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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, November 30, 2020

Guests: Jeremy Bash, Bill Kristol

Summary

Incoming Joe Biden team faces surging COVID-19 crisis. Moderna applies for emergency use authorization. Experts expect post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge. Scott Atlas is resigning as Trump COVID-19 adviser. Biden and Harris are now getting president's daily brief. Iran's top nuclear scientist has been assassinated. President Trump continues to deny election results, repeats baseless claims of election fraud. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey defends election process after Trump attack. Georgia GOP are worried Trump election attacks could hurt turnout in January 5 runoff. Biden's pick will lead White House budget office emerges as lightning rod for GOP.

Transcript

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: We shift our focus to consider giving to a good cause if we can. MSNBC is proud to be the signature media partner of Giving Tuesday for the seventh year in a row. And once again this year, we hope that you might be able to consider helping kids in need of desks on this Giving Tuesday. That is tonight's LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening, once again day 1,411 of the Trump administration, leaving 51 days until Inauguration Day. It's been 23 days since the election was called for Joe Biden.

The 46th President of the United States will indeed be sworn in during a dark and challenging time. As of today, Americans are now dying of the coronavirus at the rate of one per minute. So it was welcoming news today when the vaccine maker Moderna applied for federal emergency use authorization, after announcing its vaccine appears to be highly effective.

Yet this health crisis is deepening, over 13 and a half million Americans have now been infected. Nearly 270,000 souls are gone. November alone saw over 4 million new cases, nearly a third of all the confirmed cases in our country so far in 2020, just in one month's time.

The problem of course is this, we're in the midst of a huge spike every new day becomes the new benchmark height of this virus. And the estimated eight to 10 million Americans who traveled over Thanksgiving are just now returning to family and friends and workplaces if they can. And here's how Dr. Fauci sees the situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Yesterday was the end of the Thanksgiving travel time, if we're going to see and I fear that we will see a surge upon a surge based on all the travel and the congregate settings, innocent, wonderful congregate settings that you have with family and friends, that we likely will see a spike superimposed upon the already existing spike.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: New York Times spoke to two dozen experts about this crisis. The dean of Brown University School of Public Health told the paper, "The next three months are going to be just horrible."

Tonight the COVID tracking project reports over 96,000 of our fellow citizens are hospitalized right now with the virus, 96,000 people. One doctor in El Paso warns his facility is being pushed to the brink.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. EMILIO GONZALEZ-AYALA, PULMONARY & CRITICAL CARE SPECIALIST: We're at more than capacity. We have patients waiting for days at a time we have in the city, no open ICU beds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: One of the great mysteries of this uncontrolled pandemic is why Donald Trump in lieu of managing or fighting the pandemic would listen to the advice of Scott Atlas, a doctor the president saw on Fox News and appointed as his advisor on the coronavirus over actual experts like Dr. Fauci.

Scott Atlas is a radiologist was zero expertise and infectious diseases but no matter. Tonight, Scott Atlas resigned and will return to the world of reading x-rays.

As for the next president, it's been a busy 24 hours. Today, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris finally started receiving the President's daily brief. They are getting their first look at the top secret intelligence as tensions are escalating in the Middle East. Iran's top nuclear scientist was assassinated. Let's not forget just this past Friday. The Iranian suspect Israel carried out the attack there are growing concerns about possible retaliation. But don't worry Jared Kushner is on route to the region.

On the domestic front, Biden introduces his nominees for key economic posts officially tomorrow, but we know that they will include Janet Yellen to lead the Treasury Department and near attendant to head up the Office of Management and Budget.

Over the weekend, Biden named his communications team made up of seven women. Jen Psaki will be the most visible. She's a veteran democratic spokeswoman and will be the next press secretary.

As the transition gained steam two more states Arizona and Wisconsin have now rejected the Trump effort to delay certification of their results. Arizona's decision came as Trump Attorney Rudy Giuliani was holding a five hour event. He called it a hearing and a Phoenix hotel room to try to convince the state's Republican run legislature to throw out the results of the election and seize control of the state's 11 electoral votes.

