tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 10, 2020 1:00am-2:00am PST
"the rachel maddow" show starts right now. >> thank you, my friends. before i forget, i'm going to be on the late show with steven tat about the book i just wrote that came out yesterday, called "bag man." i'll also talk with him, i imagine, about you know, the long, slow end of our presidential election, the coronavirus vaccine, lots of other things. so, that's tonight, stephen colbert. also, a little later on this hour, i will tell you how you can come to an online event with me about "bag man," about the new book, if you are at all interested in that. i will have details on that a little later on. i'm supposed to have told you about that, like, every night for the past four nights and i have forgotten every single one of those four nights, but i am committed to tell you tonight. that's why i'm putting this little reminder here, so i at least feel extra guilty if i forget later on.
all right. but we are following a number of developing stories tonight, both in the world of legal and political news, but also when it comes to the pandemic. and let's start there first and foremost. just within the past hour, the covid tracking project has posted the latest numbers for our country for today, and today, for the first time ever, the united states has had more than 3,000 americans die in one day from the coronavirus. in the last 24 hours, 3,054 americans are known to have died from this disease. that's the largest number we've had ever. this puts the death toll just today on par with some of the greatest tragedies in our nation's history, events remembered for decades, generations, for more than a century. the terrorist attacks of 9/11 killed 2,977 people. the 1906 san francisco earthquake and fire, an immense
fire that burned whoeth swaths of that city to the ground, brought that city to its knees -- that killed 3,000 people. i grew up in the san francisco bay area. i can tell you that the 1906 earthquake is very much alive still today. it changed that part of the country forever. it has never been forgotten. we lost more americans just today, just today, than we did in that catastrophe in 1906. this week, we, of course, marked the anniversary of the 1941 attack on pearl harbor, december 7th, 1941. 2,400 americans killed in that surprise ambush attack by japan. 2,400 dead on that date that still lives in infamy, 2,400 americans killed. more than 3,000 americans killed today. which is just wednesday now. and what will tomorrow bring? last night we talked about the
first patients in the uk being administered the coronavirus vaccine manufactured by pfizer. today, canada approved that same vaccine. prime minister justin trudeau saying canada will start vaccinating people in urban areas in each of the ten canadian provinces starting at the beginning of next week. even still, with that quick start, he says vaccinating a majority of the canadian population is something they think will take until september of next year, again, september of next year, before they think they'll have most canadians vaccinated. now, for context, the population of canada is under 40 million people. we've got nearly 330 million people in this country. when do we expect to have the majority of our people vaccinated? well, it should start, at least, fairly soon. tomorrow's something called the vaccines and related biological products advisory committee. they're going to meet and they're going to meet publicly. they're going to meet to give their recommendation to the fda on the approval of the pfizer
vaccine here in the u.s. now, this advisory committee is an outside group of independent experts that advises the fda on matters like this, and it's good that we've got that structure. at least in my opinion, knowing what i know about these things, and i know a little bit about this part of the regulatory world, this is a good thing that there is an independent advisory board. without going into too much detail about it, you will recall that the fda itself has come under all the same, you know, bizarre, snake oil pressure that the cdc and all the other government agencies did from the quacks at the trump white house over the course of this epidemic. it is good that the fda calls on outside experts to help them make hard decisions about vaccine safety. i mean, you will recall that under the trump administration, we got fda approval and then fda unapproval of hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for covid after president trump saw segments about it on fox news prime time about how it was
definitely the cure, so he leaned on the fda to approve that as a treatment, and they had to very quickly unapprove it when it became obvious through the scientific method that it wasn't actually helping. so it's good that it's not just the fda making this decision on its own, given the way that they have been pressured by the trump white house, just like the cdc has. for vaccine safety, this will be a panel of outside experts, a panel of 23 independent outside experts who are formed as an advisory group specifically to advise the fda on whether or not to give their approval for vaccines. that is a good system. that is a sound structure. and when that group meets tomorrow to hear the evidence and take questions and have their discussion and make their recommendations, the signs are good that they're going to say yes, that this vaccine should be approved. the head of the committee is a researcher at the university of michigan, and today he said, quote, i would predict the likelihood of approval is high. but again, we'll all get to see it transparently ourselves.
