CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": But, first, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. Much appreciate it. That was awesome. Great to see you in South Carolina.
HAYES: You bet. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Great to have you with us.
The president tonight at the White House said about the coronavirus, and I quote: It is going to disappear. One day, it will be like a miracle, it will disappear. He then said: Nobody really knows.
And while I am sure the president would not say that without having an adequate scientific and factual basis for proclaiming that to the American people, the evidence today does not seem to indicate that the miraculous day when coronavirus is going to disappear is upon us, at least not yet.
Today, the nation of Norway announced its first case of coronavirus. The Netherlands also announced their first case. Denmark announced their first case.
Estonia announced their first case. Romania announced their first case. Northern Ireland announced their first case.
Nigeria announced its first case today, which makes that the first case reported in all of sub-Saharan Africa. Sweden announced five new cases today. Italy, as of yesterday, had announced 12 deaths attributed to the virus. Today that number jumped to 17 deaths in Italy in 650 cases overall.
It`s not clear why, but the total number of cases in France more than doubled today compared with yesterday. France is now reporting 38 cases, including a dozen patients who have tested positive in run region north of Paris where they don`t know what the initial vector of transmission was for those dozen patients.
France also reports that in its latest death from coronavirus that, patient is also somebody for whom they could not track how he got the virus in the first place, but he has now died.
There`s new reasons to worry about the situation in Iran. In particular in terms of how this is going to go in the Middle East. In Iran the official death toll as of last night was 19. As of tonight it`s 26. But "The Guardian" newspaper says the death toll is much higher, more like 50.
Friday prayers were suspended in Iran today. But they have still kept open the holy Shiite pilgrimage sites in the holy city of Qom, which are believed to be a focal point for the Iranian outbreak, which is of unknown size.
Remarkably, among the people who have now tested positive for coronavirus in Iran, there are a number of high-ranking politicians, including several members of parliament who have the virus. The deputy minister of health in Iran has tested positive for coronavirus.
Also, the vice president of Iran for women and family affairs. That is not a job I knew they had in Iran, but the woman who holds that job is herself, an immunologist, and she has now reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus herself.
World Health Organization officials warned today that the death rate in Iran thus far cast doubt on what Iran has announced, in terms of its total number of cases, that they`ve already got 26 deaths already, let alone potentially twice that number. That total number of cases, the total number of people infected in Iran, it almost must be much larger than what Iran is admitting to, or, potentially, to what they know.
I mean, what do they know? What are they doing for testing? One of the things we are starting to recognize around the world is that as testing rates increase, the reported number of cases increases too, right?
It makes sense. You can`t confirm any of these infections unless you are testing for them. Testing protocols and actual tests vary quite widely around the world.
We`ve been reporting over the past few days about the situation in South Korea where they are making a very concerted effort to test tens of thousands and ultimately hundreds of thousands of people. Yesterday, remarkably, over the course of one day, South Korea`s new cases jumped by more than 30 percent, more than 300 new cases were reported yesterday just in one day as they scaled up testing. More than 300 cases yesterday.
Well, today, they reported more than 500 new cases in South Korea. Again, as they continue to scale up their testing as fast as they can, South Korea is now up to more than 2,000 known cases. But, again, more than 500 of those cases just reported today.
And the disruption to daily life is scaling up as well based on the prevalence of the virus in specific countries but also the way individual countries are deciding to respond to it. Today, the Japanese government ordered all schools across Japan closed immediately until the end of what is basically spring break for Japanese schools, which means that every school in that country is closed effective immediately and will stay closed until maybe early April?
I mean, it`s February now. Imagine if that happened in your family, right? Imagine if all the schools in your town shut or all the schools in your country all shut on zero notice closed immediately starting tomorrow and they`re not going to be open until April. How would you be able to handle that in terms of your family responsibilities, your work schedules, childcare and everything?
In Iraq, they have also ordered the schools shut until March 7th. In Kuwait, they`ve ordered the schools shut until March 12th. Again, whether or not you think that is a reasonable precaution for these countries to be taking in public health terms, just think about the social disruption that entails to everyday families, especially because these decisions didn`t have a long lead time. It`s just, you know, effective immediately and shut for a long time to come.
In addition to the school closures in Iraq, Iraq has now banned its citizens from traveling to Iran, China, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Italy, Kuwait, and Bahrain.
