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

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

Guests: Jen Golbeck, David Jolly, Nahid Bhadelia

Summary

Liz Cheney warns GOP about Trump and threat to democracy. Cheney is on brink of being ousted from GOP leadership. Former President Donald Trump allies blast Facebook for banning him. Trump and top Republicans back Elise Stefanik to replace Cheney. Republicans are salivating over the prospect of reversing that dynamic and erasing the Democrats` six-seat advantage. India records deadliest day with 3,780 more COVID fatalities. Biden supports lifting patent protections for COVID vaccine.

Transcript

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening once again. I`m Ali Velshi in fro Brian Williams. Day 106 of the Biden administration. We now have a major escalation in the battle for control of the Republican Party. Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney has gone beyond just publicly challenging former President Trump over his false claims of a stolen 2020 election.

Tonight, she`s framing her criticism as a fight for the future of democracy in this nation. In an opinion piece for the Washington Post`s Cheney draws a direct line from Trump to the January 6 riot and calls on her party to reject Trumpism. She writes, "Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work, confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law.

No other American president has ever done this. In the immediate wake of the violence of January 6, almost all of us knew the gravity and the cause of what had just happened. We had witnessed it firsthand. History is watching, our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short term political consequences may be."

Among the possible consequences Liz Cheney`s removal, as chair of the House Republican conference, the party`s third most powerful post in that chamber. She`s now under siege and calling out Trump. And today Steve Scalise, the second most powerful House Republican, has joined the Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in backing Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York to replace Cheney.

Former President Trump agrees today issuing a statement calling Stefanik, "a far superior choice and she has my complete and total endorsement for GOP Conference Chair." She responded on Twitter thanking Trump for his 100% support.

This afternoon, President Biden was asked about the implications of ousting Liz Cheney from her post in the House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: They`re in the midst of a significant sort of mini revolution going on the Republican Party. We badly need a Republican Party. We need a two party system. It`s not healthy to have a one party system. And I think the Republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Meanwhile, the Republican leader in the Senate made a point of avoiding any kind of response about the situation in his party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to do anything to help her keep her leadership position, and are you concerned at the overall kind of trend in the Republican Party that acknowledging that the election is valid can threaten your positions of power?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MINORITY LEADER: Yeah, 100% of our focus is on stopping this new administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn`t it a concern that a sizable chunk of the Republican base doesn`t believe that this election was valid?

MCCONNELL: 100% of my focus is on standing up to this administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Now, this is all unfolded just as Facebook`s Oversight Board upheld the social networks ban of former President Trump, which went into effect after the Capitol insurrection. In its report, the Oversight Board noted two posts on that day, "At 4:21 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, as the riot continued, Mr. Trump posted a video on Facebook and Instagram. I know your pain. I know you`re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everybody knows it, especially the other side. You`re very special. At 6:07 p.m. Eastern Standard Time as police were securing the Capitol, Mr. Trump posted a written statement on Facebook. These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love in peace. Remember this day forever."

The board concluded that, "In maintaining an unfounded narrative of electoral fraud and persistent calls to action, Mr. Trump created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible. Facebook was justified in suspending Mr. Trump`s accounts."

Facebook`s board did add that the decision should be reviewed six months from now. Trump responded with a statement slamming the company as well as other tech firms, "What Facebook, Twitter and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our country. Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States, because the radical left lunatics are afraid of the truth."

Several of Trump`s political allies echoed his comments and called for retaliation against Facebook.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KENNEDY, (R) LOUISIANA SENATOR: Most of the young people and some of the old people who are running these social media platforms are practically Bolsheviks. I mean, they`re woke erased. The only way to get this straight is either properly regulate them or break them up.

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY, (R) MISSOURI: The oversight board is just Facebook, and what we had today was Facebook saying that it`s OK for Facebook to make up the rules as they go along and do whatever the heck they want.

