tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN August 30, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
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we're following two major breaking stories tonight. first, all u.s. service members are out of afghanistan, officially ending our country's longest war. but up to 200 americans and countless afghans who helped u.s. troops have been left behind. plus a desperate search under way tonight after hurricane ida ripped through louisiana. homes are demolished. entire neighborhoods now covered in water. and more than a million people are without power. two people have died from the storm and the governor is warning that he expects the number to rise considerably. this is as louisiana hospitals are already stretched thin by the covid-19 crisis. i want to get straight to cnn's alex marquardt with the latest on the final u.s. troops leaving afghanistan. >> reporter: just as the day of august 31, the deadline to leave, began in afghanistan, the announcement was made. >> i'm here to announce the completion of our withdrawal
from afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate american citizens, third countries nationals, and vulnerable afghans. the last c-17 lifted off from hamid karzai international airport and the last manned aircraft is now clearing the airspace above afghanistan. >> reporter: central command's general frank mackenzie says the diplomatic sequel now begins, led by secretary of state tony blinken who insists the commitment to afghanistan remains. >> a new chapter of america's engagement with afghanistan has gun. >> reporter: the final hours were, u.s. officials say, the most dangerous. after a massive suicide bombing last week by isis-k that left scores dead including 13 american service americans. early monday morning five rockets were fired at the kabul
airport. isis claimed responsibility. the pentagon says its antirocket defense system engaged and no casualties were reported. the vehicle used to launch the rockets turn to ash. it came just hours after u.s. central command said a drone targeted an isis vehicle with a large amount of explosive. the air strike was in a residential kabul neighborhood. >> there was a second explosion that assessed that what was there was going to be used in a high profile attack. >> reporter: but the multiple explosions also killed civilians. a relative told cnn at least ten were killed from a single family. seven were children under 10 years old. neighbors described a massive bang to cnn, then everything was engulfed with smoke. they tried to put out the fires with water and took the dead and wounded to the hospital. the pentagon says it's investigating. >> nobody wants to see happen.
but what else we didn't want to see happen was what we believed to be a very real, very specific, and very imminent threat to the hamid karzai international airport and our troops operating at that airport. >> reporter: until the final moments, the evacuation flights continued but slowed down. in the end more than 123,000 people were evacuated and among them, 6,000 americans. but some u.s. citizens are left behind. around 1 to 200, according to the state department. those americans who wanted to leave were not able to reach the airport. the military says they were ready to evacuate them until the last minute, when, in the words of frank mackenzie, we did not get everyone out who we wanted. it has been an extremely dangerous few days. this is now a top priority for secretary of state tony blinken who says the u.s. has gotten assurances from the taliban that people will be able to leave the country.
don? >> thank you very much for that, alex, appreciate it. joining me now, cnn's john harwood and general mark hertling. general, i appreciate your remarks and the way you handled the coverage of the remains of the servicemen returning here. >> thanks, don, that's kind. >> it was riveting, and a great way that you paid tribute to those service members. john, i'm going to start with you. the u.s. is officially out of afghanistan. we're told there are still between 100 and 200 americans who needed to be evacuated. what are you hearing from the white house? is there a plan to get all of these people out of the country? >> don, it mostly involves exerting diplomatic pressure by the united states and its allies on the taliban to live up to the commitments that alex mentioned in that piece, to allow for safe
passage for people with proper documentation to least country through the kabul airport. the united states is going to reengage with afghanistan from qatar. the embassies are closed within afghanistan but they'll operate from qatar. and for those 100 to 200 people, i think one of the things we have to recognize is these are complicated decisions. there's a reason why many of these people did not leave for months when the u.s. government was directing people to leave, it's because they have deep ties to afghanistan. many of them are dual nationals with families in the country. not an easy decision. and many of those waited until the last minute. there's another 280 or so, according to the state department, who are americans who don't want to leave. in both cases, they could change their minds. secretary of state blinken indicated that if somebody has said they want to stay but changed their mind, the united states is going to try to go to bat to help them get out as
