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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, November 19, 2020

Guests: Gretchen Whitmer, Brendan Buck, Barton Gellman, Olivia Troye, Greg Bluestein


The Republican Secretary of State in Georgia has announced that the hand recount of the presidential election results has concluded and Joe Biden is again confirmed as the winner of the state of Georgia. President Trump goes straight to Michigan lawmakers to attempt to overthrow Joe Biden's win. The White House Task Force had a press briefing on the pandemic without President Trump. Polls show close races in runoffs in Georgia that will determine the Senate control.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: We'll bring you back another time. Jonathan's exclusive interview -- cheers. Jonathan's exclusive interview with President Barack Obama airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern immediately after "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW." Yes, Rachel is back here on MSNBC. We're excited. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.


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

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT, UNITED STATES: He will go down in history as the most irresponsible president in American history.

HAYES: 62 days from Biden's inauguration, Donald Trump is actively trying to overthrow the democracy.

RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: But we keep reading and hearing in the censored press which is that we have no evidence. I know crimes, I can smell them.

HAYES: Tonight, the Governor of Michigan on Trump's subversion of the election in her state, today's dangerous display by the President's attorneys, and how his silent enablers are complicit in a coup attempt.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm more troubled that you're seeing a lot of Republican officials go along with it.

HAYES: Why the White House is finally coming clean on America's COVID catastrophe, but still blocking the Biden team from helping.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If you're fighting a battle, and the cavalry is on the way, you don't stop shooting. You keep going until the cavalry gets here.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes. We have breaking news tonight from the state of Georgia where the Republican Secretary of State there has announced that the hand recount, the presidential election results, have concluded and Joe Biden is again confirmed as the winner of the state of Georgia from the press release, in Georgia's recount, the highest error rate in any county was 0.73 percent.

Most counties found no change in their final tally, the majority of the rest had changes have fewer than 10 ballots. So, Joe Biden won Georgia. That's going to be certified tomorrow. He won the presidential election. And despite that clear electoral victory, American democracy is under assault by Donald Trump, by his collaborators in the Republican Party.

Tonight, we've entered into a new, more dangerous phase of this. So, let me just take a step back for a second. Remember that from the beginning, as we've been reporting here on the program for months, that Donald Trump and his campaign and the rest of Republican Party, they always knew he was going to lose the popular vote, and always knew that a victory was only possible with a narrow win in a number of hotly contested swing states. And they actively laid the groundwork to be able to try and contest and steal those states even if Trump actually lost them by narrow margins.

But then what happened is that Trump lost by a lot. And the results all came in and they still aren't completely counted. It's a definitive review. He lost the popular vote by almost six million votes, by four points percentage-wise. He lost the electoral college by the same margin he won by in 2016, which he repeatedly called a blowout.

All of that stead, they just still went along with the plan that they had on the shelf. They still filed all these lawsuits. All but one of which has failed in court. And Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani are doing precisely what you would expect, spreading dangerous, completely fictional conspiracy theories, and elevating cranks and grifters, and all of that was always bound to happen.

Mitch McConnell, Josh Hawley, and Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, and Tom Cotton, and the rest of these Republican politicians, who are no strangers to sanctimonious and aggrieved public oratory, they've all been going along with it, cowardly hiding behind the transparent excuse that the process should be allowed to play out, that you can go to courts and make your claim, and that's always been the path they want of least resistance for them to take.

Now, though, that excuse is gone, so let's get serious here. Trump is one in 32 in court. They have lost 32 court cases in the 16 days since Election Day. And just tonight, a Trump-appointed judge, federal judge, ruled against the Trump campaign, saying it would be ridiculous not to certify Joe Biden's Georgia win one day before the state's deadline.

The Trump campaign is admitting over and over in court that they are not actually alleging fraud. Even Rudy Giuliani told the judge, "This is not a fraud case." Their legal strategy has been reduced to the spectacle today at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, that darkly comedic and humiliating performance for all involved with the President's last legal hope, Rudy Giuliani sweating in front of the national media with some kind of undetermined dye running down his face, while Trump campaign lawyer, Sidney Powell, made truly wild allegations about how the election was rigged by communist money from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez who has been dead for seven years.

That's where we are. This is where we are. So, we are now seeing the actual coup attempt. This is not about recounts that they are entitled to under law. It's not about barrages of frivolous lawsuits over this hundred ballots or that hundred ballots or signature matches. No, it is an attempt to use Republican loyalty to Donald Trump to subvert and frankly overturn the results of a democratic election. They are just attempting straight up to subvert the will of the people and overturn a democratically elected government.

