SCOTUS hears cases TRANSCRIPT: 5/11/20, The Rachel Maddow Show
DR. EMILY GURLEY, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY EPIDEMIOLOGIST: We`re going to
try to stay home, so we don`t infect other people. If we all agree to that,
as a community, and agree that it`s important, to save people`s lives, I
think we can do that here, like they`ve done it in other places.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right. Dr. Emily Gurley, thank you so much for
making time tonight.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. Much
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. It`s good to have you
with us tonight.
If you watch this show regularly, one thing you might have noticed is that
the president is not here very often. And I don`t mean just in terms of
not, you know, me not getting interviews with the White House, we don`t
expect that, but we don`t even tend to show a lot of tape of the president,
or spend a lot of time engaging like with his tweets and stuff, because I
don`t mean this in a mean way, I don`t really mean this as a criticism,
it`s just a fact, an observational fact, that a hallmark of this presidency
is that the president frequently says stuff in public that isn`t true. And
I, therefore, usually don`t want to put things he says on TV, because I
don`t want to help him or anyone spread untrue things, spread made-up
stuff, that`s being said for nonsense or political purposes.
I mean, it`s a weird – this is an uncomfortable truth about how we produce
this show now. It is a weird time to be in the news business, where you
really reliably cannot play any tape from the sitting president of the
United States, without also book-ending it with caveats and corrections,
and clarifications, about all of the things the president just said that
So what has evolved over the past three, whatever years of this presidency
is, that we usually just don`t bother. We report on what the administration
does, and not on what the president says, as a general rule. That said, I
am going to make a little bit of an exception to that rule tonight. Because
I think this is something we should all see. Just because I think it is
worth knowing, in all seriousness, that the president, right now, in the
midst of this crisis, is visibly struggling.
There`s something wrong or he`s just not doing OK, I don`t know, but the
president apparently just is not able to keep it together right now in his
public appearances. And whether or not we were in a time of crisis, and we
are, that seems like the sort of thing that we Americans should just all be
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: You said many times that the U.S. is doing far better than any
other country when it comes to testing.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes.
REPORTER: Why does that matter? Why is this a global competition to you, if
every day Americans are still losing their lives and we`re still seeing
more cases every day?
TRUMP: Well, they`re losing their lives everywhere in the world. And maybe
that`s a question you should ask China. Don`t ask me. Ask China that
question, OK? When you ask them that question, you may get a very unusual
Yes, behind you, please.
REPORTER: Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically?
TRUMP: I`m telling you. I`m not saying it specifically to anybody. I`m
saying it to anybody asks a nasty question like that. Please, go ahead.
REPORTER: Why does it matter –
TRUMP: OK, anybody else? Please. Go ahead in the back, please.
REPORTER: I asked two questions.
TRUMP: No, it`s OK.
REPORTER: But you pointed to me. I have two questions, Mr. President.
TRUMP: Next, please.
REPORTER: But you called on me.
TRUMP: I did. And you didn`t respond. And now I`m calling on the young lady
in the back. Please.
REPORTER: I just want to let my –
TRUMP: OK. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Thank
you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: What is wrong with the president today? We don`t know. Something is
Whether or not you, you know, like the president or not, whether you enjoy
his public affect or not on a regular basis, it is clear that there is
something wrong. And that`s important whenever the president of the United
States is visibly unwound like that. And it is possible that it is just
stress. Publicly, politically, the White House is pushing the line now that
the epidemic is in the past and the president has been – the epidemic is
in the past and the president has been cheering on the protesters,
gathering in big groups an not wearing masks and saying everything should
But alongside that public position, inside that house, in the place where
he now lives and works, there`s an outbreak now that has put all of the
senior leadership of the White House coronavirus task force into varying
degrees of quarantine. And apparently put the vice president into isolation
at home over the weekend, as reported by Bloomberg News. Before the White
House then belatedly denied that reporting and the vice president came back
to the White House today, bravely wearing no mask.
The president`s personal valet, the vice president`s communications
director, I mean people in the White House are testing positive now. And
the White House, by and large, has not been having people work from home.
The White House has regularly been having congregate meetings including
meetings involving the president and the vice president. The White House
has not been engaging in much if any social distancing efforts in terms of
the way people are working. Almost no one has been wearing masks inside the
White House as a workplace. And so maybe the president is just stressed out
at the virus he has been playing down, this thing he is so invested
politically, and telling Americans that they shouldn`t worry about
contracting it anymore, it`s inside his house now.
