tv The Story With Martha Mac Callum FOX News September 2, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
that are still coming in from your hard-hit areas. thanks for joining us. thanks to gwen for that. of course they're calling it in the middle of complete chaos, what they're dealing with, john. >> john: yeah. so many people suffering and our hearts go out. >> sandra: coverage of this storm will continue here on the fox news channel. thanks for joining us. i'm sandra smith. >> john: good to see you. see you tomorrow. i'm john roberts. "the story" starts right now. >> martha: thank you, john and sandra. good afternoon. i'm martha maccallum. breaking right now on "the story," in moments we expect some tough questions for the pentagon. we will take you there live as soon as that gets underway. that as to the chairman of joint chiefs general milley was asked to what extent would the u.s. consider coordinating with the taliban beyond what we saw during the evacuation. >> any possibility of coordination against isis-k? >> it's possible.
>> martha: we're expected to hear questions about that today and the full context of what that conversation was. my next guest knows what it's like to sit across a negotiation table with leadership of the taliban. chris galinda has fought the taliban as a commander in afghanistan. he's sat down at the table in an effort to try to find a way forward for the country. he serves multiple tours in afghanistan and an advisinger to our top generals there. he's the author of "zero sum victory, what we're getting wrong about war." he joins me now. great to have you with us today, colonel. obviously you have so much experience in country and dealing with this issue. so i think one of the things that i want to begin with based on your history of trying to solve this problem starting in 2017, 18, when you see the coordination that the pentagon and the military was telling us about, how hurt so many people
were by it in terms of what was going on at the airport, seeing the united states saying well, we have to partner with them. they're in charge. how hurtful that is to so many americans. what do you say about that? >> well, i think they're exactly right. one of the things i found as a commander negotiating insurgents off the battlefield and later as the secretary of defense's representative in talks with the taliban and later unofficial talks with the taliban to try to get a peace process going, i found it really important to create some space between emotion and action. the first thing that you've got to do is acknowledge the emotions that people are going through. quite frankly, the administration has been tone deaf on this. what we're seeing is an entity that we've demonized the last 25 years riding into kabul, taking
over the country. a government that we spend $2 trillion building. a security force, we sent $2 trillion just evaporating overnight. i think people have a right to be outraged and what has become the biggest foreign policy disaster in american history. so the administration has to acknowledge these emotions. then we can start to move forward on actions that meet our interests. there's really three of them. >> martha: i want to get to this with you. what occurs to me in reading about the work you did is that you sort of were open and they were open to a situation where the united states would have forces on the ground while the taliban was also there. i just want to preface this. there is a civil war. the afghan national army that was created against the taliban. the taliban harbored al-quaida.
they were our natural enemy in this face-off. but you say they were open to having a presence on the ground from the united states. talk about a stalemate and how that might have been a decent solution here. did we forego -- we did lose the opportunity for a stalemate here and end up with a loss? >> in 2001, the taliban offered to surrender. we said no. you can see the press conference with secretary of defense rumsfeld and hamed karzai where we said no. in the wake of september 11th, those emotions were understandable even if that was a very poor decision strategically. in 2003, the taliban again said we'll support the government. we just want to live in peace. we in the afghan government said no. the talks that i had with the taliban as a part of the u.s.
