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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, November 16, 2020

Guests: Amy Gardner, David Jolly, Vanita Gupta, Kate Brown, John Podesta


Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told "The Washington Post" that he was being pressured by the Republicans, including Senator Lindsey Graham, to throw away legal ballots. The United States' health system is strained amid the COVID-19 surge. The White House attacks the governor of Oregon over their COVID safety measure. Moderna announces that they have a 94.5 effective vaccine.


DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Biden has to find a way to sniff around the edges of whatever the Trump coalition is. You know, the policy --


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Yes. And he's not going to have much choice. David Corn, Michael Steele, I can't keep talking because we're going to be in another person's show. I got to stop you, guys. That it's tonight's REIDOUT. I appreciate you, guys. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.



SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If Republicans don't challenge and change the U.S. election system, they will never be another Republican president elected again.

HAYES: Election interference from Senator Lindsey Graham. Why the Republican Secretary of State of Georgia says the Senator from South Carolina is calling him about tossing out legal ballots. We'll talk to the reporter who broke the story. Then --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Atlas, could you clarify your comments asking people in Michigan to rise up against COVID restrictions?

HAYES: As the virus rages on, why Donald Trump's COVID whisper is under fire like never before.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: What is the matter with these guys? What is the matter with them?

HAYES: And some more good news on the vaccine front. Laurie Garrett takes us through what it means for getting back to normal when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. Happy Monday. I'm Chris Hayes. We have breaking news tonight that shows just how deep the rot in the Republican Party goes. But before getting to that, and we will in just a moment, take a step back just to sort of survey the last few weeks since the election, right.

The most charitable thing someone could say about the bulk of the institutional Republican Party at the national level in the wake of the election that Donald Trump lost is that they're just kind of ignoring and pretending that Donald Trump is not having a total meltdown and attempting to torch American democracy.

The nicest thing that can be said about the Mitch McConnells of the world, for instance, is that they are just letting him have his tantrum and hoping it all goes away. That's the best, the very best, most charitable thing you can say about them. We have evidence tonight that that is not what is happening, that they are actually collaborating with Donald Trump in attempting to overthrow the results of a free and fair election.

Because today, Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told The Washington Post he has come under increasing pressure from Republicans, including Senator Lindsey Graham, to throw away legal ballots. I'll quote. "Graham asked whether Raffensperger had the power to toss all mail ballots in counties found to have higher rates of non-matching signatures, Raffensperger said. Raffensperger said he was stunned that Graham appear to suggest that he find a way to toss legally cast ballots. Absent court intervention, Raffensperger doesn't have the power to do what Graham suggested as counties administer elections in Georgia. It sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road, he said."

The Republican Secretary of State in Georgia says that South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pressured him to dump legally cast ballots in a state where Donald Trump is losing by a relatively narrow margin. Now, Graham told the Wall Street Journal reporter tonight, "That's ridiculous. What I'm trying to find out was how do you verify signatures for mail-in ballots in these states? I thought it was a good conversation. I'm surprised to hear him characterize it that way."

OK, but what on earth was the Senator from South Carolina and the chair Judiciary Committee doing talking to a state election official in Georgia amidst a presidential recount? Mark Elias, the lawyer who has been fighting against Republican legal challenges across the country, responded to the story saying, "This is both outrageous and should be investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee."

Now, as you'll remember, on election night, it did look like President Trump was winning in Georgia, though the New York Times predicted otherwise late in the night. But as votes came in from democratic counties around Atlanta, that lead slipped away. As it stands now, NBC News has called the state for President-Elect Biden who's leading by, and this really is somewhat surprising, 14,000 votes. And the state's two incumbent senators are both headed to a runoff election on January 5th.

And the Secretary of State Raffensperger has announced of a risk-limiting audit, which is a sort of canvassing of the votes that will trigger a statewide recount. Now, 14,000 votes may not seem like a lot, but it is a lot in terms of recounts. It is very unlikely the recount will change anything significantly. In fact, here is what Secretary of State Raffensperger said today before speaking to the Washington Post.


BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, SECRETARY OF STATE OF GEORGIA: When people are out there making boldface lies, you just have to call it out with facts. We were basically fact-bombing them with the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lieutenant governor of your state said today that there have been no examples that he's seen a systemic fraud or improprieties, and then it certainly appears first that Joe Biden is the president-elect. Do you agree with him?


