IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 3/9/2021

Guest: Ashley Parker, A.B. Stoddard, Michael Osterholm, Bill Kristol, Caroline Randall Williams


In less than 24 hours, the House is expected to pass this sweeping $1.9 trillion relief bill, send it on to the President for his signature. Recent polls show a clear majority of Americans support it, the President has signaled he continues to promote the bill. Fear over COVID variants grow as some states lift COVID restrictions. White House continues to face a huge test of what it describes as a more humane immigration policy in our country. NBC News is reporting that despite promises and plans to end family detention, the policy is still in place, still being carried out. This follows those reports that a number, a record number of unaccompanied migrant children are being held in Border Patrol custody. White House was announcing another increase in the number of vaccines being shipped out, 600,000 additional doses from both Pfizer and Moderna being sent to states this week. Trump clashes with GOP over fundraising.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will be here.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again. Day 49 of the Biden administration and a major part of this President`s agenda tackling the pandemic and the economic wasteland and its wake is on track to become reality.

In less than 24 hours now the House is expected to pass this sweeping $1.9 trillion relief bill send it on to the President for his signature. Recent polls show a clear majority of Americans support it, the President has signaled he continues to promote the bill. Indeed, he has plans to travel about the country to talk more about it while moving on to the rest of his to do list.

Today, members of the House on both sides of the aisle wasted no time trying to define the bill and what this represents.


REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES, (D) NEW YORK: We promised to put vaccination shots and arms for every single American. Mission accomplished. We promise to put money in the pockets of everyday Americans who`ve been struggling through the economic trauma of the pandemic. Mission accomplished.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-NY) HOUSE SPEAKER: This is the Biden American rescue plan. It will be followed by the American recovery plan.

REP. JIM CLYBURN, (D) SOUTH CAROLINA MAJORITY WHIP: This is bipartisan legislation. It may not satisfy the partisans on both sides of the Capitol,

REP. LIZ CHENEY, (R) WYOMING: We could have had a bill that was you know, a fraction of the class of this one that could have gotten bipartisan approval and support.

REP. STEVE SCALISE, (R) LOUISIANA MINORITY WHIP: It`s not focused on COVID relief. It`s focused on pushing more of the far left agenda.

People recognize that Speaker Pelosi socialist agenda is bad for America.


WILLIAMS: As a great man once said, and so it goes. As the bill headed toward final passage, the White House was announcing another increase in the number of vaccines being shipped out, 600,000 additional doses from both Pfizer and Moderna being sent to states this week. White House also says the seven day average now for shots administered is now over 2 million a day.

There was a development on another front today as well. The FBI has released new video that it shows that suspect planning pipe bombs that were found at the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee headquarters on the eve of the January 6 Capitol riot The suspect is seen walking with a backpack on a sidewalk in areas outside the DNC and RNC. The feds say the identical devices were planted between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. on the fifth of January.

One member of Congress says this new video suggests the investigation into the insurrection needs to go beyond federal law enforcement.


REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN, (D) MICHIGAN: I`m a little surprised that it took us two months to see video. Frankly, this area probably has more video cameras pointed at it than most places in the country just highlights the need for a 9/11 style commission.


WILLIAMS: Indeed, tonight, the Pentagon approved the Capitol Police request for continued National Guard presence at the Capitol. Some 2,300 members of the guard will remain there on post through May 23 now.

Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland who has vowed to make the Capitol riot his priority is a step closer to getting the job. The Senate today agreed to move forward with his nomination. The final vote on Garland is at long last expected tomorrow.

Senators also voted to advance the nomination of Democratic Congresswoman Marcia Fudge as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Her confirmation vote is scheduled for tomorrow as well.

Amid all of this, the White House continues to face a huge test of what it describes as a more humane immigration policy in our country. NBC News reporting that despite promises and plans to end family detention, the policy is still in place, still being carried out. This follows those reports that a number, a record number of unaccompanied migrant children are being held in Border Patrol custody. Today, the White House said it was aware there would be an increase in migration.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are continuing to work to convey to people in the region that this is not the time to come, that the majority of people who come to the border will be turned away.

