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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 4/22/21

Guests: Sheldon Whitehouse, Hakeem Jeffries, Ras Baraka, Michelle Goldberg


President Joe Biden vows to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030. Congress is pushing for a 9/11 style investigation into Capitol riot on January 6th. Newark, New Jersey police officers did not fire a single gunshot in 2020. The House passed a bill that would make Washington D.C. the 51st state. Los Angeles plans to solve water crisis by turning their toilet water into tap water.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: We`ll have everybody read your article. And listen, this is a guy who`s a broadcaster. He knows when you got to close. Dean Obeidallah, that is -- thank you for being here. That`s tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL ON WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight, on ALL IN.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States isn`t waiting. This is the decisive decade.

HAYES: The White House goes big on climate. Tonight, the case for optimism about the biggest problem on the planet. Then, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries on the new Democratic offer to begin a January 6th Commission.

How one major American city has made big strides in reforming its Police Department on the day of Daunte Wright is laid to rest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Words can`t even explain how I feel right now. You know, that was my son.

HAYES: Plus, fixing the democratic system as the House votes to add another state to the union. And on this Earth Day, Jacob Soboroff on LA`s big new push to turn toilet water into tap water.

JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: So, about a day ago, what I flushed down my toilet has ended up with this.


HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. For literally decades, climate scientists and activists, observers, politicians have been saying this, this is the moment we must rally to stop the planet from warming, to save the Earth from catastrophe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now more than ever, we stand at the door of opportunity wondering whether the door will close before we act to control the greenhouse effect.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We simply must halt global warming. It is a threat to our health, to our ecology, and to our economy.

BIDEN: There`s some basic facts about global warming. It`s real simple. The science is real, the effects are profound, and inaction is not an option.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And today, I call on all countries to join us. Not next year or the year after that, but right now.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Climate change is real. It`s urgent, and America can take the lead in the world in addressing it, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mother Nature is giving us a very clear and powerful message. We`ve got to stop that. We`ve got to wake up and recognize the need for change.


HAYES: For 35 years, right, we`ve been saying it`s time to act, and every year carbon emissions go up more or less. And the pattern in how we do with climate change in this country has been this. Democratic politicians, if they are elected in the White House, they try to set goals, they try to move towards them, and then Republicans come in and just scrap the whole plan, tear it up, demagogue the issue, pretend climate change is not a problem, and deny it all.

And that`s even though in the past, the commitments by Democratic presidents themselves were insufficient. The obstruction from Republicans keeps leading to this kind of oscillating wave in American climate policy between too little action and then just complete nihilistic denialism. Those are like the two modes we have, OK. That has been happening for literally multiple generations of American climate policy.

But, but, but we do have a rare confluence in this moment. The climate situation is, of course, both the most dire it`s ever been, and the most promising for real change at the same time. There`s a few reasons. One, a lot of lessons have been learned. There are a lot of battle scars to show for it. The Earth has already warmed a ton. It is going to continue to warm more just based on the carbon we`ve already put in the atmosphere.

But today, President Biden announced the most concerted, ambitious pledge on carbon emissions we have ever had in this country (INAUDIBLE), pledging to reduce us greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent to 52 percent by 2030.


BIDEN: By maintaining those investments and putting these people to work, the United States sets out on the road to cut greenhouse gases in half, in half by the end of this decade, all of us, all of us, and particularly those of us who represent the world`s largest economies. We have to step up because scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade. This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of a climate crisis.


HAYES: All right, so you`re hearing that and you`ve heard the montage before and you`re thinking yourself well, you know, talk is cheap. I literally have heard this before, like, two minutes earlier in your segment. True. But it is not crazy to allow yourself a little bit of optimism about this today. And here`s why.

First of all, this is a short-term goal. 2030 is just nine years away. I mean, it`s -- the Biden administration is going to oversee at least half of that, right? That means there is much more accountability for the people involved as opposed to these 2050 goals you often hear about which are easy to make when most of the people in charge will be long gone by the time we hit that benchmark.

Also, the economics of green energy are completely changing at a clip that is almost too fast for me to be able to communicate. Solar and wind power are now cheaper than ever, and they are cheaper than coal. They`re actually cheaper than coal by a lot. Look at this chart. You can see how expensive solar power it used to be on the far left there, and then it just drops way below coal, way below.

