Cuomo expands phased reopening TRANSCRIPT: 5/14/20, The Rachel Maddow Show
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, “ALL IN”: That`s a great point. Those images that
we have been showing here, people, you know, schools around the world,
everyone is wrestling with this, I think you`re right. We`re going to going
to have to try to open 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.
DANA GOLDSTEIN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: Thank you,
HAYES: 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. Happy to have you here.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is going to join us live in just a moment.
I`m very excited about that. You also have to stay tuned tonight after this
hour, because right after me tonight, there`s going to be the town hall
with Vice President Joe Biden, and Stacey Abrams, you`re going to want to
see that, that`s right after me tonight here on MSNBC. So, it`s going to be
a big night here.
But I would like to start tonight by introducing you to Theresa Francisco.
She is a nurse, she works for 38 years as an ICU nurse at Mount Sinai
Hospital in New York, at work her nickname was Ted, her co-workers called
her Ted with affection. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLI)
THERESA FRANCISCO, RETIRED NURSE FROM MOUNT SINAI WHO RECOVERED FROM COVID-
19: Hello. My name is Theresa Francisco. I was a nurse here at Mount Sinai,
for many years, and I started January, I retired January 2020, and now I
came back to Mount Sinai as a COVID-19 patient. And I`ve been here since
March 27th and I`m walking out today, and I thank God, I thank Dr. Gidwani
and his staff, and all of the people who made me alive today.
DR. GIDWANI: Are you excited to go home?
FRANCISCO: Much more than excited to go home. I can`t express how I feel
after staying in the hospital, as a worker, as a patient, for more than one
month. I`m more than excited to go home and sleep in my bed.
I`m walking out of here. Yay!
FRANCISCO: I beat COVID-19! I`m going home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: More than a month in the hospital, including considerable time on a
ventilator in the ICU, where she worked for 38 years as a nurse. She`s beat
it. She`s going home. They`re saying Ted, Ted, Ted, that`s them cheering
for her, using the nickname she had there on the ICU ward where she worked
for 38 years as a nurse at Mount Sinai before this thing came and got her
right after her retirement from Mount Sinai.
But now, after just barely cheating death, she is – she is going home.
Again, her name is Theresa Francisco.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: In New York state, the idea of opening back up, because it`s safer
now to open up in a way that it wasn`t before, that`s complicated, as maybe
it should be, in terms of the way the state is approaching it. The state is
divided into ten different regions, so like New York City is just one of
the ten regions.
And then the state government, Governor Andrew Cuomo, has set search
different metrics that have to be met in each of the ten districts if even
the districts wants to start opening up. So you have a 14-day decline in
hospitalization, 14-day decline in deaths, the per capita hospitalizations
have to be under a certain threshold for a three-day rolling average. 30
percent of your hospital beds need to be open and available, 30 percent of
your ICU beds as well.
You have to be testing a certain percentage of your population every day.
You need to have contact tracers in place and working a certain number per
capita, based on your infection rate. Of the ten regions in New York state,
five regions in the state have now hit each of those seven benchmarks, and
they are going to be starting the opening process, just a few hours from
now, a minute after midnight.
Tomorrow is the first day that five of the ten regions in New York can
reopen. Five other regions in the state haven`t met all seven of those
benchmarks so they are not opening at all. Which sounds complicated, right?
Ten different regions, seven different benchmarks, you have to meet them
all – five of the ten are meeting them, so – it`s complicated, right?
Yes, it`s complicated. It makes sense that this is complicated. This is a
new virus that we don`t know any freaking thing about except that it
spreads like wildfire and kills humans in huge numbers by mysterious means.
It ought to be complicated.
If anybody tells you this is simple, they are either not doing their work
or they`re lying. I mean, you ought to have a lot of boxes to check and
things you that need to have in place and stuff that you need to triple
check before you start telling people it`s now OK to do things that is
inevitably doing to expose people to each other more and produce more
spread of infection.
So yes, if you are New York, and you`ve had 20,000 people dead already,
right, but your curve looks like this, your curve is coming back down, to
where it started, well, it is understandable that you are starting to at
least cautiously think about where you might want to be able to open up in
that state. In some parts of the state, with caution, with seven different
benchmarks you have to hit, given how many cases that you have.