We saw the first indications of this when the Republicans on the Wayne County Michigan Board of Canvassers refused to certify the election before backing down. Well, then today, the Republican chair of the foreperson committee, Monica Palmer, said the president called her himself after the meeting ended. And last night, both she and her fellow Republican board member, William Hartmann, signed affidavit saying they want to rescind their vote certifying the election. They want to take it back after Monica Palmer talked to the President, even though that does not appear to be a real thing. I think that ship has sailed.

Now, Trump has also invited the Republican leaders in the Michigan House and Senate to meet with him at the White House tomorrow, even though both have said they have no plans for any long shot maneuvers aimed at the Republican legislature naming an alternate set of pro-Trump electors from Michigan.

They're trying to just overturn the election and install the president in power. Now, I don't want to freak people out. This should not be giving you a knot in your stomach about the outcome. It's not going to work, OK. There's not some new ball game they're playing now. It is doomed to failure for a bunch of reasons we'll get into. But that should not diminish what they're trying to do. They're trying to do the thing. They're trying to overturn the election.

Today, in an exclusive interview with Jonathan Capehart, which is coming up tonight at 10:00 p.m. on MSNBC, President Barack Obama pointed out it is not just Donald Trump who is to blame here.


OBAMA: Joe Biden is going to be the next President of the United States. Kamala Harris will be the next Vice President. I have been troubled like I think every American whether you're Republican or Democrat or independent should be troubled, when you start having attempts to block, negate, overturn the people's vote when there's no actual evidence that there was anything illegal or fraudulent taken place.

These are just bald assertions. They've been repeatedly rejected by the courts. And I think I'm more -- I'm less surprised by Donald Trump doing this. You know, he has shown only a flimsy relationship to the truth. I'm more troubled that you're seeing a lot of Republican officials go along with it, not because they actually believe it, but because they feel intimidated by it.

And the degree to which you've seen some news outlets that, you know, cater to the right and the conservative viewpoint somehow try to prop up these, you know, bogus claims.


HAYES: Again, that full-hour long interview coming up at 10:00 p.m. tonight after the triumphant return of Rachel Maddow, which I am looking forward to. But President Obama is right, right? Republican officials are on board with the plan. And if they are not, they have to speak up to let us know they're not.

Trump Giuliani or spouting horribly toxic conspiracy theories. They are running around pouring gasoline and lighting a bunch of matches and all those excuses about letting the process play out are gone now, OK. So, Republican politicians Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, are you OK with this? Are you okay with holding an American election and they're just ignoring and overturning the results?

Yahoo News political correspondent Jon Ward, great reporter, tweeted, "I have e-mailed spokespersons for all Republican senators about Trump's pressure campaign in Michigan and have not heard back from any yet." This is classic. We've seen this 100 times during the Trump years. It's the classic Republican, I didn't see that tweet but for the end of the American experiment.

A lot of people, myself included, have said, imagine if it were closer. Imagine what happens the next time around. But the fact of the matter is that 40 to 45 percent of the country, somewhere maybe 35 to 45 percent of the country is getting information from sources that are telling them the election was stolen and fraudulent. And some of them are going to do things about it.

Republican National Committee actually tweeted out this clip from their official handles a day of Sidney Powell at the press conference earlier today.


SIDNEY POWELL, LAWYER: American patriots are fed up with the corruption from the local level to the highest level of our government. And we are going to take this country back. We are not going to be intimidated. We are not going to back down.


HAYES: That was during her performance where she talked about Hugo Chavez and the communists' money, and also that Donald Trump won in a landslide and they're going to prove it. Now, this is the RNC, the official organ of one of our two major parties tweeting out the President's lawyer saying this.

And we have seen over and over since the election what it looks like when people take this seriously. Democratic Secretary of State in Arizona has gotten death threats. The Republican Secretary of State in Georgia has gotten death threats.

New court filings claimed that the national terrorists who plotted to --- nationalist terrorists who plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer had another plan, a Plan B that involved a takeover of the Michigan Capitol building by 200 combatants who would stage a week-long series of televised executions of public officials, and also a Plan C, and that was burning down the statehouse leaving no survivors. That's the danger. The President poisons people's minds with lies and conspiracies.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer knows about these dangers firsthand, and she joins me now. It's great to have you, Governor. First, maybe let's sort of start on that -- your reaction to the new allegations in court filings about the extent of the plot that was being put together against you?

