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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 8/9/21

Guests: Cynthia Alksne, Ted Lieu, Charles Booker, Olivia Troye, Joshua Sharfstein, Ed Markey

Summary

In two separate interviews, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told the Justice Department watchdog and congressional investigators that one of his deputies tried to help former President Donald Trump subvert the results of the 2020 election. Rand Paul is once again spewing nonsense releasing yesterday an unhinged two-minute video basically urging Americans to resist all CDC guidelines. Delta variant is causing concern as kids go back to school. The American Academy of Pediatrics sent a letter to the FDA last week saying it`s time to authorize vaccines for five to 11-year-olds. A new U.N. study by the world`s top climate scientists warns that a dramatic rise in global temperatures is not a matter of if but rather how much.

Transcript

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Yes. And so for all of that, Senator Sinema, you my dear are the absolute worst.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): As a former United States Attorney and a state attorney general for 20 years, there`s a real potential here for criminal charges. They should be seriously considered.

HASAN: Harrowingnew details on Trump`s attempt to steal the election through the Justice Department. Is it time for criminal charges against him? Then --

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): We will make our own health choices. We will not show you a passport. We will not wear a mask.

HASAN: As Republicans play political games with a deadly pandemic --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are hospitalizing record numbers of children. Half of the children in our hospital today are under two years of age.

HASAN: Kids are getting sick with COVID. The rising cases across the country and a cataclysmic report on the state of the planet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This report tells us that recent changes in the climate are widespread, rapid, and intensifying.

HASAN: Senator Ed Markey on the need for the Green New Deal and so much more to stop the climate catastrophe when ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HASAN (on camera): Good evening from Washington D.C. I`m Mehdi Hasan in for Chris Hayes. Donald Trump is a man whose rise to political prominence was almost defined by one phrase, lock her up. It was everywhere during his 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton and remains a Trump crowd favorite even today, despite it being based on nothing.

But it raises the question, how come more people aren`t calling for Donald Trump to be locked up? I mean, the great irony of him going after his opponents and wanting to imprison them is that he is the guy who actually committed crimes in the highest office in the land.

But many Democrats, many journalists are still so nervous about simply stating what we are stating tonight. Donald Trump`s many attempts to overturn the election were criminal, were violations of the law. So, why is Donald Trump not charged with any crimes? Why is he chilling in his golf resort a free bird? Why isn`t there any legal accountability for Trump himself? And what is the Department of Justice doing?

These are all urgent and legitimate questions that need to be asked especially considering what we are learning about Trump`s efforts to manipulate that same Justice Department to try and stay in power. Chris has talked at length on this show about Trump`s ally in the Department of Justice, the former acting head of the Civil Division, a guy named Jeffrey Clark, and how Clark proposed that his boss, acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, sign a letter to officials in multiple states and encouraging the state legislatures to send new electors based on non- existent voter fraud. That is something that would have thrown the post- election process into chaos.

Katie Benner of the New York Times reported in January that when the Acting Attorney General refused, Clark colluded with Trump behind his back, then informed Mr. Rosen that the President intended to replace him with Mr. Clark who could then try to stop Congress from certifying the electoral college results.

That plan thankfully failed. But now Benner reports to the Acting Attorney General has confirmed Clark`s plotting to investigators. In two separate interviews, he told the Justice Department watchdog and congressional investigators that one of his deputies tried to help former President Donald J. Trump subvert the results of the 2020 election. Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut sat in on his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee and said the American people should hear what he heard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLUMENTHAL: They deserve to know what we have heard so far, which amounts to a chilling and shocking picture of a president seeking to corrupt the Department of Justice and overthrowing election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HASAN: Yet today, eight months later, Donald Trump and Jeffrey Clark, the guy who tried to overturn the election, they are not behind bars. They are not facing any criminal charges. They`re not even considered pariahs. Clark just landed a cushy job at the right-wing New Civil Liberties Alliance suing universities for vaccine mandates and trying to get the eviction moratorium lifted.

So, again, I ask, why hasn`t the Justice Department gone after Clark or more importantly, Trump? We already had so much evidence that the then- president incited the January 6 insurrection. We know that House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy called Trump in the middle of the attack on the Capitol, begging him to call off the dogs. This is our lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin summed up Trump`s response earlier this year.

[20:05:14]

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): The President said, well, Kevin, I guess these people, meaning the mobsters, the insurrectionists, are more upset about the election than you are. That conduct is obviously part and parcel of the constitutional offense that he was impeached for, namely, incitement to insurrection. That is continuing incitement to the insurrection.

