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Dr. Fauci TRANSCRIPT: 5/12/20, MSNBC Live

Guests: Tina Smith, Jonathan Swan, Kavita Patel, Julia Marcus, Jared Polis, David Fahrenthold


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for watching THE BEAT with Ari Melber. I`ll be back here at 6:00 P.M. Eastern tomorrow. Keep it right here right now on MSNBC.

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

Dr. Anthony Fauci today delivered a grim warning. He was among the country`s top health officials who testified today by video conference before members of the United States Senate. And this hearing comes as most states have now begun easing restrictions and reopening parts of their economies. That was something clearly on Fauci`s mind as he warned of going too fast.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Some areas, cities, states or what have you, jump over the various check points and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently. My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks.

If that occurs, there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak you may not be able to control.


KORNACKI: Now, the overall national picture right now does contain some encouraging signs. Testing has risen significantly in the past few weeks. And then the vast majority of states, the percentage of tests coming back positive has fallen. That`s a key statistic.

But there remain plenty of worrisome signs. NBC News reports that according to an internal document, the White House is tracking spikes in some metro areas in the south and Midwest. The documents obtained from the coronavirus task force show that, quote, the top ten areas recorded surges of 72 percent or greater over a seven-day period compared to the previous week.

Again, testing rates have increased dramatically too. That`s something that can be a factor when the number of cases rise. But Dr. Fauci today said these new outbreaks stand in contrast with the progress we`re seeing in bigger cities like New York.


FAUCI: And if you think that we have it completely under control, we don`t. And if you look at the dynamics of the outbreak, we are seeing a diminution of hospitalizations and infections in some places, such as in New York City, which has plateaued and started to come down, New Orleans. But in other parts of the country, we are seeing spikes.

So I think we are going in the right direction, but the right direction does not mean we have, by any means, total control of this outbreak.


KORNACKI: More than 83,000 Americans have already lost their lives, among the 1.4 million now who have contracted the virus in this country to date.

Yet as terrible as these numbers are, Fauci said the reality may be worse.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): 80,000 Americans have died from the pandemic. There are some epidemiologists who suggest the number may be 50 percent higher than that. What do you think?

FAUCI: There may have been people who died at home who did have COVID who were not counted as COVID because they never got to the hospital.

So in direct answer to your question, I think you are correct, that the number is likely higher. I don`t know what percent higher, almost certainly, it is higher.


KORNACKI: And while the president said last Friday that he thinks that virus will go away even without a vaccine, Dr. Fauci made clear, we shouldn`t count on that.


FAUCI: When you talk about, will this virus just disappear, and I`ve said publicly many times, that is just not going to happen because it`s such a highly transmissible virus. And even if we get better control over this by months, it is likely that there will be virus somewhere on this planet that will eventually get back to us.


KORNACKI: And I am joined now by Senator Tian Smith, a Democrat of Minnesota who participated in that hearing today. Senator Smith, thank you for joining us.

There was a lot of ground covered, a lot of top health expert, not just Anthony Fauci, were part of this virtual hearing today, however you want to describe it. In terms of all of the information that you took in today, what did you leave that hearing saying is the most important thing you heard today?

SEN. TINA SMITH (D-MN): Sure. Well, I think Dr. Fauci was honest, he was direct, and I think the American people can take the truth here. Hope isn`t a strategic. What is a strategy is how you`re going to get your testing done, how you`re going to build up your PPE. So I thought it was important and powerful even that those of us in the Senate committee, and also the American people could hear the direct facts right from the horse`s mouth.

KORNACKI: How does that intersect then in terms of the warnings, in terms of potentially having some hard truths there for folks, with what`s happening on the ground in this country? The clear majority of states right now have begun reopening in some form. This varies widely from state-to- state. This can vary within states. Do you think that today`s testimony should put the brakes on that? Do you think it should reverse some of what`s happened? How do you think of it in terms of what is happening on the ground in this country?

SMITH: Well, I think Dr. Fauci reminded all of us what we need to be reminded of, that you can`t wish this away. We have to follow the facts and the science and the data. And I really worry about some states that are just lifting almost all restrictions right away. And as he said, the risk of that, the risk of the resurgence that would maybe even move us backwards is really great.

I also think that every state is a little bit different. And you can look on maps and you can see where you have upsurges, where things are starting to peak sooner in some places than in other places, and we have to be aware of that.

