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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 9/1/21

Guests: Yamiche Alcindor, Joyce Vance, Joe Valiente


Gov. Greg Abbott signs into law one of nation`s strictest abortion measures, banning procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Senior finance official and director of security set to appear this week as criminal probe into Donald Trump`s business affairs continues. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards cautioned residents who fled the state amid Hurricane Ida to stay away until officials with the state`s Homeland Security & Emergency Management office say it`s safe to return. Delta variant fuels COVID surge among unvaccinated.




LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: NBC`s Miguel Almaguer, thank you. That is tonight`s last word. "THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.


ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Evening once again, I`m Ali Velshi in for Brian Williams. Day 225 of the Biden administration and President Biden is now confronted with new challenges as he tries to move on from the chaotic exit from Afghanistan that for the past few weeks has consumed Washington.

Tonight, even as lawmakers in the Justice Department investigate the January sixth riot. There are growing concerns about another rally at the Capitol. U.S. Capitol Police tell NBC News that the force is quote, closely monitoring, end quote, plans for the gathering on September the 18th.

The Associated Press reports its sources say intelligence gathered by federal officials show extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers plan to attend the rally, which is designed to demand justice for the hundreds of people who have been charged in connection with January`s insurrection.

The Associated Press adds that discussions are underway about whether to re install the fence that was put up around the Capitol after the riot and Politico reports that a new court filing shows prosecutors who reviewed body cam footage concluded that January 6 rioters committed more than 1000 assaults on federal officers.

Meanwhile, in Texas, the state`s ban on abortion after six weeks is raising fears about the future of Roe v Wade. The new measure is the nation`s strictest state level abortion ban and went into effect today after the Supreme Court did not act on a request to block it.

Now under the law, private individuals can sue anyone who performs an abortion or helps a woman obtain one. Today the White House wasted no time in voicing objections to the ban.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Its extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional rights established under Roe v Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century. Our focus and the President`s focus is to reiterate our deep commitment to the constitutional right and to continue to call for the codification of Roe something that the President talked about on the campaign trail.


VELSHI: Earlier tonight Senator Elizabeth Warren explained the real life consequences of the Texas law.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): This enables people to target abortion providers, people who give advice, people who try to help, everything to say we are going to isolate and make life as hard as possible for those who don`t have resources. They are not going to get the medical care, the treatment that they should be entitled to as human beings.


VELSHI: Right now, millions of people in Louisiana are still living through the devastation of Hurricane Ida three days after the storm made landfall. Nearly a million homes and businesses are still without electricity. Although the local energy company is beginning to restore power to parts of New Orleans. Lines for food and gas stretch for blocks and about 600,000 people have no running water.

President Biden is scheduled to visit the state on Friday, FEMA and other agencies are already on the ground to provide help but it`s expected to take weeks if not months to repair all the damage. Just ahead, we`re going to get the latest from a local official in one of the hardest hit areas.

And as all that unfolds, the administration is still dealing with fallout from the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Today, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley appeared at the Pentagon to discuss the end of the 20 year long war.


LLOYD AUSTIN, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We`re entering a new chapter one and where our diplomats and our interagency partners take the lead. We`re part of an urgent team effort to move Afghan evacuees out of temporary housing, in intermediate staging bases in the Gulf and in Europe, and on to begin new lives.

I`ve heard strong views from many sides in recent days. And that`s vital. That`s democracy.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHEIFS OF STAFF: And we`re going to learn from this experience as a military. How we got to this moment in Afghanistan will be analyzed and studied for years to come.


VELSHI: Secretary Austin will travel to the Persian Gulf next week. He and General Milley were also asked about cooperating with the Taliban to fight against ISIS-K. And all they would say is it`s possible.

Republican critics of the administration are not letting up and they`re intensifying their criticism of the troop withdrawal.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Joe Biden`s a dangerous man when it comes to our national security and our economic well-being we`re blind and we`re naked. Yes, I`ve heard of threads. It`s just going to be a matter of months, not years before the threats materialize that training camps will be opened pretty soon for al Qaeda and ISIS is flourishing. This is a witch`s brew of evil in Afghanistan.


VELSHI: Even with that, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to silence talk of Biden`s impeachment over the Afghanistan drawdown.


