COVID-19 TRANSCRIPT: 5/14/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes

Guests:
Richard Blumenthal, David Plouffe, Dana Goldstein, Anna Eshoo
Transcript:

 

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, tune in to a special, “THE LAST WORD” with

Lawrence O`Donnell and Joe Biden. They`re going to be joined by Stacey

Abrams tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC. Thanks so much for being

with us. I`ll be right here tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Don`t go

anywhere. “ALL IN with Chris Hayes is up next.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. Undercover of the crisis he`s

made worse, new signs the president is abusing his power to attack

political enemies and benefit corrupt associates. I`ll be joined by Senator

Richard Blumenthal and David Plouffe.

 

Then, America hears from the coronavirus whistleblower that the White House

tried to silence for speaking the truth about the lack of a plan and who

warns of America`s darkest winter possibly ahead. The congresswoman who ran

today`s hearing and the issue of California will join me.

 

And back to school, what that will even mean, what it looks like, what we

learned from other countries? And for the love of God, when? When ALL IN

starts right now.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. It has become clear,

painfully clear, the President has declared bankruptcy on the question of

handling the coronavirus. He can`t fix it so he is giving up. All you have

to do is look at his Twitter feed. He doesn`t really want to talk about it

anymore. He`s basically done with it. He`s moving on.

 

He wants America to open up and move on as well. And there are likely going

to be thousands more of preventable deaths because of it. The only thing

Trump is worried about right now is whether he gets reelected. And what`s

becoming increasingly evident is that his response to the virus has been

disaster.

 

We are seeing that the public understands that. You see it in Trump`s poll

numbers. His poll numbers about his handling of the virus are sinking. And

he has been according to multiple reports increasingly worried, even

freaking out about losing reelection.

 

And so amidst this panic and flailing, the president is moving in an

increasingly lawless direction to subvert the rule of law, the basic

underpinnings of the integrity of the government. Keep in mind, he was

already impeached for abusing the power of his office. And at the time,

this was House impeachment manager Adam Schiff`s warning in his closing

statements.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Now, you may be asking how much damage can he

really do in the next several months until the election? A lot. A lot of

damage. And you know, you can`t trust this President do what`s right for

this country. You can trust he will do what`s right for Donald Trump. He`ll

do it now. He`s done it before. He`ll do it for the next several months.

He`ll do it in the election if he`s allowed to.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: A lot of damage. He can do a lot of damage. Less than five months

after Congressman Schiff said those words, it`s getting worse right now in

front of all of us. Just in the last few days, just take a second to tick

through where we are right now. In the last few days, Trump`s 2016 campaign

chairman Paul Manafort, you might remember who is indicted and convicted

and refused to cooperate with investigators against Trump, right. He got

essentially a life sentence for his conviction. He was released from prison

as a coronavirus mercy case even though he has not met the requirement for

that case, released by the Bureau of Prisons, which is part of the

Department of Justice, which is run by William Barr.

 

At the same time, Trump`s former fixer Michael Cohen, who committed a

felony, he says on the President`s behalf and who testified against the

president, Michael Cohen was supposed to be released from prison because

the coronavirus in early May. Again, run by the Bureau of Prisons under the

Department of Justice under William Barr. That release was mysteriously

delayed without explanation.

 

At the same time, the Department of Justice is trying to drop the charges

against the President`s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn even

though he literally pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The President has

urged the prosecution at jailing of both President Barack Obama and his

current opponent Joe Biden.

 

Trump`s current Acting Director of National Intelligence, who`s basically a

professional Twitter troll is leaking innocuous documents meant to foment a

scandal around the last administration. Trump`s allies in Congress are

saying they`re going to start hearings into the origins of the Russia

investigation while the President hectors Lindsey Graham to call Barack

Obama.

 

Trump is undermining the rule of law. And just the last few weeks is the

kind of thing you see in other countries, Russia, or Turkey, and China,

something that we`re seeing here. And here`s the key part of it. Trump

never really has to order for any of this to be done. I mean, I don`t know.

We don`t know one way or the other whether you told William Barr to sprint

Paul Manafort or not, but he doesn`t have to. People around him just do it

for him.

 

Another example, just today, the Post Office announced that it is opening a

review. Interesting. A review of its contract with a bunch of private

companies it contracts with including Amazon, among others, which the

President has been publicly lobbying for explicitly because the President

of the United States does not like the First Amendment protected coverage

that is done by the Washington Post which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff

Bezos.

 

And Trump wants to screw Jeff Bezos and screw the Washington Post. And he

wants to use the Post Offices to do it. And Trump installed his lackey to

run things over there. And guess what, look, they now made an announcement

they`re going to review the contract.

