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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  May 12, 2020 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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thank you for being with us tonight. that is going to do it for us for now. i'll see you again tomorrow. now time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. so 10:00 a.m., you had to make a choice. you listened to the senate hearing with the coronavirus task force witnesses, or you listened to the supreme court. what did rachel maddow choose? >> it was a very easy choice. being able to listen in live to the supreme court is such an amazing novelty to me. so, yeah, i like built a whole,
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like, audio cave around me, where i had like my coffee ready to go and my note pad and my computer and my c-span radio app cued one the speaker. it was embarrassing. i didn't move for two hours. >> we're the same person almost. i made the same choice, but not with all of that support system. and then i watched the hearing on -- i was recording the hearing, watched the hearing on video after the supreme court. so it was -- like you, i hang on every word. neil is going to join us with his interpretation, because who cares what i think when you can hear neil? >> exactly. i can't let you think, lawrence. i want to hear you talk to neil about it. >> thank you, rachel. >> thanks, lawrence. as we said, donald trump's tax returns had their big day in
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the united states supreme court today. two different cases. the first case that the court listened to, heard the arguments on was the battle over this, a subpoena issued by the house of representatives to the accounting firm that has possession of donald trump's tax records and the second was a battle over a criminal sa pasub seeks donald trump's personal and business tax returns. as i listened to those arguments today, it sounded to me like at least one of those cases is going to be successful in obtaining the trump tax returns. but as i said, you know, why listen to me about it when you can listen to neil, who has argued many cases before the united states supreme court, and he will join us later in this hour with his reaction to these historic arguments before the court today, which will also take their place in history among the 2020 supreme court
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arguments that were not held in the supreme court chamber. and lori garrett is back with us tonight. we'll get her reaction to the testimony we heard from members of the trump coronavirus task force in that senate hearing today. tonight, donald trump is a man alone. the republican senate, who stood by president trump in his impeachment trial, are not standing by him in his trial by a public jury during the coronavirus pandemic. and that means that dr. anthony fauci was able to speak publicly today about the pandemic, without donald trump over his shoulder disagreeing with him. in testimony to the senate health education labor and pensions committee, when dr. fauci discussed his expectation that there will be a second wave of coronavirus in the united states, donald trump was not there to grab the microphone after him and say, i don't think that will happen.
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when dr. fauci said that it was not extremely likely but just more likely than not that we will have a vaccine within a year or two, donald trump was not there to offer his scientific opinion that we will get a vaccine much sooner than that. donald trump has actually said we will get a vaccine this year, in 2020. >> we think we're going to have a vaccine by the end of this year, and we're pushing very hard. >> he said that last week, not one of the republican senators on that committee supported any of donald trump's thinking about a vaccine or made statements, anything like this. >> i feel about vaccines like i feel about tests. this is going to go away without a vaccine and we're not going to see it again hopefully after a period of time. >> that was on friday. that was president trump on friday.
