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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 11/24/21

Guests: Ben Crump, David Henderson, Christina Greer, Rebecca Roiphe, Jessica Huseman, Peter Hotez, Jay Caspian Kang


A jury Wednesday found three White men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, guilty on multiple murder counts, as well as other charges. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance`s prosecutors have issued new subpoenas for records about Mr. Trump`s hotels, golf clubs, and office buildings. Trump Lawyer Cleta Mitchell was appointed to the advisory board of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission which is a federal agency tasked with helping states conduct secure elections. The FDA is expected to approve the new COVID anti-viral pills.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: We`ve been disappointed over and over again. Justice in America seems to be much more likely for white Americans. And until that changes, our U.S. criminal justice, so-called criminal justice system will remain the absolute worst.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. Happy Thanksgiving. All in with Thanksgiving -- ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.

TIMOTHY WALMSLEY, JUDGE, EASTERN CIRCUIT OF GEORGIA: Count one, malice murder. We, the jury, find the defendant Travis McMichael guilty.

HAYES: All three of the men who chased down and murdered Ahmaud Arbery and nearly got away with it, guilty.

BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR THE ARBERY FAMILY: The spirit of Ahmaud defeated the lynch mob.

HAYES: Tonight, the family`s lawyer Ben Crump is here as justice is done for Ahmaud Arbery.

Then, the latest on the criminal investigation into Donald Trump and his business as the Manhattan D.A. issues new subpoenas. Plus --

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All we have to do today is find 11,000 plus votes.

HAYES: How the lawyer who helped try to steal an election got a job on a Federal Election Board And how boosters an appeal to treat COVID could really help this holiday season when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight, we have a verdict in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. A former high school football star, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery liked to go jogging near his mother`s house near Brunswick in Georgia.

In the afternoon of February 23, 2020, he ran into a subdivision called Satilla Shores. Three white men, Travis McMichael and his father Gregory, along with their neighbor William Bryan, grabbed some guns, hopped in their trucks and started to chase Arbery as he ran through the streets. They claimed they thought he was burglarizing houses in the neighborhood.

As the McMichaels chased after Ahmaud Arbery in a white pickup truck, their neighbor, William Bryan followed behind. Bryan started to film what happened when Arbery tried to run past the McMichaels. Travis McMichael got out of the truck with a shotgun, and after a brief struggle, he shot Ahmaud Arbery and killed him. But when police arrived at the scene, this is how they treated Travis McMichael.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are there weapons or anything on you?



MCMICHAEL: If he would have stopped, this wouldn`t happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I know. That`s fine. That`s fine. I guess just take a breath. You got your ID and all that? No, don`t get blood all over yourself. I get that your pants are -- do what you need to do, man. That`s -- I can only imagine.


HAYES: I can only imagine. The police did not arrest Travis McMichael after he shot and killed a Ahmaud Arbery. They had been explicitly told not to arrest him by the District Attorney. Because Travis`s dad, the one chasing Arbery was a former investigator in the DA`s office.

That DA has since been indicted for telling the police not to arrest Travis McMichael. She`s also accused of violating her oath of office a felony by showing favor and affection to Gregory McMichael. Because even though she recused herself in the McMichael`s case, she recommended another prosecutor take it over, someone she had already been working with who had already determined he also didn`t think arrests were necessary.

So, for two months, after they chased down and killed Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged unarmed in broad daylight through his mother`s neighborhood, Travis McMichael and his father Gregory and their neighbor William Bryan were free men. It was not until the video of the murder that Bryan handed over to police after the killing was leaked to the public in May 2020 that the three men were finally arrested and charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery.

The trial began earlier this month. The defense argued that their clients were trying to make a citizen`s arrest. The prosecution argued that they had no cause to chase down Ahmaud Arbery. And today, the after 10 hours of deliberation, the jury reached its verdict.


WALMSLEY: State of Georgia versus Travis McMichael, case number CR000433. Jury verdict form. Count one, malice murder. We, the jury, find the defendant, Travis McMichael, guilty. I`m going to ask whoever just made an outburst be removed from the court, please.


HAYES: That was Ahmaud Arbery`s father, Marcus Arbery Sr. that you hear in the courtroom. Travis McMichael shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery was found guilty in all charges including one count of malice murder and four counts of felony murder. His father, Gregory McMichael, who chased Ahmaud Arbery down, was found guilty of four counts of felony murder and other charges.

The neighbor, William Bryan, who chased Ahmaud Arbery down and filmed his murder was found guilty of three counts of felony murder and other charges. The charges carry life in prison. Sentencing has yet to be scheduled. And all three of them still face federal hate crime charges too.

They couldn`t be charged with a hate crime under state law because there was no hate crime on the statue in the books in Georgia until Ahmaud Arbery`s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, urged lawmakers to pass one last June. She was inside the courthouse for every single moment of the trial. After the verdict came down, she spoke to the crowd gathered outside.



