Today, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to even hear or consider a case brought to invalidate millions of mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris formally announced the leaders of their administration's team fighting the coronavirus, including California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Anthony Fauci continuing in his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and also serving as President Biden's chief medical officer. President-elect Joe Biden said today that he wants to deliver at least 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days of his presidency, but the Trump administration has not developed a plan to do that. Rebekah Jones discovered she was under investigation by the Florida state police at 8:30 a.m. yesterday morning when they showed up at her front door investigating a possible hacking crime committed with a computer.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, yeah. No, hey, I'm literally -- literally reading a book that I cannot put down. I cannot put this down.
I have so many questions. You know, I lived through -- I lived through this in that way a student lives through things that are happening out there in the real world and kind of picking up pieces of it here and there in the newspaper. I'm learning so much in this book.
Can you hang around, talk about it in this TV show here because I have these questions, and I'm only putting the book down so that I can do some TV show, and then pick the book back up and ask you questions about it in a couple minutes.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I'm going to go study my own book for a minute, and then I'll be ready for you as soon as you're ready for me.
O'DONNELL: You can -- you know, listen, you're off duty technically, so you can get in the pajamas now when you come back. Right? Come on.
MADDOW: I might go get a beer. I'll see you in a minute.
O'DONNELL: Fair. OK. Thank you, Rachel. See you soon.
O'DONNELL: Rachel is going to join us to discuss her book later in this hour.
Laurie Garrett will also be joining us after Rachel tonight to report the latest developments on the coronavirus vaccine and what it means to you.
We'll be joined once again tonight by Rebekah Jones who appeared on this program in June after she was fired from her job from the Florida Health Department for trying to tell the truth about what the coronavirus was doing to the people of Florida. Yesterday morning, her home was raided by Florida state police with guns drawn. Guns drawn. Guns that Rebekah Jones said were aimed at her children, because Florida state police were investigating a possible crime that might have been committed using a computer that they suspected might be in Rebekah Jones' home.
It was horrifically bad police work. And we'll tell you why when Rebekah Jones joins us at the end of the hour and gets tonight's LAST WORD.
Well, today, the United States Supreme Court crushed Donald Trump, and I mean crushed him, unanimously. All three of the Trump-appointed justices joined their six colleagues to deliver Donald Trump the most legally insulting possible response to a Trump lawsuit brought to the Supreme Court that itself was an insult to the intelligence of every member of the court.
When Donald Trump was desperately rushing to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the court, he said then that he needed that ninth justice in order to rule in his favor in election cases so that he could hold onto the presidency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need nine justices. You need that. With the unsolicited millions of ballots, it's a scam, it's a hoax, everybody knows that, and the Democrats know it better than anybody else, so you're going to need nine justices up there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: You're going to need nine justices up there, meaning he was going to need nine justices up there to outlaw millions of mail-in ballots. That's what he was saying he was going to ask them to do and he did. That's Donald Trump saying, I know I'm going to lose the election with voters, but once I bring a case to the United States Supreme Court to throw out millions of mail-in ballots, that's how I'll win my second term as president of the United States.
Donald Trump planned to do that, Donald Trump thought it was in the bag, because he put three of those justices on the Supreme Court. Today, the United States Supreme Court refused to even consider, even hear or consider a case brought to invalidate millions of mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania. Donald Trump was expecting his United States Supreme Court to issue an historic opinion invalidating Pennsylvania's mail-in ballots and instead -- instead -- he got this, this piece of paper.
I'm not sure if the light can show you this correctly, but it's this tiny little piece of print here. That's the whole thing. This is the Supreme Court's way of saying, you are out of your mind.
It is an order from the Supreme Court. It does not have any justices' names attached as the authors of the order, which means it is a unanimous order of the United States Supreme Court. And it simply says the request to hear the case by the Supreme Court is denied.
