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

Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 8/4/21

Guests: Susan Del Percio, Neal Katyal, Celine Gounder


U.S. caught in grip of accelerating Delta surge. Delta surge strains health care systems. U.S. may require foreign visitors be fully vaccinated. Nearly 50 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated. Illinois governor announces school mask mandate. White House and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spar over masks. Arkansas governor regrets signing mask mandate ban. Concern grows about variant spread at Sturgis rally. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo faces growing pressure to resign. New policy challenges test Biden`s ability to hold Democratic coalition together. Former President Donald Trump asks judge to block release of his tax returns to Congress. Special elections may offer insight into midterms. WHO calls for halt on COVID vaccine boosters. Some states are shattering COVID hospitalization records. There`s a growing number of children hospitalized with COVID.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, once again, I`m Chris Jansing in for Brian Williams. Day 197 of the Biden administration. Tonight the Delta variant search shows no signs of easing and the newest data tell troubling story. The daily average of new cases in the U.S. is now nearing 90,000. We haven`t been here since mid February. Health officials in two of the hardest hit states, Texas and Florida say the new reality is reflected in the situation on the ground.


CHRIS VAN DEUSEN, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICE: The seven-day average of new cases is up 92% from last week, hospitalizations are up 49%. Fatalities are up 15%. So those are all going in the wrong direction.

DR. MARC NAPP, FL MEMORIAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: The numbers of patients are unprecedented. And that`s in black and white. We have more patients in our hospital now than ever before.


JANSING: This Delta variance surge has been particularly intense across the south. One expert says the next few weeks will be critical in determining if that trend takes hold across the nation.


DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: We have all 50 states the District of Columbia seeing increases in cases. And the question is going to be, if they any of them turn out to be like we`re seen in the south, then we`ve got even a much larger problem on our hands going forward. If not I think that by the early part of September we`ll see this curve come down, but in the meantime is going to extract a tremendous amount of pain from us in society.


JANSING: Dr. Anthony Fauci also has some ominous new warnings about the virus. In an interview with McClatchy News, he warned the current search could amount to as many as somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 cases a day. Fauci added, if we don`t crush the outbreak to the point of getting the overwhelming proportion of population vaccinated. The virus will continue to smolder through the fall into the winter. There could be a variant that`s lingering out there that can push aside Delta, then we could really be in trouble.

Tonight, the White House is said to be weighing new vaccine mandates for those who want to come into the U.S. and administration official tells NBC News a plan is in the works to require foreign visitors to the U.S. be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Right now the CDC says a little less than 50% of Americans are fully vaccinated. And while experts say vaccinations are the key to stopping the spread of the virus, they also say Delta change the rules when it comes to masks even among the fully vaccinated. Today, the Governor of Illinois joined those re-imposing mask mandates face, coverings will now be required in Illinois schools.


GOV. J.B. PRITZKER, (D) ILLINOIS: Because the vaccine has not yet been approved for children under 12, because there are many people who are reluctant across some of the districts to adopt the CDC guidance effective immediately all P-12 Schools and daycares in Illinois must follow the CDC guidance of universal masking inside regardless of vaccine status.


JANSING: Of course, the return of masks means the return of partisan battles over them. The political sparring between President Biden and Florida`s Republican Governor has escalated one day after Biden called out governors who have moved to ban masks and other mitigation strategies. The White House came to his defense.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That wasn`t an evaluation of partisan evaluation or assessment. That was an assessment of what isn`t happening. There are leaders who are not stepping up and are getting in the way of the American people, companies and others who are trying to save lives and stop the spread of Delta. And we are going to keep calling that out. That`s not meant to be partisan. It`s not meant to be political. It`s just meant to convey that more action is needed.


JANSING: At nearly the same time, roughly 900 miles south of Washington, here`s what Florida`s Ron DeSantis was saying.


GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: Joe Biden is taken to himself to try to single out Florida over COVID. And what is his big solution? What is he so upset about Florida? His solution is he wants to have the government, force kindergarteners to wear masks in school. He thinks that should be a decision for the government. Well, I can tell you in Florida, the parents are going to be the ones in charge. That`s the same thing. So why don`t you do your job? Why don`t you get this border secure? And until you do that, I don`t want to hear a blip about COVID from you.


