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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 11/5/21



Pfizer announcing its experimental anti-COVID pill reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by a whopping 89 percent. House may vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill, hold first vote on Build Back Better Bill tonight.


MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC HOST: And, of course, make sure you stick around until 10:00 on Sunday night because one year to the day after Rudy Giuliani held his infamous press conference at Four Seasons, not that Four Seasons, it`s the premier of the delightful Four Seasons total documentary.

That`s 10:00 p.m. Eastern this Sunday, right here on MSNBC.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Mehdi. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy Friday.

This was good news. There was a bunch of good news today and this is the news that I woke up to today that I almost couldn`t believe. The trial took about 1,200 people who got COVID, and within five days of starting to show symptoms, half of the people in the trial got the drug, half got a placebo. So, there were 600 people who got the placebo.

Of those 600 people who effectively weren`t treated, who got the placebo instead of the drug, 41 of those 600 people ended up in the hospital. Ten of them ending up dying. But there were these other people that got the drug on the same time line. Of those 600, there weren`t 41 people hospitalized. There were six people hospitalized. There weren`t ten people who died. There were zero people who died.

Those were the results among people who got the drug five days after he got their first symptoms. Just dramatically better odds in terms of keeping yourself out of the hospital and staying alive. For people who got the drug within five days of first showing symptoms, the results were even stronger among people who got the drug faster.

If you can get the drug within three days, 400 people in that group. The placebo group, the people who didn`t get the drug, sadly, 27 of those people ended up in the hospital. Seven of them died.

But for the people who got the drug, only three people ended up in the hospital, and none of them died. These are phenomenally good results.

If you are older than 65 or if you`ve got any of the gazillion co- morbidities that technically make you at higher risk for serious illness if you get COVID, if these clinical trial results bear out, it looks like we`re about to have a drug that will make it 89 percent less likely that you`re going to end up in the hospital or death. If you can get this drug early right after you start having symptoms, 89 percent effective at reducing hospitalizations and death. That is off the charts. This is a new drug from Pfizer.

A couple of weeks ago, you`ll remember Merck went to the FDA to try to get approval for its COVID treatment, its new anti-viral pill. It reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by 50 percent. This other one that we just got the new data on from Pfizer, it`s not 50 percent effective. It`s nearly 90 percent effective. That is potentially huge.

Lot of people absorbing this news called this a potential game changer in terms of the pandemic. People who have the broadest horizons, the clearest long term vision from the beginning have been rejoicing today at this news. You put this into the broader picture, between the vaccination rates ticking up and up and up slowly but still ticking up and up and up, with the vaccine requirements, more and more of them going into effect across the country, which will bring the vaccination rates up even higher, with kids five and up. That will bring the overall vaccination rates up.

And now, coming down the pike, real treatment options that can keep people from being hospitalized and dying. I mean, this is getting close to the point where our armamentarium is full, right, when we`ve got a full quiver. Science might actually end up saving us from this thing. Now, lots of caveats, lots of things to watch for. First of all, importantly, this is just clinical trial data. It`s not peer reviewed.

That said, the clinical trial data was so overwhelmingly encouraging that the oversight board, which was advising this trial, actually told them to call off the trial, to stop it, because the efficacy of the drug was so strong in the trial and so evident in the trial that it, according to the advisory board, they believed it was no longer ethical to keep the trial on because it was unethical giving one half of the group that received the placebo. That is a very, very strong sign.

Still, though, it`s not peer reviewed. That is a very important part of the process. We also are going to have to see what Pfizer does in terms of getting this pill made. And importantly, made all over the world. Merck with their anti-viral pill, they set a really good example last week. They took it to the medicines patent pool at the U.N. and nearby made a deal to let countries all over the world, factories all of the world start making their anti-viral pill including factories in Africa, in Asia, other places where particularly poor populations would otherwise have a hard time competing for and affording a western-manufactured drug.

