numbers keep increasing. we keep seeing covid patients. >> the work is heavy. we try to keep each other up and help each other out. >> i don't think as nurses you're less immune to being scared and terrified of it like the general population. what is scary now is that people are starting to be deceitful with their coronavirus testing results. because you could spread it and still feel fine and they're going out in public and giving it to people and i don't think that people realize it would wipe us all out just by being deceitful and selfish and not staying inside. >> once again we begin the show with voices from medical workers on the front lines of this pandemic as the situation continues to deteriorate. in a growing number of states, welcome to wednesday. it is "meet the press" daily and i'm katy tur in for chuck todd. as we approach the july fourth
holiday there is concern this pandemic could once again spiral out of control if something doesn't change. cases are rising at record levels. states are playing catch-up. hospitalizations are threaten to overwhelm some cities. there isn't enough testing. the white house is once again urging all americans to do their part to slow the spread and the president is just now recommending the use of facial coverings. let that all sink in. that is where we are four whole months into this pandemic. the trends are alarming. and in arizona cases are spiking, so are hospitalizations. hospitals statewide have been given the green light to activate crisis care standards. the governor is urging all residents to stay home. vice president pence met with the state governor this afternoon in phoenix and he assured the state that, quote, help it on the way from the federal government. in california, they're seeing a record number of cases and a record number of
hospitalizations, too. right now 99% of the normal icu beds in riverside county, one of the most populous counties in america are occupied. this afternoon the governor announced he's ordering los angeles and riverside and 17 others to drastically scale back indoor activities at restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses. in texas, the state is also battling record numbers of new cases and record numbers of hospitalizations. states like georgia, mississippi, nevada and tennessee are also seeing record hospitalizations and cases continue to climb in other states like florida, south carolina, and oklahoma among others. meanwhile test providers like quest and lab corp are scrambling to keep up with the surge in demand. positivity rates are above recommended guidelines in two states which means there still isn't enough testing. the president has been eagerly
hoping to focus on reopening states. but right now the administration is headed back to crisis mode as cases surge. and in a telling reversal, the president is no longer flouting the use of masks. >> i'm all for masks. i think masks are good. if i were in a group of people and i was close -- >> you would wear one? >> i have. people have seen me wearing one. if i were in a tight situation with people, i would absolutely -- >> do you think the public will see that at some point. >> i mean, i have no problem. i had a mask on. i sort of liked the way i looked. i thought it was okay. it was a dark black mask and i thought it looked okay. it looked like the lone ranger. >> we should note before today's interview the president has repeatedly downplayed the importance of wearing masks. he mocked a reporter for wearing one at a white house press conference and publicly mused that some wear masks to signal
opposition to him and he's told reporters he didn't want to see them wearing one. joining me now from phoenix is my nbc news colleague vaughn hillyard. so the vice president was there and he said that he was sending federal reinforcements to that state. what more could you tell us about what governor ducey is doing to flatten this curve, to decrease the spread? >> reporter: yeah, katy, they announced they'll garner additional medical personnel to help with the facilities here. because there are hospitals that are already overwhelmed when it comes to the staff that is on the ground at these facilities, what we just heard from the vice president during this press conference with arizona governor was the vice president that said wear a mask, wash your hands, and socially distance. i think the hard part is that where that mess wage was over t
last month and a half. the stay-at-home order expired lear on may 15 jd and the numbers continue to rise. the percentage positive number has risen since. the number of influenza like cases has risen since then. vice president pence when asked about hospitalizations, he said, quote, they have capacity. noting that current -- across the entire state hospital bed capacity is 85% and icu capacity is 88%. but that doesn't take into account there have already been patients for a dozen hospitals to sent to other facilities because they are already at capacity. there is also dr. birx who was also here as part of the coronavirus task force and it was a line from dr. birx that caught my ear. if they see a rise in the percent positive number that is when they need to urge people to
stay at home and use masks. here in the state of arizona, the of the number taking place a month and a half ago and it wasn't until this monday when the governor began to implea. restrictions on gyms and movie theaters and still senator sinema calling on the state to take more action including a stay-at-home policy because restaurants and malls are open, eateries are still open. there is a question mark of where does this go in the next two weeks. >> vaughn hillyard, thank you. and earlier you were talking to a doctor that things were getting so bad they might have to triage covid patients, those more likely to survive the disease and not treat those less likely to survive. vaughn hillyard, thank you. and joining me now are two local leaders in charge of hot spots within hot spots. judge lena hidalgo of texas, the