The conduct described not only perpetuated his continuing offense, but also provides to us here today further decisive evidence of his intent to incite the insurrection in the first place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HASAN: Since then, since that impeachment trial, we have only gotten more evidence of Trump`s crimes. So, what would you say if you saw this happening in another country, in Venezuela, or a Turkey, or Belarus? We would be calling it a clear coup attempt. We would be calling for the coup plotters to be prosecuted, held to account.

Now, obviously here in the U.S., we are in uncharted waters. We`ve never charged a president sitting or former with a crime. Richard Nixon did not even come close to what Trump has done. When it became clear he was going to be impeached, he resigned exactly 47-years-ago today. He left the White House, he left American politics.

When Donald Trump lost his reelection bid, he did everything he could to stay in power. Republicans go on and on about the founding fathers and what the founding fathers wanted. Well, the founders gave us the tool of impeachment to get rid of corrupt authoritarian President. Donald Trump was impeached not once but twice for misusing his office to try to remain in power once by extorting a foreign government to announce an investigation into the Biden`s and once for inciting a riot to disrupt the transfer of power. Republicans have two chances to stand up and do something in defense of democracy. And both times they failed.

But hey, the Constitution offers another remedy for corrupt and anti- democratic politicians. Article three of the 14th amendment states no person should hold any office, civil or military under the United States or on any state who having previously taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

If you engage an insurrection, the Constitution says you cannot hold elected office. It is very clear. Why is that article not being invoked against people who this clearly applies to? Some legal experts argue it only requires a simple majority in both Houses to get done, so why not invoke it against Trump?

Otherwise, we are not looking at a future -- we are looking at a future otherwise where Donald Trump not only gets away with well-documented crimes and dodges prison, but we`re also looking at a future where Donald Trump runs for president again, and wins by hook or by crook.

Joining me now is Cynthia Alksne, a former prosecutor in the Justice Department`s Civil Rights Division. Thanks so much for coming on the show this evening. Given what we now know about Donald Trump`s role both in the January 6 insurrection and his role in trying to get the DOJ to steal the election for him, why is Donald Trump not behind bars tonight or at least indicted?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, the question is really why haven`t we started the grand jury investigation? And I think the first answer to that is the Attorney General is cautious and he wants to make sure it`s done right. And he`s trying to right the ship of the Department of Justice that became so political. And to do this, he wants to do it in an apolitical way and take his time.

The Congressional investigation is going forward. The I.G. investigation is going forward. And after all, we are learning new things. This eight months later, we`re learning about this crazy guy Clark who was under the impression that China -- was spreading the information that China was actually changing Dominion voting machines through thermostats, and we`re just learning that.

But think of all the things we need to know still in order to get these witnesses. Because after all, you know, you say, well, we impeached him twice. Well, we didn`t convicted me the time. Let`s not forget that. And one of the reasons why is because we didn`t lock down the witnesses. And what I`m saying is, and I think a lot of people are saying in the Justice Department is let`s get these witnesses knocked down -- locked down.

For example, why do we have this impeachment and McCarthy was never put in the grand jury or sworn under oath. He had conversations with the president as it was happening. That`s important to know. What about all the people who were in the room when he was being begged to do something? Those people need to be in the grand jury.

[20:10:04]

Senator Tuberville who took a call from him needs to be in the grand jury. Raffensperger, Rosen, not Clark. Yes, I mean, all these people need to go. But let me give you one cautionary word about this, and I`m very concerned about this. And that is, you`re too young to remember this, but when Oliver North was convicted and charged because he was selling arms to Iran and taking the money and giving it to the El Salvadorian. He was charged, and the Congress got involved, and they forced him to testify with immunity. And then after that was done, he could never be prosecuted because everything was all tied up in his immunity testimony from Congress.

So, it`s very important that the way Congress does this, they don`t screw up the grand jury. And so, I do think that the attorney general is being very cautious to make sure there`s no chance A, we get the information we need, B, we get the witnesses we need, C, we get the call logs, we get the documents, we find out who are all the people below and above part --

HASAN: Cynthia --

ALKSNE: Go ahead. Sorry.

HASAN: You make excellent points there. And just to clarify, the Oliver North was Contras, not El Salvador. But one -- before we run out of time, 30 seconds, is Merrick Garland the right guy to hold Donald Trump to account? He`s been criticized by some liberals for not being aggressive enough.

