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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 4/26/21

Guests: Matthew Dowd, Serj Tankian, Murtaza Akhter


This week begins against the mounting backdrop of outrage over the latest police shootings and demands for transparency about officers use-of- force in our country. Tonight, there`s a state of emergency in Elizabeth City, North Carolina where protests have taken place every day. Andrew Brown Jr. was shot and killed last Wednesday by sheriff`s deputies who were serving a drug war. The request for the body cam video was finally met today but the family says only 20 seconds were released. In Spotsylvania County, Virginia, Isaiah Brown is now fighting for his life after he was shot several times by a sheriff`s deputy last Wednesday. The U.S. Justice Department is now zeroing in on allegations of police misconduct. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene calls out Republicans for not inviting Trump to Florida retreat. The latest U.S. census are showing some democratic strongholds losing influence in the House of Representatives, and some Sunbelt and western states are winning. New COVID-19 cases in India continued to shatter global record, as India`s daily infection tally crossed the 350,000 mark for the first time.



BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: As we start a new week, good evening once again. Day 97 of the Biden administration.

Started a big week for the president whose 100th day in office arrives on Thursday. But this week begins against the mounting -- bounty -- mounting backdrop, forgive me, of outrage over the latest police shootings and demands for transparency about officers use-of-force in our country. Tonight there`s a state of emergency in Elizabeth City, North Carolina where protests have taken place every day since Andrew Brown was shot and killed last Wednesday by sheriff`s deputies who were serving a drug war. And his family has been asking to see body cam video of that shooting. The request was finally met today but the family says only 20 seconds were released from a single body camera.

This afternoon after multiple viewings of that 22nd clip, the family`s attorneys describe what they saw.


CHANTEL CHERRY-LASSITER, ATTORNEY FOR ANDREW BROWN: This was an execution. Andrew Brown was in his driveway. The sheriff chuck -- blocked him in his driveway so he could not exit his driveway. Andrew had his hands on his steering wheel. He was not reaching for anything. He wasn`t touching anything. He wasn`t doing anything about, he had his hands firmly on the steering wheel.

They run up to his vehicle shooting. He still stood there, sat there in his vehicle with his hands on the steering wheel while being shot at.


WILLIAMS: NBC News has not seen this body cam video. Brown`s family has said, at least eight body worn cameras were present at the killing of Andrew Brown. One witness told NBC News what she saw out of her nearby bedroom window.


ASHLEY BECHTEL, WITNESS: They shut out the back window of his car. And he lost control and he ended up across the street and he hit a tree. They crowded around his car. They shot -- were shooting the front window of his car.


WILLIAMS: Now to another front, a different shooting. Spotsylvania County, Virginia where Isaiah Brown is now fighting for his life after he was shot several times by a sheriff`s deputy last Wednesday. The officer was responding to a 911 call from Brown during a family dispute. That body cam video has been released.

In a warning here, it like all the others is disturbing.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s got a gun to his head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop the gun now! Stop on the (INAUDIBLE)!Stop on the (INAUDIBLE)! Stop! Stop!

(Gun Shots)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fire! Shots fired! One down.


WILLIAMS: Perhaps you counted seven shots. Isaiah Brown survived at least seven gunshots. His family says the sheriff`s deputy mistook a portable house phone for a gun.


DAVID HAYNES, ATTORYNEY FOR ISAIAH BROWN`S FAMILY: Isaiah Brown had made clear, a full 90 seconds or more before the deputies arrived on scene that he was unarmed and did not have a weapon. He had removed himself from the home and he was outside walking on the street with this cordless phone.

JENNIFER BROWN, ISAIAH BROWN`S MOTHER: My concern at this point is just for my son to hopefully come home alive.


WILLIAMS: The U.S. Justice Department is now zeroing in on allegations of police misconduct. Today announcing a what the -- what is called a pattern and practices investigation into the Louisville Metro Police Department.

This was the second such announcement in less than a week`s time. Last Wednesday, the department, you`ll recall, said it was scrutinizing the Minneapolis P.D. Well, this morning Attorney General Merrick Garland laid out the scope of the investigation into the Louisville Police Department that came over a year after Louisville officer shot and killed Brionna Taylor when they raided her apartment while executing a no knock warrant.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The investigation will assess whether LMPD engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force. It will determine whether LMPD engages in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, as well as whether the department unlawfully execute search warrants on private homes.


