A gunman opened fire at a light rail yard in San Jose this morning. Eight people are confirmed dead, plus the gunman. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat from Minnesota, is interviewed. Oil giants are dealt major defeats on climate change as pressures intensify.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: That is ALL IN for this evening.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much, much, much appreciated.
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
We`re continuing to follow this very upsetting tragic news out of northern California today. A gunman opening fire at a light rail yard in San Jose this morning. Eight people are confirmed dead, plus the gunman.
Shooting started around 6:30 a.m. Pacific Time at a train storage and maintenance facility for Santa Clara County`s public transit system. It appears the guy struck at a particularly busy time. It was the shift change when people who worked the overnight shift were handing off to the days shift, again, around 6:30 in the morning.
The Santa Clara County sheriff told reporters today that the shooter and officers responding did not exchange gunfire. But the sheriff said the suspect appears to have shot himself when officers confronted him. Again, he died along with eight other victims.
Seven victims died at the scene and eight at the hospital. There`s still another being shot in critical condition. We still don`t know the identities of the victims. Authorities are still in the process of contacting victims families hours after today`s shooting happened.
A bomb squad was also going room to room at the rail yard after bomb sniffing dogs apparently indicated that they detected the presence of explosives. That`s another bizarre and terrible element to this latest mass shooting, the possibility of explosive devices being investigated.
Also, apparently a length fire at about the same time the shooting started, a fire was reported the shooter`s home which is about ten miles away from where the shootings happened. Authorities are investigating whether the gunman set his house on fire before setting out on this shooting spree. If so, why? And how dangerous is that scene now?
County district attorney says multiple guns were used in today`s shooting and we don`t have any further information about the guns themselves.
The shooter has been identified. A 57-year-old man named Samuel Cassidy. He`s an eight-year employee of the Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose. Most, if not all of the victims were believed to be his fellow VTA employees.
President Biden ordered the White House flag lowering that half-staff. He noted in a statement that this is the fifth time he has done so for a mass shooting since he has been president. He, of course, has only been president for just over four months, but he`s had to do this five times now.
Just in the last couple of minutes before we got on the air, the city of San Jose announced that there will be a vigil for the victims of today shooting tomorrow in San Jose for the community together. So, that`s how we know at this hour, but as I mentioned, it`s a complex story with multiple moving elements and will keep you updated as we know more, if we learn more over the course of this hour.
So as we continue to watch that, you should also know that there`s a whole bunch of stuff that is coming down the pike right now in terms of news. All stuff to watch.
First of all, I`m not sure why this hasn`t received more attention but one of the things we`re expecting tomorrow`s vote, finally, on President Biden`s final nominee to run the post office. The post office was never really the source of all that much news and drama in previous administrations. In normal times, you don`t really have to think about the post office that much.
It was only during the Trump administration that Americans had to start rallying to the defense of the post office as President Trump attacked it repeatedly under the Trump administration. A new postmaster general was appointed, apparently for the express purpose of monkey wrenching the operations of the post office.
He instituted nationwide mail slowdowns and backlogs. He ordered the destruction of multimillion dollar irreplaceable sorting machines. He`s made change after change after change that made the mail system worse, made life hell for postal workers but also made all of our own mail less reliable. Affecting us all personally and affecting businesses from coast to coast.
The Trump administration era Postmaster General Louis Joy is still in that job today. Still right now proposing further changes to the post office to further slow down and privatized and screw up mail delivery.
The reason that the Trump, I hate the pope`s office die is still in that job not even though we now have president Biden is because a president can`t directly remove a postmaster general. It has to be done by the board of governors of the postal service, the postal board of governors.
Well, that`s what`s going to happen tomorrow. Tomorrow, President Biden`s final nominee to that board of governors is expected to be confirmed by the Senate at long last. And then it will be up to that board. That board, as of tomorrow, will have a majority of nominees -- excuse me, a majority of members that are either Democrats or others picked by President Biden. That board will then be able to decide whether Louis DeJoy is going to stay on his job as postmaster general, so he can keep slashing the proverbial tires on the mail trucks for longer or perhaps they will decide it`s time for him to go.
