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Transcript: The ReidOut, 7/21/21

Guests: Eric Swalwell, Peter Hotez, Uche Blackstock, Philip Rucker, Carol Leonnig, Steve Sisolak, Rodney Pierce


Representative Pelosi rejects two GOP picks for January 6 Select Committee. GOP Representative McCarthy withdraws picks for January 6 Select Committee. GOP Representative Cheney slams McCarthy`s decision to withdraw his picks. McCarthy says Trump bears responsibility for January 6 attack. Pelosi says she rejected Banks and Jordan to ensure the integrity of the investigation. Former GOP House Speaker Boehner calls GOP Representative Jordan a political terrorist. Tom Barrack becomes seventh Trump associate to be indicted. New COVID cases are up nearly 200 percent in two weeks. Southern states are reemerging as COVID hot spots. Biden battles anti- vaccine disinformation. Unvaccinated patients are driving new COVID surge. As wildfires continue to rage across the western United States and Canada, the smoke has drifted more than 2,000 miles cross country, bringing hazy skies and air quality warnings to the East Coast.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: What`s not here, Fran Lebowitz, who is my special guest from Maiden Voyage on THE BEAT tomorrow. Join us or DVR. We appreciate you.

"THE REIDOUT" is next. Jonathan Capehart filling in for Joy. Hi, Jonathan.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: Hey, Ari, thank you very much. I`m Jonathan Capehart in for Joy Reid.

We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the proverbial game of chicken that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy just lost to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In a bold but necessary move, Pelosi today rejected two of the five Republicans that McCarthy proposed for the select committee investigating January 6th. Using her authority under the organizing resolution, Pelosi vetoed Congressman Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both ardent Trump loyalists who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

As Pelosi explained, the unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision. But she also said she had raised up her objections with McCarthy, asking him to recommend two other members in their place. Instead, McCarthy threw a tantrum and pulled all of his proposed appointees, including the three that Pelosi had already approved.

As he made clear in a hastily arranged press conference, Republicans are literally taking their ball and going home.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): It`s an egregious abuse of power. Pelosi has broken this institution.

Pelosi has created a sham process. Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republicans, we will not participate.


CAPEHART: McCarthy claims Pelosi is somehow abusing her power but her authority was literally spelled out in the resolution the House passed to create the select committee. In fact, it was the exact same language that Republicans used when they formed the infamous Benghazi committee in 2014.

But the truth is Jim Banks and Jim Jordan made clear they never intended to take their job seriously. In a ridiculously over-the-top statement on Monday, Banks attacked the very investigation he was supposed to help lead, saying it`s part of an authoritarian agenda.

Not only that, on a recent trip to the border, Banks and his Republican colleagues were actually accompanied by a participant in the insurrection who reportedly served as a translator. Likewise, Jim Jordan`s behavior in defense of Trump has been nothing short of clownish. Worse yet, he`s a potential witness in the probe itself because he reportedly spoke to Trump on the day of the insurrection.

McCarthy`s reckless decision means that the only Republican who`s willing to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th is Congresswoman Liz Cheney. And the principled stand she took in defense of the investigation today puts McCarthy to shame.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): The idea that anybody would be playing politics with an attack on the United States Capitol is despicable and is disgraceful. And I am absolutely dedicated and committed to making sure that this investigation holds those accountable who did this and ensures that it never happens again.

There are three members that the minority leader proposed that the speaker did not object to. She has objected to two members. And the rhetoric around this from the minority leader and from those two members has been disgraceful.


CAPEHART: For all of McCarthy`s bravado today, this is a problem entirely of his own making because McCarthy knew Pelosi held veto power over his selections and still he engaged in a proverbial game of chicken that he knew he would lose.

Not only that, McCarthy voted against a bipartisan commission to carry out this exact same investigation. And that brings us to the number one reason McCarthy is doing what he`s doing. He`s desperate, and I mean desperate to be the next speaker of the House.

And joining me now is Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, who was an impeachment manager earlier this year and is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman Swalwell, great to see you again, thanks for coming to THE REIDOUT.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Of course. Thank you, Jonathan.

CAPEHART: Before we begin our discussion, I want to remind the American people of what Kevin McCarthy had to say in the days after the insurrection. Have a listen.


MCCARTHY: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday`s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have admittedly denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump, accept his share of responsibility.



CAPEHART: So, Congressman Swalwell, what happened to that guy?

