drop Flynn case TRANSCRIPT: 5/7/20, MSNBC Live: Decision 2020

Guests: Yamiche Alcindor, Lanhee Chen, Ezekiel Emanuel, Kavita Patel, George Diaz, Betsy Woodruff Swan, Dhani Jones

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Mike Cuomo was expected to be on the show tonight. He wasn`t able to join. We`ll try to have him back soon. I want give you that update.

Tomorrow night on THE BEAT, we have something very special plan that includes Fat Joe Represent. That does it for me. I`ll be back, of course at 6:00 P.M. Eastern, Keep it right here on MSNBC.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Steve Kornacki.

As President Trump continues to push for the country to begin reopening, more states are taking their own steps forward now, although they do not have clear federal guidance for it. There are now 1.2 million confirmed cases of the requires in this country. The death toll now surpasses 76,000.

There is also more testing happening now, which can account for some of that recent increase in case numbers.

43 states in total will be at least partially opened in some sectors by this weekend. This amid warnings from some that they`re doing too much and too soon. The Associated Press reports that the White House shelled the CDC document created to provide step-by-step reopening guidelines for states.

Quoting from the article here, the 17-page report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team was supposed to be published last Friday but agency scientists were told the guidance, quote, would never see the light of day.

Two administration officials told NBC News the White House has returned those documents to the CDC for revisions because, quote, the White House Coronavirus Task Force viewed the CDC`s advice as overly restrictive.

Also, today, the White House confirmed that one of President Trump`s personal valets, who works in close contact in the west wing, has tested positive for the virus. President Trump said he had little personal contact with the individual and that the valets and other White House staff wear masks, although he notably has not. The A.P. reports the president, quote, has told advisers that he believes wearing one would send the wrong message.

Meanwhile, the catastrophic economic toll of the pandemic continues to worsen. The Labor Department reported that 3.2 million more Americans have now filed first time unemployment claims, this just in the last week. And that brings the seven-week total to nearly 33.5 million people. That`s about 20 percent of the people who had jobs in February.

This comes a day before tomorrow`s monthly jobs report. It is expected, of course, to be grim with levels of unemployment not seen since the great depression.

Amid all these trouble headlines, there was another stunning development today. The Justice Department said it is dropping its case against President Trump`s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. We will have much more on that a bit later this hour.

But we begin with the mounting toll this pandemic is taking on the country, both in terms of health and in terms of the economy. And I am joined by Yamiche Alcindor, White House Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, former Obama White House Health Policy Adviser, and Lahnee Chen, fellow at the Hoover Institution. Thanks to all of you for being with us.

Yamiche, let me start with you, just in terms of what we know about the CDC guidelines that were apparently drawn up and the White House task force sending them back for revisions. What was in these guidelines that the task force and the White House itself was displeased with?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS NEWS HOUR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, the White House is looking at making this something that can be done as expeditiously as possible. I am told by White House persons that they didn`t want to be too specific because the president has been stressing that they should really be the ones that have final say on how to open up their states that we saw today, that the president and the White House is also pushing back on a local CDC official report with the way they were talking about phasing in certain things.

And the president himself has said multiple times that this needs to be done in a quicker fashion. People are eager to go back. But at the same time, he`s also said in states like Georgia, things might have gone too quickly with the governor there opening up hair salons and tattoo parlors faster than the president would have like.

KORNACKI: So we say, they have been sent back for revisions. Is the expectation that new guidelines are going to be drawn up and presented? Do we have a sense when that will be, how those look, what will be done with them?

ALCINDOR: It sound like they`re going to be done and they`re going to be released pretty imminently. But that being said, we also have to stress the fact that the White House already put out a set of guidelines with the president and some Republican governors specifically have now already been following.

So in the White House guidance that they have right now, a state is supposed to be 14 days of declining coronavirus cases before they can start reopening and going into Phase 2 and 3. What we`ve seen in states like Georgia and others is that governors aren`t waiting for that.

And the president is also not trusting, hey, you have to wait for these 14 days. Instead, he saying, well, let`s start thinking about opening up schools, let`s start thinking about opening up essential thing like restaurants and then maybe later on we can look at holding campaign rallies and concert venues and other things like that. So the president`s own guidelines that he has right now, the president isn`t following (ph).

KORNACKI: That gets to an interesting question, I think, and I think we had this whole debate a couple weeks ago, you know, can the president tell the states when to reopen, when not to reopen. Of course, we knew it was the state`s decision on this. And as he mentioned, there are all these states out there, Georgia is one of them that are moving into reopening phases, Colorado, I see California even beginning there. It seems these states are coming up with rules of their own, procedures of their own, limitations and restrictions of their own.

