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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  September 28, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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that was accomplished. also we wanted to maintain an embassy in cal bull. that would enable to to continue with the government. continue the afghan security forces. if the plan was to leave a diplomatic presence there. and we were also going to live a small military force there. so that was the plan, senator. >> but you didn't address that it was your plan, you acknowledged it was your plan and your plan said you would do all of these things before we got the civils out. when have we ever said that we
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would take military out first birdie civilians, i can't imagine that. >> are you talking about american citizens? >> they would come out once a noncombatant evacuation was declared. >> but we didn't hear. there is american citizens still there. >> and we continue to remain engaged and work to get those citizens out, senator. >> why would you propose a plan that didn't get all of the american citizens out. i just can't believe the military would propose a plan that did not include getting all of the american citizens out first. >> all of the american citizens would not leave unless there was a non-combatant evacuation.
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the plan was to leave the embassy there. to continue to address the needs of our american citizens, to engage with the government, and so that was a part of the plan, not point to leave there. >> did it bother you when the president said that he would not leave until all of american citizens were take p out? did that bother you? >> senator, you know, you heard me say several times that we're going to work as hard as we can for as long as we can to get every american citizen out that wants to come out. and we continue to do that to this day. >> i'm running out of time, but one thing that i want, when we have the next round, i want to understand what decisions would you make differently today to save those 13 lives of service member and women that we lost in
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the kabul airport. thank you very much, thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator, if i can company on your first opening comment, if i may. >> go ahead, sir. >> i'm happy to lay out every detail in all of the intel to you as a individual, to any other member, to a committee, or anything you want on these chinese calls at your convenience. >> thank you, thank you senator scott. >> thank you, i share my colleagues concerns about the rapid collapse of the afghanistan national defense and security forces. and the afghan government and security forces. after nearly two trillion dollars and the lives of nearly 2500 american troops. we must conduct a thorough and honest review. it is the first since the september 11th 2001 attacks.
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for the sake of current generations of war fighters we must ensure that these lessons are not forgotten, or worse, repeated on a future battlefield. this is our moral responsibility as a nation. gentlemen, all three of you have been involved in the military throughout your careers. secretary austin, was the situation on the ground in afghanistan influenced by the state of afghanistan for the past several years. >> yes, the doha agreement severely impacted the moral of the military. >> is it possible have an honest look at the recent events or must any effective review look
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at the whole 20 years. >> i think you to look at the entire 20 years. i think there is great lessons learned that we're going to take away once we do that, but yeah, i believe that it it is effective. >> there is four administrations at 11 different congresss. no party should be looking to score cheap partisan political politics off of a nation building failure that was bipartisan in the making. congress should authorize a long-term effort for bringing transparency to the war. ly introduce the war study commission. my bill would establish a bipartisan incident commission to examine every action.
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it is designed to guide and develop them just as the 9/11 commissions published. could you agree that such an independent long-term study would serve as an effective complimentary effort to the more targeted lessons learned? particularly on how congress and civilian leaders can do a better job in defining military missions and enforcing legal limitations on the use of force? >> i would, and i did agree, the point that you're making i think it needs to be an interagency approach to this. >> thank you, i want to know that my family and i were in cambodia until the very end.
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i was born in america, but my father works at the united nations. he left after the american troops left. the american ambassador stays, and after the last military transport left. i know because my father was on the last military transport and the ambassador had to travel over lapd. this is all tied to operations and thu is planned and that is why it is so important that we have an independent investigation. maybe the failure is that we didn't have a neo plan in place. if that's the case we need to learn that. i would ask for my colleagues to consider this independent commission. put someone in charge of it that is not a decision making capacity in the 20 years. make it nonpartisan, and let's
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not make these mistakes over and over again. the families of the 2500 american troops that laid down their lives to protect and defend the constitution, that followed the lawful order of those presidents, they deserve better than partisan fights and we need real answers. thank you, i yield back. gentleman, thank you all for being with us today. young people are wanting some answers. they deserve to hear your testimony, and i think it is unacceptable that we're hearing from you in any form despiteout area attempts except for a few all senator phone calls.
