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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, December 7, 2020

Guests: Jed Shugerman, Zeynep Tufekci, Erika Smith, Seth Mnookin, David Jolly, Tia Mitchell


As the coronavirus rages, President-elect Joe Biden announces the key members of his health team who will manage the crisis. Rudy Guiliani is admitted to a hospital due to COVID. Los Angeles closes playgrounds and dining while allowing filming to continue. FDA advisory board is expected to issue a ruling on Pfizer vaccine on Thursday. Georgia Republicans are urging Georgians to vote in runoffs while still spreading election conspiracy theories.


JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: Jamie Harrison, Greg Bluestein, thank you both very much for being here tonight. That's tonight's REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN. 44 days until the inauguration, is Donald Trump breaking the law to stay in power. Tonight, a close inspection of Trump's failing efforts to overturn the election and why the competence of the incoming Biden team is so important.

Then, on the eve of the world's first COVID vaccine deployment, why are Republicans hosting an anti-vaxxer in the Senate. How Donald Trump's Republican civil wars affecting Georgia and beyond, and how families and small businesses are suffering more and more from America's incoherent COVID policy when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes. As COVID winter grows darker by the day, President-Elect Joe Biden announced the key members of his team who will be responsible for getting us out of it, for getting the virus under control. You know, outside of a war or perhaps the economic crisis back 12 years ago, it's hard to imagine a logistical challenge, a governing challenge in the midst of crisis being passed across from one administration to another as quite this level of difficulty, and all while the outgoing administration is actively trying to sabotage the incoming administration.

So, here are the people who are going to have to figure that out, to overcome that. The group is headlined by California Attorney General Javier Becerra, will be nominated to lead up Health and Human Services. Dr. Vivek Murthy, who we've spoken to frequently throughout the crisis on this program, will return to his role as Surgeon General. He served as one before. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a practicing infectious disease physician, she might have one of the toughest jobs of all. She will head up the CDC, an institution once viewed as the envy of the entire world and public health experts all over the place that has had its reputation desecrated under Trump.

Anthony Fauci who, of course, you know will remain in his current role, also will serve as Biden's Chief Medical advisor. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the founding director of Yale's Equity Research and Innovation Center, will serve as the COVID-19 Equity Task Force chair. And Obama administration veteran Jeff Zients will coordinate the new administration's COVID-19 response, sort of similar to Ron Klain's role in Ebola.

Now, a big part of what this past election was about which Joe Biden won by 4.5 points nationally and almost 8 million votes was taking responsibility, right, for the pandemic, filling leadership vacuum, saying that we do actually need national federal leadership to battle the virus, which has been, I will note, the case in every single country that has managed to do it successfully.

And the reason that obvious point was so important is because from the beginning, President Trump's plan was always explicitly to slough, that responsibility off to other people. Remember back in the middle of March, this was like, right when everything went nuts, right. Everything closed, and we were all home and the pandemic was really starting to accelerate. And there was these shortages of all kinds of material people need, PPE among them.

And Trump dismissed the governor's pleas for assistance saying "the federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we're not a shipping clerk. It's not my problem. Let the governor's deal with it.

At some level, I think Trump knew it was going to be a very hard governing challenge, one he was not up to, so he very quickly gave up on trying to solve it. And immediately, I mean, really first few weeks of the pandemic, immediately sought to push the blame to other officials, other politicians.

And this is what it looks like. This is what the pandemic looks like now as a result of months of that. The numbers continue to climb in an utterly horrifying fashion. There are more than 102,000 people currently hospitalized, which is another all-time high. That number; look at that. That slope just keeps going up.

And while the Biden administration has plans for coordinated federal response, that's still 44 days away, and there's a lot of damage, destruction, misery, death, and trauma between now and that. Right now, we have no federal response. And in the absence of federal decision making, what we have are incoherence and anger. We've got rules that cut every which way. We've got personalized risk management of people downloading apps that tell them whether they can do a thing or not. And we have the worst response in the world.

I mean, just look at the U.S. compared to the European Union, which is not exactly been crushing it, OK. But say this for the E.U. They managed to totally avoid a summer spike, right? That's tens of thousands of people alive who wouldn't otherwise be. And when cases did start to go up in the fall, they put in policies to stop the spread. And E.U. cases are going back down while our shoot up at an exponential rate.

Now, are shutdowns difficult? Are they bad for the economy? Yes, and yes. But when cases went up, the E.U., the nations in that Federation, Spain, and Italy, Germany, France, and others, they said it's not acceptable. And now, fewer people will die there. Those are just -- that's just the stark reality. That's what's happening there while we stare into this unrelenting disaster.