CNN reporting that a person who spoke with the president this weekend said
that President Trump, quote, voiced frustration that two White House
staffers tested positive, and he has asked why his valets weren`t ordered
to wear masks before this week. The president has told people reportedly
that he does not want to be near anyone who hasn`t been tested, and has
bristled when coming into contact with some people at the White House.
Imagine being terrified and furious about the virus closing in on you, in
your home, while publicly, every day, you`re railing about how great you`ve
done at keeping everybody safe from this virus and how nobody should have
to worry about getting it anymore and everything should open back up so
we`ll all come back into contact with innumerable people who may or may not
have it, who may or may not have been tested. I mean, there is a very
divorced duality there, and it feels like the president is not handling
this duality very well. His seams are very much showing.
And you know, we are over 1.3 million cases in the United States now, over
80,000 Americans have died, those astronomical numbers which of course are
relentlessly growing every day, they have just sort of slid off the
president, without even once appearing to perturb him but he does appear
perturbed now, he does appear unsettled. He did unceremoniously abort a
White House news conference today, in the middle of being unable to handle
questions from female reporters, he just walked away and nobody knew what
was going on.
And part of it may be that he is just confused. At the White House on
Friday, answering questions about people starting to test positive inside
the White House, the president appeared legitimately baffled that a person
could test negative and then on a subsequent day, that person could test
positive. He said that he doesn`t understand how the vice president`s
communications director could have previously been negative, and now she`s
positive. I mean, how does that even work?
I mean that alone is worrying for us as a country, not just because it
indicates that there is something simple about the crisis that we`re that
the president doesn`t understand. I think we`re used to that dynamic by
now. What is worrying is the president may very well decide that if testing
people in the White House is what has turned up this bad news, that there
are people in the White House who have the virus, I mean, the worry is that
the president will now decide that testing is bad and it shouldn`t be done,
since it was testing that produced this bad news for him. And he doesn`t
like bad news.
I mean I`m not joking. I wish I were. But the president`s mind really does
appear to work in spirals like this. And so I hope someone is strategizing
in the White House about how to keep the president from concluding that
testing is bad.
Now that people in the White House are getting what the president is
literally calling bad test results, meaning they are testing positive. He
doesn`t like bad test results. So he doesn`t like testing, and so what`s
going to happen to national access to testing which is already atrocious.
Sort of, part of me, can`t believe that we have to think about things in
these terms but part of me has also watched this president work for the
three-plus years and understands that`s how he thinks.
It is also possible that the president is stressed about what is going to
happen tomorrow in Washington. And I know it`s easy to lose track of
anything that`s not directly about the epidemic right now, but the United
States Supreme Court tomorrow is about to hear arguments that are about
something this president cares about very, very, very much, something he
has worked very hard to keep secret about himself. And that something maybe
about to be pried loose, depending on how these historic arguments go
tomorrow at the United States Supreme Court.
I mean, for perspective in about what is about to happen at the Supreme
Court, the last time a president faced a case like this, it was a case
called U.S. versus Nixon and people came from all over the country and
literally camped out to try to get into the court to see it that time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: By daybreak, 250 people were already waiting to get into the
court. They had spent the night there. One woman waited two days. Some
would get to stay in the courtroom for only five minutes. But all agreed it
was worth it to be present at a moment in history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s already worth. I met a lot of nice people. And I
expect to hear a good argument.
REPORTER: How much sleep did you get?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, about two hours of sleep in the past two days.
But the excitement has been really so tremendous, that I haven`t been that
UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE: To experience it, a legal experience, it`s an
experience everybody can share and understand, because everybody`s lives
are going to be touched by it.
REPORTER: There were 100 seats for spectators, 25 seats went to
congressmen. Lawyers took part in a lottery for seats. And a rare display
outside the court house, as Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski
arrived. There were cheers and then applause.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
REPORTER: Jaworski was the hero outside, and the same player dominated the
action inside. He said the president would decide what evidence Jaworski
would get, and indicated the court`s decision on that would only be
For his part, Jaworski refuted that and said it`s up to the court and not
the president to say what the law is. If the president is wrong, said
Jaworski, who is to tell him so?
The answer came from Justice Stewart, one of the so-called swing votes. He
said if the president is wrong, this court will tell him so. That`s what
this case is about.
Justice Marshall, the president has made no effort to comply with the
subpoena. He`s just ignored it. Are you submitting this case to the court
for our decision?
