tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC November 19, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
want to see in the world so they are very important for that reason. but in particular, it's a wonderful time to be eaching at howard university with the vice president of the united states being a grad because those students can feel that energy and they can feel like they can do it too. >> i didn't mean to shade hampton university. i love hampton university but as kamala d. harris would say, the vice president, the real hu is howard university so i had to say it at the top on this historic night, please stay safe. that is tonight's "last word." catch me every week at 6:00 p.m. on the choice from msnbc exclusively on peacock. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. good evening once again, day 304 of the biden administration
and tonight kyle rittenhouse, the kid who brought an ar-15 to a protest as one does apparently is no longer a defendant in a case that became a flash point over gun rights and vigilantism and self-defense in our country. after 3 1/2 days of deliberations a jury in kenosha, wisconsin, found 18-year-old rittenhouse not guilty of fatally shooting two men, injuring another during that protest with police conduct back in august of 2020. that unrest erupted after the police shooting of black kenosha resident jacob blake. during the trial rittenhouse took the stand testified he was target the and attacked in the midst of those protests and fired his ar-15 in self-defense. late today the family of anthony huber, one of the two men killed by rittenhouse issued this reaction to today's verdict, quote, it sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite
violence and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street. the president was also asked about the outcome of this case. >> look, i stand by what the jury has concluded. the jury system works and we have to abide by it. >> biden later urged americans to avoid focusing on divisions over the case and in a statement later that read in part, quote, while the verdict in kenosha will leave many americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, i believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. his focus on unity comes on the very day the house narrowly passed a key part of his plan to overhaul this country's social safety net as well as climate and tax laws. those are the democrats celebrating. the vote was 220 to 213. not a single republican crossed the aisle to join them. that vote was supposed to take place last night but was delayed until this morning when many
more americans were awake to see it because of a record-breaking 8 1/2-hour speech from republican leader kevin mccarthy. today the former president felt the need to weigh in praising mccarthy saying he did, a quote, great job holding off the vote to as he put it properly oppose communism. the build back better legislation now heads to the u.s. senate where the majority leader has said he hopes to get it to the floor to a vote by christmas. tonight one top house democrat said he's confident it'll get the backing of each and every senator in the democratic party. >> i do believe that all 50 of the senators are operating in good faith in terms of trying to land the plane, but what gives i think many of us confidence in the house is that president biden has given us his explicit commitment that what has been outlined in terms of the tremendous strides that we be
taking for the american people in the build back better act will get the support of 50 senators and he will personally make sure that occurs. >> also this evening a long awaited significant step forward on the vaccine booster front. the cdc has at long last signed off on approval of both the pfizer and moderna boosters for all adults in the united states. that makes the booster available to tens of millions of americans at 80,000 locations in all, just in time for the upcoming holidays, travel and gatherings. with that let us bring this our starting line, courtney, white house correspondent for "usa today," carol leonnig for "the washington post," co-author with phil rucker of "i alone can fix it" and cynthia oxney former
federal prosecutor in the civil rights division of the department of justice. good evening and welcome to you all and cynthia, given the news and our lead story, i'd like to begin with you by asking you, why did this case result in an acquittal? >> it resulted in acquittal for a couple of reasons and the most important ones frankly were the witnesses. one witness said he approached the defendant and pointed a gun and one witness reportedly went after mr. rittenhouse with a skateboard and another one supposedly grabbed his gun. that was enough that the prosecution could not overcome their burden of proof and when you add two other important thing, one is there really wasn't a good overarching theme in the case. i happen to personally have liked the closing statement. the problem is it disagreed with the opening statement and that's a big problem and then when you throw in a very confusing set of
jury instructions, what you have is a recipe for an acquittal. that's exactly what happened. >> so, cynthia, it's one thing for us in the light of day to look at this case and say as people do conversationally, what business did this kid have driving into that town with an ar-15? it is quite another when you examine the visceral power of the american notion of self-defense. >> right, well, that's the other jump street problem with this case, it was perfectly legal for him to go in and take his ar-15 and pretend he was in a video game as a junior police officer and that creates a situation for violence. and when you couple, once he's there and you couple that with what was happening at this site, you're going to end up with dead people and the problem is that