So when we get to this question of CDC guidelines, guidance from the administration, federal guidelines on this, do you have a sense -- are states asking for this? Are they looking for federal input or have they also made a decision that they don`t want it?

ALCINDOR: From the very beginning, we`ve heard from governors and from local officials that they want the federal government to be the place that gives them the guidelines. They also though want the federal government to be the place that gives them the testing capacity to open up their economies. That`s been one of the things that`s been back and forth since the very beginning.

And what we`ve seen the president do that, first, embrace the idea that the White House will take the lead on guidelines, take the lead on testing. And now, what we`ve seen is the president say, actually, this is not the responsibility of the federal government. State and local leaders should be the ones taking the lead of this. According to the president, we`ll say that that`s really the president trying to pass the blame to governors and others in case people get sick.

The president though is saying that that`s the Republican way, that there is a thing of separation of states and federal rights. And as a result, he wanted to request local officials. So now there are two views of the way that the president is handling this. What`s clear is that the president does not want to take federal responsibility for how testing is going or federal responsibility for how states reopen.

KORNACKI: All right. Yamiche Alcindor, thank you for that. I appreciate the time.

And seven weeks now into this pandemic and two numbers capture just how catastrophic this truly has been. There are now 1 million infected and 33 million newly unemployed in this country. And given those two realities, National Review writes this, quote, we face a serious dilemma. We don`t have enough money to stay idle, but we don`t have enough confidence in testing to go out and spend again.

And then in a Twitter thread, Ezra Klein in Vox, he warns this, quote, there is a dumb way to reopen, but also a desperate need to reopen. There are dumb risks we shouldn`t take but also conversation about acceptable risks we`re going to need to have. There are places where easing lockdown would be disastrous and places where it may be okay. The political fight over this is being driven by the most reckless voices, and that`s pushing people in extreme directions, and that`s going to make an already agonizing set of conversations and policy decisions basically impossible.

Well with that setup, Lahnee Chen, Ezekiel Emanuel, I want to bring you in because I want to have a calm and reasonable discussion with both of you about this new phase we seem to be entering here. We are seeing states that are succeeding in flattening their curves. But but we are also seeing a situation where the virus remains with us. It remains very easy to get. And we have a vaccine that`s apparently a long way off.

So this phase where the vaccine is still with us, the curves have been -- excuse me, the disease is still with us, the curves are flattened but we don`t really have a treatment or a vaccine for it, how do we function as a society?

Lahnee Chen, I want to start with you because I know this is something you have been thinking about. You`re part of a team that`s drawn out a plan here. You say you have a plan that will allow the economy to run not optimally but smoothly until we get to that place where there`s a vaccine. I want you to take us through what you`re saying you`d like to see done.

LANHEE CHEN, FELLOW; THE HOOVER INSTITUTION: Well, I think, Steve, there`s a couple of assumptions that we start from, and one of those is precisely this notion that we may not have a vaccine for some time. We may not have an acceptable therapeutic for some time.

In the absence of those things, we do need to think of ramping up contact tracing. That`s one thing, for example, that I think a lot of states here in California, that`s a big part of the effort. So we certainly think contact tracing is an important part of this.

But beyond that, as you think about the steps you need to take to get an economy reopened, one of the issues we tackle, for example, is the need to think about K through 12 schools and how those schools are going to reopen. The notion that the schools will remain completely shut as we move towards the fall is not an acceptable proposition given the fact that so many parents around the country are going to be relying on these schools to provide education for their kids, but also, frankly, child care so that they can get back into the work force.

So we take, for example, some steps around how do you figure out social distancing in the classroom, trying to expand distance learning, so it can work together with in-person learning. But we really stress the importance of those schools getting back online in the same way, we believe that it`s important that in workplaces, that maybe lower risk, where there is inherently more social distancing or with younger workforces, which are disproportionately less affected by COVID-19. Those kinds of workplaces can look to begin to reopen.

So we`re not proposing, and I don`t think anybody are really proposing let`s open everything up, but we are saying, we need to figure out the ways to step back into this economy responsibly and safely.

KORNACKI: So that point you just made there, I want to ask Dr. Emanuel about that. And you say, get low risk people back to work, back into the workforce. This data you`re talking about --let me give you an example of this. This is New York City. This is the share of deaths in New York City from the coronavirus by age group. And I think when you look at these numbers, it does become kind of start. Under 45-years-old, you`re not even talking about 4 percent of the deaths, 45 plus. You`re talking about 96 percent plus of the deaths.

