tv Hallie Jackson Reports MSNBC August 20, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PDT
♪♪ president biden is about to address the ongoing crisis in afghanistan, where u.s. military is racing to speed up the evacuation of tens of thousands of americans and afghans. here's what we're watching. later this hour, the white house, the president will get a briefing on intelligence, security and diplomatic efforts. then at 1:00 p.m. eastern, the president will head to the east room to talk about the status of evacuations. lawmakers are also to get a briefing. they'll sear from secretaries blinken, austin and joint chiefs chair milley.
that's taliban gunmen opening fire into the air to disperse the crowds, desperate to flee the country. our richard engel spoke with one afghan woman, who is leaving. >> very bad. i'm hoping, but i don't know if i'll ever be back. good morning. i'm garrett haake in washington, along with our nbc news teams. monica alba is tess white house, and courtney kube is at the pentagon. monica, what are we expecting to hear. >> reporter: continuation from a president who is as defiant and defensive as he has been.
he believes this is the only way to do it. we heard a preview of that on an interview a couple days ago when he said there's no way to get, but today we're told by white house officials we'll be more forward-looking not looking back. that's their hope, of course, because to your point, all of the onslaught and news and criticism is something the president has not met with in terms of a large response. they really let pentagon and state department briefings to answer more technical questions, so today they have the president to get out front and speak to the american people there needs to be some tough questions answered on how this went so wrong.
whether the president actually takes any questions is a separate matter. we know he's expected to deliver remarks, but there's not a plan -- he could decide in the moment to take questions. he didn't do that on monday when he spoke briefly, but he is departing for wilmington, delaware for part two or three of an attempted summer on vacation, but you can expect hem to try to time-out what they believe are significant poll numbers in terms of how many americans support a withdrawal. as we're all working our way through this, we have new reporting that diplomats in kabul were urging the state department to start these investigations inual. what can you tell us?
>> my colleague josh letterman confirms that more than two dozens diplomats based in kabul did write to the secretary of state to express their concern about just how quickly the government could collapse, given a taliban takeover. they stressed this. what's notable about this, from a source familiar with the situation, is the day after this cable was written, a new program for special immigrant visa holders was enacted to get more afghan nationals out of the country. clearly this was something the state department did here. we are told, on the record from their chief spokesperson ned price, that they value this kind of internal dissent. that's the reason for this process. in this particular instance, we're learning that it was
reflected, then, in the policy, even though it wasn't something publicly talked about as much, given that they still wanted to go forward with the full plan of a drawdown, which is what led to the chaos, and ultimately now the bigger questions are about what happens after august 31st, the deadline when the president wanted all troops out. he's now saying he's committed to staying until all americans who want to get out are able to safely do so. >> courtney, when the pentagon first started doing these briefings late last week, they want that capacity wouldn't be an issue. they knew they could move po finchally thousands out per day. where do we stand on the pace of the airlift and the military following through on that promise? >> at this point airlift and capacity is not really an issue. we know now they had 16 c-17s that came into kabul yesterday and departed. they took about 3,000 people
out, including more than 300 americans. one of the limiting factors that exists right now is getting people, whether it's americans or afghans, siv candidates, getting them through the taliban checkpoints around the airport, getting them through the gate at the airport and getting them man fisted onto a flight. we know that -- you can do the math. some of these flights are taking off and not completely full. another limiting factor, though, is when some of these planes are coming in. they're big, hollowed out cargo planes, they don't have seats for everyone. they can't necessarily fill them up in a way they would. that's not as much 6 a factor as it was earlier this week when they were bringing more u.s. troops in and more of their equipment. now they can fit the planes so they can get the maximum number of passengers in, but the military neither the state department and consular affairs
officials there on the ground in kabul who to take and who to put on the planes. i wanted to add to what monica was talking about, with the cable that came out of the diplomatic officials. i was in kabul on july 13th. while i was there, there was a lot of concern about the taliban offensive. i interviewed general mckenzie, and he was up particularly worried about kandahar, which is one of the largest cities in afghanistan, and the taliban were seriously threatening that city then, more than a month ago. that gives a sense, yes, at the end here, the last few days the taliban were able to move thru many areas very quickly, able to overium afghan security forces, some who just fled or fell, but this tal ban offensive has been going on for some time.
