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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 6/10/21

Guests: Katie Benner, Frank Figliuzzi, Jeremy Bash, James Carville, Michael Steele, Liz Walker


Democrats blast outrageous attempts by Trump Justice Department to spy on Democrats as reported by the New York Times. Trump DOJ subpoenaed data from Intelligence Committee Democrats, aides, and family including a minor. Bipartisan group of senators say they`ve reached tentative infrastructure deal. Biden`s domestic agenda stalled in Congress. Joe Biden affirms `special relationship` during meeting with Boris Johnson.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: His wife, Jennifer, his mother Sylvia, and his brothers and sister, Gary, Martin and Susan, have my deepest sympathy. He will be sorely missed. Judge Robert Katzmann was 68 years old.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again day 142 of the Biden administration. The breaking news we begin with tonight is this blockbuster piece of reporting by "The New York Times." It says Trump Justice Department officials investigated the electronic communications of Democrats in Congress all in the hunt for leaks of classified information, quote, prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides, and family members. One was a minor. Records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized in 2017 and early `18, including those of Representative Adam Schiff of California, then the panel`s top Democrat, and now its chairman.

Times reporter Katie Benner shares a byline on this story. She is indeed standing by to join us in a moment earlier this evening. Congressman Schiff spoke to Rachel Maddow on this network about the unprecedented and disturbing nature of all of it.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): This looks like a patent abuse of the Department, yet another example of the President politicizing using the Department Justice as a cudgel to go after his enemies.

The first most important norm post-Watergate is the President of the United States does not get involved in particular cases at the Justice Department. The President of the United States doesn`t urge the Department to investigate his political adversaries or his political enemies. Beyond that you have the specter of a President who is himself under investigation by our committee calling for an unprecedented subpoena, unprecedented subpoenas for account information pertaining to members of Congress.

That is, I think, terrible abuse of power. It violates I think the separation of powers, but it also makes the Department of Justice, just a fully owned subsidiary of the President`s personal legal interest.


WILLIAMS: Indeed, once the news was out tonight, Schiff called for the Justice Department`s own inspector general to investigate this investigation. California Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell, another outspoken critic of Donald Trump and a former impeachment manager confirmed to CNN minutes ago, his records were also seized.


REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA).: I was notified, Don, by Apple that they did seize my records. It`s wrong. This is what they do. They smear and they try and clear. We`ve seen this through the Justice Department by Donald Trump, whether it was the reason he was impeached for trying to go after Vice President Biden at the time or just other efforts, you know, through the molar investigation. And I support Chairman Schiff`s call for an inspector general report into not only this conduct but other conduct that was corrupted by Donald Trump.


WILLIAMS: Coming up on morning in Europe, there`s been no comment as of yet from the traveling Biden White House. We`ll have much more on the Trump administration`s use of the Department of Justice to carry out these personal missions coming up.

Now, of course to the current President Joe Biden spent the first full day in his overseas tour, trying to erase any doubts that his predecessor`s message of America First has been replaced with America is back. The effort to drive that home began with Biden`s meeting with Britain`s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who then offered his review of their meeting.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The talks were great. They went on for a long time. We covered a huge range of subjects. And it`s wonderful to listen to the Biden administration and to Joe Biden, because on the so much that they want to do together with us from security, NATO, to climate change, and it`s fantastic. It`s a breath of fresh air.


WILLIAMS: In less than a week now the President will be face to face with Putin in Geneva. And that brings us to this rather remarkable statement from Donald Trump issued earlier tonight stunning even for him. He writes in it in part, quote, as President, I had a great and very productive meeting in Helsinki, Finland with President Putin of Russia. Despite the belated fake news portrayal of the meeting, the United States won much, including the respect of President Putin and Russia. He goes on to say, as to do -- who do I trust, they asked Russia is our or our intelligence from Obama era, meaning people like Comey, McCabe, the two lovers, Brennan, Clapper, and numerous others sleezebags, or Russia, the answer after all that has been found out and written, should be obvious.

