Coronavirus spread TRANSCRIPT: 2/25/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes

Guests: Tammy Baldwin, Jeremy Konyndyk, Stuart Gerson, Sean McElwee, Lydia Polgreen, Ben Smith

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CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Democratic presidential candidates will take the debate stage here in Charleston ahead of the state`s primary this Saturday. I`ll be back here in the spin room after the debate tonight with the candidates. And that`s HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes strikes right now.

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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you`re talking about the availability of a vaccine, you`re talking about a year to year and a half.

HAYES: Experts warn Americans to prepare for crisis as the president misleads the public.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In fact, we`re very close to a vaccine.

HAYES: Tonight, what we know about the spread of coronavirus and how our president worried about his own reelection is leading the response.

TRUMP: I think that`s a problem that`s going to go away.

HAYES: Then, why the Roger Stone jury was reconvene I made more attacks from the president, renewed alarms over Bill Barr`s enabling an authoritarian president. And Ben Smith and Lydia Polgreen on whether the American media is about to repeat the same mistakes of 2016.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. This is a special edition of ALL IN. As concern about the rapidly spreading coronavirus tanked stock markets for the second day in a row. Today, the Centers for Disease Control prevention warned, it`s only a matter of time until the virus spreads to communities right here in the United States.

The head of the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said in a briefing today, "It is not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness?"

Now, almost 3,000 people around the world have already died, the majority of them in China. The Trump administration seems at this moment just completely unprepared for what the CDC now says is inevitable. At a press conference in India, President Donald Trump claim coronavirus is "very well under control in our country," adding "I think the whole situation will start working out."

The President`s National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told CNBC, "We have contained this. We have contained this. I won`t say airtight but pretty close to airtight." I should tell you, that`s also the guy who told Americans to buy stocks in September of 2008 as the economy was crashing.

Now, another one of the President`s talented minds, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was testifying on Capitol Hill today. The Department of Homeland Security is the agency coordinating U.S. government`s response to Coronavirus. And today his testimony did not go well. Just take a listen for a second here. Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, absolutely ripping Wolf for failing to do his job.

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SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): How is it transmitting.

CHAD WOLF, ACTING SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: A variety of different ways, Senator.

KENNEDY: Tell me what are.

WOLF: Again, human to human is what we primarily see.

KENNEDY: Well, obviously human to human. How? What`s the mortality rate so far, worldwide?

WOLF: I believe -- worldwide, I believe it`s under two percent.

KENNEDY: How much under two percent?

WOLF: I will give you an exact figure.

KENNEDY: OK. What`s the mortality rate for influenza over the last say, 10 years on America?

WOLF: It`s also right around that percentage as well. I don`t have that offhand, but it`s about two percent as well.

KENNEDY: You sure of that? Are you sure of that?

WOLF: It`s a little bit. Yes, sir. You`re asking me a number of medical questions that CDC and HHS are focusing on.

KENNEDY: I`m asking question because you`re the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. And you`re supposed to keep the safe.

WOLF: Yes, sir.

KENNEDY: And you need to know the answers to these questions.

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HAYES: All right, just to be clear there, you saw that exchange rate when he asked the mortality rate. He said it was two percent, and then he said, is the flu the same? And he said, yes, the flu is the same. That`s completely not true. Just utterly untrue. The mortality rate for the influenza is not two percent as Acting head of DHS testified in the Senate. It`s not on par with coronavirus. It`s more like 0.1 percent or about 20 times lower than coronavirus.

Chad Wolf has been the acting head of Homeland Security for three months now. He could barely answer those questions that would like pop up if you build like a Wikipedia search on coronavirus. Meanwhile, the actual professionals, the people who are not Trump lackeys, they`re saying no, this is coming to the U.S. The same CDC official who warned about the inevitability of the virus coming to U.S. said that she told her children this morning, "while I do not think they were at risk right now, we as a family ought to be preparing for significant disruption to our lives." So there`s that.

And that does not even get to what is happening internationally. Earlier today, the guy in charge of limiting the spread of coronavirus in Iran, the deputy health minister, announced he was among the new patients infected by the virus. He learned of his diagnosis after this press conference where he looked visibly ill and was wiping his brow and coughing.

Also today, senior member of the International Olympic Committee told The Associated Press if the games cannot be held in Tokyo "you are probably looking at a cancellation." It`s worth noting, the Olympics have never been canceled outside of a world war. On Wall Street, as I mentioned, the Dow closed nearly 900 points lower falling 1,000 points live the day before. And the selloff wiped out $1.7 trillion of U.S. stock market value in just two days. And that is what matters most to Donald Trump.

