Trump’s WH valet tests positive TRANSCRIPT: 5/7/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes

Guests:
Tim Kaine, Adam Schiff, Dave Dayen
Transcript:

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: And thank you at home for joining us tonight.

That is our show. Thank you for being with us. But don`t go anywhere

because “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes is up next.

 

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

White House is relentlessly selling a false choice to the American people.

It`s something that President has now been explicit about.

 

Basically, the choice that he wants to present is this. Door number one,

the American people stay locked inside for 18 months. That`s something he

keeps claiming that lots of people want even though virtually no one is

actually calling for that. That option is ridiculous and untenable and bad.

 

And so by the logic of this false choice, we have to do the other thing

that is go through door number two. We have to open up. Those are the

choices he wants to present. Stay locked inside for 18 months, or open up

now and send American citizens out as “warriors” as he called them, to

maybe get sick and die in very large numbers.

 

But as we have said on the show for weeks, months now, there is a third

option. There is a door number three. Door number three is a system of

testing, physical distancing, and contact tracing that allows us society to

have an economy and society approaching normalcy amidst the virus.

 

And there are many places that have successfully walked through door number

three. There are South Korea, and Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and Australia, and

New Zealand, and Germany, which is now reopening beer gardens and shops and

sending kids back to school, hallelujah.

 

All these countries have put together a combination of testing, physical

distancing, mask-wearing and contact tracing, to have something like

normalcy during this pandemic.

 

And there is actually another small little land that`s done this. Think of

it as a tiny little principality that sits on nearly 18 acres of land in

the midst of the U.S. They`re also doing this. It`s called the White House.

 

As we noted yesterday, you have seen Donald Trump has continued some

version of his normal presidential life, events, travel, interviews. The

reason is because he`s felt safe enough to do that because he is constantly

tested. The White House has a robust testing process in place as it should.

 

But today, we saw how even that was not enough to keep the relentless

coronavirus out of the White House. Because today we learned that a member

of the White House staff, a personal valet to the president, tested

positive for the virus. That valet is a member of the U.S. Navy whose job

includes serving the president his meals and who is close to the president

throughout the day on a consistent basis.

 

And President Trump who wants you to be a warrior, when he heard the news

that the guy who brings him his diet cokes has the virus, well, President

Trump freaked out. A source told NBC News, Trump “lava level mad at his

staff and railed that they`re not doing all they can to protect him from

the virus.” How about that?

 

Yes, Mr. President. It is scary. It`s unnerving. That is why the rest of

America is basically hunkered down and more than 33 million people are

unemployed, some of us morning the 70,000 plus who have died. By the way at

the White House, Vice President Pence and Trump will now be tested for

coronavirus every single day.

 

Now, we hope Trump`s valet heads to full recovery and that he has not

transmitted it to anyone else in that workplace. As for the rest of us who

don`t work in the White House in that tiny little principality where

they`ve employed this system, if someone is infected in your office, or

your meatpacking plant, or your police department, chances are there will

not be enough testing to catch that person in time.

 

Chances are there will not be enough resources to check everyone else to

trace back to the context. Seeing this as we still don`t have the level of

testing or contact tracing we need to implement that throughout the

country. So the White House knows that`s the key thing. They know. They

actually have it figured out. They know how to track and contain this

thing.

 

They know that you cannot just reopen and go back to normal because they`re

not doing it in the White House. They know you have to have a robust

testing plan in place to do that. They just pretend not to know. And they

also know it is unnerving to have someone in your workplace close to you

that has been spreading the coronavirus perhaps undetected, but they just

don`t care.

 

You know, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar even had the

gall to suggest that meatpacking workers were not getting the virus at

work, but rather due to the home and social aspects of their lives. How do

you think that caused all the work Secretary Azar?

 

Do you think the meatpacking workers are all randomly getting infected on

their own in their houses and then just coincidentally, they all managed to

converge on the same plant in state after state after state? Or do you

think maybe, I don`t know, it`s getting transmitted in the meatpacking

plants where they work shoulder to shoulder?

 

Again, the thing is, it is not that they do not understand. They get it.

They know. I mean, this administration issued guidelines for safely opening

up America, which are again grounded in robust testing, only to then

encourage states to ignore them because it was taking too long.

 

And then today, the Associated Press reports the administration had shelved

a document created by the nation`s top disease investigators at their own

Centers for Disease Control with step by step advice to local authorities

on how and when to reopen restaurants and other public places.