 

All of that is the necessary context for the story of Republican Senator

Richard Burr of North Carolina. Richard Burr seemed real, real shady after

he dumped up to $1.7 million in stocks in the weeks before the outbreak,

right before the market crashed. He did this while privately talking about

what a disaster the pandemic was going to be even though publicly, he said

we`re prepared and we`ll be fine.

 

Now, the more you look at this stock trades, the worse it got. I mean, this

was a guy who had not done a lot of stock trading. This was his biggest

trade in several years. And then, get this. We also learned his brother in

law also dumped his stock on the same day. All of that is sketchy as hell,

ethically indefensible, possibly illegal.

 

And last night, the L.A. Times reported, federal agents seized a cell phone

belonging to Burr on Wednesday night as part of the Justice Department`s

investigation into controversial stock trades he made as the novel

coronavirus first struck the U.S. Seizing a U.S. Senator`s cell phone is a

big deal.

 

Now, a lot of people`s reaction is that Senator Burr had it coming, and I

get that. On the merits, I think there`s a strong case for him having it

coming. I mean, after all, the FBI had to convince a judge that there was

probable cause, right, to give them a warrant to do this. But, but, but,

you also have to wonder about the timing of all this, don`t you? About who

is being targeted here?

 

I mean, let`s remember that Senator Burr ran the Senate Intelligence

Committee, which is working on its own report on Russia`s election attack.

It did it in a fairly bipartisan and fairly thorough manner. Just weeks

ago, that committee confirmed that Russia aimed to help Trump back in 2016.

They crossed the White House by doing things like subpoenaing the

president`s son.

 

Today, Senator Burr announced he`s stepping down as chair of that

committee. And some of the President`s biggest propagandists on Twitter

gloating about the fact that Burr got it because he crossed the president.

The timing around this is all very important.

 

Just last week, the President said the jury is still out on FBI Director

Chris Wray. Now, that followed news reports about increasing pressure in

the Trump world to fire him. Now, Chris Wray is a smart guy. He could read

the paper. He sees that. He knows that there`s pressure building to fire

him. Trump has already fired one FBI head. And Chris Wray is the guy who

heads up the FBI.

 

Donald Trump does not have to order that FBI go after Richard Burr, the

Department of Justice do it. But presumably Chris Wray likes his job and

doesn`t want to lose it. I mean, that`s where we are. Part of what is so

dangerous about this reality the President has created is you cannot just

on good faith trust things done by this administration, trust they`re on

the level.

 

And I want to stress, this may all be on the up and up. Maybe the Postal

Service reviewing Amazon is on the up and up. Maybe Paul Manafort got out

of jail for perfectly good reasons that had nothing whatsoever to do with

his connection to the president that he refused to roll over on. But we

know Trump is vindictive. I mean, he`s loudly vindictive. We know Trump

himself said the jury is still out on Wray. That`s a message sent.

 

We also know somehow a law enforcement official leaked this warrant within

24 hours. That`s where we find ourselves now. This is the unsteady state

we`re in as the pandemic ravages our country and our economy. Over 85,000

dead, 36 million unemployed, the worst crisis for the nation in

generations, a president who cannot do the job and has as much chance of

fixing the problem as if you shoved me in the nuclear reactor control room

and Chernobyl on the night of the accident. And a president who is now

determined to do whatever it takes to save himself from his own failures.

 

Joining me now, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut. He

sits on the Judiciary Committee whose Chairman Lindsey Graham announced

he`s opening a wide-ranging inquiry into the origins of the Russia

investigation. I want to ask you first about your colleague, Richard Burr

who you have served with for some time and the warrant. Do you think –

what is your reaction to both what he is alleged to have done, the fact

that there`s investigation and the context of this administration and this

Department of Justice?

 

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): What he`s alleged to have done, Chris, is

pretty troubling. These allegations of insider trading go to the core of

our integrity particularly using a classified briefing as a basis to trade

stocks. And you are absolutely right that a judge had to sign a warrant.

 

But the fact of the matter is that as important as those specifics is the

question you`re asking. It`s a real question. The fact that you were asking

it, and that the Department of Justice`s credibility and trust is so

undermined and has been so perverted and shredded by this administration by

Donald Trump himself calls into question all of what the Department of

Justice is doing when it makes these kinds of judgments.

 

And I was there on the floor of the Senate when Adam Schiff posed that

question about what Trump would do and it was chilling then, it`s more

chilling now.

