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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, December 10, 2020

Guests: Rick Bright, Julie Morita, Richard Besser, Marc Elias, Elie Mayer


The Vaccine Advisory Panel for the Food and Drug Administration voted to recommend an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine. Canada, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Kingdom have already approved the vaccine for use in their countries. 106 House Republicans signed a brief supporting the petition to overrule the votes of millions of voters and to overturn the election. More than 292,000 Americans have now died of COVID.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: We will keep this to be going, I'm sure, in text and on Twitter. Take it -- take it to Twitter, guys. Thank you to Naveed Jamali and Malcolm Nance. Thank you, guys. That's tonight's REIDOUTS. Happy Hanukkah to all who are celebrating. "ALL THE WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to move to the vote.

HAYES: A green light for the Pfizer vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that concludes the vote. So, we do have a favorable vote.

HAYES: Tonight, Biden COVID advisors Dr. Rick Bright and Dr. Julie Morita on what today's vote means for when you get the vaccine. Former acting CDC Director Richard Besser on when life returns to normal. And as thousands of Americans die each day, how do Trump cronies keep getting cured?

Then, has over 100 House Republicans joined the President's attempt to overturn his election lost, the attorney who has defeated Trump 55 times since Election Day joins me live. Mark Elias on Trump's latest Supreme Court stunt when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes. In the midst of our long national nightmare which gets darker and worse by the day, the U.S. hit a new all-time record number of people hospitalized but the Coronavirus today, 107,000. We also had 214,000 new cases. And for the second day in a row, over 3,000 people recorded dead from COVID.

But amidst all this darkness, which is intense and profound and almost suffocating, a ray of light today, a real ray of light. Just within the last couple hours the Vaccine Advisory Panel for the Food and Drug Administration voted to recommend an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine.

17 out of 22 members agreeing that based on the totality of scientific evidence available, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its risks for use in individuals 16 years of age and older. Four members voted no, one abstained. Some expressed concern ahead of the vote about the amount of data available on 16 and 17-year-olds.

The Pfizer vaccine has been proven to be 95 percent effective against the Coronavirus in clinical trials, with two doses that are given three weeks apart. It has been in development for just 11 months. It has shattered all records for the speed of vaccine development along with the one developed by Moderna.

Officials and other countries including Canada, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Kingdom have already approved the vaccine for use in their countries. Now the committee vote that just happened a few hours ago clears the way for the FDA to then issue its approval which is expected to come within days.

An advisory group for the Center for Disease Control issued recommendations last week that it should be healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities that be -- that are the first in line to receive doses of the vaccine. And that dosing, the actual shots and the actual arms could begin as soon as early as next week.

Operation Warp Speed officials have said they expect that 20 million Americans could be vaccinated by the end of this month alone. Now, there are a lot of questions about all this. It is the beginning of a long process, but also, we hope the beginning of something really momentous.

NBC News Correspondent Gabe Gutierrez is at Pfizer's largest manufacturing facility. That's in Portage, Michigan, it's one of the two freezer farms in the U.S. where the vaccine is ready to go when the FDA officially approves it. Gabe, how is it all working there?

GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Chris. Well, as you -- as you said, there's a lot of hopeful anticipation here. In fact, there are hundreds of freezers here in a warehouse about the size of a football field all-ready to go when and if the FDA gives his final approval.

Now, that's expected potentially could be tomorrow. It could be Saturday. It could be Sunday. We just don't know at this point. But when it does happen, within 24 hours, Pfizer says that the vaccines will start rolling out of this facility, again, within 24 hours. Then it might take another 24 to 36 hours for it to arrive at the hospitals and pharmacies across the country.

Now, how will that work? Well, it's an astounding logistical challenge, Chris. Once the vaccine doses leave here, they'll head to different airports across the country. FedEx and UPS are essentially splitting the country down the middle and they'll handle each side of the country to be able to get these doses to all those hospitals and pharmacies.

Also, as part of Operation Warp Speed, U.S. Marshals might escort some of those trucks as they go into different hospitals. Again, it's an incredible challenge. The states are being allocated vaccines by population. A large state like California, for example, initially, is getting more than 300,000 doses. Medium states perhaps getting 50,000 doses. Smaller states getting about 5,000 doses initially.

And again, the timing of all this is very fluid. But some hospitals across the country when and if the FDA approves, are already preparing to get some of these vaccine doses as early as Monday, Chris.