Also today Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, whom former President Trump tried to pressure to investigate Joe Biden`s son finally got his visit to the White House. Today he was welcomed into the Oval Office for a meeting with President Biden.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: The partnership between our nations go stronger and it`s going to even become stronger than ever. The United States remains firmly committed to Ukraine`s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression and, and our support for Ukraine`s euro Atlantic aspirations.


VELSHI: With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Wednesday night. Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour and moderator of Washington Week also on PBS, Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for counter intelligence. He`s also the host of the new podcast, The Bureau, and former United States Attorney Joyce Vance, who spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor. She`s also one of the co-hosts of the podcast, "Sisters In Law" with Kimberly Atkins Stohr, Jill Wine Banks and Barbara McQuade. Good evening to you friends, thank you for being with us tonight.

There is a lot to cover. So Yamiche, so I`m going to start with you because the press secretary, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said this today about all that the President and the administration are facing right now.


PSAKI: The President knows that he his responsibilities, and the multiple crises he will continue to have to face as president are part of his job description. And if there is a meeting warranted, in the Situation Room with his military leaders, national security team about Afghanistan or any other issue, of course, he`s going to be there for that. But he also knows the part of his commitment to the American people is getting the pandemic under control, he`s addressing the hurricane and making sure that people in Louisiana and Mississippi and other states in the Gulf Coast know he`s doing absolutely everything in his power to make sure they have power. So he knows that he has to do multiple things as president in order to govern the country.


VELSHI: Yamiche, what do you make of a response like that?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS NEWSHOUR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There`s a confluence of challenges, no doubt, and the White House is essentially saying and Jen Psaki is saying, this is the job and we can handle this. President Biden is of course facing historic times in a pandemic, plus the hurricane plus, of course, this withdrawal. The president, of course, saying that it was the right decision that he stands by all of the things that have happened. But also, of course, he`s facing fierce criticism as he forcefully defends himself. And then of course, add to that the fact that this is all part of this, as scientists tell us, climate change, this is a huge issue.

I was just looking before we came on, at the flooding going on, and New York and New Jersey, and it is, frankly scary to look at the climate and think on one part of our country. We have people who are literally facing life or death, under water and under heat.

And then on the other side of the country, you have wildfires, and national parks closing because people are dying in fire. So this is a confluence of challenges. And President Biden is essentially saying, I am going to be here I`m going to be focused, I can juggle all of this stuff. It is of course the job, it is what is supposed to be happening, but there are a lot of unanswered questions.

I mean, chief among them. How`s Afghanistan going to be figured out what`s going to happen with the Americans that are left behind. How is this pandemic? Are we going to be stuck in this because there are Americans who don`t want to get vaccinated? Are we going to somehow find our way through, and then of course, in the immediate future, are Americans going to have access to water and power and all of the things that they need in the Gulf as this hurricane winds to an end but also wind through critical parts of our country.

VELSHI: And it hasn`t winds through New York, New Jersey`s governor has just declared a state of emergency in that state and the New York subway system has just been shut down because water is entering that system.

Frank Figliuzzi, that associated press report about September 18. I would imagine there most people watching this would not have known about any anything on September 18. But there are calls amongst extremist circles to join a rally to stand up for the rights of the people who have been charged as a result of their participation on the January 6 riot. What`s your take on what is going to happen on September 18 and what we should do about it?

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FMR. FBI ASST. DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: Well, my contacts in federal law enforcement, Ali, tell me that they are all over this. This is certainly got their attention, in large part because the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers reportedly are expressing interest in showing up this has -- this rally has obtained a permit. The numbers are expected to be large. FBI, DHS, Capitol Police, Washington Metropolitan Police, all making arrangements including some police departments, not allowing any leave calling in all officers for the day. You mentioned the discussion of putting the fence back up.


Here`s what`s energized some of the potentially bad or violent actors here. This sense that January 6 was all about patriotism, was all about writing the big lie that that the election was stolen. And so they view for example, Ashley Babbitt, the woman who was killed by Capitol Police Lieutenant Byrd as a martyr for the cause. They talk about this incessantly and the notion that everyone imprisoned or charged for their participation to January 6 is somehow a political prisoner.

You saw even Madison Cawthorne, congressmen, actually referred to them as political hostages. We got to bust them out, he said. Those are the kinds of people that are worrying the police and law enforcement as they make plans to show up. So the preparation is going to be there, the security will be tight.