WILLIAMS: Now to politics as all of this unfolds, the first results from the latest U.S. census are showing some democratic strongholds losing influence in the House of Representatives, and some Sunbelt and western states are winning. California will lose a House seat, first time that`s ever happened, as well New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia. Gaining seats, Texas, they will get two. Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Oregon, and Montana all get one. These House changes will start with the 2022 elections.

Biden will address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, the eve of his 100th day in office. White House says he is taking a very hands on approach to his speech, which if we`re being honest, is what White Houses have said about presidents going back decades.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: -- is deeply involved in the development of a speech. He`s thinking a great deal about what message he can send directly to the American people about what progress has been made. But of course what challenges remain ahead.


WILLIAMS: Tomorrow, Biden expected to make an announcement that will signal life as we once knew, it may be closer than ever. A source telling NBC News tonight he will lay out new CDC guidance on mask wearing outdoors.

With all of that in mind, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Monday night. Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for "The New York Times." Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance who spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor, also one of the CO hosts of the podcast "Sisters in Law" with our friends Kimberly Atkins, Jill Wine-Banks, Barbara McQuade. And we welcome Cedric Alexander, former Chief of Police in DeKalb County, Georgia, part of the Atlanta metro area, also a former member of the Obama White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

And indeed, Chiefs, that`s where we want to begin with you. I realized it`s against a backdrop of a kind of solemn numbness, I realize we have limited time to talk to you such a broad question What stands out to you, in these latest police involved shootings, North Carolina and Virginia, Andrew Brown and Isaiah Brown?

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, one thing that is very clear, particularly the shooting in North Carolina, they`re going to a need to as quickly as they can to release this much video to the public. When you give people a snippet of an entire event that was deadly as it was, you actually do nothing but do no more than really just aggravate people and really create an environment of further distress. So that is the one thing that needs to happen.

As it relates to all of these shootings, Brian, that have happened here very recently, we still have to keep in mind that each one of these cases has to be -- you have to be judged individually. But there`s one common theme that continues to run through them, and that are men of color, who are coming in contact with police, unarmed and being killed. That is a serious issue, and is continuing to create a further divide between police and community in this country, and we got to get our arms around this very quickly. And really, we need support from the White House in regards to this federal level, but their state and local work that has to be done that is much more immediate and can be much more broad.

WILLIAMS: Joyce, in this day and age, especially with social media, we, news consumers, all of us expect to see things now right away with very little vetting and God knows no editing. American news, consumers are a savvy lot. It says something that the family`s only been shown 20 seconds, Doesn`t it hurt more to withhold what`s out there?

JOYCE VANCE, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: This was a really strange decision by law enforcement because they certainly saw this clip before they played it for the family and their lawyers and have to have known what the reaction would be.

And Chief Alexander is absolutely right. If the 21st century report on policing taught us anything, it`s the criticality of transparency and policing, of earning the trust of the community by being transparent when something like this happens.

I want to endorse something else he said, which is the importance of looking at each of these situations individually, but nonetheless, it`s critical that A.G. Garland has shown a willingness to use pattern and practice investigations, because there is a strong disturbing trend of black men not emerging alive from these encounters.

WILLIAMS: Peter Baker, last night`s Oscars were as much about this topic as they were about the movie business. Joe Biden comes to office with a full agenda or so he thought. And while aides to the President have taken great pains to point out this subject matter, was already a part of his agenda, it was already a big priority to him. Walk us through the delicate walk he has ahead of him on this policy.

PETER BAKER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it gets right, Brian. Look, this issue was a big front and center issue during the campaign last year, he campaigned as a contrast to President Trump`s point of view, which was you know, law and order theme and not embracing the grievances in the streets.

But it`s tough - it is tough challenge for President Biden. He would like to be focused on the big spending plans that he`s already pushing through Congress, one on infrastructure, one to come next week on family aid in various ways. And of course now, this just continues to push this inner issue front and center. He obviously will have to address it in this speech, he`s going to give the functional equivalent of a state of the union address to Congress later this week. That he has not so far, you know, taken action in the sense of using his executive power to try to do something about policing.