They don't even bother to give a reason for the denial because the case itself is so preposterous, so insulting to them, that anyone would try to bring such a case to the Supreme Court, denied. Two hours before the Supreme Court issued that denial to hear Donald Trump's case about Pennsylvania ballots, Donald Trump publicly called on the Supreme Court to save him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Let's see whether or not somebody has the courage, whether it's a legislator or legislatures, or whether it's a justice at the Supreme Court, or a number of justices at the Supreme Court, let's see if they have the courage to do what everybody in this country knows is right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: Yes, it was the number of the justices at the Supreme Court. It was all of them. And it turns out, the Supreme Court did have the courage to do what everybody in the country knows is right. In fact, it didn't take any courage at all, it just took simple adherence to the most elementary legal principles, none of which Donald Trump understands.
Donald Trump went out and stood at the microphone today, and with those words you just heard him say, he insulted the United States Supreme Court by publicly asking the justices to corrupt themselves for him, and then they insulted him right back by doing the right thing and doing it in one sentence.
And this insult exchange between Donald Trump and the Supreme Court, including the Supreme Court justices who Donald Trump thinks he owns, occurred on safe harbor day. Happy safe harbor day.
It's not a day we usually notice, but it is a day set in 19th century federal law that says that all states that have certified their election results six days before the Electoral College meets cannot have those election results overturned by Congress when the Electoral College presents its results to Congress in January.
In other words, Joe Biden's election as president today officially entered the safe harbor of federal law where it has become absolutely impossible legally to undo Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.
Now, that has actually been impossible all along since Joe Biden was declared the winner by NBC News and other news organizations on November 7th, but the safe harbor just makes the impossible all the more impossible. The lawyer who was leading the charge in Donald Trump's frivolous lawsuit attacks on the election spent safe harbor day in the hospital being treated for COVID-19. Perhaps in his hospital bed, someone read to Rudy Giuliani the one sentence, unanimous order by the United States Supreme Court, not just denying Rudy Giuliani's claims, but in the court's circumspect way, essentially calling everything Rudy Giuliani has been up to utterly insane.
A group of law professors which includes law professor Laurence Tribe are asking bar associations to discipline Rudy Giuliani and other lawyers for making provably false claims in and out of courtrooms about the election.
And on this safe harbor day, the people who will be president and vice president of the United States of America in just 43 days formally announced the leaders of their administration's team fighting the coronavirus, including California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra as secretary of health and human services, and Dr. Anthony Fauci continuing in his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and also serving as President Biden's chief medical officer.
While Donald Trump was asking the United States Supreme Court to corrupt themselves today, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: Over Thanksgiving, the president-elect and I called healthcare workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic just to thank them. We wanted to express our gratitude and our nation's gratitude for everything they have been doing, for every sacrifice they have made.
That day I spoke with two registered nurses, Maureen in Pennsylvania and Tulisa (ph) in Illinois. They shared stories that we've all heard. We've all heard the stories about grandmothers and grandfathers, loved ones and friends spending their last moments alone.
We've all heard about nurses and physicians who are physically and mentally exhausted, trying to keep up with ever-increasing case loads. Those are on the front line who say to each other it's not a matter of when but it's a matter not of when but when they will get the virus. So, it's a matter of when and not if they'll get the virus. This is what they are saying to each other every day.
We've all heard about health care workers without the supplies and equipment they need to care for patients and save lives. So, today, we have a message for Tulisa, Maureen and all Americans. Help is on the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: President-elect Joe Biden reminded millions of people in America today that the other thing Donald Trump wants the United States Supreme Court to do is to take their health care away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: We're in the midst of this deadly pandemic that has infected almost 15 million Americans, one out of every 22 people in our country often with devastating consequences of health. At this very moment, what is the outgoing administration asking the Supreme Court to do in the United States Supreme Court? To repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act when we need it most, a law that's on the front lines against the pandemic. It protects more than 100 million Americans who live with preexisting conditions, which will increase now, including those with lung scarring and heart damage and consequences from COVID-19.
