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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 1/21/21

Guest: Sheldon Whitehouse, McKay Coppins, Heather McGhee, Laurie Garrett, Chris Lu

JAMIE HARRISON, CHAIRMAN, DNC: And folks can go to and be a part of that.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: And you know -- you know, you`re a real -- you`re a real pro, you put the Web site out there. Best of luck, DNC Chair Jamie Harrison. Thank you very much, my friend.

HARRISON: Thank you, Joy.

REID: That is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. Cheers.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight, on ALL IN.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe that President -- former President Trump provoked?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don`t believe he provoked if you listen to what he said at the rally.

HAYES: Republicans retreat from the truth as Democrats take control of government. But will they use it? Tonight, Mitch McConnell`s brazen move to seize power and the imperative for Democrats to move quickly on impeachment, COVID relief, and more.

Then Dr. Anthony Fauci returns to the briefing room.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It`s interesting, I`m sort of getting a deja vu standing up here.

HAYES: Tonight Dr. Fauci`s candid take on the troubling state of vaccine distribution and his newfound liberation.

FAUCI: The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know what the evidence -- what the science is, and know that`s it, let the science speak. It is somewhat of a liberating feeling.

HAYES: All that and the massive push from the Biden administration to un- Trump the federal government when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. The theme of President Joe Biden`s inauguration day yesterday was unity, unity in a deeply divided country. A country still trembling from the unprecedented violent insurrection directed against the incoming administration and members of Congress incited by the former president.

That unity message was appropriate I thought, absolutely the right one for our country right now. But here`s the stark reality. The stark reality is that one party cannot just declare unity and have it be so. Unity cannot be achieved unilaterally. It cannot be achieved without some course correction, some accountability, some self-reflection, and an apology and retraction by those who played their part in the effort to overthrow the democratically elected government and basically sought to destroy American democracy in its current form.

But what we say today, one day after the inauguration, the first day of this new era, is no such apology shall be forthcoming. Congressional Republicans, the Republican Party in general, is going to attempt to pretend it all just didn`t happen. Just turn the page and go back to the implacable obstruction they`re used.

A week ago, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted Donald Trump bore responsibility for the assault on the Capitol. Today, he said he doesn`t think Trump provoked the attack. Senator John Cornyn of Texas shared an article by Trump`s former lawyer saying the Senate should dismiss the article of impeachment against the now ex-president who incited a violent mob that killed a cop and could very well have killed his own vice president.

That happened two weeks ago. Despite the threat of up to a $10,000 fine, some House Republicans just continued to ignore the newly installed metal detectors on the way to the House floor. Andy Biggs and Warren Bullbar both refused to be wanded after setting off the detectors. Don Young handed what looked like a knife back to his wife but don`t worry, she says it was a piece of metal.

HuffPost Matt fuller reports Maryland Congressman Andy Harris "had something on him. I believe it was a gun because a cop made side holster motion to another cop. They refuse to let him in. He goes towards the elevators, asked a member to take something from him, the member says he doesn`t have a license."

Fuller later confirmed with the Capitol Police official that Harris was indeed carrying a gun just two weeks after they and their colleagues are almost killed. This is the seriousness Republicans are showing the Capitol security, the Capitol Police.

Now, in the Senate, seven Senate Democrats led by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse who I`m going to speak within just a few minutes file an ethics complaint against Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley for their role in encouraging the attack on the Capitol. The complaint says they should face strong disciplinary action, including up to expulsion, or censure.

And they`re right, they should. Republicans have an obligation to apologize to the country, to patrol their caucus, and to exile the seditious faction, and not just wield the minority power they now have to continue to obstruct and endanger American democracy.

And if they will not do that, which they almost certainly will not, then Democrats empowered with a mandate from the American people with rare control over both houses of Congress and the presidency, with a president who got more votes than anyone in history, who won by seven million votes, and a Senate Majority derived from an improbable victory in the state of Georgia, where everyone knew the Senate was on the line, they have a mandate, the Democrats, to do things to improve people`s lives as quickly and as much as possible and to fortify American democracy against the forces that would seek to destroy it.

If that can be done in a way that furthers unity, great. Unity on terms of refortifying American democracy and exiling the forces of white supremacy, hatred, sedition and tyranny, that`s great. Let`s unify around that. But to the extent the Republican Party chooses to hold tight to that path, the path of Donald Trump, the path opposed to democracy, then the Democrats` new power must be wielded against them.

