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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, September 24, 2020

Guests: Masha Gessen, Elizabeth Warren, Peter Hotez


President Trump was booed by mourners at Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's memorial. President Trump and the Republicans are now saying the courts could decide the election. Interview with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on the battle for the Supreme Court. The courts are dealing with a huge number of lawsuits around voting. Thousands of "long-haulers" suffer from symptoms of COVID for months after the infection.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It's produced by MSNBC in wondering about Harris's rise from humble roots to become the first African American woman to be the vice-presidential nominee for a major party.

The first episodes are available October 5th. That is right before the vice presidential debate. But you could subscribe for free right now wherever you get your podcasts. That's tonight's REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. Outside of his bubble, the unpopular president hears for Americans after announcing his intention to subvert democracy.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want to have -- get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very transfer -- we'll have a very peaceful -- there won't be a transfer, frankly.

HAYES: Tonight, Masha Gessen on why you should believe him when he says that. And Senator Elizabeth Warren on making sure all votes are counted.

Then, vote early and vote in-person. Election law expert Ned Fully on the ways to make a difference.

And with 203,000 dead and counting, how the suffering of long-haul COVID survivors are starting to come into focus, when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes. Make no mistake, the President is acting out of weakness right now, not from strength. You don't attack the legitimacy of an election and sued to undermine voting rights across the country and make it harder to vote and talk about invalidating tens of thousands, if not millions of mail-in ballots, and refuse to commit to a peaceful transfer of power -- you don't do all those things if you think you are winning, right?

What Donald Trump said yesterday was extremely disturbing and outrageous and actually disqualifying. But does this really sound like someone who's expecting a victory?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transfer of power after the election?

TRUMP: Well, we're going to have to see what happens. You know that. I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you commit to making sure that there's a peaceful transfer of power --

TRUMP: No. We want to -- we want to have -- get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very -- you'll have a very peaceful -- there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation. The ballots are at a control.


HAYES: You don't promise to get rid of the ballots, if you think the ballots are going to keep you on power because people are voting for you because they like you. No, you actually know that you are hated when you say that. Donald Trump knows that things do not look good for him, that the American people are not with him.

And right now, the polling average shows him down more than seven points nationally. That 43 percent number, that's basically what his approval has been throughout his entire presidency. Just yesterday, there were three different national polls that showed Trump down by 10 points. No incumbent has lost by 10 points since I think Hoover. Joe Biden in those polls, also at least 50 percent support which is key.

Donald Trump is the incumbent president amidst a pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 Americans so far, just another thousand today. He is overseeing an economy that has lost nearly five million jobs since he took office. And early voting has already begun. The latest NBC News Wall Street Journal poll found that nearly 90 percent of voters have already made up their minds. They already know who they are voting for. Which makes sense because can you imagine looking at the current situation and thinking, I got to see a little more.

So, there isn't a lot of opportunity for the President to make up ground. And all that means that Donald Trump is looking for his second option, trying to actually win -- again, appealing to more people so as to win the election legitimately, it just is not the strategy clearly at this point. And as dangerous that it is, and it is indeed dangerous -- we're going to talk about that in a bit -- the danger we see is don't forget it, born of his political weakness, born of his unpopularity, not his political strength.

I mean, this is someone who views himself as president of the 40 percent of the country that likes him. He's the king of red America. He brags about his approval rating among the Republican Party. And he says it shouldn't count, really, the Coronavirus deaths in blue states. You shouldn't count those against him because those are blue states.

I mean, this is someone who surrounds himself at every opportunity with nothing but the most rabidly adoring members of his own base, people who are willing to risk a once in a century respiratory infection to watch him riff about low flow toilets. But if he, for an instant, sets foot into the rest of America, to see the majority of Americans that do not approve for him, this is what it looks like.

This was the scene today when the President went to view the casket of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg whose dying wish was that he not appoint her successor.


AMERICAN CROWD: Vote him out. Vote him out. Vote him out.


HAYES: That man there is not strong. He is weak. Striking, isn't it, the scene confronted with just a tiny little assemblage of the people in the majority of the country that do not like him. It's been a while. I mean, the campaign tries to keep them in front of only the most adoring audiences in an effort to project the idea that, well, everybody loves Donald Trump.