But here is the big problem that I have right now around us not having a national strategic, which is that this virus doesn`t recognize state boundaries, right? So let`s take Southern Minnesota, where we are seeing a real upsurge in cases, diagnosed cases. We are doing a lot more testing because of that.

We have people who work in Southern Minnesota who live in South Dakota, people who live in South Dakota who work in Minnesota. And because we don`t have a national strategy, we can`t accommodate that and it makes it just that much more difficult to have the data and know exactly how to get a handle on this.

KORNACKI: So you mention that, and I wanted to ask you about that, the rising number of cases in your state. You`re mentioning Southern Minnesota. We should say, many of the states that are doing some form of reopening here have met one criteria for that. They`ve seen a downward trajectory in the percentage of positive tests over the last two weeks.

There are only six states, in fact, as of this week, that are actually seeing an increase in positive test rates. But your state, Minnesota, is one of them. Over the last two weeks, 15 percent of the tests in Minnesota came back positive, two weeks earlier, it was 9 percent. So you`re seeing cases, you`re saying, in Southern Minnesota, you`re seeing an uptick in the positivity rate, and yet your state is one of those where some of these restrictions on non-essential business have been eased and some people have gone back to work. Based on what you heard from Dr. Fauci today, is your state, is Minnesota moving too fast here?

SMITH: Here is, I think, a couple of things to remember about this. One is that states like Minnesota are seeing a -- the kind of the surge and the growth a little bit later than what we`ve in New Jersey and in New York. Now, thank God, we don`t have the same level in Minnesota that we have seen in those states, but we are at a different trajectory.

The other thing is that what our governor is doing, which I think is the right thing to do, is to -- he talks about turning the dial. And I think that that is the right approach. We are seeing significant upsurges in cases around meat and poultry processing plants. It is devastating for these communities. And we have to like go in there and get the testing and the surveillance and the tracking that we need.

But what my governor is doing, which I think it is right, is he`s saying, okay, how do we -- what do we do next? Is it okay for people to be socially distanced and go out golfing? Yes, that is probably okay. Is it okay to reopen restaurants and hair salons like we`re seeing in Georgia, for example? No, that is not okay.

KORNACKI: All right. Tina Smith, senator from Minnesota, again, part of that hearing today, thank you for joining us. I appreciate it.

SMITH: Thank you so much, Steve.

KORNACKI: All right. Yesterday, Axios reported that the White House wanted to spend this week trying to focus the public`s attention on two themes, preparedness and confidence. Today`s hearing may have put that messaging to the test.


FAUCI: My concern is that as states or cities or regions, their attempt, understandable, to get back to some form of normality, disregard to a greater or lesser degree the check points that we`ve put in our guidelines about when it is safe to proceed and pulling back on mitigation.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): If we don`t do better on testing, on contact tracing and on social distancing, will deaths from coronavirus necessarily increase?

FAUCI: Of course. If you do not do an adequate response, we will have the deleterious consequence of more infections and more deaths.


KORNACKI: And Utah Senator Mitt Romney challenged Admiral Brett Giroir, the White House testing czar, suggesting he was misrepresenting the administration`s data.

SEN. MITT ROMENEY (R-UT): I understand that politicians are going to frame data in a way that`s most positive, politically. Of course, they would expect that from admirals. But yesterday, you celebrated that we had done more tests and more tests per capita even than South Korea, but you ignored the fact that they accomplished theirs at the beginning of the outbreak while we treaded water during February and March.


KORNACKI: And for more, I`m joined by Jonathan Swan, Axios National Political Reporter, Dr. Kavita Patel, Physician Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Julia Marcus, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist and Professor of Population Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. Thanks to all of you for being with us.

Jonathan Swan, let me start with you on the difference in tone between what we heard from Dr. Fauci at this hearing today and what we have been hearing from the president in the administration. You wrote that what this hearing presented today from Fauci undercuts here what the president and the White House is trying to achieve this week. I think that difference in tone was notable to everybody watching today. How is the White House reacting to this?

JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: So you need to understand, the White House conceived of this whole week and built this whole week around the idea of trying to put out the message to the public that it is -- there is a safe way of getting back to work, that we`re going to be ready for it, that there`s going to be testing and all the things that you need to get back to work. And, of course, you`ve seen President Trump publicly chiding some of the blue state governors who have been more cautious.

So they have really gone pretty full throttle into this pivot away from the experts into an economic message. Part of the reason that they stopped doing the daily briefings with the president, not only was it politically damaging to the president, but also they wanted to hear -- to present Fauci and the doctors less to the public and to have the public hearing more from business people, more of the positive sort of talk about reopening.

