tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC January 19, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
knowledge and judgment, your strategic thinking, your connection to the american people to the floor. be yourself, joe. >> madame speaker, thank you so much for inviting us to be here. it's an honor to be in this capitol. an honor always to speak with you. best of luck. it's going to be a challenge. >> thank you once again to madame speaker nancy pelosi, and thank you for watching. good night. ♪♪ well good evening, once again, day 1461 of the trump zrags. was the final full day of the trump administration. 13 hours from now, joe biden will be the nation's 46th president. in the intervening hours, however, joe biden and the rest of the country mugs first get through a highly unusual
inauguration. due to an uncontrolled pandemic, the american people have been told to stay away. due to the attack on the u.s. capital, 25,000 troops will surround the proceedings because of the threat to our fellow americans. donald trump is likely to issue his final pardons within the hour. this afternoon, donald trump who has not been seen in public in seven days, released a videotaped farewell message instead. he again condemned the attack on the capital without taking any personal responsibility, and an attempt to frame the administration as a success. >> we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping america safe and prosperous. we extend our best wishes and we
also want them to have luck, a very important word. all americans were horrified by the assault on our capitol. political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as americans. it can never be tolerated. our agenda was not right or left, republican or democratic but the good of a nation. i'm especially proud to be the first president in decade who has start nod new wars. now, as i prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on wednesday, i want toud know that movement we started is only just beginning. >> trump also thanked his loyal vice president mike pence who had made a target for the mob thain vaded the capitol building almost two weeks ea go now. pence not expected to be in the send off. but will attend biden's
inauguration. tonight, biden arrived in washington. biden made the trip from his home state of delaware where the emotion of the depar chaur got the most of it. >> the entire biden family that is here today, i want to express how much you mean to me and every one of us. i am proud, proud, proud, proud to be a son of delaware, and i am even more proud to be standing here doing this from the major beau biden. so ladies and gentlemen, i only have one regret. it's not here. because we should be introducing him as president. >> this evening, biden and vice president-elect harris held a ceremony at the lincoln memorial to remember the now over 400,000 americans lost in in pandemic. it was the first ever national
gesture to honor and remember the dead. an uncontrolled pandemic of course just one challenge for the new president. the new administration. today, five of biden's cabinet nominees were grilled in senate confirmation hearing. senator josh hawley will object to the homeland security nominee. he is concerned about joe biden's immigration policy. meanwhile, the thousands of national guard troofs are on duty to protect the buildings where the hearings are going on, 12 service members have been removed from duty after a fbi screening. as we mentioned, the inauguration will take place two weeks after the mob in the capitol. today, mitch mcconnell who
perpetuated the big lie for
weeks, finally laid the blame for the insurrection that took over his beloved chamber. >> the mob was fed lies. they were provoked by the president and other powerful people. and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government. >> with that, let's bring in our lead-off guests on this inauguration eve. carol ledding, and phil rucker, co-author of the book "a very stable genius." kimberly atkins, from the boston herald and now a member of the boston globe. and joyce vance who spend 25 years as federal prosecutor, and peter baker, among the
co-authors of "impeachment," good evening and welcome to you all. peter baker, because of your seniority on the beat, i want to begin with you. we have been told the list of pardons would be within the hour. what do you think the president has been doing on the last day, this last night in office? >> well, the pardon power is one of his favorites over the last four years because it's uncheckable. it's the one power he has where he doesn't have to ask anybody else for permission. he doesn't have to win over allies. convince a congressman or issue an agenda rule. he can sign a piece of paper. the lives he affects are people ho are close to him or close to people who were close to him. he has not used it in great measure for people he don't know or had a connection with. and what we hear, the last few hours, he is going through the list. he has a list of dozen, maybe a
