STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: And thank you at home for joining us tonight. That is our show. Thank you for being with us. But don`t go anywhere because "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes is up next.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The White House is relentlessly selling a false choice to the American people. It`s something that President has now been explicit about.
Basically, the choice that he wants to present is this. Door number one, the American people stay locked inside for 18 months. That`s something he keeps claiming that lots of people want even though virtually no one is actually calling for that. That option is ridiculous and untenable and bad.
And so by the logic of this false choice, we have to do the other thing that is go through door number two. We have to open up. Those are the choices he wants to present. Stay locked inside for 18 months, or open up now and send American citizens out as "warriors" as he called them, to maybe get sick and die in very large numbers.
But as we have said on the show for weeks, months now, there is a third option. There is a door number three. Door number three is a system of testing, physical distancing, and contact tracing that allows us society to have an economy and society approaching normalcy amidst the virus.
And there are many places that have successfully walked through door number three. There are South Korea, and Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and Australia, and New Zealand, and Germany, which is now reopening beer gardens and shops and sending kids back to school, hallelujah.
All these countries have put together a combination of testing, physical distancing, mask-wearing and contact tracing, to have something like normalcy during this pandemic.
And there is actually another small little land that`s done this. Think of it as a tiny little principality that sits on nearly 18 acres of land in the midst of the U.S. They`re also doing this. It`s called the White House.
As we noted yesterday, you have seen Donald Trump has continued some version of his normal presidential life, events, travel, interviews. The reason is because he`s felt safe enough to do that because he is constantly tested. The White House has a robust testing process in place as it should.
But today, we saw how even that was not enough to keep the relentless coronavirus out of the White House. Because today we learned that a member of the White House staff, a personal valet to the president, tested positive for the virus. That valet is a member of the U.S. Navy whose job includes serving the president his meals and who is close to the president throughout the day on a consistent basis.
And President Trump who wants you to be a warrior, when he heard the news that the guy who brings him his diet cokes has the virus, well, President Trump freaked out. A source told NBC News, Trump "lava level mad at his staff and railed that they`re not doing all they can to protect him from the virus." How about that?
Yes, Mr. President. It is scary. It`s unnerving. That is why the rest of America is basically hunkered down and more than 33 million people are unemployed, some of us morning the 70,000 plus who have died. By the way at the White House, Vice President Pence and Trump will now be tested for coronavirus every single day.
Now, we hope Trump`s valet heads to full recovery and that he has not transmitted it to anyone else in that workplace. As for the rest of us who don`t work in the White House in that tiny little principality where they`ve employed this system, if someone is infected in your office, or your meatpacking plant, or your police department, chances are there will not be enough testing to catch that person in time.
Chances are there will not be enough resources to check everyone else to trace back to the context. Seeing this as we still don`t have the level of testing or contact tracing we need to implement that throughout the country. So the White House knows that`s the key thing. They know. They actually have it figured out. They know how to track and contain this thing.
They know that you cannot just reopen and go back to normal because they`re not doing it in the White House. They know you have to have a robust testing plan in place to do that. They just pretend not to know. And they also know it is unnerving to have someone in your workplace close to you that has been spreading the coronavirus perhaps undetected, but they just don`t care.
You know, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar even had the gall to suggest that meatpacking workers were not getting the virus at work, but rather due to the home and social aspects of their lives. How do you think that caused all the work Secretary Azar?
Do you think the meatpacking workers are all randomly getting infected on their own in their houses and then just coincidentally, they all managed to converge on the same plant in state after state after state? Or do you think maybe, I don`t know, it`s getting transmitted in the meatpacking plants where they work shoulder to shoulder?
Again, the thing is, it is not that they do not understand. They get it. They know. I mean, this administration issued guidelines for safely opening up America, which are again grounded in robust testing, only to then encourage states to ignore them because it was taking too long.
And then today, the Associated Press reports the administration had shelved a document created by the nation`s top disease investigators at their own Centers for Disease Control with step by step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen restaurants and other public places.
They just shelved it. They don`t want you to know what the experts say. But their own actions, their own action show they understand. They know what`s necessary. They don`t care about you. They`re trying to force you to buy into this false choice, door number one or door number two. But the president, well, the president himself is door number three. And we as Americans should have that too.