ALKSNE: I don`t think it matters. He is the guy. He`s the guy we got. That`s the horse to run. And he`s cautious, and he`s smart, and he`s good. And he`s going to go more slowly than you want him to, but he`s going.

Like, for example, everybody was angry about oh, he`s doing nothing about civil rights, and then nothing is happening. And now what do we know, in the Civil Rights Division, my old office, Lewisville, Minneapolis, and Phoenix, they`re all under investigation. He moves more slowly than you want him to, but he does in fact move.

HASAN: I hope you`re right. Cynthia Alksne, thank you so much for your insights tonight. I appreciate it.

Democratic Congressman Ted lieu of California is a member of the House Judiciary Committee which oversees the Department of Justice. He was also a house impeachment manager earlier this year. And he joins me now.

Congressman, what Donald Trump tried to do with the aid of the DOJ -- well, some officials in the DOJ was to try and overturn the election. He tried to do a coup, did he not?

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): He absolutely did when we did a House impeachment trial, I presented their section on the former President`s efforts to overturn the election by pressuring the Department Justice to just make stuff up. We knew there`s a lot of bad things that were happening. We couldn`t get our hands on the evidence. I`m very pleased that Jeffrey Rosen is now stepping forward and providing actual testimony, investigators. And I urge the borrower justice to really look at what Rosen is saying.

HASAN: So, given you agree it was a coup, given the importance of these officials, why would Jeffrey Clark and other DOJ officials called as witnesses at the impeachment trial in the Senate earlier this year? That seems like a huge missed opportunity?

LIEU: Because what would have happened is the Republicans would have objected, and we`re still be doing the impeachment trial right now litigating those objections in court. So, that was a problem. It was sort of the timing of it. We knew the Republicans will object. But when people step forward voluntarily, like Mr. Rosen, then that solves a problem.

I also want to note that I looked at these election laws, from my perspective as a former prosecutor, and 18 United States Code Section 595, query says that it`s a federal crime to use official authority to interfere with or effect a federal election. Jeffrey Clark did that. He should be investigated.

HASAN: And how do democrats prevent Donald Trump from running again given what he`s already done, the damage he`s done to democracy both kind of and not just in a DOJ sense, but physical damage to the building you serve in? Is using the 14th amendment a possibility? And if not, why not?

LIEU: The goal is not to prevent the former president from running again, the goal should be to hold them accountable. Now, last four years, the evidence is overwhelming that he committed obstruction of justice. He also violated federal campaign finance laws, the same law that landed his co- conspirator Michael Cohen in prison. And now, with this attempted coup attempt, I hope the Department of Justice looks at all the evidence and that they do whatever normal investigations they would do for anybody in America, because no one should be above the law, not the President, not the former president.

HASAN: And you`re right. And we`ve heard a lot of Democrats say that. I`m just looking for the action. So, let me just one last question asked you what I ask Cynthia moment ago. Is Merrick Garland, the current A.G., the right guy to hold Donald Trump to account? Some would say he hasn`t been aggressive enough. Where is the grand jury?

LIEU: Merrick Garland has not been Attorney General for all that long. It`s been about half a year so far. So, I`m willing to give him a chance to look at all the evidence. Again, it`s very clear under these federal election laws that you cannot use official authority to interfere with or effect a federal election.

And what I presented on the impeachment trial was very clear that that`s exactly what DOJ officials such as Clark were doing, and it was exactly what the former president was trying to do by pressuring the Department of Justice to overturn the election.

[20:15:27]

HASAN: Indeed, he was. Congressman Ted lieu, thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it.

LIEU: Thank you, Mehdi.

HASAN: He sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department on Dr. Fauci. He introduced a bill to ban massive mandates on public transport. And he went to the gym while waiting for his Coronavirus test results. But even by Rand Paul standards, his latest pro-COVID tirade is something else.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: President Biden, we will not accept your agency`s mandates or your reported moves towards a lockdown. No one should follow the CDC`s anti- science mask mandates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HASAN: The dangerous political posturing from the junior senator from Kentucky. More on that after a short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HASAN: Cast your minds back to March of 2020, the first weeks of the pandemic in this country. While millions of Americans were stocking up on food and toilet paper and hunkering down at home, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was carrying on as usual. He worked out at the Senate gym, went swimming in the pool, and met fellow lawmakers for lunch. And it turns out he was doing all of that after he learned that two people at a fundraiser he attended back home in Kentucky had tested positive for COVID- 19.

