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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 03/30/15

Guests: Ryan Anderson, Dan Savage, Lawrence Lessig, Lanny Davis, DerrickPitts, Steve Riley, Jacob Rascon, Ann Curry

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ARI MELBER, MSNBC GUEST HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN. GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: We`re not going to change this law. MELBER: A fire storm of protests against Indiana`s so called "Religious Freedom Bill", with pushback from Apple and the NCAA. Are Republicans rethinking their stance? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re willing to add some clarity legislatively. MELBER: Then, deadline, Iran. How close is a nuclear deal? JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We`re working very hard. Very hard. MELBER: Plus, the growing threat to America`s power grid: an attack every four days. A debate over whether the U.S. should try to contact potential aliens in outer space, the push for a new primary for Hillary Clinton, and the brand new host of "The Daily Show." TREVOR NOAH, COMEDIAN: Hello. Hello, everyone, hello. As we say in South Africa, hello. MELBER: ALL IN starts right now. (END VIDEOTAPE) MELBER: Good evening from New York. I am Ari Melber, in for Chris Hayes. And we begin with news from Indiana where Republicans have gone from offense to defense. Governor Mike Pence just signed a new religious freedom law last week, but today, Republicans held a press conference to discuss changing their brand new law. That is because the law which said it will lessen the burdens on religion, may also make it easier as you may heard to discriminate against gay Americans or other groups. Here are Republican leaders discussing that law today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STATE SEN. DAVID LONG (R), INDIANA: It is not the intent to discriminate against anyone and it will not be allowed to discriminate against anyone. And to the extent that we need to clarify through legislative action that this law does not and will not be allowed to discriminate against anyone, we plan to do just that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: But a wide range of opponents want the law stopped, not clarified. Apple`s CEO called it dangerous. Indiana-based company Angie`s List says it`s halting a plan for a $40 million expansion at its Indianapolis headquarters because of all of this, and over the weekend, public protests continued, you can see them on the ground there in Indiana, while around the country, opposition surging online, 200,000 people now calling for an Indiana boycott. That is on Twitter alone. Now, late today, Democratic Governor Dan Malloy of Connecticut signed an executive order banning his state from having state-funded travel to any state that protects religious freedom but doesn`t also prohibit discrimination for given classes of citizens. And the mayors of both San Francisco and Seattle also banning city-funded travel now to the state of Indiana. And then the big guns, the NCAA, which is based in Indiana and is, of course, hosting the Final Four in just a few days, now through its president, Mark Emmert, is renewing what it calls concern about this law. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARK EMMERT, PRESIDENT, NCAA: Our core values are built around notions of diversity and inclusion, and anything that might create an environment within which we can`t maximize those values is something that we take very, very seriously. So, this is something that`s disappointing in the actions of the legislature, and something that concerns us quite a bit. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: You know, all of this has left Governor Pence backtracking on Sunday. He said the law doesn`t discriminate at all. Now, he says he`s open to some kind of clarification. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PENCE: We`re not going to change the law, OK? But if the general assembly in Indiana sends me a bill that adds a section that reiterates and amplifies and clarifies what the law really is and what has been for the last 20 years, then I`m open to that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Now, when he says 20 years, he seems to be referencing a federal law that some argue is similar to Indiana`s. But legal experts have emphasized the federal statute wasn`t written to protect corporations or employers. It was for individual people`s religious practices. Concerns about antigay discrimination also have advanced a lot over those 20 years, which is why even some Republicans here, in fact, many Republicans, not jumping to Pence`s defense. Take North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory, who says that a proposed bill for his state that many said was similar to Indiana`s, just makes, quote, "no sense." Let`s get right to it, with it Ryan Anderson, a fellow in religion and free society at Heritage Foundation, Dan Savage, syndicated columnist and host of "The Savage Love" podcast, and MSNBC political analyst and former chairman of the Republican Party, Michael Steele. Hello, everybody. Ryan -- RYAN ANDERSON, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Thanks for having us. MELBER: Thanks for being here. Ryan, I want to go right to you. What do you make up for the law that clearly in many context could be used to put corporations or employers` religious views above those of regular American citizens? ANDERSON: Well, I think this law actually treats all American citizens equally. It says that people of all faiths have the right to live out their faith in public life, and if the government will substantially burden the exercise of their religion, the government needs to show they`re doing so for a compelling reason in the least restrictive means possible. That`s the standard that was in the federal Religious Freedom Restriction Act, which has governed federal law for over 20 years. It passed unanimously in the House, 97 votes in the Senate. Its sponsors were Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy, and Bill Clinton -- MELBER: Well, I`m asking you more about substance rather than were there multiple people from multiple parties who banded in support of this. ANDERSON: I`m saying the substance is good substance. The substance is good substance, and that`s why we saw a unanimous vote in the House and 97 senators, and Bill Clinton signed it into law. MELBER: Let me put -- (CROSSTALK) MELBER: I want to bring our panelists in, but let me put the question to you that was put to Mr. Pence that he couldn`t answer. Let`s play that from Sunday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: You cannot refuse to serve a gay couple without fear of punishment. PENCE: Well, let me explain to you -- STEPHANOPOULOS: Is that legal now in Indiana? PENCE: George, this is where the debate has gone. STEPHANOPOULOS: It`s just a question, sir, yes or no? PENCE: Well, there`s been shameless rhetoric. STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it true or not? PENCE: George, look, the issue here is -- STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think it should be legal in the state of Indiana to discriminate against gays or lesbians? PENCE: George -- STEPHANOPOULOS: It`s a yes or no question. PENCE: Come on. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: You can see some of the pain there. My question for you, Ryan, before I bring in the rest of the panel is, do you see this law as allowing people who for religious reasons don`t want to serve gays to have those protections? ANDERSON: Well, of course not. No one is interested in just refusing to serve gays or lesbians. The only religious liberty concerns center around marriages and wedding ceremonies. What this law would do -- it doesn`t say who would win such a claim. It just says that a citizen could bring a claim to a court and say that a law that would force them to help celebrate a same-sex wedding, whether it says a florist or a baker or photographer, that they can get that reviewed by the court, and then the government would have to show that it has a compelling government interest, that`s it`s pursuing in the least restrictive way possible, enforcing, for example, a 70-year-old grandmother into providing flowers for a same-sex marriage. MELBER: Dan Savage, what do you think? DAN SAVAGE, HOST, SAVAGE LOVECAST: I think Ryan is mistaken. The Religious Freedom Act that Chuck Schumer supported, that Bill Clinton signed into law, prevented the government from discriminating against people on the basis of their religious beliefs. This law is so broadly worded that although the intent is to target gays and lesbians, bisexual and transgender people for discrimination, which is why a similar law in Georgia was tabled when amendment was attached banning discrimination, is why this law was drafted, and it will legalized discrimination not just against LGBT people, but all against all potentially. And this really settled civil rights law, that if you open the doors of a private business, it`s -- and you`re opened to the public, you have to be open to all of the public. Publicly financed roads, roads that everyone pays for bring customers to your business. The police departments and fire departments that all the public pay for protect your business, make it possible for you to your business open. And you`re not allowed to decide at the front door that you want to discriminate against large broad swaths, groups of the public. You know, anti-black bigots, during Jim Crow and segregation, made the exact same arguments that you`re hearing people make now -- (CROSSTALK) ANDERSON: Not at all. That`s really unfair to be saying that. SAVAGE: There is an infamous interview on the radio of a restaurant owner using the same rhetoric the segregationists used during the civil rights movement. These are the kinds of people, these kinds of bigots, that these laws have empowered. ANDERSON: That`s really unfair -- (CROSSTALK) MELBER: Let me got to Michael. And, Ryan, I`m going to get your response. Michael, first. MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, it`s one of these moments when you sit there and you just go, "why"? I mean, Dan is absolutely right. A lot of this is settled law in many respects, even with respect to the Religious Freedom Act, the idea was related to government. Now, I think Governor Pence is even acknowledging this law is so broad, that it has clearly been misinterpreted from its intent. And the question is, what is its intent? If the intent is to mirror what the federal law is, then, fine, draft the law that way, and then you make it very clear by adding to your state constitution or otherwise language that protects every citizen in that state from discrimination. When you can`t answer that question fundamentally, that`s when you get on the slippery slope and have a real problem with the broader public. MELBER: Ryan, go ahead. ANDERSON: Sure. I mean, that`s exactly what this law does. This law protects every citizen in the state of Indiana from government discrimination. It says the government cannot coerce anyone`s free exercise of religion unless the government proves that it`s doing so for a compelling government reason, in the least restrictive way possible. It is the same -- SAVAGE: Ryan is using the bizarro world definition of protecting people from discrimination here. (CROSSTALK) ANDERSON: It`s the same legal standard as 31 other states. SAVAGE: No, it is not. ANDERSON: (INAUDIBLE) that Dan says that it`s discrimination. It strikes me that all of the businesses that are currently boycotting Indiana are saying that they want to run their businesses in accordance with their values. And so, they`re free to boycott Indiana. Why is it that the 70- year-old grandma can`t be free to run her business, and, of course, with her beliefs, or for that matter, a Catholic charities adoption. (CROSSTALK) MELBER: Ryan, I know, strong view -- Ryan, I`m going to ask you a question and then, Dan, I`m going to get your rebuttal. Ryan, what do you think about folks who look at this and say, OK, yes, as you