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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 6/8/21

Guests: Russel Honore


President Joe Biden`s agenda stalled as he begins eight-day foreign trip. Biden ends infrastructure talks with GOP Senator Capito. Dems are ready to go it alone on infrastructure. Joe Manchin and civil rights leaders meet on voting rights. Senate releases bipartisan Capitol riot report. Migration and border dominates VP`s visit to Mexico. Biden DOJ defends Trump`s position in defamation suit. Mitch McConnell proclaimed, "The era of bipartisanship is over" after talks broke down between the Biden administration and Republicans over infrastructure legislation. Colonial Pipeline CEO defends paying ransom amid cyberattack.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, who is now being sued for his part in inciting the insurrection at the Capitol, said on the House floor, "their only crime" was supporting Donald Trump.

No word yet on whether Louie Gohmert will be using the Trump made me do it defense in that lawsuit against him. That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 140 of the Biden administration. The President just hours away now from wheels up on an eight day overseas trip, his first international travel as president, for stop, the United Kingdom.

Joe Biden is on a mission to shore up some damaged alliances and confront one of our most powerful adversaries. However, here at home and on the eve of his travels his domestic and agenda has entered a new uncertain phase. Late today Biden broke off talks with Republican West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito for a bipartisan infrastructure and jobs bill. This came after weeks of on and off talks and the West Virginia senator says the sticking point was taxes.


SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, (R) WEST VIRGINIA: The last offer that I got from the President had four tax increases in it. If we were in it, to win it for the American people, we`d miss a real opportunity here for at least 20 Republicans to join with the other Democrats to pass the most robust infrastructure package that we could have.


WILLIAMS: Late today the White House issued a statement that noted Biden told Senator Capito, "The latest offer from her group did not in his view meet the essential needs of our country." White House goes on to say, Biden`s now talking to a bipartisan group in the Senate, Democrats Kyrsten Sinema, Joe Manchin, Republican Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, and that he plans to be in touch with them by phone while in Europe.

Statement also says Biden told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to get ready to bring some of his economic plans to the floor for possible votes in July.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK MAJORITY LEADER: We all know as a caucus, we will not be able to do all the things that the country needs in a totally bipartisan, in a bipartisan way. And so at the same time, we are pursuing the pursuit of reconciliation.


WILLIAMS: Translation there be prepared to see some party line votes to pass some, at least, of Biden`s agenda that won`t help the pending voting rights legislation.

Today, the man in the news Democrat Joe Manchin, whose opposition means the bill is effectively going nowhere met with some of the civil rights leaders who argue passage of this legislation is crucial. Manchin`s position appears to be unchanged.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: What we had was great. We had a respectful, we had a very informative and it was a very good conversation that we had in as a starting of a good relationship. It really was.


WILLIAMS: And it turns out bipartisanship in the Senate made not be on full life support just yet. Tonight the chamber did approve $250 billion proposal to counter China`s growing economic and military power. Senators from both sides of the aisle were also behind the new completed investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack. But as we show you some of the reporting from our Capitol Hill Correspondent Garrett Haake tonight, you`ll see that the results raise more questions like why not call it an insurrection when the riot was aimed at overturning our election result.


GARRETT HAAKE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Tonight a damning new Senate report blames widespread intelligence and security failures and an ill prepared police force for the January 6 attack. The report finds that despite online calls for violence, neither the DHS nor the FBI ever issued a threat assessment. The Capitol police`s own Intel unit was aware of threats of violence but failed to adequately communicate them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need some reinforcements up here now.

HAAKE: Officers left to defend the complex without riot gear or clear orders. One saying lieutenant repeatedly asked over the radio. Does anybody have a plan? Sergeant Aquilino Gonell just returned to active duty after recovering from injuries sustained that day.

SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: The crowd, they wouldn`t listen to anything that police were saying at all. And they can continue to say we are here because President Trump sends us here.

HAAKE: Mr. Trump`s role in the attack was not examined in the report, reigniting the debate over a bipartisan commission to investigate further.

SCHUMER: The joint report has strengthened the argument for an independent commission.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MINORITY LEADER: Today`s report is one of the many reasons I`m confident in the ability of existing investigations to uncover all actionable facts.