KEN BUCK, (R) COLORADO CONGRESSMAN: You know, it`s not fair, our founders fought a revolution to establish that right to free speech. I think what Facebook is doing this wrong, the answer, our monopoly laws, our antitrust laws, we have to make sure that we have five Facebooks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Wednesday night, Carol Leonnig, Pulitzer Prize-winning Investigative Reporter with The Washington Post. She`s also the author of Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, out next month and available for pre-order now. David Jolly is a former Republican and a former member of the United States House of Representatives. He`s now chairman of the Serve America Movement, a group of current and former Democrats, Republicans and independents working to fix the nation`s broken politics. Also with us, Jen Golbeck, she`s an expert in malicious online behavior, who`s also an author and a professor at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland.

Welcome to all of you, thank you for being with us. Professor Golbeck, let me start with you. Only because the response to the Facebook decision wherever you stand on this issue, by some Republicans has been that it is a violation of the first amendment that on its face is not true?

JEN GOLBECK, EXPERT IN MALICIOUS ONLINE BEHAVIOR: No, I`m always astonished even though they have pushed this narrative really since Trump started running for president, that they think somehow having a private platform adhere to their own terms of service somehow violates the Constitution. Of course, that`s not how it works. We`re all held with those terms of service that we agree to, to follow the rules that the platform set forth. There`s a lot of things you`re not allowed to say on those platforms that the government would never regulate because of the First Amendment. But it sounds good. And it really appeals to people who have a kind of elementary school level understanding of what free speech means.

VELSHI: Congress shall make no law, David Jolly, the First Amendment actually speaks about Congress. But what Congress is doing right now, or at least Republicans in Congress, they are attempting to silence the speech of Congresswoman Cheney, who has said what a lot of people believe that Donald Trump instigated much of what happened on January 6, this has elevated into a very serious matter for Republicans, it actually now straightens the structure and fabric of the Republican Party in Congress.

DAVID JOLLY, SERVE AMERICA MOVEMENT CHAIRMAN: Yeah, it does, Ali. And it`s easy to take the Liz Cheney, Kevin McCarthy story as just one more moment of outrage since Donald Trump has taken this grip on the Republican Party. But I do think this is a moment, this is an inflection point where we kind of have to apply the long lens of political history and recognize that this is answering the question that many of us had, though we -- I think we anticipated the answer what would a post Trump GOP look like?

Would you see Republican leaders emerge and try to bring the party back just a little bit from trumpism? This is the moment where we know that is not to be the case that the House Republican Conference, the Congressional Caucus of Republicans is prepared to ask one of their own leaders over her refusal to accept Donald Trump`s big lie and in fact to go further her condemnation of his behavior that got him impeached.

And the greatest tale of all tonight, is that Elise Stefanik, apparently the heir apparent to replace Liz Cheney is far less conservative by her voting record than Liz Cheney, Liz Cheney is the more conservative candidate. The difference is Elise Stefanik, has agreed, even as a moderate Republican to be a lap dog for Donald Trump, and that is the single qualifier that makes her eligible to be elevated in the Republican Conference, just as they`re prepared to kick out Liz Cheney.

VELSHI: This is a very interesting point for people who don`t know at Elise Stefanik. She has voted not along lines of President Trump more often than most Republicans have not. She`s taken stands that definitely are to the left or not to the right of this Liz Cheney.

Carol Leonnig, I want to read a little bit from what Liz Cheney wrote today. She wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post in which she is not shying away from her position. She writes, I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law, at the heart of our Republic is a commitment to the peaceful transfer of power among political rivals in accordance with the law.

President Ronald Reagan described this as our American "miracle." There is much at stake now including the ridiculous wokeness of our political rivals, the irrational policies at the border and runaway spending that threatens are returned to the catastrophic inflation of the 1970s.

Carol, that last sentence there is the only concession that that Liz Cheney made to fighting the left. The bottom line is most of her op-ed, which is published in The Washington Post was really a criticism of Republicans.

CAROL LEONNIG, THE WASHINGTON POST INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, yes, Ali, but also it`s a full hearted embrace of what the Republican Party was, what the Republican Party was, was not a anybody who promised endless fealty to Donald Trump, the former president, the 45th president, who still refers to himself as the President of the United States, in his statements. Fealty to Donald Trump was not the measure of what the Republican Party was. And it`s sort of I think the inflection point that Dave points out is exactly apt.

