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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, September 15, 2020

Guests: Mehdi Hasan, Jeffrey Sachs, Dawn Wooten, John Whitty, Charlotte Alter


Joe Biden's lead remains steady as President Trump's "law and order" strategy fails to move polls. Joe Biden leads among seniors as the U.S. coronavirus death toll nears to 200,000. President Trump's rhetoric is eroding confidence in scientific agencies. A new whistleblower complaint makes disturbing allegations about the conditions of one ICE facility, including unnecessary hysterectomies performed on migrant women.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: That's right. Absolutely. You can't lock up 200 million people. Varshini Prakash, thank you so much for being here tonight. I appreciate you. That is tonight's REIDOUT. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN, 49 days out and there's one important thing to know about the President's campaign of fear and panic, white backlash and denial of reality. It's not really working. We'll go through the evidence.

Then, shocking whistleblower allegations of atrocities at an ICE detention center including forced hysterectomies on women who don't need them. Tonight, the whistleblower nurse herself joins me live.

Plus, how Donald Trump is tanking America's trust in a Coronavirus vaccine and creating a culture of paranoid conspiracy believers shaking the foundation of American democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When George Floyd was saying, I can't breathe, and then he died. And now we're wearing a mask and we said, I can't breathe, but we're being forced to wear it anyway.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes. We're 49 days out from the election. The country continues to be in the grips of a once in a century catastrophic pandemic. We lost over 196,000 Americans. In fact, just today, just today, we recorded over 1,000 American deaths.

And I get it. I get why the shock of the results of 2016 and its election has led so many people in the media and in politics and a lot of you right there on the other side of the screen, the viewers watching this, the ones I talk to or e-mail me to believe that Donald Trump has some unquantifiable, almost magical power to hypnotize the voting populace.

A lot of people are feeling that the polls can't be right, and that the President will be able to marshal the power of white backlash in a way that defies the laws of political gravity. But that is not true, at least based on the data that we have right now. Donald Trump is significantly down in the polls, seven points behind Joe Biden according to the FiveThirtyEight average. That gap is larger and much, much, much more consistent than the polling in 2016.

And every day that Trump remains down shows that what he is trying to do so transparently and desperately to stoke fear and division with as long as our strategy is not working. No matter how many times people write articles or pundits talk about it on T.V., the things the President is running on, fear chaos, violence, are not persuading the voters he needs to persuade.

Just look at the national polling picture over the past couple of months. I mean, the race -- the race has remained again, shockingly remarkably stable, with Biden ahead by around seven or eight points. Today, there are also some new high-quality polls from battleground states. Joe Biden is up three points among likely voters in North Carolina 49 to 46 percent. That's bad news for Donald Trump. In Florida, Biden is up five points among registered voters 50 to 45. And the most important result I think today in Wisconsin where Joe Biden is up 10 points, 52 to 42 percent.

All right, just over three weeks ago in Kenosha, Wisconsin, you remember, of course, that a police officer shot a black man named Jacob Blake in the back seven times. In the weeks that followed, Kenosha was wracked by protest. There was arson, there was property damage, scuffles with police. And then of course, you'll remember a white vigilante has been charged with shooting and killing two protesters. That happen one late night amidst the protests there.

There were headlines how chaos in Kenosha is already swinging some voters in Wisconsin, from New York Times. That's just three days after the shooting of Jacob Blake. It's playing into Trump's hands. Dems fear swing state-damage from Kenosha unrest. That one is from Politico just four days after the shooting.

This was going to be it, the thing that swung the polls and presence direction particularly in that state, in that crucial tipping point battleground state, the message from Trump and the Republican Party was yes, keep protesting you Libs, you Black Lives Matter folks. Keep pushing, and you'll see what happens.

Well, here's what happened. The day Jacob Blake was shot, Biden was up seven points in Wisconsin, 50.1 to 43.1. Today, he is up 6.8 points. The numbers basically have not moved. The race has not changed. Wisconsin voters were also asked in that new poll out today how worried they are about the risk of crime in their communities. 63 percent said they are not worried.

Crime, along with racism, has been one of the President's main messages down the stretch to this campaign. I mean, he deployed federal forces to Portland, Oregon, specifically to create viral mayhem content, right. He's been warning suburban white women that New Jersey senator Cory Booker is coming to invade their neighborhoods with low-income housing and was desperate transparent attempts at fearmongering and stoking racist backlash.