We have a different policy than the last administration. We`re not turning kids away at the border, unaccompanied children. We`re also of course not ripping them from the arms of their parents.

We`re not trying to close our borders. We are trying to keep create an effective moral humane system.


WILLIAMS: Axios is reporting tonight the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy plans to travel to Texas on Monday with about a dozen Republican members of Congress, get a firsthand look as they`re calling it, of the situation at the border of photo op by any other name. Texas Governor Greg Abbott beat him to it he was on the scene today and making predictions.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT, (R) TEXAS: This is just the beginning. This this month, the month of March is when it typically begins to increase. The influx will continue to grow because the signal has been sent to Central America to other countries across the world that people can come across the border now under the Biden administration.


WILLIAMS: We are also following the trial of Derek Chauvin. The ex- Minneapolis police officer charged with second degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last May. Three jurors were seated today. Three weeks have been set aside to choose the rest of the jury.

There`s now intense security around the court house streets are lined with fencing, concrete blocks, armored trucks, barbed wire. The National Guard and other law enforcement officers have been stationed there throughout the city until further notice.

With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Tuesday night, Ashley Parker, Pulitzer Prize Winning White House bureau chief for "The Washington Post". A.B. Stoddard, Veteran Washington Journalist, Associate Editor and Columnist over at "Real Clear Politics." And Michael Osterholm, professor and the director of the aforementioned group, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He was also a COVID, advisor to the Biden transition team.

Good evening, and welcome to you all.

Ashley, I`d like to begin with you this COVID bill has been cast, depending on where you read in terms of the new deal in terms of the great society, but to localize it a bit, is this to Biden what ACA was to Obama?

ASHLEY PARKER, "THE WASHINGTON POST" WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: In terms of the Republican opposition, there`s a lot of it. It doesn`t seem though, as of now, at least, that Republicans will be able to successfully message against this bill. The way they were able to, in certain ways, successfully message against Obamacare, if this bill does what President Biden wants it to do, and that`s what the Biden administration is counting on.

Their thought is that yes, this bill is big, it`s 1.9 trillion. They say it needs to be that big, because of the magnitude of the crises the country is facing. And they say that, again, if it gets shots into arms of Americans checks into their pockets, into their banks, it helps jumpstart the economy, offers some immediate relief. Americans are not going to care that it passed through a budgetary process known as reconciliation, that it didn`t have any Republican votes, that it is going to be popular.

It is popular right now in huge swaths of the country. And it is going to be something that Republicans are going to have a hard time arguing against. That is the belief, at least, from the administration.

WILLIAMS: A.B., indeed, remember the reaction to ACA, went across the country like a prairie fire. My favorite protest sign during that time was federal government, Get your hands off my Medicare. Let that one sink in for a bit. But the Tea Party gave us those 37 freshmen members of the House, it was a genuine prairie fire. To Ashley`s point, there probably won`t be that kind of resistance to this.

But let me ask you a theoretical knowing the Republican caucuses as you do. What if there were a ton of stuff that the Republicans wanted in this? Would there be crossover voters? Would it be truly bipartisan or would they opt to stay on brand?

A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS ASSOC. EDITOR & COLUMNIST: You know, I just don`t think we know what could have been offered by the White House or the Senate Majority to the Republicans that would have been accepted. And whether or not they are determined. Most of them not all of them to be in lockstep against this.

They don`t really have to message against this right now. I mean, as Ashley correctly points out, they don`t know how to because even polls are showing that Trump voters are looking for these checks, and are in support of, you know, returning to schools and getting most of the population vaccinated. But you can sense within the White House team and the Democrats on the Hill, a real fear from 2009 that they have to present this, you know, repeatedly in detail as a benefit that voters they hope will feel and that negative polarization won`t take over. And you won`t have Republicans next fall saying, see, the schools didn`t really open on time. We`re still having mutations. They didn`t have, you know, a great organizational capacity for vaccine distribution. They oversaw some of their promises, things aren`t that great. And look, we`re really in debt.