say, it changes the standards of compelling government interest, but what`s going to happen when Indiana runs into, say, someone running a business who says their business reflects extreme Muslim values and women can`t enter or work there unless they are in a hijab. Do you think that`s a good idea? ANDERSON: I think in a free society if a Muslim wants to run a business in accordance with their Islamic values, then as Americans, we let Muslims be Muslims, unless it violates someone else`s right. MELBER: That`s what I`m asking you. ANDERSON: So they are running a business -- MELBER: Then, as a legal and state law matter, can they say that women have to dress a certain way to patron the business? ANDERSON: I`m going to say, that would have to be solved by the courts. The courts will have to settle whether or not there`s a compelling state interest that`s being pursued in the least restrictive way possible. I` m saying this is a good test. And so, the Muslim citizen would have his day in court to say that this is what his religion requires, and then, we`d have to see from the government to see why they think that they have to coerce this religion. I`m in favor of living and let living. MELBER: All right. Dan, go ahead. SAVAGE: And the law says, if the Muslim who is attempting to discriminate against women can point to a sincerely held religious belief, which is a squishy, ambiguous standard, that he wins. So really what this -- ANDERSON: He doesn`t say -- (CROSSTALK) SAVAGE: Let me finish, let me finish, let me finish. There`s this bizarro world definition of discrimination that Ryan is attempting to inject into the discourse here, where the government is discriminating against you if it orders you not to discriminate against your fellow citizens. It is settled anti-discrimination law that if you open a business and you open the doors to the public, you must serve all of the public. ANDERSON: They are serving all of the public. SAVAGE: Ryan and the Heritage Foundation want to take us back 50 years -- ANDERSON: No, that`s not true. (CROSSTALK) MELBER: Gentlemen, I`m going to bring the chairman back in. Moderators have to moderate. Chairman Steele, come join me in this conversation as well. What I want to ask you for the Republican Party is, you could see the pain on Governor Pence`s face in that interview. STEELE: Oh, yes. MELBER: Now, I don`t know if that was self interested political pain because he could feel himself withering under fair questioning from George Stephanopoulos, or whether he may be rethinking this whole thing is a bad idea. Where does this go, Mr. Chairman? STEELE: I think -- I think you saw the governor go through a combination of both of those emotions. And I think that he wants to get out from under this as quickly as possible largely because I don`t think the governor anticipated the backlash from the corporate community. This is the first team that the corporate community has sent a very clear and un-confusing signal, that this is where they want to go and this is their concern about this type of law. So, I think that took them aback and I think what you`ve heard is almost deafening silence from a lot of potential presidential candidates. MELBER: Yes. STEELE: As well as other Republican leaders on this issue because, (a), they don`t want to embarrass the governor but, (b), they don`t want to have to answer this question. And I think, quite honestly, the country, we should answer this question, because I think there are good examples on either side that we have to wrestle with, quite honestly, Ari. SAVAGE: The reason they don`t want to answer the question and Pence didn`t want to answer the question is because the answer is yes, that the intent of the law is to legalize discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people and it`s now a problem to answer that question honestly and directly, which is why we`re treated to obfuscation like we`re getting from Ryan and from Mike Pence. (CROSSTALK) MELBER: We`re out of time. Dan Savage, Michael Steele, and Ryan, I appreciate you coming on. And, Ryan, I will say, we reached out to folks in Indiana who didn`t want to come on. We`re out of time. I appreciate you making the time and sharing your views with us. Hope we can do it all again. Now, ahead, we`re going to talk about another controversial item. Should Hillary Clinton face a primary challenge in 2016? If so, is Elizabeth Warren the best candidate? Who else is out there? Team Clinton and Team Warren will actually be here to debate that, coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first emergency dispatched calls sounded as if the National Security Agency was under attack. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reported gunshot wounds and possible traumatic arrest at the NSA connector road gate. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Helicopter video revealed the chaotic scene and a white sheet covering a body. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Just before 9:00 a.m. Eastern this morning, two men dressed as women wearing wigs approached the gate at the entrance to the secured campus of the headquarters of the National Security Agency. That is in Maryland. And according to the NSA, after the men failed to obey an agency police officer`s instructions to exit that area, the barriers were raised to block the entrance, the car turned, accelerated towards an NSA police vehicle that had moved into position to block the road and the NSA police officers then fired at the vehicle before is it struck their police car. Now, one of the suspects in that car was killed, although the NSA is saying the cause of his death has not yet been officially determined. The other man in the car was critically injured, and one NSA police officer also sustained minor injuries. NBC News is reporting the car that the men were driving at the time of the incident had been reported stolen and at least one weapon as well as drugs were discovered inside that vehicle. The president was briefed on that incident earlier today. The FBI is now leading an investigation there, although a senior U.S. official told NBC News there`s no early indication that this was actually a terrorist event and it was being treated so far as, quote, "a local criminal matter." We`ll continue to follow any development in the story and keep you posted. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHANOPOULOS: Hillary Clinton is not the candidate to take on those powerful special interests? MARTIN O`MALLEY (D), FORMER MARYLAND GOVERNOR: Oh, I don`t know, I don`t know where she stands. Let`s be honest here, the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families. History is full of times when the inevitable front-runner is inevitable right up until he or she is no longer inevitable. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: That was former Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley yesterday, arguing it`s too early to declare Hillary Clinton the presumptive nominee. While many of the Democratic Party`s biggest names have shied away from challenging Hillary, names like Biden and Gore and Kerry, and Cuomo, O`Malley is one of the only Democrats openly pushing her right now, and that create some of a race. But many Democrats seem more animated by a newcomer who has said she won`t challenge Clinton -- of course, Senator Elizabeth Warren. Some liberals now trying to woo her into the race. The progressive group Move On says 300,000 people have now signed on to its Run Warren Run campaign and coming now, an alliance that includes former Obama administration official Dan Jones and a Democratic primary candidate in her own right, Zephyr Teachout, are hooking up with the activist and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig to make a formal pitch for a Warren candidacy. Lessig arguing that that while Warren has fought against a rigged system, Clinton, he says, quote, "has offered nothing to demonstrate she either gets it or cares about addressing it", end quote. Joining me now is that Harvard Professor, Lawrence Lessig, and Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, a friend to both Bill and Hillary, and we should mention, he`s not officially affiliated with Hillary Clinton`s potential campaign. Good evening to you both. LANNY DAVIS, FORMER BILL CLINTON SPECIAL COUNSEL: Good evening. MELBER: Lawrence, what do you mean? LAWRENCE LESSIG, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Well, I think the thing that Elizabeth warren has done so powerfully is to focus the nation on a sense that many, many people have, that this system is not working for them. As she puts it, the system is rigged. And my view is, if that`s in fact true, which I agree with her it is, we need a debate, a campaign that`s going to focus on exactly why it`s rigged and what are we going to do about it? And the concern that many of us, is that if we have a one candidate primary, no debates, no effort to push this issue into the center, then we won`t be able to address it in a way that can rally people into getting back to getting involved in politics. So many people are turned off by what they see as a failed system and the question Elizabeth Warren is asked is a question we need to get answered. MELBER: Lanny, do you think the Democratic Party is better off with a raise that focuses on anointing Hillary or this wider race? DAVIS: Well, I don`t like the word "anointing." I would encourage Elizabeth Warren, Martin O`Malley, governor of my state, Senator Sanders, Senator Webb to enter and join the fray to debate the issues, specific issues that will take the country in the right direction. I happen to think that Senator Warren, Senator Clinton, Governor O`Malley are progressive Democrats are basically in agreement on all the major issues, including regulating Wall Street. And on the very specific issues that we can talk about tonight, I`m not sure where the differences are between Senator Warren and Senator Clinton, but I`m certainly in favor of a vigorous debate. I agree with the speaker completely that we`ll all be better off with a vigorous debate and Hillary Clinton has got to work hard for every single vote. And I can tell you, if she runs, she will. MELBER: So, Lawrence, what do you say to that argument, though, that there is a lot of overlap here among what are essentially progressive Democrats, as Lanny put it? LESSIG: Well, I think it`s exactly right. Progressive Democrats, all of them, see that the frustration exists about the failure of our system to function anymore. The question is whether we can move the debate beyond what everybody takes is obvious, to focus on things that would actually fix the problem. That`s exactly what happened in 2008, when Edwards and Obama raised this issue and push it. It engaged the debate. Hillary Clinton had to respond to that debate then, and I think we have to move it again in this election cycle, because unless the Democratic Party can give people a reason to believe, there is something they are going to get by showing up. We can actually fix the system -- MELBER: What do you mean exactly? If someone is watching, and you`re referring to those debates from `08, are you talking about specific bills to deal with Wall Street, and break up the banks? Are you talking about money and politics? LESSIG: Yes. In my view, the fundamental problem, the root problem here that explains what is going on with Wall Street, that explains what`s going on with the student debt, with the failure to get an economy going, with the debt of the nation, the single fundamental issue here that we`ve got to get addressed is the system that is rigged because of the way we fund campaigns. And unless we have a debate that can bring that up and address it, then we`re not going to make any progress. Last year, we did a poll and found 96 percent of Americans believe it important to reduce the influence of money in politics. We have politicians who are not even willing to talk about it, to address it in a way that gives people a sense that there`s a solution that`s possible and they`re going to push for it. MELBER: Lanny, do you think that campaign finance reform