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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 5/11/21

Guests: Irwin Redlener


Liz Cheney delivers a remarkable blunt speech on the floor of the House. GOP is pushing voter restrictions while backing Trump who tried to overthrow 2020 election. Arizona`s GOP governor approves voter roll purge. Senators debate voting rights legislation. Pipeline cyberattack leads to gas shortages. Elise Stefanik is expected to replace Liz Cheney in GOP leadership. Violent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians grows. Hamas launches rockets into Tel Aviv, Palestinians say Israeli strikes leveled homes. Senator Joni Ernst defended Rep. Liz Cheney, who is expected to lose her leadership post this week for recognizing the 2020 presidential election as legitimate and denouncing the "big lie" that it was stolen. CDC panel meets tomorrow authorizing Pfizer COVID vaccine for ages 12 to 15.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: -- right here tomorrow night 10 p.m. President Biden will get the first word and Dr. Kizzy Corbett will definitely get the last word. That is Tonight`s Last Word. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again. Day 112 of the Biden administration. And just a few hours ago, Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney came to the House floor and empty chamber except for one other Republican to deliver a powerful warning to her party and to her country. It won`t save her from what`s happening to her tomorrow. In fact, it`s more of why she is getting replaced as head of the Republican House Caucus because she won`t go along with the lie that Trump somehow won the election.


REP. LIZ CHENEY, (R) WYOMING GOP CONFERENCE CHAIR: Today, we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president who provoked a violent attack on this capital in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence. Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard only his words, but not the truth, as he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all. The Electoral College has voted more than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple judges, the former president appointed have rejected his claims. The Trump Department of Justice investigated the former president`s claims of widespread fraud and found no evidence to support them. The election is over. That is the rule of law. That is our constitutional process.


WILLIAMS: Well, how about that new reporting from the New York Times indicates her removal will come the same day that former Trump Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, will tell lawmakers investigating January`s capital insurrection and riot that, "The Justice Department saw no evidence to undercut President Biden`s election win." His prepared statement also goes on to note that the Justice Department had been presented with no evidence of widespread voter fraud at a scale sufficient to change the outcome of the 2020 election.

Republicans have not only continued to question the vote, but in the name of so called election integrity. They are passing more laws to restrict voting across the country. Today, Arizona indeed, became the latest state to do so when their governor the Republican Doug Ducey, signed a measure removing infrequent male voters from the state`s popular early voting list just like that.

And in the Senate today, Democrats and Republicans faced off over a bill to secure voting rights with leaders of each party in attendance and making their case.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK MAJORITY LEADER: Every Republican in this room knows Joe Biden won the election fair and square. Everyone, everyone knows that Donald Trump perpetrated the big lie. The price of admission in today`s Republican Party is silence in the face of provable lies, lies that right now are poisoning our democracy and exciting a plague of voter suppression.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MINORITY LEADER: Our democracy is not in crisis. And we aren`t going to let one party take over our democracy under the false pretense of saving. The Democratic Party on its own wants to rewrite the ground rules of American politics for their benefit. We all know that`s what this is about.


WILLIAMS: NBC News has confirmed that over 100 Republicans including some former elected officials are now threatening to form a third party if the Republican Party does not make certain changes, namely getting rid of Trump`s grip on the Republican Party. As all this unfolds, there`s the threat of a crippling gasoline shortage in our country following that cyber attack still going on the 5500 mile Colonial Pipeline five days ago. Demand is spiking across several southeastern states and gas stations are running out of fuel.

Tonight the governors of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida have declared states of emergency because of it.

Today at the White House, the Secretary of Energy said Colonial told her it should know by late tomorrow, whether the pipeline will be back up and running soon, and she`s urging East Coast residents not to panic.


JENNIFER GRANHOLM, ENERGY SECRETARY: There should be no cause for pouring gasoline especially in light of the fact that the pipeline should be substantially operational by the end of this week. It`s not that we have a gasoline shortage, it`s that we have this supply crunch and that things will be back to normal soon.


