IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 7/15/21

Guests: Adam Schiff, Eric Holder, Vivek Murthy, Tina Smith

Summary

The evidence in plain sight that the United States military was preparing to prevent a Trump coup. Explosive new reporting on Pentagon measures to protect democracy. Texas Democrats speak with Senator Joe Manchin to plead their case on the dire need for action on voting rights. The Biden administration is going to battle against COVID misinformation which is partly responsible for this huge pool of vaccine hesitant people we have here on the U.S.; One of the most important aspects of climate policy is what`s called a clean energy standard. This is a practical policy but it`s also a progressive and powerful policy for getting our utility sector to net zero as quickly as possible.

Transcript

AMALIA DACHE, AFRO-CUBAN AMERICAN SCHOLAR: They spent $100 million in buying chicken. Another thing, Black Lives Matter could not exist in Cuba. They`re outlawed.

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: So, yes, clearly a difference. Thank you so much, Amalia Dache. We actually had an extended conversation on my podcast on Slate, she`s a fantastic guest.

That`s tonight`s "REID OUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts right now.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, on ALL IN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. MARK MILLEY, UNITED STATES CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: We don`t swear an oath of allegiance to an individual a king, a queen, a president, or anything else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The evidence in plain sight that the United States military was preparing to prevent a Trump coup.

Tonight, explosive new reporting on Pentagon measures to protect democracy and Congressman Adam Schiff of what it means for the committee investigating the Capitol riot.

Then, Democrats in Congress arrested during a march for voting rights. Tonight, former Attorney General Eric Holder on where that fight stands.

And my exclusive interview with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on the White House offensive against vaccine misinformation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Misinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to our nation`s health.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. It was all hiding in plain sight, wasn`t it, in retrospect? The concern about what Donald Trump would do if he lost the election was there for all of us to see, and we all saw it. I saw it from this position, right, talking to you every night unfolds in real time.

But I`ll admit, even as someone who covered it, day by day, felt the danger, worried about where democracy was headed, was up late at night, every night worried about it, both in the run up to the election, then it`s aftermath, culminating in the January 6 insurrection. Even I someone very tuned into the news did not quite put all the pieces together at the time.

The latest reporting, we are getting is a good occasion to revisit it all. Look at it in hindsight. Now, you`ve probably seen the news from the new book by two great Washington Post reporters, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. They report that, "As Trump ceaselessly pushed false claims about the 2020 presidential election, General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, grew more and more nervous, telling aides he feared the president and his acolytes might attempt to use the military to stay in office. Milley describe a stomach-churning feeling as he listened to Trump`s untrue complaints of election fraud, drawing a comparison to the 1933 attack on Germany`s parliament building that Hitler used as a pretext to establish a Nazi dictatorship. This is a Reichstag moment, Milley told aides according to the book, The Gospel of the Fuhrer."

Now, throughout this awful era, we went through with this terrible person as a commander in chief surrounded by truly terrible people, all of whom are now attempting to launder the reputations, through backstabbing the press, always, you look at these stories, and there`s been hundreds, thousands of them right about the Trump White House through that lens, trying to figure out who`s trying to get over on who, who`s trying to spin who, what to believe.

When you take those quotes by these two very good reporters and then think back to the actual public evidence, the picture is even more unnerving than it was before. So, let`s start even before the election. Donald Trump, of course spent the summer whipping up fears about election integrity, right, saying mail-in ballots were fraudulent. Then called the whole election rigged at the first debate at the end of September.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everybody got two ballots. This is going to be a fraud like you`ve never seen. It`s a rigged election. It means you have a fraudulent election. You said you had 80 million ballots. They`re not -- they`re not equipped -- these people aren`t equipped to handle it, number one. Number two, they cheat. They cheat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: On October 11th, a few weeks before the election, General Milley chaired the Joint Chiefs of Staff, right? He gave an interview to NPR where he said, the military doesn`t swear an oath of allegiance to any individual. And then he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILLEY: I think that we have a very, very long tradition of an apolitical military that`s embedded really from the days of George Washington shortly afterwards when he gave his famous Newburgh address and they were encouraging George Washington to seize power, become a king of some kind. And he -- and he gave a very famous speech. And we want to ensure that there is always civilian leadership, civilian control of the military. And we will obey the lawful orders of civilian control of the military. A long- standing tradition, and we adhere to the rule of law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Now, I don`t remember that interview. I don`t even know if I noted at the time, our second producer today brought it up. And the reason I think it didn`t make a splash, or I don`t think of it as particularly historic, is that Milley`s remarks, you know, they didn`t get a lot of coverage. What he`s saying is so obvious and uncontroversial. It`s almost out of that, right? Like, we`re the military. We`re not going to take over the government.