Former Republican Alabama State Senator Larry Dixon passed away from COVID-19 Friday at the age of 78. And according to a close friend of Dixon, some of the senator's last words on this earth were, "We messed up, we let our guard down. Please tell everybody to be careful. This is real and if you get diagnosed, get help immediately."

Now, the idea that this virus is some kind of hoax is one of two dangerous myths that Trump and the Republican Party have recently pursued. And the other is the destructive and poisonous lie about the election being stolen. And even as court after court after court rules against them, they continue to push the lie.

Trump was down in Georgia this weekend in a rally ostensibly for the state's incumbent Republican senators. But all he could do was peddle his own grievances telling the crowd he lost because the election was rigged. And here's an epitaph for the whole Trump era whenever the end of it comes. We're all victims. Everybody here, all these thousands of people here tonight, they're all victims, every one of you."

The other man, the point man at the intersection of both of these insidious and dangerous lies that COVID is a hoax and the election was stolen, the man in the center of the Venn diagram next to Donald Trump is Rudy Giuliani. And it has been much remarked upon that Rudy Giuliani must have either incredible luck or incredible natural immunity to the virus because he had been exposed to COVID so many times without getting it himself.

He was one of the few people on Trump's debate prep. Remember that? That was like the White House cluster. Chris Christie, and all those folks, they all got it. And then everyone seemingly the White House got it including the President and Giuliani son, Andrew, a White House staffer, he got it.

And we've been watching -- I mean, jaws agape collectively as Rudy Giuliani travels the country unmasked like it's 2019, spreading lies about the election, speaking loudly and at length in cramped small places indoors, even asking one witness last week to take off her mask.


RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: I don't want you to do this if you feel uncomfortable. But would you be comfortable taking your mask off so people could hear you more clearly?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you hear me now?


GIULIANI: Can everyone hear her clearly?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can hear -- we can hear you.


HAYES: Oh, OK. We'll leave it on. Fine. Well, it was then not that surprising. Yesterday, we learned Rudy Giuliani indeed has the Coronavirus. The President tweeted it out. Mr. Giuliani is at Georgetown University Medical Center, no doubt, getting excellent care and we wish him the best just like we do the 102,000 other Americans currently hospitalized with the virus. The vast majority of whom, I think it is fair to say, will most likely not get the care and attention that Rudy Giuliani will be receiving.

And while Rudy Giuliani hopefully recovers in the hospital and gets treatment before this vicious virus, while that happens, the ludicrous grift that he has been spearheading filing frivolous lawsuits and promoting lies about the election is in jeopardy of collapsing while he's in the hospital.

Multiple reporting today that it is on its last legs which feels faithful in a McCobb way that COVID might be the very thing that deals a final blow to the Trump campaign's efforts to overturn the election.

Jed Shugerman is a professor at Fordham Law School, has been closely following the Trump campaign's legal efforts, and he joins me now. You know, it's today ending with why we get a judicial opinion smacking down these lawsuits today out of -- out of Georgia. Before we get to that, I just -- you know, I've watched the lawyers, particularly appellate practitioners, attempt to communicate to those of us who don't do this for a living and don't regularly file appellate leaves just how bizarre and anomalous and nuts frankly, this entire legal strategy and execution is. How would you characterize the bulk of it?

JED SHUGERMAN, PROFESSOR, FORDHAM LAW SCHOOL: Well, actually, I want to connect the dots from something you've introduced which was the mythology of the COVID virus and Trump calling it a hoax last February, and what you described as a myth of these charges. I'll turn to the Republican state lawyers from Georgia in their brief. They wrote much like the mythological Kraken monster after which plaintiffs have named this loss. Their claims of election fraud and malfeasance belong more to the Kraken's realm of myths than they do to reality.

And I think that encapsulates this era that the Trump era is more about mythos and pathos and pathologies than it is about ethos or nomos, or logos, and reason. I mean, I don't want to go all Greek here, but -- and we do -- and use the word faithful before. And maybe the Trump world is tempting the fates, but I think we're heading towards perhaps at this stage sanctions by judges or lawyers filing motions for sanctions given that I think we've now crossed that line.

HAYES: Yes, that -- you know, it's interesting you say that because a lawyer on Twitter that I like a lot, he says, Trump does not have a right to file bad faith frivolous complaints. It is his lawyer's duty to advise him against doing so and withdraw from representing him if he persists. The lawyers ought to face sanctions or BAR discipline if they fail on that duty.

And it really does feel like we crossed this line long ago, but we are in a period in which it is an abuse of the law and it is an abuse of the credentialing function of the BAR to engage in this.

