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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 6/29/21

Guests: Charles Burkett, Don Calloway, Bill Kristol


President Joe Biden hits the road to sell plan to rebuild the nation. Biden touts plan to fix roads, bridges and energy grid. Biden White House is working to unite Democrats on infrastructure. Progressive Democrats are pushing to pass their agenda. Former President Donald Trump will visit the U.S.-Mexico border next week along with about a dozen House Republicans, Texas Governor Abbott and GOP representatives. Some officials are urging masks indoors for fully vaccinated due to Delta variant. Twelve are dead and 149 missing in Florida condo collapse. House will vote on January 6th select committee tomorrow.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Thank you. Professor Galbraith gets tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again, day 161 of the Biden administration and the President and his team are now doing a full court press to sell that nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal to the American people who will after all, be the recipients of it.

President traveled to La Crosse, Wisconsin today, a state he narrowly won in 2020 to talk up the plan that he and 21 senators from both parties agreed to just last week.


JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: This is a generational investment, a generational investment to modernize our infrastructure, creating millions of good paying jobs, investments that only the government has the capacity to make. This bipartisan breakthrough is a great deal for the American people. This is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America.


WILLIAMS: Even as the administration tries to sell now Biden`s agenda to voters, it`s also trying to navigate opposition from Republicans and make no mistake some Democrats, while many moderate Democrats are raising concerns about the infrastructure plans price tag, those on the left, insist it must be passed with a much larger spending bill. Some of them say they`re ready to make that happen without Republican votes.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL, (D) BUDGET COMMITTEE: The priorities that we as Democrats have campaigned on around child care and the care economy, around health care and Medicare expansion, around bold climate action. These are all critical priorities for us. And so we need to make sure that the reconciliation package has 50 votes in the Senate.

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL, (D) MICHIGAN: When you don`t get things that are important to the American people, when things just stop, then there are times that you just have to stand up and say this has to get done.


WILLIAMS: And meanwhile, NBC News, among others reporting negotiations in Congress on police reform legislation teetering on total collapse. Our own correspondingly Leigh Ann Caldwell reports a split between different factions of law enforcement as a possible bipartisan agreement in danger. It comes as we`ll see a critical vote in the House tomorrow on whether to create that Select Committee to investigate the January 6 riot.

Democratic Majority makes passage likely but not without vocal objections from Republicans. We`ll have more on that just ahead. We`ll also see the former president back at the southern border tomorrow as Trump heads to South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. He`ll be with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and ardent trumper who has promised to complete Trump`s wall with state funds and private donations, some House Republicans plan on joining the trip.

Also tonight concerns of course are growing about the rapid spread of this Delta variant across the globe and in our own country. CDC now estimating and accounts for 26% of new cases in our country. World Health Organization and notably, LA County Health officials are now recommending masks indoors even for those who have been fully vaccinated. But Dr. Fauci says it will be unlikely that the CDC will also change its guidance.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: The CDC recommendations stand that if in fact you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, you are protected and you do not need to wear a mask outdoors or indoors.


For all those watching developments in Surfside, Florida tonight, search and rescue workers are about to begin a seventh day of looking for any signs of survivor`s, any sign of life and that wreckage of the condo building that collapsed in two sections last week.

Tonight 12 people confirmed killed, 149 souls remain unaccounted for. The head of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue tells the New York Times crews have moved piece by piece, bucket by bucket about 3 million pounds of concrete from that pile.

White House says the President and First Lady will visit Surfside sign on Thursday. Meanwhile, NBC News has learned that an April letter from the condo buildings board to residents they`re warned of this accelerating concrete deterioration along with a growing renovation costs to residents.

With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Tuesday night, Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for The Associated Press., Lisa Lerer, National Political Correspondent with the New York Times and Dr. Irwin Redlener, Founding Director of Columbia`s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, he advises us on public health, also happens to be a Columnist over at The Daily Beast.

Good evening and welcome back to the broadcast to the three of you. Jonathan, I`d like to begin with you for those in our audience who may be curious what the people are going to see, what the states are going to get, those who haven`t followed every twist and turn of the negotiations. If the vote tonight passed on infrastructure, how would that differ from the President`s original big wish list?

