IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 5/4/21

Guests: London Lamar, Michael Lewis, Evelyn Douek, Adam Conner


The Republican Party appears to be signaling they want to essentially excommunicate from leadership Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Tennessee Republicans want to ban lessons on systemic racism in schools. President Joe Biden aims to vaccinate 70 percent of adults by July 4th. Tomorrow, Facebook`s oversight board is set to announce whether Donald Trump can return to the company`s platforms.



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

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): President Trump claimed for months that the election was stolen and then apparently set about to do everything he could to steal it himself.

HAYES: A political purge for telling the truth about lies.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message.

HAYES: Tonight, former RNC Chair Michael Steele on why Liz Cheney is no longer welcome and why it`s a massive problem for the country. Then, the anti-anti-racism movement now defending the Three-Fifth Compromise to own the libs.

JUSTIN LAFFERTY, REPUBLICAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE, TENNESSEE: And they did it for the purpose of ending slavery well before Abraham Lincoln.

HAYES: Plus, as the Mar-a-Lago emcee gets his own blog. Is Facebook about to ban Trump for life tomorrow and should we be OK with that?

As a current president lays out a big new vaccine target, author Michael Lewis on his new book about the system failures that led to America`s pandemic disaster when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. The Republican Party appears to be preparing to undertake an ideological purge. They are signaling they want to essentially excommunicate from leadership their third-ranking member in the House and the only woman in congressional leadership, Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

She is on the outs because she has failed to carry the party line on what is increasingly the most important issue inside that party and that movement, that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 presidential election.

Now, what makes this strange on a number of levels that this is actually not an ideological question, it is a factual one. And the factual answer is no, Donald Trump did not win the election, he lost the election. And so, Republicans are talking about punishing Liz Cheney for the equivalent of saying two plus two equals four or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969.

Today, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took direct aim at Congresswoman Cheney.


MCCARTHY: I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message. We all need to be working as one if we`re able to win the majority.


HAYES: Working as one. Well, right now, the Republican Party`s binding message is a kind of anti-democratic conspiracy theory and authoritarian delusion. And their leader in the House has no problem saying publicly that all Republicans must abide by it. Privately, he`s just waiting for Cheney to be taken out.

McCarthy was caught on a hot mic just ahead of his Fox and Friends interview this morning telling Steve Doocy what he really thinks.


MCCARTHY: I think she`s got real problems. I`ve had it -- I`ve had it with her. It`s -- you know, I`ve lost confidence. Well, someone just has to bring the motion, but I assume that will probably take place.


HAYES: We have reached out to Leader McCarthy`s office for comment about that bit of sound you just heard, have gotten not no response. Politico reports that another member of the Republican caucus is already pitching yourself to be Liz Cheney`s leadership replacement. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York has been calling her colleagues to talk about her interest in the job and garner support.

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah is one of Cheney`s only defenders in the party. And remember, he just got booed mercilessly by fellow Republicans over the weekend for criticizing Trump. This afternoon, he tweeted, "Every person of conscience draws a line beyond which they will not go. Liz Cheney refuses to lie. As one of my Republican Senate colleagues said to me following my impeachment vote, I wouldn`t want to be a member of a group that punishes someone for following their conscience."

The fact that Congresswoman Cheney refuses to lie is exactly why her own party is very, very mad at her. She has committed no other ideological sin. Liz Cheney is a hard right-wing member of Congress. It`s not like she woke up and suddenly decided she wants to support the Green New Deal or God forbid, increasing capital gains taxes on the richest Americans, which next to Donald Trump won the election is probably as sacrosanct of principles exists in the modern Republican Party. No, no, no, none of that.

Of course, both parties have lines they will not cross, things they will not brook dissent on and those change over time. And sometimes they become more or less restrictive, more or less tolerant. The Democratic Party has evolved in such a way that abortion rights and support for Roe v Wade and access to abortion are now a pretty clear litmus test.

It`s increasingly harder and increasingly unlikely to be a Democrat who opposes abortion rights. And that`s fine, really. I mean, that is just what political parties are. They are factions. They`re groups of people that are organized around some shared principles and interests, political commitments. And if you do not buy into those shared principles and political commitments, well then you go somewhere else.

But what we are seeing with Liz Cheney and the party line here harkens back to the origins of that phrase in the Marxist Leninist left and the ways in which political factions most embodied in Lenin`s Bolsheviks adhered to a principle called democratic centralism. That is within the party that could argue within the vanguard of the party behind the scenes. But once the decision was set, once they decided what the party line was, there could be no public dissent.

