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tv   Don Lemon Tonight  CNN  August 16, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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news on covid booster shots and when you should get one. this is coming tonight just now from the white house so let's get to our white house correspondent. caitlyn joins us by phone. what are you learning about the covid vaccine boosters for most americans? >> reporter: hi, this is something many americans have been waiting to find out what is the administration's position going to be, given so far health officials have said most americans do not need a booster at this time. but we are learning now that as soon as this week, top health officials in the biden administration could announce that they are recommending boosters for most americans. the way this would work and the ideas they're coalescing right now is that americans should get a booster shot eight months after becoming fully vaccinated. and currently, this guidance is revolving around those of us who got two-dose vaccine shots. there are three vaccines, of course, authorized in the u.s. under emergency authorization. two of them are two dose.
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one is johnson & johnson which is one dose and they are still compiling data for the johnson & johnson vaccine, whether those people need booster shots. but right now we are expecting this week that they could recommend most americans to get a booster shot eight months after becoming fully vaccinated. and don, we should note that the plan right now would start in mid to late september. but all of this is contingent upon authorization from the fda. of course, they are the ones who make the actual changes to how these vaccines are authorized. then the cdc votes on recommending the authorizations and that's when the ball gets rolling. it is significant given the many, many times we've asked this question, they have said right now, the general population does not need them. it does appear that is about to change. >> if you're just joining us, caitlyn collins is joining us with breaking news. the beginning of the reporting here. i just got the wire to stop
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health officials and the biden administration are coalescing around an agreement that most americans should get a booster shot eight months after becoming fully vaccinated. that's according to a source familiar with the discussions. cate linl collins is reporting this. when is the biden administration going to announce this, do you know? >> reporter: it could be as soon as this week. we're always quaushs timing announcements like this, given they do depend, they're not just policy or political decisions. they depend on the experts and top health officials to actually make the recommendations and authorizations. but right now, what we are hearing internally is that this could come as soon as this week. and if that is the plan, if it goes forward, they don't believe this would actually start happening until early to mid to late september. and the question i think next is, well, if i just got vaccinated, how does this work? right now they are saying you should wait about eight months after your second vaccine shot. so of course, naturally if you
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look at who was first vaccinated in the u.s. when the supply was low, those were nursing home residents, health care worker, the older population. they were all first in line so they would be the first ones to get the booster shot. we should note this does come as pfizer did submit date to the fda about their, what they're seeing. the clinical data behind why they think people do need booster shots at this time. >> so eight months after the shot. and do it incrementally with people the most in need will be getting the booster shots first. breaking news reporting from cnn white house correspondent caitlyn collins. i appreciate you joining us. thank you very much for the update. >> reporter: no problem. i want to bring in dr. jonathan rhiner and the doctor from the vaccine development and the decent of national school, the national school of tropical medicine at baylor college of medicine. doctors, thank you so much. i appreciate it. i'll start with you, this is big
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news. people have been wondering. people have been asking me. will we get a third shot? when will we know about a third shot? some americans are already coming on, up to their eight-month shot period, right? what does this mean for them now? >> so this really follows a trend that we've been following out of israel and there was also a recent mayo clinic study that has been showing what looks like waning immunity after six, seven, eight months. for a while we didn't know if it was true waning immunity or whether there was a specific issue around the delta variant or a combination of the two. it looks like there is indeed waning immunity. specially in older populations. now i think the game changer is not only is it waning immunity against infection. it had gone down to as low as 40, 45, 50% against infection but still holding up against hospitalizations. now we're seeing breakthrough hospitalizations.
