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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  July 28, 2021 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

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because we're magic does not mean we are not real and have real problems. >> absolutely. >> a good point to make. thank so much, doctor. that was an amazing interview and great insight you provided for us. all right. that's tonight's "reidout." "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. ♪♪ tonight on "all in" -- >> i remember thinking there was a very good chance i would be torn apart or shot to death with my own weapon. >> we were all fighting for our lives. >> it was a war that we fought. >> terrorists needed to break our defenses an shouting or attempting to convert us. >> the officers who defended the capitol mocked for their testimony. >> god save us from these third-rate theatrics. >> why even police officers are now fair game for the right-wing media. then -- >> why did you vet know on this bill which was on the floor of the house? >> how democrats are done with republican nonsense.
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and as masks return to the house -- >> which is it? vaccines or masks? do the vaccines work or they don't work. >> republicans lose it over the new restrictions and the minority leader attacks the science. >> leader mccarthy says it's against the science. >> when "all in" starts right now. ♪♪ good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. first off the bat, some breaking news. there appears to be a deal, a big bipartisan infrastructure deal, believe it or not. a few hours ago a group of 21 senators announced it. it came a bit as surprise. earlier this week it seemed like the deal was likely dead. it appears that's no longer the case. the huge $1.2 trillion deal appears to be happening. in fact, we will have secretary of transportation pete buttigieg on to talk about it. he has been an advocate for that piece of ledgevation.
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the ex-president furious. he is screaming into the darkness about how republicans are getting played, though crucially never offers a single substantive critique to the content. of course, that's how he views everything. zero sum. someone is getting screwed and someone is doing the screwing. it's a cold, very sad, cynical way to view the world, but it's also come to dominate the entire conservative movement because these days a big part of the appeal of the conservative movement is the transgress i have thrill of being a verk. of being cruel. of mocking people and deriding them when they are in pain or suffering or having a problem. the thing is everyone in life encounters jerks. part of life. might be a co-worker, a friend of a friend, some people have family members that are jerks, it happens, we all deal with it. that is one thing. elevating that, being a jerk, being cruel is another thing all together. this was donald trump's superpower, right, because it is
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what the base loved about him and also what he loved, i mean, being mean. even when he was going after his own conservative supporters. >> a year ago you told me on my radio show, the audio and the tryptophan are on youtube, that you would release your tax returns. are you going back on your commitment? >> first of all, very few people listen to your radio show. check out the ratings. >> he does stuff like this all the time when he learned particularly from conservative, thank you, sir, may i have another? the nasty insults, vial behavior, the mocking of reporters, physically disabled, on and on and on. we know the catalog. in an essay in 2018, the title of a best-selling book, the cruelty is the point, trump's true skill is the con, his
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fundamental believe is the united states is a birthright of straight christian men and his only authentic pleasure is cruelty. it's that that bind his most ardent supporters to him in shared scorn for those they hate and fear. immigrants, black voters, feminists and treasonous white men who empathize with any of those who would steal their birthright. through word and deed, it makes them euphoric. pretty on the money frm i mean, yesterday we were served up two perfect examples on full display. the first this incredibly emotional system investigating the capitol attack of four officers who faced brutal violence on january 6th and in the case of capitol police officer harry dunn a slew of racist epitaphs. they spoke with poise, courage and emotion about what they faced that day. >> being an officer you know your life is at risk whenever you walk out the door. even if you don't expect
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otherwise law-abiding citizens to take up arms against you. but nothing truly nothing has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day. and in doing so betray their oath of office. >> a sea of people was punctuated by flags. mostly variations of american flags and trump flags. to my perpetual confusion i saw the "thin blue line" flag, a symbol of support for law enforcement being carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands and continued to assault us. >> can you tell us what you were thinking when you were losing oxygen and thought that might be the end? >> my rationale there, the way i was thinking, we can't let these people in in matter what. even if it cost my life. >> once the building was cleared i went to the rotunda to recover
