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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 4/22/21

Guests: Gina McCarthy, Cory Booker


Interview with White House national climate adviser, Gina McCarthy. Interview with Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a member of the Judiciary Committee.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": All right, that is "ALL IN" on this Thursday night.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Everyone -- you`re so mature and you`re a dad, and you`re a real grownup, Chris, and, you know, every once in a while, we do need to remember that there is an eight-year-old that lives inside you.

HAYES: Oh, you cannot imagine the number of jokes I`ve made about this segment, in a run-up to today and throughout the day, in the commercial break before this segment aired, it`s been essentially nonstop.

MADDOW: I know, I know. Because I know there is an eight-year-old that lives inside you. Not the part that drives and parents and runs your show and everything, but every once in a while, hi, little Chris, here he is.


MADDOW: Well done, my friend. I`m not going to make the obvious joke right now. Thank you, my friend, much appreciated.

HAYES: All right.

MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

All right. It was November 12th, last year, November 12th, 2020. Election Day had been a week and a half earlier, November 3rd, and we all know how that resolved. November 3rd was Election Day. By November 7th, every major news outlet had called the presidential race for Joe Biden.

President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris gave their acceptance speeches on the night of November 7th. So, by November 12th, five days after that, the level of desperation among Republicans and Trump supporters who really did not want to believe this had happened, it was kicking up new notches every day.

And by November 12th, things got publicly quite weird. That`s almost at almost a new level quite quickly.

Trump-supporting Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas on November 12th, he participated in something called a global prayer for U.S. election integrity. And where did that happen? Where else, say with me now, obviously that happened on Facebook, right?

But on that Facebook broadcast, they sort of went one by one, they brought up all their best stories, all their best fantasies about what had really happened that showed that Joe Biden hasn`t really won, and showed how shadowy, nefarious forces had made it look like Biden won but the real patriots were not fooled because they knew the real story, because they heard it on Facebook.

On that Facebook broadcast, November 12th, these guys tried out the theory first that there was a secret supercomputer called, the "hammer", operated by the deep state, I think the idea of maybe operated by the NSA, I can never really figure it out, anyway. Per they`re telling, the "hammer" was a supercomputer that had the ability, nationwide, to switch all the real Trump votes into fake Biden votes, shadowy forces, the deep state.

The Trump appointed head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security at the time had to put out a direct rebuttal to that craziness about the fake supercomputers. I remember seeing it at the time and this thing actually from the real Homeland Security Department saying, no, there isn`t really a supercomputer called the "hammer" that switches all the votes, I remember being mystified about what it was that they were rebutting, that is because I don`t have enough Facebook in my life, or enough Louis Gohmert.

The host of this November 12th Facebook event tried it out all these various conspiracy theories, purportedly explaining how it was that Trump had secretly won, that it looked like Biden won, but all would be remedied. They tried it out, the "hammer" thing, they tried what was by then regular fare for the Trump election conspiracies the idea that the company called Dominion was somehow controlled by then communist, or are the really dead, should we dig them up?

They went through the "hammer" thing, they went through this whole thing about Dominion Voting Systems, if it was in the "hammer", it was dead communist control from behind the grave of Dominion Voting System. They went through all these things, one by one. This was the time, right? Total nonsense.

But after they went through those two, the "hammer" supercomputer one and the Dominion Voting System secretly controlled by Hugo Chavez, who is dead. Once your through dose to and you haven`t got gotten what you need, you need to kick it up a notch and why settle for just continuing to spin everybody up into a frenzy based on your own un-sourced assertions, when you can source your assertions to a sitting member of the United States Congress, who is going to come on your program, on Facebook, and tell everybody a whole new story that is even better, and that incidentally justifies more radical direct action to try to keep Trump in the White House.

So, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, this event, November 12th, he comes on and he was like, I see you`re made-up NSA supercomputer conspiracy, I call your shadowy communist control voting system software, but I raise you, I have a new one, I raise you a U.S. Army commando raid in Germany that is going to fix all of this even though in my story the army are the bad guys.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): I had information from some of our former intel people that there was extremely compelling evidence that could be gleaned from Scytl, that`s S-C-Y-T-L, that is a company headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, that was responsible for aggregating all the information from all the machines and whatnot. And information as to how many votes were switched from Republican for Democrat would`ve been easily established from the information that Scytl gathered and what were the votes going in and which ones were changed going out.

It turns out -- I don`t know the truth, I know that there was a German tweet in German saying that on Monday, U.S. Army Forces went into Scytl and grab their server. There`s some that believe that this is the U.S. intelligence that manipulated all of this in order to cover their own rear ends.


MADDOW: U.S. Army goes to Germany and seizes the server from a Spanish company. Because this is the server, the Spanish company in Germany had used to switch in America, all the votes from Republicans to Democrats, it was the record of the whole thing, and the army -- army got the -- went in, got the Spanish server out Germany, that was the server that somehow fixed election that made it look like Biden won when really Trump won, and now the U.S. Army has the server, and that`s good news, right? No, it`s that`s news because the Army is also the bad guy because intel is covering their butts. What?

That was the theory from Congressman Louie Gohmert on November 12th. "The Military Times" actually did a great time documenting how this particular Trump world conspiracy theory continue to evolve over the course of the next couple of weeks in November, so that by December, it wasn`t just the army going into sees the server from this company. Instead, the server was being guarded at a CIA facility. The CIA was protecting it and there was a fire fight and on the other side of the firefight was the U.S. military intelligence battalion working for Trump lawyer, Sidney Powell. She was like they were the commanding officer, maybe.

And that battalion, that 305th military intelligence battalion, which is in real life a real thing, in this conspiracy theory was commanded by Sidney Powell, the lady in the leopard print cardigan, and they went to Germany and physically fought it out a shooting war with the CIA to get the servers that would reveal all about how the election was stolen.

And somehow in the continued evolution of the story, in November of 2020, the U.S. army soldiers, under the command of Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, they were somehow elevated to Special Operation Forces?

And then the final, as far as I can tell, the final iteration of it was that in this firefight where it was Sidney Powell`s army commandoes versus the CIA, multiple Sidney Powell commanded special operation commandos were killed in this operation, at least five of them were killed, and it was all covered up. And their bodies disappeared.

Because what was in the server? Well, Trump world turns out found out -- turns out on the Trump server, the server from Germany, it was the real election results as seen on this map obtained by a dude on Twitter.

And as you can see, Donald Trump secretly won the election with more than 400 electoral votes, including the electoral votes from California, which Trump lost by nearly 30 points, but the secret server in Germany, it tells a different story.

Of all the Trump world conspiracy theories after the election, this one about the German servers and the military thing was definitely the most baroque, and maybe the most insane.

And here`s a sitting member of Congress, Congressman Louie Gohmert promoting this, of course, on Facebook, also in a conservative TV channel called Newsmax, it was also featured on One American News, that network even broadcasted a picture of the map that was supposedly found on the servers that were seized in the raid. A map that showed the real election results where Trump, among other things, won California.

The company that got hit with this conspiracy theory, the company that was supposedly at the heart of this conspiracy theory, they had to put out a statement, that most of struck them as insane that they had to write it. They said number one, we don`t actually tabulate vote in U.S. election at all. Number two, we don`t have any offices or services in Frankfort, Germany. Number three, no one has seized anything from us let alone the U.S. military. What else are we supposed to say here, this is insane?

But, I mean, think about the implications of what they were promoting here, and they were widely promoting this particular conspiracy about the election, the Trump world contention, by members -- sitting members of Congress included, was that Trump supporters -- you know, prayers for election integrity, which was the name of that Facebook event, November 12th -- the contention here was that their prayers for election integrity, their fight to make sure that Trump`s election was somehow secured and not stolen, allowed to be misrepresented by shadowy forces, they were being told by this insane baroque conspiracy theory, that what they believed about Trump secretly winning the election is something for which blood had already been shed, something for which American soldiers had already been killed in a shooting war as they tried to get the evidence, to grab the server that would show that Trump had really won the election, right?