He has step a step back to allow Congress to see if they can`t come up with a deal that House, of course, Democrats passed the George Floyd Justice Act last year, hasn`t gone anywhere in the Senate. But Senator Tim Scott, Republican from South Carolina, has been working with Democrats to see if they can`t come up with a bipartisan compromise that would get to the Senate. Biden have taken sort of a step back approach to see if they can`t do something first. But at some point, the pressure will increase on him if they can`t get Congress to act for him to find something they do using an executive power. And so far, that`s been something he`s wanted to avoid, because legislation is more permanent, more sustained an executive action, but there`s a great pressure on him to do something.

WILLIAMS: Cedric, I want to play for you and our audience, something I`m guessing you`ve already heard. This is the chief of police in Louisville. Giving what is probably the most positive reaction ever to news there locally, that the federal government was about to move in for a good long while and take a top to bottom look at their department, we`ll discuss on the other side.


CHIEF ERIKA SHIELDS, LOUISVILLE METRO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Hiring, recruiting across the United States in law enforcement is proving to be extremely challenging. We have -- we have to rebrand our product.

I look at this as a huge opportunity to get us on the path forward that is most beneficial for the police department.

This is not a negative. With what these folks have been dealing with for the last nine months, I think I would like to believe they`ve dealt with the hardest part, and that we can get to some level of normalcy in this city.


WILLIAMS: And Chief Alexander, what did you and I last discussed during our last on air discussion, hiring and recruiting, is that for you the key to breaking this chain?

ALEXANDER: It`s absolutely no doubt about that, Brian. It is very, very important that we got to begin to look at who it is that we are hiring. We got to look beyond just their driving record, or credit reference. We got to know their social media history, who their friends are, who they`ve associated with. We need to dig deeper into who these individuals are.

And then, we got to look at our training modalities and make sure that we`re training properly according to 21st Century standards and what communities are asking us to do. And then, we got to be able to put these men and women with good supervisors and into a healthy police environment.

But Chief Shields whom you just heard their moment actually served at Atlanta P.D. during the time I was at the camp, even though we did not know each other personally, but she is one of the boldness, she is upstanding, she is upright. She believes in 21st Century Policing, like many of us do across this country. And that`s the type of straightforward kind of answer and welcoming to be better, that all of us must open ourselves up to in the coming months and days and years ahead.

That is the right approach. That`s the right attitude. And that`s the right direction we have to go in.

WILLIAMS: Well, thank you for saying that chief. And it would be hard to script to a better response to us consumers than the one she gave today.

Joyce Vance, what a sea change for your beloved Department of Justice, especially during the reign of Bill Barr. Do you think four years from now, we will look back at this type of thing? And make no mistake, it`s activist of the DOJ to do this to send a planeload of people to arrive in a municipality and look at your police department top to bottom. Do you think we`ll look back at this as one of the hallmarks of the Biden DOJ?

VANCE: It`s increasingly looking like what you`re calling activism. And what I would call just simply representing the people of the United States of America, delivering the product that DOJ is supposed to deliver to taxpayers who pay for it services, which is justice and doing it by using the laws in an aggressive way.

Brian, I think the reason that you`re right, when you suggest that we should think about what this will look like four years down the road, is because of the kind of leadership that Joe Biden has brought to the Justice Department, not just Attorney General Garland, who is both a scholar and a practitioner of prosecution, but women leaders like Lisa Monaco, who`s just been confirmed as the Deputy Attorney General and Anita Gupta as the Associate. Again, we have highly qualified people who bring an enormous amount of commitment and diversity to the Justice Department morale at DOJ is on the uptick.

And you know, DOJ at its best is the cabinet level agency whose name is a moral virtue, justice. The work that people inside of the Justice Department do isn`t for their own pleasure or career advancement, it`s on behalf of citizens. That`s what we`re seeing restored at DOJ under this new leadership.

WILLIAMS: Peter Baker, some Democrats you and I both know, it`s starting to occur to them on the politics front, they could be in big trouble in 2022. Mr. McCarthy is -- wants very badly to be speaker, and proved again over the weekend he is willing to say or do just about anything to make that happen, especially where Trump is concerned. So the census lands with a thud, the south and west pick up seats, New York, California, not so much. Should we regard Biden`s trip to Georgia as a start of perhaps a new effort?

