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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 5/27/21

Guests: Chuck Rosenberg, Mark McKinnon, Jason Johnson, Clint Watts>


Senate riot commission vote is possible overnight. Senate GOP will likely vote down riot commission. Mitch McConnell reportedly lobbied against riot commission. Mother of slain Capitol Policeman Brian Sicknick called on GOP to support riot commission. Shooting victims remembered in San Jose, California. President Joe Biden is still working to get infrastructure deal. Biden is expected to unveil $6 trillion budget. Federal judge warns about danger of Trump`s lies. Trumpism continues to dominate GOP. QAnon fringe when nearly one-in-five Americans believe in its conspiracy theories. DHS orders "critical" pipeline operators to comply with new cybersecurity measures. Big oil shareholders push for climate change action.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 128 of the Biden administration. Tonight, we begin with the drama, if you want to call it, that still underway in the U.S. Senate chamber where members of working late into the night, trying to decide whether to establish a formal commission to investigate January`s deadly riot at the Capitol and insurrection that of course sent lawmakers at a Republican Vice President running for their lives.

Remember, just to emphasize this vote will come in that same Senate chamber that was overrun desk ransacked as senators were sheltered from those demonstrators. 10 Republicans are needed to join with the Democrats crossover in order for this measure to pass. Republicans pretty much did get everything they wanted in this proposal for a commission. Nonetheless, their leader in the Senate reportedly personally lobbied his caucus as a personal favor to vote against the commission, largely with an eye toward the 2022 midterms.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think the basic goal of our democratic friends is to keep re litigating in public what happened back on January 6, rather than getting to a quick solution through arrest of those who did it and security adjustments to make sure it never happens again.


WILLIAMS: Again, his beloved Senate chamber was taken over on that day. His appeals apparently were a lot more powerful than those from the grieving mother of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick who was attacked as you recall as he battled the rioters. He died of what were said to be natural causes the following day.

Gladys Sicknick, a modest woman who never dreamed she`d be in the public eye. Of course, just as she never dreamed, she`d have to bury her own son. She spent the day meeting with Republican senators, joining other officers who faced the rioters and a last-ditch effort to persuade them to vote in favor of a serious investigation of the serious violence on that day.


GLADYS SICKNICK, MOTHER OF SLAIN CAPITOL POLICE OFFICE BRIAN SICKNICK: Usually, I`m staying in the background and I just couldn`t -- I couldn`t stay quiet anymore. Just look at the footage of what all these people went through and all these police officers didn`t make them safe. They put their lives on the line.


WILLIAMS: Earlier today, there was talk of a move to abolish the Senate filibuster, should Republicans try to block a vote on the 1/6 commission. Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the Senate`s crucial swing vote was asked if he could support such a move.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I`m not ready to destroy my government, no.


WILLIAMS: Meanwhile, we`re learning of a new investigation that is underway related to the 2020 election. The New York Times reporting tonight that the Feds are looking at whether several officials in Ukraine helped implement a plan to meddle in the presidential campaign on Trump`s behalf and use former Trump Lawyer, Rudy Giuliani to spread damaging information about Joe Biden. While Giuliani apparently is not a subject of this investigation, he`s already of course the focus of another, the federal inquiry into whether he lobbied the Trump White House to remove a U.S. Ambassador on behalf of Ukrainian officials.

The man who actually won the 2020 election continues to push his agenda in hopes of getting something through Congress. This morning a group of Senate Republicans unveiled a $928 billion infrastructure plan, a kind of sale price to counter Biden`s nearly $2 trillion plan.


SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-WV): We`re hoping that this moves the ball forward. We believe that the alternative, which is a partisan reconciliation process, would be destructive to our future bipartisan attempts.


WILLIAMS: So, the President says he`s ready to talk about this counteroffer. But he warned negotiations won`t go on indefinitely. Today he traveled to Cleveland to talk up his plan. He also referenced the recently passed coronavirus relief bill calling out those Republicans who voted against it and then turned around to brag about what they`d done for their constituents.


JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: Even my Republican friends in Congress, not a single one of them voted for the rescue plan. I`m not going to embarrass anyone, but I have here a list of how back in their districts they`re bragging about the rescue plan. They touted the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. They touted the fact that we`re in a situation where the -- dealing with -- touted grants to community healthcare centers, touted -- I mean, some people have no shame.

But I`m happy. I`m happy they know that it`s benefited their constituents. That`s OK with me. But if you`re going to try to take credit for what you`ve done, don`t get in the way of what we still need to do.


WILLIAMS: Biden is expected to propose a $6 trillion federal budget tomorrow that would call for the highest levels of federal spending since the Second World War. Tonight, there are new details about his administration`s order to the intelligence community to find out more about where the virus originated. New York Times reporting the order came after, "intelligence officials told the White House they had a raft of still- unexamined evidence that required additional computer analysis that might shed light on the mystery."

Meanwhile, the city of San Jose, California remembering victims of the mass shooting that took place at a light rail yard yesterday. The death toll is now nine, after another shooting victim died late last night. All nine worked with the gunman. He fired on them just as their shift was getting underway before killing himself. Investigators have yet to reveal any motive.

With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Thursday night, Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for The Associated Press, Chuck Rosenberg, a Justice Department Veteran, former U.S. Attorney and a former Senior FBI Official, also the host of the MSNBC podcast, The Oath, and Carol Leonnig, Pulitzer Prize-winning Investigative Reporter with The Washington Post, her latest book, Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service debuted at number two on the New York Times bestseller list this week.

Good evening, and welcome to you all. Carol, I`d like to begin with you when Mitch McConnell says, look, there are enough investigations going on into this. The last thing we need is an official Commission on Capitol Hill, remind us the power and official commission would have as an investigative body and what they might be able to answer?

CAROL LEONNIG, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": You know, Brian, I think Mitch McConnell is probably focusing more on the midterms than actually the fact finding that he -- that could be accomplished by this commission. All you have to do is look to the 9/11 commission, right? Up five Democrats, five Republicans joined hands and said, this is so important, this attack on our democracy, this attack on our country, basically a declaration of war, we will get to the bottom of how it could happen. That kind of investigation is different than the Justice Department`s ongoing probe of various people who attacked law enforcement officers, who trespassed on the Capitol, who brought pipes and bat and flag poles and fire extinguishers and bear spray to attack law enforcement officers and potentially try to harm and maybe even kill and hang members of Congress.

But the 9/11 Commission was able to find, and a January 6 commission would be able to do this as well. The roots of the security failure, what had we not been able to spot on the horizon before this group of domestic extremists seemingly very organized, according to the police chiefs who were on the scene, the commanders. What kind of intelligence failure to this represent that nobody in the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, or the raft of police agencies could see what others were fearing might be possible, violence and targeting the Capitol?

The other thing that`s really critical again, the 9/11 Commission on unfurled, and the January 6 commission, if it ever got off the ground could do the same, is the actual planning and organization. One thing about the 9/11 commission report that is so chilling, is the very detailed description of how this group formed. You know, the original hijackers are fairly famous, but there was something else for, you know, bubbling up and there was a large sort of plot that had been planned for months and months, and in fact, really began with Osama bin Laden`s attack on embassies in Africa. And that was a warning sign the U.S. missed. But what were the other warning signs we missed in January 6, in the days leading to that, without this fact finding mission, the Justice Department`s not going to answer those questions. This is really the only way to get to the bottom of it.

WILLIAMS: Chuck to Carol`s exact point, I`m tempted to use phraseology like a failure of intelligence, of failure of imagination, which, if you`ve got some years on you -- brings you right back to that feeling post 9/11. If my math is right, the 9/11 commission report came out during or right around the time when you were working for one, Robert Mueller at the FBI. And tell the folks watching how useful it was to have it looked into and laid out before you given your responsibility as a Fed?

CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Look, I think the 9/11 Commission, Brian, did an excellent job in an astonishing job. It wasn`t a perfect report, but it was an incredibly important report. And to what Carol just said, five Republicans and five Democrats were appointed as commissioners. They had a staff of a couple of dozen people. They did 1200 interviews are really better stated. They interviewed 1200 people, reviewed two and a half million documents. They took a little bit under two years to complete the report. In fact, they didn`t even start until the winter of 2002. I think they were enacted into public law in November of 2002. And look, sometimes it was a painful process for those of us at the FBI while the commission was doing its work.

They asked hard questions, they found fault with many of the things that happened at the FBI and at the CIA. But it was fair, and it was important. And as the commissioners wrote in the preface, and by the way, I brought a prop, not as good as Carol`s but an important work. They said we did this with humility. We came to the process with certain assumptions. It turned out that in many cases we were wrong. We listened to each other, we talked to each other, we changed our minds on occasion, and there was no dissent. They submitted one report, not a majority report, not a minority report, one report. And it helped us understand where we failed, where we could do better, where we had to improve, and how we could try to prevent another catastrophe.

They also noted, Brian, so fascinating, that in 2002, when they were chartered, it was a time of great partisan divide. We think we are the only ones living in a partisan divide. The only partisan divide exists right now today, under our very feet. But they wrote about the partisan divide when this commission, the 9/11 commission was created in 2002. They put that aside, they overcame it, and they produce an astonishingly important piece of literature. We ought to do it again.

WILLIAMS: So, Jonathan Lemire, to quote Lyndon Johnson on another matter, these are the stakes. And I`m going to play for you what Senator Murkowski, Republican of Alaska said to her fellow Republican senators, in effect, about the need for this commission. We`ll discuss on the other side.

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): This was an attack on our Capitol designed to stop, to stop a process that has been in play for a century plus. So we just can`t pretend that nothing bad happened, or that people just got too excitable. Something bad happened. And it`s important to lay that out.


WILLIAMS: So, on social media tonight, Jonathan, a good many Democrats were saying to the senator, so switch parties, come on over and join the home team, joined the team of reason. Jonathan, the question for you is how to Republicans listen to that, and justify their no vote?

JONATHAN LEMIRE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "ASSOCIATED PRESS": They haven`t justified it very effectively, Brian, that much is clear. They have to this day and weather themselves to former President Trump and the big lie that he was, of course, he claims elected in last November and that the election was stolen from him. None of that is true. And of course, it was that for president in his words that incited the violence on Capitol Hill on January 6, and there are a few Republicans who have voted to say, they were vindicated, they will vote to get to the bottom of this. Collins, Murkowski, Romney has said they do want to have this January 6 Commission. But when we`re hoping Leader McConnell is actively trying to quash it telling members reportedly that it would be a personal favor to him for them to do so. It doesn`t stand much of a chance.

And right now, Ron Johnson, Senator from Wisconsin, Brian, you`ll remember Ron Johnson as the senator who said that he`d been far more afraid on January 6, that they had been Black Lives Matter protesters rather than the Trump fans who stormed the Capitol, killed multiple people and tried to hang the vice president. He is engaging in stall tactics in the Senate right now approaching midnight, delaying votes on a number of matters China, a China bill, endless frontiers bill and indeed even getting to the January 6 commission vote because he wants there to be discussion about President Trump`s former border wall, which he was a prize campaign promise, the not much came of it. So that`s where they are. The Republican Party right now is still for the vast majority of them doing for President Trump`s bidding, they want to put January 6 behind them as quickly as possible. They`re focused simply on the 2022 midterms and not getting to the bottom of one of the darkest days in American history.

WILLIAMS: Carol Leonnig, let`s talk about someone you have covered for years and that`s Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson, she wrote an opinion this week on why she was going to keep in detention one of the 1/6 defendants, the accused insurrectionist. And she threw this in, the steady drumbeat that inspired the defendant to take up arms has not faded away, six months later, the canard that the election was stolen is being repeated daily on major news outlets and from the corridors of power in state and federal government, not to mention in the near daily fulminations of the former president. Carol, how big is it to read a section that speaks English, written by not just a member of the federal bench, a supremely formidable member of the federal bench?

