Skip to main content

tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  December 15, 2020 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

10:00 pm
that's perhaps because of out of the 900 invited guests only 70 rsvp'd yes. fewer than that actually turned up." in one nod to covid compliance, at least, santa reportedly had a mask on at the event. you can see him there. but they invited 900 people for an indoor event. and everybody they invited was like, are you kidding? if you want to do something nice for the holidays, that's not it. best party fail ever. all right. that's going to do it for us tonight. thanks for being with us tonight. i will see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. i know it looks like i'm reading your book but i'm not. "bag man" by rachel maddow. i'm re-reading ben stiller's blurb for your book on the back of the book which remains my favorite blurb for the book because, because, rachel, you're going to want to know this. at the end of the hour tonight, ben stiller is going to join us here on "the last word." >> you're kidding. >> and i don't really know what we're going to talk about.
10:01 pm
he might want to spend the whole time talking about "bag man" by rachel maddow. >> spiro agnew and "bag man." >> so you're going to want to see that. that's going to be at the very end of the hour tonight. >> will you please tell him hi for me? you know, i will -- i will confess to you i wrote, like, thank you notes and sent little thank yous to everybody who blurbed the book when the book came out this past week and when it came time to write a thank you note to ben stiller i was so, like, intimidated and overwhelmed that i didn't send him a thank you yet because i have to, like, psych myself up for it. i feel like such a goober. have to be cool enough to send ben stiller a thing. so -- oh, don't say anything. i'll figure it out. >> listen, because i am not intimidated and overwhelmed by ben stiller, i will at the end of the hour pass along some form of thanks from you, if i remember it that long. >> okay. >> you know with me, rachel, the odds of me remembering.
10:02 pm
>> i'll send you a text. i'll send you a text right at the right moment. >> okay. we'll get it. >> thank you, lawrence. >> thank you, rachel. >> thank you very much. thank you. you're very kind. steve schmidt will be joining us tonight on a day when he made american political history. steve schmidt has now left a marker for future historians who will someday be tracking what happened to the republican party in the 21st century. and something big is happening in georgia tonight. something very big. 40,000. 40,000 is the very big thing that is happening in georgia tonight. and something i don't think any of us predicted, yesterday on the first day of early voting in georgia for the two senate elections on january 5th, 40,000 more people voted on that first day of early voting for the senate candidates than the
10:03 pm
number of people who voted for president on the first day of early voting for president in georgia. on the first day of early voting for the presidential election, 128,590 georgians showed up and voted in person. yesterday, 168,093 georgians showed up and voted in person for two senators. voting in presidential elections is always supposed to be the peak of voter turnout. more georgians voted in the presidential election this year than have ever voted in georgia before, and now georgia might set another record for voter turnout in the senate elections and that would be very, very good news for joe biden and democratic control of the united states senate. >> a lot of folks thinking maybe georgia broke the record for
10:04 pm
votes for a presidential election, but there's no way they'd do it again in the special election for two seats in the united states senate. are you ready to prove them wrong? i think you are. i think georgia's going to shock the nation with the number of people who vote on january the 5th. am i right, georgia? am i right? >> that was president-elect biden today in his first senate campaign appearance in georgia since winning the presidential election. joe biden laid it all on the line today in georgia. he needs two more democratic senators for the biden/harris administration to get something done. >> i need two senators from this state. i want to get something done. not two senators who are just going to get in the way because, look, getting nothing done just hurts georgia. look what's happening right now
10:05 pm
in the congress. we can get so much done, so much that can make the lives of the people of georgia and the whole country so much better. and we need senators who are willing to do it, for god's sake. so let me hear you, are you ready to vote for the two senators who are doers and not roadblocks? are you ready to vote for two senators who will fight for progress, not just get in the way of progress? are you ready to vote for two senators who know how to say yes, not just the word, no? >> president-elect biden attacked georgia's two republican senators, david perdue and kelly loeffler, for supporting the texas attorney general's appeal to the united states supreme court to nullify the presidential votes of every georgian, democrat and republican. >> your two republican senators,
10:06 pm
they stood by. in fact, your two republican senators fully embraced what texans are telling the supreme court. they fully embraced nullifying nearly 5 million georgia votes. you might want to remember that come january 5th. i'll try to be generous here in the spirit of the season. maybe your senators are just confused, maybe they think they represent texas. well, if you want to do the bidding of texas, you should be running in texas, not in georgia. >> politico reports that joe biden's campaign team is still working in georgia. biden's campaign is still active and according to a background briefing sent to reporters, it has shifted over about 50 staffers to help with efforts on the ground during the runoff including organizing outreach to critical constituencies and voter contact, particularly in
