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tv   The Cross Connection With Tiffany Cross  MSNBC  August 21, 2021 7:00am-9:00am PDT

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gates. this latest alert comes after president biden responded to questions about security yesterday. >> the military has secured the airport, as you mentioned, but will you sign off on sending troops into kabul to evacuate americans who haven't been able to get to the airport safely? >> we have no indication that they haven't been able to get in kabul through the airport. we've made an agreement with the taliban thus far they've allowed them to go through. it's in their interest for them to go through. >> u.s. military aircraft evacuated at least 13,000 people since the taliban took over kabul last week. now, as the u.s. scrambles to find new evacuation routes for the refugees, the desperation to leave is palpable. this is a baby being passed to u.s. soldiers. the military says that baby has been safely reunited with family after receiving medical care. while outside the walls of the kabul airport, people pleaded at the gates to be let in, and
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taliban fighters shot into the air to disperse the crowds. our own nbc news' richard engel spoke to one afghan-american fleeing the country with one small suitcase and 25 relatives in tow. >> i have to pack everything, not everything, everybody. i'm taking them with me. i left everything except my passport and i got out. i don't know if i'll be back. >> joining me now is congressman greg meeks, chair of the house foreign affairs committee that plans to hold a hearing on afghanistan soon. congressman, thank you so much for being here under these terribly heartbreaking circumstances. i want to ask first, are you confident that the administration as promised will be able to get out every american and every afghan ally who helped america out of afghanistan safely? >> yeah. i think that the administration is focused on doing just that. you know, we know -- and i think that the president understands
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that ultimately they're going to be looking at judging him by the success of getting our american citizens, everyone that wants to leave, out, as well as those who we made commitments to and promises who supported and helped save lives of american citizens, whether it be translators, working for ngos and those we can't leave behind because they know they would with focused for retaliation by the taliban. so we got to do that and do it well. you know, something like the air lift that happened in berlin. >> what the president said doesn't square with what happened on the ground yesterday. people are lacking confidence. i want to ask you about just the imagery of this. you know, i'm watching this and i wonder how this looks on the world stage, that the united states military is asking permission from this terrorist organization, the taliban, to evacuate allies and american citizens safely.
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so when you think about building allies in other countries, you know, especially when you look at people like isis and al qaeda, looking at this bringing the u.s. to heal in some sensible, how do you think this is playing out on the global stage? >> they're not bringing the united states to heal. let's look at the entire situation, tiffany. you have the president of afghanistan, you know, ghani, who just left. so now you have no afghan security forces there, you have no police department there, you have no law and order organization there to keep things calm. so you got a mess. and the military had to secure the airport, which was the first step of which they've done. what you had was not those individuals that was sivs or american citizens that you saw in the imagery showing there that were rushing for the airport, but just in the -- they
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heard their president ran and left, they decided they wanted to get out. you have to have some order some way so that you don't have an onrub of individuals to the airport. now what we're doing is securing the airport. and then what the president has to do is make sure we know where the american citizens are that are there as well as then identify those who we can't leave behind and then get them safely to the airport so that they can get aboard the plane and get out of there. so the imagery is one thing, but remember, we're not there to evacuate the entire nation. we can't do that. we wanted the afghans and the afghan security forces stand and fight for their own security. but they did not. they laid down. so now we got to get out our american citizens and those that we committed to get out who were there for us when we were -- when our soldiers were there and
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they stood by us and saved many of our american citizens' lives. >> now, your commit will be the first to hear from antony blinken and defense secretary lloyd austin. what are you expecting to hear from them? >> look, what we're going to do is we have oversight authority. that's our responsibility. so we're going to do as the house foreign affairs committee what our authority and what our duties and responsibilities require us to do. so we're going to ask them exactly what's going on now, because i think our first focus is to make sure that we get everybody out and that there is -- the plan is is there. for me it's important to know we're not going to just say we're going to leave after august 31st. we got to let the taliban know that we're going to be there until such time that we get everyone out, and that they better not do anything to tried to deter that. but we also through the hearings find out, for example, when and
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what do we know as far as the afghan security forces deciding they didn't have the will to fight and what could we have done better. >> i heard that a lot. i heard that so many times and it's a uniquely american perspective, and the afghan people simply didn't have the political will to fight. however, from people on the ground, they say it's simply not that simple. as the chair of the house foreign relations committee, do you think it's that simple, that they simply didn't fight? >> well, let's look at the facts. we're there for 20 years. we spent almost $1 trillion. we gave them all of the equipment that they needed, all of the ring the that they needed so that they could fight. and then what we see take place, many of the promises without even a shot being fired, they just laid down their weapons and went in. there was a deal that was cut with some of the elders in
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various provinces. there was not a shot fired when the cabal was taken care of. that's part of the deal because we were preparing for, you know, kabul when the ships were coming in and we had some troops ready to go in if, in fact, the taliban came in guns blazing. there might have been and could have been some air support with the ships that were there, but they didn't do that. the afghan security forces laid down their weapons. there was no resistance whatsoever, and that's how they moved so quickly. and i think to a degree -- this is what i want to ask questions about -- caught the american security forces off guard. should we have prepared? what did we learn from this? those are the questions we'll do on the committee. >> congressman, i've known you for a long time, so i truly hope you'll come back after the committee hearing because you have a unique voice to give us perspective on this.
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thank you so much, congressman greg meeks for joining us. i want to shift now. a lot has been said about what's happened on ground and the taliban said they will not retaliate against the afghan people nor commit violence against women, but we already see evidence of the contrary. what is the threat they pose and will it be any different from the taliban from 20 years ago? msnbc malcolm nance, author of "the plot to betray america." you heard the congressman say that he does think it's as simple that they lack the political will. i'm curious your take on that. do you think it's as simple that the afghan people lack the political will to defend themselves? >> well, one of the things that you have to factor in here is the one thing that most americans don't ever factor in, and that we are dealing with another culture which is completely unlike ours. the byzantine politics that they
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carry out over there are done at the tribal level, the provincial level, the family level, and then work its way up to this centralized government that we installed. the taliban, you have to understand, are men about my i do a late 50s, early 60s. they have been fighting since they were children against the soviet union, war lords in afghanistan. they created the islamic em rat of afghanistan and then spent the last 20 years fighting us. at some point they're going to want to stabilize the new islamic em rat again. and by bringing the ire of the united states and allowing, you know, by going in and immediately carrying out atrocities, even now the people who signed the do ha accords know that that is not going to help their national cause. so i think what we're seeing is a slight period of stability, but they are going to shift that
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country back to a fundamentalist islamic state, the exact same way it was. we're doing a 2001 reset. perhaps not with all the optics of brutality, but they will be living their country the way they want within the culture they've chosen. >> malcolm, you've been on ground there. you've been part of the team to help liberty afghanistan previously. when i see the taliban having press conferences and engaging with other autocratic governments like china, i mean, i am curious. is this a group that can be recognized as an official government? should we trust them? because we've already seen violence happen in the street. we've seen blood shed already. are we going to recognize this terrorist organization as a legitimate government? >> this is a fait accompli. they are the government of afghanistan. how they got to be the government of afghanistan in such a rapid fashion, again, goes to the internal politics of afghanistan. they will cut a deal in a
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heartbeat. the president disappeared with $169 million in cash and he showed up up in the united arab emirates where he could live out the rest of his life. when fighting started at the fringes a few weeks ago, virtually all of it clapsed. they either left on their own accord, they left at the direction of their tribes or families, and ghani, who was preparing to escape anyway, and turned the country to the taliban. that is the kind of internal politics we can't understand because they were never really a solidified central government. and i know congressman meeks is going to be investigating this, but, you know, we as the united states can't do anything about it if an entire army disappears,
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walks home, and turns the keys to a city of 5 million and a country of 38 million over to our opposition. the only question we can do now is say how do we keep this stabilized so we can withdraw the people who want to leave? >> yeah. when i hear them say they just simply lack the political will, i think about the women and children there, and i just -- i don't think it's a fair assessment to say they simply lack the political will. but malcolm, i hope that you can come back many saturdays to help us walk through this having being on the ground and helping liberty the country yourself. thank you so much for bringing perspective there. ahead, congresswoman joins us to discuss the john lewis voting rights advancement act she introduced this week. will it be enough to save democracy? we'll find out next. that i should get used to people staring.