And while he was waiting for the results of his own test on March 22, Rand Paul announced he had tested positive, the first senator to do so. But that personal experience with the virus, a high-risk situation for the senator who is missing part of one lung, did not change his blase attitude towards this deadly pandemic. In fact, Senator Paul has since been positively swimming in COVID. disinformation.

[20:20:43]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just curious about your decision about not to wear a mask when you`re walking around.

PAUL: I have immunity I`ve already had the virus, so I can`t get it again and I can`t give it to anybody.

I can tell you that locally, when we`ve had patients that are sick, they are getting the hydroxychloroquine. And there`s at least anecdotal evidence that seems to be working and helping them.

We have 11 million people in our country who`ve already had COVID. We should tell them to celebrate, we should tell them to throw away their mask, go to restaurants live again because these people are now immune. But Dr. Fauci doesn`t want to admit to any of that. Dr. Fauci is like, oh, woe is me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HASAN: And now, Rand Paul is still spewing nonsense. Yesterday, he released this unhinged two-minute video basically urging Americans to resist all CDC guidelines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: It`s time for us to resist. They can`t arrest all of us. They can`t keep all of your kids home from school. We don`t have to accept the mandates, lockdowns, and harmful policies of the petty tyrants and bureaucrats. We can simply say no, not again.

Nancy Pelosi, you will not arrest or stop me or anyone on my staff from doing our jobs. We have either had COVID, had the vaccine, or been offered the vaccine. We will make our own health choices. We will not show you a passport. We will not wear a mask. We will not be forced into random screenings and testings so you can continue your drunk with power reign over the Capitol. No one should follow the CDC anti-science mask mandates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HASAN: It`s easy to laugh at Republicans like Ron Paul and the insane things that they say and do for attention. But this stuff is dangerous. Some might say it`s incitement. Charles Booker is a former Democratic state lawmaker in Kentucky who`s running against Rand Paul in next year`s Senate election. And Olivia Troy is a former adviser to Vice President Mike Pence where she worked on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. She`s now director of the Republican Accountability Project.

Thank you both for joining me this evening. Charles, let me start with you. You have diabetes, I believe. So, as a person with an underlying condition, does your opponent Rand Paul`s disinformation campaign about COVID feel kind of personal?

CHARLES BOOKER (D-KY), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it absolutely is personal. You know, I`ve had to ration my insulin because I couldn`t afford it. I nearly died from it. And I know I`m at high risk. And my wife and I are preparing to have our third daughter at any moment now. I`ve lost an uncle to COVID. This is not a game.

We`re in a moment where a pandemic has cost us so much loss that we need leadership to fight our way forward. And instead of that, he`s chasing conspiracies. He`s trying to find the boogeyman and he`s inciting lawlessness and fear-mongering and it`s going to cost us lives. And we have to stop it.

HASAN: It is going to cost us lives. It`s deeply depressing. Olivia, the nonsense is coming not just from Rand Paul, but for many members of your party, including your former boss, the President. Donald Trump was on Fox News over the weekend complaining that people would have said he did a horrible job if he were president during COVID. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, first of all, could you imagine if I were president right now and we had this massive attack from the Coronavirus, you know, now they like to call it -- they have new names and they have other new names, but it`s exactly what we had. We had the same thing. If that were me, that`d be saying what a horrible thing, what a horrible job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HASAN: Imagine if we had a horrible attack from the Coronavirus, Donald Trump says. I`m pretty sure you were in the White House when there was one and he failed us.

OLIVIA TROYE, DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: Yes, imagine that. Imagine how many meetings I sat in when negligent behavior took place. Imagine how many negligent statements were made from the Oval Office when Donald Trump was sitting there as commander-in-chief of our entire country during this large pandemic, that would be one of the largest of our generation that continues on still today.

And look, the origin is right there. It started from day one. This divisiveness on COVID started with him. And it continues. This legacy continues still today. And this negligent, shameful behavior by people who call themselves -- who are elected officials who are undeserving, in my opinion, of the title -- of title of you Senator Rand Paul, case in point, who is one of the major, you know, super spreaders I would say of misinformation on COVID and other conspiracy theories that he espouses. are undeserving of elected office because they`re negligent and they`re putting Americans continuously at risk.

[20:25:16]

And you`re correct. He is inciting people. We`ve already seen, you know, fights over mass mandate. We`ve seen people how angry they are, the way they behave. We see that this type of rhetoric, you know, encourages this behavior by their supporters. And it`s just greed. It`s greediness for power to remain in power at whatever cost and whatever you say. And it is horrifying to think that these are the people who are in the leadership of our country right now.