most populous countries in texas including houston. and miami, florida mayor francis suarez. and judge hidalgo, i want to start with you. the rise in cases in texas was predictable. the lieutenant governor today said that he doesn't think anthony fauci knows what he's talking about. the vice president had painted a rosier picture of what was happening across the country. now the president is making something of an about face on masks. the confusion and the messaging, what is that doing to the population in your county? >> i hear from folks every day in harris county, largest county in texas. we are home to houston and 33 cities in addition to unincorporated areas and i hear from the community that they're confused. if there is something that you shouldn't be doing, presumably
the government will tell you about it. they will tell you not to do it. so we have heard that the mixed messages ultimately dilute what we have to do which is at this point is to stay home. the way i've worked to get around that as best possible is being very, very clear with my community as showing a warning system on friday. we raised the level of alert to the highest level, level one, red, severe. and the recommendation is to stay home. of course, to the extent that there is consistent messaging it will make a difference and we don't have time to waste. we may well be too late. and so i think we have to all be consistent in that messaging and of course as far as individual comments, i don't want to be pulled into a political fight. that is the very last thing we need right now. all throughout i've been committed in trying to make the reopening a success. done everything we could for that to happen. at this point we see it was too fast, it was too early. we know what works and we have to get smart about this.
>> we just showed your seven-day moving average there in texas and it is steadily on the rise. worryingly so. do recommendations work or does it need to be an order for people to stay home? >> unfortunately i'm afraid recommendations don't work. we saw it very clearly with our face covering order. we had an order back a few months ago and as soon as the order was signed, the news was talking about how masks and face coverings were going to be the new fashion item and folks were figuring out how to make one and the state stepped in and removed our local authority to issue those orders. all of a sudden folks didn't want to wear it any more. it's human nature. the goal is not to go and see how many fines we can collect to have a police officer at every street corner. in fact, whether we had a stay-home order that i issued back when the first curve happened, bars and restaurant order, it was enforceable but the priority was education. i don't think we handled out a
single fine but it works because there was that provision there. when you don't have it, folks don't recognize it is a requirement. and that is why i've been advocating with state that we need the enforce ability of a stay-at-home order because that is the ome thing that will work right now. we just crossed 100% of the base icu capacity so we are at surge capacity asking nurses to double up, you know, changing the way the rooms are set up. that is what this next surge phase looks like. so there is only one way out of there. the curve will not flatten itself and we knows what works and that is a stay-at-home order. >> mayor suarez, let's talk about what is happening in florida. 6,563 new cases in the last 24 hours and in miami-dade county 1,141 additional confirmed cases and nine new deaths. why are you not ordering other or reissuing another
stay-at-home order in miami. >> you know, the stay-at-home order that we ordered in late march or april was very effective. without a doubt. i think we're in a different place at that time economically. the economy was at full employment and people were in a much better position to be able to stay at home and not essentially be able to work. we're in a different place right now. unfortunately the economy is at historicic levels ever unemployment. those who are working with making a fraction of what we were making precovid and so we're trying to be surgical and balanced. the fact that the economy is on the verge of collapse with the fact that we have a public health crisis. so we ordered masks for the public, that is something that we're the first to order in the state of florida. we've also have associated fines with failure to wear the plask -- the mask in public and penalizing the businesses that don't comply with the requirements and regulations and closing them for ten days for
the first instance, 15 days for second, and 30 for the third. but i'll tell you, a stay-at-home order is totally possible. i'm not saying -- and i've never said throughout this entire process that it is impossible for us to go to a stay-at-home order or roll back some of the opening that we've done. in fact i've been very clear that option is on the table. and depending on our hospital capacity and the circumstances, we may have to take that unfortunate step. >> who is driving the spike in cases in miami and in florida? >> the spike in cases are predominantly in the 18 to 35-year-old age group. but to me, there is two things about that. i don't want to overemphasize that as if that is not a threat for two reasons. the first is, it takes two to five weeks to know exactly what the implications of a new case are going to be in terms of hospitalizations and in terms of deaths. and the second thing is, if new
