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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 6/4/21

Guests: Jeremy Bash, Tim Miller, Robert Gibbs, Irwin Redlener


President Joe Biden rejects new GOP offer on infrastructure spending. Biden recovery plan draws criticism from some in GOP. White House is facing new challenge after cyberattacks. Former Trump White House counsel testifies about Trump`s efforts to impede Mueller probe. Don McGahn tells lawmakers about Trump`s effort to obstruct Mueller investigation.


ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Reporters just found out that his phone records were secretly seized by the Trump administration. Plus, the one and only Bill Nye, the Science guy joins me ahead of his testimony next week in front of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee about the security threats posed by climate change. That`s tomorrow, 8 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams begins now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening, once again, day 136 of the Biden administration not good enough. That is the latest message from the President to the Republicans counteroffer on infrastructure and job creation. As you know, he`s been trying to work out a bipartisan deal with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who`s been the leading Republican in the talks. Today, she told Biden, the Republicans would be willing to add about 50 billion in new spending to the party`s latest overall 928 billion proposal.

Well, here`s the reaction from the White House, "the current offer did not meet the President`s objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, create new jobs."

Biden added they`ll keep talking on Monday. This all comes, of course, as the latest jobs report shows 559,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy better than last month, not as high as some economists had projected. Republicans say extended unemployment benefits in Biden`s COVID relief bill were too generous. They`re keeping people who need jobs from taking jobs. Half of the state`s all led by Republican governors are cutting off or cutting back benefits before the September expiration date. Today, Biden defended his economic strategy.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As we continue this recovery, we`re going to hit some bumps along the way. Of course, that will happen. We can`t reboot the world`s largest economy like flipping on a nice light switch. There`s going to be ups and downs in jobs and economic reports. But we`re going to be a supply chain issues and price pressures on the way back to establish stability to steady growth.


WILLIAMS: Meantime, those two most recent ransomware attacks on a pipeline supplying fuel much of the eastern half of the country and to the nation`s leading meat processor. They have forced the administration to confront the reality of cyber criminals targeting our country. FBI Director Chris Wray told the Wall Street Journal the Bureau is "investigating about 100 different types of ransomware, many tracing back to hackers in Russia and compared to the current spate of cyberattacks with the challenge posed by the September 11th terrorist attacks."

White House says Putin we`ll hear from Biden about the cyberattacks during their Geneva summit later this month. The nation`s former cyber security chief says that discussion is long overdue.


CHRIS KREBS, FORMER DHS CYBERSECURITY CHIEF: We need to make Putin blink. We need we need to hit his pain points. We can turn the screws on and we just chosen in the past not to.


WILLIAMS: Today the capital was the stage for the culmination of a two-year legal battle as former Trump White House Counsel Don McGahn appeared before the House Judiciary Committee, better late than never to testify about Trump`s effort to obstruct Robert Mueller`s inquiry.

You may recall Trump tried to get McGahn to fire Mueller, but he refused. House Democrats first subpoenaed McGahn back in 2019, a deal with the Biden ministration led to today`s interview. A transcript of what he said won`t be made public before next week, but one lawmaker who heard what McGahn said described his testimony.


REP. MADELENE DEAN (D-PA): He`s bringing to life volume two of the Mueller report, the turbulent times in the White House for the president obsessed over Robert Mueller`s investigation of Russian interference, how he had to fend off the pressure of the president to talk to Rod Rosenstein and to try to get him to oust Mueller as special counsel.


WILLIAMS: There`s also new reporting tonight about the former president`s current legal battles. New York Times reports, "A senior finance executive at Donald Trump`s family business has testified before a state grand jury in Manhattan, as prosecutors ramp up their investigation of Mr. Trump and his company. The executive, Jeffrey McConney has long served as the Trump organizations controller, making him one of a handful of high ranking executives to oversee the company`s finances."

Times notes that McConney worked at the Trump Organization for 35 years, and that he worked with the CFO Allen Weisselberg, who is also himself under scrutiny from the Manhattan D.A.