Don`t even be surprised if some of them say you`ve got more under the Trump check than the Biden checks. I mean, anything goes at this point. So, there is a lot of PTSD as you can sense, they keep talking about 2009 among Democrats. They really have to travel the country and make sure Biden is explicit in what is being delivered and in the hope that voters feel it. And they feel it be before the midterms in 2022.

And as one House, Democratic non-progressive advisor put it today, you know, they know that these suburban Republican voters that that they have won in 2018 and 2020 might flee if schools are not open by the midterms. I mean, successfully this fall, and that that will be a resonant issue that stays in voters mind from fall of 2021 to fall 2022.

WILLIAMS: Agreed And to your point A.B., speaking to the nation on Thursday, and then he`s going to put some miles on Air Force One over the ensuing days to go out to the country to do some proof testing of what`s in the bill and how people will benefit.

Michael, you use some vivid imagery on Sunday. And we repeated your comments on this broadcast on Monday comparing where we are to the eye of a hurricane. Having covered many of those, I`ve seen many hurricane eyes, and you can see how ancient folks celebrated that the storm was over. Only to learn that it was fixing to storm again. It`s a long way of asking you, again, where are we in this in your view?

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, CTR. FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICY, UNIV. OF MINNESOTA: Well, as I said on Sunday, we`re still in the eye of this hurricane. We`ve obviously been through a rough, rough last year, that`s the first wall. And now as well, we have vaccines coming and there surely is a bright day ahead.

There`s also this variant, what we call P117. And that particular variant is one that is of grave concern to us in terms of this spread in the United States. We`re beginning to see it pick up in a number of different states, in terms of the number of infections that are occurring.

Right here in our own state of Minnesota, we have a large outbreak of it occurring now largely in kids with a thin spilling over into adults. And I think that within the next six to 12 weeks, we`re going to see a substantial increase in cases here in the United States, just like we`ve seen in Europe.

WILLIAMS: Ashley Parker, back to politics, hear now a sampling of Lindsey Graham tonight on Fox News. We`ll discuss on the other side.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: They`re children today but they could easily be terrorists tomorrow. As embarrassing and as painful it would be for Biden administration. They need to understand that what Trump did on the border worked


WILLIAMS: Yes, but will they be terrorist as effective of the as the ones we saw on one six when they took our capital. Ashley, all kidding aside, when Fox News Tonight wasn`t eviscerating Meghan Markle, they were going after the border. Is there and awareness that you`ve been able to sense inside the Biden White House of how ugly this could get how quickly when weaponized.

PARKER: They`re, they`re quite aware. And it`s one thing when they are taking into account what Biden`s governing agenda is going to be. And it`s worth noting, we don`t know how much he will accomplish. But in terms of his ambitions, it`s quite ambitious. It`s quite bold. It`s very much a lot of progressive priorities.

And one of those, of course, is immigration. And immigration, more so than others, more so than infrastructure, more so even then, perhaps some climate is, is an incredibly difficult issue that going back to the George W. Bush years, presidents of both parties have tried to solve this problem. Bush couldn`t do it. Obama couldn`t do it. Trump didn`t really want to do it and couldn`t do it.

And it`s one of those issues where they are aware that the activists in the progressive community is going to be pushing them to do something on it. It`s something that Biden has laid out a plan, has laid out a very clear blueprint of what he wants to do. But it is one of those issues where if he brings it in the form of legislation, he is going to be asking Democrats to take an incredibly difficult vote. And you`re already seeing from that clip you showed of Lindsey Graham, who by the way, was part of the Gang of Eight under Obama pushing for immigration reform, of just how much this will be weaponized, and just how toxic this will become.

WILLIAMS: A.B. tomorrow is day 50 for the Biden presidency, that puts us exactly halfway to that mythical mark of 100 days that journalists have been insisting for decades is an important benchmark for all Americans to take an instant assessment of any new presidency. I`m convinced it was invented by Henry Luce to sell magazines back in the day. But where would your report card be as we`re minutes away officially from day 50?

