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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 2/19/21

Guest: Craig Fugate, Olivia Troye, Linda Chavez, Jesse McKinley�


Texans are lining up for food and water after a week of power, heat

and water outages. After days of blackouts, Texans are facing water crisis.

Sen. Ted Cruz tries to clean up his Mexican vacation scandal by making TV

interviews. There`s good news against the fight against the virus. There

have been accusations New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been under

reported deaths during behind the pandemic.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: That`s called snowflake winning the week.

I`m the host, therefore I win. Lee Daniels, Michael Steele, Victoria

Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, that is great. Lee`s new movie, The United

States Vs. Billie Holiday premiers next Friday on Hulu. You must watch it.

That`s tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES:" is rescuing us now. Up

next, the former FEMA Director Craig Fugate.


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

RICK PERRY, FORMER GOVERNOR, TEXAS: Yes, this was a black swan event if you

will. It was a one of a kind, maybe the only type of event in a hundred


HAYES: Tonight, the crisis in American leadership that leads to

catastrophes like Texas. The, disturbing new conspiracy charges for nine

extremist militia members who said they wanted to make the Capitol wild for


And why is Ted Cruz being held accountable for his Mexican vacation but not

his support for overthrowing the election?

Plus, with the Justice Department investigating, just how much trouble is

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo really in?

And why great new vaccine news and rapidly shrinking cases are giving some

hope this pandemic could be over sooner than we thought when ALL IN starts

right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. The situation in Texas

is still dire. Tonight, as residents suffer yet another night of below

freezing temperatures that is five days after a massive winter storm not

kicked off a dangerous cold snap resulting in power heat and now crucially

water outages.

The good news tonight is that a sustained thaw is expected to begin

tomorrow. And power outages affecting more than four million Texans earlier

this week are now below 150,000. That`s thanks to the thanks to the hard

work of thousands of utility workers, power line technicians and others who

have gotten most of the Texas grid back up and running in very difficult


But the food and water crises remain extremely serious. Hundreds of cars

lining up at a food distribution site in Fort Worth today and nearly half

the state under a boil water notice after the deep freeze shut down water

pumps and broke thousands of pipes, all of it causing a cascade of misery

for residents and homeowners and even hospitals and firefighters.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Busted pipes and frozen lines snowballing into an all-

out nightmare damaging countless homes and putting many hospitals on high

alert. In Austin, nurses evacuated patients after losing water pressure

then heat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These long lines this morning for the very latest

opportunity to help those without water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fort Worth has set up several bottled water distribution

sites throughout the city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never should a Forth Worth resident be thirsty or be

cold, and those are calls that we`re taking in our office, I am thirsty, I

am cold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overnight, fire and ice in San Antonio. Frozen hydrants

forcing firefighters to truck-in water slowing down crews as they battle

flames devouring a downtown apartment complex.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven`t been able to go to work all week long and,

you know, everything that we have in there is gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our problem is we get a little bit ahead and then the

water runs out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With water lines frozen or busted, many growing

desperate. Others lining up in subfreezing temperatures hoping for a chance

at much needed supplies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m trying so hard not to cry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For Glory Ramos, the food and water vital to help take

care of her three kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m very stressed too with everything going on. It`s

hard but I`m trying.


HAYES: Local leaders have been doing what they can to help residents

through what is hopefully the end of the worst of this. Houston Mayor

Sylvester Turner who was on this program last night organized a mass water

distribution event in his city today. And Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

today enlisted a local union plumber to teach residents how to prevent

their pipes from freezing in the current condition.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The old notion of letting that pipe drip and drip and

drip is not a good notion right now. It`s just too long with the freeze.

So, let me show you a couple of things you can do and you`ll be able to

shut off all the water going to your home.

Try to track down your main shutoff valve. And it usually be in a black

valve box located on the outskirts of your yard. Here`s mine. You can use a

good old crescent wrench.

So, we`re going to grab a hold of that right there and we`re just going to

turn it. It`s as simple as that. Now, your water is off. All water going

through your home is now shut off.


HAYES: Now, throughout this week, we have heard ceaseless brazen lies from

some Republican politicians, right-wing media, and Fox News about what cost

all -- caused all this chaos in Texas. Nonsensical lies that the Green New

Deal somehow snuck into Texas under cover of night and then caused it to

break during a cold snap.

But the single most accurate and succinct characterization of what went

wrong in Texas this week is this. It was a weather event extreme enough to

lie outside the bounds of what the state had chosen to adequately prepare


Former Texas Governor and former Energy Secretary Rick Perry actually

copped to that reality today on Fox Business.


PERRY: Yes this was a black swan event if you will. It was a one of a kind,

maybe the only type of event in a hundred years. But we should have been

recognizing that we hadn`t weatherized properly our energy supply, energy

generation companies out there.


