The Rachel Maddow Show weeknights at 9:00 Eastern on MSNBC. This is Dr. Joseph Verrone from Houston, Texas. He is the chief medical officer of United Memorial Medical Center, which is in north Houston. I'm pretty much fighting two wars, a against Kobe and a war against stupidity. And the problem is that the first one, I have some hope of winning, but the second one is is becoming more and more difficult to treat. And why do I say that?
Because people are not listening. Well, it is you know, we're backed by science or just plain old common sense people are not listening throughout the country. I worked this past Wednesday. I wasn't selling tickets for the shift, so I talked to her Ono. And he would like me to get to the E.R.. They told me I was confident I could agree that was work. A good read. Between have never made it home away from. What have you got to do with what you've got to deal with, play with all this fighting and on the street and over, you know?
And yet myself as a medical person. We're not going to lie, people. You know, I have been in the middle of earthquakes, in the middle of bombings, in the middle of the tsunamis, I mean, in every possible catastrophe that they can imagine, I'm by far this is the worst and the worst because this is a continuous situation. The other ones, you know, something bad happens and then you're wrong. You take care of things and that's it.
Here continues to occur. And what is probably the most disappointing thing? The thing that annoys me the most is that we keep on doing our best to save all these people. And then you get another batch of people that are doing exactly the opposite of what you are telling them not to do.
Dr. Joseph Feron is the chief medical officer at that hospital in northeastern United Memorial. You also saw there Christina Mathers, who is a nurse on his staff who herself got infected, also one of their patients, Riley Harrison, age 67, saying if you've got a death wish, catch covid. If you've got a death wish, play with covid. As of tonight, NBC News calculations show that the number of Americans who have been killed by coronavirus has now topped one hundred and sixty thousand.
One hundred and sixty thousand Americans gone in just six months and an epidemic that is still raging out of control, today was yet another day of more than fifty thousand new cases reported and another day of more than a thousand new deaths reported among Americans just in the past twenty four hours. David Leonhardt at The New York Times today took a big, long look at how much worse the United States has handled this epidemic compared to every other major country on Earth.
And I mean, we know it, but it's just staggering in the specifics, right? I mean, we Americans, we're only four percent of the world's population. We are twenty two percent of the world's coronavirus deaths.
If you look just in the past month, in just this past month, one point nine million Americans got infected. Compare that to our allies. Compare that to countries in the rest of the world. But compared to Canada, Australia, South Korea, Japan, all of Europe, all of Europe, if you combine all of those. If you combine Canada, Australia, South Korea, Japan and all of Europe, all of their new cases over the past month are cases alone are five times as high as all of them combined.
Nothing like it on Earth. The Ohio governor, Republican Governor Mike DeWine, tested positive for coronavirus today when he was on his way to go meet with the president. And a trip to Cleveland Center for Public Integrity obtained a recording from last night, which they published today, which is the only way we know that the White House coronavirus coordinator, Dr. Deborah Berk's, is now warning 10 specific localities around the country that their numbers are dangerous and they need to take action.
She specifically warning Baltimore, Atlanta, Kansas City, Portland, Omaha, Nebraska, Chicago, Boston, Detroit and Washington, D.C., as well as the whole Central Valley of California. Those are the warnings currently from Dr. Deborah Burke. Now, the White House made no public announcement that these cities, these cities in these areas are in trouble right now. But we have a free press. And someone leaked the audio of Dr. Burke's delivering those warnings in a private call.
And apparently that's now how we find out what the federal government can tell us about where the emergencies are right now in this epidemic. Somebody on the call leaks it to the press. They publish it. That's how we find out what the White House is worried about in terms of who has it bad right now that needs to make changes because their numbers look terrible. I mean, this is the system. So there's a lot going on tonight, there's some fascinating news tonight that has just come out of Kansas.
We're going to be talking about that this hour as we're having these ongoing national fights about going back to school and mask rules and all the rest of it. Kansas just did what amounts to a natural experiment that the whole country can very plainly learn from. This is something that hasn't really had any national attention yet, but it should. We're going to give it a little national attention later on this hour here on this show. We've also got New York Attorney General TACE James here with us live tonight.