SWALWELL: He is treading water in Donald Trump`s ocean and purely, purely interested in himself, not the sake of the country. You know, Jonathan, democracy nearly died on January 6. And this has to be a serious investigation. And Kevin McCarthy has shown he`s not serious about January 6. That`s why he would put the guys holding the gas cans in charge of an arson investigation, you know, Banks and Jordan.

And I think the speaker showed today that if we`re going to make sure that we understand how this happened, what Donald Trump`s role was, why the Capitol wasn`t better protected and make sure that it never happens again when we have to certify elections in the future, we need a serious approach. And Kevin McCarthy is just not up for that job.

CAPEHART: But Congressman Swalwell, I mean, I agree with you and I think the American people agree with you that there needs to be a serious investigation. But can there be a serious investigation if there aren`t more Republicans on that committee, more Republicans other than Congresswoman Liz Cheney?

SWALWELL: Yes, there will be. This investigation will animate what happened that day next week with the police officers who were there to provide, first and foremost, Jonathan, that ground truth that Republicans are trying to erase every day.

But take a step back and ask yourself what Republicans can be serious about it, because this is a party that is sympathizing with the cop killers, they are voting against Capitol Police funding, they are voting against awarding the gold medal to the Capitol Police officers, they continue to say that the police, like the FBI, are responsible for what happened and now, today, they`re walking away from the police and this investigation. So we can`t wait for them. Our country can`t wait for them. This investigation must move on.

CAPEHART: One of the people who was appointed to that committee and who the speaker rejected was Jim Jordan, someone who I`m sure you expected the minority leader to put on the committee. Let`s remind the American people of an assessment of Jim Jordan delivered by the former speaker of the House Republican, John Boehner.


FORMER REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): Some of these members, I`m not quite sure what they`re for. They`re against everything. But I`ve never been able to determine what they`re for.

REPORTER: You call some of these members political terrorists?

BOEHNER: Oh, yes, Jim Jordan especially.


CAPEHART: I mean, that`s pretty incredible to call Jim Jordan a political terrorist. And yet I`m sort of hard pressed to disagree with the former Republican speaker in that regard, especially given what happened today.

SWALWELL: That`s right. There`s never been a structure that Jim Jordan didn`t want to take a wrecking ball to and this is just too fragile. Look, the way I see it right now, Jonathan, democracy is on life support. And this is very binary. Either you are a part of the gang that is trying to resurrect it or you are a part of the gang that is trying to pull the plug.

And Jim Jordan, Jim Banks, Kevin McCarthy, they are seeking to pull the plug. Why didn`t he appoint John Katko? John Katko had negotiated the independent bipartisan agreement with Speaker Pelosi, voted for that commission that McCarthy voted against. There were people that he could have appointed but he just showed how unserious he was and how uncommitted he was to finding the truth.

CAPEHART: Do you think it`s possible that the other members, Republicans appointed by Minority Leader McCarthy, could be folded into the select committee even without McCarthy officially making it so?

SWALWELL: That`s certainly up to Speaker Pelosi, and Kevin McCarthy, though, has done his best to try to threaten and intimidate anyone that would do that. He has implied that he would take away committee assignments. But, look, we have Liz Cheney on board. Adam Kinzinger is a Republican who continues to support this select committee and its investigation. But time is ticking as this democracy is dying, and so we must do all we can to protect it. And we can`t wait, you know, for Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy to be satisfied with who`s a part of this investigation.

CAPEHART: Let me ask you real quickly about the arrest of Tom Barrack. And this was something that came from Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who was Barrack`s colleague on the inaugural committee. She writes, Tom Barracks is so integral to everything in Trump`s universe. His arrest could affect the Trump family in a very significant way. Do you agree with her assessment there?

SWALWELL: Absolutely. I mean, who in the inner circle has not been indicted at this point? But the greater issue is not that this is getting closer to Donald Trump, it`s that Donald Trump allowed foreign actors, whether it was the Russians or, here, the Emiratis to get too close to our foreign policy.

Adam Schiff has the solution with the Protecting Our Democracy Act. It would clean up the emoluments clause, many of the reporting that would be required for interacting with foreign actors, as was done in this case.


And we must learn from what Donald Trump exposed as far as vulnerabilities in our democracy and not just accept that this can never happen again. It will happen again if we do nothing.