that meeting is tomorrow, starting tomorrow morning. and that meeting does mean that we will likely have a vaccine against coronavirus approved in the united states as of the time i am talking to you tomorrow night. but even still, we will still likely have something on the order of 3,000 more americans dead tomorrow, if tomorrow is anything like today. even in the best-case scenario, it was months and months and months before enough americans are vaccinated to put a dent in the epidemic. i mean, it does give us something to aim for, right? you know, we can now say to ourselves and to each other, it's not forever. you just need to do everything you can to get you and your family through to the vaccine, right? stay safe and stay uninfected for long enough to get you through to the vaccine. the sacrifices that we are making -- economic, social, mental health and every other way -- they are very, very difficult sacrifices, but they won't be forever.
stay safe. keep you and your family uninfected and alive long enough to get through to the vaccine. it is good to know what the closed bracket is on these parentheses, right? it is good to have even a glimpse, even an expectation of how this might some day end when we finally get there. but it's going to be a long time until we're there. and meanwhile, right now, we are in the bottom. 3,000 americans dead in one day today. 1 in 22 americans have tested positive for coronavirus. over 100,000 americans hospitalized with coronavirus tonight, in intensive care units filled to capacity in communities all across the country. we have an expert joining us tonight, this hour, to talk about the way that some communities in the united states are now diagnosing not just individual people that have the virus, via individual testing. some communities are now using a direct and fairly simple way to
diagnose the overall level of coronavirus infection in the whole community all at once. so, we're going to talk tonight with that expert about what to do when a diagnostic tool like that, which shows you the level of infection in a whole community, what that community should do, if that tool all of a sudden reveals a scary, super-high, new spike in infections. that is what happened this past week in one major u.s. city. they have a diagnostic tool that tells them how much coronavirus there is in the whole city all at once. it went off the charts within this past week. how is that city responding, knowing that, even though all of those people whose infections are represented in that data, may not know they're positive, the city now knows that that's what's coming. what do you do when you know the train is coming at you that fast? we'll be talking about that tonight. as i mentioned, there's also legal and political drama tonight, basically on all fronts. the son of president-elect joe biden, hunter biden, announced
today that his, quote, tax affairs, are being investigated by the u.s. attorney, by the top federal prosecutor in the state of delaware. hunter biden, you will recall, was the subject of a vociferous smear campaign by the president and his personal lawyer, rudy giuliani, some of which played a role in the president's impeachment. that smear campaign against biden late in the campaign was joined by elected republicans in both the house and the senate. none of that smear campaign raised against hunter biden by republicans at all levels, none of that smear campaign was about hunter biden's tax affairs, but that's what he says he is being investigated for now. cnn is reporting tonight that this investigation was live before the presidential election, that it essentially went dormant in the immediate lead-up to the election because of that u.s. justice department policy that says investigations related to candidates and their campaigns shouldn't be carried out in such a way that they might influence federal election in the immediate run-up to those elections. but now that the election's
over, it appears that whatever hunter biden may be under scrutiny for, financially, or in his case, his tax affairs, whatever that was, it went dormant around the time of the election, according to cnn's reporting, but it appears to have started back up. on the other end of the legal spectrum, 48 states and territories and the federal government filed coordinated lawsuits today that have the aim, basically, of breaking up facebook as an illegal monopoly. facebook has conducted itself in the public domain in such a way that it has alienated and enraged basically everyone all across the political spectrum, except for the trolls and fraudsters and botnet work operators that have turned facebook into a monetized, disinformation and extremism gold mine. they love it. everybody else is concerned. that said, even without a friend in the world, facebook is a
globe-enveloping, monopolistic behemoth with all the money in the world. so, we'll see if this antitrust effort against them registers anything more than a flea bite for that giant concern. i mean, it is rare for anything to bring together 48 states and the federal government, particularly this iteration of our federal government, but if anything can do it, it's probably the predatory, glutenous civil war auto-generating, truth-erasing toxicity that is facebook, at 1 hacker way. and while we're on the subject of charming and lovely things, this came back in the news today, unexpectedly. in august of this year, right after then-candidate joe biden picked california senator kamala harris to be his vice presidential running mate, you might remember this. the once great magazine "newsweek," inexplicably published a totally
self-serious, apparently not satirical column -- essay, basically -- that claimed that senator harris was ineligible to be vice president, because secretly, she wasn't a real u.s. citizen. what? nice going, "newsweek." the argument immediately then spewed out of the mouth of the president of the united states after "newsweek" published that. the president almost immediately started parroting the line as if it had been conveyed to him in the most credible terms, telling reporters, quote, i heard today that she doesn't meet the requirements to be vice president. oh, he heard this today when he was browsing through "newsweek." oh, i see. where he heard that from was this article written by this guy, john eastman, who wrote this up is down, black it white, you know, constitution doesn't exist column, which "newsweek" published, which claims that senator harris was secretly foreign, and therefore, not only could she not be vice president, eastman claimed that she should be stripped of her seat in the
united states senate, too. this guy, eastman, is a legal eagle who goes on right-wing talk radio, like "the hugh hewitt show" and stuff. and in his infinite legal wisdom, he has decided to sort of wage this public campaign to say that being born in the united states doesn't make you a u.s. citizen. his whole public schtick is if your parents were immigrants, then you're not really american. again, this is totally contrary to centuries of lived experience of what it is to be america. it's also totally contrary to what the plain language is in the constitution, but it sounds awesome if you're trying to disqualify candidates for public office that you don't like for other reasons, right? this reasoning would, of course, mean that maybe barack obama was secretly foreign, too, and so, he wasn't really a legitimate president at all. where did we hear that before, right? the foremost proponent of that theory during the obama presidency is the current
president of the united states, donald trump. but eastman advanced this theory for kamala harris, too, because her parents were immigrants, even though she was born in oakland, california. now, it should be noted about this guy, and it isn't often enough noted about this guy, that mr. eastman, the gentleman who advanced this cockamamy theory about senator kamala harris in 2010, which then ran immediately to the white house and the president started pitching it, too -- eastman, himself, ran for attorney general in california in the year 2010. he never became attorney general of california. he lost in 2010 in the primary to the guy who ended up losing in the general election to kamala harris, who was the attorney general of the state of california. so, there may be some sort of loserism going on here, but oh, you know, i'm sure that didn't have any impact on his thinking whatsoever. anyway, the way this worked out
is that even president trump eventually dropped this ridiculous line. kamala harris was born in oakland, california. she's a u.s. citizen. she's not going to get stripped of her senate seat, and she's eligible to be vice president of the united states. president trump floated this, maybe thought he might be able to pursue this along the same lines as he pursued it against president obama. it didn't float well. he stopped trying to use that against her fairly quickly and never mentioned it again. the other way this worked out is that "newsweek" had to apologize for having run this nonsense. initially, it tried to defend it but then, eventually, they had to just say they were sorry. and the whole thing died away. kamala harris was elected vice president of the united states. she will be sworn in soon as vice president of the united states. the quack legal radio commentator guy who tried to get this idea into the bloodstream that senator harris is secretly not a citizen, he melted back
into obscurity. you know, we'll never hear from that guy again, until today. guess where that guy turned up today? he's the trump campaign's new lawyer. he is the lawyer who filed the brief today seeking to have the trump campaign intervene, seeking to have donald trump intervene in the supreme court lawsuit that we covered here last night. this is the supreme court lawsuit brought by the texas attorney general, which seeks, on behalf of the people of texas, to flip the election results in a whole bunch of other states, to throw out the election results in just enough swing states that voted for joe biden that donald trump should be declared the winner instead of biden. the kamala harris birther guy who "newsweek" magazine had to apologize for, he is now the lawyer representing donald trump seeking to join this lawsuit in the united states supreme court. president trump is now telling his supporters that this lawsuit is the big one, this is the one that's going get him the presidency.
this is the one that's going to overturn the election. this is the case brought by the attorney general of the state of texas, who really might be doing this because he, reportedly, himself, is under fbi investigation for abusing his office in texas. this whole lawsuit may very well be ken paxton's effort to try to get trump's attention so he can get himself a pardon because he believes he's under fbi investigation. but this lawsuit is patently, patently insane. this is texas suing pennsylvania, georgia, wisconsin, and michigan, over how those other states conducted their elections. now, why does texas have anything to say about that? excellent question. nevertheless, texas wants the supreme court to throw out the election results from all those states and delay the electoral college vote next week indefinitely. throw out all the electoral college votes from those four states. that would, of course, be just enough electoral college votes thrown out to declare that joe biden didn't really win.
the election's still alive issue -- trump might get re-elected. now, whether or not you're a lawyer, whether or not you follow supreme court jurisprudence, this is as dumb as you think it is. don't overthink it. states don't get to sue other states for how those other states voted. it just doesn't work that way! and you know, i'm not a lawyer. you don't have to take it from me. you could also take it from texas' senior u.s. senator, john cornyn, who told reporters about this effort today, quote, i frankly struggle to understand the legal theory of it. why would a state, even such a great state as texas, have a say so on how other states administer their elections?" why, indeed, senator cornyn? why, indeed? utah republican senator mitt romney put a finer point on it tonight on these comments this evening to nbc news. >> madness. it's just simply madness, which is the idea of supplanting the vote of the people with partisan
legislators is so completely out of our national character that it's simply mad. of course, the president has the right to challenge results in court, to have recounts, but this effort to subvert the vote of the people is dangerous and destructive to the cause of democracy. >> dangerous and destructive to the cause of democracy. it's madness. it's madness. it's mad. so, that's the texas case brought to the supreme court, which president trump is using the kamala harris birther lawyer to get himself involved in that case, and that's crazy enough. but now, 17 other republican-controlled states have also joined this lawsuit.
do they all have attorneys general who might need a federal pardon? are y'all just getting on board because this is what we get on board now? 17 republican-controlled states have now joined this effort, alongside texas and alongside president trump, to have the election results thrown out from all the swing states that voted for biden. 17 states -- alabama, arkansas, florida, indiana, kansas, louisiana, mississippi, missouri, montana, nebraska, north dakota, south dakota, oklahoma, south carolina, tennessee, utah, west virginia. they're all joining this texas effort to literally just try to get the conservative justices on the supreme court to throw out the election results that say biden won, and instead, say trump won. their stated reasoning can basically be boiled down to, hmm, something seems fishy to us. y'all ought to look into this. as of today, all 50 u.s. states have certified their election
results. the certified results from all 50 states show that joe biden got 306 electoral votes. he won by a very large, comfortable margin. he only needed 270 electoral votes to win. he got 306. every state has certified. it's over. on earth one here, it's over. but now, 18 red states are fully on board with trying to get the supreme court to throw out that result and declare trump the winner anyway. you know, over 3,000 americans died from coronavirus today, in one day. the vaccine approval meeting for our country is tomorrow. whether or not we have the wherewithal as a country to get together the number of vaccine doses we are going to need, since apparently, the trump white house told the vaccine companies we didn't need too many -- whether or not we as a country are going to have the wherewithal to run a vaccine administration program that can vaccinate 300-plus million
people in anywhere near the time needed to save hundreds of thousands of american lives that are on the line, that starts now. that work needs to be done now. that is not something that we need to wonder about. that's something we need to start doing. this vaccine can start going into american arms tomorrow. we've got stuff to do. i mean, in congress, today they decided they would fund the government for one more week, mm, because otherwise, the government was going to run out of money and shut down, and they can't agree on what they're going to do for new covid relief, if they're going to do anything 11 months into this disaster. buy us another week. we can't figure out what to do. 3,000 americans dead today. the vaccine approval starts, likely, tomorrow. no covid relief in how many months now? i mean, there is stuff to do. there is stuff to do. but this is what we're doing instead. follow the lead of the kamala harris birther guy. 18 states and the president saying, no, no, no, we're going to try to get this election
overturned. the supreme court will do it. this is what we're working on. this is what the republican party is working on now. joining us now is pennsylvania attorney general josh shapiro. pennsylvania is, of course, one of the states being sued by texas and 17 other republican-controlled states that are trying to have pennsylvania's election results thrown out. attorney general shapiro, i really appreciate you taking the time to join us this evening. thanks for being here. >> good to be with you, rachel. >> i apologize for being a little head up. i'm a little -- uh, i -- >> you set it up perfect -- >> emotion. >> you set it up perfect. >> okay, tell me if i get any of it wrong or if i put any of the wrong emphasis on this. >> no. i was going to use a more diplomatic phrase, like uniquely unserious to describe the lawsuit. i think you just went with dumb and stupid. i'll adopt your terms. it really is. and it is based on this lawsuit,
based on debunked tweets and conspiracy theories, lies that haven't held up in court. and now we find ourselves with the president and some of these attorneys general trying to spin their wheels and thwart the will of the people in at least four states. >> you and your fellow attorneys general from michigan and wisconsin issued a statement after this lawsuit was filed, calling it an insignificant attempt. you said, "these insignificant attempts to disregard the will of the people in our states mislead the public and tear at the fabric of our constitution." and that's exactly where i'm at with this story. i both believe that this is insignificant and frivolous, and forgive me, but sort of dumb, and also that it's dangerous, because it is making a mockery of the idea of the democratic process be the way that we settled things in this country and making a mockery of the idea
that the court should be called upon to decide legitimate differences that require judicial intervention, rather than just partisan power. >> you know, rachel, i would just say, they're attempting to make a mockery of it. you know, for the last four years, the president of the united states has attacked every constitution, including the courts. but what we have seen throughout this process, a process that began in pennsylvania before election day and has gone on since, is that the courts have held, federal courts and state courts, justices and judges that were appointed by republicans and democrats are elected as republicans or democrats. they have abided by the rule of law. and law enforcement officials like me have stood up and said, look, we're going to root out any type of voter fraud. we haven't seen any. and we're going to stand up to the attacks on our system. we have weathered that. it is, of course, sad that we have a president of the united
states who is attempting to sow doubt, and in some people's minds has succeeded. it is sad that we have this lawsuit filed by the attorney general of texas. and i will tell you, rachel, it's especially sad for me that 17 other attorneys general have gone along with this process. by the way, some attorneys general that i've worked with -- you talked about it a few moments ago, the facebook lawsuit that we filed today. you know, we've worked constructively in the past. i don't know, you know, whether to call a surgeon to try and repair the spines of some of these individuals or a psychiatrist to examine their heads, but something's wrong. they are afraid of something, and it is up to us to continue to speak truth, and it is up to the courts to continue to do what they've been doing, which is to follow the law. and here's what i know to be true. on monday, the electoral college will meet and they will issue 306 votes for joe biden, and he
will be sworn in as the next president of the united states on january the 20th. >> pennsylvania attorney general josh shapiro, i did not expect to be talking to you about this kind of a challenge, or if i was, i thought it would be, you know, one wingnut state trying to do this. but with 18 states on board, it is just a remarkable turn. sir, thank you very much for your time this evening. keep us apprised. >> i sure will. thanks for having me. stay safe and healthy. >> thank you, and will do. all right, as a matter of cable news responsibility, i want to prep you for our next block. it is a serious topic, a serious discussion and it's also about toilets. so, get your giggles out over the commercial break about me talking toilets. you've got to get your giggles out, now, me, too. then come back ready for some serious toilet talk. then come back ready for some serious toilet talk.
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