the law is instead of seeing this disaster that occurred in kenosha and pulling back so that people can't go to rallies with ar-15s when they're teenagers it's going the exact opposite direction so my great fear is what's going to happen in our country is there will be more vigilantism because it was found to be acceptable in this case. there will be more vigilantism and we'll have to have several tragedies before somebody comes to their senses and begins to pass some laws to curb this violent use of guns and availability of guns in the public square. >> indeed, i want to get to that point in this seg. courtney, great to have you back on the broadcast. the president's initial response was so magnanimous it was hardened up in the statement afterwards, it kind of puts a spotlight on the burden to get this right for history for
posterity when you're the president. >> that's right. i was there on the south lawn this afternoon when he first got off marine one and told us that initial statement and then reiterated it later on with that statement adding that like many americans, you know, he's left feeling angry and concerned, but, you know, again, reiterating the jury has spoken. and the president is an institutionalist and as we've seen an erosion of public trust in american institutions this is a president who understands just how fragile democracy is right now and a president who has reiterated the message that he wants to prove that democracy works through bipartisanship, through strengthening institutions and he wants to be that uniter in chief and turn the temperature down as he was elected to do. but i would note that vice
president kamala harris struck a very different tone. she told one of my colleagues in ohio today that she was disappointed in the verdict and that the verdict speaks for itself that she's worked as a former prosecutor worked to make criminal justice, the criminal justice system more fair and equitable and that it's clear there's more to do so that was a very different tone than we heard from biden today. >> so, carol, let me read you something from "the new york times" that speaks to both of the points just made. quote, republican politicians in search of attention and small don't far campaign contributions tried tying themselves to mr. rittenhouse. accounts associated with the proud boys on the chatting app telegram were equally excited and so, carol, you see how this meshes with the point cynthia and courtney were making and to courtney's point, the president
is, indeed, an institutionalist and as a man of a certain era in american politics, he doesn't think of a jury verdict this way. this is kind of advanced kind of fund-raising combined with the new my -- nihilism and scary thought that they're motivated by this verdict. >> you know, brian, i'm so glad you asked that because it's sort of sweet and old-fashioned for a president and i'm not being partisan at all, just referring to the historic sweep we've had in the last two decades, it's sort of old fashioned for a president to not try to argue that a jury decision is illegitimate because they don't believe in it politically. he and his party are troubled by the idea of someone carrying an
ar-15, especially a teenager who wasn't legally allowed to buy one but was given one by a friend into a protest where it creates a flammable situation. i think it's really interesting too to remember what the importance of your question in relationship to the flash point that the kyle rittenhouse case was from the get-go and is still today. you know, conservatives tried to insist that this was a person carefully protecting us from antifa in kenosha, which it was not true. and there were also progressives and liberals who tried to argue that this person was illegally transported across state lines by his mother with a weapon and that also was not true. to argue that he was a white supremacist was not -- that evidence was not produced and today to night, brian, as your show goes live, all sorts of
organizations on the left and the right are milking this case for what they can, but the conservative and white supremacist groups of which kyle rittenhouse was not a member are certainly doing it with the most fervor because, you know, it shows that, you know, you can come armed to a situation that you don't like. you can come armed and argue it was self-defense when you took that weapon and it's striking that i think of this often, if a plaque teenager had done this in kenosha, wisconsin, how long would that have lasted before something more dramatic happened to that teenager? >> and so, cynthia, coming off carol's last point and your last answer, how much do you personally worry that every young pretend or would-be cop in this country with a weapon is going to see this as somewhat
liberating if not entitling? >> i worry a lot about it. and i also worry on the other side too. i mean i worry that the gun toting love of second amendment lovers will show up at protests and guess what, then the people on the other side are going to go, wow, they're going to come with gun, i guess i have to too. that worries me that our politics are so divisive and so angry and that soon that's going to manifest itself in more physical danger and people more and more people will be hurt. now, that being said and how depressing all that is so i'm not just depressing we do have two other civil rights cases going on in the country that are very important that look like, you know, there's a real possibility for just verdicts that we can think maybe our country is moving forward.