Good luck to Biden in dealing with President Putin. He goes on to ask Biden to give Putin his warmest regards. It`s a lot. With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Thursday night Katie Benner, Justice Department reporter with The New York Times who is among the bylines on tonight`s blockbuster piece of reporting. Also, with us Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counter Intelligence, also now the host of the new podcast called The Bureau. And Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the CIA and the Pentagon, former chief counsel to the House Intel Committee. Well, good evening, and welcome to you all. Let`s get right to it.

With one of the coauthors of this piece, Katie, your piece mentions two Trump attorneys general who were involved in this, tell us what were they searching for, specifically? And how did this unfold? Or is the chain of command clearly in front of us?

KATIE BENNER, THE NEW YORK TIMES JUSTICE DEPT. REPORTER: Sure. Well, we have to step back in time to 2017 just in the dawn of the Trump administration, when we saw a spate of classified information be released into the press in "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" and "CNN" and others, detailing things like the evidence of the rush -- the existence, excuse me, of the Russian investigation of the fact that the FBI was looking into whether or not people related to the Trump campaign should be scrutinized and into conversations between former Ambassador Kislyak from Russia, and, you know, President Trump`s first national security adviser Michael Flynn.

These were devastating stories to the White House. They threw the White House into chaos. And there was a lot of pressure first on Attorney General Jeff Sessions later on Attorney General Bill Barr to figure out who was the source of these stories. And as part of that investigation, you saw the Justice Department cast an extremely wide net that included almost every single Obama era national security official, and eventually members of the House Intelligence Committee.

But really what seems to be just the Democrats on that Committee. And that is where are we see, the Justice Department take extraordinary steps, including subpoenaing from Apple, the electronic communications metadata of Adam Schiff with the ranking member at the time, Eric Swalwell, their staff members, their family members of the staff members, including one child. So, this was an extraordinary step we`ve talked to current and former Justice Department officials. We`ve spoken with current and former members of Congress who say they have not really heard of anything like this being done in the course of a leak investigation.

And we also know that in order for a member of Congress to face this kind of scrutiny, you really do need the awareness of the top reaches of the Justice Department, especially in an organization where people continually want to make sure they have top cover for controversial decisions, people are not going to make a decision like this, to seek this kind of subpoena without higher and higher and higher approval.

WILLIAMS: Frank Figliuzzi, I fear is going to become kind of a cable news drinking game over the next 24 to 48 hours to call this Nixonian. When you think about it, however, wherever Dick Nixon is tonight, whether it`s to our north or to ourselves, I bet you a good amount of money, he`s sitting back saying that`s more than I ever got out of my DOJ well done to whoever organize this. Tell our audience just how bad this is. And while you`re at it, since we`re going to hear the word metadata a lot, please define that for the rest of us.

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FMR. FBI ASST. DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: Sure, yes. This is bad. And here`s why. It appears that President Trump had a blacklist of enemies that seemingly included only Democrats, and now we learned particularly on the House Intelligence Committee. And so he then, you know, that`s one thing, but then he chose to use the Department of Justice as kind of his personal goon squad to go after the people on that enemies list, on that blacklist.

And here`s where this goes really south quickly with -- investigative and from a rule of law standpoint. You need predication in order to request a secret subpoena and seek the records of anybody in a leak investigation but in particular, members of the House Intelligence Community, you need to understand who is the within the universe of people that had lawful access to that leaked classified material, most likely did it. And what is your predication to believe that simply saying, I don`t like him, him, him her, and then even go so far as to subpoena their kids phone records because, you know, maybe they might be using that kid`s phone to circumvent investigative efforts.

That in my memory and I`ve tried racking my brain since this news came out, I don`t recall anything like that ever happening before. And for lawyer after lawyer under Barr under Sessions to think this was OK, I believe puts them outside the scope of their employment. I think they may be personally liable because they were so outside the regulations, they could be personally liable for a lawsuit.

What is metadata mean? They`re not getting the content. This isn`t a wiretap of the phone conversations of these House members. It is their phone bill. It is their phone records, who dial them and who they dialed. And that`s how you would presumably find a reporter`s phone number that they called or got a call from and shared information with.