Right now, we`ve got a crystal-clear example -- again, day one, right. We just started this today. Here`s where we are. Senator Mitch McConnell is threatening to filibuster what`s called the organizing resolution. That`s the basic rules of the road for how the Senate will be run. And in doing so, he`s preventing Democrats from carrying out the roles of majority party.

It is as Senator Brian Schatz noted, "absolutely unprecedented, wacky, and counterproductive." In fact, as I speak to you tonight, Democrats still not actually taking the majority because Mitch McConnell is obstructing that. The same Mitch McConnell who whipped his caucus against Trump`s first impeachment vote when he was warned, when they were all warned that Trump would do things to hurt the country.

The same Mitch McConnell refused to negotiate the procedure for the trial. The same Mitch McConnell, who of course, facilitated and aided and abetted Donald Trump and his dangerous deadly destructive winds that have -- whims that have led to hundreds of thousands of excess American deaths and an attack on the capital and democracy hanging by a thread.

The same Mitch McConnell, who for weeks refused to acknowledge Joe Biden was the victor even though he knew he was, and in so doing gave life to the dangerous and deadly conspiracy theories that would come crashing through those Capitol doors. That Mitch McConnell, right now, that Mitch McConnell still retains his position as Senate Majority Leader thanks to his own obstruction.

The Democrats is going to have to choose very soon, do they roll over for phony calls for unity to absolve the Republican Party for its trespasses against American democracy or do they wield the rare power they have won through Democratic and legitimate means to repair democracy in people`s lives?

I`m joined now by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, one of the Democrats who filed an ethics complaint against Senators Cruz and Hawley today. And I want to talk about that in a moment, Senator, but I want to sort of first start with this weird situation we find ourselves in, this impasse over the organizing resolution. Just -- can you explain what`s going on here?

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): I think it`s an early power struggle with Mitch trying to find leverage for himself to the extent that he is counting on people in the Democratic Caucus to oppose procedural reforms. I think he`s really undermining himself. McConnell is, right now, he`s making the case for procedural reforms to allow a majority to do its business.

HAYES: He`s essentially, as I understand it, threatening a filibuster of the basic resolution you all need to do business, and thereby using that threat to deny the Democrats the majority and the gavel and committee chairmanships.

WHITEHOUSE: Yes. Well, technically, we would have the gavels, but we wouldn`t have the new members assigned to different committees.

HAYES: I see.

WHITEHOUSE: So, the floor would continue to operate more or less the regular way under Senate rules with Chuck Schumer as Majority Leader. But the real rubber hitting the road is in the committees where the new members aren`t seated, except pursuant to that order. And so, when Democratic Chairman calls a committee into session, we may still have a minority because of the way people moved around.

And obviously, that`s not what the voters intended, not the way the Senate works, not the way the constitution works. It`s just a Mitch McConnell maneuver.

HAYES: So, I guess -- I mean, to me, what this illuminate is that the question will be called whether you, Sheldon Whitehouse, or other Democrats want it or not, right? I mean, you got -- you got the narrowest of majorities, but it`s a majority. And the question is, will you be able to govern or not? That seems to me what the deeper issue is here beneath whatever procedural gambit this amounts to.


HAYES: So, then what are you going to do?

WHITEHOUSE: Well, we have to work through this. The first thing, I think, is that we need to be sure that we`ll have President Biden`s support and then we`re proceeding in unison as we do these things. There are a couple of buckets we can work our way into. One is that a lot of the procedural stuff on stuff involving nominations and the executive calendar, we can simply outlast them on the floor. And it`s going to take some, you know, physical being there, and late hours and weekends and all of that.

But at some point, it becomes almost a physical game of just tiring them out till they come to Mitch and say, Mitch, knock it off. I want weekends again.

HAYES: Right.

WHITEHOUSE: So, I think we`ve got to be prepared to do that if we need to. We may very well need to. In some cases, it`s a matter of, you know, rule 14 bills to the floor, even though they haven`t been through committee, and start forcing difficult votes on the Senate floor, and using the power of the majority leader on the floor to begin to get to work.

And there`s a great bucket, Chris, of bills that we could probably pass with 70 or 80 votes with a lot of bipartisan support. But Mitch didn`t like them, either, because his donors didn`t like them or because they split his caucus, which was anathema to him. So, despite they have won by great big numbers and help the American people, he would never let them to the floor.