As thousands of people die and as a pandemic threatens to spread across the world and this country, there is one thing that is clear from the administration`s response. They are worried about how the global pandemic will help or hurt Donald Trump`s reelection chances. Do you remember back in 2014, when citizen Donald Trump was hoping to bring down President Barack Obama, he was absolutely banging on about Ebola because he thought that would hurt Obama.

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TRUMP: Our country has enough problems. Send the doctors to Liberia, send the doctors to West Africa to take care of our people. That`s one thing, but don`t let them in. I think very few people trust our government as being competent. Let`s not get ourselves. I mean, we have virtually incompetent leadership. So why would anybody trust our government to handle this crisis?

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HAYES: Now, Trump is president and the reporting indicates he`s worried that all this stuff will be bad. It will be bad for markets and it will be bad for his reelection, and that is what he`s worried about. So the President is out here saying nothing is here, folks, everything`s fine, because he wants to convince everyone that everything is fine, so that he can get reelected.

But that`s not the President`s primary job. No. The President`s job is to deal with the actual governing problems that the head of state faces and to keep Americans safe. Joining me now for more on the Trump administration`s response to the coronavirus is Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

A number of senators have been very critical. Dick Blumenthal of Connecticut went to a closed door briefing from the administration, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Chris Murphy, Chuck Schumer. Are you satisfied with what you`ve seen so far? How would you rate what you`re hearing from ministration about their preparation?

SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN (D-WI): It`s wholly inadequate. There`s no question about that. I attended the closed our briefing this morning, and both the hearing with the Secretary of the Homeland Security and the hearing with Secretary Alex Azar. And what I would share is, first of all, their emergency request in letter form last night, does not seek the sort of resources that we need to prepare and fight this probable pandemic.

And I heard also from the CDC individual in charge Dr. Schuchat, it`s not, if it`s when. And we need to do a lot more. So what is this administration not doing? They have proposed cutting funds to the Center for Disease Control several years in a row. We`ve got to restore those cuts.

The President last May fired his global health response experts who work in the White House at the National Security Council, and he has not filled those positions again. The President does not have a single individual in charge of this response. And I believe, as do my many of my colleagues, that we need to have a single individual not chosen because of loyalty to Donald Trump, but chosen because of expertise in this influenza or coronavirus pandemic.

So we`re not ready and we have got to get this president thinking more about the lives of Americans and less about whether it`s going to affect the economy as he poises for his reelection effort.

HAYES: You -- if I`m not mistaken, you were in that hearing with Chad Wolf today, the Acting Secretary of DHS, and I just want to ask you as someone in the room, I mean, we played a bunch of tape and our producers looked at over, and I want to ask if we`re being unfair in our representation of his ability to answer basic questions and his competence in talking about this. Was he as bad as he looked?

BALDWIN: I think that the appraisal is an accurate one. I know very few of my colleagues who are along with me studying this very closely and trying to do everything we can to make sure that our country is posed to -- or poised to respond and mitigate, that don`t know the current figures on the lethality of the corona -- this novel coronavirus to be about two percent. We also know that the scientists and experts are collecting data, information every day and revise as they can.

But I know that the influenza -- the annual influenza usually has a mortality rate of about 0.o1 percent. That`s a huge difference. And we need our security -- our Homeland Security Secretary to be on top of this, not lagging behind. And thankfully, we have some career people at the CDC, at NIH who are providing reliable information and telling us the truth.

But the President of the United States owes us not misleading information. He said, I think this morning from India that we already had a vaccine. A vaccine is 18 months out. And so, the American people are owed the truth and the resources to fight this.

HAYES: All right, Senator Tammy Baldwin, thank you so much for your time tonight.

BALDWIN: My pleasure.

HAYES: Joining me now from one of the mixed messages coming out of the Trump White House, Jeremy Konyndyk, he`s Senior Policy fellow at the Center for Global Development. He`s the former director of USAID`s office for of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. He also helped manage the 2014 Ebola response.

I want to start on the point that Senator Baldwin just made. The president today is saying sort of vaguely like, we`re going to have a -- we`re going to have a vaccine pretty soon. That`s not true at all. And his staff later had to walk back and said, oh, he`s talking about the Ebola vaccine. First, how much does the information coming from the White House matter to how people deal with this and how first line responders are able to prepare?

JEREMY KONYNDYK, SENIOR POLICY FELLOW, CENTER FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: It matters hugely. Confusion is the enemy of preparedness. And so, you need to have very clear, very consistent messages coming out across all levels of the administration. And I think it was really concerning today from a risk communication perspective that you`ve got different parts of the administration sending what seemed to be quite different messages and sometimes in the case of frankly the president and his economic advisors, misinformed and incorrect messages.