What Trump supporters are being told when they were shoveled this junk was that there was a military operation underway already to keep Trump in the White House, to reveal the truth about the stolen election. It`s a military operation already, members of the U.S. military already dead in the service of this battle for truth, maybe already the start of a war. You wonder why they were spun up and have to do what they did on January 6th, right? They had been told by a bunch of authorities that the war was on, that blood was already flowing, that patriots had already given their lives to stop the steal, to prove that Biden hadn`t won the election.

They were primed to use force with nonsense like this, by being told, you won`t be the first, other pitchers have already died for this. And that`s - - that`s the really serious part of it as ridiculous as it is. The ridiculous part of it is still as ridiculous, right?

One of the guys who promoted this both dangerous and completely ridiculous idea of the secret raid to steal the servers back from the CIA facility in Germany, one of the guys who promoted this concept, specifically online, is someone who runs a company that is call Cyber Ninjas. This is the Cyber Ninjas website. Oh boy, here we go. That is their home page.

Just rest your eyes there for a second. Ninja costumes, right alert. If you scroll down off that landing page, this is the next thing that you get to. Do you have a cyber ninja on your side? I don`t know, but if I do I hope he`s not wearing gigantic leisure gloves while he`s trying to type on my mask laptop while it is turned off.

This company, Cyber Ninjas, a company run by an online proponent of the QAnon conspiracy theory, and an online proponent of the fantasy that there was a secret war between the army and the CIA in Germany where the Secret Service that stole the election for Biden were seized, and everybody died and it has opened covered up and we can find our bodies because deep state is doing it, but we have the map that was on the server.

Proponent, online proponent of that conspiracy theory, runs this company Cyber Ninjas, which has now been hired, they`re now doing this, they`ve been hired by the people of the state of Arizona, via the Republican- controlled Arizona Senate, they are being paid, with taxpayer dollars in Arizona, to recount all the 2020 presidential election ballots in the largest county in Arizona.

In Arizona, a majority of voters live in one county, in Maricopa County, where Phoenix is. In November, Maricopa County and Arizona as a whole voted for Joe Biden for president. And as much as Trump supporters may not like that, it is true, there has already been an audit by a federally accredited firm for the vote in Maricopa County, a forensic audit of the vote, there was a hand recount in Maricopa County overseen by both political parties.

The board of supervisors in Maricopa County which has five members, four of which are Republicans, they voted unanimously to certify that Joe Biden won the election. But not anymore. Now, in late April, the Cyber Ninja guy, the Cyber Ninja guy from the secret server in Germany secret commando raid war conspiracy thing, Arizona Republicans sued to allow his company, him and his company to have another look at what happened in that ever zone back in November, and they have actually turned over all of the real ballots, more than 2 million ballots count cast in Maricopa County, so the Trump conspiracy theory guy, the QAnon, secret server war guy can see what he thinks happened so he can give the real results from the Arizona election.

This is really happening. I should mention the Cyber Ninja guy is going to be working alongside another stellar choice by Arizona Republicans, a Republican former state representative from Arizona who personally went to D.C. on January six for the festivities there because he said that he was a Trump elector from Arizona. Now, Trump didn`t win Arizona, but the electors for the Biden ones but on the day that Congress was certifying the election results, this guy went to D.C. as an Arizona Trump elector. Because he contended that Arizona`s Trump electors should be counted, because Trump should be awarded the state votes in the Electoral College. So, he was day that there that.

The count, you may recall it was delayed that day by the mob attack on the Capitol which temporarily stopped the counting. But he was there in person, so Arizona would have its electoral votes counted for Trump. He was there, January 6th. And he`s also now announced that he will be working on this recount of Arizona votes that are starting today, organized by the Arizona Republican State Senate. Him and the Cyber Ninjas a guy who promotes the secret server Germany story.