cases go up to a point where the vulnerable in our society are at a higher risk because young people live with their parents or their grand parents or visit them or in contact with people that are immunocompromised, to me the fact that more people are getting sick is not necessarily a good thing. it is not something that we should tout as if it is a good thing. so for me, it is still a major concern. >> let me ask you one other question. you were talking about the economy and i understand the negative economic effects of shutting down. you also say that you have a mask order for miami. does there need to be a statewide mask order in order to continue to have some semblance of economic activity in your state while also trying to flatten the curve, trying to mitigate the spread of this virus? is county to county, city to city going to be effective. >> i recommend it. i recommend the statewide mask order. i also recommend shutting down
businesses that don't comply with the various rules. and doing it and shutting them down for more than one day. before it was the 10, 15, 30 rule, if you got shut down for no noncompliance and acting like a nightclub, bars have been closed and we were the last city to open in the state and i was criticized for that. but if we didn't implement the rules you would get shut down for one day and the next day you would demonstrate compliance and you would be up and running again. so there was no penalty for noncompliance. and to me, we set a set of rules based on what our epidemiologists have analyzed and the department of health has analyzed in terms of data. whether someone criticized me i with stand that because my job is to protect my residents and that protects our economy because we don't have the bad press of the fact that our cases seem to continue to go up.
>> the faster you could flatten the curve the faster you could reopen safely. thank you very much. and judge lena hidalgo, thank you as well. and ahead, how bad could the surge get. i'm going to ask the former head of the fda about what he is expecting. and later what did the president know about the russian bounties on american soldiers? i'll talk to a senior official who worked in the trump administration and is calling the white house's explanation absurd and alarming. stay with us. ta-da! did you know liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need? i should get a quote. do it. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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if you want a chance at prom next spring, wear a face covering. if you want to go on spring break next march, next april, wear a face covering. >> if you want to stop with the stay-at-home orders, wear a face covering. wear a mask. that is the surgeon general yesterday pleading with americans to wear masks. even citing events well into next year. as we told you at the beginning of the show, today president trump shifted his tone slightly. saying he's all for masks despite, of course, a whole lot of evidence to the contrary. the president's reluctance to embrace the basic of safety measures is one piece of the federal government sponsor lack thereof as cases surge across the country. let's bring in dr. scott gottlieb. thank you so much for being here. let's talk about what the president said about masks today. he's not exactly embracing them but not treating them as -- with
such repulsion as he was before. is that going to be enough to get those skeptical trump supporters out there to wear a mask? is it too little too late or is it a good thing? >> well, a number of things need to happen. first of all, the cdc needs to change the guidance. right now the recommendations on the website are that you should wear a mask if you can't socially distance but people who go out of the homes don't know if they could socially distance or not and we need to change that guidance. 'should be guiding people to wear macs all of the time outside of homes. states are going to start to mandate masks, unfortunately after it is late and death and disease and cases start to build. but i think the masks aren't 100% protective but the simplest thing to do to try to reduce the race of transmission. there is not a lot of literature you could get the race of
transmission brrn so you've seen a great reluctance to do it here. it is an infringement and i'm not sure how this became a political issue in some of the states but it is aim pellest thing to do collectively to get this under control and we'll come around to it. >> let me just clarify. you're saying that the cdc guidance said wear a mask if you can't socially distance. you're saying wear a mask period if you go outside? >> that is right. and some states have implemented universal macing to i would advocate in the setting of an epidemic. we wear people to wear seat belts to protect themselves and lower insurance premiums. woe could man date masking where the dangerous pathogen we could tell consumers they have to wear a mask outside of homes. i know there is a lot of reluctance and people say well you're going to fine people or lock them up for not having a mask on. not necessarily. you could give people warnings and allow businesses and local
officials to refuse sfrs to people who don't have masks on. you could give them fines. we don't necessarily need to fine people on a first instance of not wearing a mask outside of their house. you'll have to have enforcement but it doesn't need to be people get locked up when people go outside of homes with a mask. so i think the fears of a universal masking order are a little bit unfounded. we could implement the universal masking requirement and have some kind of enforcement of it that doesn't really infringe on people's individual liberties. if we end up having to reach for stay-at-home orders and have to shut down businesses again, which is already happening across the country, that is a far greater infringement on people's personal liberties and if we can't open schools in the fall, that is going to really be devastating and right now in a lot of the states that have the large epidemics under way, florida, texas, arizona, georgia, california, it is hard for them to open local school districts come this fall. they have to make the decisions in about a month and this isn't going to be over in a month.