Merck took major steps, unprecedented steps lack week to make sure its antiviral pill keeps people alive. They took unprecedented steps last week to make sure it was going to be made available for real all over the world. Pfizer with its pill, they`re going to have to do something like that with this drug as well. If this all turns out to be as good as it looks, they`re going to have to follow that same path. There is something that will have that same effect.

I mean, this isn`t a cure. That`s not how diseases like this work, apparently. Look what we`ve got. We`ve got ways to stop most people from getting this disease and to stop people from getting super sick and dying if they do get it.

I mean, well, you know, if you got those two pieces of it, you got a vaccine that keeps most people from getting it and you`ve got treatment that prevents people from getting too sick and dying if they do get infected, I mean, my God, we`re on the road home. Think good thoughts, right. Thanks be to science and thanks be to the activists over the years who forced this issue of people in poor countries being able to get life saving drugs even when those drugs were invented in the west, because those activists forced these path waist, when we`re going to use, for a global pandemic, because we need to treat it and get rid of it worldwide or it will never go away anywhere.

With these things finally falling into place, honestly, this could be the road home. It`s such good news. I know if you`re not playing close attention, you see this headline-and-think an interesting trial. No. This is a big deal. This is not a bend in the road. This is a right turn.

So it`s really, really good news. We`re going to have more on that coming up later on, including some of the surprising news about old drug research. Honestly, the old activism around drugs that helped make this new drug possible. Not a cure but it is looking like this might bring us way closer than we thought we would get to what is effectively a cure. That`s great news.

On a totally different front, we also got great news on the economy today and jobs. Might have seen the headlines today about how the U.S. economy is roaring back. Job creation roars back. That`s because of both good news yesterday that was topped with more good news today.

Yesterday, we got the unemployment claims, the number of Americans filing for unemployment each week. The week before President Biden was inaugurated, the weekly unemployment rate claims were just astonishingly terrible, the last week of the Trump administration. 886,000 Americans filed for unemployment that week, terrible. As of this week, the number is down to 269,000. It has dropped nearly 70 percent.

That means in terms of the numbers of Americans a plying for un employment per week, we are back now almost to normal levels before the pandemic even happened. That was the news yesterday. Then today the news got better. Economists were expecting the number of new jobs added to the economy would be about 450,000 when the numbers actually came in this morning turns out it was 531,000, considerably better than the expectations.

And the numbers for the past two months got adjusted today, too. It turns out the numbers that were reported for August and September, those numbers were too low. The revisions though in the last two months there were another 235,000 jobs added on top of the 531,000 reported today, which is honestly a stunning number. It`s great news about the economy.

That`s why you saw the stock market shoot up today. That`s why there were all these headlines about the economy roaring back.

To put it in perspective in a way that your Trump supporting friends midnight find easy to grasp, President Trump and his supporters like to talk about how well the economy did in Trump`s first two years in office.


They like to claim that they had the greatest U.S. economy in history, more jobs created than ever. It`s never been all that sound a claim from the very beginning, but the reason they make that claim is because of the first two years, the economy created four and a half million jobs. Well, now, as of today, we know that president`s first ten months in office, the economy has created 5.8 million jobs.

So Trump folks love to brag about the Trump numbers in the first two year of Trump`s term. So far the economy under Joe Biden is way, way, way out ahead of those numbers.

Don`t forget, if you`re writing for the beltway press, all day, every day, every story has to be about how the Democrats are doomed. There are huge historic economic gains under President Biden, also game changing scientific breakthroughs toward ending the pandemic. By the way the other standard bearer is going to need an abacus soon to count up all the grand juries hearing evidence about him.

But, sure, like the Beltway presses are like, maybe the Democrats should just abolish themselves. Things are so terrible for them. Another one of those days.

This is what the streets looked like today in Glasgow Scotland, outside the international climate summit there. Thousands of protesters in the streets demanding real action on climate change from the world leaders gathered there for the big climate summit. Tens of thousands of people took part in today`s protest.

