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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, December 3, 2020

Guests: Nikema Williams, Stephen Fowler, Liam Donovan, Kate Kelly, Rick Bright, Lily Eskelsen Garcia

Summary

President Trump continues to push conspiracy theories as his supporters tell Republicans in Georgia not to vote in the Senate runoff elections. Sen. David Perdue's prolific stock trading is under scrutiny. President-Elect Biden Asks Dr. Anthony Fauci to stay in his current role and serve as Chief Medical Adviser on COVID Response Team. CDC Director, Dr. Redfield, says schools are not a major Coronavirus transmission source.

Transcript

JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": By bringing people to the table who haven't been to the Sunday show table before.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Yes, yes, I'm so excited. Tiffany Cross, Jonathan Capehart, two of the best, brightest, most wonderful people and amazing people just as humans. Thank you. Once again, Tiffany's new show premieres Saturday, December 12th. Jonathan's new show premieres Sunday the 13th. Both are at 10:00 a.m. Eastern you do not want to miss it. Get your bacon and eggs, get your mimosa, get your coffee ready and food in.

That is tonight's the REIDOUT. And ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, on ALL IN.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know what I saw, and I signed something saying that if I'm wrong, I can go to prison. Did you?

HAYES: The Donald J. Trump election fraud roadshow rolls out of Michigan and down into Georgia.

RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: They didn't bother to interview a single witness. Just like you, they don't want to know the truth.

HAYES: Just when Republicans most need their followers to vote in the Senate runoffs, the cult leader one stop saying the whole thing is rigged.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thousands and thousands of votes that were out of whack, all against me.

HAYES: Then on the worst day of the pandemic so far, we're the closest we've ever been to a vaccine.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This is a box of vaccines.

HAYES: Tonight, the huge challenge of coordinating a mass inoculation during this presidential transition and the desperate need to get schools reopened as we find out more about what online learning is doing to our kids, when ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes. With 48 days to go until the transfer of power from President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden, with the nation in the midst of its darkest winter in decades, with millions of people in danger of losing unemployment benefits and being evicted, and more American deaths recorded just yesterday than on 9/11, the Republican Party at the highest levels is focused on a delicate balancing act between humoring Donald Trump's temper tantrum and the Rudy Giuliani traveling circus and trying to save their own two U.S. Senate seats in the upcoming runoff.

Again, the country faces some of the most horrifying conditions and government challenges that we have ever seen, 210,000 new COVID cases just today, yet another record. But this, this is the project to which Republicans have set themselves, a remarkably cynical effort that involves them finally calibrating the correct amount of lunacy and outrage to inject into the Republican base of Georgia so as to get them feeling victimized and furious enough, they will go and vote for David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler so Republicans can keep the Senate, but not so victimized and furious and impotent that they think the whole thing is rigged and the election is pointless.

It's hard. I mean, we saw a glimpse of this when the RNC chair went down to Georgia over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The machines are switching the votes and we go there in crazy numbers, and they should have won but then they still lose.

RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIRWOMAN, RNC: Yes. We have to -- we didn't see that in the audit. So, we've got to just -- that evidence I haven't seen. So, we'll wait and see on that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are we going to spend money and work when it's already decided?

MCDANIEL: It's not decided. This is the key.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do we know?

MCDANIEL: It's not decided.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: This is the key. It's not decided. I know the President's telling you that. I know right-wing media is telling you that. I know that I am winking and nodding and going along with telling you that, but it can't be that because we need you to vote. You can see the frustration or face when voters ask the obviously logical question. If the election is rigged against us, what is the point of voting?

And these conspiracy theories, they aren't coming from nowhere as she knows. Trump's chief enabler Rudy Giuliani took his legal conspiracy roadshow to Georgia today, one day after his instantly iconic appearance in Michigan with this stellar witness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not seeing the poll book off by 30,000 votes. That's not the case.

MELISSA CARONE, REPUBLICAN WITNESS: What did you guys do, take and do something crazy to it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just saying the numbers are not off by 30,000 votes. So, are you saying that they're filling in --

CARONE: I know what I saw. I know what I saw. And I signed something saying that if I'm wrong, I can go to prison. Did you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Yes, tough guy. By the way, the person asking the questions is a Republican member of the Michigan legislature going along with this whole thing. Just outstanding work all around there. And then yesterday, as part of his bizarre 46-minute Facebook rant, the president knighted states blamed Georgia's Republican leadership for massive voter fraud that, of course, just does not exist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And the recent recount in Georgia which means nothing because they don't want to check signatures. And if you're not going to check signatures in Georgia, it doesn't work. But we have a secretary of state and a governor who made it very difficult to check signatures. Why? You'll have to ask them.