WILLIAMS: So in a nutshell, that`s where our politics are and a statement responding to today`s report. Capitol Police said known intelligence did not indicate a large scale attack on the sixth of January. Department of Homeland Security says it`s reviewing the report.

Meanwhile, the Vice President has been focused on another DHS priority. Kamala Harris spent today in Mexico the final leg of her trip to address the issue of migration to our southern border. She`s been repeatedly criticized by some mostly on the right for not yet visiting the border as Vice President, even though of course, she is a former California senator would not be her first trip. This was her response late tonight.


KAMALA HARRIS, (D) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: If you`re from California, you know, I`ve spent a lot of time on the border in both going there physically and aware of the issues. But the reality of it is that we need to prioritize what`s happening at the border, and we have to prioritize why people are going to the border.


WILLIAMS: With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Tuesday night, Philip Rucker, Pulitzer Prize-winning Senior Washington Correspondent for The Washington Post, Katie Benner, Justice Department Reporter with The New York Times and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Russel Honore, veteran of 37 years of military service, who famously led the relief effort on the ground in New Orleans after Katrina. Importantly, he also just led the review of Capitol Hill security after 1/6.

Good evening and welcome. And Phil, indeed, I have to begin with you and your beats. Let`s start with this. This was Congresswoman Jayapal, on this network earlier tonight.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL, (D) WASHINGTON: There was not a single Republican vote for the American Rescue Plan. There was not a single Republican vote. Well, there weren`t enough Republican votes for the January 6 commission. This is a party that`s not interested in delivering for the people. So we should just move ahead right now. Get the budget resolutions going and do a budget reconciliation bill, big, bold and fast.


WILLIAMS: So Phil, it`s obvious to you spending time in Washington, a lot of Democrats want Democrats to act like Democrats. Can Biden operate this way? And can he win this way?

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: Well, look, Brian, President Biden has invested much of this spring and trying to find a bipartisan deal on this infrastructure package week after week of negotiation with Senator Capito and other Republican senators in hopes of bringing the two parties together. But a lot of Democrats on the left including Congresswoman Jayapal, and she is not alone, have felt this was something that was never going to bear any fruit that it was a waste of time and a waste of political capital for this White House. They wanted to see the White House move very quickly to pass this infrastructure package through reconciliation, which effectively means that it would only require 50 votes plus one in the Senate, which they could do on an entirely party line, democratic vote.

That appears to be what Senator Schumer, the Democratic majority leader is preparing at this hour to at least move part of this package grew in that manner, but nonetheless Biden is continuing some talks with that trio Manchin, Sinema, and Cassidy that you mentioned at the top of the show. We`ll see if that gets anywhere. But frustration clearly on the left as progressive Democrats want to see some of this become law and feel like the clock is ticking and time is wasting here.

WILLIAMS: General over to you, if that on 1/6 wasn`t an insurrection, it`ll do until the insurrection gets here, as they say that was a violent mob attempt to overturn the results of a presidential election. Speaker Pelosi chose you to conduct the after action security review. And I`m curious what you make of today`s report, for that matter what you make of any report that refuses to use the word insurrection?

LT. GENERAL RUSSEL HONORE, U.S. ARMY (Ret): Well, let`s put it this way. I think first of all, what this report affirm is what we gave the House on the fifth of March a reaffirmation that we need to get on with securing the Capitol with resources that are required by the Capitol Police more training, more intelligence, more technology, and clean up the chain of command for the Capitol Police.

And then what the hell was the rest of government doing that day with the FBI Department, Homeland Security Department of Defense, the Secret Service, where this mob came in their backyard and took over the most significant government building in our nation? What were they thinking? As far as them tailoring the language, this is the reaffirm of why we need a commission. If we leave this to individual committees, the voices in that committee will be able to shape the report and we`re going to end up swiping this piece, one piece at a time.

It`s not going to come out even and we want to get the truth. We need the commission to get to the truth and we hope those members in the Senate who have turned back on the commission have to see and this report will give them the courage to stand up to seek the truth because we need the truth to come out. We need the truth to come out if we`re going -- if our democracy is going to survive, because it was an insurrection, it was an act of insurrection. And it needs to be dealt with.