HAYES: What -- I don`t want to do as so many in the in the right wing media did and Donald Trump did in 2014 in Ebola, which was really a low point in recent sort of media coverage I thought. It was just utterly unhinged, insane. This constant panic stoking. My understanding of the CDC is communications today is to say, look, this is likely to come here, we should prepare for that. It`s not something to panic about, because we have resources, we should (INAUDIBLE). How should we be thinking about it?

KONYNDYK: So I think, you know, first, we should just stop and acknowledge and be grateful for the expertise and the competence and professionalism of the people at CDC and NIH and, and elsewhere in the government. You know, these are some of the world`s greatest experts on public health and on protecting Americans from these sorts of diseases.

They know what they`re talking about. I think we need to listen to them. And what is concerning to me is when you see some parts of the administration be so far out of step with what we`re hearing from the professionals at CDC, it raises questions about how effective the strategy process is, and how effectively you know, the senior leadership in the government are actually hearing what the career professionals are trying to tell them.

HAYES: Should -- it seems to me -- we talked to Dr. Redlener last night and he talked about the sort of necessity as a frontline thing of just getting tests to people, right? I mean, if the idea is this is going to come to the U.S., there`s going to be some cases containment as a kind of epidemiological matter is, that ship has sailed a little bit. Is that what we should be looking for? Like, what are the things that the government should be doing proactively right now?

KONYNDYK: So I think the government should be proactively acclimating the country to the idea that this will not be contained. And I thought Dr. Messonnier`s comments this morning were spot on in that respect. You know, talk to your kids, talk to your families, talk to your schools, begin planning, don`t panic, but do prepare. That`s the message now. It is likely coming. We don`t know how bad it will be in this country, but be prepared.

HAYES: But let me stop you there. When you say -- when you say that, like in Northern Italy right now, there was a bunch of cases, I think it caught the Italian authorities by surprise. There are several provinces in northern Italy that have essentially under quarantine. The schools are not -- there`s no public meetings. You can`t like go to a movie theater. Is that the kind of thing that we`re sort of considering as unlike part of the spectrum of possibilities we face here in the U.S.?

KONYNDYK: I think that`s on the spectrum of possibilities. You know, I can`t imagine us going to the point of doing something like what China did in shutting down half of our economy and putting half the population under movement restrictions, and I don`t think that would be advisable. But there are sensible measures that you can take if it gets to the point in a specific community to prevent transmission and minimize, I should say transmission in that community.

And that is things like avoiding public gatherings, avoiding public transport, potentially. You know, we`re not at that point right now. But we could get to that point depending on how things go. And I think that`s the kind of preparatory messaging that needs to be coming out of the government. Not saying we have it under control, it`s airtight, and in effect saying don`t worry about it.

HAYES: All right, Jeremy Konyndyk, that was very helpful. Thank you very much.

KONYNDYK: My pleasure. Thank you.

HAYES: Next, I`m going to talk someone who spent time working with Bill Barr at the Justice Department, and is now calling for the Attorney General to resign. The growing concerns of an authoritarian president in two minutes.

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HAYES: Attorney General William Barr has faced growing criticism for the manipulation and destruction of long-standing norms on the conduct of the Department of Justice. Since last week almost 3,000 alumni of the Justice Department signed an open letter calling for the Attorney General to resign.

Today, a new voice got added into the mix and it`s not just any former justice official. His name is Stuart Gerson. He served as an assistant attorney general for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice under President George HW Bush and as the acting Attorney General for President Bill Clinton, had a long and storied career at the Justice Department including working alongside the current Attorney General William Barr.

Today, Gerson published a letter painstakingly laying out how the rule of law used to be upheld in the Department of Justice, and what is happening now with the Attorney General. "In some, many citizens, both inside and outside the Department of Justice, are asking whether the Department of Justice stands for the rule of law or for the rule of authoritarian administration. Adherence to the law and the Department`s traditions demands it clearly be the former. There is no room for error or even the perception of being otherwise."

Mr. Stuart Gerson is here with me now. It was a really striking thing that you wrote, and particularly based on your long experience. And I want to start with the first thing you wrote, which is an experience as a young line prosecutor with the U.S. senator in a case you had and essentially your higher ups insulating you from political pressure. What was that experience like and what do you -- what do you want to demonstrate in that story about the kind of model that there should be at the DOJ to wall off political pressure?

STUART GERSON, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, that was an event that influenced me and my entire career, both as an Assistant United States Attorney, and then later when I was in a management position and ultimately for a period of time was Acting Attorney General of the United States.