WILLIAMS: We are continuing to follow the worst fighting in years between Israelis and Palestinians. This has been a horrible day and night in the skies between Gaza and Israel and it`s worse on the ground. Sadly, dozens of people have been killed. Hundreds of others wounded as this conflict now escalates.

Hamas has been launching rocket attacks on Tel Aviv late into the night. Israeli Defense Forces have responded with airstrikes on Gaza City said to be aimed at Hamas targets but as you see there, they have also taken out multiple dwellings and tire buildings with airstrikes.

Tonight Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose own political future of course remains very unclear vowed to expand the military response.

It`s a lot and 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, Charlotte Alter, Senior Correspondent for Time, her book, The Ones We`ve Been Waiting For, our new generation of leaders will transform America comes out in paperback next week. And Jeremy Bash back with us as well, former Chief of Staff at the CIA and Pentagon, former Chief Counsel of the House Intel Committee.

Well, good evening and welcome to you all. Ashley, I`d like to start with you and your beat around the town. How impactful were the words of Liz Cheney tonight in that kind of marble Carter of Washington, some of them we note still scarred from the riving on 1/6?

ASHLEY PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST, WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: In the real question is, who they were impactful with, right? There`s no doubt that they were powerful. People may look back at them in history, but in terms of the Republican Party, that is not going to change, as you said at the beginning of the show the vote to ouster tomorrow, it is not going to change former President Trump`s grip on the Republican Party and it does not seem to be likely to change, you know, sort of the fealty to the "big lie" required to be a Republican right now in many ways, or the false and misleading information spouted by president -- former President Trump and either echoed by members of the Republican Party, or certainly not disabused by members of the Republican Party, was certain notable exceptions like Liz Cheney there or someone like Senator Mitt Romney.

WILLIAMS: Let`s go to Charlotte Alter. And let`s talk about the woman who is poised to inherit the earth at least the Republican Caucus Chairwomanship in the House, Elise Stefanik, young member of Congress upstate New York, Harvard grad, former Romney, Ryan and bush acolyte. But Charlotte, according to your reporting unrecognizable to her old friends, tell us why.

CHARLOTTE ALTER, TIME MAGAZINE SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, Elise Stefanik`s transformation really mirrors the transformation of the Republican Party. I mean, I covered her in my book, I spoke to her back then when I first wrote it, and I also spoke to, you know, everyone I could find who knew her and one of the things that really struck me back then was that she was widely respected by both her Republican colleagues and by Democrats, including people she had run against. She -- people told me she was highly intelligent, highly ambitious, but also had a deep sense of integrity.

And now looking at what`s happened, looking at her kind of embrace of the "big lie," her willingness to tolerate these conspiracy theories in order to rise within the ranks. Many of the people who`ve known her entire life, who told me just two years ago that they were really thoroughly impressed with her sense, with her moral character and her sense of patriotism and honor, are now frankly embarrassed for her. Somebody told me they thought it was sad what she had become.

WILLIAMS: Jeremy Bash, I want to hear you out on Israel and the Palestinians. But before that, I want to hear you out on the United States. And to that end, I brought you something this from Stuart Stevens tonight. What`s happening in this moment is that Liz Cheney is becoming an international symbol for anti-authoritarian freedom. She is a dissident facing down a thuggish power structure, just as Alexei Navalny is in Russia. We are a democracy and danger. Pick aside. The fight is on.

Jeremy, does Stuart have it about right?

JEREMY BASH, FORMER, CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: What`s so distressing, Brian, is of course, that the dream of the autocrats, the dream of the Putin`s, of the Xi Jinping`s is to prove America wrong, to prove that the American experiment in democracy actually doesn`t deliver for the people. And so when we have people in either party, and of course, there`s a lot of reference to the former president, standing up trying to curtail the rights of people to vote, saying that the election results actually should be undone because, you know, there was fraud on the election. You know, that plays right into the hands of those who would take down democracy or try to prove us wrong. And so I think there are big issues at stake. I mean, Joe Biden has said himself that nothing short of democracy itself is a stake in making sure that the big lies repudiated. And that American democracy prevails.