And the only reason we`re finding out about this and the reason why they broke their own rules is because the gag order wasn`t renewed by the current Justice Department. And so, Apple was free to go ahead and tell these members what had been happening.

WILLIAMS: Jeremy Bash, let`s put your lawyer hat on and pick up on one of the points Frank just made. Put this in context, how dangerous was DOJ under Donald Trump? And can anyone be prosecuted for what we`ve just learned about?

JEREMY BASH, FMR. CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, this was an abuse of power, plain and simple. There was absolutely no basis for the Trump Justice Department to investigate Democrats who were duty bound under our system with conducting oversight over the Trump administration.

And by forwarding or attempting to thwart oversight, by trying to intimidate Democratic members of Congress with leak investigations or threats of criminal prosecution, I think the Trump administration showed its true colors in undermining the rule of law, undermining Democratic principles, small Democratic principles, and undermining the separation of powers and our constitutional foundations. And, you know, so nothing could be more egregious, Brian, and I fear we`re going to only learn in the days and weeks ahead, more evidence of how the Trump administration abused the system to protect Donald Trump.

And I`ve been involved with several investigations involving sensitive information going back since 9/11. It is true that grand juries have been impaneled and members of Congress have been questioned in certain leak investigations. But like, Frank, I cannot recall a single time when metadata or content or any records were sought on members of Congress. I think this is an abuse of power to involve families, to have Bill Barr elongate unnecessarily, the investigation to placate Donald Trump.

There are so many red flags here. This is going to require extensive investigation and to your point, potentially accountability.

WILLIAMS: So, Katie Benner. Let`s talk about Apple`s role, because when we`re honest people seeing this story hearing about it tonight, I either going to be shocked or bored by it. But what they may have in common is the device in their hand and that instantly recognizable logo. As I understand your reporting to coin a phrase, Apple was both bound and gagged. They were bound by the results of a federal grand jury when a subpoena arrived on their doorstep and then promptly gagged, unable to comment publicly until recently. And I imagine we`ll hear more from the company on that front.

BENNER: Sure. So what`s interesting is the subpoena was issued in February of 2018. That`s quite a long time ago. And they were only able to talk about it this May. In 2018, they received the request for information. And by law, they`re obliged to give it over. And they were bound by the order to not speak of it.

Now, the government, in general can renew those orders multiple times. They have a certain amount of times, you know, that they can say we need to extend this gag order for national security reasons. So because of the length of the time for which Apple was gagged, you know, we can I think safely assume that that was renewed time and again. And what that shows us is that the Justice Department under two different attorneys general continued to actively pursue this investigation, at least so much that they would continue to keep one of the largest companies in the world from speaking of it until this year, when this spring, they were able to tell the Committee that their data had been gathered and given to the Justice Department.

And then it was actually because of what Apple said to the Committee members that they were able to go to the Justice Department and proactively ask about this investigation. They were then told that the investigation been closed, but they weren`t really given very much information, including a question that Adam Schiff posed to the Justice Department this May when he said, we`re only Democrats investigated as part of this larger leak inquiry. He`s still not getting an answer. And we have not found evidence yet that any Republicans were investigated.

WILLIAMS: Wow. Frank Figliuzzi, we already dropped the phrase, Nixonian, but here is John Dean tonight on social media. We are going to learn what Attorney General Merrick Garland is made of by the way he handles this situation. He must do more than say it is awful. This is prosecutorial abuse at its worst, from a guy who would know, and Garland must call it out for what it is intolerable behavior. Frank, it seems to me the DOJ is going to have to do some reputation repair at a minimum.

FIGLIUZZI: This is fireable. People need to lose their jobs. And, you know, we learned in Katie`s report that many of the people who did this, at least at a senior level are still there. Ostensibly, the article says so that they can continue to brief the current administration on these cases. Well, you know what, pay them as a contractor to get briefings but get them out the door.

You`ve got you`ve got to restore credibility at justice. Politicizing the Justice Department is something that`s going to take years to recover from. At a minimum, the I.G. needs to get involved tomorrow, if he`s not already. And then heads literally should roll out the door in terminations. This has the -- a message has to be sent throughout the main justice building throughout U.S. attorney`s offices, throughout the country, that this won`t be tolerated.