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all right. with three democrats crossing the line in texas this week, returning to the state house floor and giving republicans the
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quorum they needed, it's only a matter of days before the gop-controlled legislature will decimate voting rights in the lone star state. they're following in the footsteps of republicans all across the country as well as the halls of congress who are trying to keep the path to the ballot box as white and as narrow as possible. in an effort to get something passed on capitol hill, congresswoman terri sewell passed the john lewis voting rights advancement act that would restore parts of the 1965 act that the supreme court gutted. the question is, can this pass the senate? and is this enough to stop the damage that's already been done? joining me now is congresswoman terri sewell, cochair of the congressional voting rights caucus and member of the ways and means committee. congresswoman, so happy to have you with me this morning. this is a huge piece of legislation. i was very excited tows announce this from the edmund pettus
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bridge. i think it strengthens a lot of things, particularly section 2 and parts of section 5. do you think this legislation can pass the senate? yeah, it has, you know, the elements, but it's a few votes shy of getting past the filibuster. >> first of all, thank you for the opportunity to talk about the job robert lewis voting rights advancement act. h.r. 4 is critically important because now, more than ever, we need federal oversight. as you articulated, we've seen states and localities across the nation impose stricter voting requirements, and in doing so, the supreme court has not only gutted section 4, it really issued an invitation to congress to come up with a modern-day formula in order to put pre-clearance back into effect. so h.r. 4 does just that.
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it's narrowly tailored to store the voting rights act. we have to get it passed not only in the house, which i'm proud to say we introduced it on tuesday and we have 200 cosponsors of the legislation. i look forward to being on the floor this week and being able to articulate why it's so critically important at this juncture in american history to put federal oversight back in. we've seen texas and georgia and alabama just run amok after ostensibly the safest presidential election in modern history, the 2020 election. and so the reality is that we have to put some guardrails up, and that's exactly what h.r. 4 will do. now more than ever, if there's any reason why we should reform the filibuster, it should be to be able to have our democracy
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live up to its promise of equal votes for each american and i think that h.r. 4, along with h.r. 1, will do just that. now is the time to put the pressure on, tiffany. >> yeah, indeed, it is beyond time. i get your point about h.r. 1. the for the people act seems to be dead in the water at this point, so some made the point that the john lewis voting rights act doesn't go far enough. it wouldn't roll back the state changes that have already happened. so what do you say to people who, you know, say go hard or go home, one, and two, each moment that passes that voting rights are not protected gives more cachet to the republicans that they will be able to take back the house and senate, and then who knows what happens after that? so where do you stand on all of that? >> well, first of all, you know,
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i think that the shelby versus holder decision and the arizona decision out of the supreme court most recently have done a number on not just states and localities, but really curbing the ability for average, ordinary americans to be able to vote. the equal access to the ballot box is critically important. just like in the 1960s and 1970s, we need federal oversight when state governments go amok. this is particular to restoring the full protections of the vra, which has been widely successful in not only ensuring that minorities have a vote, but that they elect their own officials. i sit on a seat in alabama, the lone democratic seat, that would not have been possible had it not been for the voting rights act of 1965. it is definitely the most
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consequential for voters to be able to elect their leaders but to ensure our democracy lives up to its promise of equality and justice for all. and so i think we have to get a foothold back into federal oversight and nothing can do that better than h.r. 4. and so i think that h.r. 1 and h.r. 4 complement each other, but it has to start with us getting the full protections of the vra back into effect. and that's exactly what h.r. 4 does. and i think that, you know, we need to put the pressure on republicans. voting rights has always been a nonpartisan issue. the vra was reauthorized five times under three republican presidents, including most recently in 2006 by president george w. bush. so we have to remind republicans that it's not about, you know, politicians being able to choose our voters. it's about voters being able to choose their elected officials. there has to be some guardrails and federal oversight put back
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in. the constitution is pretty clear. in article 2, it gives a time, manner, and place for congress to determine federal elections. also, the 14th amendment and 15th amendment give congress the purview to be able to determine how to make sure that voting is not denied or bridged. and so let's assert that back in and make sure that we are being prophylactically in making sure we're protecting our vote before elections are held, not after elections are held. and so i think that h.r. 4 -- >> right. >> -- because it bears john lewis' name on it, so many people joined john to cross that bridge, faith and politics with me over the last decade and john over the last two decades, and people really want to uphold his legacy. we would pass h.r. 4. >> absolutely. we're way over time, but i have to ask you about the dire situation in your home state of alabama with covid.
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there are no icu beds left in the entire state of alabama. what is it going to take to get more people vaccinated in alabama? >> i think it's going to take influencers like our preachers, our black medical health professionals, really trying to encourage those who have not been vaccinated to get vaccinated. i know in my district, which is a majority minority district, we're seeing an increase in vaccinations. it's hard when you have republican officials that are not stressing the importance of getting vaccinated. so i think that it's taking -- i know on the local level, both in the city of burmingham as well as across our state, lawmakers are really trying to make a big push to get people vaccinated. in fact, later this month charles barkley, a native of alabama, is coming to do a vaccination clinic. of course we're trying to do everything we can to incentivize people to get vaccinated.
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>> thank you so much, congresswoman terri sewell. we'll have you back as the legislation moves through capitol hill. coming up, the latest out of haiti still reeling from a tropical storm and earthquake just days apart. stay with us. ♪ ♪ and one we explore one that's been paved and one that's forever wild but freedom means you don't have to choose just one adventure ♪ ♪ you get both. introducing the all-new 3-row jeep grand cherokee l jeep. there's only one. jeep grand cherokee l we did it again. verizon has been named america's most reliable network by rootmetrics. and our customers rated us #1 for network quality in america according to j.d. power. number one in reliability, 16 times in a row. most awarded for network quality, 27 times in a row. proving once again that nobody builds networks like verizon.
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. all right, the situation in haiti is dire. the country was battered by rain and flooding from tropical storm grace this week just days after being rocked by a 7.2 magnitude
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earthquake. more than 2,100 people have died, and more than 12,000 were injured. aid has been excruciatingly slow where tens of thousands of people lost their homes while gang violence and an unstable political situation have only made matters worse. joining me live from port-au-prince is marie habeeb who has been covering the situation in haiti for "the new york times." thank you so much for being with me this morning figure out i have to turk i was reading your latest reporting, and looking at the gang violence that has stopped aid from getting to people, doctors are being kidnapped, trucks are willing looted, two front of a police station. what's the latest there on ground? >> the latest on ground is people are starting to get very, very frustrated with the fact that aid is not flowing fast enough. so you're seeing fights break out and people saying that they've been waiting, camped out for days to get, you know, bottles of water or a mattress
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or any type of aid. there's simply not enough to go around. people are getting very desperate and right after the earthquake, which was 7.2 magnitude, so incredibly, you know, incredibly powerful, you then had tropical depression grace bear down on that same part of the island that was affected. and people were homeless and out, you know, in open field dealing with tropical grace. so it's a really dire situation. it's quite heartbreaking. >> even more so, punctuated by the fact that unicef estimates 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children have been affected by this earthquake. how are people getting in and out of the haiti right now? you know, there doesn't appear to be a safe landing strip anywhere to fly people out to safety. >> at this point a lot of the relief efforts are going
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straight to the zone, which is in the southern peninsula. you know, it's -- oftentimes they can coordinate amongst themselves so i can't say whether or not there's overlap or anything else. but the problem at the moment is that this is a really, really large area that's been impacted. i know the like the 2010 earthquake that leveled much of port-au-prince, which is the capital city in haiti. this is a very large part of the island affected. so what they're doing, including the u.s. coast guard, is they're taking reconnaissance flights above the area to identify towns and villages that are really quite far apart to see who kind of needs to be first on the list for medical attention or water or food or whatever it is. >> the earthquake has destroyed more than 83,000 homes.
