tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC December 3, 2020 12:00am-1:00am PST
with the new democratic senator from arizona. that is our broadcast for this wednesday night. with our thanks to you for joining us, on behalf of the men and women at the networks of nbc news, good night. tonight on "all in" -- america's coronavirus failure comes further into focus. >> it's actually good news that the virus spreads widely and without high risk to the vast majority of people. >> tonight how we still haven't protected the vulnerable and new alarms about the white house plan to distribute vaccines. then the maga delusion continues. >> he won over 410 electoral votes. he won -- damn near won every state including california. >> tonight, how one republican senator is admitting to humoring
the president to save his own career. and how donald trump's fear of prosecution is fueling pardon talks for himself and his family. >> i hear that these same people that failed to get me in washington have sent every piece of information to new york so that they can try to get me there. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. today could be the single worst day ever during this pandemic so far. tonight a record 100,000 americans are hospitalized. look at that blue wave there, the light blue all the way over there on the right. 195,000 new cases today, that's a record. there were over 2,700 deaths recorded. we are getting very close to records there too. we're going to talk about the numbers and what they mean and where we are. but before we do that i just want to tell you a story. and it's a story that is not particularly special or unique.
i think almost everyone listening will relate to it. when i was in high school, my grandmother lived in an assisted living care facility. that's her there. that's with my grandfather manuel madelyne. the assisted living facility was near my house which meant i could go visit her a few times i a week and i would walk over. she had alzheimer's. sometimes she'd recognize me. sometimes she didn't.me but i'd go and ask her questions about her life. and sometimes i'd sing her songs. if i'm being honest, i had to kind of screw up my courage to go there. because it was a hard place to visit. it was a hard place to visit. and i think i felt the same way when i visit my other set of grand parents, those are my dad's folks, roger and marian, again, at my parents' wedding. that was when they were in a more independent setting. s they had their own apartment assisted living facility in the chicago suburbs. h i would go visit them in the
morning and bring them donuts and coffee and we'd talk. and when you walk into any long-term care facility, no matter how nice a-t setting, you're staring into the face of the most profound inescapable truth about life on this planet, which is that we get older and then we die. and it could be hard to be face to face with that. it can be really hard to be face to face with that with the people you love, that you care for.to there's a certain kind of e' melancholy that hangs over it. when you're with a person you love in a facility that isn't their home really. it isn't your home. there are people in those facilities who were incredibly caring and tender to myfa grandmother and my other set of grandparents that i felt so grateful for, i still do. there are tens of thousands of people who work so hard in thosh environments. they're very difficult environments to work in.ar those facilities are places that we kind of shut our -- out of our mind in our society generally.hu-- there's not a lot of pop cultural representation, not a lot of movies set in nursing
homes. and yet they're the places where some of the most cherished people in our lives live and some of the most vulnerable. and covid has been a real test of us a morally as a society, about who we value and what we value and how we value people. and we're failing that test. we are failing it. if i told you there was a serial killer stalking through senior citizen homes, if i thought about one going down the hallways in the facility my grandmother lived killing residents one by one or there was a terrorist cell sequentially planting bombs in those buildings, i think it would probably be front page news in any town or city in america.to there would be enormous e resources to stop it. but in the last eight months we lost over 100,000 people in long-term care facilities.nt 100,000 people. just 1% of americans live in those facilities and they make up nearly 40%, 40% of the coronavirus deaths that we've seen in this country.
and there are some people who will just come out and say it doesn't really count because they were old or ill. >> somebody who's 81 dies from covid-19, that's not the same as someone who's 30 dying of covid-19. if grandma dies in a nurse's home at age 81 that's tragic and it's terrible. also life expectancy in the united states is 80. so that is not the same thing. >> let's get back to work. let's get back to living. t let's be smart about it. and those of us who are 70-plus, we'll take care of ourselves. but don't sacrifice the country. >> many people who are dying both here and around the world were on their last legs, anyway. and i don't want to sound callous about that. >> what kind of people are we?n' are we a people who don't care about their elders, who don't pl cherish them, don't protect them, don't look out for them? is that the kind of people we want to be?e this was all foreseeable.
