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COVID pandemic TRANSCRIPT: 5/27/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes

Guests: Craig Spencer, Ed Yong, Marc Elias, Matt Yglesias

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hopefully, the weather will be in the astronauts` favor. And thank you for being with us. Don`t go anywhere. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes is up next.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. 100,000 Americans are gone and the crisis is not over. New surges around the country and a president just ready to move on.

Tonight Dr. Craig Spencer has been in the emergency room for all of it, bears witness. And the Atlantic`s Ed Yong on why the patchwork response is so crippling.

Then, the very real and very dangerous attack on your right to vote. Renowned election lawyer Marc Elias on what can be done to protect democracy from Donald Trump.

Plus, what the pandemic exposes about America in 2020, and why some protests are met with tear gas and others with restraint. Joy Reid will be my guest.

And the Joe Biden platform, after all that Dem civil war stuff, is his campaign the most progressive in modern history? Matt Yglesias from Vox is here to make the case when "ALL IN" starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. If you went back to the beginning of this year 2020, and as the ball was dropping, you predicted we would have had a once in a century pandemic that would shut down virtually the entire economy, put half the world under lockdown, kill more than 100,000 Americans and be the leading cause of mortality for weeks at a time. All of it, every last part of it would have seemed incomprehensible.

And this is where we are, 100,000 Americans have died, yet the only real nod the President has made any kind of warning or empathy for the fallen is to lower flags at federal buildings and monuments to have staff for three days. And now they`re back up. Now they`re back up. He`s bored with dealing with the virus. He`s moving on. He wants us to move on too.

The President is mad at the virus for screwing up his reelection which has been obvious and clear from the moment this all started in his public pronouncements. But a source telling Vanity Fair that Trump was in a rage last week about how the virus had affected him. "He was saying, this is so unfair to me. Everything was going great. We were cruising to reelection."

And again, it has been clear and it`s publicly pronounced, this is how he has been thinking about it, that he is the victim here. 100,000 dead, it`s unfair to him, which is why he wants to move on. And that is why his Twitter feed is now just an otter self-parody of idiotic B.S. and lies instead of sorrow.

It`s why he said the U.S. will be reopening vaccine or no vaccine. It`s why he is conducting himself as if none of this happened, as if we were transported back in that time machine to the first day of the year as if it were a year ago before the pandemic hit. I mean, if there is any strategy behind this, I suspect there`s not a lot of it, but if there is, the idea is to send the message that it`s done now, it`s over. Let`s stop talking about this. It`s time to get back out there.

But it is not over. Nationally, we appear in the aggregate to be in the decline phase of the first wave, which is cautiously good news. But this virus, this disease has already killed an incomprehensible number of Americans. Everyone is sort of struggling how to communicate in the nation`s front pages attempting to convey the scale of the horror.

But Donald Trump cannot grasp this. We know this about him. It has been clear for the totality of his public life. And so today, it was left to Joe Biden to deliver a national eulogy marking the lives of those that we have lost.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To all of you who are hurting so badly, I`m so sorry for your loss. I know there`s nothing I or anyone else can say or do to dull the sharpness of the pain you feel right now. But I can promise you from experience, the day will come when the memory of your loved one will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes.

My prayer for all of you is that they will come sooner rather than later. But I promise you it will come. And when it does, you know you can make it. God bless each and every one of you and the blessing memory of the one you lost. This nation grieves with you. Take some solace from the fact that we all grieve with you.


HAYES: We all agree with you. just some simple straightforward common human decency. The pandemic is not gone. People are still dying, the virus is still raging in places like nursing homes and meatpacking plants and into apartment buildings. In my home borough of the Bronx, a complex I remember from my youth, a chess tournament I played there once, that places become known as the death towers where there is talk that as many as 100 residents have been sickened by the virus there.

And in some places, this is important, the virus is now surging. This is how things look in Alabama. What you saw is its largest single-day increase in cases. In the city of Montgomery, Dr. Lisa Williams says "Our ICU beds are full. We`ve been having a lot of overflowing the ICU. It is overwhelming."

Another Alabama doctor Michael Sag warns that it is difficult to convince people the virus is still here. "I do not think there`s any appetite among the general population nor of our political leaders to do much more about it."

But Alabama is not alone. North Carolina just hit a new high of coronavirus hospitalizations. 702 people in the state`s hospitals with the virus. The number of coronavirus patients at Sioux City, Iowa`s hospitals reached new daily high. Mississippi just reported its highest weekly average of cases.