WANDA COOPER-JONES, MOTHER OF AHMAUD ARBERY: It`s been a long fight. It`s been a hard fight, but God is good.


COOPER-JONES: Early in, I never thought -- to tell you the truth, I never saw this day back in 2020. I never thought this day would come. But God is good.


COOPER-JONES: And I just want to tell everybody, thank you, thank you. For those who marched, those who prayed, most of all the ones who prayed --


COOPER-JONES: Thank you, God.


COOPER-JONES: Thank you. And now, Qwez -- you know him as Ahmaud, I know him as Qwez, he will now rest in peace.



HAYES: Ben Crump is the civil rights attorney and represents the family of Ahmaud Arbery and he joins me now. Mr. Crump, first I just want to ask how the family is doing, how the parents are doing in the wake of this verdict?

CRUMP: Well, Chris, thank you for having me on this historic day. The parents are relieved. I think you heard that gut-wrenching sigh of leaf from Marcus Arbery, Ahmaud`s father there when they announced the first guilty conviction for Travis McMichael. And it`s such a weight lifted off of him because not only did they witnessed just a horrific -- I mean just tragic killing of their child and lynching, as Marcus Arbery said, but they had to fight so long to get to this day.

So, they`re relieved, they`re prayerful, and very thankful to everybody who came together for justice for Ahmaud.

HAYES: Yes, the mother explicitly thanking those who marched. I mean, this really is one of those cases where when you look at the timeline, this was likely going to just go away until the public attention essentially triggered the wheels of justice to set in motion. What is your feeling about the role the public attention played and then the new team, the district attorney and prosecutor who ended up taking this case, charging it, and trying it?

CRUMP: Well, Chris, I think you`re absolutely right. It was going to be swept under the rug. And we must remember the prosecutor, Jackie Johnson and the police officer saw the video on day one, but as I said previously, it wasn`t until we the people saw the video almost 70 days later that they finally were arrested and charged for the unjustified unconstitutional, unnecessary killing, lynching of Ahmaud Arbery.

And so the people had everything to do with that. The court of public opinion, the outrage, the righteous indignation of seeing a young man offered no humanity, hunted down like he`s in the Jim Crow era and killed by a lynch mob.

HAYES: You noted the court of public opinion -- and of course, one of those things that happens with trials of this magnitude and high profile is that there`s a distinction between what the public thinks, what people are saying outside, and whatever the legal matters are in that courtroom presented to a jury that the jury has to evaluate. And sometimes they sync up and sometimes they don`t.

Your thoughts about this case -- the jury which had 11 white members and the jury`s decision and the case the prosecution put on to reach what I think a lot of people felt was the obvious conclusion and yet nevertheless was actually reached today.

CRUMP: Yes. It really gives us hope for America. When you think about this jury with 11 white members and one black member being able to focus in on the evidence, this horrific killing, and not be distracted by all of the dog whistles and racial rhetoric like, you know, Ahmaud had long legs and dirty toenails, which was offensive on every level.

And Chris, when you really think about it, this case hearkened back to the Jim Crow era. You had this white lynch mob chasing this unarmed black man, taking justice into their own hands and killing him and try -- because he didn`t comply.

And then you had a defense lawyer say, well, we`re going to tell you who can come and comfort you in the court. We don`t want all of these black pastors in here, as if he can inject his will on this black family like they did when they killed him, you need to comply with what we want you to do.


And then, I mean the nail in the coffin was this prosecutor talking about him having long legs and dirty toenails. I almost hearkened it back if he was a runaway slave and that this lynch mob had a right to chase him down and capture him by any means necessary even if that meant killing him.

And the only thing that was left to be answered this afternoon was the verdict going to be one that hearkened back to the Jim Crow era or, Chris Hayes, was it going to be a verdict that said to America we must be better than this. We cannot condone this in 2021.

HAYES: Yes, that was the defense attorney who of course said that about the disgusting comment about the toenails. Ben Crump, thank you very much for making some time for us on this very, very big day. Thank you.

CRUMP: Thank you, Chris Hayes.

HAYES: I want to turn now to David Henderson, a criminal defense and civil rights attorney and former prosecutor and Christina Greer, professor of political science at Fordham University. And you know, David, I -- the thing that I just can`t get over about this case, and this is a detail that`s truly shocking, is that that video is there, the cops had it the first day, you`ve got the former, you know, employee of the district attorney`s office of kind of like nothing to see here. And then, that video leaked to the public by the eventual defendants as exculpatory.

Listen to this. An attorney in Brunswick, Georgia downloaded the video onto a thumb drive that Greg McMichael physically delivered to a local radio DJ. Greg wanted the public to know the truth, the attorney said in the text message to NBC News, that he and his son were not white supremacists driving the pickup truck with confederate flag in the back who shot a black man in the back because he was jogging in white neighborhood.