So, Fauci comes in today, the first time he speaks to the Senate without the president by his side and delivers a very, very stark message of the dangers of reemerging. And I`ll just tell you very honestly. There are a number of people at the senior level of the White House who basically roll their eyes now when they hear Fauci and they view him as an alarmist. And that is just a fact.

I am not presenting it as my opinion. I`m just telling you what I hear day in, day out, when I talk to people in the White House.

KORNACKI: Dr. Patel, let me bring you in then on some of the specifics of what Dr. Fauci was saying. I don`t know if you heard the first half of this segment when we were talking to Senator Smith from Minnesota. I thought it was interesting because she seemed to be making the case there that the easing of restrictions that is taking place in her State of Minnesota, she seemed to be saying they were done responsibly even though Minnesota does not actually meet this White House criteria that Dr. Fauci was stressing. Positive rate is up in Minnesota. The cases are up in Minnesota. She seemed to be saying, it could still be done in a limited and responsible basis.

Is your sense that Fauci`s warning today was about the re-openings that states have already done, like in Minnesota, on a limited scale, or was it more about maybe what they might do next?

DR. KAVITA PATEL, PHYSICIAN FELLOW, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: I think Dr. Fauci was actually trying to allude to both scenarios. And at first heard (ph) much of the country which has already issued some sort of reopening guidance, even if they haven`t already implemented it.

For much of the country, I think what Dr. Fauci is trying to level-set, is that based on the data -- this is not his opinion. This is based on the data, as you point out, Steve, that there has to be a responsible mechanism potentially turn back the dial.

I think that the American public is seeing this as an off and on switch, science versus the economy. I think what Fauci and even Senator Smith are struggling with is the data tells us one thing, and, responsibly, we have to then kind of turn the dial back a little bit, or, in another word, Steve, we have to actually find a way to make sure that we have as much public health infrastructure to deal with the deleterious effects of reopening. And I think that`s precisely what Fauci is pointing out.

KORNACKI: Julia, let me bring you in, because you have an interesting new article in The Atlantic. You argue that Americans are suffering from quarantine fatigue. Writing this, the choice between staying home indefinitely and returning to business as usual now is a false one. Risk is not binary and all or nothing approach to disease prevention can have unintended consequences. Trying to shame people into 100 percent risk reduction will be counterproductive.

What Americans need now is a manual on how to have a life in a pandemic. If no one else provides the guidance that the CDC wrote, each of us will need to figure out our own.

I`m curious because we`re having this discussion about this state is allowing this, this state is allowing that. The big picture argument that you`re making here seems to be that in most of these states, they`ve successfully flattened the curve. And by doing that, they should now be entering a new phase here in terms of what folks are doing (ph).

Can you explain exactly what you`re looking at, would like to see people doing here?

JULIA MARCUS, PROFESSOR, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Yes. My argument was less about whether states should be opening right now and more about the fact that we need to acknowledge, regardless of what states are doing. Individuals are making choices every day about risk. And they are doing that now without nuanced public health guidance around what activities and settings are lower risk and which ones are higher risk.

And the unintended consequence there may be that some people, as they are experiencing this quarantine fatigue, which is perfectly legitimate given the effects of isolation, some may say, I`m just going to throw this all to the wind and go back to business as usual. And we know from Dr. Fauci that that would be disastrous.

And so we really need to give people a sense of choices they can make that are lower risk but more sustainable in the long term, since we are in this for the long term.

KORNACKI: Yes. Well, Dr. Patel, let me ask you about that in regard to one of the items that came up at the hearing today. There were some exchanges about schools, about whether schools should be reopening in the fall. And I`m curious, in terms of what we know from a public health standpoint on that, I mean, it just seems to me, looking at the data on this, very, very few for school age children here, very, very few hospitalizations for school age children.

There seems to be this issue in New York that`s playing out that maybe an added variable here. But is the big variable from a public health standpoint on this question of schools and reopening in the fall, is it about trying to pin down information on kids transmitting it potentially to parents, to adults?

PATEL: Yes. We keep coming back to this theme of testing, so I`ll just repeat it because, certainly, with children and whether it`s returning to daycare or returning to schools, the reason we need to have more widespread testing, Steve, is because of that statistic that we see such, quote, few cases. Many of in healthcare believe this really is because we have not been testing children in terms of surveillance enough.