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with other officers and share our experiences from what happened that afternoon. i sat down on the bench in the rotunda with a friend of mine, who is also a black capitol police officer, and told him about the racial slurs i endured. i became very emotional and began yelling how the blank could something like this happen? is this america? sobbing. officers came over to console me. >> after watching that, i sincerely hope the point those officers are not making didn't align with their politics, some decent human part of you would recognize this was genuine pain. i speak for myself for a moment. i remember walking as the republican national convention in cleveland in 2016. the first night of donald trump's convention and it was benghazi and national security were the focus. i was on the ground floor. on the stage pat smith, the mother of one of the people who died in the 2012 attack on the
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u.s. consulate in benghazi. she was up on stage recounting her suffering at the loss of her son. and i remember feeling awful for her. it was hard not to feel that when someone in your presence is in obvious pain and while the politics of it all seemed manipulative, at no time did i feel compelled to ridicule this woman who was offering suffering a grievous loss. i had a tv show at the time. if i were a sociopath, i could have, but it never occurred to me. that's not what the conservative movement and the maga era is about. mocking people is a huge part of the point. it's why they are doing it. not surprisingly this is what we saw last night. >> psychological trauma he endured as an excuse for ditching our bill of rights. >> i have been left with the psychological trauma and the emotional anxiety of having survived a horrific event. >> what's interesting is that michael fanone didn't mention
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any trauma during the time he spent last year on the d.c. police force. >> an exaggeration in a supporting role, the winners who thinks the pan is literally mightier than the sword. >> we had all these items and things that were thrown at us and attacked, and used to attack us. those are weapons. no matter if it is a pen. >> the award for blatant use of partisan politics when facts fail, the angle award goes to capitol police officer harry dunn. >> i am a law enforcement officer and i do my best to keep politics out of my job, but in this circumstance i responded. well, i voted for joe biden. does my vote not count? am i nobody? >> we have more on him in a moment. it's not about politics at all. >> keep in mind, the people directing criticism here are
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some. most privileged people on earth. i mean, donald trump is the perfect example of this, right. the mediocre legacy case who inherited everything from his daddy, including, you know, millions of dollars in the myth of being self-made or tucker carlson a prep school frozen food heir from the streets of la la jolla. it's not just those officers that were mocked and ridiculed. there was in the same day the news about simone biles the four-time gold medalist and perhaps the greatest gymnast ever. as you probably know, the summer olympics happening in tokyo, japan. ef been watching and enjoying quite a bit. biles withdrew from the competition after coming down awkwardly during the vault where she lost her place midair and was hurling herself in a way that could be physical catastrophic. >> i am in shape.
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emotionally, that varies on the time and the moment you know coming to the olympics and being the head star ever the olympics, it's not an easy feat. we are trying to take it one day at a time and we will see, so biles withdrew from the team finals. probably helped her team which won the silver medal. she will not be competing tomorrow because of this mental health issue. now, a lot of people, including myself, are disappointed she won't be compete bug feeling empathy for her because she is in distress or she wouldn't be doing this. or others it's an opportunity to mock and ridicule and monetize someone's pain in a moment of weakness broadcast all over the world. >> we are raising a generation of weak people like simone biles. again, if you want to be -- if she has all these mental health problems, don't show up. she is an incredible athlete. of course she. i am not saying -- i said she is
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probably the greatest gymnast of all time. she is also very selfish. she is immature and she is a shame to the country. she is totally a sociopath. >> that guy is talking about weak people. weak people. right. there is little about that rant surprising. conservatives understand which side their bread is buttered so they love nothing more than to rail against prominent black people and tear them down because their audience eats them up. i wonder why? i was in the surprised by the mocking of police officers that we saw. although it's a little surprising in some ways when you think about it. when you build a political movement whose emotional core is transgression and cruelty, ultimately no one is safe from that kind of treatment, you know. ask hugh hewitt. what kind of governance will that lead to the next time these folks get power? congressman eric swalwell a