So Dr. Emanuel, that`s one thing that Lanhee is talking about here, taking that group there, under 45, not all of them, but a lot of them and deeming them low risk and trying to fast track them back to work. Do you think there is something to that idea or is that too risky for you?

DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE HEALTH POLICY ADVISER: Steve, five, six weeks ago, I think, in The New York Times, I proposed that we begin phasing, think about how to phase open the economy, that, in fact, we should, you know, need more testing to do that. We need schools to reopen because kids are at lower risk. We need to do it in a responsible way.

Let`s remember, kids are at low risk but they do go home and they often go home to people, either adults or older people living in the house, people who may have co-morbid conditions so we have to do that in a smart way, not higgledy-piggledy, it does require social distancing. So you`re going to have to require bigger classrooms. You might have to shift so kids are only going to school three days a week. We`re probably not doing sports. You have to create pods. So you have to think about that.

And I`ve said the same thing about starting work. Remember, a part of what we`re have is people who can work from home, they`re going to stay working from home. There is no reason to bring them into an office especially if they can be just as productive at home and increase the risk there. But then there are other people, younger people who we will want to have work.

But, remember, not every young person is free of a comorbidity that could actually land them in some serious water. You know, if you`ve got hypertension or diabetes, so you are obese or asthma, you could have some complications.

And finally, I think, Steve, let`s remember to get an economy working, you need demand. And one of the things we have seen consistently is that the public is acting independent of what their political leaders are saying. So before the shelter-in-place orders and the public health measures and the abandonment of large gatherings, the public was cutting back. Businesses were cutting back. Demand was going down. The public is not going to rush in just because people say, oh, you can go to the tattoo parlor.

You`re not seeing a big huge number of people wanting to engage in that activity so you going to have to ensure for the public that things are safe, that risks are minimized. And that is going to require a much better testing regime than we have now. We have gone up in tests but we`ve gotten nowhere near enough. It`s got to require contact tracing and it is going to require a safe guarding those people who are particularly at risk as people 65 years and older. And that also is something we haven`t done a tremendously good job at. You still have a lot of outbreaks in places like nursing homes.

Finally, let me just say, while, predominantly, you may have older people getting sick, there are hotspots like part of our food supply, meat packing, processing plants, that collect a lot of young people and they`re still having a lot of outbreaks. So we have to be careful. Just because you are young, doesn`t mean are you immune. If are you in close contact with people, you can`t social distance, et cetera. So we are going to have to have safeguards for various parts.

Age is not a good enough marker of it`s safe to go back into the economy.

KORNACKI: All right. Well, this is the start of a conversation, I think, that we need to all start to be having here in the next few days, weeks and months. I hope that we can continue this here another night. But, Ezekiel Emanuel, Lanhee Chen, thank you for being with us. I appreciate that.

And coming up, where we stand when it comes to treatment for COVID-19, and also that question of a vaccine. A doctor who is leading a clinical trial of remdesivir is going to join me next.

Plus, the Justice Department, as we said is asking a judge to drop the case against former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. And President Trump has a lot to say about it. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If you want to get to pre-coronavirus, you know, that might not ever happen in the sense of the fact that the threat is there. But I believe with the therapies that will be coming online and with the fact that I feel confident that over a period of time, we will get a good vaccine, that we will never have to get back to where we are right back now. So if that means getting back to normal, then we`ll get back to normal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Welcome back, that was Dr. Fauci last month stressing the importance of getting to a vaccine.

Just this morning, drug maker Moderna announce that the FDA approved its vaccine for a Phase 2 trial. According to the company, quote, the trial will involve 600 participants in is a crucial step toward potential full clearance of a first batch as early as 2021.

The following early positive results, the antiviral drug remdesivir will undergo further testing as a potential treatment for the virus. The World Health Organizations says it is planning to engage the White House in helping to make the treatment more widely available if it continues to be proven effective.

And for more I am joined by a Dr. Kavita Patel, Physician Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Dr. George Diaz, Section Chief of the Infectious Diseases at Providence Regional Medical Center. He is involved in those clinical trials for remdesivir. Thank you both for being with us.

These are my favorite segments when we do them, because I am looking for signs of hope and some progress here. So let me ask you what we are finding out. Dr. Patel, let me start with you on this news of a trial moving into Phase 2 on a potential vaccine. What does that mean? What had to happen here to get to Phase 2?