If you look closely at who all those tens of thousands of people were today in the streets of Glasgow, you notice that a lot of the protesters were really young. Lots of college kids, lots of teenagers who took off from school, and even a lot of kids so young that they were there today with their parents. We saw lots of great signs today. Every disaster movie starts with ignoring a scientist. You drop the chyron so we can see that. Thank you.

Also this one, there is no plan B. I felt quite young and hip today when I understood this one to be a Nelly reference, it`s getting hot in here, so take off all your coal.

Also, this one. I want a hot boyfriend, not a hot planet. Okay.

There were not a ton of older folks in the streets today in Glasgow. That`s because this big protest was kind of an advance, the appetizer for what`s coming tomorrow. Today`s protest was specifically a youth protest organized by the group Fridays for future.

The founder of the group, climate activist Greta Thunberg, gave the headlining speech today. She didn`t pull any punches. She did not put a shine on it. She called the summit a failure and a PR event. She said the summit had transformed into a two week long celebration of business as usual, which he has famously short-handed as "blah, blah, blah". She gave that speech today.

But again, those massive protests today, the youth protests today in Scotland, a preview of what`s expected to be bigger marches coming tomorrow. A hundred thousand people of all ages are expected to protest for climate justice tomorrow in Glasgow, which is a unique way to put pressure on the world leaders there.

Now, in terms of us, whether or not the United States makes changes here at home that are going to make a difference on climate, a lot of that depends, at least for now, on whether the president`s Build Back Better legislation can finally pass in Washington, can finally pass in the House and Senate. Last night on the show, we`re talking about the prospects for that.

I told you could be mad at me. That still holds. If this doesn`t happen tomorrow, I both expect your wrath and I accept your wrath. Last night right at the end of the show, we reported this breaking news, that the Democrats had scheduled the votes, this honest to goodness plan by the Democrats to actually finally plan to vote for President Biden`s economic agenda.

They scheduled house votes on the smaller bipartisan roads and bridges bill and the big Build Back Better legislation. And like I said last night, that appeared to be the plan. They put this stuff on the schedule.

Today has come and gone. There have as yet been no votes on either of those things. I told you, you can be mad at me. You can be mad at me.

I should note that while the day is over, technically the night is not over and this is still a live issue.


Lawmakers at the Capitol at this hour right now, NBC News reporting tonight that President Biden has been on the phone with Democrats in the House, urging them to vote tonight.

President Biden was scheduled to leave Washington tonight to go home to Delaware for the weekend. He is no longer going. He`s staying in Washington. Right now house members are in the midst of an hour long debate after which they`re expected to hold a procedural vote. The real question of whether they would actually vote later tonight, we shall see.

In the last few minutes, we`ve gotten a new statement from President Biden, I quote. I am urging all members to vote for the rule for consideration of the Build Back Better act. That`s a procedural vote they`re expected to have shortly. And also final passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill tonight.

The president says, quote, I am confident that during the week of November 15th, the House will pass the Build Back Better Act.

So, they`re trying to pass the structure thing tonight in a rule like a procedural vote to get them to the Build Back Better. If the House does what the president is urging, that would mean the smaller roads and bridges bill will get signed, will -- it will pass the House. It`s already passed the senate. It will go to the president`s desk tonight. Remember he stayed in Washington. He didn`t go home. He could conceivably do it tonight. That would be a big deal.

And then the plan is for the House to pass the larger social spending bill later this month. Remember, progressives have said from the beginning they`re only going to do them both together. We`ll see.

You know, once the House passes the bigger social spending bill, the Senate will have to pass that, too.

Make of that what you will. This is a live issue. There may yet be substantive votes tonight or not. It was ever thus but it is a live issue and House is in session and the debate is actually happening. We will keep you updated I am sure. And I am also sorry.

So, we`re watching that. We`re also watching this tonight, that the effort to bring a criminal charge against former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo might be collapsing tonight. We`re going to have more on this later own, but when the news first broke a few days ago that a misdemeanor charge had been filed in Albany, New York, against Cuomo related to the sexual harassment that led him to resign the governorship, we noted at the time that charged was filed that the process seemed to be a little hinky. There seemed to be some procedural -- well, some unusual things about the process by which the charge was filed. Things seem to be getting done not the way they`re usually done.