Attorney General James was on this show 16 months ago when she announced that her office had begun an inquiry into the NRA, the National Rifle Association, one of the most powerful political entities in this country, one of the richest and most influential players in Republican politics. Obviously, they've been the major special influence in this country that's blocked any gun related reforms, even as gun violence and mass shootings have just gotten worse and worse and worse. New York Attorney General James today announced the culminating result for offices, a 16 month investigation into the NRA.
What she announced today is that her office is now seeking to shut that organization down. They are chartered in New York. They're under the jurisdiction of New York law. She says they are in violation of New York law and they should be dissolved. Whatever you think of the NRA as a political entity and as a special lobbying interest and what effect they've had on our country to James's office says in their lawsuit today that they basically have been able to document that whatever else the NRA is, it's also a gigantic scam.
Its top executives, according to the attorney general's office, have been ripping off the organization to the tune of like tens of millions of dollars a year. Year after year, they've been funneling NRA members donations into their own pockets, into their own family members and friends and allies for years to the point of what to James today called, quote, brazen illegality. New York Attorney General James announced her office's civil suit against the NRA and a number of its senior executives today, that suit includes some very lurid details about the way her office says NRA executives stole tens of millions of dollars and what they spent it on.
The list of what they spent it on is quite amazing in its own terms. James is going to be here live in just a moment to talk about that lawsuit, why it's happening now, why she thinks the NRA should not just be penalized, it should be dissolved as an organization. I should tell you, I know this got a lot of attention today. And you may have seen that the president, President Trump today responded to the news of this action by Attorney General James by saying that the NRA should dissolve itself, that it should like disestablish itself in New York and move out of New York, move out of touch James's jurisdiction.
The president said today publicly that the NRA should reconstitute itself somewhere else, like Texas. Instead, we're going to talk this hour about why the NRA actually doesn't have that option. And the president darn well knows it because his own bogus charity, the Trump Foundation, was itself shut down by the New York attorney general's office not that long ago because of a whole different slew of brazen illegality and alleged self dealing. If the president could have evaded that fate by just picking up and moving his fake charity out of New York and moving it to Texas, he would have done so to save his own skin.
It was not an option for him when his bogus scam charity got shut down by the New York attorney general. And it is also today not an option for the NRA, no matter what the president says. So we're going to talk about that tonight. And James is going to be joining us live in just a moment.
But speaking of self dealing, before we get to that, I also want to update you tonight on a story that sort of broke way open right here at the end of this show last night. This is Ambassador Lewis Lukins. He's had a 30 year career at the State Department for a time. He was our acting ambassador to Britain in the Trump administration until November. Twenty eighteen. He was the number two official at the US embassy in London. He was second in command to the billionaire Woody Johnson, who President Trump appointed ambassador to the U.K..
Lewis Lukens is now retired from the Foreign Service. He was sent home by Ambassador Woody Johnson about seven months before his tour of duty was due to end there, and he chose to retire at that time. But now that he's a private citizen, he is now speaking out in person and on the record about what he saw happen during his tenure there. Watch. The ambassador came back from a meeting at the White House the very next morning, he came and talk to me, says the president wants me to do this.
Who should I talk to? How should I go about doing it? I said, you can't you shouldn't do it. This unethical, probably illegal. A couple of weeks later, he asked again, I gave him the same answer and then he went and had a meeting with the British minister responsible for Scotland and made the request or made the suggestion, at least after which I was informed of, that I wasn't in the meeting, but I was informed directly after by someone who was.
And I let Washington know, but and also kept detailed notes on my own of what was happening at the time.
Can you spell this out? I realize this may be elementary and seem very obvious to you, but just for the benefit of me and for our viewers, can you spell out why you told Ambassador Johnson that he really shouldn't do this, why it would be unethical and in your words, potentially illegal?