CAPEHART: You know, Congressman Swalwell, in the next block, we`re going to be talking about COVID and the spikes in infections, but part of the problem in terms of getting people vaccinated is misinformation. And from what I understand, you`ve introduced bills in the house to combat that. Real quickly, tell us about that.

SWALWELL: Yes. Thank you Jonathan. I introduced the Biodefense Act that would attack not only the virus but the misinformation that is allowing the virus to persist. That also is a national security concern. It would put the vice president in charge of that. It would have also a cabinet level officer in the National Security Council dealing with this.

But I just want to say to your viewers, Jonathan, and to every American, this virus is serious. Get vaccinated. Life is precious. And Tucker Carlson is not worth dying for. He doesn`t care about you, but your family does. Please, please get vaccinated.

CAPEHART: And we`re going to be talking a lot more about that in the next block. Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

CAPEHART: Up next, with the rapid spread of the delta variant, an Alabama doctor says young, seriously ill COVID patients are begging to be vaccinated, only to be told it`s too late. So how do we stop a repeat of last year`s overcrowded emergency rooms?

Plus, the catastrophic final year of the Trump presidency, two of my colleagues at The Washington Post, Carol Leonnig and Phil Rucker, join me on their new book.

And raging wildfires out west are so bad, the smoke is being seen thousands of miles away in the east.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



CAPEHART: COVID infections are on the rise again in the U.S., up nearly 200 percent in the last 14 days, with the delta variant fueling a new spike in cases. In a Facebook post that`s gone viral, a doctor in Birmingham, Alabama, shared her experiences treating those dying of COVID, many of whom are young and otherwise healthy.

Doctor Brytney Cobia wrote, one of the last things they do before they`re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I`m sorry, but it`s too late.

A few days later, when Cobia calls the time of death for these patients, she tells the family members to honor their loved ones by getting vaccinated. They cry, she wrote. They tell me they didn`t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They wish they could go back, but they can`t.

Southern states like Alabama, where this doctor works, along with Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee are reemerging as hot spots. Another thing these states share, low vaccination rates and rampant vaccine misinformation fueled by Republican lawmakers.

Joining me now is Dr. Peter Hotez, Vaccine Scientist and Co-Director at the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children`s Hospital, and Dr. Uche Blackstock, Founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity. Thank you both very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Dr. Hotez, you wrote a piece in The Daily Beast, with the headline, Biden Battles a Triple-Headed Monster on Vaccines. Real quickly, what are those three heads?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, CO-CIRECTOR, CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT AT TEXAS CHILDREN`S HOSPITAL: The three heads are political extremism on the right, the far-right as you mentioned, including, tragically, elected members of the United States Congress and the cable news networks from the conservative side, which have been providing devastating anti-vaccine disinformation.

The second is the leading nongovernmental organizations, which have been identified by the Center for Countering Digital Hate. It`s amazing we have an organization called the Center for Countering Digital Hate. Now, they have identified 12 leading organizations they call the disinformation dozen.

And the third one, which surprises people often is the Russian government under Putin, which has lobbed this whole program of systematic weaponized health communication, that`s the term that`s used as documented by U.S. and British intelligence to destabilize democracies, actually targeting scientists and using anti-science as a wedge issue.

CAPEHART: You know, Dr. Blackstock, one of the things I often hear, and you probably hear it as well, is, you know, if only -- well, one, if only the Republicans would come out en masse and say get vaccinated, but also if only Donald Trump, who got vaccinated earlier this year, if only he would come out and say, I got vaccinated and you should go out and get vaccinated too. My question to you is has the misinformation and disinformation dug in so deep that even that wouldn`t help?

DR. UCHE BLACKSTOCK, FOUNDER & CEO, ADVANCING HEALTH EQUITY: You know, I think as we`ve seen, the misinformation and disinformation has caused significant harm. It`s cost us lives. And actually there`s recent polling that shows that if President Trump and Nancy Pelosi came together and disseminated pro-vaccine messages that that could help with some people.

But the fact is that many people who remain unvaccinated, half of them. They have these fixed beliefs about the pandemic. They think the pandemic has been overhyped. And they also think that they will not get seriously ill if they develop COVID. And so these are fixed beliefs that are very, very difficult to change.

So even though we have some Republican leaders speaking out now as well as some conservative media outlets speaking out with pro-vaccine messages, I think that it will be very difficult to move those people with fixed beliefs. Hopefully, there are still those that are on the fence that can be moved.