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Well, I think it just tells you that words matter and the words of our leaders' matter. I mean, the incredible vitriol that is being waged, whether it's against Dr. Fauci or it is against the Republican Secretary of State in Georgia, or it is against a governor who is just simply trying to save people's lives. It is undermining our democracy, and these latest attempts around this election are just an extension of that. It is dangerous.

And we really do need people of goodwill on both sides of the aisle who care more about our democracy than their parties to stand up and to say, this is unacceptable. We've had a free fair and secure election. We need to respect the will of the people and we need to certify these results. And we need to get the Biden administration to get started on this transition so that they can get their arms around COVID, something that this current administration has never been able to do.

HAYES: Let me ask you about Michigan State law here. You've got the Speaker of the Michigan House a Republican, the State Senate President a Republican as well, invited to the White House. It's very clear what the President wants them to do, is to just say to the Michiganders who voted for Biden by 143,000-vote margin to bad, tough, we're taking that away and giving it to Donald Trump.

Aside from how offensive that is on a democratic level, there's no provision in your state law that allows them to do that, is there?

WHITMER: No. And I'm glad that you open the show by telling people, this isn't going to happen. I mean, there is -- the vote margin actually in Michigan is now 157,000 votes. That is 14 times the vote margin that Trump won Michigan in 2016, 14 times. The State Board of canvassers, on Tuesday, they have one legal duty and that is to certify this election so that we can send our electors in. They will be Joe Biden electors, and he will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20th.

HAYES: There was reporting tonight that one of the -- one of the people on that state board, which again, like the Wayne County canvassing board is a bipartisan board split evenly, is saying that he's leaning towards not certifying. How big of an issue is if you get Republican officials at these areas levels essentially buying into these completely insane conspiracy theories?

WHITMER: I think it's really dangerous, to be honest. The fact that our two highest-ranking Republicans in the legislature are going to the White House, they're being summoned there by a president who's lost the state and who -- I wasn't invited to the meeting. I've not been briefed on what they're going to cover. But we're all assuming he's going to try to implore them the way he did these county canvassers to do whatever they can to not certified the will of the people of Michigan.

And I think it's incredibly dangerous that they're even entertaining the conversation because we all know what the law is in Michigan. This is an embarrassment to the state. And it's an effort to disenfranchise the most populous county in our state, by the way, which also is the county that is home to the largest African-American part of our population.

This has so many ramifications, many legal, many ethical. And I would advise anyone to tread very carefully because there could be much longer-term problems for anyone who participates in an effort to undermine the election by a candidate who was on that ballot.

HAYES: You know, one of the things that we're seeing, right, is there's a -- there's a kind of breakdown in America about where people get their information, that there's pulling out today from the economist that says that 84 percent of Republicans say that Biden did not legitimately win the election.

And you know, we can guess about whether that's a sort of expressive anger at losing it or whether they really believe that, but I guess my question to you is that, you know, you are the governor of a state that is a -- it's a divided state. It's -- you know, it's a swing state. You got a ton -- you represent tons of conservatives and Republicans.

To what extent do you feel like you're able to cut through all that when having conversations about the basic facts of the matter whether that's COVID or that like, Joe Biden did win Michigan?

WHITMER: Well, I think we've got our work cut out for us as a nation and individual states like Michigan, we are deeply divided. I think that these last four years has only made that divide harder to mend. However, I really think that Joe Biden as our president will be a big step in the right direction.

The first speech he gave after it was clear that he had won in this historic vote was about doing just that, was about seeing the humanity in one another and being a president for every American. I really believe we have a lot of healing to do as a nation and we have to seek to understand one another.

That is our challenge, but that is also every American leader should -- it should be the core of the work that they do. We are Americans before we are partisans. And here in my state, I said, we are Michiganders first. We've got a duty and oath to one another. And we've got to do everything we can do to heal this divide. But it's not going to be easy and it's going to take a concerted effort by many.

HAYES: Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, thank you, Governor, for making some time with us tonight.

WHITMER: Thank you.

HAYES: For more on the deafening silence from Republican officials, I'm joined by Brendan Buck who served as press secretary for Speaker John Boehner, Chief Communications Advisor for Speaker Paul Ryan.

You know, Brendan, I had Henry Olsen last night. He was sort of conservative legal thinker and writer. And I started by being like Henry, you're not a never-Trumper, you're not a Lincoln Project, you know, you've turned on the whole GOP, the whole thing's rotten to the core. You're a conservative in good standing. What do you think of this? And he said, this is nuts, this is -- this is ridiculous.