Well, look, it's a clear example of trying to use US government resources and the position of the US ambassador to the court of St. James to to line the president's pocket to promote his personal business and his support, his financial, personal financial interests. So you don't have to take a three hour course in ethics to understand that that's a violation of the oath of the Constitution that we take as diplomats. And the ambassador took week before he came to London to protect and serve the American people and the American constitution, not the president's financial, personal financial interests.
Do you know if, in fact, the State Department inspector general investigated this matter? But the inspector general team was in London for about three to four weeks last October, and as I understand it, they didn't talk to me when they came out there. But from colleagues at the embassy, my understanding is that this issue was raised with them as well as several other allegations. They spent about a month at the embassy talking to staff, talking to leadership in the embassy, and then went back to Washington and as they normally would do, is wrote their report, which was then sent to the embassy for their final approval of it and commentary on it.
And at that point, the report sort of screeched to a halt and has not gone anywhere since. Lewis Lucas was the number two official at the US embassy in Britain when he says the US ambassador to Britain, Woody Johnson, at President Trump's request, went to the British government and asked the British government to move the British Open golf tournament to the president's golf club in Scotland, which would be a clear and large financial benefit to the president and his business as ambassador.
Lukins put it, quote, You don't have to take a three hour course in ethics to understand that it's a violation of the oath of the Constitution that we take to protect and serve the American people in the American constitution, not the president's financial, personal financial interests. Ambassador Lukins is sort of a remarkable position here, right, because he was a witness to this, he says Ambassador Woody Johnson told him about his conversations with the president about this about this request the president made that Ambassador Johnson should ask the British government to do his personal golf club this big favor.
The ambassador described that conversation as having taken place between himself and President Trump in person in the Oval Office on January twenty ninth. Twenty eighteen, according to Ambassador Lukins. One day later on January 30th, Woody Johnson came to him and asked Louis Lukins for his advice on how he should follow through in the president's request. Mr. Lukin says he told Woody Johnson not to do it, that it was unethical and illegal. Louis Lukins says, though, that he talked to Ambassador Johnson about it again several weeks later and the ambassador still wanted to go ahead with the request.
Lukins says he again told Woody Johnson that he should not do it, but then he says Ambassador Woody Johnson went ahead and actually did it, made the request anyway. He did convey the president's request about his golf club and the British the British Open to the British government. And there was Louis Lukins taking detailed notes at the time and as he put it, telling Washington, letting Washington know, reporting his observations and concerns about what was happening back to the State Department in D.C. as of last fall.
Several months ago, the State Department apparently had done some investigation of these allegations. But then the report on those investigations, the report on what happened somewhat mysteriously and very atypically disappeared and has not been made public. NBC News reporting that that report was designated as classified for some reason. And then shortly thereafter, the inspector general who conducted that investigation was fired. And we still don't know why he was fired. And that is something that Congress is currently investigating, because not only does Congress not know why that inspector general was fired, neither does he.
Congress recently released the transcript of a closed door deposition they did with the inspector general, Steve Linnik, where Linnik told members of Congress in this case, Congressman Ted Lieu, quote, I don't know why I have been removed. There's been no valid reason presented to me for that removal. Congress is trying to figure it out. Linnik still doesn't know why he was fired, but he was fired, apparently, according to NBC News reporting. At the same time, his reporting on what happened with that request about the president's golf club was mysteriously marked, classified, submarined and kept from public view.
This week, the Foreign Relations and Oversight Committees sent subpoenas to senior State Department officials to try to get to the bottom of why that inspector general was fired and to try to figure out whether it may have been a cover up of some kind. To add further drama to this, this week, the new inspector general who was put in place to replace the guy who they precipitously fired, the new one, announced that he, too, is leaving abruptly after less than three months on the job as the new State Department inspector general leaving without explanation.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying simply that he wanted to go home and it happens. I should mention that that acting inspector general, the guy newly appointed to that post, he's not only leaving the inspector general job to which he was just named, he's also leaving the government entirely with no explanation. But the US ambassador to the U.K., Wendy Johnson, is still at his post in London, even after all this has come out. I mean, despite what appears to have been his direct involvement in carrying out this scheme that the president put him up to, to try to use the US government and employees of the US government to get him a sweet business deal from a foreign government.