hundred or so possible recipients of the pardons, including the latest report, possibly steve bannon, his strategist who was arrested for scanning trump supporters. we are going through the list, to see who he is going to give forgiveness to, who he is not going to give forgiveness to. it's the last act in a presidency that has been keeping us to tender hooks. >> we if news breaks we will have to break in and interrupt our conversation. carol, let me go to your beat. is there a way of telling our audience what about the feds are learning about the length and breadth and planning that went into the insurrection at the capitol? >> yes, brian, my colleagues and i at the post, washington post,
i have been hearing a lot about that. but you can read some of it in our pages. there have been several members of a group called the oath keepers that have been arrested, some charged with very specific and scary federal charges of inciting, organizing. one of them, mr. caldwell, is described by his colleagues as commander. he said in messages to a group of 8 to 10 members that these are some hotels they should stay at. he made suggestions and said they are good places if they had to quote unquote hunt at night. the oath keepers as you know, they have been very much at the forefront of an alt-right extremist movement, arguing that the election results were rigged in some way. though that is false, and they were at the forefront along with several members of qanon, another far right conspiracy
organization that was in the seize on the capitol. >> indeed, donald trump today in his taped remarks did acknowledge the assault on the capitol. he renounced violence. he toed that line without taking any responsibility. this is the way he has been communicating as kind of these released videotapes. we go days without seeing him. it's all going to be over tomorrow. what else stood out to you watching this edited video tonight? >> yes, well, aside from it being heavily scripted and not sounding like the trump we have seen for the most part over the four year, he is more himself when he is off the teleprompter and now when he is recording videos. i thought it was interesting. it was an attempt to sort of normalize and give a normal farewell speech for a presidency that was anything but traditional.
it claimed a lot of falsehoods. i was struck by him saying he was the only recent president to have started no new wars. i mean, washington, d.c. where i live right now, looks like a war zone with the national reserves men all over the city. and you can't get any where near the capitol. it doesn't look anything like a normal inauguration. the one thing he did say that was true, did what we came here to do. if you look back on president trump's term, it's as advertised with his campaign. he campaigned on fear, calls for a muslim ban, saying peek from mexico were murderers and rapist. he campaigned on divisiveness, and he came in focused mostly on
himself, and blaming others for anything that went wrong, and failing to take accountability, right up to the end where he is failing to take accountability from the -- and that video today, bore no resemblance to what we have been watching the last four years. >> all of this, joyce, brings us to you and the news we will get at some point tonight. that is pardons. there are different kinds of pardons and on the humanitarian ground, the nop nonviolent offender who has been serving 20, 30 years, a model prison nor. i don't know anyone who is so cold harded that is that kind of thing. on the other side, there's steve bannon. talk about the kind of pardons that destroy morale and break the backs of the feds who work day and night to administer
justice? >> you're exactly right about that. the pardon power is meant to permit the fought do justice and to offer mercy to people who don't have a legal option but deserve to be out of prison, reunited with their families out from under the incumbrance of a conviction. and the most recent commutation came a few days ago, the pardon of a wealthy businessman in who engaged in $300 million in fraud, swindling investors for money. not really the candidate we think about what when we think about mercy, and steve bannon is trump's abducation of rule of
and almost no longer belongs there based on what we know now. bannon faces a serious term in prison. he defrauded many members of trump's base in connection to a project that was designed to collect money to build a federal wall. he is under federal indictment. he will go to prison for a long time if he is convicted. one way he can reduce his exposure is by cooperating and bannon has access to many of the president's innermost thoughts. we don't know if the president committed any crimes but we know the most difficult thing for prosecutors is to get inside a dependent's head to know what they were thinking and why they acted the way they did, bannon might be able to offer evidence like that. a pardon will be perceived as
this president's contempt and abuse of the rule of law. >> bannon was swept up, lounging on a deck of a vessel owned by a chinese billionaire off the coast of connecticut, as one does. peter baker, we are reminded this is the closing hours, there is talk tonight in washington of a new political party. mr. trump discussed the matter with several aides and other people close to him last week. he would want to call the new party the patriot party. peter, this opens up a lot of issues and questions. >> well, it does of course and it indicates how deep the civil war within the republican party is now. he no longer thinks the party is sufficiently behind him. and that is fine with a lot of republicans. mitch mcconnell has basically
