tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC October 20, 2020 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
so, you see, i think a lot of changes that are happening really across the board as a way to adjust for that. and you know certainly there's a lot of consistency in what everybody's seeing both internal, public, data and also what the republican side is indicating. >> margie, thank you so much for your time. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening rachel. >> good evening, chris. thanks for joining us this hour. two weeks from today is election day. what's your plan? have you voted already? susan and i voted this weekend. it felt great. if you haven't voted already, do you have a specific granular plan about how you are going to get your vote cast? now is the time. no time to spare. now is the time to figure that out. even if your plan is to vote on election day, you need a plan and a back up plan in terms of how you are going to get that
done, where exactly you're going to vote and what you know about making sure your vote is going to get cast. what else are you doing to get ready for the election? are you door knocking for a campaign that you care about? are you phone banking to call voters who could make the difference in a senate campaign that you really care about? what else are you doing to prepare for the election? if you are personally low-risk for covid and you're able to do it, have you checked to see if they need poll workers in your community? now is the time. two weeks out. it's two weeks from today. if you haven't done it yet, you are late. time to go. time to go. today is the birthday of democratic vice presidential nominee kamala harris. she turned 56 years old today. vice president biden today wished kamala harris happy birthday and said let's celebrate next year with ice cream at the white house. on the other side, president trump finished his day today by apparently storming out of an
interview with cbs reporter lesley stall for "60 minutes." he threatened he would somehow release his own version of their interview before "60 minutes" is able to air it this weekend. whatever happened in that interview, and it seems it did not go well for him, his tantrum put way more of a spotlight on that interview than "60 minutes" could have done for themselves. mazel tof for that, mr. president. can't wait to see it. the freak out was at the end of the day. at the beginning of the day was the interview on the morning show, fox news, friendly confines for the president. it was another long rabbling interview that made headlines for the wrong reasons. the president demanded, insisted that the attorney general of the united states must go after joe biden, must go after his election challenger and open an
investigation into him right away. we really are a country with headlines like this now. this is the ap write up of that interview, dateline washington, president donald trump on tuesday called on attorney general william barr to immediately launch an investigation into democrat joe biden, effectively demanding that the justice department muddy his political opponent and abandon his tor cal resistance to getting involved in elections. the president explicitly called on attorney general barr to investigate biden and pointed to the nearing november 3rd election date as reason that barr should not delay taking action. trump's pressuring of barr comes as national and battleground polls show him facing an increasingly narrow path to re-election. trump has yet to specify what crime he believes biden has committed. but that has not stopped him from going so far as suggesting to voters that biden belongs in jail. the justice department did not respond to comment for the call
to investigate biden. trump is trying to use all the levers of power as he struggles to gain ground on biden. he's expressed increasing anger over the resistance to the justice department to some of these appeals. it was not that long ago that if we found out something like that was happening in another country, we would be, like, sanctioning that other country, right? we would be leading an international coalition to pressure this poor country, obviously slipping into a authoritarianism, that they should change course. they should commit to the rule of law. literally we would be leading sanctions against a country that was going through that with their leader right now. but now -- now that country is us. now that little girl is us. and it's -- it's -- you know, just like an average tuesday. president calls for attorney general to open investigation into his opponent. two weeks from now we might change that course that our country is on. we will see.