10:07 pm
suburban atlanta and smaller cities where the president-elect overperformed in november. overall, the biden campaign says it and the democratic national committee have raised about $10 million for jon ossoff and raphael warnock to ensure they have the resources they need to finish strong. one biden campaign manager acknowledged the stakes of his visit, his agenda, is on the line, said the adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity. politico also reports that donald trump is not investing in georgia. president donald trump couldn't make it any clearer. he needs his supporters to fork over cash for the all-important georgia senate runoff elections. there's just one hitch. trump's new political machine is pocketing most of the dough, and the campaigns of the georgia senators competing in january 5th races aren't getting a cent. the fine print shows that most of the proceeds are going toward
10:08 pm
trump's newly launched p.a.c. only a fraction is going to the republican national committee which is investing $20 million into the runoffs. joe biden campaigned for jon ossoff and raphael warnock today by describing what they will do and what they won't do. >> jon ossoff, raphael warnock, they're running to represent georgia. georgia. they'll actually fight for you, represent you, stand up for you. they won't put texas first. they won't put donald trump first. they won't put themselves first, either. they'll put you first. the people of georgia. >> in his closing remarks today, president-elect biden quoted georgia's beloved congressman, john lewis, who died in july. >> vote for both jon and raphael and remember the final words
10:09 pm
left to us by congressman, my dear friend, and american hero, john lewis. remember what john said, he said, "the vote is the most powerful nonviolent change you have in a democratic society and you must use it because it's not guaranteed. you can lose it." so use it. you have the power to win this election again. let your voices be heard so the voice of georgia can be heard. there's nothing beyond our capacity. there's no limit to america's future. the only thing that can tear america apart is america, itself. so let's choose hope over fear. unity over division. science over fiction. and, yes, truth over lies. it's time to stand up, take back our democracy. send me these two men and we will control the senate and we
10:10 pm
will change the lives of people in georgia. god bless you, and may god protect our troops. go out and vote. vote. vote. >> leading off our discussion tonight, congresswoman-elect carolyn bourdeaux, she's a democrat who flipped georgia's 7th congressional district. also with us, jennifer palmieri, former white house communications director for president obama and former communications director for hillary clinton's presidential campaign. she is co-host of showtime's "the circus." and congresswoman-elect, what do you make of those first day of early voting, the voter turnout on the first day, beating the presidential voter turnout? >> it is just amazing to see. we were up by 23% over the first day of early vote during the presidential race, and people are hungry to vote. they are ready to get the job done. they are ready for change in this country.
10:11 pm
>> jennifer palmieri, we always thought that peak voting is presidential, and whenever you're outside of the presidential cycle, especially special elections, don't expect to see this kind of turnout. >> yeah, it's -- runoffs are usually hard for democrats. they're hard in georgia. but these numbers are something we've never seen before, and i think -- this election is really important for lots of reasons. it's going to decide the senate. i also think it tells us, for all the people who turned out to vote for biden in georgia and other places, was that a reaction to trump and they think their job is done now, or was trump's election a wake-up call that you have to stay engaged in politics and understand it over the long haul? you know, growing up in democratic politics, we were always told don't talk about voter suppression because it scares voters and it turns them off and they won't turn out. stacey abrams in georgia said, this is what's happening, we have to explain it to voters and trust that they will understand the facts and that they will turn out to defend themselves and the right to vote. and that's what happened with
10:12 pm
her in '18. that's what happened with our congresswoman-elect, and that's what happened for biden in georgia in 2020. and if democrats continue to turn out in those numbers, he could pick up these two senate seats, as difficult as that seemed a month ago. >> let's listen to what democratic senate candidate raphael warnock had to say today. >> united states senators who will not be thinking about themselves but thinking about the people that we were sent there to represent, and if you send jon ossoff there, if you send me there, i promise you we'll be thinking about georgia every day. >> congresswoman-elect bourdeaux, this seems to be a recurring theme, the republican senators are out of touch, they're busy trading stocks in their offices, using information that they've gotten in their
10:13 pm
role as senators. this is not a governing issue as precisely as, say, you know, what should the top income tax rate be, but is that an important part of the messaging to georgia voters that the republican -- the current republican senators are completely out of touch with what georgia needs? >> absolutely, and i think it's a whole theme throughout all this that our elected officials in the state have lost their line of sight to the people of the state. and you see it very, very pronounced in all the discussions that we're having about covid where both of our senators had classified briefings about covid and instead of warning us or helping us get prepared for this crisis, they went and rebalanced their stock portfolios so they could make money and it's outrageous, but we see this through all sorts of issues. health care reform.