This evening, the President phoned into the meeting in the hotel ballroom to make more baseless claims of victory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We got 74 million and we didn't win. But I know that we won Arizona and we won Michigan and we won Georgia. And we won Pennsylvania and we won Wisconsin. But what they did is they played games and games like nobody's ever seen before. This is the first time Republicans or first time anyone has fought back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Ashley Parker of The Washington Post, who is standing by to join us in just a moment as part of the team that brought us an extraordinarily in depth look at Trump's refusal to accept his election defeat. Parker and her colleagues at the paper report, "Sequestered in the White House and brooding out of public view after his election defeat, rageful in at times delirious in a torrent of private conversations. Trump was, in the telling of one close advisor, like 'Mad King George, muttering, 'I won, I won, I won."

During a call into Fox Business yesterday, Trump continued leveling false allegations of a stolen election. And then he implied that federal law enforcement had somehow helped.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This is total fraud and how the FBI and Department of Justice, I don't know, maybe they're involved but how people are allowed to get away from this, with this stuff is unbelievable. This election was rigged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: And tonight, one of the Trump campaigns lawyers has gone on the attack against that former DHS official Chris Krebs, Krebs is that cyber security official, the president fired when he wouldn't toe the line on baseless claims of election fraud. The Voice you're going to hear is Joe diGenova. He was last seen at the dripping Rudy press conference. He's a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who has since become a Trump lawyer and conspiracy theorist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE DIGENOVA, TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: Anybody who thinks that this election went well like that idiot Krebs, who used to be the head of cybersecurity for DHS --

CARR: Oh, the Guy who went on "60 Minutes" last night --

DIGENOVA: That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out of dawn and shot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: And with that, let's bring in our leadoff guests on this end of November Monday night, the aforementioned Ashley Parker Pulitzer Prize winning White House reporter for The Washington Post, Kimberly Atkins, previously with WBUR in the Boston Herald now a member of the Boston Globe Editorial Board, and Jeremy Bash, Former Chief of Staff at the CIA and the Pentagon and former Chief Counsel to the House Intel Committee.

Good evening, and welcome to you all. Ashley, I will tell all our viewers if they haven't yet read the piece. Your byline contributed to they should when you see subheadings and sections in a newspaper article, it is code for get comfortable. You're in for a long read. But it's worth every moment of it. astounding inside reporting, based on interviews with, I believe 32 current and former officials in the President's circle. Did any of your reporting turn up any self awareness that all is lost, and now he's damaging our electoral system integrity?

ASHLEY PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: There was some awareness from people in the President's orbit not so much from the President himself. The president himself really seemed to hit a tipping point we could pinpoint it from the Wednesday evening after the -- that Tuesday election into Thursday morning, sort of Wednesday, he wanted to fight it. But he understood that his odds were not great. It was going to be a long shot. And this is what he was sort of more philosophical and deflated and waking up Thursday morning that he was hearing from people out in the states who were claiming, again, it's worth noting baselessly, with no evidence, examples of fraud and the election being rigged. That's where he latched on to the conspiracy theories, and he really wanted the fight.

Now, in the President's circle. Some of these enablers have different motivations. There are some people who, for instance, maybe have deep down that self awareness you mentioned, but have a vested interest in keeping this charade alive for the President. Because if he believes or says that he won, then it deflect some of the blame on them, you know, and they can sort of say, well, we didn't actually spend over a billion dollars to lose this election, you secretly won this election even though you'll be vacating the White House on January 20. So there's mixed motivations and mixed levels of self awareness.

WILLIAMS: Hey, Kim, bear with me on this theory, but when you think about it, if birtherism, a kind of classic released into the atmosphere by Donald Trump and Donald Trump alone was a cloud over the beginning days of the Obama-Biden two term presidency, is this designed to be the same thing as Biden-Harris set out to set a new course and begin a new presidency, this air, this ethos that the election was rigged, calling into question the integrity of our electoral process?