the charlottesville case and the death of mr. arbery in georgia and those cases are both going well and i'm hoping they symbolize something for people that the justice system is improving over time and that it is something that, you know, everybody can unite behind and be proud of. >> so, courtney, it's a lot. we've kind of established here tonight our country is broken. we know our congress is broken and with that as the backdrop answer me this, how does the president's bill get through the u.s. senate to his desk for signature? >> well, i think that's still an open question. you know, big celebrations for the president and democrats today, but, you know, you have to remember this is the first step of a very lengthy legislative process. this version of the bill will not be the final version and probably will change considerably for a couple of reasons, one, they need all 50
democrats in the senate for this to pass through budget reconciliation and that includes senators manchin and sinema who have signaled they are not on board with every item in this bill. and, two, with total republican opposition, the bill needs to be passed through budget reconciliation which requires the senate parliamentarian to make sure it does with strict rules. it will be whittled down before it goes back to the house for the house to pass it before it reaches biden's desk. and they want to do this all before christmas as you mentioned, brian, which let's also remember disease will already be a mad scramble with the congress contending with government funding due to run out december 3rd and likely the debt limit to run out december 15th. so a lot to do and i think the
question will be -- the questions will be just how scaled back will this bill be? will the senators, senators manchin and sinema show up for the president as the president believes that senator manchin will and also can they get this done in time because time is of the essence. this is sort of the last shot for democrats to really push through their legislative -- the rest of their agenda ahead of next year's midterm election so big-time crunch ahead. >> indeed as i always say you do not want to be between a u.s. senator and any one of the washington area airports with christmas approaching. it's a dangerous place to be. so, carol, because i note that trump put out a statement in support of mr. mccarthy after whatever that was for eight hours on the floor of the house, where would you put trump's hold
on this republican party right about now? >> it remains almost as strong as it was, you know, in february and march. kevin mccarthy as has often been the case in the last few weeks is speaking dramatically to that audience of one but also as you and i have discussed many times he is talking to the trump voter. the voter he wants because he is banking on that voter bloc helping him become the speaker of the house after the 2022 midterms and this is, you know, a loyalty speech, loyalty endurance speech which is, you know, again, not to be partisan but just to analyze what's happening in front of us. this is what donald trump demands in order to deliver his voters, in order to go out, stump and encourage that bloc to
turn out for kevin mccarthy and the candidates who will ultimately or potentially help him become the speaker. so it's a command performance and he's doing what he needs to do to win that power vote, because donald trump won't be there for him unless he does so. >> in this last hour of another long week, our thanks to courtney, carol, cynthia, our starting line on a friday night for starting us off. coming up for us, months in the making, this bill we've been talking about, a $2 trillion price tag and just enough votes to pass the house. now what? we'll continue the questioning with our two political experts and game out the chances of the president's massive social and climate spending bill and then later, after a week for the history books we thought it would make sense to have a presidential historian here and on standby to take our
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because passing the house was the easy part, "the new york times" puts it like this, quote, the bill still has a long and difficult road ahead. democratic leaders must coax it through the 50/50 senate and navigate a tortuous budget process that is almost certain to reshape the measure, force it back to the house, if it passes at all. back with us tonight, donna edwards, former democratic member of congress, now a "washington post" columnist and bill kristol of the reagan and bush administration, editor at large over at the bulwark. good evening and welcome. donna, is it a little too soon to celebrate build back better? >> well, i don't think it's too soon at all. i think it was quite a monumental task to get it through the house and negotiate it and i also think there are a number of provisions that are in the house version that have already been kind of prenegotiated with the senate
and so i don't take the dim view that -- if it passes at all, i do believe that a measure is going to be passed. it'll be sent back to the house and then on to the president for his signature and these are great things in this bill, things that democrats across the country will be able to talk about and celebrate. universal pre-k. child care tax credit, expansion of medicaid, things that are in there that deal with prescription drug prices so i think it's a good celebration, there's still another leg to go, but i'm pretty confident that it's going to get passed by the house and the senate. >> congresswoman, let me take a follow-up because you listed all the aspects designed to make american lives better but i think you'll join me agreeing if you and i were together tonight at the rink at 30 rock or the mall in washington or the malibu