 

They just shelved it. They don`t want you to know what the experts say. But

their own actions, their own action show they understand. They know what`s

necessary. They don`t care about you. They`re trying to force you to buy

into this false choice, door number one or door number two. But the

president, well, the president himself is door number three. And we as

Americans should have that too.

 

Joining me now for more in the President`s brush with coronavirus, Shannon

Pettypiece, Senior White House Reporter for NBC News Digital, who co-

authored the NBC piece on the president being lava level mad at the news

that his personal valet has coronavirus. Before we get to the valet, can

you – can you take us through what the actual regimen for testing in the

White House is now, how they – how they are dealing with this right now?

 

SHANNON PETTYPIECE, NBC NEWS DIGITAL, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well,

what it has been is that anyone who goes on to the White House grounds

staff, the press visitors would all get a temperature check every time you

enter in through the gates. Then in addition to that, aides who are going

to be in close contact with the president would get a coronavirus test

before being in contact with him or if you were someone who is regularly in

contact with him, like Larry Kudlow, the head economic adviser. We were

told those types of people would be tested once a week.

 

Now after this incident with the President`s valet coming down with

coronavirus. And the valet, I should note, just put this in context, that`s

someone who basically takes care of all the president`s needs. You

mentioned things, Chris, like serving meals. They make sure the President`s

clothes are ironed, his shoes are shined, they would pack him for trips,

they would bring him beverages throughout the day, anything they need.

There`s a small staff, oftentimes people who are Navy personnel who do this

at the White House.

 

So after this person was infected, now, the indications are that the White

House is going to start testing staff and people in close contact with the

president every day, because yes, this really hit home for the president

today. This is the first time someone in the West Wing, especially in close

contact with the President has been infected.

 

There`s been a few brushes here and there like at Mar-a-Lago or with the

V.P. staff, but this really hit home on the West Wing today.

 

HAYES: Wait. So, you`re telling me that they are actually going to increase

their level of testing, that they`re interpreting the proper response to

someone in the West Wing testing positive to go from testing weekly to test

testing daily. So what they understand is the solution to the problem they

face is more testing is what you`re telling me?

 

PETTYPIECE: Yes. But you know, it`s interesting because as the President

said this today that they would start testing some people daily, and again,

I`m not sure exactly who that includes, but that some people would be

tested daily. At the same time, the president really, you know, took a

swipe at testing in general, like he`s still a skeptic of this. He said,

it`s an imperfect art. He said, testing is overrated.

 

His argument is that, you know, you can test someone one day and then that

evening, you know, they can go out and get infected. So essentially,

though, if you test them every day, theoretically, you would be able to

find those cases if someone does get infected between when they were last

tested and the next day.

 

But I mean, he did not seem publicly at least to be a testing convert after

this, even though the White House is now going to begin, you know,

conducting that sort of practice on the White House grounds.

 

HAYES: Described to me – I mean, the President is, by his own admission, I

think a notoriously a germaphobe. He has downplayed the virus publicly, you

know, many times. He`s now telling Americans they need to consider

themselves warriors and warriors rush into battle. They risk physical harm.

 

Your reporting suggested he was lava level mad when he found out. Tell me

what reporting indicated about how he was told what his reaction was?

 

PETTYPIECE: Well, what we were told by people inside the White House and

people close to the west wing is that he felt like this was a failing of

his staff. He felt like his staff were there to keep him safe and we`re

keeping him safe. I think this showed that you know, there`s a real big

hole in the system, which is something so many of us are realizing you can

wash your hands and wear your mask and stay at home and still find yourself

getting sick. But that was, you know, his takeaway was that his staff had

let him down here.

 

You know, there are precautions they take inside the White House like the

testing every week, but I will say, you know, few people I have talked to

have ever seen anyone wearing a mask inside the West Wing, including when

they were traveling yesterday – I`m sorry, earlier this week. And that was

an issue that came up with the president who did not wear a mask while

touring a mask facility where all the workers were wearing masks. And

suddenly, he was pressed on and he said, you know, he felt he didn`t need

to do this. He was told it wasn`t necessary.

 

And so that`s sort of been the line around the White House was people

saying well, we get our temperatures checked and tested weekly. We don`t

need to wear masks. I think that`s another question going forward. Are they

going to need to put other protocols in place because so many of us are

realizing, you know, you`re not safe?

 

HAYES: Yes. It`s interesting the president recognized that there`s a

dangerous pandemic going around and he trusted some set of people to

competently implement a plan to protect him from that. And when they failed

to do that, he got angry. That`s an interesting state of affair. Shannon

Pettypiece who did that reporting on the White House, thank you so much.

