Joel Greenberg`s plea deal could spell more trouble for Rep. Matt Gaetz. According to the Daily Beast, Matt Gaetz paid accused sex trafficker who then Venmo`d girl in their teens. According to a polling, President Biden`s infrastructure plan has America`s support. One of the world`s renowned pulmonologists testifies against Derek Chauvin. The United States has been very good in vaccine distribution but the distribution of vaccines in other parts of the world has been wildly uneven.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Well said. Brandon Wolf, thank you so much for spending a very important day for you with us this evening. Thank you so much. That is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is next. And there is new Matt Gaetz news. He`s going to bring that to you. It starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight, on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Matt Gaetz have anything to worry about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because Matt Gaetz, that is such a --
HAYES: Breaking news out of Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.
HAYES: What does it mean that a former Republican charged with sex trafficking and tied to Matt Gaetz is seeking a plea deal with prosecutors. Tonight, the latest reporting and former Congresswoman Katie Hill from what she calls her unlikely friendship with Matt Gaetz and why she wants him held accountable now.
Plus, the new Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on the fight for an infrastructure bill. Another dramatic day in court for the prosecution in the Chauvin murder trial. And as vaccinations continue for yours truly and more, why the global surge in Coronavirus should worry us all, when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES (voice-over): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Well, today was a bad day in the life of Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz. And it has everything to do with this guy. You might recognize him. His name is Joel Greenberg.
We`ve kind of just met him in the media at least. He is the former Seminole County tax collector down in Florida. One of the reasons he no longer holds that position is because he was indicted and later charged with a slew of counts tied to stalking, illegally obtaining personal information, identity theft, wire fraud, and sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl.
And it was that sex trafficking investigation into Joel Greenberg, as NBC News and other outlets have reported, that led to the separate Justice Department investigation of Congressman Matt Gaetz for possible sex trafficking of a 17-year-old.
Today in Orlando, Florida, there was a status conference in Greenberg`s case where his lawyers, as well as prosecutors, said the Greenberg who had previously pleaded not guilty is now expected to plead guilty.
According to The New York Times, Greenberg is likely to face 12 years in prison. And legal experts said that if Mr. Greenberg had any hope of reducing that sentence, you would have to cooperate with the Justice Department. It is not for certain he`s going to play and cooperate. But if he does, well, that can be extremely bad news for one Matt Gaetz.
Here is Joe Greenberg`s lawyer today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Matt Gaetz have anything to worry about?
FRITZ SCHELLER, ATTORNEY FOR JOEL GREENBERG: Does Matt Gaetz -- that is such a --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it comes to what happened today in court?
SCHELLER: Does he have anything to worry about? Are you asking me to get into the mind of Matt Gaetz?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, from your mind?
SCHELLER: From my mind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Based on what your client claims.
SCHELLER: Based on what my client claims. OK. See, I thought if I kept on talking and talking, I would avoid these questions. And I have to say, I`m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Matt Gaetz and Joel Greenberg go back a little bit. Here they are posing together in 2018. Here they are with Donald Trump`s longtime political ally, Roger Stone a year earlier. Gaetz and Greenberg and another man also posed together at the White House in 2019.
Last week, The Daily Beast reported on the text messages that allegedly led the feds to Matt Gaetz which revealed among other things, that Gaetz accompany Greenberg on an unusual nighttime visit to a government office where Greenberg was allegedly making fake IDs.
And on his way out of being in this office that was under his control, right, he`s the county tax assessor, he`s going into his office in the middle of night, Greenberg forgot to set the alarm, OK. That raised a red flag for the assistant branch manager who runs the office who shows up to office -- on the office on Monday and was well, surprised to find expired driver`s licenses scattered all over the desk, instead of in the appropriate disposal basket.
She told her boss who sent Joel Greenberg this text, "Did you happen to visit the Lake Mary office on the weekend?" Greenberg responded. "Yes, so I was showing Congressman Gaetz what our operation looks like. Did I leave something on?"
OK, so that`s -- I don`t know, that seems pretty sketchy. You are the county tax assessor. You`re in the office that makes IDs in the middle of the night with the congressman and you just leave a bunch of IDs all over the place and turn the alarm off. Now, among the charges against Greenberg is the allegedly sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl, that same girl that mat Gaetz is reportedly being investigated over.
Investigators also believe that two men were involved with multiple women they recruited online. Again, according to the New York Times, Joe Greenberg initially met the women through Web sites that connect people who go on dates in exchange for gifts, fine dining, travel, and allowances. Greenberg introduced the women to Gaetz who also had sex with them. So, if Greenberg is interested in cooperating with prosecutors and he did just indicate he`s going to plea, he might, maybe, who knows, he might have a whole lot of dirt on Gaetz, maybe.