St. Clair, we want your guidance and judgment, but it`s up to the president
to protect his office. The president is not above the law, but he is
different. He can only be impeached. The court should not be drawn into it.
The White House was asked today if President Nixon will obey the Supreme
Court if the court orders him to release the 64 White House tapes? And the
White House refused to answer that question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The White House refused to answer that question. So that was all
July 8th, 1974, the last time a case like this went to the Supreme Court.
That was the Supreme Court considering whether the then president,
President Nixon, had to comply with the subpoena and hand over a bunch of
White House tapes that had been subpoenaed.
The Nixon White House raised the specter in court that even if the court
told President Nixon he did have to obey the subpoena, the Nixon White
House said they might not obey the court. They were just there to get the
court`s advice, but they weren`t even sure they considered a Supreme Court
ruling to be binding.
Sixteen days later, 16 days after they heard the arguments, the court very
quickly ruled in that case. They ruled unanimously that President Nixon did
have to obey the subpoena. He did have to hand over those White House
And, frankly, the country was so riveted by this at the time that everybody
was still kind of camped out on the courthouse steps to hear the ruling
when it came down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TV ANCHOR: We interrupt our regular program schedule to bring you this NBC
News special report. Here`s from the United States Supreme Court in
Washington is NBC News correspondent Douglas Kiker.
REPORTER: Good morning. The Supreme Court has just ruled on the tapes
controversy. And here`s Carl Stern who has that ruling.
REPORTER: It is a unanimous decision, Doug, 8-0. Justice Rehnquist took no
part in the decision ordering the president of the United States to turn
over the tapes.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
REPORTER: It`s an 8-0 unanimous opinion that President Nixon must obey the
subpoenas issued by special Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski and turn
over 64 disputed White House tapes to Mr. Jaworski. What we do not know yet
is whether the president will obey that order.
The applause that you`re hearing of people who are obviously glad about the
court`s decision that are surrounding us here.
Again, the Supreme Court has just ruled unanimously that President Nixon
must turn over 64 Watergate tapes to the special prosecutor. That decision
just came moments ago.
Here with Carl Stern, I`m Douglas Kiker, NBC News at the Supreme Court
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: People gathered around cheering the news of the White House ruling.
And despite all the Nixon administration`s bravado in court, despite his
lawyer James St. Clair claiming in court that maybe Nixon wouldn`t comply
with the Supreme Court`s ruling, the Nixon White House did pledge to comply
with what the court ordered, and they did.
But mostly by then the country was just agog that – well, they wanted to
hear what was on the tapes. But in terms of this constitutional issue at
the time, the nation was just agog that Nixon had even tried to get away
with it, right? That Nixon had even tried to get away with putting himself
above the law like that, by saying that subpoenas didn`t apply to him, they
couldn`t be enforced, and maybe he wouldn`t listen to the Supreme Court.
I mean, a lot of what was going on the last time the Supreme Court heard a
case this big, like the one they`re about to hear tomorrow, the feeling in
the country was that it was just astonishing that Nixon had even tried it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BRINKLEY, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: A president elected in history`s biggest
landslide, 19 months after his inaugural address, threatened with
impeachment and removal from office. His vice president already gone in
disgrace. And now hearing from the Supreme Court that a president, any
president, must obey the law and the courts. Only in recent times since the
presidency began taking on the trappings and the arrogance of the Roman
emperors could this question have been seriously considered.
The country has come a long way since Thomas Jefferson walked around
Washington eating in a boarding house, waiting his turn, to the time when
one of his successors is officially informed by the highest court that he
is not above the law. If any president ever were, that would be the end of
it. He could be or soon become a dictator.
Even in times as turbulent as ours, the remarkable thing is not how the
court answered the question. The remarkable thing is that the question was
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The remarkable thing is that the question was ever asked. Well, it
was in 1974 when President Richard Nixon proclaimed himself immune from the
legal constraints that bind all other U.S. citizens. He said, I don`t need
to respond to a subpoena. I`m not bound by the legal process.
The Supreme Court told him in response unanimously that that was bogus, and
he was not above the law. That unanimous ruling at the United States
Supreme Court in 1974 led to the Nixon White House tapes being handed over.
What they revealed gave lie to the whole Watergate cover-up.
The president was gone. He resigned from office 16 days after that Supreme
Court ruling came down.
Well, the successor case to that one is tomorrow at the United States
Supreme Court, and it`s happening at an insane time, right? No, we can`t go
to the Supreme Court this time. We can`t even camp out to be able to watch
those arguments, and that`s a drag.
