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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  December 17, 2020 12:00am-1:00am PST

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tonight on "all in" -- 300,000 americans dead. tonight we know the trump administration deliberately tried to spread the virus. >> the goal of policy is absolutely not to stop all spread of covid-19 to asymptomatic or very low risk >> tonight new details of the tragically failed trump strategy to get as many americans sick as possible with the chilling instruction "we want them infected." then the massive failure of m intelligence as the full scope of a russian hack of multiple u.s. government agencies comes into view. plus -- >> i'm soliciting information. okay? this is only part of the process. >> the boondoggle hearing into bogus election fraud claims and the dangerous consequences of those conspiracy theories.ou
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when "all in" starts now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes.nis we want them infected. those are the words of a top trump appointee directing the federal government to pursue an intentional strategy from the top down to get as many americans as sick as possible in an attempt at so-called herd it's a strategy we have seen unfold before our eyes. we've talked about it here on the show. it's been apparent to all of us reporting on this and watching. we now have the smoking gun evidence, e-mails obtained by politico, in which the very people at the center of this say what exactly they were doing. that they wanted people to get the virus. this is the result. [ bell ]
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that's the national cathedral in washington, d.c. last night. its bell tolling 300 times, one ring of the bell for every thousand americans as we passed the 300,000 death toll. according to the covid tracking project we lost another 3,400 americans that have died since roughly when those bells rang just last night and that is a new daily record. we've never seen it before. no country has. 3400 americans lost to the virus in just the last 24 hours. it did not have to be this bad. we have the world's worst aggregate death toll by far and not because of are our size. there are bigger countries like china and india of course. no, the u.s. accounts for 4% of the world's population but we have nearly 19% of the world's covid deaths. the thing to understand about that is it is not an accident
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and it is not bungling. donald trump, his administration as backed by republicans in his party, in congress, explicitly pursued a strategy that would lead to more americans getting sick and more americans dying, and they did this despite the fact they kept denying they were pursuing the so-called herd t immunity approach. it was always clear they were. trump put scott atlas, a right wing radiologist from a conservative think tank in charge of the covid response and he did that because he saw atlas on tv when atlas went on trump's favorite tv shows and said things like the following, quote, when you isolate everyone, including all the healthy people, you're prolonging the problem because you're preventing population see that word there? "immunity." trump would later talk about the herd. now it was always apparent how
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reckless and dangerous the herd immunity strategy was because the one place that openly tried it, in good faith i think they thought it was the best way to do it was sweden and it became clear pretty quickly it was a catastrophe. sweden had a far, far higher death toll than its neighbors. the elderly, folks in long term care facilities, particularly hard hit. the swedish government was then forced to abandon its failing is strategy quite publicly and impose new restrictions. the evidence is clear. you either suppress the virus and you get low levels of cases and low levels of deaths or you don't and you get high levels of cases and high levels of deaths. there is literally nowhere in the world, nowhere, that has tons of cases and lots of young people getting it who don't end up passing it to people who are immunocompromised and elderly people and people in nursing homes.nomp
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that's how this virus works. it is what the public experts said from the beginning.m the virus spreads. when young people started going back to colleges we knew it was only a matter of time until the virus got out to the rest of the community. as the "new york times" reported though young people do have less risk, deaths rose fast in college towns when they returned to campus. again, all of this was as predictable as night following day. there has always been an iron clad correlation between cases and deaths even as the fatality rate has indeed fallen. but here's what one trump appointee was saying when colleges closed. listen to this. quote, we essentially took off the battlefield the most potent weapon we had. younger, healthy people, we children, teens, young people who we need to fastly infect themselves, spread it around. think about that for a second.