HAYES: All right, Gabe Gutierrez there in Portage, Michigan where the future is behind him frozen. Dr. Rick Bright is a member of President-Elect Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board. He's the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. He filed a whistleblower complaint alleging the Trump administration ignored his early warnings about the pandemic and illegally retaliated against him by ousting him from that role. And Dr. Bright joins me now.

All right, Dr. Bright, let's just talk details here. What happened today? What was this meeting? I watched part of it online. I've never had occasion to report on a meeting such as this before. It was really interesting in that respect. What do we see and what does the vote mean?

RICK BRIGHT, MEMBER, JOE BIDEN'S COVID-19 ADVISORY BOARD: Well, Chris, thanks for having me on. Today was really a show of confidence for scientists around the world and for people who are looking for that independent external advisory scientific expertise to look at the vaccine that's been in development for the entire year.

You know, they play this even on YouTube today and other channels because there is so much public interest in what could otherwise be a pretty boring meeting. But we did have a panel of 22 experts, clinicians, physicians, experts in vaccine development, comb over thousands of pages of data from the Pfizer clinical trial over the last couple of weeks.

And today, you saw them really hash it out. It wasn't an open and shut decision. There was a lot of different ideas and perspective and scientific decision and discussion. And then at the end of the day, they weighed the risk of getting the virus, which we all see how bad that is now.

And they rate the benefit and the safety known from the vaccine from the studies done. And it was clear in a 17-4-1 vote that the benefit of this vaccine would outweigh those risks. And it should be used and should be given this Emergency Use Authorization. And that's the recommendation to the FDA.

HAYES: So, there's two parts of this I thought were interesting. I didn't know this about the drug process. I'm fairly ignorant on that, I'm willing to admit. One is that, you know, they spent the last few weeks with huge amounts of just the data produced by this, right. And they're actually going firsthand. It's not a press release. It's not, you know, just Pfizer sending out a memo being like, don't worry, guys, it works. Like they actually look through that.

And then these folks are external. Like it's a little like a, you know, your tenure committee, if you're an academic. Like they go out to people in your area of expertise to say, is this person's work good. These are people who aren't part of the FDA internally, not part of Operation Warp Speed internally. Outside experts, they come in, they review the information, and then they make the vote. Is that how it works?

BRIGHT: That's exactly how it works. They have no financial conflict with the companies that are making the vaccines. They have no political tie in so there's no political pressure on them to make a decision one way or the other. They are true scientific experts. They're independent. I trust them.

And when they tell us that they trust the data from this vaccine, and it looks that good for them to recommend as Emergency Use Authorization, then I take that as a vote of confidence. I hope that the FDA, and I anticipate the FDA will accept that recommendation, and also approve the vaccine or authorize the vaccine for emergency use.

HAYES: So, that's the next step. Who makes that call? Is that Stephen Hahn who is the head of the FDA or is there a board, committee that's also going to make the Emergency Use Authorization call and is that a fait accompli?

BRIGHT: There is a panel of experts, career scientists, civil servants in the FDA. This is what they do. They've spent more time than just the last few weeks looking at these data as they came in on a rolling basis from the various clinical trials. So, they're going to consider the data they have, they're going to consider the recommendation and all the discussion from the panel today.

It's not just the recommendation, but everything that was discussed will be considered. And then they will make their decision. And the FDA Commissioner, Dr. Hahn will approve that decision most likely. And then that will then grant the Emergency Use Authorization.

And next, we'll go to the CDC. CDC has an external advisory panel as well called the ACIP. And they will look at the data from the FDA. And then they will make the recommendations for the different populations for the vaccine to be used in. That will happen probably Sunday.

HAYES: It's a -- it's a remarkable -- I mean, it's a remarkable process insofar as you need speed and also thoroughness, right. And it's probably worth highlighting, and I'd like to hear you expound on this, that you know, one of the things I've learned through reporting on this is the calculation of safety and efficacy for something that's going to be used say for stage four cancer patients is a different one than a vaccine that will be introduced into the bodies of essentially everyone in the world or in the country. Like, you better get that right if you're going to do that, and yet there's a speed imperative as well. It seems like there's a lot of built in layers here on purpose.

BRIGHT: There are a lot of built-in layers. This vaccine goes into healthy people to prevent them or protect them from serious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Virus, from COVID-19, basically. Now, remember, this is just the first step of this process too, so we want to make sure that once the vaccine is approved, the hard work, you know, really will start and how to distribute the vaccine, how to administer the vaccine.