Joining me now for more in the President`s brush with coronavirus, Shannon Pettypiece, Senior White House Reporter for NBC News Digital, who co- authored the NBC piece on the president being lava level mad at the news that his personal valet has coronavirus. Before we get to the valet, can you -- can you take us through what the actual regimen for testing in the White House is now, how they -- how they are dealing with this right now?
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, NBC NEWS DIGITAL, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, what it has been is that anyone who goes on to the White House grounds staff, the press visitors would all get a temperature check every time you enter in through the gates. Then in addition to that, aides who are going to be in close contact with the president would get a coronavirus test before being in contact with him or if you were someone who is regularly in contact with him, like Larry Kudlow, the head economic adviser. We were told those types of people would be tested once a week.
Now after this incident with the President`s valet coming down with coronavirus. And the valet, I should note, just put this in context, that`s someone who basically takes care of all the president`s needs. You mentioned things, Chris, like serving meals. They make sure the President`s clothes are ironed, his shoes are shined, they would pack him for trips, they would bring him beverages throughout the day, anything they need. There`s a small staff, oftentimes people who are Navy personnel who do this at the White House.
So after this person was infected, now, the indications are that the White House is going to start testing staff and people in close contact with the president every day, because yes, this really hit home for the president today. This is the first time someone in the West Wing, especially in close contact with the President has been infected.
There`s been a few brushes here and there like at Mar-a-Lago or with the V.P. staff, but this really hit home on the West Wing today.
HAYES: Wait. So, you`re telling me that they are actually going to increase their level of testing, that they`re interpreting the proper response to someone in the West Wing testing positive to go from testing weekly to test testing daily. So what they understand is the solution to the problem they face is more testing is what you`re telling me?
PETTYPIECE: Yes. But you know, it`s interesting because as the President said this today that they would start testing some people daily, and again, I`m not sure exactly who that includes, but that some people would be tested daily. At the same time, the president really, you know, took a swipe at testing in general, like he`s still a skeptic of this. He said, it`s an imperfect art. He said, testing is overrated.
His argument is that, you know, you can test someone one day and then that evening, you know, they can go out and get infected. So essentially, though, if you test them every day, theoretically, you would be able to find those cases if someone does get infected between when they were last tested and the next day.
But I mean, he did not seem publicly at least to be a testing convert after this, even though the White House is now going to begin, you know, conducting that sort of practice on the White House grounds.
HAYES: Described to me -- I mean, the President is, by his own admission, I think a notoriously a germaphobe. He has downplayed the virus publicly, you know, many times. He`s now telling Americans they need to consider themselves warriors and warriors rush into battle. They risk physical harm.
Your reporting suggested he was lava level mad when he found out. Tell me what reporting indicated about how he was told what his reaction was?
PETTYPIECE: Well, what we were told by people inside the White House and people close to the west wing is that he felt like this was a failing of his staff. He felt like his staff were there to keep him safe and we`re keeping him safe. I think this showed that you know, there`s a real big hole in the system, which is something so many of us are realizing you can wash your hands and wear your mask and stay at home and still find yourself getting sick. But that was, you know, his takeaway was that his staff had let him down here.
You know, there are precautions they take inside the White House like the testing every week, but I will say, you know, few people I have talked to have ever seen anyone wearing a mask inside the West Wing, including when they were traveling yesterday -- I`m sorry, earlier this week. And that was an issue that came up with the president who did not wear a mask while touring a mask facility where all the workers were wearing masks. And suddenly, he was pressed on and he said, you know, he felt he didn`t need to do this. He was told it wasn`t necessary.
And so that`s sort of been the line around the White House was people saying well, we get our temperatures checked and tested weekly. We don`t need to wear masks. I think that`s another question going forward. Are they going to need to put other protocols in place because so many of us are realizing, you know, you`re not safe?
HAYES: Yes. It`s interesting the president recognized that there`s a dangerous pandemic going around and he trusted some set of people to competently implement a plan to protect him from that. And when they failed to do that, he got angry. That`s an interesting state of affair. Shannon Pettypiece who did that reporting on the White House, thank you so much.