HAYES: Of course, here`s the rub. 100 year events are not 100 year events

in the era of climate change. The extreme becomes more regular. Disaster

and crisis stalk us. I mean, I remember being told that all the home prices

and all the markets in the entire country going down at the same time was

statistically almost impossible, a black swan event, and then it happened

and we had the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

A respiratory illness managing to cross a species barrier and then

spreading around the entire world causing millions of deaths, well, that`s

also a black swan event that we are living through right now. But these are

the things government is there for, to prepare for, and plan for, and

protect against.

Good governance insures us against the worst risks and the worst

catastrophes and designs resilient systems to allow us all to thrive

through them. In an era of climate disruption, this will only be more

common. And the costs of the failures of our government like those in Texas

and with the coronavirus will only get higher.

Craig Fugate is a former administrator of FEMA under President Obama where

he oversaw the response to many weather disaster events including Hurricane


Craig, first let me get your sort of view from your perspective and

expertise on what we have seen happen in Texas. What have you seen there?

What have you been surprised by? What have you learned?

CRAIG FUGATE, FORMER ADMINISTRATOR, FEMA: I`m not really surprised. We`ve

seen this across the south. It`s what`s happened in Florida in the 90s.

During winter, extreme cold temperatures, our systems aren`t built for it.

We see the failures that occur. And when you have this kind of cold, again

up north, their water systems are winterized, ours in the south are not.

So, it`s unfortunate this happened but it is what could happen when you saw

the extreme cold that was forecasted.

HAYES: How do you think about the ways in which we integrate preparation

for disaster into the way we think about governing in an era in which we

know this will be more common? We just know from the models that extreme

weather will be more common. It will have to change the way that we all

collectively prepare for it and then adapt and deal.

FUGATE: Yes, we`ve got to stop looking backwards. The whole idea of a 100

year event is it`s something that`s a one percent risk based on weather

patterns in the past.

HAYES: Right.

FUGATE: Going forward, the extremes are, as you point out, occurring so

frequently. And I think the other problem for government is there`s a

natural tendency to plan for what we`re capable of handling and then just

hope if it`s worse our systems scale up. I haven`t seen that work ever and

we`re not planning for what could happen, we`re planning for often what

we`re capable of responding to.

HAYES: That is a great way of saying it. It`s like, you know, looking for

your keys underneath the -- underneath the light when you`re outside right

in the dark because like that`s where you have light but that`s not

necessarily where the keys are.

Like, your point is there has to be some imagination here about what the

frontiers the possible are. And again, you know, we`re all living through

the most crisis-embedded year in American life in generations.

FUGATE: True. And there`s a lot of information that -- I know people like

to say well, this couldn`t been forecasted or this wasn`t expected or this

is a black swan, but there`s too much information saying this is happening,

this trend is increasing. Even the climate reports from the past

administration pointed out that more extreme rainfall, more extreme

temperatures were already being documented.

I like to tell people, you know, this debate about climate change, it`s not

about climate change in the future, it`s climate change with a D. It`s

already changed. And our systems and infrastructures and our response is

not built for what`s happening and we`re having to change on the fly and

learn and not go back to what we`ve always done, but more importantly,

figure out what we`re going to do differently as these types of weather-

driven hazards are increasing.

HAYES: You know, there`s also -- it`s hard too, I think, in the politics

right of this. You`ve got one major party that sort of committed itself to

this very dead-end view, you know, blaming the Green New Deal. So, you`ve

got sort of a big chunk of the political spectrum that has literally just

been denying what`s happening.

I mean, Ted Cruz was telling me that satellite data showed that global

warming -- you know, climate change wasn`t happening like two years ago

when I interviewed him on stage in Texas. But you`ve also got a political

problem which is that insuring against big risks, like -- something like,

OK, we`re going to spend a bunch of money to weatherize these systems or

make them resilient. That could be a tough sell, right? That`s not an

immediate tangible thing. But then, when the disaster strikes. you`re sure

lucky glad you did it.

FUGATE: Right. I mean, this is the paradox. It seems that as a nation we`re

prepared to spend billions of your taxpayer dollars after disaster for

things that we could have reduced the impacts and build more resiliency on

the front end. And I think the way we get both parties to agree to this is

let`s talk about the dollars.

This is costing us. And that we shouldn`t be building things to get damaged

and have to be repaired again with taxpayers monies. Let`s fix it right the

first time. We`ll clean up after these disasters but we should be building

for future risk so the taxpayers dollars, they`re not being wasted

repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

HAYES: And it`s so true when you see that. You see the -- and it makes

sense, right? The the politics around disaster relief tend to be quite

bipartisan with some rare exceptions. Like, I remember, there was a Texas

senator who opposed to the Sandy supplemental named Ted Cruz. But that was

a rare exception. Most folks come together and they say these people need

help, fellow Americans.

But if you try to do this stuff out front, right, if you say well, this

year in this budget, we want to bump up how much we`re spending on pandemic

prevention or we want to bump up what we`re going to be doing on flooding.

