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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, January 15, 2021

Guests: Jeremy Bash, Kavita Patel, Michael Moore


Trump ends term with D.C. on lockdown after deadly riot. Police who faced Trump-incited mob share harrowing details of riot. The FBI is investigating the death of police officer during Trump-incited capitol riot. Pillow salesman Mike Lindell visits White House with notes about subverting the election. Biden picks former FDA Chief David Kessler to lead Covid-19 vaccine rollout effort. Guard activated at Michigan Capitol amid increased security. Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder charged in Flint water crisis.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Just five days until Joe Biden becomes our 46th president. He's about to take the helm of a nation caught in the grip of an uncontrolled pandemic and in the throes of fighting a domestic terror threat. On this last weekend of the Trump era, Washington is now an armed fortified encampment, 25,000 National Guard troops stationed around the District of Columbia. More troubling details coming out now about the deadly siege at our U.S. Capitol, and about those who were ready to do battle.

The Washington Post has obtained a 12-page Capitol Police intelligence report sent three days before the attack that warned a violence "in which Congress itself could be the target of angry supporters of President Trump on January 6." The Post says the Intel report goes on to note supporters of the current president see January 6 as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election. This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent.

If you can believe it, the Post reports this warning was not shared widely with other agencies. Earlier today, the Paper also broke news on just how close the mob came to Mike Pence while he was presiding over the electoral count. Paper says about 60 seconds after the vice president was rushed off the Senate floor. His chair later occupied by a rioter. The gang charged up the stairs chasing after that Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman who drew them away from where Pence was hiding. The drama, of course, was all captured on video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey! Hey! Where are they counting the votes? Where are they counting the votes? Hands up. These people, these people have no weapons. Back up, back up! Go, go! He's one person, we've thousand.


WILLIAMS: We're also now hearing the stories of some of the other officers who battled the mob, including D.C. Metro Police Officer Michael Fanone. Fanone and other officers were dragged into the crowd of rioters while trying to defend the west front of our Capitol. He says they were beaten with metal pipes and American flag, a thin blue line flag, a symbol of support for law enforcement, oddly.


DET. MICHAEL FANONE, METRO POLICE DEPT.: guys were trying to grab my gun and they were chanting, like kill him with his own gun. So at that point, like I was thinking, all right, you know, how do I survive this situation? I thought, no. I could shoot them. They're trying to kill me and I'm justified. But if I did that, I would provide them with the justification that they needed to kill me. Because I can't get to, you know, all of them. So then I start thinking like, you know, maybe I can appeal to somebody's humanity. And I started, like, just yelling that I have kids.

And I think, you know, fortunately, there were some people in the crowd that recognized recognize that I was a police officer, and that, you know, I don't know killing me was not the right thing to do. And so at that point, people started to kind of encircle me. And, you know, offer me some degree of protection. How do I feel about the people that were there? Well, the people that helped me, you know thank you, but fuck you for being there.


WILLIAMS: Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick is one of the five people who died in last week's attack. The FBI is now investigating his death. Capitol Hill police confirming they're looking into allegations some Republican members of Congress gave tours of the Capitol to people who may have later taken part in the riot.


REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA HOUSE SPEAKER: If in fact it is found that Members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection, if they aided and abetted the crime, there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress, and in terms of prosecution for that.


WILLIAMS: Remember, there have been no tours of the Capitol allowed since March because of the pandemic.

Well, today the speaker named a good friend of this broadcast, Retired U.S. Army General Russel Honore, who led the risk Monster Hurricane Katrina. He will now lead a security review of just what happened at the Capitol.

We also learned today Vice President Pence has in fact called Kamala Harris that courtesy while 10 weeks late, has not been extended to Joe Biden by the outgoing president.

Last week's Riot is cited by outgoing health Secretary Alex Azar in his resignation letter, who said the attack threatened to tarnish the administration's accomplishments, more on that in a moment.

Trump does appear to still be in contact with those allies who helped to amplify the election fraud falsehoods that fueled the assault on Congress. Today he spent some time on his last Friday in the White House with Mike Lindell, the guy on the my pillow commercials. He was seen leaving the West Wing. Jabin Botsford, photographer for The Washington Post caught a shot of Lindell's notes which read in part, "martial law if necessary at first hand of any ." Then at another point it says, "Move Kash Patel to CIA Acting." Kash Patel is currently the Department of Defense Chief of Staff and a Trump loyalist.