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this is a trump administration official at hhs directing covid response, expressing that he was upset that fewer people would get the virus and get sick. think about this. it is like a general rooting for casualties among his own troops. now the person who wrote those words you should know his name. his name was paul alexander, a former part-time assistant professor at a university in canada who is appointed to the department of health and human services. paul alexander and this jamychal gentleman, michael caputo, you show also know his name and face, both of those individuals were installed specifically to be donald trump's eyes and ears at hhs. the white house's eyes and ears, and to override the science when it was politically advantageous to do so. that pair interfered with cdc
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reports on covid and pushed back against anything against trump's message which was we're back baby get out there. it wasn't just them. the "new york times" has a new report out in which trump appointees describe the crushing of the cdc by the administration. one saying, quote, damage has been done to the cdc that will take years to undo. among those interfering in the agency were kellyanne conway and ivanka trump sending their ideas about once in a century pandemic management. this wasn't just a couple of political hacks mouthing off in emails, no. this was a concerted, coordinated strategy from donald trump down. at the most preeminent health agency in the world or at least it used to be until he broke ith the simple truth of the last nine months sounds extreme. it sounds almost hysterical when you say it. but it is what it is. here it is. donald trump and our government
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under his leadership explicitlyu pursued a strategy to spread the virus, to get more people sick. they took the side of covid. they had the same aims as the virus. they were as i said before objectively pro covid and they are to this day and not because they were incompetent even though they are. but because they actively, affirmatively chose that path. because through a combination of idiocy and cynicism they thought that path aligning with the virus to infect as many people as possible would be best for donald trump's re-election. and the deliberate, intentional decisions that donald trump, de alexander and caputo and all of them took have gotten tens probably actually hundreds of thousands of americans killed a unnecessarily. we are now 35 days from the end of the administration. we lost 3400 people today and
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more we'll lose tomorrow and the day after. we are at the beginning of da writing the history of donald trump's stewardship of this pandemic. and the epithet scrawled across this era should be those four words. "we want them infected." i'm joined now by the reporter who broke that story and has been one of the great reporters of the trump era, got his hands on those e-mails. dan diamond of politico. dan, i want you first to just set up for me who was paul alexander and who is michael caputo, and what role did they play at hhs? >> chris, thanks for having me back. paul alexander a part-time health professor from a p university in canada became a scientific adviser in the trumpt administration for most of the pandemic. he advised michael caputo the department's top public affairs official who was also a confidante of president trump president trump personally installed caputo in the department.
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to put it in simple terms, paul alexander was the hand picked adviser to the hand picked head of federal health communications during the pandemic. for months paul alexander sent e-mails to cdc director robert redfield, fda commissioner steve hahn, other officials urging them to let americans get infected. young americans, middle aged americans without preexisting conditions, infants, to accelerate what he and others in the administration believed this idea of herd immunity that by having so many relatively healthy people get infected it would be a way to contain covid. allow the president to reopen the economy. and when some officials got the emails like the former chief of staff of the cdc, a trump appointee, we spoke today, mcgowan said when i got these messages from alexander, i assumed he was speaking with the weight of the white
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>> this is an important point i want to raise and quote from your story. it was understood he spoke for michael caputo who spoke for the white house said mcgowan a trump appointee who was cdc chief of staff before leaving this summer that in any administration it doesn't really matter. people have different titles. they're going to this and that place. what matters is your proximity to the president. if you're out in an agency and e there is someone there who is speaking for the president, that carries more weight than any title or any office you sit in generally because it is understood this is what policy should be. >> i think that's fair, chris. there were public health officials who at the beginning of the pandemic looked at what was happening to alexander vindman or other career en officials who spoke up during or the impeachment process and were shown the door or seen to be punished. they didn't want that necessarily happening to them so they would give officials who seemed to be speaking for trump a pretty wide berth. and in the case of paul
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alexander, this was a guy who did what he did for months and months without any resistance that we saw. >> i want to just quote another line here because again it is shocking to read this. this was explicit. the bottom line is if it is more infectiousness now, the issue is who cares? that's alexander writing in a july 3 e-mail. in the white house top communications official. there is a long period in the history of this pandemic where that thinking as represented by scott atlas to the president and the sort of governors the president was in concert with that is the dominant thinking ordering american pandemic policy for many months. >> well, i want to be careful what the reporting says and what it doesn't. we know that when paul alexander was sending these e-mails he wasn't alone. there were people like scott atlas, who you referenced, the
