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tv   CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera  CNN  August 18, 2021 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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the homecoming concert" right here on cnn. ana cabrera picks up our coverage right now. hello. i'm ana cabrera in new york. the u.s. just updated its pandemic playbook. the administration says booster shots will be offered to all americans who are eligible starting on september 20th. the surgeon general says this is all about staying ahead of the virus, but not all scientists agree on this. this afternoon president biden will address the nation as the delta variant surges, now making up 99% of infections. daily cases are nearing 140,000, 11 times higher than two months ago. let's get right to elizabeth
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cohen. what is the rollout plan for booster doses? and talk to us about the data behind this decision. >> right. i think some people may be thinking, watit a minute, i thought i was fully vaccinated. you are fully vaccinated. but now they're saying your immunity may wane over time and you may need a third dose. if you look on the left at the 92% and the 64%, that's from a group of millions in new york and minnesota. they found before delta the vaccine was 92% effective, but now with delta it's only 64% effective. folks in nursing homes, before delta 75% effective, with delta only 53% effective.
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there's twoen reasons why. t delta is tough. the vaccine just doesn't work as well against delta. you are two things causing the numbers we're seeing here. the rollout is going to start the week of september 20th. you will be eligible if you are eight months after your second dose. if you were vaccinated a month or two ago, this is not for you right now. these will be the folks prioritized, health care workers, nursing home residents and other senior citizens. these reare the folks that got e vaccine first in line back in january or december, so these are the first to be waning. >> dr. leana wen is the author of "lifelines, a doctor's
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journey in the fight for public health." you're reaction to the data and the timing of this decision on boosters, given it was just over the weekend members of the administration were still saying no need for boosters. >> i agree with the administration laying out a booster plan and i appreciate how they did that, because they're not saying run out and get a booster tomorrow. they're saying we anticipate that given the data that we're seeing, that there are enough signals that we need to let the american people know boosters are coming. this is going to start next month. there will be enough time to layout this plan in the meantime. we need to let people have a choice. there are some people who are going to say i am well protected because these vaccines are protecting me against severe illness, i may not want a booster. there are others that say, but it looks like there's waning
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immunity to symptomatic disease. >> the world health organization said just today they believe the data, quote, unquote, clearly does not indicate that boosters are needed, saying this is like handing out extra live jfe jack to people who don't need them. where is the disconnect? >> we need to have vaccine equity for the world. this is a humanitarian issue when health care workers and vulnerable older people in other countries who are going to die because they don't have the vaccine. also it's in our self-interest to prevent new mutations from arising. that doesn't mean people with chronic conditions in the u.s. should be suffering either. we have to do both.
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there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. there are going to be some who don't want or need a booster in the u.s., but there are others who will need a booster. we're following in the steps of israel, the u.k., germany who are already doing booster shots. this helps us to get in line with other countries. >> this is all about the mnra vaccine. you're one of the millions who got the j&j shot. do you feel like you're in the dark right now? why aren't we getting guidance on that vaccine? >> the 13 million of us who got the j&j vaccine, we were told get the first vaccine that was available to you. we actually followed public health guidance at that time and a lot of people are feeling like, well, what about us? the data just aren't fully there for them to make a
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recommendation. however, i think they should follow what san francisco's health department is doing, basically saying people who got the johnson & johnson vaccine, if they want a booster dose, should be able to get them. there are some individuals, again, elderly people with chronic medical conditions who may want additional protection with an additional dose. even if the fda and cdc aren't recommending this, they should say they are allowing that for each individual patient's circumstance. let's be clear. the science tells us vaccines are you're best defense against covid. for those who aren't vaccinatevaccinated, i masks are critical. yet florida officials are still fighting over masks in schools despite thousands of kids testing positive. amara walker is in broward county where one of the state's
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largest school districts reopened today with precautions that directly defy the state governor. >> reporter: yeah. here at bayview elementary school behind me, classes are currently underway. a total of about 260,000 students across broward county were expected to return to the cl classroom today. parents are not allowed to opt their children out of wearing masks. we were here this morning. we saw a lot getting out of cars wearing ing masks as required, we did see some kids with the mask hanging below their nose and we heard staff members tell them to put it on all the way. if they refuse to wear their mask when they get to school, they will not be admitted per the broward county school's policy.