WILLIAMS: I hope what you just said, Frank, is repeated on our broadcast starting tomorrow morning. Jeremy Bash, given your foreign policy experience, it falls to you and you alone to talk about a story that loomed large until Katie and her colleagues dropped this one on us from "The Times." And that is the current President and his foreign policy challenges. We start with the G7 tomorrow, not the group it used to be, not as much cloud as they used to have but then, of course, the big event with Vladimir Putin.

Jeremy, you and I have now lived long enough to say that we witnessed a former president side with Russia on the eve of a Summit and bash the sitting President of the United States in front of all the world. So we have that as part of the backdrop now.

BASH: Yes. What President Biden is doing in Europe this week is he`s rallying the democracies of the world to meet the biggest challenges of the world, including COVID, including the challenge of cyber-attacks, including the challenge of Russia and the challenge of China.

And I think Joe Biden is going to Europe to try to make the case to the world that democracies can deliver and that people don`t need to follow the autocratic impulses of a Putin or Xi Jinping. And in some ways, there`s also a message doubling back here to the United States, because of course, Trumpism is so aligned with Putinism, in the sense that it`s anti- Democratic, anti-rule of law, anti-truth.

And so, you know, I think what President Biden is doing, and he`s doing it very effectively, is he`s pushing back both globally on these trends that undermine democracy. But he`s also making clear that in the United States, we`re going to stand for the rule of law, we`re going to stand for Democratic principles. And I just have to say that the message that Donald Trump sent to Vladimir Putin tonight through that bizarre press release, sounded like a message of someone saying, hey, hang on, I may be back. You can work with me. Don`t deal with Joe Biden, because I may be president again.

And I think that was a clear message from Trump to Putin that they should maintain their relationship because they have more work to do together.

WILLIAMS: Incredible world in which we live. We are so indebted to these three friends of the broadcast for covering all of it for us, and starting us off Katie Benner, Frank Figliuzzi, Jeremy Bash, our thanks as always.

Coming up for us, more on tonight`s breaking news, the DOJ spying on Congressional Democrats and then some James Carville, Michael Steele both standing by.

And later, an update on efforts to reverse vaccine hesitancy in one of the communities hit hardest by the virus. The 11th Hour just getting underway on this Thursday night as we take a look at the island off the course, a coast of beautiful Cornwall, England, location of tomorrow`s G7 Summit.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Adam Schiff is the biggest leaker in Washington. You know that. I know that. We all know that. I`ve watched Adam Schiff leak.

They would leak selectively with the sick corrupt politician named Schiff. He`s a corrupt politician. Now Schiff is a big leaker. You know, he leaks to crazy CNN. Adam Schiff and his group, they leaked it to the papers. And as usual, they investigate Adam Schiff for leaking that information. He should not be leaking information out of intelligence. They have to investigate Adam Schiff.


WILLIAMS: And they say Trump was famous for projecting. More on our breaking news tonight, among the details we are learning from this "New York Times" reporting on these secret subpoenas of congressional records by the Trump DOJ, quote, prosecutors under the beleaguered Attorney General Jeff Sessions, I`m convinced that`s now part of his title, were hunting for the sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia.

Paper goes on to say by the way, when Sessions left, Bill Barr revived the investigation. So lots to talk about, we`ve got the guys to do it. Back with us again tonight James Carville, veteran Democratic strategist who rose to national fame with the Clinton presidential effort, cohost of the Politics War Room podcast and the most famous man in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Michael Steele back with us, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, former lieutenant governor of the great state of Maryland, also the host of the Michael Steele podcast. OK, James, your reaction to tonight`s lead story?

JAMES CARVILLE, VETERAN DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I was watching the basketball game, so I`ve turned on your program to the top of the hour. And when I saw it, I couldn`t believe it. I mean, I just couldn`t believe it. Now, you know, and I saw your guests and they were all knowledgeable. And I think everybody is like in disbelief that not that Trump would do such a thing, but that the Justice Department would be involved up to the mechanism.