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adviser to president trump, the hand picked personal adviser who believed this idea, too. there are also senior political officials who argue they ignore alexander.s they went about pursuing more traditional public health t strategy trying to protect na americans from getting sick. i think it is fair to say, chris, when we see emails like this, which were uncovered by congressman jim clyburn on his house subcommittee on coronavirus response, that it raises further questions about why paul alexander was able to send these emails for so long and the only responses i've seen are people like michael caputo asking for more research on herd immunity. so i don't want to get ahead of what the reporting says, but there were people inside the administration that at least tolerated these ideas, and it's clear there was pressure brought to bear on health officials trying to do the exact opposite of what paul alexander was
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arguing for. >> i am grateful for your precision here. one thing i want to say from my observational standpoint is in pandemic response and public health the message is the policy in many places.he when you have big events with a bunch of people unmasked you are sending a policy message about what the policy is. that we all saw in front of ourp whatever was happening in the e-mails the message was sent from the top down about how to encounter this pandemic. dan diamond like i said who has been a scoop machine over the last few years. great reporting as always. thank you.po >> thank you, chris. y >> now to discuss the damage we've seen at the cdc i want to bring in another -- the former acting director of that agency e dr. richard besser. "the times" reporting is fairly remarkable and in line exactly with dan's reporting in politico. constant pressure and jockeying and bullying on the sort of folks running the cdc some of whom are republican appointees. they're not like deep staters trying to stick to it the
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president, to override best scientific evidence and practice. >> yeah, you know, chris, this is a story that has been reported throughout the pandemic, and that's the politic station of science, the lack of cdc being allowed to step out in front and lead, a change that occurred very early in the pandemic when cdc sounded the alarm about how dangerous this could be.he you and i have talked about this before. i think one of the critical factors in why the u.s. has donn so poorly in this pandemic is we have seen such disparate messaging from our leaders. and our public health leaders. without our politicians sounding the same messages that come froa public health we see the disconnect where half of the ea population those who support those in office are feeling we're doing way too much and ono those who support a public health approach recognize we are doing far less than we need to do as a country if we truly wan to save as many lives as possible.
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>> tell us, i mean, for people that are -- don't know much about cdc and are now viewing it through the lens of redfield and its response to this pandemic, what would you say about it as an institution prior to this administration in terms of its reputation and its capacity and its competence? >> cdc is recognized around the globe as the world's leading public health institution. countries all over the globe reach out to cdc for assistance in handling their own crises. and that's not to say cdc doesn't make mistakes, but it is truly a brain trust when it comes to public health.t the thing i'm really thankful for is we have not seen a major exodus of talent from cdc. and so it will come to the next administration to work to rebuild the trust that is absolutely critical because not only has cdc taken a hit here in
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terms of the public and its reputation, but across the country public health leaders have taken a hit. there is a recent report out from the ap and kaiser health news that one in eight people i america now live in a county in which their public health leader was either fired, retired, or resigned. >> wow. >> and a lot of that was because of there its, because of political up influence in their work, and because of the message coming from the top not to listen to public it has been absolutely disastrous during this pandemic. >> yeah, there was an item yesterday about the mayor of dodge city, kansas, if i'm not mistaken, who had supported a mask mandate who has now essentially resigned his position out of fear of violent recrimination and threat over that. what i'm hearing from you which is an important point, that that flows from the top down. what happened at cdc then becomes a model in every county and every state for how to deal
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with public health experts who don't say what you want them to say. >> when you're allowed to inject politics into public health at the federal level, that gives permission for that to happen all the way across the board and gives permission for those who disagree with public health who support this approach of not trying to control this pandemic, to question why states and cities andy localities mandate masks, mandate social distancing and do everything they can to reduce transmission. we are faced right now with the possibility of this pandemic ac ending with vaccination. and to think we would have allowed this virus to spread widely, when the end is clearly in sight, if we can follow public health recommendations and social distance, wear masks, then next year when we gather for the holidays, our relatives who we love so much will still be here. but if we abandon that public health approach we will lose
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hundreds of thousands of more people before this comes to an end. >> the mayor of dodge city i should note is a woman and she did resign after supporting that mask mandate. dr. richard besser who was acting director of cdc thank yor so much as always for your time tonight. >> thanks, chris. next as we witness yet another record breaking day of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths what it means to have confirmation that this was the administration's plan all along.
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as trump's days as president are numbered there is a debate, a worthwhile one to start to begin to have about the legacy of this administration and just how bad it was in historical terms. there are two different ways we can think about the threat he has posed. threats to democratic norms, institutions, democracy, itself, and also into the lives and health of the american people. i think it is fair to say the explicit failure on coronavirus not through incompetence or good faith mistakes but the cynical pursuit of a strategy that led to tens if not hundreds of thousands of unnecessarily dead americans ranks as one of the greatest failures of an american president in the last hundred years and possibly ever. here to talk about where trump stacks up historically, what the context for all this is, michelle goldberg an op-ed columnist of the "new york times" and msnbc political analyst.