JANSING: DeSantis is now using his current feud with Biden to raise funds from supporters. But another Republican Governor, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas is having regrets about signing a statewide ban on masks in schools. His entire state is now designated as a region with a high rate of COVID transmission. So the governor`s calling the Republican led state legislature back into session to try to reverse the ban that he signed in April.



GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON, (R) ARKANSAS: I signed it at the time because our cases were at a very low point. Everything is changed now. And yes, in hindsight, I wish that had not become law.


JANSING: This renewed battle over masks comes just as many as a million people are expected to gather in Sturgis, South Dakota. That`s for the annual motorcycle rally, which kicks off on Friday. And just like a year ago, there`s the concern, it`ll be a super spreader event. Few attendees wore masks last year, and that`s likely to be the case again this year.

We are also following the latest developments concerning New York`s embattled Governor Andrew Cuomo. He is in a battle for his political life after the State Attorney General`s report that alleged he`s sexually harassed nearly a dozen women. Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing. But today protesters in Manhattan demanded his resignation or impeachment. A Marist Poll taken last night found 59% of New Yorkers surveyed want him to step down. The same majority said, if he doesn`t, he should be impeached.

The governor has not been charged with anything but he is now the subject of criminal investigations from four separate district attorneys, and at least one of his accusers says she plans to sue the governor.

With that let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Wednesday night, Eugene Daniels, White House Correspondent for Politico and co-author of each day`s edition of Politico Playbook, Julie Pace, Washington Bureau Chief and Assistant Managing Editor for The Associated Press, and Susan Del Percio, MSNBC Political Analyst and a veteran Republican Strategist.

Great to see everybody tonight. So Eugene, there`s this new Quinnipiac Poll out finding a 12% drop in Joe Biden`s approval rating when it comes to handling COVID, 53% approve now it was 65% in May, just three months. Since January, the Biden White House has become kind of entwined with this whole premise right of handling the pandemic, in fact, even before that he ran on it. So what do they do now at the White House?

EUGENE DANIELS, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, that is the number one threat that they said when they walked into the door, right? They said that is the number one focus, it was the first bill, the first big bill that was signed and pushed out. They`ve talked about the COVID relief plan over and over and over again. And so they know this is the thing they have to get under control in this country. You know, they -- when you talk to folks, even behind the scenes when you know they`re on background, they don`t seem scared, right? They feel really like sure eyed and sober about what`s happening right now, and what that means for their political future. But they also try to keep politics out of it. I know that sounds kind of pollyannish. But when you`re talking to them, they are talking about what the doctors are saying, you know, they`re talking about Delta from the point -- viewpoint of what science is saying. So those are the things that this White House is concentrating on. And that doesn`t always make for good politics, right? Concentrated on the science, following the science where it may lead even if it led to people putting masks back on right. That`s very unpopular. People see, and they`re also hearing a lot, especially from right wing media, this idea that there`s going to be locked downs again, even though Jen Psaki has said that is not something that`s really on the table at this point.

And so there`s all of these different factors making everyone look at the Biden White House who promised to get COVID under control, make us go back to normal life, as Delta`s kind of resurging overseeing all of these issues, having less people getting vaccinated, all of that. But it`s not just on the White House, right? All these states and locales also have an arm to play as well.

JANSING: Yeah. And Julie to that point, we`re witnessing that escalating war of words between the White House in Florida is governor DeSantis. I mean, he`s not alone among Republican governors, but he certainly is the most vocal. What`s really going on here? What are the political undercurrents to what we`re seeing and hearing?

JULIE PACE, AP ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, I think there are a couple of things at play here. Look, just from a policy standpoint, Biden does have to lean on governors, because there`s only so much that he can do on his own as President. And I know sometimes that sounds a little silly, but that is the reality of our system of government that Biden can advise he can tell governors what he thinks they should do. But ultimately, it`s governors who have more of the control in their states when it comes to what state employees should be doing, when it comes to what businesses should be doing, what schools should be doing. So he`s trying to ramp up the pressure there.

There is a political undercurrent here and I agree with Eugene that I think the White House is trying to keep politics out of this, but we live in a very political time and so Ron DeSantis is somebody who has his eye on 2024. And he wants to set himself up every which way he can in opposition to Joe Biden. He wants to show that he His state is open, that his state is not going to be taking restrictive measures. Ron DeSantis does have to deal with the fact though that while he is taking that position, cases in his state are reaching record levels here.


