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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, January 12, 2021

Guests: Sean Patrick Maloney, Melissa Murray, Carol Leonnig, Tom Nichols, Celine Gounde


House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump. President Donald Trump takes no responsibility after inciting deadly riot. Trump visits what exists of his border wall in Texas. Huge security concerns hang over Biden inauguration. The Justice Department is looking at possible felony sedition charges for some of the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol. Secret Service launches massive security operation to protect Biden inauguration. CDC expands COVID vaccination guidelines to everyone 65 and older. COVID-19 vaccine rollout falls short of expectations.


LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Tommy Raskin, like his father, Jamie is a graduate of the Harvard Law School. He had a full future in front of him that is now gone. Joe Biden has talked about finding purpose to get through times like this. Jamie Raskin's purpose is now protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States. That's tonight's LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again, day 1,454 of the Trump administration, a days until the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

As we come on the air tonight as has been noted in our live coverage, the house is taking the first of two votes to try to remove Donald Trump from office. Voting is already underway in the House right now on this resolution, calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment but the vote is only symbolic, because Pence already said he's not going to do it even though he refused to do Trump's bidding when it came to overturning the writ, the election.

Peter Baker and his colleagues at the New York Times report on the blowup between Trump and Pence last Wednesday shortly before Pence headed to the Capitol. The Times quotes Trump as warning his ardently loyal sidekick, "You can either go down in history as a patriot, or you can go down in history as a"-- and hear the President uses his go to P word.

Earlier tonight Pence sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi explaining his refusal to invoke the 25th Amendment against his boss. It reads in part, "I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation or constituent with Constitution. I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment."

Well, the second vote is expected in the House sometime tomorrow. That would be the vote to impeach Donald Trump for a second time. As more House Republicans join that effort tonight. It seems certain the President will be impeached by the House again by this time tomorrow night.

Tonight nearly one week after the attack on the Capitol Trump finally talked to reporters. He took questions on the role that his words played and setting off the bloody insurrection that took five lives, including that of a police officer. A week ago, Trump urged his supporters to walk down to the Capitol saying they needed to fight like hell to show strength.

Here is what Trump said today before leaving Washington for a trip to Texas to tout what's been built of his border wall.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: People thought that what I said was totally appropriate. And if you look at what other people have said politicians at a high level, about the riots during the summer, the horrible riots in Portland and Seattle and various other places. That was a real problem. They've analyzed my speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence, and everybody just the key thought it was totally appropriate.


WILLIAMS: Tonight, there are significant cracks in the one seemingly impenetrable red wall of support that Republicans built around Donald Trump. The Senate Majority Leader is now breaking with Trump. It would seem The New York Times reporting Mitch McConnell "has told associates that he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses, and that he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach him, believing that it will make it easier to purge him from the party."

The Times peace continues. "Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Minority Leader and one of Mr. Trump's most steadfast allies in Congress has asked other Republicans whether he should call on Mr. Trump to resign."

At least for House Republicans, Liz Cheney, the number three ranking Republican in the House, along with Congressman John Katko, Adam Kinzinger, and Fred Upton have all said they will in fact cross over and vote to impeach Trump.

Cheney, of course, the daughter of Dick Cheney, her statement said in part, "There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."

Today, Trump trying to frame this fast moving impeachment push as just part of an ongoing campaign against him.


TRUMP: The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country and is causing tremendous anger and division and pain far greater than most people will ever understand which is very dangerous for the USA especially at this very tender time.

WILLIAMS: As the investigation Capitol attack continues, The New York Times reports federal authorities have warned the President about the possibility of violence the Sunday before the riots last Wednesday. The Times writes, "top officials in government had reason to be deeply concerned about the possibility of violence. The indications included a pair of FBI reports that warned of war and blowing up a building at a Midwest state house and a White House meeting where President Trump and top military officials discussed deploying the National Guard."

And the Washington Post reports the day before January 5, an FBI office in Virginia warned extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and war. The Post reports and internal bureau document noted online discussions of violence saying, "Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, get violent. Stop calling this a march or rally or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our president or we die."