The other thing that`s striking and chilling really about Liz Cheney`s statement is her point, history is watching, if we`re not going to be able to be truthful with voters, if Republican candidates and elected leaders are not going to be able to be truthful about what happened in the election, then really, where are we?

What`s fascinating is McCarthy has chosen endlessly since the departure of President Trump to support him and back him. We know from reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pretty fed up with Donald Trump trying to giddy up, you know, harness this Republican Party and take it for his own. And yet even today, you see Senate Majority McConnell, basically dodging this question, because so many voters, so many people still believe the trumpet call of Donald Trump, seven out of 10 Republican voters believe the election was rigged.

Even though the Donald Trump administration`s top experts in election security said that it was the most secure in history, and they audited it and verified it. It was Donald Trump`s own experts in his department of homeland security, who verified this and the fact that Republican lawmakers are willing to continue saying this, is what has Liz Cheney in such a bind.

VELSHI: It`s remarkable. Jen, one doesn`t have to agree with Donald Trump or some Republicans view of this first amendment matter with the -- with Facebook to not think that Facebook requires some regulation. In fact, I want a quote from columnist Kara Swisher today who says, Facebook has grown too powerful and the only fix is to get government legislators to come up with a way to allow more competition and to take impossible decisions out of the hands of too few people.

I know you think about this a lot. What does success look like here with respect to Facebook, and its power and free speech and how if at all, you regulate this?

GOLBECK: Yeah, this is one instance of a lot of reasons that Facebook needs much more regulation, certainly the power that they and a few other social media platforms have to control and feed people information is huge. And it`s not just what the President was allowed or not allowed to say, but also the entire movement surrounding that, the bots, the misinformation, all of that was fed by the algorithms that make money for these platforms.

And they`re making decisions based on profit, not on what`s socially responsible. And that reaches its tendrils out into a lot of other problems that we see where social media touches society with privacy, with our data being exploited. So regulation, I think, is coming. And it was very interesting today to see the Republican response to the Oversight Board, calling for the breakup of Facebook, calling for more regulation. I heard Elizabeth Warren say this a few years ago and suddenly we`re all on the same page. So maybe that`s promising.

VELSHI: Right. It is, this doesn`t have to be a partisan issue. We can all agree that there`s some way to manage this new world in which we communicate.

David Jolly, I want to go back to the Republican Party for a moment. Liz Cheney, as you`ve said, she shouldn`t be at odds with the right of the Republican Party. She is a conservative. She`s a member of a very conservative dynasty. What is she doing? What is she setting up for here? That op-ed in the Washington Post today sounded lofty, it sounded big. It was talking about big goals and talking about Ronald Reagan, it talk about conservatism, is there a longer game here for Liz Cheney?

JOLLY: Look as I like John Boehner often said, a leader without followers is just taking a walk in the woods by themselves. And in some ways you can say Liz Cheney is about to embark on a walk in the woods by herself.

I do think she`s standing on principle in this moment, as it resulted from the events of January 6. Look, I think there`s always a question to be had for somebody who comes to politics well informed with an intelligence that took them all the way to the United States Congress to say, what took you so long to recognize the threat of Donald Trump? What did you do to enable this man that actually was able to capture the Republican Party, but she`s making the right decision in the minds of a lot of people in this moment. I think the question is what comes next for Liz Cheney?

She will likely remain a Republican, but she will be on that lonely side of the aisle within the Republican Party. I`ve been there. I know it. I think the broader question and where do these disaffected Republicans go from here? It doesn`t appear that there`s a viable Republican light party that could emerge from this. So Liz Cheney will stay within the party, I imagine will be a voice of conscience, a voice of reason. But she will not be a voice of leadership in today`s Republican Party any longer.

VELSHI: And Carol Leonnig, you saw Mitch McConnell go out of his way not to address this, not to deal with this particular issue, instead focusing on Joe Biden, he referred to socialists and people on the left taking over. He wants no part of this, as I`m sure a lot of Republicans would rather they not be having this play out in their party. How does this affect the Republican agenda? Because Mitch McConnell says his job is to stop the Biden administration, but he`s got some problems on his own bench.