CAROL LEONNIG, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I`m always impressed by Judge Jackson`s use of the dictionary and it comes out of her mouth very easily compared to mine. But to get fulminations and canard into one, pleading, it`s pretty, forgive me, opinion is pretty good. You know, she has done right, Brian. The continuation of the big lie, you know, it`s so demonstrably false. This is not the only defendant who has been held because of the potential risk of them doing harm to people in the future, because they still believe these claims, these claims are still being stoked. And they`re being stoked by as she said, the former president, they`re a really powerful person with a very large megaphone, even though he no longer has Twitter, a lot of power.

And, sadly, a large number of Americans still believe this to be the case. I think that right now, there are some polls that suggest that one in five Americans believe that the election was stolen, and they may have to resort to taking matters into their own hands to solve this problem, this -- the theft of our democracy, it`s quite the opposite. But unfortunately, there`s a large group of lawmakers who are again, continuing to repeat this. And it reminds me I`m sorry to go back to an old saw, but it really reminds me of when the Bush administration was pushing the claim, seems antique now that Saddam Hussein was guilty of fomenting terrorism. And two out of three Americans believed Saddam Hussein had something to do with the towers coming down, which was just not true. But it had been repeated to them so often, that they believed it, you almost have to feel sorry for voters that they`ve been sold this snake oil.

WILLIAMS: Indeed, those were not Iraqi hijackers, and those planes that did what they did to our country and our buildings and our people.

So Chuck, if indeed there`s not going to be a commission, if this all falls to the investigative powers and the prosecutorial powers of the Feds, remind our viewers of their reach. If there is a man or woman at a bar tonight in Chicago, Illinois, or Joplin, Missouri or Fort Smith, Arkansas, bragging quietly about the day they spent reloading the Capitol on 1/6. Reassure us that the bureau you worked for and revered so much will find those people, all of them before this is over and bring them to justice.

ROSENBERG: Let me reassure you then, Brian, the Federal reach, federal jurisdiction is broad. It transcends state borders. So someone is in Arkansas or Missouri, as you note and committed a crime in Washington D.C. and that`s a federal crime. And we can prove it, we have admissible evidence, we have testimony, we have video, then being in another state is not going to help them. Let them keep bragging. Let them keep posting on social media, all of that can be used as evidence. Everyone they talked to can be a witness.

Now, of course, we have to make individual determinations about what people did. That`s a requirement of the criminal law, right? Merely being present is not a crime. Committing a crime is a crime. And so far, we have more than 400 people who have been charged. I suspect more will be charged as well. But the federal government through the U.S. Attorney`s Office and through the FBI, who work around the nation, around the globe and around the clock, are going to find the people who did this and hold them accountable.

WILLIAMS: So Jonathan Lemire, last word goes to you, what is the status of Biden`s idea of outreach to Republicans? Can his good faith efforts be measured in days?

LEMIRE: Brian, we`ll do this quick. The White House believes the fact that there`s, was a Republican counteroffer the talks are continuing. That`s a good sign. The White House wants a bipartisan deal. The President really wants a bipartisan deal, even just on the hard infrastructure part of this roads, highways, bridges, the Memorial Day deadline, that soft deadline that`s been pushed, it`s going to be another week or two. They`re giving them more time to come to an agreement. The bad news is though the Republicans up their offer today. It`s only though the real number that we should be concerned about is the 250 odd billion dollars in new funding the GOP is offering that is still far less than what the White House wants. Moreover, it`s how to pay for it. And the Republican Party is suggesting they fund it using the leftover money from the COVID relief bill, that act it`s already been passed. The problem with that, the White House says 95 percent of that money has already been allocated. It`s been spent, and they want to keep some in reserve just in case needed again for another virus- related measure. These two sides have not given up but they`ve got a long way to go. There`ll be more meetings next week.

WILLIAMS: We so greatly appreciate these three friends of our broadcast, Jonathan Lemire, Chuck Rosenberg, Carol Leonnig, thank you so much for starting us off tonight.

Coming up for us, as a former party leader and vice-presidential candidate issues a warning to his fellow Republicans tonight. Some democrats worried their party is just not fighting back enough.