Well, Chuck Schumer can reverse that. He can bring those bills to the floor now and smoke out Republican support and force Republican opposers to actually take a stand, very often opposed to what America wants.

HAYES: Right.

WHITEHOUSE: So, we are not without tools. We just have to have the resolve and the willingness and the stick-to-itiveness to fight through this.

HAYES: You announced today this letter. It`s signed on by seven Democrats and it`s quite rare, I will say. It is a letter looking for a formal ethics investigation of your colleagues, Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, two of the leading voices in leading an effort to deny the seeding of electors, the legitimately elected electors of states who voted against the seeding of those electors. It would have led to, if they were successful, being kicked into House and probably Donald Trump being president. Why did you feel moved to take this action?

WHITEHOUSE: Well, the Senate has to. If you count on the FBI or executive branch law enforcement agencies to inquire into the conduct of a member of the Senate, they run bang into the protections of the speech and debate clause and the separation of powers. And the Constitution gives the Senate the power to oversee its members. So, the Senate has to do something. And the Senate has consigned this responsibility to the ethics committee. So, that`s the place where this gets looked at under the Constitution.

And because we don`t yet know what Senators Cruz and Hawley did, it`s hard to judge how to respond. So, we request an investigation so we can find out how close Cruz and Hawley were to the sedition plan and what role they had in it. Was it aid and comfort? Was it aiding and abetting? Was that full-on conspiracy? Was it accessory? What was their relationship with the crimes that we know indisputably occurred within the Capitol?

It is absolutely clear that their votes and their opinions are their own and are protected by the First Amendment and all of that. This is inquiring what else did they do beyond just standing up and voting? Were they involved with the funders? Were they involved with the organizing groups? Worst case scenario, their objections were designed to hold the Senate process open longer, specifically to allow the attack on the Capitol to have a larger window to succeed and disrupt.

HAYES: You don`t have evidence of that specifically.


HAYES: You`re saying that the worst --

WHITEHOUSE: No, that`s exactly the kind of stuff that I think the Senate needs to know in order to make an appropriate decision on expulsion, censure, discipline, whatever is appropriate at the end of an investigation. As a former prosecutor, I`m a big believer that you don`t go to the penalty until you`ve done your investigation, had your findings of fact and made a decision on what took place.

HAYES: The other place where there will be a finding -- some findings of fact, the presentation, of course, is the impeachment trial, which today the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whether he wants to admit he is or not, proposed a little bit of a delay until February. And I wonder your response to that proposed timeline?

WHITEHOUSE: I am okay with whatever the timeline is. I think that, you know, every defendant needs a chance to hire a lawyer, put their case together and prepare for a trial. That would give President Trump a chance to do this. And at the same time, it gives us a chance to think through what the trial should look like.

I would expect that the House managers will be fairly brief and be smart and expeditious about the way they put in their case. You don`t need to learn about Ukraine to understand this case that happened right in front of us.


WHITEHOUSE: And that gives us the ability when we`ve locked in the timing for the House managers to limit the time that Trump defenders can waste if they`re trying to be dilatory rather than sincerely present a case. And then we pick the time and sit down and go through and get it done. And with any luck, we could even do that in the mornings and legislating in the afternoons. But again, we`ll need some more cooperation from Leader McConnell on that.

HAYES: Famous last words, we`ll need some more cooperation from Leader McConnell. Sheldon -- Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, thank you so much for making time tonight.

WHITEHOUSE: Of course. Good to be with you, Chris.

HAYES: All right, next, Democrats need to act fast if they have any hope of passing major legislation. But can they stay out of their own way and get it done? We`ll talk about that next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s this call for unity that the President made in his speech yesterday, but there has so far been almost no fig leaf even to the Republican Party. Where is the -- where is the actual action behind this idea of bipartisanship? And when are we going to see one of those, you know, substantial outreaches that says, this is something that, you know, the Republicans want to do too?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Is unemployment insurance only an issue that Democrats in the country want? Do only Democrats want their kids to go back to schools? Do only Democrats want vaccines to be distributed across the country? That`s -- we feel that that package, he feels that package is designed for bipartisan support.


HAYES: Pretty good answer from Jen Psaki today to a good question. You know, we are right now in the midst of a disaster. It continues apace. Almost 4,000 Americans dying just today from COVID. And we have underestimated this disease over and over and over again. Are we going to do it again?