WILLIAMS: Katie Benner, the General, as always raises great issues and great questions. Let`s talk about the part of this, that you cover the sprawling federal investigation, the numbers seem to go up every week, where does that fit in all of this, and what`s the status of it?

KATIE BENNER, THE NEW YORK TIMES JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORTER: So to your point, the investigation is ongoing. And that is actually very important when we look at this report, because we see the justice department did not fully cooperate with investigators, the Justice Department was not forthcoming with information. And part of the reason I think the department would always give is because there was an ongoing and active investigation and it does not want to jeopardize it anyway, that said this is going to become extremely frustrating for Democrats.

If we see the Justice Department, under Attorney General Garland continue to block information that investigators are seeking about the attack on the Capitol, about the events leading up to it, about the White House`s attempt to call out the Justice Department into things like conspiracy theories and election investigations. And then whether or not the President`s influence, the fears of the president actually impacted the national security response. The Justice Department holds really critical information and we`ve yet to see whether or not that will actually give that to investigators.

WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, give us some points to watch for, as the President embarks on eight days overseas?

RUCKER: A few things, Brian, it`s a hugely ambitious trip for President Biden in his first round trip, and he`s also visiting a great number of countries look to see him try to rebuild some of America`s alliances with our Western allies, Germany, the U.K., France, some of the other European countries, what is his relationship with Boris Johnson, the U.K. Prime Minister, and then importantly, at the back end of the trip, that meeting that he`s going to have with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House has signaled this week that President Biden is going into that meeting from a position of strength and wants to hold Putin accountable for what Russia has done in terms of cyber attacks in terms of the election interference here in the United States.

Let`s see if the tone and the posture from Biden when he sits down with Putin is different from what we all saw a couple years ago in Helsinki, when former President Trump met with President Putin and really wanted to a friend.

I suspect it`ll be a very different approach in this meeting, but that could potentially be the highlight of this trip and excuse my puppy Axel (ph), by the way. He`s a little agitated by something going on outside the window behind me.

WILLIAMS: OK, I was going to ask how the puppy training asked the question on America`s mind right now, how the puppy training was going, give our best to Axel, tell him D.C. police have it covered, which brings it nicely back to General Honore and all seriousness, General, how secure, you know, we`d like to call it the seat of our government. I don`t want to say what kind of seat it briefly became on 1/6. How secure is that grand and beautiful U.S. Capitol Building tonight in your estimation?

HONORE: I think right now the capitol is secure, the Capitol police, I`ve encouraged them to take on a mantra of hold the damn line. And they are holding the line. Under the conditions the capital is operating on the nub, Brian, you know, we don`t have public access. And as long as we don`t have public access, and the more offices we have, let me tell the additional security, the capital is secure. Once we go to public access, again, that can be a bit challenging, and they may need some augmentation. But that will be up to the Capitol Police board to make those recommendations and to bring it additional help in but you cannot go to public opening up the Capitol now with the number of offices the almost 300 offices short. And last year to us 720,000 hours overtime.

Now there are members in this community that we discussed with the report came out today are reluctant to add officers. They want them to be more efficient. You can`t be more efficient when the threat is up in the Capitol when they have to provide more offices to protect more members. You know when Leader McConnell move around, there`s eight to 10 Capitol Police taking him to lunch, dinner to his fancy bowls and his meetings and take him back home to Kentucky saying one thing with Lena McCarthy.

Those offices go with them everywhere they go. And those same offices they will not support with the commission nor will they support the supplemental. It`s time for the members of the Senate to look out for the officers support them, yeah, they`re things they`ve got the approval, and they`re working on that. But they need more resources and enable technology.

WILLIAMS: So Katie Benner, last word falls on you tonight and it may challenge even your extraordinary powers of description. Tell the good folks watching how it is that the -- I got to get this right, the Biden DOJ because this is confusing, is going to, in effect, defend and or represent the Trump DOJ?