So how he tries to calibrate that I think will be fascinating to watch. And Biden, on the other hand, while again, I think he would like to try to keep politics out of this, he knows that his own politics are going to be driven by how he handles the pandemic. He wants to look, he`s the responsible adult, he wants to look like he is the one who is trying to keep the country safe, and paint some of these Republican governors as really being reckless.

JANSING: Yeah, again, that`s what he ran out, right? I`m going to be the responsible adult, so much more to talk about where that`s concerned. But Susan, I have to ask you about Governor Cuomo. And this is what the New York time writes about him.

The Pillars of Mr. Cuomo his political base now appear to be cracking beneath him, as he suffers consequential defections from core constituencies, including labor, white suburban lawmakers and black political leaders. His only apparent hope is that during the time it takes to draw up impeachment papers, as the state assembly advances its investigation, the reservoir of public goods he earned early in the pandemic will stifle the sentiment against him.

I mean, it`s being reported in several outlets, he`s refusing to resign. Me obviously, he said that in his statement yesterday, essentially saying I didn`t do anything wrong. He apparently thinks he can ride this out even among those things that are going away from him. All he`s hemorrhaging all this support. Look, you worked with him several years ago, you know, New York politics? Why does he believe this is going to blow over?

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Because he thinks he has by pure determination and force he can, will it. And I`m not joking when I say it. He really does believe he can move mountains. He can ride this out. There`s no doubt about it. The fact is, though, he can`t and he doesn`t want to face that reality. He will keep going until my guess is a couple of days before those impeachment papers are drawn up and voted on.

JANSING: But that happened pretty quickly. Susan, you know that, you know how it`s working in Albany, you`ve been there. I`ve been there. It could happen within a matter of a couple of months, easily.

DEL PERCIO: Easily. But -- and here`s the thing that you have to understand, to keep in mind about Andrew Cuomo, is he wants to always be the first, the best. He wanted to outdo his father and getting four terms. He does not want to be the first governor to be impeached in over 100 years. That is not what he wants his legacy to be. He will not accept that. To me, that`s -- it`s pretty clear knowing the way he operates.

But, you know, you can usually ride out a storm potentially if you have a couple of friends. But he has none. You cannot find one person who has said I stand by Andrew Cuomo. Even the party, the state party came out and called on him to resign. He basically runs the state party and they still did it. So this is not going to end well for Governor Cuomo whenever he decides to face facts. That, you know, no one knows but my guess is again, maybe a week or less before those impeachment, articles of impeachment are moved from the assembly.

JANSING: All right, Julie, let`s go back to Capitol Hill because Senate Majority Leader Schumer tonight said that the bipartisan infrastructure bill is moving along. He says they`re making good progress. Is he being too optimistic? It seems as if many Republicans who weren`t involved in crafting this bill are lukewarm. Do you think Democrats could be in for a surprise? What do you see happening on the ground right now?

PACE: Schumer`s whole strategy right now is to try to keep momentum going. He wants to keep this process going forward, because he knows that every day that goes by without progress is another opportunity for this bill to get derailed. So he`s going to keep pressing forward and acting optimistic, even if behind the scenes, there are real questions about what ends up happening here. I do think that you have a core group of Republicans who were involved in drafting this bill, who are really trying to sell it, both to their constituents back home in their states, and also to a lot of their members.

When you look at public polling, the public is on board with this kind of traditional infrastructure spending. They see this as investment in roads and bridges and all those things that politicians on both sides of the aisle have talked about for quite some time. And so what these Republicans are arguing to some of their more reluctant colleagues is this is exactly the kind of legislation that we can go back home and feel good campaigning on. How many Republicans ultimately end up in that place, whether there is a shift in the party that ends up derailing this legislation, I think remains to be seen. But you do see among these Republicans who have jumped on board the bipartisan effort they really want to try to get this done. They think is a political winner even for members of the GOP.


JANSING: Speaking of winners, Eugene, we saw a win for democratic progressives with the extension of the eviction moratorium although it took a few days and lots of maneuvering. What does this signal Do you think for Biden`s relationship with that wing of the party going forward? They do seem to be emboldened by that success. They want to apply it, for example, to the second part of infrastructure.