HAYES: (AUDIO GAP) takes a deep breath to say like the obvious truth that we all know. The general complaint from Donald Trump and his allies seems to be, how dare you not fix us in election in our favor, fellow Republican. And rather than accept the very plain results of the presidential election, the Republican Party has resorted to eating their own, and now just like flirting with outright criminal behavior, lawless, yanking away at an election result.

One thing that's become more and more clear in the two weeks since Election Day is this isn't like an indulging Trump thing. There's something deeply depraved here. The Republican Party is willing to do just about anything in order to maintain power. And we're just seeing how wildly dangerous it is when the President is creating political conditions for the entire Republican Party to join him in essentially seeking to overthrow or ignore the results in a democratic election. And they don't have any problem with that.

With me now, the reporter who broke the story that Lindsey Graham pressured Georgia, Secretary of State to throw legal ballots, Washington Post National Reporter Amy Gardner. Great, great scoop and great reporting. And all on-the-record interview with a key official is excellent journalism. What's the context of this conversation?

AMY GARDNER, NATIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think the context of the conversation is a real growing mountain of frustration on the part of Secretary Raffensperger about these baseless accusations and sort of pressure that he's been under since Election Day really, to kind of get in line and talk about the potential that fraud actually is the only reason that Joe Biden could have won in Georgia.

And Brad Raffensperger didn't want to do that. And he's been trying to keep his head down. And he's been trying to support the local election officials who are actually ones with the power to count the votes and canvass the votes and report the votes up and certified them county by county by county.

And I think it took a turn for the personal for Brad Raffensperger in a couple of ways. First of all, he has been called, you know, a RINO, Republican In Name Only. A congressman from Georgia has said that he's capitulated to the Democrats by not talking about fraud. And then his wife and he both received death threats over text messaging in the past several days. And I think he really hit a breaking point where he wasn't going to stand by it anymore.

HAYES: Republican Congressman Doug Collins, who has -- who sort of unsuccessfully ran in that Senate runoff for a Kelly Loeffler seat has sort of appointed himself or been appointed as the kind of Trump campaign, you know, general -- field general down in Georgia. You know, he's been going after Raffensperger. All these people know each other. They're all state -- they're all Republicans in the state of Georgia.

And he's -- you know, Raffensperger said that Collins is leading the President's effort in Georgia. He called him a liar and a charlatan?


HAYES: Clearly, I mean, this is someone -- you know, Raffensperger is a pretty conservative guy, and he is definitely like a made man in the Georgia Republican Party. This is not a never-Trumper. This is not a liberal. This is a guy who saw his view is to administer a free and fair election. And he's, I think, taken aback by what doing that has brought upon him.

GARDNER: I think that's right. And I also think that he doesn't think that the Republicans are being very smart politically here. I mean, you know, the argument for all of this wrath coming down on his head and, and also just sort of the rhetoric that sort of impugns all the local election officials, arguably is to help Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who have this runoff election on January 5th, because everybody knows that Donald Trump is still talking about fraud, even though there's been no evidence to suggest that any one of these close states that decided the outcome had any widespread fraud on a measurable level.

But so, the fear is that Donald Trump is going to tweet something. He's going to tweet pleasure at Senator Loeffler or Senator Perdue. But what I think some of the other Republicans in the camp of Raffensperger who see this election being administered fairly and legally and ethically, I think their view is that that's not smart politically. That sort of, you know, casting doubt on the election is a distraction that does the opposite of unifying the Republican Party at a time when they need to get all of their voters out again just in a few short weeks.

And one of the biggest accusations of alleged fraud going on in Georgia is that the manufacturer of the voting machines, a Colorado-based company called Dominion Voting Service, is like some leftist Venezuela-linked, you know, (INAUDIBLE), you know player that stole votes from Donald Trump in Georgia.

And that is actually causing Republicans like on social media in Georgia saying, I don't know if I want to use these machines on January 5th. Everyone is saying these machines are terrible. And it doesn't seem very smart for the Republicans either.

HAYES: Right. Amy Gardner who's a reporter for The Washington Post who broke that story in that interview with Brad Raffensperger, the Secretary of State Georgia, thank you so much for making time for us tonight.

I want to bring in David Jolly, from Congress from Florida who quit the Republican Party in the first year of Trump's presidency, and Vanita Gupta, former Acting Assistant Attorney General, head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division under President Obama.