One of the concerns I have is will the security be seen be so tight, that there will be soft targets perceived around the rest of the country where some violence could play out? That`s why DHS last Friday reportedly briefed, telephonically briefed federal law enforcement executives across the country regarding what they`re seeing and the need to be vigilant, particularly in the lead up to September 18.

VELSHI: And is worrisome. Joyce Vance, this thing that has happened in Texas this law that the Supreme Court was invited to get involved in but did not. There are a lot of Americans sight confused about the fact that isn`t what Texas is doing, contrary to what we thought federal law has to say about abortion. And secondly, it`s an unusual and specific instance, how does somebody who`s not got anything to do with an abortion in question have standing to be able to sue someone else who`s involved in it?

JOYCE VANCE, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Everything about this case is very unusual, Ali, even the process is very unusual. This case was proceeding in federal district court in Texas, when the Fifth Circuit strip the federal district court judge, the trial judge have any ability to proceed on a motion that would have suspended that would have stayed the statute to keep it from going into effect today. That`s how it got to the Supreme Court is part of their shadow docket as an emergency sort of an appeal. And the shadow docket is actually a process where cases are decided without full briefing and full argument.

In this situation, the court actually isn`t considering the substance of the statute. And these provisions that you identified that, for instance, permit the private lawsuits. This is a very preliminary motion, that simply talking about who has the ability to hear the case, and whether they can entertain a motion to keep the law from going into effect.

Of course, the court chose not to speak last night, which is why this is now the law of the land in Texas, essentially stripping the protections that are still guaranteed by Roe vs. Wade, unless you`re a citizen of the great state of Texas.

And there`s this very awkward enforcement mechanism that Texas believes will allow it to survive constitutional scrutiny, instead of having the typical enforcement which is done exclusively by the state. Here while Texas permit some enforcement by the state, for instance, doctors can be disciplined for performing abortions that are now considered illegal. But there`s this absolutely crazy private enforcement mechanism, where the state at least suggests that anyone whether they`re a resident of Texas or not, can file a lawsuit against anyone, a provider or people who help a woman access abortion. And they can bring a lawsuit of private right of action against those people.

This is of course, the sort of uncertainty and craziness that`s designed to keep women from seeking services, because there`s a $10,000 penalty associated with anyone who is successfully sued in this sort of an action.

VELSHI: Yamiche, we heard strong words from the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about this, she referred to this this law several times today, but what can they do about it?

ALCINDOR: And that is the chief question. The White House said today and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the President really wants to see Roe v Wade codified which means that he wants to see a law passed to really enshrine women`s rights into our society. But he`s president. He`s not a senator anymore. And he certainly isn`t serving in Congress. And Congress, as we know, moves slowly and has not moved on things like police reform or voting rights and already has this big agenda in front of it with infrastructure. So it just does not seem likely at this point that Congress is going to be able to turn around and then be able to pass a quick abortion law.

That being said, when I talk to Democrats, you can set -- you can feel the sense of urgency because Texas has now essentially nullified Roe v Wade. And there`s a real sense that if democrats are in control of the Senate, the House and the White House and they cannot pass abortion legislation, then when will they be able to do that.


So there`s this real challenge ahead for Democrats here. President Biden has a lot of words toward this issue. It`s really, I think, a question of whether or not he`s going to be using the political capital to really weigh in on this. We`ve heard the President talk about infrastructure a lot. We`ve heard the President talk about voting rights, some policing, some, it remains to be seen whether or not abortion rises to the his priorities, and he starts to talk about it in a way that is daily, in a way that is pressing his party as the leader of the Democratic Party to do more.

VELSHI: Joyce, finish so much news tonight. I get a second question on anything because I have to -- I have to cover other things. There is news now that two officials of the Trump Organization, two Trump Organization employees are expected to testify before a Manhattan grand jury this week. What does this tell you about where Manhattan prosecutors are in this investigation?

VANCE: In New York, Grand Jury practice, when you bring a witness in to testify in the grand jury, they`re given immunity for any of the testimony that they give, they can`t be personally prosecuted for those events. So that means that these two folks, the head of security at a Trump Organization will be one of the two witnesses.