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that was the trigger to say now we have to boost americans. in some ways, it was both predicted and predictable. when these vaccines were released through emergency use, it was imperative to vaccinate as many americans as we could quickly and it was only a three-week interval for the pfizer vaccine between the first and second dose. and that's not usually enough to give longer lasting immunity. so you often need space it out. so i think rid give really robust protection and that may be it for a while. we may not need annual boosters. this could be the third and done. >> let's hope that is the case. while some americans are eager to get a third shot, millions of americans still haven't got quem their first shots. are you concerned this could make them even more vaccine hesitant? >> well, it shouldn't. i think the messaging should be, we have excellent data showing that a third shot of plarly the
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mrna vaccines produce really a very robust immune response. as my old friend and colleague dr. hotez said, it is also possible this third dose will actually create a much longer lasting immunity. so i think this should be both reassuring and underscore the need for folks in this country who have not been vaccinated to start the process now. get your first shot now. and i think this has to, this doesn't have to be a very complicated process. everyone in this country who has been vaccinated has received a vaccine card. and the process is going to be simple. we've already done the sort of, we've gone through the steps to triage people by risk earlier in the year. so the people who will come up first eight months after their second dose are either the elderly or health care providers. it's interesting. the timing of eight months is
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interesting. this gives the fda time to approve the vaccines for booster doses, because the first people who will be available won't be available, won't be ready for their shot until about the first week in september now. because third shots, the three-week shot after the first pfizer dose wasn't administered in this country until the first week of january. so that takes us up to the first week in september. >> can i go back to something that you said? you talked about the third shot might be the last, right? and that we may not have to get boosters every year. is that because the virus keeps mutating, the more people who don't get their shots, who are not vaccinated, it allows the virus to continue on mutate. so we get a flu shot and the flu shot is updated every single year. many people thought it would be the same way with a covid shot. why are you saying that? >> well, with influenza, there
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are really dramatic changes to the structure of the virus it is and a completely different virus that undergoes the process. we're not really seeing it with covid, although we are seeing new variants. it may be the case if you get really jacked up levels of virus neutralizing the antibody, that will be sufficient and provide the extra level of protection that we're going to need. we don't know for sure. we'll have to continue to watch it. the fact that i think we will get a pretty robust response. we'll have to continue to follow it and i think it is great that we had that data coming out of israel and we'll hopefully continue to follow it here in the u.s. as well. >> you know i've been asking but getting a third shot for quite some time now. i thought maybe we should all be doing it. if israel got it, maybe we should be doing it now as well. i want to talk about young
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folks. i get a lot of questions about that. the fda hasn't formally approved the vaccine for kids under 12. they can't get it box those approvals convince more people, do you think? >> well, i certainly hope so. it looks like pfizer is expecting to file for an eua for 12 and under sometime toward the end of september and we'll probably see that also in tears. probably 5-12 would be the first group. and then 2-5 and then six months through two years of age. look. we already have this vaccine approved for 12 and up. only about a third of our adolescents have been vaccinated. we still have a tremendous. a work to do to get everyone eligible, which soon in the united states will be basically everyone, vaccinated. >> do you think, do you really think fda approval will make that big a difference in
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convincing people to get the vaccine? >> i think there are all kinds of ways to get more people of i think fda approval will sway the people who are, some people who are on the fence. it is mandates, more and more corporations now are mandating vaccines. i think venues, restaurants, music venues, potentially even airlines. we've seen in canada, you can't fly in canada without being vaccinated. all of these incentives or even negative incentives or sticks, essentially, will convince more and more people. we tried carrots. we tried reasoning with people. we tried lotteries and giveaways. i think it may be that ultimately, we'll get more people vaccinated by basically telling them that if there are things they will not be able to do if they don't get vaccinated. >> thank you both. we were lucky to have you here
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to talk about this. this breaking news coming from the white house. thank you. appreciate it. president joe biden addressing the fwhags the deteriorating situation in afghanistan saying he stands squarely behind his decision to withdraw troops and there was never a good time on leave. admitting the taliban retaking control of the country happened a lot faster than his administration anticipated. the president said they fled the country and the country's armed forces didn't put up a fight against the taliban. kabul's international airport, a scene of utter chaos as thousands of afghans are desperate to leave the country. nick paton walsh. >> reporter: it was not going according to the script. afghans convinced the promise of a flight out was the only way out. the tarmac that americans spent
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billions on to maintain its presence and then a startling image. one of the u.s.'s largest cargo plane. at aying, laden afghanis who didn't want to be left behind. later, a plane takes off. what you're about to see is disturbing. as the plane ascends, twos on, or people appear to fall from the fuselage. but the sheer scale of those who needed help meant it was even harder to come by. civilian flights canceled. even the americans had to pause operations until they could regain control. >> cnn's clarissa ward inside kabul where the taliban are now firmly in control. >> reporter: taliban fighters have flooded the capital. smiling and victorious, they took city of 6 million people in a matter of hours. barely firing a shot. >> this is a sight i thought i would never see.