Well, today federal law enforcement authorities held their first news conference six days after the violence.


STEVEN D'ANTUONO, FBI WASHINGTON ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN CHARGE: We received a lot of intelligence, like I said in my statement, a lot of intelligence and information through all different means, be it through social media or through CHSS sources. And then we have a sharing mechanism with JTTF. That was a thread on a message board that was not attributable, was being attributable to an individual person. We, like I said my statement, we deal with specifics and facts. That information when my office in Washington Field Office received that information. We briefed that within 40 minutes to our law enforcement partners, a federal state law enforcement partners that we are command post, it got ingested into the JTTF system, and was again shared with all our law enforcement partners through that process.


WILLIAMS: With Joe Biden's inauguration now one week away, Washington is already seeing dramatic increases in security, as members of Congress are getting updated briefings on potential new threats.


REP. CONOR LAMB, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: The threats we are facing are very specific. I don't want anyone watching at home to think like we're just sort of imagining that things can be bad. They're talking about 4000 armed patriots to surround the Capitol and prevent any Democrat from going in. And they have published rules of engagement, meaning when you shoot and when you don't. So this is this is an organized group that has a plan.


WILLIAMS: Before we bring in our other guests this evening, we are pleased to be joined by Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney represents New York's 18th, including the suburbs, north of the city, parts of the Hudson Valley. He also sits on the House Intel and chairs the critical Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Congressman, thank you for making time. And since we haven't spoken since the insurrection I'm first off curious, where were you at the height of it? Did you have the time and opportunity and inclination to call home? For example, how much did you know in real time?

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY, (D) NEW YORK INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I was on the House floor. And I was watching MSNBC on my phone out of one eye and watching the proceedings on the floor with the other. So I saw it come in and then I heard it and then all hell broke loose.

WILLIAMS: Talk about what happens tomorrow, do you have confidence in the effort not among Democrats in the House. But when it goes over to the Senate, are we reading too much into these reports about Mitch McConnell?

MALONEY: Well, I don't know why Mitch McConnell needs to play games and hide behind anonymous sources. Maybe you could just stand up for what's right at long last. Is that too much to ask? And I'm glad we've got four House Republicans. There are 212 of them. And all of us were attacked last Wednesday. And we were within 60, 90 seconds of a House of Representatives that was overtaken by protesters who would have surrounded us, had dozens of members on the House floor. They had zip ties. I seem to bring zip ties because you want to take prisoners or hostages.

You could have had a horrific situation. And there was no distinguishing in those moments between Democrats and Republicans. And so it's time for all of us to stand up and be counted. I'm proud of my colleagues for what we're doing tonight. It would have been better if the President had resigned, would have been better if the vice president would do his duty or the Republicans in the cabinet would do theirs. But we're going to do ours. And then Mitch McConnell and his colleagues in the Senate should be accountable for what they do next.

WILLIAMS: Congressman, I said here last night and correct me if I'm wrong, that this seems to be the rare event that gets worse, gets scarier, the longer we have to look back at it. Here you are, members of the House getting briefings on A, how close you came? And B, who else is out there frothed up? Who may have a target on your backs?

MALONEY: Well, that's exactly right. I think I was more scared Friday and Saturday than I was on Wednesday night. Meaning, I don't think in real time, we understood what we were facing. I was sitting next to Colin, all right. He's a, you know, former Tennessee Titans. He's a linebacker that's six, three big guy, terrific member of Congress. And he was taking his coat off. And three or four of us took our coats off. And I said to him, Colin, are you ready to go a couple rounds with these MAGA guys, and he said, let's go.

And I think we thought at that point, a few of them might break in the chamber, and it might be a scuffle or a melee. We had no idea. There were hundreds of. We had no idea a police officer would lose his life, that moments later, the staff would be saving our lives by piling up desks and chairs and credenzas. That's what kept that mob from encircling the chamber. That's where that woman lost her life and was shot. And just a few seconds later, we were being escorted out moments before disaster.