CAPEHART: I`m going to stick with you, Dr. Blackstock, here, because, you know, we have got -- there`s a story in ProPublica today about GOP legislators in Missouri opposing vaccine efforts, as the state, as Missouri becomes a hot spot for COVID.


So, not only are people facing misinformation that they might be getting from social media and from media media, but from elected officials who should know better.

BLACKSTOCK: Right. Yes, they should absolutely know better.

But what we have seen the pandemic has started is that the public health messaging has been consistently undermined by elected officials. And that`s what`s caused the most significant harm. People are listening to them.

And I just want to make sure people understand that these -- most -- a lot of people who are -- remain unvaccinated, they`re people who had these fixed beliefs even before the pandemic. They were more likely not to get the flu vaccine.

But this other constant messaging, this misinformation has really made those beliefs more embedded and more difficult to change and shift.

CAPEHART: Dr. Hotez, in "The New York Times" yesterday, there`s a story about the J&J -- the J&J vaccine.

J&J vaccine may be less effective against Delta, studies suggests, and many who received the shot may need to consider boosters, the author said. But federal health officials do not recommend second doses.

You -- what do you say to that? How concerned should people be who got the J&J vaccine?

HOTEZ: Well, there`s certainly -- there`ll be some protection from the J&J vaccine. I can`t say it`s going to be as robust as it was with the original lineages.

And looking at the early data from the phase one, phase two, I always thought it would be a two-dose vaccine, because you get more durable and higher levels of virus-neutralizing antibodies. So, we will see.

I think you should not panic. There is going to be some protection. The studies that people are quoting are small studies that are not even based on clinical trials. They`re based on laboratory studies looking at levels of virus-neutralizing antibody, showing that it starts to drop off against Delta, just like it did against the South African variant. But even then, there was some protection against the South African variant.

So, no reason to panic yet, but there`s going to have to be some discussions between FDA, CDC and the manufacturers about the potential for a second dose down the line, I would think.

CAPEHART: In the time that we have left, I would love both of you to talk about, from your vantage points, whether you think we -- as we go into the fall, whether we`re going to all nationwide end up following the example that`s now happening in Los Angeles, where we`re going to be masking up again indoors.

And do you think that that is going to be the first of many steps, maybe even locking down again? Or is that something that we don`t have to worry about?

I will start with you, Dr. Hotez, first.

HOTEZ: I think one of the things we`re finding about the Delta variant, at least the preliminary studies, is people are shedding a lot more virus, maybe 1,000 times more virus, so that`s why it`s so much more transmissible.

So I do think masks are going to be very important indoors, whether or not you`re vaccinated or unvaccinated. And how things go really depend on how well you`re vaccinating your community. So, in the Northeast, where most adults and adolescents, almost all the adults and adolescence are vaccinated, I think they`re going to weather this pretty well.

Where I am, in the South, especially some of these states like Louisiana, Mississippi, only 15 percent or -- of the adolescents are vaccinated, 30, 40 percent of the young adults, because of this defiance, tragically, we`re not going to do well. I think we`re going to see Delta accelerate. It`s going to be a rough, rough ride for the next few weeks and months.

CAPEHART: What say you, Dr. Blackstock?

BLACKSTOCK: Well, yes, I agree with -- largely with Dr. Hotez.

I think it`s going to be deja vu again this fall, unfortunately. The virus loves the dry, cold weather. We`re already seeing surges across the country, especially in areas of low vaccination rate. The Delta variant is more transmissible.

I don`t think we will necessarily see a lockdown. But I do think that we need to maybe tie mask mandates to hospitalization, cases or vaccination rates in areas. I think we will see probably more of what`s happening in L.A. County across the country this fall.

CAPEHART: All right, with that, we will leave it there.

Thank you, Dr. Peter Hotez and Dr. Uche Blackstock.

Still ahead: a bombshell-packed new book on the disastrous final year of the Trump administration.

Stay with us.



CAPEHART: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley answered questions today for the first time on the reporting that he and other military leaders were concerned Trump would try to stage a coup after he lost the 2020 election.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I always, personally, provided the best military professional advice to President Trump previously, to President Biden or any other president.

I, the other members of Joint Chiefs, and all of us in uniform, we take an oath, an oath to a document, an oath to the Constitution of the United States. And not one time did we violate that.

The military did not and will not and should not ever get involved in domestic politics. We don`t arbitrate elections. That`s the job of the judiciary and the legislature and the American people. It is not the job of the U.S. military.