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so i'm looking at the footage here and basically this has been leveled. homes are now rubble. where are people sleeping? are there makeshift tents or shelters set up for folks to go, particularly those with children? >> for the lucky, yes. but not for everybody. i mean, the problem is that it's an entire area of haiti. and so it's just impossible to get every in time. that's what everybody's telling me. it's just -- it's -- it's not a concentrated area. it could be up to 1.5 million people affected. and so it's really hard to just make sure, considering the already poor infrastructure here, that the aid is going where it needs to go. unfortunately, when people are that desperate, bad things happen, like people fight over water or things like that. but one of the hospitals that we went to, i mean, their outpatient area for surgeries that they were doing, serious
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surgeries, was literally their parking lot because they didn't feel safe enough to enter the hospital because the hospital's structure had been damaged. >> whether or not i people kidnapping doctors? you found that striking that they were literally kidnapping people there to help them. >> well, i mean, the people who were kidnapping doctors are the people in port-au-prince that were not affected by the earthquake. unfortunately, the level of desperation in haiti is such that, you know, it's a rapid decline and people feel, you know, this is a place -- i was speaking with somebody yesterday saying the church plays such an outsized role here and people respected the church. and i think that's still true in much of haiti, but now with the desperation being what it is, which is incredibly high, the tenets people once respected are declining amongst some of the
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population. i don't want to paint everybody out to be that here. there's lots of people who do the right thing and help their neighbor and everything, but there are elements. population who are incredibly desperate and they say their way to feed their children or to feed their ailing father and mother, for instance, would be to kidnap a doctor who is there to help in order to get a ransom for that. >> yeah. >> you know, they don't want to hurt these people, but they're just that desperate and they need the money. i'm not advocating for it, i'm just saying that's the situation. >> i think it's important to draw that distinction. let's not forget covid already existed, so this was already something that was on the island. they got vaccinations in late july. thank you so much, maria abi. keep us updated on that. more cross connection coming up after the break, including the press conference live from the pentagon which we'll bring you as soon as that happens.
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okay. far too often the incarcerated are overlooked, left out of the conversation and often forgotten about. but there's a human cost to incarceration. in the span of five years, 786 people have died behind bars in louisiana alone. this is a state with the country's highest rates of both incarceration and deaths in prison. and that was before the coronavirus. now, the only reason we know this number at all is thanks to the work of a new orleans law professor that has difficulty a database cataloging deaths in louisiana's jails and prisons. she joins me now. andrea, i'm so honored to have you on this show. when i read that wonderful piece profiling you in "the new yorker," your work is so self-and also important at this
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time. i'm curious. red cross this is an issue all over the country, but using louisiana as a microcosm, why are the deaths and incarceration rates so high in louisiana? >> so louisiana has been a leader in incarceration per capita for decades, right? but what we're finding out with this project is we are also a leader in deaths behind bars. that's because of long-standing policies around the types of things we criminalize. but also because of biases at every stage of the process, from policing to prosecution, sentencing, conviction, as well as even thinking about the type of care that people get behind bars. >> i just want to go over some of the things that you've uncovered and things that have happened in prisons in louisiana. tie ren colbert is a 17-year-old who was choked to death by a
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cell mate while crying for help. a navy veteran died after being left on the floor of his cell. those are not uncommon stories. for people at home who say they committed a crime and this is what they deserve, you and i know people in prison are not always guilty and are victims of the system. tell me what you say to people. >> first, not all crimes are the same, right? so we've got people in our database who have died after purse snatching versus people who have died after committing a violent crime, including murder. and your chance of death should not depend simply on which jurisdiction happens to convict you for the crime. if i commit a crime in louisiana, my chance of death should not be higher than if i had committed that crime, say, in pennsylvania. i think the other thing is we saw significant numbers of deaths pre-trial, meaning people
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who are innocent until convicted, right? we're presumed innocent and they are detained in jails. that can be deadly. >> meanwhile, we have people who have a violent insurrection on our government and walk free. people cannot afford bail, and so they're sitting in these jails. some people being killed before they had a trial. how is that justice? some of this happens because there is no public shame here. this is not something that we talk about enough in the public eye. so how can we particularly in the media but also those in society keep these conversations at the front and center because these are american citizens who deserve some humanity and dignity like every place. >> i mean, every single person that we know of who died -- remember, only 69% of facilities of the 130 facilities in louisiana responded to our public records request, right?
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so at least 786 people died, but we actually don't know the true number. what we can do is collect their names, tell their stories, and make what happens behind bars visible for all of us. that's one of the reasons that my students and professor judson mitchell created this database because this needs to be a part of the conversation and not just in louisiana but across the country. >> something that i thought was really interesting. you are in touch with formerly incarcerated people. there was one person you struck up a friendship with who unfortunately died later. i think it's a unique point you say there are people doing this work who has operate from this social hierarchy. i'm here, but i'm helping you down here. and you're a woman of the people, you connect with these people who are now back in society and reintegrating. why is that so important? >> because they are the experts, right? so i visit a lot of facilities. i've probably been to 30 facilities across the u.s.
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but they know what it means to have these policies and practices 24 hours a day, seven days a week for years in one facility. and so i really do look to understand how these policies and practices that i study in the abstract, what they actually mean for the everyday life of somebody who's incarcerated. and i do firmly believe that every single person, no matter what they did, is human and they deserve that basic humane dignity we afford every other person in our zbloet some of your reporting has also uncovered the way these deaths are coded. some are coded as medical, even though they're due to blunt trauma force to the head. in one case, security guards repeatedly tasered a prisoner who died of a heart attack and that was listed as a heart attack. you have an open invitation to come back anytime. thank you so much, andre i can't
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and bring you the latest. stay right here at msnbc for all of that. we're watching this story and also the pentagon briefing that will happen any minute. we'll bring you that when it happens live. by now you've probably seen some of the hilarious memes how the delta variant is spoiling everybody's fall plans. and while you'll still be able to order that pumpkin spice latte, even with the right guys vaccination rates, covid isn't likely going anywhere. with the new recommendation that most americans will need a vaccine booster shot, this is beginning to feel like our new normal. so what exactly does it look like when a pandemic becomes an endemic. joining me is dr. chris pernell here to make sense of this. america's favorite doctor, very happy to have you back with me this morning. so, you know, with this news around the booster shot, i'm very curious. number one, i want to get this out of the way.
