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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, November 12, 2020

Guests: Jed Shugerman, Atul Gawande, Kathleen Sebelius, Jennifer Rubin


Former President Obama in an interview said that President Trump's false election fraud claims is delegitimizing democracy. President Trump's lawyers refuse to echo President Trump's claims of voter fraud. Coronavirus hospitalizations hit a new record high. Governors raise alarms over hospital staffing shortages that will lead to COVID deaths. Republicans are denying the reality of Joe Biden's election win.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: I think that young voters are going to be cheering hearing what you're saying because that is -- that's what my -- that's what my kids are focused on the things that you just talked about. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, thank you so much for joining us this evening. I really appreciate you.

And that is tonight's REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.



BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials who clearly know better are going along with this, are humoring him in this fashion.

HAYES: Republicans maintain the dangerous charade the transition continues, and the Biden margin grows. Tonight, how the Trump campaign is arguing against itself in court and how the Electoral College will show Donald Trump the exit.

Then, the party of COVID. How the Republican Party is increasingly taking the side of the virus after another infection from the election night super spreader. And new alarms over increased fatalities have been staffing shortages in hospitals around the country when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes. We've never really been where we are before in this country. If you're feeling strange, I am, lots of people I know are. There's good reason for that. I mean, in the New York Times legendary reporter Thomas Edsall interviewed a host of scholars and historians, people who study democracy and authoritarianism here and across the world, who characterized Trump's refusal to concede as both unprecedented and extraordinarily dangerous.

While we've had close and contested elections, one said, we've never had a completely manufactured controversy based on no evidence whatsoever purely to maintain power and to overturn a legitimate election. And so, the question of what world we now live in is not an easily answerable one and it's deeply anxiety-producing.

If Trump continues to deny Joe Biden's victory and his legitimacy, another expert told Edsall, it would be a brutal renunciation of American democracy. It would create not simply a fissure, but a chasm in the nation's politics and government. The way that American elections usually work in a kind of functional, institutional, traditional sense, on a legal sense, is that votes are counted, and the media organizations make calls based on those counts, and then the people that lose concede.

And that is what's happening now. It's been happening all over the country in thousands of different races, Republicans and Democrats. For example, today, first-term Democratic Congressman Max Rose, who you may well have seen on our show a number of times, conceded in a very, very, very tough, hard-fought race that he called to congratulate his Republican opponent.

Now, they haven't certified the race yet. Legally, it's not done. He could keep fighting. He could say there's tons of voter fraud or there's some mysterious conspiracy against me to take away the legitimacy, but he's not. Because when you realize you can't win, you concede.

Now, Donald Trump can't win either, but of course, he's incapable of accepting that fact. Trump already lost this election by a pretty big margin. He's likely going to lose it by even more when all votes are counted.

President-Elect Joe Biden has 3.5 percentage point lead over Trump on the popular vote. That's a healthy win. That's more than Obama in 2012. It may well hit four points or even five because of where the outstanding votes are, in heavily Democratic places like Chicago, New York, and Illinois.

In the state of Georgia, Biden's got a 14,000-vote lead. And while the state has not been called, and the Republican Secretary of State plans a hand recount, that same Secretary of State also said he didn't believe that recount would change the vote tally in Georgia. And good for him for saying that because he's right.

Biden is also up by 11,000 votes in Arizona. A call there could come any time. He is likely to have 306 electoral votes, when all said and done, a pretty big cushion when you need 270. But the Republican Party is just kind of allowing perhaps the most notorious liar in American history to just keep denying reality and attacking the fundamentals of American democracy, unchallenged day after day without any real kind of concerted intervention.

It's something that former President Barack Obama says he finds more disturbing than the current president's refusal to accept reality.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are these false claims of widespread election fraud doing to our country right now?

OBAMA: They appear to be motivated in part because the President doesn't like to lose and never admits loss. I'm more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials who clearly know better are going along with this, are humoring him in this fashion. It is one more step in delegitimizing not just the incoming Biden administration, but democracy generally, and that's a dangerous path.


HAYES: To give you a sense of how wildly insane what President Trump and his allies are doing; I want to just take you back to 2004. I know it's ancient history, but I was there at the time. It's when John Kerry lost to George W. Bush. He lost by one state, Ohio, OK. And there was a huge difference between what the exit polls had said and what had been said -- what happened in the election.

And so, on the left, there was speculation that Bush had stolen the election specifically in Ohio where some claim the company Diebold which makes voting machines have manipulated vote counts. Now, there was a reason at the time, people were shocked by the victory, and I understand why people started looking for this as an idea, right?