DR. KAVITA PATEL, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION PHYSICIAN FELLOW: Sure. And just keep in mind that that vaccine development as you have covered before, Steve, takes years and this is actually normally what would be a linear process, so looking for a target for a vaccine entering Phase 1, then 2, then 3. All of that is kind of getting, you know, mashed together and being run in parallel.

And so looking at Phase 2 means that certainly, just to kind of make it pretty simple, that at least early on in identifying a target for a vaccine, what would the vaccine actually work against, and also thinking about safety signals, particularly in animals as well as in initial human trials, that that has been successful enough to at least signal ongoing to the next phase.

That should not be confused with, oh, we have enough data, and we`re just well along the way, although Moderna has certainly kind of at least an advantage in terms of time.

So, phase two normally would unfold as it would with other vaccines over a long period of time, built into these phases one and two, they`re -- all the drug developers and vaccine developers are looking for what we call efficacy and trying to make sure that the vaccine actually works in the population that we want it to work, which means that it protects us against the disease and doesn`t unintentionally cause disease, which we have seen in the past with polio vaccines and virtually other vaccines against other viruses and bacteria.

So, it is a complex science that I can tell you safely, Steve, around the world, you are seeing unprecedented private sector and public sector collaboration.

But the important caveat is that we have to look for not only those safety signals, but we have to take the time to make sure that we do not create more harm in developing a vaccine.

And that`s absolutely what I think the imperative is. I also worry, now that we have been talking about vaccines, once we have one, how can we make sure Americans can get access to one? But we will talk about that another day, I suppose.

KORNACKI: Sure.

And also, in addition to the vaccines, we say there is that question of developing treatments here, potentially something that could be effective before we get to a vaccine.

And, Dr. Diaz, let me bring you in on that, because this has been the drug everybody has been talking about the last couple of weeks, remdesivir, a treatment here that`s proved effective in some ways in some of the research that`s been done so far.

Take us through. We had that big news of a breakthrough in the last couple of weeks. Is this being used any more widely right now? I know it can still only be used in some limited circumstances. But is it being used anymore? And are we learning anything more about this drug and its effectiveness?

DR. GEORGE DIAZ, PROVIDENCE REGIONAL HOSPITAL: Well, I would say over the past couple of weeks, we have had some announcements from Dr. Fauci at the NIH, as well as an announcement from Gilead, on two separate clinical trials that are ongoing.

Neither one of those studies have been published yet, but hopefully will soon be published. And both showed some benefit. The study at the NIH has revealed that there`s an improvement to recovery time. And the study at Gilead appears to show that there`s an improvement in being able to be discharged from the hospital if treated early.

We have been working on a study here within our health system looking at mortality. And we have detected a an improvement in mortality as well. We have submitted this data to be peer-reviewed and published.

So -- and, for those reasons, I think that the FDA granted emergency authorization. And the manufacturer has donated over a million doses to the U.S. government for distribution.

I think that it`s likely that this will become, as Dr. Fauci said, part of the standard of care for treatment of COVID. As we move forward, we`re looking forward to the results of these data -- for this data to be published, and then really to figure out if the drug is going to be available widely.

Right now, the -- how this is going to be distributed is not clear. The Infectious Disease Society of America penned an open letter to the vice president asking that the distribution and how hospitals obtain the antiviral be made open and transparent.

And I think all of us would agree that that would be good policy.

KORNACKI: Doctor Diaz, let me just -- you said something there that caught my attention, because, when we were talking to folks in the last couple of weeks about remdesivir, they kept talking about the benefit in terms of it shortens the duration of the symptoms for people who get over it.

But you said your research is detecting an improvement on mortality, in terms of just helping people survive it, period, not this duration question, the mortality question. What are you finding there? How significant is the improvement in terms of preventing mortality?

DIAZ: So, we -- the data coming out of the NIH that Dr. Fauci mentioned also had a trend towards improvement in mortality, but it was -- it didn`t meet the markers for significance.

We are detecting a benefit in mortality. At this point, as I mentioned, we have submitted our work for peer review. And we expect that that process will go rapidly.

But we really hesitate to really make further announcements on our findings until those results, which are still preliminary, be fully vetted by a well-known journal.

KORNACKI: All right, Dr. George Diaz, Dr. Kavita Patel, thank you both for joining us. Always appreciate it.

And up next: Attorney General William Barr`s Justice Department wants to drop its prosecution of Donald Trump`s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, despite his good guilty plea.

We`re going to bring you the latest on what`s going on here -- after this.