So, I want to start with you on that. Like, what do you Brendan Buck make of that press conference today and the claims that are being made here?

BRENDAN BUCK, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY FOR SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Oh, it was one of the craziest things I've ever seen. I've been alternating between finding this hilarious and being absolutely furious about it, because it is so damaging to democracy, as you've discussed. As a Republican, you know, I'm a still a Republican, I think that it's incredibly damaging to the party.

You know, the party that is being told that elections are rigged and that their vote doesn't matter, isn't Democrats, it's Republicans. And so, you know, the consequences of this are far and wide, but they're actually going to be felt mostly by the party that is leading this. And so, yes, I'm frustrated by it. I think it's, as you said, doomed to fail. It's quite pathetic that the folks that they're trying out here, it's really the bottom of the barrel.

So, you know, I don't -- I'm not worried. I'm just really concerned about what it --- what it says to voters. And when 77 percent of Republicans think that the election was rigged, there are real consequences to that.

HAYES: What do you think about the role of Republican leaders right now? Because I could understand -- I mean, I obviously don't agree. I think it's pretty clear what the --- what the strategy of like, well, let him pursue his claims in court. But it's not going to stop. Like, we know this about Donald Trump. It won't stop. He will -- he will try to like yank the electors and then they will do some contestation of the Electoral College once the electors are named. And then there's a joint session that ratifies the electors in January and they're going to fight on that.

So, the question is like, what responsibility to Republican leaders have stand up say enough, this is crazy, stop?

BUCK: Well, I think the point you hit is perhaps one of the reasons why they don't, is because I don't think any of them think they could get him to stop. You know, I have a lot of experience with this my time on the Hill. You can tell the president what the right thing to do is, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to sink in.

I think we all know they all know that running out and saying that this -- that you know, he's wrong, or that the election is over is not going to get him to stop. It's just not. But what it will do, obviously, is turn his ire towards them.

You got to remember, politicians are going to act in their own political self-interest. And in the short term, it is in the political self-interest for Republicans to stand by the President. Something that people I think, forget is that well, I'm sure that their office phone lines are getting hammered with people criticizing them for their position. But I promise you, they're also getting hammered by their constituents who are saying, why are you not out defending the president? Why are you not -- he says there's enough votes to overturn the election, what are you doing to overturn the election?

And so, that's the pressure that they feel. And so when they know that they can't actually overturn -- they can make it stop, and they know that he's actually powerless to overturn the election, the easiest thing to do is to just sort of wait him out and I think that's what you're seeing.

HAYES: I totally agree with that as like descriptive analysis. And I think you're right. It's important to remember there's, you know, there's pressure on both sides. But I mean, maybe I'm just an incorrigible moralist, but normatively, that doesn't cut the mustard. Like, Paul Ryan should speak up. John Boehner should speak up. The people that are not in public office should speak up, but the people in public office should speak up. They shouldn't say this is wrong. Like that really does seem important to me.

BUCK: Well, I don't think there's any question that it's wrong. And I think you're seeing more Republicans every day. You had Fred Upton just this evening who was the former chairman of a committee speaking up. I don't -- I think that -- the Republicans need to understand is that while there -- it is in their self-interest in the short term to stand by him, it is not in their self-interest the long term.

If you tell enough of your voters that voting doesn't matter, that elections are rigged, that democracy doesn't work, that is going to come back and bite you. And I think that's what they need to understand in the long term that there are consequences for the party for your -- for yourself interest, of course, for the entire country, as well.

So, I think that they -- as these states continue to certify their elections that Georgia will do tomorrow, and you have a couple more on Monday, you know, everybody will sort of understand and they'll move on. But that is really, really have no incentive. Elected officials have no incentive right now in the short term to hit. They just don't.

HAYES: It strikes me as you say that it's not the first time in your career you've taken a moral argument and translated into an interest (INAUDIBLE). It translated to the language raw self-interest so that it gets to hearings. I appreciate you doing that. Hopefully, that will end. Brendan Buck, thank you very much.

BUCK: Thanks.

HAYES: The President is actively engaged in a multi-state coup attempt -- what else is going to call it -- asking state legislators to throw out Biden's victory and award him the presidency. There was one reporter who saw this coming long before anyone else. His name is Barton Gellman and he joins me next.