or experiments with public funding or dealing with Citizens United are priorities for Hillary Clinton based on what you know of her? DAVIS: I know the facts are that the answer is yes. On her performance in the primaries in 2008, with all due respect to someone who shared some of our issues probably in common, Hillary Clinton swept every industrial major state in the United States, carried working family votes by enormous margins. She and Barack Obama agreed on raising the minimum wage, agreed on Senator Warren`s proposal and Consumer Financial Protection Board, she agreed on taxing carried interest, a great concern to Wall Street investment bankers, at ordinary rates, not capital gains rates, she has taken on what I think are the progressive values of our party, and has been a champion of women rights, human rights and all other civil rights that we stand for as progressives. So, we need a debate. I completely agree and I hope that we have a vigorous debate. Hillary Clinton will be a greater and better candidate. She stayed into the very end in 2008, and I think made Barack Obama a better candidate. So, I can`t exactly say that it shouldn`t happened this time when I was arguing last time, that it would help Obama for her to stay in. MELBER: And final question to Lawrence on this effort, we`ve got all of the stats here. Elizabeth Warren said repeatedly she`s not running. Why do you think you can change her mind? LESSIG: Well, I think that if she sees the importance of engaging this debate and that`s a debate beyond the particular that we all want, we`ve got to get beyond fantasy politics and recognize that unless we address the fundamental problem here, we`re not going to get any of the things that the progressives are talking about what they want. And, you know, quite frankly, even the stuff that the people on the right say that they want. The fundamental fact is that this system blocks change and until we talk about fixing the system, none of us are going to get what we want, and that`s the debate we want to have, not whether we all agree on what progressive values are. MELBER: Well, Lawrence Lessig and Lanny Davis saying nice things about each other candidate`s and welcoming an open Democratic primary, I look forward to more of it. Thanks for being here more, you guys. LESSIG: Thank you. DAVIS: And more Ari Melber on TV, I think. MELBER: All right. Coming up, we have a new debate raging among space geeks. Is it maybe a little dangerous to be send9ng signals out into space that are searching for, yes, alien life if you`re not sure who it might reach? Well, that`s ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MELBER: It`s now a little after 2:00 a.m. in Lausanne, Switzerland, where nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers are really coming down to the wire. This is ahead, of course, of tomorrow night`s deadline. Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts from the U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia have less than 22 hours now to overcome substantial differences with Iran and settle on a framework deal. At this point, it`s anyone`s guess whether they will be able to get there. A state department spokesman told reporters, now the odds are 50/50, but diplomat quoted by the Chinese news agency said the atmosphere among negotiators today changed from optimism to gloom. And Russia`s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov actually left the talks earlier today and returned to Moscow. He had prescheduled meetings. Now, he could return tomorrow, that`s according to his spokesman, if this deal comes within reach. Now, I spoke with Ann Curry reporting for NBC News from those talks, and asked her where negotiations stand at this hour. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANN CURRY, NBC NEWS: Well, they`re within striking distance, within reach. There are about three or four, as we can gather, major issues that they still have to resolve, and, as you know, the clock is ticking. It is going to be a very critical night. We`re understanding that the negotiators are breaking into teams to address each one of these critical issues. We can tell you what some of those issues are, a lot of them we don`t know, but we do know is research and development from years 11 to 15, whether or not Iran will be allowed to -- what the restrictions will be on Iran`s research and development of nuclear -- it`s nuclear program is one of those things. Another one of those things, and probably the most critical this for the Iranians is going to be whether or not there will be some immediate relief of U.N. sanctions. There is already, according to multiple sources, we`re talking about U.S. sources, European sources, as well as Iranian sources, that the deal to deal with the larger sanctions, the U.S. sanctions, the international sanctions, you know, different countries have different sanctions, that that part of the agreement has largely been resolved. And it really is going to be a kind of quid pro quo, that`s the plan. So, another words, if Iran does A, then this particular sanction will be relieved. And this will happen over the course of many years, possibly even the length of the entire agreement. But, the one issue that is the real sticking point, and especially for Iran, Ari, is the U.N. sanctions. The U.N. sanctions send a message -- originally, they sent a message when they were agreed to impose on Iran, and they still send a message to Iran that they are not part of the international community. And so for -- sort of almost a philosophical kind of issue of pride for the Iranian people, the Iranian negotiators want to be able to announce that they have been able to get not only sanctions relieved, but some immediate U.N. sanctions relief. MELBER: Ann, from your reporting out there one of the keys to getting to yes at the end of this is that both sides really want it. Are there any initiative going towards the finish line that both sides equally want it badly to get it done. CURRY: Absolutely. U.S. senior -- senior U.S. officials have talked about