tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC July 19, 2021 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
this country's infrastructure. so i think that's probably a drumbeat and messaging we are going to continue to hear from democrats. >> i am certainly sure of that. reverend harris, erin haynes, thank you both very much. pituitary way, for those of us staying up late, i will be a guest tonight on the late show with stephen colbert. that is all for "the reidout" tonight. "all in with chris hayes" starts now. tonight, on "all in." the first-felony sentencing for a maga foot soldier in the capitol attack. tonight, why isn't the justice department prosecuting the leaders who inspired him? then, as infrastructure votes begin, why is the white house waiting
to act on voting rights? i'll ask congressman james clyburn. plus, the texas lawmaker, who fled his state to stop voter suppression, test positive for covid in d.c. trey martinez fisher joins me, live, from squarn quarantine. and my exclusive interview with energy secretary jennifer granholm on america's sluggish
response to climate change and how to turn it all around. when "all in" starts right now. good evening, from new york i'm chris hayes. we just got the names of the people house minority leader kevin mccarthy appointed to investigate the january-6th insurrection. three of the five members that he chose voted to overturn the election results in pennsylvania and arizona, including congressman jim jordan of ohio. who, according to a new book by "washington post" reporters, carol leonnig, and philip rucker, was called out by a potential committee colleague. congresswoman liz cheney of wyoming as the guy who did this. the guy responsible for the january-6th attack on the capitol. and now, that guy is going to possibly sit on the committee to
investigate what happened. these are reportedly the five that mccarthy has chosen. there are a couple things we do not know. when speaker of the house nancy pelosi first announced this select committee, one of the things she said was that she would have veto power over the appointments. so right now, it's unclear
whether or not she will give these members the okay. i mean, people who actively voted against democracy, on the day of the capitol riot. something to watch. we will talk more about that with congressman james clyburn just a little bit later in the show. but generally, if you feel a sense of déjà vu as you survey the landscape of democracy and politics at this moment. you are not alone, and i feel it, too. we have very much been here, before. there are so many ways, in which the first year of the biden administration harkens back to the first year of the obama administration. and that's despite the fact that we generally see george w. bush and donald trump as kind of opposite ends of the spectrum of modern-republican politics. but both, biden and obama came to office, after republican administrations desecrated the rule of law. opposed all efforts to repair the country, for the looming and growing crisis of climate change. and then, to boot, left the country mired in historic crises. huge, crushing problems that had to be solved immediately. that is what barack obama
inherited, on january 20th, 2009. that is what joe biden inherited on january 20th, 2021. and because of the similarities between these two, there's a lot to learn. i mean, there are -- there are lessons about how to pass a democratic agenda. there are lessons about obstruction and senator mitch mcconnell's true nature. whether you can trust him. there are lessons about the importance of tangibly improving people's lives, as fast as possible. but one of the biggest lessons to my mind, one that occupies us on this day, is about accountability. the rule of law. and what happens to people who transgress. so, today, we saw the very first sentencing for a january-6th rioter, who was convicted of a felony. this is a first. his name is paul hodgkin's, 38-year-old out of tampa, florida, who pleaded guilty to obstructing official proceeding when he entered the capitol building carrying a trump 2020 flag. he took selfies there. he received eight months in
prison, significantly less than the 18 months prosecutors asked for. talk a little more about that sentence of what it means but overall, when you step back, the fbi and department of justice i think have done a pretty admirable job with this massive investigation in the wake of the insurrection. remember, on january 6th, as we were all watching live, right, as the people who stormed the capitol just escaped. they all got away thinking, going to be a little hard to find 'em. but the fbi and doj have done a very good job of tracking these people down, and then building cases and then bringing charge against them. there are more than 500 people who have now been arrested. but in some ways, bringing accountability to those people, people like paul hodgkin's, is the easier thing for our justice system to do. the much harder thing is dealing with the pouchl people at the top. today, we also learned department of justice will not prosecute donald trump's former commerce secretary for lying to congress. you may remember this episode. we covered it a bunch.