A lot of the claims that were made were on the Web site Daily Kos, which was a kind of liberal clearinghouse. We used to call it The Blog. There just wasn't any evidence to back it up. It increasingly became clear this was a conspiracy theory and kind of a dangerous one.

The founder of that site, Markos Moulitsas, you may know him, he eventually just stepped in and banned all of the blog posts, the so-called diaries, on his site that were pushing the conspiracy. Later saying, "The same discredited, so-called facts were regurgitated over and over again, and I finally got tired of that. I thought it was destructive.

That's the guy running an extremely progressive blog in 2004 being a far better gatekeeper of truth and discourse and responsible treatment of American democracy than the current president and the entire institutional Republican Party with some notable exceptions. And now the top U.S. cybersecurity official who works on election security and sought to combat election misinformation is reportedly telling people he expects to be fired.

That guy, Chris Krebs, who is still employed as of tonight, and shows you can retain your integrity even while serving the government under Trump. Today, he tweeted this. "Please don't retweet wild and baseless claims about voting machines, even if they're made by the President. These fantasies have been debunked many times."

And they are being made by the president. Earlier today in a claim that was immediately flagged by Twitter, Trump claiming that Dominion voting systems which makes election software had deleted millions of Trump votes. That's a lie. It's nonsense. It's easily debunked, pure garbage from the desperate man.

One way to see what a con it is, is to look at what the Trump lawyers are saying in court versus what they're saying and places on Twitter and Trump TV where you can more or less make all the insane and substantiated claims you want. Because when they walk into court where they're under oath, and where their lawyers whose BAR certification is on the line, language is a lot different.

A Trump lawyer saying in a case in Arizona today, "This is not a fraud case. We are not alleging fraud. We are not saying anyone is trying to steal the election." Donald Trump lost this election. There is no doubt. He is still the president, and while president, he along with his enablers is waging an unprecedented attack on the foundations of our system of democratic legitimacy. So, it's understandable if you're a little freaked out by that.

So, what I wanted to do next is talk about what the law says. What are some of the benchmarks coming up for certifying the election, and what if anything Trump can try to do to stop them? Here to help me do that, someone who knows his stuff in and out, MSNBC Election Law Analysts Edward Foley, the Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law at The Ohio State University.

You know, Ned, we really are seeing like the distance between how we as normal people experienced an election normally, and what the law says about when election is done. So -- and because of the presence refusal to concede, we're sort of getting a window into this. What happens next with the states in terms of their elections and then basically saying, officially, it is over, and then that going to the Electoral College? Walk us through that.

EDWARD FOLEY, MSNBC ELECTION LAW ANALYST: Sure. Well, good to be with you, Chris. So, certification of the returns is the first step. The date for that varies state to state because states get to control the process. Sometimes it's two weeks, sometimes it's three weeks, a couple of states have already done that. It starts at the county level, and then it has to build, you know, to the state level for each state.

Eventually, all that ends up with the appointment of electors based on the statewide certification of the popular vote in each state. And federal law looks for that to be done by December 8th, to give states five weeks between November 3rd, Election Day, and that December 8th, which is sometimes called the Safe Harbor Deadline, because if states meet that date, they get the benefit of Congress saying we're not going to second guess your decision.

So, states can do that before December 8th, some do. We could talk about recounts and other processes, but the basic thing is just the certification.

HAYES: So, let me ask you this. When you say states, who is the one doing the certifying?

FOLEY: Well, it's usually the Secretary of State, sometimes it's something called the state canvassing board. Again, it starts their certification at the local level with the county boards of elections. But in a presidential election, you need that statewide certification, and usually Secretary of State, sometimes a board.

HAYES: So, we've seen a few lawsuits. I'm going to talk with the next guest about sort of these particulars of lawsuits. But we've seen a few lawsuits in the Trump campaign trying to sort of jam a crowbar into the, you know, into the machinery of certification, particularly in counties, particularly I would note in predominantly African American counties or predominantly Democratic counties and say, well, they can't certify, I think is a means of trying to just throw those votes out and then certify the votes without it. That strikes me as a wild Hail Mary that's not going to have a chance. What do you think?

FOLEY: Correct. It's not going to work for a couple of reasons. The basic -- I mentioned December -- I mentioned December 8th, but six days later is December 14, that's the date the electors meet to officially vote for president, each state. You know, as long as the electors that are pledged to Biden, as part of the Democratic Party's slate of electors meet that day, they can send their boats to Congress, and the Congress can accept them on January 6th.