But you know, if you`re Alabama, or Arizona, and your curves, such as they
are, look like this, right, they look like Cameron Diaz`s bangs in “There`s
Something About Mary”, if you`re Mississippi or Texas and your curves look
like this, you`re not New York, look what you`re doing, look where you are
in your curve. Or let`s say you are South Dakota, or you`re Wisconsin, and
your curves look like this, yes, you`re not in the same place that New York
Yes, opening up right now, if you`re opening up right now, that is
something that is not being driven by the data. That is something that is
not being driven by the reality of where you are in your epidemic. If
you`re opening up and your curves look like Wisconsin and South Dakota,
there is something else at work.
I mean, doing it in a science-based way is hard. So is getting the
government of the United States of America to help with that in any way,
and in some states, getting them to start hurting.
“The Associated Press” has had this blistering series of reports over the
past couple of weeks about the CDC preparing expert science-based guidance
on how to reopen stuff safely, practical step by step decision-tree type
guidance that you can use, to reopen safely, or to make decisions about
when you can reopen safely. You know, if you run a school, or a childcare
facility, or a camp, or a religious institution, or college or a restaurant
or a bar or a retail business or an office. The CDC has been developing
practical science-guided advice which as the “A.P.” reported, the White
House has kyboshed, right?
The White House had kyboshed it and prevent it – kyboshed this advice from
being released to the public, prevented the CDC from getting that expert
advise, out to the American people, even as governors around the country
kept announcing reopening in all sorts of states, right? Without any
practical science-based advice on how to do it safely.
Meanwhile, the CDC has practical science-based advice for having to do
stuff safely and the White House says, no, you can`t let it out.
Well, the “A.P.” has been reporting on that for a couple of weeks. And now,
it turns out, it is amazing what ultimately happens when those guidelines,
the CDC has been working on, get leaked to the press. “The Associated
Press” publishes them. The administration has to start answering hard
questions every single day, about where those guidelines are, why they
haven`t been finalized, when are they coming out, why have you blocked them
from coming out, we could really use this practical information, and it
turns out it is amazing what that kind of pressure will do.
Because after reporting on this for a couple of weeks, tonight, behold,
here they are. Pressure works. These guidelines from CDC have been
magically unbottle necked as of tonight. After two weeks of excellent
“Associated Press” reporting, and whoever their blessed sources were, who
leaked the earlier draft of this guidance, so we the American people would
know the CDC was working on this thing, and that we should get it.
With all the pressure that came from that reporting, we now got these
guidelines as of tonight, and they are helpful. If you run a restaurant or
a bar, here`s the decision tree format, for how to decide if you can reopen
safely, and how to do so safely. You know, you have seen all of those vague
assertions and admonitions about careful cleaning and disinfecting of
workplace, and other places where people might come together after
Well, be vague no more. Here`s nine pages from the CDC, on what it actually
means, when they say cleaning and disinfecting – well, nine-page guidance
for cleaning and disinfecting. Not sure exactly what might need to be
cleaned and disinfected. Here`s a two-page decision tree to walk you
through what needs cleaning and how, in any workplace that is reopening.
This is good. This is helpful. This stuff would have been handy a long time
ago, particularly when Republican governors starting willy-nilly telling
people to open without giving any advice on how to do so safely. Had it not
been for the “A.P.” leaning on this story with a crowbar, who knows if this
guidance, schools and day cares and camps and restaurants and all these
other – who knows if this guidance would have ever seen the light of day.
The “A.P.`s” reporting was in fact that the CDC was literally told by the
Trump administration that this guidance would not see the light of day. But
now, because of pressure, and because of public reporting, it has. That is
the power of the free press. That is the power honestly of people working
inside government who know something is supposed to happen, and who let it
leak to a reporter, let it leak to the press, because the public needs to
know about it, because the government needs pressure.
May I also take this moment to mention that if you know of something that
needs to see the light of day, you might want to send it to me,
www.sendittorachel.com. We look at every single thing you send us. We
follow up every single thing we can.