well. and some of this is going to depend on the behavior of the taliban. if the taliban, because they want to loosen some of the international aid pursestrings and govern in a way that is recognize d by the internationa community and be successful where they haven't been in the past as a governing force, they may moderate their behavior and fulfill those promises. if they don't, if they refer to the medieval brutality that they have been known for for decades, then some of the people who say they want to say may change their mind and want to leave. the one thing i don't know but that instance, because then diplomacy would not be particularly effective, general mackenzie indicated today that more than a thousand americans had been rescued and taken to the airport by special forces. i don't know, and i am sure that general hertling can educate both of us, on whether those kind of operations could be possible if we don't have military -- a military footprint
in the country. i don't know the answer to that. if it is possible, i would think they would keep that option on the table. >> that was my next question, so thank you for that. the question is, general, without u.s. forces on the ground, as john mentioned, do you think the u.s. can still fulfill their promise to get all of these people evacuated? >> i do. don, the military has the capability to do an awful lot of things, many of which the american public don't realize. there are areas around afghanistan that can be used to launch operations. that's the so-called over the horizon capability. it's not just striking at terrorists. there's some other capabilities that, you know, could be carried out, extractions and the like. but what i'm most concerned about is the capability of reestablishing air links within afghanistan. it's going to take the taliban, if they do become the government of afghanistan, a long time to
get flight links out, to have the kinds of certification they need for international travel, for even national travel within afghanistan, to get certified. so that's going to be challenging. but again, i would just say simply that the u.s. military has the capability to do quite a few things. >> general, i want to put this video up, i want you to check out this video, it's from "l.a. times" correspondents, showing the taliban at a hangar at the airport, examining copters. the u.s. says it removed or demilitarized weapons and equipment that were at the airport. but officials have admitted that some weapons fell into the taliban's hands. are you worried that we've strengthened the taliban by leaving all of these weapons behind? and by the way, some of the -- remember the controlled explosions at the beginning, i understand they were to get rid of some equipment as well. are you worried that they've strengthened them by leaving some of the weapons and equipment behind?
>> don, i would only state that might be the wrong term to use. the military didn't leave weapons behind. there were sales to the afghan security forces, and unfortunately through many of the bases throughout afghanistan, those weapons were locked up for use by the afghan military. did we leave them for the taliban? no, we did not, we sold or gave them to our afghan partners over the years. i'm concerned not so much about the aircraft, because the taliban won't be flying those aircraft that you saw in that propaganda video they've already posted, as general mackenzie said, they have decommissioned them. i am worried more about the 300,000 plus m-4s, m-16s, the tens of thousands of machine guns, night vision goggles. we have just upped the capability of the taliban with some of the most technically advanced weapons in the world. there's also trucks, hum-vees, those kind of things that aren't
as susceptible to giving them an advancement on the battlefield. but it certainly would give them the capability to do things that they're not having right now, as we've seen from all the hum-vees driving around kabul in the films lately, those are all former afghan national army hum hum-vees. am i concerned about it? yeah, because i've seen lists of the kind of things we've given to the afghan army and security forces and there's a bunch of stuff. and it's unfortunate that it's now all fallen into the hands of the taliban. >> john, more than 123,000 people were evacuated in 18 days. look, that's quite a feat. most of these people are refugees. so where are they heading? >> they're heading multiple places. something like more than 90 countries have indicated they will take at least some. clearly the united states will
take the greatest number. canada has pledged to take 20,000 or so, the uk over a number of years has pledged to take 20,000 or so. but many of these are going to be held at interim locations while the vetting is taking place to make sure that they can come to the united states. it will obviously get very complicated if people don't pass the vet. what do you do with those people who don't pass the vet? and we also have a domestic political issue coming because many trump-style republicans want to make the argument that it's bad to let afghan refugees come into the united states because they don't like immigration, they think it's changing the face of the country. and limiting the control of people who thought they had control of the country. so this is going to be a very complicated situation. you know, you have on the one hand the laudable desire of the american military and the