So, if for some strange reason, I don't think it's going to happen, in a state there's a derailment of the certification, the electors can still meet, Congress will have to recognize their validity despite the attempted derailment. So, this idea of trying to delay and somehow deprive Biden of his victory by not having certification is just not going to work.

HAYES: That is -- that is a very concrete and welcome answer. Here's the second question is about this notion that the state legislators are just going to step in, and they would have to do it in two or three states, depending on which states, and say, no, people of Georgia, no people of Arizona, no people of Pennsylvania, no people of Wisconsin, we reject your vote. This election was so tainted by fraud that we will step in and award our electorate to Donald Trump and send them to Electoral College. What about that?

FOLEY: That won't work either because it can't deprive the Biden electors from meeting. The only thing that that could do is create a rival slate of electors that could send their submission to Congress, but then it's up to Congress to pick which of the submissions to accept. And, you know, by my analysis, I think there's no doubt that on January 6th, when Congress meets, Congress is going to accept the Biden's submission. And I could explain it in more detail why that's true.

HAYES: Can you give you the fast version?

FOLEY: Sure. So, basically, if both houses of Congress accept the same submission that controls, so we know the House of Representatives is going to accept the Biden's submission if there's a conflict. And I think we can now be confident that the Senate will as well. And that's because four Republican senators have already come out and congratulated President-Elect Biden's victory. And I think you can count on them to do the right thing.

HAYES: I see. Right, so there's enough that have come out to say yes, Biden is the next president. The math in the Senate won't work either. What I'm hearing is that like the two big points of intervention, this delay certification and choose the electors are essentially both dead ends. That is my takeaway from our discussion.

FOLEY: That's exactly right. And that's because the Senate has reached the magic number in the Senate.

HAYES: I'm going to start talking to you about COVID because I tried to have these COVID conversations where people make me feel better, and that never works out that way. So, thank you, Ned Foley, for being with me tonight. I appreciate it.

FOLEY: Good to see you as always.

HAYES: Now, for more on the President's legal challenges, why they've gone so badly, I'm joined by Jed Shugerman, law professor at Fordham School of Law. You know, Jed, there -- I've lost count of these lawsuits. But you know, it's always hard right with Trump (INAUDIBLE) of like they're equal parts, clownish and kind of terrifying, which is how I describe it. Like, how would you characterize this body of lawsuits they've pursued?

JED SHUGERMAN, LAW PROFESSOR, FORDHAM SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, the body I would describe in the technical term of meritless. You know, so they can't even come up with a solid anecdote of either fraud, or both not being counted. And they really, based upon the numbers that you showed at the top of the show, they would have to be showing us a massive criminal conspiracy of tens, frankly, if of hundreds of thousands of votes to raise the questions on these three different paths to 270.

So, one example is that once in Pennsylvania and in Michigan in the last couple of days, lawyers have presented witnesses that simply ask questions about whether their votes were counted. Judges then turn to those lawyers and said, are you alleging fraud? And here's the great thing about having these court cases, those lawyers know that there'll be sanctioned for misrepresentations or lies. Those -- both of those lawyers retreated and said, no one lawyer said to my knowledge at present, no.

HAYES: Right.

SHUGERMAN: When asked directly, they are denying that they're alleging fraud.

HAYES: Right. And I mean, you even got people who are coming to testify saying they think their vote wasn't counted and then being asked like, well, are you sure your vote wasn't counted? And they're being like, no, I don't know. Like, that -- like, that doesn't work.

SHUGERMAN: That totally doesn't work. If you aren't going to be able to raise any questions about the states at this margin at the -- keep in mind their margins in Arizona and in Georgia, as you said, they're over 10,000 votes. Having a couple of cases where people don't know if their votes were counted is -- has frankly been laughed. Literally judges are laughing. And one judge said, come on now, in response to some of the Trump's lawyers claims. These -- go ahead.

HAYES: Oh, we should just note that one of the -- there's sort of a funny moment today when the Trump campaign filed a wide-ranging lawsuit challenging the vote -- counting votes in Wayne County, Detroit, of course. Not just in a federal district court of Michigan, but in the U.S. Court of federal claims in D.C., which has no jurisdiction in such cases. They just -- they just filed in the wrong court.

SHUGERMAN: Yes, we call this the Four Seasons Total Lawyering, right? I mean, this ploy is effective. If you don't have any substance to your vote fraud claim, then at least you can have just like in the total -- just in the Four Seasons Total Landscaping, people will be asking you why are you here? That's the same -- they filed in a court that has absolutely no jurisdiction over these claims.