And that principle, that way of operating grew more and more cultish and insane over time, and it manifested in all sorts of awful and pernicious ways throughout history, culminating in the Stalinist cult of personality, and the reign of terror under Stalin of constant murder and disappearances of people who committed some ideological sin they may not even have understood.

On Tuesday, it could be that the party line was two plus two equals five. And on Wednesday, everyone who said it was two plus two equals five was banished to the gulag because now it was two plus two equals seven.

Now, clearly, clearly, we are a very, very long way from that. No one`s getting thrown into a gulag Congress and Liz Cheney is probably just going to get booted out of leadership. She`s still going to be a congresswoman. It`s fine. We`re not in Stalinist Russia. The tendency that`s on display here, the tendency to turn a simple statement of fact of reality, what happened into a political litmus test is unnerving to say the least.

It gets back to the origin of what we mean when we use the word Orwellian. It`s an overused adjective, of course, but it was born of George Orwell`s real experience, in part, fighting both alongside and then against Stalinist factions in the Spanish Civil War.

And Orwell saw up close these tendencies to deny reality and impose discipline and force people to swear ideological fealty to whatever the winds of leadership were. That`s the experience that`s chronicled in his Spanish Civil War memoir, Homage to Catalonia. It`s the experience that led him to write 1984 and Animal Farm.

It is also the tendency that we are seeing on display right now, in the modern American Republican Party. There`s no other way to really characterize it. Now, when those tendencies appear on the political left, ideological purges or banishment or public shaming or people being cowed into taking some position, conservatives love nothing more than a whip-up a moral panic about it.

And indeed, they have whipped up a moral panic about cancel culture recently that they`re blasting 24 hours a day. But those same conservatives seem to be about to cancel Congresswoman Liz Cheney because she will not lie about the simple factual matter of what happened in November of last year.

For more on the Republican Party`s ideological purge, I`m joined by Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee. I want to start there, Michael, because what`s so strange about this is that there is no ideological sin that has been committed here.


HAYES: She didn`t vote against the party on some big bill. I mean, Arlen Specter, right. Arlen Specter votes for the Recovery Act. And he basically -- this is when you`re at the RNC, I think.


HAYES: OK. He basically gets shown the door, but at least there you could say, look, we oppose this policy, and that`s a -- that`s a line we can`t cross and so he`s booted. This is literally about does the sunrise in the East?

STEELE: It is. And I had dinner with the senator when that occurred to talk about --

HAYES: Did you tell him -- were you like, dude, you`re gone? Like --

STEELE: No, no, no, no, no, that that goes to some fundamentals. This does not. And I love, I love the way you set this up. I was taking notes, just like in class, of authoritarian delusion, leads to ideological purges, which animate democratic centralism. That`s what you basically laid out as the 21st-century iteration of the Republican Party.

And that`s how it`s manifesting itself right now in what`s about to happen to Liz Cheney. She`s done nothing wrong other than to speak truth to power. She`s done nothing wrong other than to acknowledge what every other American out who participated in and watch the election of 2020 know to be true that Donald Trump lost.

And she said to the party, we as a party should not continue to pursue this big lie. We should not lie to the American people. And for that, she is going to lose her position of authority. And that speaks in terms -- I`m sorry, I`m just going to -- that speaks to this idea of this democratic centralism that now we are all at one thought in one mind. And that all depends on what Donald Trump thinks we should be about.

HAYES: Yes. No, it really is like it is the -- it`s the original meaning -- the line, the party line. Like, the party line is now Donald Trump won the election. It was stolen from him. And you can`t get anywhere crossing the party line. That`s what the party line is.

STEELE: Right.

HAYES: And it`s -- you know, in terms of who she is, I mean, this is not -- again, this is a person who is a hard-right member of Congress. This is not a squish, this is not a RINO, this is not a moderate in any way, shape, or form.

STEELE: That`s right.

HAYES: Which is what`s so striking to me because what the litmus test is, has moved away from any plausible ideological account to simply this one about basically Donald Trump.

STEELE: Yes. I mean, it doesn`t matter. I mean, you know, if Liz Cheney had come out and said that, you know, she was now embracing a pro-choice view on abortion, or that she, as you noted in the opening, is now behind Biden`s increased taxes on the wealthy, that`s one of those ideological fault lines in which the leadership would say, hey, come on, you know, let`s huddle up for a minute, let`s talk about it.

But this is being dictated to her not along those ideological lines but along the purely sort of cosmetic unimportant, you know, idea that Donald Trump somehow is still in charge of things, and that we are so afraid of him still that this we have to do. In other words, if we keep you on board, then we`ll see it impact us in our primaries, impact us in our fundraising, impact us in other messaging. And that --

HAYES: There`s also --

STEELE: Go ahead.