And later, the alarming number of Americans who are convinced Satan worshipping pedophiles are in charge of our country. The 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Thursday night as we show you members of the U.S. Army Old Guard, marking the Arlington graves of those who gave all, those who we remember each Memorial Day.



SEN. PAUL RYAN, (R) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or a second rate imitations, then we`re not going anywhere. Voters looking for Republican leaders want to see independence in metal. They will not be impressed by the sight of yes-men and flatterers flocking to Mar-a-Lago.


WILLIAMS: We are certain he considered that a big deal. That was Paul Ryan tonight and his big attack on Trump and trumpism. The problem for the Fox board member and former Speaker of the House is that it`s too little too late, of course, and the party has moved on to the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene.

With us again tonight, two more friends of this broadcast, Jason Johnson, Campaign Veteran Journalist, Contributor over at the Grio, and a professor of politics and journalism at Morgan State University, and Mark McKinnon, former Adviser to both George W. Bush and John McCain. He is of course among the co-hosts, if you ask us, he is the star of the Circus on Showtime.

Gentlemen, good evening, and welcome to you both. Mark, there was another GOP fringe wingding tonight in Georgia with Marjorie Taylor Greene. And congressman Gaetz, I`m going to play for you a bit of language, let`s face it he had hoped would be triggering from his remarks we`ll discuss on the other side.


REP. MATT GAETZ, (R) FLORIDA: Silicon Valley can`t cancel this movement, or this rally, or this congressman. We have a second amendment in this country. And I think we have an obligation to use it.


WILLIAMS: So Mark, there`s a lot to take in. Here`s a guy who may well spend his golden years in an orange jumpsuit. We had a mass shooting in San Jose, yesterday, nine dead. Is this a case of, go ahead and endanger the public if it means staying on brand?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO JOHN MCCAIN AND GEORGE: Yeah, it`s so absolutely irresponsible, Brian. I mean, he`s really calling for people to know and bear arms, but use arms. And the problem for the party, for the Republican Party, is that if you`re not going to punish the extremes you get defined by the extremes. When you reward the Marjorie Taylor Greenes and the Matt Gaetz` and you punish Liz Cheney, that`s a big message. It says that the voice of your party that you recommend and you put forward to the public are the fringes so that`s -- nobody should be surprised in the Republican Party that people believe these conspiracy theories. They`re being spouted by people like raining Gaetz, but that`s the root of, the problem with Republican Party right now.

WILLIAMS: Hey, Jason, this is from Fred Wellman. Fred, this is second mentioned this week from social media. Fred`s a west pointer with a Harvard degree. He happens to be a combat veteran. He happens to be attached to the Lincoln Project and he writes, "We need to fight for our Republic. I don`t understand at all what the Democratic leadership is thinking. Stop f---ing around. He spelled it out. Stop letting McConnell walk all over you. For God`s sake act like you are the majority. We are all out here fighting. Where are you? Jason, does that speak for you these days?

JASON JOHNSON, PROFESSOR MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, yes, that`s spoken for me all alone. Like most of this, I do not understand what some of the Democratic strategic leadership sees right now. I personally don`t think that Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz are that big of a deal. They`re crazy people. There`s lots of other people who believe what they want to say that should not be the focus of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party every single day says three things. Number one, you got a steaming check in your wallet. We did that. Number two, Joe Manchin, you`re not going to get reelected, get up off your butt so we can pass House bill one and the for America acts so everybody can vote. And number three, do not mention the Republican Party unless you mentioned the insurrection on January 6. That`s it. Message consistency.

The Republicans wake up every single day and they say, you know, space lasers and pedophiles and the big lie, they seem to understand message consistency. The Democrats need to do the same thing. And it primarily focuses on Joe Manchin, but it focuses also on the messaging.

I don`t know why Chuck Schumer is not out there more. I don`t know why Pelosi is not out there more. And quite frankly, even after this failed vote for the January 6 Commission, they should still be immediately talking about putting another special commission together to investigate this, to keep the public focus on the fact that the republicans are the party of insurrection, violence, and three dead police officers.

