Lawmakers are divided over level of threat to Capitol. Democrats
hope to put COVID bill on Biden`s desk by Friday. No Republicans voted for
Biden`s COVID relief bill. White House lobbies House to pass COVID aid
bill. White House faces new border challenge. New York Republicans launch
Governor Andrew Cuomo impeachment effort. CDC releases guidelines for fully
vaccinated people. Experts warn COVID variants may drive new surge in
cases. The Georgia Senate passed a bill Monday to roll back no-excuse
absentee voting and require more voter ID, which would create new obstacles
for voters after Republicans lost elections for president and the U.S.
Senate. Protesters gather in Minneapolis as trial begins for Derek Chauvin.
Trump asks supporters to donate to him over "RINOS."
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again as we start a new
week, day 48 of the Biden administration. Just tonight our elected
representatives in Washington were warned they are currently not prepared
to prevent another January 6 from happening again.
Over the past several hours Members of Congress who the rioters, let`s not
forget were hunting down on that day, have been in briefings led by a
retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Russel Honore. General Honore who`s a
friend of this broadcast was asked by Speaker Pelosi to review Capitol
security after January`s deadly insurrection.
The Generals 15 page report concludes the police force there was,
"understaffed, insufficiently equipped and inadequately trained to secure
the Capitol and members of Congress." Among the report`s recommendations,
new fencing, boosting intelligence teams, more officers, and the ability to
instantly call for help for forces like the National Guard. But that means
more money. That means bipartisan agreement in a sharply divided Congress,
even though they were all under attack. Some Republicans are accusing
General Honore of partisan bias. Others complained Democrats are going it
alone on the security measures.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RODNEY DAVIS, (R) ILLINOIS: The majority didn`t consult me before they
implemented security measures. And they`re not consulting me about taking
those security measures. Now, however, they still have not relayed to me
what an internal threat is within the capital. We need bicameral buy in to
implement the common sense recommendations that his team has put forth. But
we seem to have a difference of opinion on addressing many important
REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN, (D) MICHIGAN: The thing that really concerned me is
that the report itself just explains in just simple detail how disorganized
the command structure was, how no one had clear rules of engagement. I
really think it`s crying out for a 9/11 style commission that has a longer
period of time to look at what really happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: We`ll discuss that in just a bit. And while that debate indeed is
being waged were at the start of what may be a defining week, in the fight
to end the uncontrolled pandemic. Just tonight, we reach something that
feels like a Rubicon of sorts. As of this evening, there are now more fully
vaccinated Americans, then the number of Americans with confirmed cases of
coronavirus since the start of this outbreak.
And the CDC now says fully vaccinated people can indeed gather indoors
without wearing a mask or social distancing. That`s a big change. We have
much more ahead on this new guidance.
Tomorrow, the nearly $2 trillion relief bill that was passed by the Senate
this past weekend, heads back to the House for a final vote expected within
the next day or two. That would put it on track to reach Biden`s desk at
the White House before March 14. That`s when unemployment benefits expire
giving the president a major legislative victory after just seven weeks in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, when are you going to sign the bill?
JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: As soon as I get it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Now one Republican has voted for the relief measure despite poll
showing a majority of Americans are behind it. Today the administration was
asked about efforts to get it through this last House vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Our focus right now is on getting
this bill across the finish line, getting relief out to the American
people, which we expect will happen by the end of the month.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are the President and other White House officials
doing today to ensure that there are no Democratic defections in the vote?
PSAKI: They`re picking up the phone, checking in with offices, making sure
they have their questions answered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: The President plans to address the nation in a primetime address
Thursday evening, he`ll be marking one year since the adoption of sweeping
measures to try to control the virus. And one year since the World Health
Organization declared a global pandemic. It will also be exactly one year
to the night that former President Trump delivered his problem and in fact
plague speech about the virus from the Oval Office.
The new White House also focusing on reversing Trump`s immigration
policies, but is facing an increasingly difficult challenge along the U.S.
southern border. NBC News confirming tonight`s New York Times reporting
that the number of detained unaccompanied migrant children has indeed
tripled in these last two weeks to over 3200. Times says the White House is
struggling to place the children in shelters that are appropriate. So
they`re being held in facilities designed for adults and similar to adult
We`re also keeping an eye on the investigation into those sexual harassment
allegations against the governor of New York Andrew Cuomo. Five women have
now come forward, accusing Cuomo of harassment or inappropriate behavior.