HASAN: Yes, indeed. And when we talk about incitement, Charles, I wonder, what do you make of Marjorie Taylor Greene`s latest antics. It`s easy to dismiss her as a kind of crazy Congresswoman. But she`s speaking at events where she`s suggesting people should exercise their second amendment rights when people come to the door to give them vaccine information, basically encouraging members of the Republican base to shoot people. I mean, that is where we reached in America in 2021.

BOOKER: It`s a gross shame. And you know, what Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rand Paul are doing is not about freedom. It`s not about our constitutional rights. They don`t care about that. They are pulling these tricks, these tired old tricks to cause division, to sow fear, because they believe that`s the only way they can win.

And look, Rand Paul is pulling these distractions out and in a gross way because he doesn`t want the people to know that he voted against relief in the middle of a pandemic, that he has been opposing investments in our infrastructure, that he doesn`t support community safety. He wants to put our men and women in uniform at risk, our emergency services at risk.

And so, they`re doing this because they don`t want people to realize they can`t lead. But we see through the BS, and that`s why I`m running for U.S. Senate to defeat Rand Paul, but more importantly, build the infrastructure we need to transform our future so that we`re ready for the next pandemic, we`re ready for the next crisis.

And I`m asking everyone, go to CharlesBooker.org to stand with us so that we can tell the news story for our future and get these clowns out of office.

HASAN: Well, they`re certainly behaving in a clownish way, there`s no doubt about that. Olivia, Texas Governor Greg Abbott literally posted a picture of himself with a fiddle while his state is burning through the Delta outbreak. And I have to ask you this question, genuine question. I`m not trolling here. You worked with these Republican politicians, it`s your party. People like Abbott, people like DeSantis, do they care whether people live or die in their state? I genuinely wonder, do they just not give a damn?

TROYE: Well, clearly by the issuance of the executive orders that they continue to issue and by the fact by creating division on this topic continuously, there`s no need -- there is no absolutely no need to push back on mask mandates and to create division on it. Just protect the residents of your state. That`s the bottom line.

And so, no, do I think they care? No. It`s about quest for power again, remaining in power. Doing every ad tech there is for a sound bite. You know, we know that DeSantis is eyeing 2024. And I`m thinking he is Trump mini-me, right? Someone like Trump should never be in office again, someone like Trump. Remember that? Remember the negligence. And that is who we have right now on these individuals.

And I`m watching all of this, the lawsuits going on, and the cruise lines that are trying to protect the people so they can go on cruises again. I mean, when does it ever stop? And right now, I saw the announcement were Abbott is asking for out-of-state help again for the health care workers. Let`s think about them. They have been in this fight and the front lines on this pandemic from day one. And we`ve kind of have their backs. And these governors are negligent. They just don`t care.

HASAN: That is the problem. They really just do not seem to care. And from governors to senators, it`s just more misinformation and more nonsense day after day and people are literally dying. It`s just unbelievable. We`ll have to leave it there. Charles Booker, Olivia Troye, thank you both so much for your insights tonight. I appreciate it.

With schools about to start and more and more younger kids coming down with COVID, where is the vaccine for them? I`ll ask a top pediatrician about that ahead. Don`t go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:00]

HASAN: The COVID vaccines are incredible. They`re not perfect. They never were. And even with the number of breakthrough infections, thanks to the highly infectious Delta variant, the vaccines are still our only way out of this pandemic. They`re only -- they`re only our real path to getting back to doing a lot of the things we used to do.

Recently, the U.K. began allowing vaccinated travelers from the U.S. to come into England and Scotland without having to quarantine which allowed me to do something I have not done for nearly two years. See my parents. I thought it`d be fun, if not a bit silly to surprise them. So, I disguise myself as an Amazon delivery person. And as much as my parents were thrilled to see me, I think it`s fair to say they were not as amused as they could been.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HASAN: Delivery. I meet Dr. Hasan. Dr. Hasan needs to sign for it. Is Dr. Hasan here? Is there a Dr. Hasan here to sign for this? You want me to leave it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

HASAN: Are you sure you want me to leave it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

HASAN: Are you sure?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is it?

HASAN: Are you sure you want me to leave it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is it? Who are you?