LEONNIG: He absolutely does. But you know, what I find so fascinating about Mitch McConnell is he doesn`t do anything without a plan. He`s always got a master plan that we haven`t really seen until a couple chest moves out. And I think that, you know, just as he, you know, deftly avoided impeaching, or allowing enough time to impeach Donald Trump while he was still president and have that election -- that trial, forgive me, just as he did that he is sidestepping this issue now, because what does he really want?

He wants to retake the Senate. He wants more Republicans elected. And by hook or by crook, Donald Trump may be part of the key to getting that done, he may hold his nose for that to happen, but he wants Republicans elected. And as you saw today, I mean, Stephanie was immediately leaping to the -- forgive me -- Ms. Stefanik, I just had a mental blood there.

She was leaping to embrace Donald Trump`s 100% support, even though that Donald Trump isn`t really exactly her kind of Republican because she knows with Donald Trump, so goes her career. So goes her reelection, so goes her sort of trajectory as an up and comer. And that`s what Mitch McConnell was watching.

VELSHI: When Donald Trump was nominated for the presidency, she wouldn`t even take his name. She referred to him as my party`s nominee. So she`s come a long way in her relationship with Donald Trump.

Thank you to the three of you for kicking us off tonight, Carol Leonnig, David Jolly, and Jen Golbeck, thank you.

Coming up, Liz Cheney may be losing power, as David Jolly pointed out, but what about the money a new report on where GOP donors are putting their money now.

And later, as India hits another grim milestone the U.S. backs a controversial move that could get more of the life saving vaccines to the countries that need it most. THE 11TH HOUR is just getting underway on a Wednesday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you have any comments on the efforts to oust Liz Cheney from the House Republican leadership post?

BIDEN: I don`t understand that Republicans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: A new report from CNBC today says Liz Cheney`s top donors are sticking with her despite the effort to oust her from leadership. Brian Schwartz reports, "Cheney is unlikely to lose any of her major contributors EVEN if she is ousted as an official leader. Some even say they will withhold contributions to anyone who opposes Cheney. And that signals a split in the wealthy Republican donor ranks between big-money financiers who continue to back Donald Trump and those more aligned with Cheney`s views that Joe Biden won the 2020 election fair and square."

Back with us tonight, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Columnist for The Washington Post and Bill Kristol, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations and editor-at-large at the Bulwark.

Gentlemen, great to see you tonight. Bill, let me start with you. I want to pick up with you a conservative who is annoyed and disaffected with the Republican Party. I want to pick up from what David Jolly was telling me earlier. What does -- what is Liz Cheney doing now? And what does she do next?

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: She probably loses her position in the House Republican leadership next week, which may be for the best, since she wasn`t going to ultimately, what would she -- what`s the point of being in the leadership of a conference that doesn`t agree with you on something so fundamental as telling the truth about the election, and condemning January 6 and refusing to go along with the big lie and refusing to bow and scrape to Donald Trump? So I think she might be better off as a backbencher.

She can speak her mind. She can read with orthodoxy, she maybe want to do other issues. And she is betting, A, she`s thinks she`s doing the right thing. She`s doing it on principle. And she is betting politically, that at some point, the spell of Donald Trump breaks where people come to their senses. And you know, like Churchill in 1947 gets credited for having been right, even when it was lonely to have been right.

VELSHI: Eugene, there must be some people watching this with glee. But when asked about it, Joe Biden said we need the Republican Party. Why should anybody else care about this fight between McCarthy and Liz Cheney and whether Elise Stefanik becomes the, you know, the third ranking Republican in the House?

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the Cheney, Stefanik thing, I agree with Bill, I think that`s a done deal. So we care about it, but we can`t stop it. I think that`s going to happen. That`s just where the Republican Party is today or what`s left of the Republican Party. And I actually think we all should care whether or not there is a functional coherent Republican Party and I`m certainly -- I certainly won`t agree with its views when such a party reemerges.

But I do think the two party system is a pretty good system. And it`s it resulted in healthy competition, a kind of push and pull and orderly transitions of power. And it has, it has worked quite well for us over the decades and centuries, really. And so I think we should care that that this Republican Party is a cult of personality. It`s not a party at all.