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KORNACKI: Welcome back.

In an explosive development today, the Justice Department dropped its criminal charges against the president`s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, recommending that the judge dismiss the case.

In January, Flynn retracted his guilty plea on charges of making false statements to the FBI during a 2017 interview, an admission he made on two occasions. But the Department of Justice says it is now questioning whether that FBI interview -- quote -- "was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis," adding that they do not -- quote -- "believe Mr. Flynn`s statements were material, even if untrue."

It comes after the department released handwritten notes from an unidentified FBI agent at the time of that interview, which said this -- quote -- "What is our goal, truth/admission, or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?"

The FBI interviewed Flynn in January 2017 about conversations he had with Russia`s ambassador a few weeks earlier. Those conversations had taken place while Barack Obama was still president. That was when Flynn was a private citizen, and not yet the national security adviser.

In February 2017, Flynn was fired from the Trump administration for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about those conversations with Russia`s ambassador, and he was subsequently charged with lying to the FBI before that guilty plea in late 2017.

Here`s what Attorney General Bill Barr told CBS News about the decision to drop the charges this evening:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: They did not have a basis for a counterintelligence investigation against Flynn at that stage.

QUESTION: Does the fact remains that he lied?

BARR: Well, people sometimes plead to things that turn out not to be crimes.

QUESTION: When history looks back on this decision, how do you think it will be written?

BARR: Well, history is written by the winner, so it largely depends on -- on who`s writing the history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, in a sign of possible discord at the Department of Justice, we are learning that the lawyer who led the prosecution of Flynn abruptly withdrew from the case just an hour before the charges were dropped.

And for more, I`m joined now by Betsy Woodruff Swan, national correspondent for Politico, who has been following this case very closely, knows all about it, and can help explain it to us.

Betsy, thank you for joining us.

Let me start with the bottom line question here. The Department of Justice makes this move, says it`s done with Flynn, it doesn`t want to go forward with this. This still has to go before a judge. Is that just a formality at this point, or is there still a potential dispute here?

BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN, POLITICO: That`s right.

There`s been some speculation that it`s possible the judge may respond to this in an unpredictable way. Generally speaking, federal judges don`t try to require prosecutors to bring cases that those prosecutors say they don`t want to do.

So, I think it`s quite unlikely that the judge would intervene in a way that would block the Justice Department from moving forward with dropping this case.

That said, Judge Sullivan, the federal judge who`s presiding over this case, has in the past telegraphed not a huge amount of sympathy towards Flynn. So, if there`s any sort of hearing, either in person or telephonically, then that`s something that would have the potential to be a memorable closing episode to this saga.

KORNACKI: So, now, what is the link between -- if -- folks who followed this only loosely remember the end of 2017. Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI.

He had been fired from the Trump administration. At the time, the vice president, Mike Pence, said that Flynn had lied to him about the same thing. All of this happened.

What`s the link that gets us from there to where we are today? Where did this turn around for Flynn?

WOODRUFF SWAN: Flynn changed his legal team prior to or during the phase of this -- of this proceeding, when he was represented by Covington, a major white-collar law firm.

He proceeded in a way that you would kind of expect someone with his set of facts to proceed. He pleaded guilty. And then the case slowly inched its way toward sentencing process. But that process was very slow. It was quite convoluted. And then Flynn ended up parting ways with the Covington team that was representing him and bringing on a new lawyer named Sidney Powell.

Powell is very much a bomb-thrower, very aggressive, somebody who`s been quite open about being part of sort of the MAGA camp. And she took the opposite approach than Flynn`s prior legal team had taken and aggressively started working to try essentially to get the outcome that they have now gotten.

Powell has been on "Hannity" a whole bunch of times, Sean Hannity`s FOX News show that the president regularly watches, and has made the case clearly enough to persuade the political officials at the Justice Department that Flynn was mistreated during the course of this investigation.

One detail that I think is important to notice is just the extraordinary polarization within DOJ regarding the Flynn case. The line prosecutor you referenced earlier who pulled out abruptly just an hour before this DOJ filing came out is Brandon Van Grack.

He was one of the original members of Robert Mueller`s team and has been working on this for years. The fact that he yanked his name is undoubtedly nothing other than a sign of him really being troubled by the way that this is being handled.

And another thing that`s interesting about this filing is that, at the very end, it`s only signed by one person, Timothy Shea, the U.S. attorney and formerly a counselor to Bill Barr in the Justice Department.