Kudos to the “A.P.” for leaning like heck on the story which is I – 100
percent why I believe the guidelines have been pried loose from a Trump
administration with that did not want to let them become public.
That said, in general, the bad decision making around the country, when it
comes to this epidemic, and the consequences of bad decision making around
the country do just keep mounting day by day. Big picture, things aren`t
Texas, for example, continues to aggressively open itself back up, even as
the epidemic in Texas appears to be taking off like a rocket ship. Critical
coverage from the “Texas Tribune” caused a major JBS meatpacking plant in
the Texas panhandle to just change its mind overnight last night. As to
whether or not it would allow testing of its workers, as that plant stays
open, despite what appears to be a significant outbreak there.
So again, that`s another instance of the free press, making something get
better, in this case, in the state of Texas. Texas had its, just had its
worst one-day death toll yet. And it just had five straight days of over a
thousand new cases a day, but Texas is still just ripping through opening
up as fast as they can.
In places like Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Minnehaha County in South Dakota,
they`ve got over 3,000 cases there now. In Woodbury County, Iowa, which is
Sioux City, Iowa, they have over 2,000 cases in that county. Just over the
state line from Sioux City and Dakota County, Nebraska, they`re closing in
on 1,500 cases there, as of today, which is astonishing given that there
are only 20,000 people in Dakota County.
Just 20,000 people in the county, they`re going to be at 2,000 cases of
coronavirus there. So Dakota County, Nebraska, which has a large meat
In little Morgan County, Colorado, population less than 30,000, this week,
they overtopped their morgue supply, filled up mortuaries in the county,
and all of the extra storage units for extra bodies, and now they have
brought in a refrigerate truck to handle the bodies that they otherwise had
nothing to do with, parked the refrigerate truck to be a temporary morgue
out behind the sheriff`s office in Fort Morgan, Colorado. They got a
Cargill meatpacking plant there.
In McKinley County, New Mexico, one hospital there in Gallup is fairly
overwhelmed. These are doctors from that hospital protesting outside with
the lack of staffing, the lack of protection, the lack of help and a huge
surge in patients. That hospital, they had one pulmonologist on staff and
one doctor who specializes in respiratory, that one pulmonologist just quit
after working six straight weeks without a break.
The doctors and nurses there are protesting for help. McKinley County, in
Gallup, New Mexico, they are adjacent to the Navajo Nation. The Navajo
Nation has a per capita death rate from coronavirus that is higher than
almost every other state in the country.
Doctors Without Borders, the Nobel Prize winning international relief
organization has now sent in a steam to try to help the Navajo Nation,
which is great with doctors without boards and they freaking know what
they`re doing but it is astonishing and distressing that that`s what is
needed in the United States of America.
The Indian Health Service is part of the federal government. It is under
HHS, and Secretary Alex Azar. Right now, they are being bailed by
international humanitarian groups that usually do this stuff in third world
countries because our government can`t do it.
The federal government also, I should mention, appears to be the problem in
the other major outbreak that is now afflicts the great state of New
Mexico. The state`s governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, is rip-roaring mad
now, about 65 cases that have just emerged at a private detention center
that holds people in Otero County, New Mexico.
This is a detention center that contracts with the federal government. They
hold people for ICE, for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and for the
U.S. Marshals, they had 65 cases there. Governor Lujan Grisham is now
demanding that those federal facilities start widespread testing, and she
basically demanded that they get their act together.
Quote: They didn`t take any of our standards for how you visit, how you`re
training staff, what do you do for infection control, mandating that guards
and staff have masks, and this is a huge failure in a federal system, she
said. They weren`t doing it. They are very difficult to work with in this
context. It is a total violation.
You know, once you got 65 cases, in the facilities, those 65 cases are not
going to contain themselves to that facility. People who work there leave
that facility and go home to their families at the end of every shift. Once
you got 65 cases in a facility in that county, you`re going to have an
outbreak in that county. That`s how it works.
And you know, it is one thing to have an absent or lame federal response to
an epidemic, it is another thing where the federal government is actually
the entity that is itself screwing up and not following the rules and not
following infection control procedures and therefore, they are who is
causing big outbreaks in your state.