And so I think that it took a while to settle in for folks. I think it's taken the American people a little while to look at those images, to get their heads around the fact that 1000s of Americans attacked our capital, believing that they could overturn our government, our Constitution. This is the first time in 240 years any group of Americans has ever done this before. And a Capitol Police Officer lost his life and others have lost their lives. And there must be accountability. So I'm proud of what we're doing tonight. And I think the Senate needs to step up.

WILLIAMS: It remains incredible to watch the pictures while you were talking. Congressmen we're happy that you and your staff and all your colleagues in the House and Senate are safe. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York you will be watching you all in action here during the day tomorrow and into the night. Thank you very much for making time to join us.

And with that, let's begin our leadoff discussion on this Tuesday night. Philip Rucker is back with us, Pulitzer Prize-winning White House Bureau Chief for The Washington Post, co-author with Carol Leonnig, who's standing by to join us later, of the best selling book, A Very Stable Genius. Those two are now working on a new book about the President's last year in office. Phil also notably traveled with the President on that Texas trip today, noting on Instagram along the way. This was his last air force one trip of Trump's presidency.

Also with us, Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times, he is among the co authors of the book Impeachment: An American History which has swung back around to being relevant again. And Melissa Murray, she is an NYU Law Professor who happened to clerked for Judge Sonia Sotomayor while she was on the U.S. Court of Appeals prior to her elevation to the Supreme Court.

Well, good evening, and welcome to you all. Phil, I'm so curious about the atmospherics on your trip today. The stakes have gone up and up and up. The pressure on the President has increased with the hour. Did he seem like a man affected by it? Did he seem like a president at all, walking a verbal tightrope?

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: He certainly did, him affected by it, Brian, in terms of walking a verbal tightrope, I'm not sure because this is a president who, before departing on his trip this morning, claimed that his remarks in that rally instigating this mob riot were totally appropriate. He claimed falsely that he saw all through the media people analyzing his remarks and saying they were appropriate. There actually has been universal condemnation of his remarks, including by Republican allies. So I'm not sure which media outlets he's looking at there.

But having spent the day with the president, he was clearly taken by these events. He seemed to be rather angry. He kept the distance from reporters he spoke with us once but we're used to on these long trips, him engaging, having some banter being a little bit light, and there was none of that today. He was clearly in a dark place. As we've been recording for the last few days. He has been all week.

And he only has eight days left. This was his final trip or at least the final scheduled trip that he's going to be making as the president. He wanted to try to burnish his legacy by going down to the border wall in Texas and yet, the trip was completely overshadowed by the impeachment developments back home.

And again, we should underscore that the President has been deprived his megaphone on Twitter and that got to him because multiple points on this trip today, he talked about how big tech had gone too far that they were trying to censor him and how wrong that was.

WILLIAMS: Peter Baker, talk about your reporting and that of your colleagues on the Pence-Trump relationship. And am I correct in assuming that it took the threat of hanging inside or outside the U.S. Capitol to shake the loyalty of the Vice President?

PETER BAKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, the Vice President, I think, has for years managed to find ways of navigating the rather treacherous shoals of President Trump's ego and every juncture point, every point where he could come into conflict. He managed to finesse it in some way or another, either by avoiding a confrontation, keeping quiet or deciding he could find some way to please the president without violating whatever lines that Vice President Pence have drawn for himself.

And he finally, finally at the three years and 11 months came to a decision point that he couldn't finesse. There was no silver bullet out of it. He had to make a decision up or down, yes or no, was he going to try to block the election. And he was told consistently by constitutional experts, including true conservative like John Yoo (ph) and Michael (inaudible), that there was no choice. He had no power to do that.