 

Joining me now for more on the president`s lack of a plan to keep Americans

safe is Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia. Senator, do you have a

clear sense of what is happening right now as the president encourages

states to violate his own CDC guidelines, the Senate has passed legislation

funding $25 billion nationally for boosted testing, the CDC seems AWOL.

Like what is your understanding of what`s happening right now?

 

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Chris, the White House has no plan that they`re

willing to announce and I`m going to tell you why. I just got off a weekly

phone call with the governor of Virginia. The entire federal delegation

does this call Thursday night. And every week it starts this way. We need

to do 10,000 tests a day to keep Virginia safe. This week, we`re doing

2,000 a day. Here`s what we`re trying to do to close the gap.

 

That was two weeks ago. Last week, it`s 5,000 a day. Today, it was 7,000 a

day. They announced the goal, and then Governor Northam tells us where we

are, AND then he says here`s what we got to do to close the gap. The White

House has not yet announced a goal. They`ve been unwilling to announce a

goal for here`s what we need testing in the nation.

 

The Department of Defense has refused to announce a goal for 1.6 million

active duty. Why haven`t they done what Governor Northam and other

governors are doing? They have crunched the numbers. They probably know

what the goal is, but they`re afraid to announce the goal because if they

do, the nation will see how far short of the goal they`re falling.

 

For the president, this is not about health, it`s not about the economy.

It`s about worrying about being blamed because he just – this whole thing

is about looking in the mirror and seeing what he thinks his face looks

like. So the contrast between Governor Northam`s call – and then today, we

had – we had a health committee hearing, my committee in the Senate, the

Health Committee.

 

And I pointed out, get this, Chris. Last time we met in the committee was

March 3rd. On March 3rd, nine Americans had died of coronavirus, and today

it`s over 76,000. To give you a comparison, on March 3rd in South Korea, 28

South Koreans had died. Do you know what the death toll in South Korea is

today? 256. From 28 to 256, while in this greatest nation on Earth, we`ve

gone from nine deaths to 76,000.

 

South Korea is smaller than us. They`re one-seventh of our population. So

bulk it up there, 250 times seven, still less than 2,000 deaths. What

explains why the United States has a death toll 35 times the South Korean

death toll, and is rising every day while South Korea is flat?

 

This administration has not announced a plan because they don`t want to be

held accountable for their massive failures to meet basic safety standards

for the American public.

 

HAYES: Is there a way for Congress to hold them accountable, I guess is the

question, right? I mean, Democrats do control the House. There is

oversight, although they told Congress to go take a long walk off a short

pier when the Congress wants to talk to Fauci and talk to anyone else and

get anything from them. They won`t give it over.

 

But you know, I do feel – I think there`s a sense a lot of people feel of

both frustration, rage, mourning, grief, and helplessness, which is we`re

sort of all as a nation locked in a room with the president we have, who

can`t – does not have the ability to solve the problem. So what are you –

what can you do, Senator?

 

KAINE: So, what we can do is we passed four bills putting significant

resources to the challenge. We`re not short on resources. Now, we`ve put

the dollars to the challenge. But what we can`t do is do the President`s

work for him or the administration`s work for him.

 

So what we can do now that we`ve provided the dollars to tackle it, is we

can pin down the officials of the administration and hold them accountable.

Next week on Tuesday, my committee is going to have a hearing with the head

of the Centers for Disease Control, and Dr. Fauci of the NIH, and we`re

going to ask, why did the CDC develop a set of goals about safe reopening

of the American economy, but then let President Trump bury those goals and

suggestions to encourage people to go out and be warriors on the front line

and risk their lives?

 

We`re going to have a chance in a very public forum to ask these officials

what`s going on. We`re going to have a chance to ask Dr. Fauci why is the

United States death rate 35 times what it is in South Korea. South Korea is

a vigorous and messy democracy as you know. They have metropolitan areas

that are dense and they have rural areas just like we do. What explains why

we`re 35 times worse than them?

 

So what we can do is provide the resources, and then shine a spotlight on

what the administration is doing or not doing. And we hope by doing that,

we may encourage some of the pros in the administration, and there are

pros, it`s just that they`re continually undercut by the president,

hopefully will encourage the pros to fight harder, and maybe the president

and some of the people around him will realize that the best thing to try

to do now is not worry about your electoral prospects, but try to save

people`s lives.