Tonight Mike Lindell, the pillow pitch man and conspiracy theorist tells the Daily Beast he was informing Trump about a new election fraud theory that China and other countries helps steal the 2020 election for Joe Biden. He says White House attorneys promised to look into it and get right back to him.

Trump is expected to leave the White House for the final time as president on the morning of the inauguration. Get this he reportedly wants to leave in time to still be able to be flying on Air Force One to Florida.

There are reports Trump wants a dear leader type send off at Andrews Air Force Base, possibly with color guard, red carpet 21 gun salute, he'll be leaving the White House with the lowest job approval of his presidency stands right now at 29%.

It's a lot and with that, let's bring in our leadoff guests on this Friday night at the end of another exhausting week, Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times who was among the authors of the book, Impeachment: An American History which somewhat to the author's surprise I'm sure is again relevant for the second time and as many years, Susan Page also veteran journalist, also a best selling author, USA Today Washington Bureau Chief and Jeremy Bash former Chief of Staff at the CIA and the Pentagon and former Chief Counsel to the House Intel Committee.

Well, as I said, it's a lot, let's go through it methodically. And to do that, let's begin with you and your beat, Peter Baker, I note there is some resume polishing already underway among those who are departing and might normally have the stain of having worked for this president. Let's talk about one Alex Azar, the HHS Secretary who got up from his normal position of Trump genuflect long enough to write his resignation letter. His resignation letter takes effect when everyone is supposed to leave on the 20th. And after telling falsehoods about our vaccine reserves, here's what he says in part. "Unfortunately, the actions and rhetoric following the election, especially during this past week, threatened to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this administration. I implore you to continue to condemn unequivocally any form of violence to demand that no one attempt to disrupt the inaugural activities."

Meanwhile, Peter, the President is meeting with the my pillow guy in the Oval Office where FDR once sat, how does the Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times sum this up?

PETER BAKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's hard to sum up. You're right. It's fascinating. That letter from Secretary Azar purports to object to what happened but then curiously, uses the word the instead of your, right? There's nothing in the letter that says you did something wrong, Mr. President, says the actions and statements and rhetoric were -- the actions and rhetoric following the election or a problem. It is a, your actions and rhetoric were a problem.

So even as he's trying to suggest that he has some distance from these activities and actions of the last week and a half, he's not specifying who he seems to find fault with, of course, you know, the actions and the rhetoric of the last week and a half were, of course, the presidents.

But you're right, it's so -- it's such an extraordinary surreal time. We're in the middle of this incredible crisis, this pandemic crisis as well as, you know, these -- you know, lasting and enduring problems with the economy. And obviously the division in our society, president has gone into hiding inside the West Wing and residents of the White House unseen largely unheard from, as you say meeting with the my pillow guy because there aren't a whole lot of other people left to meet with

The West Wing and the residents of the White House unseen largely unheard from, as you say, meeting with the my pillow guy because there aren't a whole lot of other people left to meet with, who are willing to meet with him who are still sticking with him isolated and just counting the days and the hours until he leaves office.

And it's a remarkable scene and it reminds you I think probably the last days of Nixon, remind you of, you know, other volatile moments in our history. But this one I think is going to be going down and in the books is pretty extraordinary moment.

WILLIAMS: Susan Page, Trump finally got his crowd in Washington. The problem is once they got there, they looted our capital. Our national mall has never been closed for an inauguration. It's about to be when Lincoln arrived and saw the Capitol dome half completed, it was known as the Military District of Washington, and it sure appears to be that again tonight. And Susan, here's the point one sentence from Donald Trump, saying he lost the election fair and square would be enough to call off the dogs.

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, and of course enough to -- it would be something else to acknowledge reality, you know, it's easy to forget it. Things are so dark in Washington at the moment. It's easy to get what this weekend is usually like in Washington, you know, the inauguration, especially when you have a transfer of power to another party is usually a moment of just tremendous joy and energy in Washington, big parties of the winning party celebrating and the losing party giving them their moment in the sun, does we ever need just takes a breath for the new president to get a fresh start? That was true, even to some degree in 2016. And now what do we see? My ego miles away from the capital of businesses are boarded up in Washington. People are staying home, nobody is going to parties. And when you go to the -- go near the Capitol, it seems like you're just in a in a war zone. We're going to have this inauguration take place on the west step, as is customary to an audience of almost no one that is really quite a chain.