In Israel, the health ministry has advised all Israelis to reconsider the necessity of flying everywhere. Quote: If you do not genuinely have to fly, do not do so. That`s the message from the Israeli health ministry.
And when countries around the world and we are seeing big businesses cancel business travel around the world, when countries and big businesses, large entities like this start making blanket decisions, telling people don`t travel and we`re shutting stuff down, it`s easy to see why we`re having the kind of financial market reactions that we are now having in what appears to be a sort of sustained way. This isn`t an esoteric fear. This is the recognition of real economic impact.
Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,192 points in one day. That`s the largest single-day point drop in the Dow ever. The Dow has now dropped 3,200 points this week.
The S&P, the Nasdaq, and the Dow all have their largest one-day point declines ever today.
In terms of how our country is faring, how we are handling it, honestly, I think it has to be -- we have to contend with the fact that there is a problem at the top in terms of leadership and clarity and just, you know, sentient awareness of the basic facts of what is going on around this crisis right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s going to disappear. One day, it`s like a miracle, it will disappear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I don`t know if part of the response plan from the U.S. government is to try to get the president to stop talking about this matter. So that he stops saying fantasy made-up, untrue things like that. It`ll disappear. One day, it`ll just disappear.
I mean, ultimately, remarks like that from the president will get in the way of the U.S. government being able to communicate real information to the American people that is important for our lives. But the president`s public remarks on this crisis thus far have just been repeatedly and insistently wrong in a way that is going to be consequential because our lives are going to be affected by the public health response to this crisis. And while I have been very comfortable increasingly comfortable ignoring the president`s words, we have a sort of mantra here for the Trump administration, which is watch what they do, not what they say.
In a case like this, in a public health crisis like this, the president`s words are very consequential in themselves. And what he`s been saying about the coronavirus is not his usual, you know, feel free to ignore it bragging, making stuff up about his enemies, right, and the press and all that stuff. I mean, the president is telling the public things that are not true about the coronavirus, and specifically about how it is being handled in the United States. And this is a problem. The president again tonight says it`s only 15 cases of coronavirus in the United States.
It is not 15 cases. It is at least 60 cases of coronavirus in the United States, not 15.
The president continues to insist that the number of cases is going to drop. It`s going to go away, it`s going to become near zero when even his own administration`s health officials are saying we need to prepare for the fact that the number of cases in the United States is going to go up.
The president is saying the number of cases is going to go to zero. It`s going to drop away. It`s not. It`s going to go up. The president is not telling you the truth about that.
The president has said that in the last two days that the coronavirus is less lethal, has a lower fatality rate than the common flu. That is quite dramatically mathematically incorrect. But him insisting on that is causing confusion for people who are trying to understand the scale of this problem and how our lives are going to change here and what public health interventions might have to be.
I mentioned that part of what we are seeing internationally is that as countries are scaling up their testing efforts, that`s allowing them to diagnose more and more cases of coronavirus. Well, one of the things that makes it important for us to have real information about this crisis from our government as opposed to the kind of stuff the president has been saying, which is not true, is that the testing dynamic is very much influx here in the United States. That dynamic we`re seeing in other countries, whether scaling up testing and that`s producing large numbers of new reported cases, it`s not playing out that way in the United States yet. Because, thus far in the United States, access to testing for this virus has been quite limited.
As of today, it`s being reported that fewer than 500 people have even been tested for coronavirus in the United States. So we`ve got 60 cases but we`ve only tested 445 people.
Contrast that with South Korea which is aiming at testing 200,000 people and has tested tens of thousands already. I mean, just look at what`s going on in California to get a sense about what might be so troubling about that in terms of our own government`s response.
According to California Governor Gavin Newsom today, California has 33 cases of its own. California has more than double the confirmed positive cases than the president admits to for our entire country. There are 33 confirmed cases in California. But according to California Governor Gavin Newsom, more than 8,400 people in California are being monitored as potential cases, more than 8,000. That said last night we reported on the California case that was the first instance of somebody being known in the U.S. being diagnosed with coronavirus without knowing their source of infection.
This is a person who hadn`t traveled overseas to China or anyplace else where the virus is known to be prevalent. This is a person who is not known to have been in contact with anybody who had that kind of overseas travel. First source of exposure is a mystery.