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every up with of us answered to the american people and they deserve transparency and information regarding this administration's botched and disgraceful withdrawal. tennessee residents are angry. we're hope to the 101st airborne, one of the most deployed, and we were among the last on the ground extracting u.s. citizens from danger in kabul. there is a high operational tempo as well as providing vital logistical services like refuelling. we're home to more than 400,000 veterans many of whom have lasting wounds.
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we are heart broken overthe loss of one of our own. he was a patriotic american that respected the best of all of us. in the august 26 suicide bombing at the airport he made the ultimate sacrifice how did we get here and how has it been a let down. i have a few questions, they are yes and no answers, were there options given for keeping troops in afghanistan rather than the unconditional and chaotic withdrawal? >> yes. >> you presented options and the options were declined? >> there was options presented and debated and the decision was made. >> yes or no is fine. >> did you create options for
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keeping bagram open beyond july 2nd. >> yes. >> did you give options to directly to the president? >> yes. >> had bagram stayed open would the support have been more effective in your view? >> sorry i didn't catch that part. >> if bagram stayed open, would our efforts at the airport have been more effective? >> i'm not sure, most of the air force was a different basis. >> president biden is calling it extraordinary success. we discussed some of this today. leaving americans behind an extraordinary success in your view? secretary austin? >> we're not leaving americans behind. >> yes or no is fine. >> is the killing of 13 american
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servicemen and women during the chaos of president's making appropriate. child brides, people hardly vetted, is that an extraordinary success? >> again, these are issues we continue to work to get our justices out. did the president ever require our question written recommendations. yes or no. >> we provided, i provided our input as a part of a policy
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through. >> we will note that you did not completely answer that. >> any written form? would you make those available to us? >> make it available to the committee each of you will make those availables when you go through your answers. >> did you talk to them for their book? >> did you talk to them for the book "can i fix it? >> did you talk to michael bepder for his book? when the inside store oi of when
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trump lost. >> were you accurately represented in the books? >> i don't know, i have not read them. i have seen press reportings but i have not read them. >> read the books and let us know if you're accurately portrayed. >> senator blackburn we're out of time. >> thank you. >> senator rosen, please. >> thank you, chairman for holding today's very important hearing. the critical part of this committee's oversight speedometers, it's about for the american people to get answers about our withdrawal from afghanistan and how we plan to counter terrorist threats in the future. i want to thank the brave men and women that served our country in afghanistan. many who made the ultimate sacrifice and of course their families as well. secretary austin, i appreciate you all being here to lingering
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concerns we have about the last two decades of war generally and the last two months in particular. you're all men of honor and integrity. i so look forward to your restonss to my questions. as the taliban approached cal bull and took over the city and the country, my team and i worked to help vulnerable individuals evacuate. in many cases they had the state defendant's approval to leave afghanistan for a just or third party country. but because of fear of getting killed along the way they could not get to a great, present their paperwork no matter how many the efforts were to no
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avail. as the individuals continue to wait for help that may never come i remin frustrated that the u.s. did not set up a perimeter or create a safe corridor for for them get to the airport from the potential asylum seekers trying to escape a near certain death. continued support, i appreciate the state department now taking the lead on evacuations but like our military, the state department no longer has any presence in the ground in afghanistan. i would like to ask you, sir, does the recent experience give you the confidence that the taliban will be honest brokers in working with our diplomats to
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help vulnerable nationals leave the country. >> i think what we have seen so far since the 31st some americans have now through diplomatic means, they reached safety through roads or aircraft. i can't imagine that didn't happy without taliban assistance. >> they said they will utilize every tool available to hold the taliban accountable. if they fail to meet their commitments to provide safe passage for anyone that wants to leave the country. can you elaborate on what the military tools are and could there be a shared interest in targeting isis k? >> in terms of military tools,
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as you know we have the ability to offer a rage of options depending on what president's objectives are. we can do most anything that is required of us. and because we have a substantial resources in terms of our cooperation with the taliban against the counter of isis k, i won't venture to make any comments on that. i will just say that we have coordinated some things very narrow in scope to get our peep out. and i done think it is right to make asituations to broader and bigger things from that coordination. they are still the taliban.