They take great pains to protect him from ever appearing before regular Americans. When they do make that mistake and send him into non-MAGA parts of America, this is what happens. Remember when he went to the Washington Nationals game last year and got audibly booed by the fans? Well, that was a disaster, so then they had to make up for it. They figured, what about a UFC fight at Madison Square Garden? The UFC folks, those are our people. But there were a lot of boos there too. It's not quite as bad, but it was closed.

And they finally figured, good Lord, let's try an LSU vs. Alabama college football game in Tuscaloosa. And that worked out, lots of applause. It took three tries and the President found his place, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This is a politically weak president who wants desperately for you to believe he is strong. And that political weakness is the thing that pro-democracy forces in America have on their side.

But, at the same time, that weakness, that weakness is also what is driving him and his party into ever more dangerous actions which we have to take seriously and confront. He is dangerous as hell particularly because he's being enabled by the Republican Party, and we're in a very dangerous mode. If he manages to stay an office, if he managed to plow over our democracy and throw out our votes, then all bets are off.

Two days after the 2016 election, Masha Gessen wrote this piece titled Autocracy: Rules for Survival, listing out six rules to understand how to live under an autocrat. Nearly four years later, those rules now seem all too real. The first one in particular is worth repeating after what we heard Trump say yesterday. "Believe the autocrat. He means what he says."

I'm joined now by Masha Gessen, staff writer from New Yorker, author of the new book Surviving Autocracy. First, Masha, that your -- this is not surprising that he said this. He has essentially been sort of laying the groundwork for this saying any election he loses is by definition not legitimate and tainted. But it was still striking to hear him say that yesterday.

MASHA GESSEN, STAFF WRITER, NEW YORKER: Although, you know, he actually said that before the 2016 election as well.


GESSEN: And an election that he wins to him is also illegitimate. I mean, he has always run against the system. He has always run on the platform of delegitimizing elections as such. So I don't know that I would stress so much that he is afraid of losing and he's running and weakness.

I think there's been a sort of simultaneous underlying, understanding of a lack of legitimacy of this presidency that has been an undercurrent the entire time, but also the force of delegitimizing the entire system as he found it, right? And the, you know, the whole sort of drain the swamp rhetoric has always referred to destroying the government as it was constituted.

HAYES: How do you think about this sort of -- to me, there's these sorts of twin imperatives here, right. One is, you know, to be clear-eyed about the danger, to take him seriously, to take the efforts to do profoundly dangerous things to American democracy seriously, at the same time, not imbuing him with more power than he has.

There's a kind of projection of strong men in this right here. This -- you know, the Republicans think we're going to figure out how to take your vote away and send our own slate of electors, which I think is meant to kind of intimidate at a certain level. How do you -- how do you interpret those sorts of competing imperatives at this moment?

GESSEN: Well, you know, my rule is always to try to zoom out and look at the larger picture. And the larger picture is that we're at a stage in the autocratic attempt when we probably face the last chance to try to stop this autocratic attempt. Before, I use this framework invented by a Hungarian sociologist named Balint Magyar who says there's an autocratic attempt, autocratic breakthrough, and autocratic consolidation.

So, I think we're still in an attempt stage. The breakthrough will happen if he wins this election or even in spite of losing the election, succeeds in maintaining power. And so, we really have to use this chance to get rid of Donald Trump. It is, you know, this -- the elections are not a perfect instrument. There's rampant voter suppression. There's rampant -- you know, the opportunity to vote has never been equally distributed and it is -- it is sub-optimal at the moment. And yet this is currently our best instrument for stopping the autocratic attempt. And that means he has to lose by an absolutely overwhelming margin.

HAYES: That is a really useful -- the attempts, the breakthrough, and the consolidation is actually is extremely useful framework to think about. And it's interesting that you referenced -- you referenced Hungary because I think of -- when I look -- think of Viktor Orban who many people have compared him, and Orban is running this sort of what he calls an illiberal democracy in Europe. You know, Orban and the Law and Justice Party, I think it's called in in Poland, which is sort of aligned to kind of hard-right party, you know, Orban has been fairly popular.

Like, it does strike me that we would be in much worse shape if Donald Trump were like legitimately polling at 60 percent, that in rebuffing the attempt, right -- if we think about this as the autocratic attempt, rebuffing, the attempt is easier, and you're in a stronger position when the person making the attempt is not actually popular.