Only the postal service board of governors can do that. The vote to put Biden`s last nominee on that board should happen tomorrow in the United States Senate. And maybe procedurally, that`s been too hard for people to follow and that`s why it`s hasn`t gotten a lot of attention but honestly, this vote tomorrow in the Senate should finally start to turn around, this bizarre war on the post office thing that we`ve been living through for the past year, one of the weirdest policy hangovers of the Trump years.
Also, in terms of things to watch for overnight tonight and tomorrow, we are now expecting that Texas Republicans are going to pass their inside voting rights bill tomorrow. This is something they`ve been working on for weeks now but it`s been a very opaque process and is not going to be clear I think really until they`re voting what is actually in the bill that they`re voting on. So, we`re sort of on high alert for that. We`re expecting the Texas Republican anti voting bill to potentially be even more draconian than the Georgia Republican anti-voting bill that passed last month.
As best as we can tell, though, procedurally, it`s worth being aware of how fast this is going to go. There`s been a lot of news about what taxes are maybe going to do and maybe whatever they ultimately decide it`s going to go fast and I think tomorrow I think it`s slated to pass the Texas Senate tomorrow on the same day. Whereupon it will go immediately to Texas Governor Greg Abbott who will sign another tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow night. So, that`s going to move fast. It`s worth watching, heads up about that.
Heads up also that even though tomorrow is a Thursday, and that`s not typically the day of the week on which you get Supreme Court news, because of the Memorial Day holiday this weekend, the United States Supreme Court is expected to announce new decisions tomorrow morning.
Now, there aren`t that many cases yet that they haven`t ruled on for this year`s session. One of the cases they haven`t ruled on yet is one out of Texas. That is an attempt to get rid of Obamacare root and branch, to kill the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. If the Supreme Court agrees to do that which is what the case is seeking, that would have the effect of throwing tens of millions of Americans off their health insurance instantly.
Now, we don`t know how they`re going to rule roll on the Affordable Care Act case. We also don`t know exactly what cases the rule on tomorrow. We don`t know if that`s one of the ones they`re going to issue their ruling in, but there`s only a few days left in which they`re going to announce rulings for this year`s cases. So, I know it`s a Thursday, that`s a weird time to look for Supreme Court links but expect that tomorrow morning. Eyes open on that one too.
Like I said, it`s kind of a lot to head up about right now. There`s a lot coming down the pike and as we follow all of these developing stories and as we honestly anticipate what looks like it could be a bananas news day tomorrow, I also tonight just want to take up a moment here for something a little bit different. Something I want you to listen to.
I`m not promoting this exactly but I want you to know it exists. It`s kind of an anthem. It`s from today`s news, it`s an anthem. It`s like an ode, a salute, to a man who is an inventor, sort of, a treasure hunter, sort of. But he`s definitely a man who knows that the 2020 presidential election was absolutely littered with fake ballots and fraud.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): You fight for free and fair elections, invented scan the ballots with kinematic artifact detection. You love to read aloud, travel and explore. You`re a fearless braveheart patriot, who`s opened doors. You`re our courage, you`re our voice. Jovan, we thank you for what you`re fighting for. You`re a warrior.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Is your heart soaring?
Listen, credit where credit is due. That was impressive rhyming. You fight for free and fair elections, invented scan the ballots with kinetic artifact detection.
I mean, it almost works if you did it as like a double Dutch kind of chant or something, you know what I mean? But doing it is a little heartfelt folksong. You`ve never heard before anyone romantically successfully fit the phrase "kinetic artifact detection" into any song, let alone rhyme it with something else, while bringing a tear on your eye.
So, big ups to the rhyming skills of the songwriter here. But you heard with this is about, right? You heard the part where the lyrics go, Jovan, we thank you for what you`re fighting for. You`re a warrior.
Jovan tells you this is a celebration of this man. Not Rudy Giuliani, the guy on the right. No anthems for him yet as far as we are aware but I haven`t scoured SoundCloud, I don`t know.
No, it`s about -- that song is about the man on the left, the man who calls himself Jovan Pulitzer. And that amazing anthem in his honor appeared on Mr. Pulitzer`s own SoundCloud page or at least it did until recently when slate.com this week reported on its existence, looking -- linking to that song as evidence of how Mr. Pulitzer has, quote, become somewhat of a folk hero among those who see the 2020 election as having been stolen from Donald Trump.