government in 2011 and 2012, we had 100,000 soldiers on the ground. the taliban demands for talking talks with the afghan government were modest and we could not get our act together and the talks went nowhere. and then being forward to 2020 where we're signing an agreement with the taliban, that trades u.s. troops presence for taliban promises that al-quaida won't plan and execute attacks from afghan soil. so you have all of these missed opportunities. i write about this in "zero sum victory", this is a problem -- >> martha: i want to jump in. the pentagon brief has started. i hope you watch it with us and we can come back on the other end. thanks very much. john kirby is there with air force general todd walters, commander of the u.s. european command. let's listen in. >> since friday, august 20 when
the operation started, we've been able to process and have 16,000 afghan evacuees depart from europe to the continental united states. 14,500 of those came from ramstein air base, 1,500 came from siganella and 500 came from spain. the reason that i mentioned this evacuation is because it's intense. we anticipate more intensity in the future and the mission must go on. aside from the evacuee operation that we're working, we bear the responsibility to provide secure sovereignty for our european nations as well as to support nato. we've been able to continue all of those operations via our operations activities and investments and today the region remains secure and conditions are normal on the ground. the entire time we bare the responsibility to ensure that we can't to promote the safety and security for all involved,
whether it's the evacuees, our fellow volunteers across europe, all of the great warriors that service ucom. i'll wrap up with a final thanks to mission partners. first, the united states interagency. all of our european allies and partners. u.s. transportation command. u.s. northern command. u.s. central command. their support to u.s. european command has been remarkable. today we're excited about the fact because all of those agencies work together to facilitate the flow of travelers and afghans from europe to freedom. john, i'll stop right there and i look forward to taking your questions. >> thanks, general. we'll start with lita from a.p. you're on the phone. >> yes. thanks, general. i have a question about the screening of evacuees as they come in. i realize the military is doing
a lot of that. can you give us a better picture of what is happening to people that may be failing the screening or problems with screening or the country -- the allies that you're dealing with. are they expecting some concerns about what is going to happen to those people, what will the u.s. do with them and can you tell us also if there has been any covid problems with the evacuees. thank you. >> lita, i'll go reverse order. number 1, we're pleasantly surprised at the very few covid situations that we've had abroad in europe. our policy is to allow the field commanders in place to govern the administration of covid testing and covid vaccinations based off of conditions on the ground. as you well know at this time, the game plan is for all of our evacuees and travelers to
ultimately get to the united states, get to military installations and then at that point they would receive the appropriate testing and the appropriate vaccinations. with respect to allied concerns on folks we're screening. we've had tremendous cooperation. we've informed germany, italy and spain when we have individuals coming up close to the ten-daytime limit and we received 100% cooperation from the nations in this area. with respect to screening, it's come a long ways in the last ten days. what we do is in process our evacuees. during the course of the inprocessing, we conduct combined biometric and bio graphic screening. so through fbi channels, we have comprehensively scrutinized their background.
this process takes place at the initial screening when the evacuees come to our intermediate bases. we want to make sure that we conduct the screening, get the results and ensure that we've got results on the individual before we put these individuals into their sleeping quarters. then as they remain on station at some point they'll be notified that it's time to depart. as the individuals depart, they'll be screened one more time to make sure than from a biometric and biographical standpoint cleared through dod, fbi, that continue to remain in the green. i will tell you, we've been pleasantly surprised with the number of individuals that are in need of further processing/more screening. the way the process works, at ramstein, the way it works at roda is during that initial in-screening process, if an individual pops red, we calmly
take them out of the normal processing line and put them in a different location so that we can have some isolation and have a little bit of extra time to make sure that everybody is safe and secure as possible. lita, that's a big be end or a little map description. it's a lot more complicated than that. we refined this process over the last ten days. as you can well imagine, if we wind up in situations that we're backed up with evacuees at certain locations, if the screening process is too exorbitant, too slow, we can wind up having serious problems. when we initially started operations in europe, our average wait time in the processing line put us in a position where we could process about 60 folks per hour. today we possess the capability to process 250 folks per hour and that has a lot to do with the improvement in the software with respect to our biometric
machines, communicating with our bio graphical machines. i hope this helps. >> quick follow up so i understand. when you say 250 folks per hour and 60 per hour, is that because you have more locations or you're talking about at one particular location? that's all i have. thanks. >> that's an average of the three current locations that we're working with here in europe at ramstein, germany, spain and italy. >> thank you. it's courtney from nbc news. a couple of follow ups on that. so happens when individuals -- when individuals are asked, have you have any that have been cleared and what happens in that case. when you're talking about the covid situation, you're not
doing any testing for covid of the evacuees, correct? they don't get tested until they come to the u.s.? if you are, how is that happen something only people that present symptoms or self-identify as having symptoms? >> courtney, the process is as you just described. ultimately the plan is to test the individuals when they get to their final military installation. due to situations on the ground and if we had situations where we see symptoms and the commander on site needs to have that person tested, we reserve the right to allow that commander to do so so that he can preserve the health and well-being of the entire population in their community. they've got small resources to be able to do that. it hasn't been executed often. i can tell you in the last three days, it hasn't been executed
once. so that takes care of the covid side of the house. and courtney, you talked a little bit about screening. can you kind of clarify for me what it is you're looking at? >> sure. when an individual is isolated for further screening. have you had anyone who is not ultimately been cleared and brought back in to the regular population? are you holding any individuals for -- because they have popped cleared? >> courtney, at this time it's a rolling number. i've got 58 individuals that are in need of further processing. based on when they entered the cue, i anticipate that all 58 will probably clear. i will tell you that we've had one individual since the operation started in europe on the 20th of september who actually popped red. that individual is currently in the appropriate custody of u.s.