So, I completely agree actually with Senator Paul`s thinking about how can we return children to school safely? We cited the example in Sweden. Well, first of all, let`s be clear, they have a more universal health system and we started there, and they also were -- in other countries, were a little more aggressive about surveillance and testing.

So until the United States has a more national strategy, I think returning to school which, hopefully, we will have some form of that, we can`t really do that safely. And just this topic asymptomatic carriers, it`s not just the children being infected, but as they carry this into the workplace, into homes, we have to be very careful about hotspots being created.

We know in other countries that we have what we call super spreaders, one person that can infect a large group of people. And that`s all the more reason to avoid getting into that situation, which you can have in a school, where you have a lot of people in a smaller space.

KORNACKI: And, Jonathan Swan, just quickly, I wanted to follow up on that thing you mentioned at the end there, saying, you`re hearing from folks in the White House that they look at Fauci as basically an alarmist here. We have not seen these daily White House Briefings. The president has not been seen with Dr. Fauci in one of these events in a while. Are those Trump/Fauci events a thing of the past?

SWAN: Well, they`re a thing of the past in so far as today, this minute, this hour. And you`ve seen since we`ve reported he`d stop them, he has stopped them. I hesitate to say anything is permanent in this world. Of course, they could bring him back for part-time appearances.

But, general, where they are heading, it`s not in the direction of you need to hear more from the public health experts. It`s, we need to pivot to talking about the reopening and the economy. So, directionally where the White House is heading, it`s not heading in Dr. Fauci`s direction. It`s heading away from Dr. Fauci.

KORNACKI: All right. Jonathan Swan, Dr. Kavita Patel and Julia Marcus, thank you all for joining us. I appreciate that.

And coming up, more governors, as we said, are partially reopening their states. But will they do if they see a spike in cases.

Plus, we`ll hear some of the Supreme Court arguments in a blockbuster case involving the secrecy of President Trump`s tax returns and financial records.

Stay with us.


KORNACKI: Welcome back.

Again, well over half of all states right now are under some partial reopening plan. And that includes the state of Colorado, which is now in the third week of a phased reopening under Governor Jared Polis` Safer at Home plan.

On April 27, some retail stores reopened for curbside pickup and delivery and elective medical procedures were allowed to resume. May 1, retail stores were allowed to expand beyond curbside with strict social distancing rules in place.

And last week, business offices were allowed to reopen to a work force of no more than half capacity. Yesterday, Governor Polis outlined an additional timeline, allowing campgrounds in state parks to reopen today, and the decision on ski resorts, restaurants and summer camps to come on May 25.

The state has already had to contend with one business very publicly not following these guidelines. A restaurant in Castle Rock outside of Denver went viral over the weekend after it opened for dine-in seating on Mother`s Day. You can see the images here. It was packed, and with few customers wearing masks, in defiance of a public health order.

Health officials have now ordered the cafe closed. There are currently more than 20,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Colorado. As of today, the state surpassed 1,000 deaths.

And the governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, joins me now.

Governor, thank you for taking a few minutes. I appreciate it.

Well, let me make -- ask you first about the national news that was made coming out of your state, with this restaurant that had opened on Mother`s Day, all of those scenes, the owner of the restaurant saying he wanted this to be an emphatic statement.

I know that local officials have closed it down. I have read they`re pending a review of it here. A business that does that in your state, what do you think the punishment should be for them? What should happen to them, in your view?

GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): Well, first of all, we`re not -- we`re not proud of it.

Coloradans are better than that. But, like every state, we have a big, diverse population, and including folks who break laws. And it is what it is.

They are losing their license to operate a restaurant for -- indefinitely, because of the public health hazard. It`ll be for at least 30 days that that is suspended. And there`s a court-ordered closure.

And we hope that others act safely. And the more people follow the law, the sooner restaurants will be able to open with safe parameters, that customers at least know there`s additional precautions that are being taken.

KORNACKI: So, let me ask you. Again, you say a decision is coming in the next couple of weeks.

I think you have indicated publicly you would like to see restaurants be able to reopen sometime this month, sometime in the next few weeks.

With the data you`re seeing right now, do you think that is next few weeks, for restaurants in Colorado, a reasonable target?

POLIS: We already have some areas of our state where restaurants are open.

Mesa County, they have been open for about 10 days already. That`s the Grand Junction area. But these are areas that have a lower viral count than the Denver metro area.

Yes, as long as the numbers hold up, and we just don`t -- never have tomorrow`s information today. But I`m cautiously optimistic that we will be able to meet that goal of opening restaurants in late May.