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democrat from california would says some republicans are trying to erase the heroism of the police officers who defended the capitol on january 6th. he joins me now. i wonder what your response is or your reaction to sort of watching the, you know, the scorn being heaped on these 4 individuals who came before the committee yesterday. >> it's hard to watch, chris. i am someone who is alive and was a part of a process that counted votes to ensure the next president's victory could be certified because of those officers. i'm also someone whose two brothers work every day to defend and protect the community where i grew up. so i know the pain that this causes officers, it retraumatize ds them. we are not asking tucker carlson to put on the body armor and go and in hand-to-hand combat with the insurrections as mike fanone and daniel hodges and harry dunn
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and gemmel did that day. we are asking them to acknowledge what they did and recognize the truth of what happened that day of our country. sadly, it's on life support today. >> the decency question, i guess i think most of your colleagues across the aisle are not so indecent that they would heap that scorn and i would bet that, you know, even the people heaping the scorn wouldn't, like, do it to harry cambodian u dunn's face. but what there is instead this kind of ear is plugged see no evil, here no evil, let's avoid the whole thing, which i think has cast a pall over the capitol for months. >> i have been with harry dunn a lot. he is a big booming with a smile on his face always. i saw him before this and i have seen him since. now you see members walk by and they kind of put their head
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down. i think it's a little bit of guilt that he is being treated the way he is and that they may not be saying it themselves but they are enabling kevin mccarthy and marjorie taylor greene and andrew clyde and others who are making these attacks. >> i want to play for you something -- i know that you have a friendship -- relationship with michael fanone. he has been on this program before. he talked about, as did others, the sort of their view on this, which is they know what they saw that day and know the people there but what they want to find out is who and how they were sent and here's what he had to say. take a listen. >> in the academy we learn about time, place and circumstance in investigating potential crimes sand those who may have committed them. that is what i'm looking for, is an investigation into those actions and activities which may have resulted in the events of january 6th. and also whether or not there
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was collaboration between those members, their staff, and these terrorists. >> we can only, you know, deal with the crimes that happen on the streets, the misdemeanors and violent felonies. but you guys are the only ones we've got to deal with crimes that occur above us. i need you guys to address if anyone in power had a role in this. >> that seems like the sticking point and the fear and the source of the opposition from your colleagues. >> that's right. and when i listen to that played back from hodges and fanone, what i hear from them is we put our bodies into the mix to protect the country that day and we saved it, as i said. it's on life support, but you are charged with understanding
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how it happened, holding those to account who are responsible, and then making sure that this democracy rolls on, and that heroism of those officers always is a part of the story of america and not erased as some in congress are trying to do. >> congressman eric swalwell, thank you so much for making time tonight. >> my pleasure. something we talk about often in the months since the january 6th attack is how members of congress work alongside republicans who tried to overturn the election that day or deny the violence and the mob. yesterday congressman yammy raskin gave his answer. that argument against business as usual just ahead. >> do you think that what they experienced was an attack by tourists or terrorists or violent insurrectionists in you have the opportunity to clarify for the country -- >> if you will read -- >> i'm not interested -- if you- >> i'm not interested --
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show me the olympics. [ "bugler's dream" playing ]
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ group tried to break into the house chamber still full of members of congress. this picture shows the chaos that ensued as officers barricaded the doors. you probably seen it before. we have shown it on the program. on the far left is republican congressman andrew clyde of georgia. you can see the sheer panic on the man's face. he is bracing himself on the wall as a security officer, gun
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drawn, protects his life. in the months that followed he infamously changed his tune about that day at a hearing about security lapses that may have allowed the attack to happen he compared the scene on january 6th to, quote, normal tourist visit. of course, that's a ludicrous characterization. everyone not under donald trump's thumb knows that. that's offensive to people there that day and lived through the terror of it. that includes democratic congressman jamie raskin. last night raskin confronted clyde at a rules committee meeting clearly feel that business could not just go on as usual with those comments still hanging in the air. >> did you have an opportunity to see officers hodges and fanone and dunn testify today or sergeant gonnel? >> mr. raskin, let's stick to the amendment as -- >> well, i'm getting to the amendment. if you don't like the question, say you can take the fifth. >> that's not the point.