So from his point of view, it wasn't even a matter of loyalty, was a matter of, you know, having no choice whatsoever. This president loyalty is everything and you can be loyal for three years and 11 months, and you can do everything you've been asked to do. And still, if you, you know, act in accordance with what you think the Constitution says it means, you will be tossed under the bus. And that's what happened with this president. This president is -- and his relationship with, I think Vice President Pence is in effect broken. They tried to have a sort of smooth it over meeting last night, if only because the president doesn't want the vice president to do the Congress wants him to do, which is to invoke the 25th Amendment. But this partnership that was so important for this administration for almost four years is broken.

WILLIAMS: Professor, I'm no lawyer, but it has always read to me like the 25th Amendment was not meant to be used as punishment, but meant to address a real incapacitation and absent a copy of the physician's desk reference, let's pass from tonight's vote on to tomorrow's in your view as a legal matter, do you think the House managers and the speaker are going about this second impeachment correctly?

MELISSA MURRAY, NYU LAW PROFESSOR: Well, let's just say first of all, that the 25th Amendment and the view that it is really limited to questions of physical incapacity of a president, that's certainly what Vice President Pence sends in transmitting to Speaker Pelosi, he is reluctance to invoke it. But it's not clear from the text of the 25th Amendment, that's all, that's there. It simply speaks of situations where the President is unable to assume or take on his duties. It's not clear that it's confined only to physical incapacity, and does not contemplate situations where the President for moral or ethical reasons, has not been conducting himself or is unfit to continue in office.

So I think that is an open question, and people are openly debating it right now. But on the House floor, it seems obvious that this is not going to go anywhere. It's not going to be invoked by the vice president. And perhaps this is really, as you said, a symbolic gesture from the House of Representatives to cover its faces and make sure that if it proceeds to impeachment, it is really clearly examined all of the other avenues available to the coordinate branches like the executive.

WILLIAMS: To the folks watching, as we watched the house voting on this 25th Amendment measure, again, largely symbolic tonight, all three of these guests have agreed to stay with us over this coming break.

Coming up, as prosecutors weigh sedition charges against rioters at the Capitol, we're about to witness a security mobilization, unlike any in modern U.S. history.

Later on in this hour, America needs a shot in the arm in every sense and badly. The big news from today about vaccines, when you can expect yours perhaps, all of it as THE 11TH HOUR is just getting underway on this Tuesday night.



REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA HOUSE SPEAKER: The President's actions demonstrate his absolute inability to discharge the most basic and fundamental powers and duties of his office. Therefore the President must be removed from office immediately.


WILLIAMS: Well, tonight as we said, Pence is rejecting this house resolution to invoke the 25th Amendment which would strip the President of his powers. The House now plans to vote tomorrow on impeaching the President 392 days after the House voted to impeach him the first time.

We thank our guests for remaining with us over the break, Phil Rucker, Peter Baker, Professor Melissa Murray.

Phil, I hope this doesn't take you into the area of analysis but adding to the fear and tension in Washington and for that matter, in cities in all 50 states over the next eight days. The only thing worse than the thought of people in camo with AR-15 is the kind of excruciating knowledge and realization that one guy could call off the dogs. And so far that one guy, Donald Trump, appears either unable or unwilling or both?

RUCKER: That's right, Brian. We've not seen the President forcefully call on his supporters to stand down, to not come to Washington, to not act in any sort of violent protests around the country. We've heard and give sort of lip service to the idea that that people should come together and be peaceful. We saw him read from a scripted speech today at the border of Texas where he said this was a time for peace and unity in the country. But we've not heard that the explicit call to his supporters who he knows, have been mobilizing and preparing a violent uprising in Washington for them to stand down to give it up, to accept Joe Biden as their president. You know, there is time for him to do that. But it seems very unlikely that he's going to be willing to do that because we have seen him do it in the last six days.

WILLIAMS: Peter Baker, what do we think is going on with Mitch McConnell, the speed with which the Republican Trump machine attacks a friend and ally is remarkable. No sooner had your paper printed these blind quotes that he was turning against Trump. Someone tweeted at the majority leader and said we're going to primary you next time. Of course, the majority leader is 78 years old to use the old joke he's still writing 1960 on his checks. He is not likely to run for another term in the Senate having just been reelected. But isn't possible when he talks of purging the party of Donald Trump that we just heard his inner voice, or we heard the cagey voice of the old campaigner knowing there has to be a morning after for this party?