They thought that video was exculpatory. And Dave, I have to say, that tells you so much about this entire story to me.

DAVID HENDERSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Chris, it does. And let`s be clear here. It`s a relief to see this conviction. I can`t imagine waking up to a world where these killers were not convicted for what they did. But we keep saying it was almost swept underneath the rug and that`s inaccurate. It was swept underneath the rug.


HENDERSON: The prosecutor who initially handled the case is now facing charges. The second prosecutor who handled the case recused himself but not before he wrote a letter and placed it in the file instructing the police on all the reasons why no arrests should be made for Ahmaud`s murder.

So, it was swept completely underneath the rug. And so, on the one hand, I`m with you. I look at that video and I think, how could you possibly have thought this would have exonerated you and yet they were right, it did. Fortunately, Bryan`s attorney didn`t think to get a deal in writing, otherwise I think we could have been looking at a due process violation and he likely would have been pled to something lesser and received probation instead of the accurate punishment that he should.

But this is step one. There still needs to be accountability for the prosecutors who refuse to take the action he should have taken.

HAYES: Yes. And one of those prosecutors as we said has been charged. The other one that you mentioned, it`s Georgia District Attorney George Barnhill. He`s the district attorney Waycross, George. I just want to read from that letter because you`re right. In the file was a letter saying, look I looked the evidence. Here`s why there`s no charges here. While we know McMichael had his finger on the trigger, we do not know who caused the firings. Arbery would only had to pull the shotgun approximately 1/16 to 1/8 of one inch to fire weapon himself in the height of an altercation. This is entirely possible.

And you see present here, Christina, the really perverse racialized logic of vigilantism in a prosecutor saying that`s like, well, it could have been an accident outside the context of like what on earth is this man doing sticking a gun in the face of this other man.

CHRISTINA GREER, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Chris, it brings us back to conversations we`ve been having on the show for years. It`s whether or not black people will ever be seen as real citizens in this country. The fact that far too many white Americans can look at black individuals and say you don`t belong here, whether it`s children in schools, whether we are walking down the street, or jogging in a neighborhood, there are more and more white people who feel the need to protect what they deem is their country, their neighborhood.

And so we see it on micro and macro levels and sometimes with deadly results. And so, this is -- you know, when you hear Ahmaud Arbery`s mother saying, thank you for the prayers, this is the prayer that every single black individual, parent, grandparent says as their child walks out of the door because it is not a guarantee that your child will come back even if they`re just walking to the store, either get skittles, or run, have a jog, something that anyone should be able to do to be free to be in their own body.

And we see that far too many white Americans see it as is an insult to them that you dare have a black person live in their own existence and be in this country as a free individual. And we have yet to get to the bottom of that and we see how DA`s, police officers time and time again just automatically err on the side of the white perpetrator as opposed to the black victim.


HAYES: Yes. There`s a great piece, David, in the -- in the times today by a public defender named Sarah Los Bader who talked about, you know, her experience in the criminal justice system defending her clients and how often these trials are sort of awkward matches to the sort of stories we want to tell in some ways. They obviously are embedded in the context of American life.

But what`s going on in the room has a bunch of technical legal issues that can be distinct from the sort of themes outside of it. And it seemed to me in this case, what I watched that the prosecution did a very good job on a sort of technical legal level. It was a well-prosecuted case. And the defense was not that good and that was quite different. There`s quite a contrast between that and the Rittenhouse trial in that respect.

HENDERSON: Chris, that`s true. And I think that the -- to be frank, I think the prosecution`s heart was not in the Rittenhouse trial. The prosecution`s heart was in this trial. I didn`t think everything was perfect but I`m not one to talk about dieting on Thanksgiving either.

I mean, ultimately, they did their job. And I think it reflects back on -- here`s what you have to interpret with this jury. This verdict doesn`t simply convict the men that were on trial, it also convicts the analysis that went into dismissing this case previously.

If you look at the letter that you`re holding, the legal analysis in that letter is deeply flawed. And so, you`re forced to pick between one of two choices, either the lawyers are that bad at analyzing Georgia law and applying it to a set of facts or they were deeply biased in favor of the McMichaels and Bryan. Neither one of those options is good.

And prosecutors wear badges, the same as police officers do, and they take an oath. And you shouldn`t be allowed to carry that badge or maintain that oath if that`s the way that you conduct business. And so, that`s why I said this is really just the first step. This is partial justice. But I think that we lay Ahmaud`s case to rest when that justice is complete.

HAYES: Final and quickly for you, Christina. You know, the other connection to the Rittenhouse trial here is just the utter madness of the gun in the private hands as a means of enforcing order which I think is revealed in both cases with different outcomes. But that to me is a commonality here that is really at the front and center of the larger conversation.