Now, Gaetz has denied all wrongdoing. He says he`s never been involved with an underage girl, has never paid for sex, has never been on any Web sites like the one mentioned above, and that he "refutes all the disgusting allegations completely," though it is worth noting that Matt Gaetz would not have had to directly pay for sex to potentially violate the law.
And that brings us to another Florida man I`d like to introduce you to, we met him last night briefly, Dr. Jason Pirozzolo. He`s a hand surgeon and marijuana entrepreneur. Last night, CBS News reported that federal investigators are looking to a trip to the Bahamas, the Gaetz and the doctor slash weed entrepreneur allegedly took together in late 2018 or early 2019. And believe the doctor allegedly paid for travel expenses, accommodations, and female escorts which could be trafficking under the law.
Dr. Pirozzolo has declined to comment on the allegation. Gaetz, who suggested the trip was a vacation between consenting adults, would not necessarily have had to pay the women directly. Again, if he knew they`re being paid, that also exposes him to potential charges.
And there`s this from CBS News. Investigators also want to know if Gaetz was accepting paid escorts in exchange for political access or legislative favors. In 2018, Pirozzolo appeared on the podcast of the cannabis Web site Ganjapreneur and said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON PIROZZOLO, MARIJUANA ENTREPRENEUR: The Federal Government has made it very, very difficult to study this, to research this. At the American Medical Marijuana Physician Association, we always will support more research. In fact, Congressman Matt Gaetz is in the process of working on legislation up in Washington D.C. that will help facilitate research on a nationwide level. And we should see a lot of good benefits from them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, Matt Gaetz, champion of Ganjapreneurs everywhere. This video from the Orlando Sentinel shows Donald and Melania Trump in 2019 being greeted in Florida by Governor Ron DeSantis, and wait, that -- wait, that very guy, Dr. Jason Pirozzolo. Last night on this program, Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell said Gaetz had been working to benefit the doctor for years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOT MAXWELL, COLUMNIST, "ORLANDO SENTINEL": I have pulled up e-mails I had with mister -- Dr. Pirozzolo and Matt Gaetz just today from two years ago when I was trying to understand why Matt Gaetz, and I don`t know that this has been widely reported, tried to make Dr. Pirozzolo Florida`s Surgeon General even though his expertise seemed to be medical marijuana at the time.
That one didn`t pan out. As a consolation prize, he got to be a member of the Orlando airport board and control about $2 billion worth of contracts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, when you look at the Joel Greenberg situation, right, that`s the Seminole County Tax Assessor, right, who has been indicted, might be playing, and then you look at the doctor slash weed entrepreneur or Ganjapreneurs, as I prefer, Jason Pirozzolo, it sure seems like it was not so crazy for Matt Gaetz who have reportedly sought a blanket proactive pardon from the Trump administration before Trump left office.
But congressman Matt Gaetz did not get that blank and pardon. And now, he appears to be facing potential legal exposure from a lot of directions. In fact, just moments ago, The Daily Beast peeled back another layer of the story reporting, "In two late-night Venmo transactions in May 2018, Representative Matt Gaetz sent his friend, the accused sex trafficker Joel Greenberg $900. The next morning, over the course of eight minutes, Greenberg used the same app to send three young women varying sums of money. In total, the transactions amounted to $900."
NBC News has not verified this information. It`s just published 15 minutes ago. Gaetz has acknowledged the existence of the investigation but again, denies the allegations. The Daily Beast says that they asked for a response to their latest story and the chief of staff for Congressman Gaetz requested "More details on the times and amounts being discussed so we can review any details with our lawyers."
And the daily views political investigations reporter Jose Pagliery broke the story and he joins me now. All right, so this has to do with Joe Greenberg, the individual who had his status conference today who appears like he`s going to plea. We don`t know that for sure. Walk us through what your reporting shows.
JOSE PAGLIERY, POLITICAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "THE DAILY BEAST": So, in all of this, what we`ve heard is that there`s a federal investigation that extends to the congressman, right. And key to that would be any evidence of payments that would have been made from that congressman to his friend, this tax collector in Florida.
Now what we have gotten ahold of at The Daily Beast are proof of Venmo payments that Matt Gaetz did way back in 2018. And it`s worth telling the story, OK. Overnight, late at night, the congressman sends two separate payments via Venmo to his friend. The first one is titled test. The second one says hit up, and it names the person who we`ve now determined was a teenage girl.
Now, this is pivotal, because just hours later, as we reported, Joe Greenberg then turned around and made three payments totaling $900 to three young women. Now, this is really important. This detail is huge. What we were able to find is that one of those young women is now a porn star.