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scores of taliban fighters and just behind us, the u.s. embassy xounl. some carry american weapons. they tell us, they're here to maintain law and order. >> translator: everything is under control, everything will be fine, he says. nobody should worry. >> reporter: what is your message to america in. >> translator: america spent enough time in afghanistan. they need to leave, he tells us. they already lost lots of lives and lots of money. >> reporter: people come up to them to pose for photographs. they're just channelling, death to america. but they seem friendly at the same time. it is utterly bizarre. >> yeah. so joining me now, cnn military analyst retired general mark ertling and robin wright, also a columnist for the new yorker. i'm so glad to have you both on
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this evening. it is a blessing that we have you here. robin, i'll start with you first. 20 years. more than 2300 american lives lost. tens of thousands wounded. $2 trillion taxpayer dollars all spent ending in a humiliating mess. what message does this send about the united states to the rest of world? that's the question. >> this is an epic defeat for the united states when you consider that america is arguably the world's most powerful nation. it stood against the mighty nazi war machine 80 years ago as well as the formidable japanese empire and won with its vast air, sea and land power. in afghanistan, the united states couldn't prop up a military to defeat a rag tag militia with no air power, no armor, and only 60,000 fighters in a country the size of texas.
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it is not just humiliating. it will have a pro found impact on america standing in the world on the future of jihadism which the u.s. had thought it had won by eliminating the leaders of al qaeda and isis, helping defeat the islamic state. and the danger is, down the road, what nation will want to aline it southwesterly the united states, commit troops and resources, whether it is for the kind of massive alliance, 132 nations that fought in afghanistan, or the coalition of the willing that invaded iraq. the repercussions of this are not just playing out in the tragic scenes at kabul airport. it really i think could be, koenld up being had a historians look at as the book end on the american era of power. >> can i ask you something? even after devoting 20 years, do
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you think the images coming out of the airport will be the deciding factor in history? or with our future allies about whether to form a quoegs the united states of snerk the united states, we did slog it out for 20 years before pulling out. >> it's not the scenes at the airport. it is the fact the taliban walked into kabul and walked in to the presidential palace. that the president fled, a military that the united states had invested $83 billion in building an army simply melted away. these are the things that will have an enduring impact. is it worth, what are the circumstances where it will be worth other countries joining in a coalition to fight militarily? i think this weakened america's
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image. i don't want it to be, you know, i'm an american, too. i think that the repercussions from this are only beginning to be felt. and are likely to be felt for decades to come. >> general, i want you to weigh in on this. more than 20,000 afghan who's helped the u.s. have applied for special visas. we've moved about 2,000 of them out but you say there are actually many more people to evacuate. i want you to talk about this and also reply to what robin just said. >> i'm not sure i agree with robin on the gloom and doom of the rest of the world. i'm old enough to remember when the soviets left afghanistan. it was pretty devastating to them. for a while, there were repercussions in terms of the states that aligned with the soviet union at the time. they had also been defeated by a so-called rag tag mujahideen. what i suggest is that the united states was not defeated
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by the taliban. what happened is we got into the mission overreach. multiple administrations made mistakes. did things differently, changed the policies. there were mistakes from the military and mistakes from the intelligence community that all contributed to a mission extension that had us trying to build a government in our image that was never going to be a government in our image. and with that, when you have a government that is not trusted by its soldiers, and that was what was happening. there were some very good afghan national army soldiers that fought for their country. quite a few gave their lives. the special operations forces within afghanistan were very good. they lost faith and confidence in their government. and that is a recipe for disaster when that happens.