It provides coverage for more than 20 million Americans who get the care they need if they're showing symptoms of COVID-19. The law that fulfills our moral obligation here in America, health care is a right for all, not a privilege for a few. As all of you know, I know that out of our collective pain, we're going to find collective purpose to control the pandemic, to save lives and to heal as a nation
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for the "PBS NewsHour" and MSNBC political analyst, and Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama and professor at the University of Alabama School of Law. She is an MSNBC legal contributor.
And, Yamiche, let me start with you. We heard Vice President-elect Harris talked about Thanksgiving Day and she and Joe Biden are on the phone, calling health care workers, calling the front line workers heroes of the coronavirus pandemic. And we have reports that what Donald Trump has been doing, spending his time probably on Thanksgiving Day also, is thinking about how big his pardon list should be.
The contrast between these administrations is starker than anything we've ever seen before between two, an outgoing and incoming administration, but just the concept of the vice president-elect, the president-elect are spending their Thanksgiving Day that way, and the force that that actually gives to that statement that she made when she said, help is on the way.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That is underscoring the message of the Biden-Harris transition team with President-elect Biden making the case that Americans just need to hang on a little bit longer for him to get into office. That is what he told me when I said, what would you say to Americans, especially immigrant Americans who are worried about America, worried about democracy? He said, hang in, I'm on my way.
I will say today was a big contrast on the screen -- split screen where you had Joe Biden rolling out his health care picks, talking about the fact this needs to be a collective effort by Americans to wear masks, to social distance, to fight this disease like a patriotic duty. Then you have the president trying to take credit for the vaccine development, trying to take credit and basically wanting to be praised that he's going to get some doses, knowing that his administration reportedly passed on millions of doses.
Also, when he was questioned about why the Biden transmission team wasn't invited to this vaccine summit, because obviously Joe Biden is going to be the one tasked with distributing the vast majority of these vaccines. The president, President Trump, said we don't know which administration is going to be in office next year.
What we do know, of course, is that Joe Biden is going to go into office. So while Joe Biden was pledging to be straight with the American people, he said, I'm going to always tell you the truth. President Trump was once again lying to the American people, making the case that the election is not decided when, of course, it has been decided.
O'DONNELL: And, Joyce Vance, we know who the president is going to be in 43 days, the president clearly knows it. But he got a very clear message from the United States Supreme Court today that getting that ninth justice in there before the election so that she could rule in his favor in election cases is not exactly the way it worked out in the Supreme Court today.
JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: It was a succinct message that the Supreme Court delivered. This is a permissive appeal. The court is not required to hear it, and they clearly told the president and his allies that they were not interested in pursuing these appeals.
We know the reasons for that. They come too late. Substantively, they're deficient, they're not making any arguments that are valid.
But I think it was nice for Americans who have had reason to doubt the court over the last four years to actually see the court stand up for the rule of law when everything was on the line. This is a reaffirmation to all of us in many ways that our institutions that have been stress tested over the last four years will weather that storm, that we have work to do, but as Vice President-elect Harris said, help is on the way at this point.
O'DONNELL: Yamiche, "Axios" is reporting the kind of pardon festival that I've been expecting from Donald Trump this month for years. They're saying, Trump isn't just accepting pardon requests but blindly discussing them like Christmas gifts to people who haven't even asked, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations told "Axios". One source felt awkward because the president was clearly trying to be helpful but the adviser didn't believe they had committed any crimes.
This is possibly Donald Trump's way of trying to say to the American people, look, the Democrats are just going to attack everyone here, all these people, so I have to issue 300 pardons and in his mind, maybe the Ivanka pardon and the Donald Jr. pardon and the Donald Trump pardon of himself will be in some sense shielded or clouded by maybe a couple of hundred more pardons.
