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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  September 20, 2021 10:00pm-10:58pm PDT

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since some of the eye-popping details in the book, first started to emerge last week. the much much anticipated book, is finally going to come out tomorrow. but the first primetime interview with this authors is about to start here, live. on the last word with lawrence o'donnell. good evening lawrence i cannot wait to see this interview. >> thank you rachel, and thank you for letting them know that that's happening. you know rachel on saturdays, i'm pretty much on a new strike. i don't consume any news at all. so it was not until 9 pm tonight that i learned from you actually happened at the capitol. on saturday i had no idea. i consumed none of it, had no idea what that rally, can even use the word rally anymore, that that thing that was supposed to be a rally turned out to be. acres of free parking for everyone.
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amazing. >> would you think that every officer in the u.s. capitol police, and every officer, or on duty because of that, and plus all of the fencing. and it was like one dude and his dog, and a woman doing yoga. it was -- i mean better to be over prepared than underprepared, given the last time that trump people came to washington. but my god, it was quite a day. >> and let's hope that it's a positive in to cater about where this whole election fraud thing really stands. that that's how much public support could muster on saturday. >> yeah, i feel like all the other signs are bad, but that sign was good. >> yes we will see, thank you rachel. well bob woodward trilogy on the trump white house is now complete. first came fear. then came rage. and now peril, coauthored by
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bob woodward and robert costa. bob woodward book, is like a large christmas tree with dozens of unique ornaments that you've never seen before, and news media headlines immediately focused on the biggest, and most important ornaments on that tree, and we all eagerly read those first news reports about a bobbled workbook, but the reason to read the book, the reason to order this book tonight and get it that your bookstore tomorrow, is to see how the whole story fits together, and see all of those ornaments on the tree that the news media never gets to. because there are just too many of them. the little jolt that aren't quite so newsworthy. like donald trump's views on body fat. on page 28 donald trump tells it overweight attorney general william barnes, this about his
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weight. and on page 1:25, when he gets covid-19, donald trump tells her quote and then there is the jam of mitch mcconnell gleefully calling donald trump a moron to his colleagues in the republic stan, on page 1:26, the book has mitch mcconnell, happily enjoying the 2017 story about donald trump's for secretary of state, calling donald trump a moron after trump left a meeting at the pentagon. page 1:27.
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msnbc to stephen, correctly reported as effing moran at the time the story broke in 2017. the peril described in the woodward and cost a book, is actually a range of pearls. from donald trump's ordering the launch, possibly ordering the launch of new color missing. to donald trump nuking the -- those were the perils that we were facing. there has been much news coverage of the precautions the german of the joint chief of staff, general mark milley took to prevent donald trump from being able to launch neutral or attack on china, as part of a coup attempt for donald trump to hold on to the presidency after he lost the election in november. we will discuss that in a moment with bob woodward and robert costa. the book does not tell us what might have gone through donald trump's mind about launching a new color attack. or possibly launching a new
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color. tech but it is filled with details. about what went through donald trump's mind, and what came out of his mouth about his attack. for donald trump after he lost the election, holding on to the presidency was all up to his vice president mike pence. donald trump wanted mike pence. on january six, to simply not count the electoral votes for some states won by joe biden. so that donald trump could then end up with the largest number of electoral votes, and be declared the winner of the presidency, or so the electoral college could fail to choose a president, which would then leave that up to the house of representatives. and since each state in the house gets only one vote, in that scenario, 26 republican majority states in the house representative, with that have given the presidency to donald trump. on january 5th, the night before the electoral college vote, we are going to be counted in congress, donald
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trump told mike pence, that he could and should reject biden electors. page 228.