but it is two weeks from today. did you vote yet? do you have a plan to vote? have you made your plan? today the white house filed this declaration with a federal judge admitting that even though the president tweets things that make it seem like he's doing stuff, he doesn't really mean it, and his words shouldn't be seen by any court in the united states as having the force of law. wow. white house chief of staff mark meadows doing the dirty work here, telling a federal judge in washington that the president didn't actually mean it when he said online that he was ordering the declassification of the entire mueller report and the entire russia investigation with zero redactions. mark meadows happened to clarify under penalty of perjury to a federal judge today that the president was just tweeting. it doesn't mean he meant anything by it. why it's a better idea to watch what they do rather than what they say, that's the white house chief of staff affirming under
penalty of perjury that the stuff the president says is nonsense and nobody should pay attention. tonight nbc news has this horrifying report about the catastrophic moral hangover from the president's policy of forcibly taking little kids and babies away from their parents and then not tracking their whereabouts so these families could be reunited. nbc news first to report tonight that lawyers assigned by a federal judge to track down all the kids the trump administration did this to, those lawyers have just reported to the court that for 545 kids who trump took away from their parents, those 545 kids not only have not been reunited with their parents, but now they don't have any way of finding those parents or getting those kids back home. 545 children, children who have parents, who have families. trump took those families
apparent forcibly. and now we know he did so in a way that is apparently not rep rabble. 545 kids. did i mention the election is two weeks from today, which is our chance to change course as a country. also "the new york times" breaking news within the last hour in their continuing series of reporting based on the president's tax returns and financial documents that they obtained, according to the "times" tonight, president trump has a previously undisclosed bank account in china. the trump business entity that holds that secret chinese bank account is called trump international hotels management. that entity owns something called thc china development, a trump company with a chinese bank account. that company, mysteriously, according to "the times" showed a huge spike in revenue out of the blue in 2017, right after trump was sworn in as president.
the revenue spike was $17. $17.5 million, more revenue than had come into that company in the previous five years combined. but trump became president. all of a sudden there was this huge new unexplained influx of money into that company with this chinese bank account. it comes in from who knows where, but it goes out as cash into the president's pocket. after that $17.5 million windfall from nowhere once he became president, president trump took that out as cash. he took $15.1 million of it out for himself in 2017 once he was president. the "times" also reporting that fbi agents appeared at the offices of a company that was used at the business address for chinese buyers who spent millions of dollars to buy 11 different trump properties and one trump hotel also in 2017, the year he became president. the "times" also reporting that in 2017, the president found
himself suddenly enriched. his tax documents show he made more than $5.5 million in profit sharing jared and ivanka's former penthouse apartment in new york to a person with high level connections to the chinese government. a person paid enough for that apartment that the president himself cleared more than $5.5 million on the deal right after he became president. remember when he was trying to run against beijing biden. remember that minute when he was trying to run against biden as somehow being soft on china? the "times" tonight is reporting that president trump took nearly $25 million cash from sources linked to china and the chinese government including a previously secret chinese bank account just in the first year he was in office as president. did i mention it's two weeks until the election? two weeks until we decide as a country whether we will change
course or keep this president in place for another four years. two weeks. two nights from now was supposed to be the final presidential debate. as we mentioned here on the show last night, after blowing the first debate disastrously and dropping out of the second debate, the trump campaign has now started complaining about the planned third debate. they have claimed in writing that they were promised the third debate would be only about foreign policy and nothing else. now, we noted here on the show last night that as a matter of public record, that's horse hockey. there was never any such announcement or promise about the content of the final debate despite what the trump campaign is saying about it. today the commission on presidential debates con officialed that. there was no promise of what the topics would be. the trump campaign is just lying about that. you can imagine why the trump campaign would want the final debate to have a singular focus.