As Ambassador Lukins said here last night on this show, and has he apparently told Ambassador Wendy Johnson when this happened, this scheme that the president arranged involving his ambassador and the golf club thing, it may not only be unethical and against State Department policy, it may be illegal. Well, to that point, the story has taken a further step forward now because now the FBI has been asked to investigate this matter as potentially bribery, the solicitation of a bribe.
Congresswoman Kathleen Rice of New York and Congressman Ted Lieu of California, both of whom, incidentally, are former federal prosecutors. They've now written to the FBI director, Christopher Wray, asking the FBI to investigate whether this was a crime. Quote, Dear Director Ray, as former prosecutors and current members of Congress, we request the FBI to look into whether US Ambassador to the U.K. Robert Wood Johnson, the forth committed any crimes. Multiple media reports document Ambassador Johnson trying to steer the lucrative British Open golf tournament to the Trump Turnberry Resort, which would benefit Donald Trump and his family.
We do not know the details of Ambassador Johnson's conversations with British officials, but if he was being influenced in the performance or omission of any official acts in exchange for foreign officials moving the British Open to Trump Turnberry, that would constitute solicitation of a bribe. Representatives go on to spell out what part of the US penal code establishes solicitation of bribery as a crime. They say in this case, quote, Ambassador Johnson is a public official and he sought something of significant value moving the British Open to Trump.
Turnberry for Donald Trump. If Ambassador Johnston's conversations with British officials included him stating that he would either perform or omit to perform certain official actions in exchange for them moving the British Open, then all the elements for soliciting a bribe are met. We believe the public reporting has provided more than enough of a factual predicate to open an investigation into Ambassador Johnson. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Joining us now live is Congressman Ted Little, who, not incidentally, sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which oversees the State Department.
He's also one of these members of Congress who is calling for the FBI investigation. Congressman Lou, thank you so much for making time. I really appreciate you being here tonight. Thank you, Rachel. In the wake of this recent public reporting and these shocking allegations from Ambassador Louis Lukins, you first called for the resignation of Ambassador Johnson, who's still currently in post in London. You've now taking it a step further and said that the FBI should investigate this as potential criminal behavior on his part.
Why do you think it rises to the level of what you want to be a criminal investigation here? Thank you for your question. We know that what Ambassador Johnson did was unethical, what Congresswoman Kathy Rice and I want to know is, was it also illegal? And in this case, two or three elements of solicitation of a bribe to you as a public official? And he definitely asked for something of value for Donald Trump. And if you said anything in exchange for that, that that would be solicitation of a bribe.
That was some sort of official action. And why is this report, this a report on what he did even more classified? Because if all he did was make that request, that would not be classified, but would be classified as we said something. And that's what makes this thing even more suspicious. That's why we want the FBI to investigate, because he may have said something that he should not have said. In terms of that State Department paper trail, there has been a sort of remarkable string of reporting.
Here's Lewis Lukens telling me last night that he conveyed his concerns to Washington. He said he told Washington about the same concerns that he expressed to Ambassador Johnson. We've also got the associate who said his exact words, quote, I let Washington know, but also kept detailed notes on my own of what was happening at the time. We've also had some remarkable and interesting reporting from the Associated Press that describes multiple State Department officials conveying concerns about this home to Washington, home to State Department headquarters, expressing alarm and concern about these unethical and potentially illegal acts.
Should you and your colleagues in the Foreign Relations Committee or anybody else in Congress be able to follow that paper trail if, in fact, all of this stuff was dutifully documented by career officials who witnessed it and who knew it was wrong?
Absolutely, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has already subpoenaed a number of officials, I've interviewed it along with other committee members, and it's pretty clear that he had no basis for getting fired. We don't know why a card now has suddenly resigned. And this is part of a pattern of corruption that we see in the State Department, not just Ambassador Johnson, but also you have allegations that the US ambassador to Brazil was asking Brazil to basically take actions that benefit Donald Trump's reelection.