it wasn't just the diplomats concerned about it on july 13th when they sent that cable. there were also u.s. military officials worried. thank you both. i'm joined by peter mire, a republican from michigan. he's also an iraq war veteran, and spent time working on relief efforts in kandahar, if i'm not mistaken. as you heard from course any kube, should we have been as surprise as it appears we were about the speed of the collapse here? >> you know, when it comes to the southern parts of the country, it was clear that there were a lot of areas where the government couldn't control it, but they could keep the taliban at bay, as the cordons started
to collapse, and we saw how rapidly the tal -- you are. >> you're going tob to get an unclassified briefings today, and classified brief next week, and possibly a hearing in the foreign affairs committee. what questions do you want answered? what do you need to know? >> i don't expect to learn anything from these briefings that i haven't already found from my friends who are inside of kabul airport. especially my afghan friends who are outside the airport and in country. that's where you've gotten all of my information. the administration has been incredibly reserved about the information. i want to hear we will stay until the job is done.
get them out of the country, and also make sure we do not betray our afghan allies. we cannot abandon them. we do not have time to complete this by august 31st we need to uphold the mission we have. >> what's the point of letting the taliban dictate all of our actions? again, it's a lack of political will, and we are letting the taliban dictate what's going on on the ground. the fact you have taliban standing between american citizens and marines, and blocking them from coming
through is shameful. we should be embarrassed, but we can fix this. what did you make of general awing say the u.s. doesn't have the capability to go out in kabul or other cities to get americans and afghans who can't get to the airport? inch the british are doing it. the germans are doing it, the french are doing it. i can't believe this country is utterly unable to operate within the country, where we have assets in the region. i'm speechless that he says it's out of our control. this is the united states. >> it seems like a lot of our military equipment and weapons are out in the country.
there's a reuters report that the current assessment is something like 2,000 armored vehicles, including humvees, 40 aircraft, potentially black hawk and scout attack helicopters, drones, they could also be in possession of thousands of m-16 rifles, communication equipment, you name it. is it your understanding that this haul is in taliban control now? how concerning is that? >> it's very concerning. i'm already seeing reports of that flowing into pakistan. we've had some equipment that has fled with afghan soldiers into iran, into uzbekistan. i will say the soldier in me whose humvee broke down, good luck keeping that running, but at the end of the day, we are making it so much harder for the
u.s. to potentially have any modicum of control. so it is deeply concerning. congressman, very quickly, your committee chair on foreign affairs has requested a hearing next week with either secretaries blinken or austin, if they can get them. have you heard in that's going to happen? >> i have not yet heard that, but again, we absolutely need a full range of understanding of how this went so wrong to quickly, and the president is defending the decision to withdraw. that's an arguable point. we're not hearing anything, frankly because it's indefensible, on how the withdrawal was executed. right now we need to make sure that august 31st we don't abandon american citizens and don't abandon our afghan allies.
we need to keep our promises. >> thank you for coming on, and thank you for your service. >> thank you, gail. a shocking number showing hour pediatric wards are filling up with young covid patients. the florida hospital association says three in four hospitals there are just days away from a critical staffing shortage. the texas voting restrictions bill getting past a key hurdle, setting up possible passage in a few weeks. a new alarm as congress is scheduled to vote on a voting bill next week. the latest on the bomb scare on capitol hill, talking about the role of social media and what investigators are looking into, next. al media and what investigators are looking into, next ♪ when technology is easier to use...