HAYES: Well, well, I don`t mean to cut you off. It`s just, I know that you are -- if I`m not mistaken, I think your Jesuit educated and I think that - -

STEELE: Augustinian.

HAYES: Augustinian, sorry. You know, there`s also -- you know, effect in those practical ways, but there`s a moral rot that`s happening here that is also -- and it`s something that Orwell documents in all of those books, which is the party can coerce you to publicly avow things, but no one actually believes it.

And it`s like, that`s what`s so messed up here, too. Behind closed doors, I bet a majority of the caucus agrees with Liz Cheney. And in fact, when they took the secret ballot vote, she won 145 to 61. So, it`s even more pernicious because they all know she`s right. They`re just going to go and be part of the show trial in front of everyone to tow the party line.

STEELE: You raise an interesting point to sort of focus on because there was a time when this type of tension within the caucus would play itself out. The members pretty much said, OK, you can go off and just do what you need to do because you have to stand where you are because of the constituents in your community, who support you and who, you know, puts you in office.

And they would give you a wide berth, whether it was on policy issues, like a tax bill or something like that, or on political issues where the party wanted to say or move in a particular direction. But you, given the fact that you were voted on or, you know, put it office by a constituency that`s not buying that, we`re allowed to stay there in that space.

Today, that`s no longer the case. You all have to huddle up and move with the herd in one direction, which is over a cliff. And she`s sitting there going, hey, stupid, that`s the cliff. There`s there is nowhere but down on the other side of that. Let`s turn this around and move in a new direction. She`s not allowed to do that as she once would have been allowed under a different setting inside the party.

HAYES: So, I don`t want to overstate -- like, I mean, they made a run at her earlier, right. And she won that vote well, 145-61. To me, my sense is that this is different terrain now when you have McCarthy who`s leadership, you`ve got Stefanik, you`ve got people whipping, and McCarthy`s hot mic moment, which again, like, I`m sure he`s so bummed out they caught him saying this.

STEELE: Right.

HAYES: Am I wrong to think like they`re basically saying she`s done?

STEELE: Yes, she`s done. She`s done. In fact -- in fact, look for McCarthy. I mean, he`s already signaled that to signal further. This is -- he wants to go back to Mar-a-Lago and report, I did what you wanted me to do.

HAYES: Right.

STEELE: Can we just -- can we just call the thing what it is, right? He wants to be able to go back to Mar-a-Lago and said, hey, boss, we got rid of her. Because that`s -- remember, what Trump said the last time he was around that way, he raised the question of why she`s still in leadership. And isn`t it interesting that some six, eight weeks later, here we are, and they`re about the oust her?

But here`s the rub. Go ahead and do what you want to do. Boo, that`s OK. You go ahead and kick her out. But know this, that when you do, she becomes a galvanizing reminder to the rest of the country of what this party is, not what it`s become, but what it now is. And that you have to carry it with you in election after election after election.

It`s not just about Donald Trump and Liz Cheney. It`s about how you treat a woman who speaks her mind. And we heard the references that some members have made to her about being well, she`s -- you know, that girlfriend that you have a problem with, right?


STEELE: All of that is now fodder for the upcoming cycle. And Liz will be the tip of that spear.

HAYES: Yes, we`re going to see. So far, they don`t -- they feel no compunction to course correct. And I don`t even know if they`re wrong given the sort of structural factors at play. Michael Steele, that was enlightening. Thank you very much, sir.

STEELE: All right, boss.

HAYES: For Republicans, so-called Wokeness has become public enemy number one. It`s sort of part of the current milieu. And in states like Tennessee, they`re trying to stop schools, like a state mandate to stop schools from teaching about systematic racism, the realities and legacy of slavery. And today, in the state legislature, one member attempted to blow everyone`s mind with a unique and dubious defense of the morally debased Three-Fifth Compromise.


LAFFERTY: By limiting the number of population in the count, they specifically limited the number of representatives that would be available in the slaveholding states. And they did it for the purpose of ending slavery.


HAYES: Well, that`s just like your opinion, man. But it didn`t end there. The rest of the story next.


HAYES: You see right now republicans don`t really get to set the agenda because they`ve lost the White House, and the Senate, and the House. Their agenda is just to oppose everything President Biden wants. But in the states, they do get to write the laws. They`ve been focusing on restricting voting, you`re seeing a lot of those, banning health care for transgender youth and trans participation in sports. And now, the latest project they`re working on is banning critical race theory in schools.