I think Ambassador Johnson should resign. But since he hasn't, I believe the State Department needs to recall him back. United States for two reasons. First of all, Ambassador Lukins, on your show confirm that Ambassador Johnson made that request to British officials to move the British Open to the Trump Turnberry resort. And second, there are multiple allegations that Ambassador Johnson made racist and sexist comments. You can't have these kinds of allegations in a very critical position for US government.
If, in fact, the inspector general did investigate those comments that you just described from the ambassador and this matter of potentially soliciting a bribe, as you and your colleague puts it in this letter today to the FBI, if the IG has looked into these matters, what's to stop the senior leadership at the State Department from burying that inspector general report forever? Is there a way that it can be surfaced? Obviously, it seems to require some fresh investigation.
It sounds like you and your colleagues are eager to do that. But if the IG has already done on the ground investigation of what happened here, how can that report be either brought to the attention of the public or to the oversight committees like the one on which you serve? Public sentiment matters, that's why shows like yours are so important, congressional oversight matters, and the committee is absolutely going to ask for this report to be made public. I still think it's awfully suspicious as more classified.
Not clear why that would be the case. And we definitely want to see this report. And the State Department owes it to American people to clear the air if nothing happened or if something bad happened to issue the report and then have the chips fall where they may. Congressman Ted Lieu of California, sir, thank you for your time tonight. Thanks for helping us understand this. I feel like the story is felt like it's been sort of on a slow burn for a while.
But it is it is coming to a boil. Thank you, sir. Much. Appreciate it. Thank you. I should mention that there is going to be some potential furthering of this story tomorrow, NBC News is reporting tonight that the person who currently serves as executive secretary to Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, her name is Lisa. She is set to appear before a congressional before congressional committees tomorrow. She has previously testified that she doesn't have any knowledge about the inspector general's firing, but she has said some troubling things about whether or not she was asked as Pumphouse executive secretary to do things that basically constitute a misuse of resources in the State Department.
So, again, Lisa Kena, she's up for an ambassadorship right now. She is due to testify in Congress tomorrow. While this is a roiling controversy now, including this new request to the FBI to investigate this as a potential criminal matter, expect that she will be asked about that and that may be of news interest. We'll keep you posted. We got much more straight ahead here tonight. Stay with us.
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Hey, it's Chris Hayes this week on my podcast. Why is this happening? I'll be talking with Pulitzer Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson about her wildly ambitious new book on PCAST.
What we view as established, almost natural law is in fact a creation of man. It actually is not real. It is an artificial hierarchy that was used in this particular hierarchy, this particular caste system. In other caste systems, there might be religion that's used as a metric, there could be geography. This used as a metric other forms of lineage. But in this case, it was race as the tool race is the signal race is the clue as to where you fit in the caste system that was created with the founding of the country this week on why is this happening?
Search for why is this happening wherever you're listening right now and subscribe. Here's the specs, the yacht is called illusions. The first thought was I thought it was called the illusion or the illusions. It's just called illusions, like talking heads. It's one hundred and eight feet long. It has a full staff, also a chef. It has four state rooms. I think a state room in this context means bedroom. But I'm not sure whatever they are, whatever state rooms are, illusions has four of them, illusions is a big enough boat that it comes with other boats and vehicles that ride on top of it.
It comes with two jet skis and a 16 foot long jet boat. It's a boat that comes with a boat. I do not know my way around a yacht I do on a rowboat, but I don't know anything about yachts. I would not know the makings of a good stateroom if I laid down in one for a nautical nap. But I'll tell you, for news purposes, you should know that boats that make the news, they tend to have a paper trail online.
And so I think this might be the boat in question and this might be illusions. When you Google Illusions yacht, at least this is the bad boy that pops up and it does have the like embedded jet skis and the jet boat and the fancy bedrooms and all the rest of it. The reason I went on a very pleasurable Internet deep dive for this today is that some good ship illusions, some yacht of that name has now been cited as evidence in the long, long, long, long list of allegations of fraud and multimillion dollar self dealing at the NRA at the National Rifle Association.