>> many of the governors from the states that you just mentioned are reluctant to issue stay-at-home orders again and don't want to roll back the reopening or reluctant to roll back much of the reopening measures they've taken in the past few months. what is the recommendation to them right now in order to get a handle on things as quickly as possible. what is the reasonable steps that all of the governors should be taking? >> look, we're at a very hard moment right now and some respects we're stronger than when we dealt with the first wave. we have better tools and better testing and treatment and so we're able to lower the death rate. but in a lost respects we're dealing with it in a weaker position. we don't have the strength in our economy that we had when the first wave came so it is very lard to reimplement shutting down businesses again. i would look at universal masking, requiring people to wear a mask and we know that will cut the rate of transmission and looking at settings inside where we know
there are sources of spread. so restaurants for sure, bars things like that where people are indoors in tight spaces that we know we've seen outbreaks emanate from. and i would also be doubling down on efforts to protect settings where you have vulnerable populations so nursing homes for certain, places where people work where they can't properly social distance with things like factories warehouses. you have to be focusing on that. >> one more. quest diagnostics said it is overwhelmed with the increased demand. could we be facing another testing shortage? >> well, what we have in this country is a lot of testing capacity but it is not evenly distributed so what you're finding states with epidemics are overwhelmed. there is not a lot of swing capacity to move into the states. quest and lab corp are the swing christmasity and bio reference laboratories so it shows we're still vulnerable and the supply chain isn't out so things
like -- and swabs are becoming short again. >> we're four months into this. are you surprised we're so behind? >> look, we reopened against a the back drop of spread that wassinetitiable. i'm surprised at the pace of the epidemic in the south. i didn't expect it to build this quickly this large. and so we're facing a pretty big epidemic in states like florida, texas, georgia, california, south carolina. it is hard to get this under control. we face hard weeks ahead of us even if we implement tough measures now, there is still a number of weeks ahead of us where the case counts is going up. we're going to cross 50,000 cases maybe today and deaths are going to start to go up again probably in the next week or two we'll see over a thousand deaths aday that we're going to be reporting. so this is very tragic. it is a very difficult circumstance we're in right now. >> deaths have been a lagging indicator. dr. scott gottlieb, thank you so much for joining us today. we appreciate all of your
insight, sir. >> thanks. i'm going to talk to a congresswoman who is also a former cia officer about what we know and don't know about the intelligence behind the reports that russia paid bounties for u.s. troops. and later november election is likely to be dominated by mail-in ballots. is the postal service ready to deliver? stay with us. y to deliver? stay with us is that net carbs or total?... eh, not enough fiber... chocolate would be good... snacking should be sweet and simple. the delicious taste of glucerna gives you the sweetness you crave while helping you manage your blood sugar. with nutrients to help support immune health.