it was so sort of egregious even at the time. but he testified in congress that he decided to add a question about the citizenship status of folks to the census after department of justice said that data was needed to enforce the voting rights act. federal voting laws. please, wilbur ross. ross admitted he start thinking about the issue and then, reached out to doj to suggest adding the question. can you send me a request to add the question because i want to add the question. luckily, supreme court ruled in 2019 they could not include the citizen's request on the census. mostly, they ruled because the whole thing was so shoddy and obviously manifestly manipulated and deceitful but it was a pretty blatant attempt to intimidate immigrants and by intimidating immigrants, reduce their representation in the census. okay. now, ross, you remember him. 83-year-old multimillionaire.
most notable for falling asleep in meetings in wearing $600 slippers. well, they often escape accountability. again, we have been here, before. before barack obama became president, he said he would hold people to account for the war crimes the united states authorized and then committed during the bush administration. and i do not use that term lightly. there were orders to allow torture, like water boarding and other things that were clearly in violation of both the geneva convention and domestic law. barack obama was clear eyed about that. about that transgression. but also, about the political reality of potentially prosecuting former officials. >> we're still evaluating how we are going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. and obviously, we are going to be looking at past practices. and i don't believe that anybody is above the law. on the other hand, i also have a belief that we need to look forward, as -- as opposed to looking backwards.
>> forward, not backward. that would be an important slogan, at that time. now, war crimes had been prosecuted, in the wake of the abuse, say, the prison in iraq, the most probably notorious and recorded, documented war crime in the bush years. 11 u.s. soldiers were convicted of crimes related to the abuse, capture in those infamous photos. former army reserve soldier was sentenced to three years in prison for her role. but remember, nothing ever happened to secretary of defense donald rumsfeld, who authorized the use of the interrogation techniques that multiple reports found led to that. and that was the pattern. and the question at the beginning of the obama administration was, was that pattern going to change? the answer is it did not. i think the reason is that the compounding crises and the fixed amount of political capital, at least the perception thereof, the obama administration essentially decided not to prosecute the engineers of the torture regime. at the time, i thought they should have. in hindsight, i think they still
should have. but i -- i want to give them their due. you could oversimplify how easy a call these things are. i mean, there is a reason that people are hesitant to prosecute members of the government, particularly for talking about prosecuting political officials of the other party once you take power. there are political reasons for that. the blowback, right? and rule-of-law reasons for that. you definitely do not want to end up in a lock-her-up cycle, in a neverending tit for tat which is a thing that happens in many countries. but -- but -- but when the law is violated, in egregious ways, to torture people. when it is violated by the people entrusted with the power to uphold and enforce the law, there must be accountability for that. and there was, essentially, none in the bush administration. the guy who wrote the torture
memo, a tenured faculty member at berkeley just chilling. goes on cable news. teaches. hey. and there is a direct line between that lack of accountability, and the world that we find ourselves in, now. i mean, yes, donald trump was impeached twice. and yet, he sits at mar-a-lago giving interviews where he sounds like a person, entirely and completely, fixated on upending american democracy. having tried and failed, once already. like, he's focused. he knows what he wants to do, again. they -- they tested out all the weak parts in the fence. they're going to come for the fence, again. yes, he is still being investigated by the manhattan district attorney. but the dude tried to foment a coup six months ago. i don't know what to tell you. that's what is waiting in the wings. that's what is being hatched. it's being plotted obviously in front of all our faces. listen to what the man says. and as dan o'brien and norm eisen right in "the new york times," those at the top, who encouraged inciting the
insurrection of january 6th should face accountability the same way more than 500 rioters have and will. and yet, here we are, again. they remain untouched. donald air, former deputy attorney general under president george h.w. bush and elizabeth holzman, former democratic congress woman from new york, who served on the house judiciary committee which voted to impeach president nixon. author of "cheating justice." donald, let me just start with you, and maybe you can just give your argument as -- as you wrote in "the times" about why you think prosecutions at the top. who that means and the means by which it should be done and why it's important to do it? >> well, what we actually wrote about wasn't prosecutions. what we wrote about was essentially this process, whereby, when a member of the government, an employee, gets sued. the attorney general or delegate in the department of justice is
required to certify whether the conduct was engaged in within the scope of his employment. and this all comes up in the context of mo brooks, congressman mo brooks from texas's behavior on january 6th. where he advocated that people kick ass and said a whole-lot more things, stirring up that crowd that went up and did what it did. and he's now been sued by congressman swalwell, along with a number of other people. and he has asked the attorney general to certify that he was acting within the scope of his employment. so that he, in fact, as a congressman who stirred up the trouble on january 6th ought to be defended by the united states. in fact, defended, in the sense that they step in and substitute them, themselves, the united states government, as the defendant in the case. um, and he is immunized by that process. the article we wrote essentially