Well, the question lies before both parties but particularly Republicans in the United States Senate what they want to do. And so far, they`re showing signs that they want to obstruct. So, then what`s to be done? I`m going to bringing two people well versed on what`s in store for Joe Biden.

Heather McGhee, board co-chair of Color Change, the largest U.S. online racial justice organization, author of the forthcoming book, The Some of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. I have read parts of that book and it`s outstanding and you should go preorder it now. And McKay Coppins, staff writer for The Atlantic, whose latest piece is titled Becoming Republican Amnesia.

Let`s start on that, McKay. I mean, I knew this was going to happen partly because I lived through the end of the Bush administration where it`s like George Bush, who was -- who is he? Like, where did we end up on that? So, I knew this was going to happen. Like, everyone`s just going to pretend that two weeks ago there wasn`t a violent mob that killed a cop as it tried to overthrow the democratically elected government. They`re just going to go back to doing what they`re doing.

I wonder what the problem is. Here`s what I foresee. You can`t have bipartisan compromise if the other people on the other side of the table don`t know what they want, and that is deeply the problem right now. It was the problem in the last round of Cares Act negotiations. They don`t know what they want or what they stand for. So, you can`t -- it`s like, impossible to even negotiate with them.

MCKAY COPPINS, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Yes. I mean, this is going to be a problem for the Republican Party for a while now, right. For the last four years, every Republican policy priority was dictated by the whims of Donald Trump. And so that meant that they never really had a coherent plan.

But now that Donald Trump is gone, they have now -- even more so don`t have a coherent plan because the Republican Party is fracturing. And they`re not just fracturing on ideological grounds or political grounds, they`re fracturing on what to make of the last four years, right. There`s a faction of the Republican Party that remains deeply loyal to the MAGA cause and Donald Trump and basically denying reality. There`s another faction of the Republican Party that would like to erase the past --


HAYES: It looks like we actually lost him. Sometimes those just freeze for a little bit. It`s part of the plan of the COVID broadcasting. Heather, here`s the thing about this moment to me, right. So, it`s very early. It`s day one. The priority, the first thing, there`s legislative text for immigration reform. That probably can`t go through reconciliation, either way.

But the COVID relief package is urgent. I think it`s popular. You`re going to send people checks. It`s endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce and Bernie Sanders. It`s like that -- it`s rare you get that. It seems like this is the highest possible ground you have to move.

HEATHER MCGHEE, BOARD CO-CHAIR, COLOR OF CHANGE: That`s right. And, you know, let`s be fundamental here. Let`s talk about first principles. The government allows us to do things that we can`t do on our own. And right now is pretty much the biggest, highest case scenario for when every single American needs the government to act to control the pandemic, to address the four crises that President Biden spoke up yesterday.

Democrats have the high ground. They represent 40 million more people than the Republicans do in the Senate. Their agenda is wildly popular, and the Republican Party barely has an agenda, and that what they do is barely even popular with the base of their own party.

But what McConnell wants and what McConnell has right now, and the Democrats have not yet been willing to take it from him, it`s more than a filibuster, right? He`s not Jimmy Stewart on the Senate floor, you know, talking himself into oblivion about, you know, representing the little guy against corrupt powers. This is a minority veto. This is a McConnell minority veto that is wielded to allow us to not even get to a vote on things that are so popular.

I do believe that, you know, people like Senator Manchin who`ve said that they don`t want to end the filibuster, can be heroes by bringing back the talking filibuster. This is the question right now and this Gambit that you talked about in the first section with Senator Whitehouse that the Republicans are doing right now is a reminder not to be fooled. Act on behalf of the American people.

Democrats will say, you know what, if we`re in the minority again? The best thing you can do to not be the minority again is to kill the minority veto and get things done for the American people that are popular, and then people will send you back to Washington.

HAYES: And I will say John Tester who`s a Democrat from Montana which is a state that Donald Trump won twice, in which he was able to get reelected in 2018, tough battle, a hard state to win as a Democrat statewide. He says the same thing. We can`t get S done around here. We ought to be focused on getting stuff done. If we don`t, the inmates are going to be running this ship.

McKay, you got cut off, as you were talking about this sort of division among the Republican Party, but what the lessons are. It seems to me the one thing they could unify on is obstruction. The thing they can`t is what do you want? Like, if we said to you, OK, give us your counterproposal, I don`t even know who begins to put pen to paper on that.