Again, the anthem was up until slate.com about it, we luckily captured it before they took it down but now, it`s gone. That`s why you need these professionals for.
The reason Jovan Pulitzer has become a folk hero with his own anthem in the stop to steal Donald Trump is still the true president community is because Mr. Pulitzer purports to be the inventor of that ingeniously rhyme technology, kinetic artifact detection, which he claims can detect fraudulent ballots by means that he could tell you but then he`d have to kill you because it`s all very, very top secret and nobody can know what his technology is. It`s just technology.
Don`t worry though. He`s got credentials to back up his claims. Mr. Pulitzer`s best known previous invention before his mysterious kinetic artifact detection contraption was this contraption, which was called the CueCat, a handheld bar code scanner in a plastic case that was shaped like a house cat.
He did not invent the bar code scanner part of it, he just invented the shaped like a part of it but nevertheless that invention has been named one of the 25 worst tech products ever. It`s been named the number one worst invention of the 2000s. His post CueCat experience is that he turns out dozens of books about treasure hunting. Get rich quick, start digging. Strike it rich, 50 lost treasures you could find.
I mean, even if he does have his own anthem where they call him a warrior, you might think that a guy with the treasure hunter books and CueCat resume is not the kind of person who has any business being anywhere near the American voters ballots and voting machines and yet, Jovan Pulitzer and his kinetic artifact detection thing are in high demand by Republicans across the country.
As we have previously discussed, he and his secret supposed technology are somehow part of Arizona Republicans audit in that state, their attempt to basically uncounted 2020 election in Arizona. The Republican official who has worked as the spokesman for that audit confirmed to "The Arizona Mirror" that Jovan Pulitzer`s secret undisclosed mirror fraud detector which it, they can emetic artifact detection machine, if it exists, is being used somehow in Arizona.
"The Mirror" noted with sort of admirable restraint, quote, it`s unclear whether Mr. Pulitzer`s alleges technology has ever been used on ballots or whether has anyone confirmed that it works. Who cares if it works? And who would be allowed to test it anyway?
Dude says Trump won and his machine will say so, and so therefore we want that machine.
So, now, that we`ve talked about him before in his supposed metric technology when it comes tears out about the important thing here though is it not just Arizona anymore. Hundreds of Trump supporters recently descended on a town meeting in Windham, New Hampshire, demanding that the town of Windham, New Hampshire, hire that same guy, Jovan Pulitzer, to do an audit of their election too. That is one that President Trump has hyped and hype saying that an audit in Windham, New Hampshire, will reveal the mysterious, secret fraud and all the counties of New Hampshire and that`s how he`ll turn it around in win New Hampshire now, six months after the election is over.
But they want Jovan Pulitzer to be doing the audit up there too. Trump folks are clambering for him. They won`t accept anybody else.
Now, it looks like there`s going to be another one of these third-party audits in Fulton County, Georgia. The Trump election fraud conspiracy promoters that have been given access by a court to hundreds of thousands of ballots in the Metro Atlantic area, they too are bringing Jovan Pulitzer aboard. They just put out a press release saying they are uniting with Jovan Pulitzer and his expert team.
Jovan is the only expert we have found who clearly understands all of the details of what is needed in a forensic ballot inspection. His unique, patented technology is unmatched in the country. We can find the truth about Georgia ballot integrity no matter what that truth may be.
Because of the CueCat, treasure hunter anthem guy. His kinetic artifact attraction widget, which you can`t see, but trust us it exists, that`s going to find the truth about what happened in the 2020 election. I wonder what that truth will be that they will find?
Again, nobody knows what his so-called technology is. All the Trump folks who know is that when he says he has used it. He says his machine declares that Trump won. So what else do you need to know? Clearly, that is the right machine.
The Arizona audit is, of course, being run overall by Cyber Ninjas. This is their actual website. It`s a firm owned by a Trump supporting QAnon supporter who was hired by Arizona Republicans to run that recount. Despite having zero experience performing any kind of electoral audits anywhere before. That said, the Cyber Ninja CEO did say that his firm has experience working quote with some of the largest names in the financial services space. He claims to have done projects, Cyber Ninjas has and projects for big name financial companies like Citibank and JPMorgan Chase. "The A.P." reporting earlier this week that if you ask city bang and JPMorgan Chase about that, those institutions will tell you quote, they have no record of hiring Cyber Ninjas.