You know, at a certain point, my argument is actually that we should be welcoming these claims, precisely because it exposes how little is behind these vote fraud claims. It may be a fiction, but they're -- about whether there was fraud, but the skepticism and --


SHUGERMAN: That's the larger problem. Those are social facts. And so the advantage of the Trump campaign actually litigating it is it exposes how little they have. It debunks the longer term Republican propaganda about there being rampant voter fraud, which is why they make claims and why the Roberts Court has ruled in the favor of things like voter ID, or what they call, you know, vote caging, where they take people off the -- off of the rolls.

I think this actually plays into a longer-term advantage by being able to raise questions about how legitimate these claims are. But the last point I make is, I think Democrats want to be careful about, you know, sort of denouncing litigation over voter fraud because it's not just in two years or four years, but in two months, we're looking at a Georgia runoff where I think there are legitimate concerns about voter suppression.

Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue wrote a remarkable letter asking for the Georgia Secretary of State to resign. And I think that wasn't just (AUDIO GAP). I think that was inviting voter suppression. I think the Democrats want to make sure that they -- when they have this -- when the shoes on the other foot and the tables are turned, they (AUDIO GAP)

HAYES: I really -- I read your piece making this argument, Jed. I really appreciate the kind of like, bring it on and trust the courts. I mean, I tend to be a real somewhat cynical on some of the legal realist, but I think that in this case, we are seeing that like, the law does count for something and you can't just waltz in with total nonsense and expect to get anywhere. And I think that's been a very reassuring aspect of this over the last week, which has not been very reassuring overall. Jed Shugerman, thanks for your time tonight.

SHUGERMAN: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: All right, as COVID cases soar across the country, the Trump ministration is actively harming efforts to fight the virus. We'll look at what needs to be done with one of the incoming COVID task force members next.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They've prolonged the pandemic. That's all I hear about now. That's all I hear. I turn on the television, it's like, COVID, COVID, COVID. COVID, COVID, COVID. A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don't talk about it. COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID. By the way, on November 4th, you won't hear about it anymore.


HAYES: That was Donald Trump's closing pitch to voters in the run-up to the election. The media only talks about COVID to hurt me. You will never hear about it after the election. Obviously not true then. As the pandemic continues to spread out of control across the country, it seems as though defying public health advice and contracting the Coronavirus is now a badge of honor for Republicans who want to prove themselves to Trump.

Today, Trump campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski became at least the fourth person who attended a crowded indoor election night party at the White House to test positive for COVID joining Housing Secretary Ben Carson and David Bossie who's leading Trump's reelection legal challenges that are going so well that you heard about in the previous segment, as well as former Trump campaign Adviser Healy Baumgardner. We wish them all a speedy recovery and good health.

But it is not just the Republicans close to Trump who are recklessly endangering everyone that come in contact with. Yesterday, Republican New York City Councilman Joe Borelli tweeted this out. "I'll be having more than 10 people at my house at Thanksgiving. My address is public record. Some family will come from, gasp, New Jersey. Kids will see their grandparents, cousins will play in the yard, sis-in-law will bring strawberry rhubarb pie and a turkey will be overcooked."

Well, if you watch the show yesterday where we discuss Thanksgiving, you know that part of me understands what Mr. Borelli is talking about. We're all human beings with people we love and miss. But also, we all have a moral responsibility to keep people safe during a once in a century pandemic. A responsibility that Mr. Borelli and a huge part of the Republican Party doesn't seem to recognize.

On a much larger scale, the Republican Party's refusal to allow President-Elect Joe Biden to begin his transition is hurting America's ability to respond to the pandemic and is making things worse for longer. Someone who knows firsthand about the damage done by this delay, Dr. Atul Gawande, a professor at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, now a member of the Biden-Harris transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.

Dr. Gawande, how do you see what your -- what the incoming administration which folks like yourself had to do, what they have to do in the next 65 days to get ready to take the baton even if it's not passed on January 28th to fight the virus?

ATUL GAWANDE, MEMBER OF THE BIDEN-HARRIS COVID-19 ADVISORY BOARD: Here's the situation. We got some tremendous good news this week with Pfizer results on a vaccine that shows us that there is light at the end of the tunnel. And so, now that gives us a target. We have to get the country through that tunnel with all the people we can alive and as many jobs as we can save.

That -- we now have a target. So, you know, the good news is that -- and for a scientist and doctor like me, it is enormous relief to see that the Vice President-Elect Harris and President-Elect Biden have said, this is their top priority coming in on day one. And so, we're -- you know, what I see is they're moving.