And based on all the data we have, again, maybe all of its bunk, but I don't think so, it's not working. I mean, when I look at American politics over the last year, I have to say, I said this before in the program, sometimes I feel like my head might explode. I've even like asked myself, why am I doing this job, because so much has happened. So much has happened and so little has changed in public opinion.

But one place where we can see a pretty striking and clear cause and effect right now is among seniors, all right. Take a look at this data from Wisconsin. Biden leads among seniors by 24 points, 60 to 36. And over 70 percent of seniors pulled them Wisconsin said they are very or somewhat worried about Coronavirus. Biden is also leading among seniors nationally in multiple polls. The recent Monmouth survey showed him up 11 points. A Democrat has not won voters over the age of 65 in two decades. Think about that, two decades.

But the reality is nearly 200,000 people have died from the Coronavirus in this country. The vast majority of the people we've lost have been senior citizens. And Donald Trump has been running on a message that says, old people's deaths don't really count because the probably would have died soon anyway. And grandma should suck it up and get on the battlefield. And look at senile Joe Biden with one foot in the grave. Can you trust that guy? And amazingly, that seems to be turning off seniors.

Donald Trump is not invincible. He does not have some magical sway over the whole electorate. We're in the midst of a disaster. That disaster is moving public opinion and its structures the dynamics of this race. For more in the state of the presidential race with 49 days ago, I'm joined now by Michelle Goldberg, op-ed columnist the New York Times, journalist and commentator Mehdi Hassan, both good friends of the show.

Michelle, let me start with you. I mean, I have to say like, I get the PTSD here, and I get also the fear of white backlash as a powerful force in American politics. Both of them -- you know, those are true. There was a polling miss in 2016. White backlash can be very powerful. But I also do think there's a reluctance to try to see things afresh right now in terms of as clear-eyed as possible what is and is not working for Donald Trump.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And I mean, and I have the PTSD. And I think that one thing because it was so traumatic in 2016, it's easy to forget that despite a lot of certainty going into election night, the polls were pretty unstable throughout the fall, right. I went back and read some old stories during the conventions, and I didn't realize until I revisited it, that there were polls during the Democratic Convention showing Donald Trump winning by a couple of points, right. Things sort of fluctuated.

And so even though people couldn't imagine this, in some sense, we were -- in some sense, we were sort of more -- we were less willing to let the numbers guide us in 2016 than then we are now. But I also -- and this isn't the first time we're seeing this, right? In 2018, the President ran on the caravan and ran on white backlash. And given 2016, some of us feared it would work, and we saw that it didn't.

HAYES: Mehdi, I'm curious what your sort of view of this is, why it has or hasn't worked. I mean, I mean, the President has obviously leaned into this. There really has been -- there really have been distressing scenes and Kenosha, you know, the, in the aftermath of that police shooting. There is a long legacy of appeals to this kind of, you know, identity politics for white people being very successful. What is your read of what is happening right now and why it isn't working?

MEHDI HASAN, JOURNALIST AND BROADCASTER: It's a great question. I think the simple answer is to go back to something you said in the introduction about, is he a candidate who has magical powers he can define -- he can defy the laws of politics in this country. And you know, the laws of politics in this country say that if you're an incumbent, and there is violence and chaos on your watch, you get blamed for it. So, this is not 1968. And even if it was 1968, the roles are reverse. Then, it was a Republican challenging a sitting Democratic president. Now, it's a Republican incumbent presiding over this, and a Democrat challenging him.

And I know the Republican Party, Trump, the chair of the GOP, they are now obsessed with pretending that Joe Biden is the sitting president so that they can blame him for COVID-19 and 190,000 dead. They can blame him for violence and chaos. But even in our kind of fact, free world, even in our Foxified Facebook world, even if, that's too far. People know that Donald Trump is president. That one fact sticks. And therefore, he has to defend that. It's his record on the line here.

And one point I'd make is -- you mentioned consistency in the polls going back to March -- just take seniors. You said the Democrats haven't won seniors for 20 years since Al Gore. Biden was neck and neck or leading with seniors even before COVID-19 kicked in, which is fascinating, which shows that ever since he declared back in early 2019, I think more than 500 days ago, every single day, he has led Donald Trump in head to head polls, and he's eating into Donald Trump's key group seniors, White people without a college education. Trump still leads but much smaller lead than over Hillary Clinton.

And Joe Biden benefits from not being Hillary Clinton. That is the very -- one of the very simple short answers as to why he's doing so well. Rightly or wrongly, people didn't like Hillary Clinton. They don't have the same animus towards Joseph Biden.