That very courageous head of the Criminal Division, Henry Petersen, after whom an award is named one of the highest honors that the Justice Department has looked one of the most famous lawyers in the country in the eye and said, the Assistant U.S. Attorney told me that we have a viable case. We`re not going to give away. Thank you and good afternoon.

And what that told me and what I have tried to communicate ever since is that justice will be dispensed by the Department of Justice without fear or favor, consistent with the oath that everybody takes to make sure that the laws are carried out as they`re written, and that they be applied equally with respect to race, class, economic status. In other words, no favoritism.

And that`s important in terms -- not just in cosmetic terms but as I pointed out in the article that you referenced, that has to do with what we call the durability of the law. So people know what it is. They know it`s going to apply equally. And not only do they conform their conduct to it, but they respect it.

And I think we are entering into a situation where people will have less respect for the law, less respect for the people who enforce it, if it`s enforced with favoritism and unequally.

HAYES: How -- as someone who knows this institution so well, how alarmed are you? How much has been changed do you think under the administration of Mr. Barr?

GERSON: Well, I`m very concerned about it. Now, I have a lot of respect in many ways for Bill Barr. Let`s put him aside for just a second. I mean, he`s threatened to resign if he can`t do his job. He clearly has a management problem. There is a great deal of dissension within the Department, within the U.S. Attorney`s Office for the District of Columbia.

I`ve gotten feedback all day today on that subject from insiders. But the real problem starts at the top. And where we have a president who is in this conducting this tweet storm criticizing cases that are being brought against corrupt officials, criticizing the prosecutors, and even the trial judge, we have a situation that`s out of hand.

There is -- there is a president who is not satisfying the constitutional requirement that he take care that the laws be faithfully executed. And I`m most concerned about that. And clearly, it`s going to have an effect. The President has a lot of supporters who place a great deal of confidence in him. A lot of that has to do with the future of work their concerns about the economy, but it translates into other issues. But we`ve got to start paying attention as a larger society about how our institutions are being weakened. And we`ve got to get a much greater sense of control of that.

HAYES: There was a really remarkable scene that happened today to illustrate your point. Roger Stone, of course, one of the Presidents associates convicted by a jury of his peers. There was a sentencing recommendation from the Department of Justice frontline prosecutors. That was essentially overruled by the handpicked henchman of William Barr. It resulted in the resignation of the -- from the case of four those line prosecutors. Today there was a hearing for Stone who wants a new trial because he says the jury pool was essentially tainted by bias.

And as that hearing was happening, the president united states was tweeting about it targeting the civilian four person to the jury and the judge. "There has rarely been a juror so tainted as the forewoman in the Roger Stone case. Look at her background. She never revealed her hatred of Trump and Stone. She was totally biased as is the judge. Roger wasn`t even working on my campaign -- which is not really true -- Miscarriage of justice. Sad to watch."

I mean what is your reaction to the president targeting these people during an actual hearing?

GERSON: Well, that`s two in a row because he targeted the judge during the sentencing of Roger Stone last week. So, it`s just a sort of thing I`m talking about. A president should keep his hands off of that and let the other branch do its job. If Roger Stone believes that he`s been maltreated, if his attorneys think there`s legal error, the D.C. Circuit can look over that case and rule accordingly.

But it`s not for the President to intervene in the middle of a procedure that is assigned to another branch. It`s not terribly different. You know, I`m council in the successful border wall case. It`s not really different in kind from the President`s reaching into congressional power to try to re-appropriate monies that the Congress has denied him. He believes that there`s only one branch of government, that the unitary executive somehow puts him above the other branches.

The Attorney General unfortunately, erroneously, both historically and constitutionally has supported that argument. But it`s one that can`t hold. We need our checks and balances. They need to be restored.

HAYES: Stuart Gerson, thank you. That was extremely illuminating. I really appreciate it.

GERSON: Thank you.

HAYES: The next seven days could decide the fate for some 2020 campaigns. We`re going to talking about what if anything could change the current shape of the race after this.

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HAYES: We are now just four days away from the next primary in South Carolina. In fact, I`m heading to Charleston on Thursday. The candidates are having a debate there tonight. More broadly, it really feels like we`re at a tipping point in the race. Senator Bernie Sanders has come out of the first three contests with a delegate lead. He`s leading in national polls. And there`s a question of whether something is going to break his momentum between now and Super Tuesday, altering the current trajectory, the race.

Remember, Super Tuesday is just one week away. And that is when 14 different states representing about 40 percent of the U.S. population are all getting cast their votes together. Here to look at what the numbers say about the race and the question of electability, Sean McElwee, he`s the co- founder and executive director of the progressive think tank Data for Progress, which according to a data journalist, the economist has been releasing some of the most accurate polls in this primary race of everywhere. Good to have you here.