ALCINDOR: Well, there are two ways to look at this. The first is the way the critics of the president are looking at it, and that is, of course, President Trump acting like he's guilty of something, and acting as if the people around him have been involved in some sort of conspiracy, whether it's financial, whether it's political.
He's trying to preemptively protect people who may have done something wrong. I've been talking to Michael Cohen who points out that the president is an unindicted co-conspirator. Of course, there are supporters of the president who say he'll be the target of some sort of witch hunt, some sort of hoax investigation that is going to hurt him.
But, of course, the president has been saying all those things when, in fact, the things he's been calling hoaxes have been very, very real. So in some ways, it's almost the president's guilty conscience starting to play out in public.
O'DONNELL: Joyce Vance, before we go, let me get your reaction to NBC News reporting tonight that outgoing Alabama Senator Doug Jones is at the top of the list in the Joe Biden shortlist of possible attorney general -- for the post of attorney general in the Biden administration.
VANCE: Well, the reporting tells us that President-elect Biden has had no shortage of talented people to consider for the attorney general role. Doug Jones, who I worked for when he was the U.S. attorney in the northern district of Alabama during the Clinton administration, is very talented. He obviously has experience as a U.S. attorney, but he was also a line prosecutor for many years and worked as a defense lawyer.
So, he has that 360-degree worldview that we need from an attorney general. He also is relatively unique and maybe poised for the moment where criminal justice reform is important because he commands respect from both law enforcement and the civil rights community. That will, I think, be an essential piece.
O'DONNELL: Yamiche Alcindor and Joyce Vance, thank you for starting off our discussion tonight. I really appreciate it.
O'DONNELL: Thank you.
Up next, my next guest is the one and only Rachel Maddow right here on THE LAST WORD, maybe in her pajamas. Rachel Maddow live, here, next.
O'DONNELL: Our next guest, Rachel Maddow, has written a book about a crook in the White House who was besieged by federal prosecutors. And so, the four blurbs on the back of the book are from three former federal prosecutors and Ben Stiller. Yes. That Ben stiller, the actor, writer, director, who has not yet gone to law school.
And here is what Ben Stiller says about Rachel Maddow's book. "Bag Man" is a super entertaining page-turner about a mostly forgotten yet hugely important chapter of American history that played out right in the shadow of Watergate. It's a deeply wild tale of greed, criminality, and corruption infecting the highest levels of our government. But at its heart, it's a human story, a reminder that people make up our institutions, and ultimately they have the ability to protect, and to save, our democracy when it really needs their help.
And joining us now is Rachel Maddow, who as some of you know is the host of the show that precedes this one here, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW", author of, it's right there in the teleprompter, I'm going to say it, again, "Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House."
Rachel, the book is so fantastic for me, because I was saying to you at the beginning of hour, I was a student at the time, this thing was happening, but what was really clearly happening was that the president of the United States, Richard Nixon, was also besieged by an investigation that looked like it was closing in on the president of the United States. So none of us had our eye on the vice president of the United States, and my vague memory of it is, when suddenly we discover the vice president of the United States is pleading guilty to federal crimes, it was suddenly the moment -- that's kind of the first -- almost the first we knew about it.
MADDOW: Yes. Well, and it's not only one of these stories, Lawrence, that got sort of overshadowed in history because of the thing it happened near to in terms of other events overtaking it, it was forgotten almost immediately in the moment because the events that overtook it ended up sort of occluding it. Even people who think they know the Agnew story think it was somehow Watergate adjacent, maybe it was some scandal that had something to do with a piece of Watergate? All the people close to Nixon got in trouble, maybe that was it? Other people think maybe it was just about something Agnew might have done in his previous life that had nothing to do with his vice presidency.
Like we really did forget all of it, but it turns out he's the only vice president to be run out of office on a rail, and before Donald Trump, he's the last time and the only major time that line prosecutors have ever contended with what to do about somebody in the White House having been found to have committed felonies. I mean, he was individual-1 before individual-1. And so much of the legal framework by which Trump's crimes or alleged crimes had to be considered by the special counsel and by this Justice Department, all that groundwork was laid by this forgotten story of Agnew taking bags of cash in his White House office.
