Kushner under fire TRANSCRIPT: 5/6/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes

Guests:
Tammy Duckworth, Jeremy Faust, Nick Confessore, Stacey Abrams, Laurie Garrett
Transcript:

 

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to them. Thank you for being with us

too. Don`t go anywhere. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes is up next.

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. We`ve

got a lot to get to on our show tonight, including coming up we have Stacey

Abrams who we want to be talking to. First though, lots of people including

me have noted that as the White House urges states to open in violation of

its own CDC guidelines, that there is still no plan to stop, suppress, or

at the very least minimize the spread of Coronavirus. And that is mostly

true, OK, that they`re mostly no plan, but it`s not completely true.

 

I was thinking about this today. There actually is a plan. It just doesn`t

involve you or me. We see the plan on full display and the President`s own

daily schedule where you might notice, he`s been carrying out what looks

like his fairly normal routine. He does his briefings. In the briefing

room, in the Rose Garden, though he`s stopped doing those as much, but he

meets people in the Oval Office.

 

He`s flown across the country. He visited a mask factory in Arizona where

he did not wear a mask and they played Live and Let Die in the background.

It`s a rough if adjusted version of normalcy for President Donald Trump and

also Vice President Mike Pence. They both appear to be carrying on with

roughly their normalized and crucially duties, more or less.

 

And the reason they can do all this is because they`re being tested all the

time. The New York Times reports President Trump and Vice President Mike

Pence are tested frequently. Aides who come into close contact with them

are tested weekly, and the list of people who need to be tested daily keeps

expanding.

 

When Mike Pence was asked why he did not wear the required mask to visit

the Mayo Clinic last week, his response was that he`s tested for the

Coronavirus on a regular basis and everyone who`s around me is testing for

the coronavirus. Would you look at that? The Trump administration has

figured out a way. They`ve solved the problem how to bring normalcy to the

daily lives of President Trump and Vice President Pence in the midst of

this virus. They try to prevent them from getting sick by implementing an

incredibly robust testing regime to constantly make sure that things are

safe.

 

So the Trump administration actually does have a plan they`re implementing

in front of us. They`re just applying it for two people. If they

implemented this across the country, as other countries have, we would all

feel much more comfortable about going back to work or school, movie

theaters, maybe restaurants.

 

I mean, if they were testing robustly and tracing contacts, that`s also

something they`re doing the White House, then everyone can have some

confidence that we`re safe, some rough semblance of normal. And it would

not be the same as before, clearly, and you`ll see it`s not the same as

before for the president who can`t go to his big rallies he loves. But if

everyone is being tested all the time, and everyone`s contacts are being

traced, then we would know immediately if someone contracted the virus, and

then they could go into isolation. But of course, that is not the case.

That`s not what`s happening.

 

Now, the White House is taking a kind of selfish approach. And increasingly

actually, it`s not just the White House and Trump, the Republican Party or

conservative line on this, the approach to all this is increasingly

becoming this. We will protect ourselves and our interests, while you guys,

you working folks, you get out there and you weather the virus. Here`s a

snapshot that kind of sums that up pointed out by Matt Iglesias yesterday

on Twitter of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. That`s them hearing

arguments yesterday challenging the stay at home orders of the Democratic

governor in that state.

 

And as you can see in that screenshot, they`re all remote. They`re all

responsibly practicing physical distancing. They`re not lined up in a

meatpacking plant. But the Republican justices of that Supreme Court who

make up a majority of the court actually question the legality of the

state`s stay at home orders as they themselves work remotely and safely.

 

In fact, one justice referred to the state`s stay at home or home order as

“the very definition of tyranny.” And the conservative Chief Justice even

blamed an outbreak in one county on people working in a meatpacking plant.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cases in Brown County in the span of two weeks

surged over tenfold from 60 to almost 800. That`s two weeks that would be

required for emergency rulemaking so –

 

PATIENCE ROGGENSACK, CHIEF JUSTICE, WISCONSIN: These were due to the

meatpacking though. That`s where the Brown County got the flare. It wasn`t

just the regular folks in Brown County.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: Did you hear what she said? Oh, no, no, no. All the coronavirus

cases, those were just the meatpackers, not the regular folks. So why

workers in the meatpacking plant are not regular folks to her? No, no,

they`re just the meatpackers. That`s what they are. They have to go pack

meat and get sick. That`s not the regular folks. That`s not you or me

sitting here on this zoom hearing safely.

 

Republican officials, many of them, many of them are acting responsibly. We

should be very clear here. But many of them are now approaching the virus-

like the screenshot in that remote hearing. And they`ll tell you that

instead of being locked down, you need to go to back to work.

 

But again, we know what it will look like out in the world because we`ve

seen it in places that stay open. Two businesses and you talk to their

staffs, ignore coronavirus guidelines, and they required their workers who

had tested positive to report to work, and you will never guess what

happened. 68 people across those two businesses tested positive leading one

to temporarily shut down.