wiped his hands of president trump and says the party needs to purge his presence at this point and move on beyond him. this would be obviously a blow to the republican party and probably split it apart in the past when teddy roosevelt split off from the republican party in 1912 and cost the election to wood row wilson. it would to the fact that it's not a unified, coherent organization right now. there is a schism between the ones who see trump as their avatar, their type of leader they want, and those two find trump loathe some and repugnant, and it's a party that is held together with everyone holding their nose at the clubhouse meetings in effect. and it would be fascinating to see why they pull it out. it would require an enormous amount of dedication,
organization and discipline to make it work. we haven't had a new party in the country since the 1850s. ross perot tried it. he had a lot of money. and it goes to show how things are in the republican party. >> carol, i'm also remembers john anderson, and if peter hadn't invoked ross perot, i was prepared to do so. parties are hard and this would be complicated. especially if trump is unwilling or unable to serve as the head of that party on a ballot. let's talk, carol, about the mitch mcconnell dynamic. how is he likely to receive news of a spin-off party that comes out of his base and not, say, joe biden's and chuck schumer's? >> you can tell by mitch mcconnell's body language that he is reacting with an ulcerous
feeling. there have been many people that many republicans got their foreheads smacked for what they have been enabling in trump for four years when they began clamoring for an exit when armed intruders broke in the capitol. and the idea of mcconnell being saddled with donald trump for much longer -- i will not speak for the senate leader but know many of his aides would like it to be the last involvement with trump. and the civil war, it's a civil war that donald trump has stoked in there. is no question there is division in this country. but he has lit that match, and our inauguration tomorrow is an
illustration, a very sorrowful illustration of that civil war. we have national guardsmen who are there to guard the perimeter but a certain very small subset have been asked to leave because they have ties to groups that the national security teams were in charge of making sure that joe biden doesn't get shot tomorrow. they are concerned about any single individual who would be a tiny breach in the security perimeter, no matter how tiny. and it just tells you how ruptured our country is. and that may be the legacy of donald trump. >> yeah, indeed. i said at the top of the broadcast, when it occurs to you the threat they are protecting you from are americans, it's bracing and still new. al qaeda is not the threat tomorrow, but al from up state new york or al from arkansas may
test 25,000 uniformed troops. let's take a break from the the conversation. we have asked all of the guests to stay with us. coming up when we continue, after trafficking for weeking in the big league, as we said, mitch mcconnell now blaming the president for the mob this attacked the capitol along with several other powerful people. you did does that mean mitch mcconnell is a vote to convict? we will talk about that many 346 and michael bestlaw and pete sousa for a picture of what test really like. all of it as "the 11th hour" is just getting under way. ay
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the events on january 6th make no mistake about it were not a spontaneous demonstration. so let me be clear. there will be an impeachment trial in the united states senate. there will be a vote on conflicting the president for high crimes and disdemeanors and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote from barring flim running again. >> so if there were any doubts that president would face impeachment, chuck schumer led them back today. we are back with our guests. kim, this one's for you. i think if memory serves, bill
crystal has an hpd in the classics from harvard so he has established loving a good story line. he tweeted this today. quote, i think mitch is look forg ward to hanging back on the role call and then being the 67th vote for conflicting trump. does this only happen in the world of crystal and sorkin? >> i'm not that convinced. i'm not as convinced as bill is. we know mitch mcconnell does a very good job keeping what he will do close to the vest and i was listening to what he said today. he said the president provoked this mob. is provocation the same as incitement? i don't know. that is up to leader mcconnell. he also talked about other people also provoking it.
does that take culpability away from trump in me chooses worth carefully. i didn't get a definitive answer from that but it left open the possibility he could a vote in favor of removal and the second vote, which would be very important, the majority vote to prevent donald trump from running for office again and presumably being part of a fictitious party. we don't know yet. it's a big haul to get enough republicans to convict him but if anyone can, mitch mcconnell can. >> waves of excitement on fox news as donald trump on the last day and night, released a tranche of declassified documents having to do with cross fire hurricane.