interagency officials. germany has been very cooperative. we're still working his background investigation. >> jen? >> general wolters, jennifer griffin with fox news. can you give us information about that individual and what kind of security threat that he posed? was he a member of the taliban, isis-k? there's no covid testing done of these individuals. why? >> first, jennifer, the individual that is currently in custody is not of a high threat as far as i know. the rest of that information is protected. that's with our agencies here that are representative of that individual. with respect to testing based off the requirement and the timelines of the nations
allowing us to use their soil for ten days, it become an administrative challenge with respect to moving people. as i said, jennifer, commanders on the ground have the right to conduct testing and administer vaccination if conditions on the ground warrant. that is a commander's call, that they're equipped to make and they have the resources to support that. for the purpose of facilitating the flow of our evacuees, in order to comply with the restrictions of the nations, this is a current policy that we have in place. >> go to the phone lines. jeff. >> thank you, general. you had mentioned that you expected the mission to grow more intense. can you elaborate on that? >> i can't, jeff. we're at a point right now where
we're processing in about the same number that we're processing out. it's not comfortable for our troopers in the field. it's challenging. there's the potential that we would be in a position in europe as a result of our existing capacity to continue to facilitate the flow of evacuees out of the middle east ultimately to get to the united states. so to make sure our troops are as ready as they can be, we're hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. so that intensity level has to remain very high with respect to our readiness to be prepared to process folks. what i've seen in the last six hours tells me that we're about to become in a position to where we're going to process about five or 600 in every day and probably going to have 2,500 to 3,000 to depart every day. if that continues in perpetuity, we'll be in good shape.
the next 24 hours will be very telling and i want to make sure our troopers are prepared for the most intense situations possible. that's why the narrative surrounds that conversation. >> thank you. are any of the afghan refugees being housed in kosovo? >> none of our u.s. afghan are in kosovo. we're on the edge with respect to nato capability to putting some nato afghan evacuees in to camp bechtel, which is very close. we haven't started that yet. >> general, the europeans were frustrated by the way the evacuation went in kabul. they were not able to get out at
many citizens as they wanted. today there was a meeting -- defense minister meeting of european union and they talked about creating european rapid reaction information. do you think it would be a good idea? >> i can't speak for the european union. i certainly can speak for nato. i've had reports from many nations and the reports that have come to me through military channels and minister of defense channels have all actually been in the positive. i will tell you that nato and the e.u. are always attempting to do all that they can to make sure that we can facilitate peace on our soil. i can't speak for the efforts that you're getting with respect
to the european union. anything that we can do to promote peace in europe is a plus. >> this is megan from military times. you mentioned the military countries have given you a ten-day deadline to get these through. so which screening are you doing in europe and what do they have to finish in the u.s.? is it more screening or resettlement? what processes need to be finished? >> megan, our evacuees receive biometric and bio graphical screening. they get screened twice. once when they come into our intermediate staging base. once they've been initially screened, they're put in their sleeping quarters. once it's time to depart, they're screened one more time to make sure that we've cleared as many wickets as possible. once they get to the united states, i believe they go through a similar process with
the same machines to make sure that they continue to clear dod, cbp and fbi. >> and the final step is going in europe or is it stateside? >> a thorough health screening will occur stateside. we're in a position with our medical resources to get a broad brush scan from a medical perspective and treating folks that need immediate medical help. in many cases, it happens to be expectant mothers. >> hi, general. this is tara with defense one. you talked about in-processing everyone. we learned yesterday that many of the siv applicants that tried to get out of afghanistan didn't get through. so can you give us a picture of who did get through? if they were sivs, who are they? p-1, p-2s? afghans? with you talk about what you've
seen in the processing. >> i will tell you i don't have the fact that's your quoting with what came out of hkia to the middle east and here. i can tell you a number of folks that i told you we processed, we're in a position to where we have 792 amsix, 900 legal permanent residents. aside from those qualifiers with respect to the individuals -- >> martha: we're going to keep a close eye on this briefing with the air force general, todd wolters. a lot of these questions have to do with the screening of afghans that are coming back in the process through europe with their ultimate destination of the united states. he's talking about the screening process underway. we'll keep an eye on it. if there's anything out of that, we'll go back to john kirby.