KORNACKI: Dr. Fauci today, in that Senate testimony, had some very stark words about states like yours that are beginning this reopening process, warning about going too fast, warning about deadly consequences in terms of rising case numbers and deaths that come with that if they do.

Did his warning today affect your thinking about what you`re doing in Colorado?

POLIS: Well, I think every state is engaged in some kind of opening, whether it`s opening beaches or certain kinds of businesses or allowing camping, which Colorado is doing.

And we`re trying to do it in a thoughtful way that monitors the data in real time. We have the goal of making sure that we don`t overwhelm our health care system.

Coloradans stayed at home and did a great job doing that, are -- and are -- to the extent that they continue to -- continue to keep up social distancing, we will be able to have more and more normalcy and really a sustainable way that we can live for the months ahead.

KORNACKI: Are the guidelines that came out -- because, again, this was a point of emphasis that Dr. Fauci made today.

He wants states to be adhering to these reopening guidelines that have come out of the White House. Is that -- I understand that, in this current phase right now -- I was just looking at the data -- you have a decline in the positive rate in Colorado.

So, to enter this phase, you meet those initial guidelines. But the subsequent guidelines that have been laid out by the White House, do you plan to follow those?

POLIS: Well, we have had a decline in cases for the last three to four weeks. Our positivity rate is around 5 to 10 percent now, well under the 10 percent that was the benchmark.

But, look, the virus is going to be with us, Steve. And we`re going to look at all the different thoughtful input that comes from scientists, whether it`s World Health Organization, CDC, our own epidemiologists here in Colorado, and ultimately make that call about how we can make sure we don`t overwhelm our hospitals, and how we can have a way to get through this for the many months it`s likely to take until there`s a vaccine or cure.

KORNACKI: Let me ask you too about something that`s gotten some attention here.

There`s an argument out there that some of these states in this reopening process may have the order of operations wrong.

And what I mean by that is, the argument is that, when you look at schools, when you look at -- we mentioned this -- summer camps, when you look at places where children congregate, that maybe these should be upped in terms of the priority for reopening because of that incredibly low rate of serious illness among children that we have seen, that maybe, in terms of taking a burden off of parents here, maybe in terms of allowing parents to go back to work in some cases, that allowing schools, allowing summer camps, that might be something that ought to be emphasized more in the reopening process.

What do you think of that?

POLIS: That`s thoughtful input.

Countries like Denmark went back to school before many of the parents went back to work. Frankly, we would be looking at schools, other than the fact that they`re nearing the end of the school year. Most of them have one or two more weeks.

Summer camps, we`re working on now. We already have day care back in Colorado, groups of 10 or less in safe day care settings. Not every day care center is open, of course, because they can`t all meet those parameters, but many of them are.

And, of course, we want to make sure that kids are ready to go back to school in the fall. But I think that`s a valid point. It`s not so much for the kids. Of course, we care about their health, but there are less risks. It`s more about the teachers, the parents.

And, of course, remember some kids live with their grandparents as well. And we`re very concerned about vulnerable populations.

KORNACKI: The president had a press conference yesterday at the White House, where he was saying that testing is going to rise dramatically in this country over the next few weeks, announcing this $11 billion that`s going to be going out to the states.

According to the White House, they say they`re going to be sending your state, Colorado, about 200,000 testing swabs, and you`re going to get $156 million from this $11 billion pool.

Is your sense that this is what`s going to happen in Colorado? Let me ask you that first. And, if so, what will that mean for testing in Colorado?

POLIS: We have that oral commitment for 195,000 at the staff level. I was glad to see it reiterated from the White House.

For us, it`s just a question of, we need it on the ground to be able to count it and know it`s here for sure. So, we don`t yet have those delivery dates. We hope they`re soon.

I would say at this point, Steve, I`m cautiously optimistic. We have learned, in this complex world of buying masks and tests from all over the world, never count it until it`s here, and we have inventoried it, and we have tested it.

KORNACKI: All right, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, thank you for taking a few minutes. Appreciate it.

POLIS: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right.

And up next: Voters are giving some governors much higher marks than others when it comes to the pandemic, all these different states trying to reopen.

I`m going to head over to the Big Board and show you the numbers. These might have gotten under the president`s skin.


KORNACKI: All right, what are we looking at here?