Critical race theory is the study of the structural roots of American racial hierarchy and its legacy. Several states have introduced bills to this effect. Last week the Republican-dominated Oklahoma State House passed a bill that prohibits the teaching of Critical Race Theory. Idaho`s governor just signed a bill banning critical race theory in schools.

Also last week during the debate about bill that would ban schools from teaching "divisive concepts about race and sex," one Louisiana Republican said and I quote, "If you were having a discussion on whatever the case may be on slavery, then you can talk about everything dealing with slavery, the good the bad, the ugly." Before he was reminded there was no good to slavery and walked it back.

During a similar debate, today, a Republican member of the Tennessee State Legislature gave an unwitting lesson in the importance of accurately and rigorously teaching the real history of slavery and racial oppression in the United States.


LAFFERTY: The Three-Fifths Compromise was a direct effort to ensure that southern states never got the population necessary to continue the practice of slavery everywhere else in the country. What does that mean? Appropriation based on population. That`s how we pick. Everybody in here knows we`ve got nine -- I hope I`m right -- nine state representatives.

By limiting the number of population in the town, they specifically limited the number of representatives that would be available in the slaveholding states, and they did it for the purpose of ending slavery well before Abraham Lincoln, well before Civil War. Did we talk about that? I don`t hear that anywhere in this conversation across the country.


HAYES: I mean, look, it`s a complicated history, the Three-Fifths Compromise. It`s true that a bunch of folks on the other side of the compromise were trying to limit the representational power of the slave states. But it`s also unquestionably like a moral stain on the constitution that explicitly said slaves counted less than any other person. In fact, it didn`t even use the word slave, which was an indicator at the time that everyone then knew enough to be morally embarrassed by what they were doing.

This fight against teaching America`s racist pass has now been integrated into the broader Republican cancel culture, wokeness, moral panic being stoked with Joe Biden in office. And since he`s a less appealing target than other recent Democratic presidents for gosh, who knows what reason, Mitch McConnell and his party decided the biggest threat to America is white people finding out America`s institutions are racist.

Last time we visited the Tennessee State House, it was to speak to state Representative London Lamar about the Republican push to keep a bust of one of the founders of the KKK in the state rotunda. She joined us from in front of that bust. She`s back tonight after having debated Tennessee`s proposed law banning critical race theory. State Representative London Lamar, welcome to you.

My understanding, Representative, is that you were on the floor for this debate. And I`m just curious what it was like to be in that room, what that debate was like. Your reaction to your colleague`s monologue on the Three- Fifths Compromise.

LONDON LAMAR, DEMOCRATIC STATE REPRESENTATIVE, TENNESSEE: It was a very intense conversation because it`s uncomfortable for Republicans to talk about race. And in their attempt to not be held accountable for the historical implications of racism in his country is just unfathomable.

I spoke on the floor today because the house sponsor said in his debates on this bill that an anonymous young white girl felt trauma because she felt like an oppressor based on the history of White America and what we`ve done regarding slavery. And while I don`t want any child to feel any sort of trauma, I took this opportunity to bring to light the trauma that Black people feel living in America.

Black children grew up knowing their whole American history that the majority of the American history that we live today is a Black people being slaves, or that more recently, our grandparents` whole lives were limited to the Civil Rights Movement where they had to drink from colored water fountains, where they couldn`t vote, where they were being lynched, where they were being killed, where they were being denied housing, food, and other basic necessities. And most importantly, our whole criminal justice system in America was built on the oppression and the systematic criminalization of Black people.

So, no, we can`t just skate go or whitewash history so those white Americans now don`t have to feel the repercussions of 400-plus years of enslavement and what that`s done to disadvantaged populations such as mine. What we have to do is have these conversations in educational settings to bring context our students so that we can remember what happened in American history so we won`t repeat the horrible things that happened in American history.

And my comment to my colleague`s comments today brings light to the fact that we need to continue to teach about the history of America regarding racism, because he was actually incorrect. The Three-Fifths Compromise was created so that Southern states can have more representation in Congress. So, they counted three -- per five slaves, they counted them as three persons.

So, we obviously, need to continue to talk about race because the Republicans are not even clear on what the issues of the Three Fifths Compromise and other racism issues in America are. And they had the audacity to clap for it and it was wrong. So, we have a problem here. And the fact that we`re trying to change laws in order to not have a conversation about race is just wrong, and is downright offensive.

HAYES: The one thing that I`m having a hard time with this, and I was going through a little bit of the bill language today. So, you know, I`ve seen examples of different -- some texts in Critical Race Theory that has characterizations that I think are poorly worded or maybe oversimplified, you know, like anything, right? But I don`t even get the category.