SHUGERMAN: So, early on, I was a skeptic of this move. In November -- we've talked about this before, Chris. I wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post saying Democrats should welcome these suits because they would resolve these questions. Well, guess what? They have. That worked, right? It was basically put up or shut up.

And the Trump lawyers had nothing to put up except for a sort of Greek tragedy or comedy of different bizarre characters with one less credible than the next. So, I basically regard November as the window of time for the lawsuits to have presented this material. In fact, it was that Georgia -- one of the Georgia officials, Gabriel Sterling, who was famous for that calling Trump to that -- you know, he said something like someone's going to get hurt.

And so, he said -- look, he said, if you just do the math, this Dominion conspiracy theory, it doesn't even go from Greek tragedy that just have a Greek arithmetic. It would be a bizarre conspiracy theory if the Dominion machines were designed to swing an election for Biden if they were still only registering in the 50s for Biden based upon which precincts.

I mean, that's a -- that's a really weak conspiracy, that you're barely winning Wisconsin because he said it was in the 50 -- the counties that used the Dominion machines were registering in the mid-50s in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin. If you're going to rig an election, you might want to win some Senate races or guarantee you're not, you know, winning by 10,000 votes. That's a remarkable move there.

The other thing, Chris, I think, in the big picture is that, you know, today is the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, a day that will live in infamy. That's December 7th. Tomorrow is the date selected by Congress that's the Safe Harbor. And that is, I think, why we're getting to a real end game, and maybe why there's real frantic moves by the lawyers. Because what that Safe Harbor means is that Congress says, we want the states to know that there's a date and a deadline to certify and if they -- if those electors get certified, we're on more clear ground for the Electoral College.

That day is tomorrow. And so, once those -- once -- you know, we've already the states have certified, but if those -- if courts don't intervene by tomorrow to stop that certification, we've -- Congress has already designated those electors to be clear and legally recognized when the electors get counted on December 14th.

HAYES: It's a great point because it was part of this legal strategy from the beginning was essentially below the deadline as a predicate for the state legislators to step in, but that -- they didn't do that because they lost and the deadline will be met. Jed Shugerman, as always, thank you so much.

SHUGERMAN: Hey, thanks for having me.

HAYES: Over the weekend, we got some new reporting about the president calling the governor of Georgia, Republican Brian Kemp, and pressuring him to just flat out overturn the election, right. The rule of the people in his state, the people that voted, just overturn it, call some special session, get them to deliver the electors to Donald Trump.

Sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, who studies resistance to authoritarian regimes throughout the world including in Turkey where she's from, writes that Donald Trump is "attempting to stage some kind of coup, one that is embedded in a broader and ongoing power grab." And Professor Tufekci joins me now.

You know, I really liked your piece because I think there has, we have all struggled with what to call the thing that we are watching. It is -- it is impotent and incompetent. It has not been done well. It is not working, thankfully. But it is itself a crime in broad daylight. It's a crime against democracy to say throw out the votes.

And I thought your perspective of someone who lived through coups in Turkey and that every coup is kind of different was illuminating in this respect.

ZEYNEP TUFEKCI, SOCIOLOGIST: Right. And it's really important to try to focus on what's going on because there's so much like smoke and confusion is that I don't know how else to say it. But this is a blatant attempt to steal an election. You would recognize it as such. I was just reading news that came out but he also personally called lawmakers, legislators in Pennsylvania, and I believe this is a third state where he's personally called elected officials to say, can you overturn your state's legitimate results and appoint electors for me?

He has rebuked Republican election officials in Georgia begging him to stop with the enticement saying somebody is going to get killed. He has been just these frivolous lawsuits, which as you pointed out, yes, we all have a right to legal process, but we don't have a right to endless frivolous lawsuits, which are completely baseless making all these claims.

And more importantly, and I think this is the part where the smoke kind of needs to clear, is that the Republican leadership has not come out and said, you have to stop this right now. And that's really important because this is not a child who's tantrum we're watching. This is the man who is the president of the United States with whom we trust with the nuclear codes, who has executive power, and he is blatantly trying to yes, very clumsily, very buffoonish, it's clownish, it's not going to work. The lawsuits are incoherent. But it's still an attempt to overturn a legitimate election not in legal means, but through extra legal means.

And you know, I'm an academic. I can argue forever. Is this an (INAUDIBLE), which is technically a little more correct. There's worse like constitutional coup, there's democratic backsliding, which this country's seen over the past few decades. So, I can get even more precise and detailed about the technical term.

But if you just kind of step back and look at it, it doesn't really matter what the exact term is, unless we're contesting our grades here. You know, if I'm marking a paper, yes, but the reason people say coup is that it captures the spirit of what's been attempted.

HAYES: That's right.