KIMBERLY ATKINS, THE BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: I think that it absolutely is. And for any number of reasons, one, we know that Donald Trump is someone, by his own admission, who hates to lose being a loser is the worst thing that you could be. And so by casting doubt on the legitimacy of the person who beat him, that's a way to prevent him from being a loser. He in that fake hearing was claiming to be a winner when he was not. So it achieves that purpose. It also disparages and casts the cloud over this incoming administration in a way that he can try to do what he can to push it to fail, for regardless whether he just wants his successor to fail, to make him look better, whether it is that he wants to launch a new election bid on January 20. And cast, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as his opponents, it serves all of those purposes to do that.

And also just, you know, for the same reason that he did it to Obama is just, he didn't like Obama. He was trying to do things to hurt him, and get back at him. So if any of these motivations could be the reason why the President is so bent on pushing this false narrative, and particularly bent on doing it at a time where there's something else he could be doing, which is paying attention and responding to this worsening of pandemic.

WILLIAMS: One American dies every minute at the current rate, Jeremy Bash, Biden and Harris, at long last received their security briefings today, and they will for the remainder of their time, pre-office and in-office now.

But let's talk about Friday's attack on the Iranian nuclear scientist. It is accepted theory that if the U.S. wasn't the driver of the mission, they certainly, certainly signed off on it. How does something like this complicate the landscape with a nation like Iran, for a guy like Joe Biden?

JEREMY BASH, FORMER, CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, Israel has long been concerned about motion factories into the head of Iran's nuclear program. In fact, Bibi Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, referenced him when he gave a televised address not long ago detailing the history of the Iranian program.

I personally don't think that Israel time this operation in any way to box Joe Biden in these operations actually take months, sometimes years to plan. And they are conducted when there is a target of opportunity, when, for example, the assassination team is in place or the target is somehow vulnerable. So I think Israel has long had designs to try to slow Iran's nuclear program through assassinations, and through getting rid of this person individually. But I think it's going to resolve, Brian, in the fact that when we go back to the negotiating table, we the international community is just going to get a worse deal from Iran. And whether or not you'd like the original Iran deal or you didn't like it. It's I think, beyond debate that Trump made our hand weaker, because when we go back to sit down at the table, the Iranians are going to say, no, we're not going into the same deal again, because you Americans can elect a new president and we could be off to the races in a confrontation again, we're not doing that.

WILLIAMS: Ashley Parker to take off from our first question and answer exchange, Arizona and Wisconsin have been in effect one again by Joe Biden. Those states are done and dusted and ready to certify to the world. Donald Trump scheduled to go down to Georgia on Saturday, a sensibly to campaign for nothing less than control of the U.S. Senate, the duel Senate races that Republicans hopes and dreams ride on. How can he possibly get through public appearances without devoting those public appearances to a list of his own grievances, and further sullying the electoral process?

PARKER: Well, he very may well not make it through those public appearances unscathed. And that's exactly what Republicans in Georgia and Republicans across the nation are worried about. This is a president who immediately after the election did not want to have anything to do with helping Republicans in Georgia. He was furious at the governor there. He was a Republican who a big Trump supporter, who he campaigned for and endorsed when he was up for reelection, I believe in 2018. He was furious at the Secretary of State, again, a big Republican, a big Trump supporter, until recently, a Boogeyman for Democrats on the issue of voting rights, who was finally cajoled into going down there by aides and advisers, in part, arguing that it would help protect his legacy if Republicans could hold the Senate.

But there is a very real possibility, in fact, probably a greater than 50% or so likelihood that any impromptu speech by him. And as we know, his speeches are almost always impromptu will devolve into what we're seeing on his Twitter feed. He is furious with these people that he's telling them and he's muddying the waters by telling them the election is rigged, and it can't be trusted, which requires a bit of cognitive dissonance to say this is all false. Your vote doesn't matter. But hey, show up and vote for your Republicans on Election Day. It's very messy and very complicated.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. And to your point, he called the Republican Governor Brian Kemp hapless tonight on Twitter. That won't go over well with Republican Kemp supporters in the state. He's about to visit the state that, as I said, will control the Senate, according to what the voters there say.