WILLIAMS: Mark McKinnon and there`s a lot there to react to. About Chuck Schumer, I`ve heard the same charge that was leveled against Harry Reid is leveled all the time about McConnell. Their players have the inside game their tree people and not forest people. And while they should be big picture spokespeople and critics for their own party, they`re often just in the trenches. It`s all about yardage and turf. Do you concur?

MCKINNON: Not exactly. Brian. I mean, I don`t think the people that should be the visible posters for the Democratic Party should be Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. I don`t think they`re good spokesman for the party. I think they`re good inside operators.

But I, you know, I think you should get some of the rural Democrats out there. Putting the lights on and being the headlights for the party. You know, and you talk about this the insurrection in this committee that`s probably going to be voted down tonight, this special committee to look into January 6.

I mean, part of the message of Democrats should be in a -- in an event that was not on our soil in which fewer people lost their lives. And on January 6, Benghazi the Republicans held 33 hearings, and we can`t have one on a domestic terrorism that cost five Americans or lives here in the United States. I think that`s a problem.

WILLIAMS: Both these gentlemen have agreed to stay with us as we fit in a break. Coming up for us, President Biden`s agenda is up against the Republicans misinformation, conspiracy theories and the midterm clock why some Democrats are saying bipartisanship is simply a losing proposition with this crowd.



JAMES CARVILLE, VETERAN DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I sleep at night, at least knowing that we have a president, that`s looking out for the country. And hopefully we stay on edge because this we could lose a lot in 2022 too, but by just being kind of (INAUDIBLE) and complacent here.


WILLIAMS: So that was James Carville on this broadcast just a couple nights back. Our guest Jason Johnson, Mark McKinnon remain with us. Jason, talk about bipartisanship. Do you think the time has long since come for Biden, and this comes off our last conversation in the previous segment, for Biden to just pull down the Sham and go out alone?

JOHNSON: He has to, Brian, because I don`t understand what the push for bipartisanship is for? It`s not what the voters are asking for. The Republicans have basically said every time bipartisanship is offered they throw it back at their face. And Manchin (ph) with these philosophical discussions. I mean, you know what, tonight we`re going to see the January 6 Commission go down in flames, right, after the Democrats offer the Republicans everything they want. It reminds me that old Bible story where God says hey, if you can show me 50 good men in the city, I won`t wreck it and basically Manchin like well, can I get 10? No, he can`t even get 10 OK, there aren`t any noble people in the Republican Party anymore. Bipartisanship is completely dead.

I think the Democrats need to start acting like the majority they are and pushing as much legislation that is red meat for their own people as possible, or they will lose power next year because they won`t have done anything about voting rights, which is the primary method the Republicans going to use because they know that their policies alone aren`t very popular anymore.

WILLIAMS: Mark, I know you got to love James Carville trying to speak truth to power to his party. Here`s another Carville quote from his op ed in the Wall Street Journal. The modern Democratic Party is flat out better on crime than Republicans. Mr. Trump presided over the greatest crime rise in modern American history. Now it`s time for the Democratic consultant class to stop its bedwetting on the issue and take this case to the American people. A lawless president created the perfect storm for the crime crisis America now faces.

And mark, we got Jason`s quoting the Bible, I`ll quote, Charles Schultz. It`s the Charlie browning of the Democratic Party that we`re all trying to describe here. They try to put out and put out and put out, football gets yanked away yet again. Do you -- even though you`ve spent all your professional life on the other side? Do you see Carville`s point? Do you agree with his strategy?

MCKINNON: Well, actually, I spent a little bit of my time on James`s side. In fact, James was the first campaign manager the first race I ever worked in. And I learned more from James than anybody in the Democrats would be really smart to listen to James.