Joining me now for more on the president`s lack of a plan to keep Americans safe is Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia. Senator, do you have a clear sense of what is happening right now as the president encourages states to violate his own CDC guidelines, the Senate has passed legislation funding $25 billion nationally for boosted testing, the CDC seems AWOL. Like what is your understanding of what`s happening right now?
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Chris, the White House has no plan that they`re willing to announce and I`m going to tell you why. I just got off a weekly phone call with the governor of Virginia. The entire federal delegation does this call Thursday night. And every week it starts this way. We need to do 10,000 tests a day to keep Virginia safe. This week, we`re doing 2,000 a day. Here`s what we`re trying to do to close the gap.
That was two weeks ago. Last week, it`s 5,000 a day. Today, it was 7,000 a day. They announced the goal, and then Governor Northam tells us where we are, AND then he says here`s what we got to do to close the gap. The White House has not yet announced a goal. They`ve been unwilling to announce a goal for here`s what we need testing in the nation.
The Department of Defense has refused to announce a goal for 1.6 million active duty. Why haven`t they done what Governor Northam and other governors are doing? They have crunched the numbers. They probably know what the goal is, but they`re afraid to announce the goal because if they do, the nation will see how far short of the goal they`re falling.
For the president, this is not about health, it`s not about the economy. It`s about worrying about being blamed because he just -- this whole thing is about looking in the mirror and seeing what he thinks his face looks like. So the contrast between Governor Northam`s call -- and then today, we had -- we had a health committee hearing, my committee in the Senate, the Health Committee.
And I pointed out, get this, Chris. Last time we met in the committee was March 3rd. On March 3rd, nine Americans had died of coronavirus, and today it`s over 76,000. To give you a comparison, on March 3rd in South Korea, 28 South Koreans had died. Do you know what the death toll in South Korea is today? 256. From 28 to 256, while in this greatest nation on Earth, we`ve gone from nine deaths to 76,000.
South Korea is smaller than us. They`re one-seventh of our population. So bulk it up there, 250 times seven, still less than 2,000 deaths. What explains why the United States has a death toll 35 times the South Korean death toll, and is rising every day while South Korea is flat?
This administration has not announced a plan because they don`t want to be held accountable for their massive failures to meet basic safety standards for the American public.
HAYES: Is there a way for Congress to hold them accountable, I guess is the question, right? I mean, Democrats do control the House. There is oversight, although they told Congress to go take a long walk off a short pier when the Congress wants to talk to Fauci and talk to anyone else and get anything from them. They won`t give it over.
But you know, I do feel -- I think there`s a sense a lot of people feel of both frustration, rage, mourning, grief, and helplessness, which is we`re sort of all as a nation locked in a room with the president we have, who can`t -- does not have the ability to solve the problem. So what are you -- what can you do, Senator?
KAINE: So, what we can do is we passed four bills putting significant resources to the challenge. We`re not short on resources. Now, we`ve put the dollars to the challenge. But what we can`t do is do the President`s work for him or the administration`s work for him.
So what we can do now that we`ve provided the dollars to tackle it, is we can pin down the officials of the administration and hold them accountable. Next week on Tuesday, my committee is going to have a hearing with the head of the Centers for Disease Control, and Dr. Fauci of the NIH, and we`re going to ask, why did the CDC develop a set of goals about safe reopening of the American economy, but then let President Trump bury those goals and suggestions to encourage people to go out and be warriors on the front line and risk their lives?
We`re going to have a chance in a very public forum to ask these officials what`s going on. We`re going to have a chance to ask Dr. Fauci why is the United States death rate 35 times what it is in South Korea. South Korea is a vigorous and messy democracy as you know. They have metropolitan areas that are dense and they have rural areas just like we do. What explains why we`re 35 times worse than them?
So what we can do is provide the resources, and then shine a spotlight on what the administration is doing or not doing. And we hope by doing that, we may encourage some of the pros in the administration, and there are pros, it`s just that they`re continually undercut by the president, hopefully will encourage the pros to fight harder, and maybe the president and some of the people around him will realize that the best thing to try to do now is not worry about your electoral prospects, but try to save people`s lives.