O'DONNELL: He was -- he suddenly emerged on the national scene when Richard Nixon chose him in 1968 as running mate. None of us had any idea who the guy was. We didn't know how to say the name.
You can go back and find the video of comedians on TV doing stuff with the name in the first couple weeks, playing games about how you couldn't say it. So he was this very unlikely guy to emerge. Nixon had arrived in the presidency with the name Tricky Dick. He was thought to be corrupt by the Democratic side of our politics and everyone who voted against him.
And so, there was this pre-existing image for Richard Nixon that he ended up walking straight into, but there was no pre-existing image for Spiro Agnew.
MADDOW: That's right. And one of the things I found fascinating that I didn't know when I first started pursuing this story is that one of the key people that catapulted Spiro Agnew from obscurity in Maryland to vice president was Pat Buchanan, because our old friend Pat absolutely loved the way that Agnew played the racist card in Maryland and the way that he abused his black constituents and the way that he played up his abuse of them for the television cameras, the way he was willing to essentially sort of do a mid-Atlantic version of what George Wallace was threatening to do in the '68 election to Rob Nixon of his base in the Southern strategy.
They picked Agnew because they thought he was provocatively and performatively racist enough that it could defend Nixon's sort of racist right flank from what was otherwise going to be George Wallace denying him the presidency. And Wallace did in '68, of course, win a bunch of Deep South states, but the sort of mid-South states stayed with Republicans, stayed with Nixon, and they really believe a large part of that was because of Agnew's appeal to the hard right racist base.
O'DONNELL: And he continued that in the White House. He was the guy that would be sent out to say the harshest possible things, put it in the harshest possible language.
Rachel, what crimes did Spiro Agnew commit that federal prosecutors got wind of and started investigating, and how do they do that in a Justice Department that was -- everything is prior to Donald Trump -- that was the most corruptly run Justice Department in our history at that point, run by an attorney general, John Mitchell, who himself got convicted of crimes?
MADDOW: Part of the reason they were able to do it is that they got lucky that the local prosecutors who uncovered all of his crimes didn't start out looking at him. They started out looking at garden variety corruption in Maryland, and they didn't think they were looking for Agnew.
They sort of stumbled upon Agnew, and that was lucky for them because nobody had him -- certainly nobody had them in the bull's-eye until they realized that Agnew is the person they were zeroing in on.
And then Nixon's Justice Department absolutely tried to do the wrong thing. Richard Kleindienst was the attorney general at the outset of the investigation. He absolutely leaned on the U.S. attorney in Maryland to try to make the investigation go away.
Kleindienst gets ousted amid all the Watergate nonsense and his own corruption. And we end up with Elliot Richardson coming in there. And this is actually -- it's great that you pulled that Ben Stiller endorsement there, because I think Ben Stiller zeroes in on one of the main point of the book which is that it really matters who's in the job. The character of the people in these important jobs really matter.
The U.S. attorney in Maryland got tons of pressure from the first attorney general who was overseeing the case from his own brother who was a Republican senator who had been essentially helped into office by Agnew and Nixon, from George H.W. Bush who was the head of the Republican Party at the time, who leaned on that U.S. attorney to get rid of it.
But then Elliot Richardson came in as the attorney general of integrity and he not only understood that case, he protected it. And that U.S. attorney protected his line prosecutors and they were allowed to run it to ground.
And at the end of it, they had 40 pages worth of indictable offenses for Agnew. They could have done a 40-count felony indictment against him and that's what allowed them to force the deal that forced him to resign and kept him from becoming president.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: And Elliot Richardson, Republican from Massachusetts. Massachusetts was so proud of him after that, and we all thought going forward that any future attorney general was going to have the model of the corrupt criminal John Mitchell or Elliott Richardson.