That then -- that`s a much tougher sell.

FUGATE: Not now. I think we have an opportunity to get our economy going to

make some big investments in our infrastructure, putting people back to

work, grow America`s economy, and build infrastructure for the future. This

is -- this is the opportunity.

We need to come out of this pandemic and put people to work that haven`t

had jobs to get our economy going. And it`s going to take some taxpayer

dollars. But let`s spend money now and build our infrastructure for what

we`re facing and put people to work and start buying down the risk from

these disasters and make our communities more resilient so when we do have

these extreme events, it`s manageable and not as devastating and as deadly

as these are for our public.

HAYES: That`s really well said. Craig Fugate, thanks for sharing your real

considerable expertise with us tonight. I really appreciate it.

FUGATE: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: All right, some breaking news tonight, a really pretty crazy stuff.

There are major new conspiracy charges in the January 6th assault, and it

has to do with some people that became famous in a viral video. Nine right-

wing militia members charged who say the attack the Capitol in the name

Donald Trump. We`re going to have all the details about that after this.


HAYES: Federal prosecutors have just charged nine members of the right-wing

militia known as the Oathkeepers on attack on the Capitol that led to the

deaths of three police officers. The militia members are charged with

conspiring to "corruptly obstruct influence and impede an official

proceeding that is Congress` certification of the Electoral College vote.

According to charging documents, the members agreed not to carry guns

because they had a -- listen to this -- "heavy quick reaction force 10

minutes out though." The same Oathkeeper also sent a message saying, "Trump

said it`s going to be wild. It`s going to be wild. He wants us to make it

wild. That`s what he`s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us

to make it wild. Sir, yes sir. Gentlemen, we are heading to D.C. Pack your


HuffPost Senior Justice Reporter Ryan Reilly has been like an

insurrectionist encyclopedia reporting on the hundreds of charges that have

resulted from the attack on the Capitol. He`s here now to explain these new


Ryan, what`s the overview here of these individuals?


from all over the country. We have someone in Florida, someone in North

Carolina, a group Ohio, and they`re all coming together and sort of

coordinating through the Oathkeepers which of course is this sort of right-

wing group that`s been around for, you know, over a decade now and talking

about -- and basically listening to Trump`s calls. And hearing that message

and him saying it`s going to be wild, listening to that, interpreting it,

and acting on those efforts.

I think one really interesting thing is when you talk about this idea of

them having this quick reaction force, there`s also a lot of discussion

about not bringing guns because they were worried about D.C. gun laws. And

it`s pretty hard to not reach the conclusion that, you know, fear of DC`s

gun laws saved some lives that day, because that`s the reason why a lot of

these people didn`t bring guns into D.C. because they were worried that

police were going to pick them up before they got anywhere.

But because we saw a lot of people come in with tasers and things like that

that were legal, you know, there was nothing really police did or I guess

suppose could have done to stop them because of what they were carrying was

street legal at the time.

HAYES: That is a -- that is a fascinating observation. Also, I mean, that

b-roll we were just playing, which again if we can play that for a second,

which is this sort of notorious moment captured on film. The stack it was

called. And you see these folks. They`ve got vests, they`ve got helmets,

they`ve got their hands on each other`s backpacks as they sort of make

their way up very methodically and slowly.

You know, it strikes me that these folks are in a different tier than some

of the more, oh look where I found myself with my iPhone folks. These were

people that that that plotted quite seriously, coordinated, had some

experience and came kind of very ready for what they were going to do.

REILLY: Completely. It was a pre-planned conspiracy as opposed to a

spontaneous conspiracy that just sort of formed on that day. I mean, it`s

pretty tough to argue that when you see all these communications about the

event beforehand, and then when you see that formation going up the stairs,

I mean, that`s a specific conspiracy that they`ve entered into. We are

agreeing to do this together, right? You`re literally signifying that with

your body language and what you`re doing.

So, I mean, that`s the conspiracy right there. They`ve entered into this

agreement and they tried to take -- they tried to stop the Electoral

College votes from being certified.

HAYES: And that is what the charging is, right? I mean you`ve got federal

charges, the nine of them, as a group in this case.

REILLY: Yes, yes. So, they`re all together. And I mean, conspiracy charges

make it easier to bring, you know, uh culpability to people who might not

be able to be charged on their own. And you know, they can be controversial

sometimes. We saw in the J20 case back during Trump`s first inauguration

where there were these conspiracy charges that were brought based on very

little conduct.

And it`d be curious to see what prosecutors have learned from that

experience and bringing it to these new charges where they have very

specific actions that these individuals took to enter into this conspiracy

to overthrow democracy.

HAYES: It seems to me that federal officials, law enforcement are kind of

climbing the ladder of seriousness. Last question for you, do we have any

updates on the pipe bomber? I mean we`ve have someone on tape leaving what

were functioning active pipe bombs outside the RNC and DC -- DNC. A month

later, we have not found this person.