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leading off our discussion tonight, bob woodward would two time winning author and robert costa reporter for the washington post, they are the coauthors of the new already bestseller peril. bob let me begin with you, that
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scene just described that's in your book, on january 5th. this is the night before, well became an attack on the capitol, and there's the president of the united states believing, and assisting to his vice president that he could change the outcome of the presidential election the next day. mike pence saying, i've tried in effect, i've hoped that i could find a way to do that and i can find it. and that's how close we can to a different electoral count. in the congress the next day. >> yes, more than that, actually the legitimacy of the presidency was at stake. because if pence had wavered it all and stood there in the senate and the house and said i can't decide, i'm going home, we would've had a constitutional crisis like
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we've never seen before in this country. but pence did stick to the law and the constitution. but it was not a direct path. and the reporting that bob costa and i did shows very clearly that pence was looking for a way to accommodate trump in the end i think pressure from lawyers and friends, and advisers, and pence's own sense of conservative republicanism was, okay i'm gonna do the right thing here. but it was not a sure call at the beginning. >> and robert costa, there was a scene in the book of mike pence calling former republican vice president, denny quail, to get his advice about this, dan
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quail had that job. in 1993, when they failed their reelection campaign, and he has vice president had to deliver, basically open the envelopes showing that bill clinton won. >> indeed january 6th, 1993, dan quail as vice president certified the victory on that date for than president clinton. and vice president gore. and he's largely disappeared from the american political scene in recent decades. but he remains close to his fellow republicans, mike pence. and this is one of the calls mike pence made during this transition period. trying to figure out how to navigate the dynamics, the president from president trump. vice president quail, based on our reporting, kept ellen pence, you can do this. mike we are friends. we are both indian republican vice president. you just can't move forward.
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and bob was and i were talking recently about the january 5th scene. and the most striking seem to me was after pence leaves the over office, on january 5th. we have in our, book president trump opening the door in a freezing night, january 5th, with future riders outside. he supporters outside in the street of washington. and in the frigid air having the gust of air come into the oval office. and he wouldn't close the door. he said to his aides in the oval office, listen to them, these are my supporters, they want to act tomorrow, on january six. and even some of his own aides were shivering in the oval office that. night the president wouldn't close the door, he wanted to hear the cries of his supporters. >> yes, and it's a chilling scene, for the readers. it was so cinematic because -- you do this in so many scenes where you take us be on the important tex, there's always an important text in the room of what was said. but then there's more >> in that room, then what was said.
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and that for me is what the book is about. that distinguishes the book in so many ways from the news accounts and why you really need to get the full picture of any one of these moments. you really have to hold the book in your hands and see everything that occurred in these. rooms bob woodward, the danger of nuclear war, is something that has been. -- there's these two moments somewhere where of them from your reporting -- one from the final day fields of richard nixon where you and carl bernstein reported on the end of the nixon presidency and how there was concern and worry in the administration about would richard nixon. in order to try and save his presidency through a crisis. possibly launch some kind of nuclear attack. and that is echoed in this. we >> actually, it happened -- merely the chairman of the joint chief internally with the senior staff and we did tell up
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this notion of the absolute darkest moment of theoretical possibilities. in other words he had to look at the bad things that could have been. and he realized after a very long call, where we have the transcript in the book, with speaker pelosi, and pelosi is saying you have got to find some way to guarantee that trump is not going to start a war or use nuclear weapons. and milley is pushing back in the call, and then he realizes that pelosi's right, i've got to do something, and in one of the most dramatic findings in the reporting that bob costa and i did, milley actually calls in the people from the war room in the pentagon.
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the pentagon called the command center, into his office. one star admiral, or one star brigadier general in the army and seeing kernels and says to them, i want you to make sure if there is an order, just not for the news of nuclear weapon but any sort of military action that i will be included you call me, and he literally goes around the room, and looks each person in the eye and says have you got that. have you got that? yes sir. yes sir. and this is equivalent to what secretary of defense schlesinger did in the nixon years. insisting that he be involved in this case, nearly stepped in
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because the acting secretary of defense, chris miller, at that point had just been appointed and pelosi did not trust miller. i think milley was not sure. so he sees this moment in a way to protect the country from this theoretical possibility of a catastrophe. just really quick to jump in on that, i think it's very important for people to read the full book to get the context of what chairman milley was doing. page 1:29 is so important. when he -- you've tried to make a routine call. for military leaders, he was trying to reassure him when he says that we are going to attack at some point. it has always been like this
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throughout history. read the full conversation, he's trying to calm down general lee and the chinese. it is a very tense situation just days before the election, october 30th 2020. and the whole book is about the context of our reporting. not just things are pulled out or cherry picked. >> we are going to have to squeeze in a commercial break right here. when we come back, we are going to have to talk about that call that general milley made. the controversy that it has sparked since he reporting has become public. we will be right back with robert costa, the authors of peril. authors of peril. and all their devices. or it could be the day there's a cyberthreat. get ready for it all with an advanced network and managed services from comcast business. and get cybersecurity solutions that let you see everything on your network. plus an expert team looking ahead 24/7 to help prevent threats. every day in business is a big day. we'll keep you ready for what's next.