WILLIAMS: Ashley, to that, and this is crunch time for Joe Biden, on all of the things he wants and has pushed for in his so far brief presidency, is the Biden White House, according to your reporting at least, quietly dropping hopes and dreams of talking with the other side of some sort of compromise, when they realize it`s a party that fails to note his victory?

PARKER: Right. His very legitimacy, the answer is not yet and if you look at just President Biden`s public schedule this week, tomorrow, he`s meeting with a, "big four" the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and the Senate. On Thursday, he`s meeting with six Republicans to talk about a possible compromise on infrastructure. And of course, in tomorrow`s meeting, for instance, Leader McCarthy is going to be there who voted against certifying the election results, who raced down to Mar-a-Lago, was one of the first people to sort of supplicate himself before former President Trump is the person helping to lead the charge to oust Liz Cheney, from the Republican Party. So it`s an interesting choice of a potential negotiating partner. But this really is the pivotal week for someone like President Biden, who earnestly genuinely believes in bipartisanship, the deal making that comes with a legislative process, but it`s also quite clear eyed and showing signs he is willing to push ahead without Republicans if he doesn`t believe there`s a deal to be done.

WILLIAMS: Charlotte, I got one for you. This is Jim Jordan tonight with Laura Ingraham on Fox News, talking about Congresswoman Stefanik. And listen closely for the T word.


JIM JORDAN, (R-OH) HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER: At least twice a good communicator. You saw her in action during the first impeachment and how she handled that I thought a very well she`s been endorsed by President Trump. She`s supported by the minority leader. She`s supported by whip Scalise. She`s got an A plus with the NRA, and she was endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony list. I think that`s pretty good.

WILLIAMS: So she`s good all around there. Charlotte, she does have her critics despite an assist there from loyal mega follower Jordan. She has her critics in MAGA world who feel she is not MAGA enough, though, according to your reporting, she has shown an uncanny ability to change shape to fit the requirements?

ALTER: Well, yeah, what`s really interesting about Elise Stefanik, is that back in 2015, 2016, even as late as 2017, she was sort of tiptoeing around Donald Trump, you know, she said she would vote for him, she supported him, but just barely, you know, anytime his name came up in conversation, she would try to change the subject, she would refer to him as the Republican nominee.

And, you know, periodically during the 2016 campaign, and then early in his presidency, whenever something really outrageous would happen, you know, from the access Hollywood tape to the Muslim ban early in his presidency, she would issue these sort of tepid condemnations of his behavior that were sort of, you know, making it clear that she wasn`t an agreement with him, but trying not to make any waves. And that`s one of the reasons why this has been such an abrupt transformation for her because she was somebody who was not always in MAGA world. She was not always aligned with President Trump. She decided to align herself with President Trump starting in 2018, as it became clear that most of the people who were loudly condemning the president most of the Republicans who are loudly condemning the president were very likely going to lose their seats.

And then moving into 2019 as the 2019 impeachment hearings kind of gave her a real opportunity to shine, and you know, people who know her say that that was a real turning point for her because she emerged as one of the President`s most vociferous defenders. She earned his favor. He began to praise her in media appearances and most importantly, she raised $3.2 million in the aftermath of the 2019 impeachment, which was seven times what she had raised in the period before that, so she clearly began to see what side her bread was buttered on.

WILLIAMS: And now, Jeremy, you get to take us overseas all day long. I`ve been watching media from the region and social media from the region tonight. This is a full on air war in the skies between about Tel Aviv and Gaza City. A couple of questions for you, how did it start this time, our immediate past policies at all to blame and how can this not become a wider conflict?