JONATHAN LEMIRE, ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Brian, it certainly would still be a substantial impact to Americans and their lives, though not as sizable as the President first wanted.

Let`s recall, his first proposal for the heart infrastructure program. That`s things like bridges, roads, highways, airports, broadband was about $2 trillion. Now we`re the neighborhood of about $1 trillion, still an increase of hundreds of billions from where the Republicans were at the start of this process. And it`s been a lot of twists and turns in recent days. And we certainly saw that this is -- the deal was agreed to on Thursday. We heard the President come out and tout it and said, we`ve got Republican support. We know how much is -- how important has been for this president to reach across the aisle. He campaigned on being pipe -- being a bipartisan deal maker, only that almost blow it with his -- when he`s so explicitly linked, that the hard infrastructure bipartisan deal with the much bigger soft infrastructure that can be done to the budget process known as reconciliation, which could be up to $4 trillion, which will probably be Democrats alone. To be clear, this was always going to be on two tracks. But Republicans when they heard the explicit link, with the president threatening to walk away from the bipartisan deal if you couldn`t get both, they objected.

Damage Control for the White House, they seem to have a piece of Republicans for now, but they still have some Democrats, mind you, some progressives who say that they are settling for not nearly enough. They want to go bigger. The President today hit the road, which the beginning going to be a series of stops criss-crossing the country, selling the virtues of his bill, selling to Americans, hey, your roads need to be fixed. Airports need to be improved. We need to be able to show that we can compete with nations like China when it comes to infrastructure. He called it a generational challenge. That tour started today in Wisconsin.

WILLIAMS: Hey, Lisa, here`s how your paper reports it tonight. The fear among liberals is that the, if the bipartisan measure gathers enough momentum to quickly pass. Some democrats particularly centrists like senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona will lose their appetite for another major economic package. One way of asking this question, Lisa, is who would want to be Senate Majority Leader right about now?

Either she is taking an unfortunately time to nap or her Wi-Fi froze up on her. Jonathan Lemire, back to us same question.

LEMIRE: Well, Brian, certainly there is concerns here from the White House and more progressive Democrats as to how they keep the more moderates in line, right? We know it`s Sinema, Manchin. And there`s been rumblings of others behind the scenes who are uncomfortable with the size of that reconciliation package and Bernie Sanders and some of the regressive think it should be even bigger.

Right now the White House is about 4 trillion. Sanders, they think it should be 6 trillion. Moderates, like Manchin and Sinema have both given their blessing to this reconciliation process, saying that they wouldn`t be OK with this budget procedure that would just be Democrats alone, you need to keep all 50, mind you, with the Vice President breaking the tie. But it`s a question of how much and that is a concern that if Manchin and Sinema say, let`s say they only want to do about 2 trillion. And that leaves the 2 million from the White House on the table and the perhaps three or 4 trillion that some of the more progressives want. That`s a big gap. And if you appease the moderate Democrats, could you lose the ones on the left? And if that`s the case, the whole thing falls apart anyway.

So this is, and let`s be clear, there was an element of a victory lap to the President`s speech today, although it was more about selling the bill. But this isn`t over yet. And Senator Schumer and the majority leader and House Speaker Pelosi have both indicated they want to bring both of these bills to get the process going, bring them to the floor next month in July. So they are going to be coming on two tracks at once. And it`s going to be a very tricky balancing act for the White House to keep everyone in line, Republicans and Democrats alike to get the past in the law.

WILLIAMS: Lisa, speak for everybody is glad to see you. Well, you gave us a scare there, young woman with your whole life ahead of you. But it turned out to thankfully be just Wi-Fi. In your absence, we were talking about the job Chuck Schumer has and I think a lot of people who perhaps don`t follow politics that closely have been surprised at how tough it is. All they heard was Democrats are going to have a voting majority in the Senate. How tough it is to keep the caucus together. Did people see this coming after the victory two seats in Georgia, there was so much celebration, did they see the struggle for seats from Arizona in West Virginia, who already happen to have DS after their name?