Now, we have not revealed her name because she was so young at the time. But what my colleague Roger Sollenberger and I have been able to do is get a hold of financial payments that directly tie Matt Gaetz to Joe Greenberg, and very quickly turn around and have girls names on them.
HAYES OK, so there`s a bunch of stuff here. So, let me just sort of take them in turn, right. So, obviously, under the law, it is illegal to pay for sex. And Matt Gaetz says he has never paid for sex, right? But it doesn`t get you out of legal jeopardy if your buddy pays for sex, and then you pay your buddy the same amount.
I`m not saying that`s what happened here. There seems to be a colorable case that if your reporting is true, it did. But from a legal exposure standpoint, if someone pays for sex and you pay them, you`re not off the hook, correct?
PAGLIERY: That`s right. That`s part of a conspiracy, right? Now, what we have here, though, and it is worth going through the detail, we got hold of Venmo payments. And as anybody who uses Venmo knows, when you pay anyone anything, when you want to make a financial transaction, you have to explain what that thing is for.
And we have to ask ourselves, why would a sitting congressman be making two payments $500 and $400, one of which says to hit up. It says hit up and it mentions a girl`s name, a name that just hours later receives money from that same person who got that money.
And so, that`s what we`ve got here. We got Venmo transactions that definitively tie him to them. But we`ve got more coming, because we don`t just have these financial transactions.
HAYES: Well, tell me -- well, what do you have?
PAGLIERY: Well, what we`ve got are lots of sources with direct knowledge of Joel Greenberg and his behavior. And so, in the coming days, we`ll be coming out with more. But right now, this is just the start. I mean, what we`ve got with these Venmo payments are -- I mean, we`ve got dates, we`ve got amounts, and we`ve got people`s names.
And it`s worth noting that until now, what so many have reported is that this federal investigation extends to Matt Gaetz through his connection with Joel Greenberg. But we`re looking at Venmo payments that are now in the hands of federal investigators themselves.
HAYES: OK, so now the second part of this. So, this is about, you know, payment for sex, allegedly, right, through a sort of intermediary. The second thing that I think is very important both morally and legally is the age of consent, right? I mean to my mind the most by far a troubling accusation here is the sex trafficking of a minor in a sort of technical legal sense, but the paying of a 17-year-old for sex, right, a minor, a girl underage. Did we know the age --
PAGLIERY: And the 33-count indictment -- well, I mean, the 33-count indictment of Joel Greenberg, that is what`s detailed. I mean, in describing this, federal investigators have said that he engaged in sugar daddy relationships. And if you look at these Venmo transactions, when someone makes it that much transaction, they have to explain what it`s for. And in the detail, in the memo for what it`s for, Joel Greenberg wrote tuition and school to these girls that he`s paying the very next day after receiving this money from the congressman.
HAYES: OK, but final question here. Do we know the age of the girls that he is paying and Venmo-ing it with tuition and school?
PAGLIERY: Well, it appears that one of them which later became a porn star, she had just turned 18 just months earlier than that. And we haven`t been able to determine the ages of the other girls, but we have so many Venmo transactions with so many girls` names. We`re trying to go through that now.
But I can tell you that most of the women whose names we know were extremely young. We`re talking about 18, 19 years old at colleges like UCF and others in that area. And so, you know, we can tell from the Venmo transactions or from the social media accounts that we`ve been looking at that these were all young women, extremely young women.
HAYES: All right, Jose Pagliery who has been on this beat and there`s a lot more coming, I think, thank you for sharing your reporting with us tonight.
PAGLIERY: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: So, back in 2019, then-Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill who we`d have in the program a number of times resigned from Congress after revelations of an inappropriate relationship with someone who`d worked on her campaign. And that relationship had been exposed in a real kind of awful way, in nude photos that were leaked to and then published in a British tabloid without Katie Hill`s consent.
Now, Hill sued that tabloid for violating California`s Revenge Porn Law. Yesterday, she lost that suit. She now plans to appeal. But Katie Hill have also struck up what she called an unlikely friendship with Matt Gaetz in Congress. And at the time, when she resigned, Gaetz actually publicly defended her over the leaked photos.
The two kept in touch through 2020 despite Gaetz`s relationship with Donald Trump. But their relationship petered out after the Trump January 6th insurrection. Then CNN reported that Congressman Gaetz had showed nude photos of women he had slept with to lawmakers.
In a new piece of Vanity Fair, Katie Hill writes that if the report is true, he engaged in the very practice he defended me from and should resign immediately. And Katie Hill joins me now.