remember, one of the first sites of mass death in this country was a nursing home in washington state where ho2/3 of the resides got sick and 37 people died. and we on this show, we started talking about the need to to protect those facilities and the needin for testing right from t very beginning. expert after expert. but the fundamental problem is this. you cannotfu detach those facilities from the rest of the community.this you cannot protect vulnerable people in long-term care in a society in which the virus is running rampant. and that has been clear for a while now. look at sweden. it's clear what happened in sweden, wright? emember sweden ran the big experiment, they let the virus run rampant and they saw a wave of death in nursing homes. that's a very developed country with a very good safety net. social democracy. still got the nursing homes.st president trump didn't want to hear he had to do the very difficult work necessary to suppress it. he wanted everything to be normal.ng he wanted it to go away so we could get to business as usual so he could get re-elected. so along came scott atlas, a
right-wing radiologist, to them you can have your cake and eat it too. he said it on the president's favorite tv shows. all the public health experts are wrong. don't worry about trying to stop the virus in general.o in fact, it's a good thing if it spreads among people who are low risk. >> it's actually good news that the virus spreads widely and without high risk to the vast majority of people. that means that we have a better chance of developing populationn immunity. instead of total lockdown going on, which prevents that, we have a chance to have people develop their own antibodies and eventually have enough people have these anti-bodies to block this sort of network of progression andwo contagion to e people who are vulnerable. we know how to protect the w vulnerable here. >> no! no, we don't know how to protect the vulnerable. it turns out we don't know. or we didn't. we can't protect them. n' and that's the legacy that scott
atlas leaves. scott atlas who worked for donald trump and told him what he wanted to hear. here's what it looks like when you run the scott atlas experiment andn just tell everyone to go back out there and ignore the virus, it's good news if it spreads. this is the chart of daily covid cases starting on scott atlas's day first day of august and to now. we had 42,000 cases a day when he00 started. and then the chart shoots up and we are now averaging nearly 158,000 per day. today was almost 200,000. and daily deaths, well, they follow cases as surely as night follows day. daily deaths are up too since started. despite improved medical care, despite improved treatment. we are seeing deaths go up and up and up. and they will keep going up.ke and overall since his first day on the job we've lost nearly 104,000 americans to the virus. so mission accomplished for the first part of scott atlas's plan. you did it. you worked with the president and you let the virus run rampant. it is sure running rampant now. now, where did r we end up on t other part? where did we end up on the protect the vulnerable part?
well, here's where we are on that. >> at the amby home, a privately owned facility, it's in norton, kansas, we're told not only have 10 people died but all 62 residents there have tested positive for the virus. >> rio vista health care center acknowledged this week that it has 100 confirmed covid-19 positive residents at the facility. no other nursing home in california has that many cases. scl t >> the courtyard nursing care center in medford says 54 of its residents have died and more than 100 others are infected. >> saddlebrook memory care in frisco is home to dozens of people suffering from alzheimer's and dementia. the c.o.o. of its parent company confirming that 10 residents who tested positive for covid-19 have died since late last month. >> new york health leaders are scrambling this morning trying to contain a surge in covid-19 cases at a north country senior care facility. >> more than 700 nursing home residents across the state have
died fromss covid-19. >> so now we're hopefully getting closer to the end of the pandemic if we can keep people alive and protect them. if we can take the steps necessary to suppress the virus and keep people's parents and grandparents and loved and cherished elders aalive throug to the vaccine because they're going to be among the t first people to get the vaccine. because yesterday a federal advisory panel voted 13-1 to recommend that the first doses be given to health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. and you know what? i don't think that's a controversial view. it's a polarized country but i think literally whatever your politics are we can all agree that's a good idea. that's something we all share. but up until now, up until now we have failed to live up to the values that are embodied in that vote and in that policy. and we still have weeks if not months to go. i'm joined now by the democratic governor of connecticut ned lamont, who set up a nursing home and assisted living
oversight group in october as cases and deathssi mounted in facilities hsacross his state. governor, thank you for taking time. governor, you had an experience in april where there were a lot of -- a fair amount of fatalities in facilities in your state. you commissioned a report to try to sort of implement reforms. but as far as i read the data in your state, they're still going up again right now.ig is there anything to be done -- are there lessons you've learned to protect the folks in those facilities? >> testing. testing, testing. we're in there testing in every facility on a weekly basis, chris. and anybody looks like they're symptomatic or testing positive we get them maout, we get them a covid-only wing or covid-only facility. we're trying to limit the nurses so they stay just in one nursing home. sometimes they were going to multiple nursinger homes becaus there was amu shortage of nurse. we've got the ppe. we've got the masks. we've got thewe disinfectant. we're pretty good on that. and the tragic decision we had
to make was no more visitations. and what that means to grandma or grandpa, it's really hard, but those, visitations were bringing the germ in with them. they will be the first ones vaccinated. we'll be starting that ohopefuy in a few weeks. >> is that youref understanding that those facilities, you might be getting actual doses to get to those facilitiesl in a few f weeks? >> that's right. we get the pfizer vaccine. it ships p on monday. it's got the ice. it's going right to hospitals and nursing homes. and we've got the big pharma companies are going to be there, or the drug companies are going to be making sure it's administered. they're going to be a priority, the nursing homes. a, it's the right thing to do for those seniors. and b, hopefully they don't get any complications, don't have to go to the hospital and frees up capacity for other people in tho hospital. >> here's my question. i know that you've implemented policies -- you stopped visitation, then let it back in once sort of community transmission had lowered.