LISA LERER, THE NEW YORK TIMES NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it`s not quite as tough as it`s been for me to keep my Wi-Fi signal tonight. But it`s pretty close. You know, look, these certified at the party had throughout the primary. I think President Biden got a bit of a reprieve on them. You know, in the first 100 days, the first couple months of his administration, because there was the sense of crisis, that Democrats felt they just had to get economic relief, they had to get public health measures, they had to sort of make real progress on the pandemic.

We`re sort of past that acute moment of crisis. And now I think the party is sort of hashing out these differences that were really undisplaced throughout the entire campaign. And part of the issue here is, as you alluded to, they have really thin margin. Sure, Democrats have majorities in the House and the Senate. But unless they keep every single Democrat in lockstep in the Senate, they will not pass that big bill that they want to pass. And it has to be done by this reconciliation, which is, you know, a specialized kind of legislative maneuver. And they really can only afford to lose three or four votes in the House. So that makes this a really fragile, high, delicate balancing act for Biden, as he sort of works to keep both sides of this party on board. And of course, progressives think the plan is too small, a lot of moderates think it`s too big. And, you know, Biden is someone who knows these dynamics really well. He is someone that spent most of his career in the Senate, who really prides himself as a deal maker as someone who`s very comfortable with legislative wrangling. I think those Senate bonafides are really going to be put to the test in the next couple of weeks here.

WILLIAMS: Dr. Redlener, over to you and your expertise. Let`s talk about this Delta variant as we are on the eve of a July 4 weekend, where you don`t need to be a soothsayer to predict Americans going to -- are going to be out and together and trying to enjoy Independence Day. But with this Delta variant in the background, Doc, under what circumstances should the fully vaccinated, wear a mask in some cases revert to wearing a mask indoors?

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, EXPERT ON PANDEMIC INFLUENZA: Well, there`s a really interesting moment, Brian. We have actually right this moment, we have the World Health Organization saying even if you are fully vaccinated, you should still wear a mask and keep socially distant. CDC is not there at all. Dr. Fauci is somewhere in between.

The problem is United States is a patchwork of policies and risks with respect to this Delta virus. And I think it`s important for people understand if you live in a state, or a community, where the Delta virus is running rampant, it`s already a bout 25% of the new cases of the Delta variant is going to be over 50% soon. But if you live in Utah, in Alabama and Mississippi, and you`re in a community where it`s spreading rapidly, you really need to be careful. Step one, get yourself vaccinated for goodness sake. Step two, whether you are or aren`t, if you have the Delta variant running wild in your community, you still probably should wear a mask and stay separated, things will change, they`re going to change rapidly with the prevalence of the Delta virus, Delta variant. But in the meantime, we`re going to have to, you know, just be cautious. Do what the experts are recommending if we could sort through all that. But this is what I say, get vaccinated, stay distant, keep your mass on if you`re in one of those communities with vaccination rates are very low, Brian.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Doc. Thank you for answering that.

Lisa, I am old enough to remember among our modern presidents, a courtesy period of silence when former presidents would disappear for at six months minimum, sometimes years at a time they would go away, they would remain silent and let the new person takeover and build their agenda. We are long since that being shattered. But given that, how unusual is this trip to the Texas border which is obviously going to be red meat to the Trump friendly media with the governor of Texas, with a delegation of Republican members of Congress that this spectacle we`re going to see tomorrow.

Circle gets the square, we`ve lost Lisa again. Jonathan Lemire -- Oh, Lisa is there.

LERER: You know, I think part of --

WILLIAMS: Lisa, give it a try.

LERER: Hi there, sorry. This is why I will not miss these days of Wi-Fi connections in zoom meetings. I don`t think any of us will. Look, I think it is, of course, highly unusual for former president to be out there essentially campaigning in some form during then his, the next successor`s term.

