Due to the wildfires in the west, the air quality index in parts of New York City yesterday was over 170, which is the worst it has been in 14 years. Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, pulled his picks for the January 6 Commission after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to seat two Republicans. Thomas Barrack, chairman of the Trump 2017 Inaugural Fund was arrested on federal charges. Today, with less than 60 percent of New York City public health care workers vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced all public health care workers must get vaccinated or tested weekly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And with that, Rodney Pierce, Mr. Pierce, thank you very much for coming to the REIDOUT. Thank you very much for your bravery and for teaching the truth.
And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here it is. It`s taken over pretty much the entire northeast.
HAYES: As Republicans fight funding for climate mitigation, dangerous smoky air blankets the Northeast, as epic wildfires burn thousands of miles to the West.
PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: Climate effects that we thought we`re going to happen in the middle of the century are happening right this minute.
HAYES: Tonight, as her state battles the biggest wildfire in the country, the Governor of Oregon joins me live. Then --
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course to seat all five Republicans, we will not participate.
HAYES: House Republicans take their ball and go home over the January six investigation. Plus --
FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: We`ve got two epidemics going on right now. One of them is biological caused by a virus, the other is informational.
HAYES: The head of the National Institutes of Health on how to fight COVID misinformation. Then --
TOM BARRACK, FORMER CHAIRMAN, TRUMP`S INAUGURAL COMMITTEE: There are very few businessmen that ever survive in the political milieu in Washington ever.
HAYES: The latest on the arrest of Trump`s inaugural chairman, and what it can tell us about the ex-president`s actions in the Middle East when ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. For the last two days, much of the Northeast and Midwest look like this. Haze of the sun, a thick smog over an entire region of this country that is very much not used to it. Unlike the Mountain West which lives with forest fires, this kind of smoke settling over the eastern seaboard has felt dystopian and new.
In fact, it`s not just your imagination, if it feels that way to you if you live in that part of the country. The air quality index in parts of New York City yesterday was over 170, which is the worst it has been in 14 years. Think about bad air quality is. There`s no way to escape it. No matter how much money you have, where you live, in the end, everyone`s got to breathe the same air.
There`s a real wake-up call yesterday for everyone in the parts of the country covered with this smoke, breathing that same air that emanated from wildfires thousands of miles away in the West. It turns out we share the same climate with them. Right now, there are more than 80 fires burning across 13 states, many more burning across Canada. And as this incredible New York Times interactive map shows, the smoke from those fires is why the air is so hazy in these parts of the country here on the eastern seaboard in the Midwest.
The biggest fire in the country this year is the Bootleg Fire in Oregon. You can see it there on the map. It`s about the size of Los Angeles has burned more than 340,000 acres of forests. It is so large that it is generating its own weather, like fire clouds that manage to create their own lightning, and even fire tornadoes.
The bootleg fire like so many out West is fueled by the drought and last month`s record heat. You may remember that June was the hottest June on record in nearly 130 years. Records were broken across the Northwest with multiple days topping 100 degrees completely unseen before.
In Oregon and Washington, nearly 200 people lost their lives to the heat. Across the west, thousands more are now on the path of fast-moving in dangerous wildfires. And it`s not just happening in the U.S. Siberia, which you know, if you know one thing about it, you think it`s cold, famous for its freezing temperatures, is experiencing its worst fire season in memory, four million acres burned with villages already evacuating their children because of the dangerous smoky air.
In Germany last week, hundreds were killed and dozens of towns destroyed by the worst flooding. 1000 years. Tens of thousands of people are still without gas and power. In China, another once in 1000 year event, nearly a year`s worth of rain falling in just three days, causing flooding that was so intense it left passengers trapped on a subway car as water poured in from all sides. Hundreds of people had to be rescued. A dozen passengers died.
Extreme temperatures, extreme wetness, extreme drought, extreme weather events like this, as we`ve said many times, is the new normal. A new normal that has been brought to us by decades of inaction led chiefly by fossil fuel interests, the politicians they donate to, an American right, an American media devoted to denying science and opposing change will speeding us towards this disaster and worst.
This is the context for one of the big news stories of this week, which is, and it seems sort of weird and small in relation to what I just showed you, but the fight over the bipartisan infrastructure bill. It may seem today there was a procedural vote just to begin debate on that bill that failed because Republicans filibustered it.