HAYES: There's also -- I mean, also the sort of traditional method -- metrics of campaigns here. And again, I think in 2016, the idea that those traditional metrics mattered got thrown out the window partly right, right? But, I mean, when you look at the sort of idea that Trump had, you know, started his reelection on the first day sooner than anyone else, was raising more money than anyone. They're now sort of apparently somewhat cash strapped.

You have Biden and the Democrats raising $364 million to $210 million. Like, there are -- again, if you looked at this race, if you didn't know the race, and it was just X and Y, and you were talking about like a statewide race, and you had to wipe all your preconceptions, you would -- you will have a pretty clear sense of who's winning this race, Michelle.

GOLDBERG: Right. Or if this was reversed, if Hillary Clinton was president and she had the numbers that Donald Trump has, the fundraising that Donald Trump has, we've all probably -- you know, Democrats probably would have given up, right? They would be an utter despair.

I do think, though, that it's important -- again, because there are a lot of you know -- there are a lot of reasons for Democrats to still be as anxious as they are. We still don't know if this is going to be a free and fair election. We -- you know, we do have the kind of counter-majoritarian influence of the electoral college even if Joe Biden is ahead in swing states.

So, I think the trick for Democrats is to feel confident, to not let themselves be paralyzed by anxiety, to understand that the end to this nightmare is within their reach, and at the same time, not to be complacent. I think people probably won't be complacent because they were there once before. But I do think people should look back on 2016 and think about what they wish they had done in the month before that happened and do that now.

HAYES: Yes, it's a great point. And I don't -- I agree. Like, I don't think there's much risk for complacency. And I think in some ways, you know, we talk -- Mehdi, when we talk about mail-in voting and sort of efforts of vote suppression and these crazy lawsuits are being filed left and right, right? The danger there is like some sense of impotence, right. Like, that's the big fear.

And I know -- I've talked to, you know, voting rights advocates, right. That like, even itself, the story itself about your votes going to get lost in the mail itself acts as a kind of disincentive that like the fundamental lever here, which is like things are bad in the country, we should vote out the incumbent president. That at least frequently and crustily is still working to me, is actually an incentive to keep pushing on the lever.

HASAN: Yes. And of course, nothing is a sure thing. Michelle laid out the reasons why he could still easily win again. The Electoral College has a massive bias towards him. But the reality, as you say, yes, creaking out the incumbent. The factors are there. I think what we've done is we've overcorrected.

In 2016, many of us, myself included thought Trump can't win. And now, we've got another extreme where we think a lot of people think well, Trump can't lose. And I think we need to find some kind of middle ground. And when we talk about polls, in 2016 -- well, actually, on national level, the polls weren't wrong. But yes, they got something's wrong at a statewide level.

But here's the big question. Michelle alluded to it earlier. We had an election since 2016, the 2018 Midterms. There was a blue wave. The Democrats had a popular vote lead of around seven points, which is roughly what Biden has now. They did very well winning Senate and Governorship races in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. Those are all good signs.

As I say, it doesn't need any -- I don't know anyone who doesn't like Donald Trump who is complacent about this election. That's a complete -- I've never met anyone who goes yes, he's done. Not one. Not a single American does.

HAYES: No. And to your point about 2018, Michelle, and you did a lot of reporting on the run-up, that was also the product of a sort of structural factors of backlash when we didn't have COVID yet. But it was also like a lot of people didn't put their energy into voter contact and mobilizing in lots of ways.

And there was, you know, the campaign manager for Joe Biden today gave a sort of press call where she talked about we're not knocking on doors because we don't think it's safe, but we're doing a ton of voter contact. There is a lot going on in this campaign, even though it doesn't look like a traditional campaign.

GOLDBERG: Well, and I think that's another reason that people are so anxious, right? In the past, if you were anxious, you could go to a nearby swing state. You could go and knock doors. You could get a sense of the situation on the ground. Now, a lot of the campaigning is so invisible.

I actually spoke to the chair of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin today, and sort of said, you know, should I be anxious that people aren't out there knocking doors for Democrats? And he is really confident that these phone calls and relational organizing, you know, they have kind of an app where you can contact -- you know, reach out to people in your contacts who need to be reached by volunteers. They have the tools, but you can't see it if you're not involved.

And again, it's also a big experiment, right? We can feel confident, we can think that this is going to work, but it's all -- it's just the fact that we're going into this election with a set of tools and a set of conditions that are unprecedented.

HAYES: Michelle Goldberg and Mehdi Hasan, always great to talk to both you and thank you for making it happen tonight.