where they are in hopeful terms. There is a feeling that they have run the marathon and they`re just within sight of the finish line. And, they feel that if they can just get through this toughest part then they can actually make a deal. I think the Iranians feel the very same thing. They`ve spent 18 months, we`ve been here through most of it, 18 months trying to get a deal. But now what they`re really down to is really tough political choices. And, my impression based on what we`re learning is that neither side is likely to come away from this deal without having some major political fallout when they go home. And that`s the problem. They`re struggling to be able to say to the world that they got a good deal. That they didn`t give away too much and got too little. MELBER: Ann Curry reporting from Switzerland. Thank you so much for staying up late and joining us. Appreciate it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: We will keep watching that story. Meanwhile, a vital piece of infrastructure in this country comes under attack every four days. Are we doing enough to protect it? That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MELBER: Did you know that every four days the nation`s power grid comes under physical or cyber attack? Well, that somewhat gulling statistic is called from federal documents that were analyzed by USA Today. Now, so far none of those attacks have resulted in widespread power outages, otherwise, well you might have heard about it. But their frequencies has raised concerns about the security of this obviously vital piece of our infrastructure. On NBC News, Jacob Rascon, in collaboration with that USA Today report, investigations. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JACOB RASCON, NBC NEWS: It was the most significant attack ever on our nation`s power grid. The Metcalf substation, powering part of Silicon Valley near San Jose, attacked by sniper fire, 100 rifle rounds damaging 17 transformers. KEN WELL, POWER SUBSTATIONS SENIOR DIRECTOR: This event was clearly a game changer for city gas and electric and the industry. No doubt about it. RASCON: Two years and 15 million dollars in repairs later, still no named suspects, no arrests. From terror to theft, physical attacks on our power grid happen every week. Department of energy records obtained and analyzed by USA Today show more than 300 incidents in past four years. STEVE RILEY, USA TODAY: Many of these were simple incidents of attempted copper theft or copper thefts, others were sophisticated attacks like we saw on Metcalf. RASON: And now, a new threat, cyber attacks. GERRY CAULEY, USA TODAY: Any given day there is thousands of attempts to probe and get into the networks and control systems on the powergrid, and we have the defenses to prevent that. RASCON: The Department of Homeland Security tells NBC news, it is a priority to "strengthen our critical infrastructure to reduce risks to systems we all rely on, including the electric grid". PG&E says its spending 100 millions of dollars to increase security at its facilities. Here at the substation, they replaced the chain link fence with a concrete wall, beefed up security patrols and added surveillance cameras. UNKNOWN FEMALE: And here we are, standing in front of a substation with a wide open gate. RASCON: But a 3 month investigations by NBC bay area station, Khan TV, found security gaps at other substations. UNIDENTIFIED FEMAL: No on site security that we can see. RASCON: Without providing details, PG&E told us their implementing other advanced detection and deterrent measures. No one lost power in the 2013 attack, but it was a wakeup call. CAUDLEY: I think the Metcalf incident was a significant turning point for us, that`s the reality. RASON: Last November, industry regulators put in place a new physical security standard, requiring all power companies to identify critical transmission facilities, analyzing threats and vulnerabilities, and enact new security plans. As threats evolve, attacks are more frequent and one successful attack is too many. Jacob Rascon, NBC News, San Jose, California. (END VIDEOTAPE) MELBER: And, joining me now is Steve Riley, the USA Today investigator reporter and data specialist who you saw there heading up that investigation on the power grid. Thanks for joining me tonight. STEVE RILEY, USA TODAY: Thanks for having me. MELBER: I think anyone can understand someone kind of, going over to a grid, lifting some copper, but what about the cyber stuff here, which is a lot newer and scarier to people? RILEY: Well, we looked at both types of attacks, both physical and cyber. Physical attacks, they do represent security breaches that no one wants to see breached. Those are a real concern, like we saw in the Metcalf incident. Security cyber attacks, we also looked at, and we saw those across a broad range of areas. From urban areas to one we looked at in rural Texas, these are attacks that are happening all over the country. MELBER: What`s the goal? RILEY: Well, in a lot of cases no one knows. That`s one thing we looked at is how often the suspects are apprehended and rarely they are. So, we don`t know specifically what the motives of some of these attackers are. We don`t know, in a lot of cases, who they are. MELBER: So, that`s scary right there. You don`t know who it is, and you don`t know why they`re doing it. I mean, if someone`s trying to knock off an ATM, you have an understanding of the kind of crime and threat you`re dealing with. Here, you`re telling me that someone could be trying to cut out power to a neighborhood or to a wider part of the city and we don`t even know what their up to. RILEY: Exactly. And, that`s even in the attack at the Metcaf substation in California. Those suspects were never apprehended, as we saw in that report. We don`t know who they are, what they wanted, and why they attacked that substation. MELBER: Now, let me push back on what some security analysts are saying regarding the scope of this. Politico surveyed about half a dozen experts who are looking at this today and they said look, it`s virtually