That means that they have been immunized and that prosecutors obviously have their sights set on a bigger fish. And while we don`t know precisely who that is, Matthew Calamari Sr. has not testified in front of the grand jury. There has been some speculation that he is also a participant in this tax avoidance scheme involving cars and apartments that are given to employees by the Trump Organization. So there seems to be good reason to believe that prosecutors are at least considering additional indictments in this matter.

VELSHI: What a remarkable development in the story. We`ll continue to cover it with you as well. Thank you to the three of you for kicking us off tonight. Yamiche Alcindor, Frank Figliuzzi and Joyce Vance, we appreciate your time.

Coming up, an update from an emergency management official in Louisiana, or most of New Orleans is still in the dark tonight three days after Hurricane Ida hit. And later, what`s next for abortion rights on the national level after the Supreme Court decided not to act on this six-week abortion ban out of Texas. The 11th Hour just getting underway on a Wednesday night.



VELSHI: As we mentioned, remnants of Hurricane Ida tonight have been spawning heavy rain, tornadoes and life threatening conditions in the Mid- Atlantic and Northeast. A tornado warning was even posted here in New York City. Major highways are flooded with cars and buses trapped and the subways are shutting down and what the National Weather Service says is the city`s first ever flash flood emergency.

Several large tornadoes were reported north of Philadelphia and in South Jersey. As we mentioned, New Jersey`s governor Phil Murphy has just declared a state of emergency. Some neighborhoods had to be evacuated. Cars and buses there were stranded in floodwaters. And now thousands in the region are without power.

Earlier this afternoon, one twister roared through parts of Annapolis, Maryland pulling down trees and power poles. And in Louisiana where this same storm system tore apart the state`s power grid. Some low line communities remain largely underwater. Many hospitals in the state are still running on generators and again today the governor warned evacuated residents not to come back yet.


GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D) LOUISIANA: The water system is really poor. Electricity is non-existent. Communications actually started getting a little bit better today. We have not figured out the fuel situation. Don`t come back before the parish tells you that they are ready to receive you, because you`re just going to create another demand on the system that can`t withstand the demand that it currently has.


VELSHI: For more we welcome to the broadcast Joe Valiente. He is the Emergency Management Director for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Take a look at this map. Jefferson Parish stretches from New Orleans, the New Orleans shoreline with Lake Pontchartrain, all the way down to Grand Isle in the Gulf. Joe, thank you for being with us. How are you faring? And how are the people in Jefferson Parish tonight?

JOE VALIENTE, JEFFERSON PARISH DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Well, I mean, that`s just the type of circumstances are not really new to us. But it`s been difficult. We completely lost the grid 100 percent of the power. So it`s been a very difficult process to affect any rescues. And certainly we`ve when you lose power, you lose your Internet, when you lose your Internet, you lose your phone service and it just goes down the list.

So it`s been difficult and especially with the heat, it`s that`s coming up over the next few days. It`s going to pose a problem for our special needs citizens to stay behind.

VELSHI: And you know, a lot of people have talked about how New Orleans didn`t get this this hit and was able to avoid being flooded because of all of the money and engineering that`s gone into it. But you in Jefferson Parish, in some of the lowest lying country in the land, often separated by bodies of water even in in good times. It has really affected some of your towns there.

VALIENTE: So what we classify as low Jefferson outside delivery protection district. We have Lafitte, we have Crown Point, we have Barataria and then we have Grand Isle. And yes, they were mostly affected by high water upwards of 15 feet. And the island of Grand Isle is uninhabitable right now. It has three to four feet of sand on the entire island. All of the critical infrastructure has literally washed away.

So we just were able to get on the island yesterday. And we have first responders there that are secure on the Island. And we`re making some progress there. Lafitte, the water is beginning to recede. And we`re hoping that in two days, it will no longer be a factor. And then we can start the recovery process.

The problem would operate Jefferson Parish or the area that`s inside the levee protection system is simply is that we don`t have any power and we`ve also lost water pressure. So, those two items are critical toward normal everyday living and we just don`t have.


VELSHI: Got it. And people who don`t understand how they interact with electricity forget that drainage water systems, sewage, and fuel pumps use electricity. Without electricity, you can`t pump fuel. So you`ve got fuel problems, in part because some people are filling up, some people used a lot of fuel to get out, trucks can`t get in, and you can`t pump it.