welcome back. more members of congress are getting some information today about the intelligence that russia offered to pay bounties to taliban militants who killed american soldiers. director of national intelligence john ratcliffe just finished briefing the senate intelligence committee. tomorrow he and gina haspel will brief the so-called gang of eight on that intelligence. and at least some information is now available for all senators to see in a classified setting at the capitol. but president trump meanwhile still insists he was never briefed and tweeting this is made up, fake news, media hoax to slander him and the republican party. and he was not briefed because the intelligence in question was never verified. >> the president was not briefed because at the time of the allegations, they were uncorroborated. the d.o.d. and secretary esper
just said that it was uncorroborated and the intelligence community didn't have a consensus and as a result the president's career cia briefer decided not to brief him because it was unverified intelligence. >> with me now is virginia congresswoman abigail spamberger one briefed on the intelligence yesterday and a member of the house foreign affairs committee and also a former cia officer. so congresswoman, i want to get this from you as a former cia officer. put on your cia hat if you will for me for a second. and just give me your assessment of the intelligence you heard yesterday. >> well, so i can't speak directly to any intelligence that i in particular was briefed on. but looking at the basic idea of how intelligence does or doesn't make it into the presidential daily brief, it is important to note that information that is included in that pdb, as it is called, meets a particular
threshold and sometimes there may be elements of the larger intelligence community that is cavy @oughting that informationar may still detailing it or flush it out but the fact that information rises to the level of being briefed to the president speaks a lot about the level of credibility or at least concern related to that information. >> well let me ask it to you this way. are you more concerned or less concerned about the underlying intelligence that russia was paying the taliban bounties to kill american soldiers today than when you first heard about this story? >> well, so, i am more concerned at this point. and i am more concerned at this point because now having heard from taliban leaders that they're assessing and claiming it to be true that we still have not seen a full throated denunciation coming out of this white house and in our briefing yesterday that is what i said to the chief of staff, was that i want to see this president, this white house say that they will get to the bottom of this. if there is any doubt in their
mind as to whether or not it is true, i expect that they're going to lean into it, aggressively determine whether it is true or not and take action. but the fact that we haven't heard anything to the effect of if this is true we wholeheartedly denounce it and defended that bounty would be put on u.s. soldiers by an adversary nation, it is unthinkable we haven't seen that level of a response out of this white house. >> "the new york times" is reporting that there is a financial trail between the gru in russia and taliban linked bank accounts in afghanistan. are you getting enough information to satisfy your questions on that link? >> what is important to me and i'm a former intel officer so i'll always keep asking questions. that is how you create good intelligence reports and that is how you layer together the information from various different sources and places, to
create a picture of a larger thing that happened, event that happened or threat that exists. and i would like to see the entire body of congress briefed by intelligence officials. i'm glad that director haspel will brief the gang of eight but i do think it is important that the broader congressional body hear directly from her and other intelligence officials what exactly exists in the way of intelligence, what some of the sources is as much as that information could be shared so that people have a fuller understanding of the timeline of alleged events and what we know about them. >> from what you know now, how do you want the president to react or how do you think the president should react toward russia? >> i would expect that any president of the united states who hears about even the mere threat or allegation that another country is putting bounties on the heads of the
soldiers and the troops for which he is the commander-in-chief would come out aggressively and forcefully denouncing that action, pledging to get answers and pledging to take action in response to that threat, in response to that allegation and in defense of the men and women who risk everything in defense of this country. >> if it is true, that is a major escalation by russia. what sort of action are you talking about? >> so, it is yet another action by an adversary nation that seeks to aggress against democracies across the western world. we saw it in the advancement into crimea and in the 2016 elections, time and time again russia aggresses against democracy. it is their playbook. and now moving to a place where they feel that they have the ability to take this step forward and put a bounty on the
head of an american soldier, i think it speaks to the fact that we should have long ago taken some aggressive steps to demonstrate what is and is not acceptable from a country like russia directed at our democracy and the foundation of this country. >> congresswoman abigail spamberger thank you so much. we appreciate your insight. now to brett mcgurk who served under president's bush, obama and donald trump and now a foreign affairs analyst. brett, it is good to you. the president is calling this a hoax. he's calling it fake news. and insinuating it was put out there to try and hurt him. the white house is saying that this was unverified intelligence and that is why the president won't be briefed on it. explain what you're hearing through that word salad of excuses for why the president didn't know about this or if he did know why he did not act.