In a lawsuit that was filed today by New York's attorney general, Letitia James. The NRA as an organization is chartered in New York. It has been chartered in New York for well over one hundred years as a New York institution, as a New York charitable institution, it has to follow the rules and laws for nonprofits operating in New York. And according to the attorney general's lawsuit, the long time president of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, often stayed on the illusions yacht without paying for it.
Those trips were a present from one of the NRA's vendors, with Mr. LaPierre getting to use the chef and the jet skis and presumably all four steak rooms for free. What he didn't do was disclose his acceptance of what the New York alleges was this very, very expensive gift on the NRA financial disclosures. And that is something that is required by New York state law. From the lawsuit, quote, In Mr. Loppers testimony to the attorney general, he said that the reason he failed to disclose the use of the yacht was for security reasons and because he considered the to have been used for a legitimate a legitimate business purpose.
But wait, there's more. According to the New York attorney general, Wayne LaPierre spent five hundred thousand dollars of the NRA's money. That's NRA donors, right. NRA members providing money to the NRA for its purpose as a nonprofit instead. Wayne LaPierre is taking a half million dollars of that money to spend specifically on private airplane flights to the Bahamas and back for his family at least eight times over just the last three years. The attorney general says he spent more than 13 million dollars of the NRA's money on a private travel consultant arranging additional private flights and luxury cars for him and his family over the last six years.
That was also at least one African safari for Wayne LaPierre and his wife, which the AG says they improperly accepted from another NRA vendor. The ticks off lots of fancy Christmas gifts for loppers, friends and family and golf club membership fees and a twelve thousand dollar hotel bill at the Four Seasons, not for Wayne LaPierre, but for his niece over the course of four years. The lawsuit alleges that Wayne LaPierre was reimbursed for more than a million dollars worth of personal expenses straight out of the NRA's coffers.
So your uncle with the NRA sticker on the back of his pickup, which he's really excited to put up there because it shows that he's an NRA member. Do or die. He's been dutifully giving them their money. He's been like putting Wayne LaPierre his knees up in the Four Seasons and flying Wayne and his family back and forth to the Bahamas. That's what that membership money has been going to. The lawsuit filed today is over one hundred and fifty pages.
The New York attorney general Letitia James sets out in a fairly stunning detail her case for how the president of the NRA and several of his top lieutenants drained more than sixty four million dollars out of the NRA for their own personal gain over a very short period of time, just over a period of a few years. The NRA has been an outsized political force in this country for a long time. They have been an axis of power and conservative politics. They've been a crucial ally to this specific president.
In twenty sixteen, the NRA donated more money to Trump's presidential campaign than they've donated to any other presidential campaign since they've come into being. But now with this lawsuit today, the New York attorney general is moving to dissolve the organization entirely. She says, as punishment for years of financial fraud and abuse that amount to brazen illegality. We have seen New York attorney general. We've seen the New York authorities pursue and win that exact outcome before in the Trump era.
They've done it repeatedly. In twenty sixteen. You might remember, it was the New York attorney general's office that settled a lawsuit over the president's fake Trump University. Right. The president's fake university. Trump knew he had to pay twenty five million dollars settlement to the people who said they were defrauded by that scam. As a result of that lawsuit by the New York attorney general's office, Trump University was dissolved. Then it happened again in twenty eighteen with the Trump Foundation.
The New York attorney general filed a suit detailing a long, long running, fraudulent and self dealing behavior at the Trump family's so-called charity. As a result, the Trump Foundation was dissolved and its remaining assets were distributed to real charities. Well, now the New York attorney general is doing the same thing with the NRA. They have asked a court to permanently dissolve the organization, redistribute its remaining assets to real charities for real charitable use. Now, in response to this action today by New York's attorney general, President Trump suggested publicly today that the NRA should just pick up and move out of New York to escape all of this legal hullabaloo to escape to James's jurisdiction in New York.