David, let me start with you. I'm Lindsey Graham. I mean, whoa, dude.

DAVID JOLLY, FORMER CONGRESSMAN OF FLORIDA: I mean, you can -- you can try to say, well, I was just talking about the mail-in ballots, but calling up a secretary of state in a state that's actively involved in a recount in which the President is driving home this toxic nonsense about fraud and floating the idea of can you throw out a bunch of legal ballots, that is bad, bad, bad news.

JOLLY: Yes, Chris, and kind of affirms my decision to leave the Republican Party, I suppose, in many ways, because this is the behavior of today's modern GOP. Look, whether or not a crime was committed in Georgia, and certainly there could be by who knows whom, among the Republican Party. But whether or not a crime was committed, what we do know is the likes of Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, Doug Collins, or others -- and others are committing a fraud on American democracy.

They are defrauding the American people and they are breaking the back of our republic one malevolent act at a time. And what I would say to Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy and others is this. You are the reason, not Donald Trump. You are the reason that 20 to 30 percent of the American public will forever question the legitimacy of the 2020 election. You are the reason where Senate and Congressional leaders have eras gone by, the lions of the Senate, would have led the nation towards truth, and would have -- would have checked this president with his lies, you have followed him.

You have followed this charlatan. And you are the reason that now a broad section of the American people question our own democracy and our own elections. And that is a hard legacy. Look, Donald Trump will come and go, and every one of these politicians on Capitol Hill know it. They don't give an ounce of dirt about Donald Trump. They will be going to Joe Biden for their White House access and their parties and so forth. They will find their own political benefit and new relationships when he's gone.

But what is tough is that they will have shared and affirmed with the American people reasons to question this election, and it's awful. How do you explain to the next person that's going to enlist to fight for this country, that you're fighting for a country that somehow does not have legitimate elections, that Joe Biden was not the next president? How do you explain that? They don't. And that's their legacy, not Donald Trump's.

HAYES: Vanita, I think we've all sort of struggled a little bit to characterize what we've seen unfold over the last two weeks. You know, it's -- you know, there's a Spanish turnout, they'll go pay, which is like a self-coup when you stay in power, even though people have voted you -- voted you out. I think there's been a desire not to bolster the preposterous claims of the president or seat him authority by saying, well, will he go or won't, he's going to go. He lost.

But the Graham disclosure is really unnerving about what it says about what they are willing to do, what lines are willing to walk up to and step over. Like, if this had come down to one state, if it had been 5,000 votes in one state, like, they all look like they're kind of down to clown.

VANITA GUPTA, FORMER ACTING ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes. I mean, I think what is really distressing about today's disclosure is the degree to which leaders, Republican leaders are going up behind questioning election officials, judge and election officials who, as you said, you know, Raffensperger, a no liberal, you know, he's receiving death threats. He is, you know, having his own integrity and the integrity of the elections questioned in Georgia.

And these Republican leaders are going up questioning the way he is conducting and administering elections the way Georgia local election officials are. And to me, the greatest harm here is for Georgia voters. These kinds of comments undermine our democracy. They undermine voters' faith in our elections. They make people question whether we have legitimate elections at a time where the voters very clearly decided in a not that ambiguous vote tally around the country that Joe Biden would be President of the United States.

And so, you know these -- the attacks on Dominion Voting Services, I ultimately believe that this is going to come back and haunt Georgia Republican candidates in the runoffs ironically here, because you've got two elections coming up in Georgia on January 5th. And to be questioning and trying to undermine the democratic process and election officials in Georgia for running an election where there's absolutely no evidence that anything went wrong, and in fact, the opposite, to me, this is ultimately going to potentially undermine Georgia Republican voters as Amy Gardner said. And that will be the greatest irony of all.

HAYES: Well, and David, it strikes me too that there's a danger here. Like, this is -- they're putting political pressure on local Republican officials. So, you know, kudos to Brad Raffensperger, honestly. Like, well, dude. Like, kudos to him for having some integrity here and for not bowing to it. But the President is like soliciting a primary challenge from Mike DeWine because he said Biden is the, you know, going to be the next president.

Every Republican in the country knows the score. If you -- if you're some election official somewhere, you know you're -- now you get pressured unless you fix the election for the Republicans.