Today New York`s Attorney General Letitia James appointed two attorneys to
head up the investigation. And GOP members of New York`s assembly have just
introduced a resolution to impeach Cuomo who remains defiant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: I`m not going to resign because of
allegations. There is no way I resign. Let`s do the Attorney General
investigation. Let`s get the findings and then we`ll go from there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: And with that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Monday
night, Phil Rucker, Senior Washington Correspondent for The Washington
Post, Bill Bratton, Former Commissioner of the NYPD, a Veteran of the
Boston Police Department, former Chief of Police in Los Angeles as well,
and Julie Pace, Washington Bureau Chief for the Associated Press.
Good evening, and welcome to you all. And, Julie, I`d like to begin with
you. This debate over security on the Hill General Honore`s report his
subsequent briefing to members, does this bode well or poorly or at all? On
the chances of us seeing a, what`s called a 9/11 type commission?
JULIE PACE, AP ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: I think you`re
going to start to hear more calls from lawmakers for that kind of
commission. This report does just start to scratch the surface of a lot of
the deep systemic problems that are coming to light involving the Capitol
Police Force. And they were clearly unprepared not just for that moment,
what I think is so striking about this report is it appears that the
Capitol Police are just not prepared for this moment that we are in as a
country right now, where threats of change, were threats have evolved over
time and threats to lawmakers directly have really been escalating. And so
I do think that you`re going to see a call to start to get more detail
about this police force and about more detail about the timeline of exactly
what unfolded in the lead up to January 6, because even after many
hearings, there are still a lot of questions that were may not answered.
WILLIAMS: Commissioner Bratton, indeed, the report indicates, for lack of a
better phrase, this is not our father`s U.S. Capitol Building. This is not
the era we grew up in. So based on your reading of the report and the
situation, how do you tow that fine line between what is a national
treasure, the centerpiece in that beautiful city and making it a fortress?
BILL BRATTON, FORMER NYPD COMMISSIONER: The difficulty, the report which is
basically an outline at 13 pages, it is not certainly comprehensive or
exhaustive. But it provides a blueprint, if you will, have a way forward,
looking at the failures of the past. It is going to be very controversial.
We have already having Republicans speaking out against. The price tag is
going to be enormous. If the recommendations in this outline report
wouldn`t be followed. It`s going to run into the hundreds of billions of
dollars. The idea of basically hiring an almost 700, 800 additional capital
police officers having rapid response forces training is going to be
In some respects, Brian, this reminds me of where NYPD was after 9/11 in
New York City. Officially Kelly had a literally take intelligence unit that
was largely responsible for dignitary protection, and create eventually
what was 1000 person counterterrorism, intelligence robust unit to protect
the New York City. Similarly, I was doing the same thing in LA. They had a
very significant deficiency in dealing with intelligence. And quite clearly
the Capitol Police are not up to speed in terms of our U.S. intelligence,
what to do with it. And this is going to be an enormous undertaking, in the
midst of the political infighting that goes on every day at the Capitol.
WILLIAMS: I think Phil Rucker, we thought the motivation would be there for
change, given the fact that members of Congress were by definition, targets
and witnesses of the insurrection. But given the current atmosphere and all
things partisan, how much of this do you expect to see go into practice?
PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: You know,
Brian, we`re immediately seeing elected officials on Capitol Hill revert to
their partisan corners. You saw that just in the sound you played at the
top of the show from the Republican and Democratic members and I expect
we`re going to see that going forward. Speaker Pelosi has been calling for
this 9/11 style commission. And that has been beaten down by Republicans
who worry about whether it would be too heavy handed for Democrats, whether
they would have a voice in the ultimate findings of that commission. And I
-- it feels, unfortunately, I think for, you know, progress at the Capitol,
that this issue of security, which should be a nonpartisan issue is
becoming a partisan football in the Wars of Washington. And we`ll have to
see how it continues in the weeks ahead. But this report is a significant
And one thing that I know has a lot of lawmakers on the hill uneasy is this
idea of an internal review, internal threat. There were deep suspicions by
a number of Democratic members of Congress that some of their Republican
colleagues on Capitol Hill may have played some role in aiding some of the
insurrectionists, the protesters or at least in guiding them a little bit
on Capitol Hill. And that never got figured out by law enforcement
authorities yet. And so that`s sort of bubbling under the surface here as
this partisan fighting is underway.