We will compare the signature on the envelope to the signatures from past elections, and we will find that many thousands of people signed these ballots illegally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Where is he -- where is he looking in that video? I didn't understand that. But by the way, no part of that is even close to true. Of course, it's all nonsense. But again, establishment Republicans have allowed the president to spew that nonsense, and it's dangerous nonsense, unchecked. And much of the reason they've done it, I think, aside from the fact they're scared of him, or they believe it themselves, because they have brain worms, but much of it is of an eye towards the Georgia Senate races.

And now, Donald Trump, the man himself is going to come down to Georgia Saturday to help. And Republicans who care about controlling the Senate are genuinely concerned what he will say. The Wall Street Journal reports that Senators Perdue and Loeffler remain hopeful that Mr. Trump will deliver the agreed-upon message, Republicans must vote so they can keep both centers in office and ensure Republican Senate Majority that can protect the President's accomplishments. I'm not sure what he's going to say, one Trump advisor said. He's super pissed.

Perdue and Loeffler really hope Trump doesn't blow everything up and stays on message. But we all know what he's going to do, right? I mean, this is a rally held yesterday by Trump's devoted supporters, Lin Wood and Sidney Powell in Georgia, until recently powers on the President's legal team. And listen to messages they were delivering to that same Trump base.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. LIN WOOD, LAWYER: If Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue do not do it, they have not earned your vote. Don't you give it to them? Why would you go back and vote in another rigged election for God's sakes fixing?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: So, that's right. Two of Trump's biggest supporters in this push to steal the election, to overturn the results, which, again, he's still trying to do. They're still filing lawsuits. This is an active attempt by the president to overturn the democratic election, right. Two of those supporters, those lawyers, are telling Republicans not to vote.

And then right after that speech, this was so fascinating to me. Boom, a coordinated dump comes out against that guy, Lin Wood, that attorney, with the ever-trustworthy Breitbart alleging Linwood has for decades voted for and donated to Democrats saying that basically Wood is a Democratic plant. And a Twitter account run by Trump's reelection campaign also sharing that article.

Wait, so now he's a Democratic plant and he's part of the conspiracy to trick voters into -- it doesn't -- it gets a little hard to track all the various conspiracies, which I suppose is part of the point. But all this, all this insanity, all this nonsense, most importantly, all the people who are pushing this know. They know that. I think most of them do.

They just don't care what they burned down. They don't. They don't seem to care how many people die of COVID or infected with the sickness in the interim. They don't seem to care about the country falling apart. Tonight, we have learned the Trump campaign and the RNC have raised over $200 million in this post-election campaign. And as reporter Laura Bassett commented, behold, the point of it all.

For all the Republican infighting about how to hold those Georgia seats, the races are a big deal to both party, someone who knows about the Peach State's transition into a swing state, Nikema Williams, elected to fill the congressional seat held by the legendary John Lewis exactly one month ago today. And she joins me now.

It's great to have you on the program. What is -- what is the ramp-up to this election look like from where you're sitting right now? How big a deal is it? How much of the Democratic -- Democrats in the state are staying mobilized?

NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D), REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT OF GEORGIA: Thank you, Chris. We are mobilized. We never stopped mobilizing. And we're sitting back while we watch the Republicans in their fighting and the way that they are making an affront to our democracy while we are continuing to talk to voters about what matters to them.

What matters right now is how do we get this pandemic under control? How do we get our children back to school safely? How do we get our healthcare back on track? And how do we get our economy back going. While Republicans are fighting and continuing to figure out how to enrich themselves, we have John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock doing the work of the people.

So, I'm excited, Chris. Georgia Democrats are excited. Voters across the state are excited and we know what's at stake.

HAYES: You know, I've seen -- so Brad Raffensperger, who is, of course, the Secretary of State has gotten a lot of kudos, and I think deservedly so, for standing up to the President for stating plainly that Joe Biden won that state. He's also though, if I'm not mistaken, launch some inquiries into the new Georgia voter -- new Georgia Voter Project, which was started by Stacey Abrams, now run by others among -- about them possibly, you know, engaging in illegal fraudulent activities.

This is a group that has been the target of a lot of investigations by Republican election officials. Do you think that's on the level?

WILLIAMS: I mean, I listened to what he said the other day when he launched this wild hunt against this outside organization is what he's calling them. But these are groups who've been doing the work on the ground, doing the work that the Secretary of State should be doing.

Our Secretary of State should have mail absentee ballot applications to all Georgia voters. But in his negligence, in his default in not doing that, then organizations stepped up and they did this work. But you know where the list came from, Chris? The Secretary of State.