now you've stopped visitation again. i guess the question is we haven't seen anyone unlock community transmission from fatalities. we haven't seen anyone really successfully have any experience whether it's in a state in the union or it's a country in the world have high levels of community transmission and not have high levels of transmission in facilities and high levels of deaths because f of it. isn't it the case that community transmission is ultimately the issue here and is going to be for the next month or two? >> i think you're right about that. all the precautions we take, this is a bubble. nobody in. it'sbu leaking into our nursing homes again. andho that's because we have higher community transmission. and we're being as strict as we can on this but i think that is the leading indicator. you're right. that's why the vaccines are going there first. >> this is sort of a grim question. but i'm going to ask it.
do you have a number in your head of what level of mortality in your state is acceptable as a policy choice, which is to say obviously there are tradeoffs here.ch some kind of full shelter in place order probably would bring down community transmission. it would also cause other cascading problems. we know that. w we know there are difficult tradeoffs here. how do you think of that? is there some number in your head of what fatalities are acceptable in the state of connecticut? >> no. i'm fighting for every single life i can. if you want to know what my metric tois, it's doing everythg i can to keep our hospitals functioning. make sure our nurses and doctorc are there to take care of folks, make sure i have the icu and the beds. i'm not making any tradeoffs in terms of there's a number i'll accept. t there's no number i'm accepting. every single one of our fatalities i feel like yesterday.er >> but i want to follow up on that. because i'm not -- i take your word on that.yo again, this is an impossible
problem policy wise but it is the case that a fuller shutdownt would reduce community fatalities. and i'm not saying that's what should be done. but atwh some level every day every governor and every mayor in this country is choosing this trade-off, right?s >> well, no. i think i lead with public health. and if youi want to get this economy going, public health has got to be the key metric or we're never going to get this economy back. i'll give you a very specific one we're thinking about right here right now. restaurants. you rknow, we shut them down after 10:00 at night. no more than eight people. 50% capacity. but youpl know, your mask is of and you're eating, it looks like it could be risky. we're doing everything we can to keep them open right now because we're t finding the alternatives people go to informal social gatherings where they're much more likely to be infected. >> you commissioned this report which i was reading over which is interesting. and i sort of applaud you for
doing it. i also wonder sort of based on the themes i was talking about before your intro is is there some kind of after-action report? once the vaccination happens, once we getci out of it. about the nature of long-term care facilities and elder care in this country more broadly that what covid reveals is something deeper than just the vectors ofju that particularly vicious infectious disease. >> yeah. absolutely. one of the reasons is we've got more people more likely to be in nursing homes than most other states in the country. and i thinkr you're going to fd a new emphasis upon home health care for elderly. kids, if you love me, let me stay at home. let's get a nurse or home healts aide who can help. i think we're going to find that nursing homes are reserved for those that need most acuse care but the idea of these big mass congregate settings, i think their days are numbered. >> governor nedti lamont is the governor in connecticut. and like every governor, republican, democrat, facing very difficult choices as we go
into the next six weeks of this pandemic. thank you for making some time for us tonight. i appreciate it. >> nice toe see you, chris. tonight the uk has approved emergency use for a coronavirus vaccine. when will the u.s. do the same? dr. peter hotez on some new alarms over theon distribution the coronavirus vaccine in america, next. tion of the coronavirus vaccine in america, next. don't settle for silver ♪ gold bond champion your skin for the better. whatever question i have i feel like there's an avenue to seek the answer. hit that app and you start a story, you're on an adventure. download a new book within seconds and it's ready to go. there's something for everybody on audible. i like short stories. short stories are easy. they're quick. i like long and like intricate stories, that's really what i love. audible originals. i like biographies. self-help. fantasy. true crime podcasts. i love it so much.