As a result, big banks and investors are starting to back away from all fossil fuels. OK, they`re backing away from coal. Coal is basically dead. We`ve known that. But now they`re starting to get out of natural gas. There`s a natural gas retreat that`s happening that is new. And green energy is getting cheaper and cheaper and cheaper, which means huge amounts of capital flowing into green tech and green investment.

They`re all these electric cars coming out, incredible upward revisions in electric vehicle projections and adoption. I mean, who would have imagined an electric Hummer a few years ago? Plus, if you look at this administration, it`s also just very evident that addressing climate change is genuinely a priority. That matters a lot, right? Whether the president the people around him care about an issue as a priority matters a lot.

Politico reported today, President Biden plans to push these climate goals even if Congress does not move with him. One of the first things Biden did after getting elected was announced a clean energy team, something that wasn`t even mentioned, of course, in the last administration.

And a lot of the pending infrastructure package, right, this is the second big piece of legislation which has already been rolled out, right, it works on transitioning the us toward a green economy. I think President Biden learned the lessons from President Obama`s big cap and trade bill that Republicans killed.

The way to do it, the way to push green policies is through thousands of small interventions and policies by pressing on a lot of different levers rather than one big one. Of course, climate change is a global problem. We have to be realistic and clear-eyed, always. So, we`ve got the Paris Climate deal Trump pulled us out of famously. Biden put us -- put us back in. But here`s the thing. Even the nation that stayed in the -- in the Paris deal are not really meeting their requirements.

So, if any of this is going to work, OK, the Biden administration has to deliver on carbon emission cuts, the way they have delivered on vaccines, right? They pledged to do something, they went out and they did it. They have to do it quickly, efficiently, and comprehensively. They need to say, we`re going to fix this thing, and then go out and show the world they can.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democratic of Rhode Island has delivered 279 speeches calling attention to the climate crisis and he joins me now. Senator, first your reaction to the announcement of the targets today and this administration`s push on this.

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): I think it`s great. This was at the leading edge of the plausible window of options. And, you know, 50 percent plus by 2030 is a real serious commitment.

HAYES: So, I guess the question is, how do we get from here to there? And I think, you know, back when I was covering the Obama ministration, which had pretty ambitious climate goals coming in. It was the cap and trade bill, it was Waxman-Markey, it passes the House, Republicans in the Senate killed it.

I think there`s -- I mean, correct me if I`m wrong, but I feel like there`s a real strategic shift now in how you and your Democratic colleagues think about the policy mechanisms. Talk me through how you think about it in the absence of a big like, climate bill that Republicans won`t vote for.

WHITEHOUSE: Well, I think -- for starters, I think there will be a big climate bill. I think that the build back better jobs bill will be that climate bill. And we`re going to work very hard to make sure that it is that climate bill. And behind that comes Glasgow and the World Conference to update the Paris Agreement, and perhaps another round of legislation to fill in for that.

And in the Senate right now, there are bills moving forward on industrial emissions, on agricultural emissions, on oceans related issues, and a lot of these are bipartisan. So, you`re right, something has shifted. And the momentum is gathering and growing. And I think we just have to lean in as hard as we can and make sure we`re doing everything we can along the way.

And I think for the first time, after many, many years of despair and frustration about this, I`m starting to feel that we`re going to get there.

HAYES: When you say -- I don`t want to blow up anyone`s spot because one thing I`m painfully aware of is that like, the only way for Republicans in some ways to be on the right side of some of these policy issues is like no one to notice.

So, I don`t -- I don`t want to -- I don`t want to throw a monkey wrench in that plan. But when you say there`s stuff on industrial emissions or agricultural emissions that is bipartisan, like that`s kind of news to me. What -- talk me through -- what does that look like? What`s that collaborative process look like?

WHITEHOUSE: Well, let`s start with the ag bill which we went to the press conference day before yesterday, I want to say. It has 20, Republican co- sponsors. And it will instruct the Department of Agriculture to build a verifiable carbon offset so that farmers can say, if I do this, if I do this, if I do this, will I get carbon credit for this. And the Department of Agriculture can say yes, and send the money for using good farming and forestry and ranching practices.

And that could explode once that is established throughout the industry. We have the carbon capture industry growing thanks to the so-called 45Q tax credit. If you can capture the damn stuff out of the atmosphere, then we can really accelerate our ability to meet these targets.