TUFEKCI: And the fact that it's ridiculous does not make it on serious or not dangerous, especially because the Republican lack of concern, theories, anything about it, when there's already so much minority rule entrenched in this country, is something really worrisome.

HAYES: Well, that is -- that to me is the key point here, because it's not about him and it's not about his -- you know, it is about the party. There are two major parties in American life. They're divided, you know, near the 50-50 baseline at a national level, 52-48. There is no like final victory by one coalition or the other. They essentially have different levels of power in the system, and one of them right now.

I mean, Congressional Republicans right now, the House Conservatives are -- want a floor fight on the House of Congress to overturn the legitimate election. You have, you know, Congressional Republicans, a quarter of them will acknowledge Biden's win. Like, this is the core makeup. This is 27 Congressional Republicans out of all of them who will say that Biden is the incoming president. This is the core makeup of what will be one of the two parties, you know, whatever Trump's doing down at Mar-a-Lago.

TUFEKCI: Right. And the thing is, this has been going on for a while. And that's kind of really the worrisome thing. Right now, the U.S. has a bunch of things that are either counter-majoritarian or things that are supposed to hold us together, right. We have the Senate and I think it's like what, 19 states now, 17, 20 percent of the population basically determines the Senate. So, it's very, very undemocratic.

But the idea of the most charitable interpretation is it's supposed to hold us together, but that's not what it's doing. Had the House is supposed to be representative -- and right now because of gerrymandering, there's like a six to eight advantage to the Republicans, so we have to beat them by six to eight percent just to get the barest majority. State legislators are gerrymandered. The court have been -- you know, the President Trump has appointed I think about a third of district level judgments, which is one of the highest since I think Carter.

So, there's a huge drop by the power imbalance already entrenched minority rule. On top of which, if it wasn't the other way around, if there was a (INAUDIBLE) tantrum, somebody was just throwing a tantrum, and I would say, all right, let's wait it up. Because as everybody's been pointing out, you know, the lawsuits aren't going to succeed. He's not that confident. But this is a terrible playbook.

Like I'm a sociologist, and the thing is, institutions don't operate by magic. Institutions are what we say they are, but the people in them act as if they are. And we're now kind of -- he's writing a different playbook. It's four years. He started for 2016, about elections, and there have been conservative voices. There have been, to be fair, a conservative voices who's been very clear saying this is the election stealing, but we need the Republican leadership to come back to the idea of transfer of power peacefully.

HAYES: Yes, a basic --

TUFEKCI: It's so unimaginable to save this, but that's where we are.

HAYES: That is where we are. Zeynep Tufekci, as always, wonderful to hear from you. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. If you are frustrated by the patchwork of COVID do's and don'ts -- do's and don'ts from state to state, town to town, you're not alone. How a lack of federal leadership has left everyone in an impossible situation next.


HAYES: It's fair to say that American COVID policy as a whole has increasingly descended into incoherence, leaving people angry and confused and scared. Take for instance, this LA County restaurant owner's frustration about a ban on outdoor dining, which makes some sense, but while a film crew set up a catering tent next door.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm losing everything. Everything I own is being taken away from me. And they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio. Tell me that this is dangerous, but right next to me as a slap in my face, that's safe.


HAYES: Now, the LA County Health Department noted film crews are regularly tested, which is true. And unlike restaurant-goers, they don't tend to mingle for extended periods of time without their face covering. OK, that's fine. But as an LA Times article lays out, it's so hard to take seriously a patchwork of policies that say allow retail stores to operate at 20 percent capacity while shutting down playgrounds and outdoor dining.

And this is replicated all over the country. But it is what you get when the federal government has repeatedly told local leaders to just go it alone and crucially has offered no second wave of financial assistance to allow those leaders to make choices more squarely focused on public health.

LA Times columnist Erika Smith, who wrote that piece titled "California politicians can't explain their COVID-19 rules. There's a reason for that" joins me now. I really liked your column, Erika. Tell me --


HAYES: I mean, California isn't -- particularly in L.A., is in bad shape, really bad shape. And there's a new level of shelter in place workers going in. How are the sort of internal contradictions of the policy being processed?

SMITH: Yes. LA County is really in bad shape. As is most of California. I think most counties right now are on the verge of a state-ordered lockdown or already in one like LA County is. But unlike the buy in that you saw in the spring when COVID was new, we didn't know all the rules, now there's a lot more anger and frustration about the rules and how they play out.

For example, as you mentioned, you know, playgrounds have been closed, but shopping malls are still open granted at a reduced capacity. So, it's hard for people to understand why one is safe but the other is not particularly when you're dealing with parents who have their kids at home and haven't been able to put them in school or do anything else with them while they work from home or while they're working in themselves. So, it's pretty stressful out here right now.