So, I don't understand what he's doing here. But I guess he's trying to get points with this party since he did his job and said there is no fraud and actually held a legitimate election. And so, now he's trying to curry favor with his party by going back and investigating these organizations who've been doing deep organizing on the ground, trusted community partners. And it's unfortunate.

Well, it's interesting you said that, because that was my read on it, though, I'm not there in Georgia and I don't know the players as well as you do. You know, as much as we watch this unfold and as spurious and ridiculous as the claims the president and his supporters are -- I mean, they're nuts. We all know that, right? It's just not true -- that the pressure being brought to bear --

WILLIAMS: It just doesn't make sense.

HAYES: On Brian Kemp and Raffensperger and any state official is severe and strong and might end up -- you know, it creates political incentives for them to do what they can on the margins of the runoff election.

WILLIAMS: I mean, it does. And we saw today Republican state senators like buying into this conspiracy theory and still making a joke of our democracy, holding a hearing about voter fraud, when we all know even the Republican Secretary of State has said there's no evidence of voter fraud in the state of Georgia.

But we still have people trying to gain favor and stay in good graces with their president who has not lost Georgia once, twice, but three times now. And they're still trying to stay in his good graces.

HAYES: There are some polling out today and I think we're all -- we're all skeptical of polling these days, although Georgia was a state where pollsters got it right. It looks like it's -- I mean, no one could model this electorate. It looks like it is going to be a very close race on both these races. Is that your sense?

WILLIAMS: We absolutely expect it to be a close race. That's why we understand that every vote matter. That's why we are not ceding any part of the state. We're organizing across the state, getting our voters back out. This is going to come down to who can get their people back out to the polls. And we know that our voters did not just turn out to vote in November, on November 3rd, a month ago today, just for Donald Trump.

People turned out to vote for themselves and vote for our future here in Georgia. And what that looks like is sending John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to the United States Senate.

HAYES: All right, Congresswoman-elect Nikema Williams, congratulations on your victory and the seat that you'll be taking over very soon. Thank you for coming on the program.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Here with me now, Stephen Fowler. He's a political reporter from Georgia Public Broadcasting, who has been covering Georgia's elections and witnessed Giuliani's antics firsthand today. And Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist who previously served on the National Republican Senatorial Committee and knows the lay of the land on the Republican Senate as well as anyone.

Stephen, let me start with you. Can you just give us a sense of what the scene was in the Rudy Giuliani traveling roadshow today?

STEPHEN FOWLER, POLITICAL REPORTER, GEORGIA PUBLIC BROADCASTING: Right. So, I just stepped out of the hearing that finished. It started at 1:00. And it was a parade of witnesses and affidavits and people alleging wrongdoing in Georgia's election. Many of these have been filed in lawsuits that have been dismissed or stalled. Many of these are people that don't understand how Georgia's elections work.

We also heard from a constitutional scholar who was outlining ways that the legislature could meet to appoint their own electors to vote for President Trump to take control of the White House. And so, much of what we heard today and much of what lawmakers heard today was just not grounded in the reality of how elections work in Georgia.

HAYES: Liam, what is -- what is the thinking among Republicans on Capitol Hill about -- I mean, it is -- it is sort of fascinating to watch them try to ride the tiger here, right? They want -- they want the base juiced up. They want the base angry. They want the MAGA people on board. They want them coming out on January 5th. They want them sticking it to the libs.

But they don't want them to hate Brian Kemp and they don't want them to think that like Hugo Chavez's ghost is going to switch all the votes through the Dominion machine, so why vote? So, it seems like a little bit of a fine needle they're trying to thread.

LIAM DONOVAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST AND COMMENTATOR: It's a fine line, Chris, and you're exactly right. And I think that on the one hand, this is a very potent, you know, pool of grievances that they've, you know, written this far. And I think that if the President can kind of get on it -- get over his own kind of psychic loss here, there's an ability to turn the page and I think actually harness the -- even the idea of a stolen election or something that was, you know, taken from them into a lot of votes on January 5th.

But I think when people that the President has boosted his elite strike force people like Sidney Powell, people like Lin Wood now have his tacit backing, and when he doesn't distance himself from them, and they're out there saying, you know, write in Donald Trump or just don't go out there, I think that's real problematic.

I think the real question for Republicans is, what does the president do after December 14th, after this show is kind of over, and does he give them the space in those final three weeks to make this about holding the Senate and make this about Republicans having a hand on the levers of power in and otherwise all Democratic Washington.

HAYES: Let me let me ask you a follow up question. I understand that it is not your job to be professional ethicist. But is it not morally depraved to essentially cultivate this deeply insidious and dangerous and wrong, like just flat out wrong theory of fraud for some perceived marginal political benefit in juicing up your base?