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>> thank you, i would just like to in the few seconds i have left future counter terrorism operations. of course as we move over the horizon scenario. so secretary austin and general mckenzie will take these on the second time around in will be able to address and counter the influence of the violence extremist organizations in afghanistan. thank you. >> thank you, let me just sum up where i understand that we are. the president of the yies lied to the learn people about the advice that you gave to him, about the military judgment that
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you gave to hip. there was a time that became a catastrophe. and third, for sop reason we done understand the pent gone failed to plan for the potential collapse of security forces. quite a lot of warning for years that the forces were ill equipped, ill trained, and i don't understand any of that. i have to take issue with something that you just said. i know this is an administration talking point. i heard it from the mouth of the press secretary and others, we're not leaving americans behind. that was your quote a minute ago. with all do you respect, you have left americans behind. not just americans generally, civilians that you left behind
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against the president's explicit commitment not to leave until all american citizens were out and to safety. and this is not what happened and now people desperately and frantically trying to get out. don't tell me that we're not leaving americans behind. you left them behind, joe biden left them behind and it was a disgrace. >> thank you for your help in continuing to help get american citizens and afghans and others out of the country. as you have seen we have continued to facility. >> i didn't ask you a question but since you want to address the issue. isn't it true that you left americans behind on august the 31st? >> there are some americans still in afghanistan and we are continuing to work to get them out.
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>> don't repeat the falsehood that we didn't leave americans behind. you say this in your prepared remarks. you say they crafted a number of evacuation scenarios. you say you were waiting for the state defendant to make statements about the evacuations. but the state department and the white house intervened and said no, we're delaying the evacuations, can you help us get to the trust here? should have been before the middle of august? >> we provided our input to the state department and again it is a call to the state department. >> in april they developed an evacnation scenario and this is reported by multiple sources this morning in the news.
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as of late april is that when the evacuation of sifl rayans should have been? >> we provided input and they helped us along the way and, you know, as much as possible. but again, the state department made it's decisions based on the fact that president ghani engaged them and said we were very concerned about the mass exodus. >> did you think with the rad id withdrawal timeline that that would negatively impact any effort to get out our civilians. if we drop down by july, if we
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then had a civilian evacuation order, we would be in drought. did you advice to that? did you warn about that possibility? of drawing down so quickly before an evacuation was under way? >> yeah, but it is more complicated than that. the draw down of the forces under miller, those guys are advisors. they're not the neo kind of guys. the neo troops our marine expedition movements. those are the plans that the secretary is refers to and there is specific drigers. the secretary on the 12th of august started pushing with forces with orders. should that have been called earlier?
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i think that is an open question that needs further exploration. and they retro graded those forces. those forces came out anyway. there was concerns that we raised throughout the interagency that if the advisors were to stay, then there is a possibility that the afghan security forces would hang in there. we all knew that when we pulled the advisors out, and when we pulled the money out that in some point in the future, most said in the fall, the afghanistan security forces were fracture. the speed in which that happens in august is a dempt ann mall. there is still a government, there is still an afghan army. and the mission was to keep the
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embassy open, secure the embassy. transition that off to contractors, and then all of the military missions, money over the horizon fund. once those indicators started to fracture, they felt the government executed and implemented a neo plan for con -- contingencies. that is why those 6,000 troops could deploy as rapidly as they did. that was done with planning and that was done from an operational and tactical stand poupt. so you have a operational
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effort. so we have to clearly understand what exactly happened, and i'm sorry for taking all of that type, but i thought it was necessary. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary. let me begin by expressing my gratitude to the over 800,000 arizonans and to their families. i comment our service members support of one of the largest airlifts in our country's history. we will never forget the achievements of men and women in kabul, managed in possible conditions on the ground and above all those that made the ultimate sacrifice protecting on civilians. 124,000 people are safe today.