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that wasn't president trump in february. donald trump was saying crazy things like that in february and march, that the virus was just going to disappear. but on friday, knowing everything that we all now know, donald trump actually said on friday this is going to go away without a vaccine. it's going to go away, and we're not going to see it again, hopefully after a period of time. that's a typical trump time frame of reference. a period of time. that is madness. donald trump said that after living through the deadliest month in america, in his lifetime. and we were all learning more and more and more about this every day during the month of april. we're all learning more about it still every day. today's hearing included four witnesses from the president's coronavirus task force. dr. fauci, dr. robert redfield,
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and sister stephen hahn, and and mirl brett girar, who is also a physician. they all listened without objection. when our first guest senator chris murphy said this. >> dr. fauci, dr. redfield, you've warned us appropriately of the dangers of states opening too early. but this is infuriating to many of us, because it comes hours after the president declared that we have prevailed over coronavirus, which i'm just going to tellout is going to make it much harder on state leaders to keep social distancing restrictions in place. it comes days after the president called on citizens to liberate their states from social distancing orders. and i think you're all noble public servants, but i worry you're trying to have it both ways. you say states shouldn't open too early, but then you don't give us the resources to
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succeed. you work for a president who is, frankly, jumdz miundermining ous to comply with the guidance you have given us, and the guidance you have provided is criminally vague. >> president trump was not there today to grab the microphone and deflect the toughest question that the head of the cdc had to face about news reports that the cdc's guidance on how to safely reopen certain activities has been suppressed by the trump administration. >> so reporting suggests, dr. redfield, this guidance that was developed by you and other experts was shelved by the administration, that it was withheld from states because of a decision made by the white house. so my specific question is, why didn't this plan get released? >> the guidances that you talked about have gone through the review, comments have come back to cdc, and i anticipate they'll
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go back up into the task force for final review. >> but we're reopening in connecticut in five days, in ten days. i mean, this guidance isn't going to be useful to us in two weeks. is it this week, next week, when are we going to get this expertise from the federal government? >> the other thing is the cdc stands by the assistance to your state and any state upon any request. i do anticipate this guidance to be posted on the cdc website soon. i can't tell you when, but your state can reach out to cdc and we'll give guidance to anyone on your state on any circumstance that your state desires guidance from. >> "soon" isn't terribly helpful. >> the only hint of trumpism came from rand paul who tried to
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suggest it is a scientifically proven fact that if you survive a coronavirus infection, you are absolutely immune to coronavirus. dr. fauci had to point out the scientific difference between a likelihood and a proven fact. the history of other viruses, said dr. fauci, suggests that immunity possibly temporary, is likely. not definite, likely. rand paul was leaning on the immunity issue very heavily, because he believes it's the silver lining. those are his words, the silver lining. rand paul thinks that the good news about the 14,000 infected workers at meat packing plants around the country, 14,000 infected workers, 57 dead, rand paul believes there's a silver lining. he sees a silver lining in that. >> the silver lining to so many
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infections in the meat processing industry is that a large portion of these workers now have immunity. those workers should be reassured that they likely won't get it again instead of being alarmed by media reports that there is no evidence of immunity. >> those were carefully chosen words, written, written no doubt by his staff. the silver lining. would you be reassured, would you say, oh, great, let's go back to work in that meat packing plant that almost killed me, with the worst sickness i've ever had in my life and did kill my friend who was working beside me, because we likely won't get it again? rand paul and his staff wrote the words "the silver lining" to so many infections. they wrote those words. they premeditated those words. as of tonight, the united states now has 1,381,092 reported cases
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of coronavirus and the united states has suffered 83,421 confirmed deaths from coronavirus. and at today's hearing, dr. fauci said those numbers understate the truth of the virus spread in america because many people have died in new york and elsewhere with coronavirus symptoms but were never tested for coronavirus before or after death. and when senator bernie sanders suggested that we could have 50% more coronavirus cases than we know about, than have been reported, dr. fauci did not disagree. dr. fauci, and no one else on the committee, saw a silver lining in that possibility of 50% more cases than have actually been reported. the one republican senator who did find donald trump guilty in his impeachment trial, got dr. fauci to shoot down a trump lie
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about president obama after beginning with his disappointment with admiral girar's participation yesterday in the trump rally in the rose garden about what a great job america has done on testing. >> admiral, i'm going to take off where senator hassen spoke. i understand that politicians are going to frame data in a way that's most positive politically. of course, they don't expect that from admirals, but yesterday you celebrated we had done more tests per capita than even south korea but ignored the fact that they accomplished theirs at the beginning of their outbreak, while we treaded water during february and march. and as a result, by march 6th, the u.s. had completed just 2,000 tests, whereas south korea had conducted more than 140,000 tests. so partially as a result of that, they have 256 deaths, and we have almost 80,000 deaths. i find our testing record