>> well i think the congresswoman put it very well. it is wednesday now and this has been out for five days and we'll we're seeing from the white house is crisis to try to protect the president saying why he didn't know. look, some facts that we know. this is in the pdb and met the threshold for that and american lives were at risk. intelligence is an art not a science. there is very rarely a high confidence of intelligence but something threatening americans is going to be in the pdb and even the president needs to know. the pdb goes through all of the senior officials in washington in the national security council. the fact that they are saying that they never told the president, he spoke with putin five or six times after this and he was never briefed is in conceivable. the first half of your show was about the coronavirus disaster. and president trump today again said this is all just going to
go away. we know from reportering, "the washington post," there is a dozen warnings in the pdb in january and february about the coronavirus pandemic. well, president trump was listen to xi jinping. so this president is not doing his job, his fundamental job to protect the american people. he's not reading intelligence. there is no national security process and americans are dying. >> what about those around him? say it he was in the pdb, same thing for the coronavirus as you just brought up, what does that say about the people surrounding him? >> it shows that we don't have a government. i cannot -- i was a senior director on the national security council. it is my job to consume intelligence and to make sure people are informed. when you read intelligence, you ask yourself three questions. what do i know after reading this? who needs to know this information? and have i told them?
that is how we help protect the country. the fact that this information is in the pdb, that russia may have had a change of policy to put bounties on americans and that nobody was going to beat down the door of the oval office and let the president know this, at least say, mr. president, very serious information we're following up on so if you're on the phone with president putin keep this in mind or send him a warning shot over the phone but instead he's talked to putin five or six times and inviting him back into the g-7, it is extraordinary. but it speaks to a larger problem in this administration. an we've seven months left of this president at least. we have an economic crisis, a public health catastrophe and a racial justice crisis and the one thing that we don't have an international security crisis. but one may very well be coming and this president clearly, this administration is totally ill equipped to handle it. i think we're in deep trouble and this is one just indicator
to tip the iceberg for a much larger problem. >> well let me ask you this. because you're in a unique position. you worked in that white house. you worked on the nsc. why would officials in the white house not bring this to the president's attention? >> you know, if i have answer -- they have to answer for themselves. i know robert o'brien and i respect him. but trying to blame the briefer with no attention span, that is not -- we could not believe this is in the pdb. robert got the pdb and so does the chief of staff and all of the senior officials get the pdb and it shows a break down in the process. any threat to country, i just know from president bush, i used to go in the oval office and brief president bush regularly and josh bolton was the chief of staff and i said, josh, when i started doing this regularly, what is your advice? and he said it is easy. tell the president the truth,
and in five minutes every morning. that is your job. and if there is information that russia is putting bounties on americans, and the president is about to talk to president putin, it is totally inconceivable that inside of the west wing nobody brought this to the president. i find it -- it is so alarming because it speaks to what else is out there that the president doesn't know. but we're not acting upon it. >> brett mcgurk, thank you very much. again, unique insight because you did used to work in the white house in the fnsc. we appreciate your time. >> thank you so much. and another news out of russia. we have an election update. vladimir putin would be russia's president until 2036. 16 years from now. voters just approved changes to the country's constitution allowing putin to seek two more terms. it was not surprisingly a
landslide with 74% of the voters backing put inbut there are widespread reports of pressure on voters and other, quote, irregularities. again, not a surprise about that either. we'll be right back. aa is made t we're helping members catch up by spreading any missed usaa insurance payments over the next twelve months so they can keep more cash in your pockets for when it matters most find out more at usaa.com for spending a perfectly reasonable amount of time on the couch with tacos from grubhub? grubhub's gonna reward you for that with a $5 off perk. (doorbell rings) - [crowd] grubhub! (fireworks exploding)
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welcome back tonight in 2020 vision, the democratic establishment scored a win in colorado and while a republican incumbent got ousted. candidate john hickenlooper easily won yesterday and will take on senator cory gardner in november. flipping this seat is key for democrats looking to take control of the senate. yesterday also saw a surprise upset in colorado could put a republican held house seat further in play. trump endorsed congressman scott tipton was defeated last night by lauren bro bird, the owner of
a gun themed restaurant cited for defining coronavirus restrictions. she has spoken favorably wft qanon conspiracy theory. we'll be right back with what that support might mean for the most important election story that is not being talked about. can the postal service in this country handle a vote by mail election? stay with us. with us introducing new voltaren arthritis pain gel,