HAYES: You know what, there was -- your colleagues also wrote a sort of similar -- a piece along the same lines as your -- as your column is. They're reporting out people's frustration. And one thing that struck me is -- what's maddening is in a place like LA, right, the weather's nice. It's not, you know, here where, you know, on the East Coast, it's freezing and you can't really see people outside, it's not comfortable.

LA should be a place you can function somewhat outside. But when you look at the playgrounds, it's like, the government controls the playgrounds and not -- and can close them and not put anyone out of business, so that that's a way of signaling seriousness. But then to close a mall, which is probably more recommended for health reasons would cost jobs.

SMITH: Absolutely. I mean, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a mall employee who wants to be at work right now as well with the cases surging the way they are.

HAYES: Right.

SMITH: But I think that, you know, it's -- it is very frustrating. I mean, I'm a Midwesterner native, and so I'm happy to be out here in California throughout this and not dealing with snow. But you know, it's true. It's easier to be outside here than it is throughout the country. And I think that also adds to the frustration.

Unlike over the summer, parks -- not playgrounds, but parks and trails and beaches are still open. And you see on the weekend and throughout the week, people packing them. And that's another point of contention because at the same playground -- the same park where you see a playground closed wrapped up with tape, you see, you know, 10 men playing basketball without a mask.

HAYES: Right.

SMITH: So, it's kind of like how do you - as a family, how do you as a resident of Los Angeles County understand what is safe and what is not with just very contradictory policies.

HAYES: Yes. And this is something I think everyone is sharing at this point in the pandemic. I mean, I keep having the -- you know, I'm here -- for instance, I'm here in 30 Rock, right? I mean, we're testing a lot. But when -- in April, when the cases were lower, I mean, it was worse in New York, but we were all home, right.

So, there's a weird mismatch in everyone's life right now between the seriousness of the pandemic, which is the worst it's ever been, and the fact that when things led up, people got used to try to finding some semblance of normalcy that now feels like it's being taken away.

SMITH: Exactly. And because of that semblance of normalcy has kind of come back a little bit, I think that in for a long time that cases were at a manageable level, people don't really understand exactly what changed. I mean, there's all sorts of speculation here in LA County. There's, you know, the Dodgers winning the World Series. There's the Lakers winning the finals. There's the celebrations after Joe Biden won the presidency. There's just Thanksgiving, which I guess we're now starting to see cases trickle in from that, despite urging from public health officials to stay home.

But you also just have this like the contradictory nature of some of the politicians who are actually issuing these orders. For example, Gavin Newsom, our governor, has gotten a ton of pushback for being outside and having dining with the number of friends for his friend's 50th birthday. We have our San Francisco mayor who did the same thing. We have LA County supervisor who ordered outdoor dining (AUDIO GAP) but then later that day, went to a restaurant was seen dining outdoors.

So, it's very confusing again, once again, for people to understand what's safe and what's not, particularly when you have some medical officials saying, sure it's fine to meet up with a couple of friends outdoors if you're masked and socially distanced and you have in our public health director and others saying no, it's not safe.

So, I think people just want to find a way to get through this in a way that's sane for them, that is healthy. But I don't think we're getting a lot of guidance really right now from our public health officials about what's realistic.

HAYES: Yes. Uniform policy and CDC recommendations and policy that focuses on collective risk as opposed to individual risk, which is what this is, right? It's like fire codes. You could -- you can -- you can cut corners on wiring one home and maybe get away with it. You can't do it for huge swaths of city blocks. And that's the problem.

But that's -- the problem has to be dealt with as policy and not as individual choices. But it's very, very hard to kind of communicate that coherently. Erica Smith, thank you so much for making time tonight.

SMITH: Thank you for me.

HAYES: As the federal government prepares for the monumental task of vaccinating millions of Americans as quickly as practicable, why is an anti-vaxxer testifying before the Senate committee tomorrow? That's next.



MATT HANCOCK, HEALTH MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: Tomorrow is V day when we roll out the Coronavirus vaccine across the whole of the U.K. and it's the beginning of the end of this pandemic. We're not there yet. It's so important that people keep doing the things we know we need to do, following the rules and the basics to make sure we keep this under control. But we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.


HAYES: Coronavirus vaccinations start tomorrow in the U.K. as you just heard where the Pfizer vaccine was approved last week. Here in the U.S., FDA's vaccine advisory board is set to make its recommendation on Thursday. If the vaccine is approved, as expected, then the focus turns very quickly to distribution and vaccination.

It's an enormous logistical challenge that the incoming Biden team is now going to have to shepherd right, because most of the vaccination will be done after January 20th. There's also a huge cultural trust issue to overcome it in a country that has seemed increasingly strong movement against vaccines before this one.

