times is leaking this information, smearing me and ruining the investigation.


WILLIAMS: More twists and turns tonight in this breaking story concerning the federal inquiry is what they`re calling it involving Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz over possible sexual misconduct with a 17 year old.

Here with us for more is Katie Benner, Justice Department Reporter for The New York Times who along with Michael Schmidt broke the initial story in the Times.

Katie, I have to ask you to fold in the Congressman straight up denial tonight, his insistence that this was part of an extortion against him and his family, his father`s wearing of a wire surreptitious recordings, he says for the FBI. How does this fit in your initial reporting?

KATIE BENNER, NEW YORK TIMES JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORTER: Sure, well, initially we did not report anything about his father working with the FBI and wearing a wire or to stop an extortion scheme was actually Matt Gaetz who publicly disclosed that. So to the extent that investigation has been scuttled, it is more likely that`s because Matt Gaetz first publicly disclosed that investigation.

Now, in terms of our reporting, we look at an investigation that into Matt Gaetz that began in August in late summer of 2020, when Donald Trump was the president, and William P. Barr was the Attorney General. We know that Barr and other top officials had to sign off on the investigation and OK it because Barr himself last year in the winter said that all such investigations needed to be run by top Justice Department officials. So this was something that the Justice Department under Donald Trump that was serious enough to pursue, and it involves allegations including the allegation that Congressman Gaetz had a relationship with a girl who was only 17 and took her across state lines.

WILLIAMS: Katie, the Gaetz allegation of extortion is against one David McGee, a former federal prosecutor, and make no mistake, a formidable member of the Barr. He has put out a statement tonight reading in part, and he reports of extortion involving him or his firm were "completely totally false." This is a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that Matt Gaetz is apparently about to be indicted for sex trafficking underage girls." What`s your knowledge of Mr. McGee?

BENNER: So we know about Mr. McGee is he did work at the Justice Department. But he worked there more than two decades ago. He was the first assistant in the office of the Northern District of Florida, which is the district in which Matt Gaetz is a congressman. But again, this was decades ago, it seemed like Matt Gaetz was trying to say that this is somebody who`s currently involved in the Justice Department or would be involved with the case somehow, he`s not currently involved in the Justice Department. He is in private practice and has not been involved with DOJ for some time.

WILLIAMS: And I don`t want to take you into the area of analysis but ours before this report broke, Matt Gaetz generated talk earlier today, especially on social media when he was musing about leaving Congress and taking a job at Newsmax. How does any of your reporting speak to the status of that?

BENNER: You know, all I can say is that reporters have been interested in what was going on with Congressman Gaetz for a while and to see those musings happen both in the press and then on Twitter that he would leave his seat, given the fact that he is close ally of Donald Trump that Trump could run again in 2024, that he seems well situated that he`s popular in his district. It did seem odd. And I would say it`s fair to say that`s the kind of disclosure that really encouraged reporters to continue to dig.

WILLIAMS: Katie Benner, a frequent resident of page one of the New York Times thank you for always being generous with your time, especially after a day filing a story like this one. Thank you very much for coming on.

Coming up for us, the whole world is watching a country -- a county rather, district courtroom in Minnesota, where it might seem like a former COP is on trial. But there`s a lot more going on.



D. WILLIAMS: I believe I witnessed a murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so and you felt a need to call the police.

WILLIAMS: Yes. I felt the need to call police on the police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now there were police there, right?

WILLIAMS: They were police there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Why don`t you just talk to them about it.

WILLIAMS:: I believe that they -- I just -- we just didn`t have no connection. You know, I spoke to them, but not on a connection of a human being in relationship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you, well believe that they were involved.

WILLIAMS: Yes, totally.


WILLIAMS: Some more witness testimony today in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Six people took the stand. Back with us tonight, Caroline Randall Williams, she`s an author, poet, academic observer of all things political happens to be Writer-in-Residence with the Department of Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and Michael Steel`s back with us as well, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, former lieutenant governor of the great state of Maryland, also happens to be the host of the Michael Steele podcast.