HASAN: Hello, mother.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HASAN: That was truly a lot of fun. And to be honest, I did not realize how much the separation had affected me until I got there and we really got to spend some quality time together. All of this was the result of us being fully vaccinated me and my parents. The U.K. is among the highest vaccinated places in the world with nearly three-quarters of the eligible population fully vaccinated. But they have yet to approve the vaccine for most of their population under the age of 18.

Here in the U.S., only half of the eligible population is fully vaccinated, which includes kids 12 and over. But in some of this country`s lowest vaccinated areas, we are starting to see a disturbing trend. More and more kids are being hospitalized with COVID. We`ll talk about that and the renewed push to authorize vaccines for kids under 12 next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK KLINE, PHYSICIAN-IN-CHIEF, CHILDREN`S HOSPITAL NEW ORLEANS: We are seeing many ill children the prevalence rate of For COVID among our outpatients coming to clinic has increased from one percent one month ago to seven percent and now to about 20 percent.

And we have 18 children in the hospital today, six in the intensive care unit with a diagnosis of COVID-19. Half of the children who are in the hospital right now are under the age of two, believe it or not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[20:40:24]

HASAN: More and more children are getting sick with COVID, especially in places with high infection rates and low vaccination rates. Places like Louisiana which now has the fastest-growing rate of new COVID cases among children in the nation. The number of kids with COVID doubled in just a few days, more than 6000 are now sick. And more than half the children being treated at a hospital in Baton Rouge are under intensive care because they need respiratory support.

At Arkansas, Children`s Hospital, they admitted 23 patients under the age of 18 last week, 10 were in the ICU, and five were in ventilators. At Texas Children`s Hospital in Houston, the number of kids hospitalized with COVID was in the single digits several weeks ago, and rose to more than 30 last week. All of which is very worrying as kids across the country, millions of them unvaccinated get ready to head back to school.

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein is a pediatrician. He formerly served as the principal deputy commissioner at the FDA. He`s now the Vice Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Sharfstein, thanks so much for coming on the show. For the past 18 months, I`ve had people across the political spectrum claim that kids are low risk, that COVID isn`t a threat to kids. I`m not sure if that was ever really true, but it`s certainly not true during this era of the Delta variant, is it?

JOSHUA SHARFSTEIN, VICE DEAN, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: I think that for a long time, we`ve been distracted by just the overwhelming force that COVID-19 has for older adults. But if you just, you know, take that comparison out, and you just look at what`s happening to children, because their children, because we care about children, the risks are quite high.

They`re higher than most other diseases that kids are encountering and they could get worse. And you know, those risks include not only the immediate threat of hospitalization or worse, but the intermediate threat of an immune reaction to the infection and the long-term threat of long COVID. So, there are risks.

Those risks are not astronomical, every child is going to get sick, but we don`t really think like that in pediatrics. We think we want to prevent rare severe cases of illness in kids, and this is a disease that does that. It can cause severe cases of illness in kids.

HASAN: So, there are risks. It could be a severe illness, and yet in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis seems to be doing everything in his power to prevent children from wearing masks in school. Despite his orders, some districts are pushing ahead with mass mandates in schools. You have schools tomorrow statewide opening in Florida. What advice do you have for districts and for families sending their kids to school in places like Florida and Texas and Louisiana?

SHARFSTEIN: This is a moment for school boards and for superintendents to look in the mirror and ask themselves whether they`re really putting the health of children first. Because if they are, they should listen to the American Academy of Pediatrics which recommends the masks for everyone who can wear them in school, should listen to the Centers for Disease Control based on many studies and a lot of consensus that masks should be worn in school.

You know, there`s a -- there`s a school district that I`m aware of where the motto is soaring to greatness committed to excellence, but they shouldn`t have as part of that motto, but not putting the health of kids first. School districts should require math for those who can wear them.

HASAN: Dr. Sharfstein, you mentioned the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP sent a letter to the FDA last week saying it`s time to authorize vaccines for five to 11-year-olds. It reads in part, "the FDA should strongly consider authorizing these vaccines for children ages five to 11 years based on data from the initial enrolled cohort which are already available while continuing to follow safety data from the expanded cohort in the post-market setting.

Do you agree with that? Is it time now to roll out these vaccines for under 12 too or should we wait longer? Do we need more data? Where do you stand on this debate?

SHARFSTEIN: I think it`s very important for the FDA to be transparent about the data it has and the reasons for its decisions. And I don`t know enough, based on the information that`s been released, to have an answer to your question. I think everybody is a little frustrated at the lack of information not understanding what the decision-making process really is about.