But unusually because of the crisis that we`re in, we can all listen in
live to tomorrow`s arguments because the circumstances of the epidemic mean
that these cases are now not conducted at the Supreme Court building. They
are conducted telephonically. So there is public access to the arguments in
real time, which is going to make tomorrow an amazing day.
I mean this is the case tomorrow where President Trump is arguing that his
financial records, his taxes, his bank records can`t be handed over in
response to subpoenas because the president says he has absolute immunity
from the law, absolute immunity from having to comply with any kind of
oversight, including having to respond to lawful subpoenas.
This is the case, you may remember, where the president`s lawyer literally
said in open court that the president really could not be charged with
murder. He couldn`t even be arrested. He couldn`t even be stopped from
continuing to shoot if he really did stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue
and just start shooting people.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JUDGE CHIN: What`s your view on the Fifth Avenue example? Local authorities
couldn`t investigate? They couldn`t do anything about it?
WILLIAM CONSOVOY, TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: I think once a president is removed
from office, any local authority – this is not a permanent immunity.
CHIN: Well, I`m talking about while in office.
CHIN: That`s the hypo. Nothing could be done? That`s your position?
CONSOVOY: That is correct. That is correct.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is correct. If the president were standing in the middle of
fifth avenue shooting people, it is the position of this president, as
taken by his lawyer in open court, in federal court, that nothing could be
done. That authorities could not only not charge him, they could not
investigate him. They could not arrest him. They could not stop him if he
went on a shooting spree in the middle of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
That is the argument from President Trump that the Supreme Court will take
up tomorrow. So, yeah, maybe the president is unusually stressed. We`re
actually going to talk with “The New York Times” reporter who I think may
know than any other outsider about what is likely to be in these records
that the president has fought so hard to keep from handing over. He`s going
to be here in a moment with us tonight.
I mean, but these are – I mean, these are – these are dystopian times.
These are days when the news is still hard to believe every day. I mean
what a time to be testing what David Brinkley described as the would-be
dictatorial powers of a president, especially one who has already in this
case been impeached. In places the president has urged to open up and
cheered their opening up, places like in Georgia, we are now seeing a
hospitalization crush from coronavirus cases in the northeastern part of
that state, in Hall County, as Georgia reopens with the encouragement of
In Iowa, where the White House brought the Iowa governor to Washington to
praise her last week for opening up her state, and, boy, how great has that
been going. The two hospitals in Sioux City, Iowa, are reportedly becoming
overwhelmed. They are rapidly building out extra ICU capacity as fast as
That Iowa governor is now in isolation after being exposed to Vice
President Pence and his staff both at the White House and then when the
vice president flew out to Iowa and took meetings with the Iowa governor
and her staff, without masks, without gloves, even after the vice president
had just learned that his press person had tested positive, his press
person with whom he had been working closely.
Now, the Iowa governor and her health chief are in quarantine because of
their exposure to the vice president and his staff. Today, that Iowa
governor held her daily coronavirus press briefing by video conference for
the first time rather than meeting reporters live face to face because now
she`s got to be isolated too because of her White House contacts.
I mean, the White House has yet to come up with a plausible explanation for
why one of the vice president`s staffers appears to have told grocery and
meet packing executives that they needed to take off the masks they were
already wearing before they themselves met with the vice president on that
trip to Iowa late last week. Again, remember he didn`t even land in Iowa
until right after he learned one of his closest aides had tested positive.
His staff then told other people meeting with him to take off their masks.
The vice president`s staffer who just tested positive was, of course, with
the president just the day before the Iowa trip when the vice president and
his communications director, the two of them both with no gloves, both with
no masks, they did a photo-op at a nursing home in Virginia where the vice
president was shown to be dropping off PPE supplies to that nursing home,
even though neither he nor his press person took the precautions you`re
supposed to take to keep yourself from being a coronavirus vector into a
So, she`s there on the right not wearing a mask. All the reporters are
wearing masks. The crew is wearing masks. She`s not. She tested positive
the next day.
She`s at a nursing home with the vice president, who then conveyed things
into the nursing home, also not wearing gloves, also not wearing a mask
after working closely with his press person, who is positive.
I mean, this is a – this is a weird time. It`s a stressful time. Tomorrow
is going to be a historic day in terms of the law and the presidency.
But it`s a terrible time to have a terrible government, especially with a
president who is now melting down visibly, out of control.