american government to say we're going to live up to our pledges and help people who helped us, and there's going to be political attacks from the other side saying, why are you letting all these people in? that's going to be one of the big challenges in the post-evacuation phase of this situation. >> gentlemen, thank you very much. again, thank you, general, for your service and for the way you handled this weekend. really appreciate it. >> thanks, don. i want to turn to the americans who are still in afghanistan tonight, still desperate to be evacuated. secretary of state anthony blinken says there are less than 200 people and likely closer to 100. well, here's what else he had to say. >> our commitment to them and to all americans in afghanistan and everywhere in the world continues. the protection and welfare of americans abroad remains the state department's most vital and enduring mission. if an american in afghanistan tells us that they want to stay for now and then in a week or a month or a year they reach out
and say i've changed my mind, we will help them leave. >> joining me now by phone is yasmeen, one of the american citizens still stuck in afghanistan. yasmeen, i appreciate you doing this. you've been trying to leave afghanistan for days. you were repeatedly directed to different gates at the airport. tell me how difficult it's been for you. >> unbelievable. unbelievable. i don't have words for that to use. my mom and my son, 11-year-old son, and my mom who already has difficulty to walk that much, and with my two brothers and their wives and little kids, were directed -- we arrived there on monday, monday morning. and nighttime, when we arrived, it was already 1:00 a.m. at night. so after that, we were -- we've
been told like on the ground and someone told us from the embassy that we have to go directly to the airport. and at the time we could not make it and couldn't go. we went in the morning, we tried to step out and it wasn't possible at the time when we went there due to the crowd. it was unbelievable crowds. so we came back and then we went back around 7:00. >> i understand it was incredibly hot during your journey. you went 20 hours without eating, drinking, or even using the bathroom? >> that's correct. and people on the ground, they've been contacting them every minute that we were here. they were sendaying, we are seng someone. that was thursday evening. they ask us to come to a specific gate, they send us a
picture, if you see someone, you can show that, or someone will call your name. so we went to the gate. it was the santa cruz gate. so we went there. we were -- somehow i just through into the crowd and tried to call all the security guards, and they were not listening at all to anyone. i heard if you're a citizen, you just show them your passport, they will let you through, but that was not true at all. i was screaming at them, showing my passport, holding it high, i am a citizen, i just want to get through, waiting for more than two hours. the same thing repeating over and over. and i could not step further because they had guns and they were shooting at everyone. they were pointing, you know, on their feet and shooting at everyone's feet and shooting on the side wall. i was so scared, i could not
step further to show to them closely. but none of them was willing to listen. >> what are you do now, yasmeen? >> i have no idea. i tried my best. i tried my best. we were there for six days. six days, day and night. we were circling around. we were told, go to this gate. the other day, the explosion happened, at the time we were there, that was the gate that i was being directed to go there and someone will assist me. so when we arrived there and during the first checkpoint, the explosion happened, the bombing. >> real quick, i understand you've heard from secretary blinken, you heard him say that the state department's getting ready to help americans in afghanistan even after this. so do you have any idea how that's going to happen? do you feel confident that it will happen? >> i have no idea. to be honest with you, because i
also asked the people on the ground the same thing. they were telling me the same thing, they didn't even have any idea when they're leaving and what's going to happen next and who's going to, you know, receive help from them. no one knows anything. >> yasmeen, i want to thank you for joining us. we're sorry you're in this predicament. will you please keep in touch with us. be safe. thank you so much. >> of course. thank you, appreciate it. hospitals in louisiana hit with a catastrophic one-two punch. the pandemic and now the aftermath of one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the united states. can hospitals keep up, and what happens if they can't? . everyone. everywhere. where everyone is included. where everyone has access to information, education, opportunity. ♪ ♪ ♪ when everyone and everything is connected.