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blow up a bomb he didn't have on capitol hill, will be making his first court appearance. after that threat sparked a five-hour standoff and an enormous police response, including shutting down multiple city blocks. you're seeing exclusive video of his surrender, they found possible bomb-making materials. with me now is pete williams, who covered this all day yesterday. pete, this comes a few days after the homeland security warnings to police for calls on social media, is this the kind of thing investigators are looking into now? and what are the possible charges we could see the suspect face? >> i'm sure they'll look at that, though i don't think there's much mystery. he attend add pro-trump really in november. he talked a lot yesterday about his grievances against the democrats, the government, a long rambling rant before
facebook cut it off. it was feeding live from his pickup truck. he'll be in course at 1:00 for his initial appearance. depending on exactly what they found in the truck, there could be potential destructive device charges, you know, disruption charges, false claims. you know, they were considering a number of charges yesterday. we'll know shortly what they are. >> does the bomb have to work to get a destructive device charge? or the fact he had possibly bomb-making materials qualify? >> it will depend on what the potential bomb-making components are. frankly i'm always skeptical of that, because almost anything can be a component. if it's actual explosive material, that would put it in a different category.
this isn't the first time of something like this this year. do we have any update on those who left the pipe bombs on january 6th? >> the simple answer is no. investigators have tried everything they can to figure out who placed they two potentially viable pipe bombs it is democratic and republican parties. why they were there, who planted them, you could see videos like this that the fbi has put out. they have enhanced the videos. they've made appeals for anybody who may have seen someone. they have given extensive descriptions of what this person was wearing, but still no solid leads. very frustrating. >> one of those being january 6th mysteries that still needs answering. thank you, pete.
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we're getting some disturbing new numbers on the pandemic this morning. pediatric wings are filling up across the nation and fast. a new nbc news analysis showing hospitalizations among children are soaring. right now they're at levels not seen since january, doubling since the end of july. not surprisingly states with low vaccination rates are seeing the highest number of kids in the hospital. sam brock joins us, and dasha joins us from the little league world series. sam, explain what it's showing to us about children hospitalized with covid. >> good morning.
the numbers are unsettling. if you look at the number of children in opt, across the country, the figure is about 1200 a day. at the beginning of july, garrett, that was 300. the numbers you sited, fourfold, really do stack up. in the state of florida, there's 200 or so children hospitalized right now, including 15 on the medical campus where i'm reporting from at this very moment. texas is high as well, but alabama has now leapfrogged everybody after hospitalizing a couple hundred kids over the course of the last week. per 100,000 people, it's 3.41 children in alabama, compared to florida at 1.28, so more than double that. louisiana is also egregious. texas, delaware, those are some of the states really struggling. garrett, we have this conversation in the context of a full-throated argument here in florida about whether or not
children should be required to wear masks in schools or not. in broward county, that's been the case. we spoke to the chairman of emergency medicine here in hollywood, florida, here's what he told us. >> i think every parent should be worried. it affects kids differently than the strains in the past. they're symptomatic. we've seen more kids come into the hospital. fortunately they're not dying, but sick enough to receive acute care in the hospital. >> reporter: another urgent problem is critical staffing shortages. the florida hospital association reports that three out of four hospitals in the entire state are either at critical staffing or anticipate being there within the next seven days. what does that mean? they may have trouble treating anybody, if this continuings.
>> dasha, you're at the little league world series. kids until 12 can't get vaccinated. that's basically every player there. what are you hearing from the families of the players and fans there about even their level of comfort being at this tournament at all? >> reporter: yeah. the players here are age 10 to 12, so the majority of these kids not eligible to get vaccinated. garrett, the little league world series is a beloved tradition. it was canceled last year. this year it's back, but it looks pretty different. normally this plaza would be packed with vendors, team stores, with a fun zone. none of that this year, limited concessions. of course, the biggest difference is no fans. each team was given 250 tickets to give to family members and friends, but that pales in comparison.