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drama between governor ron desantis and two school districts here in florida. that includes broward county and alachua public schools. this fight over mask mandates came to a head at an emergency meeting last night where they voted to take steps to punish these two school districts over them mandating masks, which defies the governor's executive order signed earlier this summer. it's not clear what exactly will be imposed. it could include removing some district officials. it could also include withholding funding. during that meeting we heard from the interim superintendent of broward county saying she was concerned about the surge because there's only five icu pediatric beds available in the county. some alarming numbers to leave you with, just this first week of school nearly 5,000 students,
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faculty and staff testing positive for covid-19 and more than 14,000 now quarantining or in isolation due to covid-19. >> thousands testing positive, more than 14,000 in quarantine. parents, let that be a warning. mask your children as they go to school. that's the safest thing you can do. let's head to texas where republican governor greg abbott, who is fully vaccinated, has tested positive for covid. here he was monday attending a republican event indoors. noticeably absent? masks. rosa flores is live in dallas. the governor has banned school districts from requiring masks. what are you learning about the governor's condition? >> well, he tweeted last night a video where he says that he's doing well. as you know, he's fully vaccinated. we have learned from his press
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office that everyone who came in contact with the gopher vernor been notified. the governor tweeting these images monday night of a mostly maskless event in colin county. you can see him mingling with the crowd. to be clear, the cdc guidelines say that even if you're fully vaccinated, to be fully protected, you should be wearing a mask indoors. as you can tell from those images, very few people are wearing masks, the governor not wearing one himself. this at a time when experts here in the state of texas are sounding the alarm about hospitalizations in this state. more than 1200 people are hospitalized and about 314 icu beds remain. the state department of health l here asking fema for five
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mor y mortuary trailers to have on standby. in alabama there are zero icu beds left statewide. joining us now is dr. scott harris, a state health officer for the alabama department of public health. doctor, zero icu beds for the state? has it ever been this bad? >> no. this is the most icu beds we've ever hadd occupied. we actually got to a negative number, which is remarkable. we have more critically ill patients than we have beds than we would normally have to put them in. >> what does that mean then for people who are part of that overflow, who need an icu bed and have nowhere to go?
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what happens to them? >> it is somewhat regionalized right now. we have some parts of the state that have a little bit of capacity, it's just that the overall total for the state as a whole is that negative 11 beds. we have beds set aside for things that can't wait, like organ transplants when there is a donor, for example. if yo if you have a heart attack today or you're involved in an automobile accident, it's causing our hospitals to be very creative on trying to get you the care that you need. >> if i'm you, i'm having a panic attack right now thinking what are we going to do. >> this is the scenario we've all been dreading. we actually had a slightly higher number of total inpatients in alabama back in january, which was the worst we'd seen so far in the pandemic. but really this is the highest
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we've seen. this is the whole reason for doing all the things we've done. we've tried to preserve the capacity of our health care system. we really aren't going to be able to take much more here. >> so you did see this coming? >> yes. i think all along it was our worst fear. 16 or 17 months ago we understood that we could be swamped like this. unfortunately that day is now. >> what are you hearing from doctors and nurses, those on the front lines right now? are they overwhelmed? are there staffing issues? >> staffing issues are a huge problem. listen, the doctors and nurses and icu staff, front line health care workers are the real heros here and they've been overwhelmed for over a year. this is just adding insult to injury almost. they're having to pick up what they've been doing all along. around 89% of the people who are in our hospitals right now are
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not vaccinated people. that i cmakes us feel like so m of this is preventible. it's unfortunate to see so many people hospitalized when the odds of the vaccine improving your chance are terrific. >> we're still seeing the number of cases and hospitalizations surging. we know that alabama is one of the states with the least vaccinations right now. when do you think this will let up? >> you know, i don't know. we have seen an uptick over the past couple of weeks of people getting vaccinated. i think when they have a personal experience and know someone, that motivated them. on the other hand with the mrna vaccines, it's going to take three to four weeks to get get both shots. there's a couple of weeks after that until you get to full
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immunity. that's problematic. i hope this will pass in the next two or three weeks, but i certainly am not confident in that. w >> what do you need from your governor? >> our governor has been extraordinarily supportive of trying to get people vaccinated. she understands what's going on and has been a champion for public health. we need people to get vaccines, which is our number one way to prevent this. we're implementing monoclonal infusion centers for those who aren't yet hospitalized. we hope that will keep them out of the hospital. we feel like the science supports what we're doing with regards to masking, with regards to vaccinations, with regards to all the things we're seeing for our schools. we want to have their support as well. >> if people are thinking, oh well, if i get covid, i'll just have that monoclonal antibody
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therapy, are there enough resre resources to give them that therapy? >> there's not enough to go around just because of staff issues. we don't have a supply issue obtaining the monoclonal antibody itself. we're trying to mandate vaccinations because these vaccines, even though they're not quite as effective against the delta variant, they're still almost as effective as any other vaccine we have for any other disease. that's really the way we're going to ultimately get out of this. >> dr. scott harris, i appreciate your time and message today. >> thank you very much. we're staying on top of the other breaking news. in afghanistan, gunfire and chaos in the streets as thousands struggle to escape the
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taliban. cnn's account of the mayhem surrounding the massive evacuation effort. plus what u.s. intelligence agencies apparently told the white house about the potential for a taliban takeover. so why did the administration seem so surprised?