REILLY: We don`t. I mean, I just would stress that this isn`t a completely

overwhelming event. I mean, frankly it`s just completely dominating the

FBI. There`s so many cases. It`s impossible for journalists to keep up

with. It`s impossible for a lot of these outside groups to keep up with.

There were just so many people committing crimes that day.

And because no one was gathered up and arrested on the spot, it requires

all this work to go through and figure out OK, who are the most serious

charges. So, right now you`re going to see that mix of very serious charges

that people they`re going after like we see with the Oathkeepers, but also

just sort of the lay-up easy cases of people who, you know, were really

dumb and posted about it immediately afterwards on social media. So, it`s a

real mix right now what we`re seeing.

HAYES: All right, Ryan Reilly, I`m sure we`ll be talking again as you

continue to track this. Thank you so much. More than 260 people have now

been charged in the insurrection on Capitol Hill, but Ted Cruz who actively

promoted the lie that inciting the insurrection and crucially who announced

ahead of time and then voted not to certify Joe Biden`s win after that

attack has faced basically no consequences for his actions there. I mean,

certainly nothing like the firestorm he`s facing over his extremely ill-

conceived Mexican getaway.

Cruz got back from Cancun and immediately started doing the thing that, as

we argued last night, he uses his job which is media appearances like

talking to the press, going on Sean Hannity for a Hannitizing softball

interview to clean up his mess, although no amount of media appearances are

going to wipe away his mid-crisis vacation. This one is probably going to

leave a mark for a while.

He`s also encountering these billboards in Houston reading, Texans froze,

Ted fled. The whole episode illustrates so much about the Republican Party

right now. Like, the fact that no one has the same level of shamelessness

as Donald Trump. Think about this. If that were Donald Trump, he obviously

would have just stayed on vacation, right?

As Trump sycophant Matt Gaetz tweeted, Ted Cruz should not have apologized,

which is partly why it will be very hard for Cruz or anyone else to be

Trump at a presidential primary. But more importantly, this was only the

second worst thing Cruz has done this year. The much worse thing he did was

to give aid and comfort to those people attempting to end 230 years of

orderly transitions of power by overturning the will of the American people

as represented in their votes.

It is also an indicator that the non-Trump forces of the Republican Party,

the Ted Cruz of the world are just not that super appealing to people.

Like, they don`t offer that much which is a big part of the reason we are

where we are.

Two people who really understand this dynamic, Olivia Troye former aide to

Vice President Mike Pence who`s from Texas, now heads up the Republican

Accountability Project at the organization Defending Democracy and Linda

Chavez former high-ranking official in President Ronald Reagan`s White


Olivia, I wanted to -- I want to start with you because when you came out

this summer as someone who`d been working on the COVID Task Force and

released this very, I found, affecting video about the president, it was

very sort of specifically about the individual character of Donald Trump.

Basically, it was look, there are people trying to save the Americans from

the pandemic and this sociopath is unfit for office and you need to vote

him out. It is interesting to me to see you now sort of broadening maybe

that critique or your lens. Like, do you feel like there`s a bigger problem

here than just Donald Trump as you look at Ted Cruz?


what you`re seeing here is birds of a feather flock together, right? This

is the Trump Republican Party. These are some of Trump`s main supporters

showing their true colors. Donald Trump never cared about anyone else.

And Ted Cruz -- look, I`m actually kind of glad this happened because he

has shown his true colors to the entire state of Texas, to his

constituents, to these Republican voters as well that he has taken for

granted for so long. I mean, granted the tide is changing in Texas, but I

don`t see any Republican sitting at Texas, sitting at home who had families

who were at risk, who were freezing, who are suffering. These people are

going to have major damages to their households. This is going to be quite

the recovery effort.

How do you give him a pass on this, right? How do you give him -- the

dereliction of duty runs deep here. It runs from Trump to this guy. I mean

there`s a pattern of behavior here. And this is also the same guy who you

went along with the lie about trying to overturn an election. And so, how

many times are Texas Republicans going to give this man a pass. He`s shown

you who he is.

You know, my mom raised me. She said, when someone shows you who they are,

believe them. This is it. He has shown you. He left you to freeze in the

cold. He left his dog at home, Snowflake. I`m a dog lover. I can`t tell you

how irate I was at the fact that my family in Texas has been suffering.

They`ve consolidated households in the middle of pandemic. Some of them

have COVID. They were suffering.

They didn`t have the option to go to the Ritz Carlton on a vacation and

gather their friends up. That didn`t even cross their minds. They were

trying to help their neighbors. I did phone banking. And here`s a guy, you

know, he took off.

There`s Beto O`Rourke sitting in El Paso who`s not even an elected official

right now organizing phone banks that I participated in to just get help to

senior citizens to do his part while this guy takes a flat out vacation and

says hey, your problem, Texas, deal with it.