 

HAYES: I think there`s always a question of the president like, is it

getting worse. And we`ve gone through three years of these occasional news

cycles of he`s melting down, he`s getting worse. But it does seem to me,

the steps of Flynn, the fact that he was able to get the Department of

Justice to drop those charges, what we saw with Manafort, the fact that

Michael Cohen is still in prison, there does seem to be a level that the

Department of Justice and other places have been corrupted or subverted,

Richard Grenell, the head of DNI, that is worse than it was, say, even two

years ago or a year ago.

 

BLUMENTHAL: Far worse. When we ask ourselves about some hypothetical,

whether the Trump administration would sink to that level, we kind of say,

no. We wouldn`t go that low. And then we turn on the news and find that

it`s done exactly that.

 

So they use for example of Obamagate as a complete distraction from the

lack of any strategy on testing, any strategy on reopening the economy, any

strategy on containing the spread of the virus if it comes back in the

fall. This bankruptcy as you have referred to it so well, is a bankruptcy

that is a matter of life and death to people who will be affected by it.

 

And he can talk about Obamagate and say, well, you know what I`m talking

about, which would be farcical ludicrous for anyone else, but it`s the

President of the United States, which makes it despicably dangerous.

 

HAYES: Yes. I mean, I think that that to me is sort of a sign of political

weakness. So they`re going to – your committee chair is going to hold some

hearings about this stuff, as you know, thousands of people die every day

as we`re through the worst, Great Depression. It just seems like waving the

white flag in some ways. Like, other stuff seems more important right now,

but I don`t know maybe I`m wrong.

 

BLUMENTHAL: Well, you know, this hearing is simply a platform for Attorney

General Barr to spread the fear-mongering and demagoguery that have brought

us to this point and to seemingly justify his dropping the prosecution of

Flynn. But there is some glimmer of hope because the judge there, Judge

Sullivan has said he`s going to have a hearing, and there`ll be some

disclosure other than our hearing.

 

And I think that the possibility of his keeping open a prosecution,

dismissing it without prejudice, or saying there seems to have been some

criminal contempt here offers some glimmer of hope that perhaps the rule of

law will prevail. But right now, the Trump administration`s contempt for

the rule of law is a sliding cascade, bring us to new low levels.

 

HAYES: I want to play something for you the President said today about

testing which also seemed to me a kind of admission. The president lies a

lot but he also will sort of say unexpectedly true things sometimes. This

is what he said about testing which is sort of why he doesn`t love testing.

Why testing in some ways is bad because it makes it look bad. Take a

listen.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we have the best testing

in the world. It could be the testing is frankly overrated. Maybe it is

overrated. Don`t forget, we have more cases than anybody in the world. But

why? Because we do more testing. When you test, you have a case. When you

test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn`t do any testing,

we would have very few cases.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: What is your reaction to that?

 

BLUMENTHAL: My reaction is that the American people really deserve better.

Facts are stubborn things particularly when it comes to a pandemic because

the truth is necessary to avoid death. And so again, we can ridicule, we

can make fun of it, but it has really deadly consequences.

 

And that`s why the testimony before the House today and other testimony

that shows the truth, Dr. Fauci`s testimony can make such a difference in

informing the American people and making them understand that we need more

testing. We need contact tracing. It is the only way that we can

responsibly protect people`s lives, even as we put people back to work.

 

And ultimately, people will vote with their feet. No matter what the

president says, if they feel unsafe, they are not going back to work or

restaurant.

 

HAYES: Senator Richard Blumenthal of the state of Connecticut, sits on the

Judiciary Committee, thank you very much, sir. I appreciate it.

 

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

 

HAYES: I want to bring in David Plouffe, campaign manager for President

Barack Obama`s 2008 campaign. And he tweeted earlier today, “Our current

president is calling for his predecessor and his current challenger to be

jailed in America. The story, the only story out of his sideshow B.S. is

this. The entire enterprise is on the line. It is not clever political

tactics. It is unprecedented and sick.”

 

Expand on that, David. That has stuck with me what you said there. What do

you mean?

 

DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR BARACK OBAMA: Well, I think we

get numb to his circus act. But you know, we`ve never had a president,

Nixon didn`t do this, no president has done this where he`s suggesting not

subtly, not that they just be investigated, that they`d be jailed in the

middle of a pandemic where we`re headed to over 100,000 deaths and probably

a great depression.

 

So the scale of this, the irresponsibility, the narcissism, it`s dangerous.

To the extent there`s an electoral strategy here, Chris, my sense is, both

in the public polling, but I`m sure in their private polling, they`re

starting to see some hemorrhaging with people who voted for Trump. So he

figures I`ll go back to, you know, my trusted distraction, deep state

attacks, and we`ll get some of those people back.