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>> i don't need you correcting my question, sir. i am asking, did you watch the testimony of the capitol officers who defended our lives on january 6th or did you not? it's a yes-or-no question. >> it's irrelevant. absolutely irrelevant to this -- >> they were asked the question by several of our colleagues, including miss cheney, about statements that you made saying that the january 6th violent insurrection against congress was akin to a normal tourist visit. and those officers said they weren't tourists. they were terrorists. do you stand by your statement, that they were tourists? >> um, i would like you to quote my exact statement. not your interpretation of my statement. >> okay. watching the tv footage of those who entered the capitol and
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watched through the halls showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures. if you didn't know the tv footage was a video from january 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit. those are your words. >> and i stand by that exact statement as i said it. >> you voted no on giving congressional gold medals to the officers who defended our lives on that day. 140 of whom were wounded, injured, dozens in the hospital. people lost fingers. people had their eyes gouged. people experienced traumatic brain injuries. people are experiencing traumatic, posttraumatic stress syndrome to this day. >> and you voted no on extending congressional gold medals to them. why did you do that? >> again, that has nothing to do with this amendment. you know what? i'll tell you. >> i'll bring it back to the amendment. >> i co-sponsored an
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amendment -- excuse me. a bill to give a gold medal, three gold medals to the capitol police, all right, for all of what they've done. it was introduced by representative gomer. so i'm sorry if you didn't understand that or maybe didn't get that information. >> okay. i'll reclaim my time. >> speaker pelosi -- >> you were one of 21 members -- >> she is the one in charge of the capitol police and the sergeant-at-arms. >> one of the things we learned from yesterday's january 6th select committee hearing is how productive, how effective it can be to not go along with business as usual, not concede a role to those who removed themselves through their actions which is a decision the speaker of the house made today when she called the house republican leader a moron. that's next. leader a moron. that's next.
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a little preparation will make you and your family safer in an emergency. a week's worth of food and water, radio, flashlight, batteries and first aid kit are a good start to learn more, visit in a memo sent out late last night congress' top doctor
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announced all 43 members of the house and staff will be asked to wear a mask inside house ufss and the house floor. they dropped their mask mandate six weeks ago but with the delta variant driving infections they announced this new policy. as you can imagine it has ruffled feathers amongst republicans. house republican leader kevin mccarthy said the threat of bringing masks back is not based on science but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to live in a perpetual pandemic state. now, the cdc did introduce new mask guidance yesterday based on new data the cdc has analyzed of the viral load of those infected with the delta variant. that's what we talked about with dr. fauci. the cdc saying if you are indoors in an area of high transmission, wear a mask even if you are vaccinated because of that data. there is some people who are a little unsure about whether the data bears that out.
