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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 8/13/21

Guests: Robin Pitts, Catherine O`Neal, Jake Auchincloss


Taliban takes more cities, Afghanistan slips deeper into Taliban`s control. Mississippi hospital used federal support staff for garage field hospital. April: Biden Orders Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 Years of War. Postmaster General DeJoy Retains his office After Year of Scandal.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I`m sorry that you are working double time and that you have got your regular shifts on top of all this stuff, but you are doing tremendous work and those interviews you just did, the apex of it for you this week, my friend, you`re doing amazing work.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thanks so much, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. Thanks to at home as well for joining us this hour. Happy to have you here this Friday night. As Maddie was just reporting with that incredible couple of interviews, the news out of Afghanistan is indeed dire right now. Whatever illusion anyone might have had about Afghan government control of that country is dissolving like it was made out of spun sugar, and then left out in the rain. It is just dissolving.

After - what we`re watching is, I think what can only be described as a snap, Taliban takeover of almost all of Afghanistan, except to the capital region as yet and we don`t know if that snap takeover is permanent or semi- permanent. But it is proceeding with lightning speed. And because of that, that has led multiple countries to activate contingency plans. Multiple countries that had long standing deployments to the long war there are now acting on an emergency basis to salvage what they can and to rescue who they can.

Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Denmark, all countries taking emergency steps right now to evacuate their citizens and personnel, to evacuate and then close or at least temporarily shut their embassies. It`s not just us, it`s essentially all of our allies who served alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan over the long war. The first contingent of U.S. Marines returning to Afghanistan to evacuate U.S. embassy personnel.

That first contingent of Marines is already on the ground in Kabul right now. There should be something on the order of 3000 U.S. Marines back in Kabul before this weekend is up. Jake Auchincloss was a marine infantry commander in Afghanistan. He`s now a congressman from Massachusetts, you might remember we spoke with Congressman Auchincloss couple of weeks ago about the efforts, the urgent effort to evacuate Afghan translators like the ones he worked with leading patrols and what is now Taliban controlled territory in Afghanistan.

We talked with him about efforts to evacuate those Afghan allies to safety. Now that the Taliban is taking territory and taking control. Congressman Auchincloss will be back with us tonight to talk about progress toward that end, to talk about what it`s like as a veteran of that war to see the country overrun, we`ll be talking about the redeployment of 1000s of U.S. forces to speed up the evacuations, including the lateness that President Biden yesterday ordered the expediting of yet more flights to get Afghan allies out of there as soon as possible.

So that discussion is ahead tonight. We also today saw the federal government deploy a different kind of expedited rescue force. This time here at home in the great state of Mississippi. Local officials today in Mississippi expressed gratitude for the team of federal doctors and nurses and pharmacists and other medical personnel that have been deployed from the federal government as disaster response personnel basically, to try to save the collapsing hospital system in the state of Mississippi.


DR, LOUANN WOODWARD, VICE CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI MEDICAL CENTER: Our ICUs today are full, our patient beds are full. So you know, we continue to be in that situation where the bed - the bed capacity is extremely tight. We do not believe that we`re at a point where we`ve hit the peak or we`re turning the corner. In fact, we think you know, we`re still on that upward climb. So working with the Department of Health with MIMA, and with the governor`s office, we made a request for these federal resources

And just learned earlier this week that in fact, we would get the team, they have arrived, they are assembling. And we are eager to start tomorrow actually having patient care provided here in this facility. We are very thankful that we`ve got this federal resource team that has come in and is going to be able to assist us in our efforts to take care of our COVID patients.

REPORTER: Yesterday there was talk about hospital system being on the verge of collapse in five to ten days. Are these enough beds?

DR. ALAN JONES, ASSOC VICE CHANCELLOR, CLINICAL AFFAIRS UNIV OF MS MEDICAL CENTER: I think when you`re seeing a field hospital at a major academic medical center, we`re pretty much on the - at a collapse type system. This is not enough beds to support the state of Mississippi. If we continue to see that rise like we saw it today, as Dr. Dobbs said just you can use arithmetic to say how much it`s going to result in hospitalizations and deaths. We will continue to see problematic placement of patients and we will need more facilities like this or some other pop off valve if we continue to see that.



MADDOW: We will continue to see problematic placement of patients, will need more facilities like this. Problematic placement of patients by which he means, it`s really not OK that they need to be building out a new hospital wing in the parking garage at the flagship University of Mississippi Medical Center. They are grateful for the federal help and the additional beds that these federal staffers will be able to man in order to take some of the pressure off but it`s not enough.