Even though the bill omits a ton of what President Biden had pledged to support on the campaign trail and early in his presidency to fight climate -- fight climate change, it does include $47 billion to help communities become more resilient to disasters and severe weather caused by wearing planet and up to an additional $530 billion to support electric vehicles, public transport, energy and tax credits, and some other climate-friendly policies.
Now, it sounds like a lot of money, I guess, until you remember the Trump tax cuts alone cost the government $2.3 trillion, OK? Those tax cuts, which by the way continue to fuel inequality and produce a world in which the richest man on earth seeks to leave it with aims of polluting a new frontier.
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JEFF BEZOS, FOUNDER, BLUE ORIGIN: We need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry and move it into space, and keep earth as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is. Now, that`s going to take decades and decades to achieve, but you have to start.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I saw that quote yesterday and 100 percent thought it was a parody. But that`s what he said. Now, the rest of us couldn`t get on a rocket ship yesterday to escape what`s going on. This is the one planet we got. We`re all in it together whether Bezos thinks he can get away or not. What is going to happen as the disasters intensify in ways that we`ve only begun to get our heads around is that people are going to start moving to escape climate catastrophe.
As I wrote in a piece for the 25th anniversary of MSNBC, which is on msnbc.com, in the last decades in the U.S., we`ve seen a steady internal migration driven less by persecution and deprivation and more by weather. And not the weather born of climate change, but rather, people choosing to leave winter moving to the Sunbelt and Pacific Northwest to get away from harsh winters.
Well, guess what? A lot of those places that people have moved to over the last few decades are the ones getting rocked by our weird new climate and we`re probably going to start seeing massive migrations again. As the climates we have a pack committed to and habituated to change radically, in some cases, probably rendering places in our own country essentially unlivable.
All of this what you`re seeing there, this is what`s happening right now, day by day by day while the Republican Party fiddles and the right-wing media whips up a frenzy against an imagined threat or tries to get people not to take their COVID vaccine. Fires are scorching the West, the smoke is settling across the country, and as a New York Times put it, no one is safe.
Governor Kate Brown is the Democratic governor of Oregon where thousands of firefighters are battling wildfires tonight. And she joins me now. And first, governor, maybe you could just give us an update on how things are with that fire in your state.
GOV. KATE BROWN (D-OR): Well, thank you, Chris, for having me. And we are incredibly grateful to the firefighters battling the Bootleg Fire in Southern Oregon that roughly 300,000 acres, we have, over 2000 firefighters on the fire, and we`re working hard to make sure it`s contained. I literally got a text from Governor Murphy yesterday of New Jersey saying they were seeing the smoke in New Jersey from these wildfires in the West.
And you are absolutely right, climate change is here. And we must be taking action, we must be better prepared, and we must do everything we can to mitigate the effects on our people.
HAYES: You know, I think of Oregon is a pretty wet place. But I know that it`s a big state, and the parts that I think of wet are probably those that are more coastal. But I wonder sometimes whether states like yours or states around the country have modeling or planning regimes that allow them to think about what -- you know, what isn`t Oregon fire season going to look like over the next 25 years, and what that means for where people develop and where people move within your state. Do you -- do you have your hands around that?
BROWN: We`re working on it. To give you a sense of the fire season this year, we`ve had twice as many fires and burned at least four times the acreage is this time last year. The reports on the ground from the Bootleg Fire are that the conditions are napalm-like. So, we have a couple of things happening. Obviously, drought and unseasonally warm climate, and it`s created the perfect storm for these catastrophic fires.
But I think there`s a couple of things. Number one, we have to take action and that`s what we`re doing here in Oregon. We have now one of the most aggressive clean energy policies in the country. We are working to invest in E.V. infrastructure on the climate side to reduce our reliance on carbon fuels. Secondly, we have got to mitigate these fires. And with low legislation I just signed this week, we are going to invest in more modern firefighting equipment, more people on the ground, and frankly, the efforts to create more resilient landscapes.
And thirdly, obviously, we have to be better prepared for these climate emergencies. Just to give you a perspective, since April of 2020, we have had four federal emergency declarations in Oregon. In addition to the pandemic, we have the horrific wildfires of last fall, we had flooding, we had ice storms in February. And of course, most recently, we had the horrific heat dome event.
HAYES: It strikes me that a big -- a large part of governance in anytime is managing disaster. But that is going to become a larger and larger part of what governance means in this century. I mean, that it`s not -- you know, it`s not this sort of one-off but disaster management, preparation, mitigation, and then dealing with its aftermath and through it is actually going to be like a central thing that governance is about.