COPPINS: No. I mean, there is no leader of the Republican Party right now, and that`s the problem. It`s not clear who the policy minds are, where the ideological vision is coming from, and the party is going to remain fractured on that question for the foreseeable future.

HAYES: What do you think -- McConnell`s play here, I think, is to retain as much power as possible. But I do think there`s a danger of forcing the issue, McKay. I mean, you know, he wants to have this fight on I think he thinks it`s favorable procedural grounds. Like, no one knows the organizing resolution is so that he could retain this power. But there`s a -- there`s a danger of the ends of radicalizing people like Joe Manchin.

I think we might have lost him again. What do you say to that, Heather?

MCGHEE: I think it should radicalize and I think it should, you know, take the veil off of this talk, this smokescreen about unity. We should be talking about people unable to afford to pay their rent, about, you know, single parents dealing with just impossible choices and demands. Yes, in Kentucky.

We shouldn`t be talking about the widespread pain in this country that is from a largely preventable economic crisis and people being forced to make terrible choices because we haven`t simply sent people money and allow people to stay home and take care of their families and stay safe while the science caught up.

So, that`s really the question. And I think that, you know, the moderate wing of the Democratic Party has got their history wrong about where the filibuster comes from. It is a Jim Crow era relic. It is not something Madison wanted. It is something Calhoun wanted, as Adam Jentleson writes in his book Switch, which is like required reading for this moment.

It`s one of the many ways that structural racism is holding back the hands of progress, not just for people of color, but for everyone.

HAYES: Heather McGee and McKay Coppins who`s back briefly -- and I`m not going to risk it again, McKay. It was good to have you while you were here. Thank you both for making time.

All right, next, a liberated Anthony Fauci makes his Biden era debut. What he said about the vaccine rollout and what this administration will do differently after this.


HAYES: It was a big day in the fight against Coronavirus. President Biden, flanked by his chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, announced a wartime effort to fight the virus signing 10 executive orders and invoking the Defense Production Act to ramp up the supply of masks and vaccines.

At a press briefing a short time later, Dr. Fauci, the nation`s top infectious disease expert, was allowed to answer questions from the White House briefing room the first time in 63 days. It didn`t take long for him to note the differences in his new job.


FAUCI: One of the new things in this administration`s if you don`t have the answer, don`t guess. Just say you don`t know the answer. One of the things that we`re going to do is to be completely transparent, open, and honest. If things go wrong, not pointing fingers, but to correct them, and to make everything we do be based on science and evidence. I mean, that was literally a conversation I had 15 minutes ago with the President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ve joked a couple times today already about the difference that you feel and being kind of the spokesperson for this issue in this administration versus the previous one. Can you -- can you talk a little bit about how free -- how much different do you feel, less constrained?

What is the -- you know, I mean, you -- for so many times, you stood up behind the podium with Donald Trump standing behind you. That was a different -- that was a different feeling I am sure that it is today. Can you talk a little bit about how you feel kind of released from what you had been doing for the last year?

FAUCI: Yes. But you said I was joking about it. I was very serious about it. I wasn`t joking. No, actually -- I mean, obviously, I don`t want to be going back, you know, over history. But it was very clear that there were things that were said, be it regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things like that, that really was an uncomfortable because they were not based on scientific fact.

I can tell you, I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of contradicting the president. So, it was really something that you didn`t feel that you could actually say something and there wouldn`t be any repercussions about it.

The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence -- what the science is, and know that`s it, let the science speak, it is somewhat of a liberating feeling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, you`re basically vanished for a few months there for a while. Do you feel like you`re back now?

FAUCI: I think so.


HAYES: Joining me now to talk about the return of Dr. Fauci unshackled as well as where we are with vaccine distribution, Laurie Garrett, a health policy analyst, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. She wrote The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance.

First, there is -- I mean, the idea that the way it usually works which it didn`t work this way during the pandemic, which is that administration usually take the scientific folks, CDC people, whoever, and they just put them out there to talk to the press. That`s usually how it has been in the past. It was a reminder of that today.

LAURIE GARRETT, HEALTH POLICY ANALYST: Yes. In the past, in every prior serious outbreak or mysterious outbreak that we didn`t fully understand, it`s been the Centers for Disease Control, their lead scientific teams, Tony Fauci and his scientific team, playing the frontline role answering public questions and holding daily press briefings. And of course, we`ve never had that in any realistic terms since this outbreak began under the Trump administration. So, this is very refreshing.