DONOVAN: Let's be clear. It is. I think the fact that people like Brad Raffensperger put in the position of having to say these elections are aboveboard, everything is, you know, on the up and up. I think they are doing the right thing, obviously.

I think the tricky part is Republicans have talked about this, in some cases, you know, real things that happened in various elections over not just the last 10 years, but you know, going back into history of machine politics. And so, the base has been fed this idea all along. And so, when the President comes and tells them that Hugo Chavez did do this or his hologram, you know, they're apt to believe it.

And so, I think it's very tricky because they've created this Frankenstein monster, and now they have to deal with it.

HAYES: Stephen, what is your sense? I mean, obviously, the Republicans in the state legislature participating in this. This has been the sort of the kind of way that Giuliani has done this. He's had, you know, local Republican legislators who hosted him in this sort of ersatz hearings.

What the Republican Party in Georgia is thinking about this and whether you have -- do you have Republican state officeholders or, you know, elected officials who are mad at Kemp who think the election was stolen, who think people shouldn't vote in the Senate runoff?

FOWLER: Well, Chris, you don't necessarily see many Republicans in elected office saying don't vote for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, don't participate in the runoff. But there has been this air of questioning everything about the election process.

Georgia has a Republican governor, a Republican Secretary of State, Republican State House and State Senate that passed all of these laws enacting the new voting machines, enacting no excuse absentee voting. And I think many of the members that are here today forget that and are kind of reaping what they sow in the sense that they're the ones that made the rules and people are using them.

And so, really just what it boils down to is Republicans, Democrats, the President, especially, don't understand how voting works. And without that sort of information, you've gotten these massive conspiracies taking hold.

HAYES: Yes. Liam, there's one way in which it seems to me this might affect what the Senate does. So, say you're Mitch McConnell, you care about one thing in life and one thing only, retaining your control of the Senate, nothing else, literally nothing else, ideologically or whatever.

It seems to me that there is a universe in which that pushes towards some kind of relief package in the lame-duck so that David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler can spend a few weeks in Georgia saying we voted for unemployment benefits, we voted to save small businesses in Georgia, we voted to, you know, send out checks if that's what happens.

Like it does seem that that for all of the incentives to stir the craziness that Republicans have, that incentive might push towards a deal. What do you think?

HAYES: Did we lose Liam? I think we lost Liam.

DONOVAN: Sorry, I think I watched it. I apologize. No, I think -- I think you're exactly right. I think there is an incentive here. And I think the Republican Conference might not have always been in the position of saying that something has to happen. But I do think that now they're there. And the real question is, how do you fill out these details?

Even if we can come up with some, you know, top line number, I think getting the policy right is what's going to be the open question for the leader. I do think they are going to get something done. It's a question of scale. And we can go from either extension of unemployment and eviction moratoriums and the small ball stuff all the way to a broad package that I think is where the gang of bipartisan senators want to be.

HAYES: I hope we get something done. Stephen Fowler, Liam Donovan, thank you both for being here. Ahead, new questions about Republican Senator David Perdue and his profiting off his position as a senator making just thousands and thousands of stock trades on the job. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: David Perdue has a job and it's one that you would think would keep the wealthy former businessman busy. He is a United States Senator, Republican from Georgia. In fact, now he's currently in a runoff that could decide which party controls the Senate. But if you just looked at David Purdue's activity in the stock market, you would be forgiven for thinking he was, I don't know a full-time day trader.

New York Times reports Perdue has been the Senate's most prolific stock trader by far, sometimes reporting 20 or more transactions in a single day. According to the Times, Perdue has made almost 2,600 trades in stocks, bonds, and funds over the past six years, far more than any other senator.

And while he claims his trades are handled by outside advisors and he isn't personally involved in them, that isn't entirely true. For example, Purdue personally instructed his wealth manager to sell $1 million worth of shares in Cardlytics, a financial firm where he used to sit on the board. And it was that trade, as you might remember, that prompted the Justice Department inquiry. The prosecutors did not bring charges in that, we should stress.

And Perdue isn't just picking random companies here. The Times reports he repeatedly traded in companies that stood to benefit from policy and spending matters that came not just before the Senate as a whole, but before the committees and subcommittees on which he serves.

Now, it is not illegal for senators to trade individual stocks, though lots of people, including some senators think it should be. Obviously, it should be. It is illegal for members of Congress to trade on nonpublic information. I'm joined now by one of the reporters who expose Perdue's prolific trading habits, Kate Kelly of the New York Times.

This story really blew me away, I have to say, because then -- for the numbers. I mean, you give us a sense of that, right? Because you see stories about these trades sometimes, it's always a little hard to get context. But just as like, if you were to do a bar graph of trading -- stock trading senators, there would be one really, really big outlier, David Perdue.