All right. A lot to get to tonight. Stay with us. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Pennsylvania National Guard has been called in.
REPORTER: A welcome sight first thing Monday morning. Members of the
Pennsylvania national guard rolling up to the Brighton Rehabilitation and
Wellness Center. Channel 11 cameras there as Members of the National Guard
unloaded equipment and went in wearing masks and gloves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It is a measure of our particular national misery right now that,
you know, some part of the U.S. military, the Army Corps or local National
Guard troops or something, you know, rolling up to a nursing home come as
welcome relief at this point, comes as good news.
But 71 Americans have been killed already by coronavirus at that one Beaver
County nursing home, 71 dead at that one facility. It`s part of the
horrifying destruction inside congregate living facilities around the
country. That story in Beaver Country got the National Guard out today,
that`s kind of story everywhere.
In Massachusetts, the fatal outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers` Home in
Western Mass started making the news at the end of March. Today, we learned
that the death toll at the Holyoke Soldiers` Home has now reached 88, 88
veterans have died there.
In New Jersey, 72 Americans are now reported dead at the state-run veterans
home in Paramus. In Minnesota, of the total 591 deaths reported as of today
in that state, 472 of the 591 of them were long term care facility deaths.
That`s nearly 80 percent of the deaths in Minnesota from this epidemic so
far have been nursing homes and long-term care.
Nationwide, “The New York Times” reports now that roughly a third of all
deaths in the United States from coronavirus are connected to a nursing
home, either somebody living there or somebody working there. That`s like
25,000 deaths plus. And, of course, that has all happened in only about two
As has been typical in this epidemic, some of the first and most meaningful
action to help the nursing homes as come from state governments that are
trying to innovate their way to a solution. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
announced this weekend that nursing homes in New York will now be required
by the state to test their staff twice a week. And if they don`t do it,
that nursing home will lose its license to operate in New York state. That
might work. That might help.
At the federal level, though, the response to roughly 25,000 Americans
dying in nursing homes in a matter of weeks, the federal response has been
mostly undetectable at this point. The part of the Trump administration
that oversees nursing homes is called the U.S. Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid, CMS is their abbreviation. They announced over two weeks ago that
they would start producing public federal data on coronavirus cases in
nursing homes facility by facility nationwide.
And we keep contacting CMS about when this is happening since they
announced it to great fanfare. They keep telling us it`s coming soon, it`s
coming soon, but it`s been weeks. We have yet to see that data. What`s the
“The Wall Street Journal” reported today that CMS does seem to be working
on guidelines to open nursing homes back up, to get them back open to
visitors, which sounds exactly backwards from what medical experts think
should happen at this point, but might be the sort of thing you think you
ought to be working about if all do you is listen to all the ambient news
out of Fox News and the White House in terms of what we`re supposed to be
doing in the epidemic.
Honestly, 25,000 Americans dead in nursing homes in two months and it`s
showing no signs of slowing whatsoever. Opening back up, not the priority,
but that`s apparently what they`re working on.
Today, though, this afternoon, we got from the White House a sign of
possible actual forward movement for the first time. “The Associated Press”
reporting that in a video conference call with governors, the vice
president surprised everybody by saying that the administration is now
recommending that everyone in nursing homes get tested, all residents and
And it was not just him saying it. Dr. Deborah Birx chimed in as well.
Quote, we really believe that all 1 million nursing home residents need to
be tested within the next two weeks as well as the staff. That`s according
to a recording of the call obtained by the “Associated Press”.
That seems good. I mean it seems months late, but it seems good. That said,
no progress can be allowed to proceed in a straight line anymore, so the
president added tonight when he was giving his meltdown press conference
which he punctuated by abruptly turning on his heel and walking away in the
middle of the questioning, the president did add off the cuff tonight when
he was asked by a reporter, about this new strong recommendation that all
nursing home residents and staff have to be tested, the president added
tonight that when he was asked about that, that, sure, maybe he would
consider making that recommendation mandatory.
He literally said to the reporter who asked him about this, quote, I will
mandate it if you like. So maybe he`s taking requests. An “Associated
Press” reporter asked him whether that recommendation should be a mandate
to nursing homes. The president said, I`ll make it mandatory if you like.
Can other people express their likes in this? Would that make the
difference? Is that how you`ll make the decision?
I mean, given that we know where the virus is to a certain extent, I mean
we know where it incubates and multiplies. We know that the people most at
risk of getting this virus and dying from it are Americans in nursing
homes, testing in nursing homes does sound like a manifestly good idea,
even if it is two months and 25,000 deaths late.