In basically every single court filing that comes from the Justice Department, there are also folks called assistant U.S. attorneys, or AUSAs. Those are the line prosecutors, kind of the worker bees in the DOJ who do the day-in and day-out work of bringing a case.

There`s not a single AUSA signature on this filing. Those would be career officials, the people who were doing the heavy lifting. The fact that there aren`t any names of those folks on this document really suggests that there is intense frustration among the department`s career ranks regarding this decision.

And I have chatted with several DOJ lawyers today who`ve said as much, one who pointed that out. And the lawyer who pointed out to me initially, who is a DOJ official, this person said they`d never seen a document like this before. They`d never seen one signed without the names of any AUSAs.

KORNACKI: All right, Betsy Woodruff Swan, hey, great information there. Really appreciate you taking us through this.

And up next; another three million Americans now out of work. That is more than 33 million jobs that have been lost since the start of this pandemic.

We have got some new polling on this. The folks who are out of work, what are their expectations? And how long can they and their families survive at this point?

We`re going to take you through those numbers, what they`re saying -- right after this.

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KORNACKI: Well, life in America these days. Here you go.

The stores are closed. The streets are virtually empty. A lot of people are out of work these days. And we have been talking about those unemployment numbers that are going to come out tomorrow. We`re going to see the highest unemployment rate in this country officially since the Great Depression.

So, the folks who have lost their jobs since this all began, tens of millions of them, how are they doing? What are their expectations?

That`s the poll I want to take you through. This is from "The Washington Post." It`s an interesting poll.

First of all, I ask the question. Just since the pandemic began, have you been laid off? Thirteen percent. This may seem small compared to the 86. But think about that. Thirteen percent of the people in this country being polled say they have lost their jobs, this in the span of about six weeks. That`s tens of millions of people.

So, those folks who`ve lost their jobs, those folks who`ve been laid off or furloughed, first of all, here`s a question. How are they getting by? Where have they gotten financial assistance from in this time?

Here are some possible sources. Remember those checks, the stimulus that passed through Congress, those checks that were sent out? People`s bank accounts got them direct-deposited. About 60 percent of the folks who`ve lost their jobs have received that.

Help from their family, financial help from their family, about a quarter there. Unemployment benefits, there`s a lot of folks in this poll saying they tried to apply, but they weren`t able to get accepted, they weren`t able to get the check.

Now, that could be an issue too. But food stamps, food bank, aid from a local school, help from a neighbor or charity, again, a lot of people relying on that right now.

Here`s the other question, too: When do you expect to go back to work? What are the expectations of folks who`ve been laid off? About 30 percent, 28 percent say, it`ll be less than a month, in a month, 19 percent.

So, basically, about half of folks out of work right now think they`re going back to work in the next month, two months, three months. Some, 20 percent, are thinking it`s the long haul.

How about this? How likely your old employer will hire you back? This is interesting. Nearly 80 percent say it`s likely, very likely even their old employer will hire them back.

And then there`s this question here. At the current rate, at this state, how long you can you and your family survive financially? Less than a week, 4 percent say they can`t make it another week. One to two weeks, 8 percent. Three to four weeks, 14 percent. This adds up to one quarter, one quarter of folks out of work right now say in the next four weeks, their family won`t be able to survive financially beyond that.

One to two months, you see here, three to five months. And there`s a third who say six or more months they can last for a while with this. It`s a grim picture out there, folks.

Anyway, up next, professional athletes, celebrities, and a lot of regular folks are stepping up in a big way to help those in need during this crisis. We`re going to talk to a former NFL linebacker who is promoting acts of kindness, large and small. Stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DHANI JONES, FMR. NFL LINEBACKER, ENTREPRENEUR & PHILANTHROPIST: All right, so I`m walking down my street. And this gentleman right here, he just walked someone`s garbage can in. That is a true act of kindness. Amazing. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). Have a good rest of the day. Enjoy guys.

JONES: We`re going to pass along $500 on your behalf.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s awesome. My name is Justin Pier (ph). There you go.

JONES: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

JONES: You too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s awesome what you`re doing, man.

JONES: Thank you. It`s giving Tuesday. GiveTogetherNow, tag Stand Together Foundation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Well we talked about those charges against Michael Flynn that look like they will be dropped, but he wasn`t the only plaintiff in a high profile federal case to catch the break of a lifetime today. Do you remember Bridgegate? Is that only in Jersey scandal from back in 2013 and 2014. It was the one with the lane closures and the traffic jams and all the questions about what Chris Christie did and didn`t know.