. welcome back. we just showed you results from colorado's primary last night. a state where the overwhelming majority of votes were cast by mail-in ballot. if it went smoothly, it was because colorado ill plemtd vote by mail long before our pandemic. it has already posed problems in states without a robust vote by maile mail program with delays in kentucky, pennsylvania and wisconsin. some states are scrambling to fix those problems in time for november with the expectation that in-person voting will be a safety risk in the midst of a pandemic. what it bails down to is that the results of the presidential election are being placed on the shoulders of the united states postal service, and reporting by pro publica shows the mail system in this country might not be up to the task. joining me now, one of the authors of that piece. the elections reporter at pro
publica. so this is a story not getting any attention, frankly. and it is a worrying one. the president keeps talking about fraud but there are real concerns about the bail of the umpbl sps to deliver mail-in ballots on time to voters and then to get them back to election headquarters. secretaries of state, election boards, in order for them to be count on time. what does your reporting show us? >> sure. we spent a couple months investigating whether or not the u.s. postal service in its current cash strapped state during a pandemic is up to the task of delivering an election that could be conducted largely by mail as states grow their systems. what we found was honestly really worrisome. the postal service in addition to being in financial dire straits is not great at hitting its long time goals. it hasn't hit any of the goals for any time first class mail in five years. for election mail, some areas,
particularly in swing states like wisconsin, ohio, are delivering 84% of their election mail on time. so if you play that out across a national election with a large rote by mail operations across many states, you get thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of ballots that get there late. and as a system, politically, i'm not sure we can grapple with that. >> when you talk about thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of votes not getting there on time, ballots not getting there on time, that could be enough to sway the election in any given direction. specially in swing states like pennsylvania or michigan. donald trump only would have been michigan by a few thousand votes in 2016. >> sure. i think that's right. what election officials and experts have been warning across the board is get ready for an election where the results are
not announced on election night. part of that is because of mail delays. what voters may not realize is the u.s. postal service's official advice is to get your ballot in the mail seven days ahead of time. and i'm not sure that many voters even want to wait that long to fill out their ballot or want to delay sending their ballot in. but that's really the reality of today's mail. the postal service is moving slower. it went to congress in april, seeing that it would run out of money by september. it has since changed those figures. the postal service is not what it used to be. states like colorado that you mention at the top of this, they built up their vote by mail systems over a did he go aid. states trying to go from 1% of ballots cast to 50, 60, 70% and there are bounds to be hiccups in that. what we founds is that the postal service works well when
it is intertwined with state election systems but that can take a decade or more. so a lot of election officials are trying to fight two battles. they're fighting an in-person election system that just is more expensive, requires more social distancing and moves slower, and they're having to build these new vote by mail systems on the fly. that's doing two things at once. >> let me ask you this. if you are watching at home right now and you're saying to yourself, hey, i want to vote by mail because i'm not confident i should be going out and voting in person in the middle of a pandemic, are you saying that they should maybe try to drop off their ballot in person? are you saying if they mail it two weeks early, three weeks early, they'll be in a better position than they would normally be? how confident can you be that if you mail in your vote, that it will get counted? >> well, if you look at the overall election mail on time delivery rates stats for the
postal service for election mail, something like 4% to 5% of ballots just arrive late. if you're comfortable taking that chance, that's sort of one thing. the postal service is really the best move. and that is to send your ballot in the mail at least seven days ahead of your local deadlines. in terms of requesting ballots, i would do that as soon as possible. just because how your election is run is often dependent on who your local election officer is, how much money they have and how much staff they have. those are variable that's it is hard for the average voter to suss out. get your ballot in really soon and send your ballot in way ahead of time. because everything is shoe right now. >> thank you so much for bringing us a story that everybody should be talking about that has so far known under the radar. we appreciate your time.
that is all for me tonight. we'll be back tomorrow with more "meet the press daily." "the beat" with ari melber up next. three nights in a row. >> it's true. this is "the beat" and i'm ari melber and there's new reporting coming out tonight. continuing developments about russian bounties killing americans. we'll get into that. joe biden may get some crucial help from george w. bush veterans turning on donald trump. dan rather joins us for journalistic and historic perspective i always love hearing from him about big stories. we have for you tonight a special record on the news so many democrats have been waiting for. barack obama jumping into this 2020 campaign and his top pollsters along with some special footage. we begin right now with the