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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 11/29/21

Guests: David Kessler, Will Sommer, Pete Aguilar


President Joe Biden urges vaccinations, boosters as COVID variant Omicron spreads. Lin Wood has now released what he claims is a recording of a phone conversation between him and General Michael Flynn in which Flynn is heard to disparage to whole QAnon ideology. Interview with Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA).


IAN URBINA, DIRECTOR, THE OUTLAW OCEAN PROJECT: And so, a lot of government militias are eager for the migration system to remain the same.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST: All right. You can find Ian Urbina`s latest and incredible reporting in "The New Yorker". You can find a companion piece and further video at

Ian Urbina, it`s great to see you. Thank you for that incredible piece of journalism.

That is "ALL IN" for this evening. You can catch me on the weekend, Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, Sundays at 9:00.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ayman. It`s good to see you there, my friend. Thank you so much. Much appreciated.

MOHYELDIN: Thank you.

MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Really happy to have you here this Monday night. I hope you had a good holiday weekend.

As of tonight, midnight tonight on the easternmost island in the Caribbean, this older woman, who you might recognize, will no longer be the head of state. As of the stroke of midnight tonight, Queen Elizabeth will no longer be, among her other titles, the queen of Barbados. As of tonight at midnight, there will no longer be a queen of Barbados. We will have a new head of state in that country. She will be the first ever president of Barbados. She`s here on the right side of your screen. Her name is Dame Sandra Mason.

Sandra Mason is currently the governor general of Barbados. That technically means she`s been the top representative of the queen there, but tonight, that job goes away. Barbados will cease of a king or queen for that matter. It will become, as of tonight, a republic, an independent republic with a president and a prime minister. It will no longer be a monarchy.

And I should mention, this is a friendly transition. Prince Charles, who is next in line for the British throne when his mother`s reign is over, Prince Charles is there tonight in Barbados for the ceremony that will mark the transition. Barbados will keep its name and its flag and its dollar and its national anthem.

There will be some changes right away. Right now, their police forces called the Royal Barbados police force. That will change because they`ll no longer be royal. They`ll be the Barbados police service as of tonight at midnight.

Barbados became a colony of the British empire 394 years ago in 1627. Barbados is where they solidified the sugar plantation model of slavery, where enslaved people were worked to death at an inhumanly unfathomable pace.

By some scholarly accounts on the early Barbados sugar plantations, the life expectancy of people enslaved to work on those plantations was 18 years. Eighteen years is not the amount of time they spent working on the plantations. That was the average length of their life period under that form of slavery, 18-year-old life expectancy. That`s the worst known for enslaved people anywhere in the world at any time in the world.

Barbados had multiple slave rebellions, including several major uprisings in the 1800s but slavery was not abolished under the British Empire until 1834. That`s more than 200 years of brutal slavery in Barbados.

It was not until 100 years after that in the 1960s that Barbados stopped being a British colony. 1966, November 30, 1966 is officially Barbados Independence Day. It`s the day they became a constitutional monarchy, with their own independent government but still under the queen, under the British queen as their head of state.

Well, tonight, as the clock strikes midnight, and we go from November 29th, to November 30th, Barbados independence today, tonight, Barbados will hit the 55th anniversary of the day the island gained its own independent government under the British monarch as its head of state. But on this Independence Day tonight for the first time, they will drop the monarch and stand alone for the first time as an independent republic.

And I mean, for context, this is not a thing that happens all the time. And there are a lot of countries large and small that still have to queen, technically, as their head of state this. This decision that Barbados has made tonight, this is something, for example, that Canada has thought about doing from time to time, but they`ve never done it. Queen Elizabeth is still their head of state.

It`s weird, but, I mean, do yourself a favor. Google the phrase "queen of Canada". Up pops Liz. Hi. Hey, there`s a queen of Canada. You forget these things.

What Barbados is doing tonight is something Australia held a referendum on as recently as 1999.


But that referendum lost. And so, Queen Elizabeth is still their head of state as well.

If you Google queen of Australia, once again, there she is, Queen Elizabeth, queen of Australia.

But tiny Barbados, population 285,000, tonight, they`ll make their break of as of midnight there will be no queen of Barbados, neither Elizabeth nor anybody else. Change is hard. Change seems impossible until change happens.