Despite the need to persuade Americans to take the vaccine, Senator Ron Johnson, chair of Homeland Security Committee just invited an anti-vaccine Doctor who said she will not take a Coronavirus vaccine to be the lead witness at a Senate hearing tomorrow.

Seth Mnookin has been following questioning and reporting on the anti-Vax movement for more than a decade. He's the author of the book, "The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear About How a Myth Linking Vaccines to Autism Persists and the Damage It Does." He's currently the Director of MIT's graduate science writing program. I'm a big fan of his work. Seth, it's great to have you on.

First, as someone who has worked on this issue, written about it, and reported about it for years, what are your thoughts as you're watching the discourse around this vaccine both in the kind of mainstream media but also online and all other kinds of places?

SETH MNOOKIN, AUTHOR, THE PANIC VIRUS: Well, after when I saw that Ron Johnson had invited the head of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons to speak, I thought it was a joke. They are a group that claimed that Obama won the 2008 election by hypnotizing intellectuals, young people, and Jews. They've also claimed that immigration leads to leprosy. They've been involved in junk science campaigns trying to strike down indoor smoking bans.

So, this is not a group that is anywhere near the mainstream of medical opinion. I guess, on the one hand, I was shocked. On the other hand, given the amount of misinformation that's coming out of the Republican Party at the moment, I was not that surprised. And -- but I think it's exactly the type of thing that's going to make it so difficult even when we get vaccines and even when we have enough doses, that's going to make it so difficult to really defeat COVID.

HAYES: Yes, there was -- you know, we should -- we should be fair here and say there's a lot of Democrats and Liberals who were very skeptical of the vaccine before Election Day. And I think there was some real reason for that because basically, Trump was pushing for it before the Election Day. And the FDA said that's too short, and they push back, and the FDA ended up winning.

But right now, in the polling, you've got 61 percent of Americans willing to say they're taking it. One thing I thought was striking, and I recalled some of the things that I read in your book is, there's a gender gap which was really interesting to me. And not the gender gap that you see on a lot of these issues in which women tend to be, you know, more liberal on a lot of issues than men do. Men much more likely to take it than women. And I think that has to do with some of the channels of information on vaccine that that you've reported on.

MNOOKIN: Yes. One of the many interesting things about vaccine misinformation is it doesn't break down on traditional sort of what you think of is groups that adhere to science and groups that distrust science. It doesn't break down on liberal or conservative lines. It tends to be something that is fueled by social groups, a lot of online social groups and a lot of rental social groups.

And so, because still in this country, women tend to be more involved in raising children than men, it doesn't surprise me that given -- that when asked about the Coronavirus vaccine, you get some of that disparity there. I think that's where that's likely coming from.

We know through many, many studies that online communities are an enormous, enormous source of vaccine misinformation, and peer to peer spread of that misinformation is really what occurs most often.

HAYES: Seth Mnookin's book on this called the Panic Virus is a great, great read, which I recommend. And Seth, thanks so much for taking time with us tonight.

MNOOKIN: Thank you for having me.

HAYES: Coming up, the totally unhinged fight to the death battle in the Republican Party as Trump fights to retain control and crucially shaped the terms of opposition for the next four years. That's ahead.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the runoff debate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Senator David Perdue of Georgia. Before his election, he sat on the board of five major corporations and co-founded Perdue Partners, a global trading company. Senator Perdue declined to participate in this debate and is represented by an empty podium.


HAYES: Senator David Perdue, Republican in Georgia, did not bother to show up for his debate yesterday. So, Democrat Jon Ossoff, his challenger, was left to make his case to Georgia voters next to an empty podium representing the republican senator, who was apparently, I guess, just too scared to answer questions about his record or his numerous suspicious stock trades while in office.


JON OSSOFF (D), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE OF GEORGIA: Senator Perdue, I suppose, doesn't feel that he can handle himself in debate, or perhaps his concern that he may incriminate himself in debate.

It shows an astonishing arrogance and sense of entitlement for Georgia's senior U.S. Senator to believe he shouldn't have to debate at a moment like this in our history.


HAYES: As bad as the no show looked for Senator David Perdue, and Fox did its best to spin it for him with the network reporting on Perdue's slamming Ossoff's debate performance, the empty podium move may actually have been a better debate than the other one.

That's where Georgia Senator, also in a runoff, Kelly Loeffler who was appointed that seat refused to break with Trump's election fraud lies, dodged questions about her own suspicious stock trades, and trying to cast herself as a politician of the people.