I`m afraid that this is what the new normal looks like. And now as a country, while we are mourning our dead and continue to fight the virus, we continue this late into it, to have all these very complicated problems thrust upon each and every one of us at all levels of American life and society and governance.

How do we put the public health infrastructure in place to keep people safe? How do we go back to work and school? Is summer camp a possibility? What should we do about that? How do we visit elderly relatives who we desperately miss and love and want to hug but we won`t want to get sick?

And while we`re trying to figure all this out, all of us everyone together, do you know what the President is doing? The President is tweeting about the stock market and other nonsense and saying the state should open up ASAP. He is so removed from what this thing is, what it has done to families and neighborhoods, and those two buildings in the Bronx and hospital systems, what it`s doing now in Montgomery, Alabama, right now, what it threatens to do, again, to all of us. It`s the same virus. It`s still out there.

In just a few minutes I`m going to talk to Dr. Craig Spencer who worked with AJPlus to put out this incredible animated video showing one day in his life as an E.R. doctor in New York City treating the coronavirus. This is what the President refuses to see.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They aren`t here to say goodbye when they asked withdraw treatment. We FaceTime so they can say goodbye. We stopped the drips, turn off the ventilator, and wait. Your hands upon theirs. You think of their family at home sobbing. Someone starts saying a prayer. You can`t help but cry. This isn`t what we do. You stand by, you wait. Time of death: 7:19 p.m.


HAYES: Here`s the paradox of this moment. I keep coming back to it. The only way that we can get to something that looks like normal, which we all desperately want. We want to be back in a society where you can have parties and hug your loved ones and, and go to work. The only way we can go back to something that looks like normal is if we remind ourselves that it`s not normal. If we remain vigilant and remind ourselves that things have changed. That`s the only way we`re getting back to normal.

The biggest risk to stop us from getting to some kind of semblance of normal is to think that everything is normal. We can only have something that looks like our normal eyes if we change and we adapt and we recognize how things have changed. If we are vigilant now, if we think we are magically just going back to our former lives to the before times before the virus, then that is a thing that will most likely lead us to disaster.

Here with me now as someone who lives and understands reality what this virus is doing to people, to our medical system, Dr. Craig Spencer, emergency room physician, Director of Global Health and Emergency Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Spencer, we`ve had you on before. That video really brought me up short. And I wondered if you could just talk a little bit about what the human experience of going through this in a hospital E.R. has been like.

CRAIG SPENCER, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: I`ve watched that video so many times. I was part of making that video. And so, every single time that I see it, it almost brings tears to my eyes. I remember the patient and the family like it was yesterday, and it was about a month and a half ago. Look, we all want to move on to some semblance of normal, but this happens so many times, so many times every shift that we went to work, so many patients and families that we called over FaceTime so that they could say goodbye.

I don`t think any of my colleagues are ever going to be able to get back to normal. This was something that we didn`t do on a daily basis. This was so hard and so impactful for all of us and for families who weren`t there to say goodbye. So yes, it`s so just really heavy.

I mean things thankfully have improved. We don`t have the same case numbers, but I`m also afraid like you that everyone is comparing what`s happening in Mississippi or Alabama to what we saw here in New York City. And the scale hopefully will never be the same.

But it doesn`t have to be as bad as New York or half as bad or as 10th as bad to be really, really, really bad. And I hope that no one has to experience what we experienced and what I tried showing in that video.

HAYES: You know, that -- you identify something that I think is -- it puts a finger on a kind of slipperiness in what our policy goals are here. And I think that there`s one light -- one way of thinking about this is can we go back to normal and avoid another New York City style meltdown? And I think the answer to that is different than the answer of how much can we go back to normal and spare needless death and mayhem to local hospital systems. Those might be two very different answers.

SPENCER: Yes. Well, I think the answer to both of those and really the approachable for them is bread and butter public health. The way that we need to be approaching this is -- and I hear a lot of discussion around how we`re going to have a peak or a plateau, what`s going to happen later this year.

We don`t know how many cases it`s going to be, but there`s going to be more cases. We`re going to see this more in New York City and all throughout the country. We`re seeing hotspots emerge everywhere. It may be in the south now, it may be in the west, it may be back in the northeast over the summer, over the fall of the winter.

We`re going to see this again, in great numbers. We just need to be prepared. We have the tools, we know what we need to do. We missed our opportunity the first time around. We need to take advantage of it now.

HAYES: You`re describing that -- I mean, the psychology here, which I understand the psychology because I feel that it`s tug on me as well, which is this sort of unprecedented thing happening in most people`s lifespan, right, this this this global pandemic, we watch it sort of come to our shores. It goes to China, it goes through Italy. There`s this you know, crazy society-wide reaction, correct, right, to sort of shelter in place and to hunker down and kind of like, you know, get through that first wave. And there is this feeling of like, OK, well, that`s receding now.