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if you got, like, a pfizer shot or a moderna shot, when you get the booster, do you still have to stick with the same brand, i guess, for your booster shot? >> yes, tiffany. what's currently recommended in the guidance, whichever vaccine you received for your initial two doses will be the same vaccine you should receive for your booster dose. that's our best understanding at this time. >> all right. now, how concerned should we be about vaccinated people not getting the booster? you know, you have issues of scheduling and timing and, you know, a myriad of issues that could impact this. if you don't get the booster, will you at some point be rendered unprotected from covid? >> bottom line, the booster is useful to, let's say, boost or pump up immunity. those persons who've been inoculated and have been vaccinated for greater than eight months, they are more susceptible to mild and moderate
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disease. it doesn't mean they're more susceptible to disease and it doesn't mean they're more susceptible to hospitalization. boosters are a way to give those who are already vaccinated -- think about gold standard protection. but we cannot lose sight of those who are unvaccinated at all. we have to be able to do multiple things, meaning children who are under the age of 12, meaning people across the globe who haven't received one shot. those are areas of focus that must remain at the top of our agenda and i'm hopeful that they will. >> you brought up the unvaccinated. now, letting the virus run through the unvaccinated, i mean, i suppose that's one way to get us to endemnity and it looks like that may be where we're headed. once it runs through, will that be better or will we see more variants come along and perhaps
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penetrate some of these vaccines? >> you know, scientists have been speculating when will coronavirus become endemic, and no one has an exact date or exact timing about that. what i want people to understand is that the pandemic will progress to a stage of being endemic when you have continuous presence of the virus or when you have a usual prevalence of the virus in a particular population, in a particular geographic region. bottom line, we're not there. we're not there because we don't have a critical mass of folks either vaccinated and/or having been infected or exposed. you want to be able to get to an endemic stage through vaccination because you don't want people to have senseless and preventable loss of life and morbidity. so get vaccinated. that's the bottom line. get vaccinated, continue to be persistent and continue to follow the data. what's on the horizon is full approval of the pfizer vaccine,
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hopeful that full approval will follow for the other two. that's going to be a significant milestone. >> if there's a silver lining, as we keep having these conversations and telling these stories, it does appear that more people are getting vaccinated, so we'll see. something i'm concerned about, the summer is coming to an end, in the fall it will be cold outside again soon, all of the outdoor options will go away for a lot of people. is it safe at this point to gather indoors for things like music concerts and broadway? i still feel a little shook and i'm still wearing my mask and i don't know how comfortable i would be at a concert, but i'm curious your opinion as a member of the medical community. >> i love broadway, i would love to see a show, but i'm not there either, tiffany. i don't think we are across a critical finish line. there are multiple finish lines in this battle, this war, and we're not there yet because of delta. delta is two times more
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contagious and we know that vaccinated people can have just as much of a viral load as unvaccinated people. we're hearing about waning immunity after eight months, meaning that vaccinated people are susceptible to mild or moderate disease and this will always be a risk/benefit ratio and i want people to make the decision this way, is this a necessary risk in my life? that's the question that i use. if it's not a necessary risk, it might be something that you want and you enjoy, but is it a necessary risk? because our health, our well-being, our livelihoods are tied to another. these individual action rs are not in a silo. >> can i get together with my vaccinated friends? if i'm with vaccinated people and we want to go over to somebody's house to have brunch or cocktails or whatever, can we gather indoors? >> that's fine. i believe if you have people who are consistently in your sphere,
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people you consistently interact with, i get together with my vaccinated family. the concern will be the indoor public venues when you don't have a way of predicting households. if you have someone in your house that is unvaccinated or at risk for disease, you should display more caution. >> so i don't have to cancel my plans now. thank you so much. in the next hour, the latest out of the pentagon as americans in afghanistan are being told to not go to kabul airport. plus, police reform, is qualified immunity for cops in or out of the plan and we'll talk to a comedy legend who is putting a different spin on a new tv show. i'm sorry, i want to take you live to the briefing at the pentagon. we join them in progress right now. >> good to see everybody and thanks for joining us on this great saturday. i'll give you a quick operational update, as well as answer your questions, and obviously mr. kirby is here, also, so we look forward to that. before i describe the situation
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in kabul for the past 24 hours, i want to do a little bit, take the ability to recap the past week and kind of present a holistic view of what's been accomplished. as you know, august 14th we began this evacuation operation, which really is exactly one week ago today. since then, we have rapidly deployed thousands of troops into afghanistan. our footprint continues today to stand at approximately 5,800 troops on the ground, continuing to provide and secure the kabul airport to allow for evacuation operations. as you know, these troops were both pre-positioned, as well as deployed from the united states. then, as the forces steadily flowed in, we successfully secured the kabul airport. if you recall, the situation just a week ago was a little bit different than it is today.
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the airport remains secure. u.s. military personnel currently oversee flight operations, both u.s. military, contracted aircraft, as well as foreign aircraft continue to operate within kabul airport. additionally, the u.s. military has maintained the gate security and supported our state department colleagues in the processing of individuals into hkia to prepare for evacuation flights out of afghanistan. critical to getting americans, siv applicants and afghans at risk, additional space at intermediate staging bases and safe havens in other locations. this impacts our throughput, as i discussed yesterday. for example, two days ago, if you recall, the u.s. military air lifted nearly 6,000 e
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evacuees. 32 charters departed kabul. the total passenger count was approximately 3,800. also, in the past 24 hours a number of c-17s are moving between cutter and germany, providing critical relief that will increase our input to those intermediate staging bases. finally, in the past 24 hours, three flights landed at dulles international airport. there are now afghans, in just one week since beginning this operation, have left afghanistan and will be transitioned to fort bliss today for further processing. as you can see, this is a complex and multi-step operation. we are committed to this highly important mission to bring american citizens, siv applicants and at-risk afghans
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who have worked alongside of us throughout our time in afghanistan and vulnerable afghans, including women and children, safely out of afghanistan. since the end of july, we have relocated approximately 22,000 people. since the beginning of this evacuation operation on august 14th, we've evacuated approximately 17,000. i would add that intelligence, law enforcement and counterterrorism professionals are conducting screening and security vetting for all siv and others, vulnerable afghans, before they are allowed to enter into the united states. these agencies are surging resources to evaluate all of these e evacuees to ensure protection of the homeland. this massive effort is the result of teamwork across the agency and the cooperation of our partners around the world who share in this incredible effort. thank you.