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mccarthy, like many republicans, have opposed just about every measure to suppress covid so he tweeted about this and took to the floor without a mask against the tyranny of the new rules. house speaker nancy pelosi was asked about what mccarthy said on. i am going to play her response because it's clear she has had it with business as usual. listen to what she calls him at the end. >> the mask mandate, speaker pelosi, any response to the backlash? >> the capitol physician, the official mandate from him. i have nothing to say about that expect honor it. i have my mask. >> mccarthy says it's against the science. >> he's such a moron. >> you hear that? that was the speaker of the house calling the minority leader a moron. later she reiterated that's what she meant. >> i said earlier in my comment,
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science, science, science, and science. to say that wearing a mask is not based on science, i think it's not wise and that was my comment. >> here is the thing. democrats on the capitol have been working alongside a sizable faction of republicans who seem intent on risking their safety and making excuses for the mob to threaten their lives and democrats on capitol hill seem sick of it acknowledging you cannot just do business with someone, especially when they are potentially a danger to everybody who works if that building. the schar of the congressional progressive caucus joins me now. i don't want to overskoll jazz here, congresswoman, but there is an aspect -- i have been covering congress for six months night in, night out. there is something deeply toxic and unresolved in the building you work in. a violent mob stormed that
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capitol, threatened the lives of the people inside, a significant number of your colleagues voted to overturn the election and every day you go in and pretend everything's okay and it doesn't seem like it's going great. >> it's not, chris. and, you know, i tell you, i was just on the floor tonight with a colleague, a democratic colleague, and i think we've all kind of had it because there is this shall -- i mean, the country has to reckon with what happened on january 6th and there is this giant gap between our colleagues who are saying it didn't happen and that there are tourists, as you heard jamie raskin questioning him about, and we know that it happened. we were there. it was real. and we are trying to get real work done for the american people. we are not only trying to get to the truth about january 6th and what happened and who was involved so it can never happen again, but we're also trying to legislate for these multiple crises that americans are facing across the country. americans need childcare, they need health care.
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the eviction moratorium is going to expire on saturday and there are going to be millions of people that are homeless. meanwhile, our republican colleagues are passing motions to adjourn just for the heck of it. and delaying everything that we are doing and refusing to vote for the things that really will change americans' lives. >> there was a day-long temper tantrum on the mask guidance. i guess i could be, like, oh well this isn't justified or being annoyed by it. you know, i don't know, suck it up. but also, i mean, you know, you have also got, i think, 100% of democrats are vaccinated. mccarthy said 85% today, about 65% of republicans. it's like, you know, that's another thing where it would be good for everyone to get vaccinated there, but here we are again. >> well, instead of passing motions to adjourn, what if they went and got a shot? what if they just got
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vaccinated? then they wouldn't have to throw temper tantrums on the floor. this is more serious than them. their behavior and their lies about january 6th, about covid, about masks, about vaccines are fuelling a rise in cases across the country. which is fueling a rise in deaths across the country, which is fueling the need for us to wear masks. we've been vaccinated. but we are supposed to say, okay, you guys, you know, not only aren't getting vaccinated, you are not telling your constituents to get vaccinated and you are fighting with us about masks when lives are at stake. and january 6th, lives were at stake. so, yes, the anger about the environment in which we're operating here and we're forced to operate, which at the end of the day harms our democracy, harms our constitution, harms the american people, it's incredibly difficult. you can certainly sense the frustration.
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>> i am going to hold you for another second. one question about mccarthy pulling the republicans off the select committee that you are on, which is select committee about economic inequality and economic disparity, and this was, i think, in protest of pelosi's, the speaker's decision to block some of the members he named to the collect committee about january 6th. my thought watching yesterday, well, it went better without them. i mean, isn't this kind of a plus for you guys on the committee? >> that's kind of my thought, too, to be totally frank, because, you know, we want people to who are committed to the truth. we want people on the select committee on january 6th that are committed to the truth and there are two republicans on there. if kevin mccarthy can't put people on there committed to the truth, that's the way it is. and here on this select committee on inequality we want people committed to the truth that there is extensive inequality, the worst
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ineyewallty since the great depression, in the united states. if they can't bring themselves to be on a select committee about that issue, then i think they are showing their cards. they are not going to do it for anything. >> final question, quickly. bipartisan infrastructure framework has been announced in the senate side. the congressional progressive caucus put out a statement -- >> i am the chair. >> chair, right. yes. so we're not -- you guys put out a statement saying, look, we're not -- we're not yes votes on this until we are guaranteed that other parts of the agenda are going to happen. how -- what's the communication like right now? what's the state of play? >> well, we said three months ago the progressive caucus said three months ago that they were not going to vote for any bipartisan deal unless there was a reconciliation deal that had our five priorities passed. so we are in the same place. we barely have seen this bipartisan bill. it was decided on by 4% of the
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congress. and so unless we see the reconciliation bill passed with our five priorities, we are not going to be able to move the bipartisan bill forward. >> all right. that is useful for when i talk to secretary buttigieg. thank you so much. >> thank you, chris. take care. all right. don't go anywhere. more on that news on the president's bipartisan infrastructure deal with the aforementioned secretary of transportation pete buttigieg. he joins me right after this. js are your hr processes weighing down your employees?