I think what`s particularly interesting about this moment for President Trump is it`s coming at a point where he is facing a little bit of greater scrutiny and greater accountability, you have this case against this company, and that we`re expecting to hear some kind of some kind of finding at the Manhattan D.A. You have this commission investigating the January 6 siege that`s going to be happening in Congress. And you also have this series of books coming out with really explosive allegations about some of the happenings during his administration. So I think in some ways, this is an effort by former President Trump to kind of rehash The Greatest Hits to go back to the central message of his campaign, which of course, was build the wall, go back to the border, which is a weak point for the Biden administration. Even folks who work in the White House will say that they know, you know, politically that they have a weakness there on the border issue. It`s clear at the polling. And so I think that President -- former President Trump sees some real opportunity here, to not only rev up his base as he`s want to do, but also perhaps score a few political points on his successor.

WILLIAMS: Dr. Redlener, sadly last word goes to you. I say sadly, because of the topic, something they, I`m guessing don`t teach in med school, when do you know after a disaster, like the kind we are witnessing north of Miami, when do you know when to make that gruesome call that a rescue effort has now transitioned somehow, into a heavy recovery effort of how long do we rely on hope? How long do we rely on the systems of the human body to stay alive against all odds?

IRWIN REDLENER: Yeah, so Brian, you know, actually way back when the Haiti earthquake occurred, and a couple 100,000 people lost their lives, it became clear that there`s kind of a magic rescue window that ranges from around 72 hours, meaning that if we haven`t pulled people out of the wreckage, and got them medical care, within 72 hours, the hopes for survival rapidly fade. And that`s because you use up what oxygen is available, whatever water you have, and you get dehydrated, not to mention, often dealing with obviously severe injuries. We passed that 72 hour mark, you know, a couple days ago, and while I remain hopeful that we`ll do better than might be predicted, I`m afraid that a lot of people that are still missing will not come out of this alive. It`s an absolute tragedy.

And by the way, very interesting irony that now we`re talking about fixing America`s infrastructure, and fixing the built environment and everything that goes along with it is one of the things that will be addressed and it`s a sad moment for the residents and the family members from that community. But we have a lot there, other kinds of infrastructure opportunities that we need to deal with which will happen once this bill gets signed, Brian.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely, there`s cause for federal dollars and there`s cause for private dollars as well. Jonathan Lemire, Lisa Lerer, Dr. Irwin Redlener, our thanks for your patience, our thanks for staying up with us and taking our questions.

Coming up for us tonight, a live update from Surfside, Florida on the search and rescue efforts following that devastating collapse. Man who may be the most hopeful in America at this hour, the mayor of that city standing by to talk with us.

And later how much say should Republicans have, how much will they have when that Pelosi 1/6 commission gets down to the business of investigating? THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on this Tuesday night.


WILLIAMS: It is right now our national sadness, the city of Surfside, Florida now missing a piece of its skyline after the building collapse. In its wake an entire community of residents is gone, the number of confirmed dead stands at 12 tonight. Importantly, 149 souls remain on accounted for.

There are people under that wreckage. There is a gruesome decision approaching at some point when they switch from rescue mode to recovery. That is another way of saying a determination that what remains are just bodies. Those remains of course are everything to the shattered family members. Those family members and their loved ones are priority number one to the man before the break I called the most hopeful man in America, the mayor of Surfside, Florida, Mayor Charles Burkett has been kind enough to join us again tonight, I happen to know he`s back on the pile at 6 a.m. So we greatly appreciate it.

Mr. Mayor, I know this episode, amid all the heartbreak has forced you into the role of researcher in your spare time, and you`ve been looking into other places where souls have been pulled alive against all odds, and in terrible wreckage. And that must be what gives you hope, the most valuable commodity in your town?

MAYOR CHARLES BURKETT, SURFSIDE, FLORIDA: You know, I`ve gotten a lot of emails over the past five or six days and that one email with a BBC article was the most relevant to me as far as you know, the families go. Because it outline the potential for quite a long survival rate underneath the rubble where one woman in Bangladesh was pulled out of the rubble crying after 17 days.