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it's seeing someone's face that comforts us, no matter where. when those around us know us, they can show us just how much they care. the first steps of checking in, the smallest moments can end up being everything. there's resources that can inform us, and that spark can make a difference. when we use it to improve things, then that change can last within us. when we understand what's possible, we won't settle for less. the best thing we can be is striving to be at our best. managing heart failure starts now with understanding. call today or go online to understandhf.com for a free hf handbook. call today or go online to understandhf.com [what's this?] oh, are we kicking karly out? we live with at&t. it was a lapse in judgment. at&t, we called this house meeting because you advertise gig-speed internet, but we can't sign up for that here. yeah, but i'm just like warming up to those speeds. you've lived here two years.
the personal attacks aren't helping, karly. don't you have like a hot pilates class to get to or something? [ muffled scream ] stop living with at&t. xfinity can deliver gig to the most homes. how many times a day do you think about the vaccine? i think about it a lot. it's the number one thing that will help get this country back to some semblance of normal life
and staunch the massive loss of life from covid-19. we need a nationwide comprehensive vaccination program. the uk today granted emergency authorization to pfizer's vaccine. they'll start vaccinating next week. here in the u.s. the fda is waiting to hear from a panel of independent experts which is convening to discuss the pfizer vaccine on december 10th. but even if they approve emergency use of the vaccine, which is expected, there's still all kinds of question marks about how and when it gets distributed. new york governor andrew cuomo says he expects to receive enough pfizer doses by december 15th to vaccinate 170,000 people. california governor gavin newsom says his state expects about 327,000 pfizer doses around the same time. and connecticut governor ned lamont just said on this program that doses of the pfizer vaccine will ship to facilities in his state as early as monday. but according to reporting by the daily beast, other state and local officials across the country say they are still unclear about basic operational elements such as exactly how many doses they'll be receiving
from the federal government, who specifically in their communities will receive the vaccine first, and how long immunization supplies will last. and that could be a real problem. somebody who knows all about the challenges of vaccination also working on a covid vaccine himself right now, dr. peter hotez, co-director of texas children's hospital center for vaccine development and dean of baylor college of medicine's national school of tropical medicine, where he co-authored a study on how effective a vaccine needs to be to stop a pandemic. all right, doctor. here's what i'd like to start with. can you just -- okay. i think we all expect the emergency use authorization to be granted by the fda on the 10th. just walk me through what the next week of the life of these vaccine doses looks like. >> well, as was pointed out, the first vaccine, the pfizer vaccine needs to be stored frozen in a deep freeze at minus 100 degrees fahrenheit. and that's -- or minus 94.
and that in itself is a logistical challenge because most of our vaccines are stored at refrigeration temperatures. so that in thisself is going to be new. hopefully this has been thought about for a long time. that's why we put a four-star military general in charge, gus perna whose specialty is logistics, just for that purpose. so the assumption is that there are freezers set up at pivotal points all over the country. both in hospital settings and laboratories where we're going to vaccinate health care workers. and there's a pretty good amount of freezer capacity at most health centers. so i'm less worried about that. the bigger challenge is how do we vaccinate in assisted living facilities, nursing homes which clearly do not have that. and there's some thought that possibly they'll set up nodes at various commercial pharmacies across cities and states and hopefully that's under way as well. then the vaccine gets sent
presumably by airplane and the logistics of bringing it to those collection sites. and then remember how important it is to keep tabs on who's getting what. because this vaccine does not work in one dose. the phase one studies clearly show that single dose does not give you significant levels of virus-neutralizing antibody. you need that second dose. the first hard part's going to be making sure that everyone who got the first dose gets the second dose and has situational awareness and gets notified. >> that's a really, really good point. somebody's got to be on top of that. there's also -- you know, there's been some talk about states -- a number of states said that they were going to essentially do their own kind of like approval process for the vaccine. and i think that was borne of some justified worry about the president essentially putting his thumb on the scale and rushing a process, overruling the fda. it seems like that didn't happen. it seems like the fda stood up for itself. what do you think about adding some extra layer of evaluation