BAKER: Well, certainly a way for him to touch base with one of the states that made him president. And I think that`s going to be something you`ll see a lot in the next two years heading into the midterms and four years heading into the next presidential. He`s going to want to show a certain tender caring of the states that gotten there. And that includes the three Midwestern states that had gone for Trump but flipped back to the Democrats in 2020. And that certainly going to include Georgia and Arizona, which went into the Democratic column.

Now, you know, two years is a long way off, four years is an eternity in politics. But you`re right that Republicans are feeling certain degree of optimism right now. They`re down in Florida, the House Republicans meeting. And the mood down there, we`re told is pretty upbeat. They only have a few seats they have to win in the midterms to take over the House. And traditionally, the President`s party doesn`t always do so well in those midterms, particularly this Republican Party thinks they`ve got a lot of issues to work with on Biden, that he`s swung so far to the left with these large spending plans that they can make the case the American people that he`s out of touch with them.

And so yes, they`re feeling -- they`re feeling positive, which also means of course, there`s less interest in any kind of bipartisan deal making as we head to these next critical few weeks on these legislative questions.

WILLIAMS: So appreciative of our big three for starting us off tonight. To Peter Baker, Joyce Vance, Cedric Alexander, great thanks for being with us.

Coming up, he may not be on the invite list for the Republican Party`s retreat that Peter was just talking about in Florida, but the presence of a certain Florida retiree certainly looms large.

And later, what President Biden did this weekend that one Grammy Award winning musician has wanted an American president to do for years. Said musician, standing by to talk with us as THE 11TH HOUR is just getting underway on a Monday night.



REP. LIZ CHENEY, (R) WYOMING: I think right now, the Republican Party is headed by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy in the House. I think our elected leaders, you know, are the ones who are in charge of the Republican Party.

And I think as we look at `22 and `24, we`re very much going to be focused on substance and on the issues. And I think that`s where we`ve got to attract back the voters that we lost in 2020.


WILLIAMS: That would be the number three Republican in the House leadership and Orlando today where Republicans are holding their annual legislative retreat.

Remember, Liz Cheney had to fight to keep her leadership post after voting to impeach the former president. It was reported today indeed she is mulling her own run perhaps in `24.

Politico reports the GOP feels good about retaking the House next year, but, "Republicans also know the next 18 months are littered with political tripwires from internal divisions over the former president trying to influence them from Mar-a-Lago to the fringe elements in their ranks that threaten to swamp their agenda.

For more, we welcome Juanita Tolliver to the broadcast, a veteran political strategist to progressive candidates and causes. And back with us again, one, Matthew Dowd, founder of Country over Party. In the past, he was chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign in `04. Good evening, and welcome to you both.

Matthew, it was the strength of your tweets that contributed greatly to your invitation tonight, and I read it to our viewers. "How does one reach consensus or compromise with folks who don`t believe in climate change, who don`t think people should take the vaccine, who think there was widespread voter fraud, who think Biden`s stole the election and who travel in conspiracy theories and falsehoods?"

Matthew, I would prefer an answer by going deep on the Trump base, and seeing what that`ll get them in 2022, am I wrong?

MATTHEW DOWD, FMR. CHIEF STRATEGIST TO BUSH-CHENEY CAMPAIGN: No, but I think that`s where the Republicans are today. I was thinking about this as I was pausing in your last segment. And what this is like in this constant insistence that somehow it`s Biden`s responsibility to get the Republicans on board in Washington D.C.

It`s a bit like if you were going to take a sail a boat around the world, and you`re captain of that boat and you`re being told to hire on people that don`t believe in navigational devices and believe the world is flat, you wouldn`t hire those people on the boat. And that`s why where we are today. But as I`ll disagree with something Liz Cheney said, Liz Cheney and Mitch McConnell are not in charge of the Republican Party. And I don`t even think there`s any one person in charge of the Republican Party today. This is animal house. There`s no Greek council. And the fraternity is in charge of the Republican Party and they`ve lost control of it.

WILLIAMS: And we all know they`re already on double secret probation.