VALIENTE: That exactly well said. It`s just power, power is everything. It`s so deeply embedded and intertwined in our daily lives, that we take it for granted, until it`s not there.

VELSHI: Joe, let`s talk about what you need in order to get back to normal. Obviously, the waters receding will be helpful. But your governor has asked for fuel from the federal government, what exactly has to happen? And how long do you think it`s going to happen? How long can people talk down where you are? How do people survive without power? And for how long can they manage?

VALIENTE: So they`re not going to be able to survive for much longer. We`re actually advising residents that they should leave the area until we`re able to bring it back up. And so the issue here is that we don`t have any fuel, or we don`t have enough fuel to run our generators and our government vehicles. And so we`re in the process of trying to perform windshield assessments and post damage assessment. And we don`t even have enough fuel to do that.

So we`re trying to create some staging areas that we can bring in tankers of fuel, so that we can try to keep our government vehicles operating, so.

But, you know, the truth is, is that when you lose 100 percent of the grid to the amount of damage that occurred, it`s we just have to wait until energy can start repairing this grid and it`s going to be one grid at a time. I see that you show me pictures of the main transmission tower that collapsed and that`s another issue that`s working against us is on it on his timeline.

But hey, look, this part of the Louisiana is very, very tough. He saw what happened to Lake Charles last year and they still there. And we know there`s going to be one day at a time, it`s going to be one small problem at a time that we fix and everyone has a lot of momentum right now to be totally honest with you were.

We`re starting to make some progress. The waters receding in Lafitte. We`ve got boots on the ground in Grand Isle and we`ve got -- we`ve assigned a task force to it today and they will be responsible for their spearheading the recovery process down there.

So I mean, we`re asking citizens to not stay here and to relocate outside of this area, so that we have room and space to affect us recovering. It`s not easy.

VELSHI: It`s not. The pictures that we`ve been showing while you`ve been talking are mostly of Lafitte which is south of New Orleans, or Grand Isle is much further. I spent a hurricane covering it from Grand Isle. I think what you say is right, people down there are tough. Even though they`re tough, they don`t deserve this but they are tough, and they`ll pull through.

Joe, stay safe. Thank you for keeping us posted and thank you for keeping the people of Jefferson Parish safe. Joe Valiente is the Emergency Management Director for Jefferson Parish. Thank you, sir.

Well, coming up, it`s often referred to as the third rail of politics the nationwide impact of the draconian new abortion restrictions in effect tonight in Texas when the 11th Hour continues.




DONNA HOWARD (D) TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: I`m one of those that came of age before Roe v. Wade. And so I know what it was like when women didn`t have this choice, when we couldn`t control our own bodies and our own destinies. Here we are 50 years later, fighting the same battle again. It`s incredible to think that we would be going backwards.

It`s the women of limited means, women of color, women in rural parts of Texas who do not have access. This is just devastating. They`re big given no options whatsoever.


VELSHI: The Texas law virtually banning abortion that went into effect today could have an impact on women far outside that state. Opponents were banking on the Supreme Court stepping in and stopping the measure from taking effect but that didn`t happen.

As Politico sums it up the court`s decision to not act on an emergency petition from Texas abortion clinics comes as the justice is prepared to more broadly reconsider the right to an abortion. It established almost 50 years ago.

Back with us tonight, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Washington Post and Susan Del Percio, a veteran political strategist. Both our MSNBC analysts. Thanks to both of you for being with us.

Susan, let`s start with you. There are a lot of people who fully know that Republicans at the state level have been attempting things that are either faints or real attempts to place restrictions on abortion for some years now. But this has surprised a lot of people the fact that something that feels very much like a total ban on abortion could actually get passed the Supreme Court.

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely, Ali. It`s sending shockwaves especially to a lot of the republicans who may have said like Yes, I`m pro-life, but you know, Roe v. Wade, the law of the land, and, you know, I -- and they also believed in exceptions to incest and rape, which this law does not have.

This is the harshest law that I think Republicans could ever see coming. And at this point, I think even some Republicans are going to have a hard time getting behind it come 2022.

VELSHI: Eugene, you made an interesting point today and that is that on the day that Roe v Wade took effect January 22 1973, you were reporter something else happened that day. And you in the newsroom with your colleagues were having a discussion about the coverage of it.