KATE KELLY, REPORTER, "NEW YORK TIMES": You'd have David Perdue at the very top, Chris. And there would be a big jump almost a quarter of what he did in terms of activity would be your number two person. And in fact, if you look at numbers two, three, four, five, and six, together, their trading is about the same as David Perdue's trading in five and a half to six years. So, he is absolutely quite active, relatively speaking and absolutely speaking.

HAYES: Yes. That's the other thing about it. To me, it's like not even just for senators, but this is someone who's clearly like just does a lot of this. I mean, I can't -- I guess part of it also is I can't imagine this is just his wealth manager. Like, it seems to me like he's a guy who likes picking stocks and making trades, and this is part of what he enjoys doing.

KELLY: Right. I mean, that's something that's been a little bit hard to get clarity on. As you pointed out, Purdue has said consistently, including to us for this story, that he has outside advisors, he has a long time broker at Goldman Sachs and a wealth manager in the Atlanta area, who handles his trading through what's called a managed fund, which means that in this case, Goldman Sachs or whomever your advisor is, has a good deal of discretion.

And at times, third party advisors and brokers are involved as well. And that may be generally true, but as we've seen, there was at least one trade earlier this year and kind of a noteworthy trade in Cardlytics, where he received a phone call from the CEO -- I'm sorry, an email from the CEO OF Cardlytics saying something about a vague reference to upcoming changes. Two days later called the advisor at Goldman Sachs and said sell some of my Cardlytics position.

That e-mail, by the way, turned out to be a misfire and the CEO let the senator know, sorry, this wasn't intended for you. But in fact, weeks later, the CEO stepped down from the job and the company announced as part of its quarterly earnings results that it was going to miss some of its hopeful sales targets, and the stock took a big tumble. So, Perdue averted losses on that and actually bought stock back later after you had those events as well as the Coronavirus market bottom.

So, in at least that case, Chris, and obviously that's a notable one, because the Justice Department investigated it and did decide ultimately to close the case. But at least in that one, you see an obvious case of discretion on the senator's part.

HAYES: Right. And the key point there, like we can't -- obviously, I don't know, right. It could be the case of that was just the one that pierce the veil. But it is also the case that like, well, we know about this one where you were involved. The plausibility that in these 2,599 other trades, you have nothing to do. Like, we know that once in a while you do get involved. Like, that was established.

KELLY: Right. Right. I mean, I don't know the details on that, and I don't want to say more than I know, but yes, in this one case, he clearly got involved. He does continue to hold, I should say, Cardlytics and two other stocks on an individual stock basis. These are companies for which he used to be a board member as well.

So, he's hung on to those, but he has said that everything else is now in some kind of fund or, you know, he owes municipal bonds. I'm not sure exactly where he stands now, but he had some ETFs which trade, you know, baskets of stocks. So, you know, you've seen that movement for sure.

HAYES: Well, but here's the thing, right? So, you got that trade that was investigated by the Justice Department. But when you're trading this prolifically, whoever's doing it, and you're a senator, let's just -- the conflicts are just going to be everywhere, right? I'm just saying, even if there's nothing -- no wrongdoing, like this is a local NBC affiliate about thousands in the early opioid crisis, right? You've got a defense contractor that had business in the Senate, and he sold off its stock. You have him buying Pfizer stock a week before the company said it would develop a vaccine.

Now, again, maybe one had nothing to do with the other. But if you're a senator getting briefed on all this stuff, and you're doing a ton of stock trading, everything is going to look a little hinky.

KELLY: So, this is the critical point, I think, for your audience and certainly our readership that we wanted to explore. So, in addition to the raw numbers that nearly 2,600 trades which puts him in pretty rare company as a senate -- a senator who's actively trading, you have all these cases in which if you juxtapose his committee or subcommittee work to some of the stock names that he's trading, and you see potential for conflict of interest. You see potential for essentially, him being involved with a government matter, the outcome of which could have financial implications for him.

And I'm paraphrasing there the language in the federal law that governs most other federal employees and prevents them in many cases from holding stocks. But it doesn't apply to members of Congress, to the president and vice president. There is sort of a handful of exceptions.

So, for example, you had him sitting on the Cybersecurity Committee and trading over the course of years 61 different times in this malware detection, threat detection tech company called FireEye. You have him a month before he joins the Seapower Subcommittee trading in BWX Technologies. And then ultimately, this is a company that makes some components for Navy submarine with nuclear capabilities.

He ends up buying that shortly before the committee and the committee ends up doing some work that's beneficial to BWX. So, there are cases like that that raise eyebrows.