BENNER: Yes, so what we`ve seen is in several high profile instances, but probably the E.G. and Carroll case, keep in mind that this is probably the most high profile is a case in which 25 years ago, he E. Jean Carroll accused, excuse me, E. Jean Carroll recently accused the former President 25 years ago of sexually assaulting her. When asked about this while he was president, President Trump said things about E. Jean Carroll that she believes are defamatory and she has sued him.

The government under Trump decided he needed to step in and defend him saying that he made those comments as part of his duties as President. Thus, it was the Justice Department that was, you know, required to defend those words.

Taking us to Merrick Garland today, he has decided that that just as a primary decision is going to stand in they`re going to move forward. This is one of many instances where we`ve seen Merrick Garland do two things, defend decisions that he believes should be defended in order to protect the Justice Department and the executive branch in total as institutions.

Rather than looking at individuals like Donald Trump. He`s looking at this as an institutional protective measure. Also, we`ve seen him be extremely independent. He was chosen by President Biden to be an independent voice for the Justice Department to protect the Justice Department and to shield it from political and White House considerations.

Certainly President Biden has made it clear that he wishes the Justice Department would act differently in different aspects. I`m sure this is one of them, but we`re going to see is Merrick Garland continue to be fully independent from President Biden, even from the wishes of Democrats. He is a centrist going forward as he decides that he needs to protect the Justice Department. He needs to uphold the rule of law. And he`s follow the letter of the law, even if it`s on decisions that are going to make people very politically unhappy. And it`ll be interesting to see how he does over the next year and a half as confronted with even more political conundrums.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, well done. Indeed, a lot of Democrats have been unhappy watching the Justice Department go back to the ideals it is supposed to stand for, as they say, in normal times. Much obliged to our big three tonight. We covered a lot of ground with Katie Benner, with General Russel Honore, with Phil Rucker and a special guest appearance by Axel Rucker, thank you all for coming on and starting us off.

Coming up tonight, what voting rights issue McConnell is not feeling it. He has assured the American people there`s no need for a new law protecting voters all evidence to the contrary. We`ll talk to two political veterans about it.

And later, he has written a book about his life and his country. We will ask a certain 20 year man at this network, how that country is looking to him right about now. THE 11TH HOUR is just getting underway on this Tuesday evening.



HARRIS: The legislation is critically important. And we have been as an administration, the President has been unambiguous. That S1 the -- For the People Act is to be passed. The John Lewis Voting Rights Act needs to be passed.


WILLIAMS: The odds of getting any voting rights legislation through Congress are incredibly slim, as we have this conversation tonight, though we are increasingly a nation of voter suppression enthusiasts, so we have that going for us. Senator Joe Manchin effectively killed the For The People Act when he announced he`ll oppose it. And here`s what Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had to say about the John Lewis Voting Rights Act today.


MCCONNELL: It`s against the law to discriminate and voting on the basis of race already. And so I think it`s unnecessary.


WILLIAMS: So back with us again tonight, Jason Johnson, Campaign Veteran and Journalist, Contributor over at the Grio, Professor of Politics and Journalism at Morgan State University. And A.B. Stoddard, Veteran Washington Journalist, Associate Editor and Columnist for Real Clear Politics.

So Jason, I`ll give you this dramatic reading from our mutual friend, Eugene Robinson, unless Manchin changes his position on the filibuster, 10 Republican senators would have to cross the aisle and join with the Democrats. So far, there is one Senator Lisa Murkowski, the other nine must be in some parallel dimension visible only to Manchin, where all the leprechauns, tooth fairies and unicorns are hiding.

A.B., having been told we lost Jason`s signal, the question is going to go to you, and I`ll put it politely, when did the Democrats become the party of Fred Rogers?

A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS ASSOCIATE EDITOR & COLUMNIST: Brian, I listened to really the fascinating interviews in Lawrence`s hour with the president of the Urban League and the NAACP who match with Manchin today. Joe Manchin nicely came out and said, oh, it was really great. We`re just sort of keep talking, no, nobody changed their minds.

And the problem is that while everyone wants to focus on Joe Manchin, this never should have gotten to the point where civil rights leaders are going to Joe Manchin in June, to ask him to change his mind. The party leaders, the President, his administration, his top people took it upon themselves to think that wooing him privately over these months, was more effective than actually changing the bill.