[20:05:06]

But in retrospect, well, it`s kind of notable that the nation`s high highest-ranking military officer, the one who made the mistake of walking with Trump to that infamous photo-op amidst the George Floyd protests outside the White House, but that man, at that point, three weeks before the election, felt like he had to just say in a national media outlet before the country, that the military is going to obey lawful orders, lawful orders, the rule of law.

Now, think of that in the context of what happened afterwards, but we`ve since learned. Remember, on November 9th, that`s two days after the Associated Press called the election for Biden, there was this senior Republican official, anonymously, who told The Washington Post, quote, "What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change. He went golfing this weekend. It`s not like he`s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on January 20th."

Boy, that`s in the hall of fame of wrong takes just last year. Even those of us who are scared for democracy were warning, this is incredibly dangerous. We are watching Trump put pressure on the legal at election system. We`ve watched him call up the board of canvassers in Wayne County, Michigan and invite state legislators to work them over and start working his supporters into a froth and he was making phone calls behind the scenes we`ll learn about later state elections officials.

And the very same day, the Republican official asked, what is the downside for humoring Trump? Well, Trump also fired his secretary of defense, Mark Esper, who broke with the president underplaying active duty troops against protesters over the summer, when Trump reportedly told his team, he wanted the military to, quote, "Beat the F out," of civil rights protesters and just shoot them about American citizens.

He wanted the military to massacre the protesters. And then he got rid of the guy who didn`t want to do that, wouldn`t do it, and then he started replacing the top leadership of the department defense with Trump loyalists, people who had no business doing the jobs they were doing, former White House staffer and aide to Congressman Devin Nunes. One who most notable for crafting a dubious memo denounced by the FBI to discredit the origins of the investigation into Trump team`s contacts with Russia. That was the guy who Mitch McConnell Senate would not confirm, the very same role over the summer they took over. And he famously called President Obama a terrorist leader.

That guy, along with the Devin Nunes acolyte, and then another Devin Nunes acolyte, a guy who reportedly helped Devin Nunes invent a scandal over the unmasking of Trump officials. So, two Devin Nunes acolytes, one guy that Mitch McConnell Senate wouldn`t confirm, all at the same time to take over the Department of Defense in the waning days of the Trump presidency. It all looked incredibly sketchy at the time. You might remember that the cover story was that they were all over there to get the U.S. out of Afghanistan, because they were so intent on that.

The former military commander of NATO, at the time, said the -- said the Department of Defense had been decapitated.

In their new book, Rucker and Leonnig report, quote, "Esper expected Trump would fire him after the election, but was hoping to hold on if he could for at least a few days after the election. He was worried about what Trump might try to do with the military if they were not -- if he were not at the helm."

Then on January 3rd, three days before the attack on the Capitol, you`ve got all 10 living former Secretaries of Defense issued a stark public warning that, "Involving the military and election disputes would cross into dangerous territory."

At the time, I remember thinking, well, like good for them, I guess. I felt a little random not knowing the full picture. But again, like these are people that are connected to the Pentagon, the former Secretaries of Defense. These are people that have channels to current inactive officials there. This is three days before January 6, when some of the worst fears didn`t come through.

In fact, when you think about it, now, you look at all this, this timeline, right? And the fears of Milley. The way, I think, to understand during the Six is that Trump tried to use the mob to do what he ended up realizing he couldn`t get the military to do. Whatever efforts he made or didn`t make, Trump ended up using that mob as his weapon to stay in power when he found no takers in the actual institutional U.S. military that is sworn to protect and defend the Constitution.

And so, this is what that looked like. He was going to use whoever was down to help them steal power. And when it wasn`t, the uniformed members of the U.S. military he went to this, the next best thing, Trump supporters wielding fists, poles, hockey sticks, bear spray, beating, concussing, dragging (BLEEP) police officers to get into the Capitol.

[20:10:04]

But again, the threat of Trump abusing the military didn`t even end that day. Two days after the attack, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she spoke to General Milley, quote, "To discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike."

A few days after that, Milley and the rest of the Joint Chiefs released a memo warning troops against sedition insurrection, before Joe Biden`s inauguration.

It has become clear that the worst fears of the most apocalyptically inclined Trump critics, about the end of American democracy, were actually being shared by the people who are running the largest most powerful military in the world. Donald Trump was impeached for his actions leading up to January 6 very quickly. There`s now a House Select Committee assigned to figure out exactly what happened that day.