It`s great to have you on the program, Katie. I wonder if you just -- maybe just sort of talk about your relationship, friendship with Matt Gaetz, what you sort of thought of him and what you make of all this now?
KATIE HILL, FORMER DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA: Yes. I mean, look, we became friends because we served on the same committee, and we were about the same age. And he was friendly to me when I was a new lawmaker. But when it really mattered, when I was feeling particularly abandoned by the people within my own party, and when I felt just betrayed, and alone, and disgusted, and disgusted with myself, it matters a lot that somebody stands up for you.
And I don`t know how many people have been in a situation like that, right, where you -- where anybody standing up for you feels like a big deal, but it gets a lot of points. And you know, now with all of this coming out, I think people can certainly say that I have maybe not made the best choices when it comes to my relationships with men. I never had a real relationship with Matt Gaetz, but regardless, I feel -- I feel betrayed by him. And I have to wonder about his motivations for defending me in the first place.
And, you know, I think that what`s so gross is to see all of this coming out. Each one of these, you know, accusations or allegations or charges that are coming out is -- it`s just like he should resign immediately. The ethics violation -- the ethics committee should be opening an investigation immediately.
And for some reason, they haven`t when they open one on me based on a tweet or a Facebook post from my bitter ex-husband. I mean, it`s just -- it`s just like, where did the double standards end? And then you see within my lawsuit that it is, OK -- they`re saying that it is OK for any person, any woman who runs for office, opposition research firms can go to their exes and can say, hey, we`ll pay you if you give us nude photos of so and so who`s running for office.
And then they can give those photos to the Daily Mail or to RedState, or to some of the other publications that are disgusting and willing to do that, and its free game. It`s free speech. It`s -- you know, it means that it`s wide open. And it`s just like, horrifying that this is what the reality is that we`re looking at for women who are running for office, as compared to men who honestly Gaetz could probably get indicted and run for election and re-election and still win. I mean, we had that with Duncan Hunter. We`ve had that on the inside 100 times. So, I was like, (INAUDIBLE)
HAYES: Your point here about the double standards I just -- you know, just for folks remembering, you resigned shortly thereafter these -- you know, the photos were leaked, and there were allegations of an improper relationship with a campaign staffer. And, you know, we`re in a territory, I think, by any objective metric, again, that Gaetz denies but we`re to be true is --
HILL: Way worse.
HAYES: -- in a different -- yes, way worse, but I mean, in a different universe, honestly, than what happened with you. And we should also say that, like, the thing that he`s been sort of casually accused of doing, and just showing pictures of, you know, sexual conquests or women that he has had relationships with to members of the House floor, like, you know, it`s not illegal, but it`s gross and it`s sort of part of the same culture, I think, that produces appetite for the publishing of photos of you that you`re suing over.
HILL: 100 percent. It`s commoditizing women`s bodies, and it`s making it that we don`t have any ownership of it that other people do, specifically, men do. We are -- we are simply there for their pleasure and enjoyment and entertainment and that`s it. That`s it. We don`t -- we don`t have any, you know, autonomy beyond that, right?
And so, that`s one of the reasons that I have -- before the results of this lawsuit, I have focused so much time and energy on getting an amendment into the recently passed Violence Against Women Act, which the amendment would make it a federal law for revenge porn to be illegal, which seems like it should be obvious.
And in fact, it is illegal in most states but there`s this fabric, this you know, patchwork of laws, the mere fact that it`s not a federal law makes it so that internet companies are less incentivized to, you know, to do anything about it and that media companies would have to think twice about publishing those images if it was a federal law.
But, you know, that is something that Matt Gaetz voted against, too. He voted against the Violence Against Women Act. And here we are, we`re going to be taking this to the Senate. It`s going to take 60 votes. And by God, if we can`t find 10 Republicans who vote with us on a Violence Against Women Act that includes an amendment to make it so that women`s nudes can`t be shared without their consent, where are we even as a country?
I mean, I guess we`ve all been asking that question for quite some time at this point. But it just -- it just shows you how far we still have to go for women in America to even be seen as equals.
HAYES: Katie Hill, it`s always a pleasure to get a chance to talk to you. I really appreciate you coming on tonight. Thank you very much.
HILL: Thanks. Thanks for having me.
HAYES: So, so far, the Biden administration`s big signature achievement has been, of course, the COVID relief package they passed last month. It`s -- that money has now gotten in people`s pockets and bank accounts, and it`s working through the system. It`s worth noting that bill was extremely popular when it passed, right, 70 percent. 70 percent of Americans are supporting the bill, which is huge in a divided country.