GREER: Absolutely, Chris. But what`s also front and center is white men who say I needed to arm myself because I felt afraid, therefore I put myself in danger. Kyle Rittenhouse picked up a gun, went across state lines, and put himself in the middle of something that had nothing to do with him. Similarly, these three men decided to hunt down a black man with a gun when they could have just left him alone or called 911 if they were that fearful for their lives.

So, we keep seeing this more and more as a pattern of white men picking up guns in the -- in the guise of I was fearful.

HAYES: David Henderson, Christina Greer, have a great Thanksgiving both of you and thank you for making time with us tonight. I appreciate it.

Donald Trump is now a private citizen, no longer the head of the Republican Party, so it caught a lot of people`s attention when it came out the RNC is footing the bill for some of Trump`s mounting personal legal bills. And today, we found out what might be racking up those costs.

Next, what the new subpoenas tell us about the criminal investigation into Donald Trump after this.



HAYES: It turned a lot of heads earlier this week when it was reported that the Republican National Committee, the official party organ was paying Donald Trump`s personal legal bills. Tonight, we`re getting a clearer picture of what Republican donors are funding. An RNC spokesperson announced Monday that in October, the RNC made two payments totaling $121,670 to an attorney representing Donald Trump as he faces investigations by the Manhattan District Attorney and New York`s Attorney General.

The New York Times is reporting tonight about where those investigations are headed. A court -- according to The Times, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has been busy as his final weeks in office wind down. Mr. Vance`s prosecutors have issued new subpoenas for records about Mr. Trump`s hotels, golf clubs, and office buildings.

They recently interviewed a banker employed by Deutsche Bank, Mr. Trump`s top lender. At least one subpoena issued this summer to Mr. Trump`s company, The Trump Organization, demanded information about how the company valued various assets.

Vance, the man investigating Trump, will leave office at the end of this year, leading to questions about whether he will try to indict the former president on his way out the door. Rebecca Roiphe worked as Assistant District Attorney in the Securities Fraud Unit in the Manhattan`s District Attorney`s Office. She`s now a professor at New York Law School. And she joins me now.

Rebecca, first, just give us sort of gloss from your perspective as someone who worked as a prosecutor on sort of, you know, securities, fraud cases in that office, what we can glean from what The Times says about the subpoenas that apparently were issued, which by the way we should note, happened in the summer.

REBECCA ROIPHE, FORMER MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Yes. So, Chris, we`ve heard a lot in public reporting about these properties and how the former president and Trump Organization may have manipulated the value of these assets in order to get favorable treatment from these lenders.

And so, the key question here, that`s the question that the Manhattan District Attorney has to assess is OK, that looks shady, was there actually a crime here. And In New York, New York law, the key to that question -- we don`t have a bank fraud statute so the key to that question -- there are a number of different statutes but they all require intent, and specifically intent to defraud.

So, the key question in this case is going to be can the prosecutor prove that even if this was going on and it was shady, was there an intent to defraud. And I think it`s going to come down to that with all those documents. What really matters is there somebody who could -- who was in the room who can say, look, we can look at these documents and they show a map. But what was intended. Who intended what? And was it to defraud?

HAYES: Yes, that -- it`s such an important point because I think, you know, Michael Cohen testified about this when he was before the House, you know, several years ago basically saying look, this was a -- he -- I think he called it essentially routine practice. I forget the exact words that we would, you know, change the valuations of properties.

Obviously, you want to, you know, value them low for tax purposes and high for insurance purposes, and you know, for -- you know, so -- and you can`t move that around, right? And I think, you know, Rachel has done reporting on this. There`s public records that indicate that they were doing precisely this. So, I don`t even think it`s that disputed what the actual behavior was.

But to your point about the intent making it a difficult case to make, it`s clarifying because I have been watching this and watching all these reports saying like, well, it seems like you can`t do that. But to turn it into something criminal, that intent is key. And it sounds like from what you`re saying, not necessarily easy to establish in the absence of a cooperating witness.


ROIPHE: Well, yes. I mean, there are essentially three obstacles to approving this. First of all, he dealt with lawyers. He dealt with appraisers. So, if those lawyers and appraisers told him to do something, he can say, hey, I was just acting on the advice of counselors.

HAYES: Right, right. Of course, right.

ROIPHE: I was acting because they told me that. The second one is this is the way it`s done in real estate business. Everybody messes around with the values of their properties for different purposes. There are different mechanisms and this is how it`s done. And finally, this was a bank. Like, this isn`t some unsophisticated person that I was deceiving. This was a sophisticated bank. They knew what was going on. Like, don`t -- they have their own appraisers. They don`t care.

So, those are serious obstacles. And I don`t see the D.A. being able to overcome those obstacles without having somebody there, a cooperator who will tell him this is actually what we were doing and this is the way we were doing it. The documents are really important but I don`t think they`re enough to make this case. I would be surprised if they were.