He said that the NRA should move to Texas to go on and lead a, quote, very good and beautiful life. How does he talk that way anyway, according to legal experts that we consulted today, the NRA can't do that. They can't just pick up and ship themselves in their assets to Texas and some big cargo crate. And frankly, the president should know that if that had been a solution to this kind of problem, he might have done that with a Trump charity.
But Tish James has the right, as New York attorney general, to ask a court to dissolve the NRA and to distribute those assets for public benefit. They can't do so without her consent. They can't just up and say we're no longer in New York, we're taking all our assets and going elsewhere because they're incorporated the way they're in New York, she's in charge of what happens to them. And she has now lined up her case alleging serious illegality and misuse of that organization.
She's going for it. The people of the state of New York. Versus the NRA. New York Attorney General Letitia James joins us live here next. Stay with us. Hi, everyone, it's Joy Reid I'm so excited to tell you about my new MSNBC show, the Read Out every weeknight, I'm talking with the biggest newsmakers about the most pressing issues of our time, like Joe Biden, the words of president matter and so is President United States.
The first thing I'm going to do is stand up and talk sense and be honest with the American people. Level with them.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. We need as many voices as we can have as possible sounding the alarm, encouraging people to wear masks and to take all precautions and to follow the science and the data. Senator Kamala Harris, we send folks into a war wearing camouflage. So what is going on here when you send camouflage uniformed officers into a city and many more?
You can listen to the readout as a podcast by searching for the readout. That's r e i o u t one word wherever you're listening right now and subscribing for free. Thanks for listening. The NRA's influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets. Wayne LaPierre, Woody Phillips, Joshua Powell and John Frazier instituted a culture of self dealing, mismanagement and negligent oversight at the NRA that was illegal, oppressive.
And fraudulent in. New York Attorney General Letitia James speaking this morning just after filing a lawsuit that seeks to entirely dissolve the National Rifle Association as an organization, the NRA has chartered in New York as a nonprofit and thus is subject to New York law. Joining us now is New York's attorney general, Letitia James. Madam Attorney General, thank you so much for taking the time to help us understand this case tonight. Thank you for having me, Rachel.
So you came and did an interview with me, you spoke with us here on the show nearly a year and a half ago and this investigation started. What did you and your office discover over the course of your investigation into the NRA that made you decide to seek the most dramatic possible remedy here, the actual dissolving of this organization? It was the diversion of millions upon millions of dollars from the charitable mission of the NRA. It was this culture of misappropriation, this culture where individuals were using the NRA as their personal piggy bank.
Wayne LaPierre as the executive vice president, is council treasurer and his chief of staff. These four individuals, plus the NRA itself a seventy six member board and audit committee, a compensation committee, all of them turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to all that was happening. They doled out no show contracts, no bidding contracts. They sought the loyalty of members of the committee. They sought to quiet those who were dissidents, and they also ignored the complaints of whistleblowers, a number of whistleblowers who understand and who recognize the financial impropriety that was happening within the NRA to the point where the NRA today is operating in the deficit.
And despite all of that, Mr. Wayne LaPierre and the NRA would seek to engage in personal attacks as opposed to dealing with our complaint and the facts that we laid bare. And the fact is, is that it was a not for profit organized under the state of New York and that they attempted to violate the law, they the jurisdiction, and evade certain protocols that should have been in place.
And it's unfortunate that they failed to ensure these financial controls. It's unfortunate that they failed to adequately adequately respond to whistleblowers. It's unfortunate that they attempted to conceal the nature and scope of whistleblower complaints. It's unfortunate that they attempted to hide information from external auditors. It's unfortunate that they engaged in these related party transactions and that they engaged in a number of conflicts of interest. And so we seek to dissolve the corporation because their behavior was pervasive and persistent and it's throughout the entire corporation.
It's important that these four men and the NRA not, again, serve on any not for profit board in the state of New York and that they recoup and provide restitution and look to the lot to the NRA as a result of all of its losses, including its excessive compensation packages for these leaders. And that's why we are seeking that the NRA be dissolved because it has gone on for far too long, an unchecked corporation with too much power and a corporation that unfortunately ignored the law.