SEN. KELLY LOEFFLER (D-GA): Look, I have lived the American dream. I want to make sure every Georgian can do that from going -- from working on a farm, from waitressing, being the first in my family to graduate from college. I know that, you know, free enterprise is the way to lift everyone up.


HAYES: Kelly Loeffler, a regular Joe. The senator did not mention she and her husband are worth an estimated $800 million. Indeed, she's quite possibly the richest politician on Capitol Hill. She got a private jet, $10.5 million 17-bedroom, 15,000 square foot mansion in Atlanta. It's got its own name, along with, as of this summer, three homes in Florida, a condo in Chicago, a $4.3 million pad along the Georgia coastline. That's all I think. I think we got them all.

As for her hardscrabble story of pulling herself up by our bootstraps, listen to this. When she needed $90,000 for an MBA at DePaul, she mortgaged land inherited from her grandparents. That's a good solution. All those folks who are in food lines right now or unemployed or small businesses getting shut down, just mortgage your grandpa's land, obviously.

You don't need more pandemic relief. Just move some of that land your grandparents left you and mortgage it. It's easy. The poor performance by Loeffler and cowardly no show by Perdue could make real differences in these races. They're very tight. I mean, as you can tell in the polling, very, very close.

As you probably know by now, if Democrats prevail in both runoffs, the party will take control of the Senate. And the Senate is not all the Republicans could lose. Right now, Donald Trump and his enablers are fomenting a full-out Civil War within their party. And we have more on that right after this.


HAYES: There are two big outstanding unanswered questions about next year, as far as I can tell, right. So, one of them is about the trajectory of the virus in the vaccine and whether the Biden ministration can competently administer rapid vaccination to get us back to normal. The other is about the politics of that year that's coming up and what the Republican Party looks like and whether crucially, Donald Trump controls the Republican Party functionally in opposition as a kind of government in exile.

That's what the battle in Georgia right now is about. It is the first battle for Donald Trump to impose his will on the Republican Party for the post-presidency part of his career. That's why the stakes are so high over and above control of the Senate in those two races.

Tia Mitchell is the Washington correspondent for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution where she's been covering the race, and David Jolly former Republican congressman who left the party almost two years ago.

And David, that's what strikes me about what's happening right now. So, there's -- you know, there's the fraud delusion and there's this sort of gamesmanship about McConnell trying to kind of tame the tiger long enough to get the voters to go vote in Georgia. But what it's really about is it's creating a sense -- a set of sort of initiation rituals of subjugation, humiliation, and objection from various Republicans for them to say ludicrous things out loud that are wrong and they know, so as to kind of essentially make it known that he is the person who controls the Republican Party even when he's no longer living in the White House.

DAVID JOLLY, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN OF FLORIDA: Yes, Chris. The remarkable thing, though, in terms of just the electoral calculation is this is a strategy and a man in Donald Trump that lost the state of Georgia, right, the first Republican nominee to lose in almost 30 years. So, why perpetuate that losing strategy and bring to the state the losing candidate at the top of the ticket from just a few weeks ago.

But set that aside, your question is perfect because look, to be very honest, the likes of Mitch McConnell and Josh Hawley and Marco Rubio and Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley, they want Donald Trump gone. They won't say it publicly, but they want him gone. They have their own ambitions to move to the next level.

And it's not to abandon Trumpism. Trumpism has worked largely to allow the Republican Party to at least hold serve. It hasn't expanded its coalition, but it's held serve. What is suffocating the party is Donald Trump, the man. Trumpism is working for Republicans, Trump the candidate, Trump the man is not. They want him and need him gone.

HAYES: So, what is -- Tia, what is it -- what is it like down there in terms of how the Republican Party -- you know, you're the Washington correspondent for the AJC, and in terms of the establishment of the Republican Party in a state that has been run by Republicans now for quite a long time, conceives of this moment and their relationship to Trump.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA JOURNAL: I think the Republican establishment was not prepared for what could happen when Trump turned on them.

HAYES: Right.

MITCHELL: And so, it's taken I think a lot of the Republican leaders by surprise because they are big Trump supporters. Georgia, you know, say for Joe Biden's win recently, Georgia has been a red state and George's leaders are Trump people.

And so, now they're troubled because, you know, Trump is coming after them. He's criticizing the way the state's being run. He's criticizing the election process. And it has been reeling, but at the same time, they're, for the most part, particularly at Governor Kemp, and with Senator Loeffler and Senator Perdue, they're still working hard to stay on Trump's good side if they can.

I think what this has shown them is that sometimes that requires hard choices and sometimes that's the line that even when you're just doing your job, you can get on his bad side.