HAYES: All right, so we got to get through the tunnel. Obviously, there's no formal power that the President-Elect and the Vice President-Elect have it. I'm running out -- we're all running out of words to describe how bad it is. This is the worst thing we've ever seen in terms of the outbreak. Today, 151,000 cases. We have 67,000 people that are currently hospitalized, shattering the old record of 60,000. The death toll was 1,100.

That thing -- when you look at those -- that red line there, it's almost vertical case growth. And when you look at hospitalization, it's getting close to vertical in hospitalizations. And I think if you look at the positivity rates in a lot of these states, it's pretty clear that the cases are actually lagging, what's really happening. Can we ride this -- like, it seems the plan is to ride this out? And I guess the question is, let's say we do nothing, how bad does it get?

GAWANDE: It's math. And, and the math is simple and it's alarming, right? We have a doubling rate of about four weeks on hospitalizations and deaths. That 67,000 you described, in a month will be double. And moreover, the deaths will go from 1,000 to 2,000 deaths a day. And it's not just about the lives and the harm involved. It's also about the jobs that go along with that.

There's data out of Michigan today from their hospitals showing that when they followed up 60 days after people got out of the hospital, survivors who had had a job before, 40 percent of them had lost their job. Half of them because the job was no longer there for them, and half of them because they simply couldn't go back to work. It's damage to our health and its long-term health, and it's also the economic damage that's going on.

HAYES: So, there's a few things that seem to me important. One is lame-duck Congress passing some kind of rescue package that would allow local policymakers to make public health informed decisions rather than threading these needles that they all are now. And we're watching them torturously not want to kill off the surviving restaurants and the surviving bars, the surviving gyms, all that stuff, so they're making these half measures. So, that's one thing.

I guess the second thing is what else? I mean, it doesn't seem like there's any appetite for lockdowns. The messaging, I guess, matters. Like, if all of MAGA world just went on -- went around telling everyone to take certain precautions, like could that help?

GAWANDE: No. The mix here is we've known it and it's straightforward. It's masks. And we have to -- we have to start requiring that the businesses enforce masks, that that we all come together. You can't just mandate your way into getting everybody to wear masks, but we got to get it over 90 percent. If we do, we turn this around. Second is testing.

HAYES: Wait, let me stop you there. Let me stop you there. You think -- I want to have you there. You think if we could hit -- because I'm looking -- I'm trying to pull myself away from despair. You think that if we could get mask compliance up to 90 percent, we could actually break the back of this current curve?

GAWANDE: Absolutely. It is very clear. It is very clear. And we have parts of the country where we're up above 90, 95 percent, and we have large parts of the country where we're nowhere near there. And, you know, the critical elements are, it's not just outdoors in public, it's also indoors in public, and it has to be combined with, you know -- it's going to be so hard over the holidays when everybody just wants to come together and eat which means taking off the mask.

But, you know, those occasions, the small gatherings go into restaurants and bars are the biggest spreaders. And then, you know, add in weddings and other events like that. Those are -- that's where testing comes in. Hey, if you are going to come together, get tested. Testing is much more accessible now. And we can -- if we get tested, we have a better chance of protecting one another. You have to also follow through that if you test positive you, you isolate.

HAYES: Well, yes, for the love of God.

GAWANDE: You don't go -- well, but I can tell you, I just got off the phone with a state where the infectious disease doctor told me that they're seeing 30 percent up who are not adhering the isolation after testing positive. So, we all got to come to -- this is the thing. We can get through this tunnel, but we've got to -- we've got to have leadership that pulls us together to say we're in this fight together and come across all of our lines to make that possible. It simply doesn't happen if we don't do that.

HAYES: All right, Atul Gawande, a member of the incoming Biden COVID Task Force and a voice of real reason and sanity. Thank you very much.

GAWANDE: Thank you.

HAYES: The growing shortages of everything from beds, to equipment, to staff, and hospitals across America next.


HAYES: Just about every state in the union is dealing with uncontrolled spread of the Coronavirus. The COVID exit strategy map is on fire showing a pandemic that is out of control in 45 states. The hospitals and a lot of those states are filling up fast than they have ever before.

According to COVID Tracking Project, tonight, more than 67,000 Americans are suffering in hospitals with this disease. And the biggest problem with that record-breaking number is not just physical capacity. It's not just beds, it is staffing. Back in the spring, when the U.S. outbreak was fairly localized in New York and then in Detroit and around New Orleans, hospital staff came from all over the country to help those places out.

This time around in North Dakota, the governor just announced that health care workers who are infected but asymptomatic can continue working at hospitals and nursing homes. In Texas, hundreds of medical personnel are being sent to West Texas, and hospitals are in danger of being overwhelmed. State officials across the country are sounding the alarm.


GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): Last week, we were at almost 2000 COVID patients in our hospitals. And today, one week later, we are now approaching 3,000.

GOV. GARY HERBERT (R-UT): Again, we're at a breaking point and ready to have some serious repercussions because of that challenge.

GOV. GINA RAIMONDO (D-RI): The staff in the hospitals are exhausted, emergency rooms are overflowing and staff shortages are becoming a real issue.

JULIE WILLEMS VAN DIJK, DEPUTY SECRETARY, WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES: COVID-19 is everywhere in our state. It is bad everywhere and it's getting worse everywhere. It is straining hospitals and people are dying.


HAYES: The Daily Beast's Erin Banco has been reporting on Nemaha County, Kansas where hospitals and nursing homes are facing dire staffing shortages that endanger the ability to provide care. As a former governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, very familiar with the needs of these rural hospitals, also served as Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration, and she joins me now.

I've been hearing more and more, whether it's in the Greenberry area of Wisconsin or El Paso, Texas, or Nemaha in in Kansas, staffing shortages are the real crunch sort of supply issue right now.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, FORMER SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: I think that's right, Chris. Staffing is critical, because the limited number of ICUs in rural hospitals is already a shortage, then you don't have trained personnel. The reason that the death rate has gone down, fortunately, with the number of cases is that you have people who are experts at dealing with very sick patients, and they've learned some things along the way. They've learned some things in these last eight months.

But if you don't have ICU available, if you don't have the right equipment, and if you don't have the right personnel, that's just not going to happen. In Kansas, it took us six months to get to the first 500 deaths. And as 500 too many, it took six weeks to get to the second 500 deaths. And that's a terrifying trajectory.

We are part of the country where we're in the red zone and cases are rising and they're rising in these small rural communities. We had an outbreak in my husband's home county of Norton, Kansas in a small nursing home where 61 of the 61 patients were positive. They've already had 10 deaths, they've got staff positive, and there's no place to send people in that surrounding area.

I mean, they're trying to move very ill patients in regional areas, but unlike a natural disaster, where if it hits -- a tornado hits in our state, you borrow equipment, you get personnel, you get help. This is everywhere. And it's really terrifying in communities that just don't have the capacity or the staffing.

HAYES: That story is really awful and it's something that I think we're going to see more of. And, to me, it also shows just how intellectually bankrupt the notion is, which I think has been pushed by Scott Atlas and adopted by the President, that you can let it spread and just deal with it on the treatment end, right. That if people get better -- you know, if the hospitals get better at treatment, and we get, you know, we get better at figuring out how to help people, that we could -- we could backstop it there and you can just let it spread. And what you just said, I mean, the hospital capacity issue, all that treatment stuff goes out the window if they meltdown.

SEBELIUS: Yes, you're absolutely right. I mean, in the last eight months, the good news is there are some better treatments. There are definitely some better trainings that have gone on where people have learned things. But if you don't have the capacity, if you don't have the personnel, and as your wise health care providers say, you can build extra beds, you can borrow extra beds, you can clear out space, but if you don't have the personnel to staff that space, it really doesn't matter.

So, what we're talking about is areas and large swaths of the country that have major areas without an ICU without the ability to attract a critical care nurse or doctor that don't have the ability to do anything but send them to a regional center, which is likely already full, and then the region next to it is likely already full.

So, we're looking at a terrible catastrophe in in rural America. And so far, at least, as far as I can tell, the President of the United States has said absolutely nothing. As this virus is out of control across the country, we hear nothing from a man who will be the president for the next almost 10 weeks. And these are going to be some very dangerous weeks ahead.

HAYES: There's also -- we're starting to see crunches on PPE, personal protective equipment again. And we're seeing some testing crunches, lines for testing. And one of the -- one of the lessons is just from around the country, you can see some of the headlines here, N-95 masks and other issues. You know, no human supply chain is equipped to deal with exponential spread. Like, we just -- we don't -- we as humans, we can't do exponential increase in capacity the way a virus can do it exponential increase in patients. So, you'll -- if you try to race the virus, you're going to lose.

SEBELIUS: Well, the other thing that is very true is we didn't, as far as I can tell, use the intervening months when the virus went down somewhat in states around the country, to ramp way up production in this country. This is a global pandemic. We have major capitals in Europe shutting down as we speak. So, the notion that we can tap into an international supply chain, we can get equipment from other places is delusional because everybody in the world is going to be looking for the same equipment.