It`s kind of an amazing thing. What are you doing with your Monday after Thanksgiving? Barbados is leaving the British monarchy. What`s on your to- do list?

Tonight, we`ve got a lot of news that we are watching in addition to that midnight ceremony coming up in the Caribbean. Our government here in the United States, for example, is due to run out of money and shut down at the end of the week, on Friday, unless Congress acts to avert that.

Our Supreme Court is convening the day after tomorrow to hear arguments on the case that has been teed up to overturn Roe versus Wade. The case, of course, will be argued before a group of justices chosen by Republican presidents specifically to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Again, this a Mississippi abortion case that will be heard the day after tomorrow. It will be heard on Wednesday morning. But the court won`t rule away -- won`t rule right away. That will take some matter of weeks or months.

That said, we`re not naive. We know at what purpose of this case is, and we know why Republicans picked the particular justices they picked to be on the Supreme Court. So it is frankly a matter now of preparing for a return of American women having to seek out illegal abortions instead of having a right to get one, being protected by the court.

Republicans have already succeed succeeded in banning abortion effectively in the state of Texas since September 1st of this year, but now here it comes for every other state that has Republicans in control of the government.

Again, the Supreme Court arguments are going to be Wednesday morning, and we don`t know when the court will rule, but there are grey expectations for what that ruling will mean.

Tomorrow, before that, we`re expecting arguments in a federal appeals court, the court one level below the Supreme Court, on the request of whether or not records and documents from the Trump White House have to be handed other to the January 6th investigation.

This comes as more former Trump officials appear to be looking at prosecution by the Justice Department for refusing to testify to that investigation. Again, a federal appeals court will be hearing arguments in that tomorrow morning, but we`re going to have more on that situation coming up later tonight.

But as all of that develops as we`re watching all of those stories, who among us did not experience our Thanksgiving inflated stomachs falling a few floors when we learned over these last few day about this new variant, this Omicron variant of the coronavirus?

This variant was first reported to the World Health Organization by authorities in South Africa just five days ago. It has reportedly become the dominant strain of the virus in South Africa already. The WHO has made a formal announcement, a formal proclamation this is a variant of concern. Yeah, tell me about it.

But as new travel bans go into effect around the world because of omicron, as the CDC changes its recommendations tonight to no longer say that Americans may get boosters for their vaccines but instead the CDC is now saying that Americans should get boosters for vaccine.

The same fundamental questions are still out there. Keeping our stomachs sort of flipping or at least dropping and potentially shaping our futures in terms of how important this is going to be for what comes next.

I mean, the basic questions here, some of these may be more answerable than they were over the weekend. We`re going to get expert advice to answer some of these as best we can, but in terms of what I have been worried about, or at least thins I want to understand better.

First of all, they say there are a large number of mutations in this variant. And large number compared to other known variants like the delta variant, right? Why is that bad? Why is that worse for it to have large numbers of mutations?

They say in spectacular if there appear to be a large number of mutations on the spike protein, the protein was targeted by vaccine makers as effectively the way to activate our immune systems against the viruses.

If the spike protein is significantly mutated, is that why there`s concerns that our vaccines might not be effective at activating our immune system against this particularly mutated virus?

For that matter, how long is it going to take for us to know whether our vaccines work against this virus?


They`re testing it now. Report in "The New York Times" that scientists in South Africa started within one hour of the mutation first being reported - - the variant first being described, within one hour, they were already starting to try to test the effectiveness of various vaccines we already got against this variant. How long will that testing take?

If the vaccines that we`ve got aren`t effective against this new Omicron variant, how long will it take to build new vaccines that will work against it?

For that matter -- and this is something that has just arisen tonight with the CDC changing its advice, telling Americans we should get booster of existing vaccines now, why is the CDC telling us we should get booster of our existing vaccines now before we know if our existing vaccines actually work against this variant?

The basic question also of whether this is more dangerous. If you get infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, is it more likely to make you sick? Is it more likely to make you really sick or kill you? Do we no that yet? Do you have enough data on the people affected to know if it has a clinically different manifestation?

Also, do we know if it`s more or less susceptible to treatment than the other variants are? We don`t have a ton of treatment against coronavirus, but we`ve got monoclonal antibody and this promising antiviral pill from Pfizer. Do we know if those treatments work against this variant? If we don`t know that yet, how long will it take to figure out?

What about testing? Do tests work as well against this variant as they do against other variants of the virus? Is that an issue?