And you know, Joe Biden is president of the United States. Whatever they do in Arizona is not going to make him not president of the United States.

But what they are doing in Arizona, what has Trump world electrified right now, all newly energized with the fantasy that Trump world has yet to be reinstated as president, and Biden will be exposed as a usurper or whatever, that what they just started today at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix is going to be used by Trump world to try to claim forever that Trump secretly won Arizona. And he secretly won the election. And Biden is illegitimate at as president. And they will use when they are starting there to contend that for years. Here we go.

Do you have a Cyber Ninja in your side? We are never going to get away from this mess. I mean, eventually, we will all get old enough that he will age out. But we are never going to get this particular dollop of stake out off of our proverbial shoe.

Today honestly felt like a minefield of stories like this. I mean, hard- core Trump world really does think that the election is going to be overturned because of the Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, QAnon folks being put in charge of re-counting all the ballots in America. And that really did start this week and they really are going to recount those ballots. Who knows what they are going to say happened?

I`m sure we will get it in a cube (ph) drop when it happens. Or Louie Gohmert will tell us about it on Facebook. I mean, they are going for it! That is what Trump world is and, of course, Trump world is still essentially in control in the Republican Party.

But today felt like a minefield in terms of stories like that. These things left behind that we are still mired and as a country that we sort of can`t escape the stink of as a country, even as the country is trying to take off a new different direction.

For example, today, at the United States Supreme Court, the court in its infinite wisdom assigned to Justice Brett Kavanaugh the task of writing the majority opinion in a sweeping new ruling that essentially reinstates sentences of life without parole for kids. There was no outright rule banning that sentence, banning life without parole for juvenile offenders before, but there was strong settled Supreme Court precedent making that sentence only available in very, very narrow circumstances. People convicted of crimes that occurred while they were children.

Justice Kavanaugh`s opinion today blows that up. It blows up all that precedent. Which is one thing on its own terms, right?

Life in prison without the possibility of parole for something someone did while they were a child, without the possibility of parole, for life. You do something when you are a kid, you get locked up for it and there is no chance, no matter what else happens in your life, in your entire adult life for you to ever, ever see the on incarcerated light of day.

For what you did when you are a kid. I mean that, just on its substance, that is ethically, spiritually, something I`m not sure the country was looking to shovel onto our collective conscience right now. You may disagree.

But to have it to be Justice Kavanaugh who writes that opinion for the court, all this hand wringing, right? Especially for conservatives about the perceived authority of the court, the propriety of the court, the esteem in which the court is held, to have Justice Kavanaugh right this particular opinion, on how there is no such thing as bad behavior by a kid. No such thing as bad behavior by a teenager, they can at least partly explain by that kid being a kid. Him?

After his confirmation process, that he turned into a theater of his own rage, at being questioned about allegations made against him for his alleged behavior while he was a teenager. Here is Brett Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court justice, insisting that it doesn`t matter if you are a teenager, our society can and will now declare you irredeemable for the duration of your natural life based on things that you are found to have down when you are a child.

You are concerned about the perceived legitimacy of the court. Really? No other justice could have written that one?

All three Trump appointed Supreme Court justices, because there are three of them, voted with Justice Brett Kavanaugh on this. And it is Trump appointed justices that made the difference here. The justice that Brett Kavanaugh replaced, Anthony Kennedy, had in fact led the court on pushing rehabilitation and mercy to the floor when it came to kids in trouble. That is done now with the Trump justices there, led by that -- led by Justice I Like Beer.

Today, in the House, we had a rollicking hearing on why it is that U.S. taxpayers still pay tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to oil and gas companies. It is one thing for them to compete on their own terms in the marketplace, but what is it about oil and gas companies in particular that need literally tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds propping them up?

That hearing today had lots of fireworks. And it was underway as "The New York Times" broke this big story of how the military junta that has taken over Myanmar, the military dictatorship it is busy killing its civilians by the hundreds, the primary source of income for that military junta in Myanmar, at least until recently, has been a single oil field, an oil field in which California-based Chevron is a major partner. Military dictatorship that is just taking over in Myanmar appears to be largely funded by this one oil field that Chevron is part of.