pier and stopped and asked a thousand people what's in it, we would get very few replies so what does that say about the job ahead? >> well, it says there's a lot of work ahead, brian. i mean, one of the problems democrats have had, there was so much talk and conversation about the price tag of the bill and very little talk about what is in t i look at something, for example, like universal pre-k, that actually can save families $19,000, $20,000 a year in child care costs because of universal pre-k so there is -- democrats will have to do the lion's share of the work and, you know, from the president through members of congress, really going back and giving real-life examples of the ways in which this bill is going to transform people's lives. no more talk about the number, talk about what's in it. >> so, bill kristol, you heard the congresswoman, in no particular order how much
pressure is schumer under, is manchin under and is sinema under? >> no particular order, i don't know. i mean schumer is under a lot of pressure to get it done, that's pretty obvious but manchin and sinema have their own calculations and i got to say manchin's objection, economists can quarterle all they want, throwing this much more money into the system, especially in the short term, it's fully funded sort of over ten years but not over the first few years, will be inflationary and those numbers, i think, have really given him a talking point about being more careful and i think if you look at the polls and focus groups the degree to which middle class, working class americans are feeling the pinch of inflation, they might like all the things, many do like the things donna discussed and may be worthwhile but explaining that these good things are coming down the pike while people actually, the standard of living month to
month now has been depending on which numbers you believe either not going up much or going down a bit because things cost more. maybe that's temporarily. maybe it's a little longer lasting, though, inflation really, parties get penalized for inflation, even if it's a little unfair if it happens on their watch so i'd be pretty worried about that if i were at the biden white house. >> indeed, donna and bill have agreed to stay with us. we'll fit in a break here and coming up when we come back and continue our conversation, we're going to talk about the toxic mood in donna's old workplace, the house chamber after this week's censure vote for paul gosar and the eight-hour-long speech from the minority leader which may depending on your time zone still be going on.
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i want to go back when we didn't have inflation, when the border wasn't secure and didn't pay $4.50 for gas. you know, there could be members here who didn't want to change their ticket, madam speaker and already are in puerto reek core. ever eaten a baby carrot. there is no such thing. they're just big carrots, they chop them and charge you more. this evening showed that no
matter the time, the day or the circumstances, house republicans will always fight for you, fight for your family and fight for our country. >> somewhere just south of jimmy stewart kevin mccarthy's record long speech did nothing to derail biden's build back better bill, but it did serve to highlight just how toxic the atmosphere presently is on capitol hill. thankfully still with us are donna edwards and bill kristol. bill, for those who have compared mccarthy in demeanor to a used car salesman i was shocked to hear he in fact at one time bought and sold used cars as a young man so that was pleasing. other than that, what did it accomplish? it was seemingly an 8 1/2-hour
non sequitur. >> i suppose we're talking about that and not paul gosar or donald trump so maybe it gets us talking more about goofy behavior by the minority leader as a opposed to reprehensible behavior by some of his colleagues whom he has defended and whom the entire republican party with the exception of liz cheney and adam kinzinger defended on the floor of the house earlier this week. in that respect, you know, in mccarthy's -- it looks like a bit of a goofball and take our attention away from the more serious things that his party has done and is doing. >> congresswoman, is it possible the censure vote against gosar made the chamber even more toxic than it already was? >> well, i think it was necessary. i mean, if there's any hope that congress is going to get back to a point of more decorum of
collegiality among members, trust among members, then the house had to take this action to censure gosar. whether it makes it more toxic, how could it be more toxic? we have members of congress who, you know, have said, you know, words in support of an insurrection for pete's sake. we've had members of congress who refuse to hold the former president accountable so i mean all of these things really contribute to a toxic environment but it was so necessary to hold gosar accountable and to censure his behavior and it's not like censures are issued every day. i mean, they're very rare, but it was really appropriate in this moment to begin to return some sense of normalcy back into the legislative process. >> and bill kristol, because as we always say we're part of a national frog boiling
experiment, are you yet surprised to learn that three republican members of the house have said some form of, well, kyle rittenhouse i bet might make a dandy congressional intern? >> i guess not surprised and trump praised him. trump praise's mccarthy's speech. kevin mccarthy desperate to have -- keep donald trump on side, probably -- we talked to him directly but then maybe an indication that trump wanted this bill fought ferociously and this is kevin mccarthy's idea of fighting it ferociously, didn't someone float that trump could be speaker in the next house and the degree to which they are kowtowing to trump preemptively and that after the fact when he wants something from the top to the bottom of this party, the elected members, they're elected. trump is no longer elected.