Is it too late to make a difference now? Does mandating that testing sound
like a good idea other than just to me? What would be needed in order for
nursing homes to pull this off and for it to have the most beneficial
Joining us now is somebody who knows, Dr. Michael Wasserman is the
president of the California Association of Long-Term Care Medicine and the
medical director of Eisenberg Village at the Los Angeles Jewish home.
Dr. Wasserman, it`s good to have you with us tonight. Thank you so much for
DR. MICHAEL WASSERMAN, CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF LONG TERM CARE MEDICINE
PRESIDENT: Thank you so much, Rachel, and thank you for calling attention
to what is really a very important issue.
MADDOW: Well, part of the reason I wanted to talk to you about it is
because you`ve had experience with this at the local level. The L.A. health
director, the Los Angeles health director, made a similar recommendation in
Los Angeles County a couple of weeks ago. It seems to be the same kind of
rental recommendation that President Pence made to governors across the
I wanted to ask you if there`s anything we should know about the way this
has played out in Los Angeles that should inform what we should expect in
WASSERMAN: Absolutely. It`s started to happen, but we haven`t tested every
nursing home in Los Angeles County in the last 2 1/2 weeks since that was
supposed to start happening. And so let me be completely unequivocal about
this. If testing is available, not testing home staff and residents is both
medically unsound and unethical.
It is critical, and we need to actually start with the staff because as
you`ve mentioned, they`re the vectors. They`re the ones bringing the virus
into facilities, and they`re also the ones dying from it when it goes
unfettered in one of these facilities.
MADDOW: It strikes me as notable that the White House surprised everybody
with this advice today, that this was not something they had signaled was
coming. It was not something they appeared to have taken wide advice on.
They did announce the formation of a long-term care sort of task force, but
they don`t even plan to meet for the first time until the end of this month
It appears that this was just sort of sprung on the governors today, and
then the president verbally entertained the prospect that it might be a
mandate for nursing homes at some point, but appeared to just be
entertaining that idea for the first time because a reporter asked him
about it. It makes me worry that there isn`t anything behind this
recommendation that is actually going to facility nursing homes getting the
WASSERMAN: I couldn`t agree more. This is what`s been bothering a lot of us
in the field of geriatrics and long-term care medicine for over six weeks.
It`s one thing to say to nursing homes, we want you to test. It`s another
thing to actually have it happen.
And, in fact, I have had stories from many of my colleagues around the
country of facilities, both nursing homes and assisted living facilities,
either resisting or avoiding testing.
And that is absolutely unacceptable. There is – the federal government,
the state and local governments, they need to be 110 percent behind testing
in both nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and there should be
no equivocation on this issue. And it needs to happen literally yesterday.
MADDOW: It strikes me that the reason that a lot of homes are resisting
testing to the extent that they are is because they`re afraid of what will
happen when they inevitably get very high test results. If there was a
clear expectation that if you turn out – if you test out and you have to
publicly disclose your results, it turns out you`ve got a lot of positive
tests, that means you`re going to get help.
That might reverse the resistance on the part of some homes to both do the
testing and to publicly disclose that information. It seems like we need a
universal expectation that this information must be collected, it must be
disclosed, and that it will not result in punishment. It will result in
WASSERMAN: You know, on a certain level, I understand that facilities are
worried that if someone finds out there`s been an outbreak, that they might
have some media coverage or whatever. But keep in mind, this is a virus
that when it gets into a nursing home or an assisted living facility, can
have a 30 percent to 40 percent mortality rate. I cannot comprehend an
ethical response to choosing not to test out of fear that someone will find
out that you have positive staff or positive residents.
To me, if anyone has a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living
facility and they have the capability of testing, you should be literally
screaming at the top of your lungs that they need to start by testing their
staff and then by testing the residents, in that order.
MADDOW: Dr. Michael Wasserman, president of the California Association of
Long-Term Care Medicine – Dr. Wasserman, thanks for helping us understand
this. This is important – I think this is an important inflection point.
Thanks for being here tonight.
WASSERMAN: Thank you so much, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. Much more to come here tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Mark your calendar. Set that annoying ringy-dingy thing on your
phone that you can never figure out how to turn off in time before it`s
embarrassing. Tomorrow 10:00 a.m. Eastern is when oral arguments start at
the Supreme Court in the case of whether the president has to comply with
subpoenas. The U.S. v. Nixon part two case.