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bestselling book that's began where we just left it on the other side. general milley calls it in china, the controversial thing that i can tell from your action from is that he guarantees no attack, we know if people are suspecting donald trump might launch an attack as a way of hanging on to power. and then there is a part, i'm paraphrasing if there is any kind of attack i will warn you. i will let you know. you have seen the criticism about this, he hasn't offered any public comment. if general milley could answer the criticism he has been getting about this, but would you expect him to say? >> well, i'm not going to guess
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about what he might say. we know from our reporting what happened. you have to understand with this day was it was october 30th. intel, sensitive intelligence shows that the chinese think we're going to launch an attack on them. now, this is the worst moment for somebody in the military. us belittles his senior staff, that were the case. if they think we are going to attack them, they might want to billet told the senior staff would be a pearl harbor on us. he moves to protect the country and i think that at the center of all of this, the reporting we did shows that everything
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really did was to protect the country. the idea that he committed treason is totally unsupported if we are going to attack you but in the context i suggest you reach page 1:29, the whole answers there. he is saying not that he is going to tip him off, but the tensions will build up. this is the way it always happened in history. then he said we are not going to have a fight and generally says i accept it. he says i believe. it and every step, all these
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calls, all middle east actions. now, he is going to testify. thank god we have congress, which will make an effort to get to the bottom of this and let him explain why he did things. but our reporting, zero evidence. absolutely zero evidence of some sort of treason or the idea of doing something not in the interest of protecting the country. he had devoted his entire life to the united states military. he was going to have to answer for himself. but if people like donald trump who have said oh what milley did, if this is true this is treason. i think when everything comes out about all of this, when we
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get the facts on the table they are going to be apologizing to milley. they have misread the extent to which he is committed his life, decade after decade. now, did he make -- are some things unclear? the testimony before congress that he is going to give against them is on the 27th. that is gonna be some of the most important testimony given to congress and decades. >> you have other reporting in the book about of the congressional investigation right now. the january 6th attack on the capitol, kevin mccarthy's phone
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call this is from the book where you have if you tell somebody to stop, out of the capital we have been one. over i put a tweet out trump said. i've never seen anything like this, mccarthy said. you've got to tell them to stop. he never asked about mccarthy safety. one remarks to that. well kevin, i guess these people are more upset about the election than you are. robert costa, that is the conversation that the investigative committee about
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trump book that constantly is cutting to sanity. it is coming from the madness of the trump house, to the
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insanity instability of joe biden brings to both the presidential campaign and then the white house. the biden story begins with a year and a half left in the biden vice presidency. when beau biden dies on may 20th, 20 13th and on page 13 you tell the story. joe biden was devastated. this is going to be a very tough time for me personally, biden told steve chevy his chief of staff for nearly 30 -- for nearly three years. another principle. the only way i'm able to get through this he said is if we just you know you have to keep working and keep me busy. he loved biden the resilience of generosity the friendliness a fine city needed to work you knew how to keep the vice president busy. schedule and action. he later referred to others that sometimes it sounds almost cruel but keeping busy meant taking another hard look at a
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presidential campaign. he is so different from trump world. career long devoted people working for joe biden who love him. they run plane eu the person who lawyer when you think the reader could take out of this book. these positions, ones in losses. but how joe biden in the people he has brought into the white house run the white house. >> well, it is a different cast. it is a different theory of the case. when bob costa and i we need to
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show what he does eu it lays out what he cares about and some missteps. there are some problems. at the same time, you can't report on biden and understand that the core of him is -- this isn't a political judgment, it's a reporting fact. the core of him is, let's protect the country and that's to the best that we can. so, there is that back and forth. the point of the book. the larger point of peril is
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that trump was creating an issue towards security crises. that is what we didn't know about until we could get some of these details. >> thank you very, much you've done it again. robert costa thank you very much for joining us. i've so many questions about what a sight to work with the master. taking on the carl bernstein rule. going coauthor and one of these books. thank you both very much for joining us tonight. i really appreciate it. >> thank you, thank you. >> and we want to tell viewers that bob woodward and robert costa will be on morning joe tomorrow. and mary trump will join us next. l join u next ♪ i feel free ♪ ♪ to bare my skin, yeah, that's all me ♪ ♪ nothing and me go hand in hand ♪ ♪ nothing on my skin, that's my new plan ♪