It is still going to take months and months and months for us to vaccinate everyone across the country. So, we don't want -- while we were excited about today's process and the next few days as well, we want people to realize this is just the start of a very complicated downstream process that's going to play out over the next few months. And so, in the meantime, don't stop wearing your mask. Don't stop social distancing.

And unfortunately, we're going to have to, again, make the very hard decisions to not travel and be with our family, our loved ones through the Christmas and December holidays, actually, because we want to make sure that we're all here next year so we can get the vaccine when it becomes available.

HAYES: Yes. We can -- you can survive -- we can try to survive to the vaccine. Survive to the vaccine for six weeks, two months, three months, four months, whatever it's going to take. Wherever you are in line, please, please keep holding it together as best you can in your behavior and practices. Dr. Rick Bright, thank you so much.

BRIGHT: Thank you, Chris. Have a good night.

HAYES: You too. Dr. Julie Morita is also a member of the Biden Transition COVID-19 Task Force. She previously served as a commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, oversaw that city's response to the 2009 swine flu pandemic. It's great to have you Dr. Morita. So, let's -- Dr. Bright covered some of the kind of scientific work that has been done and was done today and is being ratified. Let's talk about that first step and let's talk about the city of Chicago as an example, because that's a place you know well.

Just walk me through, like how -- it's going to come from Portage, Michigan. And then what happens?

JULIE MORITA, MEMBER, JOE BIDEN COVID-19 TASK FORCE: Yes. So, nice to see you and thanks for having me tonight. I think it's really important to keep in mind that vaccines don't stop pandemic. It's actually vaccinations that stop pandemics. And so, once the vaccines are approved and recommended, the responsibility for getting the vaccines into people and into their arms actually falls on the state and local health departments.

So the state and health departments throughout the nation who are paying attention and listening to what was happening with the FDA Advisory Committee today, to hear what they were saying, to look at the data to understand how safe and effective the vaccines are. And they have now the challenge of not only arranging for the operations to get the vaccine from the airports to the hospital, from the hospitals into the -- into the healthcare providers.

They have to also work with health care providers to educate them about how to administer the vaccine and what they should do in terms of which the vaccines -- or which syringes and which supplies are necessary. They also have to work with the public to earn their trust about the vaccine.

So, as quickly as the vaccines have been made, without cutting corners, there's now -- we need to get the information with critical information into the hands of the public, so they believe the vaccines and understand that vaccines are safe and effective.

HAYES: There's sort of a bunch of different steps here. Let's talk about this first one, because it struck me that like, in some ways, this is the lowest hanging fruit, just logistically, if you're talking about health care workers and long-term care facilities. We know where those places are. You don't need people to come to you, you can kind of go to them.

And these are also people that are in close contact with the health care infrastructure of the nation. Once you step outside that, it seems like you start -- it starts getting much harder after that. If you want to get say, seniors who live alone on the west or South Side of Chicago, how do you do that?

MORITA: You know, in 2009, during the H1N1 pandemic, we actually not only provided vaccines and distributed them to health care providers throughout the city, we also managed large mass immunization campaigns in city colleges, just to make sure that that thing was available for community -- individuals who didn't have a doctor, whose doctors didn't actually have the vaccine. We made those sites available.

What we found was that the turnout for these vaccine sites in the south and west sides of Chicago, predominantly African American or Latino communities, the turnout wasn't that great. And so, we quickly mobilized to get our community organizations together to try to get them to help us to bring out the public and help them get the vaccines and we had some success.

I think that was a strong lesson that we learned that you cannot wait to be in the middle of crisis to actually engage with community, understand what their concerns are. Address their concerns. Find out who the appropriate messengers are, and then work with them to actually earn the trust.

The city of Chicago and many other jurisdictions have learned from past experience and have been doing this kind of work with community organizations. There have been -- these are resource-intensive, labor-intensive efforts. And the resources have not been coming to the cities and the states. And so, they really need additional resources. Congress needs to move additional resources so that states and locals can actually do this critical work.

HAYES: It's such an important and profound point. I mean, it reminds me a little of the census work that happens, right, where, you know, the response rates vary sometimes by neighborhood. And you actually send people out -- the Census Bureau sends people out and then community organizations do pushes. You know, we're departing from the realm of science and medicine and entering the realm of community organizing, sociology, governance administration at the most minute and local level. How central is that to the task the Biden administration is going to face on day one?

MORITA: I think it's a key element of the plans that we've been discussing with the transition team and the President-Elect. He has equity as the underlying core fundamental belief in principle that needs to be applied in everything that's being done whether it's testing, whether it's treatment, whether it's vaccine distribution.