SEAN MCELWEE, CO-FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DATA FOR PROGRESS: Great to be here.

HAYES: So when you have Super Tuesday, I think the scale of Super Tuesday has escaped to people a little bit just because it`s so enormous. You guys have some new polling out on Colorado and Virginia. The Colorado polling just came out which shows Bernie Sanders at 34 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 20 percent, Bloomberg and 14 percent.

And then the Virginia polling which we haven`t seen much polling of, Bernie Sanders at 28 percent, Joe Biden at 19 percent, Mike Bloomberg at 17 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 17 percent. I saw you say earlier that you think you feel confident that Sanders is on the path to nomination. Why?

MCELWEE: Well, if you look at the numbers that we`re seeing in Super Tuesday, you`re seeing that the problem the establishment has, you`re seeing Bernie with a pretty decent lead, double digits from one state, close to double digits in the other state. Everyone else is clumped up right around that 15 percent threshold that they need to hit delegates.

So we`re looking at a bunch of states in which Bernie Sanders is able to collect delegates statewide and in most congressional districts, whereas this jumble, sometimes Elizabeth Warren is collecting delegates, sometimes Joe Biden is collecting delegates. And that means that no one has a strong incentive to get out and everyone has a plausible path to stay in. And the longer they stay in, the longer Sanders creates an increasingly large delegate lead.

HAYES: This is such an important point and we talked about this with David Plot. The 15 percent delegate viability threshold means that if you`re -- like Sanders is going to be above that threshold almost everywhere if current polling holds.

MCELWEE: Yes.

HAYES: Which means he`s going to get some delegates everywhere. But all of his competitors may be over under depending on the state.

MCELWEE: Absolutely. And this is exactly what we`re seeing with our numbers is we have in one of these states we have two candidates who look prepared to get statewide delegates and the rest actually right below the threshold. So, this is sort of the doomsday scenario on which the establishment ends up with an incredibly inefficient distribution of delegates.

HAYES: Right.

MCELWEE: And in both of these states, actually, we have Warren performing quite well, so we have a situation in which it`s the two progressives, neither of whom the establishment is particularly supportive of, are collecting the delegates.

HAYES: Yeah, and it`s crazy, also, what that 15 percent make or break number can mean, because if you -- if you had a situation with California, for instance, huge amount of delegates in which Sanders is -- Sanders and one other candidate are the other ones to break 15 percent, then they take an enormous number of delegates.

MCELWEE: Absolutely, there will be opportunities for other candidates to get delegates in different congressional districts, California is incredibly diverse state, so I think that you`ll see a lot of people picking up delegates, but the problem is is they`re just going to be incredibly inefficiently distributed.

And you are still going to have the same problem the establishment has, which is Bloomberg releases a memo saying Biden needs to get out and then Biden releases a memo saying Bloomberg needs to get out. And the longer they`re doing it all of the while Bernie is creating a further and further delegate lead.

And the other problem is is let`s say Biden does drop out, surely some of his voters might go to Bloomberg, but many of those voters...

HAYES: Go to Bernie Sanders.

MCELWEE: So, there`s been a big debate about -- as Sanders has sort of taken this front-runner position, right. There`s a big debate a bout his electability. There are a lot of people concerned about it. We did a bit last night saying, look, if the data we show do not show him to be like particularly weak.

There was a thought, a provocative piece by some political scientists in Vox today basically saying that he if you look at the top lines of his polling in head-to-head he does look strong, but that is dependent on a subgroup of his supporters who are young voters who are basically saying I`m not going to vote unless it`s Bernie, but if it`s Bernie, I will vote. And their contention is we just don`t know if they`re telling the truth, but youth turn-out would have to jump enormously for Sanders to hit the kind of benchmark showing up in his polling numbers.

What do you make of that argument as someone who thinks about this data a lot?

MCELWEE: Yeah, I think about the electability quite a bit. And I think there is two things. One is it is really difficult to tell what the head- to-head this far. And I think there really is a lot of noise with this signal.

HAYES: Yes.

MCELWEE: There was a very good piece by a data scientist named Annie Wang (ph) on Medium. I have shared it on Twitter. You should take a look at it. And she argues that the thing you want to look for is net favorable numbers. And on this metrics, Sanders actually performs quite well. In the RealClearPolitics average he`s about negative three, which is very comparable to Biden`s negative 5.

So, the point...

HAYES: This is among all voters, not Democratic voters, right.