So, then the question, of course, is well, how are you going to follow that up? What`s the encore? And maybe the most obvious answer is to do something else that`s super popular. It looks like the White House has found that next thing. The Secretary Transportation Pete Buttigieg on the incredibly strong polling on their big infrastructure push next.
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JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs. And it`s evolving again today. We need to start seeing infrastructures through its effect on the lives of working people in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Here`s the thing about Joe Biden`s $2 trillion infrastructure plan. People like it a lot. A new poll out yesterday shows that 60 percent of voters support the plan and support for the individual items in the plan are even more popular. Even the one Republicans like to say don`t count as real infrastructure like caregiving. 65 percent of voters said they support funding Biden`s plan through higher taxes of corporations.
So, the plan seems to be selling itself, which I imagine is good news for the person administration tasked with doing just that. The new Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg joins me now. Great to have you on the program, Secretary.
Let`s start with the polling. Do you think the popularity of this puts political pressure on Republicans or have you learned from the COVID relief package that they`re essentially viewed themselves as independent of that kind of thing?
PETE BUTTIGIEG, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: As we`ve learned, just because something has huge bipartisan support among the American people, doesn`t mean the same thing is going to happen here in Washington. But I do think these latest numbers about the popularity of these proposals are going to be helpful in getting this plan through especially the fact that it`s not just as a whole, as a package that Americans like it, but it`s the individual pieces too.
So, you know, you sometimes hear opponents saying, well, you`re relying on this popular thing to sneak that unpopular thing through. But the truth is all around, these are good policies. And I think that`s why they command such overwhelming support. Now, as you know, again, you know, getting Washington to catch up to the American people isn`t always automatic. But I do think it`s going to be helpful in our continued outreach to Republicans, asking them to support this plan, and you know, in good faith asking what changes they would make that they think might make it better.
HAYES: Yes. Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, tweeted this out that Biden`s proposal is about anything but infrastructure $400 billion towards elder care. I mean, I was obviously horrified to think you would be trying to hoodwink Americans into supporting eldercare. Is that true?
BUTTIGIEG: So, guilty as charged. We are supporting eldercare, caregiving economy, making it easier to age in place and have community-based care because having that kind of care infrastructure in place is part of what makes it possible for Americans to thrive.
Again, I`m not sure why that`s being singled out, given that it is something that the American people believe we ought to do. But if somebody wants to put us on the spot defending that, that`s a job I`m happy to take up.
HAYES: So, let`s talk about the more sort of -- so there`s a bunch of different aspects of this, but you`re the Secretary of Transportation, that looks over highway, the interstate highway system. There`s a lot of concern, I think, and I`ve reported on this through the years, right, with -- particularly with climate activists about the ways in which our infrastructure conceptions, the structure of the gasoline tax and highway construction and demands for that tends to lead to a lot more fossil fuel consumption, building more roads and producing more congestion.
And that`s been a trajectory have been on for decades. How do you see this bill as changing that trajectory or do you not? Do you see it as a sort of continuity with what we`ve done before?
BUTTIGIEG: No. This is definitely a bill that looks to the future and recognizes the future isn`t going to look exactly like the past. Look, every great infrastructure vision has done that from the highway system under Eisenhower back through the transcontinental railroad under Lincoln, even back to the Erie Canal. It`s always about imagining more possibilities and just recognizing change.
You know, you can`t separate climate from transportation because transportation is the single biggest sector contributing to greenhouse gases in our economy. To me, that just means we get to be the biggest part of the solution if we get it right. And the choices we make matter.
You kn0w, there was a time when everybody really believed that the best way to deal with a congested road was to add more lanes. Well, sometimes that might be true, but it turns out sometimes you just get more cars and more congestion. So, we got to create alternatives, make it easier to get around in a vehicle but make it easier to get around without a vehicle. And that`s a big part of what the American jobs plan does with the transit and other support.
HAYES: What do you think about the tax side of this? I mean, obviously there -- this is not -- there are paid for in this, some of it on the -- on the corporate tax rate being rays` backup. Oftentimes that can be the stumbling block, certainly with any sort of Republican support, but it also becomes a kind of crowbar for them to kind of pry away support from it among the populace, though the polling shows that relatively popular. How big -- how important is the tax side of this to the package?
BUTTIGIEG: Yes, again, one of the really important things to point out here is that Americans actually like this package even more when you explain how we`re going to pay for it. The President has made it clear that this ought to be paid for. This plan does that. And all we`re doing is asking corporations to pay not even high taxes, just regular taxes.