STODDARD: Well, I think the Biden administration came in with a with one distinct focus, which was to crush the virus, stand up the vaccine program, 100 million in 100 days, they`re exceeding that and to try to stabilize the economy. This quick passage before the deadlines, of all these programs expiring on March 14, of the COVID relief package.

It meets a promise. And as I said, before they pray we`ll end up delivering. But I think it`s impressive that they have weighed a lot of infighting among themselves, and were able to get this done, and get it into the pipeline. And then of course, the hard work comes with selling it.

But this was never going to be 100 days of legislative blitzing in the middle of 100 year health crisis and another economic downturn. So, I think in that sense, he wasn`t expected to come up with all the bells and whistles that previous new presidents have.

WILLIAMS: Michael, I think A.B. put it correctly. This is a 100 year health crisis. And so, I`ve saved the toughest question for last and the toughest question for you.

Everyone`s been pushing forward to the idea of a vaccine. I need you to be able to tell our viewers how they should live once they are fully vaccinated, the folks who want to take that vaccine freedom out for a spin, do they need a mask on a walk through their city or town on a bike ride going about their day? Why can`t they travel, especially since airlines and onboard ventilation has gotten so good at preventing spread? What should the guide to life be for those who have been fully vaccinated?

OSTERHOLM: Well, being fully vaccinated should offer some real personal and, you might say, infectious disease benefits. And in that case, you`re going to see over the course of the next weeks. The CDC continue to update as guidance allowing for more of that being in the public and feeling protected.

The one caveat we have to add, which is what no one wants to hear is that we do have new variants of this virus, which actually may seriously challenged the effectiveness of these vaccines that we have now. We`re seeing the spread of that virus particularly in Brazil right now. And should that become part of the picture here in the United States, then unfortunately, we`re going to have a whole different game we`re going to have to deal with. And that`s the challenge we have right now.

But in the meantime, we need to allow people to find the benefit of being vaccinated in the ability to be able to do many of the things that they haven`t been able to do for the last year.

WILLIAMS: Can`t thank our big three enough for coming on and taking our questions tonight. Ashley Parker, A.B. Stoddard, Michael Osterholm, much obliged.

Coming up for us. How do you pay tribute to the people who are famous really only to their friends and family and coworkers? The everyday Americans who have left us in such painfully high numbers over this past year. Our next guest knows exactly how. Nicolle Wallace is with us with a look at her "Lives Well Lived" special.

And later, a former president blasts Republican efforts to stop people from voting in this country. Two of our favorite experts on politics and human nature are standing by to weigh in as well. All of it as THE 11TH HOUR on this Tuesday night is just getting underway.



NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: For weeks now we`ve started our broadcast with numbers, how many people are infected and sadly, how many people have died. But those numbers, those numbers are grandparents, their moms and dads, sons and daughters, cousins, teachers, mentors, bosses, neighbors friends. So to honor them, I will endeavor to tell you about a few of them each day.


WILLIAMS: That is just what my friend and colleague Nicolle Wallace did and has done at the end of every broadcast for over 200 work days. When Nicolle started her daily remembrance of the victims, people she did not know and would never meet. The death toll stood at an unfathomable 5,800 people back then.

As of tonight confirmed cases in our country are now over 29 million. We`ve lost over 529,000 of our fellow citizens in this pandemic.

We are so pleased to have back with us our friend Nicolle Wallace, host of the 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time hours on this network. She is part of two nights of special programming this week as we mark one year since the beginning of all this. Her "Lives Well Lived" special broadcast airs tomorrow night in our 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time hour followed on Thursday night by a special broadcast hosted by Chris Hayes about "The Year We Meet Again."

Nicolle, welcome to you. It would be in artful to say that I`ve grown to look forward to these segments. It`s more appropriate that I wait for them often with a knot in the pit of my stomach because they are so personal. They`re touchstones. They are milestones.