BAKER: Well, I think you're right, Brian. He's not likely to face a primary over this. If no other reason he would run it for six more years, even if he did run again, because he just won reelection six years from now, the world's going to be a different place than it is now. So I think he feels personally liberated from it. And his majority, having now slipped away because of the Georgia election last year is no longer on the line, right? He kept quiet, OK, more or less, you know, enable the President's effort to block the vote for weeks after the election, because he was worried about the impact on those Georgia runoff races.

Now that those races are lost, his majority is gone. He doesn't have the same, you know, stake at involved in keeping quiet and basically trying to keep a peace with President Trump. And I think he was personally offended. I think he's an institutionalist, as any Republican and Democrat, who served in the Senate, as long as he has often is, they watched those people stormed through the building where he has come to work day in and day out for years. And I think that this is finally for him a breaking point with the president, his member, his wife, Elaine Chao, Secretary of Treasury Transportation, resigned last week in protest. And I think this is Senator McConnell's protest.

And by putting this information out, putting out his willingness to consider impeachment, he's sending a signal to the House Republicans, that it's OK if they want to vote for impeachment because they might get a hearing among Republicans in the Senate too. And it's kind of a virtuous cycle for him in the sense that if there are more Republicans in the House voting for impeachment makes it easier for more Republicans in the Senate to vote for a conduction.

WILLIAMS: Professor, talk to me about how effective impeachment is when the defendant in effect is a disgraced retiree of playing golf in Florida while the thought of impeaching a Donald Trump post presidency in absentia that would free up other Republican votes who feel they have nothing to lose?

MURRAY: I don't think the prospect of impeachment loses its luster, Brian, simply because the president is on his way out or if impeachment would happen after the presidency.

Again, impeachment would not only convict the president of the crimes allege, it would also convict him and possibly disqualify him. So there's the separate vote that could happen after a vote of conviction. And that would be a simple majority vote to disqualify Donald Trump from holding office again. And if he's convicted there goes all of the post presidential perks like his pension, like the plane and the travel allowance, all of that. So there are some real consequences for impeachment, not to mention the idea that our constitutional design did not intend for presidents to be completely above the law. And certainly, they didn't imagine that impeachment wouldn't be possible simply because a president was leaving office. There has to be some measure of accountability. Presidents cannot enjoy impunity.

WILLIAMS: Three terrific guests to start us off tonight, with our thanks for staying with us. During our conversation, the House has just adopted the resolution but again, largely mood, it's largely ceremonial. It's largely to make a statement. Phil Rucker, Peter Baker, Melissa Murray, thank you all three of you for joining us tonight.

Coming up on this busy night, new reporting on what's keeping the Secret Service up at night with one week to go until the inauguration? That when we come back.



MICHAEL SHERVIN, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY: We're looking at significant felony cases tie to sedition and conspiracy. These are significant charges that have felonies with a prison terms of up to 20 years. In addition to that we're looking and taking a priority with cases in which weapons were involved and cases in which destructive devices were involved.


WILLIAMS: In other words, if you took part in the looting of our capital last week, expect a call or a visit from the feds. As the DOJ goes after last week's writers, NBC News has new reporting on the migration of extremists among us to back channels in order to plan for the Inauguration Day quote, right-wing extremists are using channels on the encrypted communications app telegram to call for violence against government officials on January 20, with some extremists sharing knowledge of how to make, conceal and use homemade guns and bombs.

And threats remained at state capitals nationwide today.

Michigan's Attorney General said her state's capital remains unsafe. Despite a ban on open carry of firearms, visitors are still able to bring concealed firearms into the building.

Let's talk about all of it by welcoming two extraordinary guests back to the broadcast. Carol Leonnig, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter with The Washington Post, co-author, along with Mr. Rucker of the book "A Very Stable Genius," again, the duo's working on their next work on the President's final year in office, and Tom Nichols, Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, the author of over half a dozen books himself and advisor to the Lincoln project in his spare time and the usual reminder and caveats at the opinions Tom expresses are his own.