But that`s what is happening in New Mexico now. That`s why that governor is
And you know, coast to coast, tip to tail, the federal response just
continues to be absolutely terrible. It`s really not getting any better. I
mean today, for some reason, the person at the Pentagon in charge of
procuring equipment under the Defense Production Act, they just fired her
without explanation. Sure seems like a good time. Doesn`t have anything to
do with the fact that they just installed somebody at the Pentagon to check
high level officials there for loyalty to President Trump.
Today, in Congress, a former senior vaccine development official, the head
of BARDA, basically pulled all of the fire alarm about how bad the federal
response has been thus far but importantly how bad it still is now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. RICK BRIGHT, FORMER HEAD OF BARDA: We do not still have enough personal
protective equipment, to manage our health care workers and protect them
from influenza and COVID-19. We still do not have the supply chain ramped
up for the drugs and vaccines, and we still don`t have plans in place how
to distribute those drugs and vaccines. And we still do not have a
comprehensive testing strategy so Americans know which tests do what, what
to do with that information, and we know how to find this virus and trap it
and kill it. There is a lot of work we still have to do.
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): We keep being told by the White House that we
very soon, quick number, a matter of months, for that vaccine to be
developed. This is your area of expertise. You are a top immunologist in
Was there any scientific basis to suggest in March that we`ll have a
vaccine in the next few months?
BRIGHT: There`s a lot of optimism. There`s a lot of hope. But that doesn`t
make a vaccine. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to make a
DINGELL: Will we be able to vaccinate people in the next few months?
BRIGHT: It`s very unlikely.
REP. KATHY CASTOR (D-FL): In your whistle-blower filing, you discussed a
February 7th meeting of the department of leadership by which you urged the
department to focus on securing N95 masks. Can you describe what happened
at that meeting?
BRIGHT: They informed me that they did not believe there was a critical
urgency to procure masks. They conducted survey, talked to a few hospitals
and some companies and they didn`t yet see a critical shortage. And I
indicated that we know there will be a critical shortage of these supplies,
we need to do something to ramp up production. They indicated if we notice
there is a shortage, that we will simply change the CDC guidelines to
better inform people who should not be wearing those masks, so that would
save those masks for our health care workers.
My response was, I cannot believe you can sit and say that with a straight
face. That was absurd.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It was absurd.
That`s Dr. Rick Bright, top development – vaccine development official,
who is demoted recently by the Trump administration. He has filed this
whistle-blower complaint because he wants his job back, at HHS. There is no
sign the Trump administration is going to give it to him.
I think the thing that is most important here though, in terms of what
Bright is blowing whistle on, is what we know now, not just about how
screwed up things were for the past three months when this virus was
spreading unabated in our country to the paint where it has now infected
way more than a million of us and killed more than 85,000 Americans.
The important thing is not just what went wrong that allowed us to grow the
largest epidemic on earth by far. The hard thing is that we`re still
screwed up, we`re not getting better at the federal level, and honestly,
the states that are blindly following the federal government`s peripatetic
lead, they`re finding themselves marooned in this epidemic now without a
way out of it.
Let me give just you one other example on this point. You might remember on
the news, we covered it a few days ago, that the Trump administration had
finally, finally recommended that all nursing home residents and staff
should be tested for COVID-19, finally. After more than 25,000 Americans
died in nursing homes in, like two months, finally they decided they would
recommend testing for everybody in nursing homes. Great.
NBC News reports today that the federal government has done absolutely
nothing since making that recommendation. They`ve done absolutely nothing
to make it possible for nursing homes to do that testing. They`re just
saying, hey, test. No money to do it? No means to do it. They`re just
suggesting, now, two months in, hey, we think you should do this, and that
is what counts as the federal government response to nursing homes.
Quote: Ask whether the agency would pay for universal testing in nursing
homes, CMS, the federal agency responsible for nursing homes didn`t provide
a direct response.
In New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo has just told nursing homes there
that he will strip their licenses, unless they test their employees, twice
a week, from here on out, twice a week, every week. But then he sent out
110,000 testing kits to New York nursing homes which isn`t enough, but it
at least recognizes that those two things should be linked, right?