joining me now is a retired colonel that served in afghanistan several tours and sat down with the taliban in a process to work some kind of negotiations. i'd like to get a broad thought from you, colonel in terms of what you witnessed the past couple weeks of what you think went wrong and what you would do now. >> well, in terms of what went wrong, you have three main things that went wrong. the first one is the -- you saw a lack of buy-in from the afghan people for the afghan government. you saw afghans vote with their feet away from their government, which has been predatory and corrupt and pushed a lot of afghans in to the arms of the taliban. people voted with their feet away from them and to accepting the taliban. you had commanders, afghan security force commanders who
were selling food and fuel and ammunition on the black market. so you had a government that dismantled itself. second is the taliban used the 17 months after the agreement signed in doha in february of 2020. they used that wisely where they negotiated the capitulations of all of these different provinces and districts. and then came calling on them a couple weeks ago. where the afghan government buried its head in the sand and didn't prepare its defensive positions and make sure its units were ready to fight. third, we helped build an afghan security force that was so dependent on u.s. logistics and firepower that it was unan to operate when some of that left.
what we're supposed to do is help people be the best version of themselves and not create such dependencies that they crash and burn when we leave, this is strategic malpractice and something that we have to fix. >> martha: all right. i have to go. one last question in terms of whether or not we should work with the taliban in any way. we hear about reports of beatings in the street, summary executions of those that maintained their ties with the afghan national army. what do you think? what is the way forward? >> the afghans voted with their feet. so we have to -- on the one hand, i started to mention, recognize the emotions and create space between that and actions. we have three interests to get done. first is the evacuation of u.s. citizens andsive holders. second is working with afghans to address a humanitarian crisis that is ongoing, 20 million afghans at extreme risk.
and then the counter terrorism. so when we do -- look at the three, we're better off negotiating -- working with whatever government the afghans come up with than we are in turning our backs in frustration. >> martha: colonel, thank very much. good to see you. thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> martha: thank you, sir. so my next guest is one of 26 republican senators who are demanding answers on the american citizens that are still in afghanistan. the administration said there's anywhere from 100 to 200 remaining and estimates going higher than that. he want to make sure that the united states doesn't abandon them. senator marsha blackburn, thanks for being here. you want an answer on this letter by tuesday to a number of questions that are very specific. who is still out there, who
needs to get home, how many people are on this list and how do expect to achieve it. do you expect you'll get those answers by tuesday? >> yes indeed. we expect to get those answers by tuesday. we are the united states of america. we never leave our citizens behind enemy lines. my office has worked over 2,000 individuals and cases martha, we want to know who is still out there and have a plan to get them home. they said 90% is what they got. then they changed it. 98%. what we're saying is look, tell us the truth. the american people want the truth. because we're all comparing notes. we know how many calls are coming in to our offices. we want to make certain that we leave nobody behind. now, as you have heard from the
colonel and his conversation and as you heard in the briefing at the state department, defense department, they failed to plan. they did not have a plan. so you have to say was this intentional. if it was and now things have gone so awry and we have people in danger, we have to make certain there is a way forward to bring them home. that is what we want to hear. >> martha: all right. we have to go. we have a briefing. senator blackburn, thanks. great to have you with us. you're seeing images of the taliban wearing our gear left behind. now to the remnants of ida thrashing the northeast with flooding, tornadoes, 25 people lost their lives in this latest wave of ida. roughly half of them were in new york city where some were
trapped by rising waters. tragic story. bryan llenas is live in new york with the very latest that we're now learning. bryan, good afternoon. >> martha, good afternoon. that death toll continues to rise. 25 in new jersey, pennsylvania and here in new york city. 12 of those people here in the city and 11 people died inside of their basement apartments like this one. four feet of water came crashing in to that apartment killing a 22-year-old and his mother. the father and the other son were able to get out. but in a matter of sheer minutes, they were broken away and tragically both of them died. we have ten miles away a 2-year-old toddler that also died in a basement residence. we spoke to ahmed who owns the building behind me. this is what he said about what happened last night. >> this is chaotic. felt like we were in the middle