So Juanita, I have one for you. You`re not going to like it as much. This is the work of Marjorie Taylor Greene. She writes today, "Remember when Republicans lost the house in 2018, because a bunch of them distanced themselves from President Trump, not inviting President Trump to the GOP retreat is the same stupid behavior. Funny how they don`t understand a record number of votes and support of any Republican president."

So, a friend of mine said, reminded me today that even a broken clock is right twice a day. Juanita, here`s the question, could it be that she`s right about this?

JUANITA TOLLIVER, PROGRESSIVE POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Brian, I`ll say she`s not wrong, because I hesitate to agree with anything Marjorie Taylor Greene says, but I think Matt hit the nail on the head and the fact that there is still a leadership void within the Republican Party, especially when they`re looking to now chart this course of substantive policy and a pivot away from Dr. Seuss and other culture wars, especially when they`re still looking to fundraise off of Trump and tap into the voter base that he rolled up with his cult of personality and really try to make grounds there in 2022.

But I will say Marjorie Taylor grant is not wrong, that them actively avoiding Trump right now is not the best move. So, when you have the twice impeach president, single term, former president here, there -- he is somebody that they fully intend to tap into. That`s why we see McCarthy going back down to Mar-a-Lago. That`s why we see Marjorie Taylor Greene introducing the America first caucus. And even though that was a failed rollout, it`s something that they know resonates with the GOP base, and resonates with their voters, because that base has been primed to really be responsive to the call to personality.

WILLIAMS: Matthew, we`re going to give you 60 seconds of gloating time about Texas gaining two congressional seats. As I said earlier, New York, California not so much. Talk about the political importance of your state, and how great it is, especially when the power grid works.

DOWD: Yes. Only, only when the power grid works ever been out of water and power for five days in the midst of that. And to me, Texas is the best -- the best view of where the country is headed. As soon as Texas shifts, which is going to happen in the next election or two to a purple state, and then ultimately, Texas will become a blue state because of the demographics and what`s going on in the suburbs.

It fundamentally changes the nature of the country`s politics, because the Republicans have guaranteed themselves were counted on those electoral votes. But to me the most interesting stuff of the census, and many times in the media, as you know this so well, Brian, they have a tendency to concentrate on the noise and ignore the frequency of what`s going on.

Twenty-three million Americans were added in population from 2010 to 2020. More than 90 percent of those 23 million Americans that were added are non- white, are non-white. It`s going to be either the smallest or the first time whites have dropped in population in our country. And so, I take a different view of the census data. I don`t think it`s a net gain for the Republicans in this.

They`re going to lose a seat in West Virginia, they`re going to lose a seat in New York, they`re going to lose a seat in Illinois, that`s net three down. That means they have to gain four more from the other states. And all of the population growth is among African Americans, Asian voters, Latino voters and people of mixed race, all of the population growth is of non- white voters. And especially true in Texas.

WILLIAMS: Juanita, I`m going to give the last word to you. I could only come up with the phrase solemn numbness at the top of the broadcast as we all as a country learn two more names Andrew Brown, Isaiah Brown.

TOLLIVER: Yes, Brian, this is yet another rinse and repeat cycle of police using deadly force against black and brown people. And what we saw, as we found more information out about the body camera footage of both of these incidence is, neither of these individuals was a direct threat to police and yet they use deadly force. And so, this is another reminder that things need to change systemically within policing in this country, because I`m tired of seeing these footages, I`m tired of seeing black bodies murdered at the hands of police, and I know the rest of the community in this country is as well. And so, that`s why it`s time to pass the George Floyd Bill through Congress. That`s why it`s time to reimagine policing and stop killing black and brown people.

WILLIAMS: The words sick and tired of being sick and tired come to mind. Once again, Juanita Oliver Matthew Dowd, can`t thank you both enough for taking our questions tonight.

Coming up, it was a declaration many saw as decades overdue and a Grammy winning artist who fought long and hard to have the massacre of a million Armenians labeled genocide. He`s standing by to talk with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throughout the years, the Turks have made no attempts to rectify injustice. Future Turkish government`s must consider the Armenian claims moral, legal and territorial. Crimes against humanity have no statute of limitations.