Because I know you when we do the same thing for a living. I see you struggle with it. I`m self-aware enough to know that I could never make it through. I can`t make it through a single bagpipe. What have you learned from their lives?

WALLACE: Well, that first day that we did them, I remember asking Willow Donal (ph) on my team to take this on. And the first few were actually people that people I knew had lost had known. And I had this feeling that we just weren`t up and running yet in terms of having a national ritual for honoring those who had been lost to this horrific global pandemic that was still new, still scary.

But I think in the beginning we had this sense that it was not going to last as long as it has. That it wasn`t going to take from us as many people as it has. That it wasn`t going to hit every generation, every gender, every age, every kind of person that has been lost. And I think there was this feeling that after 9/11 maybe the one thing that was never politicized was honoring the men and women on flight 93 was reading the names at Ground Zero, was the pilgrimage to Shanksville.

And I just kept thinking soon somebody will, somebody important will take this over. And there will be a place to have some sort of abbreviated ritual for grieving because so many of these people died without their families around them. They died because of the heroic acts of nurses not alone, but not surrounded by family. And so many of them were not able to have the kinds of funerals in the kind of timely manner that their faith or their traditions would have them do.

So, we started and we hope to stop. But tragically, this country is still losing almost 1000 people every day.

WILLIAMS: As you`ve been talking, we`ve been seeing some of those we`ve lost. And thanks to your gift for description, these are faces I remember seeing. Some of them in the middle of this past summer.

You talked about politicization. Let`s do that now. Because politics is intertwined in everything now 20 years after 9/11.

Because malpractice and mismanagement and denialism is by any view responsible for the lion`s share of these deaths, does that factor make their deaths more tragic to you?

WALLACE: Well, I think under the former management of this country, it made them an acknowledged. He, for whatever reason, inability, unwillingness, stubbornness, political considerations refuse to honor, not just the individuals, but the fact of this scope and the breadth of the losses. He refused to -- and I don`t know that it`s something that even his friends and allies have ever suggested he was capable of are interested in doing.

But we don`t have a lot of comfort, I don`t think with sort of sitting in this kind of grief, this duration of grief, this number of lives loss. So, we thought to just tell one story every day. One person who`s lost left a family or community or a school. Decimated would be a contribution.

But it is remarkable that before he was even inaugurated, President Biden sought to try to hold the country and sit in our grief with us, something he`s done publicly through his whole political career. And you and I both together covered both of those memorial services. There have now been two, but we`re so far behind in bringing this out into the open and honoring the people. And then you had the idea of making permanent, the memorial to the lives lost. But there really isn`t a serious conversation yet about how to honor the people who`ve been taken from us so quickly, in such staggering numbers. And that may become part of our political discourse. Yes.

WILLIAMS: Yes. And may also be because we have so much more ahead of us sadly before we get to that bright spot.

Nicolle Wallace, thank you for your coverage, of course, this intervening year. Thank you very much for coming on with us tonight and taking our questions.

To our viewers, again, don`t miss this special report "Lives Well Lived" tomorrow evening, 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on this network hosted by our friend and colleague Nicole Wallace.

Coming up for us. Another example of the growing rift, perhaps the growing grift falling the Republican Party further apart as they watch.


WILLIAMS: The former president continuing his assault on the Republican establishment such as it is for a second straight day he is asking his supporters to donate directly to him, his political action committee instead of say the party.

He said in a statement tonight quote, I do not support RINOs and fools and it is not their right to use my likeness or image to raise funds.

New York Times sums that up this way, the aggressive move against his own party is the latest sign that Mr. Trump is trying to wrest control of the low dollar online fundraising juggernaut he helped to create.

Let`s just not forget about the grift and here too. Back with us tonight, Caroline Randall William, she`s an author and a poet and academic and observer of all things political and is Writer in Residence with the Department of Medicine Health Society at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and Bill Kristol, the author and writer and thinker and Politico, a veteran of the Reagan and bush administration`s editor at large over at the Bulwark.