this year, they say they might break 2,000 people coming through. this is where the magic happens. it's empty now. the games have not started yet, but our team was here last night, and it was not much louder than this. it's very different. there's also no international teams this time around, and a lot of rules to keep these kids safe. all attendees, and nonstaff need to show proof of vaccination. everything niece to wear masks indoors, umpires are wearing masks, and the kids are getting tested every other day. we've been talking to some family members, some of the few people. take a listen to just some of what we heard. >> just walking up the hill, seeing it, it isn't the same.
there's not the people and the vendors. it's kind of, lack of words, disappointing and dead. it's kind of heartbreaking. i think they did a good job in bringing people here, preventing them from having covid, screening them regularly, and keeping them separated. >> so many changes. one thing that hasn't changed, the excitement out on this field from these players. i know, my friend, you are a texas man. texas is one of the hot teams to watch right now. they have the only female player in the world series this time around. they nicknamed the team ella and her fellas. >> i'm on team ella. dasha and sam, thank you both. i want to bring in our msnbc medical contributor. doctor, when i hear all of this,
we are so far into the pandemic and we still don't even have emergency authorization for kids to get vaccinated. why is it so much more difficult to get shots in the arms of kids you don't have pediatrics a lot of times you'll see that lag in the trials, in this case they were set up. , as dr. fauci has said, it's not just smaller versions of themselves, part of what any other safety signals that might be rare. what we know, from the trials going on with moderna, pfizer, we don't have a sense of their
finished recruitment. that's partly what's lagging. i'm watching to see when they say we have enough people in the trial. that will be the senate that it might be enough data to analyze and get the results. the other thing that's lacking , partly to get more people of safety. which is a good thing. >> yeah, just so many parents are pulling their hair out. are we back to pandemic 101? what should paints be do? >> throughout this pandemic, when you look at texas, florida,
or mississippi, alabama, these are some of the highest rates of cases they've had. it is driven by lower rates of vaccination -- so the biggest part of this is that we have direct -- delta is a lot more transmissible, and kids are getting affected, because their chances of getting sick are higher. we have to treat them, as we would, a green of unvaccinated people. if we want to send kids to could, we have to do the 101, better ventilation, and to get all the adults, and get everyone -- >> if you can get the shot, go get the shot. we say it every day. doctor, thank you very much. up next, we have some breaking news, and a huge headline coming from the game show "jeopardy" involving the
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some breaking news on the controversy around "jeopardy." mike richards saying he's steps down from the hosting job after coming under fire for past offensive comments, which he apologized for, and a lot of questions about the process that wound up choosing him. joe fryer, along with tim cheney, a tv critic for "the vulture." he says i wanted to apologize for the unwanted attention, and the confusion and delay this is causing. i know i have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence. joe, how did we get here? >> this has been building up in
the past two weeks. after it became clear that richards was going to be name the new host, first, a lot of people questioned how did the executive producer of the show end up becoming the host, but then they were some old lawsuits filed against "the price of right" his former employer, where he had been mentioned, a discrimination lawsuit. he denied any wrongdoing, they settled out of court, but the ringer put out a report, an in-depth record looking at richards. they found clips from old podcasts back in 2013, 2014, and according to "the ringer" it had sexist jokes along with disparage comments. the antidefamation league said this is no laughing matter and says it warrants an investigation. in response to all of this,
richards finally put out that note to staff this morning, basically saying he was stepping down, saying over the last several days it had become clear that moving forward as host would be too much 6 a distraction for the fans, not the right move for the show. here's the deal. "jeopardy" started recording yesterday, so we have to assume richards was involved in that, being sony pictures television will resume the search for a permanent host, but instead they will continue to bring back guest hosts. -- they're going to stay on as executive producer -- sony said the decision -- they were surprised to learn about the podcast comments and the -- >> joe, i think we're losing you a bit on the cell phone, so i'm going to go over to jen.