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judges of staff general mark. donald trump's mental health after donald trump lost his reelection campaign. well, milley had witnessed up close how trump was routinely impulsive unpredictable. making matters even more dire. milley was certain trump hadn't gone into a serious mental decline. the aftermath of the election with trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality of endless election conspiracies. you never know with the presidents trigger point is, milley told senior staff. when might events and pressures come together to cause the president to order military action? joining us now is mary trump, author of the book the reckoning. our nation's trauma and finding a way to heal. thank you very much for joining us tonight. there is so much material on your uncle's mental health in this book, as perceived by general milley and others. we have talked about some of
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the points we have yet to get to. but when you see everything general milley is going through, everything he is reacting to and his concerns. what do you know about your uncle that you are sure general milley was seeing in these situations? >> well it, general milley was seen desperation. i don't believe that there was a seven precipitous decline in donald's psychological help. he had never been psychologically healthy. we have been hearing reports for the last five years about his erratic behavior, his outbursts, his temper, his inability to focus or grasp even the most basic information. what happened after he lost the election was the incredible stress of having, for the first time in his life, lost something that he couldn't lie, cheat or steal his way out of.
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so, his desperation is what's general milley was dealing with. and i've no doubt in my mind that it made donald's behavior even more alarming even though i don't think it pointed to a mental decline. >> there's so many passages in this book when i get in there and read every line that makes me think of you. they make me think, oh, mary trump's reaction to this. there is this moment where he has been told that you cannot -- you know, you just cannot use the insurrection act to bring troops to washington d.c. to take over and commercial protests that were happening in the middle of the summer there. and so, your uncle then screams, who do you think you are? trump screamed esper, you took away my authorities! you are not the president! i am the gosh darn president! i'm not sure that there is another president of the united
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states who said anything like this at any point in the oval office. every previous holder that office i think is pretty confident, at all times to the president was. >> not only caught where they confident, they understood how the american government worked. donald had no authority to invoke the insurrection act under those circumstances. and the fact that he felt thwarted just tells us how danger it is to put somebody in a position of that much power who won, doesn't understand what his job is. and two, is unwilling to learn. three, feels entitled to having absolute control in power. so, i think that we really dodged a bullet in the sense that donald it didn't have quite enough time to install
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the various departments. he was on his way to doing just that. >> there is a passage and hear about the first rally, the first rally donald had after covid started. he couldn't stand it anymore. on june 20th, 2020, he had that role in oklahoma. now, herman cain was there. herman cain died a few weeks later of covid-19. that event itself was considered a superspreader event. but it was a thinly populated trump brought. it was a much smaller crowd than anybody expected to shop there. and so, from the book we have. which is what your uncle said about that rally. the biggest effing mistake, trump said at the meeting in the oval office. i shouldn't have ever done that effing, effing rally. calling brad parscale and i think more on. that was a campaign mourner juror at the time. he was demoted after that
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event. not awarded any point from your uncle about herman cain's death. there's nothing in the book about his sympathies ferment cain, who attended that event. >> well, i wouldn't expect there to be. first of all, the fact that herman cain died of covid which potentially he got at that rally, or contradict donald narrative that it was a hoax. secondly, it just shows you that this is a person who is incapable of empathy. he is incapable of caring about other human beings, except to the extent that they can be abused to him. this is somebody who is only barometer for how things are going in the world is how many people attend his rally, how many people pay attention to him. which again, it's another reason why we need to figure out a way to strengthen our system to present this kind of person from getting to power
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again. >> quickly before we go, one thing that constantly surprises me in this book are the stream of people from paul ryan on saying, i just can't believe with the skies like. i don't get, it he seemed incredibly, totally transparent to me as a campaigner for the president. he is absolutely consistent as it arranged campaigner for the presidency. he was advertising in the presidency will have a deranged personal in the oval office. these people were surprised if he really was as crazy as he appeared to be. >> i think that's what they call revisionist history. just covering yourself because that is impossible. if they were paying the slightest bit of attention, they knew exactly who they were dealing with. he was the same in 2015, as he was in 2020, as he wasn't 20 -- it is just a way of changing
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the narrative from their responsibility which they refused to admit which is again another problem. they didn't stay in charge to fix, if they run away from it. >> mary trump, thank you very much for joining us once again. we always appreciate it. >> thank you lawrence. >> coming up, new trump news tonight. ellen's lawyers that in court that they believe more indictments are coming in the trump business fraud case. e. nothing rhymes with liberty mutual. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ (brad) everyone is discovering the power of 5g. but we've been helping millions of renters get into 5g for years... and also 6g. and 4c. and 2r. and 7l... apartments-dot-com. the most popular place to find a place. fries or salad?