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louisiana hospitals are already overwhelmed with covid patients, before hurricane ida slammed into the state this weekend. now health care workers are scrambling amid flooding and power outages, making critical resources and personnel harder than ever. the emergency room medical director at our lady of the lake medical center in my hometown of baton rouge. thank you for joining us, doctor. we know you're busy but we're so glad yeou're here. are you seeing patients arrive at your hospital yet? >> we are. it seemed like the floodgates opened today, all the campuses in our network. just a lot of patients coming by ambulance, by private vehicle, for typical complaints and also complaints related to the hurricane. >> state health officials are saying some smaller hospitals had to evacuate tonight after
being damaged in the storm. beds were already in short supply. how much of a strain is this on the system? >> it's going to be a strain on the system. fortunately we didn't suffer any catastrophic damage at our lady of the lake or any of our hospitals in the baton rouge region. had a little bit of damage here and there, but structurally everything's fine and we're fully functioning. we have a task force that's figuring out how can we see more patients in the same number of rooms, same space, with the same providers. and so we're working on that game plan now, to flex. so as these hospitals are starting to transfer patients, we can be elastic. >> so i visited down there before ida hit. i was at baton rouge general, because i was born there. but listen, there were i think 2,000 covid patients in
louisiana hospitals before ida hit. how much does a catastrophic storm add to an already desperate situation? how much does it tax you, the hospital, the system? >> it's tough, because we still are seeing new covid patients that are coming in. that's not changing. the patients that were already here in the hospital, they're still here for the most part. the thing that we're noticing today that we were expecting was that patients that had been home on oxygen with covid, as their power is out, they run out of oxygen, because one of the ways they get oxygen is through something called a concentrator that requires electricity. as the electricity is out, they start to run out of their oxygen supply. so they come here because they don't have power and they're looking for oxygen. there are shelters, there's one at southern university that they can call 211 and they can see if they have availability there so they can go and plug in their own concentrator so they can
have oxygen, so they don't actually need to come into the hospital. >> look, speaking of that, louisiana has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, only 41% of people vaccinated. i know you've got to be worried about the displacement caused by ida. but how it can help, you know, spread this virus, from people being in close quarters, just not being able to social distance or wear masks in the way they would before because they're dealing with some extraordinary circumstances. >> sure. well, i've told people since march of 2020 that you can social distance in your house. so even if you're having to get multiple people in a family together, neighbors together, because of loss of property, try to stay six feet away from each other. it's not perfect, but it's better than piling up on a
couch. stay six feet away from chore, w each other, try to stay in one place in the house. hopefully we'll get some of our vaccination centers up and running so we can get people vaccinated, especially now that this puts a little more pressure on people. we were making some headway since you and i last spoke. people were changing their opinions on the vaccine and getting vaccinated. and i think we need to continue to build on that momentum even though we were kind of set back a little pbit. >> are you worried about the numbers going up after this? because it seems like, no pun intended, the perfect storm. >> i think it's inevitable, you have a very contagious virus, people are getting together, not intentionally by this point but by necessity, absolutely the numbers will go up. >> doctor, appreciate your work. be safe, be well. thank you so much.
>> absolutely, appreciate it, don. 45,000 students and staff quarantined because of covid in florida. so why are parents there still arguing over masks? >> as you can see, fists are now flying. all of this on live television. fists are flying. ive to see mor? at morgan stanley, a global collective of thought leaders offers investors a broader view. ♪ we see companies protecting the bottom line by putting people first. we see a bright future, still hungry for the ingenuity of those ready for the next challenge. today, we are translating decades of experience into strategies for the road ahead. we are morgan stanley.
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the coronavirus still surging in the u.s. new cases at levels not seen since january, averaging more than 155,000 cases per day with 80 million americans still not vaccinated. covid deaths could continue to rise, experts say. as kids head back to school, fights over masks are increasing. our guest is the author of "my lifelong fight against disease and variants." professor, here we go, thank you, sir, it's good to see you. i want you to watch this as a fight breaks out after a lee county school district in florida decided to require masks for teachers and students for 30 days starting on december 1 with no opt-out option. this was live coverage from our affiliate. take a look. >> are you shocked at what this has become? >> not at all. i've been watching it on social media for weeks and months and
months. >> okay. right here, look. right here. so as you can see, fists are now flying. all of this on live television. fists are flying. unbelievable what we are seeing here today unfold live. >> fights breaking out over having to wear cloth masks to prevent the spread of a disease. this is ridiculous. this is where we are now. >> well, you know, it's basic facts. 180,000 children were infected last week. our hospitals around the country, and particularly where low vaccination rates, are filling up with children. the highest number, the highest group affected now are teenagers. we know that children give it to each other. they give it to their families.