I mean, 28 percent, that`s lower than it`s been for most of our lifetimes. You know, most of my lifetime, the corporate tax rate has been at 35. If corporations could handle 35, surely, they can handle 28. Of course, the reality is a lot of corporations have been paying zero. And so, closing those loopholes is just as important as what`s happening to the rate.
Taken together, it`s a fair way to pay for this plan. And I also say that the truth is, even though of course, there are incentives to lobby against it if a company is benefiting from those loopholes. The truth is business is going to benefit from a more competitive economy with good infrastructure just like all of us are going to benefit from it. It`s going to make us stronger.
HAYES: Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, great to have you in the program. Come back anytime. I appreciate it.
BUTTIGIEG: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Coming up, prosecutors in the trial of Derek Chauvin called the medical experts to stand today. And his testimony reportedly had jurors hanging on his every word. What he had to say about Floyd`s cause of death next.
HAYES: I should warn you that the details in the trial the police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd have been disturbing and heart- wrenching every single day. Tonight is no different. The lawyers defending the Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin have spun up counter-narrative about George Floyd that he was overdosing on illegal drugs, suffering from heart disease, and those were the real reasons he died. Not that Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd`s neck for those infamous nine minutes and 29 seconds.
Today, an expert witness for the prosecution named Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist explained in clear and devastating detail how he believes Chauvin cause Floyd`s death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN TOBIN, WITNESS: The toe of his boot is no longer touching the ground. This means that all of his body weight is being directed down at Mr. Floyd`s neck. We`re taking half his body weight plus the weight of his -- half the gear and all of that is coming directly down on Mr. Floyd`s neck.
It`s like the left side is in a vise. It`s totally being pushed in, squeeze then from each side from the street at the bottom, and then from the way that the handcuffs are manipulated. It was almost to the effect as if a surgeon had gone in and remove the lung, not quite but along those lines.
So, there was virtually very little opportunity for him to be able to get any air to move into the left side of his chest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Dr. Tobin also gave heartbreaking testimony describing George Floyd`s last moments alive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOBIN: You can see his eyes, he`s conscious. And then you see that he isn`t. That`s the moment the light goes out of his body.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One of the most striking things about that testimony today was just how definitive the doctor was, which we may well be consequential for the jury`s decision but also just for the public record, how we understand the horror of what happened in George Floyd.
Channa Lloyd is a civil rights attorney, managing partner at the Cochran Firm in Orlando, and she joins me now. Channa, I found -- I found the testimony today as powerful as any I`ve seen, partly because it just reacquainted us with one of the most awful spectacles than any of us have witnessed recently. From a legal perspective, did you find it effective?
CHANNA LLOYD, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: I found it wildly effective. I think that this was an expert who did something that most expert witnesses have trouble doing, which is connecting with the jury. He engaged them. They were following his every word. And he clarified what everyone`s been watching this video to see, when was the moment that George Floyd might have passed.
He identified it, he was definitive about it. And I think that`s going to be a moment that sticks with this jury when they go into deliberation.
HAYES: Yes, he -- you know, I feel like there`s an arc here, right, just not even talking about the jury, but public understanding because we all saw the video, of course, which was to see the video and say, Oh, my God, he, snuffed that man`s life out. And then there was a kind of counter- narrative that got spun up by people, an apologist, particularly. Oh, he was -- he had COVID months earlier. He had comorbidity. Oh, it was this, it was that. It wasn`t this thing. And to have Tobin just say, no, the thing you saw is what you saw, I found profoundly powerful.
LLOYD: I think it was very impactful, not only for the jury, but as you mentioned, for the general public. Because when we`re all looking at this video, we`re all looking to see exactly when and how, how long was he there? And for him to say that it was minutes before Chauvin even got up, he identified that exact moment. It`s profoundly tragic and actually very sad.
HAYES: There is this moment too -- I mean, one of the things that I think that again, sort of apologists here and have been spewing over the past year and the defense team too that there were some other but-for cause, right, in the health sense of what happened to George Floyd. This is -- this is Tobin saying that, look, a healthy person, this would have happened too as well. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN TOBIN, WITNESS: A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died as a result of what he was subjected to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That doesn`t leave a lot of room for ambiguity, it strikes me.
LLOYD: It doesn`t. He made a clear, divisive argument, no matter whether it was the neck or shoulder, he had too much weight on his ability and his cricketing his ability to breathe. He made that very clear in no uncertain terms. And he identified the moment in which George Floyd passed.
And he was very clear that no matter all these other things, COVID, the drugs, it was clear to him that this was a lack of oxygen that caused him to pass.
HAYES: Just as a final note here, I mean, about this is as a legal matter. I mean it always struck me as bizarre in some ways this kind of grasping at straws to say, well, there might have been drugs in his system, or he had COVID or something. I mean, if you kneel -- put your knee on someone`s neck and they die, like, you can`t turn around and say, well, maybe it was something else. We all saw what you did. Like, what is -- how much legal significance is there to that?