And he`s so right on all these things. And I say this is particularly true on the filibuster, Brian. Republicans wouldn`t blink before ditching the filibuster. I mean, not only do they use power, they abused power, and Democrats are always shy about that. And they need to get tough like Fred Wellman said, you know, Listen, I`ve worked in campaigns for more than three decades, I`ve been to debates town halls met probably millions of voters. Hundreds of thousands anyway, and over the course of those many years, not once have I heard a voter ever say to me, what about my filibuster, nobody gives a hell about the vote filibuster.


MCKINNON: And it`s such a washed and inside thing and Democrats, we got to realize they`re likely to lose the house next November, and they got a big agenda, not much time to get it done. And the only way they`re going to do it is to get rid of the filibuster. If they can`t get a single vote from Republicans on COVID. They`re not going to get votes to anywhere.

WILLIAMS: This means at this point in the broadcast, I`m duty bound to repeat the Rick Wilson saying the Democrats always bring a soup ladle to a gunfight. Jason Johnson, Mark McKinnon, thank you gentlemen for staying up with us on this pre-holiday Thursday night. We greatly appreciate it.

Coming up for us. It turns out the number of Americans who think Satan worshipping pedophiles run our country is much larger than first thought. Question is, will it be enough to prompt an emergency meeting of the Satan worshipping pedophiles who run the country?


WILLIAMS: There is a disturbing new survey out today from the Public Religion Research Institute on QAnon conspiracy theories. Over 5,000 adults from all 50 states were questioned. This poll found 15 percent of all Americans, 23 percent of Republicans surveyed say they agree with this statement and we quote, the government, media and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan worshipping pedophiles, who run a global child sex trafficking operation.

20 percent of all Americans, along with 28 percent of Republicans said they agree quote, there is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders.

So we thought of only one man that`s Clint Watts, former FBI Special Agent, distinguished Research Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. And our national security analyst also happens to be the author of "Messing with the Enemy, Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians and Fake News."

And Clint, I got one more for you. Almost a third of Republicans agree that quote, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country. I`m betting all of this gets your attention.

CLINT WATTS, FMR. FBI SPECIAL AGENT: That`s right, Brian, one of the things that we always wonder with social media and influence these propaganda and disinformation campaigns, is does it ever really result in any sort of physical mobilization or violence and I think the evidence is quite clear.

January 6, was a mass demonstration of how an entire group of people can be inculcated in a alternative reality that`s completely false, and be pushed to violence under pretenses that are completely nonsensical.

QAnon is nothing more than crowdsource crazy. There`s nothing to it other than things that are made up by anonymous people and yet has become its own belief system. It really its own religion to a degree, it`s believed by as many people as some religions in United States at this point, and yet it`s been debunked.

HBO has done a special on this, you could anyone any of us can watch it, QAnon support it and you watch it. And when you trace out the lineage of really what that movement was, it is clearly not real, it is false. There is no queue, there is no secret plot.

And what happens is we crash into these reality horizons over time which ultimately lead in people dying. Law enforcement officers at the Capitol being surrounded, a commission that needs to be conducted. And yet here we are not really rectifying these problems and still QAnon lives long after Trump`s defeat.

WILLIAMS: While fueled by grievance, largely as I think you`d agree, one point you`re always so good on is pointing out that Russia must be so psyched. They spent about $20 to help brings it along. They find a US president who comes out against NATO and weakens the Atlantic Alliance. And now we are tearing each other apart, which was part of their kind of low budget wish list years ago.

WATTS: That`s exactly right. It is a populist information rebellion on steroids now and, and they understood that art. They always understood that if they could pursue active measures, with just a throwing a match in a powder keg, where they pitted different polls politically, socially, economically in the United States against each other. If we fought each other, we could not fight them. And it breaks up every union along the way from NATO, the EU and now inside our own United States.

What`s remarkable, I think about how this works is yes, it`s partly social media in the information environment. That`s what the connective tissue is a brings all these people together. But separately, it`s also about real people. It`s about President Trump, it is about General Mike Flynn, who takes an oath, essentially pledging allegiance to QAnon. And it`s about bringing all those people to a physical location.