 

If you just keep going about business as usual with the virus out there,

and you do not come up with some really sophisticated and fairly dramatic

new regimes of testing and tracing and physical distance procedures, people

are going to get sick. It`s that simple. And that is the reason why Senate

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the hill he will die on in the next

rescue bill is liability protection for employers to make sure that if you

get sick after you go back to work, you can`t sue the boss. So when you go

back to work, Mitch McConnell has a plan for your boss, but not for you.

 

Just yesterday, the New York Times reported the task force run by the

president`s son in law, prioritize tips from political allies and

associates of President Trump tracked on a spreadsheet called VIP update.

How perverse is that in the midst of a pandemic? VIP update? The President

of the United States the White House making sure that all the connected

people got personal protective equipment for the hospitals that they were

close to like they`re running a Mar a Lago golf tournament.

 

In one case, Jeanine Pirro, the Trump stalwart and Fox host repeatedly

contacted task force members and FEMA officials until 100,000 mass were

sent to a hospital she favored. I should tell you, we`re going to have more

on that later on the show. Today, the new White House Press Secretary was

asked by NBC`s Peter Alexander why everyone is not getting tested like the

president?

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Why shouldn`t all

Americans who go back to work be able to get a test before they do to feel

comfortable in their own work environment to be interacting with other

individuals?

 

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, well, let`s dismiss a

myth about test right now. If we tested every single American in this

country at this moment, we have to retest them an hour later, and then an

hour later after that, because at any moment, you could theoretically

contract this virus. So the notion that everyone needs to be tested is just

simply nonsensical.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: Simply nonsensical. Well, apply that to the White House. A plan

coming into focus from the President and his allies is that we will protect

ourselves and we will protect our interests. And you guys out there, you

Americans, you are – and this is the President`s words, your warriors. You

are a cannon fodder that will be thrown against the onslaught of the virus.

They`re going out of their way to protect themselves and they`re going to

send you out to make sure you cannot sue your employer when you get sick.

 

Joining me now for more on the White House`s plan or lack thereof,

Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. For the people of Illinois,

what do you tell them about what the federal government that you are part

of, and what the White House administration and Congress, what – the

federal government`s plan is for the people that you represent the state of

Illinois to make sure that there`s a safe way for them to start to come out

of lockdown?

 

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Well, Chris, what I tell them is, don`t trust

a Trump administration. Listen to Governor Pritzker and his plan for the

state. Listen to the Illinois Department of Public Health and the plan that

the governor has put forward. He`s put forward a very methodical plan, a

five-step plan.

 

But what you need to know is like the first four step of that plan is

social distancing and wearing masks, and all throughout that pant plan is

more testing. We have to have more testing and then we need to do contact

tracing. But don`t trust what the Trump administration says to you because

they don`t have your best interests at heart.

 

HAYES: One thing that worries me about the sort of return to work,

reopening conversation is again, I say this as someone who very much like a

lot of people wants to restore some normalcy, like does not think it`s

either feasible or advisable to keep people locked down for I don`t know,

more months more.

 

Like – but this idea of it being the kind of liability and risk being

pushed onto workers, so you have unemployed workers who are now being told

if you don`t go back to work, well, then you`re quitting. You`re not –

you`re not being laid off, you`re not – you can`t get unemployment

benefits. Bosses telling people not to wear masks in their workplace, that

Iowa tells workers to return their jobs or lose your unemployment benefits.

 

Do you think we`re looking out for workers enough in the conceptualization

of how this is all going to happen?

 

DUCKWORTH: Well, Democrats are trying very hard to look out for workers.

And we`ve been pushing very hard. I myself have introduced legislation to

provide – to provide OSHA protections for all the frontline workers, and I

don`t mean just the heroic doctors and nurses and people in our healthcare

system, but also the heroic grocery store, cashiers, and the janitors and

everybody else.

 

I also helped introduce legislation to provide hazard pay. You know, I used

to get hazard pay in the army for flying a helicopter. Well, I think that,

you know, if you`re out there cleaning the hospital as a janitor, you

should get hazard pay as well. But are the Republicans looking out for

these folks? No.

 

Let me – let me go back to that – to what they – what they said about

the meatpacking plant, you know, those people are not normal people. Those

people don`t have an option. They either have to go to work or they lose

their unemployment insurance and yet they`re afraid for their lives, they

don`t have a choice. And that is fundamentally un-American that we would do

that to one another.

 

And also, by the way, many of the people who work in those meatpacking

plants are either from the black or the brown communities in this country.

So there`s a lot of Latin X, folks who work in many of these factories and

these meatpacking paths. And they have some of the highest rates of

positive testing for COVID-19, as well as African Americans are suffering

at far higher percentages than the rest of the population as a whole.