WILLIAMS: Indeed, the FBI director said they`re on the case regarding phone
records and communications from that day.
Julie, let me read you this from the New York Times tonight, "While Mr.
Biden`s team has been cautious not to take a victory lap while so many
Americans are suffering. He needs to take credit for its fast passage to
gain the leverage needed for looming fights over other items on his
agenda." I know it`s not your writing but I may ask you for an explanation.
What about getting this past confers any further power or clout to the
president? What about this doesn`t simply codify party line votes from here
PACE: Well, I think what the White House is going to try to do is try to
claim a sense of momentum here. You know, they do have a couple things on
their side right now. One is going to be passage, yes, it will have been
button party line vote. But this is really sweeping legislation. And the
fact that the President will be able to sign this into law is certainly a
positive for his agenda.
Also, the measure is popular, and Biden overall has seen some pretty strong
popularity and approval ratings for his job performance thus far. But
you`re right, the job gets harder from here, everything else that he has to
do going forward, whether it`s infrastructure, whether it`s on climate
change, whether it`s on voting rights, is going to be a tough fight, just
to keep his own Democratic Party together. The split between the party, the
liberals and the moderates is really going to come into full focus as he
tackles these other issues. What he`s hoping to do, though, again, claim
momentum, claim a mandate, claim the mandate from the public, and hope that
that can keep the party together. But the White House knows that this road
gets pretty difficult going forward.
WILLIAMS: Commissioner Bratton, let`s say for the sake of conversation,
this is going to be known as the Bratton commission and you get the job of
figuring out security on Capitol Hill, and nothing less. I first visited
that building with my parents in 1974. It`s indelible still and growing up,
becoming an adult, it`s one of the great sites in Washington, D.C. school
buses full of kids on a field trip, kids with their parents, discovering
that place, and the White House and the Library of Congress all of it for
the first time. Question is, how do we keep it that way, while also taking
all the steps we`ve run through to secure the building in the event of
BRATTON: Brian, I wish I had an answer to that. I have been in the Capitol
quite frequently. I had the distinct pleasure when Terry Gainer was a
sergeant at arms, bringing my dad will watch veteran to have lunch with the
sergeant at arms in the Senate cafeteria. And so I share the thrill that
you just described going forward. I wish this was a quick fix, a simple
fix, but the partisan politics that will everything in America are going to
interfere with something that is quite clear cut in terms of this report.
Security needs to be vastly improved at that facility, the balancing of
public access and public security and the security of the Congress.
Going forward that I really worry, everything I see and hear about what`s
going on up in that building is going to work against rotation of these.
Well thought out, as well thought of outline of what needs to be done. I
wish I could be more optimistic looking at this, but I`m one of those who
really do believe this is going to be quiet, a 9/11 style commission to
ultimately get resolved. But even that seemingly simple solution is tied up
in the bipartisan politics that`s moving the roost down there right now.
WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, indeed we must careen back into politics. I`m going
to read you a statement the former President put out because he`s off
social media. He communicates now through the letterhead of his political
action committee. This is what he wrote tonight. No more money for Rhinos,
Republicans in name only. They do nothing but hurt the Republican Party and
our great voting base. They will never lead us to greatness. Send your
donation to save America PAC at DonaldJTrump.com. We will bring it all back
stronger than ever before.
Phil, sadly, I guess a lot of folks are going to send their money to that
web address. How`s this going to go over with Republicans? You can fiddle
all you want around the margins with their politics, morality, their
personal dignity, threatened to take away their fundraising, you might just
get their attention?
RUCKER: And you know what, Brian, I think President Trump, former President
Trump is certainly getting their attention with that statement. And he got
their attention a few days ago, when he actually initiated sort of a legal
threat to Republicans to stop using his name in their fundraising appeals.