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Yes, I was in college. I was working for my college newspaper, The Michigan Daily. And on the day that Roe v Wade was decided, Lyndon Johnson died.


And this is, you know, after the entire Vietnam era. That`s what everybody thought of when we thought about Johnson, but also the civil rights legacy and being taken over after the Kennedy assassination, you know, a gigantic figure in our mid-century politics, and Roe v. Wade, a monumental, world changing court decision that affected 50 percent of the U.S. population, the female, female bodied and giving them control over their bodies in a way they never had before.

So we had an epic argument for hours in our college newsroom as to which was the bigger headline. We ended up fudging and they both got huge headlines and read down one side of debate, one write down the other.

But, you know, that`s -- that was almost 50 years ago. And I think I don`t -- I frankly, don`t think Roe v. Wade, will live to see 50. I don`t think we`ll get to January 22, 2023 with Roe v Wade impact, or perhaps even in existence. I think this court is ready to either gut it or simply reverse it.

VELSHI: And Susan, what happens then? I mean, obviously, we know the practical effects of what happens then that means that women will not be able to get abortions. But politically, that is seismic, this is something that the public has understood whether or not you are in favor of the right to have an abortion or not, the public has understood that this is not -- this is the law of the land. And that`s the way it is to be for some time that has shifted.

DEL PERCIO: It has shifted. And I go back to 2016 when I met so many younger women who were talking about not really relating the importance of what older women felt about Hillary Clinton and getting a woman over the top in the fight for the right to choose. And I -- there`s generally, you know, a couple of generations now of women who don`t understand what it means not to have that choice. And I think that will be a big motivator, especially come 2022. I think both sides will start raising money like crazy.

But this is something that should scare every woman out there who thinks she has -- should have control over her own body. And hopefully that will motivate them come 2022 because this, you know, they can get rid of Roe v. Wade, but seats can put in legislation that does allow for abortion.

VELSHI: Eugene, I want to ask you about some reporting. We`ve had the Associated Press talking about September 18 the Gathering at the Capitol. I was talking to Frank Figliuzzi earlier about this about the fears of more violence at the Capitol. Madison Cawthorn threatened bloodshed over this is a reporting, over fictitious rigged elections this week. Congressman Liz Cheney said to CBS In response, she said, using language that seems intended to incite violence, I think every member ought to condemn that. And I`d like to see Leader McCarthy very clearly condemn it and explain how dangerous that is.

I don`t think we should be holding our breath for that to happen. But this is kind of serious, a member of congress saying this.

ROBINSON: It`s very serious, Liz Cheney is right. Kevin McCarthy should condemn it. And then and denounce it and perhaps even think about some sort of censure for Cawthorn, but he won`t do any of that. Because we know Kevin McCarthy, and he simply won`t do that.

You know, over the years, we`ve had a lot of incendiary and sometimes, you know, over the top rhetoric from a lot of people in Congress. But the context now is post-January 6. The context is in the wake of a violent insurrection at Capitol over a big lie that Madison Cawthorn says is going to be the reason that we have bloodshed.

It`s just astoundingly, I was going to say irresponsible, but that word doesn`t capture just how awful and how dangerous this rhetoric is coming from Madison Cawthorn. But it`s what you would expect from him. I mean, he and Marjorie Taylor Greene and a few others are in a race to the bottom, as if there were about him. I don`t think there is.

VELSHI: Yes, if you can`t sleep at night, you can Google this guy and your jaw will drop even in an era where jaws don`t drop about anything anymore. Eugene, thanks very much. Susan, good to see you. As always, thanks to both of you.


Coming up, tracking the timelines of COVID variants, we`re going to ask one of our top physicians whether the worst of delta could soon be behind us when THE 11TH HOUR continuous.


VELSHI: As new daily COVID infections show signs of a plateau, The New York Times poses this question, has the Delta variant peaked? Cases are now topping off in states where the very first fuel to surge according to the Times, quote, since the pandemic began. COVID has often followed a regular if mysterious cycle. In one country after another the number of new cases is often surge for roughly two months before starting to fall. The Delta variant, despite its intense contagiousness, has followed this pattern, end quote.