Hey, Kim, Don McNeil writes in the New York Times, Trump could have been the hero of this pandemic since we are very close to getting vaccines out in record breaking time. But as you well know, Kim, Trump never saw an upside in exhorting the public FDR style and saying, we can do this if we do this together. We can get through this. Enjoys claiming credit, and perhaps that's the direction he wants to go in, in his 50 remaining days in office.

ATKINS: Yes, I mean, it's clear now me I think one reason that it is clear that Scott Atlas resigned was that there was nothing left for him to do. The President is no longer interested in a coronavirus response anymore than he has been in the past 10 months. He thought that the coronavirus was something that he could get rid of through political messaging and will it away when in his hands the entire time was the ability to not only protect Americans, but also probably help him win reelection would be the lead to set up some sort of infrastructure for testing to respond to the economic needs of Americans and in a more forceful way, and just to speak in a way that told people to wear masks even if it had MAGA on them for his own supporters.

He could have done anything, which would have been more than what he actually did was just to try to message it away and treat it as something that the Democrats were creating as a hoax. And he claimed that once the election happened that the day after the election that we, in the media, would not talk about coronavirus. We would never mention it again when the only person that seems at this point who was not talking about it is Donald Trump. So he certainly sealed his own fate. We've seen examples of people across the world leaders who helped their own reelection bid by their strong response to the coronavirus. That was the one thing he chose not to do.

WILLIAMS: And, Jeremy, back to our last exchange about the Middle East, I'm reminded that Tom Friedman has just written in the New York Times to Joe Biden, basically, this is not the Middle East, you knew.

Now I daresay Joe Biden knows the Middle East better than even Jared Kushner. I dare say there may not be anyone in the current West Wing, who knows the region better? I grant that Friedman's premise may be right, that it's been a region of rapid change. But what does this current administration? What have they done to an incoming Biden administration that a Biden ministration would want to undo?

BASH: Well, first, I think it's important to know, Brian, that the Biden administration's priorities are going to have to be COVID, COVID and COVID. Because there are international dimensions to this crisis, and so the foreign policy team, the national security team is going to have to get their arms around that.

You also saw Biden-Harris took a briefing today from their advisors on climate change, because of course, climate change is going to have to be part of the national security agenda. So I think, you know, the goal for the Middle East is to partner with our allies, to keep our adversaries like Iran in check, but not to spark a war or create unnecessary conflict. Because of course doing that would I think, distract the United States and other world powers from dealing with the pandemic and dealing with the other crisis we face.

So, you know, Biden's got long history in the Middle East. He's worked on many, many issues. He's known every Israeli leader going back to golden a year. He himself was personally involved in the drawdown in Iraq. So, you know, this is an experienced team and I think they're going to mostly try to keep things under control so that the team can focus on the crisis we face.

WILLIAMS: As we start a new week, this last Monday of November, our thanks to Ashley Parker, to Kimberly Atkins, to Jeremy Bash, greatly appreciate the three of you helping to start off this week.

Coming up for us, the prominent doctor who says if you went away, went home for Thanksgiving, you should assume you've been exposed to the coronavirus. We'll talk to an ER doctor who's standing by.

And later, it wasn't so much an interview as it was free airtime that allowed the president to lie about the election. Tonight we'll show you the fact check that Fox Business viewers didn't get to see. All of it as THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on this Monday night on this day when some saw reason for, shall we call it hoping change at the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: If your family traveled, you have to assume that you are exposed and you became infected and you really need to get tested in the next week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Warnings from the nation's top health care officials after a record setting weekend for holiday travelers. Indeed, the TSA reports. Thanksgiving Eve was the busiest air travel day of the pandemic despite health warnings. Yesterday alone over a million people pass through us airports.