BASH: Well, conflicts like these, Brian, have actually been going on since the early 2000s. And in 2008, and in 2012, Israel fought essentially many wars against Gaza. And each time what Israel was able to do was to destroy enough of the Hamas military infrastructure to by itself some time, by itself a couple of years of peace, and now since Israel has the American funded Iron Dome system, which the Obama-Biden administration helped fund. Israel has more decision space. And I think the Biden administration has struck exactly the right note tonight by saying they`ve been talking to their Israeli counterparts. Of course, they`re urging common restraint and all sides, but effectively, they`re giving Israel the time and space that Israel needs to conduct operations to dismantle Hamas` military infrastructure. I talked to someone in the densely populated central Israel area tonight and they were in the middle of dinner when the air raids went off, and they were sent scurrying for bomb shelters. I mean, this isn`t a civilian population that Hamas is indiscriminately attacking. Oh, by the way, Hamas is also hiding their own military infrastructure and hospitals, in kindergartens in their own residential buildings, forcing Israel instead very difficult situation of having to parse exactly where to strike. But no country not the United States, not Israel, no country, the world could survive air raids sirens running all night and people running into bomb shelters during the dinner hour. This is not what a civilized society should have to put up with. And I think the United States is right tonight to stand with its ally Israel.

WILLIAMS: Just a small slice of our world on this May evening in 2021. With our great thanks to Ashley Parker, to Charlotte Alter, and Jeremy Bash for starting us off and walking us through it.

Coming up for us, are there more out there, more Liz Cheney`s with courage enough to form the words out loud to say that Trump didn`t win the election for starters?

And later, resistance to the vaccine for younger children not from the virus but from their parents, we`ll talk to one of our top doctors about why this battle is so vital. The 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Tuesday night.



CHENEY: This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans, remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence, while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president`s crusade to undermine our democracy.


WILLIAMS: More from Congresswoman Liz Cheney tonight ahead of tomorrow`s vote to remove her from Republican leadership. In his latest column for the New York Times, Tom Friedman has delivered a stark warning, "If Trump and friends are not stopped, one day they will get where they are going, they will lock in minority rule in America. And when that happens, both Democrats and principled Republicans will take to the streets and you can call it whatever you like, but it is going to feel like a new civil war." That gets your attention.

And for more we are joined tonight by two valued members of our on air family, Baratunde Thurston, author, activist, comedian, former producer for The Daily Show. He is now the host of the podcast, How To Citizen. He`s also hosting the upcoming PBS series, America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston. And Bill Kristol is back with us, author, writer, thinker, Politico veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations, and the editor-at- large over at the Bulwark.

Gentlemen, we`ve been looking forward to this. Welcome to you both. Bill, is this a modern day low point, 1/6 included for the Republican Party? And if not, where`s the floor?

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I think this could well be the low point. I hope it`s a turning point. Liz Cheney gave a really quite remarkable speech on the floor of the House tonight very much worse, not just watching and listening to but reading and rereading that a real call to arms. I mean, most of the speeches given by, again, against Trump by Republicans have been given with a tone of resignation or sort of philosophical despair or what can be done or I`m giving this speech to the ages. Liz Cheney`s speech is a call to action. She says we must act, we have a duty to act, we cannot -- and as a forward looking speech, you know, it`s not just a lament that Trump did this or didn`t do that. It says going forward, if this is allowed, this is a threat to democracy, the rule of law, and to a party that was -- that one that should be a party dedicated to freedom and to the Constitution.

So I think it`s -- she`s throwing down the gauntlet. She`s saying that she`s in the fight. She will be deposed from the House Republican leadership tomorrow. But I think she`s in this fight for months and years to come.

WILLIAMS: Well, what becomes of our talk about what you think and perhaps what you know about her immediate future beyond say, finishing out a term in the House of Representatives, assuming she`s primary back home in Wyoming?