And there`s the industrial technologies bill, which provides support for R and D for different industries to take advantage of things that the utilities, for instance, are doing with clean air standards, and bring those into manufacturing, bring them into steelmaking, bringing them into cement making, and so forth. And all of those bits are bipartisan at this point.

HAYES: That is -- so this is -- this is a sort of proof of concept of the kind of thesis, right? That you know, again, those are all in what are -- what we generally call kind of must-pass bills, right? Like, you got to pass the ag bill, you`re -- and the ag bill is going to pass. So, the question is, well, what can you do in the ag bill on emissions?

And there`s -- I mean, it seems to me like that`s the direction things have gone increasingly in the wake of the, you know, the 2009 situation.

WHITEHOUSE: Yes, I think the rule has to be every bill has to be a climate bill, and there has to be a big climate bill.

HAYES: Right.

WHITE HOUSE: And if we follow that rule, I think we`ll get there.

HAYES: Do you think that on the big climate bill part of it, like, I mean, is that -- would the politics of that look the same that we have anticipated and different from say, the ag bill or other stuff, right? Because it does seem to me like it`s one of these things where you raise -- if you raise the salience of it, even though it`s very popular, you know, 60, 65 percent popularity, it`s just one of these issues where Republicans, as soon as you raise the salience, they`re like, you know, I want to stick it to the libs and you can`t tell me we`re not to, you know, burn coal, yadda, yadda, yadda.

WHITEHOUSE: Well, let me say two things about that. The first is that we`ve got a good start on a big bill right now with a massive investment in electronic vehicles, electronic vehicle infrastructure, to turn the transportation sector around. And the clean electricity standard that is in the Biden plan is very strong. And we could bake into that also a penalty on carbon emissions that can fund even more good work, you know, then we`re talking about I think, something really, really significant. So, that`s point one.

The point two is that the Republicans are a little bit less comfortable with where they are now than where they used to be because a lot of the apparatus of climate denial and obstruction is blowing up. So, the American Petroleum Institute is getting some real pushback. The Chamber of Commerce, which was one of the two worst climate instructors in America is in a state of internal turmoil, as it turns toward climate action.

Today, the National Association of Manufacturers, the other worst climate of structure in America, came out applauding Joe Biden`s standard and saying manufacturing is going to be what gets this done. So, all of that is new and the apparatus of obstruction and denial is beginning to collapse.

And at the end of the day, it`s going to be the Koch Brothers marathon petroleum and a couple of crazy dead-enders. And at that point, I don`t think there`s much for the Republicans to rally around any longer.

HAYES: You know, it`s funny, sometimes you can see you have a segment in your -- as you`re -- as you`re doing it, you`re like, am I -- am I talking myself into something and we sort of went through it, and I -- and then -- but then I talked to you, and now I`m convinced of my own thesis, which is always a nice feeling that like there really -- there really is a moment here. There really is opportunity.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, always great to talk to you.

WHITEHOUSE And the determination in the Democratic Senate is greater than ever. Remember that the Republicans didn`t want cap and trade, but the White House and the Senate leadership is what took it down and didn`t even get it a vote in the Senate.

So, you know, we have our own problems from the past. Those are over. There is a really solid commit from Joe Manchin right across the board to solving this.

HAYES: All right, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a real leader on this, thank you so much for your time.

I`ve said this before, it`s worth repeating, that it is still astounding to me that we still, still do not have a comprehensive, thorough public accounting of what happened during the January 6th attack? Instead, we`re still left trying to piece together the full picture from off-the-record sources and reporters and then court documents.

It doesn`t have to be this way. In fact, there`s a renewed effort from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold a full 9/11 style commission. There`s a new proposal out today. So, why aren`t Republicans on board? That`s next.


HAYES: It has been more than 100 days since the January 6th attack on the Capitol and there still has been zero comprehensive public accounting on exactly what happened. For example, Capitol Police initially said that fallen Officer Brian Sicknick was injured while physically engaging with protesters. And that is what they said the day after the attack. It`s how we reported, many did, day after day for over three month until the Washington D.C. Medical Examiner ruled this week that officer Sicknick died of natural causes.