of the ocean. my body is still trembling. >> stunning for so many people. the national weather service sent out the city's first ever flood american warnings to people's phones last night. for some, it was too little too late. despite the forecasters warning, people here are shocked and stunneded. we're talk act the new york city subway system being deluged with water. trapping 17 train cars and flooding train stations. they had to rescue people. nobody was injured. cars on the highways were abandoned as water rescues in the hundreds were taking place throughout the city. major highways were inundated looking like rivers. here in the city, specifically here in queens, the multifamily
homes got the brunt of the flash flood where people have no time or very little time to react. sadly 11 people losing their lives in their apartment in queens thus far. >> the water pouring in on that family. you can only imagine that they were separated by the water and two died and two survived our thoughts are with them. wow. unbelievable. this is the scene in woodside queens where seven feet of water poured in. father chris o'connor is here. thanks nor being with us. we're looking at the images. did you have any idea that you needed to be prepared for something like this yesterday or did it come out of the blue? >> not at all. we were expecting water, some rain. we thought a little flood, an inch, but nothing to this
immensity. got up to ten feet in our lower church. it destroyed everything. >> martha: you have a lower -- what is down there? >> where the water is, we call it an adoration chapel. we spent $100,000 and opened that chapel in february where people come in to pray every day. next to it is a classroom that we use for teenagers for confirmation preparation. we were getting ready to reopen everything after covid for in-person instruction. now i'm not sure what we're going to do. the water is still in the church. we still have about six feet left. >> martha: it's terrible. people had just gone back to church. now you have to deal with this. this is one thing after another it seems. what kind of help are you getting? what can people do? >> right now a lot of my church has been reaching out, texting,
calling, showing up. we have a food pantry. helping clean up the food pantry. right now in our parrish center -- nobody is allowed in the church. we can't shut the power off. there's sewage. waiting for a cleaning company to help with that. so right now my rectory has been helping with the sewage, trying to save what we can. there's a lot of damage. we don't know a number yet. >> it's truly heart breaking. you know, a lot of people think of pastors and priests as being comforters and saying masses. you also run the place. help get the management together and to run the place. really it's like an all hands on deck job being a priest and a pastor. i know you have your work cut out for you. we're going to pray for you and your parrish and you can get back on your feet seat. thanks very much.
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>> martha: devastation in dublin, pennsylvania. we think this is a cell tower on the ground. this is about an hour outside of philadelphia. it's north of philadelphia. according to the national weather service, this is one of the places where a tornado, an ef 2 tornado touched down last night. you can see the roof collapse on this -- looks like a manufacturing facility. there's really devastating damage to this entire area of upper dublin. we have a look at bridgewater
township. we know that tornadoes went down in new jersey. look at this ballpark in bridgewater. this is home to a double a affiliate of the new york yankees. look at the water in this baseball stadium. this is not an area -- i grew up in this area. this is not an area this we're used to seeing tornadoes. they were whipping around over the skies of new jersey and pennsylvania in a surprising manner. there were some warnings about this. really hit a lot of people by surprise. david lee miller is 45 miles east of there in hoboken, new jersey. tell us what you see there. >> martha, the sun is out. the sky is blue. new jersey still recovering from the downpours. hoboken is no exception, this is a major enter section in
downtown hoboken. the water here is still a little less than one foot. it has started to recede. at its worst, a lot of residents were worried. with me right now, nicky zanker. you were here last night at its worst. what did you experience with the storm? >> i live over there. i'm on the second floor. you can hear the rain on the roof. felt like we were under it. torrential town pour. you can feel the waves in the water, the puddles on the street. it was crazy. >> you were on a higher floor. were people concerned? >> yeah. at one point there was a man throwing sand bags at the door to make sure water wouldn't come in. unfortunately water did come in. we did the best we could. >> were you taken surprise by this storm? it was forecast but people didn't expect this. >> totally. they gave us warning. no, i don't think anybody
expected this. >> glad you're occasion. we say that because especially because nicky happens to be my niece. thankfully she's okay. we were worried about her. unfortunately nine people did die in the state of new jersey from this storm. first responders, a number of instances saved lives. the water now as i said has started to recede. many rivers have crested. it is going to be several days until the water finally completely recedes and for the families that lost loved ones and were injured, the damage from this storm is something that will live with them for a very long time. martha? >> martha: it's terrible. i'm glad your niece is okay, david lee. so many of us are worried about our loved ones. my husband was coming home from