So, you know, we`re not losing hope. We`re not slowing down. We`re not giving up. We`re going to pull everybody out of that rubble and we`re hoping and praying for some miracles. You know, we`re going to have the President here shortly. And I`m going to thank him for providing all the resources and cutting all the red tape and I`m going to tell them we absolutely thanks to all those efforts, we don`t have a resource problem. But we do have a luck problem. You know, we`ve been -- we`ve had challenges after challenges after challenges. But still, the American team, the Israeli team, the Mexican team, the world team fights on, and we will bring these people home.

WILLIAMS: How is it they have so carefully brought down so many 1000 pounds of concrete, rebar wreckage, and yet, we are still at 149 soul`s outstanding and unaccounted for?

BURKETT: Well, I would say I would be careful with those numbers, because nobody really knows how many people were in the building. And there are no logs, tracking people going in and out. I will say that the sister building which is a block away, which has been an entirely different discussion was -- is lightly occupied at this point, fortunately. And, you know, maybe it`s the same situation with this building. We just don`t really know yet. And the only basis for which we have to make an estimate are the calls that are coming in for loved ones, which are identifying those loved ones in the building.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was going to ask you how that number was determined. It`s become the coin of the realm in our business to repeat the number and it`s been updated once or twice.

I know people Airbnb out some of their apartments. I know it`s quite plausible. People have visitors, people are away. So apartments could be -- have more occupants than normal, apartments could be empty, that are usually occupied. And I`m guessing it`s something you work at every day as these inquiries, missing person inquiries come in?

BURKETT: Correct. Exactly. So it`s -- you know, I`ve said from the beginning, that I would be careful about those numbers. But I think as the days go by, that number gets stronger and stronger.

WILLIAMS: Is there anything the President can tell you? Is there anything the President can offer to you? That would be comfort to you and your community right now?

BURKETT: You know, I think we owe the President of thank you. You know, he`s done his part. He`s done his job. He`s done his duty. As an elected official, who`s in charge of caring for the people of this nation. He has gone out of his way to make sure that we were taken care of, and by the way, he`s done it early. His White House called me the next day, and told me in so many words that we were not going to have to worry about resources or red tape. And he has been true to his word on that count.

WILLIAMS: As I say, by my math, you have just north of, what is it, six hours and a half before you`re due out on the pile and in the vicinity of that former condo building, comforting folks and cheering on the 200 people now working every day, 24/7 on that file. Mr. Mayor, thank you for sparing a few minutes to take our questions tonight, only the best of luck to you and yours in Surfside, Florida.

Coming up for us after a break, new reporting on how a Republican might end up on Speaker Pelosi`s Select Committee to investigate the Capitol riot. We will name possible names, among other things when we come right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no doubt that Mrs. Pelosi will have this be an endless committee process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s all political theater. That`s what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the Committee is pretty fundamentally flawed. I think it`s overtly political. It`s really not necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody says nonpartisan up here that`s just -- that`s a joke, and everybody knows it.


WILLIAMS: So it seems to be going well so far. If that`s any indication, there won`t be many GOP yeses when the House votes on a Select Committee to investigate January 6th, exactly who ultimately serves on the Select Committee has yet to be determined. We know there will be 13 members. Speaker Pelosi gets to pick eight, Kevin McCarthy gets a say in the other five. A Pelosi aide confirmed to NBC News she`s quote, seriously considering appointing a Republican with one of her unilateral picks.

Well, back with us tonight Don Calloway democratic strategist, founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund, Bill Kristol, author, writer, thinker, political veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations, editor- at-large over at the Bulwark. Gentlemen, welcome to you both. Bill Kristol, let`s start at 30,000 feet. Is there in your most hopeful world? Is there any construct under which the Republicans and we just heard from a few, regret voting no, on a bipartisan commission?

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Most of them don`t regret that they think they can vote against this. They`ll say it`s all partisan. I do think Pelosi is going to appoint one republican from her eight picks, either Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger. The two votes for impeachment, who haven`t backed off at all, that`s not quite fair, who`ve been willing to follow through and to continue to call Donald Trump to account the others have sort of, you know, tried to go quiet a little bit, get along with people in their district, not pick more fights with Trump and so forth.