impossible for one of these online only or cyber attacks to cause a widespread or prolonged outage of our North American powergrid. Do you think that`s an accurate assessment? RILEY: Well, what experts we spoke with were concerned about mostly is some type of combination of attack. Either a physical attack, that targeted multiple substations or facilities at the same time, or some type of physical attack combined with a cyber attack. Some type of combination that would have the potential for a broader effect. MELBER: And, given this reporting, would you say that people should be more prepared at home for the eventuality of loosing power for a long time? Did it make you want to change any of your own practices? RILEY: Well, it might. You can go onto Fema`s website and they do have the list of what to do to prepare. And, a lot of folks I think might find that useful. But, it did raise a concern. These are an almost constant stream of attacks on the infrastructure we all depend on for our daily lives. MELBER: I think that is absolutely fair to say. And, it`s the kind of thing that if one is debilitating everyone will be asking who was on this, why isn`t the grid better protected, after the fact. Right now, it`s more at this harm level that people can mostly ignore. That`s why your reporting on this and what your team did was so interesting. Steve Riley, thanks for joining us. RILEY: Thank you. MELBER: And up next, The Daily Show has a new host and we`ll introduce you to him. That`s straight ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MELBER: You may have caught Chris Hayes interview retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly on Friday about his identical twin brother`s historic trip into space where he will be for almost a year, while NASA studies what exactly that does to a persons body. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS HAYES, ALL IN HOST: So, talk to me a little bit about the way - - the kind of physiological experiments are going to be run with you and your brother as a kind of match pair, a sort of natural control and experiment since, as identical twins, you have the same genetic profile. What`s the plan going forward? MARK KELLY, ASTRONAUT: So after he was assigned, you know, NASA realized that they had a unique opportunity to do some science they`d never really been able to do before. And, especially when it comes to, you know, our genes and the way that his genetic material will be affected over this long period of time. They basically have a control in me on the ground. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Now, what you might not have caught was Mark Kelly`s new look. According to the AP, he pulled a fast one on NASA right before his brother lifted off. NASA administrator Charles Bolden telling Kelly on Monday, he almost had a heart attack when his brother showed up launch morning without his usual mustache late last week. He fooled all of us, Bolden said. Mark Kelly`s mustache was the only way I can tell you two apart. The AP reports Mark Kelly was still clean shaven today, perhaps in effort to keep the experiment as scientific as possible, because if his brother had to grow a matching mustache, who knows what would happen to it that long in space. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) TREVOR NOAH, COMEDIAN: I wanted to be black, to be honest, that`s what I`ve wanted. Especially since one day growing up I met an American and he was shocked that in South Africa we had all these titles, and he said to me he said, well you know, Trevor, if you go out to America, they`ll label you as black. I said, really? He was like, oh, hell yeah, yeah buddy, everybody is black out there. You`d be super black. I was like oh, that sounds good to me. Super black. And I made a choice, the first chance I get I go out to America, I`m going to get a piece of that black. MELBER: Today Trevor Noah, the son of a black South African woman and a white Swiss man, who grew up during apartheid will replace the legendary Jon Stewart as the new host on The Daily Show. He`s a 31 year old and he joined The Daily Show as a correspondent and just late last year, he`s appeared, actually, only three times, and he`s talked about everything from chess to Ebola to American`s views of Africa. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NOAH: I`ve got to be honest, Jon, Africa is worried about you guys. You know what African mothers tell their children every day? Be grateful for what you have, because there are fat children starving in Mississippi. In fact, we`re so worried that me and some of my friends in -- got together and, I told them, I said guys, for just a few pennies a day, you can help an American. JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW HOST: That is very kind, Trevor. NOAH: Now, they`re expecting something from me in return, they`re expecting at least a letter, man. STEWART: NO, and I know how that goes. I know how -- NOAH: If you want, you know, you can just draw a picture. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: You can just draw a picture. Well, earlier today Noah tweeted, quote, no one can replace Jon Stewart, but together with the amazing team at The Daily Show we`ll continue to make this the best damn news show, end quote. Here at All In, we wish best of luck to Trevor Noah, who takes over the chair later this year. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIMMY FALLON, THE TONIGHT SHOW HOST: If I was the President, the moment I was inaugurated, my hand would just -- it would still be hot from touching the Bible, and I would immediately race to where ever they have the files about Area 51 and UFOs, and I`d go through everything to find out what happened. Did you do that? BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That`s why you will not be President. If that`s the first thing you that would do. FALLOW: It`s at the top of my list. OBAMA: The aliens won`t let it happen. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: The aliens won`t let it happen, but there is a new debate raging in the scientific community. This is real. Should we just listen for potential sounds from aliens in outerspace or should we start trying to contact them ourselves? For decades, researches have been listening for signs of intelligent life. They use large radio antennas. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: SETI is the search for extraterrestial intelligent. Here, computers operate as sophisticated radio scanners checking 28 million different frequencies in the microwave bands, filtering out the background noise of outerspace in order to detect any possible transmissions from intelligent beings. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Yes, it is the kind of stuff you`ve seen in movies. Jodie Foster was playing a SETI scientist in that `97 film Contact. And now some scientists are advocating that we go beyond just listening for those potentially messages from potentially alien civilizations, they want to start initiating the conversations from Earth. Now the proposal is new, and it`s called active SETI. Its proponents believe we should be using radio telescopes like this one there in Puerto Rico, to communicate with our potential alien neighbors. As SETI`s Douglas Vey Coach (ph) tells Slate, "in the past, we have always assumed any extra terrestrial civilzation with the capacity to detect us will automatically take the initiative to make contact, sending us a powerful signal to let us know they exist." "But," he continues, "there may be civilizations out there that refuse to reveal their existence unless we make it clear that we want to make contact." But some are urging caution, including some pretty heavy hitters. More than two dozen people now, including billionaire founder of Space X Elon Musk, are asking to halt any further attempt here to contact those possible alien civilizations. Quote, "a worldwide scientifict, political and humanitarian discussion must occur before any message is sent," they say. Meanwhile, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, well he may have said it best, quote, "we don`t give our address to members of our own species when we don`t know. So the urge to give our home address to aliens is, that`s audacious. But here`s the thing, holding aside those uncertainties, it would be awesome to make contact with an advanced civilization." He did admit that. And joining me now to explain the whole debate is the chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia Derrick Pitts. Good evening. DERRICK PITTS, FRANKLIN INSTITUTE: Good evening, Ari, thanks for having me. MELBER: Absolutely. So, this is a real thing, the idea of active SETI, of saying we`re not just going to wait and listen, we are going to transmit. What do you say to the criticism I just showed on the screen? PITTS: Well, you know, the criticism that you showed on the screen really is wrapped around a tremendous amount of assumption about what aliens are like. We have to remember that any time we talk about what the alien reaction would be to whatever signal we send out, whenever we talk about that, we`re automatically assuming that aliens will, a, understand what our signal has to say, and b, it would mean anything to them at all. So, we are beginning in a place where things are pretty shaky to start with. I don`t see any real problem with sending out information about us. After all, our radio signals have been traveling out in space for about 100 years anyway. So there`s nothing that we can do to recall that. And any civilization listening will get a good taste of what we`re like here already. MELBER: What about the sort of legitimacy piece of this, which is this seems like a big decision for the world if we`re going to, as DeGrasse Tyson put it, tip off our address. Should there be some a wider American or global debate on this, or does SETI or any other group with the radio technology get to just start pinging out there? PITTS: Well, actually I think it is a global debate to determine what we should send that represents humanity here on the planet. I mean, that`s really the thing is that we want to send messages that demonstrate the diversity of life here. And in that sense, if we have one small group deciding what goes out, you know, that group isn`t being selective enough to to show the great diversity of what is happening here on Earth if maybe it is just a scientific message that says this is a planet. We`re around this star. And, you know, we`re in this location in space, that`s a different sort of thing altogether. But I think if we`re going to represent, you know, the life here on the planet then we should have a bigger discussion about what all we put in. MELBER: There`s one question over whether that life exists, and there`s a second question over whether we transmit information to them. Would they then come to us or bring something to us. How would that even be possible if they`re light years away? PITTS: Well, this is all part of the assumption piece. And that is, that again, we`re assuming that if they understand what our message is or understand who we are, even if the life is of a form that could understand any of what`s being transmitted to them at all, that`s the thing that sort of drives what would happen. So, again, the next thing that happens is the travel time. Any life form that`s at some considerable distance away from us, say 100 light years away, if they could travel at the speed of light, it would take 100 years to get here. Would they really want to use that that way? MELBER: That`s a long trip. Final question, Derrick Pitts, if they did make the trip and they landed in the U.S., the other political question is, then, are the space aliens entitled to Obamacare? PITTS: I`m sure that`s a good question. I`m sure the Republicans would have a good answer to that. MELBER: You know, it`s the news, so we always have to get in some of that. Derrick Pitts, thanks for talking to us about this big debate. PITTS: Thanks, Ari. MELBER: Absolutely. That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel. END THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END