A Northern California woman, we don`t have any way to trace how it is that she got infected. She`s the first person whose infection in the United States is of totally unknown origin.
As we reported last night, the Centers for Disease Control and California public health officials have started contact tracing for this patient to figure out who she`s been in contact with, who might have been the source of her infection, but also who she`s been in contact with who she might have infected as well since she has had the virus.
Well, tonight we`ve got significantly more information about that California case. According to California health officials, this woman was brought to a community health center in Vacaville, California, community hospital with about 50 rooms. She was brought in by family members when she was feeling ill and not getting better. She stayed at that hospital for several days while her condition got worse. She was having severe increasingly severe pulmonary and respiratory symptoms, and the hospital staff at that community hospital decided they needed to transfer her to a facility that was better equipped to handle somebody in that kind of a condition.
And so they transferred her from the Vacaville Community Hospital to U.C.- Davis Medical Center. And it was at UC-Davis Medical Center where she was finally tested for coronavirus and she tested positive.
Well, now in the aftermath of this case becoming known and becoming a confirmed positive, dozens of staff members at that community hospital where she first appeared have spent several days being monitored for their potential exposure. Also staff at U.C.-Davis Medical Center have been isolated. They are now being monitored for having potentially been exposed.
So, just since she has been in contact with the healthcare system, there is a question of potential additional exposure to health workers who helped treat her in the environment where she was being treated. But the question remains as to how she got it.
The community hospital where this woman first presented is less than ten miles away from Travis Air Force Case. Travis Air Force Base is one of the military facilities where the Trump administration decided to bring Americans supposedly under quarantine conditions after those Americans had been evacuated from a cruise ship. The cruise ship had been to China, passengers on board were known to have contracted the virus. It was docked at Yokohama in Japan and just sitting there, the U.S. government made the decision to evacuate Americans off that cruise ship.
Last week, "The Washington Post" had dramatic reporting about the chaos inside the Trump administration as they were trying to decide what to do exactly with those Americans who were stuck on that cruise ship.
One of those Americans had a friend who was a Republican congressman called up his friend who was the congressman. That got the attention of the Trump administration. They decided to evacuate more than 320 Americans off that cruise ship. Those 320-plus Americans were told by the U.S. government that they would be brought home and they would be kept safe in the midst of bringing them home, though, 14 of the American passengers themselves tested positive for the coronavirus.
And so what to do? Because there`s more than 300 of them, but 14 have tested positive.
As "The Washington Post" described, those passengers were essentially left cooling their heels while Trump administration officials and public health officials fought about it. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control insisted that those 14 Americans who tested positive should not be flown home on the same plane as all of the other Americans who hadn`t tested positive. CDC officials argued that it wasn`t safe, it was improper procedure in terms of trying to contain this as a public health threat.
But the Trump administration decided to overrule those CDC officials. Trump administration officials in the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services said, no, we`re going to overrule your concerns. CDC officials went so far as to insist then that the CDC wouldn`t have its name as an agency mentioned at all in any of the press materials discussing the U.S. government`s decision here because they didn`t want to make it seem like the CDC had signed off on what they believed was a terrible and unsafe plan. They explicitly objected to it.
Well, now, "The Washington Post," "New York Times," "Wall Street Journal" have all reported on a whistle-blower complaint filed by an employee at the Department of Health and Human Services. And it is a whistle-blower complaint that shines a fairly terrifying light on how exactly the Department of Health and Human Services, under Trump cabinet Secretary Alex Azar, how they decided to handle these infected Americans being evacuated back to the U.S., once the Trump administration had decided to disregard the CDC`s explicit advice about how to handle those 14 infected people.
The State Department and Alex Azar`s Health and Human Services Department insisted that the CDC was wrong, they knew better how to handle those 14 infected people. And so, they brought these evacuees to two air force bases, to Marsh Air Force Base in Riverside County, California, and to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, up never Rockville (ph).
HHS, according to this whistle-blower complaint, ordered teams of more than a dozen personnel from HHS, from something called the Administration for Children and Families inside HHS, that they should go into the quarantine zone for those evacuees, they should greet those American evacuees upon their arrival at those two Air Force bases.
Here`s how "The New York Times" described what happened. Quote, the staff members were sent to Travis Air Force Base and March Air Reserve Base in were ordered to enter quarantined areas, including a hangar where coronavirus evacuees were being received. The HHS staff were not provided training or safety protocols.