CAPEHART: In their new book "I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump`s Catastrophic Final Year," Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker report that, after Trump refused to concede,"Pentagon brass feared some of the president`s whisperers might convince him to take rash military action.

"Milley and the Joint Chiefs began informally planning how they could block a presidential order to use the military in a way they considered illegal or dangerous and ill-advised. They concluded they might rather serially resign than execute the order. It was a kind of Saturday Night Massacre, but in reverse."


I`m joined now by the book`s co-authors, Carol Leonnig, national investigative reporter for "The Washington Post," and Phil Rucker,"Washington Post" senior Washington correspondent. And they also are my colleagues.

Welcome to THE REIDOUT. Thank you for being here.

Carol, I will start with you.

Even though General Milley didn`t directly comment on what is in -- what`s in your book, he did validate what you have in your book, didn`t he?

CAROL LEONNIG, CO-AUTHOR,"I ALONE CAN FIX IT: DONALD J. TRUMP`S CATASTROPHIC FINAL YEAR": That was definitely my read, or readout, so to speak, of the events today at the press conference.


LEONNIG: I mean, Milley was there for one reason, but of course he was going to be asked a lot about this set of chapters that Phil and I excavated about that harrowing final -- the final months of the Trump presidency.

I think that General Milley is the kind of tough, straight -- straight shooter who would say, this is inaccurate, or I don`t agree, or there`s a nuance here that you need to know, if he felt that way.

CAPEHART: And, Phil, I`m going to have you talk about something here in your book -- this is element two -- you write in "I Alone Can Fix It."

This is about Bill Barr, then attorney general, that I find fascinating.

It says: "As spring wore on, Bill Barr came to believe that President Trump was squandering his hopes for reelection. Barr decided to talk straight to the boss, to tell Trump he was losing -- quote -- `I feel you are going to lose the election, ` Barr said. `I feel you are actually losing touch with your own base.`"

You -- he keeps -- he keeps going: "You`re going to lose, because there`s going to be enough people who otherwise would vote for you who are just tired of the acrimony, the pettiness, the punching down, and picking a fight at every moment and the apparent chaos. And they`re just going to say, we`re tired of this" -- I`m not going to say the curse word, but it begins with an S.

Phil, what I found fascinating about that is that Bill Barr was telling the president, you`re losing touch with your base.

How did he know that, when, from those of us on the outside, it seemed as though Bill Barr was the ultimate yes-man for Trump?

PHILIP RUCKER, CO-AUTHOR,"I ALONE CAN FIX IT: DONALD J. TRUMP`S CATASTROPHIC FINAL YEAR": You know, Jonathan, it appeared from the outside throughout the presidency that Barr was the president`s political hatchet man, his yes-man, in some ways, his personal lawyer.

And yet, behind the scenes, Barr did at moments, like the one you just described, try to talk tough to Trump. He did this also, by the way, when he was the attorney general for President George H.W. Bush, warning him similarly that he thought Bush would lose reelection in 1992. And, in fact, he did.

But Barr felt Trump was so undisciplined, so chaotic, so much drama every hour of every day, that there would be exhaustion setting in among the electorate. And he turned out to be right.

CAPEHART: I want to go to element one.

And this is something that you write in your book "I Alone Can Fix It" that sort of makes me -- what we`re talking about today in terms of the January 6 commission, where you write: "Most of Trump`s failings can be explained by a simple truth. He cared more about himself than the country. Whether managing the coronavirus or addressing racial unrest or reacting to his election defeat, Trump prioritized what he thought to be his political and personal interests over the common good."

And I thought of that in relation to today and what`s happening with the January 6 commission, because it seems like, while Donald Trump was worried about himself when he was in the White House, what`s happening today in Washington, it seems as though the Republican Party or Trump`s party is still concerned -- is concerned about the former president, who remains concerned about himself.

Carol, in the interviews that you -- that you and Philip did, did it seem like Donald Trump in any way has any regrets about what happened on the 6th, his role in it? Or does he revel in it at all?

LEONNIG: Jonathan, it`s such a good question, because, as you know from covering this presidency and watching it so up close, along with me and with Phil, this is a president who doesn`t have regrets. And, in fact, he only disclosed one regret to us, which I will get to in a moment.