 

HAYES: Right. Final question before I let you go. Obviously, the pandemic

and the economic devastation and response to it takes up so much of all of

our focus. There are other things this administration has done quite in

keeping in line with things they did before the administration, both in

sort of the way they have treated the department justice and the rule of

law and corruption.

 

Another thing they did, they really, really don`t want congressional

oversight on war-making abilities, bipartisan restraint on war with Iran,

passing both houses if I`m not mistaken and at your sort of behest in the

Senate, the president vetoing that measure which demands Congressional

approval for an Iran conflict. Your reaction to that.

 

KAINE: It wasn`t – I wasn`t surprised that the President vetoed this,

Chris. We worked on it very hard, and we got strong bipartisan support in

both chambers, but not two-thirds support sufficient to override a veto. So

when he went to his desk, and he vetoed it, saying I can do what I want, I

wasn`t surprised. But what surprised me was his reasoning.

 

If you read the President`s statement, he said, this was a Democratic plot

to try to stop me from being reelected. Constitutional Congressional

authority over questions of war and peace, a bipartisan resolution that was

introduced with an equal number of Democratic and Republican co-sponsors,

as he looked at that, all he could see was his own reelection. War, peace,

coronavirus, 76,000 deaths, none of that matters to him. It`s all about his

face in the mirror and his own reelection.

 

We have never had a president whose vision is so mono focused on his on his

own self as this narcissistic man.

 

HAYES: It`s true. I was also struck by that statement. It was a very

revealing statement. Senator Tim Kaine, Senator from Virginia, thank you so

much, Senator.

 

KAINES: It`s great to be with you, Chris. Thanks.

 

HAYES: Still ahead, the absolutely stunning decision by the DOJ today,

William Barr`s DOJ, to drop the case against Michael Flynn who had pleaded

guilty. Democrats` top impeachment prosecutor Adam Schiff on what Bill Barr

is up to and the release of the transcripts from the house Russia probe

next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES: All right, we`ve got some shocking but not really surprising news

from the Department of Justice today which has fully become an adjunct of

the Trump political project. Attorney General William Barr`s DOJ is

dropping the charges against the President`s former National Security

Adviser Michael Flynn.

 

This comes after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about

conversations he had with the Russian ambassador and cooperating with

investigators. And it comes on the same day that one of the lead DOJ

prosecutors trying Flynn took his name off the case. And we`ve seen this

before.

 

It`s something we saw happen in the case of another Trump ally who also got

favorable treatment for the department, Roger Stone. When that time, the

DOJ stepped in and reduced his sentencing recommendations against the

recommendations of their own line prosecutors.

 

Here to explain what this means for the rule of law and the Department

Justice, Congressman Adam Schiff, Democratic of California, who`s the

chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. First, let me just ask your

reaction to the Department Justice`s move here.

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Chris, I think we lost 50 years` worth of ground

in solidifying the independence of the Justice Department after Watergate.

This really puts us back in the category of almost an emerging democracy

where the rule of law is not yet firmly established, where prosecutorial

decisions are made on the basis of politics.

 

Here, you know, Bill Barr once again doing the political dirty work for the

president, in making a case go away that the President tried to get Jim

Comey to make go away and then fired him when he wouldn`t, try to get Jeff

Sessions to make go away and he wouldn`t. And now he`s found his man in

Bill Barr who is brave enough to do whatever the President wants.

 

What this will mean as a practical matter is in courtrooms all across the

country where prosecutors are bringing legitimate cases, juries will now

wonder, is this really a valid case or is this, you know, Bill Barr`s

Justice Department, once again, acting politically not in the interest of

justice.

 

So he`s undermining his own people around the country and at the same time,

it`s a continuation of the same kind of political patronage now in the

Justice Department that Donald Trump has brought about.

 

HAYES: It`s also noteworthy to me that that prosecutor took his name off

the case. We saw this happen with Roger Stone, a similar sort of set of

circumstances. The president publicly tweeting the guy got a raw deal. In

that case, it wasn`t that he pleaded guilty, he was – he was convicted.

There was a trial and he was convicted by a jury.

 

And you have line prosecutors quitting, one retiring from the Justice

Department, leaving the Justice Department altogether. What is – what`s

the significance to you of this split between the political leadership in

the Department of Justice essentially doing the political dirty work of the

president and the line prosecutors and civil servants that serve in that

department and what they should be doing right now?

 

SCHIFF: Well, I was one of those line prosecutors for almost six years.