But it is not just Jovan Pulitzer and his mysterious machine and Cyber Ninjas alone. Cyber ninjas also could be the subcontractor that they hired to do the physical handling of the battle it`s in Arizona that was supposed to make everybody feel better about the fact that Cyber Ninjas didn`t have any election experience. The subcontractor did claim to have experience performing election audits in New Mexico and Pennsylvania.
But when the "Arizona Mirror" went to confirm that, they found that no one in New Mexico had heard of the company which is called Wake STI. And while their claim to have conducted some sort of operation related to an election in Pennsylvania did have the benefit of being partly true, it turned out the way they got that gig is they were hired there by the Rudy Giuliani circus, while Giuliani and friends were pushing the narrative that the Pennsylvania election had been stolen from Donald Trump. They are the ones who picked Wake TSI to come in and look at a Pennsylvania county to see if their theories were correct.
That`s their previous elections related experience. Wake TSI, that`s the elections work they`re done.
How did it go for them in that Pennsylvania county? The main result in that county was that their county had now has to buy all new voting machines because of Wake TSI missing with them, and that means the machines integrity is compromise.
Well, now, we`ve learned that Wake TSI, the firm that has been in charge of the actual, physical hand counting of the ballots in the Arizona audit -- Wake TSI just quit in Arizona. No explanation for why they are suddenly gone.
The Republican official who is the spokesperson for the third party audit there said, quote -- by way of explanation he said, quote: They were done. They didn`t want to come back. That`s the explanation.
Okay, okay. But don`t worry, another firm is stepping in to take over their work, another firm that also appears to have no election or auditing experience. We call this firm StratTech Solutions. To find more about them and their experience and whether they are certify to do any of this work, and what they think they`re going to be doing in Arizona, since they`re going to be handling actual ballots from real voters, from a real election. They wouldn`t talk to us directly. But they told us that old media request about their work or been handled by this guy.
This guy who -- how many errors are there giving votes to get Joe Biden. Seriously, is anyone keeping amiss database of this mistak? Hashtag stop the steal.
He`s here is the same guy showing conspiracy theory clearinghouse, The Epoch Times, about Dominion voting machines being hacked or flipping votes. Or something, something Hugo Chavez, communist China, I don`t know.
He says, quote: If true, this really opens a can of worms for Michigan. It`s pretty shocking that the media, including Detroit papers, refused to cover any of this. Yeah, refused to cover any of this from "The Epoch Times". that`s actually not that hard to understand.
Here he is sharing an article titled, quote, yes, Democrats are trying to steal the election in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. He says this comes as no surprise to him since he has lived in corrupt Democratic states.
So, again, if you`re thinking about whether we should all have trust in this audit of the results, that`s the gentleman we`re told will be speaking on behalf of the new firm that has just been brought in to run the actual hand-counting of real ballots in Arizona when the last from up and quit without explanation in the middle of the so-called audit.
We spent a long time trying to get in touch with them. We think we have finally made contact with them. We have sent them some questions. We will let you know if we hear anything back. But, really, Arizona is just the beginning.
I mean, "The Associated Press" this week just published this bracing overview of how this is becoming a nationwide phenomenon from Arizona, to Georgia, to Michigan, to New Hampshire. And quote: The profusion of audits alarms election experts, who know that the Arizona audit has set a troubling new precedent of third-party, partisan review of the ballots, long after elections are over.
One voting system expert telling "The A.P.", quote, this is bad enough to see it happen once. But seeing it elsewhere in the country is, quote, dangerous for democracy.
A former Arizona official who used to oversee real postelection audits in Maricopa County tells the "A.P.", quote, in healthy democracy, you have an auditing process. You have legal recourse. And when that period is over, all the candidates who have won takeover and you move on.
She added that the people calling for these audits clearly want only one result. Quote, they are not going to be satisfied. This is just going to play out in perpetuity.
Right. If we are going to become a country now where if you don`t like the election results, you and other people you know can just claim the right to get the ballots and get the voting machines and take them for yourself, and do whatever you want to them and there you see what happened in the election. Is that how we`re going to do this now?