says, clearly, attorney general garland should not certify. indeed, he should conclude that -- that brooks was not within the scope of his employment. and if you think through the consequences of what would happen, if he did so certify, brooks would be off scot-free and -- and essentially, you'd have opened the door for trump and others to make the same claim that things they did were, also, within the scope of employment. so we're pretty optimistic that garland will do the right thing. but we felt that it was important to make this point in this article. >> yeah. and just -- just to clarify my imposition, before, which i apologize for. you know, there's -- there's a variety of ways accountability can be had here. there is a civil suit right now against mo brooks. you are arguing against the government certifying essentially incitement as part of the normal course of business or underneath his official duties to give him a kind of protection. have the government defend him. that -- that would be the -- the department of justice sort of going out of its way to shield
him. there is other questions about whether the -- the -- the department of justice should be more aggressive in actually wielding whether prosecutorial powers or others, liz, on something like the wilbur ross case. which again, like, i get how thorny that is. i get that prosecutions, for, you know, misleading or perjury of congress are not that common. roger stone, obviously, was convicted of that. so, i understand the hesitancy there. but at the same time, it does look like impunity for people at the top, a little bit. what do you think? >> absolutely. i mean, it's not so hard. just stop and think about an attorney general of the united states. he was prosecuted and pleaded guilty, act of lying to congress, and he was convicted. he served a -- he had a suspended sentence but there was accountability. there was no question that he wasn't going to be dealt with because the evidence was very clear about that.
in the nixon administration, in watergate, what you had was accountability. yes, nixon, ultimately, was pardoned. but he was indicted. an unindicted co-conspirator. he -- the top members of his administration. attorney general john mitchell went to prison. his top aides, holdman and ehrlichman went to prison. substantial-prison sentences. we had accountability for top people in office. what's happened to us? i was a prosecutor in brooklyn. if i ever said i'm going to look forward, not backwards, when people committed murder or rape or robbery or burglary, i would have been out on my ear in two seconds. because if you don't hold people accountable for the crimes, then you trivialize the crimes and you, also, when it comes to high officials, set a double standard. >> yeah. >> high officials can escape and
others don't. >> i am all for accountability. i -- i agree with the idea of accountability. but i -- i think it's a little bit simple minded to equate the situation, after watergate, with what the attorney general now has to deal with in the trump administration. what happened after watergate was a republican administration cleaning up its own mess. we -- we have the worst president, in the history of the country, who was probably also the most corrupt. who left the country in a complete mess. and the justice department is working, overtime, to deal with a lot of the things that have been done. you know, the -- the -- the domestic-terrorism issues, prosecuting the people involved in january 6th. um, cybercrime. all sorts of things they're doing. and there's really a question of how much energy it is appropriate for this -- this
justice department, now, to be putting into prosecutions that are going to be viewed, by 20% or 30% of our population, as political in nature. even though they're not. even though i think they would be totally justified. these are hard calls. and i think you need to recognize that -- that merrick garland and the department only have so many bullets. and so, the idea that they are making hard judgments, which again, i think they're difficult. and i think, maybe, sometimes, they're not going far enough. but -- but it's not an easy thing to just say, oh, go prosecute everybody. there'd be a price paid. >> i'm not -- i'm not saying they should go prosecute everybody. i'm just saying that we have set a standard. and it wasn't a republican administration that cleaned up itself. it was a special prosecutor, the special prosecutor's office that prosecuted these people. >> right. well -- >> i think that -- i -- i'm just saying that when you have a high-level official, who appears to have -- there was sufficient
evidence to require the -- to allow the inspector general to forward that document to -- to the -- to congress. i mean, to the -- i'm sorry -- to the justice department. and say that they're to consider prosecution. when you don't go forward, in that case, you better have a pretty good explanation. because otherwise, it does suggest favoritism, and what does it say to the other 80% of americans who are concerned about seeing that justice is done for people who commit crimes in high places? >> yeah. and i think that the both of these -- yeah -- both -- both of these. i mean, i think the -- the reality is the gravity that pulls on all this is the political capital donald spoke to and that's unfortunate from a justice perspective i think has been very warping in the past and we will see if that continues to be the case. donald and elizabeth, thank you both. that was great. don't go anywhere. my interview with congressman james clyburn, third highest ranking democrat in the house,
about the members of the sedition caucus being appointed to the january-6th committee. and whether the white house is doing enough in the fight for voting rights. congressman clyburn joins me, next. rights. congressman clyburn joins me, next ♪ maybe i didn't love you ♪ ( ♪♪ ) ♪ quite as often as i could have ♪ we're delivering for the earth. by investing in more electric vehicles, reusable packaging, and carbon capture research. making earth our priority. i thought i'd seen it all.