infected teachers can give it to their classrooms if they're not wearing masks. this is really serious business, particularly labor day is approaching quickly in schools, not just select schools, all over the country, they're going to be opening up in the midst of a pandemic which specifically targets young people. this is really serious now. >> i want you to listen to dr. fauci reacting to the model predicting another 100,000 americans will die by december. watch. >> you know, what is going on now is both entirely predictable but entirely preventible. and, you know, we know we have the wherewithal with vaccines to turn this around. the reason you see the numbers that are so alarming that you just gave is that we have about 80 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated, who are not yet vaccinated. we could turn this around and we could do it efficiently and quickly if we just get those
people vaccinated. >> so when you hear "predictable but entirely preventible," can we still turn it around? i mean, it's crazy that he would have to say that, right? it is preventible. anyway, go on. >> it breaks your heart, because we now have more vaccines than we need. we can go to any pharmacy and get the vaccine for free. it is hard breaking. not only to see people who are dying who don't need to die, but to see our children suffer. and you know, the other problem with this is this isn't going to be over once there's no more covid, because there's something called long covid. and increasingly, we're understanding that a very large fraction of adults and children who contract the virus, even though they may not be sick, or very sick, may suffer these long effects which may have mental effects, cardiac effects, effects on many things you want
your children to be able to do. so this is extremely serious. not to mention what tony just said, what dr. fauci just said, that about 100,000 more people may die. around the world you see that where people are vaccinated, they don't go to the hospital. there's a huge difference between being vaccinated and not being vaccinated and how likely you are to be hospitalized even if you catch the virus. there's an enormous difference, a 90% difference. we don't need to go through this again. >> louisiana is dealing with the aftermath of hurricane ida. icus there are 80% full. nearly half are covid patients. we also know hospitals in kentucky are overwhelmed by a new all-time high of covid hospitalizations. how worried are you about the strain on our hospitals? i just had a physician from our lady of the lake in louisiana
talking about the strain on staff and the system. >> it's a tremendous strain. without the hurricane. with the hurricane, it's a double strain, because some facilities have been shut down and people are being forced to congregate in a time when the virus is rampant. there will be more infections. but even without the hurricane, you go to those states that are low vaccination rates, they are just like we were this time last year. remember what it was like last year with the extra hospitals, the extra beds in the parking lots? that's happening again. and it doesn't need to happen now. last year, we could do very little. but this year we can do a lot. and we're not even doing the very minimum for our children, which is having them have masks. and people are, as you saw, going into brutal fights over the issue. it makes you sad to see that. >> thank you, professor.
i appreciate it. >> my pleasure, it's a pleasure always to be with you. >> thank you. so there in louisiana, there in d.c., there in haiti. while chef jose andreas, feeding flooding evacuees, afghan refugees, and earthquake victims, he's all over the place. he's a good man and he's here to talk about it right after this.
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okay, so more than a million louisiana residents without power tonight following the destruction left by hurricane ida. almost the entire city of new orleans is in the dark. some officials in the city are worried it could be weeks before it's restored. my next guest is shelf jose andres, feeding hurricane victims with his group, world central kitchen. i know you're on the ground, seeing a lot. but as i understand, you got people even where you are who are in need. what's going on, chef? >> well, it's been a long day for everybody. i began my day searching for the companies that had food. we already had many in refrigerators but we were looking for more. it was a very successful day, we were able to get tens of thousands of pieces of fruit, cheese, bread, and chicken.