And they all wanted to be Elliott Richardson, we thought, until William Barr came along. He forgot about Elliott Richardson.
Rachel, we've got other work to do in this show. You've gone into overtime for us tonight. We really appreciate it.
I'm going to say the name of the book again so people can buy it.
MADDOW: It's a long one.
O'DONNELL: All you really have to know is "Bag Man", Rachel Maddow -- that's really all you have to know. And you have to know that Rachel Maddow's superfan Ben Stiller fully endorses this book. So that's an objective -- that's not me selling this book. That's an objective outsider who I wanted to invoke because, you know --
MADDOW: Well, you just don't often see Ben Stiller and Rod Rosenstein next to each other on the back of a book. But we've been --
O'DONNELL: There's only one place in the world -- one place in the world where you can see those two names together. It's on the back of this book. You have to get it. Put it under the Christmas tree, everyone is going to watch it.
Rachel Maddow, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
O'DONNELL: Thank you.
And when we come back, on this first day of vaccine distribution in the western world, Laurie Garrett will join us with what you need to know about the effectiveness, new reports, on the effectiveness of the vaccine. That's next.
O'DONNELL: Today 90-year-old Margaret Keenan became the first person in the western world to receive a tested and government-approved coronavirus vaccine in England.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say to those who might be having second thoughts about having this --
MARGARET KEENAN, FIRST RECIPIENT OF COVID-19 VACCINE: Well, I say go for it. Go for it because it's free, and it's the best thing that ever happened at the moment. So do. Please, go for it. That's all I'll say, you know? If I can do it, well, so can you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: President-elect Joe Biden said today that he wants to deliver at least 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days of his presidency, but the Trump administration has not developed a plan to do that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: Our preliminary view of the Trump administration's vaccine distribution plans confirms media reports. Without urgent action by this Congress this month to put sufficient resources in a vaccine distribution and manufacturing which the bipartisan group is working on, there is a real chance that after an early round of vaccinations, the effort will slow and stall.
This can be fixed. If it does, if it is fixed, my team will be able to get at least 100 million vaccinations done in my first 100 days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: Joining us now, Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering global pandemics. She's an MSNBC science contributor. And Laurie on these big news days and coronavirus coverage, I always want to get your reaction to this.
Your reaction to what we saw in England today, day one of the vaccination program there.
LAURIE GARRETT, MSBNC SCIENCE CONTRIBUTOR: Well, of course it's fabulous. And you can't make these things up, that the second vaccine went into a man named William Shakespeare in England is poetry beyond belief.
And, of course, we all feel tremendously optimistic. There is a sense there is actually a light at the end of the tunnel, but the problem is how long is that darn tunnel? How far away is that pinpoint of light that we can only dimly see across the Atlantic Ocean, hoping someday it's here and with very small doses available to us at this time.
O'DONNELL: And Joe Biden is clearly saying that what they've seen so far during the transition indicates that there is really no plan for real distribution next year that the Trump administration has worked up, so the Biden team is going to have to come up with it.
GARRETT: Well, of course, President Trump today in his White House vaccine forum said that he had a plan, perhaps Biden hasn't seen it, that would vaccinate 300 million Americans within six months.
Unclear where that vaccine is coming from. What we know at this time is that Pfizer is saying, we're not able to give you as much vaccine as quickly as we originally said. It's going to take a little longer. Maybe 20 million doses will roll out in the next 40 -- 50 days. But the majority of the vaccine even from Pfizer won't reach Americans until late spring.
Moderna is roughly on the same timetable. Combined they are offering up about enough for 50 million Americans.
And unless there is some really hardball negotiating with these companies and identification of what are the roadblocks in their legitimate manufacturing process that may explain why they're not able to produce on the scale that had been hoped for.
Then we either are going to go into a situation where a decided minority of Americans will have been vaccinated by next summer, and the rest of us will be clamoring for it and unable to receive it. Or trying to buy generic versions from India or lord knows what. Lawrence, it's not a great situation yet.