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when you add xfinity mobile. get started today. when you talk to just about any politician, it can seem like every issue they talk about is a priority. but the flip side means that, nothing is a priority, if everything's a priority. at the end of the day, politicians, particularly those in power, have to make choices. what do you do first?
what do you marshal political capital for? what is the the sequencing? in the case of the biden administration, it's pretty clear, at this point, that infrastructure, the total package, both, care economy and -- and -- and more traditional infrastructure. that that's the priority. they are actively negotiating two separate pieces of lemg insulation around those priorities. one, the bipartisan deal they struck. one which is going to go through reconciliation and they want them done now. they have got a full-court press. chuck schumer pushing for procedural votes on both tracks, this week. but since infrastructure is happening now, in all the energy and -- and the focus on political capital is being spent on it. other legislation, like, for instance, voting rights protection, electoral reform, just is naturally moved further down the line. both, in a -- a time sense and a priority sense. now, that being said, senate democrats on the rules committee held a field hearing on voting rights in atlanta, georgia, today. it's the first field hearing in
20 years, and it focused, specifically, on georgia's absurdly restrictive new voting law. congressman james clyburn of south carolina is the ranking -- number three ranking democrat in the house. he, of course, endorsed joe biden when it seemed like biden's presidential campaign might be flagging. that endorsement helped him win south carolina. essentially, the nomination after that. he's advocated president and senate democrats work behind the scenes to carve out exception to the filibuster to pass voting rights protections, and congressman james clyburn joins me now. first, i wonder if you agree with my read of the prioritization right now of the legislative agenda of this democratic administration right now? >> well, i think you've got it right with chronology. i'm not too sure that you hit it right on the subject matter. to me, voting is the top priority whenever we are talking about politics. now, that doesn't mean that, on the calendar, it will be voted on first. and that's, certainly, not the
case here. but voting remains a top priority, with us. all the other things are secondary, if we can't get people to the polls. >> yeah. i mean, part of this has to -- always comes back to the math and senate and reconciliation. i think you have been very -- i think, astute and compelling on the idea that there are already carveouts for different things that don't -- can't be filibustered. that this should be in that category. i just wonder, if you feel like you have had more conversations or maybe progress with that argument to -- to the people that will need to agree with you to get to a resolution? >> well, i think i made progress with a lot of people. i'm not too sure how much progress i made with two people, particularly. and that's the two senators who seem to be ready to filibuster, no matter what. i'm sure working with them and i think i am making progress.