GOLDBERG: Thank you. Next up, public trust in the Coronavirus vaccine is dwindling as the president claims one could be ready in a matter of weeks just in time for the election. Look at that. What will happen when we do get a vaccine which is crucial? After this.


HAYES: Donald Trump has destroyed the reputational capital, the trust, the cornerstone of constructing, the infrastructure needed to deliver us from this nightmare and to vaccinate Americans against this virus. The polling shows we have a real problem on our hands. Morning Consult ask people if they will get a vaccine if it were available in April, 72 percent of response said yes. This month the number has dropped down to just 51 percent.

And astoundingly, in a new poll, only 26 percent of people said they trust what Donald Trump has to say about vaccines. It's only about a quarter of those polled. The big driver of this is that Donald Trump has politicized the treatment and vaccine process from the very beginning. We have actual concrete examples of him pressuring the Food and Drug Administration specifically on the unproven treatments of hydroxychloroquine, the plasma.

He's all but promised a vaccine by Election Day despite the fact that scientists say that is almost certainly not possible. He's taken the accrued reputational capital of these scientific public health agencies which were already under assault from anti-vaxxers. And like he's done with other inheritances, he's blown it for his short term personal benefit.

Now, Republicans have the gall to turn around and try to make it a political issue if Democrats say they're a little uneasy about all this, like vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris this month expressing concerns.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, let's just say there's a vaccine that is approved and even distributed before the election. Would you get it?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think that's going to be an issue for all of us. I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump, and it would have to be a credible source of information.


HAYES: A credible source of information, that's perfectly reasonable in my mind. Then last night, the Democrat running for Senate, North Carolina, Cal Cunningham was asked about taking a vaccine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there were a vaccine by November 3rd, by Election Day, or the end of the year, would you take the vaccine, and would you encourage your family members to take the vaccine?

CAL CUNNINGHAM (D), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE OF NORTH CAROLINA: I've got questions. And I think we have seen entirely too many times, and especially in recent years, politics intervening in what should be driven by health and science.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, do I read you to say you would be hesitant to receive the vaccine if it were approved by the end of the year?

CUNNINGHAM: I'm going to -- yes, I would be hesitant. But I'm going to ask a lot of questions. I think that's incumbent on all of us right now in this environment with the way we've seen politics intervening in Washington.


HAYES: Here to discuss what the President is doing to the credibility of Coronavirus vaccine, economist Jeffrey Sachs. He's also the chairman of the medical journal, The Lancet COVID-19 Commission, which created an outline for global response to pandemic including the production and distribution of vaccines.

And Jeffrey, I know you've had experience in this, you've experienced both sort of arguing the anti-vaxxers and obviously the developmental -- in sort of development context of vaccine deployment. I mean, I guess the first question is, you know, I don't think Cal Cunningham's answer there is worded precisely as I would, but it does strike me as important for folks to make a distinction between what Donald Trump says about vaccine and who they do trust and how they would sort of ascertain the trustworthiness.

JEFFREY SACHS, ECONOMIST: I think we have to start with a very different point, which is that we reach 200,000 deaths of Americans as of today, and at the rate of deaths per population in our country is 100 times higher than it is in many other countries in the world. So, we have had an anti-science, ignorant, reckless process in this country, and you could say led by Trump, but it's -- he leads chaos, confusion, and death.

So, nobody can trust anything right now, as you said, because he has been unwilling and uninterested in telling the truth and in following the basics of public health from the beginning. And it's 200,000 deaths as of today. Unbelievable. Four times, essentially, the deaths of all the Vietnam War.

So, now we have blatant politicizing of what would be the most rapid development of a vaccine in history. We've got to root for that success. But, of course, anything Trump touches is a lie. And this is -- he makes things wrong. And this is all that one has to know and say, if Tony Fauci comes on your show, Chris, and says, look, the science is clear. Let me show you the evidence. We're going to believe that.


SACHS: If Donald Trump on November one says, you got a vaccine, I'm the greatest, the day before the election, starts this kind of nonsense. We know what this is about. And Trump himself, he tells us how he lies. He lies about everything. And he explains, (INAUDIBLE) how he lied about everything. He lies about climate change, he lives about COVID, he'll lie about the vaccine. Can't people figure this part out? This man conveys no information except reckless self-interest.

HAYES: Well, and here's where -- I mean this is the scenario that strikes me. And it is really dangerous I think that the we have this kind of -- you know, once you drop a little bit of ink into that water, the doubt into people's perception of it, like it's hard to get out, right? So -- and I get why politicians would be very careful with what they say. What you just said, I think is a good rule. Like, if we have credible sources vouching for this and can point to the process, and yes, like I'll -- personally, I will go get the vaccine, right, whenever that is approved.