HAYES: So, just a few weeks before the election, the journalist Barton Gellman wrote a cover story at the Atlantic about the election that could break America. And it was all about the ways in which the Trump folks were planning for some incredibly shady and well-nigh anti-democratic maneuvers if the election were close. We had Barton on the show and is what he had to say.


BARTON GELLMAN, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Some Trump people are discussing -- I'm not saying they have a plan to do it, but I know that it is coming up and they have discussed it also with the Republican Party in Pennsylvania, a crucial swing state, is that they would ask Republican legislators who control both chambers in Pennsylvania and, in fact, in all six of the most closely contested battleground states, to name Trump-friendly electors notwithstanding the popular vote, regardless of the popular vote. That it will be a claim that the count is unfinished, or that it was corrupt, or that it was rigged, or that there are still legal disputes, and so just appoint some Trump people.


HAYES: Nailed it. Atlantic staff writer Barton Gellman who wrote the rather pressing piece two months ago called "The Election that could Break America" joins me now. You know, what's striking about watching you talk about that, Bart, is that A, that you were completely right. But B, that back in time in September, you were saying that the pretext for this would be claims of fraud claims of irregularities before the election had happened. Like, all that had been already plotted out before the actual event happened.

GELLMAN: Well, it didn't take Nostradamus to tell you that Trump was going to claim fraud in the election. The important thing was that there has always been a plan to overturn the election if need be. I mean, Trump may or may not believe that it's possible, that he's going to make it happen. But he has laid out the groundwork for it in advance.

And, sadly, a lot of what's happened since the election has followed the script I wrote about in the cover story.

HAYES: You know, today. I mean, there's -- to me, there's sort of a difference in time between these frivolous lawsuits and allegations that they keep losing in court because they don't have any evidence. And just this sort of like, well, you know what, screw you, we're going to -- we're going to take those electors.

And today, you had Sidney Powell, who's the -- an attorney for the -- for the President just saying this out loud. She called into Lou Dobbs' show. Take a listen to what she had to say.


POWELL: The entire election, frankly, in all the swing states, should be overturned and the legislators should make sure that the electors are selected for Trump. And it's going to have to follow the constitutional provisions that go -- be decided according to the amendment.


HAYES: I don't even think she really knows what she's citing there. But they can't actually -- there's no legal predicate here. My understanding is that the sort of sophisticated version of this was to kind of gum up the works in the count so that there was no certification or to delay certification or to stop it so that you could then use, I think, a provision the electoral college act that the state -- the state has failed to make a determination and write in. But there's no state law provision to just substitute your electors for what the people voted for.

GELLMAN: Well, yes and no. The smart money, the sophisticated legal argument is that they can't do this. But I'm not actually completely convinced at all. Article two of the Constitution says that electors are to be appointed each state in such manner as the legislature thereof made direct. It is the power of the legislature to appoint the electors.

Now, the legislature may have passed laws and said, in this coming election, we're going to appoint electors according to the popular vote in our state.

HAYES: And indeed, that's the case. That is the case in all these states.

GELLMAN: Right. That is the case. And nevertheless, the Supreme Court said in Bush against Gore, reiterating from a 19th century case, that the legislators have the power that they could take back their power at any time. They don't define at any time, but it's a fairly broadly worded statement.

And if you get into court or into Congress to speak about the Electoral Count Act, there are scenarios in which Trump can pull this off. Now, first -- I mean, every bad scenario here, every scenario in which Trump is actually able to overthrow the constitutional order is actually able to tear up the election results depends on state legislators simply asserting the power, claiming that they have the power to appoint Trump electors, notwithstanding the vote in their states.

So, Michigan, Pennsylvania are the ones been talked about first. If both of them happened, you have Trump up to 268 electoral votes, and you would need another state. But it is -- it is the -- it is the strategy here to get those electors chosen.

Now, there's disputed electors, and then there are multiple forums available to solve the dispute. One of them is in Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court is lately demonstrating that it is very sympathetic to the power of state legislators to decide on the manner of elections and to decide on the manner of appointment of electors.

Another is in Congress. There are -- there are two different ways that that Trump can get his way if dueling slates of electors arrive in Congress. So, if Governor Whitmer certifies the actual vote in Michigan, and passes along a certificate of ascertainment to Washington saying, here are our Biden electors. And if the state legislature does the reverse and says, here are our Trump electors, it falls to Congress to decide what to do with those.