Good evening to you both. Thank you for coming on. Carolina, I`d like to begin with you it is life changing enough a point I made earlier to simply watch the video if you have measurable feelings if you were born with any humanity or empathy at all, if you can fog up a mirror.

Imagine having been in that crowd, imagine having been a young child and witnessed it, and now having to take the stand and relive it. Talk about this trial and its importance for our country right now.

CAROLINE RANDALL WILLIAMS, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE: You know, watching the testimony today, I have to say, Tuesday`s my big teaching day, I have my two classes of students. I teach two classes a semester at Vanderbilt. And I taught both classes today at with George Floyd at the front of my mind, and his trial at the front of my mind. And we had moments of silence in both classes for the 43 seconds that had gone unacknowledged until these trials really unfolded.

And I think you know when we reckon with the fact that we all watched a lynching that a child filmed and posted on Facebook. But the work that we have to do is to reckon with the fact that whatever the ruling is, when you lynch somebody, the cause of death physiologically is past the point, whether it was the setting a body on fire, or the dragging him behind a truck, or the tarring and feathering or the drowning, or the gunshot wounds whatever way that a body was maimed and mangled because of like hate, and other people limitations.

That`s past the point. We watched Derek shove and put his hands in his pockets, and keep his knee on the neck of a man that was screaming for his life. While other people were advocating and affirming that his life was leaving him.

We watched that happen. And we watched a man who`d committed his life to protecting, allegedly protecting the peace of American people, you know, blindly ignore the dying American beneath his knee. And I think that the tension and strangeness of that having happened and our record of it being recorded by a child. It just -- it makes me think of Emmett Till, and it makes it feel like a terrible circle. But I hope that it`s a terrible circle that yield some new insights.

B. WILLIAMS: It`s powerful stuff. Michael, Donald Williams, one of the witnesses had this quote that just continues to reverberate. I stayed in my body. You can`t paint me out to be angry. And something Caroline just said about the stance of Chauvin with his hands atop his pants pockets, in the most casual way, it doesn`t quite match with the attempt of the defense to talk up the notion of an unruly crowd, a tense situation all around him.

MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIRMAN: No, there`s so much that the good Professor just said that just struck a nerve. The imagery and the power of it, reflected again, in the words that we heard on the stand by witnesses, Mr. Williams, telling us that I called the police on the police because I believed I was witnessing a murder.

The powerful words of Daniela Frazier, when the defense opens the door thinking, you know, they had a gotcha. And she comes back, and she said, let me tell you what I felt. It spoke so much for all of us, Brian, in the black community.

These witnesses today, who told the story from Emmett Till, to George Floyd, told the story of countless black men and women who have suffered at the hands of this type of brutality. But then, and I get what the defense has to do. So this is this is really not about that.

But that then sort of come back with a trope of, you know, angry black people. You know, white men with guns kneeling on the neck of a man are suddenly afraid of children, standing around watching them suffocate the life out of a black man. And they now come back and say that, you know, we feared for ourselves in that situation, a situation you created, by the way, by not listening to the crowd, who otherwise wouldn`t pay too much attention to the arrest of yet another black man until you made it something else.

And then, when you made it something else you now say to us, when the community presses back, Brian, and goes, wait a minute, you`re killing this man. Stop it, check his pulse, get your knee off his neck, and for Chauvin to sit there with his hands in his pocket demonstrates the arrogance of power that he thinks or that he believed he had over that black life at that moment. And that`s why the testimony today, probably more than anything else we hear coupled with those videos to set so much to this country about what we`ve lived for 400 years.

B. WILLIAMS: The professor`s words indeed Michael remind me to give my quarterly reminder to our viewers to if they possibly can visit the lynching memorial and museum in Montgomery. It`s -- It is beyond powerful, and your life may be altered forever as a result of what you see there. What you learn there.

A break for us. Both of these guests thankfully have agreed to stay with us.

Coming up. Just when it seems like voter suppression is all the rage in parts of our country. Some good news on voting rights that I don`t mind saying comes from my home state today when we come right back.