KRISTOL: Maybe she will be primary and she`ll fight that fight I believe. I think she -- after what she said tonight, it`s hard to see how she doesn`t take leadership of the movement to liberate the Republican Party from Trump. That`s a small movement right now. She and Adam Kinzinger are fighting the good fight. Dynamic Duo almost alone in the House Republican conference and really shocking, I`m never shocked anymore but shocking health colleagues and close friends of Liz Cheney, people who`ve worked with her and agree with her, won`t even say they`ll vote with her tomorrow, but she`ll continue the fight. I think she`s -- the logical outcome of speech tonight is to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. And really put it to the test whether this party can be saved from not just Trump personally, but from trumpism. And from contempt for the rule of law, and from a dedication going forward apparently, to using any means to overturn a legit fair and legitimate election. So I think Liz Cheney has made herself the leader of the non-Trump, anti-Trump forces in the Republican Party. And as I say, the out -- not just for tomorrow, and not just for internal maneuverings in the House of Representatives, but she`s sounding like Ronald Reagan to Margaret Thatcher. We`ll see if others rally to her.

WILLIAMS: Well, ladies and gentlemen, you heard it here first, and you heard it from Bill Kristol. Baratunde, over to you, Congressman Kinzinger tonight said that Leader McCarthy talks as if he is an employee of Donald Trump. Indeed, when Congresswoman Cheney gave her remarks, there was only one other Republican member in the well of the House of Representatives. Give us a reality check, Baratunde, how far we`ve gone off plum, how far from normal?

BARATUNDE THURSTON, AUTHOR, ACTIVIST AND COMEDIAN: Brian, Bill, it`s good to be back with you my favorites, my B team. And I only wish we could gather to celebrate being vaccinated or eating fresh fruit or anything that`s worth feeling good about in life, we always seem to come back here on the precipice of flailing democracy on the precipice of something that feels like Civil War. So I`m sad about that. And I`m tired of this.

It is frightening to see how many people are willing to embrace lies, when those lies, lead to power. And that`s what we`re looking at here. There`s so many people who have co-signed on this undermining of our democracy. I`m still not over January 6, 2021, Brian, 1000s of people stormed our democracy, spilt blood and stained our U.S. Capitol. And many Republicans voted right after that, not to certify the election, further, putting a stain on that capital, and no, not democracy. There`s a lot I don`t agree with Representative Cheney about but I applaud her courage, something that has been lacking so much in this party, which says it loves freedom, but lashes itself to a weak and cowardly man who raves from his own property against the constitution they claim to believe in. So kudos to Representative Cheney and anybody else in that Republican Party, because a lot of us been out here fighting, a lot of us been out here standing up for this America, the rest need to do so. This is not a drill. And this is not over.

WILLIAMS: I think I`ll choose that moment to take a break to tell our audience our guests are staying with us, and to tell you that coming up, it`s a question I`ve been asking our guests over these past few days. Does the shorthand news media phrase the big lie actually serve to diminish the danger to our democracy right now? Our friends, Baratunde and Bill will weigh in on that when we come back.



SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): I feel it`s OK to go ahead and express what you feel is right to express and you know canceled culture has canceled culture no matter how you look at it. And unfortunately, I think there are those that are trying to silence others in the party.


WILLIAMS: Well there it is a rare defense of Congresswoman Liz Cheney today from a fellow Republican I`ll be at one in the Senate. Using the GOP is canceled culture mantra of late against the party.

Still with us, Baratunde Thurston and Bill Kristol.

Baratunde, I kind of telegraphed this next question going into the break, but it`s real and legitimate. And I will be the first to admit I`ve used the expression big lie, I think twice already this hour. Do we shorthand what happened on 1/6 because we in the news media always need phraseology we need, you know, a quip is a shorthand appellation for things. By calling it the big lie, would we be better served with some variation of the violent insurrection that was intended to reverse a democratic election?

THURSTON: Back when September 11, 2001, befell all of us we had a lot of language, a lot of big flashy graphics and banners and red, white and blue attack on America. That`s what this was. And that`s what it still is.

When you take a sledgehammer to the pillars of the Constitution, when you deny the power of we the people to choose our own government by trying to discard thousands, if not millions of votes, when you undermine faith in the structure in a country that`s held together by faith, by documents, much more than land or ethnicity, that`s an attack.