And what I`m hearing from you is like the psychology of like, it`s not gone anywhere. Like, how do we -- how do you think about it? What is your mental posture towards the fact that this thing is still out there?

SPENCER: I think about it every day when I`m outside. It may not be outside in the same places in the same exact numbers, but we know that it`s slipping around this country. We see images of people at the Ozarks completely, you know, not respecting social distancing at all, thinking that this is a disease of the elderly, when in fact people have intubated have been in their 30s. We`ve seen people die in their 40s and 50s, normally, you know, healthy people.

I understand that people are fatigued with staying inside especially as it`s getting really beautiful. Memorial Day, it means so much, traveling, vacation, some sense of normalcy. We need to base these decisions to open up on public health principles on good bread and butter public health, contact tracing isolation, the things that we should have been doing all along but don`t have the tools or didn`t develop the tools to do.

If we don`t take that approach now, we will continue to see this virus. It will continue to infect us. It will continue to circulate amongst us, and we will have more dots for the next few months, and really until we have some other therapeutic or some vaccine to prevent such massive spread.

HAYES: Dr. Craig Spencer, you`ve been an incredible voice throughout all of us. And I want to thank you both for your time tonight and for all the amazing work that you and all your colleagues have been doing and do every day. Thank you.

SPENCER: Thank you very much.

HAYES: I want to turn out to Ed Yong, a staff writer at the Atlantic covering science who recently wrote about how America`s patchwork pandemic is fraying further. This is a great piece that kind of captured some of the strangeness of talking about the virus in the U.S. because it`s an enormous country. The virus travels and has outbreaks in intensely localized places, and we have an enormous patchwork of policy. What does this all add up to ultimately?

ED YONG, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: I think it adds up to chaos. And I think it adds up to a very difficult crisis for people to get their heads around. We`ve already talked about how cases are spiking in parts of the country like Alabama, where as they`re going down, and others like New York.

We`re seeing massive differences in how well different states are prepared for the pandemic in terms of testing, in terms of contact tracing, and all of that is a result of the negligence, the Federal negligence of coordinating a solid response to the virus and instead of letting the states do their own thing.

And I think because of that, it`s really hard to predict what the next few months are going to bring. Are we going to get a lull before a second peak or are we never really going to get out of this first wave?

HAYES: Yes. That is the -- that is precisely the sort of concrete prediction that we`re all sort of desperate to get. There`s also -- you know, it`s also hard to communicate -- I mean, across the sort of vast channels of American life.

You know, in New York City, you know, where I`m born and raised and grew up and have friends and family that I love and reading that story about that those towers in the Bronx, I mean, the virus killed one out of every 500 people in that city, and possibly more once it`s all touted. I mean, that`s, it`s shocking to conceive of that when you look and think about. And then of course, there are places huge swaths of the country that -- where the fatality rate is it`s lower than motorcycle crashes. And I understand why people who are in the parts of the country where it`s lower than motorcycle crashes are having a harder time subjectively relating to the danger of it than say people in New York City.

YONG: I also totally understand that especially when there`s so much misinformation and active disinformation circulating around the virus. But I think people need to recognize that a pandemic of this kind was always going to take its time to move across the country. And so, there`s no reason why suburbs or rural areas should think that they will go -- they are going to be spared.

It might take more time to reach them, but it will reach them. Likewise, it will also hit areas that have already been hit, and that have lowered their guard. And I think we`re going to see that very dynamic shifting patchwork over time.

And like you say, it does make it hard to maintain the kind of persistent weariness that we need across the country when you see people who are out and about at all parties while you`re still confined at home. It does somewhat erode your -- the one`s willingness to continue doing the kind of measures that are necessary to reduce transmission across the board.

HAYES: Final question for you, and you your piece and your writing throughout this which has been incredible has touched on this, which is there just also remain -- you know, we -- the sort of world -- a lot of the countries in the world have gotten through what looked like first waves, even the extremely hard-hit places like Italy, and Northern Italy, Spain, and the like. They`re just as we take stock, there just remain a lot of open questions right, about what comes next and why some places got hit as hard as they did and why in some places, it seems the case fatality rates are so high. And all of that uncertainty now hangs over the US, which is its own kind of, you know, the way we`re doing it federated agglomeration of states and state policy.

YONG: Yes, I agree. And it`s really important for everyone to remember that there are so many different factors that go into success or failure. Reopening is just one of them. There`s also things like the age structure of a population, the quality of medical care, all of these things, so it`s really easy to draw the wrong lesson by comparing across states or across countries.