Like, if you`re going to say, we`re not going to do this thing. What is the category of the thing? Critical Race Theory is extremely amorphous term that`s been used in all kinds of ways. Like, do you have an understanding of what it would actually mean for what curricula, what lessons can or can`t be taught in your state schools?

LAMAR: I was going to say, they don`t even know what critical Race Theory is. They don`t even have a clear understanding of what that actually looks like. Right now, these standards are put in place based on members that the governor appoints. So, we already have a partisan governor, which can put in members who are already partisan to decide the standards that are taught in our children`s education.

Now, he referenced standards such as teaching about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Diane Nash, and there are important stories to tell, but they are not putting in place standards that allow us to talk about the full context of why these particular issues are going on. They want these conversations to be limited, very surface level, and will not allow teachers to go to in depth conversations.

And I brought this issue up is that the fact that teachers who actually lived through the civil rights movement will be limited to talk about their lived experiences. People like my grandmother, who I stay with now and look at every day was had to drink from a colored water fountain. She was discriminated against such as many Americans who are still living to this day.

And so, to limit educators and the and people`s ability in our education system to have conversations about race when we are still living in a society where that I would say still has systemic racial implications going on and laws is problematic.

So, using the word Critical Race Theory and all of these other acronyms that they don`t even understand themselves is to me an opportunity for them not to be held accountable to the history of what White America has done to Black people.

And no, we`re not trying to make you -- we`re not trying to call you an oppressor as a sponsor said, and we`re not trying to act as victims. What we truly want is to look at what has happened in history, make it better so that we can move forward.

HAYES: Final question quickly. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who of course, Confederate General whose troops oversaw one of the most infamous abominable slaughter of Union soldiers, including Black Union soldiers who are trying to surrender. He then later in life went on to be one of the earliest leaders of the KKK when it was running a campaign of racist terrorism to stop Black enfranchisement. Is his bust still in your capitol?

LAMAR: Of course. Unfortunately, they voted down my bill to remove Nathan Bedford Forrest Day from the state holiday. They voted down bills to remove this bust consistently. But I will say this one thing about Nathan Bedford Forrest bust, that`s an exact example why this particular piece of legislation is dangerous. We are trying to whitewash history. They refuse to tell the real story about Nathan Bedford Forrest.

He was a human trafficker. He was the first Grand Wizard of the KKK. And he killed Black Union soldiers and made millions of dollars off of auctioning off black people. But if you leave it to my colleagues, he`s a war hero. He`s done so many great things about Tennessee. That is exactly why we have to continue to talk about race in America. Because if we don`t talk about their true history, such as the history of Nathan Bedford Forrest in an accurate way, we are doomed to repeat it.

HAYES: Tennessee State Representative London Lamar, thanks for coming back on the program. I appreciate it.

Ahead, back in 2019, the U.S. was considered to be the most prepared country in the world for a pandemic. So, what went wrong? Acclaimed author Michael Lewis tackles that central question in his fantastic new book and he joins me next.


HAYES: Today, President Joe Biden announced a new goal to vaccinate 70 percent of adult Americans by the Fourth of July. And it`s notable and laudable because at the moment, the vaccination effort as you can see from that chart, is going in the wrong direction. We have fewer people getting vaccinated every day.

Now, the administration`s first goal, which was 100 million shots in 100 days, it was a kind of under-promised over-deliver situation, they ended up doing more than twice that. This new goal is not a slam dunk. Zeke Miller of the Associated Press points out, "The U.S. is administering first doses at a rate of about 965,000 per day, half the rate of three weeks ago, but almost twice as fast as needed to meet Biden`s target."

The thing is that rate is continuing to drop. There are fewer and fewer people eagerly lining up to get their shot. The current trajectory has to change if we`re going to hit this goal. And I`m glad they`re setting this big goal because they`re doing it for the first time we have an administration that is pushing itself.

In the first year of this pandemic, we had one of the worst responses in the world. One of the richest countries, a country that was rated best prepared to deal with a pandemic in 2019 according to a group of experts And then we have watched more than 580,000 of our fellow Americans die, more than the entire population of Wyoming, and nearly 20 percent of the world`s COVID deaths despite the U.S. making up just four percent of the world`s population.

In his new book about the pandemic, Michael Lewis laid it out this way. For years, the University of Texas football team with its vast resources and sway with voters always seemed ranked more highly at the start of the season than at the end. The United States was the Longhorns of pandemic preparedness. It was rich. It had special access to talent. It enjoyed special relationships with the experts whose votes determine the rankings.