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getting to her point about the united states being anathema around the world right now because of what happened primarily today, i'm not sure that's true. when president biden went to the nato summit in june, at the time nato countries had about 10,000 troops in afghanistan. as we were drawing down there 13,000 to 2500 under the trump orders. those countries like the u.k., turkey, georgia, italy at the time of the nato summit were upset that president biden had not coordinated with them as much as they thought they should have in terms of the draft drawdown. in talking with these partners, several numbers mountain military government, these were my former partners, as u.s. army military commander, they were all in agreement with the drawdown. they welcomed it. they were ready for it and they thought it was time. they also had spent 20 years in
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this country and they were seeing, hey, it is about time that we take the so-called training wheels off and let the afghan army defend their own country. let the afghan government run the operations they need to run to protect their women and their pop l.s.u. but that didn't happen. the contributed considerably. >> i have time for a quick response. >> first of all, remember that the soviet withdrawal from afghanistan led to the demise of the soviet union & or incredibled mightily as well as the end of communist rule. i didn't say anathema. the united states was still the west major power but it will take a lot for other countries to commit to create a kind of coalition to fight alongside us. this is a moment you need leadership and the united states looked like its political,
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diplomatic, military, economic plan for afghanistan failed. >> plenty of discussion points we need to hit on and we will. thank you both. i appreciate it. why the afghan military failed so dismally, and why did the u.s. ever believe they could defeat taliban as the country sinks into chaos. >> i know my decision will be criticized but i would rather take all that criticism and pass this decision on to another president of the united states. yet another one. a fifth one. because it is the right one, the right decision for our people. i, get checked for tuberculosis. an increased risk of infections—some serious— and the lowered ability to fight them may occur. tell your doctor about an infection or symptoms, or if you've had a vaccine or plan to. tell your doctor if your crohn's disease symptoms develop or worsen. serious allergic reactions may occur. watch me! get real relief with cosentyx.
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. so president biden today trying to explain why afghanistan failed, fell to the taliban so quickly. >> i will not mislead the american people by claiming that just a little more time in afghanistan will make all the difference. nor will i shrink from my share of responsibility for where we are today and how we must move forward from here. i am president of the united states of america and the buck stops with me. >> he says the buck stops with him. so why is he blaming so many others? joining me now, cnn historian douglas brinkley. good evening to you. i want to get to the former president george w. bush and laura bush just issuing a statement on the fall of afghanistan and it says in part, the united states government has the legal authority to cut the red time for refugees during urgent humanitarian crisis and we have the responsibility and the resources to secure safe passage for them now without
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bureaucratic delay. our most stalwart allies along with private ngo's are ready to go. the bushes have a long history with afghanistan. this is personal for them. >> absolutely. george w. bush has gotten a lot of criticism and rightfully so for his managing of the war in afghanistan. listening to liz cheney and donald rumsfeld. here president biden is calling it straight. we at all costs have to bring our allies into the united states. these are the people who fought for democracy. they're our friends. and whether it is 20,000, 30,000 or more we could all be saying, look, the war ended. this is a good thing. the contingency plans unraveled. nobody knows what's going on. it's chaos. we might be able to turn this
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into a positive when we show that we don't leave people behind like with gerald ford. >> before the president spoke today, douglas, the former secretary leon panetta said he should take responsibility like jfk did after the bay of pigs. biden did say the buck stops with him but only after a lot of finger pointing. how will history remember this speech? >> it was not much of a speech. it was very bland. it won't be soaring oratory. he said the key thing with the buck stops with me meaning i will take blame. kennedy kennedy in the bay of pigs could have blamed eisenhower's cia. but instead, kennedy took blame. he went up in public opinion polls and then he latched on to going into space with the moon shot and went up in the polls after that. so i think biden should have, he did the right thing. he took that troop anesque -- >> can i ask you something? do you think i framed the
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question properly? do you think that there was a lot of finger pointing? i said that. i don't know if that was your assessment. >> i didn't think it was finger pointing except i don't think biden was kind enough to our afghan allies. he seemed to be blaming the army. it was an opportunity today to really thank the men and women who had been fighting for 20 years for democracy, but instead, he just wanted to do that personal buck stops with me and then head back to camp david. i thought it was a missed opportunity today. and he's going to have all sorts of ugly political ramifications and spooling on him because of the chaotic withdrawal. but i thought it was solid that he is at least saying, i'm responsible. the american people want out of there, 70% will like that. a lot of them will. >> more of the president. listen. >> how many more generations of america's daughters and sons would you have me send to fight
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afghanistan's civil war? when afghan troops will not? how many more lives, american lives, is it worth? how many endless rows of headstones at arlington national cemetery? i'm clear on my answer. i will not repeat the mistakes we've made in the past. >> so jonathan martin of the "new york times" said that reminded him of lbj in 1964. here it is. >> we are not about to send american boys, 9,000 or 10,000 miles away from home, to do what asian boys ought to be doing for themselves. >> so you just mentioned it before about the 70% of people wanting the polling showing americans want to get out of afghanistan. i'm wondering if that will if that will hold up after this.