that would mean the president didn't have to, for example, talk about, say, coronavirus. but their gubam gambit to try t get the rules changed by lying about what the rules were has not worked. we'll see if the debate goes ahead. it is on for thursday night. the president has continued to insult nbc white house moderator for that debate. those insults aren't flying either because kristen has a well-deserved reputation for being as good as it gets in this business. but the president is trying to work the refs, trying to intimidate kristen welker, trying to intimidate the debate commission. we'll see if he actually shows up to be there and debate. as the covid case numbers continue to soar and the president continues to hold these mostly mask-free no social distance rallies like he's been doing the past few days. as we get news out of places like utah where a second major
hospital in utah has now overtopped its icu capacity. icu is full amid a huge surge of covid patients. they're converts more bed space into intensive care capacity, searching for the staff to staff the beds. as researchers in idaho sound the alarm that they believe in eastern idaho right now, one out of every 30 people in eastern idaho has active covid infection and is therefore infectious to others. 1 in 30 eastern idahoans actively spreading covid-19 right now. as early in person voting started today in wisconsin, which is great, lots of people turned out for early voting in wisconsin. that is shadowed by the fact that in just the last month in wisconsin, they have doubled their case numbers, tripled the number of patients hospitalized in they're state just in one month. as the national case numbers continue to mount so that our national case graph looks like
this right now, which is very bad. there are -- there are two important developments in the last 24 hours today in terms of how this is going and how it's being mismanaged that i think you ought to have in mind as we head into this crucial two-week period. one is this number crunching from nbc news now about the fact that in multiple states where covid case numbers are rising right now, the number of covid tests is actually dropping. and that's bad, right? that means that places where covid case numbers are rising, it may be even worse than it appears because the number of tests that are producing those rising case numbers is a smaller number of tests. now, why would states have a smaller number of tests right now? "washington post" had that bang up report yesterday morning with 41 different sources talking about the kind of damage that this rando radiologist scott atlas is doing the national covid response program after the president liked seeing him on fox news and brought him into
the white house essentially to take over covid policy. he has no public health experience, no infectious disease medicine. nevertheless he's running the show in the white house. he has publicly advocated we shouldn't stop the spread of the virus. it's good when more and more and more and more americans get infected. this weekend twitter took down one of his tweets that said masks don't work, implying therefore you shouldn't wear one. one of the things that "washington post" revealed about the white house is he's actively advocated that we shouldn't test for the virus. he has advocated that we should do way less testing as a country. well, this new nbc news report suggests that scott atlas is getting some of what he wants. as states all over the country, different types of states all over the country, states including arkansas and iowa and
kentucky, are all now seeing big increases in positive cases while they are simultaneously doing way less testing. and if you're doing less testing and you're still turning up increasing numbers of positive cases, that implies that the case surges in those states are even worse than they look, right? testing numbers going down while the number of cases being discovered keeps rising. that's bad on two different fronts. so, that's one thing to know in terms of the way things are going wrong in this country based on what appears to be quite perverse leadership at the top. the other big news today on covid and the debacle of how this white house has mishandled it is news provided to us from congressman james clyburn, the veteran from south carolina who was head of the select committee. clyburn and his collect committee have just released to the public six weeks of private white house reports about covid in the states. these are reports that were not
going to be released to the public were it not for jim clyburn and his committee doing so. these private reports show on september 14th just after labor day, the white house identified 18 states in the country as so-called red zones in terms of having worrying numbers of new cases or worrying proportion of positive test results. 18 states in the red zone right after labor day. that warning from the white house included blunt language about how sharply cases were rising specifically in the state of wisconsin. this was a white house warning right after labor day. nevertheless, four days later, september 17th, president trump held a large mostly mask free no social distance rally in wisconsin, where his white house had just warned them they needed to take new measures, increasingly dramatic measures to slow the spread of the virus. by september 27th, two weeks later, the white house was warning that the number of red zone states was no longer 18, it was 22. the following week, it wasn't
22, it was 24. the week after that, it was 27 states in the red zone. the week after this is this week, and the report for october 18th says it is now 31 states in the red zone. a big ma jjority of u.s. statesn the most worrying category in terms of new case numbers and the percent of tests that are positive. and these are white house warnings. this rise in states that are in trouble on the white house's own metrics while the president has said over the course of these same six weeks that we are rounding the corner, we're rounding the turn. it's going away. the end of the pandemic is in sight. all while the trump white house has been privately sending these reports to the states about the virus overtaking state after state after state after state to the point where there are more states in trouble, more states in the worst category, more states in the red zone than there have been at any other time in the pandemic since the white house started keeping
these records while the president says everything's fine. it's going away. by the way, come to my rally. no mask required. after releasing these reports that had previously not been shown to the public, congressman clyburn said this today. quote, the reports released today show that the white house has been aware since just after labor day that cases were rising dramatically around the country. the white house chose to hide these reports even as president trump claimed publicly that the coronavirus affects virtually nobody and hosted potential superspreading events in states the task force warned had rising cases, states including wisconsin and minnesota and north carolina. joining us now is congressman james clyburn, dean of the south carolina congressional delegation, the third ranking democrat in the house. sir, thank you so much for being here and helping us understand this work. >> well, thank you very much for having me. >> can you help us understand the implications of these internal white house reports.