For those initials concerns about how this was unfolding, those seem to be bearing fruit tonight. The prosecutor`s office in that part of New York state is basically calling foul and saying that charges cannot be pursued in this way. This story about Andrew Cuomo is turning into a sticky wicket. We`re going to have more on that story coming up. Again, that continues to be a developing story tonight.

So, like I said, lots going on, like I said. A bunch of good news but also just a lot of interesting news, a lot of developing news, things we`re still watching this late into Friday night. Here right now, here is my nomination for just purely the weirdest and most surprising news story of the day. This is a story that Michael Schmidt broke in "The New York Times."

And when I read the times today, every single word of it was completely new to me, completely out of the blue. It was like a newspaper visiting from another planet. Who did what? A raid? The investigation for who for what got stolen? This is all completely news to me.

Here`s the headlines today in "The Times". Quote, People tied to Project Veritas scrutinized in theft of diary from Biden`s daughter. What? See the subhead there, the FBI carried out search warrants in New York as part of a Justice Department investigation into how pages from Ashley Biden`s journal came to be published by a right wing website. The theft of a diary from the daughter of President Biden?

Here`s how Michael Schmidt and "The Times" today explained what happened here. A week and a half before the 2020 election on October 24th, apparently some random right wing website published images, published pictures of handwritten pages from what appeared to be the personal diary of President Biden`s daughter Ashley.

Quote, the Trump administration justice department then led by William Barr opened an investigation. They reported to federal authorities that several of Ms. Biden`s personal items had been stolen in a burglary.


Well, now today in an investigation that "The Times" says is being handled by FBI agents and federal prosecutors in Manhattan who work on public corruption matters today, in conjunction with that investigation, two homes were searched by the FBI. An apartment on east 35th street in Manhattan and a apartment north of New York City. Both properties are associated with the right wing activist group, Project Veritas, which put out a statement after the times broke the store denouncing the fact that the FBI had carried out these searches, but also confirming that the group had had something to do with the handling of this stolen item.

But again, I mean, considering what the stolen item is here, this is kind of nuts, is it not? A burglary? That results in the president`s daughter having her personal diary stolen, the diary pages then end up published on a right wing website. Now the FBI is raiding houses of members of this right wing group and the right wing group admits that their members had access to this thing that was stolen from the president`s daughter? What?

If this were a movie, you would have walked out by now because this would have been too outlandish to believe. If it was a movie, it would not pass muster. As reality, it is absolutely unbelievable.

Joining us is Michael Schmidt, Washington correspond for "The New York Times". He`s the lead byline on this scoop today.

Mr. Schmidt, thank you for making time.


MADDOW: Am I misconstruing any of this or missing any important part of it? I will con fest that I had no idea that Ashley Biden`s diary had been stolen, that pieces of it ended up circulating in the right wing press before the election. This was all new to me. Did I explain any of that wrong?

SCHMIDT: No. I think the biggest thing that stands outs to me about this is that this comes out ten days before the 2020 election. This was a period of time in which Donald Trump was trying to do everything he could to undermine the Biden children. He had the entire Hunter laptop issue flying around, Rudy Giuliani pushing it.

And in the middle of it, this came out, and very few people picked up on it. But at the heart of it in what is emerging could be one of the dirtiest tricks that went on against sort of innocent bystanders in the entire 2020 election.

Here was someone who had a low profile, was a child of one of the candidates and was burglarized, a diary was stolen and put online. Now, it didn`t receive a ton of public attention. There`s good reason why it didn`t. But it is a pretty significant thing that I certainly had seen and all the ups and downs and backs-and-forths of the past few years.

MADDOW: It`s incredible, and it -- I mean, again, because so much of this is new to the public right now, because nobody knew this had happened, what can you tell us an the burglary itself? Was this believed to be a run of the mill property climb had nothing to do with her family relations or did they think it might have been a politically motivated effort? Do we know anything about the initial crime here?