Remember, so many arms of the Republican Party, these last four years have
been able to raise huge sums of money from grassroots activists by linking
their causes to Donald Trump. He is that popular with grassroots donors
around the country that they send out text messages, emails, all sorts of
other digital advertising appeals to raise money on his name. He doesn`t
want anyone else raising money on his name. He wants to be the one raising
that money. That`s what that statement there is all about.
The irony, of course, is that he`s not the one on the ballot in the next
election cycle in 2022, which Republicans trying to take back the House and
trying to win back their majority in the Senate and they`re going to need
the money, all the money they can get in order to do so to fund those
campaigns. And they`re really running head on here into Trump who is trying
to amass his own works so that he can play kingmaker in the midterm
elections and remain a viable threat to possibly run for president again,
WILLIAMS: Never boring around here, I`ll say that. We`re much obliged to
our big three for starting off a new week with us, to Phil Rucker, to Bill
Bratton, to Julie Pace, our thanks for being here with us tonight.
Coming up for us, as we mentioned, there are now more fully vaccinated
Americans than the total number of COVID cases detected in our country thus
far. It feels like a major event. But what does it really mean? We`ll ask
one of our top doctors who`s standing by to talk to us.
And later, Republicans push a clamp down on voting, as party leaders openly
talk of harnessing the, "Trump Magic" we got two guests standing by who
don`t quite see the magic in preventing black Americans from voting. THE
11TH HOUR is just getting underway on this Monday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY SLAVITT, WHITE HOUSE COVID RESPONSE SENIOR ADVISER: We are vaccinating
a seven-day average of nearly 2.2 million Americans a day, while all of
this is challenging. Our message is keep going. I know the pace is
challenging. This is a war we can`t let up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Tonight there are new guidelines as we mentioned in this war
against the coronavirus. The CDC says fully vaccinated people can now
gather indoors with one another without a mask, without social distancing.
They can also be with people at low risk of severe disease like children.
But this same group is still urged to wear masks in public places. So far
18% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine at least 9%
are fully vaccinated now. It`s a start.
And here with us again to take our questions, Dr. Kavita Patel, Clinical
Physician, former Senior Policy Aide during the Obama administration, now a
non-resident Fellow at Brookings.
Doctor, the key as I`ve learned it to public health education is clarity
and repetition. So one way of looking at it is we`ve had seven weeks of
that over the past year, but I`m afraid I need even more clarity. Today`s
announcement was stunning from the CDC. But if they don`t want fully
vaccinated people to travel, I guess that`s another way of saying no one
should. And is today -- today`s guidelines aren`t they dependent on new
variants at the end of the day?
DR. KAVITA PATEL, FORMER AIDE TO VALERIE JARRETT IN THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE:
Yeah, Brian, so today`s guidance was really kind of a milestone for several
reasons, one of which you mentioned that we are really kind of starting to
look at what normal could be very soon with vaccinated people getting
together with other vaccinated people. Remember, that`s two weeks after
your second dose or two weeks after a one dose shot, and also having some
flexibility to have guidance with unvaccinated people if they are not at
risk for severe COVID so we can talk about what that might mean.
But to your point more directly, the lack of the travel guidance has been
both a point of praise and a point of criticism, I will tell you that I
think it was responsible with not just the variance but you`ve still got
states around the country that have very high positivity rates that are
literally in the red zones. And at the same time governors who have taken
away mask mandates and said, you can open up to 100% restaurant capacity
while we have just been days away from research, Brian, which demonstrates
that when you put mask mandates in place, cases and deaths drop within
about 20 days, when you open things back up cases and deaths increase on an
average within about 40 days. So those variants make those statistics even
WILLIAMS: Yeah, I`m no doctor, I`m no academician. But both of those cases
stand to reason. I want to play for you someone we both know. This is
Michael Osterholm, who managed to combine optimism and pessimism as is
often his job within just a few seconds of each other during one on air
appearance. We`ll discuss on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, MEMBER OF BIDEN CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: We are in
the eye of the hurricane right now. It appears that things are going very
well. He will see blue skies. We`ve been through a terrible, terrible year.