HAYES: Right. Final question before I let you go. Obviously, the pandemic and the economic devastation and response to it takes up so much of all of our focus. There are other things this administration has done quite in keeping in line with things they did before the administration, both in sort of the way they have treated the department justice and the rule of law and corruption.
Another thing they did, they really, really don`t want congressional oversight on war-making abilities, bipartisan restraint on war with Iran, passing both houses if I`m not mistaken and at your sort of behest in the Senate, the president vetoing that measure which demands Congressional approval for an Iran conflict. Your reaction to that.
KAINE: It wasn`t -- I wasn`t surprised that the President vetoed this, Chris. We worked on it very hard, and we got strong bipartisan support in both chambers, but not two-thirds support sufficient to override a veto. So when he went to his desk, and he vetoed it, saying I can do what I want, I wasn`t surprised. But what surprised me was his reasoning.
If you read the President`s statement, he said, this was a Democratic plot to try to stop me from being reelected. Constitutional Congressional authority over questions of war and peace, a bipartisan resolution that was introduced with an equal number of Democratic and Republican co-sponsors, as he looked at that, all he could see was his own reelection. War, peace, coronavirus, 76,000 deaths, none of that matters to him. It`s all about his face in the mirror and his own reelection.
We have never had a president whose vision is so mono focused on his on his own self as this narcissistic man.
HAYES: It`s true. I was also struck by that statement. It was a very revealing statement. Senator Tim Kaine, Senator from Virginia, thank you so much, Senator.
KAINES: It`s great to be with you, Chris. Thanks.
HAYES: Still ahead, the absolutely stunning decision by the DOJ today, William Barr`s DOJ, to drop the case against Michael Flynn who had pleaded guilty. Democrats` top impeachment prosecutor Adam Schiff on what Bill Barr is up to and the release of the transcripts from the house Russia probe next.
HAYES: All right, we`ve got some shocking but not really surprising news from the Department of Justice today which has fully become an adjunct of the Trump political project. Attorney General William Barr`s DOJ is dropping the charges against the President`s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
This comes after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador and cooperating with investigators. And it comes on the same day that one of the lead DOJ prosecutors trying Flynn took his name off the case. And we`ve seen this before.
It`s something we saw happen in the case of another Trump ally who also got favorable treatment for the department, Roger Stone. When that time, the DOJ stepped in and reduced his sentencing recommendations against the recommendations of their own line prosecutors.
Here to explain what this means for the rule of law and the Department Justice, Congressman Adam Schiff, Democratic of California, who`s the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. First, let me just ask your reaction to the Department Justice`s move here.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Chris, I think we lost 50 years` worth of ground in solidifying the independence of the Justice Department after Watergate. This really puts us back in the category of almost an emerging democracy where the rule of law is not yet firmly established, where prosecutorial decisions are made on the basis of politics.
Here, you know, Bill Barr once again doing the political dirty work for the president, in making a case go away that the President tried to get Jim Comey to make go away and then fired him when he wouldn`t, try to get Jeff Sessions to make go away and he wouldn`t. And now he`s found his man in Bill Barr who is brave enough to do whatever the President wants.
What this will mean as a practical matter is in courtrooms all across the country where prosecutors are bringing legitimate cases, juries will now wonder, is this really a valid case or is this, you know, Bill Barr`s Justice Department, once again, acting politically not in the interest of justice.
So he`s undermining his own people around the country and at the same time, it`s a continuation of the same kind of political patronage now in the Justice Department that Donald Trump has brought about.
HAYES: It`s also noteworthy to me that that prosecutor took his name off the case. We saw this happen with Roger Stone, a similar sort of set of circumstances. The president publicly tweeting the guy got a raw deal. In that case, it wasn`t that he pleaded guilty, he was -- he was convicted. There was a trial and he was convicted by a jury.
And you have line prosecutors quitting, one retiring from the Justice Department, leaving the Justice Department altogether. What is -- what`s the significance to you of this split between the political leadership in the Department of Justice essentially doing the political dirty work of the president and the line prosecutors and civil servants that serve in that department and what they should be doing right now?