And Bill I`d like to begin with you as this is the party where you made your bones. How`s it going to go over diverting money say from these individual candidates now just send it to me here in Florida care of Mar-a- Lago, I will take very good care of it.

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I think the RNC, the Republican National Committee and the Senatorial Congressional Campaign Committee chairs put out a statement a couple of hours ago, very meek, you know, we want to work with President Trump. It`s not going to go over well, privately and I`m awaiting I`m awaiting public objections by Republicans, it`s Trump`s party, and they`ve decided the best thing they can do is kowtow to him and go along with him and that object too much and try to make it work somehow.

So again, I`m struck by the fact that people aren`t saying this is beyond, but this is an outrage and we`ve got to liberate ourselves from Donald Trump. A very few republicans are saying that but it is only a few.

WILLIAMS: Caroline, do you take it as a given now that we have 50 days distance into the Biden administration, that this former president will be the definition of that party that he will have controlling influence over that party for the foreseeable future. And that way control at least half of our politics going forward.

CAROLINE RANDALL WILLIAMS, VANDERBILIT UNIVERSITY WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE: Brian, I think, absolutely, I take it as a given. I think, you know, to the degree that some people made a deal with the devil for, for federal judges for supreme court justices, and thought, Oh, I can bring this tiger into my house on a leash.

You know, you can`t be surprised when you let a tiger into your house, and then it just eats you. I think that this was inevitable the second that decent Republicans stepped aside, the second that the party ceded itself to the will of the base. This has been inevitable since, you know, in some ways, in my opinion, since he came down that escalator all those years ago.

But I think that we`ve been working toward it. And now we`re here. And I don`t know what we`re going to do, I don`t even know if the current Republican Party or like sort of real faithful Americans at this point, because they`re not seemingly loyal to democracy or the constitution or the ones that are, you know, in elected office, they`re not remaining faithful to their obligations to their constituents, they`re remaining faithful to an individual. So that`s where we are.

B. WILLIAMS: The tiger on the leash. Tiger on the leash is not imagery, I will shake right away. But you`re absolutely right. So many people supported him saying, well, you know, it`s for me, it`s all about the judges he will appoint, and so on to the rest of your point.

Hey, Bill, here`s -- this is the other side of the coin from Reuters news agency tonight, quote, If anything, the biggest backers of Trump`s false election fraud narrative, such as Missouri senator Josh Hawley, and Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, have been rewarded with a flood of grassroots donations, more than offsetting the loss of corporate money.

So Bill, this is more proof that there`s nothing like a little q anon a little fascism, little insurrection, and a raised fist here and there to make people open up their wallets. And this is a separate category of trouble, is it not?

KRISTOL: Yes, the reference to corporate money is that remember all these corporations after January 6, we`re not getting money to the people who voted to overturn the election results. A lot of little quiet backtracking out of the Chamber of Commerce says, Oh, no, we`re not drawing that kind of bright line. And of course, corporations can therefore, and wealthy individuals for that matter can channel their contributions to organizations like the Chamber of Commerce. So even there you see a kind of accommodation.

Also very revealing, and this is to Caroline`s point too. The Republicans who accommodated Trump knew better you might say and weren`t really happy doing so and would sort of like not perhaps, I don`t know if they deeply regret not doing so. But in any case, they regretted some but a lot of them are retiring.

I mean, right. It`s who`s leaving the Senate? Pat Toomey, Roy Blunt, Rob Portman, people who knew it earlier Republican Party went along enabled him and now think what I don`t want to stay. But that`s not is that courageous, incidentally, just not staying and leaving and letting some Trump supporter candidate probably win those primaries and in some cases, perhaps, win those seats.

B. WILLIAMS: You`re right, it does go to Caroline`s point, it goes to what our parents taught us that phrase you knew better. Caroline and Bill are staying with us while we just slip in a break here.

Coming up as Trump continues to push the big lie. Lawmakers in 43 states are pushing to limit voting rights. Well, at least the right of some Americans to cast their vote. We`ll talk about that when we come back.



REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): The wrong lessons have been learned in Georgia and Arizona and many other states, right, Nicolle were instead of standing on the honorable decision that those states made by certifying the election for a democratic president. Instead, they are saying essentially, why don`t we just never again put ourselves in the position where we have to certify an election for a democratic president by making it hard for voters to turn out. And so that`s what they`re doing. And the only antidote to that is the for the people act.


WILLIAMS: Just as the House passed a sweeping voting rights bill, also known as H.R. 1, state Republicans in places like Georgia, where former President Carter has spoken out tonight are working to restrict voting.

NBC news reporting it this way, quote, voting rights experts and civil rights groups have argued the movement adds up to a national assault that would push voters of color out of the electorate. And that federal voting rights protections like H.R. 1 are badly needed to ensure equal access to the ballot box.

In fact, the Brennan Center has done the math. There are over 250 bills under consideration in 43 states all but seven of these United States that would make it harder to vote.

Still with us, Caroline Randall Williams and Bill Kristol. Caroline, let`s be very clear for people who might be just joining us or just dialing into this issue. This is not about suppressing the vote of Brian Williams, it is about suppressing the vote of Caroline Randall Williams, let`s agree to that as a benchmark.

So let`s talk about a solution and is H.R. 1, knowing what you know about where politics stand right now and the United States Senate is H.R. 1, that solution?

C. WILLIAMS: I feel about H.R. 1, we can`t argue with it right now because we don`t have time. We don`t have anything else as immediately on the table. And to the degree that there are people that want to debate that those are also the people that blindly ignored the festering abscess of white supremacy in this country for so long, that the Republican Party became the sort of gangrenous limb that`s going to get us all killed.

I think that, you know, we`re not -- I`m not here to argue about the vicissitudes of it. We can have questions about it. We could worry that it`s too progressive, that it`s dreamy, even maybe even -- maybe even theoretical, scholarly questions about its constitutionality. But you know, what is certainly unconstitutional is obstructing American rights to vote.

We have got to use the tool that is on hand to fight the enemy that is literally really at the gates and prepared to shut doors that we have no capacity to reopen once they are closed. And I`m tired of having to explain this. But we have this plain historical precedent. And I think that we just have to move forward with this tool that we`ve got.

B. WILLIAMS: Bill, what you just heard is fierce urgency put another way. And in a harsh political term, Bill, you could make a case that Republican officeholders could make it a positive to go back to their states and districts, and say to audiences of color where they live. Look what I did, I defended, I protected the right of all Americans to vote. This world I`m describing may not be the spring and summer of 2021. Bill, but you got to be able to dream.

KRISTOL: And then we`re local and state Republicans debated honorably in November, December 2020, Eric Swalwell referred to them. I think they now feel beleaguered. And that`s very sad. And I very much agree with Caroline about the urgency.

I would just say this about H.R. 1, about half the titles, or the first half of it, not even half is actually about voting rights. I think that is urgent and needs to happen. Whether it was wise to package that in with a bunch of ethics reforms and a bunch of campaign finance issues, some of which the ACLU opposes, on first amendment grounds. They`re making it easier, frankly, Republicans, maybe some of them not acting out of good motors, but some of them I think, decent people to say, geez, can`t we just do the voting stuff?

So I think it`s important tactical, strategic questions. Is that clear that the how they going to pass H.R. 1, you know, they`re not going to get 60 votes, certainly for H.R. 1 right now in the Senate. I`m not sure they can get 50 votes to break filibuster.

So I agree with the urgency. The urgency is on the voting, though. The urgency is not frankly, to make dark money more transparent. Suddenly, the urgency is not in my view, a bunch of ethics rules about government officials. I`m forced some of those things, but they can be done separately. But I agree on the urgency of the voting fight.

One final point there. You know, Georgia and Arizona are risks. They have Republican united governments. I was just thinking about this earlier. The Democratic gubernatorial victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in 2018 are the most under appreciated facts perhaps of the last five years flows hadn`t happened.