And I know Tony, and I`m sure that he is feeling like a lot of lead weights have been pulled off his shoulders. But now he carries a new burden. As to his counterparts like Rochelle Walensky, who is now running the CDC, and counterparts throughout the entire infrastructure of health in the Biden administration, they carry the burden of trying to save, you know, a couple 100,000 American lives.

We`re currently on a trajectory that just won`t work, Chris. On the one hand, we`re managing to -- let`s see. Our daily average is about 940,000 people a day have been getting vaccinated. At that pace, it`ll take us 362 days to vaccinate America, which is utterly unacceptable given the current pace of spread of the virus and the arrival of these new variants strains that appear to be hyper transmissible, hyper contagious.

So, we have this race underway, and we`ve got to get this pace of vaccination vastly improved. But what are we seeing? We`re seeing people like myself going over and over and over again trying to make appointments, finally getting an appointment, and it`s for the past, given a date that has already elapsed as my appointment, finally going and getting a real appointment and be compelled to stand in line and 29-degree weather outside for three hours before gaining entry to the actual facility for an injection. And none of us know will the second shots be there when we`re ready, when are 21 to 28 days have elapsed?

And New York just put out a memo that was sent to me by a friend from our subway system, the MTA, which is a high priority group.


GARRETT: He was scheduled to be vaccinated today. And instead, he received this notice COVID-19 vaccine hub appointments rescheduled due to a shortage of vaccine supply. All first dose appointments scheduled at a COVID vaccine hub for January 21 through 24 will be rescheduled.

HAYES: So, wait, let me -- let me stop you there because I want to zoom in on this question, right. So, in the first part of this, we had a distribution problem. There was sufficient supply, distribution was going too slowly. It seems that we now are -- you know, today we`ve accepted about 1.3 million people. So, we`re -- more people are getting vaccinated. We`re now hitting a supply problem. It doesn`t seem so much on the distribution end. What you said tracks with things I`ve heard from people I know who have appointments made and canceled because of lack of supply.

So, the question then becomes twofold. One is, a million a day was the target the Biden administration announced. It seems to me like that target is too low. If we`re doing a million a day now, we should be trying to double or triple that right. And the second of all is what has to happen between now and the next 100 days to make that possible?

GARRETT: Well, I mean, the city of Los Angeles issued a report saying, at the current pace of availability of vaccine and their personnel capacity, because of course, keep in mind, they have a massive epidemic unfolding, and most of their health personnel is busy treating patients, not available to do vaccination.

So, at their pace, they`re saying, it will take four months just to do the over 65-year-old population of Los Angeles. And this is unacceptable. We have to get much faster. But of course, the big difference that we saw today, Chris, with all the pronouncements from President Biden himself, Vice President Harris, Tony Fauci, and assorted cast of characters, and 10 new executive orders signed this morning, in addition to those signs yesterday, the sum total of all of it is we`re going to go from having had an epidemic that was run, if you want to say it even was in an organized fashion, was run by the states with the federal government being hands-off except to occasionally throw supplies their way, and for Operation Warp Speed to make a vaccine get manufactured.

Now, we`re going to flip this whole equation so that the federal government is in charge and the states will be given clear instructions, priorities will be set, other prevention parameters. Everything related to try and slow this epidemic down will come from the federal level and filter down.

The only shortcomings I saw in this more than 100-page strategic analysis that was released today by the President, there were just a couple of lapses. One was they don`t say anywhere that they will seek to actually standardized testing. And under the Trump administration, so many companies were given the green light by the Trump FDA to make various types of COVID tests that the quality of those tests and the level of specificity of them is all over the place. And it would be nice if we saw some standard standardization, so we know what the heck we`re actually testing and what we`re really seeing.

The other lapse, I think, a much more serious one that needs to get addressed immediately, is that our public health infrastructure around America is very weak. It has been grossly underfunded for years. In many states, they have just hacked away at local public health budgets to the point where people are using fax machines and Windows 98 to try and communicate and to log their data.

And nowhere in the report does it say how will they update all of this, where is the infrastructure going to come from to make it possible for data retrieval to be timely for us to not have a six week lag in death data but have it when it really is occurring in real-time?

HAYES: Laurie Garret, thank you so much for making time tonight. I appreciate it.

GARRETT: Always for you, Chris.