Well today, nearly seven years after it all started, it finally came to an end. The two people who were actually prosecuted and convicted for the scheme to close lanes in the George Washington Bridge and cause a traffic nightmare as political punishment for a local mayor, both of them had their convictions thrown out by the United States Supreme Court. The ruling was unanimous. It was nine to nothing.

You probably remember their names if you remember the story. Bridget Kelly had been a member of Christie`s administration. It was her name it was on that immortal text message time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee. Bill Baroni had been Christie`s point man at the agency that runs the George Washington Bridge. When the scandal came to light all those years ago, he swore it had been a legitimate traffic study. They were convicted after the architect of the scheme, David Wildstein, pleaded guilty and testified against them.

And today`s ruling is not about what they all did. The court simply said that prosecutors had overreached and applied a bribery statute to something that wasn`t about bribery, or about any kind of financial gain. It was a corrupt act, the court said, but it was not a federal crime. And so Baroni and Kelly are free now. They won`t be going to jail and they`ll now try to rebuild their lives. Wildstein is free too, although he remains on probation, at least for now.

So that`s what happened today. But I do want to add a personal note here because if I`m going to talk about all of this, I have to. If you followed the story when we covered it all those years ago, you remember the disclosure I always gave to you, that I used to work for David Wildstein. He ran a political news site in New Jersey and he hired me for my first job in journalism. That was more than 15 years ago now.

I love that job. I love that time in my life. I will always be grateful to him. It`s up to you to make your own judgment here, of course, but I can tell you that publicly and privately, David Wildstein will be the first to say that he did wrong here. And all I know is that I hope for nothing but the best for him and for his family.

I also know Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly. I dealt with them a lot in my New Jersey days. When I started out, Baroni was an up and comer in New Jersey politics. He was barely 30 when he won a seat in the State Assembly. Not long after that he moved up to the State Senate. A lot of people thought he`d be governor someday. All of that, of course, is gone now.

Bridget Kelly was an aide to a state legislator. Her boss, an assemblyman from Bergen County, New Jersey. He was one of the politicians in New Jersey I most respected. And Bridget was one of my favorite people. I would pick up the phone and call her and she was always friendly. She always had a story. She`s always happy to talk about what was going on in her neck of the woods. She`s also a mother of four. And that`s what I think about now.

No, she`s not going to prison. But she did just lose seven years of her life and now she has to start all over. I`d say she`s paid a price. I`d say she paid a pretty big price.

For that matter, there`s even Chris Christie. Think back to 2013 if you can. Do you remember what a big deal he was back then? I know he thinks he would have been president. If it wasn`t for Bridgegate. And as far as I`m concerned, he might be right.

Maybe you think he deserved that fate, and maybe you think all of them deserve their fate. Or maybe you don`t. But, wow, all of this, all seven years of it, all of it from just a couple of traffic codes (ph). Amazing when you think about it.

We`ll be back in a moment with an incredible story of a former NFL athlete giving back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Welcome back. Since the coronavirus outbreak began, many athletes have used their considerable privilege for good. When the country shut down during basketball season, several players made sure their arena staff still got paid. And athletes like soccer star Megan Rapinoe and Olympic ice dancer Maia Shibutani have organized the donation of supplies for healthcare workers.

And others like NBA player Steph Curry and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson have worked to raise money to provide millions of meals for those in need. And now, former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones is spearheading a relief effort to provide $500 to families experiencing financial hardship. A donation is made every time someone posts an act of kindness to social media with the hashtag GiveTogetherNow. And so far, the effort is raised nearly $45 million and it`s helped almost 90,000 families.

And I`m joined now by Dhani Jones, former NFL linebacker and a host of "Stand Together Live". Dhani, this is -- it`s a great story. $45 million raised here from acts of kindness. Describe what an act of kindness looks like that qualifies for this.

JONES: Well, really as you look at it, you know, we have -- we`ve raised $45 million up to this point and it`s been from considerable donors like Google.org is Blue Meridian partners, Angel Soft and so many other people that are just like you and yourselves and those that are watching. And the acts of kindness really just came as a result of one of our amazing donors contributing $2.5 million, specifically thing. I just want to see acts of kindness. I want to see people who are able to go out there and give back, wave to someone that might be in a retirement home, make a mask for someone, pay for someone`s groceries.

There was a guy that actually was a recipient of our GiveTogetherNow $500 and he was a homeless guy, became a truck driver and he actually used his time and energy to go deliver essential items to people as well. And so we`re asking people to hashtag GiveTogetherNow and tag Stand Together Foundation. And one of our, you know, one person working on GiveTogetherNow will be able to see that and they`ll be able to pass along $500 to someone that`s been financially affected by COVID-19.