HAYES: You know, Linda, there`s two things here that I`d be curious to hear

your perspective on. One of them is it really continues to bother and burn

me that a majority of Republicans in Congress voted to overturn the

election, a really like shocking abdication of basic, just fundamental

democratic values. It had nothing to do with like policy ideology, just

like -- and that there`s no accounting for that. No one seems to be


Like, we`re a month later and so much is focused on the insurrection and

the acts of those folks which again is well and proper, but no soul

searching, no like accountability moments about this thing that was just

fundamentally wicked.


fundamentally wicked, Chris. And there is an accounting. People are leaving

the Republican Party in droves, by the thousands, people including myself.

I`ve been a Republican for a very long time. I`ve run for office as a

Republican and I served Republican presidents, but I don`t want anything to

do with this party now.

Even Mitch McConnell who gave a, you know, good speech still voted in a way

that lets Donald Trump off the hook. And Trump is going to be down there on

Mar-a-Lago. He`s going to be inviting people to come and bend the knee.

He`s going to be threatening those who don`t pay obeisance to him that he

will primary them. And he`s got a huge portion of the Republican base that

is willing to support him. And that`s a problem and it`s going to be a

problem uh for the foreseeable future.

I don`t see it changing anytime soon. There`s been no consequences to any

of these people`s action and I think it`s really could spell the death of

the Republican Party.

HAYES: Final -- just a quick question to you, Linda. You know, I was

thinking about Lindsey Graham, right? He says, after they come back after

the Capitol`s attack, he said, it`s been a wild ride with me and Trump but

I`m off the train now, right? And that lasts all of 28, 36, 48 hours.

And I saw him give this interview where he said look, we need what Donald

Trump brings. We don`t have any -- and I thought to myself, what an

unbelievable damning statement which is that Lindsey Graham looks out to

surveys of conservatives and Republicans and thinks we got nothing except

for the dude down in Mar-a-Lago. That`s what people want. Like, we got to

give that to them. Like that`s -- but I don`t even think it`s even

necessarily wrong is the thing.

CHAVEZ: Well, and in fact, what Donald Trump did do is bring a lot of

people who didn`t vote before into the voting booth and casting their votes

for him. He was a reality TV star. And I think that stardom, that flash

that he has was appealing to a lot of people. And I think there aren`t many

Republicans out there who can fit that bill.

But the party used to be about ideas. It used to be principles. It used to

mean something. I still consider myself a conservative. You and I probably

don`t agree on very much in terms of policy. But decency and character,

that matters most.

HAYES: That I agree with. Olivia Troye and Linda Chavez, thank you both. I

appreciate it.

Don`t go anywhere because as we come up on the one year of this pandemic,

it sure looks like there may be -- may be really good news about the road

ahead. I`m going to lay it out for you, you heard me right, good news.

Stick around. I`m to convince you. Come on back.


HAYES: We are closing in on a year since this pandemic dramatically altered

all of our lives. And if there`s one thing I`ve learned in covering this

story for a year non-stop, it`s to never let yourself get too hopeful about

the trajectory of things.

I remember thinking back a year ago in March, it was early days, I knew it

was going to be bad, but how bad is it going to get really?

And then, the summer thinking, maybe the worst of it`s over. But every time

I felt a glimmer of optimism, this indefatigable virus has come back to

kick our butts once again.

And after all we`ve been through, everyone is quite understandably wary of

hope. But all that said, there are confluence of things happening right now

that suggests it is possible, by no means guaranteed, but truly eminently

possible, we really are through the worst of it, that some semblance of

normalcy might be coming sooner than you think.

So, let`s go through that evidence. First off, new cases have been falling

dramatically for the past month or so. As dramatically as they basically

ever have. There`s probably a bunch of reasons for that tied of behavior

and seasonality and other factors.

But unlike other times we`ve seen big drops, the big difference is now

we`ve got the vaccines. As David Leonhardt of the New York Times argues, I

think persuasively on Twitter today, a lot of the messaging really is kind

of underselling how awesome the vaccines are.

I mean, the evidence suggests a full dose effectively eliminates the risk

of COVID deaths, nearly eliminates the risk of hospitalization,

dramatically reduces the ability to infect someone else including for the


On that last point, just this past Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that

while more research needs to be done, studies so far suggests the vaccines

won`t just protect you but also crucially slow the spread from person to

person, keep you from infecting others.

And despite some scaremongering stories and social media posts, reality is

that no one has died as a result of getting the vaccine, and virtually no

one who has gotten a full dose has then died as a direct result of COVID.

It really is a scientific medical miracle.

I mean, look at this, this table from Dr. Ashish Jha, we have him on the

program a lot, tells the story. In the vaccine trials, tens of thousands of

people received the vaccine, OK, tens of thousands. And of those

vaccinated, no one, not one was hospitalized. No one died from COVID. No

one died from the vaccine, zeroes in all three columns.