MCELWEE: Right, so what I`m saying is I think from the perspective of the establishment, let`s say, you know, Bernie is not your top pick, the bigger concern from my perspective would be that we have a long, drawn-out process of really messy convention. You know, maybe donors pull back money. At the end of the day, let`s say that maybe Bernie has a .5 percent differential in the popular late, which would be pretty significant. That`s probably about the differential that we would see from him being massively outspent by Donald Trump.

So, I think that if Bernie ends up being the nominee, you know, the argument will be mostly mute. And what we need to do is we need to focus on making sure our party is unified, investing in the sort of field program, not from the campaign, but also from local organizing groups.

HAYES: You also did some interesting polling about progressive ideas that are popular and ones that are not popular, which I thought was interesting. A lot of incredibly popular progressive policies around generic drug pricing, getting rid of sort of licenses that keep things under patent for too long, enforcing the Clean Water Act. I mean, these are things that are polling at like 75/25.

MCELWEE: Yeah. And it is important to note that, you know, progressives spend a lot of time I think talking about polling and often are afraid to really subject our ideas to scrutiny. What we did was we said these were Democratic ideas. We gave a Democratic argument. But for every idea we also gave a Republican argument. And we actually went through real articles that were being written the real way that Republican politicians talk about our ideas to sort of create...

HAYES: Friction.

MCELWEE: And, you know, on average, our ideas are positive a couple of points. But there is a very large delta between policies that are significantly above water, plus 20, plus 30 points, and some of the ideas were underwater.

Medicare for all is right at the middle. It is narrowly above water. Most of the polling from organizations like Kaiser Family Foundation, say that this is a policy that is popular. We shouldn`t be afraid of that.

But it is also true that if you are a member of the House n a very Trump district, there might be other parts of the progressive agenda, part of the Sanders agenda, that you can focus on. We can have unity on issues like pharmaceutical pricing, stuff like family leave, taking on Wall Street.

HAYES: Yeah, that`s a great point.

Sean McElwee, thank you for your time tonight.

MCELWEE: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, why it looks like the failings of the media`s 2016 election coverage could be happening all over again. We are going to talk about what`s playing out. You are going to want to to watch that.

Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.

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HAYES: So I`m not sure if you noticed, but the news has been a little dark lately. And in these difficult times, it is heartening to see people rallying together behind something. The Internet really delivered that today with this one video that`s caught everyone`s attention and united us behind a speeding javelina.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep going, buddy.

HAYES: That video was captured in Tucson, Arizona where javelinas are comment, also known known as collared peccary or musk hogs, because of their distinctive skunk-like odor. Javelinas look like pigs, but they`re in a different family. They`re herbivores. They live in groups. They can weigh up to 55 pounds. And as you can clearly see in the video, javelinas can book, reaching speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, very impressive, and also very memeable.

And our Internet got right to work. The results are -- that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

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HAYES: So, a javelina speeding through the streets of Tuscon captured the Internet`s imagination today. This video was shot by a local Realtor in Tuscon. We can only assume the agent was showing a unit at the beautiful Los Portales apartment complex where the apartments are spacious, the grounds are gated to keep the wild javelinas out.

Local news was first to pick up on this amazing footage before the many Internets took over. The good people of Twitter were happy to make this amazing video amazinger with musical scores.

(MUSIC)

HAYES: People got really creative. Here is one set to dramatic rom-com music.

(MUSIC)

HAYES: Not bad.

How about a throw-back? Maybe something from the `80s

(MUSIC)

HAYES: Yes, a speeding javelina will always remain close to our hearts.

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HAYES: So there is a lot of anxiety about this election. And I think one thing a lot of people are worried about is a re-do of 2016 in a bunch of ways -- Russian interference, a split between the electoral college and the popular vote. But a real concern is about the media coverage of this race and about how the press deals with this campaign.

No one should be surprised that in 2016 this was the word cloud for Hillary Clinton. Asked by Gallup what voters have read or seen or heard about Hillary Clinton. One thing everybody knew about her was her emails. And the amount of coverage of those emails was completely out of proportion to its newsworthiness as a story.

And part of that, I`ve come to see it, is something of a structural byproduct of just how deeply strange Donald Trump is. Because he says so many offensive things. He does so many aberrant things. If you`re covering him and you`re covering the other candidate you end up having to find something to talk about with the other candidate.

Yesterday I think was the first example of this dynamic in 2020 in high relief. And it made it feel like to me we`re about to repeat the same mistake.

So, Bernie Sanders, currently front-runner on the Democratic side, said this thing in a 60 Minutes interview about Fidel Castro. He talked about Castro`s authoritarianism as well as the benefits of his literacy drive.