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a huge step forward for the biden agenda tonight at the bipartisan bill moved forward. 17 republicans joined deputies to clear the filibuster. beginning dab on the deal. chuck schumer reafrmd his commitment to passing the
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bipartisan bill. >> my goal remains to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution during this work period. both. it might take some long nights. it might eat into our weekends, but we are going to get the job done and we are on track. >> joining me now secretary of transportation pete buttigieg. secretary, you know, it's not the wisest thing to reason your way through politics based on how people you don't lie think about things. i will say donald trump hates this deal, which makes me inclined towards favoring it. the u.s. chamber of commerce loves, which makes me skeptical of it. how should i think about it and how do you think about it? >> it's remarkable you have the u.s. chamber of commerce and afl-cio saying the same thing. an exciting thing is you have all these strange fellows coming
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together. business and labor, democrats and republicans. maybe not the former president. but so many people across the spectrum and across the country know we need to make this happy. we have been talking about infrastructure deals in washington for years and years. now we have an opportunity to make it happen. not just a run of mill infrastructure bill but something that i think will be a generational investment and historic opportunity on job creation, on climate and a lot of other things at stake in how we set up the transportation for the future. >> i want to talk about some of the climate aspects. first this question. here is some of the -- so people have a sense of the top lines here. we will dig into this and these top lines are sort of these numbers. you have roads and bridges, power infrastructure and clean energy, rail and amtrak, modernizing transport, you have got electric vehicle chargers. when we are talking about roads and bridges, ports, things like
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that, like, are these going to be built with an eye towards what the climate of the next 25 years looks like? because it really seems like that is crucial not just that we modernize and get away from fossil fuels, but the things we are building are climate resilient for a world getting much hotter, much wetter. >> that's right. yes, we are working to make sure that climate change is stopped from getting worse than it is, but it's already upon us. in portland, during these shocking triple-digit temperatures they saw the heat wave, they had to shut their transit system down because the cables were in danger of literally melting. in new york at the hudson river tunnels, part of why they are in tough shape is seawater penetration during superstorm sandy. you see 50 plus billion identified for dealing with things like droughts and fires and floods and we are going to expect certainly as a department to the extent that we are shaping the dollars that
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congress is, hopefully, about to pass, we are going to be expecting that the communities and grant applicants demonstrate that they get the way something should be designed for the future isn't going to be the same as the past. if you keep getting a road back that gets washed out year after year, maybe it needs to be built a different way. >> i want to pay something for you that you had to say in climate change in 2019. take a listen to your own words. >> we have lived this in my industrial mid-western hometown, my generation has lived this as long as we have been alive. it's only accelerated. science tells us we have 12 years before we reach the horizon of catastrophe when it comes to our climate. >> now, there are some climate provisions in this legislation. but if you look at the white house's initial proposal, right, a lot of the things that the white house cares about, clean energy standard one of them, very, very important, we are
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very focused on this show, are not in this bill. what should we make of that? are those priorities being abandoned? >> not at all, no. this is only one part of the administration's policy. obviously, we have the budget resolution, reconciliation framework and more work like the clean energy standard and other pieces of tax policy that matter. you show that clip. that's probably a year or two old. it's ten years now, if we are lucky. some of the worst effects of climate change are already happening now. i guess what i would emphasize in this bill, even though it's not maybe considered the climate bill, is that every transportation decision, whether we call it that or not, transportation is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the u.s. economy. when we are creating the biggest investment in the history of public transit, that's a climate decision. when we are talking about investments on ports and making it easier to move goods over