But the scenario that seems most likely to me is a kind of middle scenario, which is that in advance of actual rock solid where we are on the vaccine, he makes some announcement before the election, or even if there's good, you know, phase three trial results. And then the actual deployment is not some yada, yada, yada thing, like as you know, and as I think you've been working on, written about, the deployment and the logistics of getting people vaccinated is as much of a challenge as the actual development.

SACHS: People should understand also, we're going to need normal public health that we have not even had to this moment in this country. We're going to be testing, tracing, facemask wearing care for months, maybe years to come even if a successful vaccine comes.

If a successful vaccine comes, it's going to take time to implement, to roll out, to get acceptance, to get understanding. We don't even know the efficacy of it. How long would it give protection? To whom would it give protection, for all people, for older people, for younger people? These are big unknown. So, we're going to have to take care.

And we're not even taking care of now. We don't have a vaccine, but we can't even save lives now, because of the recklessness. Chris. So whatever Trump says, keep in mind, this is a man that has led this country into the most profound danger willfully, deliberately, with complete contempt for truth on this issue on climate where he said yesterday exactly the same kind of thing that he said about the virus. It's going to get cooler. Don't worry about it. I don't know what the scientists say.

And if Woodward writes -- we're writing a book right now, no doubt there would be a tape with Trump laughing about how he's making fun of that urgency as well. This is a game for him, but it's a sickness and it's an absolute vulgarity and huge danger for our country.

HAYES: Jeffrey Sachs, it's always great to hear from you. Thank you for making time tonight.

SACHS: Well, thank you for what you're doing.

HAYES: Next, a new whistleblower complaint makes disturbing allegations about the conditions of one ICE facility, including unnecessary hysterectomies performed on migrant women. And the nurse who came forward joins me next.


HAYES: Yesterday, we learned about a whistleblower, a nurse working at a Georgia Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, ICE facility, leveling honestly ghastly allegations. Chief among them that women in that facility, migrant women, say that a doctor was performing unauthorized hysterectomies on immigrant women detained at that facility, which again, is privately run.

Now, you might have seen this story zipping around social media, understandably. And the allegations come from a formal complaint that was actually filed with the watchdog at the Department of Homeland Security. And the whistleblower is on the record, is named. Her name is Dawn Wooten. She was employed by that detention center. And along with those unauthorized hysterectomies, the complaint also alleges the facility lacked protection against coronavirus for detained immigrants, and that detainees suffer from a general lack of medical care.

We've been chasing this story all day along with some of my colleagues here at NBC. Tonight, we can report a lawyer named Benjamin Osorio representing women at that very facility, told NBC News that indeed two of his clients received hysterectomies they believe may have been unnecessary.

And tonight, we here on ALL IN spoke with another attorney who represents two different women who claim they also had unnecessary hysterectomies while detained at this facility. That lawyer tells us that as many as 15 immigrant women were given full or partial hysterectomies or other procedures for which no medical indication existed.

Now, we reached out to ICE with these accusations. They sent us a long statement disputing these allegations and the implication that detainees are used for experimental medical procedures. They do say an independent office will investigate these claims. ICE also says that since 2018, only two individuals in that facility were referred to certified credential medical professionals for hysterectomies. Of course, the referred is the question here.

I should also tell you, NBC has also reached out to private company that runs this facility. While they are not commenting on the specific allegations, they say they have a strict zero-tolerance policy for any kind of appropriate -- inappropriate behavior at their facilities, and they refute any allegations of misconduct.

Now, the nurse behind that whistleblower complaint, who got this all started, is Dawn Wooten, and her lawyer, John Woody, join me now. Dawn Wooten and John Whitty, it's great to have you both. Thank you very much. Miss Wooten, I want to start with you, and just ask you to tell us what you do. What was your job at this facility? When did you start working there?

DAWN WOOTEN, WHISTLEBLOWER NURSE: I was first employed at Irwin County Detention Center in 2010. I've been to this facility, three -- on three different occasions. I returned in 2014, worked until 2016, came back in 2019. I was a nurse there, medication nurse. I work 6A to 6B. we did a total detainee and total inmate care were my responsibilities there.

HAYES: You talk about in the complaint, a hearing from women who are detained there, talking about a specific doctor performing hysterectomies, referring him as a uterus collector. Tell us about how you heard about this doctor and what women said about their experiences with him.