And, you know, I didn`t touched a law book in a long time. But I`m surprised they didn`t have to get some kind of judicial approval for something like this. I mean, Congress needs to look at this law. It can go around willy-nilly and subpoena and phone records of the members of Congress. I`m just trying to digest it all, Brian. It`s just -- I`m just overwhelmed by it. I`ll be honest with you.

WILLIAMS: I understand. Well, that`s why you watch basketball games because sometimes the news is overwhelming around here. And Michael, I want to ask what you expect to hear from Republicans after I say this, I heard from a prominent Democrat tonight after this news broke who wanted me to say that Democrats should expect nothing zero from this politically, both lanes will stay as they are. They shouldn`t play victimization. They shouldn`t look for sympathy. This is going to move no one though it will trigger hearings and probably dictate the next couple of months of our lives.

Having said that, should we expect the Trump base to say, well, if our President ordered it, if Barr did it, if Sessions did it, it must have been justified?

MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, yes, they`ll say that. That`s a given that they`ll say that. What you will hear from McConnell and McCarthy, I wish you had a cricket sound that you could play right now, because that`s exactly what you will hear, crickets. They will have nothing to say about this. They will not have to say anything to opine on about the utter corruption of the Justice Department, the crap stain of Trumpism that has infected every organ as we`re going to find out it of government.

And so there is nothing they`re going to say about it because they don`t want to deal with it. Remember, this is the same crowd that said nothing about January 6th other except that, oh, it was a tourist attraction. So you don`t expect them to come to the table the way my friend, Mr. Carville has with the shock. I was like, wait, are you kidding me at this? What?

But so, yes, there will be investigations. And I think that Democratic strategist is right. There`s no way for the Democrats really play this, let the process unfold. Let more information, regulatory information come out. And the country will absorb it as they do everything else. But to try to say something about it from the Democratic side is just going to be, you know, pinned as a political. And the Republicans aren`t going to say anything, so it is very much as he said, sort of status quo. And it will flow the way it will.

WILLIAMS: James Carville, because when you talk I listen, I heard you on, shall we say another network tonight, talking about the mathematics in the U.S. Senate and during acquaint earlier time around like 7 o`clock Eastern Time tonight, we thought we`d be talking mostly Biden`s overseas trip and infrastructure here tonight. So I`ll go there on infrastructure. The point you make has no counter point. The math doesn`t work out very well, for the Democrats and a 60 vote Senate. But we did see these 10 senators today from both parties, including some steady and prominent names getting together on this.

Democrats know they don`t have the mathematics. They know they don`t have the noses. But they also know state`s love infrastructure, most of them by its given name, jobs programs, everyone loves a job program and the resulting better airport, bridge, and highway that comes of it.

CARVILLE: Well, first of all, the public expects you to try, all right? And if it looks like we`re trying harder, and they won`t do anything, then the public more orders, they`re in a kind of a tight spot too, because you`re right, these infrastructure programs, the jobs programs, you know, the interstate highway system and all the great things that we did in this country before, a popular, very popular to public.

And so, you know, I`m glad to go over the tight spot to Democrats and to Biden. And the Republicans are in a tight spot also. And too many Democrats are carping, you know, after not even five months. Remember what Mitch McConnell calls it, the long game. Well, the Democrats strategically are trying to say, well, I wouldn`t do something yesterday when we`re not setting us up for the long game and the long game right now setting this thing up with 2022.

And there will be consequences for the Republicans if they don`t appear to be trying to do something. And I think we should play this, the politics of this is hard, and as tough as we can possibly play it. And I suspect that`s what President Biden is doing right now. I hope he is.

WILLIAMS: Michael Steele, what`s the potential fallout for Joe Biden in 60 seconds or less?

STEELE: Look, I`m doing nothing to James`s point. I mean this is absolutely playing soft politics. This is hardball. McConnell and the Republicans are playing this to the edge. They know, at least their calculation is that the numbers work for them going into 2022. So the question Democrats have to ask themselves is how do we disrupt the numbers? How do we change the game right now, and to the Carville`s point, long term?