Because I mean, this is where we are, every single ICU bed and every single hospital in the entire state of Mississippi is taken. And that has been true for days. And the practical result of that in the hospitals is that patients are stacked up in emergency rooms, waiting for beds to open but being stacked up in an emergency room waiting room is not the same as being admitted to the hospital, let alone to the ICU.

The Clinical Care Director at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the person who saw speaking last there, he said today that there is already a waiting list from other hospitals to get people into the 20 beds, they are putting in that parking garage. There`s already a waiting list for that facility before it opens tomorrow.

And this is interesting when we first reported that the federal government would be providing resources, they could put this field hospital in the garage, we thought it would be a 50 bed field hospital, they were setting up there with that federal disaster team. It turns out it is about 50 beds, but they`re going to use half the space down there in the garage frankly, for something that we have been waiting to see for months.

I have been expecting this turn in our response for months. And we`re now seeing it for the first plan - for the first time. They`re going to use roughly half the space at this new facility this this disaster management field hospital, they`re setting up the parking garage, they`re going to use about half that space to set up a treatment bay. For people who have COVID to come in before they are so sick, they need to be hospitalized, so they can get treatment to keep them from getting worse.

It`s going to be an infusion center for monoclonal antibody treatment. And that treatment really does work. If you test positive for COVID and you get an infusion early before you need to be hospitalized, it can reduce your chance of having to be hospitalized by 80 percent. We do not have a cure, but these monoclonal antibody treatments are incredibly effective if only people will use them.

Well now they are taking steps to make that a key part of the process. Watch this, I think this is an important new thing about what`s going on with COVID right now in our country. This is new.


JONES: Out front here, we will operationalize a facility that will treat initially 60 a day and maybe up to 100 patients a day that need monoclonal antibody therapy, we will have a public facing website where patients will be able to walk through some logic to see if they qualify and self-schedule themselves be able to drive right up, walk in, get the therapy, we do require a little bit of monitoring after the therapy and then they`ll be able to leave.

We hope that by offering an outpatient treatment venue, we will decrease the number of patients that we have to see in here. By virtue of that, we`ll decrease the number of patients we have to transfer from here to the ICU. So there`s a logical thought process of the medical components of this that we hope will help us have a band aid to get through the next several weeks. As Dr. Dobbs mentioned, we`re not at the peak of this yet. So we will need to think more creative about the medical paradigm of how we can prevent the hospital from being overwhelmed to the point where we just can`t take care of patients anymore.


MADDOW: Preventing the hospital from being overwhelmed to the point where we can`t take care of patients anymore. What they`re talking about there, that creative medical strategy in terms of handling this disaster in Mississippi, this is - this monoclonal antibody treatment stuff is something that we`ve talked about a lot on the show, you might remember, we basically tried to raise awareness about the fact that people can get monoclonal antibody therapy in this country as treatment for COVID.

It is free, the government will pay for it. It is very effective. And we basically tried to raise awareness about this on the show as a treatment because not enough people have been taking advantage of it. It really can save your life. Well, what we are seeing here in Mississippi right now in that parking garage is the manifestation of what is a new concerted effort by the federal government by the Biden Administration to try to dramatically increase the administration of this drug.

These antibodies to people who test positive for COVID. Not just to save those people`s lives to keep them from getting gravely ill, but also to save the hospitals from the huge number of sick people who are now swamping and in Mississippi`s case collapsing the hospital system. Massive increase in the availability and the administration of monoclonal antibody infusions for people who test positive who are only mildly sick, to keep them from proceeding to the point where they need to get in the hospital.


We`re seeing that now in Mississippi, it makes so much logistical sense and to see the federal government prioritize that, it`ll be very interest thing to see if that makes a dent. Tonight we`re going to be talking with the Chief Medical Officer of a hospital that`s about two and a half hours south of that parking garage disaster field hospital in Jackson, Mississippi.

This medical director we`re going to talk to you tonight says her hospital right now is actually already beyond its capacity to properly take care of patients in the way they want to. That discussion is all - that discussions coming up tonight. We got a lot coming up tonight. But we thought we`d get to those stories. There`s also a story I want to give you an update on that we`ve been covering intensively all this week and over the last couple of weeks even while I was away.