WILLIAMS: And Jeremy Bash, now to your bailiwick, we lead the world in one area, and sadly that's coronavirus. Our economy is cratering. The whole world is watching as our own citizens, loot our U.S. capital. Sooner or later, this becomes a national security matter.

JEREMY BASH, FORMER, CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: No doubt, Brian, and inauguration is usually a message to the world about the peaceful transfer of power, about our democratic form of government. And tonight Washington is a city really under siege. I mean, obviously, entire federal enclave is behind gates, guns and guards. But we're also on edge, Brian, because the president meeting with as you referenced, the my pillow guy is still entertaining discussions about declassifying sensitive intelligence that would expose sensitive sources and methods. He's talking about invoking the insurrection act, martial law, installing his cronies at the CIA and elsewhere.

And so this is the city very much on edge. And though as we round the band on this final weekend, I don't think anybody's in the mood to relax. And yet, on the other hand, if it's a tale of two cities, the other city is of course, eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Biden presidency, a rational, competent evidence based approach the national emergency that is coronavirus.

And welcoming with open arms, I think the idea that the government will be in the hands of the president and his party so that actually an agenda can move forward. And the days of endless gridlock, endless dysfunction might in fact be behind us.

WILLIAMS: Peter Baker, indeed the President will have a version of the military football with him on the flight to Florida on Air Force One, a duplicate will be alongside Joe Biden at the inauguration, 12 noon, straight up President Trump's nuclear launch codes become inert. That power gets shifted to Joe Biden, 12 noon straight up as well. He becomes former President Trump he's been silent now on Twitter because he's suspended. This is a political question, though, Peter, the Republicans have the means to get divorced. The Republican members of the Senate have the ability to vote to convict. Do you think the conviction you'll pardon the pun is there?

BAKER: You know, it's a good question. I, you know, clearly at the moment you cannot count 17 Republican senators who are ready to vote to convict that's how many you would need assuming you got all 50 Democrats who will be in office at the time. This trial takes place but it it's not out of the question. You -- at this point you've got four or five senators who have made clear that they're ready for the president to resign to be removed by the 25th Amendment. We're ready to impeach. And I think that you could guess a few others to get up to 7, 8, 9.

How to get to 70? I'm not sure. A lot of it depends on Mitch McConnell. He has told people that he's ready to purge the party of Donald Trump. He is ready to move the party beyond Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell will become the leading Republican officeholder in the land as of January 20, at 12:01pm. So the question is whether he's ready to do that, and he -- whether if he does that, obviously, he can bring a lot of votes with him, he could lead the way. But they didn't get the Republican votes, they thought they might get out of the House. They only got 10 Republican votes more than any other impeachment trial, a president from his own party, but still short of the sort of momentum building number that they had thought they might get it.

So I think it's very much up in the air right now. Republicans in the Senate do not like President Trump, they're angry with him, if you talk to them off the record, you know, they're through them, they'd love to wipe their hands of him, whether they would actually vote to convict in a post presidential trial, that's still up in the air.

WILLIAMS: And of course, Susan, there's the cowardice, what Peter just said about they will tell you off the record, it's the cowardice and actually seeing their names in print. And on television next to a quote like that, Susan, what does it say about our times that there are members of Congress who fear one another, in addition to the domestic terrorists?

PAGE: Who worry that other members of Congress might come to the floor with a gun and threaten them. And quite extraordinary today, Nancy Pelosi, in her weekly news conference with reporters, saying there could be criminal prosecution of members of Congress for aiding and abetting the storming of the Capitol. This is just if you had said that two weeks ago, would you have believed that that was a possibility? It's really, it's really quite remarkable. It's the kind of breakdown. And I mean, we've had polarized Congress for years. But this is a breakdown of an entirely new sort, and rebuilding trust, even within the institution. Forget about rebuilding it with Americans that needs to be done as well. But even within the institution, this is going to be the task that is going to take time, this is not going to be over in a week or with the inauguration or in a year. This is really going to be a long term effort on the part of our government to rebuild all kinds of things that have been broken.

WILLIAMS: Jeremy Bash, finally, let's just go through the laundry list, the shocking laundry list you led us through in your last answer. And again, for members of our audience, the president today met in the Oval Office with the My Pillow guy from the TV commercials, this may set us up for a meeting with an Uber driver on Monday morning schedule. The my pillow guy had in his notes, mentions of the insurrection act, martial law, and inserting a Trump stooge at the CIA, Jeremy to all the other things that could happen in six days, what about the chain of command? What about an adult who say, you know what, I saw this order get kicked up the chain. I'm not going to enforce this.