And based on this latest reporting, there`s an obvious first witness that I want to call Democratic Congressman, Adam Schiff, of California. He`s a member of this new committee, who is the lead impeachment manager in Trump`s first impeachment. He`s the chair of the House Intelligence Committee as well and he joins me now.

Congressman, first, just your reaction to both what we`ve learned specifically, but then the kind of timeline of the fully available, previously known public facts about the role the military did or did not play and how Trump perhaps wanted to use it.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, you know, I have to say, can any of us really question that if Donald Trump could use the military to remain in power that he would have done so. I think invariably, he would have chosen to use the military if it would have helped him retain power.

And, you know, it`s shocking to see these things come to light now. I do wish others, including General Milley had been more outspoken at the time about their fears, and had been more forthcoming with the American people about the dangers that we face to our democracy.

But we certainly need to know a lot more about those weeks leading up to January 6, what took place on that day and the aftermath, whether this insurrection was, you know, an attempt to claim to power by other means.

And I think of all the issues around January 6 that we have the least amount of information, that involving the White House is the biggest black box. What was going on in the White House in the days leading up to on that date and in the aftermath? What efforts were made to send relief? What efforts may have been made to withhold relief? Was this part of a broader effort to overturn the election? Those are some of the unanswered questions.

HAYES: I wonder if I could put the graphic again of the folks that did go over to that -- to the Department of Defense, at the time, it really seemed bizarre. I mean, you know, Esper is fired, it`s after the election. All these folks are sent over. Christopher Miller becomes the acting Secretary of Defense. Kash Patel and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who I think you probably know fairly well, because they were staffers for Devin Nunes on the committee that you were -- that you`re on him with. Anthony Tata, who was unable to get confirmed by Mitch McConnell Senate.

And do you feel like we have the story of what they were up to over there? The cover story or the thing they said publicly was, Donald Trump is so intent on getting us out of Afghanistan, and is being resisted by the brass that he has to get his people in so that in the last two or three weeks, they can be laser focused on U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan which seemed preposterous at the time. But do you understand what they were doing there?

SCHIFF: I don`t certainly have a full picture of what they were doing there. But this is part of the broader tale of the Trump administration, which is he brought in one group at the beginning. He churned through them. He ate people up and spit them out. When people wouldn`t do, you know, the next unethical thing that he asked him to, he would throw them out or they would be forced to leave.

And he would go from one team to a worse team to a worse team until you have nothing left but the Kash Patels who are willing to do anything he wanted. And, you know, that might be, you know, accelerate withdrawal from Afghanistan, but it might also be deployed military troops when the existing leadership refused to do so to put down peaceful protesters.

So, there`s no telling except we know that Donald Trump wanted people whose only qualification was that they were yes man to Donald Trump and would do whatever he asked no matter how unethical it might be.

HAYES: Is General Milley the kind of person that you can imagine being called before the committee?

SCHIFF: You know, it`s certainly possible. We haven`t made any decisions yet apart from the first hearing where we`ll hear from some of the frontline Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officials, but really, we intend to follow the evidence wherever it leads. If he has relevant testimony about the National Guard and why it took so long to deploy. If he has relevant testimony about any instructions he may have received from the White House to deploy military troops in a way that is relevant to the events of January 6, then that is certainly possible. But we`re going to defer those decisions until we have a full complement of our members, and simply follow the facts where they lead us.

[20:15:29]

HAYES: Final question. You don`t have a full committee yet because the Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, has not named anyone. He`s having lunch with President Trump today. Are you expecting he`s going to name any members?

SCHIFF: Well, I don`t know. I expect he`ll do whatever Donald Trump wants him to do. That`s really his sole reason for being, is to serve the former president. And that, I think, explains why he opposed the commission to begin with. And, you know, whether he`ll put people on who are just merely staunch defenders of the president, or he`ll put people on that he hopes will be disruptive, or he won`t appoint people at all. My guess is that Donald Trump will be calling the shots.

HAYES: Congressman Adam Schiff, who sits on that House Select Committee to investigate both the runup to and the day of January 6. Thank you, Congressman.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

HAYES: Next, as Texas Democrats speak with Senator Joe Manchin to plead their case on the dire need for action on voting rights, my interview with former Attorney General, Eric Holder, on his work to protect the vote for the next election, he joins me, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:20:16]

HAYES: Today, Texas Democrats who fled the state to protect voting rights, to deny a quorum to the Republicans there trying to pass a bill to limit access to the polls, they sat down with Joe Manchin in the Capitol, the State Democrats from West Virginia, even though his protection of the filibuster is preventing the passage of federal voting rights protections. Apparently, the filibuster never came up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): There shouldn`t be a Democrat or a Republican that wouldn`t or couldn`t or shouldn`t vote for something that truly just only deals with voting and the rights of voters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have a discussion there about the filibuster?