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>> it looks like, leader, you're on the phone? >> yes, thanks, john. for either you or the general, obviously there's fewer people getting out of afghanistan over the last 24 hours and the embassy has issued a warning telling people not to go to the airport. can you talk about the security outside the perimeter? is it getting worse? and what are the key threats there? is it afghans trying to get in, is it isis, is it the taliban? can you just give us a clearer picture of the violence going on outside the airport? >> the first part of the question is, i think, you talked about guidance going out to not come to hkia. i'm not familiar with that directly. we are continuing to process people throughout the last 24
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hours. the commanders are metering how many people come in and out of the gate to ensure the safe ability to screen applicants as they come on to hkia. there has been no reported change to the current enemy situation in and around the airport at this time. >> i'll just read you this security alert that came out of the embassy this morning. it says because of potential security threats outside the gates at kabul, we're advising you as citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive a specific call to come there. so can you explain, what is this threat? is it taliban? is there an isis or an al qaeda angle to this? >> i think you can understand, courtney, why we're not going to get into specific details about the threat environment or what
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our intelligence is giving us. we have said from the very beginning of this that we're going to try to do this is a safe and orderly way, and that means making sure that nobody gets hurt, to the maximum extent possible. so what you're seeing out of our state department colleagues, i think, is prudent notification to make sure that whatever movement there is to the gates from outside the airport is done as safely as possible, and that people have the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves going forward. so i do understand the question and the interest, but i hope you understand that we're going to be very careful about what kind of extra context we're going to put out. >> was it a crowd threat that led to the evacuation via helicopter on thursday of some americans near the airport. so i guess wa we're trying to
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figure out, is this just there's large crowds and it's difficult for americans to get there, or is there actually a threat against the airport? >> again, i'm not going to get into specific threat assessments. the situation in kabul and the whole city is fluid and dynamic and you have seen the images over the last 24-48 hours yourself of the situation outside the perimeter of the airport. and it changes, it changes almost by the hour and it changes in locations around the airport. it's very, very fluid and dynamic. and so i don't want to speak for the state department, obviously, but like our military commanders, they are going to make decisions in real time about what's in the best interest of innocent civilians that have need to get to the airport and we want to get inside the security gates. we're just going to -- this will change, you know, every day, there will be modifications to our assessments of the security environment and what we think is
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in the best interest of people. >> one other not related to this, there are reports that the afghan military and maybe some others who are rising up against the taliban, particularly some in the north, and i'm wondering if there's been any request for u.s. military airstrikes to start them, and if so, is that the kind of thing the u.s. military would engage in? >> i don't want to anticipate or talk about the future. as you know, no current requests for that have come in, but we continue to maintain the current capability that we've had on the ground and in the air since we began operations. >> the only thing i would add is the mission hasn't changed. the mission of the united states military in kabul is to secure that airport, keep it secure, conduct, manage and lead air operations so that we can continue to move people out. that's the focus of the military mission. >> a week ago there was a mission to support, and still to support the afghan military with air strikes. and that was supposed to
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continue until august 31st. so it stands to reason -- i know the situation has changed a lot in the last week but it stands to reason the u.s. military would still have the authority to carry out strikes if requested by the afghan military. but i guess at this point they have not been requested is what we're told, right? >> the general said there has been no request. i just want to stress the military mission that we are executing now is a non-combatant evacuation operation. that is what we're focused on. >> in the last 24 hours, taliban leadership have named those in charge of securing the streets and city of kabul. has that been part of the changing situation on the ground and making it less safe for americans to try and travel to the airport? >> again, i'm not going to detail the threat assessments and what the intelligence is saying. it is very fluid and dynamic. what i would tell you is that we continue to have regular communication with taliban leaders there in kabul,
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particularly those that are manning or in charge of the checkpoints around the airport. that communication occurs. that has not changed. >> is the concern that while there's ongoing communication with taliban near the airport that there's a lot less visibility the further you go out into the city and that's possibly where there might be threats of kidnapping? is that what we're trying to avoid here? >> there are a lot of security concerns we have, and, again, my answer to courtney, this is a non-combatant evacuation. as the general indicated in his opening statement, we're trying to get as many people out as we can, as fast as we can, and so that's what the focus is. and clearly in trying to accomplish that mission, we're taking in a whole wealth of information about what the security environment looks like. but our presence is there at the airport, the mission is there at
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the airport, and that's the key focus. >> is there a sense that the window of opportunity here is closing, and closing maybe possibly quickly as the security situation on the ground -- >> i think we've been very honest about the fact that we know, we're fighting against both time and space. that's really what we're -- that's the race that we're in right now. and we're trying to do this as quickly and as safely as possible. i'm not going to speculate about whether windows are closing or opening. we're focused on accomplishing this mission as fast as we can. >> john, two days before kabul fell, you said from that podium, quote, the city is not right now in any imminent threat environment. how could you get that so wrong? >> in the moment that i said it, lucas, it was true, and i
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understand, i've seen the reactions out there on social media to what i said. in the moment that i said it, based on what we knew at the time, it was a true statement. and, yes, two days later things dramatically changed. i readily admit that. things moved very, very quickly, lucas. and as you heard the chairman up here just a few days ago say that there wasn't any indication that they had received that things could evolve as quickly as they did. >> cities have been falling all week, every day. >> yes, i understand. i understand. all i can tell you is in the moment that i made those remarks, they were accurate. i'm committed 100% to being as truthful and as honest up here and as transparent as i can be, and i'm comfortable that while others may ridicule what i say and take issue with it, i'm
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comfortable that what i'm giving you is the best information i have the moment that i have it. and i would hope and understand that people would see that events have -- did and have continued to evolve very, very quickly there. to courtney's excellent line of questioning, the assessment, the threat is going to change and it could change literally by the hour. so we're trying to give you the best we can and lean as far forward as we can in the moment, but that moment is going to change. >> it could be changing by the hour. you said there was no imminent threat of kabul falling. >> i think i've answered the question. >> so ten years ago general lloyd austin recommended to the president not to pull troops out of iraq months ago, now defense secretary austin recommended the same thing in afghanistan. is he frustrated that presidents are ignoring him? >> the secretary is 100% focused on the mission at hand right now, which is a non-combatant
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evacuation operation, and he's comfortable that throughout this deliberation his voice was heard, that he had an opportunity to provide his best advice and counsel to the commander in chief and national security team, as did other leaders here at the pentagon. it was a very inclusive, very deliberate process, and the secretary believes that the president was given the benefit of a lot of different views, not just his, but a lot of different views. and then the commander in chief made a decision. that's how it works. that's exactly how the process should work. a very calm and deliberate decisionmaking process. and once that decision is made, you execute. that's the way this building operates, you execute. and that's what we're doing. >> is the secretary frustrated that not once, but twice, his advice has been ignored? >> the secretary is focused on the mission at hand and not
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revisiting past decisions, one way or another. you give your advice and a decision is made and you follow that decision. an order is given, you follow that order, and that's what we're doing. and as you heard the secretary say just after the president announced his decision in mid--april that he fully supports that decision. he's been very clear about that. >> has the secretary thought about resigning? >> no. >> one factual question. how many of those 17,000 are american citizens, and have there been any further outside-the-wire operations by u.s. military? >> i do not have a breakdown of how many of the 17,000 are americans, and to my knowledge, since you and i last talked yesterday, there have been no additional operations, as you put it, outside the wire, outside the security perimeter of the airport.
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but, look, without getting predictive here, we have troops in a very -- as i said, dynamic environment, perilous mission, and they understand that. and they also understand why they're there, which is to help people. and i'm not going to rule out the possibility that if they see a moment, if they see an opportunity to do it, that they won't do it. >> what is the sensitivity of going outside the perimeter? the brits don't seem to have any problem with acknowledging, they seem to be pretty open. i saw a british soldier quoted as saying they were conducting joint patrols with the taliban. is there something restraining u.s. forces from going out and
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getting people? >> do you want to take it? >> yeah. just going back to i think your first question, can you give me the question again? >> how many of the 17,000 are american citizens. >> i think i can help with that, on the numbers of the american citizens. is that what you were asking? okay. >> total number of american citizens. >> it's approximately 2,500 is what was reported, yes. when you talk about the operations, i'm not familiar with -- as we look at the joint and coalition of what's operating on hkia, those british forces at the gate are part of the entire hkia or kabul security zone, so those patrols you're talking about, i don't have knowledge of people going outside the wire, as you speak of, patrols. what we do see, the british
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marines that are on those gates are conducting what we call local security operations to continue, the best they can, to make sure they're safe, that all of those -- you know, the large crowds that are there, trying to continue to ensure there's control, to allow the people that are allowed to and have the right documents to come into the gates. >> local security operations in or outside? >> i'm talking in at the gates, at the gates. >> and are british and other forces there under the operational command of the u.s. commanders? >> so those british forces that are there at the gates are part of the u.s. operational control of the commander that has kabul airport. >> he has operational control over the various forces? >> yes, he's the commander.