Good evening, and welcome to you both. And Carol, I'm going to read the audience. A quote from you and your colleagues and I need everyone to take this in. Veteran Secret Service and Homeland Security officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share their worries described a level of concern, unlike anything in their careers. Threats they fear include a plot by armed groups to encircle the White House or the U.S. Capitol and the inauguration event, as well as fears that gunman could stage coordinated attacks against less fortified targets in the city.

Carol, you spent a good deal of your life reporting from among these sources. These are the men and women who protect us and our leaders and usually don't sweat even the big stuff.

CAROL LEONNIG, THE WASHINGTON POST INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well said, Brian, they do not sweat but they are sweating tonight. And that sweat started to build up as they watched what happened on the Capitol, January 6.

As one former Secret Service official said to me who'd been involved in a lot of inaugural planning, those people made it look so easy to trounce an iconic building the symbol of our democracy and walk right in, of course, they were 8,000 people strong against 1,400 police officers. They were wearing riot gear and helmets and gas masks and had pipes and, and bats. And many of the officers had none of that.

But this is honestly hitting the panic button for so many people in the Secret Service and in the national security world, because while they plan for all manner of risks, this was not something that they were countenancing.

WILLIAMS: Tom, I had Michael Beschloss, General Barry McCaffrey on during one segment last night that consensus of those two gentlemen was moved the inauguration indoors, what are you waiting for? Do you agree?

TOM NICHOLS, U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS PROFESSOR: Well, I'm not going to contradict the Secret Service, or the FBI. And I would leave it to them to be their call. As an American, I bristle at that instinctively, because we shouldn't have to move one of the most important rituals of our democracy indoors because of our own citizens.

If we get to that point, if we get to the point where we can't even observe the basic constitutional rituals of American democracy, because we have turned into a society of armed insurrectionists, then we're in a lot -- we're in a lot more trouble than we ever thought we could be by 2021.

But that said, I am not on the inside of that process. And if it were -- if I were advising anybody, I wouldn't say the Secret Service in the FBI or the experts, if they tell you to move it inside. But I think that would be an immense tragedy.

WILLIAMS: Tom thought to you today because there's reporting in Politico about radicalization inside U.S. military units. We've seen this additionally, inside law enforcement and our country. Tom, what's the short version? As to what has just happened in the last few years? If you were telling a visitor from Europe, the American story of the last half decade, what is it?

NICHOLS: I think part of the problem is that the United States for years has been outsourcing military service and to an increasingly small number of people. But I still think the most important story is to say that the United States armed forces are constitutionally loyal to the United States. And I can't even believe that I would say that out loud. You saw the letter today from all of the chiefs of services and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

But there -- it's actually a problem in militaries across the world over time that being separated from society, that sometimes there are people within military or police organizations that can come to believe that they have a particular special mission with regard to the nation.

I don't know how widespread that is. I don't -- I'm not sure anybody knows how widespread that it that is. But it's not an unknown problem. And it's always something to worry about, especially when you have a military that is whose job is falling on increasingly smaller numbers of people separated from the rest of society.

WILLIAMS: Carol, let's pivot here and rely on your vast reporting experience on and knowledge of this president. What is the measurable chance that he resigns before the end of his term, including but not limited to the purpose of at least an attempt itself pardon?

LEONNIG: I think a self pardon is far more likely and I'm basing this on sources not speculating. Brian, I believe a self pardoned is far more likely than a resignation. You know, this president. I know this President. Your past panel knows this president. He's not a guy who's going to walk away willingly.

And obviously his relationship with the vice president can't be more strained based on the rather locker room conversations they're having and the epithets that at least Donald Trump is throwing at the vice president. It's hard to imagine he resigns with the warm hope that the vice president pardons him, although he might do it. I really, really doubt that.