HAYES: Thank you. Coming up, President Biden is cleaning house, wasting no time undoing some of the biggest debacle of the Trump administration. Where they started, just ahead.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Drain the swamp. We put it in about two days ago. I said, drain the swamp. I didn`t like it. I didn`t like the expression, drain the swamp in Washington. So, I said it three days ago, the place went crazy. I said, you know what, I`m starting to like that expression. And now it`s a hot -- it`s like trending all over the world.


HAYES: So hot. Donald Trump has promised to drain the swamp was never a real thing he was going to do as evidenced in that clip of sound. It was a good slogan. It caught on. The crowds loved it. And so, when he got elected at the start of the administration, Trump and his strategist Steve Bannon made a show of being serious about.

Eight days into the presidency, they issued a drain the swamp executive order which banned executive branch appointees from taking jobs lobbying the federal agencies where they worked for a period of five years after leaving their government job, also banned them from lobbying for foreign entities for life. Bannon went on TV to claim they were the only Republicans serious about draining the swamp.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST, TRUMP WHITE HOUSE: Mitch McConnell, when we first met him, I mean, he was -- he was -- he said I think in one of the first meetings in Trump Tower with the president as we`re wrapping up, he basically says, I don`t hear any more of this drain the swamp talk. Drain the swamp thing was Mitch McConnell was day one did not want to -- did not want to go. They want us to back off.


HAYES: What an amazingly courageous and righteous warrior for ethics. That`s what they said. But what they did was, of course, preside over the most corrupt administration in modern American history, with Trump leveraging his position for personal financial gain, rewarding his biggest donors with a gargantuan tax cut, as many of his closest aides were charged with crimes ranging from lying to the Congress, the FBI, to campaign finance violations, to tax fraud.

Trump literally put a coal lobbyist in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency. The swamp was never more putrid. We all saw that. And after leaving the White House, Bannon himself was indicted charged with, get this, defrauding donors who gave money to his scheme to supposedly build the border wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for. Federal prosecutors say Bannon kept nearly a million dollars for himself. He was arrested on the yacht of a Chinese billionaire.

In other words, he was charged with ripping off the same Trump supporters who had chanted drain the swamp at Trump rallies. And so, it was just so fitting, so perfect cap for these four years. And in his final hours in office, Trump both pardon Bannon forgiving his crime of allegedly fleecing Trump`s own most diehard supporters. And then, with literally a few hours remaining in this term, Trump rescinded that lobbying ban he had put in place at the start of his term.

Wait, what about the swamp? In Joe Biden`s first day, he instituted a new ban, no lobbying for two years after leaving the administration. Just one of many things the Biden Administration is doing to reverse the damage done by Trump. It`s a long list. The un-Trumping next.


HAYES: President Biden has been in office for a little over 30 hours. He`s already moving quickly to erase the stain of his twice impeached predecessor. Yesterday, Biden ousted three Trump appointees Michael Pak, CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media who came under fire for pushing a really corrupt pro-Trump agenda with an organization that`s supposed to be an actual reporting entity.

Kathleen Kraninger, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who critics say was more interested in protecting businesses than consumers. And Peter Rob, general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board where union leaders say he would actively work against labor interests.

Biden is also taking action to overturn some of his predecessor`s most harmful policies. He moved to suspend deportations for certain immigrants for 100 days, preserve the DACA program protecting undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. The President signed an executive order recommitting the U.S. to the Paris Climate Agreement. He canceled the construction permit of Keystone XL pipeline.

Biden`s top priority is fixing the response to the Coronavirus. He`s already signed at least 10 executive orders and directives to accelerate federal action including rejoining the World Health Organization and requiring masks to be worn on all federal property.

Chris Lu knows firsthand what it`s like for the new administration coming in with a lot of messes to clean up. He`s former White House Cabinet Secretary, former special assistant, and former Deputy Labor Secretary under President Obama and he joins me now.

Chris, I wonder, as you -- as you look at the first 30 hours here in some of these actions, how they compare to the way the Obama White House thought about the sort of what was in front of them, what they could or could not do from an executive position in those first days, because I think it changed over time, particularly the second term.

CHRIS LU, FORMER CABINET SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: Yes. You know, the Biden White House deserves a lot of credit for getting out of the gate so quickly on 70 important policy priorities. And I think they`ve learned the mistakes from the Obama administration, which is not to wait until later in your administration to do these executive orders.