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and mehdi hassan, host on peacock streaming service, also an msnbc political analyst. michelle, i feel like when you speak the basic facts here that donald trump oversaw the deadliest year here in american history and the first president since world war ii to lose jobs on that, just those two facts say a lot about how bad it's been. but i also think we're so close to it, it can be hard to express in a deep sense of where this stacks up in the long arc of american history. >> right. i was on your show the day after i think donald trump was elected and we were both very alarmed. i think neither of us at that point could have imagined just how horrific it would be, just how much american life would be kind of plunged into death and destruction and misery and long lasting suffering, right? if you had said this is what the arc of this presidency is going
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to be back then when people, when it was still fresh, it would have been beyond most people's worst nightmares. there was a quote, something donald trump said last week, that i feel like got sort of lost in the general chaos and insanity that always surrounds him. there was a press conference for operation warp speed and he said he was talking about people developing immunity after they get the disease. he said i hear we're close to 15% and hearing that, and that is terrific. that is a very powerful vaccine in itself. right? so there are often revelations about this administration that are shocking but not surprising. it has not been a secret that donald trump thinks it is as he said terrific if millions and millions and millions, a huge percentage of americans get infected. >> yeah, and i think one of the things i think that is important to keep your eyes on in this is
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to distinguish what i think makes the trump response so morally abominable. there are lots of policy makers who have done bad things or done a bad job with the virus. democrat, republican, local level. there are other countries that have governments from belgium to france to spain to canada that have made mistakes that had bad responses. there is a specificity to the cynicism of the way that trump and those that supported him attacked this that i don't think has been replicated anywhere else except maybe brazil. >> nowhere else in the world. i would say including brazil because at least brazil sorted out the economic side in terms of sending money to people. it is truly unique historically and globally. i'm glad you asked a question about historical context. the two worst presidents of the last hundred years are the last two republican presidents the current one donald trump and george w. bush which speaks volumes about the modern republican party and also when you compare trump and bush, bush
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killed hundreds of thousands of people abroad, you know, brown and black people in far away countries we don't care about. donald trump killed hundreds of thousands of people or presided over the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, over the preventible deaths here at home in the united states of america. and that for me, you talk about morally abominable. it is sociopathic. you mentioned earlier in the show the four words that will be the epithet is "we want more infections." "we want more infected." what about who cares in those e-mails? that jumped out at me. this guy paul alexander writes if we have more cases, more people infected, more positive tests, who cares? you take who cares. you add it to donald trump's it is what it is. you add it to jared kushner's that's their problem when people in new york are dying. this is sociopathic. this is not just morally abominable. i think people should be held to account. i think they should be prosecuted. the people behind these preventible deaths should be prosecuted when they leave office on january 20th. >> you know what? i don't know, i go back and forth on what the right way and
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whether this rises to anything that would clear a criminal threshold but the thing i strongly believe, michelle, is there needs to be some kind of 9/11 style commission. there has to be some kind of comprehensive, sustained examination with some power to actually get records and documents about what happened here. because there are going to be future pandemics. this has been predicted for years and years and the big one hit. but we can't just say, well, the vaccine happened and move on. there has to actually be something that happens in a sustained way to look at this response. >> right. it seems like there is a lot of resistance in the biden administration to having anything that would be regarded as backward looking. there was also that kind of resistance in the obama administration to having any sort of backward look at the financial crisis, which was far less deadly than the coronavirus crisis. i understand joe biden not wanting to spend a lot of political capital on this. but congress has to establish something.
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there has to be some sort of accountability. there has to be some sort of accountability and some sort of -- you're not going to get a consensus but at least some sort of official understanding what happened here. part of what's been so poisonous is after the iraq war we could at least have a national consensus about what had gone horribly wrong because donald trump had broken the connection to empirical reality in so much of the country there's not even anything approaching a kind of common understanding of what we're all going through. >> it's a good point and i think, mehdi, iraq to me is the nearest analog we have and precedent. you said this. a humanitarian disaster of massive scale that the critics saw happening as it was happening and said this is terrible. don't do this. it still happened. and i do think the one weird point of some hope here is that in 2005, i never would have
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thought in a million years republicans would come around to the consensus view that iraq was a disaster, but they kind of did, a lot of them. it helped donald trump win that primary. i do think that setting the legacy here, this is unacceptable. what is happening is unacceptable and should never happen again is actually key to whatever happens in the future for this country in its politics and also the way it deals with mass catastrophe. >> yes. agreed. i think the iraq analogy is an interesting one. i also think the 9/11 commission and investigation definitely. we can't just move on. no way. the iraq analogy is interesting because on one hand we all agree across the boakros t borcross t us with the exception of maybe john bolton that it was a disaster, but the reality is the architects of that war did move on. dick cheney did move on.