And if you`re going to mandate testing, you also have to give people a way
to do the testing. You also have to at least give them a start at it,
because, yeah, basing this thing on science is harder than just making it
up and saying everything`s fine. This is going to be really hard.
We got 85,000 Americans dead already. Finding our way out the other side of
this is going to be hard and complex. We need people running things who are
capable of understanding that, and operating in that kind of environment. I
know it`s too much to ask of the federal level, but it`s what we need.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo joins us live next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): My basic point is, do not underestimate this
virus. It has beaten us at every turn. And it has surprised us at every
Don`t take it lightly. Don`t underestimate it. I believe that facts will
change as we go forward. The more we learn about the virus, the more the
facts change, and the worst it gets.
There has been no news since we started this, where we were actually too
cautious or too concerned. All the news has been bad, as far as I`m
So with all this information, with all the government is doing, hearings in
Washington, all this – you know who is going to protect you? You are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: There has been no news since we started where we were actually too
cautious or too concerned.
Governor Andrew Cuomo delivering the latest from New York state at his
daily briefing today.
Joining us now for the interview is Governor Cuomo.
Sir, I`m grateful for your time tonight. Thank you for being here.
CUOMO: Pleasure. Thanks for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: I think, and correct me if I`m wrong, but I think this was the 75th
straight day on which you have given a coronavirus briefing including
Saturdays and Sundays and no days off since the first cases in New York. Is
CUOMO: It feels just like yesterday, doesn`t it? No, it`s 75 days.
MADDOW: Let me ask – I was really struck when you said there has been no
news when we started this where we were too cautious or too concerned, all
of the news has been bad – 75 days into this, with everything that you
have been through and that New York has been through, if you could go back
and tell Governor Cuomo 75 days ago one key piece of information or two key
pieces of information, what do you wish you could tell yourself then?
CUOMO: Yes, I wish I could go – actually, if I could modify the request a
little bit, Rachel, I would like to go back to last November, December,
when we first heard about this in China and say, to the country, say to the
world, a pandemic anywhere is a pandemic everywhere. When you hear that
there is a virus spreading in China, beware because it may very well have
gotten on a plane yesterday, and is on its way to you.
That`s where you have to rewind the tape, to get this right. We were
talking about it in China in November, December, January, here, by the time
we did the China travel ban, it was already gone. It left China. It went to
The cases we have here in New York, the East Coast, they came from Europe.
We were all looking at China. The virus had already left China by the time
we moved. So, that`s what I mean when I say we`ve been behind from day one,
and day one started in China.
MADDOW: One of the things that you have said over the past 24 hours is, as
one of the main sort of takeaways, one of the real lessons that we`ve
learned here, is that we need to make critical medical supplies in the
United States. We need domestic manufacturing capacity for the things we
need to deal with, to keep ourselves safe and to be able to treat people,
in this epidemic context.
Do you think that if we had that kind of manufacturing capacity, from the
get-go, that it would have changed the overall contours of the epidemic,
that it would saved a considerable number of lives?
CUOMO: You know, Rachel, there`s going to be so many lessons from this
situation – how it started, where the notice was from, et cetera.
On the equipment, I don`t know if it would have saved lives. I know it was
a tremendous waste of time, tremendous waste of money. It was chaos
compounded, that we can`t find enough masks and gowns, in this country.
And then you have 50 states, 50 governors, trying to buy everything from
China, and trying to find brokers between the U.S. and China, and states
bidding against other states, to buy the same masks from China.
I mean, how did we get to this position? And it was masks, it was gowns,
now it`s testing agents, the reagents, we can`t find, they`re coming from
Well – so, I don`t know if it actually would have cost additional lives, I
know you had nurses and doctors going to emergency rooms, without the right
precaution. I know that they suffered from the lack of PPE. I hope, I hope,
I hope that we didn`t actually lose any lives because of it.
MADDOW: Of course, as you note, the shortages continue. And it`s not –
it`s not been the same short ages of the same equipment all along. Right
now, it does feel like testing really is still constrained, both in New
York, and around the country, by shortage of specific things that you need
to be able to carry out tests and to process them.