Back with us again tonight, Dr. Vin Gupta, Critical Care Doctor Specializing in these types of illnesses also an Affiliate Assistant Professor out the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Doctor, let's begin tonight with news folks can use, it's estimated eight to 10 million people, whether they admit it or not. We're on the move in some form or fashion this weekend, using mass transportation. Everyone's filtering back now homes, friends, families, if you're lucky enough, a workplace, what is protocol? What responsibility should they take on for themselves because I'm watching that 14 day quarantine target number, kind of soften and shift as we go on through this pandemic?

DR. VIN GUPTA, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening, Brian, I'm glad you started with that. So I'll start with that as well. Here's what we know, emerging data suggests that if you've been exposed and you know you've been exposed to COVID-19, or if you've traveled like Dr. Birx mentioned just now, assume you've been exposed. And then on the back end, once you've reached your destination, act as though you've been exposed for at least seven days and try to stay quarantine that means masking in front of others that you might be living with. That also means minimizing all your essential -- going out in public to only get sensual and or emergent activities, try to minimize going out at all. And then try to get a test about seven days after you've arrived. That's when we think that test is going to actually be useful.

About seven days after exposure, Brian, that's when we think if you've been exposed and infected we think about seven to 10 days. That time period is when if you've actually been infected with the virus, you're less likely to transmit it to others. So that's why the CDC and that's why all our public health officials are really revisiting that 14 day policy. That's one.

Number two, if I may, I've seen way too many people still either face shield alone without a mask thinking it's a substitute. That's just not the case, your face shield is great on top of the mask, and what type of mask I've said this to so many times, not a one ply mask or a thin mask, you want to get a thick fabric cloth mask to the three layers, ideally different types of cloth next to each other, or three pi surgical I'm going to keep showing this until this pandemic is over three ply surgical mask. That's number two.

Surface cleaning, Brian, a high touch surfaces, bathrooms, kitchens, make sure you cleaning those surfaces especially fed visitors often throughout the day. Hand hygiene is vital and avoid indoor gatherings. That's critical.

I'll lastly say, I've just been on service. I was on service today the common denominator of transmission is within families, within households. And they're just surprised by it. They're surprised their loved one is in the ICU getting cared for with critical illness. They didn't know it because then a family member inadvertently who is asymptomatic transmitted it to somebody who is more vulnerable. So household transmission is the way that this virus is transmitted across the country, we have to be really vigilant, especially amongst those who we hold dear we live with.

WILLIAMS: And doctor indeed, my second question is about vaccines. I know that none of us can count on it a kind of mass inoculation until spring, early summer. That would be terrific. But remind our viewers who decides what brand they get. Is that done regionally? I'm told it's up to the states in the final analysis to distribute this. Is it the states that decide doctors, nurses, first responders, co-morbidities, seniors, that kind of thing? How will that work?

GUPTA: Ultimately, it's up to governors of the 50 governors across our union to decide who gets the vaccine. I don't know of a single public health official or elected leader who is at least from what I've heard, who is not going to adhere to the National Academy of Medicine guidelines, other guidelines as being put out, suggesting frontline health care workers those who are most likely to get exposed. So not just frontline healthcare workers, teachers, grocery store clerks, you name it, and then those who live in congregated facilities, nursing facilities unit, that that type of congregate setting where exposure and transmission is quite high. And a bad outcome potentially if you're infected is quite high.

But governors need to listen to the evidence. They need to listen to public health experts. And with regards to your question, Brian, on brand, the truth is we just don't know yet. We know Moderna and Pfizer are really promising because they show effectiveness amongst those who are older. And that's really key, and they also show effectiveness in averting severe pneumonia, such that you'd have to come and see a doc like me and I see you don't want to come and see a doc like me in the ICU, that's why Pfizer, Moderna's vaccine holds such promise. So we don't know yet which brand, necessarily for which individual but we think these vaccines, especially those two initial ones, hold a lot of promise for everybody.

WILLIAMS: Doctor, thank you for the work you do. Thank you for always showing up to take our questions, we appreciate it as does our audience. Dr. Vin Gupta with us again tonight.