Ten a.m. Eastern is also when all the administration`s coronavirus response
poobahs are going to be testifying before the Senate. A hearing titled:
COVID 19, safely getting back to work and back to school.
The White House is letting those top coronavirus response officials testify
before the Senate because the Senate is led by Republicans. But the White
House is blocking those same officials from testifying to the House because
as the president memorably put it, the house is, quote, a bunch of Trump
haters. And so they can`t have coronavirus response officials testify to
So consolation prize, we will get to hear from the coronavirus task force
all-stars tomorrow before the Senate, if not the House. But it is going to
be a strange hearing now that three of the four witnesses, Dr. Tony Fauci,
Robert Redfield, the CDC director, Stephen Hahn, the FDA commissioner, all
three of them are under self-quarantine after being exposed to the
coronavirus presumably at the White House because they`ve really not been
doing anything to protect themselves at the White House. So they will be
testifying by video.
Also in self-quarantine is the chair of that Senate committee that is going
to be holding the hearing, Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander.
One of his staffers tested positive, and so, Senator Alexander will be
chairing the read meeting remotely while most of the witnesses are
Lamar Alexander will be chairing the hearing from his home in Tennessee
where apparently he spent the day practicing and now, quote, with so many
key players including himself stuck at home, Mr. Alexander announced over
the weekend that all of the witnesses, including Admiral Giroir, who
coordinates the testing effort, will also testify via video.
So, three of the four were going to have to do it anyway because they`re in
quarantine. The fourth one, let`s put him in a box anyway. Everybody else
will be doing that. So everybody testifies from home and gavels in from
So, it will be – there will be a little bit of comic relief in terms of
watching a Senate Zoom meeting, but this will be the first time these folks
at the highest levels of the nation`s disastrous coronavirus response are
going to be subject to questioning without the president hovering over
them, breathing into their ear, definitely not six feet away. So that is
going to be worth seeing tomorrow. It`s a safe bet it`s going to be at
least interesting, if not a disaster.
But like I said, that is going to be happening simultaneous to something
else happening in Washington that appears to have deeply unnerved the
president, and that is definitely going to be a historic event, and we`ve
got a preview of that, next.
MADDOW: Just off the top of my head, I can tell you the president sued New
York state trying to keep his tax returns and his financial records secret.
He sued the state of California trying to do the same thing. He sued the
ways and means committee in the house trying to do the same thing. He sued
the chair of the Oversight Committee trying to do the same thing.
He sued his own bank trying to do the same thing. He sued a whole other
bank, all efforts to keep his tax returns, his financial records, his
banking records secret as various legal and investigative bodies sought to
obtain those records. The president has lost in court every step of the way
with all of those lawsuits.
But tomorrow, there will be a Supreme Court case on whether the president`s
records have to be handed over in response to lawful subpoenas. This is the
case in which the president says he is absolutely immune from all legal
scrutiny and therefore nobody can respond to any subpoena that has anything
to do with him. That case tomorrow, that historic case tomorrow is
something we`ll all be able to listen into live. It is the president`s last
chance to stop this material coming out before the 2020 election, if ever.
And he really has been desperate to stop this material from coming out. He
has a whole legal team that is separate and apart from all the other
lawyers who represent him on other things that just works full-time on
trying to keep his finances and his taxes secret.
This case tomorrow involves huge constitutional questions of course, but it
also means we may finally get to see the financial information the
president has been fighting to keep secret for years.
Here`s to talk about a very specific piece of it is David Enrich, “New York
Times” business investigations editor. He`s the author of “Dark Towers:
Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump and An Epic Trail of Destruction.”
Mr. Enrich, it is great to see you. You`re a sight for sore eyes. It`s been
a long time. Thanks very much for taking time tonight.
DAVID ENRICH, BUSINESS INVESTIGATIONS DIRECTOR, NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks for
MADDOW: So remind all of us about the part of this case tomorrow that`s
going to the Supreme Court that has to do with Deutsche Bank, what the
subpoena is and what your reporting indicates might be in that information
if it, in fact, ever did have to get handed over to investigators.
ENRICH: Well, I think the starting point is to remember that Deutsche Bank
for the past 20 years or so has been really the only mainstream financial
institution willing to consistently do business with Donald Trump and his
family and his company. And the bank has made over $2 billion in loans to
Trump and his companies. It currently is owed about more than $300 million
And over the course of these decades of doing business with him, they`ve
collected reams of detailed information about not just his finances but all
the materials he used to open bank accounts or to get loans or to convince
Deutsche Bank loan officers that he had the money and the collateral to pay
this – pay back what he was borrowing. And so, there are detailed records
about his personal finances, kind of a detailed map of how all of his
businesses interact, what assets they have, where they`ve been making
money, where their money is going.