BASH: Yeah, I think the most -- the President could realistically do is declassify a whole bunch of sensitive intelligence to try to maybe make the case that he wants to make about the Russia investigation and its origins. I actually think at this point, it's highly unlikely, in fact, I would say impossible for him to compel the uniformed military to do something, even though he remains Commander-in-Chief. That memo last week from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the entire force, basically was a Heisman to the president saying, we're not going to do anything, not one thing to effectuate your incitement to violence to try to overturn this election.

So I think the military has done the right thing. I know our intelligence professionals are trying to do the right thing. But it remains a dangerous time because he is commander in chief, as you referenced, he does have power over our nuclear forces, our command and control. And of course, our adversaries are watching and this is a moment when they might try something, try something nefarious because they perceive weakness here in our capital city. And so everybody should be and will be on heightened alert all the way through the inauguration the opening days of the next administration.

WILLIAMS: And by all accounts, the West Wing tonight has been hollowed out that is more hollowed out than usual during an uncontrolled pandemic, to Peter Baker, to Susan Page, to Jeremy Bash, our sincere thanks for starting us off tonight. Enjoy your weekend if such a thing as possible in Washington.

Coming up, Operation Warp Speed is out. It turned out the level of vaccine on hand was a lie. Now comes the effort by the next president to get shots in American arms and fast.

And later, Baghdad on the Potomac, they now call the area of lockdown troops, razor wire, the green zone, right there in Washington D.C. It's just one target, however, that the feds are worried about. In a moment we'll ask Michael Moore about what authorities are worried about in his home state of Michigan this weekend. All of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this the final Friday night of the Trump administration.



JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: The vaccine roll on the United States has been a dismal failure thus far. We will always be honest and transparent about where we stand both the good news as well as the bad. We're going to make sure state local officials know how much supply they'll be getting and when they can expect to get it so they can plan.


WILLIAMS: It is such a striking change in tone and manner that may be a lot easier said than done. However, the Washington Post reports the federal vaccine reserves the Trump administration promised to release this week that Secretary Azar was talking about they don't exist. The Post reports at this way health officials across the country who had anticipated they're extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality their allocations will not immediately increase dashing hopes of dramatically expanding eligibility for millions of elderly people and those with high risk medical conditions.

We're so happy to have with us to talk about Dr. Kavita Patel, clinical physician, former senior aide during the Obama administration, now a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is among our medical contributors. So Dr. Patel, let me put a finer point on this and no time to be polite. Azar lied about the reserves. Governor's in 50 states are now on the hook to inoculate their worst off, some of them not knowing where the second inoculation is going to come from, as an aside, please let us know if and where Azar finds employment after the 20th and whether or not they have a board of directors. That'll be interesting. But my question to you is, what's the truth here? And what would you tell 50 state governors?

DR. KAVITA PATEL, FORMER AIDE TO VALERIE JARRETT IN THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: Yeah, Brian, good to be with you. And you're absolutely right. But it's totally typical the Trump administration to continue to sow confusion amongst state officials and the American public. What I would recommend, and I am confident the Biden-elect team is doing is having close contact with local county and state officials and making it very clear that starting Wednesday, January 20, they are going to have much more transparency into what's coming off the manufacturing belt, so to speak, of the two leading manufacturers with authorized vaccines in the country, as well as what they can expect in the upcoming weeks.

And then just to put a finer point on it, Brian, we'll start to see that in the form of better dashboards and data at a national level, the CDC just updated their site, so that we could understand how many individuals have been vaccinated, not just doses that have gone out, because as you know, we need two doses to go out to be fully vaccinated. So that's what I can expect to see.

But I think it's going to be some hard days. I think the President-elect made it clear it's going to get worse before it gets better. And that's what state officials are dealing with, including states that are doing this well, West Virginia, they vaccinated 6% of their state, but they were just told they're not getting the increased doses that they thought they were because the Trump administration and the Secretary lied to them.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, everyone has a story. I have a 90 year old mother-in-law whose appointment for her first shot is still a month away. What would you do first? How can we get tent setup? How can we get civic centers, stadiums, arenas, CVS, Walgreens, how can that happen? What's the fastest way to get those 100 million shots in arms?