 

The politics of this more broadly, though, cannot be more stupid. OK. So

people are worried about dying, they`re worried about the job they lost,

they`re worried about the economy, and he wants to pick a fight with a

popular ex-president on B.S. and nothing. So it is curious to me but it

could not be more dangerous. And I hope that`s what the story is.

 

People are not covering Michael Flynn or Obamagate. He is threatening to

jail, his current challenger and the former president, you know, bizarrely.

 

HAYES: I mean, what is unnerving to me here is that the President was

impeached for what ended up ultimately being unsuccessful attempt to

outsource an attempt to get a criminal investigation going unannounced

against his likely opponent, right. Clearly, he thinks this is a key part

of winning. There was the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton. He`s just

going to try to run the same playbook.

 

He was impeached for that he was not removed from office. Now, he`s got

William Barr at the Department of Justice. He is saying out loud, like

prosecute Mike – like the thing he was impeached for like cutting out the

middleman. He`s going to – he`s going to insource the job. Bring it back

and let the Americans do that job. William Barr, like go please prosecute

my political enemies.

 

PLOUFFE: Yes. Well, he`s got no range. He`s got one move, and this is it.

And it`s what he goes back to. So, we had lock her up back in 2016. We`ll

have lock him up or lock them up this year. And again, I just think, you

know, in the middle of a historic pandemic where really the only question

voters have is, who can we trust over the next four or five years to dig us

out of it?

 

And I think the – I think he`s bored, quite frankly. I think he`s tired of

this. He wants to move along from the pandemic.

 

HAYES: That`s what it is.

 

PLOUFFE: I think it is. He knows he really – he messed it up. He`s paying

a price for that in polls, but he just – he`s bored, and he wants to move

on.

 

HAYES: I think he`s bored. And I also think what I said in the intro is

true, which is that like, if you put me in the control room in the new

nuclear reactor of Chernobyl the night of the accident and told me like,

fix it, like I just couldn`t. I couldn`t do it. I just don`t – I can`t –

he does not have the ability.

 

At the deepest level, he doesn`t have the ability to do the job, to do the

thing necessary here. And so, if you don`t have the ability to do the job,

like what – there`s not much for him to do other than this.

 

PLOUFFE: Yes. I mean, I`m kind of at the point now where it`s like, can we

just make it to election day and January 20th? Can we hold on? Because I

think he`s going to test that. I think it`s been laid bare he`s not up to

the job. There`s no question about that.

 

But you look historically. I mean, this is – you know, we had Roosevelt,

obviously, with the Depression and World War II, you had Lincoln, during

the Civil War, that Wilson during World War I. You know, I wouldn`t put

2008 and 2009 in that category, but Barack Obama had to deal with a serious

economic crisis.

 

 So we have one of our most, you know, top four or five historical

challenges, and we`ve got this guy who`s not only up to the job, he clearly

doesn`t want to do it, but he`s shredding every norm that we have. And

listen, this is a little dramatic, but you only have to be an amateur

student of history to understand the ways of government and empires don`t

last forever. We`re getting tested in a way.

 

Today, really, for me was a breaking point, which is saying something given

everything we`ve been through. But I assume it`s only going to get worse

from here.

 

HAYES: Well, part of – and I think your point here is well taken. I tend

to agree with you that the tuning out which I think part of the tuning out

is adaptive for all of us. Like, we don`t all have to run after the soccer

ball when he kicks it somewhere. But there also is the case that because of

the scale of the cataclysm, the human suffering, the toll in human lives

and economic ruin that we`re over, it all seems more trivial. But it also,

in a disturbing way feels like it`s giving him latitude. Like, we`re all

focused on this rightly and he`s kind of raising the temperature on what

his henchmen are doing.

 

PLOUFFE: Oh, there`s no question. I mean, he`s sending the clearest smokes

– and they`re not even smoke signals, they`re direct orders even if he

doesn`t say them. And I think all hell is going to continue to break loose.

There`s no question about that. And I`m sure he`s got a list of things.

 

What`s interesting about Trump, in my view, it`s hard to kind of get in his

sick and addled brain, but I think he`s convinced himself the pandemic was

not his fault, their response was. I think he`s convinced himself, you

know, that Barack Obama was fighting his campaign. And so that`s what so –

now everyone else should know better, but republican senators, you know,

Attorney General Barr, everyone is just saluting, and that`s what`s very

scary.

 

HAYES: No – yes. Now, I think he feels very sorry for himself the pandemic

happen. That it sort of happened to him, and he`s sort of resentful of it

for happening to him. David Plouffe, always great to talk to you. Thank you

very much.