i mean, there does appear to be some apparatus inside the white house, inside the trump administration that has a handle on how bad the crisis is that is documenting the fact that it is worsening. at the same time, you've got the president himself saying the opposite in public. i can't decide if i should be comforted that somebody knows what's going on or alarmed by the combination of these two fact patterns. >> well, thank you very much for having me, rachel. i think that the president seems to feel that playing it down is to be the order of the day. he knows that this information is there. his task force has been sending out to the states and they're keeping it secret. whi why they're doing that? i don't know. so, we decided this stuff should be in the public square, and we
released these reports for that reason. why they're doing this? i don't know. but i do know this, we are not rounding the corner, as you just pointed out. we are now up to 31 states in the red zone. and in this climate what we've got to do is to have a national program to do the testing that's required, to do the tracing that is needed, to do the isolation when it's called for and then provide treatment. we do not have a national program and therefore we are losing this battle to this virus, and it should not be. >> congressman clyburn, one of the pieces of information in these reports you put out today that i found the most alarming was the prognosis on our testing capacity basically being wholly inadequate to control the spread of the virus. it was alarming to see that as a
holistic diagnosis but then also to see individual states being told that they needed to expand the testing capacity in their public labs, they they needed to start tapping even the capacity of veterinary labs in order to upscale testing, that they had to utilize all the resources because our testing is so far behind what we need in multiple states, that is something i was not aware of on such a granular level in terms of it being that dire before reading it in these reports. i have to ask if that was also a surprise to you. >> it was not a surprise to me because we knew about these reports being released by the task force for some time. and we knew they were keeping it secret. so, we have access to these reports, so no i was not surprised at it. i am surprised that we cannot seem to get the kind of support from the other side of the aisle
that we need in order to do what needs to be done. that's why you see us having problems now trying to bring together a plan so deal with this virus. people are saying just because you've got these top line numbers, that's what you ought to be doing. i've been saying look at the details. what is the money going to be used for? we have got to get this money where it needs to be out in these communities where people can do the testing. once you do the testing, then you've got to do the tracing. and you cannot do this without a lack of funds. so, that's the kind of stuff that we've been trying to get done, get this money out in the communities where it needs to be so that we can get control of this virus. we are not going to get control otherwise. so, no, i was not surprised. this is just kind of par for the course, which is good for the
president who is a golfer. >> congressman, i would also be remiss if i didn't ask you about the red hot political race in your state right now. we've talked about this before, and i've checked in with you about this before. somebody who you know well and who has worked for you, jaime harrison is giving republican senator lindsey graham a run for his money, probably the toughest race of his year. how do you think this race is looking? i know you think that jaime harrison is a great candidate. do you think he has a chance to win statewide in south carolina and take that seat? >> yes, i do. i think jaime harrison has an excellent chance to win this race. people have fallen in love with ja jaime. i have people that tell me i'm
going to vote for your man harrison though i'm voting for trump. that kind of cross voting is taking place. it should not be a big surprise. we saw the number of people who voted for barack obama in 2012 and voted for trump in 2016. i think you're going to see a reverse of that in jaime's race. yes, jaime can win this race, and i feel comfortable that he will. >> dean of the south carolina congressional delegation, sir, it's an honor to be with us tonight. thank for these reports and talking with us tonight. >> thank you very much for having me. >> we've got much more to get to. we've got a busy news night. we've got important news involving the postal service, news which has not had a lot of national attention and deserves it. it is not good news but you want to hear about it. we're going to speak with michigan governor gretchen whitmer. lots coming up. stay with us. whitmer. lots coming up stay with us ,2,3 medicines with trelegy.