BROWN: That`s absolutely right. And you mentioned the green parts of Oregon, which are primarily the Willamette Valley. Last year, we had evacuations in Clackamas County, literally next door to Portland, our largest city and a very green city, both literally and figuratively.
In terms of emergency preparedness and management, we have been in crisis management mode in terms of these climate change events. I am incredibly grateful that we have the Biden-Harris administration in the White House that understands that we need comprehensive, collaborative partnerships to develop wildfire strategy for the entire western region. As you know, climate change knows no boundaries. And certainly these wildfires don`t either.
HAYES: All right, Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, thanks so much for making time tonight.
Naomi Klein is professor of climate justice at the University of British Columbia, author of a number of books including On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, and she joins me now. Naomi, I know that you have reported on and written about migration and population movement in response to the warming of the planet.
Now, I think it`s something that we don`t think about a lot, because I think we don`t think of our era of being an era where, you know, like the dustbowl or the Great Northern migration where huge amounts of people are going to move around. But it seems to me inevitable that there`s going to be huge population displacements and movements in the era that we`re entering into.
NAOMI KLEIN, PROFESSOR OF CLIMATE JUSTICE, UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA: Well, I think we`re in that era, Chris. And it`s good to be with you. But, you know, I think when we -- when we see these huge migrations from Central America, climate is absolutely already a driver. U.N. figures put it at 20 million people on the move because of the climate crisis.
And there`s often an intersection of issues, right? It isn`t just one single issue that pushes people to make that decision to move. It`s usually multiple issues. But you know, you`re talking about migration within the United States. And that`s something I don`t think we talk enough about because that is happening.
I mean, if you think about the Paradise Fire, the Camp Fire in 2018 that burned Paradise, California to the ground, that fire displaced 50,000 people at its peak. And the neighboring community of Chico suddenly had 20,000 new neighbors. That`s significant because Chico only has 100,000 people, right? So, that -- one of the municipal officials talked about that as 35 years of growth overnight, OK. You go from 100,000 to 120,000.
So, that raises all these issues around housing, transit, all kinds of infrastructure. And that`s why we need such an expansive approach to what we think of as disaster management. It`s not just firefighters, though, it`s certainly firefighters, it`s what makes a community resilient, able to absorb shocks. And that, you know, in Chico, it`s all been about the lack of affordable housing.
And so, when we think about something like a Green New Deal, we often hear these critiques like, well, what`s housing doing in there? What`s healthcare doing in there? What`s education doing in there? And that is disaster preparedness, because it`s investing in the infrastructure that is going to allow communities to absorb these kinds of shocks that are pretty much locked in.
HAYES: Yes, the locked in part, I think is the hard part to get our heads around because we`re coming up on one degree of warming, we`re probably going to get at least one more. That`s already the carbon that we`ve put in the air. I do think -- I mean, there`s a lot of grim news, right? But one thing that is palpable to me is this issue rising up people`s priority list. And this caught my eye today.
This was the Economist new government polling people about, you know, they ask them open-ended questions like what are you most concerned about. And one of their pollsters seeing today for the first time since the Economist and YouGov regularly conducting polls in 2009 Americans rate climate change as their second most important issue ranking above every other problem except healthcare.
And I, I feel like if you watch the political discussion, if nothing else in the U.S., the salience and primacy of this really has gone up partly, I think, in correlation to the frequency of disaster.
KLEIN: Yes. You know, it`s a reminder that when it comes to the political calculus of the climate crisis, you know, we often hear from politicians, we have to meet people where they`re at, where people are at changes, right? And it`s never wise to count out the Earth`s climate system as a key actor in this, right? Our planet has a way of intervening in these debates and changing people`s views very, very quickly. And I think that that`s what`s happening.
And you`re right. That poll is really dramatic. It`s the first time that climate has ranked second. And you know, crime, gun control, abortion, education all trails are behind. Though, as you know, Chris, in some ways, I think separating out climate from other issues, like the economy or health, you know, it`s in some ways, it doesn`t really make sense. Climate isn`t an issue. It`s our literal infrastructure. We are all inside it. Every other issue is inside climate. But it is really striking that people feel that sense of urgency now.
HAYES: Well, I had that thought yesterday --
KLEIN: And it changes what`s possible.