VELSHI: We saw this coming. I mean, Bill, Eugene, you and I, we have talked for the last few years about this. And you have warned about it. In fact, you wrote today in the Bulwark, to donors, business leaders, trade association heads, operatives, commentators and other powers that be in GOP circles. Don`t just call me to commiserate and lament, call them, call the Republican members of Congress, you`ve supported. Do you believe there`s any currency in that advice that you wrote today? Do you think calling anybody in the Republican Party works right now?

KRISTOL: Well, you don`t know until you try. And I do think, look, the voters are where they are, they`re much more pro-Trump than I would like. The members have been catering to those voters and they`ve talked themselves into where they are, as Eugene said, but there are an awful lot of people out there who privately are so skeptical of Trump and will text or, you know, e-mail me, so they`re not totally writing off people who`ve been anti-Trump for a while.

But, you know, they`re worried. They don`t like him. What`s happening with Liz Cheney, that`s really crazy. But it`s, everyone`s like a bystander, you know, to this horrible traffic accident. It`s ongoing and getting worse, getting worse. That`s the thing for me. They -- I didn`t agree with them. But I understood the thought that, OK, we`ll get through this for years, it`ll be kind of crazy. We`ll get some good legislation, and we`ll put up with Trump, he`ll lose.

And then we got it back to normal. That is obviously not happening. And yet the donors, the conservative elites, The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page, National Review, none of them has a sense of urgency that anything really bad is happening. And one of our two major national parties is now as Eugene said, not just a cult of personality, but really a cult of conspiracy theorists, and close to being fundamentally anti-Democratic and anti constitutional, as Liz Cheney said, in her extraordinary op-ed today.

So it was a sort of desperate plea by me that people should step up and say, you know, donors and other influential types, and stop complaining and stand up and say no, no more.

VELSHI: And some people are standing up in the states where this anti- Democratic impulse is playing out Gene in Georgia, in Texas, in Michigan, in Iowa, in Kansas, in Pennsylvania, and in Arizona. In fact, just tonight, we have a letter written by the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Pamela Karlan to the president of the Arizona State Senate, in which she writes we have a concern that Maricopa County election records, which are required by federal law to be retained and preserved are no longer under the ultimate control of elections officials are not being adequately safeguarded by contractors, and are at risk of damage or loss.

Gene, while this is a unique in particular circumstance, this marks the entry of the federal government into these concerns about things that are going on in states across the country.

ROBINSON: Right. And in this particular instance, the federal government, the Justice Department doesn`t really have a choice. There is a federal law that governs what`s supposed to happen with the balance, and they`re supposed to be preserved. And you know, under the control of election officials, I think it`s 22 months or whatever, that --

VELSHI: 22 months, yes.

ROBINSON: You know, it`s all laid out what has to happen, and that doesn`t seem to be happening there. And if people are breaking the law, they can be prosecuted for breaking the law. And so I think it`s absolutely appropriate for the Justice Department to put these Arizona re-counters on notice that they`re being watched and that the Justice Department is keeping an eye on what they`re doing.

VELSHI: Gentlemen, standby, Eugene and Bill are staying with us.

Coming up, if the White House had any doubt what Mitch McConnell`s sole focus is, he set the record straight for them today. We`ll play it when THE 11TH HOUR continuous.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) MINORITY LEADER: 100% of our focus is on stopping this new administration. We`re confronted with severe challenges from a new administration and a narrow majority of Democrats in the House and a 50-50 Senate to turn America into a socialist country. And that`s 100% of my focus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: To that point, a growing number of Democrats have announced that they`re heading for the exits so far, at least six Democrats are foregoing reelection for their House seats. The New York Times reporting the departures have Republican salivating still with us, Eugene Robinson and Bill Kristol.

Gentlemen, Gene, let me start with you. I want to read you a little more from this New York Times article. It says this could be just the beginning of the Democratic departures. The high season for congressional retirements typically comes in the early fall after members spend the August recess taking the political temperature of their districts. What do you make of this Gene? And is it because the majority in the House is so slim for democrats that this is more alarming for them than it normally would be?