LLOYD: I think there`s going to be a lot of legal significance to that because the charges require no intent, but that each of them requires that you were either doing something that was imminently dangerous to others or you were trying to inflict substantial bodily harm.
Any way you slice it, putting a knee on someone`s neck at that -- for that length of time, you knew, you were trained that this is a move that could be very dangerous, it was not to be done for a long time. So, that`s going to speak to the charges when the jury goes back to deliberate.
HAYES: Channa Lloyd, that was extremely exceedingly clear, and I appreciate you helping us out with this. Thank you.
LLOYD: Thank you.
HAYES: Ahead, while U.S. vaccination rates continue to rise, a reminder the pandemic is not over yet. The Coronavirus mutation that is absolutely hammering Brazil coming up.
HAYES: Today was a good day because I got my second COVID vaccine today. I shared with many people as I could by sharing a picture on Twitter and expressed my joy through dance in Instagram. You`re welcome, America. They had to bleep out my tag there.
I wanted to share it with as many people as possible because it is a great feeling, you know. Everyone should do it. People are enjoying being vaccinated so much, there`s a pro-vaccine subculture springing up in the booming demand for I Got The Vaccine Gear on Etsy.
Others initially chatting their friends about which vaccine is cooler. And even Jerry Fallwell Jr., the disgraced former head of the conservative liberty university is getting in on the fun posting a selfie on Instagram with a sticker reading, I got my covid-19 vaccine and a caption reading, "Got the first Moderna vaccine today. The place at Candlers Station (old TJ Maxx) almost empty. Please get vaccinated so our nutcase of a governor will have less reason for mindless restrictions."
Hey, reverend, whatever it takes, man. Whatever it takes to get as many people vaccinated as possible no matter their beliefs or politics or anything.
This is where the U.S. is right now. We`re currently averaging three million doses every day. I didn`t really know if that was going to happen or be possible. Dr. Hotez told me a few weeks or months ago this was our goal and we`re there right now. It`s still going to take us another three months until American adults are immunized enough to break the back, slow the spread, which is what we`re all focused on.
It`s important we get that as quickly as possible because we are still, still, still averaging 65,000 new cases every day across the country. I mean, right now, Michigan is approaching record levels of new cases every day. Look at that. That peak is getting up higher than they`ve been which is a reminder the pandemic is not over yet. We`re close, but we`re not there yet.
Also, there`s some very worrying signs around the rest of the world that could seriously derail all of our progress against the virus. That`s next.
HAYES: The first time in this entire pandemic the United States is a top performer, a world leader in vaccination. The distribution of vaccines in other parts of the world has been wildly uneven. In Brazil, where far-right president Jair Bolsonaro and ally of Donald Trump touted hydroxychloroquine for months and mocked mask-wearing, only 3.8 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
The country is having arguably the worst outbreak anyone has seen yet anywhere, surpassing 4,000 deaths today alone. That would be the equivalent of like 6,000 a day here, which we never hit, thank God. Reuters reporting that Sao Paulo is preparing plans for a vertical cemetery, a crypt with 26,000 drawer-like graves.
Now, the dominant strain of the virus in Brazil is a variant called P1. It is thought to be 2.5 times more transmissible and is infecting people who already had COVID. Tragedy unfolding in Brazil really highlights the fact that we need to vaccinate everyone across the planet and fast because it`s unbearable both morally and from a public health perspective to let this thing rage and mutate throughout the world.
Jennifer Nuzzo is an epidemiologist at Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins who focuses on pandemic preparedness, outbreak detection, and response. It`s really good to have you on the program. I guess, first, let`s start with Brazil. I am -- it`s very hard to read the news there. We`ve been following very closely here on the staff, and it`s about as bad as we`ve seen anywhere. What do you make of this? How much do you ascribe this to this new variant?
JENNIFER NUZZO, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY AT JOHNS HOPKINS: It`s absolutely awful and heartbreaking. And you know, it frankly didn`t have to happen. I mean, yes, the variants are not good. The variants are making our lives harder, and it`s making it harder to control this virus. But really, the trouble that we`re seeing in many countries was just a failure to take the threat of COVID seriously.
You heard about the -- you talked about the lack of masks and, you know, the embrace of false securers, but also there was, you know, basically an attempt to pursue that very, very flawed herd immunity strategy which is to let the virus rip through the country, and now we`re seeing the consequences of it not just in terms of high cases and death, but also now the emergence and spread of variants that threaten the rest of the world.