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so, the president really is out there today for a second day in a row calling his opponent in the presidential race a criminal, saying joe biden should be locked up. he should be in jail. this morning he said his attorney general has, quote, got to act fast on this. something has to be done to start prosecuting joe biden somehow before the election. and, you know, this is not the first presidential campaign trump has waged on the premise that his opponent belongs in jail. but he is the president now, and he is openly, desperately, trying to turn the federal law enforcement and judicial apparatus he oversees against his political opponents for his political benefit, which really is banana republic stuff, and it really should never be seen as anything other than a gigantic existentially challenging scandal. but perhaps even worse than that is that he's not only trying to turn law enforcement and the judicial apparatus in this
country against his political opponents. beyond that, he is also not averse to stirring up extrajudicial vengeance against his political enemies. you'll recall earlier this month federal and state employees announced dozens of charges against more than a dozen armed far right alleged con spear tors for plotting the kidnapping and potential assassination of gretchen whitmer. these conspirators decided they were going to go after the governor because she put in place the mission to stem coronavirus. the accused ring leader called her a, quote, tyrant on social media. in the days after those arrests and those felony charges, president trump echoed that language from the accused conspirators, attacking governor whitmer and calling her a wannabe dictator. and then this weekend trump went to michigan for a campaign
rally. >> you've got to get your governor to open up your state, okay? [ cheers and applause ] and get your schools open. get your schools open. the schools have to be open, right? lock them all up. >> lock her up, lock her up, locker hup, lock her up, lock her up, lock her up, lock her up. >> and then i guess they said she was threatened, right? she was threatened. >> he says dismissively, i guess
they said she was tlesenned. the they there is his own justice department and they didn't just say governor whitmer was vaguely threatened. the fbi said these armed right wing extremists in michigan were casing the governor's home, planning to buy explosives, practicing how to build ieds -- bom bombs -- plotting their escape routes. they planned to kidnap the governor and put her through a sham trial for treason. and we know what the penalty for treason is. his alleged conspirators are still in jail. this guy lives in wisconsin, and had been in jail there. prosecutors had asked for bail to be set at a million dollar but the judge set at $10,000. now that man has posted bail and he is out of jail.
the president is leading chants of lock her up, lock her up, oh, they said she was threatened. it was high pressure to be governor of the great state of michigan in the middle of a pandemic and the home stretch of an election in which both candidates are fighting tooth and nail for your state. governor gretchen whitmer is having quite the time right now. she will join us live here next. g in addition to the substitute teaching. i honestly feel that that's my calling-- to give back to younger people. i think most adults will start realizing that they don't recall things as quickly as they used to or they don't remember things as vividly as they once did. i've been taking prevagen for about three years now. people say to me periodically, "man, you've got a memory like an elephant." it's really, really helped me tremendously. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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toni(doorbell rings)ting crab cakes with spicy aioli. thank you. can we be besties, simone biles? i guess? yessss! should we dismount now? ten days after the kidnapping plot against michigan governor gretchen whitmer surfaced with multiple felony charges brought against more than a dozen alleged conspirators, the president was in michigan leading a crowd in chants of lock her up, her being governor whitmer just after that plot was brought to the public forum. that's more than just theater. that has more than just a proverbial affect. just ask the staffer who runs governor whitmer's social media,
who says this, quote, i see everything that is said about and to governor whitmer online. every time the president does this, the violent rhetoric towards her immediately escalates on social media. it has to stop. it just has to. governor whitmer echoed that herself, saying, quote, this is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family and other government officials lives in danger while we try to save the lives of other americans. governor, i really appreciate you taking the time to be here tonight. i know you have a lot going on. >> i'm happy to be with you, rachel. >> first, i just want to say this is the first time that we've had a chance to speak since this plot against you was revealed with all these dramatic charges. i just want to ask how you're doing, how your family is doing. this is something that no public official should ever, ever, ever have to go through. >> well, we're fine. thank you. i appreciate that you're asking. we've got the michigan state