especially for viewers who don't the ins and outs, can you give us the overbrief and remind us what the case was? and talk about the logistics, ethics of tearing off the label of some of the documents, once protected for a reason. >> we've all speculated about damage the president could do on his way out the front door of the white house, and this purported release really falls within that classification. this is donald trump at his worst trying to use the power of the presidency in order to insulate himself from any further historical damage down the road because cross fire hurricane is the story of his campaign's cross over with russia in an effort to seek ep election. and this is the core of his allegation that the intelligence
community came over him, witch hunted him in a way that was inappropriate. this is questionable whether any of the documents will see the light of day though. the fbi pushed back strongly on national security grounds any sort of release like that has a risk of methods so the fbi pushed back and said we don't believe any of this should be released. if it does, it should be redakted. and if it was released, it would be incomplete. but it takes time. declassification is not automatic, and with the clock running on this presidency, it's not clear to me that it happens in a meaningful way.
perhaps it can be countermanted, and requred and the president will not get the benefit in a last ditch effort to get him self-serving purposes. >> quick last word with peter baker, who we started with tonight. and it says a lot about our new cycle, you don't have the luxury of hitting send on that last sentence. your last take on the trump administration. i guess until 11:59:50 a.m. >> look, he has made very clear he's not very eager to see the spotlight. that is the character for the last four years. all of us have been watching, chronicling the presidency and we have seen a president who
wants to dominate the conversation in every state. one thing about the next 24 hours is the lack of ability to use twitter. imagine what we might see in an inaugural ceremony of his successor, who does not consider to be legitimate, if he had the access to social media. he doesn't have it anymore. he's got the call on fox news. help has to start his own media company, whatever, and he will have not have the instantaneous ability to change the conversation with the stroke of a send button on twitter. and i think that changes the last 24 hours. so even as he is trying to keep us in suspense all the way up to the end, it's still a different feeling. >> he may look back with a combination of ang intersurprise that he had a briefing room.
a big thank you to the faresome front four. the day we had, and considering the day we're all going into. coming up for us, both of our next guests, chroniclers of the nation's history. one in pictures, one in words. tomorrow's historic inauguration day when we come back. historicn day when we come back.
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>> so it's beeply personal that our next journey to washington starts here, a place that defines the very best of who we are as americans. i know those are dark times but there's always light. that's what makes this state so special. that's what it taught me. it taught me the most, there's always light. >> ready or not, americans are about to get an emotional irishman as our next president. his inauguration will look much different than any other in the recent history. most striking will be the national mall. typically open to people. it will be closed. national security presence in d.c.
nearly 250,000 flags will be there to represent the flag. the trumps will not be greeting the bidens at the house. they will extend no such courtesy. this image of barack obama speaking to his successor, a beaming mike pence in the background. with us tonight, michael beschloss, his book, clearly visible, presidents of war. and pete souza, former white house photographer under obama and reagan. his work was the star of "the way i see it," focus features, and msnbc films that is streaming now on peacock. in addition to his work on president obama, pete is the author of the book on shade, a tale of two presidents.
i wouldn't be happier to have you two on. especially this night of all nights. pete, let's talk about up close. let's talk about as close as you need to be to get what you have captured in your life and career. what happen are we missing watching inaugurations from home that we would see up close? what we missing from joe biden that you have gotten to see up close? >> i think that joe biden is one of the most compassionate human beings i have ever met. he had a lot of tragedy in his life. he will be so much more empathic than the current president we have, and the think that the inauguration is going to go off well, even without the crowds, and i'm really happy that they
didn't fod go on ahead and have it in front of the capitol. i this they an important tradition. >> talk about what it was like to see two guys, obama and trump, together obviously, no love lost between them. one of them spent years along with his wife, current first lady for a couple hours, per suing the birtherism theory. >> i have to tell you, brian, that morning when he got out of the limousine, i kept expecting hillary clinton to get out of the limousine. it was still a shock even though we had two months to prepare for it. it was just a strange morning. in the blue room with the incoming president and incoming vice president, leaders of congress. and it was -- i don't know how to explain it other than there