HAYES: Yes, I had, I had that thought yesterday as I was breathing the literally unhealthy air on the eastern seaboard of 176 and remember reading articles about political mobilization in China around clean air. And one of the points that was made in that piece was, if you are a rich businessman in Shanghai, there`s lots of things you can do. You can to avoid the traffic or, you know, put in a water filter, or send your kids to a private school. But at the end of the day, you got to go outside and walk in the same air as everyone else in Shanghai does, and you got to send your kids out to play in it.
And I thought about that yesterday and there`s literally no escape from this air. Like, whoever you are, and obviously, people have to work outside have it worse, but there is a commonality here that I hope is increasingly dawning on people that this is -- we don`t get out of this one.
KLEIN: Yes. And, you know, I live in, in British Columbia and we`ve had this experience summer after summer. And there`s something unique about that claustrophobia, especially in a place where most people don`t have air conditioning, or any of the kind of filters, because the truth is you can buy your way out of it a little bit, you can, you know, have a sealed climate-controlled environment with good HEPA filters and so on.
And look, in China, I mean, the private schools are under dome, so never underestimate what the super-rich will do to escape the impacts of their behavior. Just look at Jeff Bezos in his cowboy hat scanning the horizon as for his next toxic waste dump. I mean, we were told when billionaires went to space, they would, you know, have some sort of ecological awakening. We didn`t realize they were going to be scouting for new waste dumps. But yes, I do think that --
HAYES: It`s truly an amazing moment.
KLEIN: Truly, truly. I also -- you know, I like to think I can`t be surprised by these guys, but that was something. That was something else.
HAYES: Yes, going up to space, suborbital events about where the Soviet dog Laika went, but coming back and saying, you know, I had the revelation. We need to pollute up there. Naomi Klein, as always, it`s a great, great pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much for making time tonight.
KLEIN: Great to see you, Chris. Take care.
HAYES: As I mentioned, you can read my essay on how heat is about to restructure American life in ways we can only begin to imagine at msnbc.com, The Next 25.
OK, after Kevin McCarthy named his appointments that January 6 Select Committee, including members who tried to overturn the election, there was a big question about whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi would exercise the power she had reserved to do something about it. In fact, we asked that question right here on this very show last night.
Today we got the answer. Up next, the Speaker`s surprise announcement, the theatrical flop from Trump supporters in the House, and a fiery takedown of Kevin McCarthy by a fellow Republican. All that right after the break.
HAYES: I have to tell you, I did not see this one coming today. Two days after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy named his five Republican choices to sit on the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrections, Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of those choices. Congressman Jim banks and Jim Jordan both of them voted to overturn the election in the hours after the mob ransacks the Capitol.
Pelosi explaining in a statement, "With respect for the integrity of the investigation with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these members, I must reject the recommendations of the representatives. The unprecedented nature of January 6 demands this unprecedented decision."
Minority Leader McCarthy responded by yanking the rest of his selections from the committee and claiming, in fact, Pelosi is responsible for politicizing the investigation instead of the Republicans who actively encourage the insurrection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: It`s an egregious abuse of power. Pelosi has broken this institution. Pelosi has created a sham process. Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republicans, we will not participate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: They voted against a bipartisan commission. I feel duty-bound to reiterate that. The thing is even if Kevin McCarthy takes his ball and goes home, the committee will still be bipartisan because Speaker Pelosi named Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney to the committee. And Cheney was not having any of McCarthy`s lies about who`s to blame here.
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REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): At every opportunity, the minority leader has attempted to prevent the American people from understanding what happened, to block this investigation. And the rhetoric around this from the minority leader and from those two members has been disgraceful. This must be an investigation that is focused on facts. And the idea that any of this has become politicized is really unworthy of the office that we all hold and unworthy of our republic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you personally -- did you personally urge the Speaker to take this step?
CHENEY: I agree with what the speaker has done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined now by two excellent reporters who have been tracking the story all day. Sahil Kapur is an MSNBC News national political reporter and Olivia Beaver is congressional reporter for Politico who covers House Republicans.
Sahil, let me -- let me start with you. And again, before we get to today, I just feel the need to reset. There was a long negotiation between Bennie Thompson and John Katko in the Homeland Security Committee that we tracked for months to work out the details of a bipartisan commission, equal subpoena power, equal members on the committee. John Katko signed off on it. Kevin McCarthy then came out against it, it passed the House, McConnell`s Republicans vetoed it by a filibuster in the Senate. That led us to where we are now. It just seems like that history can`t be lost on anyone on the Hill of either side.