Cheney and Kinzinger have been pretty fearless, pretty impressive in my opinion. And I think one of them could well end up on that Select Committee. So that will be interesting. But that`s two Republicans out of what are there, 210 in the House. And I think they will -- they might be the only two votes for the Committee.

WILLIAMS: Don, I want to as a formality here from Congressman Clyburn, and this was on this network earlier today. We`ll discuss on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you support the appointment of Liz Cheney or an Adam Kinzinger to the Committee using one of the Speaker`s unilateral picks?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Yes, I would. I think both of them are Republicans. Both of them are conservative Republicans. And both of them are real about what happened on January 6th. So I think that the Speaker would do well to demonstrate bipartisanship by appointing one of them to the Committee.


WILLIAMS: So Don, you heard the man, you heard Bill before the Congressman, talk about risk versus reward on appointing one of those two names, there were Republicans that Democrats seem to like?

DON CALLOWAY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: That`s a great question, Brian, it`s very important that we consider the Speaker`s procedural powers here. Obviously, as you said, the Speaker can present eight members. The Minority Leader gets to present five members. But it`s important, a little word that you presented at the top of, the minority leader is to be consented, excuse me, to be consulted with but it does not require his consent. Therefore, not even the five Republican members really require the Speaker`s consent. What the speaker is doing here is making sure that she can say that this was a truly bipartisan process, rather than giving the Republicans five, just platforms to talk crazy and filibuster on this thing. They can take their own time, they can take one of the Democratic spots to fit Democratic talking points out of the seven Democratic seats that are, excuse me, eight Democratic seats that are available here, very important tactic.

Therefore, she can say that Republicans are saying what we want to say. Ultimately, I think that would be a really, really smart thing for Speaker Pelosi to do. There`s no universe under which Kevin McCarthy in his five picks would present anyone other than the most hardline Republicans. Now we have one in Marjorie Taylor green, who in the words of Chris Tucker from Friday, she ain`t got nothing else to do but pay attention to this, because she doesn`t have any other Committees.

Therefore, she can put all the time and all of the effort in all of her idle handedness to put towards this. And that`s just a risk that the Democrats unfortunately would have to take. But they can mitigate by balancing out that time with reasonable points on the Democratic appointees side, I think it will be a wonderful idea for Speaker Pelosi to use some of her picks with Republicans who can say reasonable things on the side of what was very clear that this insurrection killed five real American people.

WILLIAMS: Bill Kristol, Pelosi has apparently invited members of the D.C. Metropolitan Police, members of the Capitol Police who were there on that day to be in the gallery for the vote. Obviously, it is a gesture. Will that gesture have any effect? Will it change a single vote do you think?

KRISTOL: You know, honestly, I doubted it. The degree to which the Republican Party with the exception of Cheney and Kinzinger, and a few couple others may be and then a lot of us, and then another dozen or 20 or 30 or just keep their head down. The degree to which all the others are just all in on memory holding January 6th, on ignoring what might be very short term PR hit because they are convinced that they just need to keep all their people on board, get the end, make it seem as if it`s a partisan inquiry looking back.

Look at what`s happening in Arizona. Look what`s happening in all the states on election integrity. Look what`s happening on the big lie. It`s really -- I wish I could say that I -- the Republicans will look up into the gallery and feel a pang of conscience. But I don`t think I can say that.

WILLIAMS: At least Trump is going to the southern border tomorrow so we`ve got that going for us. Both of these gentlemen have agreed to stay with us while we fit in a break.

Coming up, even Joe Biden concedes his infrastructure deal has a rocky road ahead. It seems like that was a metaphor. It seems like the problems still lurk in his own party as well, back with more after this.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No jobs, they will be graded here. Largely would be those for blue collar workers with majority who will not have to have a college degree to have those jobs. A lot of those folks will be left behind now. The guys who grew up with this crappy claim up, they`ve been left behind. This is the answer for good paying jobs.