a lot of attention paid to this hosting search. i couldn't help but notice levar burton, happy friday, y'all, about the same time this news was breaking. what happens next for this show? >> i couldn't help but notice that, either, garrett. this was also avoidable, is the part i can't get over. following alex trebek's passing, there was such an interest in the show. obviously people had very warm feelings about it. the whole idea of -- really generates a lot of interests, and first of all, the executive producer, that was something that didn't set well with fans, and as they were saying from this lawsuit in the past, that lawsuit was about discrimination against pregnant women, saying some things that were questionable. so the idea that the things he said in the podcast had never been taken into consideration before, that was a bit strange.
i think they have to really listen to the fans closely, and do this search in a way that really makes it clear they're actually trying to find somebody who is great for this, maybe bring a new voice to this, somebody different, and feel like the fans have a say. >> yeah, i think a lot of fans have ownership over the show. joe fryer, jen channy, thank you both. president biden and vice president harris will be briefed on their national security team. part of this is the lead-up to the president's public remarks set to begin a little more than two hours from how including how many more americans still -- and will they be evacuated before
the final withdrawal, whenever that ends up being, and was intel about a possible fast taliban takeover ignored? i'm also curious the president's tone toward taliban and towards afghans. with me now is peter baker, a reporter for "new york times," and also an msnbc analyst. you asked kate beningfield about the president's tone earlier on "morning joe", but to me the biggest surprise has been the president's tone during everybody else. during the campaign empathy was joe biden's super power, and we haven't heard that much. will we hear any of that later today? >> i think that's a great question, garrett. it's been surprising, one of the appeals joe biden brought to the contest last fall is he would feel your pain in a way that donald trump did, that trump was
incapable of connecting to americans in pain, and biden made that -- you're right, he hasn't shown a lot of that this week. they won't be flying out of the airport kabul, and they'll be living with a new regime that doesn't tolerate women and girls playing any role in life, in fact already reported to be going house to house looking for people who have been, in their view, treasonous to the taliban and taking revenge. so you've already begun to see a new or risen life in afghanistan. you haven't heard the president talk about any of that. he's talked about his decision to pull out, and the execution of this evacuation which has
been, until recent days, sort of happen hazard and chaotic in the images. >> beddingfield tried to make the case that the u.s. was ready for what we're seeing. here's some of what she said. >> we have prepared for every contingency. we knew the possibility of a rapid fall of kabul was possible. that's why we prepared, put the troops in the region ready to go. 48 hours after the fall of kabul we had evacuated all of our embassy personnel without a shot fired, and we've begun evacuation flights. that's not just something that happens. that requires foresight and planning. >> so what are your sources inside the white house saying about how much of it was planned for and how much was reactive? >> well, look, they say, it is true that military has plans for all sorts of occasions. every plan, you know, is out the
window the minute you put it into place. and, you know, reality is messier than you might imagine. certainly it's been messy in this case. certainly what the white house is saying privately is they're relieved that all americans who have gotten out so far and have done so without harm, there's not been a situation where americans have taken hostage or harm. it's some sort of iran hostage crisis kind of situation was the biggest fear that the biden administration had. that fear is begin to go fade, more americans are out, but left behind are thousands of afghans who assisted the american military over the last 20 years. their fate is still not really decided. >> peter baker, thank you with
me is retired army captain dan brezinski. if you watched yesterday, we tried to get the captain on yesterday, we had to lose him because of the pentagon briefing. i want to start with your reaction. i know, you were very supportive of the president's decision to conduct this withdrawal. >> i was, and i still am. as difficult as it appears to be in this moment. it pales in comparison to 20 years of ultimately wasteful and pointless efforts. so i wish this moment had come 19 years ago. it took far too long for us to pull out. so i'm happy with the end result, no matter what. >> what do you want to hear from the president today? what do you think he needs to
say to the country? >> i think the president needs to continue to reiterate basically what i said and what he has been saying, he will not pass this buck to another administration, he will not prolong this pointless war. he will not risk life and limbs for a country that wouldn't fight for itself. so the administration should continue put on the as much -- i think he should continue to point out this is the right decision. it's a decision that three previous administrations put off, and we're going to see it through. >> you met with then vice president biden when you were recovering from your injuries. i think it's so fascinating.