DANIELS: No, I think that`s right. One of the key things that happened at the beginning of his presidency was Joe Biden had a good relationship with progressives, at the very least, he was kind of keeping them appeased, even though he was supposed to be, you know, the moderate president, that guy out of the primary who was more to the center than everyone else. And so you saw that Ron Klain, Chief of Staff, he had a lot of good relationships with advocates, and some of the folks out there in the streets, doing a lot of the work, doing a lot of the campaigning and bringing things together. So they`ve been able to keep them happy.

However, like you just said, we`re starting to get into more of the sausage making of this bill, this has been happening for a while. And after, you know, Cori Bush, and others AOC, Mondaire Jones stayed outside of the Capitol, slept on the Capitol steps for days and days, they were able to get this huge win.

Now, what that tells us is that -- and tells them, is that if they do things that bring a lot of attention, and I talked to them, I went out there Sunday, and spent some time with them. What they told me was, if we do things that bring a lot of attention, go to what we know, for people who are more progressive, they`re more likely to come up in the advocate space, they know that they get a lot of attention, sit places, make it uncomfortable for people to go against them, then they get what they want. And they`re talking about that when it comes to this reconciliation bill, right? There`s $3.5 trillion that they want to see done. And the Senate and the White House want to see this bipartisan deal go through. Progressive said we want both of them at the same time or no deal. That`s already been something that has been agreed to between the House, the Senate and the White House. We`ll see how that works out timing wise, but they know that they have a lot more power. The question is when do they really start using it, right? When did they start, like the House Freedom Caucus, start throwing tables and saying, I`m not doing this until you do what I said. We`ll see whether or not that actually happens within next few months.

JANSING: Susan, do you think there was a political risk here for Joe Biden, who acknowledged that this extension could be on shaky constitutional ground? And there are multiple reports tonight, a group of property managers and realtors could take it to court this week? Or do you think almost all of Biden`s political capital across the spectrum is tied to COVID, and if he can get it under control?

DEL PERCIO: Well, I actually don`t think this was something he put a lot of political capital into, because the money is already there. That`s what`s important to remember about the moratorium. This is something he can go forward with, because he just needs a couple of weeks for the states to distribute the money. That`s what happens at the end of the day.

Now when he wants to try and move forward on getting things like infrastructure, it is a tricky walk. And yes, the progressive movement is definitely has a voice. But at the end of the day, I don`t think Nancy Pelosi is going to be responsible for holding up the President`s agenda, and they will figure out a way to deal with the progressives as necessary.

JANSING: Susan Del Percio, Julie Pace, Eugene Daniels, great to see all of you tonight. Thank you.

And coming up, no big surprise here. The former guy has his lawyers trying yet again to keep his taxes secret. Why our next guest says they`re making cockamamie legal arguments.

And later as hospitals fill up with new COVID patients, some governors are fed up and speaking out. We`ll ask a leading doctor if their outrage can make a difference. The 11th Hour, just getting underway on a Wednesday night.



JANSING: The former president`s legal team is trying yet another tactic to keep Congress from getting to his tax returns. In new filings today, they`re asking to block the release and his lawyers argue that Congress` goal is to expose the private tax information of one individual, President Trump for political gain. It comes after the DOJ said on Friday that the Treasury Department must turn over Trump`s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.

For more, we`re joined tonight by Neal Katyal, Department of Justice veteran and former acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration, who has argued dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

So many questions for you tonight, Neal, let`s start with what happens now that Trump`s lawyers are intervening? I mean, do they have a solid argument? And how much could this delay Congress potentially getting those tax returns?

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: Well, they`ve got the opposite of a solid argument. I mean, I called it as you said earlier tonight, cockamamie earlier in the day, and I think that might be too generous, Chris, I mean, this legal filing might even fail an exam at the Rudy Giuliani School of Law. It is, you know, just so preposterous. So the law is very clear. It says that when member -- when three congressional committees if any of them asked for the tax returns of any individual, they shall be turned over, shall means must. It`s as straightforward as night and day. The only people who`ve ever disagreed with this were some lackeys in the Trump administration two years ago, that decision is now been overruled.

And so now Trump is going to try and file yet another bogus action in federal court. I think this can all go very quickly. I don`t think this is something that it`s such a bogus argument, I think it can be decided quickly by the trial court, by the Court of Appeals. And I can`t imagine the U.S. Supreme Court waiting in. They weighed it in once before when Trump was afraid to turn his tax returns over or his some financial documents over to Congress. And he lost that. And all of that was turned over under that decision.