10:14 pm
14% of people in georgia don't have health insurance. and this was one of the original issues that got me into this race was my frustration with our inability to get things done. i think we're tired of mitch mcconnell's desk being a graveyard for legislation that we so desperately need as a community here in georgia. >> let's listen to what jon ossoff said today about both these races really being about mitch mcconnell controlling the senate, which is to say ending mitch mcconnell's control of the senate. >> we are welcoming joe biden to georgia, but, georgia, we need to do right by joe biden. we need to make sure joe biden can pass his agenda because if mitch mcconnell controls the senate, they're going to try to do to joe and kamala just like they tried to do to president obama. they will block the covid relief that we need. they will block the $15 minimum wage.
10:15 pm
they will block the civil rights act and the voting rights about that we need. they will block affordable health care. we can't let that happen, georgia. we have too much good work to do. >> jennifer palmieri, there were some democratic strategists that were thinking control of the senate should be de-emphasized, make this about one person against another person because there could be georgia voters who like the idea of a republican senate to mute the biden presidency. >> yeah, but it was interesting, i do remember before the election seeing polling that showed -- and this is an anomaly -- that for the first time, voters in a long time, voters wanted the president and the party in control of the senate to be the same party. that maybe that's a reaction to dysfunction, people being frustrated with the senate not doing anything. maybe that's just -- maybe that's just reflecting people wanting their candidate to win both the presidency and the senate, but it's the first time
10:16 pm
i've seen that in polling in many decades, that people wanted that to be aligned. and, you know, the republican party is just in some ways self-destructing in georgia. you see both loeffler and perdue criticizing brad raffensperger, the republican attorney general there who's administering the elections. they're telling people -- they've been telling people all throughout since the election not to believe the outcome of it and if you continue to tell voters that their vote's not going to be counted or there's fraud involved, they're going to believe it so i think they're really hamstringing themselves, whereas on the democratic side, biden, raising money, biden visiting, he has staff there, the national party's doing all they can to help their candidates, and that could be the difference. >> congresswoman-elect carolyn bourdeaux and jennifer palmieri, thank you both for starting off our discussions tonight. really appreciate it. >> thank you.
10:17 pm
>> thank you. and coming up, after spending his professional life trying to elect republicans, especially republican presidents, steve schmidt said last week that the republican party is, quote, an organized conspiracy for the purposes of maintaining power. and today steve schmidt made his own piece of american political history. steve schmidt joins us next.
10:18 pm
'tis the season to save a bundle. bundle auto and home, and save up to 25% with allstate. bundling just feels good this time of year. saving is easy when you're in good hands. call a local agent, or 1-800-allstate for a quote today. ♪ experience the power of sanctuary at the lincoln wish list sales event. sign and drive off in a new lincoln with zero down, zero due at signing, and a complimentary first month's payment. with zero down, zero due at signing, every time you touch a surface, bacteria is left behind. try microban 24. it kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses initially, and keeps killing bacteria for 24 hours, even after multiple touches. try microban.
10:19 pm
it's moving day. and are doing the heavy lifting, jess is busy moving her xfinity internet and tv services. it only takes about a minute. wait, a minute? but what have you been doing for the last two hours? delegating? oh, good one. move your xfinity services without breaking a sweat. now that's simple, easy, awesome. xfinity makes moving easy. go online to transfer your services in about a minute. get started today.