I wanted to ask you about that in light of your order, to New York state
nursing homes that they need to start testing all of their staff twice a
week or they`re putting their licenses at risk. I know that you`ve sent out
more than 100,000 test kits to nursing homes, to help them meet that
mandate. But you know that it needs to be a lot more than that.
Are you confident that there will be enough tests for nursing homes to be
able to do that, and that they will be able to get their hands on them?
CUOMO: Yes, I`m confident, Rachel, that there will be enough tests to do
the employees of the nursing homes twice a week. That`s going to be our top
priority, because that is the top priority. That`s the most vulnerable
people and the most vulnerable situation. That`s how we were introduced to
this virus, right, in Seattle, Washington.
So we can make that happen. We`re ramping up testing all across board.
We`re now doing more testing per capita in New York than any state in the
country, and more per capita than any country in the globe. So we`ve been
aggressive ramping up the testing and we will do more.
I sent 110,000 kits but that`s just for the nursing homes to conduct the
tests themselves. They can also go to the drive-throughs. We have
drugstores that now are doing the tests. So there`s a lot of other testing
mechanisms, but you`re exactly right.
On the PPE shortage, it has now become a testing supply shortage. And we
had a period where we went back and forth with states with the federal
government, who`s responsible for what, and the federal government was
saying the states have to test. But the states couldn`t get the tests, and
the laboratories in the states couldn`t get the supplies from the national
manufacturers because the national manufacturers had an international
supply chain that went back to China.
I mean, it`s – you couldn`t, if you wrote this in a movie, they would say
you went too far.
I then had a conversation with the president and we came up with a rough
division of labor, where the federal government is going to do the supply
chain issues to the national manufacturers, the states will then do the
actual administration from the laboratories in those states.
But that supply chain still needs more work. We still are unprepared to do
what we have to do in testing. It`s a scramble once again.
Now, on testing, Rachel, no one anticipated ever a testing capacity of this
magnitude, right? So we`re building the airplane while we`re flying it. But
we`re doing it on a 50-state basis, which gets back to your point in the
Every state has to come up with the entire system to do this, whether it
was PPE, or now testing, and the reagents, and the vials, so there has to
be a better way than we`re doing it, but every state is doing what they
MADDOW: Do you feel like if we do have a second wave – and again, waves
hit different states and different localities at different times, and New
York is in a different place than some of these other states that are
reopening right now even when they`re very high up their curves and not
coming down yet. I understand there is a heterogeneous experience of this
in this country.
But if we do get a big national second wave of this in the fall, and New
York finds itself back in the thick of it, and other states that have been
hit hard, find themselves back in the thick of it, do you have hope that we
would have a national unified response where everybody is pulling in the
same direction, at least for the second wave? Or do you think it is going
to be all a states for themselves again?
CUOMO: No, I don`t – there`s no reason to think that you`re going to have
a different response from the federal government. The federal government
charted its course, and we know what that course is.
Now, I spent, as you know, eight years in the Clinton administration. I was
secretary of Housing and Urban Development. I did all of the emergency
management, participated in it during that time.
So I come from a very different school, right? And I do believe the federal
government, this was – this was a federally declared emergency, right,
that normally means the federal government is the lead agent. And I believe
that you could have a more muscular, more intelligent federal government`s
response here, rather than leaving it to 50 states, right?
Today, they did the CDC guidelines as you mentioned. But how could any
state really open without CDC guidelines? There had to be one national
definition of what is safe. You know, safe can be defined, there are
What`s the increasing number of deaths, increasing number of tests, what`s
the infection rate, and what`s the RT, what do you call safe? Come up with
definition and say to the states, here`s the definition.
And that`s what we`re doing in New York, we have one definition of safe
based on numbers, 62 counties, OK, this is what defined as safe. Counties,
you can work as hard as you can to get to that definition.
But there should have been a national definition of safe that the states
then have to follow. You want to call it CDC guidance, fine.
The supplies, PPE, test kits, I think that should have been handled
federally. Let the federal government purchase it on behalf of the states.
Why are states competing with each other?
The number of tests set, what is safe, and appropriate, for the number of
tests? And then help provide that number – the supplies for that number of
tests in that state.