SAHIL KAPUR, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Chris, I think you`re right to note that Kevin McCarthy has moved the goalposts here when the year began. He said the former President Donald Trump bear some responsibility for the January 6 attack. He called for an investigation into it and said, yes, but Speaker Pelosi, please give us equal representation, please make sure that Republicans have equal say and subpoena power, and that the GOP members of the committee simply can`t be steamrolled.
One by one, Pelosi ultimately made those concessions. McCarthy tapped his Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee, John Katko, to negotiate that out. They came to a deal. McCarthy ultimately said no, he doesn`t support that, because he wants the scope of that investigation to extend beyond the January 6 attack. He wants to also investigate other forms of political violence associated with the left.
That was a deal-breaker for Speaker Pelosi and that is where it all fell apart. I should note here, Chris, 35 House Republicans did vote for that. Seven Senate Republicans did vote for that commission. But now the choice has become for Democrats, when Republicans were not going to give their bipartisan imprimatur to this, Democrats are going to be accused of running a sham process regardless of what happened.
This decision by Speaker Pelosi according to Democrats close to this process is about her choosing to keep Republicans off the committee that she believes are going to be running interference on behalf of former President Trump, specifically Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, who she believes were linked to individuals and or meetings associated with the January 6 attack, Chris.
HAYES: Olivia, I want to play today -- I mean, Cheney seems like an interesting fulcrum here, right? Obviously, she -- you know, she was very outspoken, she voted for impeachment. We have a reporting that she cursed at Jim Jordan and said, you effing cause this on the day of the insurrection while they were -- while they were, you know, huddled in some secret location. She is on the committee now.
And I was curious like what she does here. Here`s a little more of what she said today. And I want to get your reaction to how important you think that was and how much coordination there was with the Speaker. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Today, the speaker objected to two Republican members. She accepted three others, she objected to two. One of whom may well be a material witness to events that led to that day, that led to January 6. The other who disqualified himself by his comments in particular over the last 24 hours demonstrating that he is not taking this seriously. He is not dealing with the facts of this investigation, but rather viewed it as a political platform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What do you think the effects of that are and what to make of the meaning of Cheney rising to the defense of Pelosi there?
OLIVIA BEAVERS, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: That certainly was something that was really, you know, an incredible moment today watching that. Seeing that Liz Cheney was basically saying she supported Pelosi`s decision to boot off Banks and Jordan, we actually heard that Pelosi and her office consulted with Liz Cheney before this decision was made.
So, she was brought into the fold. They were able to kind of suss out their plan. And now you have Cheney saying she supports it. And Chris, you won`t be surprised to hear that Republicans that I talked to were very pissed off about Cheney doing this. They were trying to say that she should go become a Democrat if she isn`t a Democrat already, even though she`s one of the more traditional House conservatives. Just go look at her voting record.
But, you know, this is the number that Democrats are going to lean on that they say is part of their credibility for having a bipartisan investigation. And Republicans are saying she doesn`t count effectively.
HAYES: You know, part of the political calculation here, Sahil, and I don`t think this is most important thing, but to your point is, they didn`t want -- Trump didn`t want an independent commission because it would have more stature and more credibility. And so, they turned against it.
It`s the same reason McConnell whipped against it, calling in favors. It`s why McCarthy went against it. They wanted to be able to attack the commission is partisan, and they were going to whatever the makeup was. It seems to me like Pelosi just being like enough, you`re going to run against this anyway.
KAPUR: Yet there is a difference of opinion, Chris, between how the two parties have come to view January 6 and what Congress should do about it. Republicans have come to believe, the vast majority of them, including the leadership of the party, have come to believe that the Justice Department should look into it, they should arrest people. They should, you know, make their charges and let the justice system work it out and everyone should move on.
Democrats have a very different view of it. They believe that was a fundamentally -- fundamental crisis, an attack on American democracy that needs to be zeroed in on and investigated as a way to prevent anything like that from happening again, to save the American experiment.
I`ve talked to many Democrats and they emphasize, and they overemphasize, and they reemphasize that part. I think they do believe that. I don`t think they`re blowing smoke there. And that difference turned out to be irreconcilable, especially when you -- when you factor in the uncomfortable reality for Republicans, which is that it was supporters of Donald Trump who violently attacked this building in an attempt to overturn the result of the election, to overturn Joe Biden`s victory.
So, at the day off, there are many Republicans who appeared very troubled by this and wanted an investigation. But I think as time has gone on, the politics have turned and Republicans have taken it in a different direction.