And finally, as a policy matter, do these travel bans make sense. We`ve got countries all over the world putting travel bans in effect after this was first detected in and reported from South Africa. But it`s already been found all over the place -- Israel, the U.K., Canada, Portugal, the Netherlands, a whole bunch of other countries. Does banning travel from places actually do anything? Have we learned anything about that as a best practice or otherwise in our experience with the coronavirus and its various mutations thus far?

I have all these questions. You may have some of these questions as well. I am prepared to be talked out of the feeling in my stomach about this variant, but I`ve got these questions to ask before I`m going to let that happen.

Luckily, I`m very pleased to say, joining us now is Dr. David Kessler. He is a former FDA commissioner. He`s now the chief science officer for the White House`s COVID-19 response.

Dr. Kessler, it`s always an honor to have time with you. Thank you for being here tonight, particularly on a night when so many Americans have basic questions about this new variant.

DR. DAVID KESSLER, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: Fire away, Rachel. I`m ready the answer all your questions.

MADDOW: All right, thank you. You exactly know what I`ll be talking to.

Let me just ask you the first question that I ask. We have had it described to us, this new variant, as having a very large number of mutations, a large number of mutations specifically affecting the spike protein, which has been a real target for the development of our vaccines.

Can you tell us why a large number of mutations is worrying? Why that`s bad? Why the spike protein mutations themselves might be worrying or bad?

KESSLER: We have some experience with some of those mutations because we`ve seen some of those mutations in other variants, and those mutations can affect transmissibility and they can affect how well our vaccines work.

Look, there is a lot we still need to learn. We need to learn about transmissibility against delta, the severity, how well the vaccines and therapeutics will perform. There is early data from South Africa that suggested there`s increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, but we should not jump to any conclusions. This is still very early days with this variant.

Ask your next question.

MADDOW: Well, in terms of what you just said about how -- about figuring out whether it`s susceptible to vaccines and whether or not it`s responsive to antiviral or antibody treatment, how long do you think it will be before we have answers to those questions about the effectiveness of the vaccines and also the treatment question?

KESSLER: With regard to the effectiveness of vaccines, I would expect we would probably need at least two weeks in therapeutics I guess we`re about four weeks. We`re setting up the assays. I talk to a number of laboratories. We have to get the virus, or make a pseudo virus so we can handle it and test it, so we will know what exactly the effectiveness is. But we need two to four weeks to get those answers.

MADDOW: And what about the treatment options that we`ve got?

KESSLER: Very important. You know, we have two important sets of treatment options -- monoclonals, that you and I have talked about, and we have a number of monoclonals.


I think there may be a differential response. We have to be prepared that not each one of the monoclonals will work exactly the same. Some may work well. Others may drop out.

With regard to the antivirals, and none of those are yet authorized. FDA`s got to consider the first one tomorrow. You and I have talked about these, and you and I understand the importance of antivirals, certainly in HIV. And I do think they can be a game changer.

The good news is there doesn`t appear to be significant mutations that would affect how those antivirals work, but again, we have to see.

MADDOW: If there is bad news in terms of the effectiveness to the vaccines, if it appears that this variant defeats the vaccines essentially or evades them in some way, and new vaccines or boosters need to be developed, is the new mRNA technology that led to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines such that those new vaccines or new boosters could be made quickly? And by asking it in those terms, I guess I should ask you to tell me how quickly.

KESSLER: The answer is yes, we have the tools to handle this. We can do this quickly. Again, let`s not jump to any conclusions, but you know us, Rachel. We are planning and planning for all these scenarios, and again, no decisions have been made but if and when we need to do that, we`re probably several months before we can have enough vaccines.

But relatively short period of time, nothing like the first go around. We can do this quickly. We have the tools.

MADDOW: Why is the CDC telling us now we should get our booster of our existing vaccines now before we know if those existing vaccines work well against this variant? Or do we know enough about the way they work to think they might be partially effective even if we don`t have a complete picture yet?

KESSLER: Very well said. We know from every variant that we have dealt with that the more neutralizing antibodies you have on board, the more effective those vaccines are against variants, and we expect, even if it`s not perfect, certainly the more neutralizing antibodies, the fact that you`re boosted, the greater protection you can have.