And now, an Israeli study has found the Pfizer vaccine may offer strong

protection after just the first dose. Speaking of Israel, now, nearly half

the population in Israel, not the West Bank or Gaza I should note, have now

gotten at least one vaccine dose and nearly a third are fully vaccinated.

And we`re getting some really encouraging data from there. Israel

vaccinated its elderly population first, and this is the result, a big drop

in hospitalizations for severe COVID among those 60 plus, that`s the top

line, the one that has come down dramatically. That`s what you do -- what

happens when you vaccinate.

We`re seeing the impacts of the vaccine here in the U.S. too. Connecticut

has done a particularly good job of proactively vaccinating nursing home

residents, right? That`s been the worst part of this crisis. More than 90

percent are now vaccinated in that state.

Look at this, OK, in the first week of January, there were 483 cases and

111 deaths among the state`s nursing home residents, brutal. This week, 30

cases and 10 deaths according to new state data, look at that.

We`ve got two other things on our side, the weather is going to get warmer,

which does not solve the problem. It doesn`t remove the threat, but we do

know it helps.

And also, a lot of people have now gotten the virus and have antibodies.

Now, we don`t know exactly how many. Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Martin

Makary believes it roughly two thirds of the U.S. population has had the

infection and thus between vaccinations and natural immunity will have herd

immunity by April he declared in the Wall Street Journal.

Now, let me be clear, that is quite outside of the consensus view. That`s

the edge of the optimistic view. But it is the case that between antibodies

and warm weather and people continue to wear masks, and vaccinations, we

could be looking at something that feels like pre-pandemic life by the

summer. If we do it right. And that is really, really, really nice to think

about during these cold, cold pandemic winter days.

Already, there are some truly encouraging stories emerging across the

country, including a remarkable one out of California, where one community

has managed to vaccinate a vast number of people from nursing home

residents, to firefighters, to teachers, to grocery store workers already.

How they did it is next.


HAYES: When this year began, California had one of the worst COVID

outbreaks in the country. Los Angeles was recording a new COVID case every

six seconds and nearly 15,000 Californians died in January alone.

Vaccines need to be administered as quickly as possible to many

Californians to as many Californians as possible. But like many states, the

rollout has been hampered by supply and distribution issues.

Just today, Los Angeles had to cancel more than 12,000 vaccine appointments

because the winter weather that wreak such havoc in Texas has also delayed

vaccine shipments across the country. In fact, we`re expecting those

numbers to dip for a few days.

But there is some good vaccine news out of California. Thanks to the

efforts of the mayor of Long Beach, Mayor Robert Garcia. He lost his own

mother and stepfather to COVID but now, he`s managing the effort to get his

community vaccinated and appears to be doing quite a job.

NBC News Correspondent Jacob Soboroff as part of a new series premiering

tonight on Peacock called "Street Level USA" asked Mayor Garcia just how

he`s getting it done.



different approach.


different strategy?

GARCIA: We made a decision like really early on that we thought we needed

to vaccinate all groups as soon as possible. So, once we kind of had

completed the healthcare sector, which was always the first priority, we

were one of the first jurisdictions to finish all nursing homes. So, we`ve

100 percent of our all of our nursing homes are done.

And then, we immediately went into firefighters, paramedics, police

officers, all the emergency response folks, and also grocery workers and


SOBOROFF: Is scalability an issue? Can you do this in a city that`s bigger

in the way that you`re doing it?

GARCIA: Absolutely. I always tell people too, you know, Long Beach, it`s

the same size as Atlanta, Georgia, from a population perspective.

SOBOROFF: It`s one of the biggest cities in the country.

GARCIA: Yes, it`s one of the biggest cities in the country. So, I --

certainly, we can do it here, you can do it anywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m really grateful. You`ve done such a good job.

GARCIA: Thank you.


HAYES: And Jacob Soboroff joins me now. Really fascinating stuff here,

Jacob. The Long Beach approach that you talked about here is -- has been

different a lot of places. A lot of places said, look, we`re going to --

we`re going to start with seniors and sort of work our way down in age,

they really proactively went after these folks that are going to be most

exposed independent of age.

And has there been like controversy about that? Because it`s, you know,

these are tough choices.

SOBOROFF: No, on the contrary, actually, I mean, I`ve never been around a

politician who has received so much adulation for something so

controversial. When I was there with him, you know, you saw that little bit

of people saying, good job.

But I mean, people were asking to take selfies with the mayor of Long Beach

at a COVID vaccine distribution site. They`re seeing results in Long Beach,

Chris. They`re opening schools, he just announced that yesterday, K-5 in

Long Beach is going to be opening in March and LAUSD here, the largest

school district in the nation in the neighboring jurisdiction, there

doesn`t seem to be any sign of opening.

And sort of the -- you know, that`s all the -- all of that is what we want

to get to the bottom of. I mean, how policy is impacting all of this, not

just how we got here.