JANSING: So unlikely, and graduates of the Rudy Giuliani School of Law will go before the Supreme Court. So in the meantime, Neal, what do you think this House Committee is going to be looking for in Trump`s tax returns again, assuming they get them?

KATYAL: Well, you know, we don`t know because -- we don`t know what we don`t know. So I mean, there`s obviously been all sorts of allegations of money laundering of financial improprieties of inflating assets and claiming them at higher values on some tax returns and lower values when he`s going in, you know, seeking financing and the like. So there`s any number of possibilities but, you know, I think, you know, the way that we deal with this in a democracy is when someone runs for president, they have to turn over their tax returns. And he`s the first one to not do that in modern history. And that`s why we`re left in this guessing game which is tremendously unfortunate. And, you know, now we`re -- and after his presidency, the American people should have known this before any election.


JANSING: Yeah. So obviously, they`re still fighting, getting out the tax returns. I haven`t heard him say recently that he`s still under audit, but maybe that`s going to continue to be another line that he uses. But on the other side, his legal team actually said earlier this week, they won`t try to stop six DOJ officials from testifying before Congress. What`s your read on that?

KATYAL: Well, I think they just couldn`t -- I mean, executive privilege is something that is given to the incumbent president under a Supreme Court case from 1977. And President Trump, while he was president tried to block testimony tried to block people from telling the truth, invoking executive privilege and other presidential privileges willy-nilly. But he`s not the president anymore. And under Supreme Court precedent, it`s Joe Biden, who decides those things. And so, you know, I think that was, you know, a brief acknowledgement of the reality based community when the President said he was going to let these six individuals testify. But now it sounds like even that they`re having some second doubts about and maybe they don`t want these individuals or other individuals to testify. They`re thinking about trying to invoke executive privilege, even though he`s not the executive anymore. So, you know, it was a lesson for a moment that they thought it looked like they`d learned, but you know, like so much else with Trump. You know, they can`t learn a simple basic civics lesson.

JANSING: So I also want to ask you about the findings of this Andrew Cuomo civil investigation. Now you`ve got top prosecutors, at least four jurisdictions investigating criminally, based on what you`ve seen so far, what`s the likelihood the governor could be charged with a crime here?

KATYAL: Again, I think that`s something that`s going to require a lot of time and, yes, there was an investigation, it looks like a thorough one by the New York Attorney General.

JANSING: Just to be clear, Neal, the burden of proof in this civil investigations, very different than something that a DA would look at to file criminal charges.

KATYAL: That`s what I was going to say, as I`ve talked about on the 11th Hour before, like in a criminal case, like our George Floyd case, you had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. It`s the highest standard imaginable in the law for good reason. We never want to send someone who might be even possibly innocent to prison. And so, you know, yes, there are four criminal investigations. It sounds like of the governor going on right now. But that`s a good current or a much higher standard of proof than the report that the New York Attorney General issued yesterday. And so I think everyone should, you know, let that process play out, take a breath and see what happens.

JANSING: Neal Katyal, thank you so much.

And coming up what the outcome of last night`s special election in Ohio means for Democrats as they`re heading into the midterms, when the 11th Hour continues.




SHONTEL BROWN, OHIO HOUSE DISTRICT 11 DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE: I have been a legislator for nine consecutive years here in the district. So if all politics is local, I am as local as it gets. This takes compromise and again it takes delivering results not insults. And that`s lip service. People want public service and that`s what I`ve been doing for the last nine consecutive years.


JANSING: The winner of last night`s special election Democratic primary and Ohio`s 11th district on the outcome political rights this today. The Democratic establishment Delta cruising, crushing blow to the progressive movement Tuesday, when Shontel Brown, the preferred candidate of party stalwarts triumphed over Nina Turner, a face of the insurgent left in a special congressional primary election.

Given the district`s heavy democratic makeup that primary is tantamount to a general election, meaning Brown is all but guaranteed to bring her more moderate voice to Washington.

Back with us tonight, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Columnist for The Washington Post, also joining us, A.B. Stoddard, Veteran Washington journalist and Associate Editor and Columnist for Real Clear Politics.