But what we know is about to come upon us is the situation with this B117
variant, 2.9 to 3 million doses of vaccine a day over the next six to 14
weeks when the surge is likely to happen, is not going to really take care
of the problem at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Doctor, anything in there you would disagree with?
PATEL: What I would disagree with this is that I think characterizing this
as a hurricane, the blue skies and that we`re in the eye of the hurricane
and kind of forecasting what I think would be a surge just like what we are
recovering from, Brian, is not accurate. I do think that we are going to
see an uptick in cases. That is inevitable. We`ve got a plateau in cases
now about 50,000 cases a day. We`re still at an unfortunate 2000 deaths a
day. So we are seeing a slowing down that deceleration and as the states
are opening up and we`re heading into spring break, cases will go up. But
it`s not going to be that full kind of hurricane that I think Dr. Osterholm
who I have deep respect for is predicting rather I think that statement
that you made at the top of the hour with the numbers of vaccinations
exceeding the numbers of cases, that is showing us that we`re at an
Reminder, we`re not going to see coronavirus cases go to zero. We will see
coronavirus decrease and as herd immunity takes place, we will see this
virus slowly come down as close to zero as possible. But it will not go
away just like we`re still living with Ebola and other viruses that have
posed threats to the globe.
WILLIAMS: And in all years, but this one, the seasonal flu. Dr. Kavita
Patel, thank you so much for taking our questions and for your forthright
answers, as always, greatly appreciate it. Dr. Patel, our guest tonight.
Coming up, the priorities of the Grand Old Party under the influence of the
only twice mph private citizen in all of Florida, who no longer wants the
party using his name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): There`s something about Trump. There`s a dark
side, and there`s some magic there. What I tried to do is just harness the
magic. To me, Donald Trump is sort of a cross between Jesse Helms, Ronald
Reagan and PT Barnum.
I mean, it`s just this bigger than life deal. He could make the Republican
Party something that nobody else I know can make. It can make it bigger, he
can make it stronger. He can make it more diverse. And he also could
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Let`s harness that magic, shall we while the former President
continues to push the big lie. Republican lawmakers in Georgia for one are
forging ahead with efforts to make it harder to vote. State Senate passed a
bill today eliminating what`s called no excuse early voting. Atlanta
Journal Constitution sums it up this way the legislation would reduce the
availability of absentee voting restricting it to those who are at least 65
has a -- have a physical disability or are out of town. In addition,
Georgians would need to provide, wait for it, a driver`s license number,
state ID number or other identification.
Bill huds (ph) to the House next where it`s expected to pass.
Back tonight, two of our returning favorites. Jason Johnson, campaign
veteran, journalist, contributor at TheGrio and a professor of politics and
journalism at Morgan State and David Jolly, former Republican, former
member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He`s now chairman of Serve
America Movement, a group of current and former Democrats, Republicans and
independents working to fix our nation`s sorry, broken politics and in
their work. We wish them luck.
OK, Congressman, we heard Lindsey Graham, I`m going to play for you, Megan
McCain from today, then we can discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY MCCAIN, WIDOW OF JOHN MCCAIN: Well, I love Lindsey Graham, and he`s
as much a member of my family almost as my children are. So but with that
said, I disagree for this reason. Right now, there`s too much anger and
hate and that`s been generated from the top. And I just don`t believe that
our party can survive by appealing to the dark side of humanity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Forgive me, the senator`s widow Cindy McCain and not Megan.
Congressman, this is a question people have danced around. But people have
asked it for years now. What happened to Lindsey Graham?
DAVID JOLLY, SERVE AMERICA MOVEMENT CHAIRMAN: Cindy McCain is probably more
gracious than I would be in this moment. Brian, I think Lindsey Graham, in
many ways is the gift that keeps on giving. But if it wasn`t so serious in
terms of its reflection on today`s politics, and Republican politics.
Look, for Lindsey Graham, who is not an ignorant person to suggest that the
way to create greater diversity and today`s Republican Party is for Donald
Trump to harness the legacy of Jesse Helms suggest that maybe Lindsey
Graham is the greater PT Barnum in this story than Donald Trump himself is.
And I think we know that about Lindsey Graham. He has changed directions
and changed his own behavior and his own convictions, as the wind has
changed as well.