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desperate to flee their country. many are in fear for their lives for helping americans during the 20-year war. clarissa ward provided this harrowing snapshot of a population left terrified and shellshocked. >> reporter: it's definitely chaotic. it's definitely dangerous. i will say this. the taliban appears to be trying to disperse the crowds and there are crowds of young men who seem to be just engaging in like criminal activity. i don't know if you heard that. they're kind of running towards the taliban and then running away from them again, almost like it's a game. when there's bullets firing like that, it's clearly not a game. they're firing to disperse the crowds. they're not targeting people. they're not trying to kill people. the minute you're firing willie nilly people get hiurt.
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that's what happens. there isn't a huge amount of discipline in the ways in which they are dispersing the crowd. we did see some people bind the concertina wire. you're running the gauntlet to try to get in there, because there are so many different things going on. the gunfire is pretty much constant as the taliban tries to push people back. as a result you're getting lots of people on the roads surrounding the airport like the one we're on. >> we helped the american people. that's their job to help right now. there's a very bad situation if they know you work with somebody. >> you have a green card? >> yes. this is my green card. >> he's showing me a picture of his green card. that's his green card.
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>> yeah. and i have flight on august 20 this friday. i already fill out the application for the u.s. embassy. this is the e-mail that i got from the u.s. embassy. >> so did you try to get into the airport? >> i did. >> what did the taliban say? >> the taliban say we don't know, just go. we don't want to try to let you in. >> they don't have flights. >> they just say, but they do have flights. >> you're getting the impression. look, i'm surrounded here. everybody here has got a story, people work for the americans. one man has a green card. he already has his flights booked. now they're pressing in. they want desperately to tell their stories. they want the americans to know because they're not able to get past the checkpoints. >> that was clarissa ward outside the airport in the kabul.
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i want to bring in natasha b ber bertrand. there were still thousands of afghan allies and translators. what's the latest on evacuations? >> thousands and thousands who are just desperate to get out at this point. we're hearing the priority of the evacuations is first and foremost american citizens. secondly, after they get out citizens, they are going to be focusing on afghans with visas. those are going to be taken out of the country as soon as all the u.s. citizens are out safely. right now there are about 10 to 15,000 u.s. citizens still in afghanistan. the question remains of whether or not they're going to be able to get them all out, especially since they're scattered across the country. 60 afghans who could be qualifiedfor leaving the
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country, people like human rights defenders, women's activists, people who could be targeted by the taliban. we're getting a picture from the pentagon as to how many people have been flown out so far. as of yesterday about 1100 were evacuated. about 330 of those were u.s. citizens. the rest were their families who were not citizens. about 3200 people including u.s. diplomatic personnel have been removed from the country. now, of course, the question remains whether the u.s. is going to stay in the country past that august 31st deadline that biden put on the withdrawal and whether or not everyone is removed by that time is a big lingering question that the administration has not yet answered. >> it does seem like an awful lot to happen in just a couple of weeks here. we'll soon here more from t
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pentagon. lloyd austin and mark milley arrived at the white house. they're scheduled to brief the press. mark, you have new reporting that the intel community had warned of an afghan collapse even as the president was reassuring the american people. what exactly did the biden administration know and when? >> if you think back to the spring when president biden was making this decision about the pullout, the intelligence community put an estimate of about a year and a half to two years that the government, the military could potentially survive after the u.s. leaves. now, of course, that's after 20 years and billions of dollars spent on training the military. that's not particularly an optimistic assessment. then once the pullout commences, may and june, it starts raising
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greater warnings about the potential for the afghan military to collapse and even po potentially for the government to collapse. these warnings start becoming more dire and the timeline collapses about when the potential might be for the military to collapse. by july, around the time that president biden kind of famously gave a pretty optimistic assessment about the likelihood of government collapse in kabul, the intelligence community was really in a different place. so some of the things that you saw that clarissa ward has just been reporting on were sort of warned about by the intelligence community and raised questions about why there wasn't better preparation. >> so when the president came out on july 8th saying the afghan government was unlikely
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to fall or to fail and there would not be a chaotic evacuation, you're saying the intelligence was suggesting otherwise? was the intelligence definitive at that time? >> some white house and administration officials say that the intelligence community never provided what they call a high confidence assessment. and what the cia and others do is provide levels of certainty to certain assessments. high confidence obviously being the most certain. that no one ever gave the flashing red light warning that this was going to happen. but certainly they were producing reports that were going to the white house that showed the trajectory going in the wrong direction, the potential worse case scenario happening. now, the president and his advisors might have had other reasons for wanting to present a more optimistic scenario, for instance, to bolster the government of afghanistan, not to create panic.