HAYES: Sahil Kapur and Olivia Beaver who`s both doing great reporting on this today. And thank you both for making time with us.
BEAVER: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Don`t go anywhere. The latest on the arrest of Donald Trump`s Inaugural Committee chair and what it might reveal about the Trump administration`s very shady foreign entanglements. That`s next.
HAYES: Federal Court in the Eastern District of New York unsealed a huge seven-count 46-page indictment yesterday against Trump fundraiser and Inaugural Committee Chairman Tom Barrack, charging him with acting as an agent of the United Arab Emirates, as well as obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.
Now, we all of course remember Special Counsel Robert Mueller was investigating Russian sabotage of the 2016 election. We heard about that for years. But over the course of his investigation, Mueller also started to look into whether lobbyists for the UAE were funneling millions of dollars to the Trump campaign.
And now, with the indictment of Tom Barrack, that profoundly shady and weird relationship between the Trump world and the United Arab Emirates is starting to make a little more sense. So, we know that three months before the 2016 election even happened, Donald Trump Jr. met with an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes at the Trump Tower. The emissary told Trump Jr. at the time that the princes, the de facto rulers of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, were eager to help his father win election as President.
A few months later, well, Donald Trump did win. And that crown prince from the UAE, a guy by the name of Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, known as MBZ, flew to New York to meet with the President-Elect. Now, as the New Yorker reports, it is customary for foreign leaders to notify the American government when they travel to the U.S., but MBZ did not do so.
In fact, MBZ arrived at the meeting of the Trump Tower penthouse with an entourage for about 30 people. He was dressed in combat boots, and jeans, and some of his men were armed. Then, on Inauguration Day, Donald Trump`s incoming National Security Adviser Mike Flynn was texting with former business partners about a hugely controversial private-sector plan that will reportedly be funded by the Gulf states, including UAE, to bring nuclear energy to the Middle East.
In fact, Flynn was texting about this plan literally 10 minutes after Donald Trump was sworn in, as he watched on the day. It`s like, we`ve got to deal. What`s going to happen? Seven days into his presidency, Donald Trump, you might remember, signing an executive order known as the Muslim ban which well, left out the UAE while including other Middle Eastern countries like Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.
During Trump`s first year in office, the deputy finance Chair of the Republican National Committee, a guy named Elliott Broidy was helping spearhead a secret campaign to influence the White House and Congress for the Crown Princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. God, that keeps popping up again and again.
Broidy was later charged with conspiring to act as a foreign agent on behalf of other interests Malaysian and Chinese government interests. Mr. Broidy was a very busy man apparently, and on the day before Donald Trump left office, he pardoned Brady. Now, we have the indictment of Tom Barrack who allegedly "acted to aid the UAE and its dealings with the executive branch of the U.S. government doing things like advocating for the appointment of individuals favored by the UAE and the new administration and taking steps to advance the UAE`s foreign policy interests by attempting to influence United States foreign policy.
Now, one of the people has been reporting on these influence efforts for years, connecting the dots between the UAE and Trump world before anyone else joins me next.
HAYES: On June 10, 2019, reporters Alex Emmons and Matthew Cole of the Intercept published this piece. It was about a secret influence operation in the United States by the United Arab Emirates involving an Emirati businessman and Tom Barrack, a longtime ally of then-President Donald Trump.
Barack was a top fundraiser for Trump`s campaign. In fact, he served as chair of his Inaugural Committee which would also spurred its own investigation. 10 days after that article was published, the FBI interrogated Tom barrack about his activities and relationship with the Emiratis. They say he repeatedly lied to them. Yesterday, Barrack was arrested, charged with acting as an agent of the UAE.
Matthew Cole is one of the reporters of the Intercept who broke that story and he joins me now. Matthew, maybe you could just start with describing what your initial reporting uncovered about what you termed an influence operation by the Emiratis.
MATTHEW COLE, REPORTER, THE INTERCEPT: Yes, thanks, Chris, for having me. What we found was that the U.S. government and U.S. Intelligence Community had discovered that Rashid Al Malik was acting as an intelligence agent for the head of the Emirati Intelligence Service, and that his job was to conduct -- it`s not espionage in the sense that he was a spy, you know, trying to pull secrets out as much as he was trying to gain access to the Trump White House and assert Emirati influence into Trump`s -- the Trump administration`s foreign policy in particular with the Middle East.