And that meeting is presided over by Vice President Pence as President of the Senate. And the magazine article that I wrote walked through the scenarios under which this --

HAYES: Right. But the key here, and this is where it departs, I think, from what your article was, is if it had come down to one state, I think they would have gone for it. They now have a coordination problem which is to pull off essentially an anti-democratic coup across three states and three state legislatures all telling their voters in their states who voted for the other guy, get out of here, we're crunching the power back. That is a very tall hill to climb. Barton Gellman --

GELLMAN: It's a tall hill to climb. I think you're probably right that he's not going to get away with it, that it's not going to happen. I believe that Joe Biden will be sworn in. But I wish I could believe that it's impossible. I wish I could believe that it's completely out of the question, and I don't it.

What are these two guys doing flying to Washington to sit down, the speaker of the House of Representatives in Michigan and the and the majority leader of the Senate, why do you take that meeting? Can you imagine what it's like to be a state legislator led into the Oval Office maybe for the first time in your life, and this very powerful president with all the awesome accoutrement of his office that tells you that you've got to do your constitutional duty, that you cannot be the one who allows for Democrats to get away with this fraud, making up votes.

I mean, Trump is a very powerful personality. And if you were going to say no to the President, you should have said no to the meeting. They really should have stayed home. If Michigan does it, then then, you know, does that start building up some momentum for another state to do it? I can't rule this out as being impossible, and I think that everyone should take it seriously.

HAYES: All right, Barton Gellman, thank you for making time today. I appreciate it.

GELLMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Ahead, the Coronavirus Task Force made its first appearance in months today. I'll talk to Olivia Troye about what we heard and what was noticeably missing from the remarks just ahead.


HAYES: The White House Coronavirus taskforce appeared before the American people today for the first time since July over four months ago. In that time, we have lost nearly 120,000 people. Today was also the first time since June that we saw Dr. Fauci behind the podium with the task force as he briefed the nation about what he called extraordinarily impressive results from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials.

Vice President Mike Pence, head of the task force, painted a fairly rosy picture, saying he thinks we will soon be putting the Coronavirus in the past, right before Dr. Deborah Birx showed this slide. That blue arrow demonstrating the dramatic spike in cases we're seeing across the country right now. The death toll in the United States is now over a quarter of a million, 250,000 lives lost.

Today, states recorded records in cases, 180,000 new cases just today, 81,000 people in the hospital just tonight, a record, and there were 1,971 deaths, almost 2,000 deaths today. That's the highest since May 7th. And look at where those lines are all going. Where do you think that's going to end up?

With Thanksgiving just one week away, the Centers for Disease Control recommended today Americans not travel for the holiday. Strangely, the word Thanksgiving did not come up even once in the nearly hour-long taskforce briefing. Although the members of the task force did seem pretty unrestrained like they were finally free to speak about the reality, the dire, and horrific reality in this country as we head into this worst winter of our lives.

We're going to talk to a former member of that Task Force about what she saw today and what it means next.


HAYES: Today's White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting was mercifully free of the nonsense of Donald Trump and the dangerous herd immunity fantasy of Scott Atlas. Instead, for once, there was a unified mask message from the White House.


DEBORAH BIRX, CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: -- that start with masks, that start with physical distancing, but also include decreasing those friends and family gatherings where people come together and unknowingly spread the virus.

FAUCI: We're talking about intensifying the simple public health measures that we all talk about, mask-wearing, stapling distance, avoiding congregate settings.

ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CDC: Mask works, social distancing works, hand washing works.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wash your hands, practice social distancing, wear a mask when social distancing isn't possible.


HAYES: Olivia Troye is a former member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, former adviser to the head of the task force, Mike Pence. She quit that job in disgust at what had transpired on that task force.

And today, Olivia, you know, it was striking to things to me was just the time warp aspect. Like, we haven't seen these people since July even though 120,000 Americans are dead. And two, it's like well, if you if you minimize the role of Mike Pence, you take out the president and Scott Atlas, you get the basic public health consensus.

TROYE: Right. What I saw today was the Mike Pence that I knew in February, and early March. The Mike Pence that actually cared about the facts and the data and what was really happening. He cared about human life. He was the compassionate Christian Mike Pence that I worked for as a career civil servant and got to know.

And, you know, it was hard to watch this because I have the utmost respect for Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. And watching Dr. Birx's body language during this briefing, she looked in many ways defeated by her (INAUDIBLE), but I know that she has been pounding the pavement out there visiting 42 states, doing everything she can, given the circumstances.