I think one lesson for the U.S. which is very clear to me is that the country`s long history of pushing medical care away from marginalized communities, away from black and brown communities is coming to roost now. We`re seeing that people in minority and indigenous groups are seeing much higher rates of infection and deaths from COVID-19. And that is contributing to the patchwork effect that we`ve talked about.

And I argue in my piece that we are not going to see the end of the pandemic unless we make specific efforts to support the health of the most marginalized and the most vulnerable people among us. Until all of us are safe, none of us are safe.

HAYES: That is a great way of thinking about it. Ed Yong of the Atlantic -- the Atlantic has been doing a really wonderful coverage of COVID throughout, and I look forward to reading them every day. Thank you, Ed.

YONG: Thank you.

HAYES: Still ahead, the President`s assault on democracy in the midst of a pandemic, his dangerous attempts to sabotage free and fair elections in this country after this.


HAYES: The President is increasingly both in person and on Twitter doing his very best to sabotage the administration of free and fair elections in the United States in the midst of a pandemic. He`s spreading lies and misinformation about absentee balloting. In fact, his lies got so egregious Twitter upended a meek little fact check link underneath his tweets, which led to a whole round of conservatives decrying Twitter. The president has freaked out about it.

But important to realize Twitter is not the issue here, OK. The President apparently hopes that he can pressure states into not offering absentee mail-in voting so that those states end up in the truly twisted position that Wisconsin voters were put in last month, you will recall, in which they had to risk getting sick by voting in person in the midst of a pandemic or just not voting at all because they couldn`t get an absentee ballot and time.

And even though that particular disgusting spectacle backfired on Republicans and the Republican candidate lost, Donald Trump seems more devoted than ever to making that the national norm this fall, his strategy. And so now it is basically going to take a 50-state effort state by state, court by court, secretary of state by secretary of state to make sure everyone in this country, Republican or Democrat, can safely vote in the election this November without risking their health.

Joining me now to talk about this is Marc Elias. He`s one of the top Democratic election lawyers in the country. He`s currently involved in numerous voting rights lawsuits. First, let`s start with -- I mean, I don`t want to have you like rebut the nonsense the President`s been saying but just the general effect of the President of the United States essentially trying to undermine the legitimacy and the veracity of an entire state`s voting systems.

MARC ELIAS, DEMOCRATIC ELECTION LAWYER: It`s awful, Chris, because, you know, when the President speaks, even this president, it matters. And when you have the President of the United States day after day after day repeating lies about voting and about vote by mail, it has an impact. But you know, that`s what we`ve come to expect from this president.

Remember, even after he won in his last election, he concocted a lie that he lost the popular vote due to illegal voting.

HAYES: So now, I mean, the ones sort of saving grace, I suppose here, is that he can tweet and he could talk about it, but this doesn`t actually have a ton of power over this. These are largely state decisions. What is your -- what is the lay of the land right now from your view? And I know you`re involved in litigation in a bunch of places about the degree to which states are preparing, have no excuse absentee in place and are able to have the capacity to implement it at scale.

ELIAS: So three things. The first is the fact that he doesn`t have the power directly isn`t -- doesn`t mean that he can`t, through the bully pulpit and through influencing what Republicans do at the state local level, have negative consequences on the election. There was no question. If Donald Trump had told the Republicans in Wisconsin, you know, cut out the nonsense and let`s make sure that there is an orderly election, there would have been. But Donald Trump has sent the opposite message.

So against that backdrop, you have states doing the best they can dealing with the burden of a system in many states that has not built for large surges of vote by mail. And now having to deal with that in the middle of a pandemic while the Postal Service is not fully funded and the President of the United States rails and excuse lies about vote by mail.

HAYES: So yes. An important distinction here, Emily Bazelon pointed this out that there`s a distinction between whether a state offers no excuse vote by mail, right, under the state`s laws. That you don`t -- that basically you just request an absentee ballot. You don`t have to like, get it notarized and state your reason.

And that`s true in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona that have laws on the books that give voters that right. There`s a difference between that and are you prepared to run an election like Arizona where 80 percent of people are going to vote by mail. And that`s a pretty big gap, right?

ELIAS: Yes. So you have kind of three buckets right? You have Washington, Oregon, Utah, a nice red state, Colorado, Hawaii that run an all-mail election. So essentially everybody proactively gets a male. Then as you point out, you have states that have large numbers or predominantly male voting.