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but we did see in our reporting this disconnect that was happening privately in a classified setting with these reports and publicly with what the president and some of his advisors were saying. >> what i'm trying to drill down on is, was the president being told one thing, but then telling the american people another? >> well, i think it's still unclear and it bears more reporting. a this is going to take weeks moo months to find out who knew what when. we know around the time president biden made that assess. the intelli -- assessment, the intelligence reports were going in the direction of worst case scenario. so how this was presented to white house official passsoffic going to continue bearing out. we've got to see where the
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reporting goes to know more to answer definitively your question. >> do know it is a mess in afghanistan right now and a messaging crisis here in the u.s. the political stakes ahead of president biden's first sitdown with the media, next. is is the e from pnc bank. it's the sound of a thousand sighs of relief and of a company watchingng out for you. this is the sound ofof low cash mode from pnc bank, giving you multiple options and at least 24 hours to help you avoid an overdraft fee. because we believe how you handle overdrafts should be in your control, not just your bank's. low cash mode on virtual wallet from pnc bank. one way we're making a difference. oh! are you using liberty mutual's coverage customizer tool? so you only pay for what you need. sorry? limu, you're an animal! only pay for what you need.
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president biden is standing by his decision to withdraw troops from afghanistan, but can he get the american people to stand behind him as the chaos continues to unfold? the president set to give his first interview following the events of the last few days. i want to turn to someone who has been inside administrations in times of crisis, david gergen joins us. he's also a former presidential advisor to four presidents, democrat and republican. what does president biden need to say now? >> i'm so glad he's doing this and interviewing and taking some hard questions, because the questions are cascading now and
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the president has to protect and advance his own credibility that's very much on the line now. and answer questions that go to the competence of this whole operation, how did it get so botched? up until now the biden administration has been very effective at getting things done. they've worked well together. you and i have talked before about how well they were doing. yet the inexplicable is now happening. he has to make that explicable. one question is when he knew that the intelligence reports were getting grimmer about what was going on there, why didn't the administration start looking at the interpreters and allies then weeks ago? weeks ago veteran groups started asking the white house and state department to speed up the process on these interpreters. people could see it coming weeks ago. why if you know trouble is potentially coming, why would
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you get rid of your air force base just outside kabul? it doesn't make any sense to get rid of it. we wouldn't have these problems a at the airport we're having now. knowing what he knew, why did the president put such a rosy face on things or at least assure us things were going to be fine? they thought through all the options, but they hadn't thought through all the options. when they say they didn't act because there wasn't a high level of confidence in the intelligence community that's not the standard. if the only reason we went after osama bin laden was because we had high confidence in where he was, we never would have got him. they've got a lot on their plate at this white house and i'm sympathetic with that, but still
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their credibility is on the line. >> you have been inside four white houses. do you see this as a legacy defining moment for biden? >> a lot depends on what happens in the next few days. if it continues, if there's more mayhem, if there's complete chaos and americans are killed, yes, it will be a defining legacy. if he can get order in the streets and get people out of there quickly, people will pay more attention to the economy and the pandemic and so forth. i think the danger now is that it's not just what's going on in afghanistan but the fact that we've got the covid problem getting worse again. inflation may be coming back. we've got the president at loggerheads about how much spending to do. who's in charge here? are things under control or not and how much can we rely on those who are talking to us from
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the white house and other positions of power? so i think this has ramifications and connections to things that go beyond, that really help part of a narrative about how you think about what's going on in the administration. >> again, the president expected to give that interview this afternoon. thank you. just in, afghanistan's former president releasing a new statement as the chaos unfolds. his message, next.