You`re looking at a map of the country with 12 states. What are -- these are the 12 biggest states in the country. And these are their governors. You got blue for the states where the Democrats are the governor. You have got red for the states where the Republicans are governor.

And why are we showing you these 12 states? Because there`s a really interesting poll that came out today that "The Washington Post" went and commissioned. And they looked at attitudes in these 12 biggest states towards their governors and towards how they have handled the coronavirus pandemic.

And, of course, this is important because, as we were talking about in the last couple of segments, how each state has handled the coronavirus has varied widely. The initial response from these states, some were different than others. What they are allowing in terms of reopening can be dramatically different in some of these states.

Georgia has taken some aggressive reopening steps, New York, obviously, not even at the reopening stage yet. And, of course, that`s the other issue here. The outbreak can look very different in these states.

So, which governors are getting high marks from their constituents and which aren`t in these 12 biggest states? That`s what they went and found out in this "Washington Post" poll.

And let`s show you right here. Now, they didn`t ask the governor`s name. They just asked in the poll here, are you happy with your state`s governor? So, we`re showing you by state here what the approval rate was.

Overall, nationally, 71 percent of people said they`re happy with their governor`s performance here. But see here, Ohio. Mike DeWine, Republican governor of Ohio, got the highest marks from these 12 biggest states, an 86 percent approval rating on his handling of coronavirus.

And, of course, if you remember, DeWine in Ohio was one of the earliest governors to react to this, back in early March putting down some restrictions, shutting down schools. He did this earlier than other governors. Ohio has begun its reopening phase. But he took early and dramatic action there. And you can see 86 percent.

At the other end of the scale here -- 86 percent for DeWine -- and you take a look, the governor with the lowest marks here in these states is Brian Kemp in Georgia. And as we`re seeing, the actions in Georgia in terms of reopening have been a lot more dramatic and aggressive than we have seen in these other states.

And we have seen polling nationally where there is broad apprehension right now about reopening, about moving too fast. That may be something that`s reflected in numbers like this.

But one other thing to keep in mind that I think is interesting. The responses, as we say, have varied in these states. What`s actually happened on the ground in terms of results, Ohio compared to Georgia, take a look at this.

First of all here, their cases -- there are more cases per 1,000 in Georgia than in Ohio. There are more cases. But there`s also more testing in Georgia. Now, remember, testing -- the more tests, the more cases you`re going to find, so not a huge difference there maybe.

Also, the death rate basically the same in both states. So, the picture looks pretty similar in Georgia and Ohio.

Now, what about where things are going, the trend line, the trajectory? Georgia doing more reopening more early than Ohio. In the last two weeks, the case count has declined by about the same rate in each state. The testing per day has soared in both states, again, a comparable rate right there.

And the positive rate, 7 percent, 9 percent. You really want to be about 10 percent or less. Both of these states, 7 percent, 9 percent, about equal there.

So, big difference in how the public treats these governors, reacts to these governors, feels about the steps they have taken. But the facts on the ground in these states right now, not that different.

Up next: Supreme Court justices weigh whether President Trump can be forced to disclose his taxes, something all other recent -- recent presidents have done willingly.

Stay with us.


KORNACKI: Welcome back.

Today, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments by way of conference on two landmark constitutional cases over President Trump`s taxes and financial records.

Here`s part of an exchange between the president`s attorneys and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


PATRICK STRAWBRIDGE, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: The subpoenas at issue here are unprecedented in every sense. Before these cases, no court had ever upheld the use of Congress`s subpoena power to demand the personal records of a sitting president.

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: Counsel, in so many of these prior cases, there was a cooperation. For example, tax returns, every president voluntarily turned over his tax returns. So, it gets to be a pitch battle here because President Trump is the first one to refuse to do that.


KORNACKI: Now, the president`s legal teams say subpoenas from three congressional committees and a New York prosecutor are politically motivated. They call it an unprecedented attack on the presidency. Those committees in a Manhattan district attorney countered that the records are needed to investigate a variety of issues ranging from alleged hush money payments, illegal foreign involvement in the U.S. campaign, and potential violations of money laundering and ethics rules. A ruling from the Supreme Court could come late next month.

For more, I`m joined by David Fahrenthold, political reporter for "The Washington Post".

David, thank you for being with us.

So, two major things happening today, there was the Senate hearing, and, oh, by the way, the Supreme Court, a hearing on Trump`s taxes. Take us through these arguments today, and was your sense in listening to the arguments being made, and how the justices are responding. Was your sense that either side emerged with a stronger hand here?

DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: It was a bit of a mixed bag. There were two cases where that were similar in some ways, but had meaningful differences. There`s a case where Congress is asking for Trump`s financial records to help with investigations of Trump, and there`s the case with the Manhattan D.A. is asking for Trump`s financial records, to pursue a possible criminal investigation at somebody in the Trump organization.

Half of the case that involved Congress I thought went pretty poorly for Congress and well for Trump. The justices kept saying, you want the financial records, is there a limit to this power? You know, how -- could you ask to draw the president`s blood? Could you ask for his medical records? You know, what`s the limit on this power?

Congress really couldn`t articulate one. They were sort of like, well, we can investigate anything anytime, anywhere. The justices seem too reject that.

On the other hand, when we look at the case involving the Manhattan D.A., Trump`s attorneys were on the defensive, because they were the ones asserting a very broad (INAUDIBLE). They said, while, he`s president, he is immune to prosecution, but investigation by prosecutor. The justices seemed to think that was too extreme.

So, we`re headed towards opposite directions. One good for Trump, one pretty poor.

KORNACKI: So, let`s talk about that. And, of course, you know, we always, there is tea leaf reading after every Supreme Court meeting, sometimes it holds up, sometimes it doesn`t. But if what you`re saying bears out here and it`s the prosecutors who have the better of it here in terms of the justices, what would it mean? If the justices rule in favor of the Manhattan district attorney here, what would that mean Trump is releasing?

FAHRENTHOLD: Well, in that case, Trump would be compelled to release some financial records, but also some third parties, his accountants, and other folks who are not him, who hold his financial records, could be compelled to release them. So, it wouldn`t be released in a sense that the public would see it.

You and I wouldn`t see it. It would go to a grand jury in New York state, which is bound by the secrecy of the grand jury. So, we might -- the public might see it later, if it came out as part of some sort of criminal case, or evidence in a criminal trial. But it`s not like releasing it, and the Manhattan D.A. puts it in the public`s eye the way that Congress might eventually.

KORNACKI: And when you talk about this New York case, it`s not the first time the Supreme Court has had to contend with the president seeking to withhold potential evidence, as the "Associated Press" points out. In 1974, the justices acted unanimously in requiring President Richard Nixon to turn over White House tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor. In 1997, another anonymous court allowed a sexual harassment lawsuit to go forward against President Bill Clinton. In those cases, three Nixon appointees and two Clinton appointees voted against the president who chose them for the high court.

The current court has two Trump appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Again, this relates to what you`re talking about. I remember that Clinton case, by the way, that leading up, indirectly leading to Bill Clinton`s impeachment because that case was allowed to go forward. But it does, it does suggest here what you were saying, these cases may weigh more, this precedence may weigh more on what the New York prosecutors are asking for. Is that right?

FAHRENTHOLD: That`s right. And you`re right that I think the Supreme Court, you could tell that it was operating in the shadow of those two famous unanimous decision, twice in the recent past, the court stepped in to say no, the president is not a king, the president is not above the law. He has to comply with requests from others.

I think you can see the justices are struggling with that in both cases. If they`re going to bring with that, not unanimous, and give Trump more power, you know, can they find a good reason to do that?

KORNACKI: Was your sense listening to the justices in the questioning today, we always used to say for decades, Anthony Kennedy was the swing vote on the Supreme Court, if you could see where Kennedy was going, you could see where the case is going. Anthony Kennedy is not on the court anymore, is there a swing vote here that emerges at all, or do you get any sense how the sides may be drawn on this?

FAHRENTHOLD: Well, if it -- if it is not unanimous, it`s different than those past cases, the people who I would think would be swing justices would be either Gorsuch or John Roberts. Both of them seem very skeptical to the end, they`re asking questions that were not sort of tied to one partisan side or the other. Roberts, in particular, I mean, he sort of leads the questioning on the conference call. It`s much more his baby, than I think in a normal situation.

If he was very dismissive of the House counsel, it gives you too much power, limitless and (INAUDIBLE), can you think of another one. On the flip side, questioning Trump`s lawyer with the broad claim of immunity, he was the one leading the question. So, I think that`s the tea leaves to read, what direction Roberts is going to go. And that has led some people I think today to think, maybe we`re looking at a split decision Trump beats back Congress, but can`t win against the Manhattan D.A.

KORNACKI: All right. We had a Supreme Court conference where they`re used to having these artist renderings come out after this, but you got to listen to a conference call, interesting experience, that may be landmark, too.