According to the medical examiner, Sicknick suffered two strokes and showed no evidence of internal or external injuries. The medical examiner did note that all that transpired played a role in Sicknick`s condition. And we know not from the medical examiner, but from some incredible New York Times reporting, that Sicknick was sprayed with some kind of substance, most likely bear spray, by the attackers on January 6th.

But that`s a perfect example of what I`m finding frustrating about January 6th. Almost everything we`ve learned about the events of those day has come from the sources of the record or court filings or journalists scraping through video or leaked details from closed-door briefings and internal documents.

Yesterday, for example, in the hearing about the attack, Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California revealed new details of a message that went out to Capitol Police officers the morning of the sixth.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): So, if an officer said in one of the reviews on the morning of January 6th, and this is a quote. A radio broadcast was sent to all outside units` attention. All units on the field we`re not looking for any pro-Trump in the crowd. We`re only looking for any anti-pro-Trump who wants to start a fight."


HAYES: Now, the Capitol Police push back on that today issuing a statement saying that this was one of many different back and forth throughout the day. Congressman Lofgren said the key detail came from an internal investigation. But again, we learned this from a hearing, Capitol Police try to push back, and so what are we to make of it?

So far, the only public report we`ve gotten since January 6th is that 13- page security review from retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore. That`s helpful information for the future but it`s not good enough. We still do not have an official tick-tock of the events of that day, and we need it.

Nearly 20 years ago in this country, very famously, we came under attack, we formed a national commission to fully investigate what happened. And the 9/11 Commission produced more than 500-page report, a public comprehensive accounting of exactly what happened. That is the kind of investigation and work product we need to understand what happened on January 6th and to move forward.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York, is the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and he joins me now. Congressman, where does this commission stand right now?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Well, we`re moving forward to try to arrive at common ground with the Republicans so we can form a bipartisan commission that can comprehensively study the events of January 6th and the events leading up to January 6th, including the radicalization that perhaps led to the mob storming the Capitol that day, and then prepare a comprehensive report, as you`ve articulated, that was done in connection with 9/11 and report to the American people.

And the speaker has made clear that it`s important for it to be bipartisan, but that, of course, requires an agreement in good faith with the other side of the aisle. To try to reach that agreement, she`s indicated that we`re willing for the commission to be evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

And for the chair, which would be a Democratic appointment and the vice- chair presumably a Republican appointment, to jointly have the ability to issue subpoenas as opposed to simply the chair having unilateral authority. The major area of disagreement right now seems to be on the scope, Chris, because the Republicans to some degree are in fantasy land as it relates to their wish list as to what the scope of the commission should be.

HAYES: I want to read just to reiterate this idea. So, you know, this is a fairly standard kind of set up for these sorts of things, right, evenly split, a chair or vice-chair or some sort of agreement for subpoenas. Pelosi has agreed to make the panel evenly split between Democrats and Republicans to change the way subpoenas would be issued requiring a joint decision by the chair and vice-chair, or after a majority vote. Tell me what the -- what the scope debate is.

JEFFRIES: So, our view is that the Commission should be focused on the events of January 6th, the violent attack on the Capitol, the incitement of an insurrection, the perpetration of the big lie, and the role that it played in the radicalization that we saw manifests itself by the storming of the Capitol.

That`s fairly straightforward. The events of 9/11 were the scope of the 9/11 Commission, not a whole host of other conspiratorial views or political fantasies that some may have had at the time. Right now, Leader McCarthy has indicated that he wants the scope of this commission to include the Black Lives Matter protests that took place in the summer of 2020. He wants it to include Antifa. And the fact that --

HAYES: Wait, he wants he wants -- he wants the January 6th commission to include Black Lives Matter?

JEFFRIES: That`s correct. And, in fact, Chris, if you can believe it or not, said that at his press conference today. This is not political hyperbole, this is his negotiating position. It`s an embarrassment and it`s a joke. And it`s just not going to happen. And so, we`re committed to trying to find common ground. Hopefully, some reasonable folks on the other side of the aisle will step in, and it will become clear that Kevin McCarthy`s position is untenable.

HAYES: You know, I have to say like, I understand that this partisan wrangling and the -- and the ridiculous bad faith of McCarthy there. My interest as a journalist as someone who`s been covering this is I`ve just found the level of transparency wholly inadequate and maddening.