O'DONNELL: The FDA has reportedly already determined that the Pfizer vaccine provides strong protection against COVID-19 within about ten days of the first dose.
New analyses show that the protection starts kicking in far earlier. What's more, the vaccine worked well regardless of a volunteer's race, weight or age. Your reaction to those new analyses, Laurie?
GARRETT: Yes, it's better than most of us thought was possible. I mean, you know, this is the independent scientific assessment of the FDA's scientific staff, not the company's PR, which is all we had to work with until today.
And it looks like the very first dose is already giving you much better than 50 percent protection, and with a second dose, you're up in the high 90s, somewhere between 94 percent, 96 percent protection efficacy of this vaccine. That's just remarkable.
I mean that's certainly far superior to our routine influenza vaccines and approaching the level that we expect from a measles vaccine or a polio vaccine. So that's pretty darn fantastic.
Now, of course, there are caveats. There are things we don't know. How long does the protection last? We have no idea because all the studies by definition have been done at warp speed.
So we haven't been following people for two years to find out. Are you still protected two years down the line or even two months down the line, and that's going to be a big unknown.
The other is on the side effects side, also good news. None of the predictable concerns have actually borne out. For example, Lawrence, with every vaccine you have the problem that if you're going to test it on, let's say, a large group of people over 70 years of age, just random luck tells you that if you have 200 over 70-year-olds in the room and you're following them for five months, one of them is going to have a heart attack, one of them is going to have a diabetes incident, et cetera.
Well, then when you're doing a vaccine trial, it's easy for this all to get jumbled together until people think they're looking at side effects instead of routine predictable events. What's amazing is there was absolutely no excess burden of chronic disease incidents in the placebo versus the active vaccine groups. It's almost beyond belief. It's fantastic.
O'DONNELL: Laurie Garrett, thank you very much for joining us on this good news night with the coronavirus. Thank you very much, Laurie.
GARRETT: Thank you.
O'DONNELL: And when we come back, at 8:30 a.m. yesterday morning, Rebekah Jones opened her front door to discover Florida state police coming into her house, guns drawn, she says aiming those guns at her children because they suspected that an e-mail or text message was sent from her home to Florida Health Department workers.
Rebekah Jones will get tonight's LAST WORD.
O'DONNELL: Before we show you yet another video of outrageous conduct by American police officers, just keep this in mind. Most American police officers never fire their guns, ever. Most of them never even hear gunfire in the line of duty in the course of their entire careers.
In a country that gets its police training from TV cop shows and movies, relatively few people understand how statistically rare it is for a police officer to actually fire a gun in the line of duty, and that means that most police work, almost all of it, does not involve the use of guns. And that makes what you're about to see all the more wildly outrageous.
Rebekah Jones discovered she was under investigation by the Florida state police at 8:30 a.m. yesterday morning when they showed up at her front door investigating not an armed robbery, not a murder, not a kidnapping but a possible hacking crime committed with a computer.
The Florida state police knew that they were not investigating a dangerous criminal. They knew they were investigating a former Florida Department of Health official who was fired from her job this summer because the Republican governor in Florida did not appreciate her efforts to tell the truth about what the coronavirus pandemic was doing in Florida. The real numbers about infections and deaths in Florida.
They knew that Rebekah Jones is a young mother of two children -- two young children. And she co-parents those children with her husband in that home. Florida police knew that those were the four people who they would encounter in Rebekah Jones' home at 8:30 a.m. when they entered with a search warrant for computer hardware.
And what you're about to see is almost as bad as American police where it gets. A Republican governor's police force going into a investigate a possible cyber crime by a former state employee and going in with their guns drawn -- guns that never should have come out of their holsters, never. Guns that they aimed at Rebekah Jones' children according to Rebekah Jones.