ROBINSON: And that could be the reason I`m not quite sure of all the reasons. I know it is. It is a circumstance that should give Speaker Pelosi heartburn. But look, Democrats have to go into this election cycle with the attitude that not only do they have to defend their majority, but actually they`d like to increase it. They have to hope they can make 2020.

The election after the pandemic catastrophe befell the nation and in which they hope democrats can gain seats. They want to make it like the election after the -- by election after 9/11 where Republicans gained seats. I think that`s the parallel they have to look back to. And they have to try to do what George W. Bush and the Republicans managed to do in that midterm. And it`s a tall order. It`s a tall order. It`s fighting history, but I think it`s important for the country, that at the very least they retain the majority, because of where their publican party is right now.

VELSHI: And one of the reasons for that Bill Kristol is because Mitch McConnell who does not control everything in the senate anymore has made it clear he has no intention of working with Joe Biden. He`s not actually talking about issues on which they can compromise. He says his job is to stop the Biden administration.

KRISTOL: Yes, I mean, if we weren`t so correctly obsessed with the House Republican, the House Republicans, deposing Liz Cheney, and just totally succumbing to Donald Trump would be pretty astonished by McConnell`s statement. It`s one thing to oppose pieces of legislation, many pieces of legislation, say you`re doing the country service by stopping this foolish spending, or this bad regulation or this unwise social policy, something that you want to stop the Biden administration.

What does that mean, and we`ve had a pandemic, we were in a recession, there`s a new administration, there ton of foreign policy challenges, a normal minority leader would say, I hope to work with the administration where they`re right, I hope to help persuade them to correct their ways and work with some democratic senators to get them to change the legislation, if we can, and then we`ll oppose stuff where we think that`s the right thing to do. Right. That is what a normal loyal opposition party does.

McConnell has always had been very partisan, we`ve gotten more partisan over the decades. And what used to be sort of a loose rhetoric about what I`m really going to obstruct is become genuinely a sense that the right thing to do if you`re the opposition party, is to simply oppose, stop the new administration.

I mean, I think they should -- I think the Democrats are being too passive and sort of letting these kinds of statements happen. Biden should be above the fray. He`s good at that. He`ll say, I hope I get a better Republican Party. They should be having McConnell and they should bring stuff to the floor. If I were Chuck Schumer, I would bring popular things to the floor, pull them out of the big bills, smaller things, and dare the Republicans to vote to produce 50 votes against them, and let them try to stop things that are popular and really put them on the spot time after time.

The Democrats seems to be they`ve been very busy, they`re taking over the Senate, they take over the presidency, they got a ton of things to do. They need to make the Republicans pay a little bit more of a price, I think, this kind of attitude.

VELSHI: Gene, I want to just leave you with some thoughts on Facebook, you wrote about that today. What do you make of this situation?

ROBINSON: Well, I think the Oversight Board, you know, punted back to Mark Zuckerberg and said, No, you decide, you know, the interesting thing in that, I`ve read the whole ruling from the Supreme Court of Facebook. And the interesting part to me was that, that Facebook would not turn over a lot of information, its own the Oversight Board, requested about how its algorithms work, how it drives people to self-reinforcing and extreme content, how it might have helped build the monster that it now has asked the Oversight Board to tam

And I thought that was significant. And I thought that speaks to, you know, a fundamental issue with Facebook, if that`s his business model. And that`s what I think people are going to be looking at in the coming months. Is there`s something speeding -- let`s look at these algorithms, let`s look at and how Facebook really works and other social media companies really work and how they help -- how they help increase polarization. They augment extremism, and in that sense, perhaps, we can democracy and that`s, you know, that`s a big statement, but we need to examine it empirically and see if that`s what`s indeed is happening.

VELSHI: I can talk to you guys all night, but we got rules around here. So thanks for joining me. Eugene Robinson and Bill Kristol, thank you, as always.

Coming up, as India breaks yet another record that no nation wants to set. The Biden administration signals a move that could help us or could have end up helping India fight the virus. More on that when THE 11TH HOUR continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: The Biden administration has backed a controversial proposal to waive Coronavirus vaccine patent rules to help boost global access. U.S Trade Representative Katherine Tai released a statement saying quote, the administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections. But in service of ending this pandemic supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines.