police who's in charge of our security. i've never once felt unsafe. but when you see the details of this plot and you see the rhetoric coming out -- continuing to come out of the president's mouth and out of his allies' mouths, it's very distressing. i think that piece about dr. fauci needing security for the first time in six administrations he's served tells you that when public servants who are trying to save the lives of their fellow americans are being vilified and threatened and people are plotting to hurt us, this is a moment where we need people of good will on both sides of the aisle to stand up because it's not just me, but it's my family that's been threatened over the course of the last six months. it -- it needs to stop. >> in terms of the president's unwillingness to stop, the president seems to relish how upset everybody is after hearing
him continue to go after you even after these alleged criminals were arrested, i was struck by what one of your social media staff said about seeing this direct and immediate relationship between the president targeting you and it basically turning on a faucet of violent threats, increasingly violent threats. i have to ask. i know that you said you feel safe and that the michigan state police takes care of your security, and that's solid. but i have to ask if you feel that, if you in real time experience that when he turns on those jets against you? >> oh, yeah, absolutely. and from the moment that he set his sights on me, when he called me that woman from michigan or some of the other slights he levelled my way after i acknowledged we needed a national strategy ask approximate the administration didn't have one. here we are, eight months later and we still don't have a national strategy. when i pointed that out, when i critiqued the lack of a strategy, they started focusing on me. and every mention, every tweet
we saw it inflamed the rhetoric. we saw the most vile things said about me and my family. we've had people out on our front lawn here at the governor's residence with ar-15s. this is very serious. from the start i've been asking the white house to bring down the rhetoric. i asked the vice president directly if he could help to bring down the rhetoric because it's dangerous. and sure enough, here we are months after those requests were made, we see that it culminated in a plot that, you know, was to kidnap and try and execute me. this is -- these words have consequences. and i quoted ronald reagan when i gave my address after the charges were announced because i do think it's important for people to understand this is anti-american, this kind of language and threatening actions to our fellow americans. and there are good people. there are great republicans who
understand this. people reached out like charlie baker of massachusetts or mike dewine of ohio who called to check in on me. this kind of behavior cannot stand and people of good will need to call it out and call it domestic terrorism when it does happen. >> i was struck by the news, kind of knocked back a little bit by the news last week when secretary of state in michigan, secretary benson, banned anybody from openly carrying a gun within 100 feet of a polling place or counting site on election day. i know that at least one local sheriff has already said he will not enforce that, that he thinks it's fine for people to bring guns to the polling places on election day. i just wanted to ask your perception about the necessity for that and if you think that there may be issues in terps of enforcing it on election day,
particularly if people try to use it as a way to intimidate their fellow voters. >> well, i feel very lucky that jocelyn benson is our secretary of state. we're working closely together to ensure that every vote gets counted and every voter is safe when they vote. we're also working hard to remind michiganders that you can vote today. they should go and cast their ballot. get it in now. put it in a dropbox. the fewer people that go to the polls on election day means less likelihood of spread of covid andless likelihood anybody can be intimidated. we're working collaboratively to ensure people are kept safe. i think the rhetoric and the encouragement that groups like the ones that showed up at our capitol with guns are getting is real, and we take it very seriously. >> governor gretchen whitmer of the great state of michigan. polling averages say it's a
seven or eight point race between president trump and vice president biden. i know the next two weeks are going to be very intense. thanks for taking time to be here tonight, governor. and i am sorry for what you and your family are going through so thank you for helping us understand what's going on. >> absolutely. thank you. >> all right. coming up next tonight, some amazing news that should be getting a little bit more attention about what is not happening around the post office and vote by mail that is something normal, that is something that they always do, that they have apparently cancelled just in time for the election. it's a remarkable story that's not getting nearly enough national attention. the report who are broke that news joins us next to explain. you'll want to see this. stay with us. plain. you'll want to see this. stay with us it's either the assurance of a 165-point certification process. or it isn't. it's either testing an array of advanced safety systems. or it isn't. it's either the peace of mind of a standard unlimited mileage warranty.