 

HAYES: Final question for you. A piece of news today that I think got a

little buried understandably but is pretty striking. I think the

President`s new press secretary at one point referred to him as the

healthcare president. We have a global pandemic. We have more than 70,000

Americans dead. We have, you know, north of a million cases.

 

Today was the last day that the Department of Justice, the President Trump

administration`s Department of Justice could have changed his position on a

lawsuit to destroy rip up, reduced to rubble all 2,200 pages of the

Affordable Care Act the entire edifice of current healthcare regulation and

provisioning in the United States of America, and they did not.

 

The president right now wants to urge the Supreme Court to destroy the

entirety of the ACA is in court right now, essentially to do it. What do

you think about that?

 

DUCKWORTH: Well, unfortunately, I think it`s consistent. He`s been right

there and all the Republicans have been right there to try to rip away

health insurance from all millions of hardworking Americans. They want to

take away the protections for pre-existing conditions. They want to put you

back in the bad old days where over 50 percent of all bankruptcies in this

country were from medical bills.

 

They want to take health care away from Americans. And in fact, instead of

ripping up the ACA, they should actually be opening up the exchanges on

emergency basis so more people can actually sign up right now. You know,

Illinois has requested the exchange be open up so we can have people

register so that they can get health insurance coverage.

 

That`s common sense and a pandemic, but they won`t – they won`t allow us

to do that. And now they`re trying to just rip up the entire system so that

we`re all going to be at the mercy of for insurance companies, and I would

rather not let that happen.

 

HAYES: Senator Tammy Duckworth who you see there is back in our Nation`s

Capital. The Senate has convened this week. Thank you so much for taking a

little bit of time with us tonight.

 

DUCKWORTH: Thanks for having me on.

 

HAYES: For more on the testing protocols used for the president but not for

everybody else, I`m joined now by Dr. Jeremy Faust. He`s an emergency room

physician at Brigham and Women`s Hospital in Boston, also an instructor at

Harvard Medical School.

 

And I want to be fair here, Dr. Faust, to the press secretary. I think it`s

– it actually is accurate to say the incredibly robust testing regime

applied to the President of the United States is probably not scalable for

the entirety of the American people. But the key insight, which is if

you`re testing regularly in tracing contacts, you can have a lot more

security safety does seem to me applicable and scalable. What do you think?

 

JEREMY FAUST, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, BRIGHAM AND WOMEN`S HOSPITAL: That

seems correct. I think when people look at the White House or look at any

leaders, they are looking for leadership and emulation of that. So when

they see that they`re testing themselves, it makes a lot of sense that they

say, gee, I`d like to have the same applies to me.

 

I think that the fact that we can`t have universal testing at this time is

an unforced error and it`s unfortunate. So the fact that they are testing

themselves tells me that they believe that testing is important. That`s

good that they believe that. And I think the rest of America probably

notices that and watch the same for themselves.

 

HAYES: It also strikes me that there`s some sort of medium between these,

right? So, OK, you`re not going to do a testing regime like the one you

have for the United States for everyone. But there are certain places that

we just know are extremely vulnerable, right? Those are detention

facilities, prison jails, ICE detention facilities. They are long term care

facilities, elder care facilities, psychiatric hospitals, meatpacking

plants, right?

 

We have seen time and time again, these places. Like, is there a universe

in which we applied a sort of robust testing regime at least to those

places?

 

FAUST: What you`d like to see is a plan and a plan that has some basis. It

could be that you want to spend a lot of your tests in nursing homes

because that`s where so many of our deaths have happened here in

Massachusetts. For example, 60 percent of our deaths come from the less

than one percent of the population from nursing homes. That`s a staggering

statistic. We need to be testing those people all the time.

 

And it could also be that we need to do the opposite and think the other

way, and think well, maybe we need to be testing people with no symptoms at

all because these are the people who go to work and they could become

spreaders. So what we want to do is to have our leaders outline a very

data-driven approach to this, which takes a little bit of time, a little

bit of thinking, but it has to be done. Right now, it`s just kind of all

over the place and it`s not enough.

 

HAYES: I`m curious, as an emergency room physician yourself, Massachusetts

has had a fairly bad outbreak, not one of the worst – not one of the top

three worst in the country, but a fairly significant outbreak. There has

been significant stress on your hospital system. As you watch this debate

play out driven by the president and driven by certain sort of, I think

fairly narrow conservative interests about opening up, what your reaction

is based on the experience you`ve had as an actual provider yourself?

 

FAUST: My general impression is that people who aren`t in it in the – on

the ground, don`t get it. They don`t get how real this is. Many Americans

don`t know anyone who`s died of this yet, and it would take a staggering

number of Americans to die before the average American knew that. So I

think they just don`t connect on how real it is and how unusual it is.