we'll see, when the time comes. >> there was announcement big announcement in the house today which is the minority leader kevin mccarthy announcing the five members that will serve on that january 6th select committee. it's notable that three of those members, including, you know, jim jordan, quite notoriously. that -- that jim jordan voted, along with three of those members -- two other members -- voted against joe biden's electors being seated. voted essentially to overturn the election, in line with what donald trump wanted and what the mob wanted. i wonder if you think that vote should be disqualifying to sit on that committee? >> well, personally, i would think so. but politically, i can understand what kevin mccarthy is doing. i do not agree with it. i think we ought to be serious about this. and i'm not too sure how serious some of those people are about where we are in this country. and what we need to do to
preserve this democracy for our children and grandchildren. it would be a shame, for us to inherit such good, long work, that's gone into building this country, into what it is today. to allow ourselves to seat into an autocracy, which is what some people seem to want. that's not what this country's all about and i don't think that we can be serious about preserving it, if you don't put people on these committees who are serious about finding out what really happened, why it happened, and what we should do about it. >> over the weekend, we -- we observed the -- the anniversary of the passing of john lewis. of course, your colleague and friend for many years. civil rights icon. who, you know, was at the forefront of the passage of a voting rights act that finally
turned america into a true functioning democracy for the first time in america. how do you think of his legacy at this perilous and fraught moment as we fight over whether we are going to remain a multiracial democracy? >> thank you so much for mentioning that. john lewis and i first met in october 1960. we became fast friends. we had no idea back then, we would end up serving in congress together. but throughout those years, voter education, john lewis ran before the education project for the entire southern region when i was doing the same thing down in charleston. so voting's very, very important to us. now, i never made the kind of sacrifices that john made. i practiced nonviolence. john internalized nonviolence. and he became the real icon of this movement. and that's why -- the floor and
ask for unanimous consent to read them h.r. 4, the john r. lewis voter education act. and we did it. it would be a shame for us to honor him with a ship as we just did over the weekend. to honor him with the likeness that the state of georgia is going to send up here to the capitol. all of that and all john lewis ever really wanted out life was for people, who looked like him, to have unfettered access to what makes this country what it is. and it would be a shame for us to go through all of these machinations and not pass the john r. lewis voter registration and education act -- advancement act. that's what we need to be doing. that's what john lewis would want, more than anything else. and i would hope that, with everything else, we would do that. but see, i do remember.
that six months after that march over the edmund pettus bridge, which was, back then, the march 1965. august. august 6th. lyndon johnson signed the 1965 voting rights act. it was kind of interesting. less than a year later, he was unceremoniously ousted. and so, these kinds of things i am used to but i would hope that we're a better body than that here, in the congress. >> i want to thank you for coming on tonight, congressman. i want to sort of put a pin in and say next time you come on, i would love to hear more at extended length about that 1960 meeting of young james clyburn and young john lewis was like. congressman james clyburn, thank you very much. >> look forward to it. thank you. next, my interview with one of the texas democrats, who fled the state. and just tested positive for the
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the last few weeks, we have talked at length about how texas republicans have tried to force through some of those restrictive voting legislation in the country. with texas governor greg abbott calling a special legislative session leading democrats in the state legislature to flee the state to break quorum, which is a kind of break-glass way of stopping a bill to stop the vote. when 50 of those democrats traveled to washington, d.c. where they met with vice president kamala harris, as well as senate democrats, to advocate for stronger federal-voting protections. this weekend, a twist. three fully-vaccinate texas democrats tested positive for covid-19. that number is up to six. again, all fully vaccinated. here is the thing. the vaccine has proven, both in clinical trials and in the real world, unbelievably effective both at stopping transmission of the virus, and also hospital
ization and death. but not perfect. and as community transmission rises, more and more virus around there. and you massively expand the number of exposures with a new, more contagious variant, and a pool of people who are not vaccinated, you will just as a matter of math, expand the number of fully-vaccinated people who end up catching the virus. texas state representative, trey martinez fisher, is one of those texas democrats who traveled to washington, where he then tested positive for covid. and he joins me, now. thanks for joining us, representative. first, how are you feeling? >> you know, chris, thank you for asking. i'm feeling okay. i have a mild-grade fever. but i'm in good spirits and i think i'm recovering pretty well. >> what was your reaction when you got that positive test? >> i tell you what. it -- it really freaked me out. i woke up on a sunday morning. it was a typical-sunday morning. i had my coffee. i read my news. i spent some time on the yoga mat. and i was getting ready for a staff meeting and as a practice, we do take a test before we get