With us tonight, Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious disease physician and the founding doctor of Boston University Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research. Dr. Bhadelia, good to see you. Thank you for being with us. What do you make of this idea that this has sort of a two month cycle to it these variants?

DR. NAHID BHADELIA, INFECTIOUS DISEASE PHYSICIAN: We`ve actually seen it when you look back to 1918 pandemic, Ali, we had similar ways. So you kind of tend to see this epidemic pro and viruses go through these waves. And the Delta, the thought was that it potentially moving through populations even faster because of this transmissibility.

The hypothesis, you know, that posed in that article. And I think some very lot of experts that I respected that, the thought is that, you know, is it something that the virus that infects certain number of people achieves a certain number of, you know, a certain amount of population, immunity to vaccinations or unfortunately with disease, that it tends to sort of taper off until a new variant comes along. Or is it that there`s a population behavior change, right? Every few months, we have long weekends and holidays and are people changing their behaviors that`s causing that fuel of new cases to increase. Interestingly enough, I should point out labor days coming up.


And so in my mind, I think that you are seeing a drop right cases, southern states that had those peaks who started seeing those peaks early on are very clearly seeing a plateau and decrease. But the things that were in the about the fall, is that colleges are starting, people are going to start traveling again. You`re seeing, as I said, more holiday weekends. You`re seeing colder weather. And the thing that, of course, is always on our horizon is potentially new variants.

Every day, you know, there`s a variant called C.1.2 that scientists are keeping an eye on because it has, you know, tendencies to both potentially have greater transmissibility, but also evade the immune system, thankfully, at very low levels. But every day, there`s a threat of new variants until there`s continued transmission.

VELSHI: While there are -- there`s a lot of misinformation out there about the vaccines. There are increasing concerns about what happens if you actually get COVID, a New York Times citing a new study on lingering kidney problems. It says that the study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, found that the sicker COVID patients were initially, the more likely they were to experience lingering kidney damage. But even people with less severe initial infections could be vulnerable.

What -- Where does this fit into the pantheon of things we know can be long lasting effects of COVID?

BHADELIA: Yes, so this actually follows -- the study follows a couple of other studies that have shown that in people who survive COVID, six months out, you may get new chronic diseases or potential worsening of chronic diseases. And actually, we just authored a statement today from the American Study of Heart Failure, which was showed the same thing with people who have heart failure, their chronic diseases get worse.

And so what happens in this situation, hospitalization is particularly severe hospitalization, Ali, is like a car crash for your body. And so for many folks, it`s just the impact of that severe, you know, illness, that what we know from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the receptor that it uses to insure human cells, they`re all over your body. They`re in your heart. They`re in your blood vessels, your kidneys, your lungs, you know, this is why we`ve been calling it your brain. That`s why we`re calling it a multi system disease. And that`s why there might be a correlation both to the kind of effects people are seeing after surviving the disease, but also what you`re noticing in terms of symptoms, and people who have long COVID, who may get over the initial hurdle that may have prolonged ongoing medical issues.

VELSHI: Joe Rogan, the podcaster, who has downplayed COVID vaccines, says that he has tested positive for COVID. And he`s taking a litany of things to have treatments, including Ivermectin, which is the horse dewormer. What do we know about this?

BHADELIA: Yes, so I`m going to start by saying that FDA has said that there`s no approval for use of Ivermectin for COVID-19. And there`s no scientific evidence that Ivermectin works. There`s no, unfortunately, today, no clinical trials that show that that works for COVID-19. It is a disease that, by the way, is used for parasitic infections in humans as well. But it`s nowhere near any the amount of evidence that we can use it in practice.

Having said that, right, there is a need for I think, you know, there is a need for oral medications, antivirals, and that`s why the HHS has actually invested $3 billion in developing these oral easily available antivirals that could be used. But in the interim, you know, we`ve seen the statement from the FDA, the American Medical Association actually came out and said the same thing today as a guidance to physicians who might be prescribing this there`s called number, who may be you know, succumbing to pressure or misinformation, but there is no evidence.

And we`ve seen already seen cases of toxicity and hospitalizations of people trying to take veterinary and medication level medications to try to take COVID-19. You know, what`s easier and proven to be effective as taking the vaccine that protects you reduces the infection, and it`s free, you know, it`s cheapest available, it`s free.