HAYES: Yes. That point is really -- I mean, one thing I`ve learned from this entire era is like wow, there`s a lot of shadiness in the world of real estate, and like a lot of a lot of three-card Monty happening with like valuations and such. Also, appraisal -- I mean, you know back when I was covering the financial crisis, appraisal was an area right for fraud. I mean, there`s tremendous amounts of it. It was happening amongst a whole bunch of other parties and not necessarily caught or prosecuted and yet still in the system, so that`s also a possibility.

Rebecca Roiphe, thank you so much for sharing with that. Have a great Thanksgiving.

ROIPHE: Thank you. You too.

HAYES: Donald Trump is also facing the possibility of criminal charges in Georgia right now, thanks to the lengthy call he made to Georgia`s Republican Secretary of State trying to get him to alter the outcome of the election. You know who else was on that call?


TRUMP: Does anybody know about it?

CLETA MITCHELL, TRUMP ATTORNEY: I know about it, but we were never --

TRUMP: Well, OK, clean away. I`m not asking you, Clita, honestly.


HAYES: Sorry. Cleta was Trump`s attorney at the time. And you`ll never guess what she`s doing now, seriously. That`s next.



HAYES: After Donald Trump`s defeat last November, there are plenty of pro- Trump lawyers eager to push his false claims of election fraud in court. Some are probably wishing they had not. Earlier this week, a Colorado judge ordered two such lawyers to pay more than $186,000 in legal fees for the groups they sued saying the lawsuit "has been used to manipulate gullible members of the public and foment public unrest."

But not all the lawyers who pushed Trump`s lies have met the same fate. Remember, the ex-President`s now-infamous call to Georgia`s Republican Secretary of State back in January trying to bully him into swinging thousands of votes in his favor?


TRUMP: You have all these different people that voted but they don`t live in Georgia anymore. What was that number, Cleta? It was a pretty good number too.

MITCHELL: Well, then the number who have registered out of state after they moved from Georgia, and so they had a date when they moved from Georgia. They registered to vote out of state, and then there`s like 4,500. I don`t have that right in front of me.

TRUMP: And then they came back in and they voted.


HAYES: Now, the Cleta you heard replying to Trump there is a woman named Cleta Mitchell. She was representing the president as his attorney on that call as he was trying to overturn an election in Georgia. There was such a backlash to her involvement on that call from her law firm that she resigned from the firm just days later.

You might think that kind of thing would be a career ender. Well, that would be the last anyone would hear of Cleta Mitchell. You would be wrong. Instead, in August, just over three months ago, it turns out Mitchell was appointed to the advisory board of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission which I kid you not, is a federal agency tasked with helping states conduct secure elections.

Yes, that`s right. The lawyer who is on the call with Donald Trump trying to pull off a coup by bullying Georgia officials into essentially committing election fraud is now advising the agency responsible for making elections more secure.

Jessica Huseman broke the story of Cleta Mitchell`s new job. She`s the editorial director of Votebeat, a non-profit newsroom dedicated to local nonpartisan coverage of election administration and voting access. And she joins me now.

All right, Jessica, first, let`s just start with Cleta Mitchell and who she is and her role. She was kind of a sort of establishment Republican attorney is my sense.

JESSICA HUSEMAN, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, VOTEBEAT: Yes. She has been involved in Republican politics for a really long time. And in fact, this is not the first voting advisory board that she`s ever sat on. I think that her extreme ideology flew under the radar for a really long time, but then obviously hit everyone right in the face when the audio of the Georgia call came out and she couldn`t really run from it anymore. And so, you know, this appointment is pretty stunning.

HAYES: OK, so she was appointed -- what is the elect -- the Election Assistance Commission is what?

HUSEMAN: So, the Election Assistance Commission is a non-partisan sort of extra administration organization that is supposed to provide guidance on best practices and security to election officials across the country. Their biggest responsibility is distributing federal money but they also certify voting machines or the labs that they accredit certified voting machines.

And so, they are very influential in voting because they essentially dictate which machines states can or cannot buy.


HAYES: Got you. So, they`re like this federal commission, they were born out of the Help American Vote Act which was in the wake of the Bush v Gore decision election.

HUSEMAN: Absolutely.

HAYES: And they`re this federal entity. And they do like technical assistance. They give money out to election administrators. It`s a fairly like -- again, kind of non-partisan technical kind of stuff, like, how you technically run an election. And then they have a special advisory committee, is that right?

HUSEMAN: Yes. So, they have a board of advisors that`s made up of 35 people. And the Help America Vote Act gave several different organizations the ability to place people on this board, everyone from the U.S. commission on civil rights which is the board that appointed Cleta Mitchell, and also the Department of Homeland Security.

So, it`s kind of a broad board. They don`t have binding decision-making authority over the EAC. They are just there in an advisory role. But ultimately, the EAC only has credibility in the states in so far as the states choose to listen to it. And so, certainly this is not a good thing for the EAC in terms of its credibility across the board.