It is the still unspooling scandal involving the US Department of Justice at the end of the Trump Administration and the ways that former President Donald Trump tried to use the Justice Department to overturn the election results and stay in power. He apparently hatched a plot with at least one senior Justice Department official to get the presidential election results nullified. And the plan was to start in the great state of Georgia with the hope and expectation that other States where Republicans controlled the state legislature would then follow Georgia`s lead.

And enough States would do that, that Trump would succeed in making the election result, practically not count. It was last week when we learned the details of how Trump appointed Jeff Clark at the Justice Department had written a letter to the Republican run state legislature in Georgia.

His letter advised them that the Justice Department was investigating some kind of serious problem in the election in Georgia. The letter further advise them that the Georgia legislature should convene itself into a special session to consider changing the state`s election results to send electors for Trump to the electoral college instead of electors for Biden even though Biden actually won.

Now, that letter was not sent. Because the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General at the time refused Jeff Clark`s demand that they sign it that apparently resulted in a showdown where Trump tried to install Jeff Clark as Attorney General himself, which would have meant among other things that he definitely could have signed and sent that letter himself.

And, you know, as you know, the disturbing thing about this revelation of this plot over the last few weeks is that, you know, had that letter actually been sent, it is more than imaginable that Republicans in the Georgia State legislature would have said, Yes, sure. Let`s do it. Let`s at least try it. Right? It was an official request almost a demand from the US Justice Department that they reconvene themselves and consider their electoral college, consider their slate of electors they were sending to the electoral college.

And if they wanted to do it, they had the backup of the US Justice Department claiming that something went terribly wrong with the election. You think they wouldn`t have done it? Trump thought they would do it. We know from notes taken by one Justice Department official during this time period that Trump believed the Georgia legislature was quote on our side and would definitely do it.

This wasn`t a fantasy. This was a real plot. So as I said, we`ve been covering this pretty intensively this week and over the last couple of weeks. A couple of developments to tell you about tonight. First of all, and this is exclusive here. We can report tonight that these new revelations about the post-election Trump plot in Georgia, this effort spearheaded by Trump`s Justice Department official Jeff Clark, to get Georgia Republicans to effectively nullify the election result, we can report tonight that according to a person familiar with the investigation, these new revelations, this new reporting about how Trump and Jeff Clark apparently targeted Georgia in this plot.

Those new revelations are considered, quote, relevant and useful by the investigators in the Fulton County District Attorney`s Office, who have opened a criminal investigation into President Trump`s alleged efforts to interfere with elections officials in Georgia after the November election. Again, that is an ongoing criminal investigation, led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. There have been some recent vague reports that the criminal investigation in that office into President Trump`s actions after the election in Georgia that that investigation might have been cooling off or might have been put on the back burner somehow, we do not believe that is the case.

And again, according to a person familiar with the investigation, the new recent revelations about details of the plot against Georgia`s election results, those newly reported details are considered quote relevant and useful to the case that is being assembled by that prosecutor`s office. So that is one thing you need to know.

The other thing to know is that the former U.S. Attorney in Georgia, the top federal prosecutor in Georgia, a man named BJ Pak who suddenly and mysteriously resigned without explanation, right in the middle of Trump and Jeff Clark apparently trying to enact this plot in Georgia. As we know BJ Pak this week testified to the Judiciary Committee in the Senate as part of their investigation into this same series of events.


The Atlanta Journal Constitution now reports that after his Senate testimony this week BJ Pak is also expected to testify to the January 6 Select Committee that is investigating the post-election coup attempt. And the AGC also reports that BJ Pak is expected to speak with investigators from the US Justice Department. I should tell you BJ Pak in his testimony on this matter were also invoked this week by Georgia Democrats who right now are trying to sound the alarm, trying to sound a national alarm about Republican efforts in Georgia to use these false fraud claims Trump has been making about the Georgia election, to use those false claims even now to justify right now a partisan Republican takeover of the administration of elections in Georgia`s largest county, Fulton County, which of course is a diverse, dynamic and very Democratic stronghold in that state.


REP. BEE NGUYEN, (D-GA): Former U.S. Attorney Republicans BJ Pak provided hours of testimony to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. In his testimony, he reaffirmed that investigations into Fulton County by state officials and the FBI did not yield any evidence of voter fraud. It simply does not exist. Republicans are acting in bad faith because they did not like the result of the election.


MADDOW: That`s Georgia democratic state representative Bee Nguyen who this week stood with her Democratic colleagues from the State House and the State Senate and for Fulton County, to try to sound an alarm about Georgia Republicans using the new powers they gave themselves and their new anti- voting law they passed after the November elections. They`re using those new powers to try to mount a partisan Republican takeover of the administration of elections in Georgia`s largest democratic County.