And he used his relationship with Tom Barrack which went back a few years in real estate as the means to do it. And so what we reported was that the Emiratis looked at the Trump administration early on and decided what they were going to do is use wealthy Emirati citizens, businessmen, business people, to try to get them in into the Trump inner circle.
And Rashid Al Malik who was also charged yesterday with Tom Barrett, you should note, for the same thing, for acting as a foreign agent without registering with the government.
HAYES: Yes, so I mean, this influence operation didn`t seem that secretive in some ways, in so far as the sort of presence of Saudi and Emirati interests were sort of swirling around the administration, and they were constantly doing things that seemed to be favorable to the Saudis and Emiratis. They, you know, famously, he went to Saudi Arabia first.
Give a sense of like, what was the agenda here? Was it just that the Iranians were fighting with the Qataris, and they wanted U.S. support for that? Was there something bigger? Like, why were they crawling all over the Trump administration?
COLE: Well, I think what we know now looking back after four years is that the Emiratis at the Gulf -- you know, the GCC and the Gulf monarchs, in particular, Saudi Arabia and the UAE wanted a total revamp and reset of Middle East Policy from the U.S. They were very unhappy with the Obama administration, and they wanted to come in with a new slate and be aggressive -- have someone like Trump who was going to be aggressive on Iran, for instance.
And so Qatar and the blockade with Qatar, their neighbor, was one such thing. But one of the things you can see is, for instance, this week visiting the first Gulf monarch to visit the Biden White House is King Abdullah of Jordan. And that`s not an accident. And that`s because the UAE, what went on between the UAE and the Trump administration is just now starting to get -- to get picked through by the Biden administration.
There was a lot going on that we don`t yet know that I think is going to have to be -- you know, it`s going to take more reporting both from, you know, journalists, but also the Biden administration is trying to figure out what went on there.
HAYES: Yes. And we should note that one of the big priorities for both for Netanyahu, Mohammed bin Salman, and Mohammed bin Zayed was all to get rid of the nuclear deal with Iran because they were sort of united in their -- in their contempt for fear of, you know, hostility to the Iranian regime.
And that was ultimately successful, the lobbying of all those -- all those folks ultimately did produce that outcome. One more question is what is -- the big mystery that hangs over this is what was in it for Barack? Like, it`s not enumerated in the indictment, but he has real estate interest there. What do you make of that?
COLE: Well, there`s sort of two things to look at. First, what our story found was that the reason why they use Rashid Al Malik as sort of an intelligence front or asset was to use his business and his real estate background is sort of the lure of Barrack and others around Trump. And I think that the unsaid assumption there is that by in getting them invested and entwined financially, they would be able to exert influence on Trump and the inner circle. That`s number one.
Number two is if you read the indictment, although there`s no discussion about money exchanging hands, at the end of the indictment, the DOJ makes it very clear that if Mr. Barrack is convicted, they will bring in asset forfeiture. And that opens and raises the question of whether or not what Barrack was doing was hoping that by being this, you know, go between, between the White House and the Emiratis and the Saudis that his business, his fund would get money.
And there`s no question that he got, you know, something well over $1 billion in new investment from the Middle East, from the sovereign wealth funds in UAE and KSA after Trump became president.
HAYES: All right, Matthew Cole, great reporting. And thanks so much for coming on tonight.
COLE: Thanks for having me, Chris.
HAYES: Still to come, as COVID cases climb around the country, my interview with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH, on the debate over vaccine mandates in hospitals, the office, and beyond. That`s next.
HAYES: As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in every state, schools, and workplaces across the country, we`re trying to figure out how to keep people safe. Last night we shared the story of how Fox News, of all places, has implemented an internal vaccine passport system. Yes, you heard that right. Earlier this week, a federal judge upheld Indiana University`s new policy mandating that all students and staff members on campus be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Today, with less than 60 percent of New York City public health care workers vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced all public health care workers must get vaccinated or tested weekly. But will this kind of vaccine enforcement be enough to curb the rising case count?
Dr. Francis Collins is a geneticist, arguably most known for his work leading the team responsible for mapping the human genome. In 2007, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. In 2009, he received the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama. And that same year, Collins became the director of the National Institutes of Health, the primary agency responsible for biomedical and public health research.
He`s been at the helm of that agency throughout the entire pandemic. And with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, he and his team at NIH are trying to make sure the public has the most up-to-date information on vaccines and breakthrough infections. And he joins me now.