Because, you remember, California lockdown first and fastest and hardest at

the beginning of the pandemic had catastrophic results. A million people in

this county alone lost their jobs and then we still ended up with a million

people infected and 18,000 people in L.A. County did.

Obviously, the inequality fueled all that but on the tail end, there are

two clear policy approaches to this, the 65 and over the age and then

essential workers first, grocery workers, longshoreman. I mean, just like

the mayor mentioned, and he`s the one seeing the results, obviously.

HAYES: Yes, that`s -- I was amazed to see that they had -- because they had

essentially targeted teachers for vaccinations or vaccinating teachers,

they`re going to reopen schools.

You also did some reporting on what it looks like in Los Angeles, which has

had challenges again. That`s, you know, a much larger enterprise, it has

its own challenges, but you`ve -- how are things going in L.A.?

SOBOROFF: Well, and not just that, it`s a baseline of extreme inequality in

Los Angeles. 495,000 households alone, according to researchers at UCLA are

at risk of eviction in Los Angeles if those more moratoriums end. There`s

60,000 people sleeping on the street, there`s a million undocumented people

who don`t have access to services here.

And so, I went to Dodger Stadium, which happens to be closed today. But

before it was closed, I talked to the fire chief of L.A. about the

challenges, literally by getting the shots in the arms in the city of L.A.

of four million people and we have the tape, this what he said to me.


SOBOROFF: Was the pool of people who are eligible expanded too quickly as a

part of what happened here?


SOBOROFF: Is there any chance that age only allow some of those essential

folks to slip through the cracks and have to wait at the back of the line?

TERRAZAS: You hit it on the nose, people who have a higher likelihood of

exposure might have to wait longer now because we`re letting older people

go first who may be retired and really don`t get out a lot.


SOBOROFF: So, you can see it, Chris, on the ground, not to plug in in the

show. But at street level, I mean, it`s really easy to see how these

diversion policy approaches to the virus have had very, very different

results. And in Long Beach, things are going much better than they are here

in the city of L.A.

HAYES: You also talked about this, I mean, this sort of strange paradox,

right of COVID policy and timing, which is that either Los Angeles and

California did quite well in the earliest part locked down very hard, and

then really got walloped in the late fall and winter. What happened? Like

what is your understanding after doing the reporting of why that happened?

SOBOROFF: Well, if you -- if you -- if you live like me in a single family

home with your family, and you have a job and you`re doing television from

your laundry room, T.V. studio, you`re pretty good. But if you live in

Pacoima, which became the epicenter of the epicenter, where Alex Padilla

our new senators from was born and raised, were there -- the G.M. factory

left Van Nuys, and the Pfister Brass factory closed, and there`s all kinds

of extreme inequality and poverty there. You can only stay locked down for

so long, you have to go back to work.

And so, in this majority minority city, a 50 percent, Latin city, there --

it is no surprise why that community has been hit the hardest in this city,

especially in areas like that.

There is no option to stay home and sit and talk to Chris Hayes from your

laundry room, doing T.V., you have to go back to work. Whether you`re, you

know, on the front lines as an undocumented healthcare worker or you know,

your work, like I said, down on the docks at the longshore -- at the

longshoremen, etcetera, etcetera.

And so, those are the people that are suffering the most and they`re still

suffering we should say.

HAYES: Yes, we should -- I mean, this -- and this is replicated itself all

over the country. Time and time again we saw it in the latest CDC, life

expectancy data where life expectancy shrinking the most for African-

Americans, second most Hispanic-Americans, the least for white Americans.

We`ve seen it in the maps in New York City, my home borough of the Bronx,

which is majority minority, our borough 85 percent non-white getting hit

the hardest.

I mean, this has been one of the main stories and it`s one the main themes

of Jacob Soboroff, first episode of his new series "Street Level USA",

which premieres tonight on Peacock at 10:00 p.m. You should definitely

check that out.

Thanks so much for making time tonight, Jacob.

SOBOROFF: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Next, accusations New York Governor Andrew Cuomo under reported

deaths during behind the pandemic. And now, the Department of Justice is

investigating the latest after this.


HAYES: You can now add Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

the list of people calling for a full investigation of New York Governor

Andrew Cuomo his handling of coronavirus in the state`s nursing homes.

Just this week, we learned the FBI and the U.S. Attorney`s Office in

Brooklyn are examining how the governor`s task force dealt with long term

care facilities during the pandemic.

News the investigation comes just weeks after New York State Attorney

General Letitia James. So, the governor`s administration had undercounted

COVID related nursing home deaths by thousands.

So, the big question here is what happened? And just how much trouble could

the government -- governor be in?

One of the top reporters on this story, Jesse McKinley, Albany bureau

chief, The New York Times joins me now. Jesse, let`s first start, there`s a

-- there`s a sort of few tiers of this. So, I want to start with the

substance, right? Like, what was -- what were the substantive moves by the

governor on nursing homes during COVID that are controversial under

investigation? And then we`ll talk a little bit about like the degree to

which maybe he tried to cover up the data.