But in our conversation with him in Mar-a-Lago, he clearly believes he was a wonderful president. And he clearly believes that supporters were trying to do what he wanted, as he said. They were trying to right a wrong, to stop a rigged election.


Now, of course, he stoked that misinformation. He fed that lie. He excited and incited his supporters. And so them being there was literally a call and response.

He has no regrets about that moment that he disclosed to us, other than to say, mostly, it was a loving crowd.

Now, I will also tell you that the one thing he told Phil and I he regretted was that he was not able to buffalo his secretary of defense, his chairman of Joint -- of the Joint Chiefs, General Milley, and his attorney general, Bill Barr, in pushing his particular wish, which was to unleash and sic the U.S. active-duty military on Black Lives Matter protesters.

That`s what he feels sorry about.

CAPEHART: And it`s incredibly -- it`s so outrageous, and outrageous that he believes that, but also sort of stuff stultifying that we have General Milley, Attorney General Bill Barr, and the former defense secretary to thank for being the adults in the room to stop it.

One more question to you, Phil, real quickly.

One of the things that you write about is the fact, when you interviewed, when you both interviewed Donald Trump, he sat down with you at Mar-a-Lago, but not in a private office or in private. He did it in the lobby of Mar-a- Lago?


RUCKER: Jonathan, it was the craziest scene.

He brought us into Mar-a-Lago for a two-and-a-half-hour interview in the lobby and at the dinner hour. So, hundreds of his guests, club members were parading by, saying hello, coming by to tease him. Laura Ingraham, the FOX News host, was there and interrupted the interview. So did Kimberly Guilfoyle.

And while we were talking about serious matters like January 6, the raw bar people were setting up the buffet, the Bananas Foster station in the corner. It was -- it`s one of those scenes that only happens down at Mar-a- Lago and with Donald Trump.

CAPEHART: I always thought that those scenes only happen on "Star Wars." But who am I?


CAPEHART: Carol Leonnig, Phil Rucker, co-authors of "I Alone Can Fix It," thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Still ahead: Western wildfires blow a haze of smoke across the East Coast, as the climate crisis spreads across the globe.

The governor of one state being hit hard by wildfires joins me next.



CAPEHART: Our severe climate crisis can be seen in stark relief across North America, as wildfires continue to rage across the western United States and Canada, the smoke has drifted more than 2,000 miles cross country, bringing hazy skies and air quality warnings to the East Coast. There are 80 fires in 13 states charring more than 1.3 million acres.

Meanwhile, around the globe, the climate crisis is revealing itself in other destructive ways. In China`s Henan province, torrential rain unleashed catastrophic flooding. At least 25 people have been killed. Video captured in a subway shows passengers inundated by chest-high water. More than 500 people were evacuated, 12 died.

Similar scenes played out in Western Europe last week as flooding ripped through cities in Germany and Belgium, leaving more than 190 people dead.

Here in the United States, after months of drought and heat waves, the monster Bootleg Fire in Oregon covering more than 388,000 acres is so intense, it`s essentially making its own weather, driving wind and lightning strikes. And several fires in California continue to grow, including the Tamarac Fire near Lake Tahoe crossing state lines into Nevada.

Joining me now is the governor of Nevada, Steve Sisolak.

Governor Sisolak, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

GOV. STEVE SISOLAK (D), NEVADA: Thank you, Jonathan, for having me. It`s a real pleasure.

CAPEHART: So from what I understand, the fire -- the Tamarac Fire is considered 0 percent contained. Is there anything that can be done to get that fire under control at some point?

SISOLAK: Well, we`re doing everything we possibly can to get it under control certainly. Just last week I was on a conference call with the White House and the western governors, Governor Newsom included. We talked about the problem we`re having out here in the West. We`ve had more wildfires this year than ever before. This week, several days we`ve had unhealthy air quality in northern Nevada as a result of the Tamarac Fire.

We`re using everything we can, all of our resources, to fight that fire. It`s particularly difficult on young people, the elderly, those with compromised health conditions. You know, when you get this air quality.

But I know we`ve got a partner in the White House and this is what happens. It`s an effect of global warming clearly that we`re dealing with and we need to do everything we can to get it under control. We`re using technology.

We have mobilized our Nevada air national guard already, which is earlier than we`ve ever done it before. We`ve contracted with a company to have super scoopers, they call them, which are aircraft that scoop low and fill up with water and just go right out and dump the water on the fire, which is helping us fight it.