SCHMIDT: So we are early in our own sort of fact finding on this. We`re still sort of feel our way through it.

All that we really know about the burglary is that there was a burglary. It was in 2020, permanent items were taken, so things beyond this were taken. We don`t know what else was there. And that when a representative of the Biden family went to the Justice Department in October of 2020, they reported that this burglary had happened in the course of explaining to them what was going on. And that investigation began in October of 2020, before election day of that year, and as you were reading off, that`s under attorney general William Barr, who also opened up the Matt Gaetz`s investigation in this period of time as well.

MADDOW: And, Michael, you and your colleagues mentioned today in your reporting that this investigation is being handled by FBI agents but also by prosecutors who work on public corruption matters.

Is this a public corruption matter because of the way the purloined items were used apparently to try to cause some political harm to President Biden or as a corruption matter for some other reason? Do we know?


SCHMIDT: I`m not sure but what I think is here and is important to point out is, Project Veritas raised this issue in the statement they put out today and I -- it`s something that the Justice Department had to wrestle with here is that Project Veritas sees themselves as a journalistic outfit. They think they`re a journalistic organization.

If you are a media organization like MSNBC or "The Washington Post" or "the New York Times," the government in its investigating of you has to treat you not differently but there`s different requirements and thresholds and levels that things have to go through when moving forward with an investigation. It`s hard to think of the Justice Department executing search warrants at the homes of reporters for local newspapers.

But here you have the Justice Department moving, executing search warrants at the homes of current and former employees of Project Veritas. It does not seem like at least from what we know and we are early and looking for the outside in, that the Justice Department is looking at Project Veritas in this instance as a journalistic outfit because it`s hard to believe that the Justice Department would take such an extreme measure, executing warrants on reporters.

MADDOW: Right. And it should be noted that Project Veritas itself does not claim to have been the entity that published this stolen material.

SCHMIDT: In fact -- in fact --

MADDOW: I`m sorry.

SCHMIDT: They say -- they say that they basically tried to verify it, could not verify it and tried to return it to Ashley Biden and to give it to the Justice Department and that they had it and essentially didn`t do anything with it in terms of using it. They sort of exercised their judgment in that area.

MADDOW: Again, this is -- we`re talking about the personal diary of the president`s daughter stolen and then published by a right wing website before the election and now an FBI raid on members of this right wing group to try to track down what happened with this burglary and where this information came from.

It`s just an unbelievable story. Michael Schmidt and his colleagues at "The New York Times" are the ones that broke this. Michael, I know you`ll stay on this. We look forward to having you back as more of this becomes clear.

SCHMIDT: Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more to come tonight. What a weird, weird news day this is.

Stay with us.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One more piece of the news. Last night, we received promising news about another potent and potential COVID treatment, a pill, a pill developed by Pfizer that may dramatically reduce the risk of being hospitalized or dying when taken shortly after infection if you`re infected.

If authorized the FDA, we may soon have pills and treat the virus of those becoming infected. We have already secured millions of doses and the therapy would be another tool in our toolbox to protect people from what the worst outcomes of COVID.


MADDOW: That`s President Biden touting what might be a breakthrough. Mostly what we have against COVID are vaccines, good effective save vaccines, vaccines to prevent people from being infected in most instances, to also reduce the severity of the disease if you do get infected. Beyond the vaccines, though, treatment options have been slim even after this time.

Monoclonal antibodies are good. They`re very effective if you get them to people early enough. But it`s hard to get them to people early enough particularly because they`re really hard to administer. They`re administered as an infusion or a series of shots. While it is totally worth doing it if you can, it`s a hard thing to do. It`s a hard thing to do. It`s expensive. It`s complicated to manage.

What if there was a pill you could take?

The drug company Merck a couple of weeks ago went to the FDA with its anti- viral pill, which does show real promise. For people who got that treatment in time, soon after infection, the Merck anti-viral pill provides a 50 percent reduction in hospitalization and death. The FDA is looking at that now. The U.K. has already approved it.