No one is above the law, including the NRA. Now, in response to your suit today, which obviously made national news, right, this is this is a big deal given the political influence and reach of of the NRA both over time. And now the president responded by saying that he thinks that the NRA should just get out of New York, move itself to Texas. The Texas attorney general then tweeted that the state, of course, would welcome the NRA with open arms.
When we saw that the president and the Texas attorney general said that today, we contacted a number of legal experts who told us that that's not a possibility and that may be a good PR move. But the way that the NRA is chartered in New York, they can't just up and move to any other state. They certainly can't take any of their assets, which includes their name, their brand and any of the ways in which they've represented themselves to the public.
If they try to do this well, you have to take legal action to block them from doing that. Do you see them as having any legal toehold to stand on if they try to evade your jurisdiction by just dissolving themself in New York and leaving? The NRA has to account for this not for profit corporation, they have to account to to a court of law. We filed in the Supreme Court today in the state of New York. And until such time as they account for their looting of this corporation, this corporation cannot leave the state of New York at this point in time.
They need the approval of the office of attorney general. And so until such time as there is a full accounting restitution and they are removed as leaders of the NRA and end, we will dissolve the corporation in its entirety. And they they will not serve on any other not for profit in the state of New York. This these individuals are not in a position to lead the state of New York and the NRA as a corporation. It's also important to note that the attorney general of D.C. also filed an action today against the NRA foundation and the district of attorney.
The attorney general of D.C. is alleging that the foundation was subject to the influence of Wayne LaPierre. And so we are, again, awaiting the outcomes of these two major lawsuits that again, question whether or not this corporation, the NRA itself and these four individual defendants, in fact, failed to ensure and put in place fiscal controls, which allowed them to basically loot the corporation and use it and use it as their own personal piggy bank. New York Attorney General Leticia James, thank you for your time tonight.
I know that actions like this make you a national lightning rod and that puts a lot of pressure on you and your office. That makes me all the more grateful that you're willing to come here and explain in your own terms how you arrived at this decision and what it means. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Rachel. All right, coming up next, as I mentioned at the top of the show, there's some news out of Kansas tonight that doesn't have a lot of national attention yet, but absolutely has national implications. It even comes with a little clip and save chart you can put up on the fridge.
That's next. Stay with us. At the beginning of last month, the Democratic governor of Kansas, Laura Kelly, signed a mandate for mask's statewide in Kansas, but Republicans in the Kansas legislature had taken action to strip the governor of the emergency powers that let her do something like that. So as a result, her statewide mask order didn't really happen. Individual counties had the right to not do it if they didn't want to. And that's what most counties did.
The story of what happened next in Kansas comes now from the head of the State Health Department. He's now briefed reporters and the public on what happened once that mask order went into effect in a handful of counties who said, OK, but not in most counties in the state. The secretary showed this chart of daily cases per capita. This is the seven day rolling average of cases per capita in Kansas. He tracked the 15 Kansas counties that decided they would enforce the mask mandate that the governor announced last month.
And they tracked the remaining nine counties in the state that chose to make it just a recommendation, just a suggestion. And you can see the results for yourself. The counties that followed the mask mandate that put a mask mandate in effect, they bent the curve. They brought their case numbers way down. The counties that didn't make masks mandatory didn't bend the curve down. The virus there is still chugging along. This is how the health director explained what the takeaway should be for all of us here.
Bottom bottom line is, do mask work here in this natural experiment called Kansas, where we essentially not due to any great design, but it has worked out that way. Some counties have been the control group with no mask and some have had been the experimental group with masks are worn and the experimental group is winning the battle.
If you know anybody who has doubts about whether mask wearing works, have them take a look at this natural experiment in Kansas. Kansas has proof you bring the curve down with a mask, mandate you without one. We will post the Kansas chart at Matto blog dot com. We'll be right back. Thanks for being with us tonight. I will see you again tomorrow night, The Rachel Maddow Show weeknights at 9:00 Eastern on MSNBC.