This was also the day Facebook announced it will continue Trump`s timeout suspension from the platform until at least January 2023, which of course will be after the 2022 midterm elections but just as the 2024 presidential campaign cycle is getting underway. Company says its decisions stems from Trump`s post on social media during the 1/6 riot and insurrection, which the Feds now say will likely result in charges for some 550 people. They revise that number up today.

Today, the former President have responded with a statement that read in part, "They shouldn`t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing. Our country can`t take this abuse anymore." He added, "Next time I`m in the White House, there will be no more dinners at his request with Mark Zuckerberg."

The suspension comes a day before Trump speaks at North Carolina`s Republican state convention. So afternoon, the White House was asked to weigh in on the Facebook decision.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: As always, it`s a decision for the company to make and any platform to make. We learned a lot from President Trump, the former president over the last couple of yours about his behavior and how he uses these platforms. It feels pretty unlikely that the zebra is going to change his stripes over the next two years.


WILLIAMS: With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Friday night, Eugene Daniels, White House Correspondent for Politico and co-author of each day`s edition of Politico Playbook, meaning he works a long day, Susan Page, Veteran Journalist, Best Selling Author, USA Today Washington Bureau Chief, her latest book is Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power, and Jeremy Bash back with us as well, former Chief of Staff at the CIA and the Pentagon, former Chief Counsel to the House Intel Committee.

Good evening, and welcome to all. Eugene, I`d like to begin with you and your beat. How much more room does Biden have left to negotiate with Republicans? And what other option does he have?

EUGENE DANIELS, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I think at this point, it`s as much room as he wants. The issue is keeping that every member of his party still happy that the negotiations are continuing. That is where we`re at right now, though the negotiating the back and forth, it`s interesting, I`ve been talking to a lot of people about this. And what we start to realize is we`re just not used to as reporters and people that are in Washington D.C. to negotiating. And it`s been such a long time since we`ve seen such a back and forth. So at every stop, it feels like, oops that it, they`re moving on. And they`re obviously not they`re talking again on Monday, like you outlined. Republicans haven`t come close enough to where the White House, Democrats want them to be. And so they`re going to try this one more time.

But what you have at this point is a Democratic Party in Congress who started to get really antsy. And you also have markups of possible other infrastructure bills happening next week. You also have other deadlines. There`s not a lot of time left in the calendar, the legislative calendar. They don`t spend a lot of time in Washington, D.C. in the summer. And so there`s a lot of deadlines that are going to force the White House to kind of make a decision on whether or not they want to move forward without Republican support.

And at this point, Biden doesn`t want to. He really does want to get a bipartisan deal on this one. It`s just becoming harder and harder, because not only do they not agree on how much new spending, they most importantly, don`t agree on the pay force. They also don`t agree on the definition of infrastructure. And so it`s hard to see how you get an infrastructure deal when you don`t even agree on what can actually be in that bill.

WILLIAMS: Great points there. They`re not used to the back and forth. And a reminder, they do like their summer vacation. Hey, Susan, you spent hours with the speaker, in preparation for the publication of your book, given your knowledge of her ways and sensibilities. What do you think is likely to be her next move on a 1/6 commission of some sort?

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, if she would like to have, it`s through that she would like to have a bipartisan 9/11 stuff commission that would have gravitas and authority. I think that that looks increasingly unlikely. I mean, it is but, you know, there`s this possibility of making some revisions and trying to get some more Republican senators go along with you, I think more likely that you will rely on House committees to do this business.

One of the options that I think is appealing to some is having one House committee take the lead, probably Homeland Security, you know, they have that would be an appropriate thing to do. They would have subpoena power, the ranking Republican on that committee voted in favor of that 9/11 stuff commission. So I think that is one of four options that she`s outlined. And it`s one that looks like it has some appeal.

Just one point that Nancy Pelosi made to me and to others, is to remind us that it took 14 months after 9/11, before the 9.11 commission was established. There was a lot of resistance in the administration and amongst them on the hill. There was pressure from 9/11 families that for sec commission to finally be created. So that is not an option. I think she would take off the table. We see Officer Sicknick`s family, for instance, his mother going and meeting with members of Congress making the case that it`s important for the country to find out exactly what happened on that day.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, it`s hard to believe, as it was for those looking on that they looked in the eyes of that woman and said, and voted no.