It`s an open secret in Washington that H.R. 1 had no chance of passing through the Senate as S.1 and being signed into law that it has incredible flaws was crafted in 2019 without consulting his stakeholders in the electrical process that people around the country have to run elections. And know that these mandates included in the bills -- in the bill without permanent streams of funding could not be met on time for 2022 or 2024.

And, they knew it was what the -- Meet the Press team called in the first read note on NBC today, a messaging bill that was never intended to pass. This is a bill that was passed that was crafted before the 2020 election, before President Trump, then President Trump designed eight months in advance a plan to, you know, propagandize the mail-in ballots would steal the election from him. And then we know what happens since.

All of these bills that started appearing in December in January, and these past months in these Republican controlled legislature is designed to restrict voting are the House on fire, H.R. 1 doesn`t deal with that, doesn`t deal with what`s going on in Georgia, where it`s not about the vote, passing so much as the vote counting, because they`re influencing, they`re increasing partisan influence by the state legislature and people who are not nonpartisan election officials in the process, thereby corrupting the process. And ultimately, you know, leaving open the door that those elections can be stolen.

And so this, this bill needs to be revamped. And I know the administration and the party leadership in the Senate, in the House knew this, months ago. And if they want it to address the emergency that these state legislature bills are creating, they needed to go back to the drawing board, and they needed to do it before Joe Manchin was the center of this debate.

WILLIAMS: Jason Johnson, your signal is back enough so that I can see you shaking your head, no.

JASON JOHNSON, PROFESSOR MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: Yeah, look, let`s be honest, let`s not pretend that Joe Manchin is opposition is based on some deep philosophical concern about what`s actually the content of either piece of legislation. Remember, he was an original co sponsor of For the People Act. He`s going back on something that he co-sponsor. He says that he`s perfectly OK with the John Lewis Civil Rights Act. And that`s the one that pretty much establishes a return of some variation of pre-clearance, which would stop what happened in Georgia, which would provide ways for the federal government to get involved.

Joe Manchin doesn`t care about re election. Joe Manchin, doesn`t care about minority voting rights, Joe Manchin, doesn`t care about his legacy. This is a power move on his behalf. If he really cared, if this was actually an issue of changes that needed to be made in either legislation, guess what, he could say that Joe Manchin tomorrow could, you know, reenact that scene from Dave, get in an office with Joe Biden over the weekend, order some pizza and rewrite the darn bill to his liking, so he could pass it.

He`s not doing that, because he`s not interested in either piece of legislation being passed. So we have to dispel with this narrative that this is a technical issue, as opposed to a larger philosophical issue. He is a guy who knows he`s not going to get reelected, he knows that he`s getting a lot of pressure from the Koch brothers, he knows is also has nothing to do with what West Virginia voters want, because they`re in favor of mostly piece of legislation. This is about his own power and his own sort of ideological flex before he eventually rides off into the sunset because he won`t get reelected in 2024.

WILLIAMS: OK, A.B., let`s go one deeper on this. It does seem to a lot of people that a couple things are true. A, Joe Manchin is loving this. B, he seems to live in a world between Wheeling West Virginia, and a Frank Capra movie of perhaps of his own making and his own imagination. And what about the old standards of party cohesion and party discipline, we also know this a big time for West Virginia between him and Capito, home 2.5 of 1% of the U.S. population, they`re punching above their weight these days?

STODDARD: Ah, you know what, very smart electoral analysts last fall told us that the Democrats are going to pick up between three to five Senate seats, maybe eight to 10. They do not control the Senate. They preside over the Senate. It is a 50/50 Senate that would give Mitch McConnell the majority position if Joe Manchin were to switch parties.

Again, the focus on Joe Manchin and his inconsistencies, all of it might be true, but it is a waste of time because other members of the caucus refused to support S. 1 in its current draft. Like Senator King. So you have to get to the point where you have a bill that could actually pass the Democratic caucus before you start looking for the 10 Republicans. By -- I think that that Congressman Clyburn is right. Tell Joe Manchin, if you really take this seriously, tell us exactly what on substance you would change. Get working on it.