They`re wonderful people, true professionals, and they really take their

job seriously in terms of pursuing the interests of justice. This

completely undercuts them. The common denominator here between these two

faces Roger Stone and Mike Flynn is this. Both men lied on behalf of the

President.

 

The President doesn`t view that as a crime. He views that as a perk of

office. He views that as what he should expect of his people. What he

doesn`t expect is that anyone would have the temerity to stand up to him

and actually bring legitimate cases, stand up to him and report wrongdoing.

It`s why he considers you know, whistleblowers to be traitors and spies,

why he wants as Attorney General to let people go who lie for him and get

convicted of it.

 

But it so undermines the professionals at the department and sets us back.

You don`t have to think that morale at the Department of Justice, like at

the State Department is now at an all-time low. It has just dealt another

serious body blow.

 

HAYES: It seems to me this is part of a broader sort of project that that

is happening right now. We`ve seen the sort of call by those to pardon

Flynn or to sort of have the DOJ dropped the cases against him. We have a

prosecutor named Mr. Durham who is coming up with some sort of counter

Mueller investigation, rising voices, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham,

that a kind of like idea that the entirety of the Mueller project, that all

of it was fruit of a rotten tree, that the entire thing was a setup, that

the President`s views on this which sound paranoid and deranged often were

actually true, and then that there`s a buy in on the part of the head of

the DOJ and Republican Party on this. What is your reaction to that?

 

SCHIFF: You know, I think that`s exactly right. It all gets back to sort of

the Rudy Giuliani, truth isn`t truth. Kellyanne Conway, we`re entitled to

our own alternate facts world that Donald Trump lives in. They`re entitled,

and Bill Barr gave actually a quite interesting admission today when he was

asked, how do you think history is going to record these acts of yours? And

he says, well, history will be written by the winners.

 

That`s not the statement of someone who`s looking out for the interest of

justice. That`s someone who views the world like Donald Trump, and that is,

this is all a game. There`s our team, there`s your team. We have the power

right now. And we are going to rewrite history to make it appear to be what

we`d like, not what actually happened.

 

So you`re right. This is a broad project to reinvent the Russia

investigation to try to dispute the Mueller conclusion that the Russians

intervened on Trump`s behalf, that he invited them to intervene, that he

made full use of their intervention. We released the transcripts of our

investigation today which the White House and then Rick Grinnell withheld

for almost a year. We finally released them this week when we got the DNI

to give us the classified redactions that we needed.

 

And those transcripts reveal in great detail how substantiated the Mueller

investigation was, all the steps that Donald Trump and his family members

and allies took to get Russian help, how they lied about it, how they

covered it up, how they obstructed justice into it. And in an effort to

make that go away, you have this effort to push out a completely counter-

narrative at odds certainly with the truth but consistent with the

President`s political objectives.

 

HAYES: Congressman Adam Schiff of California, of course, the chair of the

House Intelligence Committee, thank you so much for your time tonight.

 

SCHIFF: Thank you.

 

HAYES: Ahead, the White House is leading a propaganda and disinformation

campaign to desperately try and distract from what is possibly this

country`s worst calamity in a century. That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES: So, on one level, you would think that the political and governing

incentives for the president of the United States, running as an incumbent

for reelection, are aligned, right? I mean, the governing imperative right

now being handling the crisis well, minimizing the harm that comes to

Americans and creating the conditions for a safe economic rebound.

 

And if the president could do those things that would also obviously

politically work out to his benefit.

 

This is not an abstraction, we`ve seen exactly that happen in a lot of

states where governors, both Democrat and Republican, who have done well on

those governing issues are seeing crazily high approval ratings –

Massachusetts 84 percent approve of how Republican Governor Charlie Baker

has handled the Coronavirus outbreak, according to a new poll out this

week; California`s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom hit 83 percent approval

of his performance last month, nearly double his pre-Coronavirus numbers;

Jay Inslee in Washington also is also way up, he received a 75 percent

positive approval rating in another poll.

 

So these two things – how will your govern and deal with the crisis, how

will you do politically, they should be aligned. They are aligned in other

places.

 

The problem here is that the president of the United States, Donald Trump,

cannot, is incapable of, addressing the governing challenge before him. It

is too much for him. He is not up to it. Also he doesn`t really want to do

it. He doesn`t care about that stuff.

 

And so as NYU professor Jay Rosen said, the plan is to default on public

problem solving, to not actually solve either the public health problem or

the economic problem, but rather to convince people that both have been

solved, even though of course they haven`t.