WILLIAMS: Phil Murphy, Governor of New Jersey signed a measure today expanding voting rights. It was passed by state lawmakers the same day Georgia`s governor codified new voting restrictions in his state. In keeping with Georgia`s richly deserved reputation for voter suppression. It includes new voter ID rules limits drop boxes and voting times and makes it a crime to give voters in line food or water.

Georgia`s election law now faces at least three lawsuits the latest filed by the ACLU and NACCP just today. Remaining with us are Professor Caroline Randall Williams and Michael Steele. Michael, I note you have written in the Bulwark an item under the headline, the state assault on voting rights hurts all of us. And I`m eager to hear you make your case because what I see so far is suppression aimed at democrats who are black, who elected Joe Biden, and by the way helped change the balance in the US Senate. So counselor make your case?

STEELE: Well, it is very much that and a whole lot more. This is about the suppression and in many cases the, you know, elimination of the opportunity or the incentive to vote in black communities like Atlanta and Detroit.

But even beyond that what republicans in Georgia, in Arizona, in Pennsylvania, in Maine and elsewhere, are seemingly looking past is that these laws will have the unintended consequence of limiting the access of their Very own base. Because when you restrict the timeframe on voting, when you say I`m sorry, we`re not going to put as many postal drop boxes available -- make available and communities, we`re going to cut back on vote by mail, which by the way, was how we orchestrated the successes that we had in 2010 was using this vehicle knowing that a significant number of our base population can`t get to the polls on Election Day. They live in senior centers, they`re you know homebound or whatever the situation may be.

So what you`re going to see and you saw this in Georgia, this is why it`s so mind numbingly stupid because they watched it unfold right in front of them that limitation by President Trump saying don`t participate and vote by mail. And the base didn`t and everyone else did. And they lost three times, the presidency and two Senate seats. What do you think is going to happen in future elections, as you further restrict that opportunity for not just black voters to vote but every citizen to access the ballot box you lose, and deservedly so for being so stupid.

B. WILLIAMS: I also know what is widely suspected to have been a hate crime that brought attention back to Georgia just in the last few days. And professor, one day we`re going to have you on this broadcast to talk about something hopeful and beautiful sadly this is not the night because this brings me to an attack captured on camera in New York, a vicious sidewalk beating of an older Asian woman made all the more difficult to watch.

And we`ve fuzzed it up here for good reason because of the inaction of those who witnessed at the inaction of those in the building some of whom we can see we don`t know their motives motivations or lack of them we know what we can see.

Caroline, when`s this going to end?

C. WILLIAMS: The first word that comes to mind when you asked me that is I think the word Rome and I think about republic`s that fall. I haven`t -- I don`t know when this will end. I think that if we figure this out if we learn something, if we learn enough fast enough to resolve this, then maybe it will end soon because it seems like it`s all coming to a bit of a head.

But what I will say I have Asian American, I have Japanese members of my chosen family, my godparents, my god brother, my godson are all Japanese and Japanese American people whose lives I tender as dearly as anybody alive that I have blood relation to.

And I feel like right now just all Americans of color we`ve got to figure out especially in the wake of that footage I just have to say all Americans of color we`ve got to figure out how to double down and come together because this country wasn`t built for us and this country is in a fight for its life to figure out if it wants to live up to the ideas behind its founding documents rather than the limitations of the men who wrote the founding documents.

And I think that we have a chance at that but I don`t -- I don`t know. I don`t know if we will, I don`t know how soon it will be over. I hope that it`s over peacefully and swiftly.

B. WILLIAMS: We didn`t even get to the fact that a Georgia legislator was arrested for knocking on a door. All I know is your students are fortunate to be your students. Professor Caroline Randall Williams, Michael Steele, two friends of this broadcast during a fraught time in our history. Please come back. I thank you both.

Coming up for us after this next break with coronavirus cases back on the rise, we`ll meet one doctor who decided to take the effort to get those shots and arms into her own hands. You will want to see her story after this.