NGUYEN: When Republican lawmakers passed Senate Bill 202 earlier this year, we knew that the state takeover provision was the most dangerous provision in this bill. And we knew that provision was specifically aimed at Fulton County, the most populous county and one of the most diverse counties in Georgia. This is a power - partisan power grab.

REP. DAVID DREYER (D-GA): There was no fraud and there was no malfeasance in Fulton`s election administration. This is just a political sham to demonstrate fealty to Trump and his big lie about the election, because they cannot accept the results. We will do everything we can to fight this partisan and unnecessary takeover attempt of the Fulton election board.

SEN. JEN JORDAN (D-GA): I am here today to specifically address the attempt to take over the local county elections board of Fulton county. I want to start specifically, by talking about what we need to know about the takeover provisions. This isn`t just about triggering some kind of investigation. The state election board now under SB 202, can on its own motion alone take over the local election board in Fulton County.

ROBB PITTS, CHAIRMAN, FULTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS: What this is all about, but it`s not going to see we have these ladies and gentlemen here who represent us do a great job representing Fulton County, and we stand united, we will prevail. They may have won a victory but we will win the war.


MADDOW: Today was the day. Today was the day that promoters of the conspiracy theories that there was something wrong in the election and actually President Trump won, not Joe Biden. Today was the day they said Donald Trump would be reinstated as President. If you heard people sort of tongue in cheek wishing each other Happy Reinstatement Day today. That`s what that was about. I haven`t checked in the past few minutes, but I think somebody would have let me known - let me know if Trump being reinstated as president - as president had happened since we got on the air.

Since nobody`s come in and tapped me on the shoulder, I think we are safe from that prospect. Trump was not reinstated as president today even though they promised he would be. The promotion of these false conspiracy theories about Trump`s supposedly having been the victim of great fraud and the election. The promotion of those conspiracy theories - conspiracy theories so far has resulted in sanctions and potential disbarment for lawyers who helped Trump promote that bullpucky.

The new revelations about how Trump and listed senior government officials to try to actually enact a plot to nullify the election results starting in the state of Georgia. We`re now reporting tonight that that is playing a role in an ongoing criminal investigation into the actions of the former president. But even as these ridiculous conspiracy theories about the election, about supposed fraud and the election are collapsing into punch lines and worse. This is right now. Right?


These are Democrats in Fulton county Georgia right now. Democrats who, who are in elected office in the county who represent Fulton County in the State House and in the State Senate. They are trying to sound the alarm, they are doing their best to try to fend off Republicans right now in their efforts to seize partisan control in the election - of the election process in the biggest Democratic stronghold in the state of Georgia, on the basis of these fake fraud claims that are otherwise completely falling apart.

Tonight as we went to air, we got word that the second ranking official in the elections administration office in Fulton County has just resigned, after more than 12 years on the job, after lots of harassment and attacks, by people who have been promoting these election fraud lies about Georgia, and in the midst of this attempted Republican partisan takeover of the elections administration office in Fulton County, where he`s worked for more than a decade.

Joining us now is Robin Pitts, who is Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. Mr. Chairman, thank you so much for joining us tonight. It`s a pleasure to have you - have you here with us tonight.

ROBIN PITTS, CHAIRMAN, FULTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS: Good evening, Rachel. I thank you so much for having me. You know, let me start by saying this is I`m just flabbergasted that after nine months after our 2020 elections, I`m still here defending the elections that took place in 2020, here in Fulton County, Georgia, as a result of the big lie. So when does it end?

MADDOW: So one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you tonight is that while I have seen you, alongside your colleagues, seen you leading this effort now to try to protect nonpartisan or at least balanced administration of Fulton County elections as Republicans attempt this partisan takeover, I know that you are among the local officials in Fulton County, who has paid the price of the attacks from people who`ve been promoting this - these election fraud lies.

As I understand it, watching local news reports, it seems like you`ve had to have Police Protection recently, because really explicit threats against you simply for being an election official, a local official in in Fulton County.

PITTS: Well, that`s all that`s correct. I mean, being the face - Chair of the Board of Commissioners of Fulton County in the face of the Fulton County government, and one who has really taken the lead on defending our election process against these senseless nonsensical attacks, they`ve targeted me. And the threats have been pretty serious.