HAYES: Yes. That is real. I mean, again, the policy thing here seems to me that they shouldn't be trading socks. That's another matter. Kate Kelly, this is great reporting. Thank you so much for being with me tonight.

KELLY: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Ahead, another record-breaking day of Coronavirus numbers. And while the outgoing president is fully checked out, the incoming president is preparing for a major undertaking right off the bat. Vaccine distribution and what that will look like coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Donald Trump only ever cared about the Coronavirus as an election issue. Now, the election is over, and he lost, he has stopped even pretending to care. He's essentially given up. And now, we have just had one of the very worst days in America since the pandemic again. You could argue it's the worst day.

We had an all-time high of 101,000 people that in the hospital tonight. Hospitalization is growing day after day after day. We also had a new record for daily cases, 210,000 new cases today where just a month ago, we were hitting 100,000, which we've never seen. We also had another day of 2,700 deaths, and that's going up.

And still, the president checked out. You know, I have to say, there are actually some positives that come with that. It seems like the White House COVID Task Force has kind of moved in to fill the vacuum. We've seen Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx being more outspoken going on television. Scott Atlas, the X-ray doctor who became the Special Adviser of the President of the United States is thankfully out of a job.

You know, we've been popped up the other day with our first public message in months Dr. Nancy Messonier. She's a top expert at the CDC on infectious diseases. She is the one who told all of us back on February 25th exactly what was coming. Do you remember that? She warned that disruption to everyday life might be severe and urge parents to ask their children's schools about plans for closures.

Remember how insane that sounded back then? And the days that followed, the markets tanked. The President was furious with her for speaking the truth and she was sidelined, basically not heard from again. So, again, on one level, I suppose it is probably better if the President is filling his days watching Newsmax and playing golf. But on another level, he's the President of the United States and it is outrageous, historic abdication.

Yesterday, the U.S. reported a record 2,777 Coronavirus related deaths. In one day, almost a 9/11's worth of deaths. And what was the president up to? He recorded a 46-minute Alex Jones level conspiracy theory video for his Facebook page that looked like it was shot on Glenn Beck's fake Oval Office set.

Today, and likely every day for the next month at least, it is going to be the worst the pandemic has been in this country and also the closest we have been to a vaccine and the end of this nightmare. This is a crucial time when some kind of federal leadership matters the most, particularly in handing off these enormously consequential logistical problems from the current administration to the next one.

And one of the people who's working for the Biden transition who was fired by the Trump administration and of course attacked personally by the president because he dared to speak up about how the administration ignored warnings about the virus, that person, that whistleblower will be my guest here right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have a virtual meeting with the Biden transition team I believe today.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First of all, have you -- have you spoken with the President-Elect?

FAUCI: I have not yet spoken to the President-Elect. I've spoken to members of his team, mostly Ron Klain. And I'm going to be meeting virtually, as you said, talking about just substantive, uncomplicated transition issues like vaccines and the state of the epidemic and things like that.

So, I'm looking forward to it. It likely will be the first of a series of normal types of transition undertaking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you expect to stay on in your current role or hope to and or another role?

FAUCI: I don't think there's any hope to. I've been in this job for 36 years. I keep in the same job with six administrations. I totally fully expect to be in this position.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Today was the first day Dr. Anthony Fauci had a substantive conversation with the incoming Biden administration. And this afternoon, the President-Elect revealed he is asking Fauci to be part of his team.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I talked to him today. We spoke today at 3:00. My COVID team met with him. I asked him to stay on in the exact same role he's had for the past several presidents. And I asked him to be a chief medical advisor for me as well and be part of the COVID team.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Now, President-Elect Joe Biden also announcing several other key members of the medical and science team as we transition through. The key here is going to be continuity and that's why Fauci is such a key person. He's been in that job, as he said, for six administrations, and there is going to be this incredibly difficult baton exchange between the outgoing Trump administration and the incoming Biden ministration on this specific, complicated logistical undertaking, which is getting vaccinations maybe more than one, maybe two or three out to tens of and then hundreds of millions of Americans.

That's not an easy thing to pull off even under good conditions, and these are not the best conditions we've ever seen. Dr. Rick Bright is a member of President-Elect Joe Biden's Coronavirus Advisory Board. He previously served as director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, filed a whistleblower complaint back in May alleging the Trump administration ignored warnings about the pandemic. And he joins me now.

So, let's talk about the continuity here. What are the keys from your understanding as you think about, as someone who was in administration in the government, right, in terms of continuity of personnel and continuity of planning between the two as we go from the first rounds of vaccines being distributed in a few weeks, and that's going to continue from January 19th to January 20th?