WILLIAMS: The virus numbers just from today are shocking 71,000 new cases over 900 souls lost just today. 19 states across the country reporting a rise in hospitalizations now. But there`s some good news about two and a half million people a day are getting vaccinated. Tonight NBC News correspondent Rehema Ellis takes us inside a very personal effort to vaccinate Philadelphia`s black community.


REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Ala Stanford became a pediatric surgeon to save lives but never imagined it would look like this. She`s opened a site that`s defied expectations distributing nearly 30,000 COVID vaccines in 31 days.

DR. ALA STANDORD, PEDIATRIC SURGEON: it feels really good to treat people the way they deserve to be treated

ELLIS: The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium a group of black healthcare professionals offer vaccines to those hardest hit first come first serve.

STANFORD: Everybody`s good the second shot.

All we were trying to do was create access and barrier free services for those who don`t typically have it.

ELLIS: Her mission began a year ago knocking on doors offering COVID tests.

(on camera): About one in five black women say they definitely will not get the vaccination.

STANFORD: Honestly it was a struggle for me initially. I had to separate black Ala from doctor Ala.

ELLIS: But there`s no vaccine hesitancy here and she`s a key reason why.

STANFORD: Occasionally someone will stop and look me in the eyes and say if it was not for you so many more people would have lost their lives. One vision can save a life change the world.

ELLIS: REHEMA ELLIS, NBC News, Philadelphia.


WILLIAMS: Fantastic story tonight out of Philadelphia. Coming up for us an unremarkable day that turned remarkable in the space of exactly two seconds.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, it was a gray damp, unremarkable spring day 40 years ago today in Washington. Ronald Reagan arrived at the unremarkable Washington Hilton where he delivered a very routine and unmemorable luncheon speech to the AFL-CIO. What we remember about that day happened as Ronald Reagan was exiting the hotel on the way to his limousine.

Shots fired, the limo sped off. They were on route to the White House one veteran Secret Service agent Jerry Parr who tackled Reagan to get them into the bulletproof car realize the President had been hit and was losing blood. They rerouted to GW hospital.

It wasn`t until years later we learned how close Reagan came. A disturbed young man named John Hinckley blended into the press pool. He shot Reagan in order to achieve fame to impress the actress Jodie Foster, the object of his obsession. Americans were glued to their televisions that day here now some of the NBC News coverage from that day.


CHRIS WALLACE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: One hopeful note about the president. Nafziger said that as Mr. Reagan was being wheeled into surgery, he turned to his wife, he was fully conscious, turned to his wife, Mrs. Reagan and said honey, I forgot to duck.

And then as he entered the operating room, he said to the doctors there, please tell me you`re Republicans. Chris Wallace, NBC News at the George Washington Medical Center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The attempt on Mr. Reagan`s life today took place in the street in front of a hotel as the cameras were rolling. So there`s a visual record of what happened. Here`s Roger Mudd.

ROGER MUDD, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Very few presidential movements take place beyond the range of the press and the cameras these days. So this afternoon when the President emerged from the Washington Hilton Hotel virtually the entire event was recorded by television cameras.

The pictures are chilling. It begins with the Deputy Chief of Staff Mike Deaver and a few agents coming out of the hotel smiling ready to go and then suddenly there is a gunfire. The assailant is accosted by half a dozen lawman, Mike Deaver ducks. And down on the pavement is the presidential press secretary James Brady, the Secret Service agent Terence McCarthy, Metropolitan policemen, John Delahanty.

Suddenly there is Rick Ahearn, the chief advancement calling for a handkerchief, out of breath, Cotton`s mouth, not really knowing where the next gunshot will come from. This is the Secret Service agent collar being loosened.

Cameras recording every moment of it. Sirens filling the air around the hotel. This is James Brady, hit in the head. One shot, six shots fired in two seconds. Four of them found their mark.


WILLIAMS: The coverage from that shocking day 40 years ago today. Our former colleague there Roger Mudd died just earlier this month. John Hinckley is living under supervised care. He is 65 years old.

That is our broadcast on this Tuesday night with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.