It`s not just Arizona. State elections officials are doing their best in lots of places now to try to prevent a perpetual cycle of election audits by random outside groups who want the election to have turned out a different way. Michigan`s top election official has now sent letters to two Michigan counties that are trying to launch one of these third-party audits of the election results, warning those counties that these audits could be illegal.
Michigan secretary of state telling the counties that they have no authority to order every such audit. Secretary of state instructed election clerks in those counties that they must not give an accredited, outside parties access to real voting machines and real ballots.
Meanwhile, that voting machine company, Dominion, has written to every county in Michigan that uses their machines, telling them that if they do turn over these machines to unaccredited, outside auditors to temper with them, that will disqualify those machines from future use in any election. And the counties will be on the hook for the cost of new machine.
Which again, is exactly what happened already in that Pennsylvania county where Wake TSI did their Rudy Giuliani invited audit of the voting machines there. That county now has to pay for all new voting machines. It`s also exactly what is happening in Arizona, where the secretary of state has told Maricopa County they`re going to have to buy all new machines for their next election.
Thousands of voting machines have to be taken offline. They have to be decommissioned and replaced with new ones, because the machines from 2020 are no longer secure. They have been tempered with. By these unaccredited, randos from the Cyber Ninjas who are going to tell us how it is that they figured out that Trump won using the little cat shape thing, or whatever.
I mean, if these third-party audits and the messes they are leaving behind are now going to become a nationwide problem -- and they are -- a problem that is going to just keep replicating itself over and over again in different places across the country, the thing that we are going to have to start talking about as a country is whether some sort of nationwide solution is required to stop this mess. I mean, believe me, in right wing media, in Trump circles right now, right, these stupid, corrupting, fake audits of what happened in the 2020 election are the most important thing happening in the country, the most important thing happening in the world.
The fact that there is a big word one happening in Arizona I think has some in in a normal media for the rest of us. But if you look at the way they are talking about this stuff in Trump world, they really are going to do these everywhere, all over the country. Everywhere pro Trump Republicans can convince someone to get them access to real ballots from the election and real voting machines.
They are just doing it all over. As if elections are theirs now. And ballots are theirs now. It`s no longer public government function, it`s just for the Trump people to take over now on their own terms and they will tell us what happened.
Individual officials like the Michigan secretary of state, individual groups of even Republicans who object to what is going on, like in Arizona, in Maricopa County, have been trying to stop this stuff, as it has been taking off, but they`re not -- it`s not working.
So far, the individual efforts by individual politicians, officials and small groups of people to try to stop this in the places where this stuff is taking a hold, those efforts to stop this thing are not working, as this phenomenon starts to spread across the country. So here is the thing, if what they are doing with real ballots and real election machines, if this stuff is illegal -- and it looks like it all is. There`s a federal law that says random third parties can`t have access to ballots and voting equipments right after elections. If it is all illegal, everywhere, then who is going to stop it? And when?
We reported last night on the swearing in of the brand new chief of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, Kristen Clarke, today was her Kristen Clarke`s first full day on the job. And we`re waiting to see what the civil rights division of the DOJ will work on now that it has a Senate-confirmed leader.
But honestly, one of the areas were Civil Rights Division theoretically could get involved, part of their remit within the DOJ is an election law. And one of the things they could get involved in at the federal level to try to set a sort of national expectation, and standard here, to draw some bright lines about what can be done, is around the slapdash privately run, bonkers, corrupting, third-party audits of the last election.
It was the acting head of the Civil Rights Division, the woman who was essentially holding that spot in an acting capacity until Kristen Clarke was sworn in last night, who after all did write a letter earlier this month to Arizona Senate Republicans, telling them that the third party audit they are running their may violate federal law, because they have among other things, handed over voting machines and millions of voters real ballots to these completely unqualified, an accredited private companies. Under federal law, those things are required to stay in the custody of election officials for a specific amount of time after an election is over.
Arizona Republicans appear to a broken federal law by handing this stuff over to Cyber Ninjas and Wake TSI and the CueCat guy and all the rest of them. That was the letter from the acting head of the Civil Rights Division. That letter was a start.