And I guess the most instructive thing, and that Lindsey Graham interview,
and I think it`s instructive of the entire Republican Party in this moment,
is that he cares not about the Republican principles right about the
ideology that conservatism that wants drew Lindsey Graham to the party.
He instead cares about the man that can keep the party in power or bring
the party back to power. It doesn`t matter what that looks like if it`s
Ronald Reagan or PT Barnum or Jesse Helms. Lindsey Graham wants power just
like Donald Trump does.
WILLIAMS: Dr. Johnson now let`s talk about the serious politics going on in
states like Georgia, some of these states are so into being bold than on
brand. I expect one of them to label at the Voter Suppression Act of 2021.
There being that public about it. For 15 years in Georgia, you didn`t need
an excuse to get an absentee ballot. There`s also a measure that would ban
the giveaway of snacks and liquids to those in line to vote. Jason, what,
what do you do about this coming flood of straight up voter suppression?
JASON JOHNSON, PROFESSOR, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, first of all,
Brian, we have to identify it for what it is. This is this is black voter
suppression, right, this is very specifically targeted at black and brown
people whenever you`re talking about people can`t vote because of certain
identification, whenever you`re talking about getting rid of absentee
voting something that Republicans are actually put into law, and now
they`re taking out of law because they don`t like the results. They`re
trying to stop black people, brown people, Hispanic people and Native
American people from actually being able to participate in the process.
Georgia just happens to be the most blatant because you have the new
Georgia project and Julio and Stacey Abrams there. But you see the same
things happening in North Carolina, you see these same things happening in
Here`s what actually concerns me, Brian, honestly about this. People are
going to sue, ACLU will sue, New Georgia Project will sue organizations
will sue. But what we`ve seen, we saw this in 2018 is that a state
legislature can move faster than the courts.
And so even if they sue to block what`s being passed right now by the
legislature, because we know Brian Kemp is going to sign it, he`s a coward.
He`s going to do it, eventually, they will just come up with something
else. And we`ve seen a tendency in courts, especially these new Trump
appointed judges that even if they admit, oh, yes, this is voter
suppression. This is racially discriminatory. This is an undue burden on
voters. But you know what, we`re so close to the election, there`s no time
to fix it.
So that`s where I think this new Justice Department, Kimberly Clark, Vinita
Gupta, like the people that are being put into the Justice Department right
now by Joe Biden have to be aggressive about this because Republicans
aren`t going to stop.
WILLIAMS: We have seen activists, civil rights divisions and Justice
Departments in the past in recent American history, there`s no reason why
it can`t happen again. Both of these gentlemen have agreed to stay where
they are while we just slip in a commercial break.
Coming up, an early delay in the trial, some are calling one of the most
important in our modern history. We`ll talk about it when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see these barricades coming up. I think maybe the
system thinks that there isn`t going to be justice and that there isn`t
going to be peace and they know it already. Like the verdict is set.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The child`s going to be traumatic for black people
here and black people across the country, that reminder that these things
are still happening to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Let`s talk about this jury selection was delayed today in the
trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after a dispute
over adding a third degree murder charge. He`s currently facing
manslaughter and murder to second degree charges and the death of George
Floyd. The judge said jury selection would begin tomorrow morning unless an
Appeals Court intervenes in this.
Remaining with us, our Professor David Johnson and former congressman David
-- Professor Jason Johnson and former congressman David jolly.
Professor, no one needs to tell you because you teach impressionable minds
for a living. Police trials are rare. Police convictions are more rare than
that. We just marked 30 years since Rodney King, which is hard to believe
absent video would we ever have known. And here we are talking about George
Floyd again. Absent video, would we ever have known? But the question to
you is, are we any closer to a conviction do you think in this case given
where we are as a society in 2021?
JOHNSON: So Brian, I`m generally a realist about this. Cops almost never
get convicted for anything. Although it`s interesting. You look at
Minnesota. This is the place where the Somali police officer was convicted
for shooting a white Australian woman about a year and a half ago. So
clearly, justice applies itself, very sporadically and inconsistently
depending on the race of the victim, and the race of the person who`s
accused of taking their life.