 

For example, right now, we are having an unprecedented number of deaths

overall in the country, not just from COVID, not just counting up the COVID

death, like literally the number of deaths. We know how many people die

every day in this country. And it`s very stable for years and years that

we`ve been looking at this for a century. And what we`re seeing right now

is it`s off the charts, that just a number of people dying total is off the

charts.

 

And so that means that we`re nowhere near normal yet, and people are

starting to say, oh, yeah, we`ve turned the corner. But to me, you look at

the data, and there are states where the numbers are off the charts from

all causes. We know it`s COVID. But just – if you want to count them up,

then it`s unbelievable.

 

HAYES: Yes. Do you see – what I`m hearing is that, we`ve talked about

this, the excess mortality data. There are some reporting today the

President thinks we`re actually over counting deaths, that he may start

making that case in public. What you`re saying here is that we`re

undercounting it. And if you look at the excess mortality, I mean, again,

you compare that to this conversation about opening up even in states like

Georgia and Texas, you can just see it there on the chart just how

dangerous this thing is.

 

FAUST: Correct. Right now, we are probably undercounting COVID deaths. And

quite frankly, there could be a time later down the road where we`re over

counting them. I had a relative who was in her 90s who died with

coronavirus last week and it`s hard for me to know – distant relative.

It`s hard to know whether she died because of coronavirus or with

Coronavirus or whether it was her old age or whatever.

 

But six months from now, if we don`t have a lot of excess deaths, then I

could get it. I could understand that point that you don`t know who. But

right now, the numbers aren`t even close.

 

HAYES: Yes. Dr. Jeremy Faust, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

 

FAUST: My pleasure. Thank you.

 

HAYES: Coming up, fresh off, mishandling the search for medical supplies,

the president`s son in law is reported been handed another pet project,

getting a vaccine. Do you feel confident? You don`t want to miss that

story. It`s coming up next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES: Just about every day brings a new story about the incompetence and

corruption that seems to follow in the wake of America`s most powerful son

in law, Jared Kushner. And yet he just keeps being given more to do today.

The Daily Beast is reporting that the Boy Wonder has been tasked with

streamlining an effort to get a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year,

which the White House is calling operation Warp Speed.

 

This is the latest in a long series of tasks the President has given to his

son in law despite an utter lack of qualifications for said tasks. Most

recently, Jared Kushner lead hastily thrown together Task Force largely

made up of young volunteers who are charged with procuring much needed

personal protective equipment to help fight the virus. It did not go well.

 

For example, after one Silicon Valley engineer tweeted about the president

promising ventilators and asking for someone to call him urgently, Jared

Kushner`s volunteers passed along that random dudes information.

 

And here to tell us about what happened next, I`m joined by Nick

Confessore, Political Investigative Reporter at the New York Times, co-

author along with a number of his colleagues of a great piece in the New

York Times entitled, “How Kushner`s volunteer force led a fumbling hunt for

medical supplies.”

 

And Nick, let`s start with that story. Someone in the President`s message

saying I`ve been got the hook-up on N-95 masks. This somehow is passed

along via the Kushner Task Force. And what happens then?

 

NICK CONFESSORE, POLITICAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well,

basically what happened is the volunteers who were young and experienced

mostly from Private Equity Analysis took this person`s information and put

it into a procurement forum, pass it up to HHS, which then pass it on to

the New York State as a lead for ventilators. And New York State gave the

guy a contract for $69 million on the assumption that the guy had already

been vetted by the White House team was turned out not to be true. And now

the state is trying to get that money back.

 

HAYES: Has the individual who tweeted at the president and got a $69

million contract delivered any ventilators?

 

CONFESSORE: Zero ventilators, Chris. You know, he`s one of these people who

thought he could do something big and, you know, had the opportunity and

the expertise and failed. And we`re seeing so much of that. There was

really a bull market in either scams, or people who are inserting

themselves into this hunt for PPE and ventilators and other things and

failing because they haven`t actually got the context.

 

HAYES: Yes, what – so tell me first. OK, so let`s back up to what was this

task force? Like, why was Jared Kushner running it? Who was in it? What was

it supposed to do?

 

CONFESSORE: It was basically some volunteers who were in a task force that

were in the White House Task Force. It`s a very complicated, hard to even

explain the structure of it. But these kids, their job was to sort through

a mountain of incoming leads from people who said, hey, I can sell FEMA

some gowns or some masks or some gloves.

 

And the problem here is that FEMA was getting such a late start, that its

traditional supplies that already run dry, and its usual suppliers couldn`t

supply for the demand. So they had no choice but to sift through all of

these offers of PPE. That task fell to a group of a dozen kids who had

never done this before.

 

HAYES: I mean, just to be clear, like there are people at the GSA, at the

Department of Defense, particularly, at FEMA and other places around the

government that have like procurement expertise and logistics expertise and

supply chain. Like this is not – this is not a body of knowledge absent

from the American government. But it wasn`t those people being marshaled

here, it was just like people that the president`s son in law knew.