10:20 pm
on this day in history, vladimir putin sent the public message to joe biden acknowledging that joe biden is the president-elect. vladimir putin said in that message, "for my part, i am ready for interaction and contacts with you." and on this day in history, mitch mcconnell finally said, "i want to congratulate
10:21 pm
president-elect joe biden." and he said that on the senate floor in the congressional record. and on this day in history, our next guest, former republican presidential campaign strategist steve schmidt said this to former democratic presidential campaign strategist david plouffe on their podcast, "battleground." >> i spent 29 years as a republican. i've spent 2 1/2 as an independent and later this afternoon, i will register as a member of the democratic party. >> wow. >> and i'm doing that -- >> what a journey. >> -- because in america today, it's only the democratic party, which is the oldest political party in the world, that stands for the ideas and ideals of american liberty. it's a broad, big tent party. i understand ideologically where i come from isn't anywhere close to being, you know, the mean opinion of the party on some
10:22 pm
issues, but i think, for me in this hour, for the balance of my life and my participation in politics, i'm not independent in this fight anymore. >> joining us now is steve schmidt, former republican strategist. he's an msnbc political analyst and co-founder of the lincoln project. and, steve, welcome to the side that is not independent anymore. this is -- this is a very important moment. and i do think historians will note that the person who's doing everything he could to get john mccain elected president some years later turned against that party because of what that party has become. and you could have stayed in the independent status. what made you take that step from independent over to registered democrat? >> well, i think, lawrence, good evening, i think you're overstating it a bit with
10:23 pm
historians looking at my decision which is a personal one and one of a matter of conscience for me. look, i've always held this view that the republican and the democratic parties are two of the most important institutions not just in american history but in world history for the advancement of human freedom and dignity. and each party has produced the essential leader at america's greatest moments of crises. in the 19th century that leader was abraham lincoln, a republican. in the 20th century, it was a democrat. it was franklin roosevelt who saved capitalism, saved democracy, and ultimately through his wisdom the world in the fight against nazism and japanese militarism. and so in this moment, in this fight, i look at the republican party and what i see is something that approximates what
10:24 pm
happened to the whig party, though we won't see it play out overnight. in 1856 when the kansas/nebraska act was passed allowing slavery to spread westward, it broke the whig party. it broke it geographically, politically, but most important, morally. what we saw this past week with 126 members of congress signing that amicus brief, 18 attorney generals, it's important to understand what we saw. that wasn't a legal act. it was a junk lawsuit. it was like something out of a "seinfeld" episode that would have been filed in court by jackie chiles. right? what it was was a political statement, a declaration, a declaration of repudiation against the core tenet of american democracy, which is in this land, the people are sovereign and that we pick our leaders. it's also important to understand what we watched in washington, d.c., on saturday night. we saw right-wing extremists' political violence. we saw fascistic violence in the
10:25 pm
streets of the nation's capital. we've seen violence in our cities before. we've seen it this summer. we've seen riots where cities have been burned to the ground. but the cause of that rage which does that, as martin luther king observed, is from the fury of people who feel that they have nothing taking it out on people that they feel like have something. that's not what this is. this is political violence incited by the president of the united states, and what i believe is, to the core of my being, for the rest of my life we're in a fight now between an autocratic sensibility that's taken root in this country in four short years and the leaders of the country are going to matter. it's going to matter what party they come out of. the republican party, a majority of them voted for this autocratic moment. 90 of them that didn't but, you know, look, they're in a coalition of conservatives and autocrats and that's bad for america.
10:26 pm
the party that's going to defend american liberties is the democratic party. that's why i joined it. i'm a single-issue voter now. i believe in american democracy full stop. and that's what's going to be on the ballot in every presidential election going forward. our side can't afford to lose an election because it may be the last one. >> steve, you know when you're a single-issue voter and it's one party, you end up voting for people for whom you have some policy disagreements of varying sizes. i'm sure that's happened to you during your life as a republican, that you voted for some candidates with whom you had some policy differences, but a single-issue voter voting on the democratic side means you would vote for someone like joe manchin, for example, on the kind of the moderate side of the democratic party, bernie sanders on the left side of the democratic party, and you don't have any qualms about trying to fine-tune that choice when it comes down to the word, democrat versus republican on a ballot?
10:27 pm
>> look, i think a lot of the issue debates we've been having, lawrence, that they're stale in this country. they've been going on for 40 years. they haven't changed a lot since the 1980s. and the world has changed dramatically. you know, my politics has evolved in many ways and i -- look, i was always a moderate republican. i gave a speech in favor of gay marriage in 2009. you know, i'm a new jersey moderate. but, look, at the end of the day, the mature view of politics, and i like to think i have one, is this. it's coalition politics. what i believe in above all things is that i want my children to grow up in the world's greatest democratic republic. i want them to grow up in a free country. i want them to grow up in a country where their birthright is preserved. and the vehicle to do that is the democratic party. what that means is that the leaders of that party, by and large, support tax rates are higher than i'd like to see.