But since then, what is happening in Arizona has started to happen in a lot of other places in the country now too. And if what they did in Arizona, and what they want to do in all of these other states is illegal, then who is going to act on that and stop federal law from being violated in this way? Are we really going to leave this just up to state elections officials playing whack-a-mole to try to stop the next stop the steal scam here? And stop the next one there and stop the next one there? It`s not working.
Is there a federal response that should happen here to address this issue nationwide? That set standards, that creates clear rules and clarifies the existing clear rules around the stuff? Is there a federal response that could be done here to block these privately run, privately funded, third- party audits from happening in the first place?
If not, if there is no national response to it, I`m telling you this thing is a runaway train. Watch this space.
MADDOW: A bunch of United States senators found out about it today during a hearing because they started getting news alerts on their phones, about the mass shooting in San Jose, California, this morning.
News of that shooting started trickling in around 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time this morning, which was during the Senate hearing and it led to this kind of twisted split screen moment and the reason all those senators gathered this morning as they started to get news alerts on their phone about the mass shooting, is that they were there to try to confirm President Biden`s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the branch of the Justice Department that`s supposed to contend with guns and gun policy.
President Biden`s nominee to run ATF is man named David Chipman. He has a 20-year history at ATF. He has since been an outspoken proponent of reforming American gun laws which is made it bogeyman for Republicans. It`s also why President Biden picked him for this job.
But it`s interesting. Widen the aperture a little bit here and you can see the bigger problem. ATF hasn`t had a permit Senate confirmed leader for more than six years, because Republicans basically don`t believe the federal government should have an agency that contends with guns and gun policy in this country so they certainly don`t want a permanent Senate- confirmed person warning such an agency.
Over the past 15 years, ATF has had a confirmed nominee writing that agency for precisely two of those 15 years. Republicans don`t want just anybody in there to run the agency. But now with the majority and the Senate that appears the part of government that help set gun policy will finally have a permanent confirmed leader once again even if Democrats have to vote for him amongst themselves. He will perhaps be the first director of the ATF who`s had to consider the aftermath of a major mass shooting in this country that happened literally during his confirmation hearing to get the ATF job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Mr. Chipman, it`s not lost on me that as we`re having this discussion with you or several members are about guns that there`s another mass shooting with fatalities near San Jose. We have worked hard, there are Republicans like Senator Toomey who have worked on the background check issue and tried to get that done. We know the vast majority of Americans support rational gun violence legislation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now is Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat from Minnesota. She`s on the Judiciary Committee who`s held that confirmation hearing today for President Biden`s nominee to run ATF.
Senator, it`s great to see you. Thank you so much for being here.
KLOBUCHAR: Thanks. Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, obviously, you weren`t prepared for this hearing today knowing that there would be a mass shooting at the moment you are working to confirm the next person in charge of dealing with gun policies in this country. I wonder if that is going to affect the way that you and your colleagues approach not just hearing but this confirmation and the gun policy question today.
KLOBUCHAR: You know, I literally couldn`t believe that some of my colleagues, Senator Cruz who preceded me are railing against this nominee, Mr. Chipman, who by the way, 25 years of experience with the agency investigated the World Trade Center bombing, investigated the Oklahoma City bombing, completely qualified for this job. And because he holds views that the vast majority of Americans hold, like 90 percent of them support universal background checks so he gets criticized for these common sense views, while we both have an ongoing mass shooting where we know there are already eight fatalities. So many, one after another after another.
And I guess the irony was lost on them, but I don`t think it should be lost on the American people that we need competent person. And I`ve worked on the last confirmation with Todd Jones. He was from Minnesota. I remember holding the vote open for hours and hours, almost an entire day, and I was able to convince Republicans to support him.
I`m not sure that`s going to happen this time, but the key is that we need to have someone in place running that agency.
MADDOW: I was struck in your remarks today. I want to play that clip of you talking to the nominee, that way today, because you singled out one of your Republican colleagues Senator Pat Toomey. You said there are Republicans that worked on the background check issue and try to get that done. Seems to me that you are signaling they are potentially that at least the background checks issue might not be over, that there might potentially be some room to get some reform even on that narrow slice of gun policy?
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, Senator Chris Murphy has spent such a long time advocate to take on gun violence along with Senator Blumenthal. Senator Murphy has been working with Pat Toomey. We know there`s been broad support for this in the past. So, I don`t rule it out all, despite what happened at today`s hearing.