VELSHI: And despite the misinformation out there, thought experimental. It`s actually an approved vaccine that`s been tested and continues to be tested on a daily basis. Nahid, great to see you as always, thank you for being with us. Dr. Nahid Bhadelia. I should say, it`s great to see you. It`s kind of unfortunate that it`s been a year and a half that we have been talking about this so we`d like to discuss other things with you in the future may we have that day. Nahid Bhadelia is an infectious disease physician and the founding director of Boston University Center for Emerging and Infectious Diseases Policy and Research.

Coming up, an update on the charges brought today against police officers in the depth of 23-year-old Elijah McClain when the 11th Hour continues.



VELSHI: Back in 2019, 23-year-old Elijah McClain died after a violent encounter with police today. Two years after his death a Colorado grand jury has finally indicted three police officers and two paramedics. Our report tonight from NBC News correspondent Gabe Gutierrez.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give us some more units we`re fighting up.

GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, police officers and paramedics in Aurora, Colorado are facing criminal charges that are stopping 23 year old Elijah McClain while he walked home from a convenience store.

PHIL WEISER, COLORADO ATTORNEY GENERAL: We`re here today because Elijah McClain is not here. And he should be.

GUTIERREZ: Police had gotten a call about a suspicious man wearing a mask.


GUTIERREZ: They restrained him with a carotid hold and paramedics injected him with a powerful sedative ketamine.

MCCLAIN: I can`t breathe correctly.

GUTIERREZ: Now a 32-count indictment, two officers, a former officer and two paramedics each face account of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Four of the five also face assault charges. McClain`s family described him as a kind introvert who played his violin to comfort cats and an animal shelter. They say he often wore a mask to keep warm because of a blood condition.

MARI NEWMAN, ATTORNEY FOR THE MCCLAIN FAMILY: This is a loud and resounding statement that nobody is above the law.

GUTIERREZ: Right after his death in August of 2019, prosecutors did not charge anyone.

But the case drew renewed attention last year following the murder of George Floyd. Some of McClain`s last words, I`m just different became a rallying cry.

Calling that response a hysterical overreaction. Today, the Aurora Police Union said our officers did nothing wrong. Sadly, Mr. McClain died due to a combination of exertion due to his decision to violently resist arrest and a pre-existing heart condition. But McClain`s father wept as he heard the news.

LAWAYNE MOSELY, FATHER OF ELIJAH MCCLAIN: This means that the people will be held accountable for what they did. And I know my son will be smiling.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): Legal experts say that while it`s unusual for police officers to face charges in this type of case, it`s extremely rare for paramedics to do so.



VELSHI: Gabe Gutierrez, thank you for that report.

Coming up, the latest on the massive Caldor Fire in California, as firefighters work to keep the blaze away from Lake Tahoe when the 11th Hour continues.


VELSHI: Last thing before we go tonight, a reminder of the power of nature. Here in New York City the remnants of Hurricane Ida are devastating the city`s infrastructure. Moments ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency due to record breaking rain. Three inches fell in just one hour tonight according to the National Weather Service. Most subway lines are shut down and across the region. Buildings are flooded streets are impassable.

Emergency officials here in New York City also confirmed they`re getting calls tonight from people all over the city needing to be rescued from rising water.

Tonight in Northern California, the mass of Caldor Fire keeps burning. So far it`s scorched over 200,000 acres in the California Nevada Alpine region, destroying at least 700 homes. More than 53,000 people have been forced to evacuate as many as 34,000 buildings and homes are being threatened as firefighters try to keep the blaze away from densely populated areas around Lake Tahoe and they`re facing challenges from both nature and the pandemic.

Strong winds gusts up to 45 miles an hour forecast for tonight. One of the strike teams battling the flames is now also dealing with a COVID outbreak. Ski resorts in the area are using snow machines to try to beat back the embers that are sparking new flames.

Governor Gavin Newsom of California spoke with my NBC News colleague Steve Patterson earlier tonight, he brought up the connection between the massive wildfire and climate change.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: If you don`t believe in science, got to believe your own eyes. Come here and experience the Smash Mouth realities of climate change taking shape in real time.

STEVE PATTERSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: What do you telling those people as far as they`re worried about their homes burning.

NEWSOM: Homes can be rebuilt. People`s lives can never be brought back.


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