And then the game was played. The preseason rankings no longer matter. Neither really did the excuses and blame casting and rationalizations. As the legendary football coach Bill Parcells once said, you are what your record says you are.

His new books called Premonition: A Pandemic Story. And Michael Lewis joins me now. Michael, the book has these incredible characters that you sort of look at the pandemic through their eyes. But the big central question that occupies it as you set up there is why do we get so trounced? Why is our record what it is? And what is the answer to that question?

MICHAEL LEWIS, AUTHOR: You know, what the answer isn`t is the capacity of the society. The talent and the resources the society has are incredible. And the characters in the book are like dramatizations of this. It was like a fantasy team that would have actually run this thing rather than people who kind of didn`t run this thing.

And I think the answer to the question is, it`s sort of management. It`s sort of like, from the top down and not just at the federal -- at the level of the federal government, it was a -- it was just a horrible management problems, horrible self-governing problems. And the pandemic exposed it. It`s like, we`re really -- we have all this talent, we`re really bad at organizing it.

HAYES: The point you make there is an interesting and important one and one of the key parts of the book, right? So, Donald Trump`s pandemic response is atrocious, I think, arguably the worst of any --

LEWIS: It`s not a response, right?

HAYES: Yes, it`s not a response.

LEWIS: It`s just you guys -- you guys go fight the war.

HAYES: You guys go -- yes, you guys figure it out. So -- and that -- and that I think we all know, I think the people watching this show know how I feel about that. I`ve spent a year banging on about that. But one of the things that`s highlighted in the book is that the beneath the level of federal government, the ground level infrastructure of public health in this country had been pretty under-invested in and pretty decimated by the time the pandemic rolled around.

LEWIS: Oh, my God. I mean, so, I think that when you look at what happened, it`s a mistake to spend all your time staring at the federal government. Because if you just go to the local level, which is where diseases fought, right?


LEWIS: I mean, the main character of the book is a local public health officer who has been fighting, you know, kind of involved in battlefield command with communicable diseases for a decade. And it`s harrowing her experience. It`s like, every day is another Netflix special. It`s TB, or Hep C, or HIV. It`s one thing after another that she`s dealing with and having to make unbelievably brave decisions, like career-ending decisions, every time she faces one of these things because she has no cover. She has no one above her who`s sort of protecting her or watching out for her.

And we demand that sort of bravery from the people who are at the same time starving of resources. And the sort of -- the inability of the public health system even to take help once it all started, it was really interesting to me. I mean, there were people including one of the characters in the book, who was running around trying to hand out free COVID testing, for example, to local public health officers. And they didn`t know what to do with it.

And it kind of told you something about the state of our government, because it wasn`t just that it was starved of resources. It was. It reached the point where it didn`t even know how to receive help, that no one had come along and done anything for it for so long.

HAYES: There`s detail about that that I -- that just jumps out, which is that hospitals are having a hard time coding, essentially doing the paperwork around the free COVID tests in their system, because the system won`t accept a zero dollar as the figure for the test cost. Am I recalling that correctly?

LEWIS: Yes. So, there`s one -- yes, they didn`t know how to take a free -- put free on the -- on the forum. The computer wouldn`t accept it. And if you back away from that and think about like, what are the broader things that have gone on that screwed us up? And part of is it like incentives. If you look at like just the medical industrial complex, there are these enterprises called corporations. They`re incentivized to do whatever it is that makes money, and prevention isn`t one of them.


LEWIS: You know, disease prevention doesn`t pay. A disease pays. There`s the academic community that generates new knowledge but getting the knowledge onto the ground, kind of getting into action isn`t what they do. What they do is write papers and that`s what they`re rewarded for. And the CDC increasingly made itself one of those things.

It was -- it became increasingly a kind of risk-averse academic institution that didn`t really want to take the chances and do the things you need to do, the brave things you need to do to stand up and lead in the response to a disease.

HAYES: The institutional, cultural critique of the CDC as an organization which comes through in the book independent of Donald Trump is actually one of the most striking features and to me, one of the big things for the Biden administration for the next administration to solve because this sort of risk aversion, this kind of academic distance that they kind of evolved into as reflected in your book is going to be a real problem the next time we have a pandemic.

LEWIS: You know, I think one of the biggest mistakes sensible people can make about the pandemic is point at Trump and say, oh, that was just -- it was just him. It was just that he was there and he did not lead. It`s true that he did not lead. It`s also true that we`re very difficult country to lead right there. But the ultimate truth is that nobody is standing up to lead, that it is -- you don`t know what people will do,if they`re actually led, they`re led by someone who`s willing to be a little brave.