Let me step back for a second because I just want to -- look, I understand the concern. I understand the need for vigilance. But let me deal with that knot in your stomach. I think that the -- to be very direct, the biggest problem I have tonight, it`s not the variant. It`s about getting everyone vaccinated and boosted.

You are right, there is news tonight -- CDC upped its recommendations. Everyone 18 and over should get boosted. If you are sitting out there tonight and you have been vaccinated but not boosted, this is the time.

It certainly is not going to hurt. It will likely help. We`ll see how much it will help, but please go get boosted and certainly if you haven`t been vaccinated, that`s our biggest battle. Getting everyone vaccinated, that`s where we`re going to save the most lives.

MADDOW: If this variant that we`re talking about does somehow change the contours of the -- of the epidemic in this country, of the pandemic globally, one of the things that we`re going to need to know is whether our testing regime still makes sense. Is there any difference in -- effectiveness of our tests for something like this. But we`ll also need to know very basically, and I think that`s part of what I think freaked a lot of people out -- certainly freaked me out reading the reports from the WHO this weekend was the prospect that eventually, whether it`s not this, whether this variant or some on the future, is one of these variant going to be more deadly? Is it going to something that you get worse symptoms, you`re more likely to get very sick, you`re more likely to get killed by one of these things?

It seems we don`t know whether or not this variant has that kind of a difference with the wild type or the other variants that we`ve seen. But I think part of the reason that we all got worried is it feels like if this thing is going to keep mutating in a way that changes so much about the way we have to deal with it, including vaccines and all these things, is it going to mutate in a way that`s going the make it profoundly more dangerous to humanity?

KESSLER: We have a lot more tools. We are in a very different place today than where we started. But, you know, you raise an important point.


We are learning more about how these -- where these viruses mutate. One of the things that`s of concern, but it`s also good news but we really have to attend to is something you and I dealt with -- go back 20 years ago. Immunocompromised people wherever they are can incubate the virus for months on end, and their immuno-suppression needs to be treated.

So, for example, if you have HIV, you need to be treated with your antiviral drugs. So we have a -- we know a lot more, so we can, with therapy, decrease the chance of these variants from happening in the future. But it`s going to take a lot of work, Rachel.

MADDOW: Dr. Kessler, in terms of where we are right now and you and the team at the White House and the upper levels of the Biden administration, I know this is an area of intense concern, and it`s not like you were slacking on the job on the COVID pandemic and trying to get everyone vaccinated.

Bottom line, do you feel like we`re going to have to change course significantly as a country as this variant emerges, as future variants emerge, or do we keep applying the same tools the same way we have been in because even as the problem seems to get more complex and more virologically interesting, the ways we have to defeat it effectively stay the same.

KESSLER: We have to tools to handle this. We may have to fine tune the tools, we may have to adapt those tools. We do not have to change our course.

We are going to have to make sure that we can convince each other to take advantage of those tools. Those tools of vaccination, of boosting, and, you know, I hope the antivirals that we see -- I don`t want to get ahead of FDA in the coming weeks, but I think they can be game changers.

I think the good news is we have additional tools to our armamentarium. Let`s just use the tools we have wisely.

MADDOW: Dr. David Kessler is the chief science officer for the White House`s COVID-19 response. He`s a former FDA commissioner. Dr. Kessler, as I said, it is always an honor to have your time, especially on a night when I think so many Americans have so many questions. Thank you so much, sir.

KESSLER: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: I should underscore what Dr. Kessler said about the FDA advisory group tomorrow, considering the first of those two antiviral pill. These treatments going to the FDA for potential approval. The first one is the Merck pill, which is going to the FDA adviser panel tomorrow.

After that will be the Pfizer one, which has shown even more effectiveness in clinical trials. That will be an important addition to what we`ve got fight this scourge.

All right. We`ve got a lot more ahead tonight. Stay with us.




REPORTER: You said that Michael Flynn would come back even bigger and better. Would you consider bringing him back and your administration?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I would certainly consider it. Yeah. I would. I think he`s -- I think he`s a fine man.

REPORTER: Would you have him back at the White House?

TRUMP: I would. I think he`s a great gentleman.


MADDOW: He`s a great gentleman. Of course, he`ll be back in the White House.

While President Trump was running for re-election last year, he talked more than once about how in a hypothetical second Trump administration, he would gladly welcome back his disgraced national security adviser Michael Flynn, who, of course, pled guilty twice to felony charges.