KORNACKI: Again, watching the -- to be able to raise $45 million from acts of kindness in a time like this and everybody is so worried about themselves and their families to start with, what is it told you? Has it shown you anything about who people are?

JONES: Well I think the most important thing to know is that we are all special people. We all have something in our heart that gives us this fuel to contribute. You know, I went to the University of Michigan and my coach always talks about it`s not about you, it`s about something greater than yourself. And if anything has been become more apparent now is that there are those that are out there that are willing to spend the time with others that are truly in need because we are so fortunate as individuals that we can collectively give to the community. And this has been beautiful to watch all of the different contributions, all of the people that have really stepped up and help those that have truly been affected financially during this COVID-19 crisis.

KORNACKI: You know, one of the big picture questions I think everybody is asking and whenever you get into a sort of a traumatic event for society to ask, is it going to change us in some ways? And I think we`ve been thinking with coronavirus about all the negative ways it might change us, all the things we might not be able to do in the future that we took for granted before all this. But I think your project begs the question here, is there some ways this might change us in positive ways?

JONES: Well, I look at it from this way, right. I read a quote the other day, and it`s happened to be on Instagram and it said, the world is going to be a different place when we come out of quarantine. You should too be a different person as you come out of quarantine. And when we think about from Stand Together live and all the great people that we`ve been able to interview from D-Nice, we`re able to interview him twice. Brandon Graham, John Johnson, Andrew Zimmern. I mean, there`s so many amazing people out there.

And through those conversations, we`re able to take those nuggets of inspiration, those nuggets of hope. Jay Harris today was talking about leaning into your job and really being able to take chances. Those nuggets of hope go back to the people that are watching Stand Together live, and they`re able to change themselves.

And so I think we are going to be different people because the world is going to be different. And we have to be able to adapt and through GiftTogetherNow, we`re adapting through kindness, and we`re adapting through helping others. It`s really not about ourselves. It`s about something greater than us, than ourselves.

KORNACKI: Now, I got to switch gears here for a second and ask you about your former life, your former job as a football player because it just so happens that moments ago before this segment, the NFL released its schedule for the upcoming season. The league is planning they say to play a full regular season schedule, but it`s formulated a ticket refund plan for games that may be canceled or held without fans, according to the Associated Press. So I got to ask you, you know as well as anyone how the NFL works, what do you think the odds are that this fall there is a normal NFL season?

JONES: Well I don`t think there`s anything normal about 2020. I think that going into this season, we can have the greatest sense of hope that we will actually have sports to play. But even kind of -- as you showed, the refunds might happen because there may not be any stands and -- any people in the stands, but the game will go on. You know, we -- I remember, you know, back when 911 happened and, you know, the game was paused, right. But when the game came back, there was a sense of camaraderie and that`s what sports are truly all about.

And I think that`s another great thing about this country is that we rally around sports. And our athletes -- and being able to be on the show, as a former athlete, be able to utilize my platform, it`s all about helping others truly in this time of need.

KORNACKI: And just -- I`m curious about this one, too, because you mentioned the possibility the stadiums are empty, there`s no fans. As a player, do you have any sense what that would be like? Would you enjoy that or do you do you draw energy from the crowd and that would actually hurt your play? How do you think that would be for the players, they have no fans?

JONES: Well, hopefully it will be pumping up a bunch of crowd noise or there have a bunch of music. I need -- you know, the great thing about the NFL is they`re very creative with the way they`re going to be able to have those games being played. And when you`re on the field, especially at the linebacker position, which I play, you know, you`re so focused on playing the game. You`re actually isolating the noise because you want to be able to get your job done.

KORNACKI: That`s a good reminder I think for fans out there whenever they can return to the stadium. They think they`re getting in the players head. Here`s one who tells us no they don`t.

Dhani Jones, former NFL linebacker, you`re doing a really great thing here and I really appreciate you coming on and sharing it with us, and good luck to you in this venture and going forward.

JONES: Steve, thank you so much and I hope you`re able to pass along those acts of kindness. Remember the hashtag GiveTogetherNow and tag Stand Together Foundation, and we`ll pass along $500 to a family that has been financially affected due to COVID-19.

KORNACKI: OK, excellent. Hope everybody remembers that one. And Dhani Jones, former NFL linebacker again, thank you for your time. Appreciate that.

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.

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END