JOLLY: Yes, look, Chris, Donald Trump's corruption has been contagious among people that we thought perhaps would be immune from it. And I think that's what we're trying to reconcile. And at times, you can't reconcile it. You just have to call it what it is, which is election fraud, possibly criminal activity.

This is a party that has lost seven of the last eight national elections. We know that. And so, they're going to engage in rigging the election as best as I can. But this conversation, Chris, this is -- this is the worst-case scenario. We get wrapped up in our partisan allegiances. Trump, Biden, we get wrapped up in the binary fight between the parties. Whether or not Donald Trump will leave office, he will leave office. He'll become a tenant on January 20th that's overstayed.

The worst possible scenario, though, for all of us, what our body politic is not prepared for, is that doubt that can be created within 20 to 30 percent of our public to question the legitimacy of our election. And the danger, the damning part of this, Chris, is that this is happening with the bully pulpit of the President of the United States and the enablers in the United States Senate that wear Republican jerseys.

There is no excuse for it. It is dangerous. And it will break us as a nation and there's no fix for it other than strong pure leadership.

HAYES: 20 to 30 percent is optimistic, David. I hope it's just that. David Jolly and Vanita Gupta, thank you both for making time tonight.

JOLLY: Thank you.

HAYES: All right, tonight as the pandemic spreads just unchecked across the country, we are hearing utterly horrifying accounts and what that looks like in frontline workers. Meanwhile, the man in charge of the federal response is out there is spreading misinformation that will almost certainly endanger American lives. More on that next.


HAYES: We're hitting a breaking point with COVID. And I can tell you about the record cases and hospitalizations and the strain on our hospitals and our health care workers and the families of folks that are dying or in misery, spike in deaths. But this, this caught my eye. This sort of capture what the breaking point looks like in real terms.

What you're looking at is one of the worst-hit places in the country. It's El Paso, Texas, an incredible city, a great place on the border, where bodies are being stored in refrigerated trailers because the morgue in El Paso is overwhelmed. And inmates from the county detention facility dressed in prison stripes and PPE, being paid just $2 an hour, to help process the unrelenting crush of dead bodies.

One nurse at a strained El Paso hospital, Lawanna Rivers saying the sickest COVID-19 patients are put in a doctorless room called the pit, that they are given three chances to be revived before workers have to let them die.


LAWANNA RIVERS, NURSE: My first day of orientation, I was told that whenever patients go into the pitch, they only come out in the body bag. I have been doing COVID assignments since April, so this was my fifth COVID assignment, and yet I have never experienced and have no word for what I just experienced in El Paso, Texas.


HAYES: This woman has been fighting the pandemic for nine months. She's been in five assignments. She was in New York. She spent her whole life in the last nine months fighting this thing. And look, that's what a breaking point looks like.

El Paso has been trying to do something to make things a little less horrible. On October 29, their local county judge, Ricardo Samaniego, the top elected official in El Paso who you've had on this show on this topic, ordered a strict two-week shutdown of all non-essential businesses in defiance of the Texas Republican Attorney General and the governor. And there is some evidence it was working.

El Paso has been reversing its spike in the wake of that order. You can see it there. The incidence is coming down on this chart. But the state sued to reverse the shutdown order. And on Friday, an appeals court ruled against El Paso shut down even as those bodies continue to fill the mobile morgues.

And look, no one -- no one wants to tell people they can't go out or to put businesses out of business or prevent Americans from going about their normal lives. But at some point, you reach a breaking point. And that's where we are now, we are breaking. We are at the breaking point. There are too many cases for hospitals to handle.

In North and South Dakota, one doctor said things are as bad as it gets anywhere in the world with many hospitals in largely rural North Dakota, capacity as of last week, and keep in mind there's about 12 more days of cases coming for them. With the state hospital system approaching meltdown, North Dakota's Republican Governor Doug Burgum reversed course and issued a mask mandate and other restrictions late Friday night after resisting such steps for months.

Other governors are trying to do something about this devastating spike as well. In Michigan, which again was very hard hit earlier this year, Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer is now temporarily barring indoor dining, one of the riskiest activities, we know this, as well as in-person instruction at high schools and colleges and ordering the temporary closure some businesses including movie theaters and casinos. Again, high-risk locales.

Now, this is not a full shelter in place order. She's keeping elementary middle schools open, many businesses, even gyms are still allowed to operate. And what you see what we're doing is what policymakers cross country doing, trying to balance all these competing interests while also not seeing her state decimated by the virus.