Without proper training or equipment some of the exposed staff members then moved freely around and off the air bases with at least one person staying in a nearby hotel and then leaving California on a commercial flight.
According to the whistle-blower, quote: I soon began to feel panicked calls from my leadership team and from deployed staff members expressing concerns with the lack of HHS communication and coordination. Concerns with staff being sent into quarantined areas without personal protective equipment, or training, or experience in managing public health emergencies, concerns about safety protocols and the potential danger to both themselves and members of the public they come into contact with.
Nobody knows why staffers from this particular part of health and human services were the ones who were assigned to meet with the coronavirus evacuees inside the quarantine zone. These are staffers from the administration for children and families. That`s not part of the U.S. government that responds to public health emergencies.
I mean, in this administration for reference these are the people who`ve been assigned to take custody of the kids who were taken away from their parents at the border by homeland security. These aren`t public health emergency. These aren`t quarantined staff, right?
Why did the Trump administration send these people into the quarantine zone to meet with the evacuees with no personal protective equipment, with no training as to how to prevent themselves from becoming exposed or infected? Why did they send these people to go meet with the Americans who had tested positive for coronavirus?
And then after doing so, they sent those same staffers out into hotels and onto commercial aircraft and back into the surrounding communities and ultimately back into their offices at HHS around the country. Did you design this to try to spread this thing around the country?
I mean, you`re the Health and Human Services Department. You`re the ones who insisted you knew how to do this better than the CDC. You explicitly overruled them on this. And then this is how you handled it?
Both "The Times" and "The Post" reporting tonight that even today, there are these two dozen plus HHS staffers who were put in this position, who were not trained, were not given any equipment, not told how to make themselves safe. They were just sent back to their offices after they had this contact with the evacuees.
And to this day, they have still not been tested. They haven`t been put in isolation. They haven`t been told to take their temperature.
The Trump administration just sent them to go meet face to mace with the people who had been evacuated because of coronavirus and then they dispersed those staffers around the country.
This woman who was at U.C.-Davis Medical Center apparently fighting for her life, she is the first case in the United States where it`s somebody who definitely has the infection but they haven`t been able to trace where she got it from. California Governor Gavin Newsom said today that although this woman is from Solano County, which is where Travis Air Force Base is, she has no connection whatsoever to Travis Air Force Base.
But that air base is in her community. And the Trump administration, according to this whistleblower complaint did send federal staffers onto that base to meet with quarantined exposed persons and then let them wander off including into that community. And so, now, here we are.
Trump Health Secretary Alex Azar is in charge of the department that made that decision about how to initially handle those Americans who were brought here over CDC objections. Alex Azar is the one who sent those untrained, unprotected staff member from his own agency to go deal with the evacuees.
That`s who President Trump has put in charge of the coronavirus task force for the U.S. government now, which means he might be in charge of the U.S. government response to coronavirus, but it`s possible that it is also Vice President Mike Pence who is in charge, it`s not entirely clear. It`s also possible that the person who`s in charge is a respected public health professional named Debbie Birx who used to be in charge of U.S. global HIV and AIDS concerns.
Mike Pence named her today as coordinating the White House coronavirus response while he says that he is leading it. But he also says that Secretary Azar is chairing the task force response. I mean, I don`t know -- seems like they`re all working on their titles. I`m not sure who`s actually running it. Seem to be a few different people in charge.
Is the testing situation likely to get fixed? Is this basically an approachable problem, let alone an uncontainable problem if a state with 40 million like California to date has 200 test kits?
Solano County itself has declared an emergency in response to this situation. Officials there tonight briefed press. They said they are -- they said in their briefing tonight that, quote, we need to start to prepare for the fact that we are going to see community transmission in the United States. We have got to prepare for what we are going to do to protect ourselves when it`s here.
Those local officials and CDC officials with them basically a breath of fresh air on this point in terms of the straightforwardness with what they are approaching it. It`s not being shared at the federal level by the officials who are supposedly running this thing.
Joining us now is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. He`s former Obama White House health policy adviser. He`s vice provost of global initiatives at University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Emanuel, it`s a pleasure to have you here. Thanks for making time tonight.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA VICE PROVOST OF GLOBAL INITIATIVES: Nice to be back.