SCHIFF: Well, I was one of those line prosecutors for almost six years. They`re wonderful people, true professionals, and they really take their job seriously in terms of pursuing the interests of justice. This completely undercuts them. The common denominator here between these two faces Roger Stone and Mike Flynn is this. Both men lied on behalf of the President.
The President doesn`t view that as a crime. He views that as a perk of office. He views that as what he should expect of his people. What he doesn`t expect is that anyone would have the temerity to stand up to him and actually bring legitimate cases, stand up to him and report wrongdoing. It`s why he considers you know, whistleblowers to be traitors and spies, why he wants as Attorney General to let people go who lie for him and get convicted of it.
But it so undermines the professionals at the department and sets us back. You don`t have to think that morale at the Department of Justice, like at the State Department is now at an all-time low. It has just dealt another serious body blow.
HAYES: It seems to me this is part of a broader sort of project that that is happening right now. We`ve seen the sort of call by those to pardon Flynn or to sort of have the DOJ dropped the cases against him. We have a prosecutor named Mr. Durham who is coming up with some sort of counter Mueller investigation, rising voices, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, that a kind of like idea that the entirety of the Mueller project, that all of it was fruit of a rotten tree, that the entire thing was a setup, that the President`s views on this which sound paranoid and deranged often were actually true, and then that there`s a buy in on the part of the head of the DOJ and Republican Party on this. What is your reaction to that?
SCHIFF: You know, I think that`s exactly right. It all gets back to sort of the Rudy Giuliani, truth isn`t truth. Kellyanne Conway, we`re entitled to our own alternate facts world that Donald Trump lives in. They`re entitled, and Bill Barr gave actually a quite interesting admission today when he was asked, how do you think history is going to record these acts of yours? And he says, well, history will be written by the winners.
That`s not the statement of someone who`s looking out for the interest of justice. That`s someone who views the world like Donald Trump, and that is, this is all a game. There`s our team, there`s your team. We have the power right now. And we are going to rewrite history to make it appear to be what we`d like, not what actually happened.
So you`re right. This is a broad project to reinvent the Russia investigation to try to dispute the Mueller conclusion that the Russians intervened on Trump`s behalf, that he invited them to intervene, that he made full use of their intervention. We released the transcripts of our investigation today which the White House and then Rick Grinnell withheld for almost a year. We finally released them this week when we got the DNI to give us the classified redactions that we needed.
And those transcripts reveal in great detail how substantiated the Mueller investigation was, all the steps that Donald Trump and his family members and allies took to get Russian help, how they lied about it, how they covered it up, how they obstructed justice into it. And in an effort to make that go away, you have this effort to push out a completely counter- narrative at odds certainly with the truth but consistent with the President`s political objectives.
HAYES: Congressman Adam Schiff of California, of course, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, thank you so much for your time tonight.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
HAYES: Ahead, the White House is leading a propaganda and disinformation campaign to desperately try and distract from what is possibly this country`s worst calamity in a century. That`s next.
HAYES: So, on one level, you would think that the political and governing incentives for the president of the United States, running as an incumbent for reelection, are aligned, right? I mean, the governing imperative right now being handling the crisis well, minimizing the harm that comes to Americans and creating the conditions for a safe economic rebound.
And if the president could do those things that would also obviously politically work out to his benefit.
This is not an abstraction, we`ve seen exactly that happen in a lot of states where governors, both Democrat and Republican, who have done well on those governing issues are seeing crazily high approval ratings -- Massachusetts 84 percent approve of how Republican Governor Charlie Baker has handled the Coronavirus outbreak, according to a new poll out this week; California`s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom hit 83 percent approval of his performance last month, nearly double his pre-Coronavirus numbers; Jay Inslee in Washington also is also way up, he received a 75 percent positive approval rating in another poll.
So these two things -- how will your govern and deal with the crisis, how will you do politically, they should be aligned. They are aligned in other places.
The problem here is that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, cannot, is incapable of, addressing the governing challenge before him. It is too much for him. He is not up to it. Also he doesn`t really want to do it. He doesn`t care about that stuff.
And so as NYU professor Jay Rosen said, the plan is to default on public problem solving, to not actually solve either the public health problem or the economic problem, but rather to convince people that both have been solved, even though of course they haven`t.