RICK BRIGHT, MEMBER, JOE BIDEN'S CORONAVIRUS ADVISORY BOARD: Chris, thanks for having me on again. You've described and laid out very nicely the complex task we have ahead of us. We have never in this country or actually probably anywhere around the world tried to undertake the administration and delivery and administration of so many doses of vaccine in such a rapid turnaround time.

And so there are lots of things that we need to make sure are in place, and lots of areas that we need to make sure that we have redundancy that makes sure that there's no failure of this administration process. As you can imagine, we've heard a lot about the vaccines being produced by the manufacturers. You've heard a lot about they're being delivered and placed in a super cold freezer in a warehouse. Sometimes -- some of those warehouses are large stadium sized warehouses full of freezers.

What we haven't yet heard a lot about is where it gets really difficult is that last mile. What happens from the warehouse, from the loading dock to the patient's arm, and the workforce that it takes to do that? We need to make sure that you have nurses and doctors and health care providers who are trained about the vaccines so they can get clear messaging to people that want to take the vaccine.

We need to make sure there are messengers, trusted messengers in every community and every language across our country, so people understand the value of the vaccine and getting vaccinated and understand how important it is for them to get vaccinated when it's their turn. They can trust the vaccine.

HAYES: You know, transitions happen at a number of different levels and one of the most important levels they happen on. So, they happen at the political to political level. That is political appointees in the different agencies. They are called agency landing teams, right, that go into these agencies. And the political appointees talking to political appointees.

But the level where institutional knowledge often resides in any government institution is at the career level. These are people that are not political appointees. And I just -- I wonder, like, as someone who worked with career folks, you're -- like, are you confident in the sort of reliability of that institutional knowledge on these complicated problems moving seamlessly from one administration to the next?

BRIGHT: Chris, we have one of the most impressive career level scientists, civil service scientists in the world, actually. I have every bit of confidence that they are doing the right thing. They are some of the top scientists you'll ever meet. They're looking at every detail of the plan or the process of the vaccine, the programs.

And I'm very confident also that they are eager to work with a new administration coming in. So, it's just a matter of time to have those agency review teams sitting down with the current civil servants scientists and letting them communicate and exchange information. And I'm confident they'll be able to share what's needed to get the job done.

HAYES: Today, there was some news, some frustrating news from Pfizer that they're slashing their output of vaccine dosages from 100 million to 50 million. They discovered a supply chain issue that reduced the quality of half of the batch which I guess, you know, again, everyone's doing this in an unprecedented fashion. It was -- it was a bummer to see.

How do you think about this combination between the promise of the vaccine and the fact that today is the worst day we've seen the pandemic and tomorrow will probably be worse, and it's going to get worse and worse and worse, over the next period of time?

BRIGHT: Well, Chris, that's why it's important to be really honest and truthful and transparent with Americans when we talk about the vaccine, when we talk about the timeline for delivery of vaccine. It's a very complicated process and things do go wrong. And that's OK when they go wrong as long as you have a backup plan and you can communicate what happened to the American population.

What's really important is Americans are going to have to hang on for a while, and maybe even a while longer now while they remake those doses of vaccines. We saw in the last 24 hours an American die every 30 seconds. Every 30 seconds, someone died in our country in the last 24 hours. And it's only going to get worse.

The one thing that we can all do right now to impact that number and to truly save lives is to wear our face mask every time we leave the house, to avoid crowds and social distance and wash your hands frequently. Don't go to large gatherings. Stay outside when you interact with other people.

Those are so simple. And those right now are a matter of life and death for the next few months of this pandemic. We must all do those to protect ourselves and protect our loved ones and our family.

HAYES: Dr. Rick Bright, true and sober words. Thank you for that. I appreciate it.

BRIGHT: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Ahead, there's increasing evidence that schools are not sites of major coronavirus transmission. So, what does that mean for the future of schooling and education in America during the pandemic and after? We'll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: We now have substantial data that shows that schools, face to face learning can be conducted in K through 12, and particularly in the elementary and middle schools in a safe and responsible way.

When we see teachers infected, we're finding that the teachers are infected from their spouses or their community. When we see students in the school infected, we find out that that was an infection that occurred in the community. We're not seeing interest school transmission.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The head of the CDC Dr. Redfield about school transmission. Now, remember, when the pandemic started, one of the first things that lots of places did was closed schools. Japan closed schools very early on. And then we saw school after school after school being closed here in the U.S.

And the reason for that was that there was very, very good reason to think early on that an infectious disease, a respiratory illness like this would really transmit and travel in schools. They're packed indoor areas. Kids are germ monsters as we know. They don't necessarily have particularly great hygiene, and so we closed a bunch of schools.