Tracing, what`s the right number of tracers? And let`s nationalize the
protocol, what does tracing mean? Nationalize the training, and then let
the states execute by those national standards.
That`s what the federal government could have done. They didn`t do it. They
left it to these 50 different states, with no real guidance, or national
You`re right, New York, the curve is coming down, you take New York out,
the curve is going up, Rachel, and they`re opening, you know, by what
So, it`s – I don`t think that is going to change for the second wave, if
there is a second wave, because that`s the federal course, and the ship has
MADDOW: Governor, one of the things that`s happened in states that don`t
have as many cases as New York, and nobody has had as many cases as New
York, but in the heartland of the country, we saw states and counties, even
municipalities – sorry, cities, that didn`t have very many cases but then
did have very large outbreak, hundreds and hundreds of cases that were
associated with specific workplaces, and it`s mostly been these meat
processing plants, places like South Dakota and Iowa and Minnesota, and
And there doesn`t seem to be a standard in terms of how those outbreaks get
handled, how information around them gets handled, how they get ultimately
contained, how communities can prepare themselves when that sort of thing
happened in a workplace.
You in New York now have a food processing plant that`s got a significant
number of cases up in Rome, New York, and Oneida. Green Empire Farm, they
got 169 cases there among 340 workers.
I don`t feel like we`re coming up with a national standard for how to deal
with something like that. But as a governor who has dealt with more of this
crisis than anybody else, how are you going to tackle that problem at that
one food processing plant? And do you expect that it will be one of
CUOMO: Short answer is yes, I do expect that.
And this has nothing to do with meat, right? I go to meat processing plants
and a lot of people say what is there about meat? It`s not about the meat.
It`s not about the agricultural farm.
It`s about the density. It`s about the gathering. It`s about that size, and
all it takes is one. The rule of one works, Rachel.
All you need is one person who is infected in a mass gathering, a large
gathering, with density, and they become a super spreader. Another new term
I never heard before. But now I never want to hear again.
We had the first hot spot in the United States. It wasn`t in New York City,
it was in New Rochelle, Westchester County, suburban county.
And it had nothing to do with the demographics. It was one person who was
positive who went to a couple of gatherings, that had 100, 200 people at
the gatherings, and now you had the hot spot in the nation.
The processing plants, you have a thousand workers, you have one who gets
infected and now it`s fire through dry grass.
So, look, we learn the hard way here in New York. But again, go back to the
facts. Go back to the science. Go back to the testing and the tracing, the
hospitalization rate, the infection rate. We know how to isolate.
It just has to be done. It has to be standardized and executed. And that`s
what we`re doing in New York.
It would be nice if we had a national standard to all of this. So, it
wasn`t states informally sharing best practices. I talked to other
governors, and we share information.
But you could have had a national standard, and all the states then can
follow the national standard, and it would have been nice if there was
funding that went along with that. But this will happen in other parts of
the country. I`m – I`ll bet you tonight that you`ll see it pop up wherever
you have density and gatherings, and it only takes one. The rule of one.
MADDOW: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – sir, I hope when we speak again,
whether it`s now, sometime 75 days from now or sometime sooner than that,
we`re speaking very different circumstances.
This has been a heck of a marathon for you, sir. Thanks for taking the time
to be here and continued – continued good luck. Stay in touch with us.
CUOMO: Thanks. Well, I hope to speak to you before it`s over, Rachel,
because I`m too big of a fan and that is too long of a period of time.
MADDOW: I hear you. Don`t tell your brother. Thank you, sir.
CUOMO: He knows.
MADDOW: All right, more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: It was a dramatic thing today. When the chairman of the very
powerful intelligence committee in the Senate stepped down from his
chairmanship, it was all the more dramatic for it to have happened because
the FBI executed a search warrant and seized his cell phone from him at his
The seizure of Senator Richard Burr`s cell phone is apparently part of the
FBI investigating him selling up to $1.7 million in stock in mid February
when nobody was telling us the public how bad the coronavirus pandemic was
about to get, when Senator Burr himself was assuring the public that
everything was going to be fine, but his Intelligence Committee was
receiving daily briefings how bad it really was and then he dumped his
So him giving up his chairmanship of the intelligence committee and the FBI
investigation into what he did, that is a very, very dramatic thing. But
one of the absolutely unique ways in which our current federal government
is so terrible right now is, that as bad as the insider trading allegations
are, against Senator Burr, we also simultaneously have to worry whether the
U.S. Justice Department, under Attorney General William Barr, might be
targeting Senator Burr for reasons that are less about insider trading and
more about convenience to the Trump administration.