 

Coming up, a damning testimony, really damning testimony from the

coronavirus whistleblower fired for trying to protect the public. Why Dr.

Richard Bright says the worst could be yet to come, next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES: We`ve seen a long line of whistleblowers who have come forward

during the Trump years. The whistleblower we saw testified today might be

the most damning yet because he speaks to Donald Trump`s biggest failure.

 

His name is Dr. Rick Bright. You probably heard of them. Despite a sterling

reputation, he was ousted as the head of a federal agency in charge of

vaccine development, because he said he would not back the widespread use

of the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus.

 

That`s the drug the President has been pushing as a kind of miracle cure

along with his lackeys on a Trump T.V., all despite a lack of adequate

testing to see if it actually is safe and effective. In fact, last month, a

chloroquine study was halted over the risk of fatal heart complications.

 

So today, for the first time, Dr. Bright was under oath before a

Congressional committee, and he basically confirmed the response to the

virus in the administration was as short sighted and disastrous as we

thought.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

RICK BRIGHT, OUSTED VACCINE EXPERT: Some scientists raised early warning

signals that were overlooked, and pages from our pandemic playbook, were

ignored by some on leadership. And we`ve known for quite some time that our

stockpile is insufficient and having those critical personal protective

equipment. So once this virus began spreading and became known to be a

threat, I did feel quite concerned that we didn`t have those supplies.

 

I began pushing urgently in January along with some industry colleagues as

well. And those urges, those alarms were not responded with action. Lives

are endangered and I believe lives were lost. And not only that, we were

forced to procure the supplies from other countries without the right

quality standards.

 

So even our doctors and nurses in the hospitals today are wearing N-95

marked masks from other countries that are not providing the sufficient

protection that a U.S. standard N-95 mass would provide them. And I`ll

never forget the e-mails I received from Mike Boen indicating that we`re –

our mass supply of N-95 respirator supply was completely decimated. And he

said, we`re in deep shit. The world is, and we need to act.

 

And I pushed that forward to the highest levels I could in HHS and got no

response. From that moment, I knew that we were going to have a crisis for

our health care workers, because we were not taking action.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: Dr. Bright also responded to Republicans on the committee to try to

insist on the broad efficacy of the miracle drug that Trump kept touting

despite insufficient medical evidence.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BRIGHT: We have seen anecdotal – heard of anecdotal data from different

positions that they believe they`ve seen benefit or patient improvement

upon use of this drug in either combination with an antibiotic (INAUDIBLE)

or a combination with zinc or other vitamin C or other things. But there

was never sufficient evidence from a randomized controlled study to show

its benefit would actually outweigh the potential risk.

 

That is why the NIH and probably 40 other institutions around the world are

conducting randomized controlled clinical studies to look at the benefit

either in late stage treatment or early stage treatment. Most of the data

coming out from those clinical studies to date haven`t shown an

overwhelming level of evidence that it has benefits in those patients.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: Like many other experts, Dr. Bright also issued a warning that a

vaccine on an expedited timeline may be unrealistic. The President is all

but promised a vaccine by the end of the year.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BRIGHT: A lot of optimism is swirling around a 12 to 18-month timeframe if

everything goes perfectly. We`ve never seen everything go perfectly. My

concern is if we rush too quickly and considered cutting out critical

steps, we may not have a full assessment of the safety of that vaccine. So

it`s still going to take some time. I still think 12 to 18 months is an

aggressive schedule, and I think it`s going to take longer than that to do

so.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: Perhaps the most disturbing takeaway from Dr. Bright`s testimony

today is that the response from our federal government, from the White

House, from the Trump administration is still terrible. That this

administration is still to this day failing to do what is necessary to

combat the virus.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BRIGHT: Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to improve our

response now, based on science, I fear the pandemic will get worse and be

prolonged. There will be likely a resurgence of COVID-19 this fall. It`ll

be greatly compounded by the challenges of seasonal influenza. Without

better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history.

 

First and foremost, we need to be truthful with the American people.

Americans deserve the truth. The trust must be based on science. We have

the world`s greatest scientists, let us lead. Let us speak without fear of

retribution.

 

REP. G.K. BUTTERFIELD, (D) NORTH CAROLINA:  How can we be struggling to get

adequate supplies of simple supplies like swabs? What does this say about

the federal response to the Coronavirus outbreak?

 

BRIGHT:  It says to me, sir, that there is no master coordinated plan on

how to respond to this outbreak. We don`t have a strategy or plan in place

that identifies each of those critical components and we don`t have a

designated agency that is sourcing those critical components and coming up

with a strategy to make sure that we have those supplies when we need them.