Now, it was newsworthy. And it got covered. We mentioned it on this very show. I asked his campaign manager about it, because there are some congressional members from Florida who were upset with the statement. It is a news story, no question.

But the amount of coverage, the scale of it, was enormous.

Meanwhile, on the exact same day, the actual sitting president of the United States, the man with actual power, the man who has praised just about every strong man leader he has talked to including Kim Jong-un,he was in India where he said of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, and himself, that we are fighting radical Islamic terrorism together. Trump in India for two days.

He`s done nothing but lavish praise on that man, Prime Minister Modi. That`s a guy who was chief minister of a state Gujarat, that saw mass mob violence against Muslims in 2002 with up to 2,000 people killed, which Modi`s administration turned a blind eye to.

In fact, get this, Modi was denied a visa to the U.S. for years, because of the role he played in allowing that anti-Muslim violence to happen in his province. He wasn`t allowed to enter the U.S. before he was prime minister, that`s Narendra Modi. And now as prime minister, Narendra Modi has launched a full-scale assault on the multi-religious principles India was founded on. He has pushed a citizen law that literally makes it easier for people of every religion except Muslims to become citizens, a law which has provoked widespread protests.

And this week, while President Trump was in India, this is what it looked like in Delhi. Modi`s agenda of Hindu supremacy and Hindu nationalism, which he has cultivated and he has stoked in mobs of people who have been rampaging through the streets of Delhi, sometimes shouting his name, Hindu men marked with a saffron stripe or carrying a saffron flag, which is the battle banner of their movement, violence unleashed on Muslim majority neighborhoods.

Look at what you are seeing, reports of police officers encouraging mobs to burn down Muslims property or police standing by as Muslims are beaten and attacked. This mosque in New Delhi set on fire Tuesday afternoon. In this instance, men climbing to the top of a mosque to place a saffron flag on it.

The clashes have killed at least 11 people, some reports of 13 people both, we should note, Muslim and Hindu.

So while we spend a day talking about Bernie Sanders`s tepid praise for the literacy program of a dead dictator, this is what was happening right now with the sitting president.

And that sitting president, the man with the power, was asked today about the religious violence. And the president of the United States, Donald Trump, praised Narendra Modi`s religious freedom agenda.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We did talk about religious freedom. And I will say that the prime minister was incredible on what he told me. He wants people to have religious freedom and very strongly. And he said in India they have -- they have worked very hard to have great and open religious freedom. And if you look back and look at what`s going on relative to other places, especially, but they have really worked hard on religious freedom.

I asked that question in front of a very large group of people today and he talked about it -- we talked about it for a long time -- and I really believe that`s what he wants.

As far as the individual attack, I heard about it, but I didn`t discuss that with him. That`s up to India.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That`s up to India.

So, is this insane false equivalence what we destined to repeat? We`ll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: As we bear down towards this campaign, there`s real question for media outlets about how to do their job in a way that is thorough and rigorous and that does not flinch from asking candidates hard questions, calling out basic answers, while also, crucially, maintaining a sense of scale and proportion between Donald Trump and people that are not Donald Trump.

To talk about this I`m joined by Ben Smith, editor-in-chief at Buzzfeed News, and Lydia Polgreen, editor-in-chief at HuffPost, two very, very smart editors, two people I respect a lot.

Do you see -- do you think about this as an issue as you think about the campaign?

LYDIA POLGREEN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF HUFFPOST: Oh, absolutely I think about it. I mean, the things that really, really matter are the things that we should be focusing on. And this false equivalency, I don`t believe in whataboutism, like, that`s not a great place to go with your analysis of politics.

HAYES: Right.

POLGREEN: But the reality is we have this extraordinary contrast between people freaking out about, you know, some really sort of strange things that Bernie Sanders said about Fidel Castro and like actual blood in the streets in New Delhi.

I mean, I was a foreign correspondent for The New York Times in 2009 when Narendra Modi could not get a visa to come to the United States. He was actually banned from visiting this country. So to see this bromance going on between him and Trump as we`re all freaking out about Castro and Bernie is just bizarre.

And this is exactly the kind of thing that we promised to avoid.

HAYES: To me it`s the proportion question, right. Like when you go to political reporters, Ben, about 2016. They are very defensive about the Hillary Clinton email coverage, very defensive. They say she was being investigated by the FBI. She`s a major candidate. Of course it`s a story. And my response is always like, yes, I`m not saying it`s not a story, like when Ivanka was using unsecured communications in the White House, that was a story. It was a story for like two days, which is about what it should be, like it`s a story, it`s newsworthy. It`s the proportion that goes out the window in campaigns, and that`s what I`m worried about this time around.