This is a discussion I believe should have happened months ago, they should have been hot, been behind the scenes urging him because he has all these relationships and works across the aisle to be putting something together. So they wouldn`t be in this position. The first week in June when they`re literally running out of time, about 90 days until they`re at a fiscal cliff. And then primary campaigns begin, you`re in a campaign year, and all legislating will stop. This was foreseeable that with better planning, I truly believe they could have waited making this all about Joe Manchin.

WILLIAMS: Jason as they say in the U.S. Senate, I owe you rebuttal time. While you have a conversation with your internet provider, we`ll do it next time. I`m in a time bind Jason Johnson, AB Stoddard, two good friends of this broadcast. Thank you both very much.

Coming up for us, a longtime host at this network returns to talk about what to make of what`s happening to our country exactly, especially after this day in January.



MATTHEW DOWD, FMR. CHIEF STRATEGIST TO BUSH-CHENEY CAMPAIGN: I think this is more dangerous moment than World War II. My fear isn`t Donald Trump and the craziness that comes out of the Mad King in Mar-a-Lago. I`m not worried about that. I`m worried about when the general leaves the field. And there`s this bad, there`s a group of troops behind him what lieutenants emerge to continue to lead the troops of people that are opposed to what we all believe in ours, Mr. Democracy.


WILLIAMS: Smart guy Matthew Dowd certainly caught our attention when he said last night. Tonight, we welcome back a familiar face to help assess the state of our democracy today. Chris Matthews, host to Hardball for two decades and change and the author of numerous books, including his latest, "This Country, My Life in Politics, and History." We are indebted to him for being willing to slum with us after hanging out with Bill Maher.

It`s good to see you. I have to say I love the stories of bombing around in the old 707 Air Force One, which literally today is a museum piece, but certainly was not when you work for President Carter. And I loved of course, the stories of your political hero and mentor, Tip O`Neill, which is where I want to start by way of asking you to complete a sentence. If Tip was still alive today blank.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, AUTOR "THIS COUNTRY": Well, here`s what he would do, he would stop talking about the dollar price and the infrastructure bill. And he would go to the floor of the House, leave the Speaker`s chair go down on the floor, in front of the lectern. And he would list the bridges in the Republican leaders district at home that are below safety standards that if a school bus would over the rickety bridge, it would be in danger. He would take the fight to the locality of his enemy of his adversary.

The trouble with the Democrats today is they don`t have to fight but their gloves off. You got to make the other side`s squirm. And they have not found a way to make mention firm or anybody Republicans for which you do what you tell them. Are you for fixing up the stuff at home? Are you for making your bridges safe, your tunnels safe your roads drivable? Is that what you believe in? Or can we blame you for everything that`s gone wrong, in terms your infrastructure at home and the dangers at posts.

You know, I`ve been around the world. I read about in the book, that the big difference between a first world country like ours has always been and that third world country is we fix our stuff up. We keep the paint on. We keep the bridges working. We make our systems work. Our subways look good. We make it livable, and the Republicans are not playing defense, make them pay for every dangerous bridge, make them go on the floor right now.

Mr. Speaker, Madam Speaker, and do the same thing to the Senate, Schumer do the same thing to McConnell, go out to every one of the states the country take pictures of the stuff that`s in crumbling state right now. And make them defend make them play defense on infrastructure. That`s what I do.

WILLIAMS: All right. Let me I said earlier, I asked AB, when did the Democratic Party become the party of Fred Rogers? When did they start bringing an oven mitt to a knife fight? What happened?

MATTHEWS: You`re talking to Jimmy, the sergeant in Untouchables. I remember that scene, bring a gun to a knife fight. Remember the argument, Chicago, what? Well, yes, I think they have to get to enjoy politics again. And a lot of it`s about, you know, when I was working for Tip, I would pull some numbers, big rallies in the middle of night against the Reagan White House.

I would organize rallies against Reagan`s rallies. I would do kind of stuff like that. And I enjoyed it. We made noise. We managed to make our point that way. We woke up the country about what was going on with the economy.

I think you`ve got to do that. And I think that the Democrats have got to have fun doing it. There`s no fun, there`s no joy in Mudville with these guys. They just lose. And I think they`re going to -- if they want a voting rights bill, if they want an immigration bill, if they want a police reform bill, they need all this stuff. So they got to play tough. They can`t afford to lose these battles. Because if they lose these battles, they go into the 2022 election with the Republicans with three big nails to put in their coffin.