 

We need this comprehensive national strategy that`s end to end about –

includes every component to make sure we can respond and protect American

lives.

 

We don`t have a single point of leadership right now for this response, and

we don`t have a master plan for this response.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  this was the most devastating, damming testimony we`ve seen from

inside the government about the single biggest failure of the Trump

administration. The single biggest failures of presidential leadership in

modern times.

 

The committee chair who made that testimony happen joins me next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BRIGHT:  I`ll never forget the email I received from Mike Boeing (ph)

indicating that we are mass supplier N95 respirator supply was completely

decimated. And he said we`re in deep shit. The world is. And we need to

act. And I pushed that forward to the highest levels I could in HHS and got

no response.

 

And from that moment, I knew that we were going to have a crisis for health

care workers, because we were not taking action. We were already behind the

ball.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  They knew. They knew in January that`s when that exchange happened.

 

That was Dr. Rick Bright, he`s the whistle blower who was ousted as the

head of a federal agency working on vaccine development. He testified today

before the House about administration`s lack of action in the Coronavirus

fight.

 

Joining me now is the head of that committee, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.

She`s a Democrat of California. She chairs the the energy and commerce

subcommittee on health.

 

And, congresswoman, obviously we had seen reporting about Dr. Bright and he

had written a letter. What did you learn today that you didn`t know. What

came out of this hearing? What`s your big takeaway?

 

REP. ANNA ESHOO (D) CALIFORNIA:  The big take away to me and I think to the

rest of the committee was this was the right person at the right time with

the full knowledge of what was coming and he was not only ignored when he

rang every bell right up to the top in HHS, he was not only ignored, he was

fired.

 

HAYES:  There is also a concern about the future. And I want to talk about

that in a second. But first, the response. There`s some reporting today

that`s remarkable about the president. The president at times has come just

shy of saying he didn`t want to test people, because testing would create

positive cases, which would make him look bad so it would be better if we

don`t know.

 

And this is reporting from The Financial Times today that said that Jared

Kushner had been arguing that testing too many people were ordering too

many ventilators would spook the markets so we shouldn`t do it, says a

Trump confidante who speaks to the president frequently. That advice worked

far more powerfully on him than what the scientists were saying. He thinks

they always exaggerate.

 

What do you make of that?

 

ESHOO:  Well, it extraordinary sad, Chris. I think that the administration,

the president, has been singularly focused on his numbers. And what has

happened is that the numbers in our country of our population have been

diminished over 80,000 souls lost.

 

So if Dr. Bright had been heeded, there would have been a big difference.

And that`s enormously sad, enormously sad. Here is a – he`s a brilliant

scientist, someone that really for his entire adult life prepared for this

moment to address a pandemic, and as I said, he was ignored. So there are

so many side bar things that some members try to raise with him. But he

recalls everything – the date, the time, the place, the science, the

science, the science.

 

And I think it is a classic case of when you don`t paid heed to scientists,

because science is so foundational. And so the administration has gone

another way. We don`t have a master plan. It seems as if administration,

their plan is no plan. And yet, Dr. Bright said in order to avoid a dark

2020 winter and the rest of the window that is still open what we need to

do.

 

HAYES:  So, on that note, there is two things that stuck out to me from his

testimony. One is about the vaccine. So, this is his area of expertise,

this is what he does, this is what did at BARDA in the government, vaccine

development. His cautions about the time-line and safety, and also the idea

that even if we were to get one, if we have a plan in place to ramp up

production and capacity to distribute it, what did you make of that part of

the testimony?

 

ESHOO:  Well, I think it was enlightening to anyone listening in. Because

number one, vaccines are very difficult to develop. And then they have to

be effective. But the development of them is difficult. It does take time.

And I think it `s instructive to all of us that we still don`t have a

vaccine to cure HIV/AIDS. We`ve made tremendous progress on the

pharmaceutical drugs, but we still don`t have a cure for it. So, that is

down the road.

 

Scientists both inside the government and in the private sector are working

24/7 to come up with interim applications. So, this is not an easy thing to

do.

 

But having said that, if the American people have a plan put in front of

them that makes sense, they know what is expected of them, we follow that.

When the time comes, and god willing, and I mean it, god willing, we have a

vaccine, we have to be prepared for a vast distribution of it. That takes

vials. That takes syringes. It takes many other products, as well.

 

And so we have to have that capacity. And god only knows whether any of

that is taking place, that kind of planning, inside administration.

 

HAYES:  One would hope, but I would not bet on that. Congresswoman Anna

Eshoo, thank you so much for joining me tonight.

 

ESHOO:  Thank you, Chris. It`s a pleasure, thank you.