And we failed to again, invoke the Defense Production Act, ramp up the production here, so we were ready for this period. And you're right, I think shortages of PPE is likely to be one of the issues people are dealing with, again, in the United States. We seem not to have learned anything. And nursing homes are seeing, again, a surge in cases and that's really terrifying.

HAYES: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS, Governor of Kansas, thank you very much.

SEBELIUS: Good to talk to you.

HAYES: The presidential election was decisive, but what if it hadn't been? How willing Republicans seem to be to have stolen a closer election? Ahead.


HAYES: For all the phony and insidious voter fraud stories being pushed by the President and his supporters, there are some dirty tricks we've seen in this whole election and they seem to keep coming from the Republican side. There's a story out of Florida which is really something where some real sketchy activity seems to be taking place.

It's in State Senate District 37, that's in Miami Dade County, where an unaffiliated third candidate named Alex Rodriguez, never campaigned, never fundraised, never even released a photo of himself which is weird when you're running for office, he happened to have the same last name as the Democratic candidate in the race, Jose Javier Rodriguez.

Now, local reporters in Miami thought it was a little weird, and they dug around and found evidence that Alex Rodriguez is one of three candidates in three separate Florida State Senate races who were essentially plants funded by dark money, put on the ballot with the sole intention of siphoning votes away from Democratic candidates.

Local 10 news in Miami found a set of suspicious similarities between the Rodriguez character and another no party affiliated candidate nearby district 39, 81-year-old retiree Celso Alfonso, who both initially lied about their identities when confronted by reporters. For his part, Alfonso claims to have filed on his own and that no one assisted him.

But Rodriguez and Alfonso both had recently been registered Republicans, they both qualified as candidates on the very same day, June 12. They both listed Gmail addresses with identical patterns, first initial, last name, district number, and 2020. And their support appears to come from the same political action committee called Our Florida.

That PAC had won a single expenditure, $370,000 on campaign flyers, and it had just one contribution exactly $370,000 two days earlier from an entity that traces back to a mailbox at a UPS store in Atlanta.

In District 37, where Alex Rodriguez got 6,300 votes, that's the guy with no picture, the Democratic incumbent officially lost that race today by just 34 votes following a manual recount. This is a sort of race that needs to be carefully looked at, and other places around the country where something similar might have taken place.

But make no mistake about it, the presidential election, its outcome will not be determined by dirty tricks. But if the race were closer, well, it does look like Republicans would absolutely be willing to go there. We'll talk about that next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senators, did Vice President Biden win the election?

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AI): We don't know yet, do we?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you congratulated President-Elect Biden yet?

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): Well, first off, we need to finish all the votes. All the votes need to be counted. I mean, not votes, but we need to have all the votes counted. So, I look forward to the finish -- to that being finished.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, have you congratulated Vice President Biden yet?



JOHNSON: Nothing to congratulate him about yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe that Vice President Biden should be receiving security briefing?

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-SD): I do think they're going to have to work that out in very short order. Look, one of these two men will be the President of the United States after the election results have come in.


HAYES: One of them, who knows. I mean, look, we're used to the genre of Republican senator cowardly kind of trying to navigate like the latest Trump outrage. In this case, it's not he said a mean tweet about someone, he's saying he should stay in power against the will of the people because the vote was rigged. And yet, we still get the same kind of quisling behavior.

Mehdi Hassan is the host of the Mehdi Hassan show on Peacock TV, the NBC Universal Streaming Service, and Jennifer Rubin is an opinion writer at the Washington Post where she recently wrote, "Republicans may never have the nerve to quit Trump."

Jennifer, let me -- let me start with you on this. I mean, I think the psychology here is interesting, because it's not unexpected. This is how they have behaved for four years, more or less. But the stakes seem higher to me here. Like, do you acknowledge it? And all this reporting about well, give him his time. He needs his blankie, he needs -- you know, he needs his naps, and everyone just be easy with them, and then we'll get around to it. But like, will they get around to it?

JENNIFER RUBIN, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: This is my question. And they always have some excuse not to. Oh, well, we have the Georgia senate elections coming up. Oh, well, we don't want him running as a third-party candidate. Oh, we don't want him messing up somebody's campaign for Senate.

There is always an excuse to enable this guy to suck up to him. And they live in dire fear of him and his redheaded horde and -- red-hatted horde rather. And I think that mentality is not going to disappear for a long time. And you know, behind him is Don Jr. or Eric they will always find a way to cower because they live in fear that the base which they need to rip up and make nuts and make crazy will turn around and come after them.