Now the military dictatorship in Myanmar doesn`t have its own lobbyist in Washington, right now. But new lobbying disclosure forms from Chevron just disclosed this week show that Chevron as a company, again, Chevron, based in California, has taken it upon themselves to become the lobbyist in Washington against the U.S. government putting any sanctions on the Myanmar military dictatorship. And the sanctions that might take a big bite out of their big gas field there, which again, is the same gas field that is the revenue source funding the dictatorship that has just taken over that country. Happy Earth Day, right?

Democrats today in Congress convening this hearing, doing this legislative work, arguing that the U.S. should maybe stop giving tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money to gigantic oil and gas companies every year. Since, A, they don`t need it. And B, why are we paying for that? And by the way, have you seen how they are behaving around the world?

Big oil and gas gets taxpayer subsidies. Any taxpayer, U.S. taxpayer funds, making in to the Chevron lobbying budget that is trying to keep the spigot open for the murderous military junta that just took over Burma? Because Chevron is worried about anybody taking a bite out of their gas field there? I mean, are we seriously paying for that?

The Biden administration is trying to sanction the military dictatorship to try to turn things around in Burma. Meanwhile, there are taking taxpayer dollars and giving them to Chevron which is lobbying to make sure that there are sanctions that hurt them in Burma, even those sanctions that hurt and would be the sanctions that would actually defund the murderous dictatorship. I mean, why would we pay for that? Why would we play on both sides of that?

The Republican witness at that hearing today, as I mentioned, this idea of stop subsidizing oil and gas companies, that is in Biden`s legislative proposals, that`s in the Democrat of legislative proposals, that`s what the Democrats are trying to do, that`s why they convene this hearing today.

But Republicans, of course, got to also bring their own witnesses. They summoned a -- as their witness for today`s hearing, a representative from the American Petroleum Industry, who argued for the Republican side that we as a country absolutely should keep subsidizing big oil and gas companies. One of the Republicans on the committee, Republican congresswoman from New Mexico then expressed her own, and its own way, eloquent agreement with that. Because if we didn`t keep subsidizing oil and gas companies as a country, come on man, seriously, what would --what would happen to pantyhose?


REP. YVETTE HERRELL (R-NM): If not for fossil fuels, we wouldn`t be having the capability to have these remote calls and talks right now because of the plastics and medical devices, eyeglasses, pantyhose --


MADDOW: Pantyhose. If we don`t keep giving billions of dollars to Chevron, and Exxon and all the rest, guys, we might lose pantyhose. Pantyhose. Are you ready for that?

That was the Republican contribution today on the issue of why you shouldn`t just pay oil and gas companies with the gas you put in your car, you should also have your government give them your tax dollars too because pantyhose and other stuff. What a day, right?

President Biden hosted 40 heads of state today in the climate summit. He made really big new commitments in terms of what the United States is going to do to cut our emissions and get back to leading on this issue.

The president`s top advisor on climate change is Gina McCarthy who is in this interesting new role under President Biden after having spent the Obama administration running the EPA. Gina McCarthy made some big announcements today along with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Gina McCarthy is going to join us here live, next.



GINA MCCARTHEY, NATIONAL CLIMATE ADVISOR: It is not about the planet, it is about people, it`s about our future, our kids. It`s an unwavering focus on the air that we breathe and our public health, the strength of how we can build our communities and make sure we are grasping environmental justice as we move forward. It`s what we value, it`s what we care about and we have to deliver it.


MADDOW: We have to deliver it. That`s the White House national climate adviser, Gina McCarthy.

You may recognize her time as EPA pa administrator in the Obama administration, but here she is today in the new role that she now holds in the Biden administration. She spoke today in Washington alongside Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. They both appeared at a new electric vehicle charging station.

They took questions from reporters about the administration`s plan to more than quadruple the number of public electric vehicle charges that we have in the U.S., the idea is to transition the fleet, to try to transition U.S. cars from gas-burning cars in the U.S. to electric cars, you need charging stations everywhere to make that viable.