I think what we know is that there's communities that were disproportionately impacted by the disease are also disproportionately more likely to hesitate and not trust the vaccines because they've been wronged in the past, because they've been hurt and mistreated and not gotten appropriate opportunities for good health and well-being, so they don't have the trust that we need to earn. And the President-Elect and the transition team has been very focused on addressing these kinds of issues.

But again, the resources need to flow to state and locals to actually make sure they have (INAUDIBLE) to engage with community-based organizations, provide funding for (INAUDIBLE)

HAYES: Yes. That is such an important point and also one to hit home as we talk about this relief bill. It's not just -- you know, I mean, this is the guts of the actual solving of the pandemic requires resources. You noted before, I should just say that, you know, Pew has done polling on this. And there are racial disparities, as expected, I think particularly because the history, particularly the history of forced vaccination in some places along African American communities, particularly, medical experimentation that's happened in the past.

There are trust issues to overcome. And to your point, that has to be overcome very locally, door to door, neighbor to neighbor. It's such a profound and important one as we enter into this new period. Dr. Julie Morita, that was really, really enlightening. Thank you.

MORITA: Thank you.

HAYES: Ahead, as the vaccines get ready to be shipped, the question now at the top of everyone's mind, when can we expect for life to return to normal? We're going to try to wrestle with that answer with Dr. Richard Besser after this.



DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If we can convince the overwhelming majority of the U.S. population to take the vaccine, when we get through April, May, and June, we could likely get most -- everybody and anybody who's -- can get vaccinated to be vaccinated. The quicker we do that, the more -- the quicker we'll be able to tell the CEOs who are listening and viewing that they're going to be close to normal.


HAYES: Dr. Anthony Fauci laying out a timeline for close to normal. He said close to normal, April, May, and June. Those months maybe pick up. My brother's wedding is planned for May on the bubble. I'm heavily invested whether that's going to happen and happen safely.

Dr. Richard Besser served as the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He helped lead the Obama administration's response to the H1N1 flu outbreak, and he joins me now. First, I want to start with this question. What's -- how much variance does the competent administration of the next several months affect the timeline for normalcy? Like, if they screw it up, or doing it really well, or is it going to kind of be what it's going to be?

RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: I don't think it's going to be what is going to be. So much depends, Chris, on what happens with the trajectory of the pandemic right now. If you're vaccinating people at a time when transmission is quite low, the impact you're going to see is much greater than if you're vaccinating people in a situation like it is right now where cases are rising out of control and hospitals are overfilled. And so you have to think about vaccine --

HAYES: Wait a second. Stop that. Stop, stop, stop.


HAYES: That's slightly counterintuitive. I mean, it's -- maybe not, but it's -- I keep thinking about the vaccine like putting control rods into a nuclear reactor. And it seems like if you have an active reaction, like a lot of community transmission, you start putting the control rods in, like maybe that starts bringing down the epi-curve. But what I'm hearing from you is like, no, no, no, we got to -- we will maximize vaccine efficacy by suppressing before the vaccine.

BESSER: Yes. So, I would think about it more like you've got a garden hose and you have a house that's on fire.

HAYES: Right.

BESSER: You know, if it's just starting to have sparks, and you've got that garden hose, you can get it under control. If it's a full blaze, it's going to take a lot longer, and you may have lost the house by the time you have the fire out.

HAYES: Right.

BESSER: So, what I would think about here is if we come together as a nation and do everything possible to get this under control right now, while vaccination is ramping up, while we're hitting those people who are at the greatest risk, while we're protecting our health care system by vaccinating people in the health care system, then we're going to have a lot more power to get this under control.

You'll be able to get to your brother's wedding because we're not going to have a raging pandemic, at that point. We'll have a pandemic that is moving in the right direction. It also takes Congress stepping up and giving people the resources to protect themselves at this period. And that's not happening.

If it continues at this trajectory, and we have vaccine for healthcare workers and for people in long-term care facilities, we're going to start to see more vaccine coming beyond that. But it's going to take much longer to get this under control. It's going to take much longer for people to be able to get back to the kinds of things in life that they want to be able to do.

HAYES: I have to say, this is -- it's really interesting to me to hear this. I mean, what I'm hearing from you is the trajectory of the pandemic will largely determine this timeline more than the logistics of the vaccine, at least at this point, in terms of what the trajectory of pandemic is over the next few months. And right now it looks horrifying. I mean it's as bad as it's been.