Are we confident Trump wouldn`t have taken away, wouldn`t have overturned the 2020 election, wouldn`t have succeeded in doing so in those states? And are we confident that right now you wouldn`t have major voter suppression efforts which might succeed in those three very important states where there are Democratic governors who can block them.

So, it`s one of those things where you, you need to use whatever tools you have, and I myself might theoretically prefer that these things be left to the States. But I agree with the urgency of federal action. I`m not certain that we`ll end up with all of H.R. 1. But this is where you need to have a serious strategy, serious politics. You need a little bit of a touch of Lyndon Johnson type, you know, bargaining and hardheadedness to get the bill through.

B. WILLIAMS: Here here, and Barack Obama is fond of talking about the days of having to guess the jelly beans in the jar. We are not far from that. It`s been an eyelash in American history. And the echoes can be heard loud and clear right here as we have this conversation in 2021 exactly why we`ll invite these two guests back to have further conversations.

Professor Caroline Randall Williams, a pleasure, Bill, Crystal, a pleasure. Thank you both. Coming up. The Queen has spoken. But enough about Oprah. We also heard from the one in England today, the Primetime shot heard across the Atlantic continues to reverberate our report from London coming up.


WILLIAMS: Last night was the U.K. airing of Oprah`s interview with Harry and Meghan and today British subjects were treated to a statement from their queen. It was rare, almost self aware. It made no mention of the new baby on the way while bordering on empathetic. It remains the only story in the UK. It`s a big one here as well. We get an update tonight from NBC News correspondent Keir Simmons in London.


KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight a deepening crisis addressed by the Queen herself. The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. She says in a short statement, two days after their interview with Oprah aired, alleging an unnamed royal made racist comments.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: There`s a several conversation.

OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: There`s a with you --

MARKLE: With Harry.

WINFREY: -- about how dark your baby`s going to be?

MARKLE: Potentially and what that would mean or look like.

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: A conversation I`m never going to share. But at the time the thunder was awkward. I was a bit shocked.

SIMMONS: The Queen addressed those claims saying the issues raised particularly that are raised are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

JOANNA JARJUE, BRITISH COMMENTATOR: This statement is definitely not in the monarchy of the British public to say that you`re going to deal with something privately because it suits them as a family is unacceptable.


SIMMONS: And Brian the Queen statement ends with her repeating that Harry and Meghan will always be much loved family members. But tonight many questioning whether it`s enough to end this crisis. Brian.

WILLIAMS: What a time to be in that country care. Keir Simmons, thank you for that report from London again tonight. Coming up for us. We`ll show you what it looks like when someone decides they have finally had enough.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight is about that guy, Ohio democratic congressman Tim Ryan. Ryan has been a guest on this broadcast. Ryan is a 10-term member of Congress not without political ambition. He ran unsuccessfully to replace Pelosi as House Speaker, ran for President last time around with the same result. He is currently mulling a Senate run to replace the retiring Rob Portman who more from a Trump a Bush Republican to a Trumper almost overnight.

And while Josh Hawley of Stanford and Yale and Ted Cruz of Princeton and Harvard and the Ritz Carlton have flirted with branding the GOP as the working class blue collar party. Tim Ryan is from the blue collar belt of Northeast Ohio. His district runs from Akron to Youngstown.

He is fond of saying he is in Congress to represent the people who shower at the end of their work day and not at the start. And today during a debate over labor unions and American workers, he appeared to have reached his limit with the Republicans.


REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Heaven forbid we passed something that`s going to help the damn workers in the United States of America. Heaven forbid, we take the balance that has been going in the wrong direction for 50 years. We talk about pensions, you complain, we talk about the minimum wage increase, you complain, we talk about giving them the right to organize, you complain. But if we`re passing a tax cut here, you`re getting in line to vote yes for it. Now stop talking about Dr. Seuss, and start working with us on behalf of the American workers.


WILLIAMS: And unambiguous Tim Ryan of Ohio after giving both barrels to the Republicans yielding back the remainder of his time and with the remainder of hours we say that is our broadcast for 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.