And then you have lots and lots of states, like Michigan will, like Pennsylvania will, like you mentioned, which historically have relatively low rates of vote by mail, but which we`re going to see a surge. So you may have gone from a state that had a three to five percent vote by mail rate, and now that state will have 25 or 30 percent vote by mail.

And so each of those face different sets of challenges. Oddly, the states in that first category, because they`re already used to running all-mail elections, are actually the best prepared. It`s the states that are going to see the surge that we worry the most about.

HAYES: Right. And we have seen the Department of Justice get involved here, this case in Alabama in which there`s a challenge over a requirement that people have a witness essentially to say why they`re -- they need an absentee voting and the DOJ filing in defense of that law against the challenge, which says something to me about what William Barr`s Justice Department is going to be willing to do as you see a bunch of fights over access to absentee balloting in these states.

ELIAS: Yes. So a couple of things. First of all, if we had any doubt about what the Republicans are going to be willing to do, look at what they did in Wisconsin when the only thing they were fighting over was a state judicial election. They were willing to make people wait in line and vote in the middle of a pandemic and risk their lives in order to try to win a state judicial election. Just imagine what they`ll do for November.

And with respect to the Attorney General. You know, the Voting Rights Act gave the Department of Justice the right to file a brief to make sure that states were not impinging on voting rights. And it is disgusting and disgraceful that this Department of Justice has the audacity of sending its civil rights division to a federal court in Alabama to side with the state of Alabama against the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. And Sherrilyn Ifill did a good work that they`re doing to try to give people the opportunity to vote by mail in the middle of a pandemic without having to find a witness.

That`s just an abuse of what this power the DOJ had was intended to do, which was to step in to curb states. Instead, here it`s being used to combat civil rights.

HAYES: Yes. The DOJ using the Voting Rights Division to go into the state of Alabama to side with the Alabama State Government, as it tries to make voting harder for the people of Alabama is not the way it`s supposed to work. Marc Elias who has been doing work on the trenches and will be very active, and we`d love to get you back to keep telling us updates on this. Thanks a lot.

ELIAS: I`d love to come back. Thanks.

HAYES: Great. Next, Joy Reid on the death of George Floyd at the hands of police and what this moment and the protest surrounding it lays bare about the inequities in America. She joins me next.


HAYES: Over the past several weeks, we have all gotten used to these scenes of protesters against physical distancing, against public health measures, gathering in cities across the country often armed with long guns.

We`ve seen the incredible, at times really almost unbelievable forbearance of police officers amidst a pandemic, as these people, these protesters, shout and berate and menace like they did here in the Minnesota capital just last month.

But, you know, it was a very different situation in the Twin Cities last night where a very different group of people, many of whom wore masks, tried to physically distance, flooded the streets to protest the death of a 46-year-old black man named George Floyd.

On Monday, Floyd was detained by police in Minneapolis on suspicion of passing a fake $20 bill, that was the infraction he was suspected of. An officer kneeled on his neck as Floyd said repeatedly, I can`t breathe. Floyd had no pulse when he was in an ambulance. He died soon after at a local hospital.

Four Minneapolis officers, including the one you see there, were fired within 24 hours for their involvement in the incident. And last night, this is how the protest of Floyd`s death ended up, police in riot gear flooding the streets with tear gas and shooting rubber bullets into the crowd. Huh.

Another example of how this pandemic has been a kind of black light, exposing all the inequalities in American life.

For more on that, I`m joined by Joy Reid, host of MSNBC`s AM Joy, who will be hosting a special this Sunday on poverty in the pandemic, talking with vulnerable groups about how they are being impacted during this crisis.

And, Joy, I imagine you had the same thoughts I did watching that, because we have gotten so accustomed to just insane, almost incomprehensible levels of police restraint, in the face of extremely menacing and provocative protests. To see that protest in that way last night really drove home the point.

JOY REID, MSNBC: Yeah, I mean, you were in Ferguson. You covered that. I was in Baltimore and covered that. The excessive use of force. I mean, first time I ever saw a tank in real life, right, was in Baltimore where citizens were protesting the death of a black man at the hands of police.

I mean, you know, I think this is consumed -- I think everyone black I know -- is completely consumed -- really everyone I know -- is just consumed with this, all of these deaths, right? And so I was trying to think how coherently to talk about it, you know, and the way it feels to me is that we`re watching played out the way that Europeans came to this country to get away from being subjects of the kings in Europe, but what they did was they created for themselves sort of a kingdom, every man a king, but the subjects are black people, black and brown people and indigenous people, the rest of us are subjects, and that is whether or not it`s Amy Cooper versus Christian Cooper.