It will be a propaganda and disinformation campaign to make people think that things are great, as the death toll goes up and up and up, and the economy sinks to near Great Depression era levels.
We`ve seen all this from the beginning of this crisis, this approach. Two months ago, they said the virus is going to just go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Now the virus that we`re talking about having to do -- you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat.
You have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.
It`s going to disappear. One day, it`s like a miracle, it will disappear.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The risk of contracting the Coronavirus to the American public remains low.
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: We have contained this. We have contained this. I won`t say airtight, but pretty close to airtight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Not airtight, but pretty close to airtight.
Now we`re hearing basically the exact same kind of nonsensical propaganda, gaslighting, but this time with the economy, that we`ve defeated the virus, the economy is opening up and everything is going to be great.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have we reached the bottom of the unemployment picture? Is April as bad as it`s going to get?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think we are transitioning out, Stewart (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are looking towards reopening, and I think when you see that, it is a turning point. I don`t think that`s an unfair word to use, or it`s not unrealistic to hope this is a turning point.
TRUMP: I see the light at the end of the tunnel very strongly. This demand is going to be incredible. I think next year is going to be an incredible year for our economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP0
HAYES: This is how they`ve treated, this is how Trump has treated and the people that work for him, every single governing challenge they`ve faced: they just lie about it, every time, from the -- remember the Sharpied map of the hurricane to the perfect phone call with Ukraine to I never met any of these women to the Mueller report completely exonerates me. It`s always the strategy.
And to a certain extent, it has always kind of worked for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Just remember what you`re seeing and what you`re reading is not what`s happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`ve seen the president and his administration do this over and over, what you`re seeing, what you`re reading is not happening, and now they are going to try to lie their way through the worst disaster to befall this country in maybe a century.
HAYES: The disinformation that`s being spread on the Coronavirus and COVID- 19 is having a devastating effect on hospitals across the country. A doctor here in New York telling NBC News that dealing with conspiracy theories is the second most painful thing I`ve had to deal with other than separation of families from their loved one.
The doctor has now stopped engaging with the trolls on Facebook, some of whom claim the hospitals are empty and the virus was part of a plot to vaccinate or microchip U.S.
Other medical professionals are calling on social media companies to do more to stop the disinformation from spreading, quote, I do think it`s a monumental task to hold these companies to account, but in the COVID case, they truly have blood on their hands.
NBC reporter who wrote about all this, Ben Collins joins me now. Ben, what motivated you to do this peace?
BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS: A guy reached out to me and said I am having a hard time dealing with this, frankly. This doctor came to me and said in very blunt terms frankly, like I don`t know how to deal with this. He was in an argument with a guy on Facebook, or several people on Facebook, who told him he wasn`t a real doctor, that the hospitals were empty. And he said, you know, I have 200 people in my ICU. This is happening.
And then he went outside and he the heard at 7:00 that we all hear everyday in New York City. And he just broke down and cried, because he didn`t know what reality was at this point. He just didn`t know. He had no real idea. And that`s the larger problem here is that we have this, you know, we have these systems set up that reward these bad guys going after these doctors. There`s no real way to stop this, because the bad guys have rigged the system to make it so those messages that they use to push things like supplements or just political messages, those go to the top, those go to the doctors when they go home from these tough shifts, and they don`t see all of the rewards you would traditionally see, because you know Facebook and Twitter and YouTube, they reward engagement and they reward hostility.
HAYES: And so what they`re rewarding right now are insane, baseless, conspiracy theories that have sort of taken root that, you know, doctors coming home from watching their patients die, trying to fight the disease, and coming home to social media and sometimes like family members or friends or people they know telling them that the whole thing was some, you know, plot by Bill Gates to, you know, I don`t know, implant chips in people or depopulate the world or whatever nonsense is going on, but those are -- those are high ranking engagement stories across Facebook and other platforms.
COLLINS: Yeah, look, this makes sense, right. We are in a time of chaos, basically. We are in a time where people`s trust in institutions and various different things has gone away, and their livelihoods have changed, the way they lived their lives have changed.
So, instead of embracing that ambiguity and looking for answer that are realistic, they go to the easy ones, they go to the simple ones. And the simple ones are things they can see.