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he nodded to the existence of other possible defendants when he pointed out that just before monday's hearing began, prosecutors have turned over a box of tax records from the company that were found in coconspirators basements. the new york times reports, the office has been scrutinizing matthew calamari who once work is trump's bodyguard over four decades to become the trump organization chief operating officer. it is unclear whether the prosecutors roll will charge mr. calamari. his lawyer told the times that they presently intended to indict him. he has been informed to the contrary, the trial preparation. the tentative trial date of approximately one year from now, susan hunger former manhattan assistant. he's a white-collar criminal defense attorney. tim bryan, senior columnist.
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the author of the trump nation. >> the speculation immediately goes to coconspirators. >> who are you talking about? who might be the new indictments? a lot of speculation tonight, including donald trump as a possible defendant. there are reports indicating that he may have signed some of the checks to allen weissenberg that have the fraudulent compensation. >> thank you lawrence, good evening. well, it is hard to know of course at this point who the other individuals may be who may be charged. but as you may recall, the indictment itself very clearly identifies evidence together against other trump employees and other trump organization executives. and there is reference in the indictment to trump himself, having signed some checks. they went for tua xin, i believe of one of the trump
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organization folks children. but the indictment itself made this very clear a few months ago. there was evidence of other employees and other executives being complicit, this type of tax evasion. at this point, we don't know. but it could be a number of individuals that the trump organization. >> i'm sure the names just started rolling through your head today as soon as you heard coconspirators. >> well, it's not a huge population of people, lawrence. clearly, this case is targeting trump. the manhattan da office has gone to great lengths to secure trump's personal attack, along with trump organizations corporate tax returns. in addition, matthew calamari, the chief operating officer is a person of interest to them. i think that jeff buchanan as another executive there of a person of interest. i imagine they have taught and
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thought about jason, who is the former in-house counsel. of course the three oldest children. that is essentially everyone there who would've been involved in the kinds of things that the da appears to be looking at. it is not a large population of people, it is worth remembering at the end of the day. nobody did anything misstep donald trump approving and sending off on it. we i think the population of people -- >> and susan, on the timetable and i imagine different we could be a long way from the trial. >> absolutely one year, approximately from one year is probably defendants cannot
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delay the case. they will be given substantial times to review these millions of pages in the file there. there will undoubtedly be several motions. there are various individuals. we're charged will say it is not fair to be in travel somebody who might point a finger at me. and so, i think it's a sensitive trial in a white collar case with the financial documents. it may be put off especially if there are other written a book about it, you've been in litigation with him. he sued human lost on your so-called liable case. that was in the book you wrote about him, tell us and a legal
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process including today section. the people around him, including his eldest children don't from under the bus. if they are facing prison terms themselves, we just don't know yet. we don't know how severe that situations going to be. obviously, the work is pitiful here. i don't think if he is facing a substantial prison term or any other senior executive trump organization it's the main thing that trump as worried about right now. who is going to be loyal and who is not? >> thank you both very much for joining us tonight. thank you, we'll be right back.
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the authors of peril bob woodward and robert costa will be on morning joe, tomorrow morning. and what i hope is an even more extensive conversation that we will have here tonight. the 11th hour with brian williams starts now. >> well good evening once again day 244 of the biden administration. the president is in new york tonight, just hours away from his first speech to the un general assembly as the united states president. and that just foreign policy. then there's his domestic agenda. followed up in congress. while the nation remained in the grip of a pandemic. our death toll has just passed 679,000 souls. that is now north of the 675,000 estimated to have been lost in the 1918 flu pandemic. this is now the deadliest