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. still, 2800 american should juries are killed. the american people deserve to know why the government and security forces collapsed in a matter of days. we want to ensure that our people were out of the country before it fell. i think we established here that it did not account for real world conditions and the intelligence was flawed. the united states wields power as a leader and our accountability must match our influence. for our own national security we must understand what happened and look forward to ensuring that our mosture allows us to it
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is used as a base for terroristivity. so i want to move forward and ask questions that you have not already answered. they have been fighting terrorists for the past 20 years. during this time al qaeda and other organizations have been degraded. while it has ended, our commitment to fighting trrp has not. with our withdrawal complete, seeking to fill the power vacuum left behind, how is central demand postured to prevent tourist organizations from gaining strength in the region. >> this will be better left to the classified session this
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afternoon. i had today, headquarters has the ability to look into afghanistan and it is limited and we can fuse the different disciplines to look at isis k and al qaeda. we have a way forward. it is hard to do this, it is not impossible. >> are you confident that we can deny organizations like al qaeda and isis the ability to use it for terroristterroristivity? -- activity? >> i am not confidence, we could get to that point, but i don't have that level of confidence.
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do you have the resources necessary to establish this even as our national security pivots towards great power or near threats like china and russia? >>ly just say i'm in a constant dialogue and i will give you more details in the closed session. >> okay, thank you. i know you can't go into much detail about the analysis that lead to the august 28th drone strike, but i would like to note my serious concerns and geoff you an opportunity to make any comment and help the people know that they can adequately assess targets. even as they have, even with the resources to levleverage. >> the matter is under
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investigation, but i'm responsible for that, i'm the responsible officer for that strike. i was under no pressure, and no one in my chain of command was under pressure to take that strike. we aked several times on intelligence that we saw. and you're right that in the ecoseason that allows us to go forward, that is going to be hard. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thaug, you're part of the most powerful military in the world. i know you're going to answer this, is there any enemy that could defeat the strongest force in the world of the united states military, and i know you're going to say no.
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. i think i heard you say earlier that you have several you needed. >> that is correct, senator. >> you were asked the americans who could not reach the airport. you said i don't have the capability to go out and extend operations. we saw the germans, the friend, and the british. but if they command the most lethal fighting force we saw nothing but blame and weakness. our fighting men and women have the discipline to defeat the enmy -- enemy any time or any where. i want to thank the veterans that sacrificed in the last 20 years and i truly believe our soldiers did not fail us, but our looep did.
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before president biden took office, you thought it you told senator sheehan that you thought it needed to come to an end. and you testified that general miller had adequate resources to secure afghanistan. but you told senator holly you want today assess the situation to make recommendations to the president. is that the direction that you got from him? >> again, my recommendations were part of a very deliberate process where we presented a range of options for the president. if i could, i would like to go
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back to the first comment about the question they answered for a report near asked why don't you go out and accomplish create safe passage ways for people to move into the airport. at that early point early on, we had less than 4,000, or about 4,000 troops to secure and defend the airport. and our true presence continued to grow as we flew people in. we used a number of innovative approaches to go out and pick up and facility the entry of american citizens into the airport as the situation continued to develop. >> thank you we're all talking about did president biden know all of this, but basically there is two options.
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the president was given mad military bias or they gave them a terrible decision and they could surrender. but i just want to make a cup the statements. the american people, they are disgusted by how this surrender happened in afghanistan. they are angry that their service was squandered. americans are in disbelief, mu enmys are delighted. president biden booted our allies that fought alongside us for 20 years. this administration left american citizens behind enemy lines. we left $85 billion worth of equipment that the american
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taxpayers paid over and we created a sanctuary for terrorists to lot -- plot for years and years to come. it is amazing that we did this. i'll end it there, i know these guys need a break, but we'll see you after the break, thank you. >> thank you very much. >> we have completed the first round and as i indicated we will break at 1:00 lunch. you said if we stayed past august 31st we would certain i will be back at war with the taliban and you would have to reinforce the troops. and that will be seeing, today, casualties that could be
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accumulating at an unacceptable rate? >> i think the point left out out a lot of the conversation was had we stayed past that date that was agreed upon that the taliban would begin to attack our forces there and we would have to make some decisions on how to reinforce our forces so that we could continue to operate and that would include, quite possibly, increasing the forces. >> now in the greept, president trump agreed to leave with certain conditions. they were testified by the panel and really never achieved and never challenged by the trump as min straight. would you consider that an abdication of surrender?