Great to see you. So, Eugene, I`m really curious to get your take on this. Lots of folks heralding a Jim Clyburn kingmaker moment yet again. It was so interesting, though, earlier this week, you wrote maybe you thought the progressive versus pragmatist struggle within the Democratic Party was over, at least for now, not a chance centrist may have been on something of a role recently, but they underestimate the party`s activists left at their own peril. Is that still your warning? What`s your takeaway from last night?

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Well, look, there`s still a progressive wing of the Democratic Party and it still has quite a bit of power particularly in the House of Representatives where Speaker Pelosi`s margin is slim and the progressive if they were a mind to could throw a serious monkey branch into her plants. That said, the progressive wing in terms of its actual voting in the House has been pretty pragmatic and pretty realistic about what can get through the House and potentially get through the Senate and what can`t.

Nonetheless, you`ve got to say that the election yesterday was that was certainly a telling blow, a big blow to the progressive movement, which was really hope to get Nina Turner elected. And she`s a, you know, fiery and well-known and perhaps, frankly, too abrasive to have won that seat. She certainly brightened. She certainly brought out the fight in Jim Clyburn and a lot of other members of the establishment including Congressional Black Caucus and you saw the result.

JANSING: If it`s a telling blow, A.B., and I think a lot of people would agree with Eugene on that. What is it tell us? Does it tell us about how much democrats generally like Joe Biden, how tired they are of extremisms. And so for a while, they just want to take a breath and go moderate. What does it tell us if anything?


A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS ASSOCIATE EDITOR & COLUMNIST: Well, I mean that the Democratic Party is coming to terms and you`ve seen stories about the polling that they`re seeing internally and the warnings they`re getting about their prospects next year. Joe Biden almost did not win this election. And if you throw out the votes in California and New York, it was really close to Donald Trump second term. And the democrats like Jim Clyburn have looked at that data and they`re well aware of the fact that progressives, when they challenge establishment, moderate Democrats and primaries, almost always lose but they`re noisiness on social media, their protests or activism, their energy. And their issues that prioritize are unpopular with the suburban voters. The Democrats are renting and would like to own and need to turn out next year or stay home and not vote Republican.

So this is why you heard Jim Clyburn in the transition between November and January in the runoffs in Georgia saying deliberately several times. If we talk about defunding the police, we will lose in Georgia. He was provoked by Nina Turner into getting into this race when she agreed with someone that it was stupid for him to be playing in this race and endorsing Shontel Brown. She is -- Eugene is right, more of a combative aggressive candidate anyway. But the progressive wing is taking a combative stance. Hakeem Jeffries, who is the heir apparent in line to become speaker should Nancy Pelosi stepped down is now having to start a pack with Josh Gottheimer who runs the problem solver caucus from the democratic side to fend off the justice Democrats threatening establishment incumbents in primaries, there is a civil war in this party. And while Clyburn and Biden has done a really good job and Chief of Staff Ron Klain at keeping Bernie happy and quiet and keeping this under wraps. It is a real division and the party is well aware that they will lose badly next year, if they allow the progresses to drive the messaging.

JANSING: Well, you know this, Eugene, this last follows Virginia, Louisiana, New York City. But how much of this is about style, and how much of it is about substance? I mean, can you be strong on the issues, but not as some people would say, abrasive or, you know, give those sound bites that a pack on the other side can use to run over and over and over again? I mean, where do you see the problem here? What`s the lesson for progressives?

ROBINSON: Well, in Cleveland, in this district style may have been a bit more important than in other outcomes. But, you know, the establishment has been on a roll in these primaries. And this that`s just not deniable. The other side of the coin, though, is that progressives do bring energy and voters and especially young voters, to the party and to the polls. And the establishment -- yes, you can slap down the progressives and maintain control and try to keep them quiet. And so they don`t upset independence and suburbanites. But you can`t do the head and in a way that you turn off the young, new, excited voters of progressive bring to the party. Because you have to say in a sense, that`s a big part of the future of the Democratic Party. So you can`t you can`t go that far. They have to be very careful in how they do this.

JANSING: And meantime, A.B. we should also mention Ohio`s other big primary last night and the Trump backed Republican one. There had been a lot of talk about him losing his grip on the party, or at least that it was slipping in terms of endorsements that some Republicans were saying, I wish he`d stay away, stay out of these house races, but his grip really slipping?