Now, we've got seven months of data here in the U.S. and around the world. And one of the things that's been kind of surprising is that schools are not particularly bad sites of transmission. They're not like bars or nightclubs or like crowded indoor restaurants or like church rooms with choirs. There is transmission that happened in schools and the data's picture is still unclear, but on the whole, they are not the most dangerous kinds of places.

And so that leads to the question, should we have schools open? In many parts of the country they are and many parts they are all remote. Now, what do we do as the country hits this awful, awful winter? Someone who understands the need to get students back in the classroom, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, who has just ended her six-year tenure as president of the nation's largest teachers union. She has been called a contender for Secretary of Education in the Joe Biden administration.

It's great to have you here. I want to -- I want to ask about your understanding and your former members understanding of the risks of schools because I think that nothing is definitive here and we continue to learn about the virus day after day. But it really does seem clear over the months as the as the data has come in from here and abroad, that the risk of transmission in schools is not as bad as we previously thought, and that in-person school with the right procedures can be conducted safely. Is that your sense of it?

LILY ESKELSEN GARCIA, FORMER PRESIDENT, NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: Well, I think for the first time since this horrible, terrible, no good, very bad pandemic, we have national leadership with a goal to open the school doors safely and welcome kids back. There are competing views on whether or not you could just throw the doors open. And I don't think that the science is saying that.

The good news is science, as you just said, is getting smarter and smarter. We're learning more about how this virus works, what needs to be done distancing, masking, disinfecting, monitoring who's most at risk. And educators are getting smarter too about what works, what doesn't work in a real school.

What I love is that President-Elect Joe Biden is putting these two experts together the scientists and the educators. And together they're going to come up with a plan about how we can put health and safety first, and open those schools in a way that will welcome kids back or parents and the educators in those schools will understand that they're not being sacrificed.

HAYES: We've -- so, we've gotten more and more data on the on the -- on the virus and the and the safety issue, which I want to talk about. We've also I think are getting starting to see the picture of remote learning. Now, I got to say, if anyone and I know that you have experienced this, if you've sat with a six-year-old staring into a screen all day, or a five-year-old in remote kindergarten, your intuition is like this is not the best setup for a five-year-old to learn this way. And, you know, the data that we're getting seems to bear that out.

And in fact, some of the data is really troubling about the inequities, the exacerbation of existing inequities. Kids from homes with incomes of less than 25,000 year are 10 times more likely to be doing little to no remote learning than their peers from homes making more than 100,000 a year. Again, that's just one study, although it sort of tracks.

I mean, do you feel that we are -- there is something happening here that is bad for kids in terms of the effects of a year of remote learning?

GARCIA: You know, I just have to congratulate America on the new president that's coming in because I've had the honor to talk to Joe Biden face to face before we had to do it with face masks. I heard the excitement in his voice when he talks about what he wants to do for public education. He knows the role of the federal government. It's not to be the National School Board. Its main mission is to protect our most vulnerable children.

And as we were talking about how this pandemic was hurting all kids, he was the first one who said, you know, Lily, this crisis isn't hitting all kids the same. I didn't have to tell him that. He told me that. He said the kids who never had what they needed are the ones who are the first ones to get lost. And if this goes on too long, we're never going to get them back.

HAYES: Let me ask you a question. I've heard this from a lot of people. These are people who in some cases are educators themselves. These are people who support public education, support teachers, and support teachers unions strongly who feel that teachers unions worked in these major cities, Chicago, Los Angeles, to stop in-person schooling because they had irrational fear of the safety, not crazy at all, but that it is had really bad tangible effects for kids, particularly for kids from the most sort of marginalized backgrounds, and they feel some frustration and anger at that.

What do you say to people who say, look, the union stepped in and they put their own health concerns above this public good?

GARCIA: I think what you were talking about is the health and safety of that entire school community, including the families that educators go home to and that students go home to. But what we do know is that it does dramatically impact those kids who have so little not only in their schools, but in their home lives.

You know, if you've got parents who can work from home, if you've got broadband, if you can -- if you can put on a big sale and buy PPE for everybody for a year, that's great. But one of the things that we know is that 51 percent of American public-school kids qualify for free and reduced lunch. That's a measure of poverty.

My first job working in a head start program is with those poor kids. So, we need the leadership that's going to get us through this.

HAYES: Quickly, would you like to be Secretary of Education?

GARCIA: It's an honor to be considered. But right now, regardless of who President-Elect Biden picks, I'm grateful. I'm excited we're about to turn a page and --

HAYES: I'm going to take -- I'm going to take that as a yes. Lily Eskelsen Garcia, thank you so much for making time tonight.

That is ALL IN for this Thursday. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.END

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