President Trump ultimately pardoned Flynn on his way out the door and, of course, he didn`t get a second term, at least not yet, but if there was one, Mike Flynn would be back in there because he`s such a gentleman.

But in the meantime, while we all await those happy days, what has retired General Mike Flynn, potential official in a future Trump administration, what has he been up to?


MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Somebody sent me a thing this morning where they`re talking about putting the vaccine into salad dressing. Have you seen this?


FLYNN: I mean, I`m thinking to myself, this is the bizarro world, right? This is definitely the bizarro world.


MADDOW: Have you seen this? Have you seen this? The salad dressing thing? Oh, yes. Oh, yes, who hasn`t seen that.

The government forcing the COVID vaccine into all of us through our precious, precious salad dressing, that`s a way to get everyone.

That`s not the only interesting idea that General Mike Flynn has been publicly propounding recently. There`s also his demand that the United States needs to have just one religion, one religion for the whole country. He said one nation under God means one religion under God.

And, of course, all this comes after General Flynn work now know, spent the week after 2020 election advocating that President Trump should declare martial law, he should have to U.S. military seize voting machines and have to military rerun the election in places Trump lost.

He later publicly endorsed that the United States should have a flat-out military coup, where the military just ousts the civilian government and takes over. He was asked about that in the context of a military coup in Myanmar earlier this year. He said we should have one of those, too.

But aside from those sort of headline-making moments, what General Flynn has mostly been up to over the course of the past year, what appears to be essentially his job, the thing he spends his time on, what he a parentally is monetizing to great effect is his role as a prominent endorser of the QAnon conspiracy theory. The sort of mass delusion among Trump supporters in which they believe the Democratic party and the government and also Hollywood maybe are run by a cabal of blood-drinking satanic pedophiles who will all be massacred in the a public execution by Donald Trump when he brings the storm.


And therefore Donald Trump must be restored to power imminently to kill all the Satan worshippers who are running the world.

Mike Flynn these days is I think the biggest QAnon celebrity that there is, to the extent you can define that term. There`s him posting a video of him and his family members reciting a kind of oath, a pledge of allegiance to QAnon. He launched a merchandise site that features QAnon themed products. He`s showed up at multiple QAnon conferences.

He`s auctioned off QAnon themed items like this Q quilt. By the way, the lucky winner of that action would not just get the quilt, they`d get the quilt signed by Mike Flynn along with fellow QAnon celebrities like My Pillow guy, and the lawyer Lin Wood, who`s been sanctioned by a federal judge for filing frivolous election fraud lawsuits, to try to get the 2020 election results overturned.

But recently, there has been a turn in this world. All is not well amongst these QAnon celebrities. Just a few months ago, there they all are signing quilts together for money. But lately, the QAnon world has been consumed by fighting.

That attorney I mentioned, Lin Wood, he has accused other Trump and Trump world figures of running a grift or being part of the evil deep state plot they`re all supposed to be fighting. One of the people he says he is mad at is Mike Flynn, and in that context, Mr. Wood has now released what he claims is a recording of a phone conversation between him and General Flynn in which Flynn is heard to disparage to whole QAnon ideology.

Gasp. I know. Not totally ingenious in terms of his public adaptive of this concept?

To be clear, I can tell you, we have not been able to independently verify this audio. We tried to. We reached out to Mr. Wood and to General Flynn but haven`t heard back.

We also don`t know when this audio was recorded although he seemed to reference an article that came not beginning of the month. So maybe this month. In this call that Lin Wood claims to have recorded, here is what General Flynn had say about QAnon. Brace yourself.


FLYNN: I think it`s a disinformation campaign. I think it`s a disinformation campaign that the CIA created. That`s what I believe now, and I don`t know that for a fact, but that`s what I think it is. I think it`s a disinformation campaign.

It`s actually a very interesting article today out that was sent to me. I`ll send it to you, about how the QAnon movement has failed and all that. But I find it total nonsense, and I think it`s a disinformation campaign created by the left.


MADDOW: Created by the left, a disinformation campaign. That`s former Trump national security adviser now QAnon darling talking smack about QAnon on a phone call purportedly recorded and released by another QAnon celebrity who is fighting with Mike Flynn and fighting with a bunch of other Trump world folks and pass the popcorn. You know, it is always fun to see folks like this fighting with each other, particularly when you think about how destructive QAnon mass delusion has been to people sucked down into it.