But we`ve got fire restrictions in place all over northern Nevada and all over the west. But a lot of these fires, Jonathan, unfortunately are manmade. They`re man caused, whether that`s from a catalytic converter, a spark from target shooting, a campfire, whatever it might be. So we don`t know about this one, but it`s been a difficult year thus far.

CAPEHART: Governor, you just mentioned the scooper -- those scooper planes, that scoop in and get water. My eyes sort of -- my eyebrows did this, went up, because I`m going to show this, where is it, it`s element two. This is a headline about Lake Mead.

I`m wondering, where is this water coming from? Lake Mead reaches lowest level on record.



CAPEHART: Apparently, in June, it fell to 36 percent capacity. The lowest since it was filled in 1937.

SISOLAK: Yeah. No, you`re absolutely right. Unfortunately, the lake is at an all-time low. Scientists keep telling me this is cyclical and is going to change, but we`ve been in this for ten years. I remember, 30 years ago, I`ve been in Nevada quite a while -- 30, 40 years ago when the lake was so filled, it was going over the spillways. We had that much water in the lake.

But now, it`s just at an all-time low level. We`ve instituted the water authority in southern Nevada and new withdrawal system. They had to put in a pipe actually under the lake and that came up in the bottom of your sink to get the water out of there. So we`ve been in a sustained drought here and a lot of the states in the West of feeling it right now.

CAPEHART: You know, Governor, a moment ago you said you have a friend in the White House in President Biden, but I`m wondering, do you think Washington, meaning congress, are they doing enough? Do you think they see the urgency here in doing something about climate change so that what`s happening in your state, in Nevada, isn`t something that we`ll be talking about another decade from now?

SISOLAK: Well, we`ve got great representation in Washington. We`ve got Senators Cortez, Masto and Rosen and our house members Titus, Horsford and Lee making the case for us.

But we`re a small state that doesn`t wield a lot of influence. We`ve got our western partners here feeling the same situation, whether it`s Colorado, California, Utah, Arizona. We`re all in this together. And, hopefully, we can make the point that this is devastating to us.

I mean, this drought is going on and on. Our water supply -- we`re doing everything we can to mitigate the problem that we have.

For example, this year in the legislature I was proud we passed a bill banning ornamental grass. That`s going to save 14 gallons of water per person per day as a result of banning ornamental grass. But those are the things we`ll have to do a lot more of. Not just Nevada but all the states to preserve and get the most we can out of the water supply, the precious resource that we have.

CAPEHART: And real quickly, governor, what are you saying to the citizens of Nevada in terms of what they can do to either prevent future forest fires or to at least conserve water?

SISOLAK: Well, on both fronts we`ve got restrictions in place for the fire situation. We`re not allowing campfires in a lot of areas. As it relates to target shooting, we`re not encouraging that in the areas that there can be a spark as a result of that.

Water in southern Nevada, we recycle all of the indoor water that you use. There`s a recycling system. We take it out, we put it back into Lake Mead, it`s treated, we use it again.

But that being said, it`s stretching the situation, but that in and of itself is not enough. We need to do more. We need to get all the states doing the exact same thing, reusing the water that we have.

When it`s put outside and you put it on the ground, it`s gone. It evaporates. We don`t get it back. That`s why we`re doing everything we can to remove ornamental turf or nonfunctional turf as it were, and preserve the resources we have, the water, for in-home consumption.

CAPEHART: Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Up next, a North Carolina teacher of the year finds himself caught up in the fight over how to teach American history, all of it, not just the rosy parts. He joins me next.



CAPEHART: Republicans are waging a scorched-earth campaign against anyone who teaches a broad history of America. Just yesterday, Texas Senate Republicans moved to strike requirements and certify Democrats that public schools teach about Martin Luther King Jr., the Ku Klux Klan, women`s suffrage and a number of other topics related to indigenous people, immigrant rights and the civil rights movement.

The bill would effectively leave it up to school districts to decide whose history is taught. It`s just one example of how Republicans across the country have turned history into a wedge issue.

Teachers like Rodney pierce are caught in the crossfire. Pierce is a social studies teacher at Red Oak Middle School in Battleboro, North Carolina, and was social studies teacher of the year in 2019. He sought to inspire his students by teaching them about local history, the various monuments to Confederates and the history of horrific lynchings in the area.

