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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 9/23/21

Guests: Ashley Parker, Clint Watts, Barbara McQuade, Robert Gibbs, Michael Steele, Nahid Bhadelia


US House committee investigating January 6 Capitol riot subpoenas four Donald Trump associates. Biden`s White House has the right to overrule a Trump effort to block the release of information. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania Republican-dominated Legislatures have ordered Arizona-style reviews of the 2020 vote. Bannon told Trump days before the insurrection that they needed to "kill" the Biden presidency "in the crib."



LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Thank you. Maxwell Alejandro Frost gets his first word on the last word. It will not be his last word on the 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 247 of the Biden administration. The breaking news tonight, the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol has just issued its first set of subpoenas targeting for high level Trump aides and advisors who were working in or had communications with the White House on or in the days leading up to the January 6 insurrection. They have been asked to turn over documents and appear for depositions in mid-October. Today the Committee sent a letter to each.

The one to former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said it was reported that he was quote, engaged in multiple elements of the planning and preparation of efforts to contest the presidential election and delay the counting of electoral votes.

The letter to former Trump aide Dan Scavino says he was quote, with the former president on January 5, when he and others were considering how to convince members of Congress not to certify the election for Joe Biden.

The one two former Pentagon official Kash Patel notes that he served as chief of staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, and that there is substantial reason to believe that you have additional documents and information relevant to understanding the role played by the Department of Defense and the White House in preparing for and responding to the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The panel`s letter to one time Trump strategist Steve Bannon says he was quote, described as communicating with then President Trump on December 30, 2020, urging him to plan for and focus his efforts on January 6. You were quoted as stating on January 5, 2021, that all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.

Tonight, Trump issued a lengthy statement reacting to the subpoenas, which read in part quote, we will fight the subpoenas on executive privilege and other grounds.

There`s also new reporting tonight from the Washington Post that the Biden White House is quote, leaning toward releasing information to Congress about what Donald Trump and his aides were doing during the January 6 attack.

A White House spokesman says quote, the administration has been engaging with Congress on matters related to January 6 for several months now and will continue to do so including with the Select Committee.

Several Republican House members are also potential witnesses for the January 6 investigation. Some of them spoke to Trump on that day, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA) MINORITY LEADER: I haven`t received any subpoena but it just goes to show. They`re more -- this is more about politics than anything else. There`s only two questions that this Committee should actually be looked upon. Why was the Capitol left so ill prepared? And how can we make sure that this never happens again, but that`s not what they`re focused on.


JANSING: Meanwhile, one result of the big lie that the election was stolen from Trump is the so called audit of the Arizona 2020 election results which showed Joe Biden won. That review has been going on for five months. The results are expected to finally be made public tomorrow.

With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Thursday night. Ashley Parker, Pulitzer Prize winning White House bureau chief for The Washington Post. Clint Watts, West Point graduate Army veteran, former FBI special agent and a distinguished research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Barbara McQuade, a veteran federal prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. She worked with DOJ during the Biden transition, and is a professor at the University of Michigan`s law school. She is also a co-host of the podcast, Sisters in Law, along with Joyce Vance, Joe Wine-banks and Kimberly Atkins Stohr. Thanks to all of you for being with us.

So, Barbara, here`s what we heard from January 6 Committee member Congressman Adam Schiff, a little earlier tonight.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): No one is off the table. We`re going to determine what went wrong in the lead up to January 6, we`re going to find out who was involved who was knowledgeable, what roles they played in the planning, what expectation they had of violence, what the former president was doing. Among the biggest unknowns is what was going on within the White House on January 5, and 6 at that critical time when our democracy was being threatened with violent insurrection. So we`re not wasting time.

And you know, these are going to be some of the more visible efforts that we`re making, but we`ll be conducting interviews as well. And, of course, we`ve already made a lot of strides inquiring documents we need for the investigation.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: is the former president on a list of potential people that you will call before you/

SCHIFF: You know, I think we have a lot of work to do before we answer that question.


JANSING: That is, though, Barbara, key question given within these letters to these former aides, what do they reveal about how the committee is approaching this investigation? And what are they looking to do?

BARBARA MCQUADE, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, it does seem to me to send a message that they are focusing their energies at this moment on Donald Trump himself. You know, the first thing they looked at that hearing they had this summer with the police officers was all about the impact at the Capitol. But this is really all going right to the source.