BEN SMITH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF BUZZFEED NEWS: Yeah, and I think the Democratic candidates right now are in this like microscope that exaggerates every small thing and totally complicit in this dynamic, each of them trying to amplify the other`s flaws.

HAYES: Right, because they`re attacking each other.

SMITH: Yes. I mean, -- Joe Biden is attacking Tom Steyer, for god`s sake, this evening.

I think -- you know, one of the real differences this cycle is Donald Trump is the president of the United States. And the good reporting this cycle is going to be what he is doing as president and about how he`s using the presidency toward his reelection. I mean, those are the great stories of the cycle. This isn`t -- and it is appropriate that you cover the president and the presidency more than your cover the challenger. And I think that`s what we`re going to see hopefully.

HAYES: But you`re confident about that, though?

SMITH: I hope that`s what we`re going to see. Those are the great stories of this year.

HAYS: I just think like I try to play this out and think about like -- imagine the most boring candidate. Because there is some level which like people are like just run someone who is boring about Donald Trump, right, like someone who is just like not particularly controversial, people don`t like -- you know, I don`t know, Michael Bennet as an example. I think I`ve heard people bandied about.

POLGREEN: Poor Michael.

SMITH: Right, so everybody will just look at Trump -- again, I don`t think the coverage should be about Donald Trump`s rallies, it should be about his immigration programs.

HAYES: No, I agree with that. But my point being like let`s say we`re -- I guess -- here`s what I`m trying to say. People look at Bernie Sanders and say, oh, no, he`s so controversial in so many ways, and he`s so polarizing. And that`s totally true, it`s not wrong. It`s just that I wonder whether the gravitational pull of campaign coverage and the attacks that will come from the Republicans means that whoever is the person on the other side is going -- you`re going to find out -- like if there`s some thing like their emails that`s going to be the thing that you learn about.

POLGREEN: Well, let`s not forget that Donald Trump won in large part because -- or at least in significant part, because he got a ton of free media. And I think the more controversial the Democratic nominee, the more free media they`re going to get.

HAYES: That`s an interesting point.

POLGREEN: So, I think that...

HAYES: I go back and forth on this, like does a lot of attention on Donald Trump hurt Donald Trump or help Donald Trump, and I have not resolved the answer.

POLGREEN: I think the answer in 2016 was it absolutely helped him, right. I mean, it gave him this huge platform.

And the reality is that, you know, if we`re looking at a race, just going ahead, with Biden and -- with Bernie and Bloomberg, where they both have basically unlimited money, and Bloomberg is frankly not that interesting to look at, and Bernie is more interesting, I think Bernie is going to get more coverage.

HAYES: Yes, but that`s the question -- it`s like, no, that`s the question. Is that good? Is it going to be like, well, on one hand like, you know, they`re shutting down information on coronavirus; on the other hand he wrote an essay in 1969...

POLGREEN: I kind of think you`re fighting the last war. It`s like every year we go into like what are the mistakes last time, like let`s not make those. And so -- and those -- and this time it`s going to be a million boring stories about misinformation, because we wish we had written them last time. And I think this issue of like are Trump`s rallies being televised, that was an issue in 2016. The landscape has changed a lot. And I think the question you raise around proportionality, like I think there is an obsession with what happened 2016 that kind of melts your brain.

HAYES: OK, but there`s a little...

POLGREEN: ...make another error, right, that`s going to lead you to make a different mistake this time that we will over-correct for in 2024.

HAYES: But to me it`s more about the old cliche of journalism, right, which is dog bites man is not news, man bites dog is news, right -- the unusual, we don`t cover the planes that land, right. The unusual thing is the news, right.

There is just this problem with that, which is that like the president today called for the recusal of two Supreme Court Justices.

SMITH: The planes aren`t landing. The Trump administration is this incredible story, like none of the planes aren`t landing, that`s my point of view.

HAYES: Right, but isn`t it also the case that like this gets this trite cliche of normalization, but is it the case that because he does so many things that are so wild it becomes hard to cover all of them, particularly when there is another candidate, right.

Like we haven`t faced that test yet, because when there is not another candidate people do just cover it all day. When there is another candidate it`s like what do you do about the fact you have these two channels to cover.

SMITH: Yeah, I mean I do think that even Bernie at his absolutely most interesting is not going to be as interesting a story as Donald Trump running the United States government towards his reelection, and that at least ought to be the news story.

POLGREEN: I think that`s right. But at the same time, chaos is a ladder and Donald Trump has shown that again and again and again, and he`s going to climb it.

HAYES: Yeah, Ben Smith and Lydia Polgreen, thank you so much for joining us.

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