I mean, we`ve found out about a person who died from a local news package that happened from a sibling reported it. And then we find out about this person whose involvement -- it was in the Trump administration official because of either caught on video or there`s a court filing. Like, all of it just comes out in these different streams. And that`s how we find out about this very important thing.

No one`s out there -- no one was out there the next day doing the kind of briefing you see after huge mass casualty events are were big thing. I mean, it has been crazy to me how terrible the communication of information about this thing that we all witnessed has been.

JEFFRIES: Absolutely. And this is really a, you know, once in a century, hopefully, type of event that we`ll never see again. But Chris, I can promise you this. We are going to get to the bottom of what happened. Hopefully, that will be through a 9/11 style commission. But we have majorities in the house in the Senate. We have subpoena power. We can conduct an independent congressional investigation if necessary.

We also know that we have a cooperative administration, a cooperative Department of Justice, and hopefully, the information that they`ve accumulated will begin to be put forth into the public domain in a coherent fashion as well. But we`re committed to the idea of a commission because we think it`s the right thing to do for America to fully understand and receive the truth of what occurred. We just have to overcome this republican obstructionism. And I believe that we will one way or the other.

HAYES: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, member of the Democratic leadership working on this issue, thank you very much.

JEFFRIES: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Still ahead, as the nation grapples with what effective police and policing reform can look like, how one major American city win a year without a police officer firing a single shot after this.



AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: When you see the blue wall of silence tumble in a courtroom in Minneapolis, when policemen understand that they are committed to the oath rather than to the colleague, that`s when we know a breakthrough is coming. That`s when we know we can pass the George Floyd Bill because folks are not going to lie on you know more.


HAYES: Today, at the funeral of 20-year-old Daunte Wright who was shot and killed during a traffic stop by Brooklyn Center Police in Minnesota almost two weeks ago, Reverend Al Sharpton spoke forcefully about the need for police reform which has quickly gained momentum after former Minneapolis police officer Derrick Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd on Tuesday.

Just minutes after that verdict, a police officer in Columbus, Ohio killed a 16-year-old Ma`Khia Bryant. This is a still image from the officer`s body cam which was released later by the Columbus Police. It shows her reportedly holding a knife appearing to lunge towards someone dressed in pink who was against a parked car.

There`s an ongoing investigation into her fatal shooting. And then yesterday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a federal investigation into the patterns or practices of the Minneapolis Police Department. Just in the last week, and it points the fact there`s going to be changes in policing, it`s going to happen at the local level.

The federal government can set guidelines, but there are more than 12,000 police departments across the country. Think about that. Five years ago, Newark, New Jersey, which is one of those 12,000, entered into an agreement with the federal government that prescribed a set of reforms for his police department. And since then, the department has seen some significant progress. Newark officers did not fire a single shot in 2020. They finished 2020 without killing anyone the first time since 2015.

Joining me now is the mayor of the city of Newark, Ras Baraka. Mayor, can you tell us a little bit about what the policies were that you`ve implemented in Newark in concert with federal government through this what we call consent decree?

RAS BARAKA, MAYOR OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Thank you. Thank you for having me, Chris. I think some of the basic policies, we set up a civilian review board. That`s number one. We had to create new policies for the police department, whether it was stop and frisk, use of force, all police officers have been trained in biased perception, search and seizure, arrest procedures, deescalation. These are all new policies that were recreated because of the consent decree.

Every officer has a body-worn camera. We`ve worked hard to make sure that the police department reflects the community that it serves. So, it`s 75 percent Black Latinx reflecting the community of Newark, New Jersey. And then there`s a host of other things that we`ve done partnering with the community. We created the Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery.

And we just put a civilian in charge in terms of the deputy police director for Community Relations. We hired a civilian to head that off and stuff as well.

HAYES: What are the -- I know that that as late as -- a lot of this is reporting, right? So, a big part of what the consent decrees do is data. I know as late as 2019 that data was showing still had some racial disparities in black -- White folks being stopped by police. I know that use of force was -- had actually gone up at a certain point. Like, what are your outcome metrics that you`re judging this as a success or not by?

BARAKA: Well, the community response. So, we do polls. We talk to the community and find out what they -- what they`re feeling about the police department, what they`re feeling about safety in the city at the same time. And then that`s basically how we gauge what`s happening.