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who's sujoe biden.rop 15? biden says, "every kid deserves a quality education and every family deserves to live in a safe, healthy community. that's why i support prop. 15." vote yes. schools and communities first is responsible for the contents of this ad. the unfair money bail system. he, accused of rape. while he, accused of stealing $5. the stanford rapist could afford bail; got out the same day. the senior citizen could not; forced to wait in jail nearly a year. voting yes on prop 25 ends this failed system, replacing it with one based on public safety. because the size of your wallet shouldn't determine whether or not you're in jail. vote yes on prop 25 to end money bail.
vote yes on prop 25 who'sgovernor gavin newsom. the governor says prop 15 is, "fair, phased-in, and long overdue reform", that "will exempt small businesses and residential property owners." join governor newsom. vote yes on 15. the postal service is fully capable and committed to delivers the nation's ballots securely and on time.
this sacred duty is my number one priority between now and election day. i am not engaged in sabotaging the election. >> i am not engaged in sabotaging the election. you know if you have to say it. that was trump administration postmaster general louis dejoy testifying to congress in late august. he is the major trump donor who upended and monkey wrenched the u.s. postal service right as the pandemic was forcing millions of americans to, among other things, switch to voting by mail for our own safety. despite dejoy's assurances that there was nothing to worry about heading into the election, new reporting tells a very different story. the washington reporting that key swing states are recording some of the most erratic mail service as americans rely on the postal service to deliver
ballots. consistent and timely service is scatter shot after the rollout and suspension of a major midsummer restructuring. the slowdowns which have raised alarms and suspicions have particular implications for states workers that includes key backgrounds like michigan and wisconsin where your ballot needs to arrive by election day or it won't get counted. and that's not all. this is a story that deserves further attention. "the wall street journal" recently reported that just one day after that louis dejoy testimony before congress where he said he wasn't sabotaging the election and promised he wouldn't make any more changes, just one day after that he actually issued an order to the u.s. postal service to bench its police officers, to stand down its police force that protects mail carriers and that protects robbery -- prevents robberies of blue collection boxes and mail vehicles around the country. according to "the journal," the move ended dua lipa trolls meant
to prevent robberies of collection boxes and mail vehicles. the stand down order has left letter carriers without escorts on unsafe routes in some of the nation's biggest cities. the management directive, according to "the journal," didn't explain why these police duties were being curtailed. tells "the journal" that the order to stand down coming so close to the election is especially concerning. he says, quote, if i was going to undermine public trust in the mail, one of the first things i would do is pull postal police off the street, which is exactly what louis dejoy did. with all of these questions swirling about ballot safety and on-time arrival and whether anybody could mess with the mail, numerous lawmakers are also now being denied access to postal facilities, meaning they can't get firsthand information on how these plants are handling the daily deluge of mail-in ballots. dejoy is blocking that as well. not what you want to hear 14 days out from the election. joining us now is rebecca smith, the reporter at "the wall street
journal" who has been chasing down these very concerning changes at the postal service. ms. smith, thanks for taking the time tonight. i appreciate it. >> it's a pleasure. >> so what is the purported justification for taking these postal officers off the streets? it seems like something that might have a serious material effect and it seems like the worst possible timing. >> it does seem like very suspicious timing. the postal service has as yet not really provided an adequate explanation, and this would be through the u.s. postal inspection service, which is the law enforcement arm of the u.s. mail. but in court documents that were filed, there is a lawsuit that the union has brought. and the government being defended by justice department has said it's up to them to do what they want and it's up to them even to decide if they want to maintain having a uniformed police force. >> louis dejoy told congress that he would refrain from any