BESSER: Well, the trajectory of the pandemic look looks horrifying. You know, I'm on the Seven-State Regional Commission and states are working really hard to be ready to distribute and administer these vaccines when they start to roll hopefully in the -- in the next number of days after FDA makes their determination.

But yes, the measures that we have to double down on are those things that we've seen before really work. They really turn this around. We're seeing in Europe right now, the curves turning around because people were doing those things that we know stop this. They were washing hands, they were wearing masks, they're keeping apart.

But people also had the resources to stay home if they felt sick, to stay home if they were exposed. People weren't worried about losing their homes or putting food on the table if they didn't go to work. That is what -- that is the key piece in my mind that is missing this winter as we're going into it.

HAYES: Just as a sort of top-line estimate of herd immunity for the country or sort of putting this out, one study suggesting a vaccine would need to be at least 80 percent effective, which of course, that bar is cleared by the Pfizer vaccine at least according to clinical data, with about 70 percent of a population receiving it to extinguish an epidemic without any other public health measures.

I mean, 75 percent is just an enormous percentage of the people. We have some data in from Manaus recently in a recently published study that suggested that 77 percent of the Brazilians in that city in the middle of the Amazon jungle had antibodies, meaning that the threshold for natural herd immunity is very high. Like, you really have to get a lot of people to put this out.

BESSER: Well, there's some unknown things right now. One is we don't know yet if getting the vaccine means you can't spread this disease to other people.

HAYES: Right.

BESSER: And that's a really important piece of information to know before you can say what percentage of people have to be vaccinated to protect the community. And hopefully, we'll get that information soon. But the piece that's so critically important, and Dr. Morita was hitting on this is that, you know, we can have a safe and effective vaccine. But if people don't want to get it, you're never going to get near the numbers that you want for -- to be able to protect your community.

We have to see money coming from the feds so states can do the outreach, the outreach to black communities and Latino communities so that people's concerns can be addressed. You know, we're not going to get to those numbers by public service announcements coming from Washington. It takes community engagement on the ground kind of engagement so that people's, you know, real concerns can be -- can be met here.

HAYES: All right, Dr. Richard Besser, always a really sane voice amidst all this. I really appreciate you making time with us.

BESSER: Pleasure, Chris.

HAYES: He's the attorney who has led Democrats to victory over Donald Trump 55 times just since the election. Up next, why Marc Elias says he is shaken by the President's latest stunt and the people who are joining with him to do it.


HAYES: After a very, very, very long list of norm-busting, democracy-eroding, generally cruel policies on the Trump administration, I got to say I found the lawsuit now supported by nearly 20 states that asked the Supreme Court to throw out the votes of the voters in four other states as unnerving as almost anything I have covered ever, including during this presidency. And that's despite the unlikely chance of it working.

Today, the President met with a group of Republican attorneys general who are supporting this frankly undemocratic authoritarian effort by the White House. And they did it at the White House while 106 Republican House members, more than half the Republicans in the caucus, and every single one elected or reelected by voters last month, signed a brief supporting the petition to overrule the votes of millions of voters, to overturn the election result, to install the loser in power, destroy American popular sovereignty, and plunge the country immediately into the worst existential crisis since secession.

That is not hyperbole at all. That's actually what would happen if this suit were to win. Now, it's not going to, I think. And so far, the courts, by and large, have acted as a check on the most nihilistic authoritarian efforts of the president and his party. It's not an exaggeration to say that perhaps no single person has done more to combat Donald Trump's attempt to steal the election than Chief Democratic Election Lawyer Marc Elias. Thanks in huge part to his efforts, Trump and his allies are just one in 55 in post-election litigation. And Marc Elias joins me now.

It's great to have you on, Marc. You tweeted earlier that you were shaken by the Supreme Court lawsuit. Why did you say that?

MARC ELIAS, CHIEF DEMOCRATIC ELECTION LAWYER: Yes. So, let me start by saying I'm not shaking because I think it has any chance of success. This lawsuit is going to fail just like all the other lawsuits have failed. So, I'm not worried about that.

What shocked me was that, you know, when Texas filed this case, it was kind of like, all right, Paxton is aiming for a partner, is doing some sort of wacky thing, but this is not going anywhere. But then to see all of these states sign on, and 100-plus members of Congress, Republicans, sign on in sport of this shocked me because what it speaks to is an erosion of our democracy going forward.

I mean, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are going to be sworn in, but it speaks to an erosion of our democracy going forward that Trumpism and its corrosive effect on democracy and democratic norms has now so thoroughly infected the Republican Party that 18 attorneys general used official resources of states to endorsed this cockamamie theory, and that 103 members of Congress, many of whom were elected in these states, signed on to this. So, that's what -- that's what shocked me.