This is a long play. It`s a slow roll up to November and you use every moment along the way to slap, slam, and hit to make the point with American voters we got your back they don`t.

WILLIAMS: We have asked both shockingly pugilistic guests to stay with us tonight James and Michael will be here on the other side of the break. And coming up, the president overseas tonight with a simple message. America`s back the question is will America be welcomed back just like that?



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Prime Minister Johnson and I had a very productive meeting. We affirmed the special relationship as it`s not said lightly, the special relationship between our people and renewed our commitment to defending the enduring democratic values to both our nation share that a strong, excuse me, the strong foundation of our partnership.


WILLIAMS: By any standard we are witnessing a return to normalcy with the President`s first overseas trip it appears the world might recognize that too. According to a new Pew Research poll, 75 percent of people surveyed expressed confidence in Biden that`s compared to 17 percent who were confident in the former president this time last year. Remaining with us, James Carville and Michael Steele. Michael, trigger warning I`m going to play for you reminders of what some of Donald Trump`s foreign trips were like. We`ll discuss on the other side.


DONALD TRUMP, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: It`s just an honor to be with you. And it was an honor that you asked me to step over that line. And I was proud to step over the line. They said they think it`s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it`s not Russia.


WILLIAMS: Reminds you of this morning`s eclipse to see him eclipsing the Queen of England, you forget about the dance of the swords, the fondling of the orb, so many Greatest Hits there. And Michael, as I said, earlier in the broadcast, we`ve now lived long enough to see a former president, attack the incumbent president on the eve of a summit with Russia, and take the side of the adversary.

STEELE: Yes, and that`s to be expected. And I don`t think we should give any more air to it than we absolutely need to, which is we don`t need to. We need to focus on what President Biden is doing right now. He`s resetting the relationship. He`s reestablishing the role of the United States globally. Apparently, a lot of our European if not European allies of not all of them like that idea. They appreciate it. The President`s rollout of the COVID relief effort of 500 million vaccines, again, the U.S. is stepping into leadership.

Just imagine, Brian, if the other guy in February, March, April, May of last year, had taken COVID, as seriously as Joe Biden had in his short time in office, what a difference a year would have made, and what difference it would have made, not just globally, but here at home.

So I think a lot of Americans are looking at this, certainly a lot of Europeans are looking at this, and others around the globe and saying, well, this is different. It`s a little bit like old times, and they feel good about that.

So I`m not going to waste any time trying to, you know, dissect the crazy that`s going to come out of a Trump desk note. The reality of it is he`s old news, he`s bad news. And we need to focus on moving forward with what the Biden administration is trying to do to reset our relationships globally.

WILLIAMS: James, let`s take the other side of that. And that is the whiplash. Our adversaries and allies have witnessed. Think of it they saw us go from Obama, to Trump. So when Joe Biden shows up and says we`re back, you could understand, could you not if there were doubts in the ranks that were fully back the way he intends?

CARVILLE: Well, I understand that as is sometimes a little thought, you know, I`ve worked as a political consultant in 22 different countries, from Asia to Middle East to Europe, to Britain, America or anywhere else. And I can tell you, people want to like America. And I saw that poll and went from 17 to 75 percent.

I mean, people around the world, you know, a lot of people, you know, America and you hear a lot of stuff, but generally my experience around the world if people want to like us, I think it will befuddled by the Trump administration. They couldn`t understand it. And I think not to have some sanity in there, that they`re excited about it, and I`m glad to see the vice president changing Atlantic Charter, which is the only thing on earth that`s older than I am. So it`s a good idea and changing that.

But, you know, I think Governor Steele`s well-traveled person that not I know you are and people want to like America, they just do it. So to instinct they have indeed. I think the world is as relieved as 55 percent of people in United States that were not still going through this ordeal we went through.

WILLIAMS: To our guests, James Carville, Michael Steele, can`t thank you enough, gentlemen. It`s why we keep doing exactly this. Appreciate you coming on back to the basketball for you, James. All right. I like it. I like it. He`s got it right behind him. He`s always got a Hopkins have right behind.

Coming up for us. The Biden administration struggling to get shots in arms and black communities just as our next guest is trying to do in the major American city where she lives.