WILLIAMS: President Biden on the road today selling the bipartisan infrastructure deal to the American people. At the same time, he`s still trying, let`s not forget, to convince some in his own party. "POLITICO" writes his dilemma this way, moderates are worried about too much spending in a second, one-party bill, while progressives are worried about too little spending and senior Democrats are caught in the middle. How 2021 is that?

Still with us are our guests, Don Calloway and Bill Kristol. So Don, you get the first question in this segment, which you may regret. What advice would you give Joe Biden for holding all the Democrats? What advice would you give the Democrats on the left? And remember, say it with me, the unofficial slogan of the Democratic Party never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, Don, it`s all yours.

CALLOWAY: Indeed, in my lifetime, Democrats have been fantastic and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. In the words of Eminem, my advice to Joe Biden is you only get one shot do not miss your chance to blow. Joe Biden cannot trust three people. Joe Manchin, he cannot trust Mitch McConnell, and unfortunately, he cannot trust Chuck Schumer that there will be another opportunity at a substantive spending bill. He`s got to go big. He`s got to throw all of the spending and all of the possible things that could be construed by infrastructure into this one bill, go big, go hard or go home.

And really the debate here, Brian, is over classical infrastructure, roads, bridges, tunnels, pipes, and human infrastructure, which is what the progressives like Richie Torres of New York are pushing for, that`s affordable housing, that`s broadband. Although broadband is inching its way into the discussion into classical infrastructure. We`re talking about what goes into the idea of infrastructure.

And the progressives are saying that we don`t trust that the Manchin`s and Sinema`s are going to give us another opportunity to come back and do another bill that includes human infrastructure. Biden has got to just go big and go hard. One big bill that encompass everything -- encompasses everything spending be damned or be worried about another day, because what we, I mean there`s just no evidence in the makeup of this Congress that they`re going to create another opportunity for a more humane humanistic spending bill that encompasses a whole lot more than just classical infrastructure. You got to do it all with this one.

WILLIAMS: Bill, I`m tempted to ask you a quaint question about, isn`t there pressure on Republicans, especially in the Senate to get on board, to go home, and brag on all they are bringing home in the way of goodies and jobs from Washington? But I`m reminded, we`re living in the post truth society, where I remember a couple members of Congress and Senator Wicker specifically if memory serves, who bragged about bringing home the bacon after not voting for the relief bill, told the restaurant industry, hey, help is on the way. So I guess they can have it both ways. Republicans now can vote no, on constituent services, and still claim credit for bringing home the bacon.

KRISTOL: We`re living in such a partisan and polarized time that Republicans can say they`re voting against Joe Biden and hope and maybe expect a fair number of their constituents not really did quite, you know, care too much about what exactly they`re voting against. And as you say, let David, the senators and members of the House can still come home and take credit for various bridges and improvements and so forth.

So I don`t think is that -- there`s not the old fashioned kind of pressure that you had in a much less partisan and polarized environment, that you showed that you were bringing home the goods and therefore you got votes from people on the other party. That made sense, but have two senators in each party came from states that were closely divided that half -- that when I got to Washington 35 years ago, half the states had one senator from each state. I think now it`s six, 22. Almost all the states, 44 states have two senators, two Republicans, two Democrats and Trump or Biden carried those states.

So in a partisan world that bring home the bacon seems to matter less, still matters some though. And I think Biden`s doing OK, on this. It`s complicated. The sausage ratings always kind of a mess and they have a lot of zigs and zags and one step forward and two back and then one and a half forward and so forth. But I think it`ll end up -- I think it`ll end up with some part of bipartisan infrastructure bill, a smaller one they don`t get through and then they`ll do a lot of other stuff in reconciliation.

And I think it`s good for him. He looks like he`s trying to deal with the problems it is trying to deal with the problems of the country. While the Republicans are opposing discovering the truth about January 6th, and they`ve got poll ghost are out there hanging out with Holocaust deniers. And so I actually don`t quite share the despair of Democrats at this moment. I think the Biden administrations do OK.