And the institutions of the federal government have drifted away from sort of a place where they can lead. They become more politicized like the -- I mean, this story, the story of the CDC is a 40-year story. It goes back to turning the head of the CDC from a career public official into a presidential appointee, and thus from someone who is going to be there for 10 or 15 years into someone who`s going to be there for 18 months and it`s -- and it was on a short leash, short politically.

So, there`s a story there that I think sort of -- it sort of like you could port that into other parts of government and start thinking about how we need to run ourselves.

HAYES: That reform of the CDC is one that I took away from the book. It`s a great book. Michael Lewis, thank you so much for your time. I should say that we actually got a chance to talk more about the Premonition on my podcast Why is this Happening? That episode is out right now. Make sure you check it out. Thanks, Michael.

Next, after getting banned from social media for inciting violence, should Donald Trump get his megaphone back or be deplatformed for life? That`s just ahead.


HAYES: It has been more than 100 days since the biggest names in social media took Donald Trump off their platforms while he was still president. Facebook was first to do so the day after the January 6th insurrection, then Twitter and YouTube followed suit. It was a very big deal, obviously. It seemed at the time to be quite justified, at least in my opinion.

I mean, the president really had just whipped up and incited a violent insurrection partly using social media. And in fact, we even have some evidence of this now from some of those who`ve been charged in the Capitol attack. According to one federal indictment, a self-described leader of the Florida Oath Keepers wrote a series of messages on Facebook to another individual referencing the former president`s tweet.

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 stuff. That`s pretty clear. Yet banning Trump from social media was still an incredibly bold and wildly controversial thing to do at the time.

Both leaders of France and Germany came out to oppose the ban. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that lawmakers should set the rules governing free speech not private technology companies. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny called Trump`s Twitter ban "An unacceptable act of censorship."

Since his ban, Trump`s ability to get his message out has been reduced to press releases with his office letterhead and interrupting the Electric Slide at Mar-a-Lago weddings, or using his very own bespoke version of Twitter just for him, unveiled today, a little like a currency that only one person uses.

But now, that chapter may be coming to net because Facebook has set up a sort of quasi-governmental body which is going to decide the question, should Donald Trump be allowed back on Facebook or banned for life. And they`re going to announce their decision at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

There are actually good arguments for and against keeping Trump banned. We`re going to debate some of them after this.


HAYES: Tomorrow, a rather obscure body called the Facebook oversight board is set to announce whether Donald Trump can return to the company`s platforms. The board which is comprised of 20 people is funded and created by Facebook. Members include some human rights advocates, former politicians, some journalists, a bunch of lawyers, folks from all over the world, including someone we`ve had on this show as a guest, Jamal Green, who`s a law professor at Columbia University.

By about 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, they will announce their decision whether or not Trump gets back on Facebook after a four-month ban. And to tell you the truth, the whole thing seems like something out of a science fiction novel. We`re sitting here tonight wondering if the advisory board of the one of most powerful corporations on earth will allow the former president to once again post his inflammatory nonsense. Not to mention what this says about broader questions of free speech, how much power a private company like Facebook has over it.

Two people perfect to talk about this are Adam Conner, the founder of Facebook`s Washington D.C. office and vice president of Technology Policy for the Center for American Progress. And Evelyn Douek, a lecturer on free speech issues at Harvard Law School and they both join me now.

Evelyn, let me start with you. You`re someone who I read a lot on this stuff. You`re a main source for my -- what I know about it. Can you just tell us what the deal is with the board? Like what is this weird entity?

EVELYN DOUEK, LECTURER, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: It is. It`s super weird, isn`t it? I agree with the science fiction diagnosis. So, perhaps, you know, kayfabe given the President Trump`s history with professional wrestling. It`s this strange body that was sort of set up. I actually had a look -- the first time I wrote about it was three years and one month ago when it was a thought bubble from Mark Zuckerberg on an Ezra Klein podcast.

The idea being that -- I guess, he was kind of sick of getting slammed for all of the controversial decisions that Facebook has to make about the content that is or is not allowed on its platform. And so here it is, someone that he can throw the content moderation hot potato to. Obviously, that`s not how they frame it. It`s a check and balance into the system of Facebook, an independent oversight mechanism to make sure that the company is making the decisions in the best interests of both of us traveling just in its own best interests.

HAYES: Adam, you worked at Facebook pretty early on, as I recall. I knew in Washington D.C. I remember you going to work for the company at that time. Do you have -- what do you think they should do here? I mean, do you have strong feelings about the power it has now and what the -- what the right decision is here?