If you look at the four men who are involved in this people who are at the White House that day, Steve Bannon, who is advising Donald Trump the night before, and Kash Patel, who has said previously to the press, that he was in nonstop communication with Mark Meadows, the White House Chief of Staff that day.

So it seems to me that they are really focusing on what President Trump was planning, what he knew, and perhaps why he didn`t act sooner when we saw violence break out there.

Think in light of some of the news is broken in recent days about this six step plan that Chinese been wrote about how to overthrow the election, along with his other memo showing that members of the Trump campaign knew that there was no fraud in the election, really points, a lot of fingers in the direction of President Trump to determine whether this was, you know, not just a lot of chaos that happened on January 6, but a concerted plan.

JANSING: And Ashley, you covered the Trump White House for four years. Give us a little context, based on what Barbara was just saying, how important the people who receive these subpoenas word of the president that kind of access they had. And how`s this going over in Trump world tonight.

ASHLEY PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: So these people who received the subpoenas are incredibly important, the Trump world with the exception of Steve Bannon, and even he in some ways, they were all members of the President`s inner circle, intimate confidant people who were there or in contact with him the day of the insurrection in the run up to the insurrection.

And, you know, as a journalist to immediately after wrote some of the story is trying to detail what happened on January 6, and how did we get there. This committee is doing exactly what we do say, who are the people who can tell us what the President meant by this tweet, what was he thinking about the angry crowd? He knew there was a crowd that had gathered that night before. What was his mindset? What did he expect to happen? What was he telling people close to him when he dictated a tweet to Dan Scavino? Or who received a subpoena or typed one out himself? What was his goal? What did he maybe say before after that tweet was sent that we don`t know but that tells us what he did or didn`t want to happen on January 6?

The difference, of course, is that unlike journalists, this committee has subpoena power. And so you can see their reaction from Trump world already. They are curious about it. But it looks like this is the beginning of what is going to be an effort to get closer and closer to the former president`s inner circle.

JANSING: Yes. Clint Watts listening to various members of this committee tonight in interviews, it`s clear that they`re moving fast, that they`re focused. What do you think, based on what you`ve seen so far the content in these letters and what are you looking for going forward?

CLINT WATTS, FMR. FBI SPECIAL AGENT: I think this is the critical stuff, Chris. When you look across the board since January 6, it`s kind of just been let`s beat up on all the law enforcement all the FBI, you know, DHS, why weren`t they doing? Why wasn`t the Pentagon responding? But when you look at it at its core, the only real unknowns at this point is who got those people out there on the lawn that day out in front of the Capitol? And was there any intent to go ahead and breach the Capitol?

I mean, just from the public statements of some of these individuals, you can see there was clear intent to create a large mobilization at the Capitol and they`ve got it. I think it`s also, you know, it`s very interested to kind of hear Barbara`s perspective as well, as, you know, when these documents if we do get ahold of them, and we see what the communications were, we see when there were sort of questions about, Hey, would you pull them back? Or was there any sort of coordination the night before this, so called meetup or, I guess Steve Bannon was that seems it would also open a lot of people up to civil liability. There were injuries here. We had law enforcement officers hurt injured, some were killed. PTSD.

I think a lot of these records when they come into the public it`s going to go far beyond just this initial investigation. It`s going to really open up some culpability over time, I think. But Barbara`s probably the better person for understanding the breakdown of the law.

JANSING: Yes. And Barbara, in terms of this investigation, in the past we`ve seen how Republicans have kind of mastered procedural delays. But on our air tonight, Adam Schiff said that Democrats learned a lot from the past. They can hold witnesses in contempt, they can refer them to the Justice Department. He thinks this is obviously a whole different approach that we`ll see in this Justice Department. How critical is DOJ in all this? And what are you watching for in that regard?


MCQUADE: I do think he`s right, in that we now have a different administration. In the last administration, we frequently saw the Justice Department acting as an ally of President Trump and shielding him in some of his associates from subpoena power, and taking things to court. And so having a justice department that acts with integrity, and that will be there to hold people in contempt, file, you know, criminal charges for people who refuse to comply with subpoenas. I think it can be very meaningful.