Once we get them, they either they come in the form of emails or voicemails, and they`re very, very troubling. For example, I`m - one that was particularly interesting to our Police, Police - Chief of Police, where they asked me well to choose how I wanted to die, whether it would be electrocution, hanging, or a firing squad, and they said, what do you ever see the movie Training day with Denzel Washington, watch the end of it, because we are coming after you this week.

So when that happens, we simply pass those on to our Chief of Police. And he goes up the line to Homeland Security, FBI, and so forth. So we have had as a result of these threats, security for me and my family. It`s - I mean, it`s unthinkable in this day and age in a country like ours, in a county like Fulton County, that we would have to go to these extremes to protect someone who is simply doing his job. But I`m not concerned about it.

But what I am concerned about, though, is that when they make these threats against many people who simply volunteer and work as volunteers in our elections process, they receive threats as well. And that`s where from, from my perspective, that`s where it crosses the line. And all of this is because of the big line, it`s alive and well. It`s not going away. It`s going to continue. I say as often as I can, the 2020 election is over with.

The votes have been counted three times, not one, not two, but three times one by hand, and the election has been certified. So if that`s the case, what is all of this nonsense about? It is my opinion. And I think proof of it is coming more and more clear every day. It`s about continuing to sow doubt, for the upcoming 2022 and 2024 elections.

If they can continue to sow doubt and have people believe that well, my vote`s not going to count. They`re going to continue. And our Secretary of State, he can`t have it both ways. At one point after 2020 he praised Fulton County for a job well done. He fell out of favor with then President Trump who sort of ostracize him so he and some others, they`re doing everything they can to curry a favor with Trump and his crowd.


And the way they do that is to bash Fulton County, we`re the largest county in the state of Georgia, we`re the most Democratic county and therefore he picks up on Fulton County, but I`m not going to stand for it. I`m going to get to continue to fight for Fulton and the good news is our Democratic members of Fulton county of our delegation. They`re standing side by side shoulder to shoulder with me and we`re going to fight all the way and we`re going to prevail in the end.

MADDOW: Rob Pitts is the Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. As he said, essentially the face of Fulton County government standing up against this Republican effort to assert a partisan Republican control of the administration of elections there. Sir, I know this is an ongoing fight and this in some ways is early days yet, keep us apprised, come back and keep us apprised as to how this fight goes over time. Thank you.

PITTS: Thank you. Thank you for having me. All right.

MADDOW: We`ve got much more to get to here tonight. A lot of news, a lot of it, a lot of heavy news tonight. Stay with us.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Dobbs, eight months ago when the vaccine became available did you ever imagine yourself standing in a field hospital in Jackson.

DR. THOMAS DOBBS, MISSISSIPPI STATE HEALTH OFFICER: We should not be here, y`all. This is not necessary. Again, you know, almost all the cases are unvaccinated in most of the deaths and hospitalizations. We were off to a fabulous start with our vaccinations.

You know, we`re doing hundreds, you know, 100,000 a day sort of situation. We`ve gotten one over a million Mississippians vaccinated. But too many people are getting information from the wrong sources.

I`m still baffled why anyone would think some random source on Facebook is better than the entire army of physicians, healthcare systems, doctors, nurses, researchers, who all want to do is end this dang pandemic.

These Facebook, conspiratorial lists are going to spread and run and have no accountability for the people who are dying. And we`re here picking up the mess.


MADDOW: That is the State Health Officer of the great State of Mississippi speaking today with evidence exasperation. What was effectively the grand opening of the new COVID Ward at Mississippi`s largest hospital which just had to open in a parking garage in the hospital lot?

That new field hospital has 20 beds and staffed by federal health workers. It`s got 20 beds and a waiting list already for them. Mississippi broke its record this week for the most new COVID infections in a single day since the start of the pandemic, with close to 7000 new cases in a day. Look at that.

That`s more than double the previous record from back in January. This is a for real crisis situation with hospitals running out of beds and even when they have beds, they don`t have staff for them. As we reported earlier this week, the Republican Governor of Mississippi Tate Reeves, he requested that the federal government please send the U.S. MS Comfort to the Mississippi coast that big military hospital ship.

Today the Governor says FEMA denied that specific request in part because it could be problematic to send a floating hospital to Mississippi during the start of hurricane season. But the Mississippi State Health Officer says that Mississippi has also asked the federal government to send hundreds of personnel, hundreds of nurses, dozens of doctors, hundreds of respiratory therapists.

HHS tells us tonight that already they have started deployments about 70 federal public health staff is being deployed to Mississippi. They`re either on site already or on route to help both out that University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and also at another medical facility in the northern part of the state up in Tupelo.