Jeremy, let`s talk about Russia. There are reports of a U.S. retaliatory cyber strike on Russia. Though a friend of mine who was in the Intel business for a long time says don`t kid yourself, we trade these back and forth. The difference is Russia doesn`t announce when they`ve been hit. So that`s topic one and Putin, I`m guessing, only respects, getting hit back. Topic two is Putin -- let the viewers know how he is trolling Americans on what happened on 1/6, and as he does so, sounding suspiciously like some of the Republicans in the Senate and House.

JEREMY BASH, FORMER, CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: Brian, as you noted, Vladimir Putin said that he thought the January 6 rioters were legitimate. They were carrying a political message. In effect, he`s aligning himself with the January 6, vicious and violent armed attack on our democracy on our citadel of democracy, on our Capitol, on members of Congress. And I think it`s more evidence as if anywhere needed that Trumpism and Putinism are politically aligned movements. They`re anti democratic. They`re anti rule of law. And so this shows you exactly, I think, where Putin`s mindset is, is he wants to divide Americans, and he wants to show democracy and distress.

And by the way, the other big mechanism that Putin has been utilizing, short of full out armed conflict is cyber attacks, you know, state sponsored in the sense that these cyber criminals, these ransomware hackers have sanctuary in Russia, and this is going to be a major issue I think when Putin and Biden sit down next week in Europe, because Biden`s got to look them in the eye and say, these attacks are detrimental to American national security. Not only do they go after government data and government networks, but they go after our critical infrastructure, which is, of course, the lifeblood of our economy, and our security. And so this can be a major issue for the United States and democratic allies at the G7 at NATO, with the European Union, and across all the discussions in Europe next week, Brian.

WILLIAMS: Hey, Eugene, let`s talk about Republicans. Trump is off Facebook for a good long while now. He`s off Twitter permanently. I suppose some Republicans privately see that as a silver lining, and I further suppose any silver lining disappears when he takes the stage. Tomorrow night in North Carolina as this on the road tour just is now getting underway.

DANIELS: It`d be very hard for you to find a Republican who would tell you the truth about how they feel publicly about this. But what they tell us behind the scenes is that they are not excited about President Trump getting back on the road, because one thing they don`t want to talk about anymore is 2020. That is one of the reasons Liz Cheney is no longer in House leadership, they no longer want to talk about 2020. They don`t want to talk about the big lie President Trump has talked about. And it`s been reported that he is going to -- he`s been working on a policy platform with Newt Gingrich. But one thing we know about Donald Trump is that he is not going to stick to that script when he hits any stage. And so, you know, we`re actually talking in a playbook interview with Tom Emmer, who has the campaign arm for House Republicans months ago, and he said, you know, Donald Trump rallies during the primary, primary and his people, because his whole job is to make sure that incumbents get back in office and members is there -- he`s not excited about that. He wants him not to do it. And so Republicans are kind of waiting and kind of girded their loins to see what`s going to actually happen when Donald Trump hits the road, who he`s going to attack and how much of the media space that`s going to take up because they know that if that takes up a lot of space, he`s going to continue to do it. He`s going to be more excited about it. And it possibly puts them in a tough position, and some of these primaries, and some of the suburban districts when you start getting into the 2022 midterms, and that`s something they`re very, very concerned about at this point.

WILLIAMS: Susan, I want to talk to you about something that happened on Monday that has come up every night this week on this broadcast. Our presidents have most of them gone to Arlington or a similar backdrop on Memorial Day and given an emotional patriotic, but otherwise, to be honest, unremarkable speech until this year when Joe Biden use that day that backdrop that event to say that our democracy is in peril. And I`m guessing you`re among those to find that comment, bracing and very much rooted in truth these days?