So, you know, if you talk to conspiracy theory researchers, they call conspiracy theorists the last believers in an ordered universe. They always try to look for boogiemen. They always look for someone like Bill Gates, who everyone knows, right. Everyone knows Bill Gates. And if they can say he did this and everyone can point to him and say if we get rid of Bill Gates and then everything is fixed, everything is -- you know, all of this is over, all of this staying at home is over.
But it doesn`t really work like that. We know this. This is a lot more complicated than just Bill Gates doing something or a 5G tower doing something. And that`s the scary part is that these bad guys, these traditional conspiracy theorists who are preying on these people at home on Facebook and YouTube all day, they are creating these small armies. And the people in the small armies don`t know, but they are really hurting these doctors.
HAYES: Well, and there`s -- I mean, there are real public health effects here, right. And I mean, there`s a responsibility for the platforms. There`s this letter of dozens of doctors have signed on to, an open letter calling on Facebook and Instagram, YouTube and Twitter to detox the algorithms that decide what people say and correct the record on health misinformation.
I mean, how have these -- how have these platforms approach this, how have they dealt with this.
COLLINS: You know, they have taken some steps. And, you know, the problem we see over and over again is these things go viral and then they sort of reign it back in.
Today there was a video on YouTube or Facebook, and if you have some -- if you have someone in your life who is chronically addicted to YouTube or has like Facebook brain I think is the technical term for it, they will have seen this thing called Plandemic, which is this awful YouTube video saying don`t wear your mask, it gives you Coronavirus. It`s just terrible stuff that you really, it isn`t possible to be true, I know.
And the issue is that this stuff goes viral first and then they correct it. What we need to actor-based enforcement, people who -- none of these people that are pushing that video are new here, right. They are people who are constants in these anti-vax communities. They have been here for years and years. They are just packaging this stuff together for the first time (inaudible) Coronavirus theme. And since it goes around that Coronavirus and it feels news (inaudible) and then they can push it on Facebook and YouTube.
HAYES: Ben Collins, who did some great reporting on this for us, and has been following this story throughout. Thank you so much.
We have an update tonight on the story we spoke here with Stacey Abrams about last night. There are arrests now in the shocking killing of a 25- year-old black man in Georgia named Ahmaud Arbery by two white men in pick- up truck with guns. The Arbery family says Ahmaud was simply out jogging. The two men, a father and son, claimed he fit the description of a suspect in a string of robberies and went after him to make a citizens arrest, a struggle ensued and Ahmaud Arbery was shot dead in the street. Two prosecutors recused themselves, because of their professional ties to one of the men who shot Ahmaud.
Yesterday, a third prosecutor recommended the case to a grand jury. Well, tonight, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has announced that those two men were arrested. They were both charged with murder and aggravated assault and were taken into custody and will be booked in the Glynn County jail.
Coming up, the president escalates his personal vendetta against the U.S. Postal Service, installing a Republican donor atop the already struggling institution. That story next.
HAYES: The U.S. Post Office is one of the oldest institutions we have in this country, it`s even written into the constitution, just after punishment for counterfeiting and before the armed forces. It is an entire article ahead of the presidency.
But now, President Donald Trump says, forget the constitution and maybe let the post office die.
One Wednesday, a top donor to the president, a guy who is the finance chair for this year`s Republican national convention was named as the head of the Postal Service, so a Trump ally is going to run the organization that Trump is very clearly out to destroy. And it seems pretty clear that Trump`s animus is largely motivated by anger towards the CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos, because Amazon currently has a deal with the post office to deliver its packages, and the president`s beef is not specifically with Amazon, no, Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post, a paper that writes articles about the president he dislikes, and so it looks like Donald Trump is prepared to, wants to kill one of the oldest institutions in this country for revenge against the free press.
Joining me now on this, Dave Dayen, executive editor of the American Prospect earlier this week he wrote about how a key resignation could ease the president`s politically motivated war on the Postal Service.
Dave, let`s, I guess start with who is this individual that is now going to be the Postmaster General of the U.S.?
DAVE DAYEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yes. His name is Louis DeJoy. As you mentioned, he`s the current largest fundraiser on the Republican National Convention. His wife is the nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Canada and he`s a large Trump donor, so I mean this is functionally equivalent to putting Trump himself, pretty much, in the position of running this enormous government agency.