Today, President Biden pledged to cut emissions of green houses in the U.S. by half by the end of this decade, by about eight and a half years from now. That is a huge, new ambitious goal, Gina McCarthy is the person tasked within the administration of coordinating all the efforts necessary to get there.

Joining us now is White House national adviser Gina McCarthy.

Ms. McCarthy, it`s really nice to see you again. Thank you so much for making time for being here.

MCCARTHY: It`s nice to see you too, Rachel, and happy Earth Day.

MADDOW: Thank you very much.

People have referred to you in the press as climate coordinator, climate czar. I`ve seen you called the Fauci of climate, part of the reason I think people have a hard time settling on a title is because your role is new and amorphous. I knew would to call you when you were EPA administrator.

What is the role that you have now? How would you define it?

MCCARTHY: Well, I`m just advising the president. Plus, I`m running a little group of folks that are looking to cross every sector to look at how we can start reducing our greenhouse emissions, because President Biden has rejoined the Paris accord and we are really going all out to reduce our emissions as a way to really rejump and restart the economy, as a way to grab the future for the United States.

We`re going to start investing in America again and bring back some really good pay union jobs and start looking at that clean energy future and how we win it for our country. So, it`s an exciting moment and we`re doing a whole of government approach, every cabinet members involved. And, obviously, Secretary Buttigieg is really interested in the transition of the transportation sector, but I`m hanging out with Jennifer Granholm at DOE. I`m hanging out with Deb Haaland, Secretary Haaland at DOI. I`m hanging out with Tom Vilsack in Agriculture. I`m hanging out with Michael Regan at EPA.

I mean, every one of these cabinet agencies really have a lot to offer about how we reduce our emissions. But equally important how we just rejuvenate ourselves as a country and start investing in the kind of future we want to hand to our kids.

O`DONNELL: How much of that big old announced by the president this week, this idea of cutting our national carbon emissions in half by the end of this decade, how much of that -- how much toward that goal do we get by the infrastructure bill? I know the infrastructure bill is a big priority for the administration and I know that the legislative effort to pass that is well underway. I believe that some version of the infrastructure bill ultimately will pass, thanks to the budget reconciliation process even if Republicans don`t come along.

But how much is that overall goal dependent on that one bill?

MCCARTHY: I think President Biden was really interested in moving that bill regardless of what our commitment was because he saw it as being so vitally important for our economy and for, you know, the health and well-being of the American people. So it will be enormously helpful in accelerating this.

But if you look at already available climate solutions, if you look at the ways that we can move our country forward and reduce our emissions, we still will be able to get at 50 percent reduction by 2030 because clean energy is winning everywhere.

You know, I know the prior administration kind of liked coal and wanted to favor it, but it had no impact. We have the biggest actual boost in solar and wind power, the last year of the Trump administration, and the Republicans in that administration actually extended tax credits to keep them humming along. That`s because states and cities wanted it. It is cheaper.

So, there`s lots of opportunities but investing in innovation is going to be important. So the American Jobs Plan is a great strategy to actually move forward to grab that clean energy future, but on its way, it brings the best opportunities and hope that we have, really, to grow good jobs, to reinvigorate our unions, to get the middle class where they need to be again, to move people out of poverty and really very importantly, Rachel, for the president and I think for all of us is to invest in those environmental justice communities that have been hammered by this pandemic, because they don`t have good housing, they can`t get around on transit anymore, they are having struggles to get food on the table.

We have to understand that now is not the time to keep sitting around at everybody`s kitchen table and talking about climate. But if you want to sit at that table and talk about clean energy jobs, if you want to talk about good agricultural practices, if you want to sit around and talk about really neat ways of getting around like better transit and making sure our potholes get filled, they like that discussion.

And that`s how President Biden thinks of it. He doesn`t think of this as climate, he thinks of it as when you talk about climate, you`re talking about jobs. And I think that`s pretty great.