WILLIAMS: Well, you`ve heard them talk about Biden administration trying hard to reach the most vulnerable populations among us in hopes of meeting the President`s ambitious July 4th vaccination goal, but POLITICO reports that this way more than five months and even a blueprint that`s worked with other ethnic and racial groups isn`t doing enough to win over black Americans.

To talk about it we are so happy to welcome back to the broadcast the Reverend Liz Walker, veteran, a local news notably as city of Boston`s first African American weeknight news anchor. She is these days, the senior pastor at Roxbury Presbyterian Church. She`s been at the center of an effort to build trust in the vaccine in the city of Boston.

Reverend, great to see you. Thank you so much for coming back on. You have warned about claiming victory too early. You have warned in effect about spiking the ball too early. Tell us why you said that based on what you`re seeing in Boston.

REV. LIZ WALKER,ROXBURY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH : Well, the problem and I`m delighted to be with you again, Brian, even though the subject matter is less than what I`d want to talk about the problem in Boston, the problem in the nation in black communities is the same as it was when we started.

We still have people who have trust issues. We still have people who are hesitant. We still have great fears. We still have misinformation. So we`re working on the same issues that we were working on when this pandemic got started, and we can`t stop now. We can`t just claim victory if there is no victory in our community, and that`s what we`re glad to continue to work on here.

We`re trying to get the word out. We`re trying to get deeper into the community. We`re trying to get people to talk to neighbors, and make sure that we`re listening to people and we`re not going to give up because our numbers are dismal in in communities of color right now.

WILLIAMS: Well, as a great man once said, let`s choose to accentuate the positive. What have you found even though the overall number is dismal? And we`d take your word for it. What have you found that works even on a micro level?

WALKER: Well, I think the thing that works is going into the community, to not expect people to necessarily come out to the sites that we set up. But we`re going to announce tomorrow that we have a mobile van, in one of our communities, and we`re going out into the community to go door to door to put out flyers, to talk to people.

Sometimes when there`s a when there`s hesitancy or fear, and I`m not assuming that everything is based on fear. But in some cases, there is fear, you really do have to take your time and listening to people talk about some of the issues that are slowing them down. The reason they don`t trust this. You have to have neighbor, talk to neighbor. And that takes time. We knew at the beginning, that you weren`t going to train minds and change hearts overnight.

These are trust issues that have been building for generations and generations. And so we are still doing the same work we`ve been doing.

I think that things are slowly, slowly turning around. I think in Boston, and the Boston area, our numbers are probably better than many, you know, in the United States. So we`re proud of the change that we`ve made. But we realized we have a long way to go. This was never going to be a sprint. And I want to say to all those people who are doing the hard work on the ground, talking to their neighbors and listening and being patient. We just have to keep it up. And that`s what we`re going to do.

But I don`t want anyone to forget. Because what happens is if the majority population is vaccinated, and we`re all celebrating, and we`re all visiting and traveling, you forget the community that needs the vaccines more than anybody, and the life goes on. And then we hold, you know, the burden of this disease even more so than we`re holding now. That`s my biggest fear that this is going to continue to just kind of grow in our communities, and people are going to continue to get COVID and to get sick and to die.

And I believe that`s happening as we speak, though not in the bigger numbers that we heard about before. But in our community, the same kind of deaths, the same kind of illnesses. It`s very scary.

WILLIAMS: But as I know, you know how long 60 seconds is after yours and television, so I can give you exactly that much for this next answer. But for folks who don`t know, they know we live in a era of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theories. Talk about how hard earned in all the wrong ways, vaccine hesitancy is for blacks in America.

WALKER: The problem that we faced, Brian, and thanks for giving me 60 more seconds, is that this is not just about one individual. It`s not just about you, it`s about your community. It`s about your grandmother, it`s about your neighbor. And so those of us who are not being vaccinated now, we are impacting all the clusters around us.

So you really do have to take the risk, because getting a vaccine and the risk of vaccine is far, far better risk than the risk of dying of COVID. So the problem is still there. And we do need to take the risk and I hope my neighbors will understand that. And I`m going to be out there trying to talk you into it.