WOOTEN: You have detained women -- I had several detain women on numerous occasions that would come to me and say, Miss Wooten, I had hysterectomy, why? I had no answers as to why they had those procedures. And one lady walked up to me here this last time around between October 19th until July 2nd and she said, what is he? Is he the uterus collector? Does he collect uteruses?

And I asked her, what does she mean. And she says, everybody that I've talked to has had a hysterectomy. And you just don't know what to say. I mean, I don't -- I don't have an answer for why they would come to me and they would say, is he a uterus collector.

HAYES: Would you describe -- how would you describe the standard of care, the general sort of medical environment in which these migrants were detained?

WOOTEN: The standard of care was it wasn't timely all the time. They would have a procedure to where they would fill out forms to be seen. Those forms would be shredded. They would be told in eerie instances that, you know, there's nothing going on with them just on numerous occasions. And as a human, you just don't treat people inhumane.

I have a title is a licensed practical nurse and I protect my title with dignity to where I was raised by "you treat people as you want to be treated." The sanitation especially during COVID, the sanitation was horrible. We didn't have anything to sanitize with. We didn't have the proper PPE. So they didn't have the proper PPE. They didn't have anything to sanitize with while they were done in the dorms as well. And when you ask, you will be reprimanded.

HAYES: Did you have cases of COVID in that facility? What were the steps taken to deal with it as the outbreak in the country happened?

WOOTEN: Well, we first had the first case of COVID in the facility, it was "COVID is not here in the facility." Then we had another case, and it was like "COVID was not here in the facility." We had several more cases and it was like "COVID was not here in the facility." You know, there was not a proper separation of those detainees. Whenever they come in, you know, there's a 14-day incubation period. No, they weren't separated.

You know, whenever you question and then you didn't have the proper PPE, I admit I refuse. I have sickle cell. I have kids that have underlying conditions as well. They're asthmatics. So, the protocol was not being followed. It was not properly reported to the health department. It was not properly reported to the CDC, nor was it properly reported to (INAUDIBLE).

HAYES: You were essentially demoted, as my understanding, from the complaint, right. That from a -- from a full-time employee to sort of a more kind of at-will swing employee. Your contention is that that was essentially punishment for your statements about the unsafe environment you felt there, your resistance to working when you had symptoms. Is that -- is that -- is my understanding correct there?

WOOTEN: Yes, that's correct.

HAYES: Mr. Whitty, what do you -- you looked like you want to say something? What do you want to say?

JOHN WHITTY, ATTORNEY FOR DAWN WOOTEN: Well, I did want to jump in and say that Ms. Wooten has been a vocal, you know, critic of the conditions within the facility for you know, for many months. And the -- you know, the most recent retaliation of demoting her was, you know, to some extent, was just a buildup of all of her internal whistleblowing over the course of months, and especially since the beginning of COVID.

HAYES: Do you have further -- Mr. Whitty, I wonder if people, since you're the attorney attached to this, and I know there's a number of groups that have worked together on this complaint. We've now spoken to one lawyer on the record, another lawyer anonymously, about women -- the actual women coming forward with these complaints. Do you expect that we will see more public declarations of these allegations from women who actually experienced it?

WHITTY: Well, it's a very challenging situation to come forward with information like that. And there's a lot of risks to weigh out. Whether more will actually be able to summon the courage to talk about it, certainly through their attorney is an excellent process, is to make those disclosures.

And with the number of cases that Ms. Wooten and others alluded to, there's a lot -- there's a large population of these -- of these women, immigrants who've had this -- who have been mistreated in this way, assaulted. And should -- you know, there's a pool there that could come forward. Let's hope they do.

HAYES: Ms. Wooten, what would you like to see happen in this facility? What do you -- what do you think the adjust set of changes would look like?

WOOTEN: An adjusted of changes would be a change on management. If you change management, then there's a possibility there will be corrective measures. But if not changing management, then I'm afraid that it will be hard to correct those measures.

HAYES: Dawn Wooten who's the whistleblower in this complaint against this facility, ICE facility run by private corporation in Georgia. John Whitty, her attorney. A tremendous bravery coming forward, Ms. Wooten. Thank you so much for sharing your story tonight. I really appreciate it.

WOOTEN: You're welcome.

WHITTY: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Up next, we have updates on the case of Breonna Taylor. The latest after this.


HAYES: It was six months ago that Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police officers in Louisville, Kentucky. A 26-year-old EMT preparing for nursing school, Taylor was in bed with her boyfriend when police entered her apartment on a so-called no-knock warrant, meaning they barged in.