i feel like some of that meeting that we talked about off-camera gives inside into the way he, now as president, views this decision. can you talk about that conversation and how you they what we saw over all those yearr those injuries and that ability to withdraw. >> yeah, and i got a invitation to go down to the test kitchen under the rehab facility and have dinner with the vice president, his wife, jill biden, and a white house chef and a couple other people. i got to spend an hour sitting right next to the vice president of the united states at the time. i was fresh off of the battlefield with wounds that had not closed, and the vice president struck me as being very interested in what was going on. most importantly he wanted to
hear about my actual experience very few high level leaders that i met with during my time, and i did meet with a lot of them. actually wanted to know about the war. they were happy to shake my hand and thank me for my service, but they didn't want to know what i experienced on the ground and what the fight looked like from a tactical perspective, and the vice president was very different. he asked questions and he just listened and reiterated the fact that from day one he thought this was counter terror and that nation building was a fruitless endeavor. what i see from him today is the continuation of the opinion he had back in 2010. >> we heard from military leaders talking about the question that they heard, that service members have talked about, whether or not this is worth it. for you, the loss of your legs. do you feel like the personal
sacrifices you may, the sacrifices of your fellow service members there, were worth it? >> yes and no. it matters what level we're looking at. when i was ordered to afghanistan in 2009 my purpose was to engage with the taliban and provide stability that we now clearly see was anything but stable and anything but competition. the taliban are in control of afghanistan today. in that sense the effort was wasted. i want to say, though, that i and our country witnessed american soldiers making tremendous sacrifices and achieving great results at the individual level. american service members are diplomats, partners overseas, they really improved the lives of afghanistan while we were there. we provided basic human rights
that an entire generation of afghan citizens got to enjoy for the first time. when you ask me if my service was in vain, personally no. i have no regrets. i regret that -- if i regret anything that i could not have done more for my soldiers and my country. is our effort in vein? pretty much. >> i appreciate your per speck sieve and your sacrifice. thank you for coming on. we'll be back with more news after this. you're watching msnbc. you're watching msnbc.
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we're back with breaking news from the supreme court that we just learned will not block construction of the barack obama presidential library in chicago. >> a group of opponents asked the high court to temporarily block construction to it could block the lawsuit for the required environmental analysis. now look, i don't know about you but i found it difficult to watch these images in the past week of afghans desperately trying to live kabul.
but for american soldiers that share personal bonds as interpreters or on bases, people they knew and worked with, it is particularly painful. nbc correspondent julia ainsley got access between one former captain and his afghan interpreter. he spent the week attempting and failing to get the interpreter and his family on a flight. can you take us in these conservations? >> they were incredibly heartbreaking to witness. i spoke with him who was communitying with his former interpreter who is there with his three daughters and wife outside of the airport in kabul trying to figure out how to get them on a flight and keep up his moral. he says i wish i could switch places with you. remember when that truck got blown up?
when they hit us with the ied, he said i still remember that. trammill said i was so scared and you helped me be brave. i had to stay and fight for you guys and the soldiers. he said yes, sir, i'm scared for my family. i had the pleasure of talking with him and his family outside of the airport where he told me i wasn't just an interpreter. i was working with them as a brother, building bridges, they should help me, my kids, my wife from this situation. he said he could not shelter in place. he left his house because of the security situation. if the u.s. government does not help me i will be beheaded by the taliban and they will take my daughters. incredibly heartbreaking and frustrating for jeffrey trammill. every day he tells raheemy to go
to a different gate to present the very legitimate documents, but he is not even able to get the documents in front of anyone, garrett. >> many more conversations just like that are happening right now. julia, thank you. right now more news with my friend, kris jansing. good morning, i'm in for craig melvin. we have a very special hour for you. you might be wondering why am i standing in the middle of a largely empty office space? it's because this entire hour on msnbc is dedicated to answering your questions about covid-19 and getting back to work. you have been sending us questions all week about everything from social distancing to masking, vaccine requirements, well all hour