And as I watched this briefing, I thought to myself, well, the good news is that there's positive news on the announcement about Pfizer and Moderna happening with vaccine. And so, the White House knew that it was a moment that they could capitalize on. It was a positive message. And thank goodness, they knew better, and knew to put my pens out there to give a more serious tone, and the V.P. was willing to do it to tell people that you're in a critical, dangerous moment right now. And that these matters, and we have to work on this together.

HAYES: It's also striking to me just how dangerous Scot Atlas and Donald Trump are. I mean, Scott Atlas and Donald Trump are the reason that the Coronavirus Task Force has not been appearing in public. It's the reason that public health expertise has been jettisoned in front of flagrant super spreader events and essentially pro-virus talking points from Atlas.

There's reporting today that he is on the outs but still pushing Trump's pandemic claims, he hasn't attended a White House Task Force meeting in person since September. I mean, how much is his presence part of what has led us into the point we're in?

TROYE: I think it's fair to say it's significant. There has been a great division between the task force members, the experts on the task force. And any medical practitioner out there who really understands the virus and what's happening here, who really actually cares about human life, will tell you that Scott Atlas is on his own planet in terms of how he is advising the president and what he is saying and his rhetoric. It is dangerous.

And unfortunately, the president washed his audition repeatedly on Fox News. And I say that completely 100 percent seriously because this is how the president identifies people who stay on his message for their new jobs. And this is a man who has control. And he advises the president in these dangerous messages. And unfortunately, the President's followers and his supporters, and his voters follow this rhetoric, and it is killing Americans.

HAYES: Nearly 2,000 deaths a day, which I just can't quite process. I want to play something the vice -- the vice -- the President-Elect Biden said today about the real problem right now with the transition. I mean, they have a huge logistical problem that they've handed over. Take a listen to what he had to say.


BIDEN: Unfortunately, because of the lack of discernment, as they say, which is -- that's a fancy word these days. But until the head of the GSA says that we, in fact, our team, this transition team, our team, the senator and I, have in fact are the likely winners, and until she does that, we don't have access to all the information that we need to get from all the various agencies.


HAYES: Having worked on that task force, how crucial is that?

TROYE: It's critical. And he is absolutely correct in the fact that there is so much data. There's so much data and information out there in terms of all the research that has taken place by a group of people who actually cared and did the work behind the scenes. And they need access to that if they want to move forward, if we want to support them, and they want to hit the ground running come in January.

There's no reason for the behavior right now. We're in a critical transition during the country's biggest pandemic, the biggest pandemic of our generation. And what is happening right now is just petty politics and childish behavior by a White House who knows better.

They know exactly what they're doing. They're playing games. But the problem is, this isn't taxes, this isn't just some minor issue. This is people's lives.

HAYES: Olivia Troye, who I want to put this tweet up, had recently drove six days 4,300 miles to El Paso to bring your mom back home. El Paso, one of the worst-hit spots in the country. You're from El Paso, and I was psyched that you were able to do that. And I hope she's doing well. And thank you for making some time tonight.

TROYE: Thank you for having me.

HAYES: Next, in order for Republicans to control the Senate, they need to ensure the reelection of two Georgia senators who've come under fire for cashing in some very, very shady deals. I'll explain right after this.


HAYES: Not long ago, the state of Georgia released the results of a hand recount which affirmed that yes, Joe Biden narrowly did win Georgia. The story there is not over the control of the U.S. Senate will be decided in the state. There now to runoff Senate races underway. Election Day is on January 5th, though any Georgia registered voter can vote early in person or by mail, Georgia viewers.

A polling out this week shows both races effectively tied. Keep in mind Georgia polling actually was really quite good the last time around. So, if you're rolling your eyes at that, this was a state that you did the polling pretty closely. If Democrats managed to win in both conscious, they will control the senate with 50 seats and a tiebreaker by way of Vice President Harris.

Both Republican senators in the race Kelly Loeffler David Perdue are amplifying Donald Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud in Georgia, and both made stock trades after a closed-door Coronavirus briefing in January that prompted concerns they were corruptly profiting from their position as senators.

Loeffler and her husband dumped millions in stocks in the days and weeks after that COVID briefing even as Loeffler publicly played down the severity of the virus. The Loefflers are worth an estimated $800 million. They dumped those stocks ahead of the market crash that resulted from the potential impact of the virus becoming known to the general public and not just senators in closed-door briefings. Loeffler later claims her investment decisions are made without her knowledge.