 

HAYES:  Still ahead, why it so difficult to reopen schools in the era of

Coronavirus. And what it will take to get kids of all ages back into the

classroom. That`s coming up.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  The human toll from this virus is just impossible, impossible to

fully wrap your head around. bit every week we`re taking some time to

highlight and remember a few of the people that we, lost like 30-year-old

Andrea Circlebear (ph), a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe based in

Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Circlebear`s (ph) grandmother described her as a

loving, caring, kind person who just adored her five children and really

did everything for them. She was seventh months pregnant with her sixth

child when she was sent to Federal Medical Center Carswell in Texas after

receiving a two-year sentence for a non-violent drug charge. Circlebear

(ph) came down with Coronavirus symptoms, was taken to the hospital and put

on a ventilator. On April 1, her daughter was delivered prematurely by

emergency C-section and three weeks later Andrea Circlebear (ph) passed

away.

 

George Escamilla was a 67-year-old father and grandfather. His

granddaughter said he had a different outlook on life. He was always trying

to see the positive in everything. She described him as caring and selfless

man who encouraged her to focus on her education and graduate from college.

Escamilla suffered from diabetes. He was wheelchair bound, having lost both

his legs due to complications from the disease. He was scheduled to be

released from the federal correctional institutional in Oakdale, Louisiana

having served 12 years of a 16 year sentence for a non-violent drug charge,

but Escamilla died from Coronavirus May 8 two days after he was supposed to

be released.

 

Tiffany Moefield (ph) was 43-years-old. She was a mother of three, a

grandmother of four. Her daughter says Moefield (ph) loved her family and

always had a smile on her face and called her her best-friend. Friends

remembered her as the life of the party and a neighborhood hero. Moefield

(ph) died on April 29 of Coronavirus complications at the Edna Mahan

Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey. She was nearing the end of a

five year sentence for attempted bank robbery.

 

Rudolf Sutton was a father of eight children, a marine veteran, an avid

reader, who studied philosophy, computer science, art and poetry. On April

8, Rudolf Sutton died of pneumonia caused by Coronavirus while serving a

life sentence at the State Correctional Institution in Phoenix in

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Three days later his son got news that

Philadelphia prosecutors had agreed to review Sutton`s claim that he had

been wrongfully imprisoned for the 1988 murder he was convicted of. His son

says he wants to see his father`s conviction overturned so he can get the

justice he never got while he was alive.

 

Innocent or guilty, a prison sentence should not be a death sentence. I`m

glad someone like Paul Manafort got some mercy, was let out during this

pandemic. But there are literally hundreds of thousands of others rotting

behind bars right now scared for their lives who should be out, too.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Right now I think it`s safe to say we are all thinking about the

future lot, which is very uncertain, one of the questions I am really

thinking about is when are my kids going back to school? Are they going

back to school in the fall?

 

I`m interested in this because my wife and I are trying to home school them

and it`s a lot. We`re doing our best. But also because this is probably the

biggest policy question that everyone, that policy makers across the world,

and in this country are wrestling with. I mean, closing down schools was

probably the single biggest step that governments took to contain the

virus, right? It affected 55 million students in this country.

 

And it seems really unclear how to go about safely reopening all of these

schools, because when you`re talking about schools, I mean, you`re talking

about everything from day care and pre-K, to elementary school, to massive

high school with 1,800 teenagers who – are they going to listen to what

you tell them to do on social distancing? You`re talking about schools in

very rich districts with lots of facilities and money, and schools in very

poor districts. You`re also talking about colleges.

 

And each one of these places is kind of battling with its own imperatives

and concerns, and resource constraints. Here to talk a little bit about how

the schools and parents and policymakers are thinking about all of this is

Dana Goldstein. She`s New York Times national correspondent covering

education. She recently co-wrote a piece called “Despite Trump`s nudging,

schools are likely to stay shut for months.”

 

Dana, it`s great to have you. You have been doing fantastic reporting on

all of this. We just got today the CDC issuing some guidelines for school

districts on when and how to open them. And I was struck that there`s a lot

of steps to go through for schools to reopen.

 

DANA GOLDSTEIN, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Yeah, there is. I mean they talk about

protecting vulnerable staff, so maybe older teachers, older employees,

protecting students who may have pre-existing health conditions, screening

for symptoms. It`s a little bit vague, but I think everyone I`m talking to

is talking about temperature checks.

 

Some school leaders even dream about being able to test for the virus, say,

with a saliva test right there on the premises.

 

These guidelines are much vaguer than that, but those are the types of sort

of entry-way practices. And that`s before you even get into the building.