I do think, though, that one of the cards that is still held by all of these witnesses, is their own ability to go to court and file a lawsuit or President Trump`s ability to go to court and file a lawsuit, even though ultimately I think Congress will get the witnesses they want, and the documents they want, because this is clearly within their power, especially if the current White House waives executive privilege. I think that Trump and his associates can further delay things.

But I`d really like to see is to force back with some urgency.

JANSING: Can he legitimately claim, executive privilege, Barbara.

MCQAUDE: I think ultimately, he cannot. I think ultimately, it will be the decision of the Biden White House, but I think he can do enough to file a lawsuit in the courts, and wait for that to get litigated. So I think that he can try to slow things down. And that may be -- but I think at the end of the day, Congress will prevail and get the documents and the witnesses that they want.

JANSING: Let`s talk about the cooperation that we`re seeing, Ashley, from this White House, and potentially what kind of showdown that might be setting up between Republicans and Democrats. Look, this was always going to be what the two sides have said it was going to be, though Democrats say this is a legitimate investigation. You cannot have an insurrection at the Capitol and not have an investigation. The Republicans, of course, have said that it is just a sham, it`s political theater. But in terms of the White House cooperation, how do you see that?

PARKER: Well, I think you see it as in line with a President Biden`s campaign and his administration, which is that he talked about sort of restoring democracy over autocracy and making that one of his guiding principles. You know, he was talking about that globally, but it was also very much coming in and undoing what he thought were all the wrongs and ills of the Trump administration and all of the ways they chipped away at democratic institutions and eroded faith in them.

And that`s why you see this Biden White House coming out and they`re tested it not at all, if you look at their public statements, even in political or partisan terms, but saying that this this was an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, this was a dark day for democracy. We believe as Americans that this can never happen again. And that`s why we`re participating not because we don`t like the former guy. But because this is so important.

Of course, you are going to hear from Republicans as we did from that clip, you played a Leader McCarthy, just the opposite. And from President Trump that it`s witch hunt, that it`s hoax, and it is going to become politicized very quickly. But that is not how the Biden administration views it or how they are talking about it.

JANSING: And the big lie continues, Clint. I mean, Ashley`s for her reporters have been very, very busy tonight, are just reporting that the Texas Secretary of State`s office is going to audit the 2020 election results after Trump called the governor and asked for one, then you also have the fact that we`re expecting the results of this so called audit in Arizona tomorrow.

The Times reports that had already inspired copycat efforts in other states. Talk a little bit about how these ongoing lies this misinformation on the election is just continuing to grow and cause problems today.

WATTS: I think there`s the acute problem, which is it`s still causing the sort of incitement and at points mobilizations that we`ve seen, Chris, over the last few months. And we`ve been on air because the Capitol is becoming a magnet after January 6. State, local capitals have become magnets for intense protests, and even incitement to violence.

I think separately over the longer term, it just -- it really degrades trust and confidence in democracies and all of our democracy institutions and elected officials over time. And it becomes a playbook where if a candidate doesn`t win, then they feel like they need to claim that it was all rigged against them.

Ultimately, it`s a fundraising mechanism I think for these politicians and particularly the Trump Organization is to keep them going, right, to keep their base going about something. One thing I don`t think people realize is President Trump has never stopped campaigning when he was president and still does not stop campaigning. He`s still out there and pushing any still picking.


You see the power today with a call to Texas, this Arizona audit, at least the initial reports I`ve just read about 30 minutes ago seem to say that they will find absolutely nothing. It will not overturn anything. All it is doing is eroding competence and Americans, you know, trust in democracy and putting dollars in the pockets of PACs and politicians that are just going to use it to kind of campaign indefinitely under false pretenses.

JANSING: Yes. And when you talk about the kind of unrest that this foments, Clint, you had the FBI Director saying just this week, that incidents of domestic terrorism have more than doubled. I mean, it`s only going to get worse as this kind of rhetoric continues to amp-up.

WATTS: I think there`s several confluence of events. We`ve got, you know, anti-mask, anti-vaccine, election fraud protests, all of that coming together. We had a mass shooting today in Tennessee. We have people going back to the workplace. We haven`t done employment benefits ending. And next year is an election year, which means all the rhetoric team tends to ramp up.