so that was good. what we like to do at world central kitchen is go to look for the people that need us. obviously in new orleans and surrounding areas. but then we began driving away. places like houma that we know has been in one of the hardest-hit areas. so we arrived there. remember, it's very difficult to speak to anybody. it's not like you can get a cell signal. we began feeding one of the shelters with almost a hundred people in downtown houma. we began feeding some of the firefighters, some of the police, some of the sheriff's offices. this is the way we do it. we scout. we stop here to speak with you. it's a hotel called the evergreen plaza. no light. all of a sudden they saw that we had world central kitchen, people figure out, some people know us, and all of a sudden we got a hundred people coming out
from the dark rooms of this hotel. >> chef, show me. show me. >> we've been feeding them already for the last half hour. that's the hotel in the back. there's people back there saying hi, people going back to their dark rooms. every room you see there, every dark room, is a family with children, elderly. and they are in the middle of nowhere. and even this gas station where we are, this gas station, like many, they have electricity like this one or they have a generator but they don't have gas or they have gas but don't have a generator. this is very much the situation 24 hours after this hurricane. >> how many people do you think you've been feeding? you said he went to a shelter, there were a hundred people there, now you're out here, you're just driving by, finding
people in need, right? >> yeah, i think today was not a huge day in terms of food. we need to remember that in the first 24 hours, people have food at home. there is still a need. but the situation is, all the restaurants very much are shut down, obviously the supermarkets. and obviously whatever people had in their freezers, may be still okay, but we are on the edge of people having to throw all that food away. many restaurants, owners, know world central kitchen in downtown new orleans, that's the louisiana way, they started bringing food to our centralized kitchen. starting tomorrow, the next one, two, three days, is when there will be al lot of people who wil
need food. when i see the need, the number of meals is going to be increasing dramatically. >> i'm glad you showed us what's happening. before you go, i want to tell people that chef andres' organization is providing -- has been feeding families arriving from d.c. we have some video of that. arriving in d.c. from afghanistan. and then, that's folks arriving in d.c. from afghanistan, that's him getting ready to do that. i also understand that he just got back from haiti, feeding victims of the horrible earthquake there. so you're doing what folks should be doing. i got to run. take us out. >> i'm not doing it, it's many, many people doing it. in haiti we've been doing a great job in the south. usaid has been doing great work, department of defense, america is around the world, when people need us, we're there to help.
>> thank you, thank you, as a resident of baton rouge, i grew up there, that's my hometown, thank you, i appreciate it. thank you, chef. for more information on how you can help all the communities who we have spoken about, please go to cnn.com/impact. hurricane ida is threatening more flooding. we'll bring you the very latest on where it's heading and how bad it will get after this. e li. honey, i'm home! honey! scuff defense. right now, get incredible savings on select behr ultra® paints, starting at $29.98* fine, no one leaves the table until your finished. fine, we'll sleep here. ♪ it's the easiest because it's the cheesiest. kraft. for the win win. joint pain, swelling, tenderness. my psoriasis. cosentyx® works on all of this. cosentyx can help you look and feel better by treating the multiple symptoms
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more than a million are without power tonight after hurricane ida tore through louisiana as a category 4 storm. pedram javaheri is tracking ida for us. good evening, sir. thank you so much. what's the latest? >> don, the latest coming in from the national hurricane center putting the final advisory, finally, on this particular storm coming in at 11:00 p.m. eastern time. puts it about 100 miles northeast of jackson. so right around, say, tupelo, mississippi. that's where the center of the storm is. unfortunately, impacts far from over because we know the amount of rainfall forecast even as far away as the northeast. pretty impressive. maybe upwards of a foot of rainfall possible into portions of pennsylvania and notice, as much as 18-plus inches has come down in and around areas of new orleans, mandeville. leading up to this particular storm making landfall, so the soil already fully saturated. so any additional rainfall leads to surface flooding. that's why we have seen so much
flooding reports. and the concern is, again, as the system migrates toward the north and east, remember those pink contours we saw down in louisiana showing 10 to 12 inches? they are here across portions of pennsylvania. the concern there is when you look at rainfalls and the expansive nature of this, don, 1,200 mile coverage between louisiana to cape cod where flood watches are in place. but in portions of the ohio and tennessee valley, you have got natural ground. when rain falls out of the sky, about 10% of it becomes runoff. about 90% of it is absorbed into the soil. what falls out of the sky. about 55% of it hits the concrete and becomes runoff. so flooding becoming a major story now as we move forward with this storm. >> absolutely. thank you, pedram. i appreciate that. be safe. and thanks for watching, everyone. our coverage continues.
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