10:28 pm
they may support more regulation than i would like to see. if you were to do an ideological survey of the democratic party, look, i'm a conservative democrat, i guess, in the constellation but, again, the issue that matters for me is democracy, and what we've seen over the course of november is an american tragedy and a travesty. we saw the deliberate, intentional, premeditated poisoning of american democracy, the poisoning of faith and belief in the legitimacy of the system by the national leaders who were supposed to preserve it and protect it. they're going around saying to the entire world that the united states is a corrupt country, a banana republic that can't hold a free and fair election, when we're supposed to be the world's polaris in doing exactly that. and in the end when you think about all the inventions that have ever been made in this
10:29 pm
country, from computers and telephones and iphones and ships that landed on the moon, vaccines, automobiles, assembly lines, the greatest export this country has ever produced is the peaceful transition of power. the idea of a representative democracy where the people are sovereign. that is the greatest american export, and to see that -- to see that great american idea and ideal trampled on by people who have breached their oath to preserve and protect it, is just appalling over this month. but we shouldn't underestimate how important this month of november, 2020 was. it will define the political fight for the balance of our lives. >> steve schmidt, thank you very much for joining us on this very important night in your political journey. we hope to hear from you many more times. thank you very much, steve. really appreciate it. coming up, 36 days.
10:30 pm
that's how much time donald trump has left to think about who's going to get a trump pardon. and attorney general william barr is leaving office next week for reasons that are more than a bit mysterious, especially when you consider how william barr left office the last time he was attorney general in 1993. we'll consider that next with justice department veteran glenn kirchner. did you know you can go to to customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need? really? i didn't-- aah! ok. i'm on vibrate. aaah! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ to high quality computer science and stem education. ♪ i joined amazon because i wanted to change education and i am impatient. amazon gives me the resources to change the world at a pace that i want to change it. ♪ we provide students stem scholarships
10:31 pm
and teachers with support. ♪ i'm a fighter and i'm fighting for all students.
10:32 pm
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ of the financial system. le have been shut out [music playing throughout] my grandfather founded industrial bank in 1934
10:33 pm
so black people would have a bank that would work with them. because our doors are open, other doors are opening to more opportunities for our community. we're excited to work with citi, so we can realize our dreams of expanding our reach and impact. citi is committed to working with black-owned banks like industrial, so they can continue to support their clients and communities.
10:34 pm
william barr is something of a curse for first-term presidents. this is the second time william barr has served as attorney general for a first-term president who lost his re-election campaign. william barr was attorney general when president george h.w. bush lost his re-election campaign in 1992 to bill clinton and william barr stayed on the job then as attorney general right up to the morning of inauguration day on january 20th, 1993.
10:35 pm
bill barr remained in his job as attorney general until the very last second of the very last minute in 1993, but this time bill barr is leaving the job and i'm being careful here not to use the word resign, because we don't know if bill barr is resigning or being fired. but bill barr is leaving the job next week. one full month earlier than he left the last time. why? joining us now is someone with decades of experience in the justice department, glenn kirchner. he's a former federal prosecutor and an msnbc legal analyst. glenn, i read william barr's letter yesterday carefully. he doesn't say "resign." donald trump didn't say "fired" in the tweet. just "leaving." that means donald trump is reserving the right to declare him fired at any point in the future. how do you read the letter? how do you read the situation? why is bill barr bailing out a
10:36 pm
month earlier than he did last time he was attorney general? >> lawrence, the way i read the letter is it's as if it was written by donald trump because it's nothing but praise and cheerleading and it's a fine piece of fiction. the way i read bill barr sort of bowing out early, it may have something to do with what you alluded to in your opening piece, which is that, you know, he was involved in, you know, what i would call a pardon rodeo when he was the attorney general for george h.w. bush because back during the iran/contra scandal president bush was debating whether to issue a pardon i think initially for caspar weinberger and bill barr gave him some advice as attorney general and it's become something of an infamous line. he advised president george h.w. bush that, you know what, when it comes to pardons, if you're