PAGE: That`s right, Brian. Look what we`re talking about tonight, the January 6 insurrection, an assault on our Capitol and the assault from foreign capitals on our democracy from Russia and from China with the cyber attack. How is it possible not to argue that our democracy is under peril for the FBI director to compare the cyber attack to the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 attack have this signature pattern is sacred event in American history, to compare the events today to the attacks that we saw on that day, ought to be just sending huge alarm bells off for Americans everywhere on the need to protect what I think a lot of us had assumed was so formidable as could ever be effectively challenged. And that`s the pillars of our democracy. I think a lot of Americans no longer feel that competence, Brian,


WILLIAMS: And Jeremy Bash, given that your resume features of big jobs at Pentagon and CIA and a life immersed in military and intelligence, I`m guessing those words had a special impact for you as well?

BASH: Absolutely, I think when the President stands up and honors those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and stands on hallowed ground at Arlington, the final resting place of our heroes. Now, what he`s saying is that these people gave their life for principle, for an ideal, for something bigger than themselves. And that ideal is the democratic system, the democratic institutions, the democratic values that underpin our country, and underpin our security and our prosperity. And when those values are under attack, either from internal forces who want to tear down our democratic institutions, again, be anti-democratic, anti rule of law, anti-truth, or from external actors, in foreign capitals who don`t agree that democracy is the best system and want to challenge that concept. The American people need to know that their president is going to stand up and fight both of those instincts, the internal and the external, both threats to our democracy because nothing, absolutely nothing, Brian, is more sacred.

WILLIAMS: Duty bound to say the stuff Republicans used to talk about loudly and publicly all the time. We are much obliged to our big three at the end of the week on a Friday night, Eugene Daniels, Susan Page, Jeremy Bash, our great thanks for joining our conversation.

Coming up for us, as we said Trump may be banned from Twitter and Facebook. But he`s not banned from going on stage in North Carolina tomorrow night after all for the Republicans whose party he runs, what could go wrong?

And later, the CDC director`s urgent warning for parents of teenagers these days we will talk about it with a top pediatrician. All of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Friday night.


WILLIAMS: Trump`s imminent return to the political spotlight as head of the Republican Party basically is cost for much angst in his own party though not the kind anyone has guts enough to talk about on the record.

Bloomberg summing up GOP leaders worries this way, "As the former president prepares to resume his trademark rallies they fear another round -- they fear another round of grievances about the 2020 election results and championing untested candidates over incumbents could hurt the party more than it helps in next year`s midterm elections." Someday someone will go on the record.

Back with us again tonight, Tim Miller, Contributor over at the Bulwark, former Comms Director for Jeb Bush, among other jobs and Robert Gibbs, former Obama Campaign Senior Advisor, White House Press Secretary, of course, under President Obama.

Gentlemen, great to have you, good evening and welcome. Tim, what is a Republican to do if they come up with an idea or a policy? That`s another way of asking how on earth do they move forward? And I think we should refer to Trump as the head of that party, as long as he is treated as the head of that party.

TIM MILLER, THE BULWARK CONTRIBUTOR: Brian, that is a question that maybe it`s above my paygrade because I don`t think that this is a governing party right now. I don`t think they intend to be one. And I noticed in that intro there that the privately concerned are back, you know, the privately concerned have been legion and the Republican side of the aisle for about a half a decade now. And it`s getting kind of tiresome. It`s a Groundhog Day type scenario where they`re worried about them. They`re hoping that maybe we`ll get to see the good Trump whatever that means. Somebody was nonexistent. Maybe he won`t distract them too much. But their voters want the raw, uncut Trump and they`re not willing to stand up to the voters. And so, you know, there really is no option here. I think it`s -- I guess the best case that you could make for some Republicans on the Hill is that there are a very small handful that try to just keep their head down and not answer questions about Donald Trump and are too scared to say what they really think and they might work on some narrow niche issue with a Democrat or a narrow niche issue that matters in their state. And that`s how they justify. That`s how they sleep at night. But the big name, the big name, Senate -- Senators, I mean, just look at them. Look at the people that get media attention on the right. They are not people that are trying to advance an idea or a policy agenda. It`s full on trolling the lives 100% of the time, 365 days a year.