Amy Cooper, citizen, Christian Cooper subject. So that she feels she had this inherent power to make him tell her, you know, to -- for her to, you know -- she has to decide what he can do. He can`t have his own decision, she makes those decisions. She can use the police to enforce her rule over him.

And in the subject of Mr. Floyd, he was not treated as a citizen. You wonder if, you know, there had been a white person and there had been a 911 call that they passed a $20 bill, would that person be dead? Likely not, right. If the police had showed up on Mr. Cooper, he would probably be in great risk, we`ll just put it that way. And we`ve seen this over and over and over again whether it`s Trayvon Martin, whether it`s Ahmaud Arbery, where regular people say, you know, I can act as the police. I can pursue you. I can chase you, even if you`re a kid, and then I can say you`re the one whose dangerous. And I can say I have a right to kill you and just do it and just do whatever I want to you.

You know, the Breonna Taylor situation, where you can be in your bed.

You are a subject, not a citizen. And that is how a lot -- that is how black people feel right now, that we are being treated as subjects and not as citizens.

And it`s the same thing with these armed white men who can get armed up and walk into a state capitol and that`s okay. And the police are benign. They don`t even act afraid. But let black people show up and protest the death of an innocent black man and suddenly, you know what, we need tear gas. We`ve got to go full force.

HAYES: Yeah, the subject/citizen line is so perfectly apt in this case, and particularly in those -- the images we did see, have seen of police in the face of these protesters where the relationship there is like constituent or citizen or okay, well, I`m here to make sure nothing goes down to make sure your constitutional right to bear arms and protest are protected, that`s my sort of sovereign duty here and that`s just not the way -- I mean, in Baltimore, and in Ferguson, and last night in Minneapolis and every other protest that I`ve ever covered against police violence, it does not go down like that.

REID: At all. I mean, Charlottesville, the same thing. The police were there to protect the people who were marching as Neo-Nazis, not to protect the black people who were being victimized by those Neo-Nazis.

This plays out over and over and over again that black people`s right to protest is secondary to white people`s right to be an armed protest with long guns, terrifying looking war weapons. That`s fine. The police are there to protect their civil rights, but for black people, it is simply subjugation, it is simply we`re there to control you. We`re there to minimize your movement, to minimize your opportunity to protest, because you simply are a subject in this country that is something that`s never been fixed.

You know, 400 some odd years later and you have not fixed it. And I have to say, even among -- even ordinary white citizens who are considered themselves good people, don`t consider themselves racist people, there is still way too often that same attitude that if I see you in my building, I have the right to say why are you here? Do you belong here? Do you want to show me some identification? You have to, or I`m going to use my power of this, I`m going to call 911 and enforce my power over you, and that is just ordinary people in Central Park, that is what is so scary about this country.

HAYES: And all of this -- I mean, this is one way in which state force cuts along these lines, but one of the things we`ve seen in the pandemic is that all kinds of institutions have cut along these lines. I mean, whether it`s the way that people in rental housing are being treated, whether it`s the of the things we`ve seen in the pandemic is that all kinds of institutions have cut along these lines.

I mean, whether it`s the way that people in rental housing are being treated, whether it`s the actual health disparities. You have a special this weekend, specifically looking at that, right, about the ways in which those disparities have been thrown open in the midst of the pandemic.

REID: Well, here is what is ironic -- and by the way, I`ll throw in one more thing, which is that these white protesters who say you don`t have the right to tell me that I have to wear a mask or that I can`t be out at the beach. I have the right -- I`m a citizen, right. So, it even plays in with COVID -- you can`t police me, I police you.

But on the subject of poverty, here is what is ironic. For white people, for white citizens, they actually aren`t doing all that much better economically. The average person who is poor is white, not black. It is rural poor white people who are in the exact same position as poor African- Americans, as poor indigenous people, as people who are in those meat packing plants.

We show poverty for what it is. What we want to do, what Bishop William Barber -- and this was his great idea, was to open up poverty and low wealth and show that the 40 million some odd Americans who are low wealth are not just black people, it`s not just black people -- it`s black people, brown people, indigenous people. And people in this country are really struggling.

So you have a lot of white Americans, quite frankly, who are fighting for people who are so far ahead of them economically, who are dragging them along the same way they are dragging people who look like me along, that is the irony of the whole thing.

HAYES: And you got The Wall Street Journal, and the president`s economic advisor, saying don`t worry, a capital gains tax holiday is coming amidst all this, which is just like too perfect to put on top of all of it.