WILLIAMS: At least members of ghosts are his family believed he should be removed from Congress so he has that going for him. Gentlemen, thank you so much. As always, Bill Kristol, Don Calloway and Alabama A&M, we`re looking at you, you`re on the board. Go Bulldogs. Thank you, gentlemen. We`ll do it again.

Coming up for us, the latest in the search for the origins of COVID-19 and possible ties to China`s military when THE 11TH HOUR continues.


WILLIAMS: You may recall back in May, President Biden gave the U.S. intel community 90 days to investigate the origins of the COVID pandemic and report back to him. But so far those efforts have stalled without cooperation from China. NBC News foreign correspondent Keir Simmons has new information tonight on why that might be.


KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This week more than 30 international scientists say China should not be allowed to block a full inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.

JAMIE METZL, W.H.O ADVISORY CMTE. ADVISER: We can`t just give China a veto over whether or not we investigate the most terrible pandemic in a century.

SIMMONS (voice-over): In January a Trump administration fact sheet accused China of secret military activity at a lab in Wuhan. Former State Department adviser, David Asher, helped write that fact sheet.

DAVID ASHER, FMR. STATE DEPT. INVESTIGATOR: I`m very confident that the military was funding a secret program. It did involve coronaviruses. I heard this from several foreign researchers who observed researchers in that lab in the military lab coats.

SIMMONS (voice-over): A leading researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Neurology Dr. Shi Zhengli insists it`s only a civilian institution. She was questioned this year by Jamie Metzl, a former national security official.

DR. SHI ZHENGLI, VIROLOGIST: At the beginning of COVID-19, we heard the rumors that it`s claimed that in our laboratory we have some projects blah, blah with army blah, blah these kind of rumors, but this is not correct.

SIMMONS (voice-over): But NBC News has evidence Dr. Shi herself has multiple connections with military officials. She and others collaborated with a military scientist on coronavirus research in spring 2018 and with another military scientist, Zhou Yusen in December 2019. In fall 2020, an article that scientist authored lists him in a footnote as deceased. NBC has been unable to ascertain the circumstances of his death.

(on camera): The State Department has repeatedly raised concerns over China`s compliance with the biological weapons convention. Questions over China`s transparency now central to President Biden`s coronavirus inquiry, Brian.

WILLIAMS: Hey Keir, thank you for that. Keir Simmons remaining on this beat and providing our report tonight.

Coming up for us, if you`ve yet to catch up with today`s crazy from the House floor, we have all the crazy queued up and ready to roll when we come back.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, he might be the most ambitious man in Washington, Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who wants so very badly to be Speaker of the House, the man who has shown the ability a cherished and necessary trade among elected Republicans in Congress these days to say almost anything regardless of truth, or consequences for that matter, the same guy who said Trump bore responsibility for the riot and the desecration of the Capitol. No problem.

He in his bright blue suit, brown shoes were down at Mar-a-Lago faster than you could say insurrection. Well, today he did it again and we`re going to play a collection of his comments for you. It was the run up to a vote on a bill to remove from the Capitol statues and portraits of supporters of the Confederacy. McCarthy scarcely misses an opportunity to gaslight or whip up the culture wars. And indeed, he found a way to conclude the so called crisis over the teaching of critical race theory.


KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: But let me state a simple fact. All the statutes being removed by this bill are statutes of Democrats. Hank, the bill should go further. Maybe it`s time the Democrats change the name of their party. They may be desperate to pretend their party has progressed from their days of supporting slavery pushing Jim Crow laws, or supporting the KKK.

Today, the Democratic Party had doubled down on what I consider this shameful history. By replacing the racism of the past with the racism of the critical race theory, America is not a racist country. America must reject critical race theory for the simple reason state sponsored racism is wrong and always will be. It was wrong when it was segregated lunch counters of Jim Crow. And it was wrong when it was segregated classrooms of critical race theory.


WILLIAMS: For the record, guy behind him fell asleep little bit. By the way, McCarthy voted for the bill. The 120 no votes against the bill were all from Republicans in his caucus.

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