Dr. Collins, it`s a great pleasure to have you on the program. I thought maybe we`d start with this question about mandates. I know it`s a policy question, so slightly outside of the ambit of pure research, but I`m still curious to get your thoughts about what we know about whether institutions be they private companies, or the U.S. Army, or the New York City police force, whether those mandates can be effective as means of boosting vaccination rates?
COLLINS: Well, if mandates were applied, they would definitely increase vaccination rates. People want to know though, is there a legal basis for this? We`ll go back to 1905, Jacobson versus Massachusetts. The Supreme Court said yes, there is a legal basis. That was a case about smallpox vaccination, which then required people to undergo that in order to protect the public health because there is a disease that was killing people.
Well, we have one now that`s killing people called COVID-19. So, many people would say the legal basis is there. There`s a wrinkle though, Chris, that currently the vaccines that are being used are authorized by the FDA under emergency use. And ideally, they ought to be fully approved before this legal opportunity fully kicks in.
You know, I run a hospital. The National Institutes of Health has the largest research hospital in the world. I would like very much to be sure that all the people who interact with immunocompromised patients are immunized against COVID-19. Right now, I can`t require it because this is still emergency use. But I sure as heck have exhorting people to do that.
COLLINS: And fortunately, since they work at NIH, they are mostly agreeing.
HAYES: OK, so you bring up an issue that is the subject of some controversy and consternation, which is the Emergency Use Authorization. Critics have said that the lack of full authorization is one of the impediments to more vaccination for two reasons. One, in terms of the kind of legal predicate for requirements and mandates, and two, because people if you swim in the waters of vaccine hesitancy or vaccine skepticism, they`ll say, well, just emergency use.
People at the FDA say, look, we got a process and rushing it doesn`t help at all. How should we think about this?
COLLINS: Well, I think we should think about it that the likelihood of FDA giving full approval to Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J is extremely high, and potentially will happen in the course of the next couple of months. So, this is really not a good reason for people to hold off rolling up their sleeves. This is going to almost certainly come through.
But I do want to defend the FDA who are working 24/7 on going through this. They don`t want either to be in a circumstance where somebody would say, well, you didn`t really look at all the details of the manufacturing and your thousands of pages of application. They`ve got to do their job. It`s coming.
But come on, folks. If this is the reason that you`re still deciding not to get immunized, this is a pretty flimsy one. This is definitely the case that these vaccines have been proven and lots and lots of public data as being safe and effective already. We really don`t need that full FDA approval to accept that.
HAYES: Right now we`ve got an outbreak happening in the country. It is primarily affecting in terms of vaccine -- in terms of hospitalizations and severe illness, the unvaccinated. But we`ve got cases up to 200 percent in the last two weeks, we`ve got the number of hospitalized at 49 percent, deaths are up 42 percent. Those are growing off fairly small base rates, thankfully.
You know, we keep being perpetually surprised the disease`s still there. What is your assessment of this outbreak how bad it will get, and how people should be thinking about protecting themselves even if they`re vaccinated?
COLLINS: Well, you know, Chris, it`s like we`ve been to this movie before and we didn`t like the ending. Why do we think we`ll like it better this time? I do think the movie won`t be as bad because we do have something like 162 million people right now who are fully vaccinated in the country that`s getting close to 60 percent. That is going to protect them.
The good news in our conversation here is if you`re fully vaccinated, even with Delta variant out there, even with these numbers going up, it`s not probably going to have much of an impact on you. But if you`re unvaccinated, this virus is looking for you. And this is the moment it seems for everybody to hit their reset button if they`ve been hesitant about getting immunized and look at what`s happened. 99.5 percent of the deaths in the last few weeks from COVID-19 have been unvaccinated people.
If we don`t want to see that terrible tragedy and loss of life continue at this pace, then maybe it`s time to get off the fence and say, OK, I heard - - I heard those things about conspiracies. Let me look at that. Most of them, all of them I can tell you will turn out not to have a basis. This is one of the most remarkable scientific achievements that humankind has put together, vaccines that are this safe and this effective. It`s astounding and I gotta say disheartening that still we have some 85 million Americans who are resistant to taking advantage of this gift.
HAYES: Dr. Collins, we`re out of time, but I would love to have you back. There`s a lot more I want to talk about including some of the controversy over the Wuhan virology lab which has been the news. So, if you would come back, that would be great. Dr. Francis Collins, thank you.
COLLINS: I would be glad to. Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: OK, fantastic. That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.