Here`s what I look at. In this particular case, though, one, this delay is
really key, because the prosecutors want to use the same charge us against
the Somalian police officer, I think his last name was Noom (ph). They want
to use the same charge that we use against that officer to get a conviction
to use against Derek Chauvin.
So this is a very important delay because the prosecution is basically
like, you`re not going to send us into this case with one hand tied behind
I would have trouble seeing. And I am not an optimist by any stretch of the
imagination. But I think sometimes there are police crimes that are so
heinous, that as racist as I think our criminal justice system is, there is
a fear that if this person gets off, there`s no holds barred.
And I remember that with Daniel Holtzclaw in Oklahoma, the gentleman who
was accused of sexually assaulting women, as a police officer, he was
actually convicted, there was a lot of skepticism. I just don`t think Derek
Chauvin who killed George Floyd in front of the entire world will be able
to get off scot-free. I don`t think this country could handle that. And I
don`t think this jury would want to see the consequences of letting him
WILLIAMS: David Jolly back to politics, we must go. We learned today
there`s going to be a another vacancy in the US Senate, Roy Blunt,
Missouri, who when he goes home will no doubt try to fuzz up and buff up
his reputation and be the distinguished senator again, but people should
He became over the course of the last couple of years of full on Trumper by
any other name his voting record with Donald Trump was 90.6 percent and
here we have Donald Trump writing this fundraising letter under his new
pack stationary letterhead saying not just in effect, but pretty much
straight up don`t give money to these guys. Give your money to me. David,
how`s all this going to go over?
JOLLY: First of all, Roy Blunt will probably stay in Washington DC and
become a lobbyist not go home to Missouri would be my guess. But, you know,
it`s ironic just a day ago, Donald Trump wrote this letter to the RNC, the
NRCC and others saying you can`t use my likeness.
Today they actually push back and said we`re still going to use your like
this. And now Donald Trump saying OK, well, then I`m going to tell
Republican voters to give money to me, not to the party. I think the lesson
is clear that Donald Trump has always in this for himself and the line his
own pockets, but I think it`s also indicative of what we will see from
Donald Trump going forward.
He will make his money now in international business because his domestic
business brand has really lower than it`s ever been as a result of his
political service. But within politics, he will grift and make a ton of
money in domestic politics and he will be successful converting over
Republican donors to Trump donors. And look, that is the Trump brand. This
is about Donald Trump. It has been since he entered politics, it will be
now that he`s left the presidency.
WILLIAMS: Professor, final question for you. It still rings in my ears
talking about the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department. What`s
the level in your college classes of optimism, pessimism, people who think
bright days are in front of us?
JOHNSON: I`ll tell you this, Brian, candidly, with a group of students who
are 18, 19 years old, Trayvon Martin was killed when they were like 13.
They don`t have a lot of faith in this country. They`ve seen nothing but
black people getting murdered and massacred by cops, and by random
individuals for the last seven or eight years of their life. They don`t
believe in this place. And they don`t really have much reason to.
One of my greatest challenges as faculty is to tell them that this system
is worth fighting for, and that it can possibly be changed because no
evidence has been presented, that it actually works. If your lifetime has
been spent watching black people get killed and viral videos for the last
seven, eight years of your existence, followed by a man like Donald Trump
getting elected. You don`t believe much in the American Dream right now.
WILLIAMS: All I know is your students are lucky to be in your class, Dr.
Jason Johnson, Congressman David Jolly. Gentlemen, thank you both very
much. Coming up for us the latest on the story everyone spent today talking
about, about last night when we come back.
WILLIAMS: What a night to be in England. few hours ago viewers in the UK
got their own chance to watch Meghan Markle and Prince Harry`s televised
bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
British tabloids have been hitting back hard since the couple`s explosive
allegations became public attacks almost as vicious as those that drove
Meghan and Harry from the country and the monarchy. NBC News correspondent
Keir Simmons brings us more reaction from London.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight silence from the
royal family after Harry and Meghan`s bombshell allegation that racist
comments were made before the birth of their first son.
MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: He won`t be given security. It`s not
going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how
dark his skin might be when he`s born.
OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: What?
MARKLE: There`s a several conversations.