MADDOW: So, first of all, tell me if I got any of that wrong or it seems like I`m looking at any of this backwards. I would be very happy to have you correct me on any of that stuff.
EMANUEL: I would just emphasize two important points. One is there`s a lot of unknowns here. We really -- you know, there`s a brand new virus. We don`t know how it`s spreading.
We do know that it spreads and that it has sort of between two and three people get it from each infected person. We really don`t know its death rate because we don`t have enough cases. But I think, you know, in general, you`ve got the story right, and I think we do need, as you said, a coordinated science-based response to this problem. And we need to be very well prepared.
God willing, it won`t be a big problem. But as we say in medicine, you prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
MADDOW: In terms of knowing the number of cases, I`m finding that the testing situation to be increasingly hard to get my arms around. How is it that South Korea has tested tens of thousands of people and we`ve apparently tested less than 450? It would seem like testing is an important part of trying to get a grasp on the scale of the problem of what needs to be done. How come we can`t scale up our testing?
EMANUEL: Well, one of the problems is that every hospital or public health community has to go back to the CDC to get a test kit. That seems like a mistake, especially now that we know there is community passage of this and many asymptomatic people are passing it. So we have to have a high index of suspicion right from the start, even if someone`s asymptomatic.
And I think you`re right. We need to see tens of thousands of tests being done in this country, if anything, to just prevent further spread. We`re not going to contain this, probably as the California case suggests has broken out. But we do need mitigating responses to this problem and to try to reduce or isolate people who do test positive.
MADDOW: What do you think we should expect in terms of a time frame for that kind of scaling up that you`re talking about? If that is key to trying to figure out how to mitigate the impact of this uncontainable virus in terms of its spread, how fast could we be at the level where we`ve got 10,000 kits -- tens of thousands of kits out there, and they can do it in all the states they`ve got prevalence?
EMANUEL: Well, I just -- I mean, you know, if you had a whirlwind personality who was running this, that`s one step that they would take. Another step is getting all the state health officials together and talking about them and making sure everyone knows what the federal government is doing and what the states are doing and ensuring that there`s close collaboration.
You would make sure that we have enough personal protective equipment, the PPE out there in all the hospitals and throughout the country. You would make sure that our drug supply is secure since so much of the raw materials come from China and the generics come from China, and that`s -- you have to get on that.
I mean, there`s a very long list that you need to do. I`d say the other thing we need to prepare for and China made quite clear that it could threaten us, hopefully, it won`t, is surge in the hospitals. If a lot of people get infected, we may begin to overwhelm our hospitals.
We have less than a million beds in the United States in all hospitals. What`s the surge capacity? How are we going to respond if we have a large number of people?
We still have people who have other conditions, whether it`s cancer or need surgery. So we have to be able to handle that surge. And that needs a plan as well.
And, you know, taking care of the United States is only so good. We have to make sure that the world has an adequate response, too, so we need to partner with the WHO and other organizations in addressing this.
So, there`s a list which is where you would start if you are taking over this and really pushing it forward.
MADDOW: Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, senior health policy adviser with the Obama administration, now vice provost at UPenn, sir, thanks for your time. It`s good to see you.
EMANUEL: Thank you. Hope that was helpful.
It is helpful. It`s a good list. I`m taking notes. I think we all are. I wish I had more confidence that at the White House they were also taking notes writing this stuff down. Maybe I`ll send them a transcript.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: There was a bird flu outbreak in 2005, and afterwards, the George W. Bush administration launched a new program called Predict. The idea was to try to discover new diseases that could be spread from animals to humans. Bird flu, SARS, MERS, this new strain of the coronavirus, that is the cause of this current crisis, they`re all believed to have come from animals before they started making people sick.
The idea with Predict was to try to predict and prevent the next pandemic, or at least to better help understand these types of diseases, to understand it ahead of time if it was eventually going to hit. That program collected more than a hundred thousand samples, documented more than a thousand new viruses, including a new strain of Ebola. It was a huge success running for a full decade, until the Trump administration cut off funding for the Predict program late last year. They shut the whole thing down.
The Trump administration also this past year shut down the entire global health security and bio threat infrastructure that had been specifically built up by the Obama administration, particularly after that administration`s successful response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak. That response was headed up in the Obama administration at president Obama`s direction by a top aide to Vice President Biden named Ron Klain.