Now, to be fair, a lot of these executive orders will require regulations to implement them. Ultimately, some of these problems we`re talking about whether it`s climate change or immigration is going to require legislation. But if you get these executive orders in place quickly, you start to effectuate change that then gets much harder to roll back later and your administration.

Now, look, Republicans are going to complain about this as they always do, but Joe Biden is simply following the playbook that Donald Trump used over the past four years. And frankly, we didn`t see a lot of complaining about executive overreach during that period of time.

HAYES: Well, and also, I mean, the interesting thing, right, that playbook was so incompetently executed so often. I mean, there was a kind of damn the torpedoes approach to these executive orders. But then they just kept violating, you know, federal administrative law and getting courts telling them no, you can`t do this, you have to actually show reasons and have a process. So, dotting the I`s and crossing the T`s legally here seems to be really important as well.

LU: It`s 100 percent correct. Let`s remember the very first thing or one of the first things the Trump administration did was the Muslim travel ban. They sign this piece of paper. They didn`t bother clearing it with the Defense Department, State Department, Homeland Security, all the different agencies that would have to implement this.

And then the thing became unworkable. We saw these, you know, confusion at airports. They got -- they kept getting struck down in court on the Muslim ban, environmental rollbacks, labor, rollback. So, yes, signing a piece of paper is incredibly important. But actually, doing it right, and then doing all of the other steps along the way to get it implement is as important. Because trust me, on a lot of these executive orders, you`re going to now start to see Republican state attorney generals try to challenge them in court.

HAYES: Oh, yes. I mean, I think that`s guaranteed, right? We will see the state attorneys general, Republican state attorneys general sue on all this stuff. They`ve already announced they`re going to do that, so you`ve got to have a solid case.

There`s also the personnel aspect here which I think is fascinating. We highlighted this last night at 1:00 in the morning when you`re on the air. But this battle over the general counsel for the NLRB, which seems obscure, it`s like, well, I don`t know, why does that matter? Well, this was someone who the labor unions thought was just stacking the deck against them, wields a tremendous amount of power in a board that controls labor law effectively in the U.S., and who had 10 months to go.

And this was a fairly aggressive move by the Biden administration to tell this guy to resign. They then fired his deputy. What do you think about that? What do you think of what it -- what it means to sort of take these kinds of actions?

LU: Look, I think the Biden people understand that personnel is policy. And with the National Labor Relations Board, the general counsel is the person who decides what cases to prosecute, what cases to bring before the board. The board right now is a three-one Republican-controlled board. So, if you continue to have a general counsel who continues to bring forward the cases in a way that harms workers that undercuts the collecting -- collective bargaining rights of employees in this country, your continued -- you`re going to continue to have an anti-worker agenda.

So, this was an important step, as was the personnel decision at Voice of America, as well as the CFPB. These are important boards and commissions that we don`t often think about, but they can have really powerful impacts on how government runs.

HAYES: There`s an irony here, of course, right, which is that conservatives, particularly judicial conservatives, have been arguing for this theory that basically, the President is the unitary executive, right? Like, he runs the entire branch of Congress, that it`s unconstitutional to delegate too much authority administratively outside his purview. And in fact, conservatives just won this big case that said the President can fire the head of CFPB. Well, then, you know, I guess it`s one of those, you know, make lemonade out of lemons, right? If you got the power, then you might as well get in there and use it.

LU: Well, and it`s exactly right. You will hear some Republican grumbling about these personnel moves. But the reality is that this is the game that was set up by them. These are the rules that they created, the court cases that they brought forward. And this is now, you know, left in President Biden. These are the personnel decisions that he`s allowed to make.

Let me just say one other thing, Chris. I mean, whether it`s personnel or policy, what Joe Biden is doing is important. But let`s not forget the real damage, the real corrosive impact that Donald Trump has had is on the decimation of ethics and the rule of law and the racist dog whistles and the blatant disregard for the truth and facts and science.

And so, while these policy changes are important, boy, it`s going to take much, much longer to undo that broader damage that Donald Trump has done over the past four years.

HAYES: Yes. That brings us first full circle of where we started the show tonight. I mean, the majority of House Republicans voted to overturn the election and hand the presidency to the loser. As far as I can tell, like no one has retracted that or apologized. That remains the sort of central single plotline in American politics at this moment. Chris Lu, thank you so much for your time tonight.

LU: Thank you.

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

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. I`m really happy to have you here.