MADDOW: White House national climate adviser, Gina McCarthy, with a sprawling portfolio and a lot of the skills, Washington earned skills that will -- if anybody can do it, you will be the want to get it done. Thank you for being with us to help us understand, come back anytime, we would love to have you back.

MCCARTHY: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead tonight. Senator Cory Booker`s going to be joining us live in just a moment, and we have a lot more to get to. Stay with us.



REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, POLITICSNATION: We have gone from all of these abuses from Oscar Grant and Amadou Diallo and others, all the way to Philando Castile right here in Minneapolis. We struggled through all of that, but we are going to now, in his name, and in the name of Daunte, we are going to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act as federal law. We are going to make it against the law all over the country to keep bringing us to funerals for our young princes.

Some of us are told to shut up. Into just to be quiet. And you call that peace, but peace is the presence of justice. You can`t tell us to shut up and suffer. We must speak up when there is an injustice.


MADDOW: Reverend Al Sharpton, giving eulogy today at the funeral for 20- year-old Daunte Wright who was killed in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, during a traffic stop two weekends ago. Police officer involved in a traffic stop shouted, we can see on the body cam footage, that she would tase young Mr. Wright, instead she shot him once in the chest with her service weapon.

The protests in Brooklyn Center since that killing have been a dramatic bad drop to the George Floyd murder trial that took place just a few miles away in downtown Minneapolis. Earlier this week, it resulted in the guilty verdicts on all three counts against the officer who had been charged for the murder of George Floyd.

Several of the speakers today and Daunte Wright`s funeral said that in order to avoid more funerals, like Mr. Rights, and Mr. Floyd`s, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act needs to become federal law. That bill is before the evenly divided U.S. Senate, right now. And perhaps alone amongst any other major piece of legislation, we do know miracle of all miracles, that there are at least some bipartisan negotiations happening to try to pass this.

CNN reported earlier today that Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass planned to meet with Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Republican Senator Tim Scott, today, for quote, informal discussions about the bill. "Huffington Post" seemed to confirm that a little later on today when they`re reporter, they`re reporting the Capitol reported that he saw Republican Senator Tim Scott, Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass walking out of an elevator together. As I said, miracle of all miracles.

Joining us now is the Democratic senator from that very unusual tableau, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. He`s a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Senator Booker, it`s really nice to see you. Thank you for making time tonight.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): It`s good to see you, too, Rachel. Thank you for having me.

MADDOW: It feels like a very small miracle to be able to report with eyewitnesses that there are bipartisan discussions happening among three bicameral, bipartisan, very serious members of Congress like you and Senator Scott and Congresswoman Bass. That alone feels like a glimmer of hope that I`m not used to feeling. Is it worth being hopeful about this?

BOOKER: It definitely is. I`ll confirm that we`ve been talking literally for weeks and those bicameral, bipartisan discussions have been really promising. We all have our lines. In other words, there are things critical to me to see in this bill, and we can`t get it done in the Senate unless we have Republican support, and Tim Scott has been a good faith, honest broker in these discussions. So I`m very hopeful.

But look, we are in a context, and it was very real with these weeks to see death after death of African-Americans at the hands of police, and on top of that, the George Floyd trial. So I think the sense of urgency is there to get real accountability in policing to ban certain practices with police, to get more data available to power more oversight, so there is a lot of good discussions going on, and I think a sense that America needs something to get done.

It will not solve all these issues, but it will be -- hopefully if we can get it done there will be a meaningful set of reforms that give us more strides toward justice.

MADDOW: Senator Scott is a Republican in the Senate who has received a lot of support from his own party. There is reports now that they are going to put him forward, for example, to give the Republican response to the speech that we don`t call the State of the Union, when President Biden gives his first speech to a joint session of Congress next week.

Is it clear to you that Senator Scott is essentially negotiating with you, and talking with you about this, not just on his own behalf but that if he gets to a place where he has comfortable, that he could vote for some form of policing reform legislation that you all work out together, that he will be bringing other Republican senators along with him?