Proponents have urged the president to move quickly as Coronavirus cases surge around the world. India set a grim world record reporting nearly 3800 deaths in a single day. NBC News correspondent Keir Simmons brings us more on the overwhelming crisis there.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Desperate for oxygen for his patients. Dr. Sumit Ray makes call after call.

SUMIT RAY, CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE & MEDICAL SUPERINTENDENT HOLY FAMILY HOSPITAL: Last night 230 at night I was struggling for oxygen. And again in the morning.

SIMMMONS: While fighting to keep patients alive, they just resuscitated this man. India has the worst COVID outbreak in the world. More than 20 million cases over 225,000 dead. And now some experts estimate millions are infected every day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is collapse. You know, we do not have time to feel sorry for somebody and we are losing patience here.

SIMMONS: Alex Crawford from our sister network Sky News reached this hospital. Outside patients are waiting for space with oxygen their families have often had to find for them. Inside, Dr. Sumit Ray finally receives some good news.

RAY: The oxygen has reached.

ALEX CRAWFORD, SKY NEWS: How many more minutes have you got left?

RAY: I think we had 20, 25. I don`t know actually, we don`t know. You could have shut down anytime.

SIMMONS: But the oxygen that arrives is only enough for us few more hours. Keir Simmons, NBC News.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

VELSHI: Here now to discuss that and more is Dr. Nahid Bhadelia. She`s an infectious disease physician, the medical director of special pathogens unit at Boston University School of Medicine.

Nahid, when you go outside in major American cities, it looks like this thing is behind us. Cities are coming to life. Cities are lifting restrictions. And when you see what`s going on in India, how does somebody like you who looks at this, from a global perspective, feel about where we are in this pandemic?

DR. NAHID BHADELIA, INFECTIOUS DISEASE PHYSICIAN: Ali, I`m going to start by saying it harkens back memories for when I worked in the Ebola response in West Africa, when you just saw the health care systems get overwhelmed during an epidemic. And you know, you see mortality go up. And you and I have talked about the fact that this is likely the beginning of the devastation that we`re seeing in India, because the millions of cases we`re seeing now will lead to deaths and a couple of weeks.

And in my, you know, in my sense, India is one of these countries that was heavily affected early on, but the thought was, you know, it look it may have escaped the worst because of cases one down like Brazil and you know, and now you`re seeing this virus not just take foothold in this countries, but also in the surrounding countries.

You know, Nepal is starting to see as hospitals get overwhelmed and in Latin America, you`re seeing Argentina see their specializations go up. And today, the Pan American Health Organization warn that cases they there may increase. And of course this is important not just for those regions but because the variants that are there arising from this ramp and transmission are a threat to all of us and potential efficacy of our vaccines moving forward.

There`s a second reason why this is important, which is that India is a big producer of vaccines globally. And it`s part of that COVAX utility that who is set up try to manufacture the AstraZeneca version of the vaccine for the rest of the world. And so they have had to scale back their exports, which is affecting our ability to vaccinate the rest of the world as well.

VELSHI: Dr. Bhadelia is going to stay with us as we fit in a quick break. When we come back, we`re going to discuss what the Biden administration is doing to get more shots into arms belonging to Americans, who still aren`t quite sure about the COVID vaccine. That`s when THE 11TH HOUR continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: We have a moral obligation, Steve, to make sure that the rest of the world does not suffer and die, as it were from something that we can help them with and help to prevent. Because we have the resource when I say we I mean the developed world, I don`t mean just the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Still with us is Dr. Nahid Bhadelia. Dr. Bhadelia, let`s talk about this patent waiver. It is controversial. Drug makers in America have come out and said this is not the way to deal with this matter. Explain this to me, from your perspective.

BHADELIA: Yes, Ali, I know in my perspective that Biden administration taking the stance puts pressure on the G7 countries that they`re going into the World Trade Organization to sort of talk about this waiver of intellectual patent rights. And this the first move right, I think is a powerful move is necessary, but it`s not. And this is what the critics are saying is that it`s, you know, it`s not enough, it`s not sufficient, because there are other steps and these other steps are you know, what happens now is that you have a negotiation phase if they hope there`s an urgency around.