Next door in Louisiana, that States` Government has also turned to the federal government for help. 33 Member Federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team and DMAT team was deployed to Baton Rouge to Our Lady of the Lake hospital which is one of the major medical centers in the state of Louisiana.

That team has doctors, nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, even pharmacists trying to give that Louisiana hospital some relief, trying to keep them from falling apart at the seams. The AP reporting today that hospitals in Louisiana are under such intense strain right now because of the ballooning number of very sick people with COVID that some Louisiana hospitals have started doing the unthinkable.

They have started turning away even patients with heart attacks or strokes, which as you know, are patients who need very, very timely care. But there are simply not enough resources to care for everyone all at once. This is the doomsday scenario in terms of the U.S. health system failing while we are still on what appears to be an unprecedented new upswing.

Joining us now is Dr. Catherine O`Neal. She is the Chief Medical Officer at "Our Lady the Lake Medical Center" in Baton Rouge, that same hospital that`s been getting some help from that federal DMAT Team. Dr. O`Neal I know this is an unbelievably busy time. Thank you for taking time to talk with us tonight.


MADDOW: You did an interview with a local news station in Baton Rouge that I saw that just made my heart to sink into my stomach. You said that you starting to feel like you at your hospital are not able to provide adequate standards of care already. Because you`re stretched so thin from the number of COVID patients you are handling. I just wanted to ask if that`s true if you could explain to our audience what you mean by that.

DR. O`NEAL: Sure, so today we have 189 people with COVID-19 in our hospital. Our hospital usually runs a census of 600 to 700 patients at any given time. We have 68 patients with COVID-19 just in our ICU. Our ICU usually has about 90 patients in it so you can see that this creep of care into our usual number of patients has caused us to delay care for people.

People who need tumors resected people who have been waiting for a very long time to have their back pain relieved and sort of crippled by that pain. All of those people`s surgeries have been put off because we don`t have any ICU beds anymore because so many of them have been taken by COVID- 19 and the rest are taken by traumas and acute heart attacks.


O`NEAL: As you mentioned, acute strokes, things that come into our emergency department. When we start to put off care like that we know what happens. We saw that last year. What we`re also seeing now is a waiting list of people who need an ICU bed, people calling and begging, please put our patients that we can`t take care of in our small hospital, in your Regional Medical Center, and we say no.

We say no every day to about 25 to 30 patients who want an ICU bed, but we don`t have any room for them. And that is our job. We`re the safety net for the hospital as the largest hospital in the state. We`re supposed to take these difficult patients. And we haven`t been able to do that in about a month.

So all of those people have waited for care or have driven hours and hours with their disease to hospitals in Houston hospitals in New Orleans hospitals in Mississippi that are now also saying no, because they are full as well.

MADDOW: That kind of gridlock in the hospital system. I think those of us outside the medical field don`t tend to think of things in terms of flow through of patients receiving people often at the emergency room smoothing people in the hospital beds in cases of severe acuity, getting them into intensive care.

And there being a flow through of patients through the system and that movement being key, including between hospitals with yours being the hospital of last resort, the largest hospital in the state. If there is now gridlock in a system that counts on movement. How do you solve that? Where can there be relief valves? Where can there be targeted resources to free things up again so that people don`t effectively get locked out of care?

DR. O`NEAL: What we`re doing right now is we`re creating beds, how do you do that you ask people who have never taken care of an ICU patient to take care of an ICU patient? You continue to create beds, but all that does is leave another person behind.

What you really have to do is stem the tide. This is not a disease in which we can continue to take more and more COVID patients and not put somebody off. The only way to truly create capacity again, and undo that gridlock is to stem the tide. And the only way we`re going to see that happen is through vaccination.

We have a mask mandate in place. We have not seen the effects of that yet. We have been telling people to socially distance, but our restaurants are at full capacity. Our businesses are going back our schools are going back and we want those things to happen.

So really, the only answer is vaccination. And it needs to happen today. It needs to happen tomorrow and through the weekend and as fast as we can, so that we can undo that gridlock in several weeks. I think we have weeks and weeks ahead of us in which this gridlock will continue to hurt people.

MADDOW: We went through such a terrible year and a half as a country with this virus and Louisiana went through one of the early bad waves of this. What you`re describing right now, can you just put it in context is what you`re experiencing now the worst that you have seen?