HAYES: We`ve got a situation right now where there is incredible inequality in vaccine access, vaccine distribution. You`ve got, you know, Israel is sort of leading the world, and the U.K., U.S., Chile doing quite well. And then, you know, if you look at a place like Brazil or India, right, like, these are enormous countries, you know, over a billion people, 1.2 or three billion people between those two countries alone with very, very low access. Like what has to happen, to get them what they need to have numbers that look more like us or the U.K.?
NUZZO: Well, I mean, first of all, the United States and the U.K., Israel, we are in a much different situation than the rest of the world right now because we have been able to roll out vaccines in sufficient quantities. I mean, we`re not even where we need to be yet, but we are in a much better place than many other countries are now.
And, you know, I think some countries that sort of assumed that they had escaped the worst of it are now, unfortunately, seeing the reality, which is that this pandemic is very much not over. So, what we need to do now is get more vaccine. We just simply don`t have enough supplies in the world.
India, having trouble right now is bad news not just for India, but also for the rest of the world because it is a major manufacturer of vaccines. And many countries had counted on vaccines coming out of India that now, you know, there`s a question about how much will actually be available.
So, the U.S. I really think has to lead a global effort to make more vaccines. I think we can help coordinate some of the already global supply chain, help manufacturer in multiple places. We just simply need to make more.
HAYES: In terms of the U.S. -- where we are the U.S. right now, and I think people are a little confused about where we`re at right now. So, at one level, the vaccination rates are very good and encouraging, and it`s exciting to see people getting vaccinated and starting to have things like, you know, being inside for Easter with vaccinated family members, and all these things we haven`t done for a year, and people posting their selfies, or little dances.
But at the same time, it`s like cases are going up, hospitalizations are going up. And there`s this worry of like, are we in a fourth wave and what will that look like, or will its effects be mitigated by the fact that we have so many people in long-term care facilities and so people over 65 with antibodies now?
NUZZO: Well, we still have dangerously high levels of cases occurring every day. So, we are clearly not out of the woods. And the fact that any states are seeing an increase right now, when we have vaccines on hand that can help, you know, reduce the number of cases and prevent severe illnesses and deaths is of course worrisome.
I am, however optimistic that if we keep up the pace that we have been basically employing to vaccinate people, and I think it`s been good news that we are now continuing to expand eligibility for vaccinations because right now, we`re quite worried about an uptick in hospitalisation among people who had previously been too young to be vaccinated. So, expanding eligibility and just continuing to get vaccines in arms as quickly as possible I think puts us in a better situation.
So, I`m a bit hopeful that we can avoid any kind of serious fourth wave or fourth surge. You know, I don`t think it`s going to rival what we saw over the holidays. That said, you know, nothing is inevitable here. And we do have to be cautious and continue to take precautions until the majority of us are protected with vaccine.
HAYES: You know, there`s been -- there`s been sort of debate both among sort of mathematical modelers, epidemiologists, computational biologists about, you know, at what point you start to see herd immunity. There was even some, you know, discussion about whether, you know, if a place is really ravaged with antibodies that could even independent vaccines produce enough protection, that it would be hard to have another massive outbreak in that area.
We`ve seen with Israel, you know, which has the -- has had the most effective vaccination program in the world, I think it would be fair to say, within Israel proper that, you know, around 50 percent, like their case numbers started to go down. And I wonder if, you know, does that resolve the question? Do we have a better sense?
That that doesn`t mean you have herd immunity, it doesn`t mean you stamped up the virus, but is there a number that you`re looking at for our level to start to see those case numbers really come down dramatically?
NUZZO: I`m not looking for a number. I think the number is going to be dependent on the location and the degree of connectivity and how many interactions people have. So, it`s going to be different for different communities. But what I will be looking for, first of all, is our hospitalizations continuing to decline.
I mean, I think that`s really our main metric at this point, or have we prevented hospitalizations and deaths. If we define this virus and take hospitalizations and deaths off the table, I mean, that just changes our conversation about the virus entirely.
But then I also want to see sustained decline in cases. And, you know, I think Israel gives us some hope that we can see that perhaps earlier than we may have thought before. Again, it`s going to depend -- you know, the United States is different. We have different level of natural immunity because of our -- of our -- the size of our epidemic and our -- and we have just different patterns of connectivity.
So, I`m not sure exactly, but I`m going to be looking at hospitalizations and continued declines in numbers.
HAYES: All right, Jennifer Nuzzo, thank you so much for making time tonight. I appreciate it. That is ALL IN on this evening, Thursday. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now with Nicolle Wallace in for Rachel. Good evening, Nicolle.