he's in charge but they're not. >> trump took another swing at -- at mcconnell today, bill, but that relationship continues -- >> mcconnell wants -- mcconnell also for all the abuse he's taken interest trump. trump endorsed a candidate in georgia whom mcconnell had privately been saying, oh, my god, we can't run him so basically it's trump's party and mccarthy and mcconnell manage that or subordinate themselves in different ways but subordinate themselves they do. >> our thanks to donna and bill for joining us on a friday night. especially given the week we have all had. coming up for us after our next break, pulitzer prize winning presidential historian jon meacham is here to recap a very busy week for the president and preview bumps in the road that
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necessary to save lives and end this pandemic. peanut butter and jelly were based on their temperament, appearance and i suspect vaccination status. instead of getting basted these two turkeys are getting boosted. >> tonight wraps up a critical week and have said it before for the biden administration as the second part of the president's economic agenda moves on to the senate. back with us for context on everything we've witnessed including but not limited to the pardoning of those two turkeys, peanut butter and jelly, jon meacham, pulitzer prize winning author, and the rogers chair and american presidency at vanderbilt who occasionally advises the current president an major speeches. let me embarrass you by saying, congratulations on the honor you received from the national archives foundation, though the word is out around town, the only guy you could get to
preside over the q&a was beschloss and i understand, can't even say it with a straight face speaking of guys we both love. but any way congratulations, i missed a big night in the nation's capital. so, jon, here's the question, what is the equivalent of this week in other presidencies that we have known and perhaps maybe not quite loved, where is this moment in biden's term in office or perhaps first term in office? >> right. brian, i want to say having michael and i on that stage was like the two old guys in the muppet balcony, so you would have fit right in, my friend. >> thank you very much. i didn't know where you were going and now i've been assured. thank you. >> let me offer a thought about how we talk about these things.
you and i have talked about this a little before. i think that given all the news we've seen and we can use this week as a microcosm, one of the things we need to find a way to do is have our common political vernacular be commensurate with the stakes and scope of the unfolding crisis we're in. this is not 1986 when the president had a good week, he had a bad week, george mitchell was mad at bob dole and we'll see you on "the mclaughlin report." this is not that. a fundamental conversation that we had this this country i believe from 1933 to 2017 which was this figurative tension between fdr and reagan where lbj was on one side with fdr and george w. bush was over with reagan and you had ford and
nixon and george h.w. bush in the middle. that conversation was broken by the 2016 election. it was interrupted. president biden is doing all he can to restore that kind of coherent conversation. not that we're all going to agree on everything, but that we can actually see politics as a mediation of differences as opposed to an unrelenting total war and i think that's -- it's not quite a generational struggle, i hope, but it is a presidential term struggle and so what i think we saw this week with the passage of the bill led by speaker pelosi, with the censure of the congressman who was tweeting violence, posting violent threats about fellow members and the president as i recall, the mccarthy's long
speech which you were just saying seemed to have an audience of one at mar-a-lago, you take all of these things and what you see is we have a president who as you pointed out, i support and try to help when i can and i consider him a friend, he's trying to do something immensely important for all of us, which is preserve and protect the constitution itself. and that may sound overly grand and there may be center right folks rolling their eyes, but it has the virtue as henry kissinger used to say of being true. this is a vital, vital moment and i think that the passage of these pieces of legislation have shown that the president and speaker pelosi and others know what they're doing, sure, inflation is bad. sure, the polls, it would be
great if they were higher but 11, 10 months ago people stormed the capitol so i think we just have to remind ourselves that the stakes are different than they have been in recent decades. >> well, let me be annoying and rewind you to the second to last point you made about inflation. because as 41's biographer no one needs to remind you that the label out of touch is fatal politically and a lot of democrats fear that's exactly what's happening. >> it's a great point. it's totally fair. george h.w. bush is a good example here. he's a man who made long-term decisions, the budget deal in 1990 that helped lead to the rise of gingrich which was part of the rise of what we're dealing with now, he signed --
president bush changed the americans with disability act. a wall fell in berlin, a dictator's aggression did not stand. it was an immensely important four-year period, but politically in 1992 only 39% of the country wanted to rehire him and that's an inescapable fact. what you have to decide is if you're a president and ideally you want to do both if you're president is are you working toward history? are you working toward changing things for a generation or are you worried about a more short-term political benefit? as you and i know every president ever wants to do both but you can't always do both and i think these polls will go back up. they won't go up dramatically because of the polarized era we're in but if you ask me what the most important sign that we
can get through this is is that joe biden won 81 million votes and is president of the united states and has passed some really, really significant legislation with no help virtually except for the infrastructure bill from one of the two major political parties. >> on that note, because we never get enough time with jon we'll take more time with jon. first i'll work in a break. our conversation will continue on the other side. unlimited cashback match... only from discover. tonight, i'll be eating a club sandwich with fries and a side of mayonnaise. [doorbell rings] wonderful! mayonnaise? on fries? a little judgy, don't you think? ♪ that's weird. so weird. ♪ oouf.