was dual emotions going through me. one, i was worn out after eight years of doing my job, and the same time, i was really nervous about turning the keys over to the current president. >> michael beschloss, i have a dual prong question for you as well. how is it that the not yet president of the united states was the man who led the nation tonight in the first of its kind national remembrance of 400,000 souls gone? that is question number one. question two, a brief reminder for the viewers about all the firsts we're going to be witnessing tomorrow. some of them good, some of them not so good. >> well, brian, i heard something you said earlier this evening, which is you were so struck by the lights that were there on the mall that were there in memorial to the 400,000 plus americans who had died of
covid. many of them unnecessarily, would not have died, i would say, if we had a more decent and competent leader, and maybe it was a good idea to have it permanent as a memorial, and we should think really hard about that. and that is -- the president said about the pandemic, it is what it is. that is what he said about the pandemic, and the country that is destroyed by the calamity over the years. and the pandemic, the first time we had an inauguration take place at the height of a disaster like the pandemic of the last 11, 12 months, and this is going to be a social distanced event. you can't look at this event and not know we're going through the trauma that we are. we're going see an awful lot of
masks. the other thing, brian, we just went through what i think of as a near death experience. on the 6th of january, if things were different, you could have had the vice president of the united states, and the speaker of the house and others assassinated, others taken hostage. a prepresidential election might have been overturned. our democracy might have been fractured or destroyed. if that had happened, brian, we tonight would have been talking ability the danger that donald trump would be in the the process tonight either staying on or in some way shutting down the free press and doing all sorts of other things that would shut down democratic institutions. just because we have been saved doesn't mean we should forget, we should never forget, and the ceremony will be a way to remember. >> it's chilling to hear it in your words. we are fortunate that both of
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motortrend's 2021 car of the year. the job as a chief official white house photographer is to officially document the president to see for history. so when inauguration rolled around, i had in the back of my mind for the journey i was about to take, this thought. make authentic photographs. think mood. emotion. context. >> again, part of that extraordinary documentary. pete souza on his role as white house photographer from the documentary, "the way i see it." michael beschloss with us as
well. pete, what do you think it's like for the current white house in-house photographer team, their access and ability to move around, and what can you tell us about the folks who are going to be documenting the biden presidency at least early on? >> yeah, i don't have any inside information about the current white house photographer and her access. there's been very few behind the scenes pictures posted on the white house flickr photo stream. that is all i know, what everybody else knows. in terms of the incoming team, adam schultz will be biden's photographer. i spoke to biden, and most of which of which will remember the primary mission of your job, you be documenting the president for history. everything else, that is what matters most. you are the guy in the room when
everything's going down, just make sure you capture all the great moments. >> michael beschloss, i'm concerned a bit of history is not going to get its due tomorrow. talk about the list of firsts and what it will mean wednesday kamala harris raises her hand and gets sworn in. >> first vice president of the united states as african-american decent, south asian decent and the first time, i say, the first women. only the second catholic in american history, amazingly enough, will be joe biden, and we have a president and a vice president coming in with a confluence of crisis i don't we have seen before in american history. abraham lincoln had to deal with the civil war, and franklin roosevelt with the great depression and the way we stand
up to hitler. and other problems. but all the things they have tomorrow. the pandemic, people are sick and losing jobs. a crisis of racism that has been going on for 400 years plus. and all of us have to be painfully away that democracy is very fragile, we all are there preserve it. if i can add one thing. the last four years, we you have done a wonderful job. you have gotten our family through it. my family asked me 20 say thank you for everything you have done to help us do this and i know a lot of american families feel the say way. >> bless you, and back at you. we have a dedicated beschloss shelf in my house, and a souza
shelf. it's been great to you along for the ride. to michael beschloss, peter souza, thank you for the -- tonight, we will be thinking of you, if not talking to you along the way tomorrow. coming up for us, it's the immense and need challenge the incoming administration now faces. showing care for american citizens for getting shots in american arms. i have the power to lower my blood sugar and a1c. because i can still make my own insulin. and trulicity activates my body to release it like it's supposed to. trulicity is for type 2 diabetes. it's not insulin. and i only need to take it once a week.