ADAM CONNER, VICE PRESIDENT OF TECHNOLOGY POLICY, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Absolutely. And I think Evelyn and what the writing should have done is hit a lot of these issues head on. But I think, look, I`ve been thinking about what politicians can and should do on Facebook for I think, maybe longer than anyone else in the world. And to me, this isn`t particularly hard.

You know, Donald Trump shouldn`t be left back on Facebook and Instagram because he`s already proven himself to be such a clear and present threat to democracy. And I think that is really the issue that is most important. I think what the oversight board and others want to also talk about is whatever broad precedents this may set for leaders across the world.

But I think if you look at the facts of the case, it`s really important to keep in mind that this was the tool, Facebook and Twitter was the tool that Donald Trump used to delegitimize the election. You know, we did some research to cap and in the 20 years -- or in the 65 days between the election and the insurrection, Trump only appeared on camera 28 times, but he tweeted and facebooked 2200 times, and a majority of that was to delegitimize the election.

So, this is a tool that he primarily uses to tear down democracy. And I think having seen what happened after the Mueller report and impeachment, we know what happens if he gets exonerated or left back on the platform. He`s just going to continue to do that over and over again even more.

HAYES: Yes, Evelyn, you know, I think -- I guess I`m persuaded by Adam`s point here in the narrow sense of Donald Trump, who is in some ways, a somewhat (INAUDIBLE) generous figure, both in who he is and his relationship to social media. But the broader implications don`t sit great with me.

I mean, I remember reading that Alexei Navalny response, and being like, well, that`s a guy with a lot of skin in the game, who I wouldn`t necessarily think had that position, but he clearly thinks there`s a principle at stake that`s dangerous about ceding too much power over control of speech writ large to these companies. And I just don`t know how to think through that. How should I?

DOUEK: Yes, it was a very interesting moment in the wake of the great deplatforming, as it`s become known, where a bunch of people that you wouldn`t normally think of as Donald Trump`s allies, including Angela Merkel from Germany sort of expressed displeasure and discomfort at the decisions by Facebook and Twitter. You know, this idea of like, first they came for Donald Trump. And I said, nothing concerned about their own accounts, and what it -- what it was that these companies could do.

And I think that there`s, you know, there`s a -- there`s a good reason. I think, progressives for a long time, they`ve been very concerned about the power that these private corporations exercise in a completely unaccountable way over our public sphere. And I think perhaps we`re a little too quick in the -- in the wake of the great deplatforming to say, oh, well, they`re just private companies. They can do whatever they want.

I think we shouldn`t feel discomfort about this. And I think we should look for ways to rein that in, and to make it more principled. And as Adam said, this is about Donald Trump, but I really hope that tomorrow we also think about and talk about the broader ramifications going forward and around the world.

Because for as long as social media and the internet, there will be politicians using it for nefarious ends, and we need to work out what we`re going to do to deal with that going forward.

HAYES: Yes, the point there, I think that that`s the way I think about it is when people say, well, it`s not really a first amendment issue. These are private companies. They can sort of regulate the way they want to. And I think in a narrow constitutional sense, that`s true. But there`s not nothing there from a speech perspective about how we think of what the public sphere is, and who has access to it.

And there`s also, Adam, at the same time you got this concerted effort on the right to target Silicon Valley, specifically Mark Zuckerberg, specifically Jeff Bezos, and others, you know, that big tech has become this, like, woke liberal Borg that censors conservatives. And I wonder how much you think that`s having an effect inside Facebook as they think through these things.

CONNER: You know, I think that is what got us to the problem of January 6th. And we saw from the latest BuzzFeed report from Facebook itself that noted that the concept of delegitimization, which a lot of experts had been warning about, was something that they just weren`t fully prepared to get their arms around, and they really kind of fell down and kind of hammering all of the different pieces that came together in resulting in that.

And, you know, I think there`s a very real fear that not just Facebook but the oversight board here is going to worry far more about hypothetical harms, you know, kind of potential threats, which are important and we should think about it, and not the real-world consequences of, you know, these people stormed the Capitol. You know, that the FBI has overwhelmingly cited -- or sorry, the Department of Justice, and a lot of these indictments, evidence from Facebook.

You know, these were the tools that were used for it. This was his actions. And I think, you know, I think it would be a real tragedy if the oversight board kind of leaned on the hypothetical threats and, you know, ignore the real-world threats. And whatever happens after is really going to be on their hands if they choose to let him back in. And that`s a weighty decision.

HAYES: Yes, I think that`s pretty well said. Adam Conner and Evelyn Douek, thank you so much for talking about this tonight.

DOUEK: Thank you.

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

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris.