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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  December 11, 2020 12:00am-1:00am PST

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richard besser on when life returns to normal. and as thousands of americans die each day, how do trump cronies keep getting cured? then as over 100 house republicans join the president's attempt to election day joins me live. mark elias on the latest supreme court stunt when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes in the midst of our long national nightmare whgts darker and worse by the day, the u.s. hit a new all-time record number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus today, 107,000. we also had 214,000 new cases and for the second day in a row over 3,000 people recorded dead from covid. amidst all the darkness, a ray of light today, a real ray of light. just within the last couple hours, the vaccine advisory
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panel for the food and drug administration voted to recommend an emergency use authorization for the pfizer biontech vaccine. 17 out of 22 members agreeing that based on the totality of scientific evidence available, the benefits the vaccine outweigh its risks for use in individuals 16 years of age and older. four members voted no, one abstained. some expressed concern ahead of the vote about the amount of data available on 16 and 17-year-olds. pfizer vaccine has been proven to be 95% effective against the coronavirus in clinical trials with two doses that are given three weeks apart. it has been in development for just 11 months. it has shattered all records for the speed of vaccine development along with the one developed by moderna. officials in other countries, including canada, saudi arabia, bahrain, and united kingdom have already approved the vaccine for use in their countries. now, the committee vote that just happened a few hours ago
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clears the way for the fda to then issue its approval, which is expected to come within days. an advisory group for the centers for disease control issued recommendations last week that it should be health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities that are the first in line to receive doses of the vaccine, and that dosing, the actual shots in the actual arms could begin as soon as early as next week. operation warp speed officials have said they expect that 20 million americans could be vaccinated by the end of this month alone. now, there are a lot of questions about all of this. it's the beginning of a long process, but also, we hope, the beginning of something momentous. gabe gutierrez at pfizer's largest manufacturing factory. one of the two freezer farms in the u.s. gabe, how is it all working there?
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>> reporter: hi there, chris. as you said, there's a lot of hopeful anticipation here. look, there are hundreds of freezers here in a warehouse the size of a football field all ready to go when and if the fda gives its final approval. now, that's expected potentially -- could be tomorrow, could be saturday, could be sunday. we just don't know at this point. but when it does happen, within 24 hours pfizer says that the vaccines will start rolling out of this facility. again, within 24 hours. then it might take another 24 to 36 hours for it to arrive at hospitals and pharmacies across the country. now, how will that work? it's an astounding logistical challenge. once the doses leave here, they'll head to different airports across the country. fedex and u.p.s. are essentially splitting the country down the middle and they'll handle each side of the country to be able to get these doses to all those hospitals and pharmacies. also, as part of the operation warp speed, u.s. marshals might escort some of those trucks as
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they go into different hospitals. again, it's an incredible challenge. the states are being allocated vaccines by population. a large state like california, for example, initially is getting more than 300,000 doses. medium states perhaps getting 50,000 doses, smaller states getting about 5,000 doses initially. and again, the timing of all of this is very fluid, but some hospitals across the country, when and if the fda approves, are already preparing to get some of these vaccine doses as early as monday, chris. >> all right. gabe gutierrez there in portage, michigan, where the future is behind him frozen. dr. rick bright is a member of president-elect biden's covid advisory board, former director of the biomedical advanced research and development authority. he filed a whistle-blower complaint alleging the trump administration ignored his early warnings about the pandemic and legally retaliated him by ousting him from that role. dr. bright, let's just talk details here.
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what happened today? what was this meaning? i watched part of it online. i've never had occasion to report on a meeting such as this before. it was really interesting in that respect. what did we see and what does the vote mean? >> chris, thanks for having me on. today was a really show of confidence from our scientists around the world and for people who are looking for that independent external advisory scientific expertise to look at the vaccine that's been in development for the entire year. they played this even on youtube today and other channels because there is so much public interest in what could otherwise be a pretty boring meeting. we did have a panel of 22 experts, clinicians, physicians, experts in vaccine development comb over thousands of pages of data from the pfizer clinical trial over the last couple of weeks. today you saw them hash it out. it wasn't an open-and-shut decision. there was a lot of scientific decision and discussion.
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at the end of the day they weighed the risk of getting the virus, which we all see how bad that is now, and they weighed the benefit and safety known for the vaccine from the studies done. and it was clear in a 17-4-1 vote that the benefit of this vaccine would outweigh the risk, and it should be used and should be given this emergency use authorization, and that's the recommendation to the fda. >> so there's two parts that i thought were interesting. i didn't know this about the drug process. fairly ignorant about that. one is they spent huge amounts of the dat data produced by this. they're actually going firsthand. it's not a press release or just pfizer sending out a memo saying don't worry, it works. these folks are external. like your tenure committee if you're an academic that go out to people in your area of expertise to say is this person's work good? these are people who aren't part of the fda internally, not part of warp speed internally.
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outside experts come in, review if information, and then make the vote. that's how it works. >> that's exactly how it works. they have no financial conflict with the companies that are making the vaccines. they have no political ties, so there's no political pressure on them to make a decision one way or the other. they are true scientific experts, they are independent. i trust them. and when they tell us that they trust the data from this vaccine and it looks that good for them to recommend this emergency use authorization, i take that as a vote of confidence. i hope the fda and i anticipate the fda will accept that recommendation and also approve the vaccine or authorize the vaccine for emergency use. >> so that's the next step. who makes that call? is that stephen hahn they don't say head of the fda? or is there a board committee that's also going to make the emergency use authorization call? or is that a fait accompli? >> there's a panel of experts,
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career scientists, and civil servants in the fda. they spent the last few weeks looking at the data as it came in on a rolling basis from the various clinical trials. so they're going to consider the data they have, they're going to consider the recommendation and all the discussion from the panel today. it's not just a recommendation, but everything that was discussed will be considered. and then they will make their decision. the fda commissioner, dr. hahn, will approve that decision most likely. and then that will then grant the emergency use authorization. next it will go to the cdc. cdc has an external advisory panel as well. >> wow. >> called the acip. they will look at the data from the fda and then they will make the recommendations for the different populations for the vaccine to be used in. >> it's -- >> that will happen probably sunday. >> it's a remarkable process in so far as you need speed and also thoroughness. it's probably worth
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highlighting -- and i like to hear you ex-pound on this. one of the things i learned through reporting on this is the calculation of safety and advocacy for something that's to be used for stage iv cancer patients is a different one than a vaccine that will be introduced into the bodies of essentially everyone in the world, you better get that right if you're going to do that. yet there's a speed imperative as well. it seems like there's a lot of built-in layers here on purpose. >> there are a lot of built-in layers. this vaccine goes into healthy people to prevent them or protect them from serious disease caused by the sars-cov-2 virus from covid-19 basically. now, remember, this is just the first step of this process too. so we want to make sure that once the vaccine is approved, the hard work will start with to administer the vaccine. it will take months and months to vaccinate everyone across the country.
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while we're excited about today's process and the next few days as well, we want people to realize this is just a start of a complicated downstream process that's going to play out over the next few months. in the meantime, don't stop wearing your mask. don't stop social distancing. and we'll have to make the hard decision not to travel and be with your on our family for christmas and december holidays, actually, because we want to make sure that we're all here next year so we can get the vaccine when it becomes available. >> yeah. you can survive. we can try to survive to the vaccine. survive to the vaccine for six weeks, two months, whatever it's going to take. please keep holding it together. dr. rick brights thank you so much. >> thank you, chris, have a good night. >> you too. dr. julie morita is also a member of the covid-19 task force. she previously served as commissioner of the chicago
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department of public health, oversaw that city's response to the 2009 swine flu pandemic. it's great to have you, dr. morita. dr. bright covered the scientific work that has been done and was done today and is being ratified. let's talk about that first step and let's talk about the city of chicago as an example because that's a place you know well. just walk me through, like, it's going to come from portage, michigan, and then what happens? >> nice to see you and thanks for having me tonight. it's important to keep in mind vaccines don't stop pandemics. it's actually vaccinations that stop pandemics. once the vaccines are approved and recommended, the responsibility for getting the vaccines into people and into their arms falls on state and local health departments throughout the nation. they were pay attention and listening to the advisory committee today to hear what
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they were saying, to look at the data, to understand how safe and effective the vaccines are. and they have now the challenge of not only arranging for the operations to get the vaccine from the airports to the hospitals, from the hospitals into the health care providers, they have to also work with health care providers to educate people on how to administer the vaccine. what they should do in terms of vaccines or which syringes and which supplies are necessary. they also have to work with the public to earn their trust about the vaccine. so as quickly as the vaccines have been made, without cutting cords, there's now -- we need to get the information, the critical information into the hands of the public. they will need to understand the vaccines are safe and effective. >> there's sort of a bunch of different steps here. let's talk about this first one because it struck me that, like, in some ways this is the lowest hanging fruit logistically if you're talking about health care workers and long-term care facilities. we know where those places are.
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you don't need people to come to you. you can kind of go to them. and these are also people that are in close contact with the health care infrastructure of the nation. once you step outside that, it seems like it starts getting much harder after that. if you want to get, say, seniors who live alone on the west or south side of chicago, how do you do that? >> you know, in 2009 during the h-1n 1 pandemic, we actually not only provided vaccines and distributed them to health care providers throughout the city, we also managed large campaigns in city colleges just to make sure that the vaccine was available for communities of individuals who didn't have a doctor, whose doctors didn't actually have the vaccine, we made those sites available. what we found was that the turnout for these vaccine sites in the south and west sides of chicago, predominantly african-american, latino communities, the turnout wasn't that great. so we quickly mobilized to get the community organizations to
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get to get the vaccines and we had some success. that was a strong lesson we learned that you can't wait until the middle of a crisis to engage with the community, understand what their concerns are, address their concerns, find out who the appropriate messengers are and work with them to earn the trust. the city of chicago learned from past experience and have been doing this kind of work with organizations. these are resource-intensive, labor-intensive efforts and so they really need additional resources. congress needs to approve additional rouses to do this critical work. >> it's such an important and profound point. it reminds me of the census work that happens where, you know, the response rates vary sometimes by neighborhood and you send people out, the census bureau sends people out and then community organizations do pushes. you know, we're departing from the realm of science and
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medicine and entering the realm of community organizing, at the minute and local level. how is the biden administration going to face that on day one? >> i think it's a key element of the plans we've been discussing with the transition team and the president-elect. he has equity as an underlying core fundamental belief in principles that needs to be applied in everything being done, whether it's testing, treatment, vaccine distribution. i think what we know is that there's communities that are disproportionately impacted by the disease are also likely to hesitate and not trust the vaccines because they've been hurt and mistreated and not gotten appropriate opportunities for good health and well-being. so they don't have the trust that we need them to have. and the president-elect and the transition team have been very focused on addressing these kinds of issues. but again, resources need to
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float to the state to make sure they have what they need to engage with community organizations, provide funding to the organizations so they can do this work. >> that is such an important point and one to hit home as we talk about this relief bill. it's not just, you know -- i mean, this is the guts of the actual solving of the pandemic. you noted before, i should say that pew has done polling on this and there are racial disparities, as expected, particularly because of the history of forced vaccination in some places along african-american communities particularly, medical experimentation that's happened in the past. there are trust issues that have to be overcome very locally, door to door, neighbor to neighbor, it's important as we enter this period. that was enlightening, thank you. >> thank you. ahead as the vaccines get ready to be shipped, the question, when can we expect life to return to normal?
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we'll wrestle with that answer where with dr. richard besser after this. when you switch to xfinity mobile,
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with peace of mind at your local xfinity store. if we can convince the overwhelming majority of the u.s. population to take the vaccine, when we get through april, may, and june, we could likely get most everybody and anybody who can get vaccinated to be vaccinated. the quicker we do that, the
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more -- the quicker we'll be able to tell the ceos who are listening and viewing that they're going to be close to normal. >> dr. anthony fauci laying out a time line for close to normal. april, may, and june, my brother's wedding is planned for may. on the bubble. i'm heavily invested in what that's going to happen. this is the acting director of the centers for disease control and prevention who helped lead the obama administration's response to the h1n1. first i want to start with this question. how much variance does it competent administration of the next several months affect the time line for normalcy? like, if they screw it up, doing it really well, or is it going to be what it's going to be? >> i don't keep it's going to be what it's going to be. so much depends, chris, on what
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happens with the trajectory of the pandemic right now. if you're vaccinating people at a time when transmission is quite low, the impact you're going to see is much greater than if you're vaccinating people in a situation like it is right now where cases are rising out of control and hospitals are overfilled. and so you have to think about that -- >> stop, stop, stop. that's slightly counterintuitive. maybe not, but i keep thinking about the vaccine like putting control rods into a nuclear reactor, and it seems like if you have an active reaction, like community transmission, you start putting the control rods in, maybe that starts bringing down the epi curve. but what i hear you is, like, no, we will maximize efficacy by suppressing before the vaccine. >> yeah. i would think about it more like you have a garden hose and you have a house on fire. if it's just starting to have sparks and you have the garden hose, you can get it under control.
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a full blaze is going to take a lot longer and you may have lost the house by the time you have the fire out. so what i would think about here is, if we come together as a nation and do everything possible to get this you find control right now while vaccination is ramping up, hitting those who are at greatest risk, protecting our health care system by vaccinating people in the health care system, you know, then we're going to have a lot more power to get this under control. you'll be able to get to your brother's wedding because we're not going to do a raging pandemic at that point, although the pandemic is moving in the right direction. it takes congress stepping up and giving the people resources to protect themselves in this period. and that's not happening. if it continues at this trajectory, and we have vaccine for health care workers and for people in long-term care facilities, we're going to see vaccine beyond that, but it's going to take much longer to get this under control. it's going to take much longer for people to be able to get back to the kinds of things in life that they want to be able to do.
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>> i have to say, this is interesting to hear this. what i'm hearing from you is, the trajectory of the pandemic will largely determine this time line more than the logistics of the vaccine, at least in terms of what the trajectory of the pandemic is over the next few months. right now it looks horrifying, as bad as it's been. >> well, the trajectory of the pandemic looks horrifying. you know, i'm on the seven-state regional commission and states are working really hard to be ready to distribute and administer these vaccines when they start to roll hopefully in the next number of days after fda makes their determination. but yeah, the measures that we have to double down on are those things that we've seen before really work. they really turn this around. we're seeing in europe right now the curve's turning around because people were doing those things that we know stop this. they're washing hands, they're wearing masks, they're keeping apart. but people also have the
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resources to stay home if they felt sick, to stay home if they were exposed. people weren't worried about losing their homes or putting food on the table if they didn't go to work. that is the key piece in my mind that is missing this winter as we go into it. >> just as a sort of top-line estimate of herd immunity for the country, one study suggesting a vaccine would need to be at least 80% effective, which that bar is cleared by the pfizer vaccine, at least according to its clinical data, with about 70% of a population receiving it to distinguish an epidemic without any other public health measures. 75% is just an enormous percentage of the people. we have some data in from a recently published study that suggested that 77% of the brazilians in that city in the middle of the amazon jungle had antibodies. the threshold for natural immunity is really high. you really have to get a lot of people to put this out.
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>> well, there's some unknown things right now. one is we don't know yet if getting the vaccine means you can't spread this disease to other people. >> right. >> that's a really important piece of information to know before you can say what percentage of people have to be vaccinated to protect the community. >> right. >> hopefully we'll get that information soon. but the piece that's so critically important, and dr. morita was hitting on this, is that we could have a safe and effective vaccine, but if people don't want to get it, you're never going to get near the numbers that you want to be able to protect your community. we have to see money coming from the feds so states did do outreach, the outreach to black communities, the latino communities so that people's concerns can be addressed. you know, we're not going to get to those numbers by public service announcements coming from washington. it takes community engagement, on-the-ground engagement so people's concerns can be met.
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>> dr. besser, appreciate you making time with us. >> pleasure, chris. he's the attorney who has led democrats to victory over donald trump 55 times just since the election. up next, why mark elias says he's shaken by the president's latest stunt and the people joining with him to do it. the open enrollment deadline is tuesday, and picking your health insurance coverage isn't something you want to play games with. hope you got dental. and that's why i love healthmarkets, your insurance marketplace.
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after a very, very, very long list of norm-busting, democracy-eroding, generally cruel policies from the trump administration, i find the lawsuit now supported by nearly 20 states that asked the supreme court to throw out the votes of the voters in four other states as "a" unnerving as almost anything i've ever covered ever, including during this presidency, and that's despite the unlikely chance of it working. today the president met with a group of republican attorneys general who are supporting this, frankly, undemocratic authoritarian effort by the
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white house and they did it at the white house while 106 republican house members, more than half the republicans in the caucus, and every single one elected re-elected by voters last month signed a brief supporting the petition to over rule the election result to install the loser in power, destroy american popular sovereignty, and plunge the country immediately into the worst existential crisis since succession. that is not hyper bole. it's going to happen, and so far the courts by and large have acted as a check on the most nihilistic, authoritarian efforts of the president and his party. it's not an exaggeration to say no person has done more to combat donald trump's attempt to steal the election than mark elias.
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thanks to his efforts trump is one in 55 in post election litigation. mark elias joins me now. great you have to on, mark. you tweeted earlier that you were shaken by the supreme court lawsuit. why did you say that? >> yeah. so let me start by saying i'm not shaken because i think it has any chance of success. this lawsuit's going to fail, just like all the other lawsuits have failed. so i'm not worried about that. what shook me was that, you know, when texas filed this case, it was kind of, like, all right, paxton is aiming to do some wacky thing, but this is not going anywhere. but to see all of these states sign on and 100 plus members of congress, republicans, sign on in support of this shook me because what it speaks to is an erosion of our democracy going forward. joe biden and kamala harris are going to be sworn in. but it speaks to an erosion of our democracy going forward,
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that trumpism and its corrosive effect on democracy and democratic party norms has now so thoroughly infected the republican party that 18 attorneys general used official resources of states to endorse this cockamamy theory, and that 103 members of congress, many of whom were elected in these states, signed onto this. that's what shook me. >> it's worth pointing out there's 12 republican members whose votes they're asking to throw out that were elected by those voters on those votes. >> yeah. look, i was very public when mike kelly brought his lawsuit in pennsylvania to throw out the votes there. i questioned whether or not mike kelly should be sworn in as part of the new congress because if he doesn't think his election was legitimate and thinks it should be thrown out, i think the house administration committee should look into that
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prior to him being sworn in. at the time that seemed like an outlier position for one member of congress to take, but, boy, to see 103 members of congress take this position and a dozen from these states, there is something fundamentally wrong with the republican party. >> yeah. i'm really struggling to be precise in the rhetoric i use here because i -- it's so grave, i don't want to sound nuts and i don't want to increase the rhetoric temperature. but i want to accurately describe it. so i want to read you to part of pennsylvania's state response. pennsylvania is the respondent here because a bunch of other states have decided to, like, gang up on the schoolyard and try to take their votes away from them. and this is pennsylvania saying the court should not abide this seditious abuse of the educational process and should send a clear signal that such abuse must never be replicated. that is a strong phrase, seditious abuse.
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>> yeah. look, it's one thing for politicians to make outrageous statements in political commercials. it was another norm broken when donald trump made outrageous statements and lies using the bully pulpit and the official office of the presidency. it was another norm that was broken when donald trump and his campaign started adopting outlandish conspiracy theories in these frivolous post-election lawsuits. but it is yet a further norm and concern when we are seeing those same lies and conspiracy theories propagated by a large number of states and elected officials, using the courts essentially as a tool to spread political false propaganda. pennsylvania speaks for itself. i think pennsylvania, georgia, michigan, and wisconsin have a lot to be unhappy about and their criticisms are well
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founded. >> i want to talk about the broader landscape of this post-election litigation. it's 1 in 55 is the record. and obviously you've been working very hard and are clearly an incredibly adept lawyer. but seems to me also the case that they're losing not necessarily because of your lawyering skills. the biggest thing going against them is that neither the facts nor the law are on their side in any of this. >> correct. i would love to say that what we see here is spectacular legal skills on my part and the part of the other lawyers who are involved. but the fact is joe biden and kamala harris won a sweeping and convincing victory. none of the states that we're litigating is is the margin particularly close. the idea of lawyers on the other
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side -- it's outlandish. there's no legal support. so honestly, a lot of what we're doing is traffic hopping these cases that get filed, they opposite, they get dismissed, but it speaks more to the breadth of the victory of the president-elect than it does the courtroom skills. >> yeah. in iowa, that's just a legal brawl when you're down to that margin. people are fighting on everything and i covered a few races like that. like, that was just never the case here. but, but, but, what if it were? that's partly -- there's two lessons people have been trying to say. look, the guardrail held, the court, even as packed as it is with federal nominees by the president, won't count this as nonsense. and the other side says, what if it was closer?
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and i'm curious what camp you're in. >> so i have been in the system held camp, but it's why i said i'm shaken by the reaction of the other parties to this texas case because, you know, i would not have -- look, there are always going to be the louie gohmerts of the house. who say crazy things. 103 members of the house might be changing my opinion. >> what does it mean -- the other thing about this set of lawsuits is, you know, electoral college is like when someone comes into an old house and they tear a panel back and they turn to you and say, oh, my god, the wiring is a mess, who did this? i feel like we've all become intimately familiar with the
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pressure points that do seem like vulnerabilities for democratic integrity now that they have been exposed. >> yeah. again, i want to distinguish the 2020 situation from the future. for 2020, the system has held, the system has worked. states met their state of harbor, the electoral college is going to meet on monday. joe biden will receive the votes and that's going to be the end of it. but in the future, i think you're right. you know, part of the voting rights litigation that i focused on in the last few months was trying to find the friction points in the system where voters ballots didn't count where they should. they were secretly or disenfranchised and it wasn't obvious to them. what's clear now is that the post-election system, like the election system itself, has these friction points. the analogy used is these wires that are frayed, and they count on the good-faith actions of
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people to accept the norms. you know, i was the general counsel to hillary clinton and john kerry's campaign. so i've been in the room with candidates when they make the tough decision about conceding closer elections. it's really just amazing to see not just that donald trump isn't following that path, but to watch the republican party follow him down that trail. >> mark elias, i've been wanting to talk to you for a while. thanks for coming on. >> same here, thank you, chris. next up, the coronavirus treatment that appears to be curing the president and his buddies while thousands of people die every day without it. the celebrity treatment after this.
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pushing flattery racist fraud conspiracy theories to lawmakers in georgia. now, giuliani himself chocks up his swift recovery to his big-shot status. >> i had very mild symptoms. i think if it wasn't me, i wouldn't have been put in the hospital. >> really, yeah, well, i mean -- >> sometimes when you're a celebrity, they're worried if something happens to you, they're going to examine it more careful and they do everything right. >> who's the "they" there? sometimes when you're a celebrity, they're worried. it's kind of a remarkable admission, but he didn't appear to be wrong. as "the new york times" writes, trump and his friends got coronavirus care that many others couldn't. that's the facts of it. they got some combination of this monoclonal antibody developed by eli lilly. this is not just some pill you get prescribed.
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they run it through your body while you're hooked to an i.v.. administered. it's best to get it right at the beginning. here's the thing. there's not nearly enough for everyone who needs it. "new york times" columnist michelle goldberg found a document that says washington was only given 108 doses of regeneron's monoclonal cocktail, and somehow giuliani qualified for one of them. and then carson got some of those cocktails, chris christie got one too. the president himself, of course, called it a cure, said he never felt better and promised every last senior in america would have same cure for free. >> and if you're in the hospital and feeling really bad, i think we're going to work it so that you get them and get them free, especially if you're a senior. you're going to get better. you're going to get better really fast. >> no, no, that didn't happen. 3,000 people died today. 3,000 people died yesterday.
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3,000 people will die tomorrow. the antibody treatments were approved for emergency use last month, but there aren't nearly enough for the drugs to go around outside of people that know the president. "new york times" reports the antibody treatments are so scarce, officials in utah developed a ranking system to determine who is most likely to benefit from the drugs while colorado is using a lottery system. i mean, sort of everyone's fault for not getting close to the president, i suppose. meanwhile, we are losing more than 3,000 americans to covid every day and will for the foreseeable future day after day after day after day. today we lost another 3,067 according to the last data from the covid tracking project. i guess all those people should've just tried harder to get to know the president or work their way into his inner circle. now we have reporting suggesting the administration also really screwed up on vaccines, passing up the chance to look in more pfizer vaccine doses despite multiple offers from pfizer. and then today mitch mcconnell
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after bipartisan work and tremendous amounts of democrats who came down and met halfway and halfway and halfway, well, mitch mcconnell came out to kill a relief bill to help struggling americans. so the picture here is pretty clear. if you're rich or connected or in the president's cabinet or one of his buddies, you get taken care of. and everyone else you're on your own. hope you got dental. and that's why i love healthmarkets, your insurance marketplace. they guarantee you won't find a lower price anywhere for the plans they offer, so you're not just picking by chance. no copay?... sweet. time is running out, call or visit healthmarkets.com to find your fitscore now. healthmarkets' fitscore instantly ranks plans both
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292,000 americans have now died from this terrible virus. that's just since march. it's an unimaginable number of people, and each of them, each one a human being, their own lives, loved ones left to mourn their loss. one of those people is tom meyer. he was a fighter for social justice, a lover of mischief, a father, a grandfather and more who passed away just two days ago at the age of 71. we thought we would just talk about him tonight a little bit to commemorate his life.
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his daughter erie joins me tonight. i'm so, so sorry about your father's loss. >> thanks, chris. >> i read his obituary. you tweeted about his obituary, and some of our producers talked to you, and he seems like a really incredible guy. and what i liked -- he was like a lifelong fighting liberal proud democrat, like down for the cause. like tell us about what kind of work he did, what his beliefs were. >> he worked on a variety of different campaigns and the ohio senate and for governor dick celeste of ohio. the through line of all of it was fighting for justice and equal rights. he was really proud to have volunteered for shirley chisholm's historic presidential campaign and was actually a delegate for mcgovern in '72.
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>> the obituary said that he would teach young children to chant "i am a taxpayer and demand my rights." >> yes. that -- typically on birthdays before we could have birthday cake, we had to chant that to make sure everybody was on the same page. >> oh, it was like a lesson. like to get the birthday cake, you have to understand how to stand in there and demand things for yourself. >> yeah, and how to understand that you -- you as a contributor to the country had to also demand rights. >> i was also told that there was a boyfriend application for people that wanted to date you. my favorite detail, which can go either way honestly, can go like endearing or creepy, but i think we would agree. but on the back was just a -- what was on the back? a one-sentence question. >> so on the front it was things like your driver's license number and your license plate. on the back was a one-sentence full-page essay question. "what about nixon?"
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>> so they had to generate a page-long essay on nixon, which is a good question. that's actually a pretty good sorting method for potential suitors. >> what about him? you know? >> what about nixon? >> so tell me about how his diagnosis came about and his care and how you found out that he had the virus and what that was like. >> so he was hospitalized for an unrelated blood pressure thing that we were hoping he would be in, get, you know, some medication, hydration, and then be back out. this is right when community spread was sort of exploding in the spring. he -- every single day we asked, you know, are there any covid patients on his floor? is he separated? is he safe? they assured us yes. one day he spiked a minuscule fever that wasn't even technically a fever. it was like 99 degrees or something like that. they tested him. he was positive.
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he was fine for a few weeks, and it went downhill from there. he ultimately was intubated four different times. as my sister says, he died twice because at one point he stopped breathing and they had to resuscitate him. he would get better and come home. he tested positive for 44 days. >> oh, my word. >> and during that time, for 44 days, he didn't see another human. full ppe, full everything. none of us could see him. and so he finally got to come home a couple of times, but every time he would just continue to not be able to breathe and then head back to the hospital. and so when he died on monday -- tuesday morning very early, he was in a nursing home working on rehab, and we thought he was headed home for christmas. >> he was 70 years old, is that right? >> he was 71. spent his birthday in the hospital, in the icu.
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>> how were you able to -- you and family members able to communicate with him during that time? you wrote about this a bit, and this has been so brutal for so many people during this period. >> the only way we could communicate with him when he was in the icu and when he was intubated especially was with the help of an aide or a nurse who was willing to take a phone into his room and hold it up to him to say good-bye because they thought he was going to die while he was in the icu. we said good-bye a couple times when he was in the icu. they would bring in an ipad for him to zoom. you would see the zooms and the hands of somebody who was holding on to the screen for our dad. and if they were too busy, they would have to say no, that they couldn't hold up a phone or a screen for him.
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but that was actually good news because that meant they didn't think he was going to die that day. so sometimes the best news i'd get in the day was that i couldn't talk to my dad because they thought he might make it through the day. >> you have a child, is that right, erie? >> yeah, i've got a 10-month-old baby. >> is did your dad get to -- get to hold your baby? >> nope. they got to meet once through glass. he never got to hold him. >> i am so, so, so sorry for your loss. he really sounds like a stupendous and important, wonderful person, and i really appreciate you taking time to share a little bit of his life with us. our deepest condolences. thank you. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> all right. that is "all in" for this evening. for those of you celebrating, happy first night of hanukkah. for those of you celebrating the other big holiday, taylor swift album day, enjoy that as well. we celebrate both in my
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household. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> amazing show tonight, chris. thank you, my friend. that was stunning. all right. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. i'm happy to have you here. hou. i'm happy to have you here. there's a lot of news going on right now. i will tell you, it's like the good old days -- or the bad old days -- it's like the old days. what we had planned for this hour of this show has been shredded and reinvented several times this evening, including a couple of times just in the past couple of hours. it has been a day. but that's only because there is lots to get to and lots going on. congressman jamie raskin is going to be joining us tonight. he is an accomplished constitutional lawyer and law professor in his own right. he is also, as a member of congress, on the judiciary committee. and tonight, with things getting slightly nutty in the republican effort to somehow try to u