I think my worry is that as long as this phenomenon continues, the conspiracy goes on unabated. This artificial reality that`s been created in the social media space, why would we not see mobilizations again in the future if we don`t have a commission, if we don`t see the prosecutions that we need coming to those that enter the Capitol? Why wouldn`t this happen at a state or local area? Why wouldn`t every election be contested?

And that right there is what the Russians wanted in the beginning, which was to undermine democracy and get us to not believe in it as a form of governance to really become apathetic about what is the greatest form of government in the world and what we achieved as a country.

WILLIAMS: Your life`s work is scary stuff, but Clint Watts, we are thankful as always, for your expertise, and for staying up with us to take our questions. We`ll do this again as needed. Clint Watts, our guest tonight. Coming up for us. The new effort now underway to prevent more signs like this, this coming summer.


WILLIAMS: Remember, a few weeks back people were panic buying gasoline after the Colonial Pipeline was forced to shut down by a cyber attack, which quickly crippled gasoline supplies throughout the Southeast. Colonial turns out paid almost 5 million bucks to get it back online.

Now the Biden administration is trying to prevent similar attacks in our future. NBC News correspondent Tom Costello has more on the newly released security rules for oil and gas companies.


TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three weeks after gas stations when temporarily dry and fuel prices soared. Homeland Security today ordered oil and gas companies to take immediate steps to guard against another cyber attack. Designate a company`s cybersecurity coordinator who is available 24 seven, review company operations and notify Homeland Security of any cyber vulnerabilities within 30 days and immediately report and coordinates cyber incidents. companies that don`t comply could be fined up to $7,000 a day.

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Ransomware is one of the greatest cybersecurity threats that we face in the United States.

COSTELLO: But it`s the TSA that`s in charge of pipeline cybersecurity. The former director of homeland cybersecurity Souza says TSA can`t do it alone.

CHRISTOPHER KREBS, CYBERSECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY FORMER DIRECTOR: We need additional support from other agencies like SISA, like the intelligence community, and also the Department of Energy.

COSTELLO: Meanwhile, big oil is facing another potential threat. Shareholders at Exxon and Chevron determined to force those companies to more aggressively address climate change. While a Dutch court has ordered Shell to cut greenhouse emissions by 45 percent within nine years.

BRIAN SULLIVAN, CNBC SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The wake up call loud and clear for big oil for both shareholders and the courts change your business model to better combat climate change.

COSTELLO (on camera): It comes as gas prices hit a seven year high following that cyber hack and the green movement is gaining momentum worldwide.


WILLIAMS: Our thanks to Tom Costello for that report tonight. Coming up for us. Not many people saw it but Trump did give an exclusive interview this week. We`ll show you what people did notice about it like when he said the same thing 19 times.


WILLIAMS: There he is. Last thing before we go tonight, Donald Trump gave an exclusive television interview with Newsmax this week that was only seen by an estimated 300,000 viewers. As luck would have it. He sat down with an ardent Trumper named Steve Cortez formerly with CNN.

As networks go, Newsmax is so MAGA friendly. It makes Fox News look like the BBC. The folks at the Lincoln project, watch the Trump interview and offer the following edited version which shows that in addition to golf, Trump seems to have spent his retirement thus far. looking at things.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look at what`s going to happen, you look at gasoline, you look at what`s going on with pricing. You look at what`s going on there. You look at the military that building. If you look at the world, I think this could have been another Spanish Flu from 1917.

When you`re looking at all of the those flames on top of the wells, do you look at some of these beautiful farms. You look at these incredible landscapes and you take a look at those wind farms out there. You look at what the way they`re treating Israel now. You look at the way they`re being treated right now.

If you look at Alaska, you look at Iowa, you look at North Carolina, you look at other states, big states and small states. If you look at every, every metric. You look at so many other things. When you look at what they did, it`s so illegal.


WILLIAMS: And when you look at the time you realize our time has now come to an end. Now, not going to lie. We are off tomorrow night. Our gift to you to get your holiday weekend started early. But we will be with you for a special broadcast on the Memorial Day holiday Monday night, two hours, from 8:00 p.m. Eastern to 10:00 pm. We hope you can join us then. We hope you agree cookouts are overrated.

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