Politico reporter Greg Bluestein has been covering Loeffler and Perdue and the race in Georgia for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and he joins me now. Greg, great to have you. Can you tell us a little bit about both of these? I know both of these have come up quite a bit in the campaign. And they're a little different what Perdue and what Loeffler did. Quick -- just walk us through what we know Loeffler did, what the accusations are against her as well as Perdue.

GREG BLUESTEIN, POLITICAL REPORTER, ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION: Yes. Well, the accusations against Loeffler involve more stock trade transactions. Somewhere she appeared to lose money, somewhere she appeared to make money, but there is a significant number of stock transactions that she made shortly after a closed-door January 24th briefing just for senators about the Coronovirus pandemic as the pandemic started to worsen.

Now, when it comes to Senator David Perdue, he was not at that closed-door meeting, but he also made or people on his behalf, his advisors, made a series of stock transactions as well. Not as many, but they also involve some of the companies that did gain from the pandemic losing Pfizer.

After these revelations came out, both the senators move to make it very clear that their advisors made some of these transactions, made these transactions on their behalf, and you know, pointed out that they've been cleared of criminal wrongdoing. But Democrats still say it doesn't pass the smell test. And they've been using this to basically claim that they're corrupt and that they've been profiteering off of the pandemic.

HAYES: There's also an ethics complaint filed against Loeffler today by the Georgia Democratic Party, if I'm not mistaken. What was that about?

BLUESTEIN: Yes. Well, Senator Loeffler, on a TV interview, on camera yesterday, solicited donations, which is not a problem on its face because candidates always do that. But in this case, it happened on the floor of the U.S. Capitol which is prohibited. You cannot solicit donations from a federal building.

Her campaign says this is a distraction, but she faces actually three separate ethics complaints for making this on camera appeal from the federal building for campaign donations.

HAYES: You know, I'm curious as someone who's covering the dynamics of this race. I know these -- the corruption has been key and in much of the attacks, I know particularly from Ossoff on Perdue and Warnock on Loeffler.

Here's an interesting dynamic and I'm curious just what you make of it as someone covering this. You know, I think Perdue and Loeffler think of the electorate is very conservative. They think of Georgia is a red state. And Loeffler particularly went way to the right in that runoff to fend off Doug Collins.

She ran ads about how right -- how basically she was a right-wing nut, like more right than Attila the Hun or something like that, right. And -- but it's not that. I mean, Biden won the state. And so my -- I guess the question is like, what is their message to the non-Trump voters in Georgia, some of whom they're going to have to win if they want to win election?

BLUESTEIN: Yes, this is what's so fascinating in Georgia right now because it's all about base turnout. They're not trying to persuade the very few undecided voters or the voters in the middle. They're trying to turn out the same faces that came out for them just two weeks ago.

Now, when it comes to maybe Republicans who don't support President Trump, their argument is essentially that united Democratic control over Washington is a problem for conservatives. And so they're trying to make the case that you want checks and balances, you want divided government. But it's harder to make that case right now for them if they're not conceding the fact that the President Trump lost the election.

So, it's very interesting watching them trying to make that balancing act in Georgia because neither Senator David Perdue or Senator Loeffler have both acknowledged -- neither of them acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election.

HAYES: It's -- there's also the weirdness here, right, which is that they wrote a letter to the Republican Secretary of State saying he should resign because he saw -- oversaw an election that was shot through with fraud -- I forget the phrase they use -- without any evidence. But that's the election that got them through the runoff. I mean, it's like, that's the election that elected a lot of Republican members of Congress who are going to go serve in the United States legislature. Like, that's a -- that's a kind of weird and crazy thing to do as your first up in a runoff.

BLUESTEIN: That was widely seen here in Georgia as a move to appease President Trump. And that, again, is part of this whole balancing act the senators are trying to navigate right now because they're definitely afraid that spurning Trump, alienating them in any way, will not only get him to not come to Georgia and campaign for them, but also turning off his loyal base because they need all those core conservative supporters to come back out for them.

And again, saying that President -- you know, bucking the trend and not echoing his false narrative, you know, could alienate those core supporters.

HAYES: All right, Greg Bluestein who does great work for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in Georgia, thank you so much for that.

BLUESTEIN: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: All right, I am ending early tonight because it's a very big night here at MSNBC. That is ALL IN. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now with the one and the only Rachel Maddow herself back in the anchor chair. Good evening, Rachel. It's so great to see your face.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thank you very much.


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