They will blame like they always do. It`s always three things. They`re going to say big crime, big inflation, bad border control. And if you don`t have a positive campaign to run, all you get is the Republican negative nail in you. And I think that`s the danger of not getting aggressive. And that`s explaining to the American people what they`re losing under republican obstructionism.

WILLIAMS: Chris, hang with us. I`m going to fit a break in. Chris going to stick around a little bit longer. And after the break, we`ll talk about this. If Joe Biden wants to get anything done, he`s going to have to get past a GOP leader who does bring a gun to a knife fight as the old saying goes, who just today declared the death of bipartisanship who`s going to tell Joe Manchin.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) MINORITY LEADER: If you look to what the majority are has in mind for June, pretty clear the era bipartisanship is over.


WILLIAMS: As we said before the break who`s going to tell Joe Manchin some might argue true bipartisanship was over one Senate Republicans blocked the creation of a commission to look into January 6. Our guest tonight is Chris Matthews.

And Chris, less well known about you is that you were once upon a time a Capitol Police Officer. What must it have been like? What must it still be like to view 1/6 through that prism?

MATTHEWS: You know, I want to also answer what Matt Dowd said in your opening epigraph tonight in this segment, when he talked about where we`re headed. You know, by the top of the National Archives, where we store our documents, historic documents, there`s a slogan that we all know it. The past is prologue.

So what`s all this we`re living through right now a prologue to. Just a few months ago, the pregnant after the November election, the fifth, I believe in the permanent President of the United States, who was still president said, his elected successor would be an illegitimate president. Well, then came of course the rally that led to the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol. The U.S. Capitol is a cop and laters a top aide to the Speaker of the House would show where I would show the bullet holes with a British tried to fight their way up the stairs, right. I know you know that place.

And then we had not -- then we had January 6, look where it was leaking. See the progression, the president of the United States declares his successor to be illegitimate. Later on in his presidency, his mob, his mob coming from his rally went to Capitol and defiled it. They defiled that place. They -- It was sacred place. They were sacrilegious space to play.

And then two-thirds of the Republican Party said their leader, was still their leader, Donald Trump said that the Biden presidency was illegitimate. And then this clown of a general, unfortunately a guy who took oath that support the constitution comes out and says we should have a military coup.

Follow that progression. Trump did two days after he lost the election claiming he had won it, two, the insurrection in the Capitol, to the two- thirds vote in a recent poll, the Quinnipiac poll, that Republican identified report -- self-identified Republicans believe this crap, believe at all. And then we have a general saying well let -- since this is an illegitimate government, why don`t we overthrow with military power?

So what kind of a prologue is that? What is that a prologue to coming next? If you follow that progression, it`s as scary as Matt Dowd says it was, what`s next in this terrible trend towards demagoguery and god knows what kind of insurrection to come next, because Trump has legitimize opposition to legitimate government. He`s done it.

And I look at Mitch -- does anybody think Mitch McConnell is a leader? Mitch McConnell was a follower of Trump. All of them are, Thune, every one of them. Kevin McCarthy, every Republican leader is scared to death, that 50 percent of the Republican Party that might be up to 80 percent in some districts and states they`re scared to death that Trump will lead a opposition opponent in the next primary against them and take away the lifestyle in which they`ve set their heart which is the state office, they`re petrified to be dumped by the Trump crowd at home.

And that`s why Mitch has that weird nervous smile going on? You know that Elmer Fudd whatever that look is, he has a phony scared guy. He`s got it. Because he knows Trump`s the boss, and he`s going to be the boss, as long as he scares the dickens out of these people, and they can dress up and what their ties on and go to work and act like their leaders, that they`re not Bourassa, right. And same deal. Look at those. They`re not leaders. They`re followers of Donald Trump. And he`s a demigod.

And through our history, the great thing about this country is demagoguery was never a great career move. Trump`s trying to make it into a career. And I`d like to see the Republicans stand up and say, this is the end of the Trump era. We`re not going to take his orders anymore. But are you going to play Joe Manchin, he`s voting his district, he`s voting his state.