GESSEN: I don't think that we can accurately measure the popularity of an autocrat as Orban of Vladimir Putin, or at this point, Erdogan simply because, you know, when there's -- when there's this scorched earth policy of governing, when they completely dominate the information sphere, almost completely dominated information sphere, there is no way to see an alternative. There is no way to gauge popularity in the absence of any kind of imagination for what would happen if it weren't Viktor Orban, right?

We are not there yet. And at this point, you know, especially in the week after the death of Judge Ginsburg -- Justice Ginsburg, I think it's super important to pull back and look at all the things that we still have. We still have the opportunity for Donald Trump to not be popular, because there are other options.

HAYES: Right.

GESSEN: Because we have media, because we have actually still a robust public sphere that he has not come to fully dominate, because it is actually possible for him to be unpopular.

HAYES: That is a great point that we are -- right, that's exactly what I'm trying to say. Like, we're -- because we're still in the attempt phase, because we are not in the breakthrough or consolidation phase, because the consolidation has not happened because I'm speaking to you right now in front of millions of people, right? Like, because we're on this side of it, we still -- we can beat it back.

And I -- you know, I have really started thinking about the election in these sort of pro-democracy forces conceptualization. Like, that is -- quite frankly, I mean, Barack Obama said this, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said this, and Bernie Sanders said it today. And people on the right have said this, Bill Kristol I think believes this, that that's what we're facing right here.

GESSEN: Yes. And you know, it actually -- like seized up inside when I saw the figures that you were using at the top of the broadcast, showing how Donald Trump is trailing Joe Biden, because of course, he is trailing him nationally, but the Electoral College isn't looking so great. And you know, and we have this hugely imperfect system that we have to try to use to stall this autocratic attempt, and then try to rebuild the system in a way that is actually much more democratic, right.

And we have to have total mobilization for democracy, not to protect a democracy that is under threat, but to even have a chance of building a democracy.

HAYES: Yes. Yes. And that is a sort of guiding moment, particularly amidst this catastrophe that we all continue to work our way through that presses down on each of us each and every day. The other thing that I wanted to sort of end on, one of the rules which I remembered since my first interview with you I think after that election night was just be outraged.

And I have to say like, I'm not an angry person but have felt a kind of whistling teakettle sense of rage recently, partly born of mourning, honestly, because of the devastation of the death around us and the illness and the suffering and the misery that didn't have to happen, but also because I love my country deeply and I feel like I'm watching someone tried to take it away.

GESSEN: Someone is trying to take it away. Someone is actively facilitating the deaths of more than 1,000 people a day. It is very, very hard to maintain a level of rage to -- you know, it is objectively hard, because we're not talking about normalization. We're talking about -- I'm talking about normality. This has been normal for -- this response to the Coronavirus has been normal for seven months. This way of shameless abuse of power has been normal for nearly four years. This is our everyday reality.

And so, the only thing I would say is that, you know, as difficult as outrage is to maintain, it is a much more constructive emotional state than anxiety.

HAYES: That's right.

GESSEN: Anxiety is what makes us controllable and it is a natural response to what's happening, but it makes us -- you know, it makes us slow to act and unable to act and outrage will drive us to action.

HAYES: That is really well said. Masha Gessen, it's always so wonderful talk to you. Thank you so much for talking to us tonight.

GESSEN: Thank you for having me.

HAYES: Tonight, Republicans are telegraphing they hope the election will be decided by the courts and not so much for the voters. Sen. Elizabeth Warren warns that democracy as we know it is on the line. She joins me next.


HAYES: Republicans are trying to distance themselves and the president implicitly threatening violence to stay in office as he did when he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. But the way the Republicans are trying to distance themselves from that odious comment, is extremely unnerving in of itself.

The theme from Republicans is less well, the people will decide who our next president is, after we count every vote, the winner of the Electoral College will be the next president, and it seems a lot more we will abide by the decision of the courts. But the courts are like a real emergency backstop here. The courts should not be the main plan.

Lindsey Graham, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee said, "People wonder about the peaceful transfer of power. I can assure you it will be peaceful. Now, we may have litigation about who won the election, but the court will decide. And if Republicans lose, we'll accept that result."