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we are back with presidential historian and author jon meacham. jon, i've shared this theory with you before and i think you join part if not all and that is that modern day political parties tend to fetishize certain events. for the republicans for the longest time it was benghazi. the democrats, two impeachments,
assuming, well, surely the american people will find the perfect phone call boldly illegal, and a lot of people fear we're heading into that same dynamic with the one-six committee. talk about the gulf between what you historians will write about 1/6 and how the republicans will react in dismissing whatever the findings are of the committee. >> absolutely. january 6th is arguably one of the most important days in the -- it's not even arguable. it's one -- strike the adverb. it's one of the most important days in the history of the republic because since 1812 no one had done this. the confederacy didn't get that far in -- during the civil war and in 1861 when there were threats to the electoral count, it didn't happen. but it happened in 2021 and so
historically it will be a breaching of the constitutional order and you can argue about whether it was inspired by or incited by -- i don't think anybody can argue but that it was inspired by the defeated president, incitement, we had an impeachment on that and you can argue about that. but you're right. it also raises an interesting point that folks have talked about which is if fox news had existed, would richard nixon have had to have resigned, right, so there's been this -- it's almost a serialization of political events, right, that become infused with a kind of hyperbolic predictable drama, and particularly on the right in this case, and you use benghazi,
it is seen as a vehicle for an ideology and it kind of doesn't matter what the facts are, and i think that -- i know that january 6th will loom incredibly large in the american story and we have to do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen again. >> a man who looms large in the history of this broadcast and in the hearts of his friend, jon meacham, our thanks. enjoy your weekend. thank you for coming on. always great to have you. a quick note here, earlier this week, an on screen graphic misidentified the lawyer for steve bannon. we said his name correctly but it was typed incorrectlien 0 the screen. he is david schoen, not doug. now, having established that to the picture you're looking at we'll take our final break and when we come back, we will tell
last thing before we go tonight, joe biden turned 79 exactly two minutes from now and on his last day as a 78-year-old, he had his annual physical at walter reed today, a five-hour-long physical, bottom line, president's doctor pronounced him healthy and vigorous and, quote, fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency to include those as chief executive, head of state and commander in chief. that's saying something. he weighs 184 pounds, most americans would kill for his blood pressure which is 120 over 70. everything checked out and has a few deficiencies that has actually helped to explain what we tv viewers have noticed about him of late. his frequent throat clearing and
occasional coughing due to acid reflux. his gait which has gotten stiffer of late. his strides have grown shorter. that is attributable to his broken foot a year ago, age related stiffening of his spine, it happens and peripheral neuropathy, mild damage to the nerve endings in his feet common in those with diabetes. the medications 'on nicely mirror any one of our commercial break, crestor, allegra, pepcid and the biggest news story to present was the brief presidency of kamala harris. because he had to be put under for a routine colonoscopy he transferred the power to her for 85 minutes and while, yes, she was acting president and it was temporary and everybody knew it, it's also very real. had there been an attack,
foreign, domestic, terrorism, cyber, the response would have been her call. seated at the head of the table in the situation room in the basement of the white house. on that note that is our broadcast and for this week with our thanks for being here with us, have a great weekend unless you have other plans, on behalf of all our colleagues at the networks at nbc news, good night. this hour, it's good to have you here on this friday night in what has been an incredible, incredible news day. today, among 1 million other things, today, for just about an hour and a half, kamala harris was the acting president of the united states. now, having an acting president, this is something that has happened previously, most recently during the george w. bu