So first, what`s the -- what are the choices made here that are issue?


is this March 25th memo that the Department of Health put out that

basically asked nursing homes to take back any resident that was either

leaving the hospital or coming into the nursing home, regardless of COVID


So, if they were COVID positive, the nursing home was compelled basically

to take those residents back. And that, at its time, was made, the governor

says because they were worried about the hospitals getting overwhelmed,

they`re worried about tens of thousands of people flooding the hospitals,

and they`re not being enough hospital beds. So, they`re trying to clear up


But the end result of this was fears that perhaps people coming back into

nursing homes, which was fertile ground for this terrible virus, that those

people were coming back, bringing the virus back and sending off outbreaks.

So, that was really -- that`s really been the crux of the argument against

that policy, and kind of where the governor`s troubles began.

HAYES: Right, but I mean that -- so, the key here though is like that might

be a bad policy choice amidst crisis and pandemic, right? But doesn`t open

you to like, criminal investigation, right? It`s what it`s the response to

what they did afterwards, right, that has now opened him up to that.

MCKINLEY: Right. And it`s a cliche and of course that it`s all allegations,

but it goes back to the cover up and not the crime, right?

And what people are worried about legally in terms of this, is that the

governor for months and months and months did not release full data on the

death toll inside of nursing homes. He wasn`t merely releasing the people

that had died physically inside of the nursing home, not at the hospital,

which one lawmaker said to me tonight is kind of like if someone was hit by

a car in the road, you wouldn`t count it as a traffic fatality, you counted

as a hospital death because they actually died at the hospital.

So, these seem to be kind of deliberately under counting the number of

deaths from nursing homes. And that wouldn`t have been controversial in the

moment, but it went on for months and months, months. Lawmakers got very

upset, outside groups got upset, journalists got upset that the information

wasn`t forthcoming.

And then, just last week, his top aide Melissa DeRosa said basically, we

did it on purpose. We were withholding this because we were worried about a

federal investigation.

HAYES: Right. So, that tape comes out and really is what has blown this

out, right? So, the policy has been known all along and was controversial

and the subject of criticism and defenses on the sort of merits of whether

this was the right call.

Ron DeSantis took a different approach in Florida. And I think a lot of

people thought that was the right thing to do.

The frustration, though, with a lack of forthcoming sort of data was also

long standing. But the thing that blew this up is that you`ve got his most

trusted aide basically saying, yes, we`ve been holding the data.

MCKINLEY: Yes. And that`s where the feds got interested too, quite frankly.

You know, our reporting and other publications have shown that basically

this investigation, the federal investigation was sparked by those

comments. When the aide said basically where we were worried about the

impact of this, we were worried it was going to be used against us. So, we

didn`t give it to the state for fear that it would somehow get a -- get

into the federal hands, or somehow that they needed to address the federal

investigation before the state. And that`s really apparently what perked up

the interest of the FBI.

HAYES: Yes, there`s also -- I mean, the broader theory issue here too,

right, is that like, this is someone who often conducts themselves, meaning

the governor of New York in a pretty imperious manner. He is -- he is

feared by a lot of people by his political allies. He can be -- he can be a

tough customer with folks. And I think what you`re seeing is that like,

that kind of bull in the China shop, is maybe not serving him that well

right now as he comes under this increased scrutiny.

MCKINLEY: Your diplomatic as always, Mr. Hayes. Yes, I think that is true.

Mr. Cuomo was known as something of a tough boss. He`s known for someone

who`s not afraid to raise his voice to make his point.

And certainly, the other issue here is of course his brand, right? His

political brand where he got great reviews early on in this pandemic for

being the straight shooter, you know. The guy who just the facts, and I`m

not going to spend this, I know politics.

And now, this episode, this idea that facts, that data was actually

actively being withheld kind of goes against that image in a big way, you


So, it`s twofold. It`s not only that he`s sometimes abrasive manner has

rubbed people the wrong way. And you know, he lashed out against the

Democratic lawmaker and assemblyman from Queens this week in a very kind of

discursive, or very dismissive way.

And the fact that he hasn`t necessarily been honest about the data, those

two factors are not -- it`s not a good look for him.

HAYES: Yes, and I think, you know, throughout COVID, right, there`s the

sort of two -- there`s people making -- lots of policy making -- makers

making difficult judgments under conditions of extreme stress and

uncertainty, sometimes making the wrong ones.

And then, there`s are you being honest and transparent about what you`re

doing. And it`s like the first are much more forgivable than not the latter

which has been sort of one of the stories of this broadly not just in this

case. Jesse McKinley who`s doing a great reporting on this for The Times in

the Albany Bureau, thank you so much for time.

MCKINLEY: Of course.

HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Friday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts

right now with Ali Velshi in for Rachel. Good evening Ali.




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