new york. took people four hours to get out of new york city last night. there were 75 accidents all over the place. people with rising water around their cars. we know there was loss of life ace well, which was devastating. it was a tough night for the whole area. we hope everybody recovers soon. thanks, david lee. my next guest says her team helped rescue 15 people in new jersey. last night teresa gazaway, chief of police for the borough of new providence. tell me, teresa, about what you and your people had to do to save people's lives last night. >> it was certainly a very challenging night for emergency personnel in the borough and officials here. we started yesterday afternoon as be we do when we're expecting any type of severe weather. we put on additional personnel, we made sure that our high water
rescue vehicle was in working order. checked our generators. we were expecting between three and five inches. we were expecting minor flooding.what we weren't expecting was the quick water surge, how fast the water came up and the swift current of the water. because of this, a lot of motorists were stranded. we had to perform several water rescues with the fire department and oem team. we're fortunate we didn't have any loss of life. we're more fortunate than some of the other communities that i've seen today. so we do consider ourselves lucky. >> martha: in near passaic, there was a tragedy. tell us about the rescues that
you did. >> our most challenging situation took place on south street in our town. the water came up high quickly and came across south street with a powerful current. it swept a car off the roadway and almost in to the spillway. the car was in danger of slipping over or going all the way into the spillway. there was a middle aged man and his mother and two children in the vehicle. it was very challenging get them out because of the strong current. we weren't able to walk them out. ended up we got our five ton how water rescue vehicle in. the officers put their lives on the line. thank goodness that we were to rescue them. >> martha: as you say, there was an element of surprise in how quick through this happened.
so it wasn't even as if there were warnings to people to stay off the road. everybody was on the road coming home from work like it was a normal night and expecting a decent rainstorm. it is -- you say you were prepared with your high water vehicle which turned out to be a life saver in this situation. thanks very much. great to have you with us. we hope everybody is recovering there and things are drying out in a way that can keep everybody safe. thank you very much for being here. >> thank you. >> martha: so our other big story of the day and the last few weeks, moments ago the white house was pressed by our own jacqui heinrich on whether the taliban can be taken at their word. >> is it possible that our reliance on the taliban to keep their word in terms of our evacuation is going to take place? >> the response when bret baier joins me when "the story"
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and whether the taliban can be trusted. >> jacqui heinrich joins us now. good afternoon >> good afternoon. there's no update on whether any americans made it out since the forces with drew. the numbers we have heard is consistent, somewhere between 100 and 200 with the belief that the number is closer to 100. a big question that jen psaki did not have an answer to is how many green card holders and siv applicants remain in the country. it's also a question that senate republicans have been really pressing for an answer on.
they wrote to the president with concerns that ineligible people were evacuated or people with no status with the u.s. the number that they heard of eligible people in the country has been varied. i asked jen psaki on that. she didn't have any numbers. there might be people that are eligible that they're not aware of yet and she said it's very hard to define those numbers. meanwhile, we're getting accounts of prepry -- reprisals. >> i want questions of whether or not the taliban is keeping their promise for amnesty. there's reports from the bbc since the taliban came to power. one man said they haven't stopped killing. >> i don't have confirmation
from those details. nobody is saying from the federal government, the president, nobody from the intelligence community that the taliban are good actors. >> the president today, we did see him here on the white house. he spoke on storm damage. he did not bring up afghanistan and did not take any questions. there's a distinct feeling in the briefing room, a lot of questions are shuttled off to other departments. feels like the white house is moving on and pushing the focus to more domestic items and let other departments take the lead on the remaining americans and afghans that still need to get out of afghanistan. martha? >> martha: it's a great point, jacqui. it's important that that is pointed out. we heard from the president that anthony blinken is in charge president and jen psaki is referring you to the state department briefings.