I mean, you can see it from Marjorie Taylor Greene commercials, with a 50 Cal sniper rifle shooting exploding trucks, essentially kind of laying out a story that we want to you if you remember years ago, we got upset at Sarah Palin for talking about crosshairs. I mean, this is next level sort of incitement and I don`t know how bad things don`t happen based on the level of rhetoric and the emotion that`s going on around the country right now.

JANSING: So Barbara, look into your crystal ball, and then give us the benefit of all of your experience. We know that they want to move forward on this. We know that this is not something they want to drag out, but realistically give us a timeline as you see it. And where you see this going. How big is it going to get? Because already tonight, at least one member of the committee said we`re not done obviously with the subpoenas here.

MCQUADE: Well, one thing they did that gives me optimism is they didn`t use the normal niceties that are done when you are subpoenaing members of the former executive branch by giving them first an invitation to come in. And then only when they decline using the subpoena that came right out of the gate with a subpoena which I think was a good move to short circuit things.

I do think it`s likely that some of them will file lawsuits. I hope that the judges who see those cases will decide them in an expedited manner, you know, just as we saw back in the Nixon case, when the Supreme Court heard that case within just a matter of days, and not dragging this out a matter of months. And so if we could get that kind of resolution from a court, then we might see these witnesses testifying within the next few months.

JANSING: Ashley Parker, whose paper has had a literal explosion of breaking news stories tonight. Thank you for being here. Barbara McQuade, Clint Watts, thanks to both of you.

And coming up, what`s next for chain Trump facing subpoenas from the January 6 Committee. And later, one of our top medical experts is here with what you need to know about Pfizer boosters and what to do if you`ve got one of the other vaccines. The 11th Hour just getting underway on a Thursday night.




ROBERT COSTA, "PERIL" CO-AUTHOR: Steve Bannon, he`s now known as a podcast host, a conservative figure popular on the far right. But he`s also someone we realized who was talking to President Trump in the final days of the Trump presidency, talking to President Trump even on January 5, the eve of the insurrection and saying to President Trump based on our reporting, kill the Biden presidency in the crib, January 6 has to be a reckoning.


JANSING: That of course, the Washington Post`s Robert Costa, one of the co- authors of the new book "Peril" here just last night, describing what they learned about Steve Bannon `s actions ahead of January 6. Well, tonight, Bannon is one of four Trump allies now being subpoenaed by the House Committee investigating the insurrection.

Here to talk more about it is Robert Gibbs, former Obama campaign senior advisor and White House press secretary under President Obama, and Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, former lieutenant governor of Maryland, and host of the Michael Steele podcast. Good to see you guys.

So Robert, constant laid out Bannon, we saw Mark Meadows with the President on January 6, so was Covino for that matter. These are the folks who have been part of his inner circle. So they know things. But will they comply or more likely, as Chairman Bennie Thompson put it be recalcitrant?

ROBERT GIBBS, FMR. OBAMA CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well, I think Chris, there`s no doubt, and you`ve seen this from the Republican Party`s posture on investigating the entire insurrection is. They want nothing to do with this. They`re going to delay. They won`t participate. They`ll do all these things.

But I think your previous guest talked about the fact they`re likely in some way to be compelled to deliver some testimony. And while I think Steve Bannon is maybe the most exciting name there.

To me the most interesting one is the former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. It is unimaginable that Mark Meadows wouldn`t know everything that happened that day, every movement that Donald Trump made, and every update that was coming in or request from the Pentagon, or from the FBI would have been funneled into the White House through the chief of staff`s office. So, he would know everything there was to know about that day and I think he`s going to be the most interesting witness.

JANSING: So Michael STEELE, we have a couple of pieces of breaking news here that I want to ask you about. We just got a tweet from Maricopa County. You know, we`re expecting this report on the review, whatever we want to call it in Arizona. Here`s what Maricopa County tweeted their official account. The Arizona audit draft report from cyber ninjas confirms the county`s canvass of the 2020 general election was accurate, and the candidate certified as the winners did, in fact, win. Almost simultaneously. This report in the Washington Post, I just mentioned it, that the Texas Secretary of State`s office is announcing an audit of the 2020 election results after Trump called for one. I don`t think we need to remind people he won that.

MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIRMAN: Yes, yes. Small detail. He won Texas. Look, this is an absolute waste of taxpayer time and money. It`s up to the citizens of those jurisdictions to express their outrage about it. The rest of the country just yawns because the reality remains the result at Maricopa County put out tonight.


Hey, we call the election in November. We certified the election in November. All we see now is the same information coming back the exact same way. This idea, by the way, of a forensic electoral audit is a fiction. It doesn`t exist in law. It is a waste of time. It is a waste of effort.

The processes that are in place under current laws and subsequently revised laws, not in this last cycle, but leading up to this cycle, have ensured this process to be fair and complete. And in dealing with the kinds of things that, you know, you need to do, canvassing and making sure that the ballots are where they need to be, et cetera.

So, all that we`re seeing right now are Republicans affirming what the country learned and knew on November 3 in that, you know, succeeding few days after the election, before the final announcement and certification of Joe Biden as president was made. So if y`all want to pay for it in Texas, y`all can pay for it. But --

JANSING: But what is confounding? Not that we`re looking for any common sense in this, Robert, is the fact that we have history with this, right? They`ve done other audits. They found out that, no, absolutely nothing was wrong, that the result of the election was indeed the result of the election. And yet somehow they keep going and keep claiming fraud and keep claiming in the face of the facts. Victory.

GIBBS: Yes, I think at Georgia, we counted the presidential vote three times. Maricopa County, counted several times tested their machines, did a hand count. Look, this is, as Michael said, an enormous waste of time and energy, an enormous waste of taxpayer monies. And I think it`s all done exactly for what your previous guests said. This is about raising money. This is about exciting.

STEELE: Right.

GIBBS: The Trump base and the Trump partisans to continue to give money to people that are pushing the audit in Arizona. I mean, as you said, Why on earth would we audit Texas? As a Democrat, I would concede Texas, right. Michael, as a Republican, they won Texas. We can set that aside. I don`t know what do we -- are we going to Oklahoma and Alaska next? I mean we get it.

JANSING: Maybe the question is, Robert, why aren`t you contesting Texas?

GIBBS: Well, maybe not. Right, maybe. Maybe I should. I don`t know. But I think -- but all kidding aside, I think Chris is clearly done, you know, to raise money, to increase this tension that Donald Trump needs to have exist. But look, the problem with this is that it undermines everything, right? There are people that are just beginning to pay attention to some of these audit process are just learning about it. And they`re probably ask themselves, well, was there something wrong? Why did it need to be audited?

And so again, it`s this slow drip, drip, drip that withers away the foundation of what otherwise should be the strongest, most robust democracy on the planet.

JANSING: And on a kind of parallel track, Michael Steele, I mean, there`s the possibility of a government shutdown looming. And Aaron Blake wrote this today, the last quarter century has featured an increasing number of such standoffs with Republicans generally seeking something from a democratic president to rein in spending. In almost every case, though, Republicans wound up bearing most of the blame, and they rarely got much in the way of concessions to show for it. So can you explain why they keep playing this game?

STEELE: Well, a lot of it is to Robert`s point about money. It`s about driving the base. It`s about, you know, trying to given all the money that was spent during the Trump years and the, you know, the growth of government during that period.

Now, it`s all about oh, you know, we`re fiscal conservatives, and the Democrats are, you know, wild sort of drunken, you know, folks out there spending money that people don`t have. But at the end of the day, this story is going to play out the way it always has. There will not be as a shutdown, because the Republicans often get the short end of that stick. So why would you if you`re trying to set up 2022.

You`re not going to be able to do it successfully on this issue. You may be able to come at it on other things, you know, $3.5 trillion in infrastructure, spending or whatever. But on something like this that goes so fundamentally, to that safety net, that many of those Republican constituents need and have to access, whether it`s social security, whether it`s a, you know, assistance for their kids, food stamps, whatever it happens to be to, be the party that standing in the way of that, as the article says has never turned out well for Republicans. So why bite it that poisonous apple?


JANSING: Yes, there was actually a poll on this, I think in August and this is an important issue for 2 percent of the electorate. So it`s also hard to see just as a numbers game, how that works for them.


JANSING: OK, Michael and Robert, you`re staying with us. And coming up, we`re going to talk about the politics surrounding the human drama that`s still unfolding along the southern border when the 11th Hour continues.



ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: It is critical that people understand that the authority that we are exercising is not a matter of immigration policy. It is a matter of public health, as issued by the CDC to protect the migrants themselves, our personnel, local communities and the American public.


JANSING: The Biden administration defending its handling of the influx of Haitian migrants at the southern border. But just today the top U.S. diplomat in Haiti resigned. Special envoy Daniel Foote writing in the letter to the Secretary of State quote, I will not be associated with the United States inhumane counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the dangers posed by armed gangs in control of daily life.


White House also announcing today horses will no longer use -- be used by border officials in Del Rio. That change, of course, prompted by the release of what the white house called horrific images showing agents on horseback charging Haitian migrants on the border.

Still with us, Robert Gibbs, Michael Steele. Robert, The White House says its banning horses at the border is that though just a surface level fix for what`s happening. I mean, this is a mess down there.

GIBBS: It is a mess, Chris, but I think it`s an important component of this policy. I mean, those are pictures that are sent around the world and the images were horrific. They don`t belong in 2021. And they didn`t belong centuries ago, when we might have been more used to, unfortunately, seeing them.

I think, though the steps they are taking are important. Most importantly, probably is getting people into shelters, getting them out from underneath the bridge. 15,000 people living in those conditions under a bridge is not what we want to see. And then quite frankly, we`ve got to go through the adjudication process of I would presume tens of thousands of people or at least thousands of people seeking some level of asylum.

So look, there`s a whole practical policy that has to get put back together. The asylum process came to a basically to a screeching halt under the Trump administration. Immigration courts are overloaded, it takes months if not longer to get a case heard. So, there`s a lot of practical things that I think this administration has to get moving through in order to deal with this, as well as stemming more people from coming.

JANSING: This has confounded just border issues in general immigration, the issues of migrants, Michael Steele, you know this, Republican and Democratic administrations one after the other after the other, are we not learning lessons? How are we not getting this right?

STEELE: Because we are blinded by our self-interest, a very small, but very vocal group of anti-immigrant Americans who don`t want anyone to come to this country, under any circumstances, under any condition. So that has blinded and deafened our will, and our efforts.

I agree with Robert, the administration has a mess -- on it has on its hands had one going back to the early days of its inception, and it has not yet still been able to handle it. You`ve sent the vice president to the border. The President`s talked about the border. The Secretary has put made pronouncements and made claims.

And then you have the imagery. You have now, you know, black people being charged by horses. And, you know, what I`m hearing in neighborhoods are, you know, oh, so they take out the horses when the black folks show up, you know. And so there are there`s just a lot of bad messaging around what`s going on at the border. And it means that, you know, whether this administration can do it now or a future administration is going to have to do at some point, somebody`s got to say, this is the policy, this is what we`re going to do.

And the Congress has got to understand that the role that they play here is going to be very important to the success or failure of whatever that policy is. We have to stop playing politics with this, because a lot of people lives and livelihoods are affected by the decisions that are made or rather not made here in Washington.

JANSING: Yes. But as you know, they are playing politics with it. They`re going to continue to play politics with it.


JANSING: I want to play with Senator Lindsey Graham said on Fox earlier today.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): So Maxine Waters is unhappy with the Cowboys. Well, you know who the Cowboys are. They`re federal law enforcement officers with a duty to protect the border, and she sees them as the bad guy. So all I can say is what Biden has done is he surrendered the border to drug cartels, Cody`s and human smugglers.


JANSING: I don`t know Robet Gibbs how we get past this.

GIBBS: Well, ironic to show a clip from Lindsey Graham, who three political lifetimes ago was supportive with the late John McCain and others have comprehensive immigration reform. Lindsey Graham gets some bad polling back in South Carolina a few years ago in running for reelection and you get what you see on Fox today with Lindsey Graham.

You know, I mean, there are people that are sitting in Washington and throughout this country that are working each day and probably tonight to figure out a policy solve for the immigration challenges that you mentioned, vexed the Obama administration, the Trump administration and now the Biden`s administration and then there`s people that are running as fast as they can to Fox to try to do what Lindsey Graham does, which is incense and inflame the situation.


But we need --

JANSING: Instead of fixing it.

GIBBS: We need quite frankly -- instead of -- we need two parties that are willing --

STEELE: Right.