 

It will be a propaganda and disinformation campaign to make people think

that things are great, as the death toll goes up and up and up, and the

economy sinks to near Great Depression era levels.

 

We`ve seen all this from the beginning of this crisis, this approach. Two

months ago, they said the virus is going to just go away.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP: Now the virus that we`re talking about having to do – you know, a

lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat.

 

You have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down

to close to zero.

 

It`s going to disappear. One day, it`s like a miracle, it will disappear.

 

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The risk of contracting

the Coronavirus to the American public remains low.

 

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: We have contained

this. We have contained this. I won`t say airtight, but pretty close to

airtight.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: Not airtight, but pretty close to airtight.

 

Now we`re hearing basically the exact same kind of nonsensical propaganda,

gaslighting, but this time with the economy, that we`ve defeated the virus,

the economy is opening up and everything is going to be great.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have we reached the bottom of the unemployment picture?

Is April as bad as it`s going to get?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think we are transitioning out, Stewart (ph).

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are looking towards reopening, and I think when

you see that, it is a turning point. I don`t think that`s an unfair word to

use, or it`s not unrealistic to hope this is a turning point.

 

TRUMP: I see the light at the end of the tunnel very strongly. This demand

is going to be incredible. I think next year is going to be an incredible

year for our economy.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP0

 

HAYES: This is how they`ve treated, this is how Trump has treated and the

people that work for him, every single governing challenge they`ve faced:

they just lie about it, every time, from the – remember the Sharpied map

of the hurricane to the perfect phone call with Ukraine to I never met any

of these women to the Mueller report completely exonerates me. It`s always

the strategy.

 

And to a certain extent, it has always kind of worked for him.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP: Just remember what you`re seeing and what you`re reading is not

what`s happening.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: We`ve seen the president and his administration do this over and

over, what you`re seeing, what you`re reading is not happening, and now

they are going to try to lie their way through the worst disaster to befall

this country in maybe a century.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES: The disinformation that`s being spread on the Coronavirus and COVID-

19 is having a devastating effect on hospitals across the country. A doctor

here in New York telling NBC News that dealing with conspiracy theories is

the second most painful thing I`ve had to deal with other than separation

of families from their loved one.

 

The doctor has now stopped engaging with the trolls on Facebook, some of

whom claim the hospitals are empty and the virus was part of a plot to

vaccinate or microchip U.S.

 

Other medical professionals are calling on social media companies to do

more to stop the disinformation from spreading, quote, I do think it`s a

monumental task to hold these companies to account, but in the COVID case,

they truly have blood on their hands.

 

NBC reporter who wrote about all this, Ben Collins joins me now. Ben, what

motivated you to do this peace?

 

BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS: A guy reached out to me and said I am having a hard

time dealing with this, frankly. This doctor came to me and said in very

blunt terms frankly, like I don`t know how to deal with this. He was in an

argument with a guy on Facebook, or several people on Facebook, who told

him he wasn`t a real doctor, that the hospitals were empty. And he said,

you know, I have 200 people in my ICU. This is happening.

 

And then he went outside and he the heard at 7:00 that we all hear everyday

in New York City. And he just broke down and cried, because he didn`t know

what reality was at this point. He just didn`t know. He had no real idea.

And that`s the larger problem here is that we have this, you know, we have

these systems set up that reward these bad guys going after these doctors.

There`s no real way to stop this, because the bad guys have rigged the

system to make it so those messages that they use to push things like

supplements or just political messages, those go to the top, those go to

the doctors when they go home from these tough shifts, and they don`t see

all of the rewards you would traditionally see, because you know Facebook

and Twitter and YouTube, they reward engagement and they reward hostility.

 

HAYES: And so what they`re rewarding right now are insane, baseless,

conspiracy theories that have sort of taken root that, you know, doctors

coming home from watching their patients die, trying to fight the disease,

and coming home to social media and sometimes like family members or

friends or people they know telling them that the whole thing was some, you

know, plot by Bill Gates to, you know, I don`t know, implant chips in

people or depopulate the world or whatever nonsense is going on, but those

are – those are high ranking engagement stories across Facebook and other

platforms.

 

COLLINS: Yeah, look, this makes sense, right. We are in a time of chaos,

basically. We are in a time where people`s trust in institutions and

various different things has gone away, and their livelihoods have changed,

the way they lived their lives have changed.

 

So, instead of embracing that ambiguity and looking for answer that are

realistic, they go to the easy ones, they go to the simple ones. And the

simple ones are things they can see.