BOOKER: You know, Tim is very wise in this. I don`t think he`s trying to do something where he`s going to stand alone, he`s trying to bring along his caucus, and that is the challenge. It is for us to come to agreements, and they are worthwhile.

But again, I think that he`s negotiating in good faith. And he is keeping his caucus informed and has the sort of auspices of the Republican leader. So we are in a place now where I think all of us feel optimistic, but there is still some tough, tough issues to negotiate out.

MADDOW: Is there anything that right now you can tell us is a no-go place for you in terms of what must be part of this or it`s not worth passing it? Do you have bright lines like that in mind in terms of what`s the minimum that has to be here in order to make this worth pursuing?

BOOKER: I don`t want to get into details to negotiate this in public, but I`ll say this. Look, I watch a funeral like the one you showed with Al Sharpton, and I think what really hurts me is I`ve seen it before and before and before. I`ve seen the community where a number of young black boys are being put in boxes. It anguishes me to think about.

So this legislation for me has to take strides towards saving black lives, to ensuring that we can stop some of the things that killed Eric Garner, like the chokeholds, or killed Breonna Taylor, like an unjust, in my opinion, no-knock warrant.

We have to do something that maybe doesn`t solve all the problems, I`m sure it won`t, but can give us a sense of this replay we`ve been seeing over and over, the anguish, the pain, the scarring of our communities, that the moral injustice is that we all can agree on should not happen. We have got to do something meaningful that makes that less likely in our country.

MADDOW: Senator Cory Booker, the former mayor of the great city of Newark, New Jersey, now Democratic U.S. senator from New Jersey and a member of the Judiciary Committee -- Senator, always great to see you. Thank you for being here particularly on this topic tonight.

BOOKER: Thank you so much, Rachel. Thank you.

MADDOW: Good luck.

All right. We have more ahead. Stay with us.


MADDOW: This is going to be interesting to watch. You might remember about a week ago we reported this that hundreds of big American businesses like Target and Google, American Airlines, Bank of America, they took out a big splashy full two-page ad in "The New York Times" and "Washington Post" declaring, we stand for democracy. They promised in the ad that they would oppose any discriminatory legislation that makes it harder for people to vote.

But as we have also reported, those companies published that clarion statement at the same time that the biggest business lobbying group in the country, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has many of the same companies as members, when the chamber was actively pressuring U.S. senators to vote against the big federal voting rights bill in the Senate. So there is the Chamber of Commerce whipping votes against voting rights while the members of the Chamber of Commerce are taking this public stand in favor of voting rights. It`s an awkward thing, right? It`s a contradiction.

Well, now those big American businesses who signed that statement while also being members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, they`re being called upon to leave the Chamber of Commerce over this dies agreement on voting rights. A letter sent to the Target corporation from accountable.US says this, quote: By continuing to pro provide financial and social support to the Chamber, Target is contradicting the pledge you, and hundreds of other corporations recently made.

And it`s not just Target. Similar letters were sent to 16 other official members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who also signed on to this "We support voting rights" statement. These big American companies came out publicly declared they want to be on the right side of voting rights. Now they are literally being called to put their money where their mouth is on this issue.

You can`t be in favor of voting rights and be a member, a dues-paying member of this organization that is whipping senators` votes against voting rights. You can`t do both. For these companies, this is a real test, a real choice.

Watch this space.


MADDOW: Today marks two weeks since I got my vaccine shot. I had the Johnson & Johnson one and done. So, that means that as of today, I am fully perked. I celebrated by putting on my mask and going out and buying a coffee out in the world from a store. It was crazy.

But I met a nice lady in line for the coffee who came up to me and said, we watch MSNBC all the time at our house. We really like your program, but mostly we like the thing at the end of the though where you talk to Lawrence. That`s what we like most of all on all of MSNBC.

So, with no pressure at all, that does it for me tonight. I`ll see you again tomorrow.


Lawrence, I did not know this was a thing for people outside of us.