Coming up for us, a blistering review of the President's post election performance from a stalwart of let's say the old Republican Party more on that when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the whole ballgame. And they cheated. Joe Biden did not get 80 million votes.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Just throwing it out there the President again repeating completely baseless claims of voter fraud and the election and editorial from the conservative National Review. William F. Buckley's journalistic offspring after all, says this about Trump's post election strategy and we quote, almost nothing that the Trump team has alleged has withstood the slightest scrutiny in particular, it's hard to find much that is remotely true in the President's Twitter feed these days. Flawed and dishonest assertions like this pollute the public discourse and mislead good people who make the mistake of believing things said by the President of the United States.

Back with us tonight, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Washington Post and Bill Kristol, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush administration's and editor-at-large of the Bulwark.

And Bill, I'd like to begin with you. Let's say given your political party past, the President has been at war with two of his former go to supplicants, the Republican governors of Georgia and Arizona tonight he said, Governor Kemp of Georgia was hapless. He's been going after Ducey in Arizona, who for his part tonight tweeted, the problems that exist in other states simply don't apply here. I've also said all along, I'm going to follow the law.

Ducey, Republican governor of Arizona got tweeted back by the party chair in Arizona. So glad everybody's getting along. She writes to Ducey tonight, shut the hell up. Election integrity is missing in Arizona. Period.

So Bill, where do you put all this? And is this kind of a necessary break for some of these formerly supplicant Trump Republicans to grow a pair of wings, of course, and set their own flight pattern in the days, weeks, months and years forward?

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I hope so. I'm not widely encouraged. And that has taken an awful lot of provocation for them to grow a pair of wings, as you say and break a little bit from the president, even they're, they're being very cautious in the way they do it. And of course, they're not getting massive support from their fellow Republican governors and Republican senators who are still keeping their heads down.

National Review bill about these old magazine, but a good editorial, but it didn't seem to lead them to reconsider the fact that they've supported Trump basically, for the last four years. They supported him for reelection, they were against any primary challenge to him, maybe someone needs to stand up and say, that's not his behavior over these last few weeks suggests that maybe it wouldn't have been a good idea for him to have had a second term, I kind of felt that's the key step. People need to acknowledge if they really going to break with Trump.

But having said that, a little bit of wisdom is better late than never. And we'll see what happens now. We'll see whether, in fact, the Doug Ducey's and Brian Kemp's to the world continue to move away and continue to have support from Republicans, or whether that Arizona party chairman Kelly Ward is actually more of the Republican Party of the future.

WILLIAMS: Eugene, coming off the question I asked your colleague, Ashley Parker, can you imagine the President going to Georgia on Saturday, extensively to campaign for control of the Senate for two Republican candidates and not turning it into an airing of his own grievances and a real litigation of why our election system is rigged and crooked?

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: I can't imagine that in a million years, Brian, and I can't imagine him going there. And speaking at all without attacking Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to Trump supporting loyal Republicans who had the temerity to honestly count the votes in Georgia. He ended up favoring Joe Biden and so they've counted them twice now. Trump is that as for yet another recount. They're recounting them again. They are -- they're once again going to show the Joe Biden one and they've already certified the election result and the 16 electoral votes go to Joe Biden, and that sticks in Donald Trump's cross.

So there is absolutely no way that he's going to go to the state on Saturday, and just make a sort of clean, enthusiastic appeal to vote for Perdue and Loeffler, the Republicans senator, he's going to air his grievances, and you know what a lot of the Republican base is going to be with him and that's a real problem for the republican party going forward.

WILLIAMS: Both of these gentlemen have assured us they have no other plans and are going to stay with us here while we fit in a quick break. When we come back, Republicans push back on one of Biden's top nominees. We will ask Bill Kristol, veteran conservative why he says she happens to be the right person for the job that and more when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: Republicans have already zeroed in on Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Neera Tanden, Republican senator of Texas. John Cornyn called her Biden's quote worst nominees so far, referencing her past criticism of Republican members of the Senate on Twitter.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): It's pretty crazy to me to think that she can go back in, you know, eliminate all the tweets that she sent out over the last whatever months years. I just think she's going to be radioactive.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Even though that was only audio, Senator Cornyn said that with a straight face and still with us are Eugene Robinson and Bill Kristol.