And we also look at the fact that crime has gone down, but also arrest of are going down. So, we have proven that there is no direct relationship between arresting people in a reduction of crime. And the more contacts we`ve had with the community, have been based on positive stops.

So, in the concept, when we check-in for the rise in crime, rise in shooting, rising violence, we also check for how many times the police have interacted with the community in ways that are not about arresting people.

HAYES: 2020 -- as the data comes in in 2020, it was -- it was a very violent year in America, a huge jump in shootings and homicides specifically in city after city. What has it been like in your city?

BARAKA: Well, by the grace of God, we actually had the same kind of outcomes in 2020 that we had in, you know, 2019. We actually -- in some areas, even better. You know, as you stated, our police officers didn`t fire a shot while almost getting three, 400 guns off the street at the same time. So, that`s an incredible feat for the police department to do that level of restraint.

And I`m proud of that. There`s a lot more work to be done, so I don`t want to, you know, take a victory lap and say that Newark is the perfect place because we still have issues and incidents. But we work through them and we try to be as transparent as possible and make sure people are held accountable for things that they do.

HAYES: What do you think is the big takeaway for other cities to the extent -- and I know, like, this is an incomplete project, obviously. And I know that there are been -- there was actually a fatal shooting in your city by a police officer in 2021 that sort of broke that streak.

BARAKA: That`s right.

HAYES: What is the sort of takeaway for other cities, though, to your mind, when you look at say the announcement of Merrick Garland about Minnesota -- the Minneapolis Police Department?

BARAKA: I think it`s completely necessary that these consent decrees are necessary. It`s obvious that locally, these folks are not going to make the kind of changes, the transformative changes that are necessary. And so, you need the federal government probably to step in and force this change.

And then you need local police and local elected officials to work with them. It does not have to be a negative relationship. We don`t have that kind of relationship in Newark. It has to be a relationship where you, the folks from the federal government, the consent decree, and community work together to repurpose, reimagine what policing should be in your community. And that`s what people are calling for all over the nation, a reimagining of policing.

HAYES: Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, thank you so much for making some time for us tonight.

BARAKA: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: Next, Washington D.C. has more people than the entire state of Wyoming and no representation in Congress. Well, today, the House passed a bill for DC statehood setting up a battle in the Senate. The fight to rebalance American democracy after this.


HAYES: Today, for the second time in history, the House passed legislation that would make Washington D.C. a state. The bill passed along party lines and the partisan interest here are very clear, right? Statehood for D.C. would mean, at least in the short term, probably adding two Democratic senators.

Of course, Democrats have a very obvious interest in making that happen and Republicans are dead set on opposing it. But Democrats also have a very basic persuasive argument here about representation. I mean, there`s 700,000 of our fellow Americans who live in D.C. and have no voting representatives in Congress in the House or the Senate, meaning they have a delegate, they can elect to Congress, that person does not actually get to vote on anything.

And as for Republicans, well, they don`t really have any good arguments against it, as you can see whenever they come out to defend their position.


REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): With D.C. statehood. D.C. wouldn`t even qualify as a singular congressional district and here they are, they want the power and the authority of being an entire state in the United States.


HAYES: Now that`s a little bit of a tough sell as an argument to make while standing right next to Congresswoman Liz Cheney. She, of course, the representative for Wyoming single at large district representing 100,000 fewer people than the population of D.C.

Then there`s Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana who once famously likened himself to a former KKK leader calling himself David Duke without the baggage. Scalise is sounding this racist dog whistle about the crime rate in D.C. "Why should the District of Columbia be granted statehood when it can`t even perform basic governmental duties like protecting its residents from criminals?"

The matter is the geographic polarization in America means the U.S. Senate is straying further and further away from the median voter in this country. Granting statehood to D.C. is a crucial means of rebalancing that. Michelle Goldberg is an op-ed columnist at the New York Times who wrote about the tyranny of the minority and how Republicans have a structural advantage in elections in her very first column at the New York Times back in 2017, and she joins me now.

Michelle, this -- it`s striking to me how bad the Republican arguments are about this. But I think it`s because, you know, each side has a partisan interest, the Democrats just have a much stronger actual principled argument here.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, OP-ED COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right. The only Republican argument -- I mean, well, there are two Republican arguments against statehood for D.C. One, that it will benefit Democrats, and two, that there`s something about the people of D.C. that they don`t deserve representation.