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it's a goal within reach, according to health officials. last week, the country averaged roughly 700,000. today, al roker joined the ranks of the vaccinated. >> that's it? >> reporter: but still, only a third of the vaccines distributed have been given. where are the majority of the doses? >> i think they're spread out in the long term facility program, some in hospitals. >> reporter: to fix the lag, the country is opening up public vaccination spots and widening availability to people. today, florida's miami-dade county temporarily closed a mass vaccination site because they ran out of doses. >> the production is still going like this. it's not going like this. we anticipated that when we scale up and go out to larger
populations, the production will go out. but it's not. >> reporter: the cries for more are growing louder. >> we need more vaccine. we need more vaccine. we need more vaccine. it's frustrating. >> reporter: do you run the risk of opening this up to a larger population without enough doses to satisfy that demand, and people just getting frustrated with this process? >> yeah, we don't have the supply to meet the demand right now. >> the j and j vaccine could be a real game-changer. >> reporter: if all goes smoothly, approval could come as early as february. >> 53 minutes after the hour, we would normally head straight to a commercial break, but there is this from "the new york times,"
from maggie haberman tonight. president trump has granted clemency to steve bannon. the president made the decision after a day of frantic efforts to sway his thinking, including from mr. bannon, who spoke to him by phone earlier on tuesday. the pardon was described as a preemptive move that would effectively wipe away the charges against mr. bannon should he be convicted. he may not be the only one with pardon language like that. in effect, to wipe away charges that have not yet been either brought or proven as we mentioned at the top of the broadcast, you may recall the bust by the feds. it was a large vessel off the coast of connecticut, bannon was caught up in it. and the gist of the allegation
was that people were urged to give money, which would make it to the construction of the southern border wall with mexico, the allegation was that that money instead was funneled to personal use. it was the feds who were involved, there was this rather triumphant scene outside what i think was his initial court appearance, a lot of media and supporters across the street. of course, the border wall has been a signature issue. steve bannon, early on in the trump days, used some bracing language at the conservative political action group when a whole lot of people who hadn't had an introduction to him were taken aback by his use of language like destroy the administrative state. it was unknown what that kind of
thing meant. we got a better idea of what that meant as the trump years went on. the trump years that end at noon tomorrow. thankfully and miraculously, our friend peter baker at "the new york times" has been summoned back to his home camera. peter, talk about what more of the blanks you can fill in here, and what we know. >> the idea that he will pardon steve bannon is actually remarkable. while bannon had been his chief strategist in the white house, and had been a key part of the 2016 election, they had a big falling-out because of his quote in a book that trashed jared kushner and ivanka, his daughter and sson-in-law. but then the president decided
he saw in bannon somebody like himself. looking at the pardons through the prism of his own victimization. prosecutors came at him for political reasons, at least he sees it that way, for association with him. and never mind that steve bannon is accused of ripping off trump's own supporters. which you may think would be a negative to the president. money that was said to be used for the wall, but was used for other purposes, including personal purposes. but he sees somebody that has been unfairly treated by the authorities. >> among the journalists at "the new york times," white house
beat included, can you shed any other light on any of the other names that are clearly getting at least floated out of the west wing to prepare people for a list that looks heavier than 100 names? >> yeah, it does. i think a lot of these will be people who won't necessarily be big names. as we talked about, folks on the wrong side of the drug laws. not people that have gone through the justice department pardon process, who applied for them in the normal way, but people who came to the president's attention through friends of his, people like alice johnson. but you've heard of lil wayne, and people who have a certain celebrity status within his circle. he's already, remember, gotten some of his other aides who got
in trouble like michael flynn and roger stone, but others, we're still waiting. i think he's finalizing it as we speak. >> and one final question, a quick answer please. this part of the trump years is not uncommon. we were around when bill clinton departed that office, we had that list of names as he was departing the scene. this being the ultimate power of a presidency domestically, other than declaing war and naming people to the supreme court, is traditionally left right until the end. >> yes, some of clinton's pardons were quite controversial, he pardoned his own half-brother, and mark rich,
he was seen as unrepentant in his having avoided tax charges by fleeing overseas. that caused so many problems for bill clinton, he left on a real down note after eight years in office. and there were allegations that he had somehow committed a crime in abusing his pardon powers. these kinds of pardons do come at the last minute, and they can be so controversial. >> if your wife had not tweeted about the day coming up, this would not have happened. thank you for returning to the camera to help out our broadcast tonight. we know something about the day ahead of you. a quick update for our viewers. we've had the first hints. the first look at what we believe to be a hefty list of pardons on the