PATEL: Yeah, so the fastest way is to actually make it incredibly flexible to get the shots. I think you've heard now, not only your mother-in-law, but most people are very confused. What tier are they, in which priority group? When is it their turn? We need to make it incredibly easy to access both the vaccines and the information.

From a federal response standpoint, Brian, we have had during H1N1 after Katrina, West Nile virus, you name it, we have had ready and able a Public Health Service core of volunteers as well as employed and kind of civil servants, along with uniformed officials, that combined with something called the Medical Reserve Corps, which is consist of volunteers that have to undergo training.

We have in our kind of repository 10s of 1000s of potential health care workers. And that can be turned on quickly. Every state has some sort of reserve as well. And then remember, we've got the National Guard. And I know that might seem extreme, but that's exactly what West Virginia did. Because they needed to bring in extra bodies and train people to give vaccines, this can be done, I'm confident that we can actually get to 100 million vaccinations. But now we're going to have to deal with the fact that, you know, the Biden folks are coming in and when the Trump administration one lied to them two, had not brought them in after the election, and has left them with a giant mess, and, frankly, morale that's in the dumps at any of these agencies that have to execute these plans.

WILLIAMS: We got 25,000 guardsmen and women and the capital to protect it. I bet we'd all be amazed at what 25,000 guards men and women could do and getting shots into arms in 50 states. You're absolutely right. Dr. Kavita Patel, thank you so much for coming on and taking our questions tonight as always.

Coming up, we'll talk malicious in Michigan, with Michael Moore along with the danger to come over these next six days.



DANA NESSEL (D), MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think it's very important that Republicans in our state and nationally understand these are anti-democratic groups. When I say democratic, I mean, the Democratic Party, they're anti-government.


WILLIAMS: The Attorney General of Michigan, Michigan State Capitol in Lansing is bracing for possible violence on Sunday, or anytime really following last week's riot in Washington.

The governor there Gretchen Whitmer has activated the National Guard smartly earlier today. Crews installed a fence around the Capitol, boarded up windows of nearby office buildings. This of course comes after armed groups famously protested at that capital last year, and in October. Famously federal agents broke up a plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer.

Back with us tonight is Michael Moore, proud Michigander, movie maker, muckraker, these days the host of the podcast Rumble with Michael Moore. Good to see you. Happy New Year. I know you have done a ton of reporting on the militia movement up there or as you always put it, the guys you went to high school with, talk about your concerns, not just in Lansing, but in Washington and Augusta, Maine, Sacramento, Tallahassee, we've got 50 capitals to worry about.

MICHAEL MOORE, OSCAR-WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Yes, but it was Michigan back in April, when armed militia showed up and took over the building. Went into the Senate gallery looking down on the senators with their guns, their long guns and we didn't do anything about it. We -- They were not arrested. They were not removed. And in fact, the Capitol people just shut the building down for the next day or two.

As soon as you allow any of these people to get away with this, what was the message in April? Wow, that was easy. You know, what else could we do? I see this as the first wrong step that we took, we the law abiding citizens, by allowing these Michigan militia guys to take over our capitol, back then that nothing was done about it. Then they showed up at the home of our Secretary of State after the election, she was putting up Christmas decorations with her child. And they all line up on the sidewalk outside the front of her house with guns.

You know, Brian, I don't know. I was raised with, if you show up on my doorstep with a gun, I need to take some sort of action starting with 911 or something, something has to happen. You're not allowed to intimidate. So I think that's the first mistake. And I think we made it in Michigan. And then, of course, came the kidnapping and all this.

But I'm very worried about this, that I was talking to your producer about this earlier, that I don't hear enough people saying that, that we should be concerned about the National Guard at our nation's capitol, all the police that are coming in. That's the problem.

The police, the Capitol Police, and God bless the ones who did all the right things and fought back. But there's 2,300 Capitol Police and that day, they only 400 to 500 we're calling to show up, 1,900 at home. This thing, this is an inside job. I'm sorry. I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I'm barely a theorist. But I have to tell you that if you're just a common sense person, something isn't right here. Brian, I've been in the Capitol Building hundred times in the last three decades filming whatever.