Joy Reid, I -- it`s great to talk to you. I`ve missed you. And I`m going to watch your special. It`s American Crisis: Poverty and the Pandemic, it airs this Sunday 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on MSNBC. It`s going to be great. Thank you, Joy.

REID: Thank you so much, Chris.

HAYES: Still to come, does Joe Biden have the most progressive platform of any Democratic presidential nominee in recent memory? From minimum wage to immigration, Vox`s Matt Yglesias is here to make the case on Biden`s agenda ahead.


HAYES: Yesterday we got news about an FBI investigation into Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia. But before I get to that news, just remember the trajectory of this whole thing, right. In the middle of March, when the Coronavirus pandemic was just beginning to spike in this country, news broke about questionable stock trades made by a few U.S. senators. ProPublica reported that North Carolina Republican Richard Burr sold up to $1.7 million in stock around the time he was receiving daily briefings on the growing health threat.

They reported his biggest sales, included companies that are among the most vulnerable to an economic slowdown. All in all, the trades looked suspicious.

The next day, the Daily Beast reported that Senator Loeffler also sold up to $3.1 million in stock after a Coronavirus briefing. She also purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars in Citrix and Oracle stock, two companies that specialize in digital work environments, also pretty sketchy seeming at least.

And there are reports about other senators` transactions, but when you scratch the surface, they didn`t look as serious.

So, Loeffler and Burr really seemed like a category of their own. They also seemed like they might be the focus of actual federal criminal investigation. And the one big difference is that Kelly Loeffler, though she was not President Trump`s first choice to be appointed to senator, has been doing everything in her power to endear herself to him, constantly praising him, whereas Richard Burr has sort of crossed Trump, overseeing the Senate intelligence investigation into Russian interference. He called Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner to testify. He supported the findings of the Mueller Report that Russia tried to help Trump. He was about to release the final report from his committee.

So, this sort of question hung around. Is there a difference in the way that the two Republican senators have been treated by the Justice Department?

Then we learned two new things about Kelly Loeffler, one of them is that after these stories broke, her husband, who is the CEO of a company that owns The New York Stock Exchange, knowing full well that his wife might be under investigation, gave $1 million -- $1 million -- to Trump`s Super PAC. That`s a lot of money.

And while Richard Burr gets served with a warrant and his phone is seized by the FBI, which then immediately gets leaked by the press, Loeffler says she`s been cooperating with the FBI, apparently on her own accord -- no warrant and no leaks.

All of which brings us to the latest Kelly Loeffler news, yesterday we found out that her case has been closed, along with two of the other senators I mentioned. So that`s it. We`re done here.

Not Richard Burr, however, no, no. Burr in a different category. It seems likely Burr is going to have this continue to hang over him. Maybe, who knows, it could ultimately result in criminal charges.

But Kelly Loeffler`s case has been closed by the FBI while Richard Burr is still hanging out there, even though it does seem on the surface like they did pretty similar things.

And maybe that`s how it should be. Maybe it`s all done in good faith. Maybe an investigation into Loeffler`s transactions showed there is nothing there. Maybe what Burr did was on the merits much worse and that`s why he`s still under investigation.

Or maybe Kelly Loeffler`s husband gave $1 million to Trump`s Super PAC and Trump had his Department of Justice let her go.

Normally I would not think that that`s how the way it went down, that it can`t possibly be that brazen and open and corrupt, but can you really trust William Barr`s Department of Justice to do the right thing?


HAYES: This pandemic has completely altered the presidential race, fair to say, from the coverage of the primary to when and how it actually ended. It`s also exposed Donald Trump for his weaknesses, which were already quite apparent before, but even sharper relief now. And that`s why his polling average in the RealClearPolitics average is at its worst position in a while.

After this very long hotly contested Democratic primary, there is now a tremendous amount of unity on the Democratic side, I think it`s fair to say. Joe Biden`s campaign is creating joint policy task forces with Bernie Sanders` people. And as Matt Yglesias writes in Vox, though Biden did not run an aggressively ideological primary campaign, the substance of his proposed agenda on everything from housing to education to minimum to climate change is, quote, arguably the most progressive policy platform of any Democratic nominee in history.

Joining me now, the author of that piece, Matt Yglesias, senior correspondent at Vox.

Matt, I liked the piece. You had been one of the Vox people who had sort of made the case for Sanders early in the primary when different authors were doing that. Your piece here is sort of on the substance of just what`s in the platform. Why do you say that it is possibly the most progressive agenda of a Democratic nominee that has happened so far?

MATT YGLESIAS, VOX NEWS: You know, Joe Biden is a Democratic Party lifer. He`s a very mainstream Democrat. He`s been there for a lot of years. A lot of that sort of old history came up during the primary.