MANCHIN: No, there is no thing about the filibuster. Forget the filibuster.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But, sir, what if no Republicans will support it, which is what they`ve indicated, they`re not doing anything --

MANCHIN: You know why? Because they`ve had a bill that`s 800 pages long, they`ve had everything thrown at them. Let`s get back to the basic rights of voting, protecting voting rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Senator Manchin is, I think, either unwilling or unable to accept that there is not -- there`s either no or not enough Republican support for the kind of comprehensive reinforcement of American democracy that`s needed. He thinks there`s too much in the bill, he wants to get back to the basics.

But anything that would actually ensure democracy, even in a basic sense, is not going to get 10 Republican votes, because the Republican Party writ large is counting on a whole bunch of anti-democratic means to secure power. Do you know how we know that? Because they told us themselves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RONNY JACKSON (R-TX): The good news is, is we are going to get the House back. We are going to get the House back. That is a done deal. We have everything working in our favor right now. We have redistricting coming up. And the Republicans control most of that process in most of the states around the country. That alone should get as a majority back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Republicans control the process, and it`s a done deal, which will give us a majority back. Who cares about what voters want? That`s the fundamental problem. Republicans are willing to secure power by gerrymandering, and voter suppression, whatever other means they can, so you can choose for to find democracy or choose working with Republicans, but I don`t see how you can choose both.

Eric Holder served in the Obama ministration as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States. He now chairs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is working to end gerrymandering and stop voter suppression heading into the next election, and he joins me now.

I want to start asking you about that quote by Ronny Jackson, because he really -- I think that is a widely shared view of House Republicans, but very confident they`re going to take the House. And the reason they are isn`t necessarily because of political winds in their favor, they think they have -- they can call enough seats, just redistricting in states they control. Should we be OK with that as the means by which a party takes power?

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: No, obviously, we should not be OK with that. That`s something that we have been fighting at the NDRC since we began back in January of 2017. Now, he is correct in the sense that -- but that is what Republicans did the last time we redistributed in 2011. We put in place gerrymanders that have lasted for the course of this decade. It`s a gerrymander that led to Republicans in that first cycle after redistricting the 2012 elections. Republicans got 1.2 million fewer votes for the United States House of Representatives than Democrats did, and yet got 33 more seats.

We look at Wisconsin, where Democrats have gotten 54 percent of the vote, both from Congress and in state legislature and end up with about a third of the seats. And so, the possibility of gerrymandering to achieve the results that he saw in 2011 is there and it`s something that has to be met. It has not gotten sufficient media attention, it has not gotten sufficient attention around the country.

We focus on voting rights, and I get that. That is extremely important. It is extremely important. But you know, you can have everybody fight their way through all of the obstructions that Republicans are going to put in place and run into a wall of gerrymandering that will basically negate the participation of huge numbers of people.

And not only people of color. That`s the -- we got to get away from this notion to somehow or the other, this is a black fight or this is a fight for people of color. This is an American issue. This is about the kind of democracy that we want to have. This is about keeping our system consistent with our founding -- our founding ideals. This is something everybody ought to be focused on. Everybody needs to learn about and it`s why I focused on fighting against partisan and racial gerrymandering in my post government life.

HAYES: Yes, and I want to -- I want to focus on that for a second because there`s a really important aspect to this. So, when Joe Manchin says, look, it`s 800-page bill, there`s all this stuff in there and it`s true the For the People Act has a lot of provisions and a lot of it there`s a lot of campaign finance stuff which was just put aside, there`s voting access.

[20:25:06]

But independent -- basically independent commissions, non-partisan gerrymandering is a big part of that bill. And it just seems to me that a there`s two things to note about that. One is, it really would be nonpartisan in the sense of there are states that Democrats control where they could probably put the screws to Republicans on redistricting, and they would have to have independent jury commissions too, like, he genuinely is the proposal in that bill, a legitimately neutral means of handling this problem.

HOLDER: And it`s, in fact, the thing that I think distinguishes us at the NDRC from those who oppose us. We support 100 percent of the implementation of nonpartisan, independent, redistricting commissions. In fact, we have fought to get them put in place in Michigan, in Colorado, in Utah, got one in Missouri for the Republicans then got it.