O`NEAL: What we`re experiencing now, we`ve just never seen before. And we have this is our fourth wave. And what we are seeing today is a much younger population. And we keep saying that. But what that really means is, we have teenagers coming into the ICU to tell their parents goodbye.

We have teenagers face-timing, with their parents to tell them goodbye because they have COVID and can`t come to the hospital. We never saw that amount of young death before. We have people stacking up for care which we never had to do.

We made it work in previous surgeries. It was hard. It was taxing, but we made it happen. And now we can`t make it happen anymore. We can`t just make a bed. We can`t make another nurse. It`s impossible to do. And we`ve tried. We tried for the last month we sounded this alarm a month ago.

And at this point, we do our best every day. But we know that people don`t get the care they need we know that people are dying. And we`re going to take care of the person in front of us because that`s what health care workers do. And we`re going to depend on everybody else to do their part to stem the tide. We can`t do it for them.

MADDOW: Dr. Catherine O`Neal Chief Medical Officer at Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Thank you so much for being here. God bless you and your colleagues! Come back. Come back. Join us again.

DR. O`NEAL: Thank you so much. Take care.

MADDOW: All right, more ahead stay with us.



MADDOW: One of the things about the post 9/11 era in our country is that we`ve had these incredibly long wars in which a very small proportion of the U.S. population has actually fought. That means that the people who have fought in our post 9/11 wars have often served multiple tours redeployment after redeployment.

I say that because if you know anybody who served in Afghanistan, this might be a good time to reach out and just be in touch. It is a super difficult thing to see what`s happening in Afghanistan right now for everyone.

But for Americans who shed blood trying to prevent something like this from happening, this is something different and darker and perhaps more potent than what the rest of us can know. So it`s a good time to look out for the veterans in your life.

The lightning quick Taliban takeover almost all of - almost all of Afghanistan except the capital region this past week, has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee wherever they lived to flood into Kabul. We`re seeing scenes of people sleeping in parks and mosques.

Now "The Wall Street Journal" reporting today that having taken most of the rest of the country already the Taliban is now preparing for a march on Kabul itself. Today, U.S. troops deploying back there to help with the evacuation effort they started arriving in Kabul.

"The Washington Post" reports tonight that U.S. personnel at the Embassy in Kabul have started destroying classified documents and equipment. An internal memo obtained by "The Post" goes so far as to call for the destruction of anything involving embassy or agency logos or American flags or any other items which could be misused in propaganda efforts.

They`re shutting down, evacuating and trying to make sure what`s left behind doesn`t fall into the worst possible hands. This is the doomsday scenario that we`re not sure if anybody planned well enough for.


MADDOW: To help us better understand what this means in practical terms and what this means for Afghan allies and the Americans who served there. We`re joined by Jake Auchincloss he served as a Marine Infantry Commander in Afghanistan. He`s now Congressman from Massachusetts, Congressman Auchincloss thank you so much for joining us tonight. I know it`s a difficult day.

REP. JAKE AUCHINCLOSS (D-MA): Good to be back with you, Rachel, thanks for having me.

MADDOW: What is your reaction to seeing the news we spoke a few weeks ago after the U.S. withdrawal was well and truly underway. Obviously, this isn`t something that was predicted. But perhaps the speed of it is a bit of a surprise.

AUCHINCLOSS: When I was a Platoon Commander in Helmand in 2012, the Taliban had a maxim, they would say you have the watches, but we have the time. We could win battles for the next century in Afghanistan against the Taliban and still lose the war because counterinsurgency does not admit of a military solution.

It requires political leadership, and only the Afghans can do that. But the Americans must do right now is defend personnel from the United States who are in Afghanistan. We must evacuate our allied interpreters and other contractors who served alongside us for the last two decades. And we`ve got to maintain over the horizon counterterrorism operations to prevent any attacks on the homeland. Those are our three missions right now.

MADDOW: In terms of the evacuation when you were here, a few weeks ago, we talked about the effort to evacuate Afghan allies protect these thousands of Afghans, citizens who served as interpreters for the U.S. who served as support service personnel for U.S. troops there and for U.S. agencies, media organizations.

We have seen efforts this week by President Biden to order and escalation essentially in the pace of those evacuation efforts. But I think the wide consensus is that those efforts are still not enough. And they`re still too slow even with them being speeded up this week, do you share that view?

AUCHINCLOSS: I share the concern that we need to have as a sense of urgency around evacuating the tens of thousands of allies who served alongside us as interpreters or truck drivers, or medical personnel in Afghanistan.