HAYES: Yes, it's worth pointing out I think there's about 12 to 14 Republican members from the four states whose votes they are asking to throw out, who are elected by those voters and those votes.

ELIAS: Yes. And look, I -- you know, I was very public when Mike Kelly brought his lawsuit in Pennsylvania trying a congressman to throw out the votes there. I questioned whether or not Mike Kelly should be sworn in as part of the new Congress because if he doesn't think his election was legitimate, and thinks should be thrown out, then I think the House administration committee should look at that prior to him being sworn in.

And I -- and I -- you know, at the time, that seemed like an outlier position for one member of Congress to take, but boy, to see 103 members of Congress take this position and a dozen from the States, there is something fundamentally wrong with the Republican Party.

HAYES: Yes. I'm really struggling to be precise in the rhetoric I use here because I -- it's so grave, I don't want to sound nuts and I don't want to increase the rhetorical temperature, but I want to accurately describe it. So, I want to read you part of Pennsylvania State's response.

So, Pennsylvania is the respondent here, because a bunch of other states have decided to like, gang up on the schoolyard and try to take their votes away from them. And this is Pennsylvania saying the court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated. That is a very strong phrase, seditious abuse.

ELIAS: Yes. I mean, look, it's one thing for politicians to make outrageous statements in political commercials. It's was another norm broken when Donald Trump made outrageous statements and lies using the bully pulpit and the official office of the presidency. It was another norm that was broken when Donald Trump and his campaign started adopting outlandish conspiracy theories in these frivolous post-election lawsuits. But it is yet a further norm and concern when we are seeing those same lies and conspiracy theories propagated by a large number of states and elected officials, using the courts essentially as a tool to spread political false propaganda.

And, you know, Pennsylvania's brief speaks for itself. I think that Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Michigan, and Wisconsin have a lot to be unhappy about and their criticisms are well founded.

HAYES: I want to talk about this -- you know, the broader landscape of this post-election litigation. It's, you know, one in 55 I think is the record. And obviously, you've been working very hard and are clearly an incredibly adept lawyer. But it seems to be also the case that they're losing not necessarily because of your lawyering skills. The biggest thing going against them is that neither the facts nor the law are on their side in any of this.

ELIAS: Correct. I would love to say that what we see here is spectacular legal skills on my part or the part of the other lawyers who have been involved. But the fact is that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won a sweeping and convincing victory. I mean, none of the states that we're litigating in is the margin particularly close.

So, the theories that are being advanced by one way or another of lawyers on the other side are just outlandish. I mean, you know, the facts are ridiculous, and there is no legal support. So, honestly, a lot of what we're doing is traffic copying these cases that get filed. We oppose, they get dismissed. But it speaks more to the -- to the breath of the victory of the President-Elect than it does the courtroom skills.

HAYES: Yes. I mean, there's a -- there's a House race in Iowa that I think was decided by six votes. That's a place for like -- that's just a legal brawl when you're down to that kind of margin. Like people just -- they're fighting on everything. And I've covered a few races like that. Like, that was just never the case here.

But what if it were? I mean, that's partly what -- I mean, the bet -- there's two lessons people have been trying to say. Look, the guardrails held, the system works. The court even as packed as it is, with federal nominees by the president, won't countenance this nonsense. And the other side says, what if it was closer, and I'm curious what camp you're in.

ELIAS: So, I have been in the system held camp. But it's why I said I'm shaken by the reaction of the other parties to this Texas case because, you know, I would not have -- look, there will always going to be the Louie Gohmerts of the world who are going to go off and say crazy things, but 103 members of the House? You know, that may be changing my opinion.

HAYES: What does it mean -- the other thing about this set of lawsuits is, you know, Electoral College is a little like when someone comes into your -- into an old house and they put, you know, a terror panel back. And they turn to you and say, oh, my God, the wiring here is a mess. Like, who did this. This is really -- we got to -- I feel like we've all become intimately familiar with all of the pressure points in the Electoral College system that really do seem like vulnerabilities for democratic integrity now that they have been exposed.

ELIAS: Yes. Again, I want to -- I want to distinguish the 2020 situation from the future. For 2020, the system has held and the system has worked. Those states met their safe harbor, the Electoral College is going to meet on Monday. Joe Biden is going to be -- going to receive the votes, and that's going to be the end of it.