by states? gavin newsom talked about we won't take anyone's word for it. is that a good idea or a bad idea at this point? >> chris, it's a bad idea. i do not see a role for a second tier of approval from the states. first of all, the states do not have the intellectual horsepower that would ever in any way resemble what the fda has. the fda is the world's leading regulatory authority on vaccines. they have an unparalleled track record. there's no added value intellectually for bringing on a state review panel. potentially they would want to do it for optics. but i don't even think that's necessary. i think a lot of that was put in place by some of the governors including new york and california because over the summer there was a lot of political posturing that this vaccine would somehow be used to help win an election. and i think the fda really stood its ground. stephen hahn did a great job in making sure that the science would triumph and only the science would guide it. and i think he's made good on
that commitment. so i don't think even the optics are necessary. and there's the potential for terrible abuse. not so much for the vaccine but what happens a year from now if a product for women's reproductive health gets approved by the fda. what do you do in some of the red states if one or more of the governors decides they want to put their own committee on it. you know who's going to be on that committee. they're all going to be packing those y chromosomes. and it's not going to go well. and so we want to avoid setting up any kind of precedent about that. >> there's a question of logistics, and i think the first round logistics are the most important because i think it's going to be places where you're not getting a lot of resistance to the vaccine. health care workers, long-term care facilities. but to get to population-level immunity we need millions and millions and millions and millions of doses. those have to be given out all
across the country. we don't do forced vaccination of this. it's not like your kid can't go to school unless they get measles and mumps and rubella. so people have got to opt in. how much of a challenge do you think that is? i feel like everyone's going to be desperate for it, but it's a big complicated country. >> that's right. and we have a very aggressive anti-vaccine movement in the united states and we already have a significant anumber of polls from multiple sources showing lots of people are going to opt out, they don't trust the process, they believe the disinformation from the anti-vaccine movement. i think some of that will melt away as people start to get vaccinated. but you know, as you pointed out before, we did a study with a group at city university of new york to say it's a pretty high bar to achieve that level of herd immunity to interrupt transmission. there's two things we want vaccines to do. one, to prevent from you going to the hospital and getting sick. and i have a high-level of confidence that all of the operation warp speed vaccines
are going to do that. we'll have four or five vaccines by the spring. but then our studies show you need about 75% of the population to be vaccinated. and that includes children as well because children enter in that equation. so far we're only beginning step-down studies in kids. so that has to be brought into mind. and then we're going to have to figure out how to dismantle the disinformation and then launch a communications strategy because right now there is none. operation warp speed's done a great job i think in terms of scientific rigor and integrity but they never had a communications strategy. it was all left to the pharma ceos who more often than not have not done a very good job and they've fumbled that message. so all that has to be put in place. so there's a lot of situational awareness that needs to be instilled into the american people. and also remember the fact that we don't know how long these vaccines are going to protect. because of the emergency use authorization we only have two months of data. are they going to protect for three months? three years? 30 years? we don't know. all the stars really have to align for that to happen.
the good news is with every passing month life will get better in america. february will be better than january. march will be better than february. april will be better than march. and so forth. we'll gradually see an improffering quality of life. >> we have not been on that trajectory in a while so, i really hope you're right and really look forward to that. dr. peter hotez, great to talk to you. >> thanks so much, chris. next with his white house days numbered the president reportedly eyeing some pre-emptive pardons on his way out the door. why his kids would be on that list. after this. kids would be on tha list after this
the power to pardon is a beautiful thing. you've got to get it right. you've got to get the right people. i'm not above the law. i never want anybody to be above the law. but the pardons are a very positive thing for a president. i think you see the way i'm using them. and yes, i do have an absolute right to pardon myself. >> not so fast there.
the president is not a constitutional scholar, as i think you would agree. and the pardon power is quite awesome. in its breadth in terms of what the president can do. the power to pardon himself is questionable. that said, he does have the power to pardon a lot of his friends. maybe his family members. and it appears that's what he is currently discussing according to some reporting that we've been tracking. "new york times" washington correspondent michael schmidt is one of the reporters who broke the news of that, that trump has discussed with advisers pardons for his three eldest children and giuliani. nancy gering zen a former u.s. federal judge for the u.s. district court of massachusetts now a senior lecturer at harvard law school. and both of them join me now. michael, let me start with you just about what we know about these conversations and discussions. you know, the president obviously says a lot of things all the time. there's a sort of question of how -- how serious are we on the spectrum of these conversations? >> i mean, look, you're right.