WINFREY: There`s conversation with you --
MARKLE: With Harry.
WINFREY: -- about how dark your baby is going to be?
MARKLE: Potentially and what that would mean or look like.
SIMMONS: Prince Harry confirming the allegation.
PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: That conversation I`m never going to share.
But at the time, the thunder was awkward. I was a bit shocked.
SIMMONS: Today in the UK, many stunned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really hopeful to a lot of people to be honest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a black woman, she didn`t get it very easy within
the royal family.
SIMMONS: Meghan says she became so depressed she asked for help.
MARKLE: I just didn`t want to be alive anymore. I said that I needed to go
somewhere to get help. And I was told that I couldn`t that it wouldn`t be
good for the institution.
WINFREY: So were you thinking of harming yourself? Were you having suicidal
MARKLE: Yes, this was very, very clear.
SIMMONS: She says Harry was her only support.
MARKLE: If you zoom in what I see is how tightly his knuckles are gripped
around mine even see the whites of our knuckles because we are smiling and
doing our job. But we`re both just trying to hold on.
SIMMONS: Contrary to press reports they say they never blindsided the
PRINCE HARRY: I never blindsided my grandmother. I have too much respect
SIMMONS: Harry describes a strained relationship with the British press and
members of the royal family, including his father, who he says at one point
wouldn`t pick up his calls, as for his relationship with Prince William.
PRINCE HARRY: The relationship his space.
SIMMONS: One royal historian tonight tells us the palace will be in crisis
(on camera): How damaging is the interview?
ANDREW ROBERTS, ROYAL HISTORIAN: I think it`s very damaging. Actually,
they`ve made very serious allegations, primarily of course of racism in the
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SIMMONS: And Brian, Oprah says Prince Harry told her the unnamed royal who
made the comments about skin color is not the queen or Prince Philip.
WILLIAMS: What a time to be there. Kier Simmons with thanks for your
reporting tonight from London. Another break for us and coming up the real
stars of the ceremony at the White House today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PERSIDENT: General Van Ovost and Lieutenant
General Richardson have been tested under the most difficult circumstances
and they are proven leaders. The President and I have full confidence in
them to address the complex threats we face to help lead our troops and to
keep our nation safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, the first woman vice president
in our nation`s history on this International Women`s Day presiding today
along with the president at a promotion announcement for two senior women
in the Pentagon leadership. General Jacqueline Van Ovost of the U.S. Air
Force, she is a veteran pilot over 4,000 cockpit hours and 30 types of
aircraft. Basically if they`ve built it, she can fly it, served in
Afghanistan and in the Gulf, recipient of the Bronze Star.
She is being promoted to head the entire U.S. Transportation Command.
Please note the four stars on her shoulders. We have 43 four star generals
or admirals and all of the U.S. military. She is the only woman.
Then there`s General Laura Richardson, the three star commander of U.S.
Army North, she`s being promoted to head the Southern Command. She`s a
Blackhawk helicopter pilot by training, also a Bronze Star recipient,
deployed to Iraq `03 with 101st Airborne. She and her husband made history
as the only husband and wife combat battalion commanders in the history of
the army, she will now receive her fourth star.
Importantly, the promotions for these two women were ready months ago at
the Pentagon, both women having been found to be the best qualified for
their new roles. But the former defense secretary under Trump Mark Esper,
and General Mark Milley, head of the Joint Chiefs have since admitted these
were held back from Trump`s attention for fear of his reaction.
Today that was simply too much for a former senator who knows both of these
generals and regards it as a crime and a tragedy that their promotions had
to be kept away from President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAIRE MCCASKILL, FMR. U.S. SENATOR: They couldn`t trust him. They couldn`t
rely that he would do the on the fact that he would do the right thing and
allow their promotions to go through. They were protective of these women`s
careers, because they knew they had a commander in chief that was a jerk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: And now after Claire`s former colleagues confirmed both of these
women, they will begin their new commands. And at a minimum, it`s just
another reason especially to girls growing up in America that if they so
choose, the future is in the stars, in this case, the stars on the
shoulders of these two women.
That is our broadcast on this Monday night as we begin a new week with our
thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all my colleagues up the
networks of NBC News, good night.
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