Bill, there's real richness here that she's going to be in trouble for tweets, I wonder if Cornyn at all have noticed the president's Twitter account. Just today, just tonight, just look at an hour of it. You got our attention today, Bill, when you tweeted this. Serious conservatives, responsible moderates and hard headed liberals should want a tough minded OMB head. OMB is where cabinet secretaries, Ill-considered projects go to die, where programs are evaluated where trade offs are made. Neera Tanden is the right person for the job, which caused Maggie Haberman to tweet in response. If someone in 2014 told you this tweet would exist six years later, try to process your reaction.

So Bill, you can still surprise Maggie, which is you got that going for you explained to people who may be flummoxed by your full throated endorsement, what she has going for her why you consider this a good nomination.

KRISTOL: Yes Brian, I feel like I exist to surprise Maggie Haberman and others occasionally. So that's good that there's still some pleasant surprises here in Washington. I've gotten to know Neera. I've debated her many times over the years, but we've collaborated a little bit this years. We post supported Joe Biden in the primary and in the general election.

She's a hard headed, tough minded person who will try to execute the president when he's president. President Joe Biden's policies. She'll -- what you do at OMB, it's the budget office and you tell the cabinet departments no, you can't have everything you want. This program doesn't work well. The evidence shows that we got to make some tough trade offs here.

You want a tough person who's willing to be a little unpopular with his or her colleagues at the Office of Management and Budget, you want someone competent, who knows the government and knows politics pretty well. And so I think Neera fits all that. Again, she's it's a democratic administration. It's the Biden administration. It's not a Republican administration.

I love Mitch Daniels when he was OMB director. But I think Neera is a very reasonable pick a good pick by Biden, and I love the fact that Republican senators are all upset, not because of any substantive position she's taken, not because of any charges about her character, which I think is very good. But instead, because she's got some mean tweets, you know, after they spent four years saying whenever Trump tweeted something, I haven't had time to look at. I don't look at Twitter, you know.

And now suddenly, they're hypersensitive to the fact that Neera Tanden said something three years ago that they find kind of insulting and you couldn't have a cabinet secretary who's ever said anything nasty about a senator, right.

WILLIAMS: Oh, it's unbelievable. And Eugene, this does underscore something else. Democrats awakening from a long bender are perhaps just now realizing looks like the House is going to be 222 to 213 say nothing of the razor thin margin, either party will have in the Senate.

Pelosi can lose only five Dems for whatever reason, if they stray from the party vote, McCarthy picks up the victory. So aren't all of Biden's nominees and Eugene, you and I've talked about this before going to skew toward moderate, he's not going to get any far left kind of hopes and wishes and dreams he might have politically they've got to be confirmable.

ROBINSON: Well, that's the way they've skewed so far. I mean, and think one reason you've seen this little hubbub about Neera Tanden is that the Republican senators haven't really had anything to complain about so far. Because the nominees have been sort of, you know, mainstream center left people who are the senators will admit privately, eminently confirmable.

And so they have they've seized on numerous mean tweets, which is it -- which is a rich irony. I don't know how -- I don't know how serious this is, when push actually comes to shove. A couple of senators actually have made more, sort of mollifying comments about Neera.

So I don't think the book is -- the book is written on this yet, but they're just looking for something to complain about. And Biden hasn't given it to him. And you're right, this is going to be -- it's going to be an art getting legislation passed, getting making stuff happen is going to be an art. It's not going to be easy. Nothing's going to be easy for this administration.

WILLIAMS: Well, why should the next hero feel any different from the past era? Two gentlemen who are friends of this broadcast, and we're, we're greatly appreciative for that. Eugene Robinson, Bill Kristol, thank you both as always, for coming by.