To people who are hoping for the sort of demise and ultimate discrediting of these people and this delusion they have been promoting for fun and profit, this sort of internecine squabbling is delicious, right?

But there is a substantive question here. If what we`re seeing is a fracturing going on in the far, far right of the Trump supporting world, right, so many of the people in the January 6th attack were QAnon adherents or QAnon promoters or QAnon curious. So many people who have turned up in the darkest corner of the Trump supporting world dragged this "Q" stuff with them.

Listen, if we are seeing a fracturing in that world, is that purely good news in terms of the collapse of mass delusion, or might it also be kind of a dangerous moment? I mean, this article Mike Flynn was referring to on this call, when he says the QAnon movement failed, that article for fuller context says the answer to the failure of QAnon is that we need to just turn to violence.

Is -- is the movement fracturing? If the movement is fracturing, is that a mix of good and bad? How do people who study this stuff and who are experts and reported it deeply see this as a potential moment of promise or peril?

Joining us now is Will Sommer. He`s reporter for "The Daily Beast". He`s the author of a forthcoming book about QAnon that`s called "Trust the Plan: The Rise of QAnon and the Conspiracy that Reshaped America". It`s coming out next spring.

Mr. Sommer, thank you so much for joining us tonight. It`s a really pleasure to have you here.


MADDOW: Let me ask first if you think I`m asking the right question and if I`ve sort of framed this appropriately in terms of various people involved and what kind of moment this is in the QAnon world.


SOMMER: Sure. I mean, that`s a moment of real tumult right now. Lin Wood, who`s a real QAnon star, has turned on people like Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn, most importantly. So this is really kind of a crux.

Lin Wood has a lot of -- I don`t know if you want to call them minions, associates who are lesserites of QAnon and they`re turning on Michael Flynn because of this audio. He gave a weird prayer that they claim proves he`s a Satanist. I mean, this is kind of the classic QAnon thing, to claim someone is a Satanist.

So, really, there`s a big civil war going on right now in QAnon, and I think this is an issue that a lot of believers are going to have to face in their personal lives.

MADDOW: Is the dynamic that you`re describing sort of inevitable? Do you feel like it is an inevitable crossroads this movement was coming to because it was bit on prophesies that had specific dates and specific factual predictions attached to them that, you know, didn`t come true? Is this a sort of cross roads that was going to have to happen because this movement was sort of built on promises that it couldn`t keep? Or is this just a product of the personalities, these volatile personalities, and this is less predictive in terms of how this is going to result in the future?

SOMMER: Sure. You`re right on the money that QAnon from the start has been promising Trump supporters and others it brought in this utopian moment. This sort of utopian moment.

Within the first week of QAnon, back in October 2017, they said Hillary Clinton was going to be arrested and sent to Guantanamo. Well, obviously, that didn`t happen. But maybe it did, or so they believe. I mean, they come to believe that maybe the Hillary Clinton we see today is a clone and it sort of gets more and more bizarre.

And people like Michael Flynn end up signing on to all these permutation. But really QAnon has proven itself to be really resilient. After January 6th when all the QAnon people were kick off main social media platforms, a lot of people thought that would be the end of it. After January 20th when Biden was inaugurated, people thought that would be the end.

But what I find out from people having family members they`ve lost the QAnon, talked to a pollster that said QAnon that happens never been more popular in her polls of fellow Republicans, I mean, really, it continues moving. And I think figures like Mike Flynn and Lin Wood who sort of take QAnon or take a slice of it and move it in their own directions sort of feed people this idea of a secret world that Trump is coming back some day, they really keep it going.

MADDOW: Is the support for Trump a constant in the QAnon world? I mean, I have been surprised to see some people I thought were inextricable from the conspiracy, people like Flynn, people like Sidney Powell, people like some of the other people that have had so much attention within that world, I have been surprised to see some schismatic forces throw them off, or at least some of the movement.

Is support for Trump a constant, or is that also at play as the movement gets to this crux moment as you describe it?

SOMMER: Sure. Well, so far they`re all in on Trump. They love Trump. Trump has sort of won that loyalty not just by doing things that QAnon believers like policy-wise, but by never denouncing QAnon. They saw during the presidential campaign when he said, well, these people think we`re going after pedophiles. Maybe we are. What would be wrong with that? And by doing this dance, praising people like Michael Flynn who always winked at QAnon.