And I do think it`s going to be extremely helpful to have safe and effective vaccines for kids five to 11, but you can`t rush the science. And if it`s -- the time isn`t right, it`s not right. I just hope the FDA can really explain the situation so that people aren`t guessing and wondering and thinking that maybe the agency could have move faster.

[20:45:12]

HASAN: Yes. I mean, it`s one of those interesting debates for parents because we hear a lot in the news about parents who don`t want their children to get a vaccine, who don`t want their children to wear a mask. We don`t often hear from parents like myself who actually -- I`m keen for my kid who is under the age of 12 to get vaccinated, and I`m waiting to find out when that will be. I`m concerned about my child going back to school and not knowing what the situation in the classroom is, with other people`s masks, with the rise in Delta.

And I wonder, how do you make -- how do you give a voice -- because we hear so much about the parents who don`t want to get their kids vaccinated. I wonder, are we giving enough voice to those of us who are worried about our kids, who are worried about our kids going back to school, whether they`re vaccinated or not, whether they`re masked or not?

SHARFSTEIN: There are a lot of parents who are very worried about their kids going back to school. I heard from a health official in Maryland who said that parents were picketing because they wanted their kids to be safer and they wanted to see appropriate reasonable mitigation measures put in place so their kids could go to school safely.

I don`t think it`s too much to ask school boards and superintendents to follow the guidelines of pediatricians in the United States about what keeps kids safe. And it is -- it`s very frustrating. You know, a lot of these parents are working. They can`t stop everything that they`re doing and go and protest and demand, you know, things when it just is shocking that decisions aren`t being made in the health -- the best interests of their children, but I know many parents who are starting to do that now.

HASAN: Yes. No, you`re 100 percent right. And it`s shocking that people are willing to throw kids under the bus to score political ideological points. Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, thank you so much for your insights tonight. I appreciate it.

SHARFSTEIN: Thank you.

HASAN: Up next, code red for humanity. The dire warning on climate change and what we can still do right now to stop a complete catastrophe. One of the political architects of the Green New Deal joins me next. Don`t go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:50:00]

HASAN: The impending climate catastrophe has reached a code red. A new U.N. study by the world`s top climate scientists warns that a dramatic rise in global temperatures is not a matter of if but rather how much.

It does not take a study to see what is already happening around us. Just look at the Dixie fire, the largest single fire in California history currently tearing through the Golden State. But this devastating assessment of our planet`s health makes clear that the worst is yet to come.

Right now, the best case scenario is limiting the rising global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius or about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Even that scenario will still result in frequent intense heat waves and rising sea levels of one to two feet. And again, that is the best we can hope for. But even reaching that goal will require a massive investment from the United States which is the biggest carbon emitter in history.

The new bipartisan senate infrastructure bill is a start. And breaking news, there`ll be a vote on that tomorrow morning. But what more needs to be done? Joining me now is Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. He`s the chair of the Senate Climate Change Task Force and a leading sponsor of the Green New Deal.

Senator Markey, thanks so much for coming on the show. This bipartisan infrastructure bill that`s about to be passed in the Senate, a lot of billions of dollars for renewable energy, for electric vehicles, which is great. It also contains billions in ongoing subsidies for fossil fuel companies according to a report in the Intercept, which is bad. Is this on climate change yet again two steps forward one step back?

SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): No. We are going to now respond to the code red for humanity. We`re going to take this as a final warning that we must take bold, dramatic action. The planet is running a fever. There are no emergency rooms for planets, and we have to take action. So, we`re going to start the debate tomorrow or Wednesday on a green -- a green budget resolution that will respond to the code red.

And in that bill, we`re going to have tax breaks for wind and solar in all electric vehicles and for battery storage technologies. We`re going to have a clean energy standard. We`re going to have a Civilian Climate Corps. We are going to have a climate bank to fund projects in every city in town all across our country.

We`re going to go big in a green budget resolution. And it`s going to be a response within the same week that they the U.N., the climate scientists of the world say that this is the national security, the health, the economic, the moral issue of our time. We will begin to response.

HASAN: And and what you`re describing there, some of the measures in that budget reconciliation, they sound like measures that were in the Green New Deal that you were one of the architects of. Is that something you`re allowed to say or are you worried that if you say that, Republicans lose their mind because they`ve so successfully demonized a Green New Deal as somehow bad on the right.