This is particularly unnerving after the death of justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, when the President and Republicans are all saying we need to ram through a Supreme Court Justice so that that person can rule presumably in our favor, if there is an election lawsuit.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): An equally divided court 4-4 can't decide anything. That could make this presidential election drag on weeks and months and well into next year. That is an intolerable situation for the country. We need a full court on Election Day, given the very high likelihood that we're going to see litigation that goes to the court. We need a Supreme Court that could -- that can give a definitive answer for the country.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With all of the talk about universal unsolicited mail-in balloting where we see states around the country that are now extending the deadline, there is a possibility that election issues may come before the Supreme Court in the days following the election. And all the more reason why we should have nine justices on the Supreme Court to be able to resolve any issues that may arise.


HAYES: Here with me now, one of those senators who will vote on the Supreme Court confirmation, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat of Massachusetts. Great to have you, Senator. First, let me just get your response to this line, this sort of -- I find it strange line from some of your Republican colleagues about, well, you know, we'll listen to the courts, and the courts will decide. And we also need to get this justice on the court because the court is going to decide the election as if that's a kind of fait accompli. What do you -- what do you think when you hear that?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): So, you know, let's start with Donald Trump. When Donald Trump says that he is not necessarily going to accept the will of the voters, he's flirting with treason. He's saying peaceful transition of power doesn't matter to him. All that matters to him, once again, is Donald Trump and whatever Donald Trump wants.

And for Republicans once again to step up, these Republican senators, to enable him in that, to support him in that, and to start to talk about the November 3rd election as if this isn't about voters getting their choice, but it's about Supreme Court Justices getting their choice, means that they are a party to it.

And that means to be that come November 3rd, we need to hold them all accountable. And when I say hold them all accountable, I mean, Donald Trump, I mean, those Republican senators. I mean, those Republicans up and down the ballot. And we need to not just beat them by a little bit, the idea that they can go litigate when it's close. I mean, beat them big. That's what we got to do.

HAYES: You know, there is -- after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there's a sort of question, open question about OK, well, what now? And in relatively short order, it looks like Mitch McConnell assembled the votes he needed to move forward. Lindsey Graham has assured us that sight unseen, the nominee has the votes.

And then the question would be -- you're shaking your head.

WARREN: By the way, he's given a new meaning to the word advice and consent which the Constitution of the United States requires.

HAYES: Yes, exactly.

WARREN: Right. Lindsey Graham has simply said Donald Trump has my proxy on this. The Senate doesn't need to look at it. If the President is good, Lindsey Graham is good. Man, there's a man with a spine, a spine kept in a box somewhere else, because he certainly doesn't have to exercise for himself.

HAYES: Well, then only -- let's talk about spine and about fighting here. I mean, there is some sense -- I get that there's no magic button, and I get that they probably have the votes. But there is some sense of like, what do you do, right, as a Senate minority? Do you not agree to unanimous consent? Do you insist on quorum calls? Do you not do votes for judges?

But my understanding is in the last 24 to 48 hours, all that stuff has happened, right? I mean, the Senate is functioning normally. I think there was a confirmation vote on a district judge today, 93 to two. I'm not sure how you voted, but there is kind of normal business happening. Like, explain to me why that is happening.

WARREN: Look, we need to use every tool. And there are a lot of tools that Democrats have to try and fight this. We got to be strategic about how we use them, but it can't be business as usual in the Senate. We need to think seriously about everything we can do to try to slow this down and to show how illegitimate this whole process is.

Look, the continuing resolution could have been voted on yesterday. But we didn't. We said, nope, we're going to run it for the full length of time that it takes. And yes, it'll be voted on, but it's going to be next Wednesday. We're going to pull this out. That's why I'm still here in Washington. We're going to use every tool we've got. But grassroots energy is crucial in this kind of fight as well. The more energy injected into this, the more nervous the Republicans are going to get.

Look, remember, back in 2017, the Republicans thought they had the votes to repeal health care for millions of Americans, and they didn't. They blink. And it's in large part because people stood up and said, no. Well, to me, that's what this is. This is another fight over the vote to repeal health care for millions of Americans that's going to be in front of the Supreme Court in November. So we need to fight just as hard as we did back then because now the stakes are even higher.