So, they`re on board. Until he comes out and disavows them they`re going believe in him. People think -- outside of QAnon think, we can cause them to defect by pointing out, here`s a picture of Trump and Jeffrey Epstein, right? QAnon hates the pedophiles like Jeffrey Epstein. But they say, well, actually, Trump was going under cover to take down Jeffrey Epstein.

So, the amount of rationalizations they find to have this undying loyalty to Trump apparently never ceases.

MADDOW: I feel like somebody outside this looking in on it, the one thing that it always seemed to me is a cultish manifestation of Trump support rather than being a cult this exists on its own that happens to attach itself to Trump. It does feel endemic to the phenomenon, but that will be tested over time as all of these things have been.

Will Sommer, reporter for "The Daily Beast". Thanks for helping us understand this weird moment. I really appreciate you being here.

SOMMER: Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: All right. We got much more news ahead. Stay with us.



MADDOW: Tomorrow, a federal appeals court was going to hear all arguments on the question of whether former President Trump`s record from this time in the White House should be turned over to the January six investigation. Former President Trump has already lost despite at the lower courts. Tomorrow, the D.C. Circuit Court will hear his appeal.

If he loses this case again, tomorrow, he is running out of courts. United States Supreme Court would be the next and final stop for him.

Meanwhile, the January 6 investigative are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, the day after tomorrow, to consider whether or not federal contempt charges should be recommended for yet another Trump administration official. Last month, the recommended that the Justice Department should charge Trump advisor, Steve Bennett. The Justice Department has now indicted Steve Bannon, brought charges against him.

This next time, it`s going to be Jeffrey Clark. He is the Justice Department official who, with Trump reportedly cooked up a plan to try and use the power of the Justice Department to block the election result from being counted.

On top of the charges, already, pending for bending and the charges it looks like are about to be recommended for Jeffrey Clark. Congressman Adam Schiff is part of the investigation said this week that members will, also this week, consider a criminal contempt referral for Trump White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who, like Jeffrey Clark and Steve Bannon has refused to cooperate with the investigation.


Joining us now is Congressman Pete Aguilar, Democrat of California. He`s a member of the January 6 investigation.

Congressman Aguilar, a pleasure to have you here. Thanks for making time.

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: So we`ve got these oral arguments at the D.C. circuit court. How important are President Trump`s White House records to the investigation, there is no way to know how the courts are going to handle this from here on out, particularly if this goes to the Supreme Court.

Would it be a critical factor for your investigation if ultimately, you weren`t able to get these Trump White House records?

AGUILAR: We`ve said all along that we want to tell the full and complete story. In order to do that, we are going to need documents were going to need interviews and so clearly that is what is helpful about the document requests and National Archives requests. So we are pleased at the time when a court is addressing this and the team here will be arguing that before the court appeals tomorrow.

So, we are excited to go to that next step and -- but it`s helpful and important to the work that we need to have those documents.

MADDOW: We`ve already seen the Justice Department charge Steve Bannon for content, for his refusal to hand over documents and testify to your investigation. It looks like there is a possibility, your college will decide on Wednesday, whether or not there is a scenario referral made around Jeff Clark.

What is the difference between Jeffrey Clark and his behavior towards the investigation and the other former Trump officials, other people related to the investigation, who have slow walk to you, or not testified yet? Or not handed over the documents that you have requested?

It sounds like there`s been a lot of resistance encouraged by former President Trump. What puts Jeffrey Clark potentially in the same boat as Steve Bannon, as this being criminal contempt?

AGUILAR: Mr. Clark is in a small group that have continued to stonewall us. He has not produced any documents. He came to the deposition and refused to answer questions, and exerted both executive privilege and attorney client privilege, which is a little confusing. And so, we are going to proceed. That is with the business committee meeting on Wednesday will be about, is the referral of the criminal content.

We feel that he has shown unwillingness to come forward and testify. We feel that over 250 people have come before us and given submitted interviews. He should be no different, including his two superiors at the time, Acting Attorney General Rosen and Deputy Attorney General Donoghue.

So, we`ve received a lot of information. The Senate Judiciary Committee put out a report as well that talked about Mr. Clark`s role in delegitimizing the election results. And we feel that he has an obligation to come before us and share what he knows.