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nothing to celebrate whatsoever. the fact is, their test numbers are going down, down, down now because they don't have the kind of outbreak we have. ours is going up, up, up. i think that's an important lesson for us as we think about the future. the president said the other day president obama is responsible for a lack of a vaccine. dr. fauci, is president obama or by extension president trump, did they do something that made the likelihood of creating a vaccine less likely? are either president trump or president obama responsible for the fact that we don't have a vaccine now or in delaying it in some way? >> no, no, senator, not at all. simply president obama nor president trump are responsible for not having a vaccine. >> leading off our discussion tonight is democratic senator chris murphy of connecticut. senator, thank you very much for joining us tonight. i just want to begin with that phrase you chose, criminally
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vague to describe the guidance that you and we and the country has been getting from the president's coronavirus task force. >> listen, we have a lot of smart people in connecticut, but the cdc exists for moments like this. the cdc exists so we can pull export resources and provide a state like connecticut specific guidance on how we reopen our state safely. and they have not done that. now, the reason they have done that isn't because they didn't come up with the document that tells states how to open day care centers and when to open schools, and when to close a school when tests suggest there's a hot spot. no, in fact, they developed that guidance. it's the white house that is refusing to allow that guidance, that document to be sent to states. and why is that? well, it's because president trump just wants to play armchair quarterback. he doesn't want to be in a
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position where he would have to take responsibility for decisions made about when schools open or close. so the document that we have, the plan to reopen america, is criminally vague. it doesn't have any specifics about how you open in this kind of setting or when you close a certain set of businesses when there reemerges infections in a city or county. so i just don't understand why we aren't getting more help from the cdc now. and i do understand it's because of this directive from the white house. >> and when you say criminally vague, i assume it's because that vagueness can lead to thousands of deaths? >> of course. again, we have smart people in connecticut, but we don't have the expertise in our state, or do 49 other states have the
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expertise to make these very difficult and subtle choices about how you open a day care center, and exactly what protocols you need to have in place to keep those kids and those parents safe. that expertise resides at the cdc. and the fact that this administration is not allowing the cdc to provide us with that guidance because president trump just doesn't want to have his hands on the response so that he can blame everybody else, that is not just criminally vague, that is criminally negligent, because ultimately it's going to result in potentially thousands of my constituents dying, because if we didn't have the benefit of that expert advice from the federal government. >> when these witnesses who testified to your committee today appear with the president at one of those rose garden events, they never speak unless invited by the president to speak. and so one of the things i found striking about senator rodney's exchange about president obama
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was president trump can stand up at those events and blame president obama for the administration not being ready for the coronavirus pandemic and blame president obama for not having a vaccine, and none of those experts ever, ever get up and say, excuse me, i have to correct what the president just said. they will only speak when invited by the president. so what we saw today was what they're capable of saying once they're free of president trump. >> yeah. i think you saw a hint of that, but they were free to -- of their own volition to rebut any of the insane things that the president has said. and they didn't necessarily take that opportunity today. listen, from the very beginning, i think we have always been vexed about this question as to what advice we give smart people who are working in the trump administration. it is hard to watch some of
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these public servants stand behind this president as he lies through his teeth and then have them refuse to correct the record. at the same time, i'm pretty sure i want dr. fauci in the room, even if there are few times when the president is listening to his advice instead of some flunky or lackey. so i think we treated these witnesses respectfully today because we understand the position we're in. we're glad they're doing these jobs. but they do, i think, bear responsibility, probably more often than they do, to stand up to this president and correct him. >> let's listen how carefully dr. fauci voiced his concerns about premature reopenings. let's listen to this. >> i've expressed then and again is my concern that some areas, cities, states, what have you, jump over those various check points and prematurely open up without having the capability of
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being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks. >> senator, several states have jumped over those thresholds that dr. fauci recommends they not jump over. and that's the most he can say about it while he's working for president trump, i guess. >> well, let's be clear. no state is in compliance with the plan to reopen america. because the plan to reopen america presupposes that every state has adopted a system of robust testing, tracing of contacts, and quarantine. no state has done that. you know why? because the federal government has refused to design, implement, and pay for that system. and every single state does -- including mine, doesn't have the resources to do that. so i appreciate his warnings. but the people that he's talking to need to step up quickly and
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give us the resources to be in compliance with that plan that he's worried about us violating. >> senator chris murphy, thank you very much for joining us tonight. we really appreciate it. >> thanks. >> thank you. a quick programming reminder. thursday night at 10:00 p.m., we will present a "the last word" special, joe biden with stacey abrams, presidential candidate joe biden will be with us for the entire hour and the second half of our discussion we'll be joined by stacey abrams, who has been working to assure fair voting practices in the 2020 election, which has become much more of a challenge in the year of the coronavirus pandemic. it will be joe biden and stacey abrams' first interview together. you viewers will have a chance to participate. go to to submit a question for joe biden and stacey abrams thursday night, 10:00 p.m., right here on msnbc.