HAYES: So, I want to ask about the ACA, and I'm so glad you raised it. I meant to ask this to the Speaker the other night, and I'm kicking myself for two days that I didn't. So, I'm going to ask you, and you may say, well, this is better directed to the Speaker but I'll ask anyway.

Am I crazy, or could everyone agree to put one sentence in this C.R. that's going to pass that just repeals the mandate from the ACA and then makes the case before the Supreme Court utterly moot anyway, and everyone can walk away from this insane, preposterous Rube Goldbergian bad faith argument that they're making over there, but also risks destroying the ACA? Can we do that?

WARREN: So listen, I'm all for creative thinking. We need creative thinking right now. But understand, Chris, that is not going to stop the Republicans. They want to take away pre-existing conditions. I mean, they've got multiple grounds that they're moving on here. The only way we're going to stop them is the same way we stopped them in 2017.

We're just going to have to fight them. We're going to have to fight them everywhere, including on the floor of the Senate. And that means right now, every one of these Republican senators who's up for reelection, and everyone trying to get elected, those Republicans need to be put to the question multiple times a day.

Why are you helping Donald Trump take away health care from tens of millions of people? Why are you participating in a process that Republicans and Democrats both know is illegitimate? We need to be fighting back.

HAYES: Final question for you is about relief. You know, the Heroes Act passed the House, trillions of dollars back in May, a whole bunch of extensions of programs that were in the Cares Act and also a lot of money for municipal and state governments which is really necessary. A far, far smaller and more limited version passed the Senate. They haven't come to an agreement.

I feel like it's weirdly disappeared from the national conversation that there are millions of people in terrible shape right now. Like, unemployment is running out. These jerry-rigged patches the president unilaterally signed are running out. People are in tough shape. Like, the government should be doing more, right?

WARREN: You know, I'm so glad you asked about this. Families are struggling so much. 200,000 people have now died. And, as you say, unemployment is running out, people are being moved out of their apartments, foreclosures are going forward. Kids can't get back into school, parents are struggling to try to keep up. If they have a job, trying to keep up with work and their families. Every part of this is headed in the wrong direction. And it is imposing real pain on the people of this country.

As you know, the House passed a relief package. It's been four months ago now. And Mitch McConnell said he didn't feel any real urgency. And boy, did he make that clear, because when the Republicans finally did move, it was with this tiny little package that was loaded with poison pills that they knew would never go forward.

So the Republicans have clearly decided that their path to victory is not for trying to help people and then stand on their records. Their path to victory is to see if they can keep people from voting, get that election closer than it otherwise would be, and then steal a Supreme Court seats so that if it goes to the Supreme Court, they will still be in power.

This is a naked grab for power. It is a page out of the playbooks of dictators everywhere, and we need to put a stop to it.

HAYES: Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts who is still there in Washington D.C., as you see behind you, thank you for making the time.

WARREN: Thank you.

HAYES: Still ahead, do you have a voting plan for the election? We'll talk about why voting early could change the trajectory of election night after this.


HAYES: As states try to make it easier to vote by mail during a pandemic which has already killed 203,000 Americans, courts are dealing with a huge number of lawsuits around voting. And there are some pretty clear sides here. Democrats are trying to make sure as many people can vote as possible and as many ballots as possible are counted. And the Trump campaign the Republican Party and its allies are trying to throw out as many ballots as possible.

Democrats were victorious in Wisconsin where a federal judge extend the deadline for accepting absentee ballots. They are victorious in North Carolina where the state election board extended the deadline to count mail-in ballots and created new rules to make it easier for voters to fix any mistakes, which is key.

But there are literally dozens of lawsuits on this year's election that are still being fought state by state by state across the country. And someone who has been following what's happening here as closely as anyone, professor of constitutional law at Ohio State University and now an NBC News Legal Analyst Edward Foley, and he joins me now.

Professor, it's great to have you. I've been relying on your work, so it's great to talk to you in person. Let me just start with a sort of proactive thing of people can do to avoid some of the complicated litigation that's going on around mail-in ballots, and that's in-person early voting. What is your view on that? And that seems to be something that is this cycle, shielded from the litigation that we're getting on the mail-in ballots. Is that a fair characterization?