But in the future, I think you're right. You know, part of the Voting Rights litigation that I focused on this, you know, in the last few months, was trying to find the friction points in the system where voters ballots didn't count where they should, and they were kind of secretly or disenfranchised, and it wasn't obvious to them.

What's clear now is that the post-election system, like the election system itself has these friction points. These as you -- the analogy you use, these wires that are frayed. And they count on the good faith action of people to accept the norms. You know, I was the general counsel to Hillary Clinton's campaign and to John Kerry's campaign, so I've been in the room with candidates when they have to make the tough decision about conceding closer elections than the one we had here.

And it's really just amazing to see not just that Donald Trump isn't following that path, but to watch the Republican Party follow him down that trail.

HAYES: Mark Elias who I've been wanting to talk to for a while, so I'm glad we got you and got you for some time tonight. Thanks a lot for coming on.

ELIAS: Same here. Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Next up, the Coronavirus treatment that appears to be curing the president and his buddies while thousands of people die every day without it. The celebrity treatment after this.


HAYES: So, some good news. Rudy Giuliani is now out of the hospital after testing positive for COVID. And he was already back at work today. Back at work today, I guess, it's not really good news, pushing false and flatly racist election fraud conspiracy theories to lawmakers in Georgia. Now, Giuliani himself chalks up his swift recovery to his big shot status.


RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: I had very mild symptoms. I think if it wasn't me, I wouldn't have been put in a hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really. Yes, well, I mean --

GIULIANI: Sometimes when you're, you know, you're a celebrity, they're worried if something happens to you, they're going to examine it more carefully and they do everything right.

HAYES: Who's the "they" there? Sometimes when you're a celebrity, they're worried. It's kind of a remarkable admission, but it does not appear to be wrong. As the New York Times write, Trump and his friends got Coronavirus care that many others couldn't. That's the fact of it. They got some combination of this monoclonal antibody developed by Eli Lilly, and a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies developed by Regeneron.

And keep in mind, this is not just some pill you get prescribed. They run it through your body. You got to sit there and have it run through your blood while hooked up to an I.V., so it has to be administered. And it's also best to get it right at the beginning.

And here's the thing. There's not nearly enough for everyone who needs it. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg found a document showing that Washington D.C. was only given 108 doses of Regeneron's monoclonal antibody cocktail, and somehow Giuliani qualified for one of them.

Ben Carson got some of those cocktails. Chris Christie got an antibody cocktail too. The President himself, of course, called it a cure. He said he never felt better and promised that every last senior in America would have the same cure for free.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if you're in the hospital and you're feeling really bad, I think we're going to work it so that you get them and you get to get him free. And especially if you're a senior, you're going to get better. You're going to get better really fast.


HAYES: No, no, that didn't happen. 3,000 people died today. 2,000 people died yesterday. 3,000 people will die tomorrow. The antibody treatments were approved for emergency use last month, but there aren't nearly enough of the drugs to go around outside of people that know the president. The New York Times reports the antibody treatments are so scarce, officials in Utah have developed a ranking system to determine who is most likely to benefit from the drugs while Colorado is using a lottery system.

I mean, it sort of everyone's fault for not getting close to the President, I suppose. Meanwhile, we are losing more than 3,000 Americans to COVID every day and will for the foreseeable future, day after day after day after day. Today, we lost another 3,067 according to the latest data from the COVID Tracking Project. And you know, yes, I guess all those people should have just tried harder to get to know the President or work their way into his inner circle.

Now, we have reporting suggesting the administration also really screwed up on vaccines passing up the chance to lock in more Pfizer vaccine doses despite multiple offers from Pfizer. And then today, Mitch McConnell, after lots of bipartisan work, members of his own caucus, and tremendous amounts of compromise from Democrats who came down and came down and came down and met halfway and halfway and halfway. Well, Mitch McConnell has once again come out to try and kill a relief bill to help struggling Americans.

So the picture here is pretty clear. If you're rich or connected or in the president's cabinet, one of his buddies, you get taken care of, and everyone else you're on your own.


HAYES: 292,000 Americans have now died from this terrible virus. That's just since March. It's an unimaginable number of people. And each of them, each one, a human being, their own lives, loved ones left to mourn their loss.

One of those people is Tom Meyer. He was a fighter for social justice. He was a lover of mischief, a father, a grandfather, a friend more who passed away just two years ago -- two days ago at the age of 71. And we thought we would just talk about him tonight a little bit to commemorate his life.

Tom Meyer's daughter Erie Meyer joins me tonight. Erie, I'm so, so, so sorry about your father's loss.