 

CONFESSORE: You know, it`s a case study of a certain kind of Trump

governance, Chris, where there`s a deference to private industry, a

skepticism of bureaucracy and experience, public servants, and a sense that

the people in your own fun book are the best people to rely on.

 

In this case, these were volunteers from New York private equity firms. And

the idea was that their kind of experience in sourcing deals could be

applied to sourcing procurement. But they hadn`t had any expertise in the

procedures or in the substance of it.

 

And yes, there are questions around FEMA. Look, there are people all around

DHS and the Pentagon who have this experience and typically in a crisis, if

FEMA needs more people, it grabs bodies from other agencies, not from Wall

Street.

 

HAYES: There was also part of this that I found – I mean, there`s sort of

incompetence, but there`s a part of it that I found just profoundly

troubling as a citizen, which is the idea of the VIP update spreadsheet.

I`ll read from your story. Many of the volunteers were told to prioritize

tips from political allies and associates of President Trump tracked on a

spreadsheet called VIP update. What can you tell us about that?

 

CONFESSORE: So imagine, Chris, that there are hundreds of tips coming in

from all over the place. They`re coming in from over the transom to FEMA.

They`re coming from Congress. They`re coming from friends and well-wishers

of the president in the White House. And what these volunteers did was, you

know – and what happened was a person supervising them who was a former

assistant to Ivanka Trump had them track the leads coming from friends of

the White House, friends of the president, and expedite them.

 

And the problem there is there wasn`t any reason to think that those leads

were any better than all the other leads, but they got the most attention

first.

 

HAYES: Final question here I think is about just like the broader

government structure here. I mean, you got a situation in which Jared

Kushner, you know, is someone who came into a family business that was his

parent`s – father`s family business, not that dissimilar from Donald

Trump, not that dissimilar from the Republican president before him, George

W. Bush. They`re kind of all three of them are just the boss`s son. And

that`s why they have the power that they have.

 

Now, he`s been tasked with the vaccine. Like Why – it seems like we`re

going to keep doing these.

 

CONFESSORE: It seems that way. And in fact, there is at least one volunteer

from the procurement task force who I believe is now working on the vaccine

task force. And look, the idea here is that you know, I can fix it, I alone

can fix it. I think it`s well meaning. It`s a little bit overconfident.

 

And the question is, is there a better way to do this? And is it necessary

for the White House to micromanage these scientific processes or simply

look from afar and nudge when needed? I`m not sure what the answer is.

 

HAYES: All right, Nick Confessore, thanks for being with me tonight. Ahead,

how long did the virus go undetected in the U.S.? What we know about when

coronavirus began spreading outside of China with the great Laurie Garrett

next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES: One of the big mysteries we are trying to figure out about the

Coronavirus is how early did it start spreading, when did the outbreaks

actually begin, and how long was it just moving around undetected in

places?

 

We got this really interesting data point from Santa Clara, California I

think last week or maybe even before that, where they did an autopsy and

they found out that two people who died back in early and mid-February were

actually infected with the Coronavirus. And that`s weeks before what we

originally thought was the first U.S. fatality.

 

Miami Herald now reporting the virus was likely already spreading through

Florida in January.

 

And we have got this new bit of information from France also intriguing. A

doctor went back and tested a swab he took from a patient who had pneumonia

back in late-December. It turns out that patient had the Coronavirus, which

is considerably earlier than we thought the virus got to Europe.

 

Joining me now is someone who has been tracking and reporting on all of

this, one of the best science journalists in the country, author of The

Coming Plague, Pulitzer Prize-winner Laurie Garrett.

 

Let`s start, Laurie, with the implications for some of the new data we were

getting about the timeline here, the fact that it was in France in December

it looks like, the fact that it was in the U.S. earlier than we thought.

What do you make of that?

 

LAURIE GARRETT, AUTHOR: Well, first we have a scientific caveat, sorry to

have to do this to you, Chris, but you know there are…

 

HAYES: Please.

 

GARRETT: The test that`s used is PCR, and it is contamination prone. So,

with the possibility that some of these are contaminations, not genuine

infections – so we`ve covered ourselves on that.

 

But, if they all hold up, or a fair percentage of them hold up, what it

shows us is something that comes as no surprise to most of us, but is –

meaning that this had actually disseminated quite awhile before we even

realized there was an outbreak in Wuhan. It`s quite likely that this virus

has been around at some very low level in populations here, there, and

everywhere for a long time. That certainly turned out to be the case with

HIV, which we didn`t know about until May of 1981, but that we now can see

retrospectively had been in very low levels of infection throughout the

20th Century in parts of Africa.

 

So, you know, it may be that this is not as new as we thought it was.