STODDARD: No, I mean a bad week in Texas last week when his combat loss but he certainly is happy with the results last night and every time the Republicans say, you know, and they do it quietly all the time. He`s going to go away, his power is going to wane, hit this hold on the party as temporary. Someone of, you know, that Donald Trump endorses ends up winning and Donald Trump retains this grip that makes candidates and elected in the Republican Party afraid of trying to get some distance from him. So he will be a huge factor for Republicans in the midterms next year, whether they like it or not, it might be that he`s more of a liability than a strength but they cannot get out from under him.

JANSING: A.B. Stoddard, Eugene Robinson, thank you both so much.

And coming up, COVID frustration aimed at the anti-vaxxers and this time, coming from the governor of New Jersey today for a group of vaccine protesters when the 11th Hour continues




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s in the vaccine? Give me the inserts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe COVID is real?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe there`s people dying of illnesses. I`m not quite sure what COVID is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an experimental vaccine. It has not been tested long enough. I`m a nurse. I`m very concerned about the long-term side effects.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What will save lives governor and it`s not the vaccine.


JANSING: Part of a hostile crowd taking on the Republican Governor of Arkansas as COVID infections skyrocket in his state. They`re not alone. A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey finds more than half of unvaccinated adults are wrongly convinced that getting the shot is a bigger health risk than the virus itself. And as the Delta variant fills hospitals there is growing frustration over vaccine resistance. Here`s how New Jersey`s governor responded to a group of anti vaccine protesters earlier today.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY, (D) NEW JERSEY: These folks back there have lost their mind, you`ve lost your minds. You are the ultimate knuckleheads, because of what you are saying and standing for. People are losing their life.


JANSING: For more we welcome back Dr. Celine Gounder, who is the Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital. She was part of a panel that invites the Biden transition team on COVID-19 and she also hosts a weekly podcast on the impact of the coronavirus called, Epidemic.

Good to see you here. Look, I think a lot of people can relate to Governor Murphy, right? But at this point, who is the best messenger to reach those people who are convinced that the vaccine is more dangerous than the virus?


CELINE GOUNDER, MEMBER OF BIDEN`S COVID-19 TASK FORCE: Chris, I think we really need to be -- this is a ground game. This is a game that we need to take from family to family, person to person and the best players at that game are frankly, personal doctors, family physicians, and then other people in the community, community health workers, nurses, pharmacists, other people that are just known to their neighbors. Maybe they go to church together, that`s the level at which we need to be doing this messaging. So people who know one another.

JANSING: Yeah, I mean, part of the problem is, and you know, again, these stories get, maybe they`re the ones that get told most but so many people are being convinced by the fact that somebody in their family is dying. How do we get to them before that?

GOUNDER: You know, I wish we had a good answer to that as somebody who on my way to work at Bellevue over a year ago now I walked by those mortuary trucks that were parked outside the medical examiner`s office across the street from the hospital. You know, I saw nurses being intubated in the hospital, I saw patients who had to say goodbye to family members on phones and iPads, and I really hope that we can finally get this message across without more people suffering those kinds of tragedies. I think that`s really that`s the biggest tragedy that people are dying now, because of misinformation. And because they do not believe that COVID is real.

JANSING: So today, the World Health Organization called for a moratorium on booster vaccine shots for the next several weeks to help at least 10% of the population of every country get vaccinated. The U.S. Surgeon General was asked about that. And here`s what he said.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Well, look, I recognize why the WHO is raised this concern, they are concerned about the whole world. And frankly, we are too. But I don`t think we need to necessarily choose between vaccinated the rest of the world and providing the vaccinations including potentially boosters, if they`re required, that our country needs, they don`t have to choose between our health and the health of the world, we have different --



JANSING: Yeah, with the Delta variant, a lot of folks are saying give me that now, give me that booster shot. Do you agree? Are we protecting both?

GOUNDER: I would disagree with Vivek. And, you know, with all due respect, he`s a friend and former colleague. But I think the best way to protect ourselves and I say this as somebody who also vaccinated very early on as a frontline health care provider. I`m more than six months out from my vaccinations. But I know I will be better protected if people who are not yet vaccinated. And that includes people here in the U.S., people overseas if they get vaccinated first. That will actually offer me personally better protection. And so he`s right, we don`t have to choose. But the choice the right choice for all of us is to get vaccines to people who have not yet been vaccinated.