I don`t have any objection to the language of the big lie. But I think this has been and continues to be an ongoing attack on our democracy. And that returned to this Republican Party which has wrapped itself historically, in the language of freedom, and yet attaches itself to a weak figure sub serves itself to one man in an authoritarian fashion. That is the opposite of freedom. And living in a lie is the opposite of freedom.

WILLIAMS: By the way, Baratunde, to your very point, attack on America became softened jargon. We love to do that it became the events of 9/11. A whole lot of commercials right now talk about during these difficult times when they could just mention an uncontrolled pandemic for 14 months, and indeed big lie is cheaper and easier for folks in our line of work to say, then it is the violent insurrection attempt to overturn a democratic election.

THURSTON: I agree. And I just -- when we think about people who almost literally cosigned on that attack, if we rewind to January 6, we saw the footage and we saw the smoke, and we didn`t even know the death toll yet. But we knew this was horrific.

And for the people whose very lives were threatened, whose vice president was almost lynched, to go in there and say this election was a sham. That`s cosigning on an attack. That`s aiding and abetting the enemy. That`s that kind of language that we use against brown people all over the world in the history of colonialism, but are unafraid to use it when it`s senators from a part of this lashed itself to whiteness, or representatives doing the same. But it doesn`t make it any less devastating.

WILLIAMS: Well put it on. I`m glad I asked. Bill Kristol, Reuters reporting NBC News confirming I`m reading this to you a growing number of anti-Trump Republicans over 100 at last count are signing on to a movement to create a third party if the GOP doesn`t let go of its unwavering Trump loyalty.

This will be about the 15th time I`ve asked you some version of this question, Bill. If they were given sodium pentothal, and a polygraph and we`re waterboarded, how many elected Republicans in Washington would secretly say, Liz Cheney is actually my brand of Republican?

KRISTOL: You know, I don`t know. But I really want to emphasize a point Baratunde makes so important. It wasn`t attack, it is an attack, it`s an ongoing attack, the attack is deepened in certain ways. The party is more it has seen the consequences of Trump`s lie from November 3 until January 6, as decided, that`s fine. We`re not only we`re not repudiating it, we`re not apologizing for it, we`re embracing it going forward. And we`re preparing to lay the groundwork to do it again, in 2024. That`s what`s so serious about this moment, I think.

And that`s why I think, Brian, your point about I hadn`t really thought about it. The big lie, it`s a little misleading. It could be misleading, in the sense that you do something bad, you lie about it, your kid maybe you know, you try to get away with it. And then maybe you don`t do it again. But that`s not what the Republican Party is doing. It`s not just that they`re not owning up to something they did. They`re laying the groundwork for continuing to do it, and do again in the future. That`s Liz Cheney`s point in her speech, and that`s why it is as Baratunde says such a dangerous moment.

I think it`s such an important moment for Liz Cheney to speak up and Adam Kinzinger and other Republicans to say, this isn`t enough how works out whether they can form it, save the Republican Party, form third party, join the Democratic Party. That`s another question.

But if this can`t be permitted, this is what the real danger is here. It`s not just all the historical record needs to be set straight, that is a bit of a misreading of what`s really at stake. It`s an ongoing attack on our democracy proceed on our Constitution.

WILLIAMS: Yes, I don`t speak for any industry beyond our one hour of television time each night but I fear the big lie is become our F7 key easy jargon. Perhaps too cute by half when you reexamine as we just have what we`re actually talking about.

Two our guests are great, thanks as always Baratunde Thurston, Bill Kristol, of course, we will do this again, thank you very much for staying up with us tonight.

Coming up as parents across our country prepared to vaccinate children as young as 12. Our next guest, a public health expert, who is a pediatrician by training. He is sadly here to tell us tonight to expect big controversy to follow.



CALEB CHUNG, PFIZER COVID VACCINE TRIAL VOLUNTER: They certainly can`t tell them that they have to get the vaccine, but I would definitely highly recommend it because it could really be a great opportunity for a layer of protection from COVID-19 and cross -- could probably make it easier for you to see your friends. I strongly believe that the science is reliable.