Her boyfriend who fired his guns once -- gun once, said the couple believed it was a home invasion. Their home was being broken into. The police then responded and shot Taylor five times. Justice for Breonna Taylor has become a rallying cry for organizers and activists in Louisville and, of course, across the nation. Protesters have taken to the streets to implore people to say her name, to call for the cops who killed Breonna Taylor to be arrested.

Those police officers have not been arrested. Only one of them, the officer who blindly shot 10 rounds into Taylor's apartment has even been fired. But there were some welcome news today for her supporters. The mayor of Louisville announcing a $12 million settlement with Taylor's family, along with several police reforms attached to that settlement, including changes to how search warrants are approved and executed in the city.

The city already passed a ban on no-warrants known as Breonna's law back in June. Today, Taylor's family and supporters hailed the settlement and the police reforms, but they said justice had not yet been done. And they renewed their calls for the cops who killed her to be arrested.


LONITA BAKER, ATTORNEY FOR BREONNA TAYLOR'S FAMILY: Today, what we did here was to do what we could do to bring a little bit of police reform, and it's just a start. But we finished the first mike in a marathon, and we got a lot more miles to go before we achieve and cross that finish line.



HAYES: One of the remarkable aspects of this presidential race, which I keep coming back to, is how little Donald Trump's approval rating has moved despite his utter failure to deal with what is arguably the worst thing that's happened in the country in a century. And a big part of the reason for that is this powerful and growing ecosystem of disinformation that a huge percent of voters are consuming, whether via talk radio, or Facebook, or YouTube, or online message boards, or misleading documentaries, or WhatsApp messages on their phones, or even their local Republican candidate for Congress.

And in that world, Donald Trump is a heroic truth-teller. He's fulfilled all his promises and public health officials are nefarious participants in a grand conspiracy against freedom-loving Americans. And all that results in local news packages like this one out of Utah.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A passionate call for action Friday morning in St. George. Several police officers on standby as many locals called concerns about Coronavirus spikes overblown. Others calling the virus a hoax or stating that asymptomatic carriers simply do not exist, and they cannot be forced to wear masks anywhere as citizens of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we want to wear a mask. That's fine. We can take care of ourselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some rally attendees say they shouldn't ever wear masks if they have any medical issues or mental health concerns or if they feel they simply can't breathe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When George Floyd was saying, I can't breathe, and then he died. And now we're wearing a mask and we say, I can't breathe, but we're being forced to wear it anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many say that they believe, in all cases, masks jeopardize all kids health. Parents are demanding they have the right to decide what to do with their children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll tell you another reason I hate math. Most child molesters love them.


HAYES: To set the record straight here. Coronavirus is not a hoax. Asymptomatic carriers do exist, mask-wearing has nothing to do with the murder of George Floyd. Masks do not broadly jeopardize kids' health. And for that last lady, which is crucial, the one who talked about mask-wearing and child molesters, she was echoing the rhetoric of the QAnon conspiracy theory you've heard about.

QAnon followers believe Trump is working silently. He's not bragging about it, just silently behind the scenes, to expose a powerful cult of Satan-worshipping sex-trafficking pedophiles led by Democrats and celebrities who harvest the blood of children, and whose day of reckoning will arrive any day now.

The unnerving truth is that if you scratch the surface, you see that a shockingly wide spectrum of American voters are currently getting information that's not just biased or tilted, but just totally entirely insane and fabricated. In a new piece for Time Magazine, Charlotte Alter writes about this growth of conspiratorial thinking in her interviews with people who believe, for example, that an evil cabal operates tunnels under the U.S. in order to rape and torture children and drink their blood.

"When asked where they found their information, almost all these voters were cryptic. Go online, one woman said. Dig deeper, add another. They are impervious to messaging, advertising, or data. They aren't just infected with conspiracy. They appear to be inoculated against reality. I'm joined now by Charlotte Alter, national correspondent at Time. It's great to have you on, Charlotte.

The piece was unnerving, but it tracked with lots of things I've read and even things I've learned experienced in talking to people. Just talk about what people talked about in your experience in talking to voters and the sort of universe of this disinformation they conjure.

CHARLOTTE ALTER, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, TIME: So, I think what was particularly unnerving about this was that I wasn't going up to people and asking them if they believe in Q. I am on a road trip across the country -- half the country reporting on the election, so I was just trying to hear, you know, what people were thinking in terms of their vote.

And a remarkable proportion of these people that I interviewed in Wisconsin, roughly one in five, brought up Q or other QAnon related conspiracy theories, or COVID hoaxer conspiracy theories over the course of our conversations. And when I asked them where they're finding this stuff, they say this phrase that I think has become sort of the token of the conspiratorial thinking crowd which is do your research. That's become a little bit of a red flag phrase for me.

When I hear somebody saying do your research, usually they're about to spout a conspiracy theory of some kind.

HAYES: What's so striking about this -- I mean, look, you know, disinformation smears are old parts of politics from the founding, right? And like, if you look at 2004, John Kerry, right, I think about swift boats, OK. And the thing about that was, it was attached to reality. Like, John Kerry did serve in Vietnam. He was on a swift boat. There -- you know -- and the idea was that he acted poorly there.

It wasn't that like John Kerry is secretly an alien who is going to come, you know, devour children. Like, the full alternativeness of the cosmology just doesn't even seem like a thing. I don't even know how you penetrate it.

ALTER: Right. Well, that is what was so alarming about this reporting is that, like I said in the piece, these people appear to be totally inoculated against reality. There is no fact that you can present to them that will change their mind.

And one of the things that I learned in reporting about the psychology about conspiracy theories, is that actually presenting accurate facts to try to disprove a conspiracy theory often has the opposite effect of actually reinforcing the idea that there's some kind of conspiracy that wants you to believe a certain thing.

So that's what's really tricky about this, is that presenting accurate information doesn't actually make convinced them at all.

HAYES: I mean, that's -- right, that's sort of universally true in lots of circumstances. In this -- in this case, I'm curious how the people you talk to, like how they found their way into it. One of the things that our colleagues Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny have been -- have been sort of writing about is the sort of extension of QAnon out past where it had been. There's lots of sort of influencers on Instagram who have gotten into it. Like, did you get a sense of people's routes into this?

ALTER: So, when I asked them about that, they were very vague. You know, I didn't talk to people who said oh, I followed this influencer or that influencer. Certainly, everybody was getting their information on the internet. Mostly on Facebook, but it seems like some people had actually moved off Facebook and on to a Russian owned search engine. But, you know, definitely algorithms are the main reason why these conspiracy theories are, you know, having so much of a bigger impact now than they did in the 20th century before the internet.

I mean, there were people in the 20th century who believed conspiracy theories like that the JFK assassination was an inside job or that moon landing was a hoax, but those didn't really penetrate the mainstream because they weren't being fed these conspiracy theories online.

HAYES: The other -- so the more sort of banal version of this, which I also think is interesting, which is like -- so, there's the kind of QAnon just complete, like untethered from reality and sort of a kind of cryptic, almost gnostic, mystical way of interpreting like the actual fence in the world.

And then there's a sort of the other kind of disinformation which this comes from an economist story which I thought was interesting, just talking to folks in Ohio. And this is, "He shoots his mouth off but at least shows he's honest, said Jason, a pipefitter, who said he especially like Mr. Trump's commitment to reducing the national debt."

"He's done more for a country in the past 10 presidents put together," said an older builder, Jeff, skimming wet concrete on a new road. "He's made, who is it, China or Japan, pay our farmers billions of dollars. He got health care done, which Democrats could never do. He built the wall."

It's those last two sentences. I mean, it's one thing if you're running right on like, my opponent -- you know, you have sort of traditional exaggeration. Like, my opponent wants government takeover of health care and I stand against that. It's another one you say like I got health care reform done.

ALTER: Right. So, this -- what's particularly alarming about this is that this isn't just about the crazy stuff that these people believe, it's also about what they don't believe. They do not believe the things that are reported in the news.

And in fact, over the course of now almost 150 conversations in Wisconsin and now in Michigan, you know, sometimes when I talk to people voting for Trump, I bring up some things that have been reported in the news recently. Like for example, the losers and suckers' comment that was reported in the Atlantic or the Bob Woodward tape of the president downplaying the coronavirus. And people simply do not believe that it is true. And that is the way that they explain away their support for Trump.

When I bring up, you know, more kind of consequential policy, policy achievements or non-achievements, they simply do not believe what I'm saying. And that's I think one of the ways that this mindset expands beyond the belief in the cabal into a broader unreality that's infecting the electorate.

HAYES: Yes. I mean, the thing that's so fascinating here, right, is that we all form our knowledge about the world based on trust relationships of. People watching this show presumably think I'm not lying to them. And like, for instance, I think you actually interviewed the people you interviewed. Like, I trust that. I trust that's what happened. And if you end up trusting the wrong people, it's amazing how bad your beliefs can end up, how untethered they are.

Charlotte Alter who did a great piece, is doing great work, thank you for your time tonight.

ALTER: Thanks for having me, Chris.

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


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