 

HAYES: What is the implication? I mean, one of the big questions right now

is about sort of – they are connected, and I think connect a little to the

timeline, so if I can state it this way, how many people have had the

virus, right, how transmissible is it? And then the sort of flip side of

that is what the ultimate infection fatality rate is. And then the kind of

hopeful case, right, the thing that people hope is, oh, a bunch of people

have had it that we don`t realize because of testing and asymptomatic

transmission and so maybe it won`t be – it`s not as bad as we thought, not

as dangerous, and maybe we`re closer to some end of this than we thought.

And I wonder what you make of the current status of that kind of

conversation?

 

GARRETT: Well, it`s a conversation that`s utterly speculative, because just

as it turns out there may have been cases earlier in parts of Europe,

perhaps, in parts of Asia, and parts of North America. We don`t really know

yet. It also may turn out that there has been a burden of death we didn`t

know about.

 

So, from the very beginning, way back in January, I`ve been saying we need

to do retrospective forensic work to figure out causes of death on people

who had undiagnosed cause, in other words, unknown etiology, as they say,

pneumonias, in the United States and were in intensive care units in 2019.

We need to better understand have we been missing this virus for a long

time?

 

You know, Chris, we have this phrase, unknown etiology that, you know, I`ve

been writing in medical charts since I was first a clerk in a Boston

hospital at the age of 16. And it`s the case that a lot of pneumonia and a

lot of encephalitis, a lot of very severe illness that often leads to

death. We never really know what the causative agent is – was it a virus?

What was it a bacteria? And if it was a virus, which one?

 

So we`ve always had this large mystery box looming over a substantial

burden of death in the United States. And it could well turn out that this

particular Coronavirus has been around longer than we thought.

 

What`s obviously important to remember, however, is that something has made

it explode at this time. So, whether it`s been around, like HIV, for

decades, or it`s been around for a few weeks longer than we thought,

something still caused this explosive event first in Wuhan and now in many

places around the world.

 

And this may coincide with a separate paper that came out today – it has

not yet been fully peer-reviewed, it`s quite controversial, but it comes

out of one of the most reputable genomic laboratories in the entire world,

the Los Alamos Laboratory genome bank, which has been studying every single

known form of HIV since the 1980s, and now is applying the similar

methodology to track all of the various forms of this Coronavirus that have

been found in patients all over the world. And they think they see that

there was a particular dominant form. It was in China. And it`s now been

completely eclipsed by a totally different form that is dominating here in

North America and in Western Europe.

 

Whether this explains certain kinds of behavior and passage, transmission,

not clear yet. They think it may mean that this new form – newer form –

of the virus is causing a higher viral load in the patients, meaning they

have more virus to spread to others.

 

HAYES: So, final question for you is about a quote you gave in a column by

Frank Bruni in The New York Times, which has really stuck with me. In fact,

I asked Kathleen Sebelius about it last night when she was on this program,

where you are talking about the bizarre absence of the CDC, which is a

world-renowned institution in many ways.

 

And you`ve said I`ve heard from every CDC in the world and they say

normally our first call is to Atlanta, but we ain`t hearing back. There`s

nothing going on down there. They`ve gutted that place.

 

What is your understanding of what has happened to the CDC?

 

GARRETT: Well, this is a tragedy. I mean, every major epidemic that we have

faced in the United States in my lifetime has been run by the CDC. And we -

- the CDC has played that role for a lot of international outbreaks. You

know, I`ve been in the command center. I`ve seen how it works. And, you

know, it`s not at all uncommon to have on the command boards, you know,

Nebraska, Illinois, and then some country overseas. And you have huge

numbers of experts keeping track of what`s going on all over the world,

taking phone calls from every corner of the planet asking for guidance and

advice.

 

And in 2014 when Ebola was sweeping through West Africa, the CDC played an

absolutely pivotal role advising every country in the world on how to

respond, not just how we should respond inside the United States.

 

So now here we have the biggest epidemic this country has faced, you know,

in the modern era and the CDC is radio silent. We`ve had – instead of

daily briefings every single day, which we were accustomed to, for example,

when Ebola was spread in West Africa, we`re hearing nada, nothing.

 

When you call the CDC there`s an awkwardness. Clearly the morale situation

inside the CDC is quite difficult right now. I mean, you have some of the

best professionals on the planet, people who have been in the middle of

epidemics all over the world, and they`ve got, you know, their mouths

zipped shut. They`re not able to take phone calls. They can`t interact with

most of us on the outside. And this is just a travesty, a real travesty.

It`s a loss not just for every American, but for the whole world. Where is

the CDC?

 

HAYES: Yeah, it`s a really important question.

 

Laurie Garrett, I always learn so much from talking to you. Thank you so

much for making some time tonight.

 

GARRETT: Thank you, Chris.

 

HAYES: Still ahead, Stacey Abrams is here to talk about what`s happening in

Georgia since it started reopening, plus the discussions about the Biden

campaign potentially tapping her for VP and much, much more. Stick around.