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up next, two members of "the last word" coronavirus task force will give us their reactions to what they heard in that senate hearing today. and what it means for the reopening of workplaces and schools around the country. that's next. aleve is proven stronger and longer on pain than tylenol. when pain happens, aleve it. all day strong. you ever wish you weren't a motaur? sure. sometimes i wish i had legs like you. yeah, like a regular person. no. still half bike/half man, just the opposite. oh, so the legs on the bottom and motorcycle on the top? yeah. yeah, i could see that. for those who were born to ride, there's progressive.
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in today's senate hearing, republican senator mitt romney gave dr. fauci a multiple choice question, with three possible answers. a, extremely likely. b, more likely than not. or c, kind of a long shot. >> is it extremely likely we're going to get a vaccine within a year or two? is it just more likely than not? or kind of a long shot? >> it's definitely not a long shot, senator romney. i would think that it is more likely than not that we will.
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because this is a virus that induces an immune response that people recover, the overwhelming majority of people recover from this virus. although there is good morbidity and mortality at a level in certain populations, the very fact that the body is capable of spontaneously clearing the virus tells me that at least from a conceptual standpoint, we can stimulate the body with a vaccine that would induce a similar response. so although there's no guarantee, i think it's clearly much more likely than not that somewhere within that time frame, we will get a vaccine for this virus. >> time to hear from our experts. joining us is the director of the harvard global health institute, who is testifying tomorrow in the first hearing by the select committee on the coronavirus in the house of representatives. also joining us, journalist lori
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garrett, now an nbc news and msnbc science contributor. doctor, what about that multiple choice test of -- or let's all remember that president trump says we're going to get a vaccine this year. mitt romney was asking within a year or two, and dr. anthony fauci says more likely than not. >> yeah. so i tend to trust dr. fauci on this. and actually my own reading of the evidence is very similar to dr. fauci. it's not guaranteed. we're not going to get it in 2020. i think that's extremely unlikely. but in 2021, i think there is a good chance for all the reasons he outlined. but there is a little bit of an unknown here, because this is not a virus we've ever developed a vaccine to. so i think we have to be humble about our certainty on this. >> lori garrett, you've pointed out that there are challenges beyond simply the discovery of a
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virus that works. >> a vaccine that works. >> a vaccine that works, yes. >> we know that we have a virus unfortunately that works. >> yeah. >> but yeah, discovery of a vaccine is only step one. figuring out how to do all the international negotiations necessary to get multicountry buy-in, deal with patent issues and get a price point that's reasonable, distribution for the whole world, 7.5 billion human beings vaccinated, that's a whole order of magnitude more difficult than anything we've ever attempted in human history on this scale. i would back up and say that i -- you know, tony fauci is being, i think, optimistic to even say we would have a vaccine within this two-year window, except to perhaps if you're defining a vaccine as a theoretical event, tried in phase one, phase two, maybe even
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phase three trials. but not necessarily in commercial production. one reason i'm worried is the vaccines everybody is rushing full bore on are in the categories are dna vaccines and rna vaccines. these are really hard to figure out how to do all the fda approval on. we don't have such vaccines in widespread use nfor any other disease. we have a lot of hurdles to climb. and there's one last thing i would add, we have this strange situation going on in wuhan where they are trying right now to conduct tests on 11 million people in ten days, because of seven people that have turned up testing positive for covid. the index case in this tiny cluster got sick on march 17th, and walked out of bed feeling well on march 27th. and somehow, carried this virus
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in his body undetected all this time. it resurged and he infected his neighbors. wow. >> and that 11 million that they intend to test in wuhan in less than two weeks, is more than the number of americans who have been tested. we're up to or in the middle of the 9 million range right now. let's listen to what dr. fauci said about opening up schools in response to chairman alexander's question. >> the idea of having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate the reentry of students into the fall turn would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far. going back to school would be more in the realm of knowing the landscape of infection with regard to testing. >> doctor, there you are, out of school at harvard university.