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water, which is more climate friendly, that's a climate decision. electric vehicle charging infrastructure, school bus, helping transit agencies acquire zero emission buses, they are part of the answer when it comes to making sure that we meet the aggressive goals that the president set out when it comes to our climate. and this is one of the reasons why i think it's important to understand that this bill is not like the 2009 stimulus package, which did a lot of important and good work in transportation. that was about dealing with the economic crisis of that moment. this is about preparing this bill for the future. part is about jobs that will be created almost overnight. this is about a vision that will make sense in the 2030s, '40s, '50s as well. >> secretary buttigieg, thank you for your time tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> next, the disinformation death toll. the new data that shows people who get their news from facebook
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even though new, national covid case numbers are, as of now, well short of the extremes we saw this winter this parts of the country with very low vaccination rates, things are approaching as bad as they have ever been. just this week, louisiana, which is one of the lowest-vaccination rates in the country, saw its highest spike in single-day covid hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic. tonight, we have got some new insight, into why so many people are still unprotected. for the last two months, the covid states project asked people about their news consumption and their vaccination status. in total, 68% said they were vaccinated. 14% said they might get vaccinated. and 18% said they wouldn't get vaccinated. those numbers shift, considerably, when people were asked where they got their coronavirus information. look at this chart. the people who said they got their news from the biden
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administration, msnbc, cnn. they were much more likely to be vaccinated. that's the line in green. and only single digits, line red, say they would not get vaccinated. the people who watch fox news, on the other hand, only 64% were vaccinated. 19% would not get the shot so a big difference there. it gets even worse, when people got their covid news from facebook. 20% not getting the vaccine while a third news max viewers do not plan on getting vaccinate. thing is, a lot of people peddling disinformation on sources like facebook are making a lot of money off doing it. i want to bring in two "new york times" reporters who have been covering this growth. max fisher, who wrote about the booming shadow disinformation business. and sheera frenkel, also, author -- co-author of "an ugly truth inside facebook's battle for domination" which is out. good to have you both on the program.
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sheera, let me start with you because i found a lot of discussion about disinformation has felt a little abstract. the numbers feel hard to get your head around. i think slightly distrustful of them just because it's never clear to me anyone really knows what anyone is seeing. so your piece was like, nicely concretizing. so just describe who this individual is, and what -- what his reach is. >> you know, we wanted to profile one person. the most influential person in the anti-vaccination world for exactly that reason. it can feel really obscure and it can really unclear when we are talking about people who are anti-vaccine activists. he has found this gray area between social-media sites where he can promote anti-vaccine ideology. and still, have over a million followers on just one of his facebook pages. i will note, we found, actually, 17 facebook pages that he was running. and through those, he is able to really seed and spread this idea that covid vaccines aren't safe, and that people should not be taking them. >> his name is dr. merkula.
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reaching far larger audience. how do we -- how do we get our arms around the scale of his reach? >> it's hard. you know, we were looking at data for the story and even we were struggling to figure out, you know, exactly how many people he was reaching. i think, what we did, ultimately, was just look at a single post and find, you know, how that one post sort of reverberates through the internet. so when you look at a single post and you see within hours of coming online, thousands of people are re-sharing it or interacting some way, you can see just how wide his reach is. and i think, you know, what's important about him, specifically, is that he finds a way to evade facebook's rules and stay online. he manages to skirt just under the radar. he doesn't say covid vaccines will kill you. he asks the question, well, do you think covid vaccines will kill you? and then, he give an answer
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which, very much, suggests, yes, they will. but because he is not stating it, facebook doesn't take him offline. >> yes, this is a cowardly dodge it's been honed by a whole bunch of people working in this space. max, your piece was fascinating to me because i did not know this industry existed. that there are firms, basically, as you describe, private firms straddling traditional marketing in the shadow world of geopolitical influence operations selling services once conducted principally by intelligence agencies, sowing discord, meddling elections, and pushing viral conspiracies mostly on social media. who -- who are these people? and how do you hire them? >> so, they are pretty easy to hire. that's kind of their whole proposition. really, anyone with 10, 20, $50,000 and access to a dark web account, now, you can have your own kind of, you know, russians meddling in the 2016 election style disinformation campaign.