WILLIAMS: That clip right there was from a 1975 documentary called "The Forgotten Genocide," 1975 by our median born filmmaker J. Michael Hagopian. If the narrator`s voice sounds at all familiar, that was Krekor Ohanian, better known by the name Mike Connors, best known to American TV viewers of a certain age, as Mannix. Mike Connors was a benefactor and donor to many Armenian causes. He never forgot.

And today the Turkish Government still denies the genocide. But finally, the United States has joined the list of nations on the right side of history in this one.

On Saturday, Armenian Remembrance Day with the simple act of issuing a White House statement, Joe Biden fulfilled a promise made by multiple presidents before him, recognizing the mass killing of over a million Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I as a genocide.

Today, Turkey`s President Erdogan commit -- condemned that move calling on Biden to reverse his course.

Our next guest has dedicated years of his life to this issue, not just as an activist, but he has included it in his work for two decades as a solo artist. And as the singer and songwriter of the Grammy winning band System of a Down. He appears in a more recent documentary on the topic called truth to power.

We are so pleased to welcome to the broadcast tonight, Serj Tankian. Serj, thank you for being with us. And I was thinking this evening, I don`t know an Armenian American family in all my life where the kids in that family didn`t grow up steeped in these stories, and told the phrase we associate with a later genocide. Never forget, I am guessing that is the case with you. I`m also guessing there may have been times during your adult lifetime, when this, the United States using the G word probably seemed unattainable.

SERJ TANKIAN, SYSTEM OF A DOWN SINGER AND SONGWRITER: Absolutely, Brian, thanks for having me on. You know, all four of my grandparents were survivors of the Armenian genocide. And we grew up with the stories of how their, you know, families were massacred and how, you know, what tough life they had, and then what they had to live through.

So seeing President Biden recognized the genocide, being the first president to formally recognize the genocide is huge, not just to Armenian Americans, but to Armenians around the world, Greeks and Assyrians around the world who were also massacred by the Ottoman Turks in 1915. And it`s a huge thing for us. It`s an amazing milestone toward receiving justice from Turkey ultimately.

WILLIAMS: Let`s speak English here. Erdogan is bummed because he`s lost the best friend he was ever going to have in the White House. Why is he so immovable and deeply upset at the use of the word genocide, given the fact that as you say, it happened so long ago?

TANKIAN: First of all, Brian, Turkey is not a free society. If you were in Turkey, you`d likely being jailed for all the exposes that you`ve done over the years. You know, and their foreign policy has been horrible. And in recent, last year, they along with Azerbaijan and imported Syrian mercenaries, they attack the peaceful people of Nagorno-Karabakh, who have been living on their indigenous lands for 2,500 years, they`ve been causing havoc in Syria and Libya in the Mediterranean with their drilling practices.

You know, Turkey`s society is based on a myth. And they`ve been lying to their people for 106 years. And it`s going to be hard for him to go back and tell them that they`ve been lied to for 106 years that those lands are steeped with blood of our people, one and a half million, massacred Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians during World War 1. It`s unforgivable.

We hope that one day we can obtain justice from Turkey the right way, but it doesn`t seem to be something that`s going to happen under Erdogan`s dictatorial regime.

WILLIAMS: Let me bring this story alongside another story that has changed the direction of news coverage in this country. And I`ll say this, the George Floyd verdict wasn`t the end of anything. Nor people need to understand does this declaration end anything. Tell our viewers what`s yet to be done? What needs to be done? You touched on it in your last answer?

TANKIAN: Well, first, we`re really grateful that Turkey can no longer spend billions, you know, millions of dollars with K Street lobbying firms trying for Congress and the State Department not to use the word genocide. So we`re grateful for that. Genocide should never be used as political capital or economic reasons.

But the road ahead is that of justice? I mean, I think there should be just like the Holocaust after World War II, there`s there should be some type of reparations, setting up of museums. But first and foremost, there should be an apology by Turkey, a recognition of its own history, of its own past, for the sake of its own history and for the sake of its own people, if not for Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians.

So I think that`s the next step. You know, I`m not exactly sure what particular steps in that process but I think that`s going to have to be the next step. We have to end that justice because people always ask me what would happen if Turkey just came one day and said, OK, we recognize the genocide. And I always say that`s like someone that you`re chasing for 100 years that burned down your house and killed your family to finally turn around and go. All right, fine. I did it. What? What does that mean, without justice? You know, killers go to jail. You know, what does that mean without justice?