And once you`re in there, are kids going to be in smaller groups, eating

lunch in classrooms on shifts so they only attend for some days of the week

or parts of the day. It is not going to look like school usually looks

like.

 

I`ve heard educators talk about kids as young as two in pre-schools or day

cares wearing masks, certainly these guidelines call for staff to wear

masks, they don`t talk about children wearing masks. I think that is going

to be an issue of discussion, and whether just schools have the real

estate, the physical space to distance children in this way, is going to

differ drastically depending on where in the country you are.

 

HAYES:  That`s a great point. I love this image from China of sort of

creative way to get social distancing going among children with these

little sort of handmade hats that were used, and wings in this case, you

know, putting them out so that everyone sort of keeps their space.

 

But what are we learning – there are other countries that have gone before

us. Denmark has reopened schools, China has some people in schools, Sweden

never shut its school, what are we learning from other countries as they

try to figure this out?

 

GOLDSTEIN:  It is interesting, there is great new reporting from JTA out

today, that`s a great new site that covers the Jewish world about what is

going on in Israel. And in Israel, there was sort of a rushed 48-hour on-

ramp to open schools. There were still crowds of kids and parents

congregated at the entryway of the schools, and sure enough, they`re saying

about 40 percent of parents decided not to send their kids, which is not

surprising.

 

I`m a parent. I`m scared of my daughter going to school in the fall. And

I`m also scared keeping her home longer. Like you, I`m concerned about how

this is impacting her, impacting our family. I`m eager to get back to

normal life, but it seems like so many in Israel said this was too rushed.

There weren`t distancing practices in place, and they didn`t have enough

time to really learn about what the safety measures were going to be and

get that reassurance from local and national governments, that can happen

here.

 

HAYES:  Yeah, one of the things I`ve taken away from your reporting on

this, and then the piece about Israel that you flagged earlier today is

that it`s not a magic switch where you say, well, school`s back, because

parents are going to vote with their feet to a certain extent, and that is

going to have all kind of like privilege and class and socioeconomic

dimensions to it as well, but unless there is a kind of – some kind of

plan in place for the educators, the administrators, the staff and the

parents and the teachers to think, OK, this is thought out. There is some

risk for minimization happening. You can`t just be like, OK, everybody,

back in school.

 

GOLDSTEIN:  Yeah, that`s right. I mean, right now we know that the distance

learning, the remote learning, is not going as well as it should be. In

some low income districts as many as half of kids are not participating in

it regularly. There may be about 15 percent of students in some districts

that are lost to schools right now, teachers just simply can not get in

touch with them, so it makes a lot of sense to desperately want to come

back.

 

But parents of means, parents who can work from home, they may just say

that they`re not ready to take that risk. And I think you have to ask the

question, well, should we still go ahead anyways, because these kinds, some

of them really need school right now.

 

HAYES:  Yeah, I mean, I think the competing equities here are profound, I

mean, in terms of, you know, what a school system does, and how important

it is for it to be functioning. Parents` mental health as they try to

educate their children every day – just throwing that out there.

 

But there`s also, I mean this story, which I`ve avoided because it is like

an emotional circuit breaker for me, which is this syndrome that we`ve seen

in some kids as many as 100 in New York, we`ve now seen it in L.A., this

Kawasaki Syndrome that seems to strike children, I mean, one of the sort of

blessings and graces here is that kids seem fairly immune, but it is a new

virus. And all of a sudden you`re dealing with a thing that may actually be

getting kids sick. That also adds to me just some entire other layer of

risk to this conversation.

 

GOLDSTEIN:  Yeah, and I think this is what Dr. Fauci was saying in front of

congress, so it is important to highlight, which is that we still don`t

know – and there`s certain humility that you must have in the face of this

crisis, and in the face of this virus, because what we thought we knew two

months ago, is not what we know now.

 

And so it is very few children who seem to be impacted by this inflammatory

condition that`s related to COVID, but those numbers may increase and

likely will as the virus continues to spread to new parts of the country.

 

So just continue, again, just humility, can we acknowledge as a country

what we don`t know? And that we may need to move forward toward opening

schools, taking on some risk, some uncertainty, and being ready to

continuously monitor how it`s going, and change plans midstream.

 

HAYES:  That`s a great point. And those images we`ve been showing are

people – you know, schools around the world, everyone is wrestling with

this, I think you`re right, we`re going to have to try to open them in the

fall and figure out the best way to do that and be open and humble and

dynamic about it.

 

Dana Goldstein who is hands down one of the best education reporters in

America, thank you so much for your time tonight.

 

GOLDSTEIN:  Thank you, Chris.

 

HAYES:  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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