 

So, you know, if you talk to conspiracy theory researchers, they call

conspiracy theorists the last believers in an ordered universe. They always

try to look for boogiemen. They always look for someone like Bill Gates,

who everyone knows, right. Everyone knows Bill Gates. And if they can say

he did this and everyone can point to him and say if we get rid of Bill

Gates and then everything is fixed, everything is – you know, all of this

is over, all of this staying at home is over.

 

 But it doesn`t really work like that. We know this. This is a lot more

complicated than just Bill Gates doing something or a 5G tower doing

something. And that`s the scary part is that these bad guys, these

traditional conspiracy theorists who are preying on these people at home on

Facebook and YouTube all day, they are creating these small armies. And the

people in the small armies don`t know, but they are really hurting these

doctors.

 

HAYES: Well, and there`s – I mean, there are real public health effects

here, right. And I mean, there`s a responsibility for the platforms.

There`s this letter of dozens of doctors have signed on to, an open letter

calling on Facebook and Instagram, YouTube and Twitter to detox the

algorithms that decide what people say and correct the record on health

misinformation.

 

I mean, how have these – how have these platforms approach this, how have

they dealt with this.

 

COLLINS: You know, they have taken some steps. And, you know, the problem

we see over and over again is these things go viral and then they sort of

reign it back in.

 

Today there was a video on YouTube or Facebook, and if you have some – if

you have someone in your life who is chronically addicted to YouTube or has

like Facebook brain I think is the technical term for it, they will have

seen this thing called Plandemic, which is this awful YouTube video saying

don`t wear your mask, it gives you Coronavirus. It`s just terrible stuff

that you really, it isn`t possible to be true, I know.

 

And the issue is that this stuff goes viral first and then they correct it.

What we need to actor-based enforcement, people who – none of these people

that are pushing that video are new here, right. They are people who are

constants in these anti-vax communities. They have been here for years and

years. They are just packaging this stuff together for the first time

(inaudible) Coronavirus theme. And since it goes around that Coronavirus

and it feels news (inaudible) and then they can push it on Facebook and

YouTube.

 

HAYES: Ben Collins, who did some great reporting on this for us, and has

been following this story throughout. Thank you so much.

 

We have an update tonight on the story we spoke here with Stacey Abrams

about last night. There are arrests now in the shocking killing of a 25-

year-old black man in Georgia named Ahmaud Arbery by two white men in pick-

up truck with guns. The Arbery family says Ahmaud was simply out jogging.

The two men, a father and son, claimed he fit the description of a suspect

in a string of robberies and went after him to make a citizens arrest, a

struggle ensued and Ahmaud Arbery was shot dead in the street. Two

prosecutors recused themselves, because of their professional ties to one

of the men who shot Ahmaud.

 

Yesterday, a third prosecutor recommended the case to a grand jury. Well,

tonight, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has announced that those two

men were arrested. They were both charged with murder and aggravated

assault and were taken into custody and will be booked in the Glynn County

jail.

 

Coming up, the president escalates his personal vendetta against the U.S.

Postal Service, installing a Republican donor atop the already struggling

institution. That story next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES: The U.S. Post Office is one of the oldest institutions we have in

this country, it`s even written into the constitution, just after

punishment for counterfeiting and before the armed forces. It is an entire

article ahead of the presidency.

 

But now, President Donald Trump says, forget the constitution and maybe let

the post office die.

 

One Wednesday, a top donor to the president, a guy who is the finance chair

for this year`s Republican national convention was named as the head of the

Postal Service, so a Trump ally is going to run the organization that Trump

is very clearly out to destroy. And it seems pretty clear that Trump`s

animus is largely motivated by anger towards the CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos,

because Amazon currently has a deal with the post office to deliver its

packages, and the president`s beef is not specifically with Amazon, no,

Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post, a paper that writes articles

about the president he dislikes, and so it looks like Donald Trump is

prepared to, wants to kill one of the oldest institutions in this country

for revenge against the free press.

 

Joining me now on this, Dave Dayen, executive editor of the American

Prospect earlier this week he wrote about how a key resignation could ease

the president`s politically motivated war on the Postal Service.

 

Dave, let`s, I guess start with who is this individual that is now going to

be the Postmaster General of the U.S.?

 

DAVE DAYEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yes. His name is Louis

DeJoy. As you mentioned, he`s the current largest fundraiser on the

Republican National Convention. His wife is the nominee for U.S. Ambassador

to Canada and he`s a large Trump donor, so I mean this is functionally

equivalent to putting Trump himself, pretty much, in the position of

running this enormous government agency.