in the room together and mine came out positive. i couldn't believe it. it's never happened to me, before. waited 15 minutes. did it, again. i felt like a thousand bucks. i mean, i had no idea. had i not had that meeting that morning, i probably could have gone the entire day before testing in the afternoon and would not have known that i was positive for covid. >> did you start to have symptoms, then, soon after? >> you know, a little bit of a sore throat. i think, the -- really, the worst of it is i had some fever. but a couple of tylenol, every six, seven hours. that seems to take care of that and i'm, you know, on the mend. i work all day, sunday. i worked all day today. i am now virtual. but my work hasn't finished. it still continues. and i think i am going to come out of this okay. and i'm grateful. i'm grateful that i was vaccinated. i'm grateful that i would never want to have covid. but if i'm going to get it, this is the way i want to get it. >> yeah. i mean, you see some people. there are folks, i think, who were confused about this and
then, there are folks i think are either sort of aggressively stupid or aggressively liars attempting to say that, oh, if there is a breakthrough case of covid in a vaccinated person. well, then, what good is the vaccine? as someone who got vaccinated and then got a breakthrough case. like, what do you -- what do you tell people who are maybe hesitant about vaccines? or are worried about the efficacy or how you feel about the decision you made? >> well, i would tell them talk to somebody that had covid that was not vaccinated. and then, talk to somebody, like me. if there was no such thing as a rapid test, i would think that i had some allergies or maybe a slight cold. because that's exactly what it feels like. i talked to one of my house colleagues, this morning, who spent a number of days in the hospital. said it was the worst illness of his life. he would never want to do it, again. i wouldn't want to relive that experience. and i am thankful that we had -- that i had this vaccine. i -- you know, the variant is obviously no joke. so, for everybody in america, that's on the fence, i wouldn't -- i wouldn't -- i would get off that fence and get
vaccinated. and for those naysayers, you know, i don't know what to tell ya. but being in an icu -- being in icu, being on a ventilator. if that's not going to change your mind, i don't think anything i can say will change your mind, either. >> all right. texas state representative, trey martinez fisher there with those democrats breaking quorum. hope you feel better. thanks for making time tonight. >> thank you, chris. there is a lot more to the story of those texas democrats. tune in later tonight for an msnbc special event. lawrence o'donnell and jonathan capehart will be joined by many more texas democrats to talk about the fight for voting rights in their home state and our nation's capital. they have got an incredible hour planned. watch it all tonight 10:00 p.m. eastern. and next, looking for the helpers in places where covid is striking hardest. the front-page plea to get vaccinated as missouri battles one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in this country. that's after this break. that's after this break.
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the springfield news leader is the biggest newspaper covering springfield, missouri. it's been around since the mid-1800s. yesterday, the paper did something that caught my eye. at a time when nearly-all the surging covid cases in the country stems from those who are sun vaccinated, the springfield news leader published in story above the fold quote from the city's health director. please, get vaccinated the piece also included a push from various community leaders including republican senator, roy blunt, who said quote vaccines are key to finishing the fight against covid and saving lives. i have been vaccinated and i encourage everyone to get vaccinated, as well. despite the wide availability of vaccines, missouri, right now, particularly parts of southwestern missouri, have seen a significant increase in covid cases and hospitalizations, over the last several weeks. just 40% of the state's fully vaccinated. the number is about the same for green county, where springfield is located. there is a door-to-door efforts in parts of the state to encourage vaccinations but in some places, because of vaccine
hostility, it's not even an option. shannon county, 135 miles east of springfield, anti-vaccine sentiment is so high, a clinic has offered private rooms for patients who don't want to be seen getting a shot. the editor in chief at the springfield news leader. he is responsible for the page we showed you at the top of the segment. thanks for coming on tonight, mr. bridges. can you just tell us about your ton and what it's going through right now, what things look like in terms of the virus right there? >> well, i think what we have been seeing is the delta variant kind of colliding with our relatively-low vaccination rates. and so, we're seeing, you know, hospital census climbing. the health officials here have been raising the alarm, in an increasingly serious way, for the past couple of weeks. as, you know, really capacity is getting maxed out. they have had to call in additional nurses. um, arrange for additional