Now this new candidate has come along which was what President Biden was bragging about. It`s a new drug. This one from Pfizer, and this one shows almost 90 percent effectiveness, at least in this key clinical trial that they`ve just released the data from. It brought down the chances of being hospitalized or killed by this thing by 89 percent.

Now, the devil`s in the details, of course. You have to get it quickly. The 89 percent reduction is for people who are high risk of severe COVID. A lot more data has to be released. It hasn`t been peer-reviewed data yet.

But the devil`s in the details. The details in this one are fascinating. The early indications is that this really is good news, honestly.

Joining us now is Dr. Vin Gupta, critical care pulmonologist. He`s an affiliate faculty at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington. He`s an on-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development. He`s worked on the epidemiology of malaria and respiratory viruses over the past decade. He`s real expert in the field.

Dr. Gupta, thanks for joining us.

DR. VIN GUPTA, CRITICAL CARE PULMONOLOGIST: Thank you for having me. Good evening.

MADDOW: So, we`ve talked in the past about the monoclonal antibodies and about the Merck antiviral pill which the FDA is looking at now and the U.K. just approved. Against those options, against the other options that you and your fellow clinicians have for treating people with COVID, how do you feel about this Pfizer prospect?

GUPTA: You know, Rachel, we`re really bullish by this. It`s hard to overstate the enthusiasm here, specifically for what this means for the world. Lower-middle income countries if they can afford it.

This medication is a combination of therapy. It`s based on a drug that we`ve long used, for example, to target those individuals affected be HIV or even hepatitis.


And the idea for your viewers is that if you get infected, if you have early symptoms within the first few days, this medication stops coronavirus from replicating in your lung cells which it first targets. So it stops progression of infection. It does that we`ve been talking about for months. It`s in pill form.

The big issue here is going to be equity in distribution. Right now, Australia, United Kingdom, the U.S. has first dibs on the remaining supply in 2021. It has to change if we`re going to save lives in the interim.

MADDOW: In terms of this being a combination therapy, not only is it the related to that class of drugs that you were describing, the anti-HIV drugs but it`s part of the drug that`s part of an HIV drug that`s been used for a long time. I know from the HIV experience with it while protease inhibitors have been a miracle in terms of extending the life expectancy for people living with HIV, a lot of people have had trouble in terms of side effects. Protease inhibitors are a huge success story but people who had to take them, taking them indefinitely living with HIV infection, they can be no picnic, especially in terms of gastrointestinal side effects and stuff.

Is this going to be a drug that`s going to have tolerability issues and side effect issues?

GUPTA: I`m glad you mentioned that, Rachel, because ritonavir is a low does, as you mentioned, it`s combination, it`s part of the drug formulations that are used for individuals infected with HIV. The reason why we give ritonavir as part of this new coronavirus medication is it actually prevents the activation in this therapy from getting broken down.

That low dose for only five days, the idea there is only five days that yes while there are mild symptoms, that they`re pretty self limiting, versus somebody who takes this course for HIV, that could be life long. You`re dealing with GI symptoms, but you`re dealing with liver inflammation, other side effects. We just didn`t see that in the minimal data that`s been presented I should note by Pfizer in a press release. So, the devil, as you pointed out is going to be in the details. But it looks like early signs suggest this is pretty mild side effect profile because of the duration.

MADDOW: Yeah. Again, just a five-day course of this antiviral showing these profound, profound effects.

Dr. Vin Gupta, critical care pulmonologist, affiliate faculty at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington -- Dr. Gupta, I always really appreciate you being here. Thank you so much.

GUPTA: Thank you. Appreciate it.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got lots more to come including eyes on Washington where the Democrats might actually being passing this thing tomorrow. Maybe? Don`t hold me to it.

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: All right. We`ve just thrown out what we were just about to on the show. Up think we have to check in live with what`s going on on Capitol Hill. I say I think we need to do that because I am Charlie Brown and there is somebody named Lucy who holds a football who enjoys doing this for me.