HAYES: So, you`ve got him running the agency. There`s also the president`s longstanding animus towards it.
And it`s been quite explicit. I mean, to a degree that`s really kind of shocking. I mean, basically he bangs on about The Washington Post and calls them the Amazon Washington Post. And then he bangs on about the Post Office having to deal with Amazon, and it doesn`t -- like, it`s not hard to add two plus two up to four, which is that he wants to screw the Post Office because he doesn`t like the fact they work with Jeff Bezos who owns The Washington Post.
DAYEN: Yeah, and the real irony here is that if you do damage the Post Office, that`s not going to hurt Jeff Bezos. I mean, Amazon now ships their own packages about 50 percent of the time, and crushing the Post Office is really going to up the game, both the logistics operation at Amazon, and also FedEx and UPS.
So, the only people that this will hurt are the hundreds of thousands of employees at the U.S. Postal Service. We`re not just talking about some government agency, this is the second largest employer in the United States. And to, you know, threaten their very livelihoods over just this vendetta that you have that you don`t really understand, because what you want to do isn`t really going to affect the animus that you have is really just abominable.
HAYES: So, we should also say, and you noted this, that the right has had it out for the Post Office for awhile, right. And the sort of structure of it has been changed over time. There was congressional legislation that required them to prefund their pension liabilities in a way that basically no one else has to, which has created an enormous burden on their balance sheet.
What is their current financial situation, because my understanding is that they are in desperate, desperate dire straits.
DAYEN: They`re definitely in trouble. And what you mentioned, the pre- funding requirement, literally having to pay for, or set aside money for the workers that haven`t even been born yet that will be coming in 75 years down the road is the primary reason, prior to the pandemic.
During the pandemic, although package deliveries increased, direct mail and all kinds of mail has gone way, way down. So, the postal service initially asked for, I believe it was $89 billion. They got a $10 billion addition to their line of credit through -- this was in the CARES Act. And the Treasury Department is actually using this right now as leverage -- this is why the vice chair, David Williams, resigned because he saw Treasury meddling in the affairs of the postal service, using this $10 billion line of credit as bait, basically, to get whatever policy decisions they wanted out of the postal service.
HAYES: Wait, say more about that, because that`s in the subject in your reporting.
DAYEN: Yeah, so Williams resigned. My sources tell me that he didn`t want to participate in what was essentially a fraud. The Treasury Department was dangling this $10 billion and saying you`ve got to do union concessions. You have to obviously raise package delivery rates on Amazon. You have to install certain people in charge of the postal service. And we see the result of that today with Louis DeJoy, this Trump donor being put in charge.
So, that is my understanding why David Williams resigned. And he didn`t want to participate...
HAYES: So, you`ve got a situation where Treasury has this $10 billion line of credit. They`re in desperate financial straits. And Mnuchin`s Treasury Department is using that as a kind of -- as leverage to get the USPS to do the kinds of things that are the focus of the president`s vendetta, including we have this political head who has now been put in charge of USPS as we come into an election, we should note, in which it may be extremely vital that we have mail-in voting, right?
I mean, we saw what happened in Wisconsin. There`s a lot of fear about what happens in the fall, particularly if we have a second wave. Like there is a fundamental Democratic role for the USPS to play here that could be more important than ever.
DAYEN: As you say, there`s a fundamental democratic even if we weren`t doing an all mail election. Your sample ballots come through the mail, your registration information comes through the mail. The postal service finds out your address and forwards that information on to election officials.
So, even if there wasn`t any pandemic, even if we were safe to go to the polling place, the postal service would have a huge role in elections. And if it`s damaged fundamentally that could be a suppression tactic on the part of, you know, forces who want fewer people to vote.
HAYES: This story -- I mean, we`re going to come back to this and also talk more in the future about the president`s feud with Amazon and a contract for the Department of Defense, but just on its face the president going after this institution out of a vendetta against the free press`s reporting on him, it`s such a shocking abuse of power just on its face what we know. and then the more you learn, the worse it gets. Dave Dayen, whose been doing great reporting for the American Prospect on it, thank you so much.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END