Joining us now is Ron Klain. He was chosen by President Obama to lead that Ebola response. He was chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore and Vice President Joe Biden.
Mr. Klain, it`s great to have you here. Thank you.
RON KLAIN, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE EBOLA CZAR: Thanks for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: At some point, I`m going to get you here at the desk with me in New York and we are going to have a long talk about how this is all supposed to go.
MADDOW: But tonight, let me just ask you point blank, if you are worried about how the Trump administration is handling this crisis thus far.
KLAIN: Of course, I am. I mean, I think anything that could be done wrong probably has been done wrong. That starts with the president himself continuing to make inaccurate statements, inaccurate statements about the consequences of the policies adopted, inaccurate statements about the pace of vaccine development, about the likely spread of the disease in the United States.
And you couple that with the announcement today, the implementation of a decision to silence our senior public health officials. People like Tony Fauci who serves seven U.S. presidents, won the presidential Medal of Freedom, the world`s leading person on infectious diseases, ordered by the White House today to stop briefing the public.
So, you have a bunch of bad decisions by the president, effort to silence the people who can give the public the straight information. That`s a very bad combination.
MADDOW: In terms of those sort of dual problems that you were just describing there, obviously, in a real response, a real and responsible response to this kind of a crisis, you do want coordinated messaging. You do want a united front. You do want the United States government speaking clearly and with authority and saying true things.
You want somebody like Tony Fauci briefing the public in terms of the public health threat here. With the president repeatedly saying things that are not true, does it make sense to have somebody trying to coordinate messaging? I mean, do you have to have somebody rebutting the president and saying, no, we`re not going to have a shot for this real soon, no, there aren`t only 15 cases, no, we`re not going to zero cases.
I mean, I`m -- I don`t have too much sympathy with Vice President Mike Pence being in charge of this. But if I were him, I would have no idea how to coordinate U.S. government communications around this with the guy at the top saying the things that he`s saying.
KLAIN: You know, Rachel, I think at this stage in the game, anybody who believes what President Trump says kind of gets what they deserve. The challenge is, is there a place where people can get reliable information? And that is our public health officials, our nonpartisan public health officials, people like Dr. Fauci, people like Dr. Schuchat at CDC who was in the briefing room last as well.
And so, when I was running the Ebola response, we made a decision that I would be behind the scenes. I coordinated with the team, our policy implementation, the effort to deploy people to West Africa, to effort to get our hospitals right here at home. And we had people like Dr. Fauci, people like Dr. Tom Frieden, then the head of CDC, be the public spokespeople.
The American people don`t need to hear from Donald Trump or Mike Pence about the coronavirus. They need to hear from the experts who know the facts, who know what`s happening. What Vice President Pence should be doing or whoever else he`s brought in to work on this should be speeding up our response.
Our response is too slow. We are not getting hospitals ready. We are not getting testing kits deployed. We are not doing the double-time work we should be doing to be getting ready for the inevitable.
MADDOW: Ron Klain, head of the U.S. response during the Obama administration, again, Ron, I`m going to get you here and I`m going to grill you for a long time about how it should probably be done.
KLAIN: I look forward to it.
MADDOW: Thanks for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.
KLAIN: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We got a lot more to get to tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: One of the members of the jury was sick. One was traveling out of the country. But pretty much all the rest of them showed up.
They didn`t have to. It was totally voluntary. But the person that they, the jury, had voted to convict, the president`s long-time adviser Roger Stone as well as the president himself, they were making wild public allegations against the jury, specifically against the forewoman of the jury from the Roger Stone trial, saying she was biased and bad, and that`s the only reason Roger Stone was convicted and he should therefore have his conviction thrown out.
In a hearing over whether or not Roger Stone would get a new trial because of these allegations of bias in the jury, the judge asked members of the jury if they would be willing to return to court so they could answer questions about this alleged bias. And they all did. And in this remarkable scene under supervision by the judge in coordination with lawyers from both sides, two of the jurors were brought back into court to answer questions about what had happened when they were hearing Roger Stone`s case.
The judge: Did the foreperson encourage civility and respect among the jurors? Juror A: She did. The judge: Was every juror invited or permitted to speak up concerning his or her views? Juror A: Yes, absolutely.