I could not tell you how to get to Nancy Pelosi's office. It's such an amazing, it's amazed within a maze. And all the tunnels underneath the fact that they knew right where to go. The fact that they could -- they understood the tunnels everything. They -- The only way you could do that is if you have help from either a member of Congress, in this case, a Republican member, or two or five, Republican staffers or Capitol Police, it's the only way they knew how to do what they did.

And what -- they say there's going to be an investigation. I'm sorry, that was 10 days ago. There are security cameras everywhere. They know exactly who the Republican members of Congress are, that took them around the day before to show them how to get into here and how to get into there. They already know who they are. That's why -- that's why there's been no big press conference with all the chiefs of police and all that from all the agencies. They have one today with the mayor. Nice, good woman. But who's not there. The Capitol Police weren't there at the press conference. The FBI wasn't there. Homeland Security wasn't there. It's like what is going on here?

And I think, again, just that maybe this is just by instinct as a documentary filmmaker, I don't know. But clearly, they don't want to talk to you or the press or the public until they get their story straight. And what they do know is that dozens, maybe more than dozens. You know, I heard on your nightly newscast tonight, that there is an incredible number of military, ex-military police and ex-police that were there participating in the riot.

And they know that and they and they are investigating. I think 12 to 15 police departments around the country, because they've identified officers from those police departments that took the day off and came to DC to participate in an insurrection against this country.

And the fact I know they're reporting now, oh, we've got police coming on Wednesday from New York and Houston and New Orleans and all over, who's supposed to feel good about that? I mean, I mean, seriously, if you're black or brown, I watched Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez two hours ago on this network. If you are of color, if somebody says you oh, don't worry. The police are coming. The National Guard's coming.

We know from our own reports from the Pentagon that they've issued in recent years, about the National Guard, about our military, sadly, and about our police. These police departments are full of white supremacist, white supremacist, sympathizers, racist. This is true in our police. It's sadly true in our military. It's true in the National Guard.

To think that all there's 20,000 National Guard surrounding the whole area here. I'm supposed to feel good about that when we now know and we have video of police helping. There's a one shot you guys show today. They're -- like one cop is opening the gate and say, come on, come on in everybody. You know, there's -- this brings --

WILLIAMS: Yes, I don't know much but I don't think they're supposed to do that. Michael, hang on a second. Let me sneak in a break. There's another topic I want to get you on the record on when we come right back.


WILLIAMS: This week, former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and eight others were finally charged in connection with the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Snyder pleaded not guilty to two counts of willful neglect of duty back in 2014. A change in Flint's water supply exposed the people there in a majority black city to dangerous toxic levels of lead.

Michael Moore was on the story then. He's still talking about it. Now he has not reacted to this publicly. Michael, reminds me of the phrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan left us with. He was bemoaning it but he left us with the phrase benign neglect. This seems more like a human rights and health outcome. Does this come as any solace to you?

MOORE: Not at all. I'm shocked that he was charged with only two misdemeanors. Come as any solace to you. He over -- he oversaw the taking the city of Flint off the pure water. They came from Lake Huron. And they want to save money and they want to make money by privatizing the water system and building a new pipe to Lake Huron and charging more for it. That's what this is really all about.

And instead, they said, let them drink from the Flint River, we can save more money that way. And what happened was in doing that, this was seven years ago. This is -- everybody in Flint who drank the water was poisoned on some level with some sort of toxic material in them. But it was the children, children who ingest lead, it never leaves them. They the effect on them is permanent. There are over 10,000 children in Flint with permanent, I mean, permanent lifetime brain damage, there's no way to fix it, there's no way to change it. These children are ruined by this.

When they discover just how bad it was, after a year or two of this thing. They covered it up. This is a much bigger crime. The one way it intersects with what's going on right now is that we this governor must not be let off the hook, he has to be prosecuted for the actual crimes that he did.

And the President of the United States, if they do not try him and convict him, the message to all other politicians is, have at it. And especially if it's a city that's poor, and black, have had even more, because nothing's going to happen to you. That's what -- that is what they have learned. If that's the lesson for future presidents, when this happens with Trump, We're all doomed with this.

But the people of Flint still will not drink the water. And the governor got away with this but the misdemeanor is not enough. It needs more and I just will repeat again. Because I know we're out of time.

The last Wednesday, January 6th was a dry run out. They told the insurgents told all their members, leave your guns at home, don't bring your guns. They wanted to see how far they could get. What they're going to do in the next five days.

WILLIAMS: Michael, thank you.