EDWARD FOLEY, NBC NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Indeed, I'm a big fan of in-person early voting. I've done it myself. We have that in my own state of Ohio. And it's a great option because it allows you to choose the day and time that you vote so you can often avoid the long lines. And because it's in-person, you don't have any of the risks and problems that sometimes are associated with vote by mail.

So, in states that have it, I definitely recommend it. Unfortunately, not every state has that as an option.

HAYES: Yes, we should just put up -- obviously, we've been running this Plan Your Vote Web site at Here's where there is early in-person, all those purple states, including New York. And, in fact, I just found out where the location is for myself which is great.

So again, sort of as a pandemic option, like the first cut, I think, is that if you can do this, and you can go to time when there's not a lot of people and you wear a mask, that's fairly straightforward. Now, let's talk about mail-in balloting. There are there's so much litigation about this. We tick through a few of them. A lot of them have to do on basically when they have to -- when these ballots have to get into be counted. Is that -- is that like sort of one of the big battle lines here?

FOLEY: Indeed. That's probably the number one battle with respect to the absentee your vote by mail. And that's in multiple states right now, many of the battleground states. So this issue is going on in Pennsylvania, and in Wisconsin, and in Michigan, and others as well. So, yes, I put that as the top of the list of things to focus on.

HAYES: So, Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court, there's a bunch of litigation. The state Supreme Court, my understanding has issued a ruling somewhat similar to the rulings that we saw in Wisconsin, right, saying, if you mail in before Election Day, and it takes a little while to get to us, we will still count it. Is that an accurate characterization?

FOLEY: Yes. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that as long as it is cast by Election Day, and hopefully postmarked as it should be, then it can arrive a few days later and still be eligible to be counted. One detail of that decision is that if it's missing the postmark, the majority opinion from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court presumes that it's valid and so we'll have the ballot be counted unless there's evidence to the contrary.

HAYES: That seems like actually a pretty big deal, right?

FOLEY: It is a big deal. That I think will be the primary focus of the litigation fight as it moves from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to the U.S. Supreme Court.

HAYES: Let me ask you this. When you hear all this and sort of when you sort of step back for a second, you hear all this talk, almost again like a fait accompli from the vice president of the United States, the president of the United States, people that -- you know, this is all going to be litigated, it's all going to end up in the Supreme Court. As someone who sort of really follows closely state by state election law, and as a law professor, what's your reaction to that? That to me is unnerving. Like --but do you view it as inevitable in the same way?

FOLEY: Well, I think it's inevitable that we're going to see litigation. As you pointed out, we have a huge volume and unprecedented number of cases this year compared to any previous presidential cycle. But it's not inevitable that those litigations in any way determine the outcome of the election.

HAYES: Right.

FOLEY: The election should be determined by the voters. That's the test for when an election is valid because the winner is the genuine true choice that the voters want. And it's unlikely that any of these lawsuits will be, you know, determinative of the outcome in that sense. The campaigns may try to use litigation as a tool, but voters get to vote and the voters get to decide the -- you know, the election.

And it might be helpful to mention that in our field, we compare two numbers, the margin of victory on the one hand, and the margin of litigation, on the other hand. And usually, the margin of victory so far exceeds the margin of litigation that it's just not worth trying to sue over. This is particularly the lawsuits after Election Day.

Right now, we're getting lawsuits in front of Election Day, and they're of a different character than lawsuits that fight over the counting of the ballots afterwards.

HAYES: Final question for you. There's a strange thing that happened in Pennsylvania today in which a U.S. Attorney put out a press release saying we found nine Donald Trump ballots that were discarded. And they put out the press release at the same time. Like, the White House started talking about it and the president. It's unclear, like what the deal is with these ballots, and they had to correct the press release and say, actually, seven would count for the president. We don't know about the other two.

And I kept thinking like, what is going on here? It seemed quite coordinated from messaging standpoint. You have a U.S. Attorney putting this out, then you have the White House and Kayleigh McEnany. Have you ever seen in the time you've heard of this, a U.S. Attorney putting a press release out about nine ballots they found?