But for about 24 hours we thought there was a real prospect that the Democrats might actually finally be voting on the two bills that make up essentially their legislative agenda for this year, and largely for president Biden`s first term in office. The infrastructure bill and what`s called the Build Back Better agenda. The Build Back Better legislation which contains many of president Biden`s most important priorities.

The House is in session. You see Speaker Nancy Pelosi live in the house. In terms of whether or not this is going to happen, we need some expert help.

So, joining us now live is NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Ali Vitali.

Al, thank you so much for joining us in the middle of this. Can you get us up to speed on what`s happening and what`s going to happen?

Fantastic. I thought we had Ali. We decided to do this live. We just lost Ali on Capitol Hill while we were watching this. Let`s dip in to hear for Nancy Pelosi for a second while we try to get Nancy.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There we are with health care. The green -- under the green framework we talked about climate under the health we talked about Medicare, et cetera., and prescription drug benefit and now we`re talking about built back better. There`s this hashtag, care can`t wait, indeed it can`t and help is on the way.

In terms of family care, build back better is the most transformative initiative in children and caregivers in generations. For decades, hard working families have been struggling under a system that stacks the deck against them. A situation made even worse by the COVID pandemic. And that COVID pandemic sort of pulled back the veil.

MADDOW: Nancy Pelosi making the case to her assembled caucus that they need to pass the build back better legislation alongside the infrastructure legislation. We were -- we`re going to this live tonight because we`re not sure. We are literally trying to figure out live on TV whether or not they are going to proceed to these votes.


What we expect to happen, at least what President Biden asked Democrats to do tonight is to pass the structure bill, which would then conceivably go to President Biden`s desk tonight since it`s already passed the Senate.

Also to pass -- to take a vote to advance the build back better legislation, the larger piece of legislation. We know House progressives insists that they cannot go separately, they must go together. We also know that Nancy Pelosi, as a matter of -- as a matter of what she is made of is like incapable of putting a bill on the floor, trying to pass it, if it will not pass.

So the question is whether or not these votes ultimately happen. We assume that if they`re going to go forward and they are going to take the vote, it`s because Pelosi believes she`s got the votes to get this over the finish line.

Joining us now, I think, is NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Ali Vitali.

I thought so before and I was wrong. Ali, you`re there.


MADDOW: Very good. What is happening tonight? What do you expect to happen over the course of tonight?

VITALI: Well, look, Rachel. We haven`t heard anything official at this point. The plan that the speaker laid out several hours ago seems to be what we`re operating under which is to say we`re going to see the House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and then vote on the rule to the Build Back Better agenda, that larger social spending package. When the speaker walked by me just now to get to the floor where we see her pitching the finer points of the bill and underscoring that she says the bill is paid for, which is important for those moderate holdouts, who want to see a budget office score, who say they have concerns about the cost. It`s important now she`s laying that out again.

When she walked by me, I asked if she thought there was consensus in her caucus for the plan that she laid out, voting on the BIF and voting on the Build Back Better, she said, yes, and then went into the floor and went into her pitch here.

That`s what we`re operating under right now. I will say in talking to moderates, one of them very colorfully described today as messy but used much more colorful language than that. I think that`s a sense as you talk to Democratic lawmakers, this has been far from a clean and simple process. At the same time, though, many of them underscore the transformative nature of what would be in this bill. It`s just a matter of getting there at this point.

MADDOW: What shall we read into the fact that house speaker is speaking right now? We don`t always see the speaker herself standing there at the microphone talking about the merits of legislation. Procedurally is there anything we should read into the fact that she is personal hi making the case for the substance of the bill?

VITALI: We know she`s been having conversations, trying to keep the six moderates who have concerns on board and also trying to make sure that the progressives are on board but the plan with which -- when we were talking to them, it didn`t seem like they were. What they needed was an agreement that they would vote on the build back better piece of that before Thanksgiving, which as Pelosi was walking to the floor, I said just to be career, the plan is to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and move to the build back better and do that before Thanksgiving? She said yes, before Thanksgiving next week.