the president does say a lot of things. but he also is -- says things in private. and has more serious discussions about things in private than he does in public. and we know that he spoke to giuliani about this last week. you have to recall that -- or obviously understand the context that giuliani is at the forefront of these false claims, these outlandish campaign the president has undertaken to undermine the election results and in the process of doing that giuliani and the president discussed a pre-emptive pardon. the president has for some time expressed concern, what he says is based on concern that a biden justice department would target his children. and he believes that that would be retribution, political retribution against him is what he claims and says he needs to insulate his children from that. as we know, if you are to be granted a pardon it's essentially saying you are
guilty of these crimes and cannot be charged with them. and so there's an acceptance of essentially saying that these things have happened. so in looking at these pardons if they were to be given to the children of giuliani, there would be a certain level of guilt that would be placed on them. >> yeah. he said something today. nancy, the president gave a facebook speech today that was 45 minutes long and a real detailed look at, you conspiracy theory about the election. but he saiding? about his worry about new york prosecutors, i think a reference to letitia james and cy advanva who's the manhattan d.a. i want to play what he said. >> i've been investigated from soon after i announced i was running for president. now i hear that these same people that failed to get me in washington have sent every piece of information to new york so
that they can try to get me there. >> okay. so here's my question. a pardon, a federal pardon only extends to federal crimes. right? it wouldn't have anything to do with the manhattan d.a. or the new york attorney general. am i wrong about that? >> it's only with respect to offenses against the united states. so it wouldn't have any impact on cy vance. there's also an unintended consequence here. not only what michael schmidt was saying. which is that it would eliminate the -- any constitutional protection for self-incrimination in a federal case. think about that for a moment. if he did anything after, future crimes that escaped the pardon, neither he nor his kids would be protected by the privilege against self-incrimination. they'd be forced to testify. >> it also seems to me that if you're worried about new york prosecutors, as he appears to be, it does seem like a weird like drawing a map with an arrow
like maybe some crimes here to those prosecutors. if you out of nowhere are like eric trump, come in here, pre-emptive pardon. it seems like you're drawing a road map for local prosecutors if you do that, right? >> who are you talking to, me? >> yes. >> yeah. it's a road map. but it's hardly a road map that he needed to say. right? i mean, they're being investigated because they're being investigated. >> right. >> the pardon is not drawing a circle and saying you know, indict me. they've already been in the mix according to reporting anyhow. >> michael, there's also a question to me about the sort of internal mechanics by which this would happen. there's actually a position of pardon attorney d.o.j. and normally a process. that's been completely as far as i can tell scrapped and bypassed in the trump era. but even with that you've got lawyers in the white house -- i don't know.
maybe they're all such sycophants they'll sign on to anything. but i do wonder like can the president just sit down and draft the order or someone else is going to have to do it, right? >> look, the president could write out a pardon himself and sign it. if he were to do it and to really want to insulate himself, he would want a lawyer to write it because a lawyer would write in a way that would hopefully ensure for the president that a judge would respect it. i want to come back on something, just hearing the president talk about, you know, these investigations and such. you know, the president says they didn't find collusion, they didn't find these different things. you have to remember that three people closest to the president who could answer those questions, roger stone, paul manafort, and michael flynn all had pardons dangled in front of them by the president. trump has commuted stone's sentence. he has pardoned flynn. and the question is what is he going to do with manafort. all three of those individuals never provided full cooperation to the government.
these three people who pardons were dangled in front of. so when the president says, you know, no collusion, all these different things, look, you can read the mueller report and draw the conclusion for yourselves. but those people, the closest ties that we know were never fully candid with prosecutors as part of their cooperation. >> there's also this idea of the self-pardon which seems like something the president's said before. nancy, this is rudy giuliani talking about the idea a few years ago. take a listen. >> the president of the united states pardoning himself would just be unthinkable and it would lead to probably an immediate impeachment. president trump has no need to do that. he didn't do anything wrong. >> i mean, impeachment's off the table at this point, nancy, but it does seem the unthinkable part was the consensus at some point. >> there's no question that -- this has never been tested, right? no president has ever tried to do that. so there's no case law on it. so we're going to have to deal as originalists and focus on the
language of the constitution. and the language of the constitution says the president shall have the power to grant reprieves or pardons. and most constitutional scholars will say the power to grant implies to someone else, not to yourself. >> right. that is very elegant. i like that. michael schmidt and nancy gertner, thank you both. i appreciate it. >> thank you. ahead, the republican senator stoking conspiracy theories of a stolen election while privately admitting he knows joe biden won. the growing maga delusion. coming up. elusion. coming up. ans can be confusing, confusing like, "why am i sitting here in a hospital gown waiting to get my eyes checked?" ready? absolutely not. see, having the wrong coverage can mean you get the wrong care, or you're paying more than you have to. that's why i love healthmarkets, your insurance marketplace. they make sure you have the right coverage, health insurance, medicare, and yes, dental too. wow, think that's painful?