HAYES: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: I read his obituary, you tweeted about his obituary, and some of our producers talk to you. And he just -- he seems like a really incredible guy and what I liked -- he was like a lifelong fighting liberal, proud Democrat, like down for the cause. Tell us about what kind of work he did, what his beliefs were.

ERIE MEYER, FATHER PASSED AWAY DUE TO COVID: He worked on a variety of different campaigns and the Ohio Senate and for Governor Dick Celeste of Ohio. The through-line of all of it was fighting for justice and equal rights. He was really proud to have volunteered for Shirley Chisholm's historic presidential campaign, and was actually a delegate (INAUDIBLE) in 72.

HAYES: The obituary said that he would teach young children to chant "I am a taxpayer and demand my rights."

MEYER: Yes. Typically on birthdays before we could have birthday cake, we had to chant that to make sure everybody was on the same page.

HAYES: Oh, it was like -- it was like a lesson. Like, to get the birthday cake, you have to understand how to stand in there and demand things for yourself.

MEYER: Yes. And how to understand that you as a contributor to the country, had to also demand rights.

HAYES: I also -- I was also told that there was -- there was a boyfriend application for people that wanted to date you. My favorite detail -- which can go either way, honestly. It can go like endearing or creepy, but I think we would agree. But on the back was just -- what was on the back, one sentence question -- a one sentence question?

MEYER: So, on the front end is things like your driver's license number and your license plate. On the back was a one-sentence full-page essay question. What about Nixon?

HAYES: So, they had to generate a page long essay on Nixon which is a good question. That's actually a pretty good sorting method for potential suitors.

MEYER: What about him, you know?

HAYES: What about Nixon? So, tell me about how his diagnosis came about and his care and how you found out that he had the virus and what that was like.

MEYER: So, he was hospitalized for an unrelated blood pressure thing that we were hoping he would be in and get, you know, some medication, hydration, and then be back out. This is right when community spread was sort of exploding in the spring. He -- every single day, we asked, you know, are there any COVID patients on this floor? Is he separate? Is he safe? They assured us, yes.

One day, he spiked to a like miniscule fever that wasn't even technically a fever. It was like 99 degrees or something like that. They tested him, he was positive. He was fine for a few weeks, and it went downhill from there. He ultimately was intubated four different times. As my sister says, he died twice because at one point, he stopped breathing and they had to resuscitate him. He would get better and come home. He tested positive for 44 days.

HAYES: Oh, my word.

MEYER: And during that time, for 44 days, he didn't see another human. Full PPE, full everything, none of us couldn't see him. And so, he finally got to come home a couple of times, but every time he would just continue to not be able to breathe and then head back to the hospital. And so when he died on Tuesday morning very early, he was in a nursing home working on rehab, and we thought he was heading home for Christmas.

HAYES: He was 70 years old. Is that right?

MEYER: He was 71.

HAYES: 71.

MEYER: He spent his birthday in the hospital in the ICU.

HAYES: How were you able to -- you and family members communicate with him during that period of time? I know this has been such -- you wrote about this a bit. And this has been so brutal for so many people during this period.

MEYER: The only way we could communicate with him when he was in the ICU, and when he was intubated especially was with the help of an aide or of a nurse who was willing to take a phone into his room and hold it up to him to say goodbye, because they thought he was going to die while he was an ICU. So, we said goodbye, actually, a couple of times in the ICU. They would bring in an iPad for him to Zoom.

And you would just see the tubes and the hands of some -- you know, somebody is holding on to the screen for our dad. And if they were too busy, they would have to say no, that they couldn't hold up a phone or screen for him. But that was actually good news because that meant they didn't think he was going to die that day. So, sometimes the best news I'd get in a day was that I couldn't talk to my dad because they thought he might make it through the day.

HAYES: You have a child, is that right, Erie?

MEYER: Yes, I've got a 10-month-old baby.

HAYES: And did your dad get to -- get to hold your baby?

MEYER: No. They got to meet once through a glass. He never got to hold him.

HAYES: I'm so, so, so sorry for your loss. He really sounds like a stupendous and important, wonderful person. And I really appreciate you taking time to share a little bit of his life with us. Erie Meyer, my deepest condolences. Thank you. Thank you so much.

MEYER: Thank you.

HAYES: All right, that is ALL IN for this evening. For those of you celebrating, Happy first night of Hanukkah. For those of you celebrating the other big holiday, Taylor Swift album day, enjoy that as well. We celebrate both in my household. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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