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how did you interpret dr. fauci's answer? >> so what dr. fauci was saying was two things. first of all, we're not going to have the kind of treatment or vaccines that will make people feel comfortable sending kids back to school this fall. so is there a way we can get kids back? we can. accumissuming there aren't larg outbreaks happening. and nothing i heard in the hearing today gave me confidence that we're going to have that. the admiral talked about 30 million to 40 million tests per month. that is about a million or a million and a half tests a day that's better than where we are right now. but not the level we would need if we were going to send kids back to school or college. everybody back to work. especially in the fall where we'll see a resurgence of covid in the context of a flu season. we're going to need a lot more tests. >> senator and paul apparently was upset that dr. fauci said
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anything other than sure, everyone should go back to school in the fall, and he confronted dr. fauci about it and challenging his authority on it. let's listen to that. >> i think we ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what's best for the economy, and as much as i respect you, dr. fauci, i don't think you're the end all. >> i've never made myself out to be the end all. you used the word we should be humble about what we don't know. right now, children presenting with covid-16 -- or covid-19 who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome, very similar to kawasaki syndrome. i think we ought to be very careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are immune to the effects. >> laurie garrett, the going back to school question has become so much more complicated with these recent developments that we've seen in new york city and elsewhere of children
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suffering very badly. >> yeah. i mean, here in new york city, we have more than 100 cases of this kawasaki syndrome or whatever exactly it is. this terrible inflammation syndrome in children. and we had, i believe, five, who have succumbed to it. yes, these pictures are really striking. kawasaki syndrome was not a well-known syndrome until we had a toxic shock syndrome outbreak in the united states back in the late 1980s. and that sparked a lot of interest in more research. but we still have a lot of mysteries just about so-called normal kawasaki syndrome. now we add to it this mysterious virus that is capable of doing so much damage to the cardiovascular system, not to mention the immune response. i think we're in dangerous territory if we cavalierly open
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schools without understanding what this syndrome is. >> thank you both for starting us off tonight. appreciate it. and when we come back, it was an historic day in the supreme court, because no one was actually in the supreme court when the supreme court heard arguments in two cases involving president trump's tax returns. neil, who has argued many cases, was listening to every word. he will join us with his assessment of who is likely to win the legal battles over president trump's tax returns. dad? i didn't do it. #1 stain and odor fighter, #1 trusted. it's got to be tide. that family doesn't have to take out of their house. it relieves stress off of me to let me know i'm doing something good for the community, not just papa john's. iibut that doesn't mean ayou're in this alone.,
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today, the supreme court heard arguments via teleconference in two cases about enforcing subpoenas for president trump's personal and business tax returns. the first case involves a subpoena from congress to the company that prepares president trump's tax returns demanding copies of those tax returns and other related documents. this case is not to be confused
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with the subpoena for donald trump's tax returns issued by the chairman of the house, weighs and means committee, which can demand that the irs submit any tax return directly to the chairman of that committee that the chairman might request. that case is proceeding on a separate legal track. the president's lawyers argued the congressional subpoena before the court was simply political harassment, with no legitimate legislative purpose. but justices sotomayor and kagan seemed to suggest that the judicial branch should not try to define what is a legitimate legislative purpose for the legislative branch of the federal government.
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>> in the second case that the court heard today, donald trump's lawyers were appealing two consecutive rulings by the federal district court in new york and the federal circuit court of appeals in new york, ordering the accounting firm to hand over president trump's personal and business tax returns to the manhattan district attorney in a criminal investigation. the circuit court of appeal's opinion, written by the chief judge, is so legally airtight, according to most constitutional experts, it left donald trump's lawyer, in this case jay sekulow, trying to invent a presidential immunity from subpoenas by any district attorney for any reason.