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if the president continues to take a stand saying i stand by my decision. then what else? i don't think there's anything much for anybody else to do. if he stands by his decision, he stands by his decision. >> stand by the decision. secure the airport in kabul and make sure that we get these afghani friends, people who collaborated with us, into the united states. you know, in the 19th century, the british were in afghanistan. we've been there longer than the british. we've been in afghanistan twice as long as the soviet union was. at some point, we were going to have to find an exit strategy. it is just so sad that they didn't seem to be choreographed. if anything reminded me of jimmy carter's desert rescue during the iran hostage crisis where carter said, i needed one extra helicopter. we needed a plan and wasn't actualized. so biden will take a black eye for that. on the other hand, in the long
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sweep of history, that ladder of the embassy in saigon, that was a symbol of american shame when that happened at the same time that ladder is in the gerald ford museum and it stands for america not leaving its friends behind. so what george w. bush said at the outset of our talk here is the exact right message. biden needs to run a humanitarian effort out of afghanistan like nobody's business and he started with it an executive order that happened a couple of hours or less ago. >> i appreciate our conversation. thank you very much. see you soon. the afghan military crumbling rammed pace as the taliban swept across the country. in many cases, shots weren't even fired. what went so wrong?
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i'm back now with my guest who served as a civilian adviser in the iraq and afghanistan, in iraq and afghanistan, excuse me, and was a senior adviser to general dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff from 2015 to 2019. he's also the author of a book, the american war in afghanistan. thank you for joining me. you've spent so much of your career focusing on afghanistan, specially afghan military.
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why did they fail so miserably? >> thank you for having me on tonight, don. so one of the reasons, many reasons. one of them is we should focus on from the get-go, that the united states and afghanistan, we were centrally occupiers. and the afghan forces were fighting along disside us, fighting alongside government that was very connected to us as you know from afghanistan history, on resisting occupation, it is something that has been a part of their history. and that helps motivate people to do this. i don't think this is terribly hard to understand. it is a characteristic of many countries but certainly afghanistan. when it comes to who will fight toe to toe the longest, who will stick it out the longest, the taliban often had the edge. that is kind of a base reason. there are more things that happened over the last two weeks or so that go in addition tom.
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but i label that as the base reason for what we've seen happen. >> you've been trying to answer the question, how did we lose this war? you said corruption was part of the problem. as is well known, the effectiveness of soldiers and police suffered because government officials or military commanders pocketed their pay, hoarded their ammunition, and diluted rosters with ghost soldiers. a stronger explanation was that the police and soldiers did not want to put their lives on the line for a government that was corrupt and prone to neglect them. i mean, that is a pretty strong statement. check out the taliban taking over the palace this weekend. as the president of afghanistan fled, as we see these images, the afghan people, did they not feel a connection to their government? >> so in many places, the connection to the government was thin and it is troubled by corruption. some other factors such as the one i mentioned.
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the other thing to remember is what we've seen happen over the past two weeks is additional factors, additional magnification of the problem that exist. so not only did they have these problems with corruption and fighting alongside occupiers but there was also the problem with facing defeat after defeat after defeat. that just worsens morale and that drags things further down. if the expectation is that there will be another defeat in the future, that will incline forces to run. by the time the taliban got into kabul, the army had seen defeat after defeat. like stockton crash. everyone ran. everyone stopped investing. and earlier on, two weeks before this, we still had many incidents of afghans fighting hard. but as things got worse, it just all fell apart. >> i'm going to put this image of this cargo plane.