I also would like to add to one of the great concerns here that connects your question with Tom's remark. The President has relied on stoking this group's anger, whether they be ex-military current military enforcement officers, he has stoked their anger that America is not caring about them. And he has relied on it almost like a like a dog whistle but worse, it is the thing that makes him feel full and loved to have this group charge on to the Capitol grounds.

He was watching that on live TV with a little bit of happiness according to his aides. It's really shocking. And another thing that's really shocking is that Metropolitan Police Department officers who rushed to this complex to protect it, to help their colleagues, the Capitol Police, who were getting their heads bashed in with pipes with bike rack, they saw people they knew were police officers in the group. They knew that some of these people were ex-military, off duty cops.

What is that saying about the division within our own country if the thin blue line has blue on one side and blue on the other? It's really terrifying. And you have to you have to look at how the President has encouraged that and egged it on.

WILLIAMS: This is a conversation we have to keep having with thanks to the great Carol Leonnig, the great Tom Nichols. Thank you for having us inside your homes. We appreciate it.

Coming up. The Trump team reversal on their way out the door that could just could put more shots in the arms of more Americans. We'll talk about it whether remember -- a member of the president elects COVID Advisory Board when we come back.



WILLIAMS: Let's talk about the uncontrolled pandemic we are currently living through the fortunate of us. U.S. cases have topped more than 22 million. Our death toll is now closing in on 380,000. 4000 of them just today. And the vaccine rollout continues disjointedly and at a rather slow pace.

For more we are fortunate to welcome back on the broadcast tonight Dr. Celine Gounder, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease at the NYU School of Medicine in Bellevue Hospital. She serves on the president elect's Coronavirus Advisory Board.

Doctor, I understand you got your second injection today. Congratulations to you. For those of us who have not had number one or two yet, how does it feel? Are you any different as a result?

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, MEMBER OF BIDEN'S COVID-19 TASK FORCE: Mostly I just feel relieved to have gotten both doses. I know some people have some fevers and chills and fatigue after getting especially their second dose but so far, knock on wood, I haven't had a symptom at all, not even pain at the injection site.

WILLIAMS: Oh, that's great. May it always be that way? I want to get you on the record. The CDC changed up the rules a little bit today. They want to put people, all people over 65 at the new head of the new line. And I am assuming you view this as a good step.

GOUNDER: We certainly need to be speeding up the distribution of the vaccination process. We're simply not going fast enough right now. And by adding people who are over 65, not necessarily ahead of health care workers or long-term care facilities. But alongside them, I think that's a really important step. And then it's really up to states to figure out how to implement that on the ground.

WILIAMS: Dr. Jha of Brown University was on television today urging states not to bog this down in bureaucracy and paperwork, reminding everybody the job is herd immunity, that job is enough shots in enough arms of enough Americans.

And that brings us to Joe Biden, he's made a bold pledge, a 100 million shots. In his first 100 days. He has also said he is willing, unlike the current president to marshal all the resources of the presidency, so are you optimistic he will be able to hit that goal?

GOUNDER: Look, right now with 4,000 people dying a day, we don't really have a choice. This is unacceptable that you have more people dying every day that died on 9/11. And if you continue to see those kinds of numbers, it'll it won't take that long, not even that first 100 days, before we end up doubling the death toll. So the President Elect is very committed to getting those 100 million shots into people's arms by 100 days.

WILLIAMS: Final question folks watching tonight, let's say ages 40 to 60. Otherwise good health, give a ballpark date. Is there a month, is there a season of 2021 where they can expect the line will get to them?

GOUNDER: You know, this is a bit of a crystal ball kind of situation. But my best guess would be late spring, perhaps early summer that we would be getting to those healthy people, middle aged people who don't have chronic medical conditions. But we have a lot of work to do between now and then.

WILLIAMS: Thank you very much for coming on and always taking our questions and thank you for the work you do in this field by day on behalf of perhaps all the patients and families who have been unable to thank you thus far. Dr. Celine Gounder, who as we mentioned as part of the president elects advisory board in this area for good reason.