further changes that might affect mail delivery, the security of the mail service after all those radical changes that he made over the summer that really did seem to screw up mail delivery all over the country. it is striking in your reporting that you note that this management directive happened one day later, one day after he told congress there would be no further changes. is there congressional interest in this or any potential oversight mechanism by which congress might be able to stop this directive? >> i think certainly the house oversight and reform committee has been very interested in what's happening at the postal service and they would be a likely one to take action, but i also think that public sentiment has a lot to do with what happens in the next 14 days. and i think that if people made it known that they want these uniformed postal police back on their routes protecting letter carriers, preventing the theft of mail from blue collection boxes and vehicles and providing escorts to high-value mail, i
think the postal service could change direction. by the way, i would note that we don't know that louis dejoy ordered this action. it came down through the u.s. postal inspection service. but these officers have now been told if they want to do any of these regular patrols, they have to go to the highest part of the inspection service and get special dispensation from top brass in order to continue any of these patrols or, in fact, to go off of postal property and do much of anything. it's an extraordinary move right before this election. >> ms. smith, you have also reported on lawmakers being blocked from accessing postal facilities, lawmakers who want to do oversight on these things have wanted to see facilities. we certainly saw that around the reporting over the summer about large-scale sorting machines being dismantled and stripped for parts and basically left for dead. we saw -- we saw congressional -- members of congress trying to do some firsthand reporting on
that themselves. you're reporting that members of congress are still being turned away. is there postal service justification for that? is that a change in their usual m.o. toward public officials who want to observe postal service operations? >> well, rachel, the lawmakers i've spoken with have said that normally they get the red carpet treatment. normally the postal service is thrilled when they want to visit a mail processing facility. of course we're in a highly partisan atmosphere now. but when they make these requests now, several have been told they can't come and the hatch act, oddly enough, has been cited as a reason. there seems to be some fear that postal employees might do something that would represent partisan political activity during these visits. it's -- i think it's a stretch. one member of congress from florida was also told apparently that she was supposed to have taken a lengthy security training program before she would be allowed inside a postal
facility. this is highly unusual. >> wow. our rebecca smith, a reporter at "the wall street journal" who has been peeling back some of these operations so we can see what's going on there. thank you for your reporting and thank you for helping us understand it. we'll be following your continued reporting on this subject with great, great interest. thank you so much. >> thank you for your interest. all right. we'll be right back. stay with us. so you only pay for what you need. wow. that will save me lots of money. this game's boring. only pay for what you need. liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. for bathroom odors that linger try febreze small spaces. just press firmly and it continuously eliminates odors in the air and on soft surfaces. for 45 days. i wanted more from my copd medicine, that's why i've got the power of 1,2,3 medicines with trelegy.
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scott wiener immediately went to work, making sure families could put food on their tables, defending renters facing eviction, securing unemployment benefits, helping neighborhood businesses survive. scott wiener will never stop working until california emerges from this crisis. the bay area needs scott's continued leadership in sacramento. because we know scott is fighting for all of us. re-elect scott wiener for state senate.
that is going to do it for us tonight. by this time tomorrow we should know about the first big in-person campaign appearance by former president barack obama, who is going to be doing an in-person drive-in rally for the biden/harris ticket tomorrow in philadelphia. that's going to be a first on a lot of different levels. we're watching for that tomorrow as well as further craziness as we head toward the third and final maybe presidential debate on thursday. tomorrow should be nuts. that does to for us for now. see you again tomorrow night. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. and we're going to be joined later in the hour by tim o'brien who is only one of the people alive