WILLIAMS: Robert Gibbs before I read this next beat, share it with you and the audience, let`s point out clearly that one of the Trump advisors these days is a noted manufacturer of chopped foam bed pillows. So having laid out that predicate, here it is. This is Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine. The main thing to grasp about the Trump advisors, see bed pillow manufacturer, is their concern about his election lies has absolutely no moral component whatsoever. Their sole concern is that by emphasizing his message that the election was stolen, Trump will inadvertently discourage the Republican base from showing up in the midterm elections."

Of course, Mr. Gibbs that is also the Democrats fever dream. But is that the fatal flaw in the Trump-run Republican Party strategy?

ROBERT GIBBS, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, there`s no doubt. Look, it is surprising. And you saw this in Georgia when Donald Trump took the grievance 2020 election roadshow back to the state. For those run offs, the practical concern that this Republican strategists have was, Republicans didn`t come back out to vote fearing and believing that elections are simply stolen. But as the article that you read points out, that they lose any of the moral compass and all this, they lose any of the idea that this perpetuates the big lie that weakens our democracy that so many have talked about, and the continual damage that it`s done. And to build off of what Tim said, it is remarkable that a party that understands it can`t really expand with Donald Trump. Donald Trump`s never added to that base. He`s always an everyday subtracted from it. And that the Republican Party can`t see that and decide they`re going to cast that aside and try something new. Look for a new messenger or messengers, ones that can appeal to conservatism, one that can appeal to the suburbs. It is really a -- it`s a surprising thing, even this many months pass the inaugural.

WILLIAMS: And, Tim, are you convinced as so many guests have tried to speculate on this and other broadcasts that the more you try to impinge on someone`s right and ability to vote, that will have the effect of firing up voters, voters come hell or high water, especially certain Democratic voters who made the difference in Georgia and other elections this year will find a way to stand in line and make their vote hurt?

MILLER: Yeah, I think that political science says that we`ve seen a lot of evidence of it lately. I think depends exactly on what kind of voter suppression is, right. And I think maybe so there`s kinds of that have been proposed and some of the states that might have surprised of impact. But I think if you look at 2020, my one quibble with what Robert said, is that Trump -- I guess he didn`t expand the base, in that sense he didn`t expand it into new demographics, but he didn`t grow the amount of people who are interested in among the white working class base, right? You had the in the small towns and rural, that the turnout is up.

But here`s the thing, the turnout went up that times one and a half in the suburbs and in the cities, right? It had been negative effect. The negative partisanship effect of Trump is so great. And I think combining that with this effort to try to suppress the vote has really motivated the democratic base. I think it`s an open question, whether with him off the ballot, and you know, now off of his little blogspot, and just giving these rallies, whether that he will continue to be a motivating factor in the midterms. I think that`s an important job for, you know, democratic campaign strategists. But looking at what we`ve seen so far, I think the answer is it can be yes, this can be a motivating factor both Trump and his behavior as well as the voter suppression bells.

WILLIAMS: Both of these gentlemen are going to stick around with us as we get in a break but we have a great topic coming up, we`ll get their take on Mike Pence on the line he is choosing to walk when it comes to the events of 1/6 and his future career in the party. Bottom line, no big deal.



MIKE PENCE, FMR. U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol. President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office. And I don`t know if we`ll ever see eye to eye on that day. But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.


WILLIAMS: Just a tiny reminder here the rioters could be heard chanting hang Mike Pence and they had a conveniently located news as one does on the Capitol grounds when they stormed our Capitol and rioted on January 6. And another reminder here, here`s what Mike Pence his old boss was saying about his vice president just before the insurrection.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: We`re going to have to fight much harder. And Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us and if he doesn`t, that will be a sad day for our country.