She joins me ahead.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D) NEW JERSEY: I just think it`s absurd and frankly

deeply offensive to people around this country in crisis that we`ve

actually having a hearing on a judge that is for a vacancy that`s not even

open until September. Between now and September, if projections are right,

we will lose thousands, if not tens of thousands of Americans. Death and

life.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell`s priorities have been

clear all along – tax cuts for rich people and judges, judges, judges. And

he is not letting a global pandemic, or physical distancing, or the deaths

of tens of thousands of Americans stop his urgent need to come up with more

judges.

 

As we passed 70,000 Coronavirus deaths in this country, and 22 million

American unemployed, Mitch McConnell has called back the Senate to work on

nominees, including an appellate court nominee, and not just any nominee,

this is someone near and dear to Mitch McConnell`s heart, in fact so near

and so dear that almost eight weeks ago, you may recall, as the house was

passing an urgent relief bill with money to fight the exploding pandemic,

Mitch McConnell decided that weekend to just send the Senate home so he

could fly back to Kentucky with his buddy, Supreme Court Justice Brett

Kavanaugh, to attend a swearing in ceremony for a young right-wing judge

that had managed – he had managed to place on the federal judiciary.

 

The man in question, the judge, his name is Justin Walker. And he clerked

for Kavanaugh. He`s got the backing of McConnell. And here he is fist

bumping with both of them that weekend, while the epidemic was exploding in

America.

 

I should tell you that Justin Walker was deemed not qualified for that

position of federal court district court judge by the American Bar

Association. And now just weeks later – I mean, that was his swearing in

ceremony to be a district court judge, right, then the pandemic exploded

and now weeks later Mitch McConnell is trying to put that guy on the

Appellate court.

 

Now, there`s an added wrinkle. There is a complaint that McConnell

improperly pressured a judge on the appellate court to step down to open up

that vacancy. The retiring judge, I should note, denies that, but a federal

judge has asked for a full investigation.

 

Because no amount of human misery and widespread illness and death and

economic destruction and unemployment will stop Mitch McConnell from trying

to jam his judges onto the federal judiciary.

 

That`s just one part of Mitch McConnell`s plan to shield Republicans from

people who do not like what they are doing. One of his toughest enemies in

that fight is coming up next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES: Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was one of the first to

declare a state ready to reopen for business. And less than two weeks

later, the results are not good. The CEO of an ax-throwing bar told the

local business journal a few days ago that the reopening weekend was a

disaster. We had two customers all weekend. And although malls are open,

they are mostly deserted. People are not rushing back into economic

activity.

 

The reason for that is obvious, the virus is still there, still a very

present threat. And there are already signs that in some parts of Georgia

things are actually accelerating and getting worse. In fact, Governor Kemp

himself came out yesterday and warned about a growing outbreak in northeast

Georgia, in an area synonymous with Georgia`s large poultry industry,

quickly becoming one of the state`s most affected areas.

 

And joining me now, the woman who ran against Brain Kemp for Georgia – for

governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams. She also heads up the Southern Economic

Advancement Project, which is helping to alleviate the financial stress

that so many are facing amid the pandemic.

 

And let me start on that question, Stacey, it`s great to have you tonight.

In terms of thinking about the sort of economic pain here. I mean, you

know, when people talk about wanting to re-open, I think that what they`re

saying is we – this is terrible that people are unemployed. They don`t

have money. They can`t make rent. We`ve seen food insecurity go up. Like,

how do you think about cushioning that blow, or dealing with that problem

as we fight the virus?

 

STACEY ABRAMS, DIRECTOR, SOUTHERN ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: I think

it`s a legitimate concern, but it has to be prioritized with actually

having an economy and having consumers to participate.

 

The south has the highest poverty rate, one of the highest unemployment

rates, one of the lowest insurance rates, and we also see some of the

highest death rates, and the highest infection rates. We do not have the

public health infrastructure to reopen Georgia or any of the southern

states.

 

But we`re also seeing the most vulnerable populations being forced back

into production. Those poultry workers are not workers who are making lots

of money, these are folks who have no choice but to go back to work,

particularly because of President Trump`s actions last week. And those who

are being infected do not necessarily have access to Medicaid or to any

health care if they need to be treated.

 

HAYES: What do you think about the economic affects of this decision by

Governor Kemp, right? So, I mean, the idea is you open up and then you can

get the economy going, but the early signs in your state, which is really

kind of sort of a pilot here is that people don`t rush out to go do the

stuff they were doing before just because the governor said you`re open for

business.

 

ABRAMS: Georgia is a cautionary tale to every other state that`s thinking

about reopening. First of all, we`ve seen our rates skyrocket by 40 percent

since the announced reopening, the soft relaunch, moving into now the near

full reopening.

 

We have seen our rates of infection jump to 30,000, our death rate is

around 1,300. We remain one of the top states for the infection, and we`re

still very low on the rate of testing.