 

HAYES: So, you`ve got him running the agency. There`s also the president`s

longstanding animus towards it.

 

And it`s been quite explicit. I mean, to a degree that`s really kind of

shocking. I mean, basically he bangs on about The Washington Post and calls

them the Amazon Washington Post. And then he bangs on about the Post Office

having to deal with Amazon, and it doesn`t – like, it`s not hard to add

two plus two up to four, which is that he wants to screw the Post Office

because he doesn`t like the fact they work with Jeff Bezos who owns The

Washington Post.

 

DAYEN: Yeah, and the real irony here is that if you do damage the Post

Office, that`s not going to hurt Jeff Bezos. I mean, Amazon now ships their

own packages about 50 percent of the time, and crushing the Post Office is

really going to up the game, both the logistics operation at Amazon, and

also FedEx and UPS.

 

So, the only people that this will hurt are the hundreds of thousands of

employees at the U.S. Postal Service. We`re not just talking about some

government agency, this is the second largest employer in the United

States. And to, you know, threaten their very livelihoods over just this

vendetta that you have that you don`t really understand, because what you

want to do isn`t really going to affect the animus that you have is really

just abominable.

 

HAYES: So, we should also say, and you noted this, that the right has had

it out for the Post Office for awhile, right. And the sort of structure of

it has been changed over time. There was congressional legislation that

required them to prefund their pension liabilities in a way that basically

no one else has to, which has created an enormous burden on their balance

sheet.

 

What is their current financial situation, because my understanding is that

they are in desperate, desperate dire straits.

 

DAYEN: They`re definitely in trouble. And what you mentioned, the pre-

funding requirement, literally having to pay for, or set aside money for

the workers that haven`t even been born yet that will be coming in 75 years

down the road is the primary reason, prior to the pandemic.

 

During the pandemic, although package deliveries increased, direct mail and

all kinds of mail has gone way, way down. So, the postal service initially

asked for, I believe it was $89 billion. They got a $10 billion addition to

their line of credit through – this was in the CARES Act. And the Treasury

Department is actually using this right now as leverage – this is why the

vice chair, David Williams, resigned because he saw Treasury meddling in

the affairs of the postal service, using this $10 billion line of credit as

bait, basically, to get whatever policy decisions they wanted out of the

postal service.

 

HAYES: Wait, say more about that, because that`s in the subject in your

reporting.

 

DAYEN: Yeah, so Williams resigned. My sources tell me that he didn`t want

to participate in what was essentially a fraud. The Treasury Department was

dangling this $10 billion and saying you`ve got to do union concessions.

You have to obviously raise package delivery rates on Amazon. You have to

install certain people in charge of the postal service. And we see the

result of that today with Louis DeJoy, this Trump donor being put in

charge.

 

So, that is my understanding why David Williams resigned. And he didn`t

want to participate…

 

HAYES: So, you`ve got a situation where Treasury has this $10 billion line

of credit. They`re in desperate financial straits. And Mnuchin`s Treasury

Department is using that as a kind of – as leverage to get the USPS to do

the kinds of things that are the focus of the president`s vendetta,

including we have this political head who has now been put in charge of

USPS as we come into an election, we should note, in which it may be

extremely vital that we have mail-in voting, right?

 

I mean, we saw what happened in Wisconsin. There`s a lot of fear about what

happens in the fall, particularly if we have a second wave. Like there is a

fundamental Democratic role for the USPS to play here that could be more

important than ever.

 

DAYEN: As you say, there`s a fundamental democratic even if we weren`t

doing an all mail election. Your sample ballots come through the mail, your

registration information comes through the mail. The postal service finds

out your address and forwards that information on to election officials.

 

So, even if there wasn`t any pandemic, even if we were safe to go to the

polling place, the postal service would have a huge role in elections. And

if it`s damaged fundamentally that could be a suppression tactic on the

part of, you know, forces who want fewer people to vote.

 

HAYES: This story – I mean, we`re going to come back to this and also talk

more in the future about the president`s feud with Amazon and a contract

for the Department of Defense, but just on its face the president going

after this institution out of a vendetta against the free press`s reporting

on him, it`s such a shocking abuse of power just on its face what we know.

and then the more you learn, the worse it gets. Dave Dayen, whose been

doing great reporting for the American Prospect on it, thank you so much.

 

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

 

 

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

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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