Republicans never say that they are in favor of that. They understand that they got to keep their thumb on the scale. They have to have a -- an ability to impact the redistricting process in an unfair way if they are going to hold on to the power that they got illegitimate in 2011. So, yes, independent commissions are, I think, the best way to go about the redistricting process and that is a core part of the For the People Act.

HAYES: What do you think about -- I mean, do you have advice to state legislators controlled by Democrats? Because it does seem to me, and I`ve looked at people playing with some maps in places like New Mexico, for example, where, you know, trifecta democratic governments can try to do what Republicans have done in Wisconsin, which is basically, you know, put the screws to your opponent`s. Use the power, you have to pad your margins as much as possible, because until something like an independent commission happens, you know, it`s not going to -- it`s not going to get any better. What do you think about that? What were your advice to those folks?

HOLDER: I think we`ve got to fight for fairness. We don`t need to do what Republicans did in 2011 and what they continue to say they`re going to do in 2021. But we`re in a fundamentally different place in 2021 than we were in 2011.

With all due respect to Congressman Jackson, Republicans don`t control the process to the extent that they did in 2011. There is in fact a redistricting commission in Michigan. There is one in Colorado. There are reforms in Ohio. There is a legal precedent in North Carolina. There are a whole range of things that we have done over the course of these last four years to make the situation fundamentally better than it was in 2011.

So, we need not revert to lowering ourselves to do the kinds of things that Republicans do. If the system is fair -- if the system is fair, Democrats, progressives will do just fine. The will of the people will in fact be respected. And I think that should be -- that should be the guidepost.

HAYES: The reason that we`re having this probably partly is because the Supreme Court has signed off on partisan gerrymandering as not in violation of any sort of constitutional principle or the one-person line of -- one person one vote line of cases. Recently, that same court, of course, via six-three margins, you know, basically upheld some provisions in Arizona that many thought ran afoul of Section Two of the Voting Rights Act. What is your reaction to that? And what do you think about where things stand in the kind of broader spectrum of democracy protections underneath this court?

HOLDER: I think we need to be very worried about this court. They have demonstrated an ideological distaste for protecting the right to vote. We saw it in the Shelby County case in 2015. We saw it in the case that just came down -- at which case just a couple of weeks or so ago. It was simply said and gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. They`re now saying in the case that they just held there -- they`re almost giving the lower courts a guidepost for ways in which you can sanction that which Republican legislators are doing.

The opinion by Justice Leo (PH) is frightening, not only for the results of the particular things that they upheld in Arizona, those two provisions, but the language that is in that majority opinion, is truly frightening. And I am really concerned about what we see coming out of our Supreme Court. It`s one of the reasons why I think Democrats, progressives, people care about this country have to focus on state and local elections. These legislators -- these gerrymandering legislatures are the ones that are producing these laws that the Supreme Court is upholding, and not only with regard to elections with regard to you know, reproductive rights, a whole range of other things.

And so, we need to be focused on state and local elections. We need to be involved in making sure that we use the state courts whenever we can, as opposed to the federal ones. I don`t think that, you know, when it comes to election reform that we`re going to find a friend or friends on United State`s Supreme Court. They are ideologically against voter protection.

HAYES: Former Attorney General Eric Holder, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

HOLDER: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: Still to come, it`s clear that stopping the spread of vaccine misinformation is a matter of life or death. Ahead, my exclusive interview with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on just how seriously the White House is taking it. Don`t go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Today, I issued a surgeon general`s advisory on the dangers of health misinformation.

Surgeon General advisories are reserved for urgent public health threats. And while those threats have often been related to what we eat, drink and smoke. Today, we live in a world where misinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to our nation`s health.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The Biden administration is going to battle against COVID misinformation which is partly responsible for this huge pool of vaccine hesitant people we have here on the U.S.

[20:35:08]

HAYES: According to recent data from the CDC, more than 99 percent -- more than 99 percent who have died from COVID in the last six months were unvaccinated, which basically tells us as we keep saying every night that nearly every virus-related death is now preventable. And yet, millions of Americans are choosing not to get a vaccine.

And as Ginia Bellafante pointed out in a recent New York Times piece, the reasons for refusing the vaccine differ by community and demographic.

For example, she reported among some Caribbean immigrants here in New York, skepticism of the vaccine has fomented around concerns that it will endanger fertility. Stemmed from a report that circulated on social media suggesting that it caused a woman`s body to fight off a spike protein involved in the making the placenta.

And that was entirely not true at all, at all, at all, completely false. But it just shows there are so many different places that different people get their information.