So we need to get justice ultimately. But this is an amazing first step. We`re extremely grateful. We`re extremely excited of the, you know, possibilities that this can open with other nations recognizing the genocide, U.K. still hasn`t. Australia, New Zealand still haven`t. And we`re going after them for them to be able to do the right thing with their own history as well. ANZAC Day is important to them. Their own history marks the refugees that you know ANZAC soldiers even protected. So this is getting there. It`s an incredible step in the right direction.

WILLIAMS: I can see you have found a moment to feel good about the advance that this indicates while you lay out in graphic detail the work yet to be done. Serj Tankian, it`s a great pleasure having you on. Thank you for your work, the music you make in that room and elsewhere. Thank you for your advocacy. Again to our viewers, the documentary is called Truth to Power. And by the way, the new EP, Elasticity, both available to buy and stream right now as they say, Serj Tankian has been our guest tonight.

Coming up for us. Our next guest an ER doctor calls this debate over wearing masks outdoors, hilarious wearing masks, indoors, he says is a different story. He`ll explain all of it when we come back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trends are down. The gains that we`re seeing right now against the virus are beings solidified through vaccination and immunity in a population. Whereas before the gains that we saw were a result of behavior, people being more prudent what they were doing. Now it`s a result of immunity.


WILLIAMS: So that was good news there that can only be jeopardized by vaccine hesitancy at this point. Over half the adult population in our country has received at least one dose of the vaccine, but the average number of doses administered per day has dropped to 2.7 million. That might seem like a lot, but it happens to be the lowest level since late March.

Back with us again tonight, Dr. Murtaza Akhter. He is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona`s College of Medicine in Phoenix. Doctor, I don`t need to tell you the debate over mask wearing indoors. It`s nothing like the debate over mask wearing outdoors.

Before I get you on the record, I`m going to share something with you, Mr. Tucker Carlson from Fox News. Tonight we`ll discuss on the other side.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: The next time you see someone in a mask on the sidewalk or on the bike path, do not hesitate. Ask politely but firmly, would you please take off your mask? Science shows there was no reason for you to be wearing it. Your mask is making me uncomfortable. Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid and Walmart, call the police immediately, contact Child Protective Services.


WILLIAMS: Doctor, what do you make of that?

MURTAZA AKHTER, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA COLLEG OF MEDICINE: Yes, somebody`s wearing a mask exactly like somebody`s beating a child. That`s ridiculous. I see people in the ER who actually have been through child abuse. And that`s a horrible situation to make light of that, I guess is Tucker`s, you know, motichoor that but when he goes for clearly wearing a mask harms no one, it actually helps a lot of people are grant that if you`re outdoors and distance from people, there`s probably limited value.

But there`s no value in going up to somebody on a bike and saying excuse me, take off your mask. You`re making me feel uncomfortable. But for the people who make fun of people for being triggered. It`s amazing how much Tucker and his audience gets triggered by people wearing a mask. All we`re doing is trying to save people`s lives.


WILLIAMS: Doctor, why the drop off in vaccination rate in our country again, 2.7 million a day, if you told us a year ago would have been miraculous and it still is. But it`s down from the highs in March.

AKHTER: Yes, I don`t want to take away from how impressive a feat this is, like clearly the amount of vaccination that has happened is really amazing. We knew we were going to reach a plateau at some point. I remember early in that pandemic, I was wondering where all the anti-vaxxers go. Clearly they have gone to war and hopefully they never come out.

Well, they came out. There are plenty of people who were always going to say I don`t want to get vaccinated. If it really is about 30 percent, which is sort of the number we`re seeing now with pretty horrible. It`s funny, early in their pandemic we were saying it`s not vaccines that save lives, but vaccination that saves lives. We needed the vaccine first. We`ve gotten a few vaccines that are very, very effective, but they`re only effective if you get them.

And so if you want to reach herd immunity, the only way of getting it is by vaccinating people or infecting people. And I can reassure you I`m on the in the ER right now that people get infected and come to the hospital do not look good. Vaccination is much better.