But during which the companies have to share their trade secrets, it`s not just enough to lift the waivers, they have to share those tech transfers for that manufacturing jerker elsewhere. And then the third step is for that manufacturing capacity to be built up. And that requires financing.

Now WHO already has a COVID technology is transferred tool and they have started building as of two weeks ago announced like an mRNA technology hub transfers to (INAUDIBLE) that technology, as long as there is agreement, there`s already international mechanisms to allow this to happen.

What we need to do and as Dr. Fauci said, it can`t be the U.S. alone, but globally, bilaterally, multilaterally, invest in that manufacturing capacity globally, not just for this pandemic, but in my view, Ali, like we`re seeing a new epidemic, or rather new pathogen arise on the international scene almost every year, this is a future investment for the new threats that might be coming down the road.

VELSHI: And it`s a big lesson for us and hopefully, we will invest in this -- ahead of the next pandemic. But this is the point that the drug makers are making, that it is a logistics and manufacturing issue, not a technology issue. Hence don`t give up the patents, don`t allow a waiver on the patents, why is the technology transfer as important as building up the manufacturing and logistics capacity?

BHADELIA: The technology transfers, you know, it is vaccines are not easy to transfer. And so that technology transfer is required. And I think that that -- I actually think that the capacity is there if there`s global cooperation to be able to share that.

But the important part is like we forget 1.1 billion vaccines so far have been distributed, right? 80 percent of that is in the upper and rich and upper middle class countries. And only 0.3 percent is in sort of the poor countries. We`re not keeping up with global production, right.

And, and so part of this is that, you know, we have to ramp up the resources that are required to build his vaccines, but we also need to increase the number of places that are creating these vaccines to be able to get them to where they need to be. It is it is a long road.

But look with all the heart and resources that it took for us to vaccinate 100 million Americans, there are almost a billion people in the world, it`s going to take years to vaccinate everybody. And so that`s why we need to start investing now to make sure that even if it takes a while, we`re going to be protected for the rest of this pandemic as well as the future threat.

VELSHI: And Nahid, I have to ask you here in America, the city`s opening up announcements in New York City that really by June 1, everything will be back to business and some places are getting back to business next week and the week after too soon or about time.

BHADELIA: I think that you`re seeing cases go down. I think the thing that I worry about, as we`ve talked about before the indoor capacity, you know, you`re seeing -- I think New York City in my sort of opinion is moving a little fast if they`re opening up into a capacity and going back to normal completely by end of May. I think Boston`s a little bit more or Massachusetts a bit more conservative by August 1.

That`s a bit more realistic, because I do wish that we`d see a bit more coverage to the population, particularly because we`re seeing such disparity in the amount of vaccination between states and even though your state may achieve you know, 70 percent, which is the goal that President Biden is that by July, you might see this ongoing low rates of vaccination and other states affect you, particularly if you have children and vulnerable populations who are not yet protected in the well vaccinated states.

VELSHI: Nahid Bhadelia, thank you for your analysis tonight. Dr. Nahid Bhadelia is the infectious disease physician and the medical director of special pathogens at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Coming up, harsh but fair something the President had to say today about one of the great American cities when THE 11TH HOUR continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: The last thing before we go tonight is something the President said that too many would be considered a backhanded compliment, at best but not for folks like me who live in the Philadelphia area.

President Biden took a moment today at a Mexican restaurant in Washington to say hello to a few people including a self-described girl from Philly. Despite his roots in Scranton and Delaware, the President knows Philly pretty well too. That`s because he`s an Eagles fan. And he also married a Philly area native, First Lady Jill Biden, who grew up just outside the city in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.

Now, here comes the remark that Philadelphians are actually quite proud of.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I married a Philly girl. You know what I mean? Philadelphia fans are the most informed and most obnoxious fans in the world. They know everything, you know what I mean? So I never disagree with my wife. She`s always right. That`s smart, right? it`s kind of a Philly thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: The most informed and most obnoxious proud of it. That`s our broadcast for this Wednesday night with our thanks for being with us. Brian will be back tomorrow. On behalf of all of my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.