FOLEY: I think the really key point here is to keep an eye on the big picture, because there's probably roughly six million ballots in the state race like this. And nine -- I mean, I don't want any voter to be treated wrongfully or to be disenfranchised because every voter should have the right to vote. But again, to go back to the point about how do we tell whether or not an election has served its purpose, its whether collectively the result is the genuine choice that the voters as a whole want.

And so, every election has some blemishes or flaws. You'd like to reduce it to zero. So, there's a lot about this particular incident that we still have -- don't know and a lot of questions to be asked. But I think what we know so far means that we should still be focused on the main question which is, does this affect the integrity of the election as a whole?

HAYES: That's very well put. Professor Edward Foley, that was really, really illuminating. I'm looking forward to having you back again. Thank you.

FOLEY: Thank you.

HAYES: Still ahead, we're now learning more about some of the lasting damage the Coronavirus can do to those who contract the disease. What doctors are seeing, coming up.


HAYES: As a society, I think it's fair to say we're struggling every day to figure out how to collectively mourn our ongoing tragedy. It's easy to become accustomed to the numbers and numb to them. Of course, we have a president and all sorts of powerful forces that want us to just ignore it, forget about it.

But no, we refuse to forget about it. There are people working hard to make sure we pay some respect to the now over 203,000 Americans have lost to the virus. Folks like the organizers of the COVID Memorial project who installed 20,000 American flags on the National Mall earlier this week. Each flag representing 10 American lives lost the virus.

We've also been taking time to bring you a few of the stories of those people who are no longer with us try to do some small justice to the lives they lived. Andrea Mammon was a clinical psychologist. She was a mother. She'd been in good health until she came down with the virus and she died on September 12th. She was just 37 years old. Her mother told the journal star in Peoria, Illinois, she gravitated people who weren't in the mainstream. She always gravitated to the underdog.

James Harris known as Dixie enlisted in the Navy at the age of 18. And after working on his family farm in Georgia during the Great Depression, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports he survived Pearl Harbor and numerous medical setbacks before dying from Coronavirus on September 11th at the age of 98.

Bryan Fonseca was a longtime theater director in Indianapolis. He died from the Coronavirus last Wednesday at the age of 65. The Indianapolis Star reports, he made a point of championing people of color and LGBTQ artists. One colleague says he never compromised his vision and his mission to appease anyone else.

Nora Sanchez was an elementary school nurse in Port Isabel, Texas. She loved to talk about her close-knit family. Sanchez passed away from the Coronavirus on August 25th. Her friend and co-worker told the local paper the Port Isabel Press, "I could go into her office and let out whatever I was feeling that day. She listened carefully and tell me it's going to be OK ma, while she was hugging me. She knew what to say to make me feel better. She was like that for everyone." Yes, school nurses are the best.

Wendell Smith worked in the transportation department at Spartanburg County School District 6 in South Carolina. He was known for his calm demeanor and for putting student needs before his own. And he died from complications related to Coronavirus on September 13th. In announcing his death, the school district said, "If you've ever crossed paths with Mr. Smith, you know he never met a stranger."

Tyler Amburgey was a father and a youth hockey coach in North Texas, who died of the coronavirus in August 29th. He was just 29 years old. His wife said, he was so much more, victim of the virus.


AIMEE AMBURGEY, WIFE OF TYLER AMBURGEY: He was a great guy and a loving husband, and a loving father. I just want him to be remembered for more than just a person that -- more than just a person that passed away from COVID.



HAYES: There's an idea you find at certain conservative circles, ones that the President listens to that I think the President is heard. The government should not really be trying to keep people from getting sick. Instead, you know, if young and healthy people get the virus, that's actually kind of a good thing because it gets us one step closer to so-called herd immunity.

Trump's new adviser on Coronavirus Dr. Scott Atlas, he's a radiologist, I think not a public health expert, he's argued the role of government is not to stamp out the virus. Senator Rand Paul who had the virus and recovered said he'd open every school and I'd wait and see if everybody -- anybody gets sick.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson seen here ignoring social distancing guidelines at a summer steak fry a few months ago, has been adamantly against any kind of mask mandate, saying, "You don't need government to tell you to wear a dang mask." Well, Governor Parsons just tested positive for the virus, as his wife. I hope they recover.