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>> you talked about how the local commanders are now metering people coming in at these gates. does that suggest that the flow is continuing? >> absolutely. >> into that -- >> yes. >> and, thus, if you are an american citizen in kabul or somewhere else in afghanistan and can get to the airport, you should try to get to one of these entrances? >> what i would say is that as american citizens come into the gates, we are continuing to process them and get them to safety. that's our mission. >> right. and have any of these gates been actually completely closed in the last 24 hours? >> let's make sure, when you look at the gates and we're ensuring the gates always have the ability to be open and process the right people that come to the gates. so that's, i think, very important to understand, is the
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gates are always manned by forces there that can process the right people that come to those gates all the time. >> i'm still confused. you've got a u.s. embassy that's sending out an alert telling american citizens in kabul do not come to the gate if you want to get out, because the security situation, as john described, is too threatening, and yet you're saying you should come to the gate. >> i did not say you should come. what i said was that there are military forces at the gate, they have the able to continue to process those that come to the gate. >> how many gates are there? >> there's multiple gates right now. as we look, there's three or four main gates that we're processing through. >> we were told overnight that two were opened, is that correct?
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two additional gates. >> two additional gates, i don't have that report of two additional gates. >> let me get to the phone a little bit more. >> john, thanks. i just want to confirm, over the past 12, 24 hours, how many gates have been closed, and have they been for long periods of time or short? >> just to go back, those gates are opened and closed as required. there's been short durations throughout the last 24 where gates have been closed to allow the proper people to come in and out of those gates. >> okay, let's see.
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kelly. any more in the room? >> can i go back to the 2,500 american estimate? that's a very small portion of the 15,000 that the president has said may be the top number of americans inside. are you making efforts to try to bring more americans in? i know you're cautioning them to be aware of the threat environment at the gates, but at the same time, how do you get that many americans into the airport if there really are that many americans in the country? >> well, i think you've heard us say before we don't have a perfect figure of how many are in afghanistan, let alone kabul. and as the general said, if you're an american and you're at a gate, you'll be let in that
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gate. the state department is doing the best job they can to advise americans who still haven't made it to the airport what the situation looks like around the airport, and that would be the prudent thing to do. and as you also heard the president make clear yesterday, that we're going to continue to explore options to assist americans as needed, and we will do that. we will do that here at the pentagon. if there's a need to do something different than what we are already doing to facilitate them getting into the airport, then we'll certainly consider those options. >> is there a separate advisory that goes out to afghan nationals who have visas in hand? are they, too, being told -- the threat situation is dynamic right now, be aware? are they getting similar
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messages? >> we have to refer you to the state department. my understanding is that there is ways to communicate to that population, but how that's done, that's not a dod equity. i wouldn't be able to speak to that with any great clarity. >> since the mission with the three chinooks that rescued americans, are there been any other airlift rescue operations and is that maybe a way that other americans who are still stranded might be able to get to the airport? >> no, and i won't speculate about potential future operations going forward. >> you talked about the throughput and increasing the throughput of afghans. can you talk about the different bases that are opening up and how is that sorting done? how did three aircraft go straight to dulles and then some go to germany? how are those decisions being made? >> so as flights are manifested, meaning the roster that's put together at hkia of who is on
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those aircraft, then a decision is made where to go. let's say some flights were going into cutter, so that afghans could then be held there, you know, temporarily, and then waiting for other flights to go. so we're trying to keep the air flow that's in the theatre from having to go far, continue to drop people off to allow other flights to take from cutter forward to, for instance, dulles. so it depends on how many folks we have, is it a full flight of siv, is it other afghans, is it american. so that is just extremely dynamic and with trans com, as those manifests are done, they make those decisions on the spot. >> is the idea that only sivs that have been fully processed are going to be coming into the
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u.s. for now? or will there be a situation where my afghans that are evacuated will be brought onto bases and then work through the system once they're here? >> what we will continue to do is the full screening and vetting process that takes place from the beginning all the way to making a final decision of where somebody goes. i know we will continue that. and then going back to right now, the guidance, to continue to increase our outflows to make that happen. >> general? >> yes. >> is the american flag flying at the airport in kabul right now? >> yes. >> there's some talk from people who served in afghanistan that the u.s. embassies, which cost nearly $800 million to build, why was that closed and the flag taken to the airport? shouldn't the flag come down last from an embassy when conducting an evacuation?
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>> i can't speak for the decisions the embassy makes and what they've done. i know that embassy operations continue on kabul airport and, as you know, at the military headquarters where u.s. personnel are continuing to execute the mission, the flag flies. >> when evacuating a country, doesn't the american flag come down from the embassy last? that's what a lot of veterans are saying. >> i'm just going to say, the fact the flag continues to fly and the mission continues right now. >> just a couple more. courtney? >> one for each of you. john, congressman mccarthy put out a statement last night saying that with the moments of president biden saying that we succeeded in afghanistan, secretary austin and millie provided a bleak assessment of
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the ground and austin specifically acknowledged that americans were being beaten on their way to the airport. can you give us any more detail about what -- who these americans are that he was talking about? >> we've been talking about this for several days here here at this particular podium. we know of cases, a small number that we know of. we don't have perfect visibility rgs but we know of a small number of cases where some americans and certainly, as the secretary also said in that statement, afghans, afghans that we want to evacuate. it wasn't just americans that he talked about, have been harassed and, in some cases, beaten. we don't believe it is a very large number and, as a matter of fact, the numbers would indicate, and i've said this before, that most -- by and large, most americans who have their credentials with them are
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being allowed through the taliban checkpoints and on to the gate and onto the airfield. so by and large, most americans are having no problems that we're aware of. now, i have to caveat it and i'll do it again and i've done it every day, we are aware of sporadic cases where they aren't being allowed, where there is some harassment going on, and, yes, some physical violence has occurred. and as the secretary has made clear and made clear in that phone call, that's unacceptable and the admiral has made that clear to the taliban commanders that he's talking to, that it's unacceptable. >> what i'm wondering, is the cases that the secretary was talking to the members about, were those occurring yesterday? are these recent or are we talking about -- >> over the course of the last week we have been made aware of this. >> more cases since the u.s. started talking to the taliban and telling them not to do it?
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>> i don't have an exact breakdown day by day. we've been in touch with the taliban for quite some time, over the course of the last week, and we've certainly made our concerns known. and i think equally frustrating is the fact that -- what appears to be happening is not every taliban fighter either got the word or decided to obey the word. and i can't speak to taliban command and control. but by and large, and for the most part, americans with their credentials are being given the passage they need through the checkpoints and are getting onto the field. again, security conditions permitting. >> this is more for you, general. there were reports on social media, including pictures showing empty m-17s flying out. is that the case? do you have any sense of are some aircraft leaving kabul airport relatively empty, and if
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so, why? >> first, that flight cycle continues. and what the commanders are the ground know is to continue to evacuate and ensure everybody gets out as fast as possible. what we don't know is maybe on that situation, i'm not aware of that exact flight, might have had a different mission to do something else. so i can't answer that. as you've seen in our throughput, we are getting those that are ready to fly, that have been fully screened, ready to fly, on aircraft and moving to onward destinations. >> the 3,800 that you mentioned in your opening statement, those are including the 32 charters that went out? >> that's correct. >> do you know how many people were on those, by chance? >> approximately 1,600. >> last one. >> the 17,000 that have been evacuated, do you know roughly how many have gone to qatar or
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the uae also took some initial flights, and is the qatar facility essentially full, you're going to have to permanently transition to some intermediate weigh stations? >> we talked about the number that continue to move and i just want to talk about qatar specifically. there was a time period yesterday where we delayed flights going in there to allow other flights to leave to ensure that the current capacity, which was really well done there, to continue to build that capacity so fast, to allow those flights to depart before we bring flights in. now that we have ramstein opened, like i mentioned earlier, that will allow us in the next 24, the plan to assess and get back to numbers we saw the day before in moving them out. >> thanks, everybody.