this is the next chapter and the white house will have to answer questions on it as well. thanks, jacqui. joining me now, bret baier. great to have you with us. >> hi, martha. >> martha: this is where this story is going right now. you've got hundreds of people still there, 100 to 200 is their estimate. we heard from senators on the hill and members of congress and independent organizations that when you put the count together, it's higher than that. but the white house as jacqui points out is starting to shuttle this over to the state department. this is now their issue because the military is out, diplomacy is in. >> exactly. they want to turn the page as fast as they can. but there are americans on the ground let alone the thousands of afghans that worked with americans over the past two decades. what is shocking is the state department conceding that most of the special immigrant visa holders, most of them, did not make it out. think about that. those are the people most in
danger on the ground from a taliban that looks like it's acting like the old taliban if you listen to the story that jackie referenced from the bbc. there's other individual stories. jennifer griffin has her own sources saying it's happening. they're going house to house killing people. jen psaki says they didn't trust the taliban. they don't think they're good actors. yes, they did. they trusted them for security around the kabul airport. they're trusting them to possibly work with them to go after isis-k. so a lot of mixed messages. they want to turn the page. the biggest thing the white house is happy about talking about something else. like the texas abortion law. we're talking about as tough as it is, hurricane ida and getting emergency aid. anything else besides afghanistan. >> martha: you know, you can't get around the fact, the white house can't get around the fact that the president said this
isn't over. this is far from over for us. we're taking this seriously. we are relying on this agreement with the taliban to provide safe passage for these people. every day you have reporters, jacqui heinrich, peter doocy and others say how many got out since the last plane left afghanistan. they're saying we really -- we can't tell you. i would imagine that that means none, bret. i don't know that we see that anybody has gotten out since the last plane left. so what are we supposed to think about the president's promise that this is not over and this is just turned to a diplomatic mission now? >> not even the last plane, the last five planes didn't have any americans on them that left afghanistan. and you're right. that question has come up at the pentagon, come up at the state department and the white house. since u.s. troops left how many persons have gotten out. no one, no one has provided the answer. no one has really provided the definitive answer on the number
of americans. not only the number of americans but the family members included and they're not even talking an't the numbers of sivs and afghans that are in the thousands. so i think that's why you get on capitol hill calling, republicans in particular, but even some democrats are saying they're open the hearings about what happened in the final days before this decision. >> martha: what do you think about the interesting parallel with this phone conversation with president biden and president ghani saying you better make this look better than it is? i'm paraphrasing. the discussion with president trump and the president of the ukraine that got him impeached? >> it's apples and oranges as far as the calls. the fact that it came out suggests that you're going to have more anonymous sources speaking their mind about the decisions and what biden said behind the scenes? a great point. we had anonymous voices from the
white house saying a palled on what happened and americans were left behind. we're seeing more of that coming out from the white house. bret, thanks very much. good to see you. we'll be watching tonight. "special report." president biden will go to the gulf coast tomorrow. look at this video from grand isle. this is a barrier island off of louisiana. you can see they have terrific damage. officials saying 100% of the structures are damaged. the island is uninhabitable. mike tobin is live from new orleans. mike? >> hi, martha. we just had an ambulance go by. that was loud. i couldn't hear you. let's talk about an unexpected development here on the ground. that is the formation of fuel lines. some of these fuel lines stretch a mile. the shortage is caused by a couple factors.
you have gas stations that don't have power. those that can pump are getting all of the demand. two, there's increased demand out here. that's because the people evacuated topped off the tanks before they left and those staying behind now need fuel to run generators. first of all, there's a trucker shortage. the supply chain isn't that nimble. it's not a dynamic to have a citgo truck showing up and filling up a small shell station because they need gas. other developments, amid the flood waters and splintered wood, you have this power crisis in louisiana. particularly in new orleans where eight transmission lines were knocked down. now there's progress. the mayor announced today there's two local power generators that are back up and working. you also have two transmission lines that have been reconnected. 13 substations are back in business and the power supplier
says 167,000 customers have the lights back on. >> hopefully not weeks. the progress that we're seeing on the ground has really moved progress forward that we haven't seen in the past. it's always been gradual. there's nothing new here. there's never one switch and the whole city is lit. >> the louisiana health department is now investigating the deaths of four nursing home patients. they were in a group of seven different nursing homes that were evacuated to a location about 1 1/2 hours northwest of new orleans. they have died, three of the deaths are considered by the health department to be storm related. martha? >> martha: thanks, mike. so on this note, before we let you go, 76 years ago today, world war ii ended with japan signing of the instrument of surrender aboard the u.s.s.
missouri in tokyo bay as american celebrated victory over japan day. we'll leave you with powerful scenes of our nation's capitol where veterans were honored on this 76th anniversary of vj day. we thank them for their heroism and for their service. have a great day, everybody. we'll see you back here tomorrow with more of "the story." neil cavuto straight ahead. >> hello, everybody. i'm neil cavuto. hurricane ida continues to pummel the area. we've seen tornadoes and people lost their homes are having trouble getting back to them. this could be a preview to coming a tractions as some fear that the roll-out just to get to people gets increasingly complicated. i'm neil cavuto. th