And remember, we`ve just been through four years of Donald Trump. I sat across from him after Parkland when nine times he said he wanted to see universal background checks. Nine times, I wrote it down on a piece of paper with hash marks. Kept it all this time, keep looking back at it, and in the end, the next day he mixed with the NRA and he fold.
Well, we can`t keep folding. The Republicans can`t keep folding when you have things happening in El Paso and San Jose, what we saw in Parkland, what we saw in Sandy Hook. It just keeps going on.
MADDOW: Senator, let me ask you about another matter that is pressing potential vote on the commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol on January 6th. We`ve been following the timing on that. It looks like there might be a first vote on that in the Senate. Potentially tomorrow, do you have any sense of how that`s going to go and whether Republicans of the side of this is something that they will support?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, we know we heard about seven of them said that their for this and you know there were 35 Republicans in the House that voted for this sensible idea that we have to look at the systemic causes of what happened so that we can do a major, major investigation.
I don`t know what they`re going to do. I don`t know what excuse you can have for not wanting to have this investigation. It is true that I and Senator Blunt along with Gary Peters and Portman over with Homeland Security, we combined forces. We`re coming up with the report which I look forward to talking with you about in around June 7th.
That`s really focused on the immediate what needs to happen now with the Capitol police leadership. What needs to happen now with law changes. So this never happens again.
But that`s not a substitute for this 9/11-type commission that we must have.
MADDOW: Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, thanks for being here. I know you have votes ahead. Still busy night for you tonight. Thanks for squeezing us in. I appreciate it.
KLOBUCHAR: We do, and it`s lighting -- it`s lighting outside. Rachel, time to get something done. Thanks.
MADDOW: I hear you. I hear you. All right, thank you.
It`s hard not to see all of those things as an omen when you`re at work and that kind of thing is happening.
All right. We`ve got much more to get to tonight including some very, very, very unexpected big good news from a business sector that never ever provides good news. That story is next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: I wrote a book that came out about a year and a half ago, I think that`s how long ago. It`s a book called "Blowout". It`s basically about the power of the oil and gas industry, how that one industry is so powerful and has such specific incentives in the way that they do business that they have this incredible new record of corrupting basically every place they operate.
The book is basically a warning about politics, about how democracies all over the world including here at home get undermined over and over again by that one industry. They`re not just a normal business sector. They are, I think, unparalleled thing where companies in that industry regularly shape the government of whole countries to fit the company`s needs.
So basically I wrote "Blowout" to say, countries should watch out for that. It`s not good. Well, now, the other side of that coin though is that we should be ready for governments to change, for whole types of government to potentially fail if and when the oil and gas industry that made them possible changes. If and when the oil and gas industry stops being what it is.
If these mammoth world-shifting companies that can wrap whole countries around their little finger, if those companies loses step or disappear or get forced to change into a whole different kind of enterprise, that really will change the world. It`ll change governments around the world.
And the reason it`s worth anticipating that, thinking about how are going to handle that when it happens it`s because it`s been clear for a while now that that`s coming. It`s been clear for a while now that the oil and gas industry for all that it has done to shape the world over the past century in fact it is about to get basically unwired.
And it`s because they`re the problem when it comes to climate. And as stupid as our own domestic politics have been forever about climate, the climate disaster is a real thing that really does need a huge fix in the world, just figuring that out. And the oil and gas companies are going to have to fundamentally get out of the way or change themselves into an entirely new thing for that to happen. And that`s going to happen.
I mean, and concept and in theory we`ve known that this is inevitable. It`s going to have to happen. We don`t know what it would look like when it arrived or when it would happen, how gradual are subtle it would be, but we`ve been able to see and theory that this was coming from.
And then today, all of a sudden boom. It all just happened all at once. Remarkable day and it`s still seen as sort of a business news -- business pages piece of news but it`s more than that.
First of all, this morning at The Hague in the Netherlands, a Dutch court issued a ruling and court order that requires a massive oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, that`s the biggest oil company in the world outside of China. The court order is going to order them to cut their emissions by 45 percent by the end of this decade. That`s their emissions, their supplier emissions, their customer emissions. That means Royal Dutch Shell is going to need to stop being a burn fossil fuels company very, very quickly. Court order.