But the real problem is you can`t get any Republican help on the things that this country wants. They want the country fixed up. They want our voting to be straight. They want the police officers to be disciplined. They want a decent immigration plan for the country. And most important, they want the country to feel like we can still do good things, like fix our roads, fix our highways, fix our bridges, or tunnels, make our country look like a first world country.

I mean, that`s not a democratic, partisan left wing idea to paint some places and fix them up. That`s not leftism. I mean, how do we get to this shape where we can make those cheap shots of the Democrats, which nobody believes really. Anyway, that`s my take Brian. I mean, that`s what I really think.

WILLIAMS: Chris Matthews has been our guest tonight. Good to see you. Again, the new book is called "This Country, My Life in Politics, and History." Thanks so much for coming on.

And coming up for us, if your pipeline company got hacked, and the East Coast was running out of gasoline, what would you do? Well, the boss answered that very question for all of us today and under oath.


WILLIAMS: The CEO of Colonial Pipelines appeared before a Senate committee today to explain exactly how it is that hackers gained access to the company`s vast network and why he agreed to pay them over $4 million.

It turns out while it wasn`t quite as easy as guessing the guy`s dog`s name followed by his birthday. The hack was easy as hacks go and the boss says the decision to pay up was a no brainer. Our report tonight from NBC News correspondent Pete Williams.


PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over: In his first public comment about the attack, Colonial CEO says the company learned it was hit just before 5:00 a.m. May 7 and shut down the pipeline within 15 minutes. The next day he decided to pay the hackers in Russia the $4.4 million they demanded.

JOSEPH BLOUNT, COLONIAL PIPELINE CEO: It was the hardest decision I`ve made in my 39 years in the energy industry. And I know how critical our pipeline is to the country. And I put the interest of the country first.

WILLIAMS: The hackers got in through a simple password sign in program that allowed employees to work remotely one that did not require two factor authentication.

SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI): This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase. You`re only as strong as your weakest link.

WILLIAMS: But the CEO says paying the ransom was the best way to get the pipeline flowing.

BLOUNT: The absolute right decision to make and I do it again under the same circumstances.

WILLIAMS: It took five days to get the pipeline going but the run on gas stations lasted even longer. Pete Williams, NBC News, Washington.


WILLIAMS: Coming up for us, perhaps you`re old enough to remember this past weekend Something happened way back then that we thought should be more properly remembered.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, please allow me to call in artillery on our own short attention span especially in our business. There are NATS (ph) that are more thoughtful and reflective as a general rule. One thing we did move on from too quickly was Trump`s appearance at that state GOP wingding in North Carolina this past weekend, it was after all just three nights ago.

In part because social media which makes TV news types seem thoughtful and reflective. Social media went wild over Trump`s giant pants, maybe with the help of some photoshopping the first theory was they were on backwards. Mostly though they were giant. It`s not body shaming as much as it is a straight up observation that those pants could easily accommodate a family of four.

And here we are getting distracted again. It was the substance of Trump`s remarks and his demeanor during that night`s kickoff of the big lie grievance tour that led the New York Times to say that he appeared diminished. And then along came the Lincoln Project with their own takeaway from that very night.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: Ah, we failed. Together we`re going to defend our freedoms. The canceled culture, the defending culture, the defending culture and they defend the wrong things. Nobody ever thought what is happening would happen. We`re going to take back our country and we`re going to take it back at a level that is very, very good.

You would have had a 1917 Spanish Flu number. Shots or jabs as they like to call it. I actually like the other word better. Somebody sits down in a chair if you don`t sit down lightly the damn thing would collapse. I never went on my ass. Biden is halted wall construction, suspended removals and even removable, shredded our ground break. I said general I might have that grab you. But I`m not going down under.

I think that was a booby trap. When did he do a deal? Oh, did he do another deal? Did -- They go through every deal every deal I`ve ever done. I am not the one trying to undermine American democracy. I`m the one that`s trying to save it.


WILLIAMS: Three whole nights ago the Lincoln Project to take us off the air tonight and that is our broadcast for this Tuesday evening with our thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all of our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.