The judge: What concerns did you have, if any, whether the foreperson was attempting to impose her views on others or dominate or control the outcome in any way? Answer: I never had any feeling that she was attempting any of that. The judge: Was anyone a voice for taking your time or being sure to apply the presumption of innocence and hold the government to its burden of proof? Answer: I would say that several people were, including the forewoman.
That was juror A. Then we had juror B who went further.
The judge: Did you have any concerns at the time -- at the time you rendered your verdict about whether you and the jury had engaged in a full and fair consideration of the evidence? Juror B: We had a problem with -- well, I don`t know how to say this. We all agreed on -- most of us agreed on our answer. We already said that, you know, he was guilty. But it was the forewoman, I don`t know whether I can say that, but it was the forewoman who insisted that we examine question three, examine charge three a little more.
The judge: OK. There was a count that you sent out some notes about. Is that the one that the foreperson asked you to be more careful? Juror B: Yes, that`s the one. We needed to examine that a little more and read the transcript, find out more evidence.
The judge: So it was the foreperson who insisted that that level of attention be paid to that count even though some of you were already ready to decide? Answer: Yes.
The jurors coming in to defend the foreperson of their jury who was being attacked on the Fox News Channel, who was being attacked by the president of the United States, and who was being attacked by the defendant in that case, personally attacked as being some sort of bad and biased person that has resulted in Roger Stone`s unanimous conviction by that jury.
Jury duty is a pain. It`s a civic responsibility, I know, but it`s a pain. In this case, though, with the president of the United States personally attacking members of the jury, we`re now at the point of asking for basically heroic patriotism on the part of these jurors who never asked for any of this, who are just normal everyday citizens who are doing their civic duty by saying yes and turning up for jury duty.
They`re, nevertheless, stepping forward to rebut the attacks on this jury that are coming from the sitting president of the United States. It`s remarkable that the president has put us in this situation, that it is also remarkable that this jury has stepped up to defend itself and to defend each other in the way that they have.
And one of those jurors is going to join us live here in studio, next.
MADDOW: This is from juror number three. He says, quote: Our foreperson oversaw a rigorous process, slowing us down on several occasions and advocating for the rights of the defendant.
Roger Stone received a fair trial. He was found guilty based on the evidence by a jury that respected his rights and viewed the government`s claims skeptically. Our jury valued truth, plain and simple.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson echoed the sentiment last week while sentencing Mr. Stone, saying, quote: The truth still exists; the truth still matters.
When the president attacks our jury`s foreperson, he is effectively attacking every American who takes time off work, arranges childcare and otherwise disrupts their life temporarily to participate in this civic duty. His attacks denigrate both our service and the concept of equal justice under U.S. law.
That`s an op-ed that just recently ran in "The Washington Post" from Seth Cousins who served as juror number three in the Roger Stone trial.
Mr. Cousins joins us live here in studio now.
Sir, thanks very much for being here. I appreciate it.
SETH COUSINS, ROGER STONE TRIAL JUROR: Thanks, Rachel. Nice to be here.
MADDOW: I imagine with what you`ve been through, it probably was not an easy decision to decide to talk about this publicly.
COUSINS: It -- it wasn`t. Well, I wrote -- I wrote that first op-ed back in November shortly after the trial had concluded. I felt like it was important to put a voice out there about the process that we had followed, about how seriously we had taken Roger Stone`s rights in the process.
At the time, I felt like just my words would be enough, and it seemed like they were for a while.
But then over the last three weeks or so, seeing the attacks come in on the jury, on the process, on the forewoman, coming even from the president of the United States, as you`ve noted and many people have noted, repeatedly attacking her, it just felt like someone needed to speak up a little bit.
MADDOW: It`s been remarkable to see both in -- you being public about this but also in the hearing this week that the judge contacted members of the jury or had the court contact members of the jury and basically invite you to return to court. But it was totally voluntary. You didn`t have to do it.
COUSINS: It was -- it was voluntary. We didn`t have to do it. There were a couple people who were traveling for work. There were a couple people who expressed they weren`t going to be comfortable testifying.
So, it was actually a voluntary occurrence.
MADDOW: And then two jurors, Juror A and Juror B, were questioned by the judge, effectively, about what the process had been like and about these allegations of bias.
COUSINS: That`s right.
MADDOW: Can I ask you if you were Juror A or Juror B?
COUSINS: I was Juror A.
MADDOW: You were Juror A.