WILLIAMS: OKs, for those in Boston, look for the woman on your television screen as dynamic in the pulpit as she was behind the news desk all those years. Friend of this broadcast, Reverend Liz Walker of the great city of Boston Mass, thank you so much as always for coming on.

Coming up for us, consumer sticker shock from the biggest price hikes in n more than a decade. We`ll explain what`s going on.


WILLIAMS: As pandemic restrictions and across the country Americans looking to get back in the game back to normal are paying more to do so these days. Last month consumer prices rose at the fastest rate since the summer of `08. NBC News business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle brings us more on why that might be.


STEPHANIE RUHLE, NBC NEWS BUSINESS CORRESPONDNET (voice-over): Peter Kriviz (ph) started a new job in March and is spending more time at the office, which means spending more money too.

PETER KRIVIZ (ph), NEWLY EMPLOYED: There`s been plenty of costs.

RUHLE: Inflation rising 5 percent since last year as the economy recovers. The fastest pace in nearly 13 years and sticker shock to many who spent more than a year at home.

KRIVIZ (ph): There`s a lot more conversations happening around trying to save trying to watch how much we`re spending and what we`re spending it on.

RUHLE: You can expect your breakfast to cost more with bread up 7 percent and coffee up 2 percent. Swapping out sweats for work attire, men`s clothing is up 3 percent, shoes are up eight, and grabbing lunch is more expensive to up more than 6 percent stemming from a surge in demand and shortage of labor and goods. Still economists say it`s not a cause for alarm, at least not yet.

MICHELLE MEYER, BANK OF AMERICA U.S. ECONOMICS HEAD: This time last year, we were dealing with the incredible shock the pandemic. I think a large part of the reason that prices are rising as rapidly as they are is that the economy has rebounded at an exceptional pace.

RUHLE: For example, in May gas prices averaged $2.90 a gallon up more than $1 from a year ago. But compared to 2019 before the pandemic gas is only up seven cents. Meantime some big ticket items in high demand saw dramatic spikes. Used cars of nearly 30 percent, furniture up almost nine.

MEYER: You actually could see a decline in prices because affordability has been stretched.

RUHLE (on camera): Obviously no one can pinpoint exactly where prices are going. But the biggest price increases we`ve seen are really caused by the supply chain issues. So the further we get away from COVID and life goes back to normal. Well then prices are going to follow suit.


WILLIAMS: Stephanie Ruhle, thank you for that report tonight. Coming up, when was the last time you were greeted by a standing ovation when you walked into dinner at your house? While we`re at it, when was the last time people paid to have dinner in your house?


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight when he isn`t taking Russia side over his own country while diminishing the setting American president on the eve of his summit with Putin, Trump is apparently dropping in on the occasional memorial service at Mar-a-Lago.

Josh Green has written a remarkable story for Bloomberg and when you think about it between his two golf resorts in Florida and Jersey, Trump only lives in places where people have paid to be in his presence. Here`s how Josh puts it in his report from the field.

At every moment of his day, Trump is bathed in adulation when he enters the dining room people stand and applaud. When he returns from golf, he`s met with squeals and selfie requests. When he leaves Mar-a-Lago, he often encounters flag waving throngs organized by Willie Guardiola, former professional harmonica player and anti-abortion activists who runs weekly pro-Trump rallies in Palm Beach, quote, give me four hours and I can pull together 500 people.

Trump will show up to anything in recent weeks he has popped into engagement parties and memorial services. A Mar-a-Lago member who recently attended a club gathering for a deceased friend was surprised when Trump sauntered in to deliver remarks and then hung around apparently enjoying himself.

Already many bride and groom and all of their invited guests and family have been enthralled. When Trump crashes their wedding reception takes the mic and talks about missing ballots, the Iran deal or how many votes he got in the course of losing to Biden.

The happy couples don`t consider it a bad thing. Look, here`s the contract holding your event and a Trump venue means you`ve got to be cool with a 74- year-old retiree and giant pants just in off the golf course coming in to relitigate his last presidency.

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