JANSING: Understanding that, what does the research say so far about the need for boosters? And what about San Francisco allowing J&J recipients to get a supplemental dose of an mRNA vaccination vaccine?

GOUNDER: Right, so this is really about optimizing personal immunity. But you have to remember, vaccines work best when populations are vaccinated, not when individuals are vaccinated. And so you really get the greatest benefit by vaccinating people around you versus just yourself.

Now, what we are seeing is that there is reduced vaccine effectiveness in terms of infection, but the vaccines very much still robustly protect against severe disease, hospitalization and death.

JANSING: But we`re also hearing more and more that there may be these long term consequences for people who are these breakthrough cases, right? And they could have ongoing problems, a range of problems, they`re not going to end up in the hospital necessarily, they`re not going to end up dead, but they might lose their sense of taste or smell, or they might find themselves fatigued for months on end. So I mean, I guess that`s the -- for those folks, that`s why they`re arguing, give me the booster, right?

GOUNDER: Well, and I think what the WHO is saying, can we please at least get 10% of the world vaccinated? They`re asking you to save lives. And I get, you know, that these are things that many of us especially worried well are concerned about, you know, I certainly don`t want to lose my sense of taste or smell, that these are things I can mitigate against by continuing to wear a mask, by socializing outdoors. Those are pretty low cost things when we could be saving lives. I think the choice is very clear.

JANSING: Let me ask you finally, about the comments that Anthony Fauci made and his concern that there could be, if we don`t get this vaccination level up, that there could be another variant that`s out there that`s just waiting and we could be in real trouble and we think we`re in trouble now we can be in more trouble. Is he right about that?

GOUNDER: He is and this is another reason we need to be vaccinating around the world. The Delta variant emerged in India is now wreaking havoc here in the United States. The lambda variant, which has emerged out of Peru is on the heels of Delta and maybe an even bigger threat. And so if we really want to squash this thing we need to get people who are not yet vaccinated both in the U.S. and around the world vaccinated as soon as possible.


JANSING: Dr. Celine Gounder, it`s always great to have you on the program. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

And there`s more on COVID just ahead. This surge is filling hospitals with younger people, just as unvaccinated kids are heading back to school.


JANSING: One of the most disturbing parts of the COVID surge in places like Louisiana is the number of seriously ill children who are now hospitalized and it took that to get some unvaccinated parents to roll up their sleeves. NBC News Correspondent Morgan Chesky is in New Orleans with that story.


MORGAN CHESKY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, as the Delta variant packs hospitals, doctors are seeing a new type of patient.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re concerned because we`re seeing some very sick kids.

CHESKY: At Children`s Hospital in New Orleans, Dr. Mark Kline says patients under 17 years old make up one in five new cases and are especially vulnerable since many don`t qualify for the vaccine. 16 year old Riley Brower (ph) did qualify.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s my girl.

CHESKY: And her family held off. She`s now spent the last three days on oxygen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is the absolute scary part is how fast it happened.

CHESKY: We met the family after doctors cleared Riley to go home.

(On camera): Is it still a little tough to breathe right now?


CHESKY (voice-over): Mom Casey (ph) is saying what started with a fever soon led to pneumonia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a lot to some parents seeing your child in a hospital possibly, you know you don`t know what`s going to happen next.

CHESKY: Nationwide youth COVID cases are on the rise. The American Academy of Pediatrics reporting more than 70,000 new infections just last week.

KLINE: We can see clearly the children can be severely infected and affected. And I hope that that will motivate more parents to obtain vaccine.


CHESKY: The Brower (ph) family now booking their vaccine shots soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See what she went through, I`m taking it.

CHESKY (on camera): That was enough to change your mind?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that was enough to change my mind.

CHESKY (voice-over): Well, less than they hope others listen to. Morgan Chesky NBC News, New Orleans.


JANSING: And there`s more of the 11th Hour right after this quick break.


JANSING: And the last thing before we go tonight, remember, you can watch the 11th Hour anytime you like, all you`ve got to do is download the MSNBC app on your phone or tablet. You can also download the 11th Hour podcast from your favorite podcast app and then you can listen whenever you want and why wouldn`t you want to.

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