And of course just as there would be in any bank, there are detailed
records that show where he moves his money. If money comes in in big
numbers or goes out in big numbers, Deutsche Bank knows about that. So
these subpoenas which were issued last year by these two congressional
committees seek essentially all of that information that deutsche bank is
sitting on, including just very detailed transaction by transaction data
for just anything over $10,000, for example.
And it`s looking for this in relation not just to Trump and the Trump
Organization but a number of his family members and really all sorts of
other companies that these affiliated with as well.
MADDOW: Now, David, you reported in “The Times” and in your book that there
were essentially people who were assigned within Deutsche Bank to look for
signs of money laundering. And you reported that anti-money laundering
experts inside Deutsche Bank repeatedly raised red flags about entities
controlled by President Trump and by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Those
experts told you they recommended that the bank should file suspicious
activity reports with the government, flagging potential money laundering
by the president.
But those concerns were ignored by bank executives, by higher ups.
Obviously that`s potentially super explosive material.
Would you expect that the subpoenaed material that`s going to be fought
over in court tomorrow would contain information about those kinds of
internal deliberations related to the president?
ENRICH: One hundred percent. I think that`s definitely one of the things
that`s sought by the subpoenas. In fact, there`s a particular paragraph in
these subpoenas which have been made public through this court fight, that
specifically asks for any information related to suspicious activity
reports that the bank either sought – the bank either filed or had drawn
up in draft form to file.
And so, these are records that the bank has not really said anything about.
We`ve relied on the word of one very brave whistle-blower who went public
to discuss her concerns about this and was punished for that. And so, I
think there`s a very good chance that were the Supreme Court to shoot down
the Trump legal argument, that very detailed information would be coming
out about the suspicious transactions or the potentially suspicious
transactions that these anti-money laundering officers found and what the
nature of them was, who the money was going to, why they were suspicious,
and importantly, why Deutsche Bank officials up the food chain decided to
overall their kind of lower-level employees and say we are not going to
report this to the government, which was just an extraordinary set of
And I think this court case presents one final chance to finally hear the
full story, at least before the election.
MADDOW: And, David, this obviously is not a subpoena to the president that
he is defying. I think if that was the case, we all know how that would
come out even if he was told to obey the subpoena, he still wouldn`t. He`d
defy the court. We`ll have a constitutional crisis.
In this case, on the Deutsche Bank stuff, this is a subpoena to Deutsche
Bank. If the court rules that deutsche bank should obey the subpoena and
hand over this material, do you feel confident that they would?
ENRICH: Well, it`s dangerous to make predictions like that, and I`ve been
burned in the past by thinking I know how things will work out and then
being wrong. In this case, my reporting and talking to people inside
Deutsche Bank indicates very strongly that they`ve got – that they will
comply with this.
I think they`ve had more than a year now to assembly the materials that are
sought in these subpoenas. My understanding is they`re more or less ready
to do so at the push of a button were the Supreme Court to give them the
all-clear to do so. So that would mean that sometime over the summer,
Deutsche Bank would be delivering just troves of detailed information about
Trump`s records and also the bank`s own internal records about the Trump
relationship to Trump`s bitter political enemies in Congress.
MADDOW: Wow. David Enrich, “New York Times” business investigations editor,
the author of “Dark Towers: Deutsch Bank, Donald Trump, And An Epic Trail
of Destruction,” which I read every word of and loved and highly recommend.
David, thank you for being here. Appreciate it.
ENRICH: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: One last thing to watch tomorrow. You might remember long lines
Wisconsin voters faced in last month`s election there, people waiting up to
three hours in line with all those other people just to be able to cast
their ballots. Yes, it was ridiculous.
Wisconsin health officials later reported that nearly 70 people who voted
in person or worked at the polls who voted in person or worked at polls
tested positive for coronavirus after that election. But despite that,
tomorrow, Wisconsin is doing it again, another in-person election, this
time for the congressional seat vacated by Republican Congressman Sean
Duffy last year.
They`ll have National Guard troops on hand working polling sites, sending
in hand sanitizer and gloves and masks after the district where this
election is happening but yes, it`s ridiculous. Watch this space.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
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