HAYES: All right. So, the -- so, there`s this -- this is -- this happens in different federal agencies or commissions, right? So, different entities get to appoint these seats to the board. One of them is a U.S. civil rights commission which is another federally impaneled board. They chose Cleta Mitchell? Why? How?

HUSEMAN: It is the strangest thing I have ever seen. And so, this board, at the end of the Trump administration, he appointed J Christian Adams who you might recall was on the Voter Fraud Commission and has -- you know, made his name suing states and counties over what he says are dirty voter rolls. He is a voter fraud conspiracy theorist. And Trump appointed him to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights at the end of his administration and he sort of ground the entire commission to a halt.

These commissioners can only be removed in the event of bad behavior or some specific type of malfeasance. I guess, nothing he`s done has hit that mark. And so, he kicked up a big fix in January and February about the lack of a Republican and a Democrat on this advisory board. The USCCR gets two nominees. He wanted one to be a Republican, one to be a Democrat.

And so, in order to placate him, the committee rescinded both of the people who were currently on the board whose terms had expired anyway and chose to appoint one Republican and one Democrat. They did the Republicans on the commission to nominate two people and the Democrats to nominate two. The two Republicans that were sent up to a vote were J Christian Adams himself and Cleta Mitchell.

And the commission, and this is true, found J Christian Adams to be so disagreeable that they appointed Cleta Mitchell and they did so knowingly.

HAYES: Yes. So, this guy is -- he`s on the commission. He`s this Trump devotee. He`s -- he is, I think, viewed if I can say charitably as noxious uh by his fellow commissioners. He is one of these sort of like oh, there`s all sorts of dead Democrats voting kind of folks. And so, he -- his name and Cleta Mitchell are in there and they`re like, we`ll take Cleta Mitchell, the one on the call trying to overturn an American election rather than this dude who is just unbearable, basically.

HUSEMAN: Absolutely. They -- you know, to hear the commissioners who didn`t want to go on the record about this because J Christian Adams is so unpleasant to deal with, he`s just so difficult to work with and prevents any activity from going forward that they felt he would probably pull the same stuff on the board of advisors. And so, they chose to nominate Cleta Mitchell who ultimately they determined would be annoying but probably wouldn`t grind things to a halt.

HAYES: Well, everyone knows the names of Sydney Powell and Lin Wood and I think they`ve -- and Rudy Giuliani, and I think they`ve -- there`s been some attendant reputational damage. Cleta Mitchell is not a household name but she should be. She was on the call doing something wildly, wildly -- I don`t know -- inimical to American democracy. And there she is.

Jessica Huseman who did great reporting to dig this up, it`s your scoop, thank you for joining us on Thanksgiving eve and have a great holiday.

HUSEMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: One of the great things about tonight is knowing that tomorrow we`ll see the return of Thanksgiving parades in major cities across the country. In places like Chicago where over 100 floats will make their way down State Street. The longest-running parade in the country returns to Philly tomorrow. And of course, in New York City, the iconic balloons are back.

They`re being blown up right now before they head down 6th Avenue in the Macy`s Day Parade tomorrow. And in Houston, the return of the Thanksgiving Parade in that city will feature a salute to frontline workers as it makes its triumphant return. It just so happens, the grand marshal of that parade who is no stranger to viewers of this show joins us next.



HAYES: As we approach thanksgiving and people start to gather with friends and family, it is appalling that there are nearly as many people dying of COVID in the U.S. every single day right now than there were at this time last year before we had vaccines.

That said, there are a couple reasons to think we were actually in much better shape at least going into the holidays than this time last year. One, booster shots. Everyone should get one who`s eligible which is basically everyone if you`ve had your shop more than six months ago and you`re an adult. They appear to be incredibly effective. We get more data to that effect by the day.

Two, there`s a new treatment for the virus on the horizon. Both Pfizer and Merck have announced anti-viral pills that dramatically lower the chance of hospitalization death. The FDA is expected to weigh in on these medications within the next few weeks. The Washington Post reports the Biden administration has already pre-ordered enough doses for 10 million people. So, what will this winter look like in terms of COVID.

To help answer that, I`m joined by Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine who is being honored for his service tomorrow as the Grand Marshal of Houston`s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Dr. Hotez, Congratulations. Thank you for joining us.

Let`s start with where we are on this which I think it`s just this maddening reality which is the combination of we no longer have sort of what are called non-pharmaceutical interventions, right? We`re not really doing much in the ways of closing businesses down, social distancing, which I think makes sense given the availability of vaccines. That, plus Delta means that for the population of folks that are unvaccinated, there`s still this incredibly live, dangerous, present pandemic that`s going to find everyone more or less. How do you think about it?


PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Yes, that`s exactly right, Chris. I mean, look what`s happened in our state of Texas since June 1. 20,000 unvaccinated Texans since June 1 have needlessly, unnecessarily, tragically lost their lives to COVID-19. None of those almost none of those 20,000 individuals had to die.

I don`t even know what the word used to describe this. This is -- it goes beyond misinformation or disinformation. It`s this absolute bizarre mass form of self-immolation and or being targeted by anti-science aggression I`ve ever seen. 20,000 people who didn`t need to die since June 1. And guess what, Chris, it`s about to happen again as this new wave, this winter wave is now sweeping across the upper Midwest.

What do people think is going to happen? We still have 40 percent of the U.S. population unvaccinated, 41 percent. And we have literally millions of individuals waiting to get attacked by COVID-19 who remain defiant of vaccines because of allegiance to God only knows what you want to call it, or taking useless Ivermectin in its place.

And you know, and it`s -- so, I you clearly appreciate the opportunity to talk to the American people by coming on and speaking with you, but you know, we`ve just got to try to do more than we are because a thousand Americans are now losing their lives every day unnecessarily because they`re refusing vaccinations. We`re going to hit the 800,000 death mark in a couple of weeks.

HAYES: There -- I mean as grim as that is, there is -- it does look like good data on boosters providing really additional protection. Do you -- what do you tell people who ask you, should I get a booster?

HOTEZ: The answer is yes. If you`re -- I think, if you`re over the age of 18, you should get that third immunization because we have data from Israel showing it`s not only keeping you out of the hospital and preventing you from losing your lives from waning immunity more than six months after the two doses, but it`s also looks like it may be halting infection, and even possibly asymptomatic transmission.

So, you definitely want to get that third immunization if you`re over 18 and more than six months out. It`s a huge difference. It causes a 30 to 40 fold rise in your virus-neutralizing antibody. I think it`s going to prolong immunity. And it may not be that you need an annual booster, so it won`t be one and done and two and done, but I think there`s a possibility could be three and done.

HAYES: Let`s talk finally about the treatment horizon. Again, I mean, it shouldn`t be as necessary as it is. But given that it is, and given that this is the situation we find ourselves in, the Washington Post writing the treatment will change the pandemic but they can`t end it alone. Experts who are thrilled with the prospect of two powerful new medicines worry that enthusiasm for the idea of treatments may distract from their limitations and the necessity of preventing illness in the first place. I wonder if you share that worry.

HOTEZ: Yes. I mean, they`re good and interesting drugs but they only are going to be effective if they are given very, very early on in the illness because it`s only affecting the virus replication phase. So, as the illness proceeds, then you get a host inflammatory response and the drugs will be much, much less effective.

So, the thing that I`m worried about is the wrong message going to be sent which is to say hey, yes, I don`t want to get the vaccine but I`ll just take the drug instead if I get sick. It doesn`t work that way. The drugs are not a guarantee by any means, and you have to give it super early on in the course of infection. It`s a backstop it`s not the primary mode of controlling this virus. You need to get vaccinated.

HAYES: All right, Dr. Peter Hotez, it`s been a great pleasure to have you on this program during this pandemic even though the pandemic itself has been brutal and bleak in many ways, but I`ve really come to rely on your expertise and I`m glad you will be grand marshaling the parade tomorrow. So, have a great time.

HOTEZ: Thanks, Chris. I really appreciate it.

HAYES: All right, coming up, one of the stories I`ve been most excited about all week. How electric bikes could help save the planet and why cities should be giving them away for free. Don`t go anywhere. That`s next.



HAYES: So, last fall, it was still COVID, there was no vaccine, and I had to start coming in to the studio and do the show. And I had a little bit of a commuting problem. I didn`t really want to take the subway at that point. I think there someone to suggest that masking is actually pretty fine, but I wasn`t that psyched about it.

But I had to get from Brooklyn to Midtown. It`s about nine miles. And I had to do it without the subway. I didn`t want to take a car every day. I came up with the ultimate solution, a foldable e-bike. I started riding that foldable e-bike into the city nine miles every day, back and forth. I fold it up, brought it up in the office, it changed my life.

The best commute I have ever had in my life. Unlike a regular bike where you show up and you`re all sweaty, you can`t really like hop on air, this you`ve arrived cool and clean, you get to see the city. It`s honestly once you try an e-bike, you will almost certainly be a convert.

And I was so psyched to see someone also evangelizing the church of the e- bike. In the New York Times opinion page, the great writer Jay Caspian Kang who writes for the op-ed page in the New York Times quite a bit, just wrote a great new book we talked about on pod, wrote a piece called free bikes for everyone -- free e-bikes for everyone, a sentiment I could not more wholeheartedly endorse. And I`m excited to have the author of that piece Jay Caspian Kang here with us tonight.

Jay, as you as you can tell, I am an e-bike convert. Tell me about your own e-bike conversion story.