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jay sekulow agreed that the district attorneys and their grand juries could investigate a president's conduct. but he insisted that it would be unconstitutional for them to use their subpoena power against a president. chief justice john roberts had this reaction to that argument. >> former acting solicitor general neal katyal, who has much personal experience gauging
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which way the justices are leaning during many supreme court cases that he has argued, will join us from right there from his home library next right after this break. its dealers hy mobilized to help our local heroes. by giving front liners a lift, contributing to relief efforts, making vehicles safer for first responders and customers, and sometimes simply serving up a hot meal. coming together to lend a hand is what this country's always been about. americans have never wavered in crisis nor hid from responsibility. and this time was no different. this was our calling. mercedes-benz usa is proud to be a part of this great american fabric and take inspiration in seeing the best emerge in all of us. america never rests until the job is done... and the race is won. and until then... we won't either.
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here's some of justice elena kagan's reaction today in the supreme court fighting subpoenas for president trump's tax returns. >> joining us now, a lawyer who has been there, neal katyal, former act iing u.s. solicitor
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general, who has argued dozens of cases before the united states supreme court. he's also an msnbc legal contributor. so neal, here's my short hand reaction listening to every word. i have a feeling that the supreme court just might protect the tax returns from the congressional subpoena. but it sounded like the manhattan district attorney is going to get those tax returns. >> so first of all, lawrence, i think your viewers, i hope they did listen to the argument as you did, and i urge everyone to do so, because it is really america at its finest. you know, nine justices who are throwing really hard questions, and trying to resolve their disputes this way and not in the streets or anything like that. it's such a contrast to president trump's indication of trump judges and obama judges. because what you heard today was
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nine justices of the supreme court. and i agree with you. i think if you listen to the arguments, you see even though five of the justices have been appointed by republican presidents, i think you saw widespread skepticism on the court about trump's legal position. particularly with the case coming from new york about the district attorney. also with the congress one, i think that was closer. but i think in both cases, you had one fundamental overarching principle that the court cared about, which is no one is above the law. and trump's argument is essentially, i don't have to bother complying with congressional subpoenas. i don't have to comply with prosecutor subpoenas, even though, lawrence, you and i and every other citizen in this country would have to comply with those subpoenas. and particularly for a president who says he's a textualist president, who wants to follow the constitution as written, this is wholly made up out of
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cloth and that's what you heard the court getting at. >> how important is it that these subpoenas were not actually directed at donald trump but at the accounting firm in both cases? >> yeah, it's really significant. because the court has twice in recent years, in our lifetime, had similar cases. one was the paula jones case, and the other was the nixon tapes case. the nixon tapes case, they were subpoenas directed right at the president. even then, the supreme court unanimously said that those subpoenas had to be enforced. that was true even though three of the justices on that court were appointed by richard nixon himself. in the paula jones case, two justices appointed by bill clinton, yet the court unanimously said the president could be subject to a civil suit. here we're not even talking anything about suing the president or trying to get his official records from the oval office. as the lawyer for the house and
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the district attorney, both said this is about stuff in his accounting files. he doesn't even have to bother being involved. and it's stuff from well before he was president. this is about payments to stormy daniels and other things that the president's own lawyer, michael cohen, said there was potential crimes stemming from. >> i think we both agree that the stronger case is the one from manhattan, at least in the way the arguments played out today. but on the congressional subpoena, the position that we don't want to invade the thinking of the houms, and just decide here in the -- house of representatives and just decide here in the supreme court that the house of representatives is just conducting harassment, that would have been in a not too long ago, the conservative position on the supreme court, that we should conservatively sit back here and not attempt to invade the thinking of the house of representatives.