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pathetic rambling address from the white house that was released on facebook trump gave us 46 minutes of lies, debunked conspiracy theories he's been peddling in hopes of somehow overturning the election. >> we're leading by a lot. and then at 3:42 in the morning there was this. it was a massive dump of votes. mostly biden. this is michigan. at 6:31 in the morning a vote dump. that batch was received in horror. here's what is normal and then all of a sudden look at that. this is normal, normal. look, even here. normal. and then boom. all of a sudden. everyone is saying, wow. the evidence is overwhelming. when they get to see it. >> yes, the evidence is overwhelming that the voters of the cities of detroit and
milwaukee didn't like you and when those cities reported their votes they came in against you. meanwhile, far right alabama congressman moe brooks said he planned to challenge the electoral college vote when congress certifies joe biden's victory. that's going to be a circus, i guarantee you. in georgia a group of dead enders led by trump aft toern lin wood and former trump campaign attorney sidney powell, i'm not clear, they held a "stop the steal" rally in which they treated the very concept of reality as a nefarious deep state plot. >> i've looked at the real numbers. they won over 410 electrical -- electoral votes. they damn near won every state including california. 80-plus million votes. [ cheers and applause ] we're not going to let them steal our election. we're not going to let them steal our country.
and we will die before we'll ever let them steal our freedom. >> that's not great language. it takes a real turn there in the end. yesterday we showed you georgia republican election official gabriel sterling's emotional appeal for the president, to the president to condemn the attacks and death threats on election workers, warning someone's going to get shot. in response, trump tweeted "rigged election" and attacked georgia's republican governor and secretary of state. and the stop the steal crowd chanted for governor brian kemp to be locked up as speakers onstage attacked georgia election officials as corrupt criminals. lock him up. lock him up. it was always going to come this way, wasn't it? sidney powell and lin wood also telling the crowd not to vote for the two republican senators now in a runoff that will decide control of the senate if those senators don't push to overturn the election results. >> if kelly loeffler and david perdue do not do it, they have not earned your vote.
don't you give it to them. why would you go back and vote in another rigged election? for god's sakes, fix it. >> that is a great point. don't vote in a rigged election. the insanity isn't just coming from some fringe players, congressional back benchers, random social media users. okay? michael flynn -- you remember who he is. he's a retired army general, former director of the defense intelligence agency, donald trump's national security adviser, twice pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi and was pardoned by the president. and now michael flynn wants that same president to essentially overthrow the democratically elected government of the united states. flynn calling on trump to declare martial law and temporarily suspend the constitution until we have a new election. there are three categories of people right now on the american right. you have people who have stood up against the utter lunacy like georgia secretary of state brad raffensperger, and there's
people like trump and sidney powell and lin wood and mo brooks and michael flynn and even ted cruz, who are actively pursuing and cultivating this. and then there's an enormous swath of republicans who are just trying to wait it out, who publicly back the president's deluded mission while privately admitting trump lost. and they admit they can't observe the reality that trump lost because it would be career suicide. that's a quote. and that's the category for republican senator ron johnson of wisconsin. we know this because our next guest says that's exactly what senator ron johnson told him on the telephone. stay with us. introducing the new sleep number 360 smart bed. now temperature balancing, so you can sleep better together. it's our cyber week special, save up to $1,000 on the new sleep number 360 smart bed and adjustable base. plus, 0% interest for 36 months. ends monday. they have businesses to grow customers to care for lives to get home to they use stamps.com print discounted postage for any letter any package any time
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while the president and his campaign continue to perpetuate the insidious lie that widespread voter fraud won joe biden the election, there are still plenty of establishment republicans, particularly senators, who are just giving cover to that myth. like, for instance, wisconsin republican senator ron johnson, who just a few days after the election refused to say if he thought it was legitimate. and then just yesterday after the attorney general of the united states, bill barr, comes