10:37 pm
in for a penny, you're in for a pound. and he advised president bush to pardon six government officials who were criminally involved in the iran/contra affair. five of them had already been convicted at trial. so we know that bill barr is not above being part of that kind of a pardon palooza. here's the thing. if you are the attorney general and a president at the end of his term begins to issue all of these pardons, your reputation will be forever wedded to whatever pardons the president issues, and i think we all have a sneaking suspicion, lawrence, that it's about to start raining pardons in, perhaps, the ugliest way. >> well, the justice department has a pardon office that normally processes all the paperwork that leads up to a presidential pardon. so now with bill barr out of there, he won't -- he can claim no contact with any of this, but i actually kind of thought bill
10:38 pm
barr was going to have to hang around until the last minute to make sure that he, himself, had a trump pardon on the way out the door. >> i agree with you, and i'll tell you, lawrence, the moment i heard bill barr break with donald trump on the election fraud issue, one, i was taken aback. i think we were all somewhat surprised when bill barr said there was no massive election fraud that would undermine the election results. the next thing that went through my mind at that moment was bill barr already has his presidential pardon in his back pocket because bill barr is corrupt, but he's not stupid. i mean, he knows he's going to need that pardon in the future given some of his legal transgressions as attorney general. so once he was willing to publicly break from the president, it made me think he must already have that pardon from donald trump. >> glenn kirchner, thank you very much for joining us
10:39 pm
tonight. really appreciate it. >> thank you, lawrence. coming up, dr. anthony fauci said today that president-elect joe biden should receive the coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible. our next guest will be getting the vaccine tomorrow morning on the "today" show. when it comes to autism, finding the right words can be tough. finding understanding doesn't have to be. together, we can create a kinder, more inclusive world for the millions of people on the autism spectrum. go to
10:40 pm
[ fizz ] joini[ coughing ] [ gasping ] skip to cold relief fast with alka seltzer plus severe power fast fizz. dissolves quickly, instantly ready to start working. ♪ oh, what a relief it is so fast.
10:41 pm
10:42 pm
♪ ♪ smooth driving pays off. ♪ with allstate, the safer you drive the more you save. ♪ you never been in better hands. allstate. click or call for a quote today.
10:43 pm
today, the food and drug administration confirmed moderna's analysis that its new coronavirus vaccine is 94% effective. the fda says that moderna's data supported a favorable safety profile with no specific safety concerns identified that would preclude issuance of an emergency use authorization. an fda advisory panel will meet on thursday to decide whether to recommend the moderna vaccine for approval for public distribution. today, nbc news confirmed that vice president mike pence is likely to receive a coronavirus
10:44 pm
vaccine by the end of the week. today, dr. anthony fauci said president-elect biden and vice president-elect harris should be vaccinated as soon as possible. >> this is a person who very soon will be the president of the united states. vice president-elect kamala harris will very soon be the vice president of the united states. for security reasons, i really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can. you want him fully protected as he enters into the presidency in january. so that would be my strong recommendation. >> president-elect biden responded to dr. fauci's recommendation. >> dr. fauci recommends i get the vaccine sooner than later. i want to make sure we do it by the numbers and we do it, when i do it, you'll have notice and we'll do it publicly. >> today, our next guest, dr. vin gupta, tweeted this.
10:45 pm
"i get my vaccine tomorrow and i'm grateful to the scientists who labored to make this day happen. after the second dose 21 days later, i will continue masking, distancing, and avoiding travel until dr. fauci says otherwise. stay vigilant. ignore the noise. normalcy is ahead." and joining us now is dr. vin gupta. a critical care pulmonologist and affiliate assistant professor at the institute for health metrics. he's an msnbc medical contributor. and doctor, you've been on the front lines of this pandemic and tomorrow morning you get the vaccine on the "today" show, as i understand it. >> good evening, lawrence. the "today" show reached out and i was happy to oblige. i'm doing it with the two of my colleagues here in seattle, and i think it's important to build public trust since we do have rationing of this vaccine, supplies constrained upfront.