And then what happens? Along comes this guy, COVID's best ally in the White House outside the president, Scott Atlas, a name that will live in infamy, I have no doubt, a right-wing radiologist with zero public health expertise who got in front of the president by going on Trump TV during the earlier months of the pandemic, and then got hired, and then managed to take over essentially the nation's entire COVID strategy and push the entire country towards an approach in which the virus would be left to burn through the populace.


SCOTT ATLAS, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS ADVISER: When there are high-risk people, we must protect them. But we don't lock down the schools and we do not -- the goal of policy is absolutely not to stop all spread of COVID-19 to asymptomatic or very low-risk individuals.


HAYES: That's what he said. You got to protect the high-risk people, right, but we're not trying to stop the spread. Let it spread, and then we're going to protect the high-risk people. Guess what's happening to the high-risk people right now? Who do you think is in those hospitals and in the long-term care facilities? Who do you think constitutes the names of the dead over 1,000 day after day, Scott Atlas?

I mean, this guy is probably more responsible for our record cases and hospitalizations for spiking deaths than any other policymaker in America. Washington Post Editorial today stating bluntly, Scott Atlas' rabble-rousing will lead to illness and death. He should be fired.

And then when a governor who isn't some right-wing think tank funky, right, who actually has people she's responsible for the health and safety of, when she tries to take some steps to slow the spread, like Governor Gretchen Whitmer is doing in Michigan, well, here's Scott Atlas. "The only way this stop is if people rise up. You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters, #StepUp."

He wants people to "rise up." That's what he said. Perhaps you'll recall that Governor Whitner was the target of a fairly advanced alleged right-wing terror plot to kidnap her and then execute her on camera because of her COVID response.

Atlas later claimed he was never talking at all about violence. He just wanted people to vote in protests, which first of all, everyone just voted like two weeks ago. Second, the protests at Michigan State Capitol earlier this year were pretty scary and attended by some of the people who've been plotted to kidnap and kill Whitmer.

And just even putting all that aside, Atlas is actively rooting on the virus trying to extract a political penalty from people who are doing the best they can under abominable circumstances.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Atlas, could you clarify your comments asking people in Michigan to rise up against COVID restrictions? The White House told states to handle the COVID response so why are you contradicting the governor particularly when you don't have any training in infectious disease?


HAYES: This nation has suffered through an absence of federal leadership since the pandemic started, or actually the presence of malignant leadership. And it's now suffering in the absence of federal testing strategy and federal rescue dollars. It's at the mercy of a virus that Scott Atlas and Donald Trump are again essentially promoting. They want the virus to spread. They have said as much. Here's how the president-elect responded to the stance embraced by Scott Atlas.


BIDEN: The idea that the President's now existing, remaining advisor on COVID is saying that they should resist. What's the matter with these guys? What is the matter with them? Resist? You know, every major individual of any consequence in the health field is saying we can save -- we can save 100,000 lives just between now and January 21st by wearing these masks.


HAYES: That man, President-Elect Joe Biden does not become president for 65 more days. Until then, state and local officials are on their own as they face the darkest winter of our lifetime. In Oregon, Democratic Governor Kate Brown is now facing a backlash for a 14-day statewide freeze she instituted in Friday. And I'll talk to Governor Brown about her thinking and the political challenges of fighting this pandemic right after this. Don't go anywhere.


HAYES: On a Friday, in an effort to flatten the COVID curve, Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown announced a statewide two-week freeze, which will limit restaurants and bars takeout only, closed gyms, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities during that period. Also included, a limit on social gatherings to more no more than six people with the possibility of a fine or arrest for violating the order.

In response, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany attack Brown as a "radical leftist governor of Oregon. Adding, this is absurd leftist control, not the American way." And Governor Kate Brown of Oregon joins me now.

Governor, can you talk us through how you thought through the competing imperatives and policymaking at this very fraught moment?

GOV. KATE BROWN (D-OR): Absolutely. Hospitalizations are rising sharply in Oregon. Our hospitals are being stretched to capacity. Some in the metropolitan Portland area have begun to stop surgeries to preserve beds and staff capacity. Our nurses and our doctors and our physician's assistants have been working day and night for the last nine months.

They're exhausted. They're stretched to the edge of their capacity as well. And case counts of more than doubled toppling more than 1100 dollar -- 1,100 per day.