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george bush is busy painting paintings and swapping cough drops with michelle obama. we can't allow them to rehabilitate themselves in the way the architects of the iraq war did. >> two people i love to talk to whenever i get a chance. thank you both for making time tonight. >> thank you. next up senator richard blumenthal and what he learned about the massive russian hack of the u.s. government that left him, quote, deeply alarmed, in fact downright scared. he joins me live next. meaning, you. you're the one we made mywalgreens for. with pickup in as little as 30 minutes. hiya! get 30-minute pickup at
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the more we learn about russia's extensive, months' long cyber attack on nearly every federal agency the worst it looks for nearly everyone involved. "the new york times" reports the u.s. government failed to detect the attack, despite spending millions of dollars over the past years. the government only learned about it when a private security firm reported they were hacked. "the times" described the espionage attack as, quote, among the greatest intelligence failures of modern times. after a briefing today the house intelligence committee chair adam schiff released a broad, vague statement saying in part the seriousness and duration of this attack demonstrate we still have enormous and urgent work to
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do to defend our critical information networks and we must move quicker than our adversaries to adapt. the democratic senator richard blumenthal has been vocal with his concerns, tweeting yesterday, "stunning. today's classified briefing on russia's cyber attack left me deeply alarmed and in fact downright scared. americans deserve to know what is going on. declassify what is known and unknown." senator richard blumenthal of connecticut joins me now. obviously you can't speak to classified information but how would you, i mean, there is obviously a lot of cyber espionage that happens among major powers in this world right now. we know the u.s. has offensive capabilities as well as defensive ones. we know there are attempts at intrusions that many countries have done. why is this different to your mind from a policy perspective? what marks this as so alarming? >> what made me so alarmed and scared and frankly angry was the
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apparent scope and magnitude of this breach and frustratingly to me i'm not at liberty to disclose most of what i know. but the fact is the american people deserve to know because this attack was virtually an act of war and i think that the vulnerability is not only as to russia which unfortunately this administration has coddled and cozied over the last four years but also to other nation states and hackers. we need an overhaul after we clean up this mess of our nation's cyber defenses. you just mentioned a potential commission to look into the pandemic, a 9/11 type commission. i actually have sponsored a bill, along with adam schiff to do that kind of bipartisan
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nonpolitical commission looking at the reasons and the faults and the mistakes made in connection with the pandemic, but also, we may need the same kind of objective commission-like review of our cyber defenses here because if you look at the web page of fireeye, it's virtually a who's who of corporations and defense contractors. >> i mean, obviously the fact that this was a private security firm figuring out the vulnerability before the u.s. government did and being much more transparent and open about what's happening, we've been getting very, very little from the federal government whatsoever. you said virtually an act of war. that is language similar to the language senator dick durbin used, the senator from illinois. the thing that scares me the most is the escalating back and
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fort in which we end up in an actual war with cyber intrusion. what does it mean when you say that and what does it mean about the understanding of different geo political actors about what you can and can't do? >> what it means is frankly is that we need to make the russians pay a price and reset our relationship with them so they actually fear us. when the general was confirmed by our committee to be in charge of cyber command he said our enemies don't fear us in the realm of cyber. well, apparently, they don't fear it's much more than they did then. and in this realm, as in so many where we have adversaries and potential attackers we need to show them that we will respond proportionately not a tit for tat, not leading to escalation but simply in the same way that they have attacked us and it could be in sanctions. it could be in covert cyber action, but most importantly, we need to strengthen our defenses