Coming up for us. Schools hoping to open classrooms have a new weapon in the battle against the pandemic. We're going to show you what that is when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: Just a few days back, Dr. Fauci theorized that we may have our priorities wrong. Instead of bars that are open and schools that are closed. He rightfully believes it maybe should be the other way around. Of course, that still means testing has to be available and fast as it now is for some fortunate students in the US and in the UK. We get our report tonight from NBC News correspondent Willem Marx marks in London.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

WILLEM MARX, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Tuesday morning syllabus for Molly Casey and Julia Duvall a quick spit test, a sample of saliva left sealed in a bag.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now I can do it in two minutes.

MARX: That precious cargo carried into school and hand it to teachers alongside hundreds of others. Principal Molly Kings as this new kind of COVID-19 tests helped us school in Connecticut stay open safely.

MOLLY KING, PRINCIPAL GREENWICH ACADEMY: When we found out about this option. Not only was it cheaper, but far less invasive. And so those two things were really a winning combination to make us want to pursue this route.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Individual bio rack, and we do that 1100 times.

MARX: Samples are scanned into small trays then sent to a lab in New York. Each cluster of tubes a classroom of kids tested in batches or pools to increase efficiency and reduce cost.

PREM PREMSRIRUT, FOUNDER, MIRIMUS LABS: Aggressive routine testing is the only way that we will be able to reopen this country safely.

MARX: Prem Premsrirut's company supplies dozens of schools in the northeast with these same day saliva tests charging $15 per student per week.

PREMSRIRUT: Having a system where students could actually get tested and feel safe at school and create that sort of bubble for themselves was very, very important for me.

MARX: Colleges from Belgium to Illinois now testing students saliva, while in Britain, a pilot program involves thousands of young children.

(on camera): The saliva testing trial at schools here in the U.K. is funded by the government and cost parents nothing but even if it did come with a price tag. Keeping schools open safely might feel worth it for many families.

(voice-over): The FDA is approved one saliva base system developed at Yale and shared so far for free with labs in 20 states according to lead researcher Anne Wylie.

ANNE WYLIE, YALE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: if they're at the state level, the federal level of more people are seeing this and that they can see it as a reliable option or as a cheaper option a more accessible option, then having the support from higher up levels will help us get it rolled out further.

MARX: As cases across the country continue to surge these small spit deposits the new weapon in America's testing arsenal. Willem Marx, NBC News, London.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

WILLIAMS: And when we come back, it was billed as an exclusive interview what amounted to free airtime for a man who won't concede and appears intent on bringing down our electoral system with him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, Maria Bartiromo came to fame as a financial journalist over on CNBC covering the stock market in the year. Since she's gone over to Fox and has become an ardent Trump supporter. She was granted what was billed as Trump's first television interview since his loss. It was conducted by telephone over the weekend, it went on for over 45 minutes.

And it differed from a normal interview in its pointed lack of pushback or follow ups as the president lied about voter fraud our electoral system and his own loss. There was no fact checking in real time, nothing close, in fact, so the Lincoln project chose to do their own after the fact.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS HOST: And now the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump on the telephone.

TRUMP: This election was rigged. This election is a total fraud. Dead people were applying to get a ballot. They were making application to get ballots. There are a lot of dead people that so called voted in this election. I say I don't have standing give me this President of the United States. I don't have standing.

But poll watches were walked out by thugs out of the building. There's no way Joe Biden got 80 million votes. You know, the votes in Dominion they say are counted in foreign countries. There are many mailman they're in big trouble right now for selling ballots, getting rid of ballots. Well, you know, we're completing the wall. Like I said, I would everyone said you'd never be able to do it. I got another one I got built and it's had a huge impact. They stuffed the ballot boxes.

BARTIROMO: This is disgusting and we cannot allow America's election to be corrupted. We cannot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: The Lincoln project to take us off the air tonight as we start a new week together and that is our broadcast for this Monday with our thanks for being here with us on behalf of my colleagues at the networks of NBC News. Good night.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END

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