Then, right after that. Boom. It happens to Chevron. This is also today, a shareholders meeting and an overwhelming vote by Chevron shareholders requiring Chevron to radically cut its emissions to.
And then boom, another one all in the same day. A huge one, Exxon, the flagship American oil and gas giant Exxon has led the way for so long in promoting climate denial and conspiracy theories. Exxon today against its will had its shareholders dump some of its board of directors and install new ones, who are going to make Exxon do a U-turn on climate including specifically its plans to keep expanding its drilling operations.
That is not going to happen anymore because Exxon against its will just got a whole new bunch of directors that it does not want that`s going to make that company change course.
And it all happened in the span of a few hours -- Shell, Chevron, Exxon.
Watching the Twitter feed of a climate expert like Bill McKibben today was like watching that guy on YouTube seeing the double rainbow, right? He starts off this morning and he says, wow, wow, wow, explains with the Shell news is. And he links to it. He says this could be game-changing.
A couple of hours later, Bill McKibben again, he says: Whoa, yet more news on this watershed day. It`s about Exxon.
And in a couple hours after that, he says: An utterly crushing therefore big oil. The Chevron news, the Shell news, the Exxon news, he says, quote, thanks to all who fight, you push long enough and the dominoes tumble.
Any one of those things happening would be huge news about the richest most destructive industry on earth, but all three of those huge things happening within hours of each other all in one day, it`s almost impossible to believe. You push anti push and stuff eventually falls.
MADDOW: Here`s the headline in "The Wall Street Journal" tonight. Oil giants are dealt major defeats on climate change as pressures intensify.
Joining us now is Bill McKibben, climate expert, one of the founders of the grassroots climate campaign, 350.org.
Mr. McKibben, it`s a pleasure to have you here. Thank you so much for your time.
BILL MCKIBBEN, CLIMATE EXPERT: Well, it`s a great pleasure to be with you. And on a day, and for once, we have good news to talk about.
MADDOW: Well, let`s talk about it. Exxon, Shell, and Chevron all hit today with different judgments and votes but it seems like are going to force them all to change course when it comes to climate. All the news together feels like a very big piece of news but how confident are you that this will make a difference?
MCKIBEEN: Well, I don`t think that any themselves will make a huge difference right away. I think what their signs is that, you know, a decade of battering away by activists is finally, finally taking a real toll. You know, it was only a week ago that International Energy Agency said that the time had come for fossil fuel to stop expanding.
And this was, you know, no radical outfit. The International Energy Agency was set up by Henry Kissinger in 1974, to be the kind of club for oil consumers. But even they`ve realized that mathematics of climate change is inexorable, and there is no way, no way to deal with the problems we face unless we take actions like the one the Dutch court outlined today. They said shell has to cut emissions 45 percent by 2030. That`s exactly what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said about two weeks ago.
MADDOW: The decision affecting Chevron and Exxon today both happens through shareholder votes, which is not the kind of place that we look for the world`s most exciting activism in terms of its impact on the broader world, but it does feel like this was sort of a magic tricks, almost, and turning around these big companies.
MCKIBBEN: Yu know, ten years ago, Exxon was the biggest company on planet earth. That`s when Naomi Klein and I helped launch this fossil fuel divestment movement. It`s grown into probably the biggest anti-corporate campaign ever, with about $15 trillion now in endowments and portfolios that have divested.
And that`s helped bring so many people into understanding that these guys can`t keep going on the way that they`re going. Exxon is still powerful but it`s now on the ropes in all kinds of ways. And remember, it`s not just that they have to cut emissions. It`s that as of tomorrow, they are that much less powerful on Capitol Hill when it comes to lobbying in state legislatures when it comes to exerting their dominance.
These things -- once that weakening begins and the momentum hopefully grows. Now, our problem is that we have to go very, very fast, work behind the curve. The Arctic -- most of the sea ice in the Arctic is melting. It`s not like this guarantees any wins. It just is an awfully good sign that people should keep fighting and keep fighting hard.
MADDOW: Bill McKibben, environmental activist, one of the founders of the grassroots climate campaign, 350.org, Bill, thanks for joining us. It`s a huge day, thanks for helping us understand.
MCKIBBEN: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: That`s going to do it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.