So, even when you have the White House, the largest bully pulpit in the entire world, advocating vaccines warning people of the dangers of COVID. In some ways, it`s no match for just the sheer wide variety of misinformation that`s out there.

That`s part of the reason why the White House for instance, enlisted the help of popstar Olivia Rodrigo yesterday. She got 14 million followers on Instagram, the bestselling album in American right now, which really does slap because you kind of need to wage this battle on a bunch of different fronts.

And now, you have the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy coming out today taking the extraordinary step of putting an advisory out on the threat of health misinformation, especially the way it proliferates online.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURTHY: While it often appears innocuous on social media apps and retail sites or search engines, the truth is that misinformation takes away our freedom to make informed decisions about our health and the health of our loved ones.

During the COVID-19 pandemic health misinformation has led people to resist wearing masks in high risk settings. It`s led them to turn down proven treatments and to choose not to get vaccinated. This has led to avoidable illnesses in depth. Simply put, health information has caused us lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: So, how do Dr. Murthy reached this unprecedented decision to put a surgeon general`s advisory on these online lies? I`ll ask him next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:41:29]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURTHY: It`s painful for me to know that nearly every death we are seeing now from COVID-19 could have been prevented. I see that as someone who has lost 10 family members to COVID-19 and who wishes each and every day that they had had the opportunity to get vaccinated.

I say that also as a concerned father of two young children who aren`t yet eligible for the vaccine. But I know that our kids are depending on all of us to get vaccinated to shield them from this virus.

Every week, I talked to doctors and nurses across our country who are burning out as they care for more and more patients with COVID-19 who never got vaccinated all too often because they were misled by misinformation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy sharing his personal experience today as he issued a warning on the dangers of misinformation around COVID calling it the "Urgent threat that continues to risk lives and drag out this pandemic."

And Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General joins me now.

Doctor, you spoken very personal terms. And I`m curious, I would imagine someone like yourself, I think all of us had this experience, where you yourself have a extended network, your family members and friends and friends of friends that maybe come to you with questions about the vaccine or misconceptions about it. Have you -- have you had that experience personally as well?

MURTHY: Well, Chris, absolutely. I think all of us likely have been touched by misinformation in some way whether we know it or not. And I too have had family members who have received videos or messages on WhatsApp or on Facebook or on other platforms. And they have questions about whether the information is accurate or not.

I`m glad when they ask me, what I worry about is people who see information and assume it`s true when at times it`s not. And if that leads them to make decisions that are bad for their health, then they lose that and their loved ones lose that as well.

That is what we are fighting against, Chris. Health misinformation is costing us lives. It`s hurting us. This is not a new problem, but it has gotten far worse, aided and abetted by technology platforms.

HAYES: I want to relay something the White House chief of staff Ron Klain says that he told Mark Zuckerberg. And I`m quoting him here, he said I told Mark Zuckerberg directly that when we gather groups of people who are not vaccinated, and we ask them, why aren`t you vaccinated? They tell us things that are wrong. Tell us things are untrue. We asked them what they -- where they`ve heard that. The most constant common answer is Facebook. That was him talking to Kara Swisher on Sway, which is your New York Times podcast.

Do you guys have your arms around like in any empirical sensor study data sense where people are not getting this information?

MURTHY: Well, we`ve looked at some of the data Chris and what it tells us is that there`s no single source of misinformation. It is coming from a variety of sources. Some of it is happening on social media platform. Some of it is coming through videos that are being shared through text messaging platforms. It`s coming through multiple sources.

And that`s why one of the issues that we laid out in the advisory in one of the calls to action that we put forward is wanting individuals to ask them to pause before they share on social media platforms or text platforms to check the sources of the information they`re about to share. And ask, is it coming from a scientifically credible source? If it is, then it might be OK to share. But if it`s not or if you`re not sure, then don`t share it.

One of the most powerful things we can do to stop this spread of misinformation is to be more careful about what we choose to share.

HAYES: You know, it seems that we still have two categories of people. And I just want to see if this jives with your characterization. The recent polling from Washington Post-ABC, 20 percent saying they definitely would not get vaccinated and 29 percent unlikely to get vaccinated.

[20:45:14]

HAYES: You know, it seems that we still have -- they`re still low hanging fruit, or at least they`re still a huge chunk of reachable people, whether it`s just not having the opportunity, or it`s just low on their to do list or they haven`t gotten around to it. And then, there`s people that are hardcore set against it.

But it does seem like -- is it your understanding there`s a lot of people in that first category yet to be vaccinated?

MURTHY: Well, I`m so glad you asked, Chris. Because the numbers actually to me have a lot of good news in them. We have the highest vaccine confidence level about the COVID-19 vaccine than we`ve had since the vaccine became available. That`s good news.