MADDOW: Did you say over 250 people have communicated with the investigation at this point? Either given you documents, or testified, or both? Over 250?

AGUILAR: Two hundred and fifty interviews. So, there`s been a ton of activity that has been going on, 25,000 documents that the committee is sorting through and has sorted through. So, there`s a lot of activity.

And I know that there`s -- some of these names that are in the news obviously. But an overwhelming portion of the people who we have asked to submit for interviews and folks who we have subpoenaed, have come forward, and have been interviewed.

So, we continue to make progress. Chairman Thompson and Vice Chair Cheney continue to guide and lead our group and our pursuit of the truth. We just want to make sure our fundamental goal is that this never happens again.

And so, in order to do that, we are going to need documents and testimony. We are going to need the full and complete story.

MADDOW: Congressman Pete Aguilar, Democrat of California, member of the January 6th investigation -- sir, thank you for being here. I did not realize that the number of interviews had grown that large. That`s a remarkable scope your investigation. Thanks for helping us understand it, sir.

AGUILAR: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.



MADDOW: So, the deadline is Thursday, this Thursday, December 2nd. That`s the day by which the Air National Guard has to comply with the COVID vaccine requirement at the Pentagon, from the Department of Defense.

All across the country, there will certainly be some small number of Air National Guard members who don`t want to get vaccinated. And then they`re going to get disciplined. And that will be a story in its own right.

In the state of Oklahoma, this forthcoming deadline, again, Thursday for the international guard. It is turning into a pitiful, little melodramatic shoot yourself in the foot showdown, because earlier this month. Oklahoma`s Republican Governor Kevin Stitt, he fired the former head of Obama`s National Guard and unceremoniously replaced him with the new acting general who issued a new order on his first day of charge that says quote, no Oklahoma guardsmen will be required to take the COVID vaccine, notwithstanding any federal requirement.

Now, notwithstanding is like a stun word. It sounds like a double negative, but notwithstanding means in spite of. So the Oklahoma National Guard`s current orders, are that you don`t need to take the vaccine in spite of the federal orders that so you do.

Well, alongside that dubious order, the governor of Oklahoma actually sent a formal request to the pentagon, asking for permission to Oklahoma National Guard troops to ignore the federal vaccine requirement.


Well, today, the Pentagon gave them a formal response. This is a letter from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Governor Steve Stitt of Oklahoma. It was obtained tonight by NBC News.

It says, quote: All members of the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard, regardless of duty status, must follow the directions of the secretary of the Army and the secretary of Air Force respectively, for specific COVID vaccine compliance deadlines and requirements. Failure to do so may lead to a prohibition on the member`s participation in drills and training conducted under Title 32 and it may, quote, jeopardize the member status in the National Guard, which means, requested denied.

If members of the Oklahoma National Guard defy the federal order that they have to get vaccinated, then they may very well lose their jobs as members of the National Guard. That`s with the rule means.

Spokesperson for Oklahoma`s governor tells "The Oklahoman" newspaper tonight that Governor Stitt maintains his position that the governors, of chief, are all members of the National Guard while they are on Title 32 status, meaning while they are not actively deployed on a federal mission or training.

So neither side is backing down. We called the Oklahoma National Guard today to see with this will actually mean for their members, they say as far as they know, their orders still come from the governor and have not changed. As far as the Pentagon and federal government are concerned, people are going to get kicked out of the National Guard if they don`t have the national vaccine requirement because the National Guard participates in all of these things, ultimately commanded by the commander in chief who`s President Biden.

As for Thursday`s deadline for Air National Guard members, Oklahoma National Guard members told us they will not speculate for members of the Oklahoma Air National Guard who remain unvaccinated. They instead directed us to the governor`s office.

Like I said, this is turning into a standoff, one that is has a shoot yourself in the foot quality. Particularly for the members of the Oklahoma Air National Guard and National Guard who may be following state guidance here that is going to end their military careers, regardless of whatever the governor says.

I told you this was going to go badly, it`s going badly. Watch this space.


That is going to do it for us tonight. I have run into "THE LAST WORD`s" real estate, which means I owe them one. I`ll see you again tomorrow, but now it is time for the unfortunately abbreviated "LAST WORD," which I`ve started to eat.

My friend Ali Velshi is in for Lawrence O`Donnell this evening.

I`m sorry, Ali.