 

There is no correlation between reopening the state and actually restarting

the economy, because there are no people who can take advantage of this

reopening, except for the workers who are being forced to risk their lives.

 

And as you said earlier, we`re watching a concomitant issue with food

insecurity rising because the south tends to have the lowest public

benefits, and so people who are already vulnerable, already on the edge,

are being shoved over and there`s no real relief coming from the state,

there`s just this false notion that if we reopen the economy everything

will work out and that`s just not true.

 

HAYES: I want to ask you about another story coming out of Georgia, though

it is a national story now, and a profoundly disturbing one, about the

shooting of a 25-year-old black man named Ahmaud Arbery in a small town in

the southeast of your state on February 23, so this is before the sort of

pandemic had exploded.

 

And there`s a video of the shooting, which we`re only going to show you a

part of, which surfaced yesterday, and it shows Arbery running along a

residential street. He was just jogging. And he comes up upon a white

pickup and one of the men is standing beside the truck, the other is in the

bed of the truck, and Arbery runs around the truck and disappears briefly

from view. They`re shouting that can be heard, and then gunshots.

 

Neither of those two white men, the ones who are in the truck, Gregory

McMichael or his son Travis, are arrested. And according to the police

report, Gregory McMichael said he saw Arbery running in the neighborhood

and thought he looked like the suspect in a rash of break-ins, so he and

his son got their guns and chased him down.

 

And we should also note the older McMichael is a former cop, former

investigator in the local DA`s office. The first two prosecutors recused

themselves, because of professional ties to Gregory McMichael. Yesterday, a

third prosecutor recommended the case to a grand jury.

 

What do you think should be happening with this case?

 

ABRAMS: I believe that there should be immediate investigation of charges.

It looks like murder. It looks like vigilante behavior that should be

charged and criminalized. And it looks like the Arbery family has been

dealt a very sore hand of injustice.

 

We`ve been working very quietly trying to lift this story up, because we

wanted to be respectful of the family and recognize that there was a

process moving, but the process moved too slowly. And I`m gratified that

there is now national attention that`s calling the state to question and

forcing real investigation and true justice to be delivered to Ahmaud

Arbery`s family.

 

HAYES: You`ve been – obviously you ran in your state. You ran a heck of a

race, came narrowly short. You have been outspoken about the fact that you

would like to be the vice presidential nominee on the ticket with Joe

Biden.

 

Given how seismic the events are, the sort of cataclysms that we`ve had,

and given the age, frankly, of the nominee, Joe Biden, I wonder you respond

to people who say do you have the experience necessary in crisis

management, in international affairs and things like that, to sort of be

able to take over the job in a heartbeat if that`s what`s called upon?

 

ABRAMS: I`ve been getting a question on this vein for the last 14 months,

and typically the question comes when I appear on a show or talk to a

reporter about the work I`m doing, about the work we`re doing to protect

our elections through Fair Fight Action and Fair Fight 2020, about the work

I`m doing through Fair Count, to ensure that the hardest account people are

included in our census, the work I`m doing through SEAP. For example, we`re

going to be delivering 40,000 pounds of food to food banks throughout

Georgia, Florida, and Alabama that will serve 800,000 meals, because of the

food insecurity we know is rampant in that region of the state – those

three states.

 

I`m doing the work of service. And I`m doing the work of trying to meet the

needs that we have on a national level.

 

When I get the question, though, I answer it. And that has been, I think,

mischaracterized as auditioning or pitching. And what I`m trying to do is

be as straightforward and direct as I can. I`m the daughter of pastors who

taught me to be honest, but I`m also a young woman of color who understands

that often you cannot be what you do not see, and I want young women, young

women of color, people of color, to see me answering directly and

forthrightly if my qualifications and my capacity are questioned.

 

This is a question of competence. And Vice President Joe Biden is going to

pick the person that best suits him. He has an extraordinary team around

him, and more importantly he knows what he needs because he`s done the job.

 

I leave it to him to make his choice, but – and I can`t decide which

questions I`m going to get from fantastic journalists like yourself and

others, my only obligation and my only opportunity is to be as forthright

and clear as I can, and that is to say, yes, I`m qualified and ready.

 

HAYES: Final question for you is about mail-in voting, very quickly. How

important is it that we have universal mail-in voting in place by this fall

for this election?

 

ABRAMS: It is essential. There will be no democracy without it. We cannot

move tens of million of people through lines with – we cannot move tens of

millions of people through lines without having the ability to relieve the

stress through mail-in voting. We have the capacity. We need the funding.

And the CARES package, the next passed, needs to include those dollars.

 

HAYES: All right, Stacey Abrams, it is always great to get a chance to talk

to you. Thank you for making time tonight.

 

ABRAMS: Thank you for having me.

 

HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts

right now. Good evening, Rachel.

 

END

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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