MOORE: I fear is going to be more violent. And that's my warning and I hope --

WILLIAMS: We'll be watching with you.

MOORE: Thank you, Brian.

WILLIAMS: We'll be watching with you. Will have your back on. Thanks for coming on as usual. Again, Happy New Year. Michael Moore, our guest tonight. Coming up for us. The people working under the strain of chasing down the latest strain of coronavirus from the U.K. all the way here to the U.S. and we have a look at what we might be in for.


WILLIAMS: Just when you think the news on the pandemic front couldn't get any darker. The CDC is warning the highly contagious new mutant strain could become the dominant strain here in the US by March. It's believed to have originated in the U.K., it's already been tracked to at least 14 of our 50 states.

Tonight our chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel brings us a rare look inside the lab that is trying to track it across the globe.


RICHARD ENEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): COVID is ravaging Brazil, hospitals running out of oxygen, that's rising because of new COVID mutations.

Today, the U.K. already struggling with its own highly contagious variant banned nearly all travel from South America.

I went to the U.K. main sequencing lab near Cambridge leading the world in hunting for variants.

Robots here select COVID positive tests gathered nationwide. The virus is fed into machines that reveal its genetic code. And if the code has changed with a mutation.

Dr. Naomi Park manages operations.

(on camera): How often when you run these sequences? Do you find anomalies?

DR. NAOMI PARK, UK LAB OPERATIONS MANAGER: It's just a normal part of evolution. But I guess, variants that come out which become more alarming, I'm really quite rare.

ENGEL: Are Americans looking for variants and mutations closely enough?

PARK: To say no, it's not nearly sufficient to be able to be doing in real time surveillance and monitoring of these variants as they arise.

ENGEL: So Americans might not know the real kind of variants that they're facing.

PARK: No, it might be they only realized once they see the effects of it, and that is certainly too late.

ENGEL (voice-over): The variants identified so far do not appear to be more deadly. But since they are more transmissible, overwhelming hospitals, and causing more deaths. Richard Engel, NBC News, Cambridge.


WILLIAMS: Unbelievable. Coming up for us, learning a simple lesson of this new era of modern technology. This one is about optics. We can see you someone learned that lesson all over again just today.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go here tonight it is on the bookshelf of any self respecting history buff the monumental book called The Wise Men, written by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas and published a quarter century ago now.

Its subtitle is Six Friends and the World They Made. The book profiles Acheson, Bohlen, Harriman, Kennan, Lovett, Mccloy. They were all bankers and lawyers and diplomats who counseled presidents from FDR to LBJ, and help to guide America's place in the post war world.

If the two authors were to update this seminal work today, they would of course be duty bound to include Lindell. That would be Mike Lindell, the conspiracy theorist who makes pillows filled with chopped up foam. His commercials are on Fox News every few minutes. That qualifies him for a statesman status and the Trump White House.

He met with the President in the Oval Office today, just as so many phone pillow manufacturers have done going back to the time of Lincoln. Lindell inadvertently shared his homework with us.

As you saw earlier in the broadcast his thoughts on martial law on who should run the CIA for the next six days. We're clearly visible and still photos. For years of this and the Trump crowd has never learned the lesson of modern digital photography. We can see you.

We could read for example, when the President insisted to himself, that he did nothing. There was no quid pro quo with Ukraine when of course there was. About that day he almost slipped and called his preferred Chinese virus by his actual name the coronavirus.

I wonder if the Parkland families who lost a child felt his sincerity when he told them, I hear you as he was told to do on the card.

Some other Greatest Hits John Bolton's 5,000 troops to Colombia, something Columbia must have been psyched to read about. And Kaylee McEnaney is famously comical cross tabs on her binder, a veritable refrigerator magnet collection that included absurd golf, Goya and wins back before we all got so tired of all the winning.

Here's another picture of bare wall just above the stairway in the West Wing that was once a living shrine to Donald Trump. Only the hooks remain. The pictures are gone. Most we presume, quietly looted by the likes of Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser who apparently forgot, we can see you.

And a quick note here before we go. It's for those on the go who want to listen to this network anytime and anywhere you are. It's an app called Tune In. It's available commercial free as Tune In Premium and that way, you'll never miss a moment. Never miss a word.

That's our broadcast for this Friday night and for this week. Thank you for being here with us, as we like to say have a good weekend unless you have other plans. On behalf of all the good men and women at the networks of NBC News, good night.


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