equipment. and um, you know, stressing that there is a very straightforward way to address the situation, which is to get more people vaccinated. >> so, how -- how did this -- how'd this -- this issue come together? where did the idea come from? >> i -- i had the idea as i was leaving work one night and kind of looking at our weekend budget and the stories that we had planned. and it felt like we were coming up on another one of those inflexion points. kind of like, that second week of march, where, all the sudden, we were making plans to work remotely. march of 2020. >> yeah. >> when we all went to remote work. and um, and so, i actually kind of ruined date night with my wife. working through the idea for that front page and having her help me brainstorm people that we might try to get for that page. so what we'd been noticing is that the -- the public-health leaders who were kind of banging
the drum weren't, necessarily, getting through to some of the people, who were either outright opposed. or just hesitant. you know, maybe reluctant about getting the vaccine. for one reason or another. but we knew that there was increasingly, you know, fairly broad spectrum of folks who were encouraging vaccination. and so, i had the idea, you know, let's -- let's get as many of those folks as we -- as we can who are encouraging vaccination for a number of reasons. and, you know, so show -- show folks who maybe are on the fence that there are a lot of people. maybe, some people who they identify with, who are encouraging vaccination. and, um, you know, maybe people will see somebody that they can -- you know, that they trust. that they identify with. and that might make it a little bit of a difference. >> do you -- you know, this is a hard thing to assess. but from, you know, you're embedded in that community and you report on it there. i mean, do you think that there -- that as this variant spreads, that people, maybe, start to think differently about
vax -- vaccination and -- and -- and, you know, protecting themselves? >> i do. we've, already, seen that. the -- the health department -- the health director, actually, the other day, tweeted that, you know, while we have cases rising. they also had their best week for vaccinations that they had had, since may, just last week. so there's some indication that -- that folks are changing their minds. and it seems to be, really, a case of, you know, finding that one way that it touches home for somebody. um, you know, maybe, somebody that they know talks to them about getting vaccinated. or someone they know ends up in the hospital, which would, you know, be the kind of the worst-case scenario. but -- >> yeah. >> -- we are really seeing that folks have a wide range of reasons for being reluctant. and so, we're trying to reach them from a variety of ways. >> amuss bridges, thanks for your work and thanks for making time tonight. appreciate it. >> thank you. ahead with the climate crisis on our doorstep, i will
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one of the most maddening aspects of america's very sluggish and wholly inadequate response to climate change and the energy transition is that there is a whole lot of low-hanging fruit we still have not picked. here's just one example. according to the environmental protection agency, more than 100 years of drilling for fossil fuels have left 3 million abandoned oil and gas wells across the u.s. and more than 2 million of them are just unplugged. and plugging, or capping those wells means they would no longer emit greenhouse gases which would cut emissions significantly. in fact, back in april nbc's josh letterman went to montana to report on these unplugged oil wells. >> oh, yeah. you can smell that.
you can definitely smell that. >> and with infrared cameras you can see it. dangerous gases spewing from abandoned oil and gas wells. >> so that's methane. >> that's methane gas, yeah. >> you've got gas 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide and trapping heat in the atmosphere, and it's just coming out of this well and you would have no idea that it's even there. >> right. you can't see with the naked eye. >> again, these wells are just open, spewing this invisibly all the time, not to produce actual fuel, just for no reason. capping these wells is just one part of the biden infrastructure proposal that's currently making its way through congress. one of the biggest advocates for that legislation, secretary of energy jennifer granholm who joins me now. i didn't actually know a lot about this provision until i sort of started to do a deep dive. it does really seem like a no-brainer. >> total no-brainer. in fact, the president in his original proposal had put $16
billion in to be able to do this. democrats like it. republicans like it. it's got bipartisan support. why it hasn't been done earlier i don't know. we really need to take care of this because that greenhouse gas that they're referring to is methane. hugely powerful in causing climate change. >> yeah. one of the things i think that's appealing about this, and my understanding is that $16 billion proposal's actually in the bipartisan part of the bills that are now working their way through. is that it would employ folks that work on oil rigs, pipe fitters, the kind of people that normally do drilling, it would give them jobs in the industry they're trained for that would essentially do the opposite of drilling. >> exactly. and i mean, you'd add on to that abandoned mines, same thing. you could put mine workers to work, getting paid good union wages to be able to cap the mines that they know very well. similarly on the oil and gas side. so yeah, it really is huge --