This disease has killed over 200,000 people in this country. It's sickened nearly seven million, and I think we tend to focus on that death toll, obviously. But there are thousands and thousands of people who clear their initial COVID infection but still battle the serious and sometimes crushing effects of the virus for months.

Science writer Ed Yong has reported extensively for the Atlantic on what he calls these long haulers, long haul impacts. Last month, he wrote about a woman on her fifth month have gastrointestinal problems and severe morning nausea, who still has an erratic heartbeat. Another who is recovered from neurological symptoms, but not the scars that the Coronavirus left on her lungs.

Joining me now is Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. You know, Doctor, we focus on hospitalizations and the sort of health care capacity and we focus on fatalities. And then there are some people who get this and it's not even that bad. But there's a big chunk of people get real sick and real sick for a long time and in ways that are strange and new that we're learning about. What are we learning about the sort of long-term effects of this illness on folks who do survive?

PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE HOUSTON: Well, thanks a lot, Chris, for having me. You know, I think before I answer that, I just want to say thank you again for that last segment. You know, giving a face to this virus is so important, because we're seeing how the White House has been sort of dehumanizing it, taking away the humanity component of this virus, which is just so devastating. So, those reminders are really important.

Look, we know there's 200,000 Americans who have perished in this epidemic. That really is the tip of the iceberg because this virus, you know, when it first came, when we first saw it in Wuhan, China then in Europe, we thought of it primarily as a respiratory virus, not realizing that this virus attacks the vasculature, the heart, and the brain. And we're seeing significant long term disability because of this, lung injury that's going out people remaining shortness of breath, horrible fatigue, heart injury, a lot of heart damage, vascular damage, strokes, pulmonary emboli.

And then we're learning about long term neurologic complications, sometimes referred to as brain fog, where people just are not at their best ever. They're always feeling this kind of cloud, unable to really concentrate. And for individuals who depend on high intellectual levels of activities, it's devastating, and then terrible depression that we're seeing, a lot of neuro-psychiatric disturbance.

It's a horrible, horrible virus, Chris, and it's not rare. This is going to influence a generation of how we train medical residents, how we train young doctors, just like we did with HIV AIDS back in the 80s. We're going to have to relearn medicine because of this virus.

HAYES: Wait, say more on that. I mean, you think it's widespread enough that these sorts of effects that you've noted, and I think in my head, maybe to make myself feel better, I've been -- I've been putting them in a narrow category of like, yes, OK, there's some rare manifestations that are showing up. But what you're saying is these kinds of effects across different parts of the body that endure are not super rare, that we're seeing them quite a bit.

HOTEZ: That's right. We don't have a good enumeration of this, and we also don't know how long it's going to last also, because we're still pretty early into this epidemic. Are those same individuals who are experiencing brain fog or long-term cognitive deficits, will they be back to 100 percent a year from now? Will they still have depression? Will they still have heart injury? These are something questions that we just don't know.

But what's going to be really important to create almost a new specialty of medicine to follow long term cardiac injury and look at the long-term consequences. And hopefully, our National Institutes of Health looks like it's getting ready now to support those kinds of long-term studies. And remember, also, so many individuals who live in low-income neighborhoods don't have insurance. The cost of this is going to be enormous as well. This is going to have a huge impact on changing health care policy as well.

HAYES: There's a profound policy implication here, right, which is that if you think that, you know, these kinds of effects don't happen, and you can protect say, a long term care facilities and seniors, and people most at risk of fatality, you can say, well, look, if it spreads around a college, it spreads around the college, and we can kind of hive off everyone. But if these effects -- I mean, this means you want to stop people from getting sick. Like, obviously, he wants people not to die. But you want to stop you from getting sick as a policy matter.

HOTEZ: Yes. I mean, there's two false narratives out there. One, that this is only -- this isn't an illness exclusively for people over the age of 80, whereas in fact, 20 percent of people who perished from this virus are under the age of 65. And among African-American Hispanic populations, it's 35 percent, 30 to 35 percent.

So this is robbing a generation of African American and Hispanic families of their mommies or daddies, their brothers and sisters, and that's a story that has (AUDIO GAP). And also, the fact that we are going to see a significant long-term injury because of this, and we're only beginning to really understand the full extent of this.

HAYES: Dr. Peter Hotez, it's always wonderful to have your insight. Thank you very much for that tonight. That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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