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it's really the wild west because it's a growth industry. it's very easy for anybody to get into, with just software off the shelf. buying bulk-user data and then go into the platforms which are trying to stop it but also the design of them makes it pretty easy. there was one that is a washington, d.c. lobbying firm that was doing a disinformation campaign on behalf of some right-wing governments and politicians in latin america. but a lot of them are, basically, e-mail spammers that have just found, okay, this is a slightly more lucrative business. it's not that hard to get into. and a lot of them are, you know, marketing companies. so it's -- it's a really wide range, which i think speaks to how attractive this work is. >> so, you -- you talked about the platform sort of trying to shut them down. when i was reading your piece, the thought i kept having and i think the platforms agree is there is lots of content moderation calls that are gray areas and tough. this doesn't seem one. like, someone being, you know, paid to, specifically, use the platform for this end seems like, yeah, you should be able to shut that down.
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and yet, they're having a hard time doing it. >> well, to their credit, facebook and twitter, especially, maybe lesser youtube, are being really aggressive and hiring some of the best people in this space to root out, identify, and expose these campaigns. and they are doing so publicly, which i think is kind of admirable. but at the same time, if you talk to experts and american officials, who track this stuff, they'll say, you know, for all the work that these platforms are doing on the back end, the design of their technology and the design of their platforms is really a big part of what makes this possible. and a lot of the firms that got into it, got into it, specifically, because disinformation is something that works really well in social media. i mean, that's what the russians found in 2016. just the nature of these platforms. their engagement maximizing, algorithms, and design elements, really privilege conspiracy and divisive content, which is part of why it's so easy to get into it. >> well, and that gets back to, sheera, what you -- what you tracked, which is, this is kind of a gray area.
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this is someone, who is kind of managing to tiptoe up to but not crossing the line. and again, you know, it's a tricky thing. like, the epidemiological data we have on stuff is, you know, constantly, moving. and you could just have a facebook page that, actually, had just reports of people who actually had, you know, bad experiences with the vaccine. they -- they exist. you would, clearly, be doing something nefarious but it's also, like, true. i just don't know how equipped facebook is to make these calls. >> well, you know, that's obviously something we cover in our book and we show, over and over again, that they're not really proactive about making these calls. they tend to be really reactive, once they have a problem. they, then, try and figure out a policy. you know, listening to max speak just now. i realized something else that bridged my work and his was that there is a lot of money to be made in this. whether you are doing disinfo for hire. or the one i profiled sunday, he
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is worth over $100 million as of his last filing. we are talking about a way to become an incredibly wealthy person by giving people false information. >> max fisher and sheera frenk frenkel great reporting, both of you. really appreciate it. >> thanks. >> thank you. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now with ali velshi in for rachel. >> good evening, chris. another great show. thank you. have yourself an excellent evening and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. it's a big news day again today. against all odds, a landmark bipartisan infrastructure package has advanced tonight in the united states senate. we will be talking to senator john tester, one of the senators who helped negotiate that deal, in just a moment. and hopefully, he can walk us through exactly what is in the bill. but first, we have got breaking news, right off the top. here is the brand new headline tonight at "the washington post." quote, as trump pushed for probes of 2020 election, he called acting-attorney general rosen almost daily. now, we had known, before
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tonight, that donald trump had trd


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