The only thing that could have made this worse is if one of those recklessly aimed guns killed someone in that house. If one of those guns aimed at Rebekah Jones' children fired.
Here's what happened when Rebekah Jones answered the door of her home at 8:30 a.m. yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come outside. Outside. Outside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who else is in the home ma'am?
REBEKAH JONES, FORMER FLORIDA HEALTH DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEE: My two children and my husband.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is your husband, ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call them down.
JONES: You want the children down?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call them all down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Jones, come down the stairs now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police, come down now.
JONES: -- at my children. He just pointed a gun at my children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: Rebekah Jones will join us after this break and get tonight's LAST WORD.
O'DONNELL: And joining us now is Rebekah Jones. She's the former manager of data and surveillance for COVID-19 at the Florida Department of Health. And Rebekah, thank you for returning to the show.
You were with us in June after you'd been fired and then you setup your own data tracking system of the COVID numbers in Florida that Governor DeSantis was very upset with because you were revealing to us that the Florida state government was doing everything it could to suppress the data in Florida, minimize the effects of it.
But take us into your world yesterday morning at 8:30 a.m. when you opened that door. What happened and how long was it happening before you knew that you and your family would not be injured and were safe?
JONES: So I woke up. My husband was telling me that the police are downstairs and they're banging on the door. And I was not fully dressed, so I was rummaging through the piles of clean clothes that I haven't been able to put away yet looking for sweat pants. I think I'm wearing my husband's in the video.
And I told him to, you know, go downstairs to get our daughter and bring her up stairs and that I was going to go down stairs and turn myself in. I thought I was being arrested. I had no idea what for, but I have honestly been expecting DeSantis to send people after me for six months.
And having a gun pointed in my face wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. I thought for sure once I was outside it would calm down. They had me, it was over. I didn't know they had a search warrant for the house until they started yelling warrant inside, and told me to tell my husband and two children to come downstairs, which was confusing because I had no idea why.
And they're standing at the top of the stairs, and my husband is holding our two-year-old daughter and my 11-year-old son is behind him, and they're pointing their guns at him. And it felt like it lasted forever, but it was probably a few minutes. They went through my whole house over a duration of almost three hours, and then they were gone.
O'DONNELL: I want to read the essence of the crime that they were investigating with their guns aimed around your home. This is the crime they were investigating. They were going after the person who sent what they considered I suppose some criminally dangerous text. Sent a group text stating the following. "It's time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don't have to be part of this. Be a hero. Speak up before it's too late." That's the dangerous crime they were investigating. Did you send that text?
JONES: No, I had never even seen what the text message said until another reporter forwarded it to me yesterday.
O'DONNELL: Yes, and that's what was in the warrant, that's why they were searching your home, that's why they seized computer equipment from your home to try to find the origins of that text.
And what do you need people to know in addition to what you've been through about what Florida is going through with COVID-19 under the DeSantis administration?
JONES: So the state of Florida is nearing 20,000 deaths officially confirmed by the state. And according to the CDC it's anywhere between 6,000 and 8,000 more than that because Florida does not and has never reported probable deaths. So if you died without ever getting a lab result you don't count in our state.
We've reached more than 25,000 cases in K-12 schools after the governor forced schools to reopen in August statewide. I recently had an article that came out, an academic article looking at this and it was very public and it just so happened to be last week when this warrant was signed by a judge that was appointed by and sworn in by DeSantis less than a month ago.
O'DONNELL: We're going to have to leave it there for tonight, Rebekah. And I just wanted to note that Attorney Ron Filipkowsi who served in the DeSantis administration resigned today over this raid saying he found the actions unconscionable. He no longer wants to serve in this government in Florida.
Rebekah Jones, thank you very much for joining us. Very, very sorry that you and your family were put through what we all witnessed on that video yesterday morning. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.
JONES: Thank you.
O'DONNELL: Rebekah Jones gets tonight's LAST WORD.
"THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.END
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