HAYES: So -- OK, so this is action. I mean, one thing that's been the sort of north star for policymakers is save the hospital system from melting down that was the imperative to flatten the curve in the beginning part of this pandemic. But it's more complicated now, right?

There's a lot of things fatigue among the populace in being told they can't do things. People got used to loosened restrictions over the summer. And also, there's no federal -- I mean, back in April, it looks like there's going to be some federal rescue package, right? Money was going to come down for businesses. There's nothing now. So, if you close down bars and they go out of business, it's like, peace tough.

BROWN: That's exactly right. What is really, really clear is that the Trump administration has left the states on their own to deal with this pandemic. Our governors are truly on the front lines. We're looking for every dollar that we can to help keep families together, to help them stay in their rental apartment or their house.

We're working every single day to figure out how we ensure that our small businesses can make it through this pandemic. And then on top of all, you have Dr. Atlas criticizing the work of one of our governors. It's absolutely outrageous and absolutely unacceptable.

So, my goal is to protect health and the safety of Oregonians. We're in the business right now of saving lives. And I am absolutely focused on it. It is so imperative that our federal administration come forward with a second tranche of Coronavirus relief funding. Our businesses are desperate, our people need the resources. This is extremely challenging, and we need help from our federal government. We need it now.

HAYES: Has your office has been in touch with anyone with the President-Elect's transition team? Is there channels of communication happening there?

BROWN: Well, my former chief of staff is currently working on the transition team so we do have a connection. And Nik Blosser knows firsthand the challenges that states have been facing through this pandemic because he has led my response here on the ground. He knows the challenges around personal protective equipment, around testing, and around lack of resources. And frankly, he understands very well that Trump's administration failure to lead a national response to this COVID-19 pandemic.

Here's the challenge, though, Chris, and that is you have a Trump administration who's failing to turn the baton over to the Biden-Harris administration. That is going to cost lives. If you watch a relay race, you know, if you haven't practiced practice the handoff, you end up losing the race.

Well, in this case, we're talking about we risk losing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of more lives for their failure, the Trump administration's failure to bring in the Biden-Harris administration, and make sure they have the information they need to protect the people of the United States of America.

HAYES: Final question for you. I think you've done a really admirable job in managing this pandemic from the beginning. And it's been hard and it hit-- it hit the Northwest early. And I think both you and Governor Inslee reacted quite aggressively.

What's your message to the residents of your state who were like, I just -- I'm so done with this, I don't want to keep doing this? Like, what are you saying them -- what are you saying to them?

BROWN: Look, I know this is really, really hard. I'm used to have Thanksgiving filled with family and friends and eating really good food. And I'm not going to be able to do that this year. But it's more important to me to save lives. My mother in law, other members of my family that are vulnerable and have underlying health conditions, we do not want to put these people at risk.

So, I'm asking Oregonians to make additional sacrifices on top of the sacrifices they've made all year. Limit your gathering to your household only, up to six people, two households if you must, but keep it at six people. Keep it small. Don't accidentally kill someone.

HAYES: Don't accidentally kill someone. It's a striking phrase for this era. Governor Kate Brown, thank you so much.

BROWN: Take good care. Be safe.

HAYES: I'm going to try. All right, are we close to a vaccine? The latest reports that even doctor has Dr. Fauci spreading some optimism. Are you're ready for some optimism, viewers? That's after this.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The data is striking, Savannah. They're really quite impressive. I mean, a 94.5 percent efficacy. And now, we have two vaccines that are really quite effective, so I think this is a really strong step forward to where we want to be about getting control of this outbreak.

We want to get it approved as quickly as we possibly can. We want to get doses to people starting in December.


HAYES: Dr. Anthony Fauci showing some real optimism about the second announcement of a vaccine that looks very promising. My next guest has been tracking this in the beginning. She's an expert on this, won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on science reporting, author of the coming Plague and Betrayal of Trust, the great Laurie Garrett who has been on the vaccine beat joins me now.

Laurie, what's your reaction to today's announcement from Moderna, the second company to release clinical data suggesting that their vaccine is in fact effective?

LAURIE GARRETT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, of course, it's good news. Of course, we're seeing something that you know, defies all predictions of 10 months ago, unimaginable speed. But, you know, we also have to consider the caveats that all we have to work with, all we have is so-called data is two press releases. One released last week by Pfizer, and one released today by Moderna.