JAY CASPIAN KANG, CONTRIBUTOR, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: I saw a tweet that one of my colleagues put out and it showed all of his groceries on his bike and I was like, what is going on? Like, how`s that possible? And yes, I got one. Similar to you, I rode around a lot in the pandemic, and I don`t know. It was just extremely liberating for me. I take my kid to school on it and, you know, she loves it. And I don`t know.

Like, it feels like the city is open in a way that it wasn`t before and I don`t know, I feel like everyone should feel that type of liberation and ability to sort of converse and meet with people and you know, talk to people without having to sit inside their car.

HAYES: Yes. It`s -- you know, it`s a -- first of all, it`s a very cool feeling because you feel like a superhero. Like, it`s like a -- it`s the vision that I had as a kid of having like a cyber-suit where you were -- you`re like Ironman where it`s like you, but you`re stronger. So, when you`re -- you know, when you`re pushing the pedals, there`s like this extra oomph, but it also means that you can put kids on it, you can run errands on it. It also means you`re not sweating in the same way.

And it also just replaces a lot of car trips. I think that`s a key thing to think about. I know a bunch of people who have gotten them for things like, you know, dropping off kids and stuff like that. And you write in the piece that city government should purchase an electronic bicycle for every resident over the age of 15 who wants one. They should also -- this is key, shut down a significant number of streets.

Shutting down some streets for bikes is not key not only for safety but also because the more inconvenient driving becomes, the more people will start to consider other options available to them is a free to charge mode of transportation that will often be faster than sitting in traffic and having to find a parking spot. Do you think this would work?

KANG: Oh yes. I mean, we have to get cars off the street somehow, right? Like, we have to get cars off the road somehow for every reason, pedestrian safety, bike safety, but mostly because of climate change and carbon that they admit. And so, I don`t know, I think that you need to come up with some sort of drastic measure that also incentivizes people.

And I think that we`ve been waiting around for some sort of solution to this, and you know, I don`t know, I think every single person that I talk to who has ridden an e-bike has -- and has sort of committed to it in a way has said that it has replaced tons of their car trips.

And you know, the only problem right now with having more people adopted is a they`re pretty expensive. And so, if you give them away for free which, you know, I think would be much, much, cheaper if you could do at large scale. And I don`t know, I think that`s a -- that`s the only real way that you`re going to get cars off the road. You have to have something that can replace that, you know.

And people are still going to want some sort of speed. They`re still going to want some sort of convenience. I think e-bikes are the way right now.

HAYES: Yes. And I think -- we should note -- I mean, yes. The key I think here is we think about building the sort of city of the future and neighborhoods of the future, not just cities -- these can work in suburban environments as well, you know, for the kinds of trips you would take normally with a car, is that, you know, we`re going to need to plan cities in different ways.

I know a lot of pedestrians feel like e-bikes are a little dangerous. There`s a lot of folks zipping around on them. They can`t go very fast. You do need to find ways that every mode can kind of like operate with each other. But just as a use case of -- you know, I was just literally before I left the house tonight talking to Kate, my wife, about picking up the pies tomorrow on the way up to my parent`s house, which is like the perfect example of -- it`s like a probably two mile trip.

It`s a pain to walk back with pies. I don`t really want to take an Uber. Driving over there seems crazy. I`m just going to get on my e-bike and go over to Four and Twenty -- shout out to the best pies in New York City -- and pick up the pies. And like, that is exactly the kind of -- there are so many trips like that, that can be replaced for so many people if this -- if this was in people`s hands.

KANG: Yes, I`d do the same thing. If I have to go get a pizza and pick it up, that`s generally how I go pick it up and then I bike up a hill back, get a little bit of exercise, and -- yes, between that and picking and dropping my kid off, like, you know, like, that`s about 80 of my car ride. So, you know, if I have a giant load of groceries, then I still take my car, but you know, like, that`s pretty rare that I -- that I need to go out and get a ton of groceries.

So, it could replace I think about 80 percent of what I -- what I use. And I don`t live in a big city. I live in a pretty suburban place and, you know, it`s done it for me.

HAYES: All right, Jay Caspian Kang, thank you for joining us tonight. I should say, thank you again for joining me on my podcast to talk about your great brand new book The Loneliest Americans. People should check that out. That episode is out now along with a ton of other great interviews.

This week I spoke with documentarian Alex Gibney about the art of filmmaking. You could listen to my conversation with Al Roker about how he became the iconic weatherman he is today or any one of the episodes that cover topics like electric vehicles, healthcare in America, or America`s favorite fighting Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette. There`s no better time to dive in than on a weekend of long drives, lots of cooking, and some post- dinner lounging. I hope you check some out.

And I wish all of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday, my favorite holiday. Let`s all be good to each other.

That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now with Ali Velshi in for Rachel. Good evening, Ali.