And indeed, the contempt with which members of our government speak about residents of D.C. I think is a sign of how badly they need representation.

HAYES: It`s a good -- that`s a great point. I mean, you get all these like, really gross, like, you know, sort of snippy comments about like, who D.C. people are in a way that you would never say about residents of other states. But precisely is salable, because they don`t have any way of pushing back because they don`t have representation.

GOLDBERG: Well, and it`s also -- there`s also just a sort of norm in our politics that people can speak extremely contemptuously about people in cities. And part of that norm is also about minority rule, because people in cities have just so much less political power, definitely in the Senate to some extent in the House.

And because Republicans aren`t really even forced to compete for votes of people in the cities, instead that they`re maintaining power sort of depends on disenfranchising people in the cities, that you can speak about them as if they are kind of lesser Americans, not real Americans.

Real Americans are people who live in the countryside and work in agriculture and manufacturing as Tom Cotton said. When Tom Cotton was saying why D.C. didn`t deserve statehood, he said, it`s because they don`t -- you know, well, Wyoming is different. Wyoming has people who work in manufacturing. Wyoming has people who work in agriculture, as if that`s what gives them the right to representation in our government.

HAYES: The other bigger issue here, and this is something you and I`ve talked about a lot and you`ve written about, is that the you know, because we`ve got this geographic polarization, that this median Senate seat is six or seven percentage points more GOP leaning than the nation, right?

So, you`ve got this structural advantage in the Senate where like, Republicans can hold a majority in the Senate with 40 percent, 42 percent, 43 percent of the, you know, the popular vote as it were, even though that doesn`t happen for the Senate. But it`s just a conservative institution. This is one small way rebalancing. And I wonder like, do democrats in the senate understand how important that is?

GOLDBERG: I think both of them do, but obviously, not all of them. You know, it`s not only do I don`t think right now that you have enough Democrats to break a filibuster for this. It`s not totally clear that you even have all 50 Democratic senators on board. So, I think most Democrats understand the broader sort of crisis of democracy that we`re in and the importance of democracy reform.

We`re in this situation where minority rule makes it impossible to address minority rule. And meanwhile, sort of minority keeps entrenching itself further and further and we have a very small window in which it`s possible to address that. But again, because of the veto power of these minority factions addressing it is extremely difficult.

HAYES: That`s exactly right, minority rule entrenching minority rule. You got to break the logjam. Michelle Goldberg, thanks so much.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

HAYES: Next, as climate change threatens the water supply in Los Angeles, the city has a new creative and eyebrow raising solution. Jacob Soberoff on the plan to go from toilet to tap after this.


HAYES: As the Biden administration sets ambitious federal targets to combat the climate crisis, local governments are already having to take drastic action to adapt to it. And California, a state that of course has always struggled with its water supply, and much of it as a desert, climate change is exacerbating the shortage of water.

We saw that firsthand back in July 2015 when ALL IN traveled around the state during one of the worst droughts in California history. It hasn`t gotten that much better since then. I`ve tried a million different ways around the problem. But now Los Angeles has come up with a pretty brilliant and innovative solution to that city`s water crisis with an interesting wrinkle.

Here to explain, MSNBC`s Jacob Soboroff. Jacob?

SOBOROFF (on camera): Chris, where I am is quite extraordinary. I have to tell you, this is the Los Angeles aqueduct. Hundreds of billions of gallons of water are imported from this place every single year. It was opened by William Mulholland in 1913 when he figured out literally a way to steal water from hundreds of miles away to build what we know as modern-day Los Angeles. And today, that`s part of the problem.


SOBOROFF (voice-over): Just over five years ago for ALL IN, I visited Nevada`s Lake Mead receding from drought and the effects of climate change.

OK. So, Christie said, where we`re standing right now just five years ago, this area would have actually been underwater.


SOBOROFF: From there, we followed its water along the Colorado River to Yuma, Arizona where after being diverted to customers in seven states at the U.S.-Mexico border, there wasn`t a drop of water left.

It`s bone dry.

Today things are even worse with projection showing Lake Mead headed for a record low level by July. The megadrought has forced Los Angeles which buys Colorado River water to think outside the box about what to do if the city share of imported water dries up?

You`re lucky this is not Smell-O-Vision.