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just minutes ago we heard from afghanistan's deposed president ghani, who fled his country as the taliban fighters were closing in on kabul. what did he say, arwa? >> reporter: well, it was a bit more of an elaboration, a justification for why he left the country. remember, he also released a statement on facebook on sunday. this one he made much longer than the previous one, arguing that he didn't have a choice but to flee, saying that his security had urged him to do so,
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that he was in the process of negotiating through a delegation with the taliban for them not to e enter the city of kabul, but that basically he was left with no choice. here's a portion of what he said. >> translator: honorable death. -- was not acceptable for me. i was taken out of afghanistan to avoid bloodshed and destruction of afghanistan. >> reporter: and, ana, he's in the united emirates right now. they apparently took him in on humanitarian grounds. that's what we heard from the united arab emirates. but given the situation in afghanistan, given the situation in kabul, it is highly unlikely
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that this message is going to change much of the perception around his departure. many other members of his own government, people who had worked very closely with him have been expressing their anger, their disappointment at the fact that he just packed up and left along with two of his senior aides. the afghan people bitterly, understandably disappointed in this. the taliban had said that he should return and be a part of negotiating the way forward for afghanistan. they said that they had previously told him that he also would be granted amnesty, that he did not need to flee. the other point it seems he was trying to make was to dispel a lot of these rumors that are out there that he left with suitcases of money and that sort of a thing. but really what was lacking in all of this was a heart felt
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message to the afghan people. he didn't really speak to the afghan people. >> arwa damon, thank you for that reporting. back here in the u.s., air travel is down, but keep that mask up. the tsa extending its mandate for face coverings on flights. [tv announcer] come on down to our appliance superstore where we've got the best deals on refrigerators, microwaves, gas ranges and grills. and if you're looking for... my psoriatic arthritis pain? i had enough! it's not getting in my way. joint pain, swelling, tenderness... much better. my psoriasis, clearer... cosentyx® works on all of this. four years and counting. so watch out. i got this! watch me. real people with active psoriatic arthritis look and feel better with cosentyx. cosentyx works fast for results that can last.
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air travel hit a 10-week low yesterday as the delta variant surges through the u.s. and as the tsa now extends its mask mandate until at least january. cnn senior data reporter harry enten is here now. there's a lot of debate on the issue of masks, especially in schools. is it as divisive as we think? >> i don't think it's as divisive as people think. we see massive support for mask mandates. look at this, a new poll out yesterday showed us 69% of americans said they support mask mandates in their school district. even among republicans it was still up to 44%. and here's the key thing, right? if you look at a state like florida, ron desantis has been
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threatening to withhold funding from districts. look at that, just 22% support the idea of withholding funding. it has no support, even from republicans it's just 30%. >> and more employers are also requiring vaccines to work. what insights do you have for us there? >> well, this to me is interesting because some of the polling early on suggested that vaccine mandates for employers was not that popular. but in fact what we see is the trend line is going upward. look at this, a poll that was just out yesterday. 55% of employers say that they support the idea of vaccinations to work at their workplace. that is up, if you look compared to a kaiser family foundation poll in june when it was just 37%. so the trend line seems to be going up. more folks are in support of vaccine mandates in order to wo work at their workplace. >> you say the strategy of how to fight coronavirus is playing a big part in the california recall of governor gavin newsom. how so? >> yeah, look, this race is
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really, really close. that's happening in only about a month's time that gavin newsom might get recalled. the polls are really, really close. 48% to 52%. what is gavin newsom and the democrats doing to make sure he doesn't get recalled? they're pushing the idea of vaccine mandates. what we see in california, vaccine mandates are very, very popular. so i think it could be a major play for playing up you're bringing it to us. thank you, sir. >> my pleasure. >> thanks for being with me at home and i hope you'll come back tomorrow at 1:00 eastern. follow me on twitter. the news continues next with alisyn and victor. . i strip with the guys.
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visible is wireless that doesn't play games. it's powered by verizon for as little as $25 a month. but it gets crazier. bring a friend every month and get every month for $5. boom! 12 months of $5 wireless. visible, wireless that gets better with friends. - [narrator] every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft condition. in the us, children are healed at birth. but in parts of the world where the right medical care doesn't exist, children like lexi struggle to speak or eat. without surgery, some will die. those who do survive face extreme challenges. together, we can change this. operation smile works to heal children born with cleft conditions. with volunteer medical teams in more than 30 countries worldwide, we need you. there are still millions in dire need of healing.
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go to today and become a monthly supporter. help create new smiles and new futures. but act now. children are waiting. go online to to give monthly or call. (upbeat music)
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hello, everyone. thanks for joining us on newsroom. i'm alisyn camerota. >> i'm victor blackwell. next hour america's top military officials will brief the press about the urgent humanitarian crisis in afghanistan. we'll bring that to you live. now, this is video of defense secretary lloyd austin and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general mark milley


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