WILLIAMS: Unbelievable stuff, all of it. Thankfully, still with us are Tim Miller and Robert Gibbs and Tim not to pick on you. But let`s talk about two tragic Republicans. First of all, Mike Pence, 1/6, no problem, we talk often and then there`s also George P. Bush, Donald Trump, humiliated and savaged his father, and for that matter, the Bush name and his entire political family, his uncle, the President, his grandfather, the President, no big deal. He`s running as a Trumper for attorney general of Texas.

You worked for Jeb, I`m not asking you to violate a confidence, but I am asking what your feelings are toward both of these Republicans?

MILLER: Sure, I`ll take the second one first, I guess. I guess I`ll just caveat from the start that Jeb Bush is the best person that I have ever worked for. And I am just nothing but love in my heart for him and for his family. And I have not had any private conversations with him about George P. So I don`t have any competences to betray.

But I`ll say this. I have no idea what he`s doing. I think it`s humiliating for him. I think that the best case scenario is that he wins an office that`s really not that important, or high profile by undermining his family, by sucking up to a man that attacked his own mother as an illegal immigrant.

And so I don`t understand the strategy. I just -- I really don`t think that if this is a party that is going to continue down the Trumpian path, that they`re going to turn to Jeb son in 2028 and 2032 and say, we want that person to be the president. So I don`t think it makes much sense politically. And I don`t feel good about it, just as far as, you know, how he`s dealing with his family, though that`s his call not mine, it`s not my family.

As far as Mike Pence is concerned. I went down to see him in South Carolina and his first speech back. And I was interested that he completely ignored the 1/6 disagreement with Trump there in that audience, and then took some heat about that, I think in the news coverage following it.

So this is a second time back out. He gives this most modest of an acknowledgment that there was a disagreement, which I guess is, you know, this teeny, tiny baby step in the right direction.

But again, similarly to George P, it`s just a pathetic performance, that he feels the need that he has to continue to suck up to somebody who lost who lost the Republicans, the Congress, who wanted to have you know, who basically sick this mob not basically who did sick this mob on Mike Pence and threatened his safety to the point that he had to run and hide out of the Capitol to get away from these people that as you said chanting hang Mike Pence.

It`s just, I guess the thing that would tie it all together for me is, is this all really worth, you know? Is losing the 2024 presidential race and becoming Attorney General of Texas really, really worth it. There`s a lot of stuff these guys could do with their lives.

WILLIAMS: Robert, Tim, as always asks a good question on top of good points and Robert as a Democrat in the trenches. What good news from can Democrats take from any or all of this because otherwise Republicans are given Joe Biden all he can take?

GIBBS: Yes, I think the good news for Democrats is this continues to be in the news. It continues to be -- and what I mean by being in the news, I mean, Donald Trump is in the news. I don`t think anybody benefits from January 6, being whitewashed. But I think it is startling that as Tim points out, somebody in the Bush family is now looking for the imprimatur of Donald Trump in order to get a job.

And it is clear that whether it`s Mike Pence, or Mitch McConnell or Kevin McCarthy, or literally hundreds of other Republicans, everyone is afraid to say or do what they know is the truth for fear of upsetting one person who is stationed conveniently off at the bottom of Florida or maybe now in New Jersey, at a golf club playing golf. But they`re seemingly petrified of somebody who can barely communicate with the outside world.

But it shows you they`ve spent, quite frankly, four years, five years, six years in fealty to this person. They never stepped up and said enough to help back him down. The voters coalesced and now to do anything isn`t just to go against Donald Trump. It`s to go against the Republican base and threaten their own future.

So I think for Democrats, Donald Trump is still in the game. He`s still going to motivate a lot of people to come out in the midterm election, and it`s still kind of a disorganized mess over on that side.

WILLIAMS: To our viewers, it`s Friday night as we thank these two men. Please note that not only do you get the best guests on television, from pinto beans to perfectly appointed gloss white subway tile backsplash, this is HGTV quality design tips. We appreciate both men mostly for their brains and what they say but also their design sensibilities, Tim Miller, Robert Gibbs. Always a pleasure, gentlemen, it`s why we`ll keep doing this.

Coming up for us the character assassination of an 80-year old public health expert, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, who has dedicated his life to battling infectious diseases. Now he`s battling another kind of story when we come back.



DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: It`s really very much an attack on science. It is what it is. I`m a public figure. I`m going to take the arrows in the slings. But they`re just -- they`re fabricated. And that`s just what it is. But we`ll just have to do our jobs.


WILLIAMS: The attacks against Anthony Fauci have intensified this week following the release of his emails and Axios warns the doctor is Trump`s new Hillary, as they put it. They`re reporting the former President intends to make Fauci a top target at his upcoming rallies after all, remember complaining about e-mails was a huge part of his 2016 campaign.

Back with us tonight, Dr. Irwin Redlener, the founding director of Columbia`s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, whose advises us on public health He is also a columnist over at The Daily Beast and doctor, I want to start by playing for you in our audience some of Chris Wallace`s remarks on Fox News.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I`ve read reports and read through a number of the e-mails, there`s no smoking gun there. This is highly political, I can promise you that you`re seeing it as a major talking point from Republicans. Before we start talk calling for his head, this guy has been a devoted public servant for 40 years, maybe we ought to slow down just a little bit.


WILLIAMS: So doctor, not a popular opinion necessarily on Fox News, how do you see this?

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, EXPERT ON PANDEMIC INFLUENZA: Well, first of all, this clearly a target now on Anthony Fauci is back. But I think there`s a bigger context here, Brian, which I just want to run through with you. And let`s say we accept the premise that Donald Trump is leading a movement to create an autocracy with him or his surrogate at the lead. And I see three big strategies at play now.

Number one was the promulgation of multiple big lies, including the biggest one, of course, that the election was stolen. And the second thing is the undermining of open and free elections. But the third part of this strategy, in my mind is the attack on science. It`s personified by an attack on Anthony Fauci, which is absolutely outrageously incorrect and ignorant.

But if you put these three things together, the attack on science vs. Fauci, the undermining of free elections, and the big lies that are being promulgated, we have the makings of what is going to be an unfortunately difficult to stop movement in America.

And by the way, this is the most contamination of real science I`ve seen in my lifetime these attacks on Fauci and the other misinformation is being propagated around science and what science is trying to do. This is a public health problem. It`s been politicized to a point where none of us could have imagined in recent years, Brian.

WILLIAMS: We can`t change the fact that we`ve lost over 600,000 souls in this country, we can`t change the fact that China became the global Boogeyman and Donald Trump`s hands speech after speech, naming and labeling the virus, what do they have to answer for in China in your mind?

REDLENER: So in my mind, there`s one key thing that I would like to know and I think other scientists around the world would like to know, if this was a lab accident, which let`s say it is, we want to know what went wrong, what protocol, are they using that didn`t work to safeguard that lab? You know, we have very, very strict protocols in the U.S. and around the most of the world that say, here`s how you handle very dangerous viruses.

So if there was a slip up there, or a protocol that wasn`t strong enough to protect us, then we need to know what it was what doesn`t happen in basically, that`s the main point that I worry about. Otherwise, we have -- we`re looking forward, we got to get this current pandemic under control. And we have to make sure that we prevent the next one. But China needs to answer that question, what went wrong, if anything in that lab and let us prove it, so we won`t repeat it again.

WILLIAMS: To that end, for members of our audience who don`t know it, you`re a pediatrician originally by trade and training. And with that in mind, tell us about the CDC news pertaining to teenagers today.

REDLENER: So this is actually important news that`s going to have to be tracked. And what we`re seeing is an increasing number of teenagers who have gotten very sick from COVID and have to be admitted to a hospital.

This is news. And if something needs to be tracked, is that alarming. It`s concerning. And what we need to do about that is to make sure that we`ve really pushed parents and kids to get vaccinated as soon as possible. And hopefully, we`re going to start seeing children younger than 12 eligible for vaccination. I think that will happen over the next few months. But the more kids that get vaccinated and especially now the more teenagers, the more safe they will be and the rest of be as well.