HAYES: Right. That's right. Brian Kemp has not gone out of his way to antagonize Donald Trump who he obviously likes and admires and feels warmly towards and has modeled his public leadership after. I think that those are all fair characterizations. He is an ally of the president. He just certified the election results in the state and that was enough.

And that's what I mean, David, about the, you know, the increasingly preposterous litmus tests that are being erected that everyone has to jump through, which is like, you must commit to an alternate reality in public --

JOLLY: Yes, you do.

HAYES: -- or you're on the outside.

JOLLY: Yes, Chris. And it's interesting in any walk of life, particularly in politics, individuals reach an inflection moment where you either lead or you follow. And one of the themes of the Trump administration has been the number of people who otherwise would have been political leaders who are now followers. And there's this risk-averse personality, right?

And what happens is these politicians think that history judges the followers more lightly, right. The real indictments are for the leaders. But what Perdue and Loeffler and other Republicans on the Hill need to realize is, history judges followers just as harshly in this moment as it does the leader, Donald Trump.

HAYES: Yes. Although, I mean, history is contentious, right? History doesn't do any judging. I mean, you know, we've got -- we've got monuments of traders all over the country and they're only -- they're only coming down now. I mean, Tia, my senses that David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and the Republican Party of Georgia is thinking not at history, they're thinking of January 5th. Like whatever is going to get them through the door.

MITCHELL: Exactly. And I think that's -- again, that's the hardline because on one side, they want voters to feel confident enough in the election to participate because this election is all about turnout. But on the other side, they don't want to turn off Trump supporters.

And that's something that we saw at the rally over the weekend, is that those MAGA conservatives, the far-right voters are in many ways Trump voters. They're --Trump is the leader, and in a lot of ways, they're following whatever he says. So, they don't want Trump to turn on them. So, they're hesitant to say or do anything that that could get on his bad side.

HAYES: It was striking to me, David, to watch -- to watch these politicians, Perdue and Leoffler, two examples, right? You know, Loeffler was -- she talks like a Republican who is trained in Republican, you know, candidate school, right. Like free enterprise up by your bootstraps.

JOLLY: She probably was.

HAYES: Well, the funny thing is that's not the way Donald Trump talks. Donald Trump doesn't talk about free enterprise and the -- he talks about like, screwing over the people that are trying to screw you and you're all victims. And these people are frauds and thieves, and we're going to go get them for you.

Like, it's not -- part of tears point about like, they're there for him, is it no one else actually does it the same way he does, I think, because no -- partly because no one has this sort of intuitive sense of it, but also because they're just not personality equipped to do it.

JOLLY: No, that's true. Look, what Donald Trump sells is angry populism. And that is a very toxic drug for a lot of people. The question is, can you move from angry populism to responsible populism? Donald Trump had that opportunity, maybe for a brief second, blew it and showed no interest in responsible populism.

But you're seeing the Republican Party, the likes of Perdue and Loeffler, the kind of almost the Jeb Bush wing of the party tried to do is reconcile conservatives with Trump's populism when populism is selling better today than their conservatism is.

HAYES: That's exactly right. That's the problem. No one -- there is no constituency for Kelly Loeffler-ism.

JOLLY: That's right.

HAYES: They're like -- you know what I mean? It's like there is a concern -- or Paul Ryan-ism. There's a constituency for Donald Trump-ism. There's also a big constituency for anti-Donald Trump-ism as the state of Georgia just found out. And that to me, Tia, is also so interesting is like how Democrats in the state calculate the electoral advantage of making it about Trump as well since the last election was about it, and they won by 10,000 votes.

MITCHELL: Yes. I think Democrats are working hard on building a coalition that is tired of four years of Trump and they're hoping to, you know, just as much as Loeffler and Perdue are tying themselves to Trump, Democrats are doing the same thing and saying, do you want these types of leaders to remain as your representative at the Senate?

HAYES: Yes. This is -- it's such an interesting question, watching him try to put a stamp on this party in this movement and this faction that's one half of American governance as he's going to go out the door is sort of the key question. And it's going to be a key question for what this year brings right, David?

JOLLY: Oh, it absolutely is. And look, you're seeing that in Perdue not showing up at the debate. One of two things he's seen in the polls, either it is too toxic for him to be and kind of hand to hand engagement with Ossoff or he sees poll that say, Linsey Graham saw against Jamie Harrison which is, if I just keep my mouth shut and ride the MAGA wave, I can get there.

But what does it look like in 2021? You started this segment, Chris, with a most pressing question. What does the Republican Party look like next year? I think that verdict is still out.

HAYES: Well, and it's still out because there's lots of high-stakes questions that are going to be resolved and particularly when the Republicans retain the Senate like, governance of the country will depend on it. Tia Mitchell and David Jolly, thank you both.

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


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