out and said there's no widespread election fraud, johnson tells cnn, "i think there is still enough questions outstanding and that they have to present evidence that there was no fraud." while johnson is saying one thing in public, he seems to have given up on the fraud narrative in private. we know this thanks to a piece published today on the bulwark. mark becker, who knows johnson from his days as a county level republican chairman, recounts a recent phone call with the senator. according to becker, the senator told him he knows joe biden beat donald trump fair and square but he won't admit it publicly because it would be, quote, political suicide. mark becker, former chair of the brown county republic party in wisconsin, joins me now. mark, good to have you and thanks for joining me. it was a really fascinating piece, and i applaud you for writing it. tell me about the context of the phone call. >> well, you know, yeah, you think it was an interesting piece. it was an interesting conversation. so, yeah, it was -- i wanted to reach out to senator johnson to just either -- i don't know if
it was a fool's errand to see if i could sway him from stopping doing what he was doing or just to pick his brain to see if i could, you know, try to get some other republicans to just see the light a little bit. so it was really eye-opening to spend some time talking with him and hearing what he had to say. >> you know, so there's a distinction here to me, right, because someone's politics. you could think we should have a -- repeal the income tax and privatize every service except for police and be the most right-wing person in the universe, but also like there wasn't fraud. like that's just a factual matter about whether there was fraud or not. and i don't know whether these people believe their own myths or not, and my takeaway from your conversation is that ron johnson knows the fraud stuff is nonsense. what was your sense? >> that's the most frustrating part of this whole thing. even if you don't believe what i wrote, that's fine. don't believe that. but believe donald trump's own attorney general. just this one time, though. believe him on this one thing, that there wasn't enough fraud
in this election to really overturn the results. and if you don't want to believe what i wrote, that's fine again. but believe the people, the republican elected officials or the election officials in battleground states that are saying the same thing. joe biden won, full stop. and ron johnson knows that, but he's -- you know, he's decided the political calculations is too great, that he doesn't want to tick those people off. so that's -- that's what's happening. >> so you said to him, like, do you know that biden won? >> yeah. >> and he said what? >> he said, well, sure i know joe biden won but, you know, that's not -- that's just one of those things, and he was the worst candidate for president in the history of the country. i was like, what does that say about your guy? so it's like -- but, you know, yeah. ron johnson knows the truth, and what's sad about it is he knows the truth, but he doesn't think the american people deserve to hear it. >> right. so he said it would be political suicide -- so you said to him, why don't you come out and say that, and he said what?
>> there was, you know, 1.6 million people in wisconsin voted for donald trump, and so that is the people -- that is the crowd that he feels that he represents. you know, and i said, well, you know, you're the senator for all of wisconsin, so it's a frustrating thing to have that conversation and then see what he says in public is so different than what he told me on the phone. >> you know, it's interesting too because one of the things he told you that stuck out to me, i always wonder what do people think the game plan is here? and he was like, well, you know, according to your article, he said, we have strong institutions. basically the institutions are strong enough that we're all going to cultivate this mass delusion with him because it's not going to work essentially. but like what -- did you get a sense of what the endgame is here? like at some point it's not like trump is going to admit he lost. so it's like are you going to keep this up?
>> i think the endgame is -- you know, you said it earlier, is that they're just trying to wait it out. i mean we've been waiting now for four years for this to be over. so now when we finally have an opportunity for this to literally be over, they're not taking it. and that's -- that's so incredibly frustrating. >> yeah. did it give you any -- it seems to me like this is just a very cynical calculation in the end, and it basically is a cynical calculation that literally dozens to hundreds of republicans are making. >> oh, yeah. yeah. i mean there are republicans all across the country doing the same thing. so i mean ron johnson isn't unique in this area. this is being done -- i mean you said it. ted cruz and a lot of them. so this is -- it's frustrating because it is so many of them doing the same darn thing, and it's undermining, you know, the most sacred part of our democracy, which is the sanctity of our vote. >> yeah.
well, i hope mark becker gets more conversations with republican -- although i think this is probably -- this is a good for one ride shtick here. mark becker. but i do appreciate you doing it and coming on the program. thank you very much. the progra. thanks very much. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. good evening, chris. thank you, my friend. >> you bet. >> much appreciated. >> thanks to you at home for joining us as well. pop quiz, real quick. don't think too hard about it. pop quiz. what is the greatest sissy spacek movie of all time? obvious right answer, "coal miner's daughter," right? where sissy spacek plays loretta lynn. there's none better. absolutely fantastic. now, you are forgiven if your answer instead was "carrie," the classic horror movie. epic. she personally was epic in that.