One potential source, the city`s wastewater, what comes from our showers and toilets. Michael Ruiz runs LA`s Tillman Water Reclamation Plant which treats the equivalent of 409 Olympic-sized swimming pools of the stuff every day.

So, Mike, what is it exactly?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a scientific term, it`s called mixed liquor suspended solids.

SOBOROFF: Mixed liquor suspended solids. It sounds pretty gross, but Mike and the city are able to treat all this sewage, so it`s clean enough to release into the Los Angeles River and the ocean.

We`re on our way out five miles in the Pacific Ocean to see where the city of Los Angeles is currently discharging hundreds of millions of gallons of treated wastewater every single day.

225 million gallons of treated wastewater to be exact all discharged through this pipe. Now, LA engineers and scientists are working on an ambitious plan to by 2035 turn LA`s wastewater into LA`s drinking water.


SOBOROFF: LA Mayor Eric Garcetti couldn`t be more confident in his city`s plan to go from toilet to tap, or showers to flowers as he likes to call it.

Yesterday, we went five miles directly out that way to where this facility is pumping 250 million gallons of wastewater treated every day out into the Pacific.

GARCETTI: We think by 2035, we can take about 216 million of this 250 million gallons, instead of piping it that way, we`ll be piping it back this way.

SOBOROFF: But first, they`ll have to convince any squeamish LA residents.

We just want to be super clear that by 2035, the four million residents in the city hopefully will be drinking this stuff that started hours ago in our homes and showers and toilets.

GARCETTI: Absolutely, you`ll have the sweetest, cleanest, clearest water, and it`s going to be right here from LA.


SOBOROFF: So, Mayor Garcetti, Chris, is very enthusiastic. I want to tell everyone watching. LA already has a pilot program where they`re making this water using very advanced technology. They`re very proud of it, the science behind it. They sent me and you both these samples, so we can have just a little taste.

I`ve got mine, I think you`ve got yours. And a few days ago, it could have come from my shower or toilet or my backyard, who really knows. But I would like to pour a little out here, and maybe you will too. And I would like to -- here you go, Chris, I`d like to offer a toast to you, Chris, and to a sustainable future if you`re -- if you`re down to try it.

HAYES: Yes, let`s give it up. Nice bouquet, good --

SOBOROFF: It`s delicious.

HAYES: Good mouthfeel to that water. Yes. I want to tell people watching at home that, you know --

SOBOROFF: They told me don`t -- go ahead.

HAYES: I`m just saying, we`re a journalistic program here. I could have just poured any water in here. But instead, we went through an incredible odds of couriering this water across the country here because we believe in this.

But it is amazing to imagine when you think about the amount of water flowing through this city, the amount that`s used in wastewater, and a lot of it just what we call greywater, right? Stuff that like, you`re hosing with, or even showering with --

SOBOROFF: That`s right.

HAYES: To find a technology that could actually make that clean enough to drink would be game-changing not just for Los Angeles, but cities around the country and the world.

SOBOROFF: It is really -- honestly, and we joke about it that it`s -- that it`s toilet to tap, the mayor calls it showers to flowers, it really does taste like normal water. It`s actually purer. If you hold it up, it`s actually pure than normal water because there aren`t minerals added back to it quite yet.

They tell you not to drink too much of it in this phase because without the minerals, you know, this is actually not water like you`re used to drinking. It`s too clean. And that`s really why it is part of what could be a sustainable future. They want to have the amount of this -- of this right here of imported water that`s brought into the city so that LA doesn`t have to rely on what`s drying up not necessarily from here in the Owens River Valley, but the Colorado River because it is literally drying up because of climate change.

HAYES: Final question is just like what kind of -- he`s saying 2035. So, you would -- this would be -- need to be scaled up enormously.

SOBOROFF: It absolutely will, Chris, but they have the technology to do it right now. And they know the places where they want to do it. The technology exists all across the country. Right now, to your point, there`s four million people across the country approximately from Atlanta to Orange County here in Southern California that use some type of this technology. Singapore relies largely on this technology.

LA would, to give you an idea, double the number of people in the United States that are drinking recycled wastewater. And that -- and that really is extraordinary in and of itself.

HAYES: Jacob Soboroff, a great, great report. And thank you for this delicious mineral-free recycled water. Thanks a lot, man.

SOBOROFF: Cheers, my friend.

HAYES: All right, that is ALL IN on this Thursday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.