GIBBS: -- to come together and govern the country. We know what people can say on Fox, we need some governing solutions. Again, Lindsey Graham used to be that but the party that he wanted to be part of, and the party that he needed to be part of to get reelected were in violent disagreement with each other and Lindsey Graham long ago picked the party of politics.

JANSING: Robert Gibbs, Michael Steele, great to see both thank you for staying up with us. And coming up, the week`s headlines over booster shots may have left you just a little bit confused, which is why we`ve got Dr. Bhadelia standing by when the 11th Hour continues.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are 15 who voted yes, zero noes. The ayes have it and I believe the recommendation is adopted. Dr. Cohn?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, this motion passed 15 zero.


JANSING: After that unanimous vote from an advisory panel, the CDC is expected to formally recommend that some Americans get Pfizer`s booster shot six months after their last shot. The AP sums it up this way. Advisers to the CDC said booster should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The panel offered the option of a booster for those 18 to 49 who have chronic health problems and want one.

But the CDC panel voted against recommending extra shots to Americans with high risk jobs including health care workers and teachers.


Back with us again tonight Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious disease physician and the founding director of Boston University`s center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Policy and Research, so much to get to.

Let`s start with a lot of folks who are very unhappy that they have not qualified. Teachers worried unvaccinated kids will infect them, including in states that don`t have masks mandates, doctors and nurses, many of them still working day in day out in hotspots. And those health care workers we should mention were some of the earliest to get vaccinated, so their protection has waned. What do you make of the fact that there were excluded?

DR. NAHID BHADELIA, INFECTIOUS DISEASES PHYSICIAN: Hey Chris, there was there was a lot of discussion of the committee, I got to say, there was agonizing, right? This is these are not easy questions. And part of what they were trying to balance is, what data is there in terms of a benefit of a booster and the data seemed clear in terms of protection against severe disease and hospitalizations, and those who are older, (INAUDIBLE) potentially people who might have medical conditions.

But as you got younger, what they were trying to balance, but is that is there an addition -- additional benefit to that kind of severe disease or hospitalization protection for younger folk, particularly 18 to 50 range of that?

The trouble there is that they said, Well, look, that one benefit, but everybody could benefit, the benefit is good, it`s for people who are older, benefit from people who are younger could be protection from infection, but we don`t know how long that immunity against just infection last, even with these boosters.

But as you say, I think a lot of people were surprised about healthcare workers and other essential workers not being included, because even with that short increase in protection against infection, and the period of time that we`re in where, you know, these high risk, occupational settings, where our essential workers might be working, I think most of us would have agreed that this might be a good reason to approve that.

Also, it`s very confusing --


BHADELIA: -- because the FDA recommended one thing and the CDC, the committee recommended another. However, I will just end with this, it`s probably broader booster by a recommendation that most people think because obesity is one of the things that`s included, and they consider that as a body mass index of over 25. And I should just tell you, that`s over 70 percent of the American public.

JANSING: 70 percent of the American public falls. OK. So, look, a lot of people do think it`s confusing. And in fact, the CDC panel points out that implementing these recommendations will be challenging, falling again, on doctors who are already overwhelmed with COVID. And, you know, folks who are working in pharmacies and so on, how do we make this less confusing and less challenging?

BHADELIA: Yes, I`m going to add another layer of complexity to this because the recommendations may also be different for the other vaccines. We haven`t seen Moderna submitted their data. They haven`t had the same kind of discussion about their boosters.

One way would be to align the Moderna recommendations to what`s you know, first, we have to see what the CDC director does with these recommendations. It would be traditional for the CDC director to accept what the committee says. But if they do the idea of trying to align as much similarity between the mRNA technologies, I think, though, that at least with Johnson and Johnson, which is a one dose vaccine, and there`s recent data that shows that their efficacy is waning against hospitalization for everybody. You might see a recommendation for boosters for everybody in that group. So it`s going to get even more confusing.

The best probably the thing to do is to try to align those recommendations as much as possible. And to be clear about who qualifies and who doesn`t qualify, it`s going to take a lot of work.

JANSING: Yes. And beyond boosters, the big picture of where this pandemic is going, I want to play for you what former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb predicted this morning.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FMR. FDA COMMISSIONER: I think this delta wave may be the last major wave of infection, assuming nothing unexpected happens, we don`t get a variant that pierces the immunity offered by prior infection by vaccination. So assuming that doesn`t happen, and I think it`s unlikely this will be the last major wave of infection. This becomes a more persistent endemic risk. So you continue to have Coronavirus spread, but not the same rates we`re seeing right now.