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pe people trying to flee. we're told others hid in their homes too, afraid to leave. who is responsible for failing these people? >> that's a hard question at this point. to some extent, yes. i think we all hope the elements. afghan army and afghan leaders would have fought harder. i think we'll have to, over the next days and weeks, look at ourselves to see what extent we think we might have done something that is wrong there or might have made some mistakes there. and then some of it of course is that there were hard decisions to make as some of your other previous commentators agreed to. hard questions about pursuing hard decisions and strategic interests at all costs and right now we have to field those
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costs. >> thank you very much. i appreciate you joining. >> thank you. emotions running hot over masks and vaccines. one vaccine protest in los angeles getting so heated, someone was stabbed. smells like the internet. shop now at when i'm not racing, i'm personalizing, just like how carvana lets you personalize your financing. you can customize your down payment and monthly payment in a matter of minutes for some truly dazzling results. financing has never felt so fabulous.
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okay, you guys have to watch this. a protest against vaccines and masks at los angeles city hall
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devolving into an all-out brawl after counter protesters showed up. one person stabbed. others injured. no arrests have been made. the investigation is ongoing. here's what happened. >> unmask them! unmask them! unmask them! >> what is wrong -- joining me now, a report he who was there. the staff writer at the "los angeles times." good evening. my goodness, my goodness. how did this get so violent? >> so this started out a couple days ago, the l.a. city council and the board of supervisors
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started considering vaccine mandates for entry into a few places and this rally starts to be organized, mostly against vaccine mandates and generally the idea of a vaccine. probably about 200 people on one side of first street in downtown l.a., on the city hall lawn. a few dozen counter protesters organized on the opposite side of the block. i didn't see the initial exchange of blows. the two groups start fighting in the middle of first and spring. and then where that video picks up. i'm standing right in the middle of that as it happens. the two groups square up again and you start hearing people screaming about antifa and the one gentleman screaming, unmask them all. they charged and that's when all hell breaks loose. you can see the videos. things they saw that day. people getting gang tackled to the ground. punched and kicked. one person was stabbed and seriously injured. it just exploded pretty quickly and this is a pattern we've seen
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at a few other protests around l.a. going back to january 6th, these ideologically opposed groups. >> so do people come ready to fight? did they come in this one? >> in the moments before that video starts, i was walking around intelligent of city hall and there were people among the anti-vaccine rally functioning as de facto security. at least one of them shas shown number other pictures wearing proud boy merchandise. it has been suggested there were other proud boys there. they were talking over walky talkies. yeah, you saw people with knee pads, people with helmets on. i don't know their motives. i don't read minds. i can't say they came dead society violence but there were people definitely wearing clothing that would suggest they were at least prepared for combat. >> what did police say about the attack? so far no one has been arrested. is that correct? >> no one has been arrested. the lament just put out an image
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a few minutes ago of who they believe is a stak suspect. i only got a chance to take a quick peek at it. a person with a black hoodie on. yeah. they have not made any other arrests or not described any other suspects in relation to this yet. >> is it there is a lot of frustration on one side of this equation. with the way the lapd responded to some of these right-wing protests. they accuse them of giving these groups too much leeway, like the anti-vaccine group. so, both sides are furious with one another, and at least one has little to no trust in the police department that's supposed to be to be responding to these situations. so the potential is there. >> good luck, man. be safe. thanks so much. thank you. we'll be right back. - had enough? - no... arthritis. here. new aspercreme arthritis. full prescription-strength? reduces inflammation? thank the gods. don't thank them too soon.
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good evening. today, president biden seeked to defend his attempt to close the book on this country's involvement in afghanistan. tonight, we'll look at what happens, now. to all those, still, struggling to get out. and to how, or if, the u.s. will live up to its promises to them. # we begin with the final fiasco. the images we have been getting all day tell the chaotic story. rushing to the airport. afghans desperate for a way out of the country. trying to get in, any way they can. for all the talk from the administration, be no images like from the fall of saigon in 1975, well, these pictures are, certainly, bad enough. crowds mobbing the tarmac, climbing onto jet ways, trying desperately to board outgoing flights clinging onto the outsides of planes. that's an air force's c17. people are grabbing


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