WILLIAMS: Hopefully he will apply for work at the CDC or run for Congress. But that`s 13-year-old Caleb Chung, who took part in Pfizer`s vaccine trials, offering up more wisdom right there than what comes out of so many of our elected leaders. Let`s leave it at that. Tomorrow, a CDC advisory panel expected to sign off on the emergency use of this Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 to 15.

New York Times reports local officials are looking to school summer camps, parks, even beaches in the effort to get this age group vaccinated.

So back with us again tonight, Dr. Irwin Redlener, the founding director of Colombia`s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, a pediatrician by training and trade who advises us on Public Health. Doctor, I hate to do this to you, but I`m going to play something for you at the very top before we have our discussion. This is Senator Ron Johnson on Fox News tonight.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): People ought to respect other people`s freedom and liberty and their ability to choose whether or not to get vaccinated or not. I am concerned now about them trying to push it onto children. Let`s face it, they aren`t in a position of informed consent. We do need to recognize that this is not a fully approved vaccine.


WILLIAMS: So doctor, I know a really smart, educated substantial people who believe him to be a witting or unwitting asset of Russia, who would sound a lot like that in American society. The controversy you warned our producers was coming is already here. What do you say? Let`s bypass the Senator from Wisconsin. What do you say to American parents?

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, EXPERT ON PANDEMIC INFLUENZA: Yes, Brian, good evening your way out of the mouths of senators as the famous Art Linkletter might say. But listen, this is exhausting in a way because what we`re going to have is not a controversy medically about the efficacy or safety of this vaccine in children even way lower than nine years of age.

The controversy is going to be stoked by politicians who actually don`t know what they`re talking about, who are bringing up issues that are completely irrelevant to the absolute need, Brian, to get our children vaccinated to protect them to get the numbers of people in America who are vaccinated up as high as we can possibly get them to try to get control of the pandemic.

We`re going to have parents already a little reluctant or hesitant about getting the vaccine.

The last thing we need is for senators to be spouting off on issues they really don`t understand. I`m just amazed that this continues to go on. But here we are, Brian, but I do hope that parents who understand this is a safe and efficient, effective vaccine. And let`s get on with it. And let`s start talking to parents about why it`s so important for their children to get vaccinated.

WILLIAMS: This time and this pandemic, especially the last administration has been hard on our institutions. It was just today Republican Maine Senator Susan Collins says she no longer regards the CDC as the gold standard in this area. Someone you and I both know Kavita Patel was tonight asked about that by Shepard Smith. We`ll talk on the other side of her answer.


DR. KAVITA PATEL, FMR. WHITE HOUSE HEALHT POLICY DIRECTOR: I say this as a former government official, I think the CDC credibility is eroding as quickly as our cases of coronavirus are eroding. In the absence of this guidanship (ph), we`re making it up and nobody wants that, because that actually puts more of us at risk.


WILLIAMS: So Doctor, it does tap into public opinion of what do you do about it? And there are now admissions that they got things like outdoor transmission entirely wrong. But who were we to know early on?

REDLENER: Right. This is the latest issue to come up where there has been some question about the information coming out of the CDC. I think they`re finding their footing. Brian, I wouldn`t say they`ve lost credibility. But I do think they need to get their messaging straighter than they are getting it in some of these instances.

The report that Kavita was talking about has to do with whether it`s safe to be outside in terms of picking up an infection from COVID-19. And the fact of the matter is, it is extremely safe. There`s probably been less than 1 percent of cases that could be shown to have been caused by outdoor transmission, whether you`re vaccinated or not vaccinated. So to say it`s less than 10 percent. Yes, it is. But it`s actually also less than 1 percent.

And those two messages are pretty different Brian and I do think they will get their act together, but the sooner the better because it really is confusing to people. And I really would like to see them tighten up the way they`re messaging and explaining these complex issues to the American public.

WILLIAMS: Our thanks as always to our friend Dr. Irwin Redlener for taking our questions, especially since the vaccine business now comes directly into your lifelong field of medical study. Doctor, thank you so much.