This president, though, has delivered on his promises to date. This president has said he was going to get 100 million shots in arms. And he doubled that this president has said he was going to get a bipartisan infrastructure deal. He`s delivering that.

I have confidence in this president to keep America`s word and to evacuate, really the majority of people who served alongside of us.

MADDOW: In terms of the logistical efforts right now we are seeing thousands of Marines thousands of troops heading back in to facilitate evacuation efforts.

Do you anticipate that those that that effectively that redeployment of thousands of U.S. troops might not be a short term thing that those troops might be there as essentially a redeployed stabilization force to facilitate the kind of evacuation efforts that you were talking about that can`t be done instantly?

And to protect to the U.S. Embassy, which will be a matter of a factor - of a magnitude different in terms of its practical necessities, if the embassy is in a Kabul that is now held under Taliban control?

AUCHINCLOSS: The security instability of Kabul is clearly a primary concern right now. And I suspect and will certainly raise it in the security briefing that members of Congress will be getting in a couple of weeks` time.

Embassy security is core to the Marine Corps Mission; I have the utmost confidence that the Marines are going to be able to do that mission for as long as the president directs them to.

The larger concern here is can we maintain stability in Kabul for long enough to broker a power sharing agreement with Taliban that provides the leverage necessary for the United States to have a humanitarian and a diplomatic footprint excuse me in the country so that we can sustain some of the hard won gains we made in economic development and protecting the rights of women and girls and civil society and the rule of law.

The power sharing agreement really rests on the security of Kabul, and that`s why the capital region is of critical importance right now.

MADDOW: Massachusetts Congressman Jake Auchincloss who served in Afghanistan as the United States Marine. Sir, thank you for joining us I know it`s a tough time.

AUCHINCLOSS: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: I`ll be right back.



MADDOW: It`s been 205 days since President Biden took office which means that nearly every federal agency in the government is now led by somebody appointed by President Biden. Not the Postal Service though, that`s still led by this guy. Remember him? He`s still there.

And it is a wonder. He has made it - his name is Louis DeJoy. He has made it his mission from the very beginning to slow down mail delivery and screw up mail delivery and he`s actually done a great job at that. Remember destroying the sorting machines.

Under his leadership, the Postal Service has not only screwed up its delivery times and its delivery systems. It`s ramped up its business with the logistics company that Louis DeJoy used to run a company that continues to pay him millions of dollars through ongoing investments and contracts.

He`s also under federal criminal investigation for what has been reported as a blatant as all get out straw donor scheme by him and his company to make massive allegedly illegal campaign contributions to Republicans.

Despite all that, though, Louis DeJoy has been able to keep his job. That`s we assume because President Biden technically can`t fire him. Due to the way the U.S. Postal Service is organized Louis DeJoy doesn`t report directly to President Biden the way Cabinet Secretaries do.

Instead he reports to something called "The Post Office Board of Governors" that`s the board that`s essentially Louis DeJoy`s boss. And President Biden has been able to appoint a few of his own picks to that Board of Governors since he took office.


MADDOW: But there are others who are still left over from the Trump Administration, including the head of that board a man named Ron Bloom. Mr. Ron Bloom fully supports the Louis DeJoy show. Support it`s slow down the mail plan supports everything he said he wants to do to the post office.

He says he fully supports Louis DeJoy sticking around. He told "The Atlantic Magazine" in April "Right now, I think Louis DeJoy is the proper man for the job. He`s earned my support. He will have it until he doesn`t. I have no particular reason to believe that he will lose it".

Wow! Ron Bloom really supports Louis DeJoy. Why is that? Well, today we found out its at least mutual support. Louis DeJoy also supports Ron Bloom in a very specific way. "The Washington Post" reporting today that between October and April, Louis DeJoy purchased up to $300,000 in bonds from an investment firm where one of the managing partners is that guy Ron Bloom.

Louis DeJoy`s boss, the one who`s very committed to keeping Louis DeJoy in that job, while Louis DeJoy shovels hundreds of thousands of dollars to his firm. The spokesperson for the Postal Service said today all the payments DeJoy made to that financial firm where his boss is a managing partner "Adhere to ethics regulations, because the Postal Service doesn`t do business with that firm".

OK. The Postal Service doesn`t do business with that firm. But Louis DeJoy certainly does and so does his boss, so maybe that`s a problem. He`s still there. But perhaps we can add this to the long list of things Mr. DeJoy might have to answer for the next time he at least finds himself in front of Congress maybe.