Coming up, a bracing preview of what law enforcement agencies nationwide are in fact bracing for in the week ahead that we're all going to witness together.


WILLIAMS: We should emphasize something that we can't say often enough about these next eight days. We're not hyping the danger to Washington to elected politicians, to the Capitol building or for that matter any of the 50 state capitals around our country. There's no reason to hype it. It's there. It's real. The threats are on the web if you really want to read them.

The FBI warnings are themselves chilling and we have a report tonight on just what it is we're up against from NBC News correspondent Tom Costello.


TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nearly a week since the attack on Capitol Hill, prosecutors and the FBI say they are working round the clock pursuing leads in every corner of the country. Many of those leads broadcast on social media for the world to see.

STEVEN D'ANTUONO, FBI WASHINGTON FIELD OFFICE ASST. DIR. IN CHARGE: Since our call for tips, videos and pictures. We have received more than 100,000 pieces of digital media, which is absolutely fantastic. And we are scouring everyone for investigative and intelligence leads.

COSTELLO: Prosecutors say they have thousands of witnesses and expect to charge hundreds of people for their part and the insurrection. The day before the attack and FBI office in Norfolk ward of intelligence suggesting war was coming to the Capitol.

The FBI says that intelligence was shared with federal and local partners in D.C. and tonight Capitol Police are warning members of Congress of new violent threats against them described as chilling.

Intelligence sources tell NBC News right wing extremists and white supremacists are using encrypted internet chat rooms to plan future attacks. Even sharing a U.S. Army Field Manual with calls to shoot politicians and encourage armed struggle.

REP. CONOR LAMB (D), PENNSYLVANIA: We were told about specific numbers of people who intend to come here armed with weapons on specific dates at specific times. And for specific reasons, including justice for the woman that was killed last week in their words justice or vengeance.

COSTELLO: Former FBI assistant director of the Criminal Division, Tim Gallagher.

TIM GALLAGHER, FMR. FBI ASST. DIR. OF CRIMINAL DIVISION: This is a challenge. Like if you can't get it through communications, you know, how are you going to mitigate what's going on? Well, there's other ways that law enforcement are doing it, but believe me, they're on it.

COSTELLO: Tonight, eight days before President Elect Biden's inauguration, the streets surrounding the Capitol resemble an armed camp, nine foot high perimeter fencing, metal detectors in the House chambers, police and National Guard troops thousands more expected within days.

Meanwhile, the FBI is still looking for the suspect who placed live pipe bombs at the DNC and the RNC the day before the attack. And they've now arrested this man photographed wearing first a police vest and carrying a shield during the attack. Aaron Mostofsky is the son of a Brooklyn judge.

(on camera): Also the FBI is considering whether to add the Capitol Hill attackers to the No Fly List, in other words, not allowed to fly on commercial aircraft. The FBI maintains that list based on the terror watch list, adding the Capitol Hill attackers could mean those people would not be allowed to fly on commercial airliners. I'm Tom Costello in DC, back to you.


WILLIAMS: Our thanks to Tom for that report from the Capitol. Coming up the Lincoln project is added again.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, the men and women of the Lincoln project many of them frequent guests on this broadcast all of them either current former or lapsed Republicans. They would be forgiven for thinking they could take some time off after the election we've just witnessed as people in politics like to say to spend more time with their families.

But with villains outnumbering heroes these days, the Lincoln project is back and hard at work. We learned tonight they're buying ad space in Missouri, to name and blame all the corporate donors to Senator Josh Hawley, who has the honor of being just one of their three primary targets and their new ad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is your coup. This is your siege. This is your insurrection. With your support for Donald Trump, you have brought the shame to America. You Ted Cruz, you Josh Hawley, you Kevin McCarthy, you supported this and you will be held accountable. This disgrace is all yours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Lincoln project is responsible for the content of this advertising.


WILLIAMS: The never ambiguous Lincoln project to take us off the air tonight and that is our broadcast for this Tuesday evening. It comes with our thanks for spending this time with us. On behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.


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