MARKEY: No, without question, the Green New Deal is in the DNA of this green budget resolution. All of the things that are in we talked about in the Green New Deal. Now, we have to go even further in the years ahead. We can`t stop here and it includes increasing the fuel economy standards for the vehicles which we drive. It means that we have to have a big agreement in Glasgow that brings the whole world together later on this year with President Biden finally having a piece of legislation which passes so that the rest of the world sees that we`re serious, that we`re the leader and not the laggard.

You cannot preach climate temperance from a barstool. You can`t be the worst polluter in history and simultaneously tell other company -- countries to stop unless you are doing so yourself.

[20:55:25]

HASAN: And in terms of -- well said. And in terms of kind of being role models, let`s just talk about your party. How can Democrats make progress on fighting climate change? How can they set the right example? Because on the one hand, you have people like yourself speaking very well and vocally and powerfully about the threat, but then you have the office of a fellow Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, reportedly meeting regularly with lobbyists from ExxonMobil. Have a listen to what one of those lobbyists said on tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEITH MCCOY, LOBBYIST, EXXONMOBIL: Joe Manchin, I talked to his office every week. He is the kingmaker. And he`s not shy about sort of staking his claim early to changing the debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HASAN: When the U.N. says this is code red, that shouldn`t be acceptable, should it, ExxonMobil lobbyists bragging about meetings with a Democratic senator?

MARKEY: Look, we`re going to have to work with Joe Manchin, we`re going to have to work with all 50 Democrats to pass this bill because we don`t expect any Republican to back us. GOP now stands for Gas and Oil Party, and the leader Donald Trump is down in Mar-a-Lago not even understanding it`s turning into Mar-a-lagoon over the next 15 years unless we take dramatic climate action.

So, we`re going to have to work with Senator Manchin, we`re going to work with all 50 Democrats to get the votes to take significant dramatic climate action in the green budget resolution. And I think that we can do it.

HASAN: I mean, if GOP stand for Gas and Oil Party, then Joe Manchin fits into that, based on that clip we just saw. But let`s talk about the GOP. According to an analysis from the liberal Center for American Progress, 52 percent of House Republicans, 60 percent of Senate Republicans are climate deniers, zero Democrat, zero Independents.

How do you tackle an existential threat to our planet, to our country, to our way of life, when you have an entire political party, the majority of whom won`t even acknowledge it?

MARKEY: Well, look at if 100 senators agreed that 100 percent of the scientists in the world now agree that it`s human cause greenhouse gases that are creating this climate crisis, then we would be able to solve the problem, no problem would have a consensus, but we don`t. The Republican Party is, unfortunately, still within the grip of the fossil fuel industry. That`s what we`re battling right now. That`s why it`s been hard over the years to get these tax breaks for long periods of time on the books for wind and solar and all electric vehicles.

But we`re about to turn the corner on this, and we are going to have to do it without Republicans. That`s just the bottom line. I hate to say it. We`re going to have to do the same thing, by the way, for community college making it free tuition, for free pre K, to make sure we have a strong family leave policy. All of this is going to have to be done in this bill without Republican support.

It`s a sad commentary on the contemporary state of the Republican Party in our country, but so be it. We`ll have to work together. Chuck Schumer is doing a great job. President Biden is doing a great job. I think we can finish it off this week, and then begin the process of working with the House to put a bill on the desk of President Biden.

HASAN: Senator, there are reports that some of your so called moderate Democratic colleagues in the House are worried about the $3.5 trillion price tag on that budget reconciliation bill. Senator Kyrsten Sinema has also objected to a bill of that size, saying she can`t vote for it.

Is it still the case for progressives like yourself that the two bills, the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill has to pass in tandem, that there is no bipartisan bill without the much bigger reconciliation bill? Is that still non-negotiable in your view?

MARKEY: Non-negotiable. These two bills have to be welded together. They cannot be separated. They have to pass together. They have to be heading to the President`s desk together. You can`t just break off roads and bridges and broadband, as important as they are, and leave out climate and children and community college and child tax credits. You can`t do that.

So, we are going to keep it together all the way to Joe Biden`s desk. And when he signs that bill, yes, we`ll have the roads and bridges, but we`re also going to have a bridge for every family in our country to be able to survive and thrive in the 21st century and we`ll have the funding for the clean energy revolution that we need in order to lead the world.

HASAN: Non-negotiable, I love to hear it. Senator Ed Markey, thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it.

MARKEY: Great to be with you. Thank you.

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

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Mehdi. It`s great to see you, my friend. Thank you very, very much.