10:46 pm
it's important for the american people to look to their doctors, to the clinicians who provide care for covid-19 patients to see them take it, in some cases publicly, to see them report on any side effects and to see the experience with it. i'm convinced that's going to help with public buy-in and increased acceptance. >> what has been the general feeling among people that you've been working with in the medical profession with the arrival of this vaccine, what it means to them and their lives? >> i think it's overwhelming excitement, lawrence. this is our only way out of this pandemic. we all recognize that in public health. we want to be out of this pandemic as much as you do, as much as your viewers do because we want to plan on that vacation later in 2021 in a normal holiday season. so this is a mutually shared sentiment. what i will say is we're also mindful of what dr. fauci and other leaders are saying when it comes to what a vaccine means once it gets deployed. we know after, for example, at day 21 i'm going to get my
10:47 pm
second dose. after that second dose, it's not like the lights turn on and suddenly life is normal for me. we still have to mask, distance, and be vigilant because there's two things here right now, lawrence, that are still unknowns. one, how long is immunity acquired from this vaccine, whether, regardless of brand, how long does immunity last? we still don't truly know that. we're building that knowledge as we speak. and then number two, and this is really clear because -- it seems to be really clear because this is a confusing point, a vaccine can prevent serious illness but in some cases not stop somebody from developing an asymptomatic version of illness, where you can still transmit in this case covid-19 to others. it's a weird dichotomy we're trying to tease out. does, for example, moderna, published today in their press release, some data suggesting it actually prevents transmission of this virus in addition to
10:48 pm
severe illness. we want that confirmed because that's going to be an important fact to present to the american people so we can guide behavior. >> now, when you see an additional fact like that reported by -- or finding like that reported by moderna, which might or might not prove to be true, does it give you any thoughts about, well, maybe i should wait for moderna, i could get a moderna vaccine maybe next week, you're obviously getting pfizer tomorrow since that's what's approved at this point. is there anything in that kind of news that makes you think, oh, maybe i'll wait for the next one? >> no, absolutely not. because pfizer is also developing this knowledge base as we speak, as well, and there's some hints that pfizer also -- that that vaccine is effective both in terms of mitigating transmission and preventing serious illness. that's crucial because at the end of the day what we want is for this vaccine to prevent all your viewers from coming to see somebody like me and my colleagues in the icu. but that question on transmission is vital and pfizer's building that knowledge as we speak and they should have data out in the next few weeks as well, so i don't think this should impact people's
10:49 pm
decision-making, if they have a decision on brand. honestly, no one is really going to have a choice in these initial few weeks on brand. they should take whatever vaccine they can get access to. but it's an important question, lawrence. we're going to have clarity on these issues, duration of immunity, and whether or not these vaccines protect against transmission in addition to severe infection in the coming weeks and early months ahead. >> dr. vin gupta, thank you very much for joining us tonight. we'll be watching tomorrow on the "today" show. thank you, doctor. >> thanks, lawrence. and coming up, how much does it cost to talk to ben stiller on zoom? because there's a price, and ben stiller isn't happy about it. but i think we can make him feel just a little bit better, when ben stiller joins us next.
10:50 pm
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
10:51 pm
♪ i'm here to bringadies you all the news from across this great world of ours. universal pictures presents... little girl is lost. and i'm taking you home. from academy award nominated director paul greengrass... how much you want for her? this child is not for sale. tom hanks. she ain't worth dying for. johanna! she needs new memories. looking to save money this look at allstate.n? drivers who switched & saved, averaged $718 dollars. saving is easy when you're in good hands. call a local agent, or 1-800-allstate for a quote today.
10:52 pm
anna could only imagine a comfortable night's sleep without frequent heartburn waking her up. now, that dream... . her reality. nexium 24hr stops acid before it starts, for all-day, all-night protection. can you imagine 24 hours without heartburn? the lack of control whenover my business kai,. made me a little intense. but now quickbooks helps me get paid, manage cash flow, and run payroll. and now i'm back on top... with koala kai. save over 30 hours a month with intuit quickbooks. but you can work out anything wowith comcast business.w. get fast, reliable, and secure internet on the nation's largest gig speed network. flexible tools - like wi-fi you control.