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that agreement? >> i believe that thes were preset. and again we lived up to all of the things that we were obliged to do. we drew down our forces. the only thing they lived up to is they didn't attack us. >> we saw a great deal of difficulty in meeting the deadline of august 31st. would it appear to you that a may 1st deadline, but of course more complications in terms of getting our equipment out, our personnel out, identifying american that's are eligible to leave and get in on the participate work. >> i don't think that would have been feasible in an orderly fashion, chairman.
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>> thank you, regardless of whether or not they bet thes, were you already in the trajectory to go to zero forces? so that you would have accelerated the procession. >> yes, we were ordered to go to zero and them take it down to zero depending on the decision by the general administration. >> the biden administration conducted rigorous examination of the views where the senior military leadership.
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all of the forces of afghanistan by 2021. was that informed by a rigorous interagency review? >> that was basely a written for mat on the day that he was relieved. >> general mckenzie, your kaurding with the troops, you have spoke about it repeatedly. >> that is correct. >> i remember that we hold at
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that level. >> there was no recriminations? >> sfags i note that is correct. >> i will so e see that that eight seconds they have both noted that the taliban has not severs it's relationship with al qaeda. the president stated that al qaeda has gone from afghanistan.
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is al qaeda gone from afghanistan? >> senator, i think there is rep don'ts of it still in afghanistan. >> does anyone belief it is gone from afghanistan? it is your personal view that al qaeda is no longer at war with us? >> i believe that al qaeda is in afghanistan. i believe they have aspirations to reconstitute, if they have the abilities i think they have aspirations to strike. it is to complicated now.
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>> the view that al-qaeda is no longer at war with us right now? >> i think they are at war with the united states, still, and never has not. >> does the withdrawal increase or decrease the likelihood of al qaeda or isis attack on the u.s. homeland? >> are you asking me, senator? >> my view is that it makes it much more difficult for u.s. to conduct intelligence reconnaissance. it is more difficult, we can still do it, it is not impossible, but it will make it more possible. >> we don't really know if they want today prevent it. now we're in the same situation
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trusting the taliban to prevent our attacks. the senator from missouri brought up in talked again about the fact that what is the situation right now and we don't really, we have several hours and we don't have an answer to that. i want to bring something into the record that i don't think has been put in the record already. that is the conditions under which the previous president after making this statement about the taliban, not only did the previous president not have conditions, and the conditions that included a presence, a military presence, they also had four other things that we stated that were those conditions. one was to prevent skaed, and another was to threaten them from afghanistan. secondly to make statements and
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commandments to it's members against the threatening of the united states. threatening the united states, and thirdly deny residents and passports to those threatening allies. those are conditions that would be made at that time and this is stated several times in is my opinion and those that have testified at this hearing that there was no conditions. it was, i believe that is the case. . thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> good day, this is andrea mitchell reports. we're around republican grilling. the chairman of the joint chiefs.
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secretary lloyd austin, they all testify they belief the u.s. should have left a force of 2500 troops in afghanistan rather than withdrawals completely. he has defended his conversations with his chinese counterparts. they all said they were coordinated with the civilian leaders as well as his conversation with house speaker nancy pelosi to ensure here there was no chance of an accidental nuclear laup much. -- launch. my hoilt is salute, and i will not turn by back on the following. i am specificly directed to communicate with the chinese by department of defense guidance, the policy dialogue system. these military to military communications at the highest level are critical to the
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security of the united states to prevent war between great powers arped with the world's most deadliest webs. the purpose was to generate them by concerning sbel jeps. i know, i'm certain, that president trump did not intend to attack the chinese, and it is my direct responsibility and it is to convey that intent to the chinese. my task at that time was to deescalate. we are not going to attack you.