it's a small number inside of the bipartisan framework but it will have an outsize impact in terms of climate change. >> just to zoom out for a second, we've been talking about this bill and the sort of climate aspects of it for weeks. and it seems there are sort of two questions, which is how much can we deploy the current technology we have, which is really a money question, and then when do we hit the frontier of what we can do with the technology we have, which is an innovation question? i wonder how you think about those, particularly in the role of the department of energy, which has a huge research aspect to it. >> yeah. i mean, the department of energy is really the solutions department. we have 17 national labs that are really breaking ground on all sorts of clean energy research. so for example, chris, in the past couple of weeks we've announced two what we call earth shots, which are big hairy audacious goals to cut the cost of hydrogen, to cut the cost --
that's clean hydrogen. to cut the cost of storage, energy storage, batteries for utilities. we have a goal of cutting the cost of solar in half yet again. and solar is the cheapest form of energy on the planet. that's on the technology side. and then of course you have to deploy all of these technologies. and the d.o.e. has got funds to be able to do that in our loan programs office. so we are pressing the envelope on both ends. deployment as well as technology. >> it's interesting to raise the storage because in my reading of the situation that does seem to be -- there's a lot of places where we have deployable tech right now that's underutilized. but as we deploy that more and more solving the storage question, particularly around solar, which obviously is there during the day and not during the night, like solving that at scale does seem like one of the biggest challenges in the space right now. >> cracking the code on how you can create clean dispatchable
power is really the end game. every country is looking for this. and certainly if we can crack the code, because solar is so cheap, and the next cheapest form of energy is wind. those are both so cheap. but they don't come exactly when you need them. so if you can store that energy and then dispatch it when you need it, it would solve an enormous amount of problems. so our goal was to cut the cost of that big storage by 90%. and honestly, we are -- we can see this happening even as we speak because the cost of storage already has dropped significantly. >> when you think about scale here, what kind of dollars are we talking about? maybe you can talk about the sort of earth-shocking amount here. but at some level when you think about this stuff it's expensive. we're talking about tens, hundreds of billions of dollars. but when you think about it in the context of climate disaster or climate mitigation or even what we spend on defense it doesn't seem like out of the
realm of possibility. >> the average amount that we have spent over the past five years to clean up after these climate disasters is $125 billion every year. so you just -- and that keeps going up. i mean, in the '80s it was like 17 billion. we are seeing this exponential increase not just in climate disasters but then of course the cost for cleanup. so we can do nothing and sit back and continue to watch that happen but then we will continue to spend way more than what we're talking about in this infrastructure package or in the reconciliation package. we've got to address climate change. not only is the west on fire, our hair should be on fire about this. we have 88 1 days left in this term of this president's administration. we feel a huge sense of urgency. when i say 881 days i'm excluding weekends. working days. that we can solve at least take a huge chunk that would put us on the path to get to the president's goal of getting 100%
of our energy from clean sources by 2035. >> final question for you as just a kind of legislative tactical one which is how much these conversations -- it does seem it's an all hands on deck push from the biden administration right now on both these. the bipartisan package and the reconciliation package, moving them together. the timing on this vote for the bipartisan package a little up in the air right now. but are you in regular contact? is the cabinet? is everyone in the administration talking to folks on the hill trying to keep moving this? >> oh, yes. it is an all effort, cabinet members, talking to their committee chairs, everybody is talking to the people that they know but also the ones they want to persuade, everybody has something, a different perspective to bring on it. so you'd better believe we are in touch with people all the time. the white house and the cabinet. and we are going to bring this across the finish line one way or another. >> yeah, it's funny. when legislation -- there's a
point in following these legislation fights where you feel that the decision has been made by one group of people that it is going to pass and that everything kind of revolves backwards round that and i feel like i'm starting to see that congeal. that does not mean that it will. but i can feel the kind of will intensifying just in terms of the folks i'm talking to as well. energy secretary jennifer granholm, thank you so much for making time tonight. >> you bet, chris. thanks for having me on. >> that is "all in" on this monday night. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris. thank you, my friend. much appreciated. and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour this fine monday night. happy to have you here. a lot going on tonight. first of all, you should know that right after me tonight, after this show at 10:00 p.m. eastern it's msnbc's special live hour with the democrats who walked out of the texas legislature, who left the state of texas under threat from the texas governor that they would all be arrested on their return. by leaving t