But the evolution of the Democratic Party has been in a much more progressive direction over the past five, 10, 20 years, and I think that is really reflected in this platform here.

I mean the small thing is, Biden is for the $15 an hour minimum wage, right. We didn`t talk about that a lot during the primary because the candidates all agreed. but as recently as 2016, that was a very divisive issue, that was something Hillary and Bernie Sanders argued about an enormous amount and now it is like you didn`t hear it because it`s the consensus.

But it`s the consensus that actually drives what might happen in policy terms. And so you look at down the road, you know, he`s talking about doubling Pell Grants, tripling housing assistance, big, big increases for federal funding for low income schools as well as this really actually quite ambitious climate policy agenda.

And it is not that Joe Biden is the most hard core leftist in Democratic Party politics, but it is the party as a whole is a much more sort of uniformly progressive force than it was just even a few years ago.

HAYES: I remember seeing an illustration once of where he was in the sort of ranking of Democratic Senators. There`s a DW nominated as a sort of political science course, and he was like always right in the middle of the Democratic caucus throughout his career, which is a kind of impressive achievement in its own way, right. I means, you understand exactly where the kind of middle consensus position is.

I want to talk about the climate stuff, but the housing, the housing stuff caught my eye, because we don`t talk about housing policy a lot, but there been a real sea change in how people talk about it. And the housing proposal in terms of just the expansion of federal assistance in housing is quite, quite, quite large, and I think will be quite necessary in the aftermath of the economic devastation caused by the pandemic.

YGLESIAS: Yeah, exactly. So he wants to take the sort of rental assistance program that has existed for a long time, people call it Section Eight vouchers -- but right now, there is only a limited pool of money that goes in there. And so when the need for rental assistance goes up, the actual supply of assistance stays limited. He wants to make it -- they call it an entitlement structure, the same as Medicaid, or Medicare. If you qualify for help, you will be guaranteed to get the help. That would be a quadrupling of the number of people who get assistance using the 2019 data.

If you look at the economic problems we`re facing now, it would probably be even more. So that would be a huge help to many millions of low income families, also a big sort of new automatic stabilizer into the economy, right, it would assure us that when people fall on hard times, because of recessions or whatever else, they`re not at risk of eviction.

And this is an idea that it was really nowhere, but Matthew Desmond talked about his great study of evictions, and it becomes sort of more mainstream, and kind of policy wonk circles, Biden put it out right when the pandemic started to hit so it never really coasted on the news, but that would be a huge change in federal housing policy and it is something you can do in one of these budget reconciliation bills, so it might really happen, you know, it is not subject to filibuster.

HAYES: Yeah, so that -- someone who came up in housing politics -- my dad was a housing (inaudible) enormous change. It sounds like a small change, enormous change.

Finally, talk about climate. I mean, the climate agenda was impressive to me when I read it during the campaign. It was also of the things he put out, I think one of the bigger things to roll out and had a lot of good things about it as favorably compared to other folks, but now that it is the plan of the nominee, it is by far, by far the largest climate agenda that has been proposed by a Democratic nominee, although we know how large the need is.

YGLESIAS: Yeah, I mean, you know, this is a tough area, because the gap between what scientists say we need to do and what the political system makes possible is just gigantic.

But Biden`s agenda on climate is huge. You know, this is like a really long plan. There is a lot of different moving parts to it. But like the big headline target is to be carbon neutral by 2050. You know, there is a lot of money for research, there is a lot of money for specific areas. He kind of clashed with lefty environmental activists, a couple of detail points, about carbon capture, and about the potential role of nuclear energy.

But those don`t really speak to the sort of core of the climate agenda. And if you`re talking about putting a lot of money into clean energy, you are talking about real regulation on utilities, you`re talking about taking care of some of the social justice and environmental justice angles, it is really all in there. And Biden became defined in the primary by what he didn`t endorse, particularly Medicare for all. But there`s an incredible amount of stuff in here and it`s, you know, again, it is just, it`s because that`s how Democratic Party thinking has evolved.

The era of trying to reach a bipartisan deal around cap and trade is over. And so now you have this sort of much more partisan, much more progressive approach.

HAYES: Yeah. And the question -- the big question that comes, two things, one, whether those, those old habits of the way of doing politics would be to carry forward in office and of course whether you have enough Senate votes and whether you can get Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin votes for them, but the substance right there, people should definitely take a look at Matt`s Piece, also the Biden website to go through what would actually be proposed.

Matt Yglesias, thank you very much.

YGLESIAS: Thank you.

HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.