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>> quick one. >> does the threat against the united states increase as the taliban takes over the country? >> all right. you've been listening to pentagon press secretary john kirby and army major general taylor give an update on the efforts to bring americans and afghans out of kabul, which has been a scene of chaos over the last week as thousands try to flee taliban rule. in the last 24 hours 3,800 people have been evacuated and just this morning the embassy warned americans not to travel to the airport unless they've been instructed by an official because of security risk. officials declined to elaborate on those risks. i just want to recap some things we heard. according to general kirby the airport remains safe. we will ask our pentagon reporter, courtney kube, who asked a lot of questions and is making her way to the camera.
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when she gets there, we'll ask her about the perimeter outside the airport. general taylor told us that three flights landed at dulles airport last night. we're going to recap all of this and bring you the latest of what we heard on the other side of the break. we will be right back after this. bic hair and n with a patented irritation defense bar for a smooth shave with blades that barely touch skin ♪ music playing. ♪ there's an america we build
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before we went to break, you were listening to the pentagon briefing with press secretary john kirby of the department of dense, as well as major general william taylor. we learned three flights did land at dulles airport last night, since the beginning of all of this the united states has evacuated 22,000 people from afghanistan. that's since july. and 17,000 during this phase of the evacuation. major general william taylor says they are still focused on a non-combatant evacuation. that was echoed by pent press secretary john kirby and joining me is nbc news correspondent courtney kube. you got a lot of questions in during this press conference and i have a few more for you. recap what we've heard, and also i saw you pressing kirby on the empty planes leaving last night. he didn't really give a response
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there. what's your take on his response? >> reporter: i think part of the reason is there's so much that's happening right now and it's happening so quickly that information is lagging getting back here, just candidly. and we have seen instances where some planes have gone out either not completely full or nearly empty, and that's been a combination of reasons. earlier in the week one of the reasons was the planes were essentially retrofitted not for passengers, but for some passengers and equipment. so they just couldn't safely put individuals on those planes, as many as they may be able to carry. we heard yesterday from officials at air mobility command from the u.s. air force saying that they had since started putting passengers on the floor and they were literally lining them up on the floor to get as many people on these flights as possible. so that's why, to me, it was particularly interesting to see these photos on twitter that seem to show flights that were leaving empty. we just don't really know. we don't have confirmation that
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those are accurate and we don't know why that's the case. it was something that general taylor was not able to answer. >> i want to follow up. you were pressing as well on what mccarthy said, kevin mccarthy in the house, who said that secretary austin confirmed that there were violent engagement between the taliban and americans on ground there. on your reporting, in your reporting, have you confirmed or heard any more about that? i saw you pressing john kirby to answer that question, but, again, not a lot of information there. >> reporter: there's no doubt, we've heard directly from people and seen accounts on social media of americans and afghans who are being mistreated, beaten in some cases, by taliban at these checkpoints. to me, what's really the critical question here is, is this still going on since the u.s. military started these very frequent communications with the taliban leaders and military there on the ground? because there seems to be what
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the military might call sort of technical communications or tactical, even, communications that are going on between the u.s. and the taliban military there. there's supposed to be essentially agreeing to safe passage for americans and potentially some afghans who have the right paperwork, although that does not seem to be the case yet. to me, the real critical question is, if they're confident enough, the pentagon, that americans have encountered these problems, that they're telling members of congress about it, then the question is, are they still happening? is this still happening or are these instances we were hearing earlier in the week before there was a conversation going on between the u.s. military and the taliban? and that's something we just don't have answers to other than the anecdotal things we're hearing largely on social media. >> right. something that was brought up during the press conference i found interesting is that the reporting that the afghan army is rising up against the taliban in the north. what have you heard in your reporting? >> reporter: and, again, because the u.s. military doesn't have
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anyone there and because the afghan military has no real command and control structure existing in kabul anymore, or really anywhere that's communicating with u.s. military, all we know are reports on social media. but there seem to be these small pockets of resistance that have picked up, some in the north. and so the big question there is, who are these people who are fighting? there are some reports they may be afghan military, there may be some elements, believe it or not, of the northern alliance, some fighters who may be rising up against the taliban. if that's the case, before this massive, like sort of last blitz of the taliban moving into kabul in the last ten days or so, the u.s. military was conducting air strikes to support the afghan military against this taliban offensive. and that authorization was supposed to go until august 31st, potentially even beyond that depending on what the policy decision was out of the white house. if that's the case,
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theoretically the u.s. military still should have that authorization to conduct air strikes to support this rising, this uprising that's going on. what we learned here today is that no requests have come in, and that may be because there's no real command and control structure. these afghan fighters on the ground may not have any way to request these air strikes. the question is, if they did, would the u.s. military even carry them out? >> exactly. key question. before i let you go, we talked about the empty planes and getting folks out of afghanistan. of the 17,000, i believe general taylor said 2,500 were american. i'm curious if you know, can americans and afghan nationals, are they being evacuated together, or is there a protocol that americans are being evacuated on one plane and afghan nationals on another? >> reporter: they're altogether. the best way i can describe it is they are getting people screened and manifested as quickly as possible and getting them on the planes.
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and what's interesting is just in the last 24 hours, since we saw this sort of backlog at doha where they were just completely at capacity, they could not take more evacuees and care for them the way these people need. they need food, water, sanitation, basic housing, very basic housing, places for them to sleep. it became clear they couldn't do that anymore at qatar and the u.s. started looking for other options. now planes are going out and they're potentially going just about anywhere. they could be going to germany, people could be leaving and now going to some other locations that they're working on. and the best way that i can describe it is, some of these evacuees could be getting on planes and not know where they're going initially. but i think there is such an effort and so much momentum to try to get people safely out of kabul that they're getting them on the planes and sort of dealing with the logistics later.
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>> we'll keep our eye on this important story. thank you so much, courtney kube. now to another important story here at home. this week, the biden administration announced the largest permanent increase to food stamps ever. average monthly benefits will rise by $36 or about 40 cents per meal. not surprisingly, the right wing is freaking out already, but it's important to remember just who it primarily benefits, the gop base. contrary to the generations old republican myth popularized by ronald reagan and the trope of the black welfare queen, white folks make up the most of those receiving snap. i have author of "america, we need to talk". joel and claire, so happy to have you. joel, i'll start with you. you know, i think there's a lot of misconception about who gets snap benefits, who gets food
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stamps and, you know, there's this idea that people are living high on the hog. but really food stamps, you can't get a lot of things on food stamps. you can't get things like detergent and essential household items and sanitary items and tooth paste. this is not people living high on the hog having lobster and steak every night. >> no, tiffany. and we're obviously having a great national debate about what makes america stronger, at home and in the world. there's no question that that starts with feeding our own people. no superpower in the history of the world has remained a super power if it's failed to feed its own people. the vast majority of recipients of snap are working adults, children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and veterans. the average length of time before the recession people got snap was about eight months. most people get it briefly when they're down on their luck. half of all americans, half of all americans will get snap at some point during their lives,
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and this helps create jobs at supermarkets and farmers markets and it helps farmers. it's the opposite of a welfare program. it's an american strength program. >> absolutely. look, growing up, i lived in a household where we lived on benefits for a while. even to this day, there are members of my immediate family who receive snap benefits. we have to lift the shame and start talking about it. which brings me to claire. i'm so happy to have you tell your story. you're a recent college graduate and you received the benefits. tell me how the benefits have helped you and why you need them. >> of course. so, really, i started -- i had never even considered using snap benefits, most of my life like growing up, i never struggled with food insecurity or anything like that. but just last november, 2020, i decided to take a position serving and it's been a great opportunity working in the mid-ohio food collective in columbus, but trying to make due
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on the stipend i receive and paying for nutritious food has been a struggle, so i actually signed up for snap back in april of this year. and it's really just made a big difference in the amount of food i can afford, the diversity of food i can afford. so i'm not just buying like, you know, instant ramen and peanut butter. it has really expanded my access to food and been important for me in this short period of time as i'm serving through ameri corps. >> and you deserve to have nutrition in your life as everyone, really. joel, the new calculations mean, basically this is an increase of like $36 per person per month. this is going to begin october 1st. and really the amount will vary by state. what impact will this have? you just completed this tour where you've been all across the country, seeing people who are hungry and in need of this. what impact will this increase have?