JANSING: But also, just over half of Americans are fully vaccinated, we`re 39th in the world for vaccinations, are you as optimistic that the Delta wave is in fact the last major wave of infection we`re likely to see?

BHADELIA: I think, you know, it completely depends on how much evolution we see in this virus. And that`s related to how much uncontrolled transmission is happening in the rest of the world. You`ve heard me speak about this in the past, as well as that, you know, between now and when we get majority of us covered by vaccination, unfortunately, a percentage of us still continuing to get infected.

So if we have the bad luck, that we don`t get to a point where we`ve all had either an encounter with a vaccine which is preferred or encountered with the virus within and we get a new variant in that period of time before we reach what we think is likely to be the number that we need for heard immunity and at this point with a variant like Delta, most people think that`s over 90 percent of us having either gotten a vaccine or unfortunately have gotten through the infection.


We`re at the mercy of what the left may bring. I do think that once we get to the other side of this, once we get most of us vaccinated, Chris, he`s right, talked about (INAUDIBLE) right is that it will become endemic and there will might be surges among people who are vulnerable, but it will not be as bad as it has been now.

JANSING: Dr. Nahid Bhadelia will leave on that promising note, thank you so much for being with us tonight. And coming up, how California`s historic drought is threatening the state`s renewable energy infrastructure when the 11th Hour continues.


JANSING: The historic drought in California has shut down a major hydroelectric power plant at one of the state`s largest reservoirs. Climate change is now posing a risk to California`s renewable energy infrastructure. That`s actually meant to help combat the crisis. Our report tonight from NBC News correspondent Jacob Soboroff.


JACOB SOBOROFF, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On California`s Lake Oroville shuttle boat operator John Lopez is discovering a world not seen for decades.

JOHN LOPEZ, SHUTT BOAT OPERATOR: This is the first time this set of trees here has even seen the light of day in probably 60 years.

SOBOROFF (on camera): So in your lifetime, these trees have never been above the waterline?

LOPEZ: Exactly.

SOBOROFF (voice-over): The water level at the state second largest reservoir is the lowest it`s ever been. Droughts aren`t new to this part of California. But what is different is the intensity and duration of the current droughts brought on by the effects of climate change.

John Yarbrough helps oversee water management at Lake Oroville. What happened all the water?

JOHN YARBROUGH, WATER MANAGEMENT AT LAKE OROVILLE: Last year was one of the lowest precipitation years we have on record. This year even lower.

SOBOROFF: These droughts aren`t only affecting California`s water supply but also the renewable energy infrastructure that depends on it.


This hydroelectric power plant on the Lake Oroville dam usually generates clean energy. But for weeks the water level here has been too low to power it.

YARBROUGH: This is kind of what I imagined walking on the surface of Mars might look like.

SOBOROFF: This is very dramatic.

YARBROUGH: So at this point we can`t take the water in and so we shut the power plant down until we get enough precipitation, enough runoff bring the reservoir back up.

SOBOROFF: With hydro power compromised by climate change, other environmentally friendly power sources become that much more important.

In the Mojave Desert, we went to one of the largest solar farms in the world and met Alicia Knapp, it`s CEO.

(on camera): Of all the sources of renewable energy, is it fair to say that solar might create the most?

ALICIA KNAPP, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF BHE RENEWABLES: Absolutely. Solar is definitely the most abundant resource that we have, particularly here in California.

SOBOROFF (voice-over): But even energy sources as abundant as the sun and wind come with their own potential challenges.

KNAPP: The sun does not always shine. The wind does not always blow. There`s more solutions that are needed in order to truly achieve our renewable energy goals.

SOBOROFF: A future powered by clean energy visible on the horizon, but now challenged by the intensifying realities of climate change. Jacob Soboroff, NBC News, Lake Oroville, California.


JANSING: We`re back with more of the 11th Hour after a quick break.


JANSING: That is our broadcast for this Thursday night with our thanks for being with us. You can catch me again tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern on MSNBC Reports and I look forward to joining you here for THE 11TH HOUR again tomorrow night. On behalf of my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.