WILLIAMS: Doctor, it`s always a pleasure for us when you spend some time with us and take our questions. Dr. Irwin Redlener, our guest again tonight. Coming up for us, the FBI compares this threat from cyber criminals to 9/11 in terms of their investigation. We have new reporting on the rising risks of these ransomware attacks. We`ll have that for you next.


WILLIAMS: I talked about this with Jeremy Bash at the top of the broadcast tonight. The Biden administration is under mounting pressure to respond to the devastating cyber attacks being launched against the US. President says he will more than raise the issue at his meeting with Putin later this month. In the meantime, though, as we said the FBI is now comparing its investigation to the investigation and held following 911 our reports tonight from NBC News correspondent Tom Costello.


TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amid growing cyber attacks against TV stations, food and fuel suppliers, hospitals, water systems and all levels of government, the FBI confirms to NBC News it`s investigating 100 different types of ransomware attacks, many originating from Russia, the deputy attorney general today.

LISA MONACO, U.S. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: We cannot give any quarter and no country should be harboring criminal actors of any type.

IBM cyber X-Force runs a constant global cyber threat assessment showing the Russian criminal gang are evil blamed by the FBI for the attack against me producer JBS earned at least $123 million in ransom last year.

Tonight a revealing glimpse of the online negotiations between hackers and victims companies and charities large and small.

In one exchange a company pleads, my bosses have told me they can offer $730,000 they said if we had to pay any higher we would not be able to pay our employees. The hackers respond, provide supporting information that your company is in a financial hole and we will review your price. The employee replies but all of our systems are down and are not sure how we would provide that information.

And another charity that`s been hacked, please if you can desist and allow us to continue our work. The hacker agrees only after receiving proof of the charity`s work.

(on camera): The average initial ransom demand $5 million two-thirds of victims pay the ransom to get their computers back.

NICK ROSSMANN, IBM SECURITY: This is not just somebody wearing a hoodie in Moscow. This is a team of people working together. They`ve got a financial department, they`ve got negotiation department, they`ve got a Customer Service Group.

COSTELLO (voice-over): But should the US retaliate against the Russian government. Most experts warned that would only lead to a dangerous game of escalation. The U.S. turns out the lights in St. Petersburg, Russia turns off the water in Chicago.

MICHAEL MCFAUL, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: I don`t think we should turn out the lights in St. Petersburg and punish the Russian people for what criminal Russian actors have done to us or what the Russian state has done to us.

COSTELLO (on camera): Cyber experts say the U.S. could target criminal gangs in Russia and China and elsewhere. But the best approach may be an international treaty like a nuclear arms agreement, where all sides agree to crack down on cyber crime.


WILLIAMS: Unbelievable stuff. Our thanks to Tom Costello for that report. Coming up a reminder of another time when democracy was in peril.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight and important anniversary coming up this weekend, we hope you can take a moment and remember it. It was beyond bold. It was outlandish. Over 150,000 men invading the French coastline under withering German fire to begin their march across Europe where they would go on to win World War II 336 days later.

While others will debate whether or not we could possibly mount such a thing today as broken as we are. There was a time when we save the world from tyranny and fascism. If it wasn`t our finest hour, it`s hard to say what was and the folks at the Lincoln Project are out with a reminder to all.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is Antifa? They stormed the beaches of Normandy, parachuted into the French countryside and gave their lives to face down and fight back against fascism. They took down Nazi machine gun this tore apart the Third Reich strongholds, liberated concentration camps, liberated France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, anywhere Antifa so fascism they fearlessly and relentlessly annihilated.

Fascism was defeated because of patriots like this, proud Americans who knew that the fight against fascists was not simply a battle between opposing nations. It was a war against humanity. A war that isn`t nice but cannot be lost. A war we still fight today. Anti-fascism it`s not a cable news talking point. It`s an American ideal that shouldn`t be memorialized because it was paid for in blood.


WILLIAMS: The Lincoln Project to take us off the air tonight. That is our broadcast for this Friday evening and for this week with our thanks for being here with us. Have a good weekend unless you have other plans. On behalf of all our colleagues here at the networks of NBC News, good night.