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>> secretary austin really being flael what was a highly partisan hearing. we have our guests joining us now including court any kube and phil rutger. let's start with courtney, you have reported all of the ins and outs of this withdrawal, the missteps, what went well, what didn't go well, what was your assessment from the take away from the republicans approaching this fact line here? >> there has been really remarkable moments in this hearing. i see that as someone who covered a lot of hearings in the past. some of the most remarkable
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moments have come from the chairman of the count chiefs. he said in his words that the war was a strategic loss. because the enemy are in kabul. that's a really chairman of the joint chiefs. he also talked about the noncombatant evacuation being a strategic failure. again, because the taliban had moved in, the, quote/unquote, the enemy were in kabul. so that in and of itself was, you know -- it's pretty amazing to hear. we also heard, you played a little bit of the back and forth of him and senator blackburn, you know, he was expecting to get a lot of questions about the book, including the one written by our colleague here, phil rutgers but also the one by bob woodward and the senator forced him to admit that he spoke to the authors of the books as part of their reporting process, something we also have not heard from him. but in his opening statement he
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gave a forceful defense of specifically the allegations, the scenarios that came out in the bob woodward and robert costa book about his call with his chinese counterpart and that nuclear process meeting. he also said that he will always be a defender of the constitution. strong statements from the chairman of the joint chiefs today, stronger than i have ever heard from him or in many of these hearings in the past. >> all of them, well, certainly former general austin, defense austin and general milley both saying that they believe that there should have been 2,500 troops left. now, i know we knew that, we through that was their recommendation from your reporting and other reporting subsequently, but for them to say that and to say it because it clearly set up president biden to be taking the hits from the republicans, but i want to play part of that exchange with senator marsha blackburn from kentucky about the book report that she assigned this four-star general. let's watch.
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>> did you talk to bob woodward or robert costa for their book "pearl". >> woodward yes, costa, no. >> did you talk to kara and phillip for their book "alone i can fix it"? >>. >> did you talk to michael bender for his book "frankly we did win this election, the inside story of how trump lost"? >> yes. >> and were you accurately represented in these books? >> i haven't read any of the books so i don't know. i have not seen press reporting of it. i haven't read the books. >> okay. let's have you read the books and then let us know if you are accurately portrayed. >> absolutely. >> you think that the joint chiefs chairman has more to do than to be reading books and reporting back and senator blackburn is from tennessee, but phil rutker, i have to give you a chance, he hasn't read your book. >> i think he's familiar with
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what we reported. there are a lot of scenes in there about -- >> well, i botched her state, so that's okay. >> we are all in it together. >> it's been a long hearing. >> it has been a long hearing, an interesting hearing at that. look, what we depict in the book is accurate, there's been no challenge from milley or from anybody in his office or at the pentagon about the things we report about him. >> of course. we know that there has been no challenge. in fact, he wasn't denying any of the things, he was certainly not denying -- >> correct. >> -- maybe the context of the woodward/costa book because he is saying that he was not stepping out and that he, in fact, had informed the civilian leadership and secretary of state pompeo about everything that he was doing and discussing things with the chinese. sahil, you know all the ins and outs on capitol hill, the republican lawmakers here are really trying to pit the generals against the president of the united states. >> reporter: that's right, andrea. we saw a fierce set of questions coming from republican senators in particular focusing on what
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they believe, what they perceive to be failures of the execution of the withdrawal, one of them was senator tom cotton who pressed them, those military leaders, on whether they wanted to keep troops in afghanistan, and several of them said it was their personal preference to keep about 2,500 troops there, if not more. i was struck, andrea, by something defense secretary lloyd austin said, i made some notes here, if i'm looking down that's the reason, he talked about uncomfortable truths regarding the war, it was remarkable the way he discussed some of the failures, i'm quoting here, he said we helped build a state but we could not forge a nation, unquote. he talked about the depth of corruption and the poor leadership of the afghan forces. this is the united states department of defense admitting an extraordinary set of failures on the part of the u.s. throughout this war, and to the other side of the equation you saw democrats asking kind of a different set of questions, several of them trying to zoom out, take a more -- take the long view, argue that -- you know, talking about the last several months of the withdrawal