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because this vulnerability indicates that those defenses certainly are at best defective. >> you said this today that americans deserve to know the impact of this staggering cyber attack, how cozy bear, this the name of the attack reportedly slipped into systems under our sleuths' nose with no sign of a timeline for disclosure, i'll be demanding more facts. what level of transparency or public accounting do you think is appropriate given that obviously, presumably a lot of this is classified for a decent reason? >> we need to be sensitive to the reasons for classification but we also need to recognize that there is way more classified than needs to be. protecting sources and methods, a legitimate reason for classification. >> i want to ask you since i have you here, sorry, i think your sound went out for a second. i want to just ask you because i
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have you here, about the justice department which i know has been something you've kept a close eye on and feel very strongly about. there is talk about the president essentially trying to push the now acting attorney general jeffrey rosen into taking some actions he wants to see for instance a special prosecutor for the president-elect's son despite the fact there seem to be cases under investigation under other jurisdictions independent of anything happening at the a.g. level. also talk about firing chris wray the fbi director. how seriously do you take that and what do you make of that? >> just to finish the last answer i am going to push to declassify a lot of this information as much as possible. what i make of the move to appoint a special counsel is there is absolutely no reason for it. the united states attorney in delaware and pennsylvania has
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been apparently conducting this investigation. hunter biden has reacted with grace and dignity. he said he's going to cooperate, and there is no reason to appoint special counsel except to try to wound and embarrass the biden administration. >> all right. senator richard blumenthal of connecticut, it's always great to have you here. i appreciate you making some time tonight. >> thank you. >> ahead, programing like trump tv, the unhinged voter fraud hearing today, and we learn more about the dangerous results of the election conspiracy theories. y theories olay's luxurious moisturizer melts into the skin. it's formulated with vitamin b3 plus peptides and shea butter, providing lasting hydration, for up to 24 hours. there's no need to reapply, and no greasy residue. and, for enhanced hydration, try olay serum.
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every minute. understanding how to talk to your doctor about treatment options is key. today, we are redefining how we do things. we find new ways of speaking, so you're never out of touch. 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.
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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 for a free heart failure handbook. call today or go online to looking to save money this look at allstate.n? drivers who switched & saved, averaged $718 dollars. saving is easy when you're in good hands. call a local agent, or 1-800-allstate for a quote today. over the last months and intensifying the last few weeks donald trump the republican party conservative media have managed to construct this kind of perpetual motion machine of bs. they've used the bully pulpit of the presidency the most powerful platform in the world arguably
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right, to just inundate people with this completely fraudulent set of false lies about the election being stolen. they're constantly tweeting about it. he is talking about it and it's running on their networks. then the iron clad circular logic keeps rolling and rolling, 24/7 on various outlets on the president's twitter feed and other republicans can then point to the fact that people don't trust the election as the predicate for the conclusion that something must be wrong because otherwise why would all of these people be so mistrustful? this is what they're doing. this endless loop of lies was on display today as senate republicans led by ron johnson of wisconsin held a hearing about fictitious election irregularities. >> courts have handed down decisions and the electoral college has awarded joe biden 306 electoral votes, a large percentage of the american public does not believe the november election results are legitimate.
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>> every time i go out and people come up to me and they're frustrated with the unfairness of the system. of course these are people that wanted trump to win. they think he lost unfairly. but they're mad. they're mad that this -- because they hear about what happened in wisconsin. they hear about what happened in the other states and then they, then there are theories, they think the whole system is rigged. >> yesterday i was talking with some of the constituents back at home, group of about 30 people, every single one of them, every one of them, told me that they felt they had been disenfranchised, that their votes didn't matter. that the election had been rigged. these same people are told you just sit down and shut up if you have any concerns about election integrity you are a nut case. you should shut up. i tell you what. 74 million americans are not going to shut up. >> no, no, senator. you get it wrong.