It`s happening in part because people are hearing from trusted sources. It`s also happening because people know more and more people in their lives who`ve gotten vaccine, and they see that they`ve done well.

But there are still a group of people who are in the wait and see category who are still nervous. Maybe they`ve been exposed to misinformation, maybe they still have questions that they want answers to, maybe they`re not sure if it`s still important for them to get vaccinated.

And I will say on that last category, we`ve seen in samples that about 50 percent of people who are unvaccinated believe that cases are so low right now, during the pandemic, that it`s no longer important to get vaccinated.

I want to say very clearly, it is still important to get vaccinated, we are seeing cases rise. We know that the cases and particularly the deaths are happening among people who are unvaccinated. 99.5 percent of deaths from COVID right now of the United States are among the unvaccinated.

So, I still believe there`s progress we can make. But it`s not going to be easy. We`ve got to work with trusted messengers, we`ve got to get information to where people are.

We`ve got to recognize that everyone trusts the same people. And we`ve got to work through local doctors and nurses and others in their community to get information -- lifesaving information about this vaccine to people who need to hear it.

HAYES: Yes, I mean, I`m speaking to you in July of 2021 after hundreds of millions of shots have been distributed and the New York Yankees Red Sox game was canceled tonight because of COVID-19 positive test. They had players at the All-Star game.

The rate of community transmission affects everyone`s risk profile, vaccinated and unvaccinated. Much more for those unvaccinated.

Do you think there`s a world in which like rising case numbers are an incentive for people to get vaccinated? Like, is there some silver lining that perhaps is we`re starting to see this spike, which is really awful in a million different ways that that gets people to go get the shot?

MURTHY: Well, Chris, you hope it doesn`t come to that. But I do hope that people will look at the rising case numbers and recognize that this pandemic is not over.

And that given that we`re seeing the infection and you know, the vast majority of these cases and the people who are unvaccinated, I hope people will recognize that vaccination is the most powerful path to protect ourselves.

But there`s one other motivation, Chris, which I think is really important. And I say this, I`m not just a surgeon general, but as a dad of a 3-year- old, a 4-year-old who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. For all the kids in our country who can`t yet get a vaccine, they rely on the rest of us being protected, being shields if you will against the virus.

And that means when you choose to get vaccinated, you don`t just protect yourself, you protect the children in your community who can`t get vaccinated themselves. So, do it for yourself. Do it for your loved ones. Do it for all of our children who are depending on us for them to be safe.

HAYES: Dr. Vivek Murthy, he`s a surgeon general of the United States. Thanks so much for making some time tonight.

MURTHY: Thanks so much, Chris. Take care and be well.

HAYES: Next, the effort to combat another massive public health threat, the climate emergency. How the clean energy -- electricity standard in the new infrastructure bill could actually make a huge difference, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:52:52]

HAYES: You hear a lot of politicians talk about our grandkids when they talk about climate change, but grandkids are a long way off and climate change is here.

Just this summer, we`re setting records of heat throughout the Northwest, we`ve got fires scorching the Mountain West and a fire season that`s getting longer and longer and longer.

And at the same time, you`ve got politicians in Washington trying to hammer through some real climate policy, at least the Democrats are.

One of the most important aspects of climate policy is what`s called a clean energy standard. It`s just a way for the government to tell utility companies look, you got to get this much clean energy in your energy generation. And you can`t admit as much carbon as you used to. And then, every year they can ratchet that down.

That creates all sorts of positive incentives for consumer use. And if you pair that with regulations on efficiency, you can really start to make a difference.

Here`s a look at California, which has done both, clean energy standard and it`s got incredible regulations on efficiency. There`s the divergence between how much energy they consume in California and how much they consume in the U.S. That`s all just regulation doing its job.

The clean energy standard is one part of that regulation. And it is as of now, inside the big package that was announced yesterday. Climate activists have been laser focused on it and one of the biggest advocates for a national clean energy standard is Senator Tina Smith, Democrat from Minnesota. She wants to put the nation on course to achieve net zero emissions for the electric sector by 2050, and she joins me now.

Senator, one of the things about the clean energy standard here is that the we have a kind of laboratory of the state`s effect here where dozens of states have have tried this, and it`s worked pretty well as my understanding.

SEN. TINA SMITH (D-MN): That`s exactly right, Chris. You know, the clean electricity standard, one in three Americans live in a place where there is some sort of clean energy standard or renewable standards.

So, this is a practical policy but it`s also a progressive and powerful policy for getting our utility sector to net zero as quickly as possible.