And so they are in perpetual fear and they will put up for anything and everything. And you're right, this is huge stakes. But for them it's all the same. Impeachment, we got to humor him. Democracy, we got to humor him.

HAYES: You know, Mehdi, part of what I find infuriating here are these statements from Republican officials that like are extensively reasonable but actually completely insidious. They're the functional equivalent of someone saying, like, Look, I want to get to the bottom of all the facts and let the investigations go where they're going to go, and determine definitively whether my opponent is a child molester or not. Like, you know, it's like, well, we see what you're doing. So, all this stuff about well, he has every right to file these lawsuits and we need to count the votes. Like, we know what we're what you're doing.

MEHDI HASAN, PEACOCK TV HOST: Yes. I'm not saying that 911 was an inside job, I'm just asking questions. As the classic conspiracy theorist --

HAYES: Exactly. I'm just asking questions.

HASAN: As the conspiracy theorists retort, and they are conspiracy theorists, and they are following a conspiracy theorist in the White House. And this is the story of this election. Let's not make it just about Trump. We expected this from Trump. Trump is the carnival barker who's going to go onto Twitter and say nonsense, right? Nonsense.

But for the entire Republican Party, what four out of 53 senators, less than one in 10 senators have congratulated Trump on his victory, similarly, a shoddy number in the House of Representatives have done the same. The entire party almost is behind the President as he tries to steal -- tries and fails to steal an election. It's outrageous.

And they have been his enablers from the very beginning. They stood by him with his -- you know, they enabled his violent rhetoric. They enable his actual violence on the streets of Washington D.C., his racism, his white nationalism, his open attacks on key democratic institutions in this country, the Free Press, the Department of Justice, the court, the election itself.

And so, you know, the story is we shouldn't buy into this Joe Biden line, they'll have an epiphany after he's gone. No, this is who they are. We call them the GOP. There's nothing grand about them. A new study out today out of Sweden says that they're more authoritarian or as authoritarian as the Hungarian party of government of Viktor Orban as the Turkish Government.

HAYES: Yes, this is -- I want to -- this study that was written up in the Washington Post today about sort of this authoritarian trend lines and public opinion among Republican voters here, and I think this is really worrying. I think, you know, one of the things, Jennifer, that is really striking me about the modern GOP and the Trump era is that it views itself fundamentally as a kind of minority movement in some ways, like -- or that if democracy gives it the wrong answer, then the worst for democracy.

It's not like this sort of expansive -- for political perspective, like Nixon and Reagan, I think, who were we don't have to get into the substance of them, had a political vision that like we can win a majority of Americans, and we will do that, and we will govern. This idea that like, well, if we can't win, well, then, the worst for democracy.

RUBIN: This is the exact gameplan of a group who doesn't have a message, doesn't have a majority. They're part of a diminishing demographic. And so, they do what people who can't win in a democracy do, and that is they become authoritarian. They begin to undermine democracy. It's their only hope.

That's what voter suppression is about. That's what disinformation is about. That's what attack on institutions is all about. Then, you slowly, slowly increased power by simply running over the lines of democracy, and you intimidate, bully people. And this is how a non-representative minority stays in power.

And we've seen it over and over again in history. It's made worse because of situations like the Electoral College in the United States and the U.S. Senate, which is heavily tilted in their favor. So, this is their M.O. And you're right, it is not a political party anymore. It's a push. It's an authoritarian band of thugs and this is how they are intending to operate. Policy is not of any concern. Governance is not of any concern. This is raw power.

HAYES: Mehdi, the irony here is that it actually -- he just won 73 million votes that they won -- they're going to pick up 11 House seats. They won a bunch in Senate. Like, he is actually popular. Lots of people like the Republican Party, there's lots of conservatives in America, they're all over the country. They're in New York, and they're in Kansas. You can win. Like, all of this -- running around saying the election is fraud when you just pick up 10 seats.

HASAN: Yes, they represent a very large minority. They don't represent the majority, but they do represent a big enough minority to rule in a system which leans towards minority rule. And just to -- just to remind it to your viewers, look at the people who got elected. Governor Greg Gianforte in Montana, he just won the governorship. This is a guy who openly assaulted a Guardian reporter. Trump praised him for it. Marjorie Taylor Green, QAnon, now in Congress. Facebook had to take that a picture of her with a gun next to members of the squad threatening them with a gun.

These are the people who are entering office now elected by the GOP. It's openly authoritarian and violent.

HAYES: Mehdi Hasan and Jennifer Rubin, thank you both. That is ALL IN on this Thursday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" with Ali Velshi in for Rachel starts now. Good evening, Ali.


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