10:53 pm
voice solutions that connect you from anywhere. and expert advice here, here, or even here. be fast. be flexible. bounce forward with comcast business. get started with a powerful internet and voice solution for just $64.90 a month. plus, for a limited time, ask how to get a $500 prepaid card when you upgrade. switch today. time for tonight's "last word." so the latest thing in charitable fund-raising is the
10:54 pm
zoom call with your favorite celebrity or the celebrity you can afford. ben stiller recently revealed how disappointed he was to discover where he ranked in the dollar value of charity zoom calls. at that point his call was worth $1,675, and this is one of those areas of embarrassment for ben stiller that didn't exist a year ago. the celebrity charity zoom call of 2020 thing created obviously by the pandemic. it wasn't something i planned to do for the k.i.n.d. fund but eric gerty reached out to us and said he would happily contribute $20,000 to kids in need of desks for a 30-minute zoom call as a birthday present for his wife laura gerty. that money will provide hundreds of desks for schools in malawi on scholarships for girls to attend high school in malawi. and i did that zoom call and we
10:55 pm
were joined on the phone by her longtime best friend. and i stayed on that call for a lot longer than 30 minutes because they made it so much fun. so far this holiday season you have contributed $1,736,936 to the k.i.n.d. fund. every contribution helps provides desks to schools and scholarships for girls to attend high school in malawi. no contribution is too small. you can contribute to and tonight to match eric and laura gerty's generous contribution and to pump up ben stiller's price for charity zoom calls i am contributing $20,000 to the k.i.n.d. fund for a zoom call with ben stiller. and joining us now for that zoom
10:56 pm
call is the suddenly high-priced ben stiller. ben, thank you very much for joining us tonight. and i just want to -- i want to do this like the celebrity zoom call that it is. so what's the favorite movie you -- i don't know. i can't even think of what -- by the way, on your celebrity zoom call, what was the most uncomfortable question? >> well, my celebrity zoom call has not cashed in yet, the one that you're -- so i haven't done it yet. but it's very stressful for me to think of things to talk about for anyone for 30 minutes let alone a stranger, even someone i've known for 10 or 15 years. >> i'm going to have laura gerty give you a call because she's really fun and the 30 minutes will fly by. >> i'm happy to talk about anything. it's kind of like -- for me it's for a good cause. it used to be with these things
10:57 pm
you would donate, like, a visit to a set or a visit to a premiere of a movie. but since those things aren't happening anymore it's a little more one-on-one. and i think it's a great thing and i'm looking forward to it. i hope i'm interesting enough. >> it's a little awkward when the price becomes public, but then again you emphasized the public nature of your price. the only reason i know about it is you tweeted about it. >> i appreciate you coming to my rescue and actually making the zoom call now public, which only adds more pressure to how interesting the $20,000 zoom call we're having right now is. i wouldn't want to check your second by second ratings right now as to -- actually what happened. also, anthony scaramucci, he direct messaged me and offered -- he was saying, what's going on with that? like $1,500, we've got to jack that up. and he had some mooch method
10:58 pm
like, i'll retweet it, but i'm not really good at twitter. so, mooch is much better. >> we jacked it up tonight. and from now on the beginning bid for a ben stiller zoom call is going to be much, much higher i'm sure. >> i appreciate that, lawrence. and if i can return the favor and if you want to do joint zoom calls, that kind of ups the value. like if you say, like, ben stiller, lawrence o'donnell, that always helps take the pressure off what is my time worth to somebody. >> yeah, and i could ask all the questions, which would then guarantee they would be dumber than anything anyone else would ask you in the zoom call. >> i wouldn't have to do anything. you could just talk and talk. >> a nice, playful zoom call with steve schmidt about, you know, the state of our politics, that kind of thing. >> yeah. >> and by the way, my text
10:59 pm
machine is lighting up since i announced you were coming on here. some guy who's claiming to be the director who gave you your first big -- your first part in a movie said to say hi, steven something. and so he's watching. and by the way, i think i'm going to charge him $5,000 for passing that along through this zoom call to the high-priced ben stiller. >> wow, steven something. i think i might know who you're talking about. >> ben, thank you very much for doing this. i hope we've done wonders. and right now i guess you are entering the guinness book of records in a tie with me for highest priced zoom call discussed on this show. that's where it is. >> nice. well, let's take this on the road and do it more often because i think we're going to make a lot more money for charities. >> ben stiller gets tonight's last zoom call and only zoom call. ben, thank you very much for
11:00 pm
joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thanks, lawrence. i'm a fan. >> thank you. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. again. day 1,426 of the trump administration meaning 36 days remain until the inauguration of joe biden as the 46th president. yet as the nation prepares for a new political era and as medical breakthroughs provide hope in the midst of this pandemic, offer us a glimpse of hope at least the grim reality remains. a record number of americans are hospitalized tonight with the virus. over 300,000 of our fellow citizens are gone. tonight the bells of the national cathedral in washington tolled 300 times in their memory. the vaccine rollout continues