And here`s the thing, if you electrify -- if you clean up the electricity sector, you have the potential as you electrify everything else from transportation to building, heating and cooling to clean up the entire economy. And that`s why it`s so powerful.

[20:55:12]

HAYES: Right, so I want to make sure people understand this, because it`s sort of a fascinating thing to think about. The two steps in getting to net zero is you`ve got to get the grid to zero. And then you`ve got to get everything on the grid, both those things have to happen, right?

SMITH: Exactly.

HAYES: Like, you can electrify a lot of -- as much stuff as you want but you got to get that grid to zero. And what is the clean electricity standard that`s in the legislation right now? Like, how would that work? What would the federal government be doing to get state grids towards zero emissions?

SMITH: Well, so first, what we do is we say, here`s the goal, we are going to get to net zero, clean energy in the utility sector by -- we`re going to, you know, that`s our goal. And we`re going to get 80 percent of the way there by 2030.

And then, we say to states and utilities, you tell us what kind of clean energy is going to work best in your state. So, there`s a lot of flexibility built in. And you know, that`s important, because what is good clean energy in California might be really different from what works in Minnesota, or Oklahoma or West Virginia, for example.

And what we do in this bill is we provide an incentive for utilities to get to add clean energy. This is really important too, because we don`t want them to sort of add clean energy on the one hand, and then, you know, take it away on the other hand. Net/net, they have to be adding clean energy.

And it could be wind and solar, it could be hydro power, it could be geothermal, it could be nuclear. And it also could be carbon capture and storage, as long as it`s clean, we count it.

HAYES: And did they have -- are there yearly med benchmarks? I mean, the problem with all these targets, right? The problem with all these runways, is we`re like -- you know, we`re like college kids with a paper due. I mean, we just -- it just -- we`ve been kicking the can and putting it off and putting it off and putting it off and putting it off. It seems to me that for the policy to be effective, you got to -- there`s got to be some short-term pressure?

SMITH: Absolutely. This is an investment-based strategy. You know, a lot of people say, Tina, how can this work with reconciliation? And let me just explain a little bit about that.

So, we`re talking about a budget bill here. And so, this policy that we are proposing is about an investment, you provide an investment to utilities to add clean energy.

And then, I think we should also say, Hey, if you`re not adding clean electricity to your grid, there should be a penalty too.

What I hear from utilities is they can see that this is the way it`s going. They just want to get -- we all need to know that we have to get there faster. And that`s what makes us so transformational.

I mean, this has the potential to be as transformational as the change that we went through in this country when everybody turned the lights on.

HAYES: Yes, I think that it`s funny, I have come to view it that way through my interview with -- various interviews with different people in this -- in this policy space. But it sounds sort of abstract.

But to me, it solves this problem when we have a lot of -- you know, there was the carbon tax for a while, there was cap and trade, there`s all these policies that floated around. And I become convinced that basically just saying to the utilities, like, here`s what you got to do, figure out how to do it, actually is the best way to drive down emissions.

SMITH: Yes, and it`s an incentive. And let`s be honest, everybody sort of likes an incentive. They like to be said -- they`d like to hear, OK, here`s the direction we go, this is what we`re going to do. This is the direction to head and we`re going to help you get there and we`re going to help you get there faster, because I mean, we don`t have a lot of time to pussyfoot around here, we need to move quickly. We can`t wait for you know, another 30 or 40 years to clean up our grid.

And so, that I think is the power of this idea. And when you combine it with all of the policies that we also have included in this -- in this piece of legislation, you know, electric charging stations and incentives to build out a smart grid, tax incentives for building clean electricity. All of that comes together to be a truly transformational policy.

And that`s what we need right now. We need something that puts us on a trajectory that`s going to put America on the cutting edge of clean energy and the energy transformation.

HAYES: Do you think there`s 50 votes? I mean, do you think the caucus is behind this?

SMITH: You know, this is the whole ballgame right now. We have right now sort of an outline of a map. And now we need to fill in the details of this map in a way that gets us to 50 votes.

And I can`t help but being optimistic. I mean, for a couple of reasons. One, the clean electricity standard when you ask Americans, I don`t care whether you live in Minnesota or California or West Virginia, they say that this is a really good idea. They like this idea. It has the support in our big broad coalition. It`s got the support of unions and environmental organizations, utilities.

[21:00:09]

HAYES: Yes, that is true. A lot of groundwork has been laid for the -- for this policy at this moment. Senator Tina Smith, thanks so much for your time tonight.

SMITH: Thank you so much.

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