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>> it's in the just the conservative position, lawrence. it is the position of president trump himself for two years in other cases. for example, when i argued the case in the supreme court two years ago, i argued based on wh said. he said, i think islam hates us and things like that. what the trump administration said is you're not allowed to second guess the president's motivations. here they turn around and say you can second guess not just one person's motivations but the entire united states house of representatives and their committees. that is just made up, bogus, and you know, i suspect the skepticism on the court will see hopefully some opinions that reveal that. >> neal katyal, thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thank you. and when we come back, a freshman democrat who flipped a house seat from republican to democrat has a plan for how to build a national strategy and a
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the united states still has not engaged in a national contact tracing program, isn't that right? >> when the outbreak started, sir, we had an aggressive contact tracing program, but unfortunately as cases rose, it went beyond the capacity, and we went to mitigation. so we lost the containment edge. >> johns hopkins estimates that nationally at least 100,000 contact traces are needed in the united states to track the coronavirus spread, and we know that more than 30 million americans desperately need jobs now, so why not have the federal government hire a couple hundred thousand of them?
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jonathan haultser points out in his daily beast article that at the height of the dethe depress president roosevelt hired people for the newly created conservation corps, which was the fastest mobilization in american history. today a bipartisan group of lawmakers are doing what president roosevelt would be doing now, and they have introduced legislation that would create the national public health corps to hire the contact tracers this country needs to save lives. joining us now is democratic congresswoman kristi houlihan. she represents pennsylvania's sixth congressional district, and she is an air force veteran. congresswoman houlihan, how would this program work, how fast could you get it going? >> thank you very much for having me, and this program would take a page out of the america corp. model that already is up and going. we already have the systems in place to do this. effectively what it would do is
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it would take some of those folks that are frankly already sidelined from america corps, peace corps, other service organizations like that, and it would redeploy and reskill and retrain them and augment them as well. those folks would be the boots on the ground that would do the tracking and tracing and testing and hopefully the treating in terms of inoculation and vaccination alongside of the already existing community support networks and the already existing professional health care providers as well. we just need a lot of people, as you mentioned, to be able to run a national or nationwide testing strategy. we need the tests, but we also need the workforce. >> let's listen to what senator elizabeth warren said today in that senate hearing about what is at stake in contact tracing. >> there are many things the states can do by themselves, and god bless them, they're out there trying to do every day, to open more emergency hospitals and to do all kinds of work to try to keep their citizens safe. but contact tracing, we move.
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we move from place to place and state to state. this is something that needs national leadership. >> dr. anthony fauci said in response to that, that we would of course have more infections and more deaths without adequate contact tracing. so this is a matter of life and death, and you've got a bipartisan group supporting this bill, don't you? >> we do, and you mentioned that i'm a veteran. i also happen to be an america corps person as well. this bipartisan group in support of this happen to have heritages and backgrounds in service as well, and we have a really eclectic group of people who really genuinely believe that we do need a national testing strategy. we do need a unified national testing strategy, and that is a really good way to ramp up the number of people we have to be able to do that as quickly as possible. >> is there something about military experience that gives you the notion that we can start
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from zero and build something very quickly? >> absolutely. it's a combination not only of my military experience but also, as i mentions, of my service background in the america corps organization as well. we know what is possible. we know that we can do it together. we know that americans are genuinely generous people and they're looking for ways that they can be helpful right now. and they're also frankly, as you mentioned, looking for skills and job training that will allow them to be able to join this new economy. we don't really know what the new economy is going to look like, but we certainly know that we're not going to be able to open our economy safely without something like national testing and tracing and tracking. and so this is absolutely within the realm of the possible. we are a nation of open-hearted people, and national service is something that we're all very much called to. you've seen that in what's happened in our nation over the last five or six weeks, our real answer to the call to serve and to help. >> congresswoman chrissy
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houlahan, thank you very much for joining us tonight with this very important idea. really appreciate it. >> thank you. i very much appreciate it as well. >> thank you. that is tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. well, good evening once again. day 1,209 of the trump administration. 175 days to go now until our next presidential election. and tonight once again the news is in the form of a projection, and it's grim. tonight a leading model often cited by the white house is out with a startling new projection for coronavirus deaths. the institute for health metrics and evaluation now predicts a death toll of 147,000 by the first week of august. that's up 10,000 from the last round of projections just two days ago. and a reminder here.