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without talking about the last 20 years is missing the forest for the trees. one of them was senator elizabeth warren of massachusetts, she had a quote, she said, the seeds for our failure in afghanistan were planted many, many years ago. and of course there was some criticism as well from democrats, senator mark kelly of arizona wanted answers on that botched drone strike that the united states launched, that the military leaders admitted killed numerous innocent civilians. they took responsibility for that and kelly wanted answers in terms of how that came to be and what they can do to prevent something like that from happening again. a tough several hours for these military leaders, andrea. >> and, of course, senator kelly, a former astronaut, is also a military man as well, former veteran -- or veteran. there was bipartisan frustration from senators kaine and wicker about the inability of these military leaders to answer key questions about how many americans are still in afghanistan. is that because they basically
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don't -- well, they have had trouble according to the state department with people not registering, not letting them know, people who are involved with families there and don't want to leave, but is it also because we don't want people to know? we don't want the bad guys to know where all the american citizens are? >> that is certainly part of it, andrea. we've heard this line of questioning for the last few weeks, there's been a lot of focus and rightly so from an american government and american military and american state department on what about the americans, how many americans have been left behind. when you look at the numbers we know the vast majority of people who have been evacuated are afghans, at risk afghans and sie holders and so on. that's going to be a continuing line of questioning. for intelligence and security purposes i don't know that they're going to be fully up front about that number because there's probably ongoing operations as well. what struck me about some of the questions we're hearing in this hearing and in the proceedings is less about the politics of
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it, i know we expected a lot of this would be about how much blame can be put on this president, on the former president and so on, but really has journalists some of the questions we've been looking to answer about how did the u.s. government and military and intelligence miss so much in those final weeks, how did they not see the collapse of the government coming, how did they not know that the afghan national forces would collapse as quickly as they did and we did see some lines of questioning specific to that. general milley at the very beginning of course even said, you know, we clearly missed that. we pulled out our advisers, we pulled back some of the funding. we believed our intelligence showed that it could be several weeks into the fall before some of that collapse might happen and as we all saw that happened within a matter of days. so that has been filling in some information for me. we know of course that the afghan national forces had been losing ground for several weeks and months leading up to that time, so that's still a point of questioning that i think we will see the senators continue to an
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>> beyd the ones eve i tked about,ou know he -- they actual found this really interesting way both he and general mckenzie to sort of thread the needle between saying they are not going to talk about direct advice that they gave to the president on the troop numbers in afghanistan, but then also making it clear that they had advised him that they wanted to keep troops on the ground there. of course, that had been reported, but we had never heard from either of them on the
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record talking about that. so it is very unusual for someone in uniform, especially at a four-star level, to openly acknowledge that they -- disagreement with the sitting president. that is extremely unusual. but the way that they did it, it doesn't -- again, he was able to thread it very carefully by not saying that that was the exact advice that he gave to the president. a lot of very honest disclosures here from general milley, again, in a way that i haven't seen the chairman of the joint chiefs speak in congressional testimony before. >> we have to leave it there, our abbreviated show. the hearing was fascinating, they will resume after they take a lunch break of about a half an hour, perhaps a little bit more, they have votes coming up, but that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow us online on facebook and twitter @mitchellreports. "mtp daily" with chuck today starts todd starts right now.
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♪♪ ♪♪ >> welcome to "meet the press daily," i'm chuck todd on what is of course another action-packed filled day on capitol hill. currently the defense secretary lloyd austin, mark milley had been appearing before the senate arms services committee testifying for the first time in public about the withdrawal from afghanistan. general milley defended his much talked about actions noting many members of the trump administration were very aware of what he did including the president's secretary of state. we will have much more on that hearing coming up. we will begin with the bigger story right now in american politics, democrats facing a serious reality check as they attempt to salvage president biden's agenda, avert a shutdown and stop a default on the debt. right now this minute joe manchin is set to meet with the president at the white house, he is there now, the meeting may have already n,


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