Coming up for us, the urgent situation that is focusing the immediate attention of the world. The skies are lit up tonight over the Middle East.


WILLIAMS: The deadly confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians is still escalating tonight. This one exploded. It`s now early morning in the Middle East. Hundreds of rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza. Israel is responding with more air attacks there have already been numerous civilian casualties. We get our report tonight from foreign correspondent Mark Stone from our sister network Sky News.


MARK STONE, SKY NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight in Tel Aviv images that change everything and an escalation that has already spiraled so fast. Flights at the International Airport were urgently suspended and diverted.

Hamas said it was a specific target. And on the streets injured Israelis which for Israel will move this conflict on to a different level.

Earlier Israeli assault on Gaza which prompted the Hamas retaliation had been relentless. And for those who are not the targets, but who are so often the victims, it is terrifying.

With the weight of the Israeli Air Force on top of them, there is nowhere safe to run. The number confirmed to have died through the day and the night before continues to rise. Children too. Any one of the hospitals, agony and defiance.

This man vows revenge for the death of his comrade, a member of Hamas is Jerusalem brigade.

On the Israeli side of the fence which locks guards are off in the city of Ashkelon, the air raid siren sounded through the day. The Israeli communities here are used to attacks from Gaza, but not this many in just a few hours.

(on camera): This is the third time it`s happening since we`ve been here. You hear the way the sirens and then moments later. Sometimes the cud (ph) of the rockets as they come in from Gaza. There have been scores of rockets over the course of the past few hours, most of them hitting here around this town.

(voice-over): The Israeli Defense Forces spokesman was here keen to show us what Israel faces from Hamas.

(on camera): The images that are coming out of Gaza are truly horrific. It seems that what Israel is doing in Gaza is totally disproportionate to what is happening here.

LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCE INTERNATIONAL SPOKESMAN: I would beg to differ. I think that what we are doing are specific strikes against the military targets inside Gaza that are part of the Hamas and Islamic jihads military infrastructure.

STONE (voice-over): Hamas claims to be the defender of the Palestinian cause striking their occupier. Israel will strike back harder still. And the diplomacy to break this cycle isn`t there. Mark Stone, Sky News in Southern Israel.


WILLIAMS: It has escalated even in the time we`ve been on the air awful situation in the Middle East tonight that sadly is poised to get worse in short order. Another break, we have a final preview of what tomorrow may bring right after this.


WILLIAMS: First thing before we go tonight, one last preview of tomorrow in Washington and why it`s way more important than just one Republican member of Congress. Tomorrow morning Liz Cheney will preside over the meeting of the Republican caucus where she will be replaced because she believes Biden won the election and Trump lost.

She may even call the vote to effectively oust herself. It`s hard to figure out what exactly they call this dynamic suddenly making somebody disappear. There`s a term for it. Oh, yes, it`s the dynamic the Republicans have been railing against.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, I don`t believe in canceled culture.

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): I`m not going to be silenced. I`m not going to be canceled.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): They can`t cancel this rally, or this movement or this tour, or this Congressman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I refuse to bow to the cancel mob.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Canceled culture has gone too far. And we`ve got to change that.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Canceled culture now has permeated every single part of our society.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: We will not be silenced or canceled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are no limits to canceled culture in America today.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): If it continues, it won`t just be Republicans who get canceled. The canceled culture will come for us all.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The idea that a Republican would join with a canceled culture I just think is wrong.


WILLIAMS: There`s the proof that it`s just a culture war talking point canceled culture on the eve of the forced cancellation of Liz Cheney from the Republican caucus, which she still chairs for at least these overnight hours.

Quick programming note before we go tonight, tomorrow evening on this network 10:00 p.m. Eastern to be exact the hour before our broadcast. My colleague Lawrence O`Donnell will be joined by President Biden for a town hall event, Vaccinating America, they`ll be joined by members of the White House COVID Response Team and one of the vaccine developers.

For now and for us, however, that`s our broadcast for this Tuesday night with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.