WILLIAMS: I was going to say that looked like standard er interior decor behind you. That would be a white wall. Hey, Doc, I was interested to learn that the EU is going to allow American tourists to fly to Europe. They`re going to demand proof of vaccination. So that will be interesting. You mentioned herd immunity, how close by or how elusive in your view, is that point, that tipping point of herd immunity for us?

AKHTER: For one, apologies for the decor rate. My Skype Room won`t be reading me today, I`m sure, blame the hospital. Two, as for herd immunity, you know, I think it`s ironic that it`s such a gettable task, but it`s such an effective vaccine. And if you look at the number of people who`ve been vaccinated, and look at the number of people who`ve been infected, and granted, there`s a reasonable overlap, it may not be that far off.

The issue is in that time while you`re waiting for an immunity, variants form, and they spread. The virus doesn`t care what humans want. It will mutate the longer it`s there and remember this is a global virus. So if we reach herd immunity in United States and you get on a plane and travel, that doesn`t mean you necessary aren`t want to spread the virus or have other people suspect.

And so really need to work together. I know it sounds cliche, but it`s not just us in this all these other countries that are also suffering. Also need to get their people vaccinated and we need to do our part to help them helping them, help us.

WILLIAMS: Dr. Murtaza Akhter, thank you for always taking our questions back into the ER for you, I`m afraid, but we greatly appreciate having you on and greatly appreciate the work you do by day and night.

Another break for us and coming up a further update on the dire situation unfolding in India.


WILLIAMS: For the fifth day in a row, India has set a global record of new COVID infections logging over 350,000 cases in a single day. That`s by far the worst in the world. That`s 10 times our daily rate. Some hospitals are simply unable to care for incoming patients there.

The U.S. is sending badly needed oxygen and medical supplies in response to pleas from overwhelmed doctors in India. We get our reports tonight from NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel.


RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): India is gasping for air with more new COVID cases per day than anywhere, at anytime in the pandemic. This Sikh temple in Delhi is providing what the government can`t life giving oxygen tanks.

Abu Sadat (ph) has been trying to get care for eight days. But he`s been turned away by hospitals. Abu Sadat`s (ph) brother is trying to keep him alive. He`s not a doctor, but he isn`t giving up.

Alex Crawford from our partner Sky News is that an overwhelmed hospital.

ALEX CRAWFORD, SKY NWES: They`ve had to build tents in the car park to cope with the overspill. All these people are suffering from Coronavirus. All of them need oxygen.

ENGEL: Others die while they wait.

Funeral pyres are now burning outside crematoriums with the second most populous country overwhelmed by the worst resurgence of the virus since the pandemic began.

(on camera): India manufacturers much of the world`s vaccines, but it has only fully vaccinated 2 percent of its own population. India also has its own variant of the virus, and the more it spreads uncontrolled, the more likely new variants are to emerge.


WILLIAMS: And as always, our thanks to Richard Engel for that report tonight. Another break, coming up for us, we`ll introduce you to a guy who is pretty sure there was nothing here when those first white European settlers arrived.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight is that guy Rick Santorum. Since losing his Pennsylvania Senate seat to Bob Casey years ago, Santorum has found one off cable stardom as the Republican guy on numerous CNN panel discussions, where he`s mastered the art of sounding candid while slowly migrating his positions from Republican to full on Trumper.

He ran for president for about 10 minutes in 2016 got out after the Iowa caucus. He has said his share of remarkable things over the years comparing homosexuality the beast reality comes to mind as does his use of the word Nazis to describe the pro-choice crowd.

He wasn`t particularly well known for his views on Native Americans until today, when this surfaced a portion of his remarks to the young America`s foundation. It has to do with the first Europeans arriving here.


RICK SANTORUM, FMR. U.S. SENATOR: We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there`s nothing here. I mean, yes, we have Native Americans but if but candidly that -- there isn`t much Native American culture in American culture. It was born of the people who came here.


WILLIAMS: You know, there are any number of good books on the Trail of Tears, the Indian Removal Act on the society and governance and trade that the tribes of North America had established before being wiped out, and then having their survivors segregated to this day.

Oh, that`s the history. But there`s always another version. It`s not unlike cable in that way. There`s the History Channel. And there`s drunk history. So there`s something for everybody.

That is our broadcast for this Monday night as we start a new week together with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.