And of course, these press releases are carefully massaged by the legal departments in both pharmaceutical companies. And so, they present, you know, the best case with all the right caveats and words of caution and hedging. And until we see real data that's actually been scrutinized by outside independent scientists and shown to be valid, we have to be careful about getting too carried away here.


GARRETT: What makes -- Chris, what makes this Moderna one is much more interesting than last week's Pfizer vaccine is a trick that the Moderna folks pulled that makes it a more stable vaccine. You know, Chris, you probably remember that the Pfizer vaccine is so unstable that it has to be stored at minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or even colder, and it can't -- it'll fall apart at room temperature completely.

And so, that had the specter that every single health department in America would have to run out and buy these ultra, ultra freezers, and have the portable ones that would cost thousands of dollars just to transport the darn vaccine around.

Well, this Moderna one uses a clever trick to come up with a more stable form of the mRNA vaccine so that it can actually even sit for about 10 hours at room temperature, according to the company without, falling apart. And it never has to be kept any colder than a deep freezer that you might have in your garage.

So, the trick is that the mRNA, the genetic -- little strip of genetic material that comes -- that mimics what it takes to make the spike protein -- you know, the virus is this round ball, you've seen it with little spikes sticking out. So, it makes this little piece of mRNA codes for those spike proteins and stick up, right?

Well, they packaged it inside of basically a little ball of fat, a microscopic ball of fat called a liposome. And then the liposome gets injected into you and goes inside of your cells and turns your cells into little factories making these proteins, which then the body, the immune system sees and says, whoa, I don't know what this is. Let's make some antibodies and attack it, right?

HAYES: Right.

GARRETT: So, it turns out, both companies used liposome as the way to hide the mRNA safely. But whatever Moderna did, their life persona is completely different, it's super strong, and it's top secret and proprietary, but it can withstand a far greater temperature range without falling apart. And they claim about a five percent better efficacy with theirs compared to the Pfizer product.

HAYES: So, two things, right. So, one is the data. I don't think I realized that these are just press release. I thought they had actually shown some data. So, we're waiting to get -- they will, at a certain point, show data, right? Like someone has got to look at other than the company.

GARRETT: They'll have to.


GARRETT: Well, and Chris, here comes the tricky part. So, who's going to assess that data? It's going to be the Trump appointees in the FDA. And they're going to make decisions based on a lot of pressure coming from in the White House. I mean, the President has already tweeted that this is his legacy, so you can imagine the kind of pressure coming down on Steve Hahn, the Commissioner of FDA, and his scientific staff, to just cram these babies through as fast as possible.

And they will come up with -- you know, they'll see raw data. They'll see whatever the companies hand over to them. And they'll make some, you know, set of judgments about what should be used and how it should be used. And then they'll pass that along to the CDC. And it will be the CDC's responsibility to figure out how these can be widely used across America, and what each state needs to do each municipality in order to be able to vaccinate.

The tricky part on all of this is that all these decisions are going to be made by a lame-duck FDA and a lame-duck CDC, and then handed off to Joe Biden and his administration with, so far, no access on the part of the Biden people to the process. And that's just craziness.

HAYES: That is craziness. And that's -- right now, it seems that the highest stakes problem with this continued temper tantrum by the president, slash, attack on the election, is that exact thing. They have to be getting in the room and having conversations so we can hand this off.

Laurie Garrett, thank you for explaining that. I feel like I have a better understanding of it now.

GARRETT: You bet, Chris.

HAYES: 65 days. That's how long until President Trump has to move out and President Joe Biden moves in. When we get back, I'll talk to John Podesta about what needs to be done to make that happen.



BIDEN: As I said earlier, and I probably shouldn't repeat it, but I find this more embarrassing for the country than debilitating for my ability to get started.


HAYES: President-Elect Joe Biden talking about the President's refusal to acknowledge his victory. Now, Biden will take office in 65 days. And for the second time in 12 years, a Democratic administration will have to take office amidst a country in generational catastrophe as ushered in by the previous Republican administration.

I'm there in 2009 when Barack Obama was sworn in as president. Him as the vice president, they had to take over an economy that was careening towards further disaster, and he will have to do it again in 2021.

John Podesta is someone who knows what this is like. He's the former co-chair of the Obama-Biden transition team, as well as the founder of a liberal think tank Center for American Progress. And, John, everyone has got their work cut out for him for the second time in as many transitions.