Now, Pierce is facing backlash from parents saying that his teaching of history and race is biased. That he insists on talking about slavery, and that he has a perceived political slant, accusing him of lying when he quoted former President Donald Trump verbatim.

Joining me now is Rodney Pierce, social studies teacher at Red Oak Middle School. He joins in his personal capacity and his views do not represent those of the school district.

Mr. Pierce, it is great to see you. Thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

If you notice, I stumbled over this idea that you are insisting on teaching children, teaching students about slavery. Please, your response to parents who say that you are insisting on doing that.

RODNEY D. PIERCE, TEACHER, RED OAK MIDDLE SCHOOL IN BATTLEBORO, NC: Thank you for having me, Mr. Capehart. And again, I want to reiterate what you said in terms of my views being my personal views and not those of my district. If you do not teach the history of slavery of the United States, then you`re not teaching the history of the United States, plain and simple.

We had whites who enslaved Africans.


We had Africans who enslaved Africans. We had indigenous people who enslaved Africans. We had indigenous people who were enslaved.

Slavery has been around for thousands of years throughout the world, but our focus is on the slavery that occurred here in the United States as well as in the state of North Carolina. And if we`re not allowed to teach that history to our students, then we do them a disservice as well as their families and their communities. And the travesty that is surrounding critical race theory, there`s a quote by George Orwell who says who controls the past controls the future, and who controls the present controls the past.

And what`s going on is that this is an attempt by those policymakers and lawmakers who control the present trying to control what is taught about the past as it pertains to slavery as you mentioned so that they can control the future.

CAPEHART: Mr. Pierce, how receptive are parents to you, the ones who complain, the ones you`ve communicated with, who are saying you`re trying to, quote/unquote, indoctrinate my child on issues of history and race. How receptive are they to -- I was going to say to your argument -- but the fact that you are teaching history?

PIERCE: Well, I would like to say at this point they are receptive, but it didn`t start off that way. There were some incidents that occurred where we had some complaints and I basically had to state my position and show how it was relative to the social studies standards which I worked on for the state of North Carolina and also show how it was relative to the unpacking documents, which I also worked on for the state of North Carolina. And once that connection is made and the administrators understand that that connection is made and that what is being taught is covered by that, then they support -- they are supportive of it and parents usually understand at that point.

I think sometimes that it was that, as you say, that insistence that you make those connections between the institutions of chattel slavery and contemporary things in the United States. For instance, the plantation of Monticello, and as mentioned in the "Mother Jones" article, is on the back of American currency, it`s on the back of the nickel. That`s the plantation of one of our, quote/unquote, founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginian, first secretary of state of the United States, third president of the United States, but a man who enslaved up to 600 people on that plantation, which is on the back of a piece of American currency.

So when you try to downplay or denounce or dismiss the impact of that institution on our history, I don`t -- I just don`t understand it and I have to bring it into the classroom and teach about it because it is relative.

CAPEHART: You know, Mr. Pierce, it`s a bit of a shame that the word that popped into my head as I heard you speaking all that truth is bravery. You`re incredibly brave to be here tonight, to speak truth and to speak it plainly.

But I`m wondering what would you say to other educators out there, other teachers in grade schools and high schools who are feeling the tension between what the parents want and what the politicians want and their duty to telling the truth and telling -- to teaching history? What advice would you give them to buck up their courage, to emulate the bravery that you`re showing?

PIERCE: Yes, sir. Well, I`m a man of faith, I`m a Christian. The Lord says no weapon formed against us shall prosper. It also says study to show thyself approved. If we put in the work and study to show ourselves approved, put in the work in terms of doing that research, finding those primary and secondary sources to back up our instruction and stay prayed up and stay on good terms with our colleagues, with our administrators and with our parents.

You`re not going to satisfy everybody, that`s life. But as long as you, again, stay prayed up, make sure that you do your work, do your research, have the sources to back up the content that you`re bringing in the classroom, make sure your administrators know what you`re bringing in the classroom, reach out to those people at the university level, send them emails, follow them on social media, talk to them. Talk to them.

I think a lot of times those of us in K through 12 are afraid to reach out to those in academia because we feel they`re in ivory towers. One of the things I`ve learned interacting with those people on social media and via email is that they have the utmost respect for K through 12 educators. Every profession starts in the classroom and that`s where they started their education before they became educators at a higher level.

CAPEHART: And with that, Rodney Pierce, Mr. Pierce, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT. Thank you very much for your bravery and for teaching the truth.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.