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even though it's not a lot, how will it impact people who need it? >> i just drove myself to 37 states from coast to coast, 15,000 miles around the country, visiting hunger sites, visiting with nonprofit groups, talking to low-income people, and the bottom line is this snap boost is a life preserver or hungry americans. it's the federal nutrition safety net that's been the thing that stood between tens of millions of americans and ethiopia-style or north korea-style starvation. so it's not a lot of money, but before the pandemic is average snap benefit was $1.30 per meal. who can live on $1.30 per meal? so it's a pitch for me, people are going on and on how horrible it is giving people a few cents a meal boost, the very same people who have no problem giving corporate agri business, and payments to multi-million dollar businesses. this is a small life preserver to very hard-working, struggling
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americans. >> and just as a reminder, during the trump administration the usda fought hard against these increases, they wanted to limit access to the benefits. house republicans fought bitterly to impose more work requirements from the last farm bill and this impacts their base. it's kind of bizarre. thank you so much for bringing this conversation. thank you, claire, for being here to tell your story. and thank you, joel, for the work that you do. and don't go anywhere at home because, coming up, comedy legend frederick the entertainer joins me to talk about his new show. you don't want to miss that, stay tuned. shingles? camera man: yeah, 1 out of 3 people get shingles in their lifetime. well that leaves 2 out of 3 people who don't. i don't know anybody who's had it. your uncle had shingles. you mean that nasty red rash?
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because we all had the same last name. >> it's hard for black men to open up, let alone talk to someone who really understands it. >> have you seen greg? >> where's greg? >> he's working right now. >> i can't hear you. bye. >> don't break the code, girl. >> all right, how many of you were diehard "sex in the city" fans? time to move over, because the fellows want their term at a show featuring the friendship of black men. it's about four lifelong best friends with the same last night and they're in atlanta. the series resolves around what happens when the squad finds themselves in different places in their lives and it begins to threaten their bond. joining me now, the executive producers of the show, the king himself, cedric the entertainer, and deji laray, who created and stars in the show. fellows, i'm so happy and honored and thrilled to have you here. cedric, i think i've got to start with you because this is
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something that you're an executive producer on, but we don't get to see you on the series. what was it about this project that drew it to it? >> you will see me later on. i have a little cameo role that shows up that's pretty outrageous, the character. >> oh, good. >> yeah, yeah, yeah. but, you know, what drew me to it as deji and his partner, thomas, they came and presented the show and, you know, i've been a tight-knit kind of a partnership with my friends and i'm probably one of the few people in this business that the managers and people who have been with me since i started are literally still with me. so we just really recognized, the idea of male friendships, how they work, how they grow, what's the expectation of people and we never really felt like we were able to get that imagery across properly on television, and deji had a really fun,
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unique, smart point of view on it, and so we just -- we got with them and used our opportunities and my celebrity power to figure out how to get the show on the air. >> i'm grateful you did, and i love it. so deji, you're from my neck of the woods, atlanta, and i think the interesting thing about this show is that it centers black men and we get to eavesdrop on what these characters talk about and what they think. so give the ladies something. what is something that we as women might be surprised to hear black men discuss? >> there's a lot of things. we cover a lot of these topics on the show. when we're around our friends, around each other, our male friends, i feel like we open up a lot more, you know, than when we're talking to our significant others. and i think the reason might be because oftentimes we feel a little bit safer, it's a safer place.
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we feel like we might not be judged. so we talk about everything. we talk about, you know, reasons why we might not be ready to settle down with a particular woman, and oftentimes it's not just because we want to play the field. sometimes there's deeper reasons that we have, that we never really get a chance to tell our side of the story until now. >> i'm quite certain there are women all over the country saying, expound on that. what do you mean, deeper reasons? >> well, i mean, look, i think far too often black men have been portrayed as one-dimensional. we've seen that. you know, if there's a situation where we're not ready to settle down, not ready for marriage, it's got to be because we're trying to play the field, when in actuality we might want closure the same way a woman might want closure. you might want to, you know, figure out if there's a past situation that is still
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affecting us and if we're ready to move forward. these are things we've got to deal with. a lot of times women are given the benefit of the doubt emotionally for how they feel about certain issues, and for men oftentimes we've got to suck it up and move forward. >> cedric, you've been married a long time, but this show certainly focuses on relationships. i'm curious why you think it was important to expand the show beyond that, because it's not just relationships, there's politics and mental health issues and all the things that black men deal with that we don't really see that much. >> yeah, i think, again, there was the idea to show that we weren't a monolith, the idea that all of these things kind of come in and out of our lives, you know, what we believe in and why we believe in it at the time. our hopes and dreams, i love there's a character that's not a gangster and he's not swaggy and
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these are people that we know, people who have shortcomings and vulnerabilities. i thought that's what was interesting about the way the show was set up, that in this one friend group, you have the good-looking guy who seems like he should have it all who can't have the single monogamous relationship because the one that he wants is not available to him. so these are the things that we often find women in these circumstances, where, oh, man, i love this guy but he's not available. this is the same thing. and these are the kind of things that happen throughout our lives, and of course we being married a long time, having children, you know, we want to talk about these areas of vulnerability of being a father, when you didn't have a father, like these kind of things, the mixed messages that are in your
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head, when you never saw a great relationship in your life but now you're trying to be in one and learn how to do it the right way. these are a lot of the pitfalls that our community falls in and we talk about it from the male point of view, which opens up great conversation and great dialogue, usually in the after-show segments that are popping up. >> i love that. before i let you go, cedric, i to want to get in one question. i'm sure you've seen that damon wayans challenged dave chappelle. in this goes down, who you got? >> the old g. no! [ laughter ] >> you know what, this is a very funny idea. at this point in time, it just seems like dave chappelle would be unbeatable. he literally is in a crazy comedic moment. it will be fun to watch.
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damon will surprise people, that's for sure. >> i agree. and to cedric's point, if you both took off running right now, i will get out of this chair and take off running. if you know, you know. thank you so much. i love the show. looking forward to seeing more of it. coming up tomorrow on "the sunday show" with jonathan capehart, a retired general who served in afghanistan is wondering if it was worth it. his reaction and what he thinks of the president's decision. >> and tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern on "the sunday show," you don't want to miss it. that's my pal jonathan capehart. we'll be right back. reason, or fun. daring, or thoughtful. sensitive, or strong. progress isn't either or progress is everything.
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get started today. watching at home. lots of breaking news this hour, but we got through it all. i'll be back next saturday with "cross connection" at 10:00 a.m. eastern. stay tuned because my friend, alex witt is back and she has the latest. >> you did a great job. i look forward to seeing you next week. i was watching you, just glued to the tv. thumbs up. >> thank you. >> have a wonderful week. a very good day to all of you. thanks for joining us here at msnbc world headquarters in new york. it is high noon in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west. welcome to "alex witt reports." we have breaking news this hour. president biden just a short time ago wrapping up a briefing with his national security team on afghanistan. the president canceling


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