JOHN PODESTA, FORMER CO-CHAIR, OBAMA-BIDEN TRANSITION TEAM: Right. Well, the big difference between that transition and this one is at least that President Bush recognized we're in two wars, we had a financial crisis ongoing, and he ordered his team starting with his chief of staff Josh Bolten, including Hank Paulson, the Treasury Secretary, to give as much support as possible to the incoming team to try to preserve decisions that President Obama would want to make in his first days in office.

And I think the transition in that sense, was rather seamless because we had access to agencies, we had access to technology. And as your last segment noted, most important, we had access to information about how to plan. We knew we were hemorrhaging jobs. There are 500,000 jobs a month being lost, but at least we had an insight into what was going on in those federal agencies. And that's what's being denied to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris right now.

HAYES: You know, there's another complicating factor here. Barack Obama won. He had House Majority and ultimately 60 senators. He took -- he took office with both Houses of Congress behind Democrats, and still it was very hard to pass his agenda. And, you know, those fights were legendary.

Joe Biden may have narrow control the U.S. Senate, but even so, it'd be a 50-50 Senate. How are people inside that world thinking through these eventualities and what it means to not have those kinds of congressional majorities Barack Obama had?

PODESTA: Well, look, you got to -- you have to plan for both contingencies. Obviously, they're hoping I think that those two Georgia runoff elections go the Democratic way, and that they have at least a working majority of 50-50 Senate with Chuck Schumer able to assume the leadership position as Majority Leader. But if they don't have that, they have to plan for that contingency as well.

First matter -- first order of priority is getting the virus under control. They have to be working with state and local authorities. They have to have a plan to distribute the vaccine. We have promising results for both Pfizer and Moderna, but they need to get in and create that plan. They've appointed a kind of blue-ribbon public health team, but again, without access to the FDA, the CDC, the Department of Defense, which has responsibility for distribution --

HAYES: Right.

PODESTA: -- the responsibility for distribution. It's going to be exceedingly difficult to hit the ground running. So, Trump's refusal to accept reality has dire consequences to the country's health and to the health of the economy.

HAYES: You know, how do you think about staffing this administration under these conditions? And here's my question for you. I mean, I think there is -- the ranks of Democratic staffers tend to be real institutionalists. They really worry about things like norms and traditions. There's a lot of lawyers who are very legally cautious as is their -- you know, that's good that they're prudent.


HAYES: But it strikes me that under these conditions, there's going to have -- you're going to need some people that are pretty aggressive. Like, you need people to think outside the box. You need to -- you don't need some people staffing that administration who are not there to say no to every harebrained idea, but to figure out how things can be delivered to the American people overcoming obstruction. What do you think of that idea?

PODESTA: Yes -- no -- absolutely, Chris. I think the President has a lot of authority, a lot of executive authority under the laws of the United States. He has the bully pulpit. He can convene people as he did today bringing executives and labor together. He has a very ambitious agenda to get the economy rolling again. Some of that is probably -- he'll be able to get some of that done with Congress under on -- even if McConnell still is the leader in the Senate, although I think that'll be difficult.

But he still has to make progress on the things he's promised the American people from investing in childcare and letting people be able to get back to work even as they have these challenges with their families around COVID. He has to -- they have to invest in the clean energy future that he promised to tackle the problem of climate change. They have to invest in ensuring that we achieve better racial justice and equity in the building and building back better that economy.

So, he's going to have to use every tool that's available to them, executive, legislative where he can. And, again, the convening power of the president is immense. And he'll have to be pulling all those levers and having a White House that understands how to do that. I think his chief of staff is Ron Klain is really a master of that. So, I think they're off, at least in that sense, to building a team that understands that.

HAYES: Yes. My humble -- my humble suggestion is that every staffer going in gets a tattoo that says deficits don't matter. It's just like the price of entry. Just go in there, do whatever you got to do. Deficits don't matter.

PODESTA: This economy needs a lot of support.

HAYES: It needs a lot. You get a face tattoo if you're feeling particularly saucy.

PODESTA: We can't be where Barack Obama was in 2011, you know, chasing the Republicans for a deal.

HAYES: He can't do it.

PODESTA: He's just got to go for it.

HAYES: Absolutely right. John Podesta, thank you so much for making your time available to us tonight. That is ALL IN on this Monday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now with Ali Velshi in for Rachel.

Good evening, Ali.


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