So, again, she was continuing to tell me that the plan was the same. We`ve seen that plan be announced by her publicly and fall apart behind the scenes. The key thing we`re waiting for and I would like to continue listening to her, too, to make sure she`s not saying this on the floor, but they do needed that assurance for moderates, whether it`s in letter form or whatever that`s going to look like, that say they`re on board for the plan.

There is so much deep distrust up here because of the factions in the House. That`s nothing to say of the distrust between the House and Senate on this. Of course, it really continues to show you that these are the kinds of nights that you get before most big legislation. These are the kinds of nights you get when your margins are as slim as hers are. She can only afford to lose three people here and certainly there have been more people than that that says they`re against it.

MADDOW: All right. We also know that she doesn`t put something up for a vote unless it`s going to pass.

VITALI: Exactly.

MADDOW: She`s got basically a 100 percent track record over her career as speaker and counting votes.

NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Ali Vitali, I get back to you. Thank you very much for giving us the update. Appreciate it.

All eyes live on the house floor now as Democrats seem to be moving forward toward finally taking these votes but it doesn`t happen till it happens and I won`t believe it till I see it.

Stay with us.



MADDOW: We`ve got an update for you, a sort of strange update to the shock story we brought you last week that a criminal charming had been filed against former New York Governor are Andrew Cuomo. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned from the governorship of New York in the midst of an alleged sexual assault scandal.

But a criminal charming against him on that issue was very big news. And part of what was surprising about that charge against him when it was filed last week was how we learned about it. The first anybody knew anything has happened was when a court in Albany New York issued a summons for Cuomo based on a criminal complaint from the Albany County sheriff. Oh, the sheriff?

In this complaint from the sheriff, Cuomo was charged with forcible touching, which is a misdemeanor, related to claims that he groped a staffer under her blouse at the governor`s Manchin last December. That allegation was one of many that were investigated and corroborated in a devastating report from the New York`s attorney general earlier this year.


That AG investigation found that Cuomo had sexually harassed at least 11 women while he was governor. That report led to his resignation in August even as Cuomo has continued to Again, there`s something different about a criminal complaint compared to just a report.

And when this criminal complaint against Cuomo came public last week, it apparently blind-sided both the local prosecutor, the Albany County district attorney, the person who would have to prosecute this case, and the alleged victim in this case, and that`s important.

Then it got even weirder. Even the sheriff himself, whose office had filed the complaint, he held a news conference the next day to say even he had been caught off guard. He said he expected the court in Albany to take much longer to process the complaint. During the time when the court was processing it he figured he`d have time to coordinate but he surprised himself, it happened so fast. He surprised himself. Strange, too.

Well, now, a new wrinkle. The Albany DA, the prosecutor has written a letter to the judge assigned to this case saying that the prosecutor`s office had been in the middle of its own investigation into the same allegation and that the sheriff had, quote, unilaterally and inexplicably filed a complaint in this court. It says, quote, unfortunately the filings in this matter are potentially defective because of the way the sheriff submitted statements from the alleged victim, including omitting things that could potentially be exculpatory for Cuomo.

The prosecutor also says the sheriff`s complaint, quote, misstates the relevant law.

The prosecutor has asked the judge to slow things down. Cuomo was supposed to be arraigned later this month. The judge has now agreed to delay that. The prosecutor asked for that delay so his office can figure out whether and how it can proceed with this case.

Everybody involved has agreed to that delay but it`s now frankly anybody`s guess as to whether this charge is going to go forward or whether it might go away altogether.

Watch this space.


MADDOW: That`s going to do it for us tonight on this very, very busy Friday night, which I think is going to be a very busy late Friday news night.

But now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" where Ali Velshi is in for Lawrence tonight.

Good evening, Ali. I hand this over to you with trepidation, having a feeling this is going to be a complicated night ahead.