Senator Burr, you will recall, has led the only functional bipartisan
congressional investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election.
His committee`s findings have supported the intelligence committee`s
conclusions that, for example, that Russia interfered in the 2016 election
to support Donald Trump`s candidacy. That`s something Donald Trump
continues to deny as recently as an interview that aired this morning.
More to the point though, Senator Burr`s committee is set to release its
final report in the Russia issue on coming months and that installment,
that last installment we`re expecting is on, quote, possible coordination
between the Trump campaign and Russia. That`s what Burr`s working on right
now. But he`s had to step down as chair of the committee.
It`s crazy that we have to think about these things in these terms. But
given this Justice Department, and this attorney general, and the way he
has treated the criminal law, is something that is to be applied at will,
purely to serve the president`s interests, when we hear that the search
warrant for Senator Burr, chair of the Intelligence Committee, would have
to have been approved at the highest levels of this particular Justice
Department, we have to worry about it.
How worried should we actually be?
Hold that thought.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Can you explain to us at all what happens tomorrow or last night
I should say?
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC): No, it`s part of the investigation and everybody
ought to let this investigation play out.
REPORTER: Are you planning to participate and cooperate with investigators?
BURR: I have been since the beginning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I would say dogged CNN reporter chasing down Senator Richard Burr
who resigned as chair of the Intelligence Committee today, after the FBI
seized his cell phone as part of an insider trading investigation.
Joining us is Barbara McQuade, former U.S. attorney from the great state of
Barbara, it`s great to have you here tonight. Let me – let me start by
asking you if there is anything we can read into the fact that a senator
just had his cell phone seized pursuant to a search warrant. Does that tell
you anything as a prosecutor in terms of how much trouble he may be in or
how far along this thing may be?
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes, it tells us a couple things.
One is that a judge made a finding of probable cause to believe that a
crime has be committed and evidence of that crime will be found on that
phone. And the other thing is a search warrant doesn`t usually occur until
later in an investigation because one, you have to accumulate enough
evidence to demonstrate probable cause and also, it is an overt stage of
So, at that point, you want to have exhausted all of the covert things you
might have done because by the time you issue a search warrant, you have
tipped off the subject that you are investigating.
MADDOW: Do you think it`s nuts to worry that this might have anything to do
with Senator Burr`s role on the Intelligence Committee, the president`s
anger at that committee`s Russia investigation? I mean, I – under any
other year of my life, I would never worry about that as a potential
motivating force for the Justice Department doing something as extreme as
going after a sitting senator like this, but I do find myself worrying
about that now because of Bill Barr.
MCQUADE: Yes, ordinarily, I would say it`s a bit farfetched but this is the
cost of an attorney general who does things that undermine public trust in
the Department of Justice, because it causes skepticism when they do
something like this because what we`re hearing today is we see Richard Burr
is perhaps a subject or target of investigation. We have not seen similar
evidence of other senators who also sold their stocks.
Now, I don`t know we would know that there may have been investigative
steps for senators and may not have reached the stage or there may not be
evidence of probable cause for senators to suggest they are being treated
differently. But nonetheless, I think that this attorney general invited
those kinds of conspiracy theories.
MADDOW: And it makes like I can – I criticize myself as I say these things
because it seems so farfetched and I just remember what we`ve covered in
terms of his behavior over the past few months. And so, it`s difficult –
it`s difficult to talk about this stuff. It`s upsetting.
Former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade, thank you for taking time to join us
tonight, Barb. It`s great to see you.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: I am going to skedaddle right now because like you, I`m super
excited for the special edition of “THE LAST WORD” starts right now. Former
Vice President Joe Biden with Stacey Abrams, they`re going to be taking
audience questions. This is goingto be awesome.
Stay right where you are. Here we go.
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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
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the