David Fahrenthold, thank you for joining us. Appreciate that.

And up next, the future of the airline industry, with the CEO of Boeing calling the situation apocalyptic.


DAVE CALHOUN, BOEING CEO: Well, it`s grave, there`s no question about it. Apocalyptic does actually accurately describe the moment.



SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Give us your view from 30,000 feet so to speak. How grave is the threat to the airline industry?

CALHOUN: Well, it is grave, there`s no question about it. And apocalyptic does actually accurately describe the moment. As people begin to relive their lives, we expect that they will also get back to traveling. As long as we can demonstrate the safety of our industry, the safety of our airplane experience, we believe we will return to a growth rate similar to the past, but it might take us three, five years to get there.


KORNACKI: Welcome back. When we talk about the cascading impact of the shutdown of the economy, that was the CEO of Boeing calling the situation in his industry apocalyptic.

NBC News correspondent Tom Costello has the latest.


TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Steve, good day to you.

So these comments coming from the Boeing CEO, saying essentially he expects an airline, a big airline in the United States could go under as a result of the turmoil caused by COVID-19, really those comments rolled across Wall Street today, and I can assure you they landed like a thud in airline offices all over the country. The big question everybody has is, which airline may be more vulnerable?

Let me set the stage for you. Airlines are flying planes that are about 10 percent full. You see a few occasional pictures of planes more full than that. That`s the exception, not the norm.

Airlines are burning through hundreds of millions of dollars every single day in this country, and under the guidelines, or under the law which gave them the federal bailout money, they are required to keep their employees through September 30th. But every airline has already warned they will very likely have to lay off people come fall.

And we could have 100,000 airline employees out of a job come October 1st. The airlines are really on their knees, and some of them are more in trouble than others, specifically the airlines with a lot of debt. And so the concern is, those airlines may be more vulnerable if passenger traffic doesn`t pick up and in a dramatic way.

Nobody expects that to be honest with you. There is a hope we may have modest pickup over the summer, but nothing that would allow them to retain all of those employees in the fall, especially if we have another surge of the virus and more death across the country.

So could an airline go under or more? Yes. Most analysts believe the Boeing CEO was simply speaking the truth.

It is possible. Which one will it be? We`ll have to see and maybe they can keep the inevitable from happening. Maybe they can push this off and maybe air travel will return.

In the meantime, another headline from the aviation world. The Department of Transportation says it has been inundated with complaints from people saying that the airlines are giving them vouchers, not refunds when they try to change or cancel their reservations because of COVID-19. And the DOT is asking the airlines, please, try to play along with people, try to be flexible with your customers, because a lot of people are facing real financial hardship.

So, a lot of moving pieces here in the airline world and among the regulators, essentially trying to keep the pieces moving, even though it is a very, very, very slow and quiet place at airports nationwide.

Steve, back to you.


KORNACKI: Yeah, the picture behind Tom tells it all. That`s an amazing stat, I guess not surprising, but amazing, 10 percent on these flights in terms of folks who are on them.

NBC`s Tom Costello, thank you for that.

And up next, some big news from the sports world, maybe. Stay with us.


KORNACKI: Well, there was some big news in the world of sports today. Major League Baseball is in discussions with its players union about starting the season July 4th weekend. "The Associated Press" reports the league has proposed an 82-game regular season. That would be almost exactly half the normal length of 162 games.

The season would begin with no fans in the seats and limited travel for teams. If this is approved, it would be the shortest season in major league history.

Meanwhile, overseas, some incredible scenes in Paris after France eased some of its lockdown restrictions on Monday. For the first time in 55 days, Parisians were able to leave their homes for reasons other than grocery shopping. Some businesses have reopened, but restaurants and bars remain closed.

And back in New York, Broadway theaters announced it would be a long time before shows resume there. Owners announcing that the theaters will remain closed through the summer at least and they`ll re-evaluate things with the city and state after Labor Day. Some of Broadway`s stars took part in the last night`s rise up New York telethon. It was hosted by Tina Fey, to benefit New Yorker impacted by the coronavirus. It raised $115 million. As Broadway stars joined together to sing "New York, New York" introduced by Lin-Manuel Miranda.


KORNACKI: Nice to see and nice to hear, of course. That is the song they play at Yankees Stadium at the conclusion of every Yankees game. So we`ll see if they`re also playing that in New York at a baseball game this summer. We`ll find out.

Thanks for being with us. Don`t go anywhere.