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they're not a nut case. you're lying to them. you and your allies are very cynically lying to them. don't put it on them. you're lying to them. democratic ranking member gary peters laid bare the stakes of this vicious cycle of republican lies. >> by not speaking out earlier even though they knew it was wrong, that there was no evidence to support these claims and that this inflammatory rhetoric is harmful to our democracy many elected officials gave the president and his supporters license to spread damaging lies about the election amplifying these obviously false narratives about fraud or irregularities corrodes public trust. it threatens national security. it weakens our democracy and our standing around the world. >> one level again all of this is ludicrous almost clownish. it is political posturing, to stroke the president's ego and
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soothe the hurt feelings of the maga base and position for a 2024 primary run but we are watching the consequences of this rhetoric play out across the country through violent actions of trump supporters who hear this stuff and believe it. when we return a terrifying story of a wealthy trump supporter who financed a small army of fraud vigilantes that ended with a former police captain behind bars. y skin* #1 for psoriasis symptom relief* and #1 for eczema symptom relief* gold bond champion your skin
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this friday kinda big isn't it?e. that's the mirror. sorry. and the world will never be the same. a girl? friend! dah, dah, dah. go to the lies from the president about voter fraud, they didn't just start after the election. he's been pushing this stuff for months and months before the election. here's a the thing. these claims, they're not just ridiculous. they're dangerous. yesterday a former houston police captain, mark aguirre, was arrested for running a man off the road in october a few weeks before the election and pointing a gun at the man's head in an attempt to prove that the victim was the mastermind of a giant fraud and that there were
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750,000 fake ballots in a truck the man was driving. there, of course, were no fake ballots, and the victim was just an innocent and ordinary air conditioner repairman. but this is not just about one man acting like some vigilante or losing his mind. it's part of a much bigger coordinated effort. here to tell us more about that is "texas tribune" reporter erin douglas. erin, maybe we can start with the sort of donor that masterminded this kind of fraud vigilante squad, steve hotze. tell me about him. >> yeah, so with a we know about steve hotze -- here in houston, texas. and hotze allegedly -- he was in charge of the liberty center. and what happened was aguirre, mark aguirre, the former police officer who was arrested
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yesterday in the houston area, he told police officers after the incident that he was working for the liberty center. now, the liberty center, forgotten country, that is a right wing group led by the prominent texas gop activist and donor hotze. so what we know is that a lawyer for hotze told me yesterday that they had hired aguirre and 20 other private investigators to look into ballot fraud in houston during the 2020 election. aguirre himself, he was paid more than $260,000 for those services according to court documents. >> all right. so you've got -- just to be clear here, you've got a big sort of republican donor with money who starts hiring people before the election to go sniff out fraud. one of the people he hires is an ex-houston police captain named mark aguirre, and he pays him
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$266,000 to go do this? is that right? >> so they hired not only aguirre, but they also hired 20 other private investigators as part of this effort to find evidence for alleged voter fraud in harris county. officials have said over and over that there is no substantial evidence to the claim that there is a big fraud scheme here in houston during the 2020 election regarding ballots. and for this particular incident, hotze said that he was not aware of the particulars of, you know, this incident in southwest houston in october when this former officer allegedly pulled a gun on this man. he denied knowledge of any investigator pulling a gun on somebody. however, we do know that hotze's
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group was paying this man, and we know that hotze was involved in sending information and tips for his investigators to then follow up on. >> all right. so this was part of this scheme. we know that the money went from this donor to this individual. this individual, mark aguirre, i think he was arrested, right, by the d.a. of harris county yesterday for this incident? tell us what you know about -- what does the d.a. say about what happened in this incident? >> yeah. so based on the police affidavit, mark aguirre allegedly hit the back of this man's truck while he was driving, and then the man got out to see what was wrong. and then aguirre allegedly told him to get on the ground and pointed a gun at him. after that, at least two other cars allegedly pulled up and searched this man's truck, looking for the fraudulent ballots they were trying to find. they only found air-conditioning equipment. after that, they allegedly stole
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the truck. police later found that vehicle abandoned a few blocks away. aguirre, when he was speaking with police, according to that interview with police, he did not identify the other people he was working with, but he did say -- he allegedly told police that there was a command post that they set up in a hotel nearby, and they surveilled this man for four days before the incident. >> erin douglas, who writes for the texas tribune, reporting on this story. thank you so much for making time tonight. appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. >> that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> all day i've been thinking of that story as the truck full of air-conditioning parts that didn't bark. that is the weirdest story of fake voter fraud allegations of the entire cycle. >> truly. yeah. >> thank you, chris.
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thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. all right. world war ii came to an end in 1945, but it was well into 1945. victory in europe with the surrender of germany, that was may in 1945. surrender of japan didn't come until months later in august.19. surrender of japan didn't come until months later in august. so, that means that the at the very beginning of 1945, the u.s. and our allies were still very much at war, right? at that point, we were years into what had been that long and excruciating global ordeal. and at the beginning of 1945, in january of 1945, the united states of america also needed to hold a presidential inauguration. president franklin roosevelt had been re-elected to a fourth term. no president before him had ever had three inaugurations before, let alone four. the rules, of course, would be changed after fdr, so no president could ever have more than two terms again. but when fdr w