MADDOW: Was that an intimidating process itself?
COUSINS: It was a fascinating process, Rachel. This whole thing has been - - I mean, I never imagined that this -- this has happened. First -- first time I`ve ever served on a jury. It`s going to be hard --
MADDOW: Uh-huh. It`s not always like this.
COUSINS: So I have heard.
COUSINS: It was -- it was a little bit intimidating.
I will say that Judge Jackson has very firm control over her courtroom -- her courtroom --
COUSINS: -- and very sort of fair approach to the process. So I certainly didn`t feel nervous with her asking me questions and answering honestly the questions she had.
MADDOW: I want to ask you a little bit more about what it`s been like to have the president himself personally weighed into this process, which I imagine adds both the surreality (ph) of it but also sort of the stakes.
MADDOW: We`re going to take a quick break and we`ll be right back.
COUSINS: All right.
MADDOW: Seth Cousins was juror number three in the Roger Stone trial. The president and the Stone defense had been attacking the jury, including in personal terms since Mr. Stone was convicted and sentenced.
We`ll be right back with Seth Cousins after this.
MADDOW: Joining us once again is Seth Cousins. He served on the Roger Stone trial as juror number three and has written two pieces for "The Washington Post" reflecting on that service and talking about his pride in how the jury conducted itself. That`s become all the more remarkable and newsworthy since the president himself has started attacking the jury, along with some of the president`s allies in the conservative media.
Seth, thanks again.
MADDOW: You wrote with a lot of pride and a lot of sort of patriotic -- I found it very moving -- a lot of feeling about what it meant to go through this process with your fellow jurors. You didn`t know any of these people before.
MADDOW: Totally diverse group, from all sorts of different walks of life who nevertheless came together and took this very seriously and were very proud of the way that you approached this.
How has that -- how has that clashed with the way that conservative media and the president have attacked you guys?
COUSINS: Sure. Well, I think the attacks are frankly appalling. I just -- I don`t think that -- I don`t think that the president or elected officials or frankly the press have a place to be attacking jury service, and the idea of jury service.
Jury service is like core to our -- is core to our justice system and to administration of justice, right? It`s written into the Constitution. It goes way back to common law before that.
I hadn`t thought much about jury service before I was on this -- this panel, and I`ve had the chance to think about it a bunch since then, and it has -- it has led me to understand, like, how important jury service is, what a sacrifice, even though it may just be a temporary, a few day (ph) inconvenience. But the sacrifice that every American citizen makes when they report for jury duty, when they answer the summons, and the critical piece that they`re playing in sort of upholding our justice system, protecting the rights of citizens who are accused of crimes.
MADDOW: Do you think the kinds of attacks on you and the foreperson on your jury in particular are designed to either change jury verdicts or to make people too afraid or too shy about putting themselves, about doing this sort of duty or about participating in it? Are you worried about that?
COUSINS: Yes, I am. I certainly wouldn`t be surprised if they are designed to make people afraid of serving on juries, that may be -- may be judging other people in Trump`s circle in the future. I -- I don`t know if they`re designed to attack the basic idea of jury service and turn people away from that, but I feel they actually have that effect.
MADDOW: Uh-huh. Seth Cousins, again, you have every right to keep yourself completely anonymous and not talk to the members of press and public about this, but you doing so I think has really given us a super important window into what this was like and a way to appreciate how much is at stake with these attacks on you guys.
Thanks for --
MADDOW: -- thanks for doing this.
COUSINS: Thanks, Rachel. I`m honored to do it.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: By the time President Trump held his coronavirus press conference yesterday, the stock market had closed after a fifth straight day of deep decline. The president told everybody it was a little hiccup, nothing to worry about. While he was saying that, the futures market, the part of the market where traders bet on what the situation will be when it opens the next market, the futures market was saying something very different.
And that futures market predicted more losses. It turned out to be right. Today was another terrible day for the Dow, tanked again for the sixth straight day today. Closed 1,200 points lower than it opened.
Well, tonight, the futures market hasn`t gotten any rosier. Here`s a look where the futures market is leaning right now predicting, more losses tomorrow. See the implied open column there?
Meanwhile markets opened in Asia a few hours ago. Stocks there are once again on the decline. Japan`s Nikkei index has dropped over 3 percent already.
Buckle up and watch this space.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END