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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  June 29, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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step of the process. so, please, i know you join with me in your prayers, your wishes, your hopes during this incredibly difficult time for our families. [ speaking foreign language ] and good day. this is andrea mitchell reports in washington as rescue crews continue the race against time in a desperate search for any survivors, six days after that horrific tower disaster in surfside, florida, as new information comes to light that the condo board president warned for the need of repairs months before the collapse even though resident his previously been told the building was not in bad shape. as we continue to monitor this briefing, officials say 11 victims have been recovered. none since yesterday. 150 people are still unaccounted for, giving families some small hope for a miracle. we start with the latest on the
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tower collapse in surfside. ron allen is in south florida. ron, any details as to, first of all, investigation and also what hopes they have for recovery? >> reporter: andrea, these briefings, as you've heard over the past number of days are all about the first responders and the valiant efforts that they're making which undoubtedly are heroic. that's what the governor and the mayor are focusing on. they pointed out they briefed the families privately and they're doing that twice a day and they just talked to the families about this, as well. we don't know what they're telling the fa amlies if anything, beyond what they're sharing with us, the general public. there are no new numbers and no new information about fatalities and discoveries to report and that's the interesting and striking thing about the way, and the approach that these officials here are taking to this tragedy. this is day six. the last survivor was pulled
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from the rubble hours after this happened on thursday. it's been a long time and there is this void of information about what's happening. we know it is just an incredible task of trying to dig into the pile, the mound, to find crevices and openings to find indications of life. we've heard reports of children's toys, personal possessions, a wedding dress, things of that nature pulled from the pile by the rescuers and first responders over the last couple of days personalizing what's happening there, and we heard these first responders describe how meticulous it is to go through the pile and what they're doing and the risk they're taking and the danger it is. one worker told us about how he dug into a pile with his hands and he cut his hand on what was the blender from a kitchen in an apartment, he thinks. it's that sort of danger and
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that sort of unpredicibility about what's going on there. it's just an incredible thing the closer you get to this, but again, at this point, the posture that the governor and others are taking is that they will leave no stone unturned literally and figuratively, that they will leave no one behind, the governor said relying on his naval training, naval days because this is going to go on for some time because that's the posture that they're taking that everyone, everyone will be accounted for, and as you know, and other similar scenarios have taken years have left no one behind and that's the mentality and that's the posture people are taking here and in talking to the families, there's grief, there's the realization of what the inevitable might be for them and they went to a vigil last
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night on the beach which was really just deeply moving and emotional and very personal, not just for the families who are waiting to hear word of loved ones, but also the neighbors. this is a very tight, close-knit community and a relatively small community in some ways and they're pulling together and to see that happening on a beach where the candlelight vigil was quite moving, i have to say, andrea? >> and now the incident commander, ron, is speaking. let's listen to him. [ inaudible ] the fire rescue, water, isd, county attorney's office and much others. in addition to our federal, state, local, international and not for profit organizations,
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this has led to a seamless integration of these resources throughout the event. we continue to prosper and utilize these agencies and up to 60 at this time and over 800 responders who are supporting this effort integrating into the unified response and ensuring a successful search and rescue effort. thank you. >> now the director of the florida division of emergency management kevin daughtry. >> good morning, everyone. as far as state resources, because of the weather we have a new tent system which i'm sure you guys will appreciate. in addition to that. we have over 440 state employees in the response effort and they do include the state emergency response team, aid, search and rescue teams.
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we continue to provide assistance through items such as laundry trailers, restroom trailers, jacks, and many, many more. the florida department will continue to support all resource request and as of this morning we had 29 individuals who had registered with fema's individual assistance program. currently, there are 22 organizations that are assisting and i want to go ahead and let you know that fema has advised me through the administrator that virginia task force 1, virginia task force 2 and ohio task force 1 are on standby awaiting any type of resource request that we may need. again, i think it's important to reiterate the point that we have all of the resources we need. we do not need anyone to self-deploy and help us. we have plenty of resources in reserve, the florida department
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of transportation this morning has started to assist with moving debris to an alternate site and they will continue to do so. the florida department of management services continues to search for a warehouse for resource donations and the florida department of donation will continue to distribute gift cards for displaced individuals. they have two of their mobile units here for no-fee driver's license and identification cards, vehicle registrations and titles to the independent -- or to the impacted individuals, and i need to remind you that those hours on those mobile units are from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the family assistance center. part of the department of highway safety is coordinating with the red cross to identify any impacted individuals needing additional assistance. we than this is a difficult time for families and first responders involved in the
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rescue and recovery efforts. please know that florida is here to help you and i thank the governor and lieutenant governor for their leadership in allowing us to respond and do what we need to do without any hesitation. i want to remind you, if you cannot find the resources you're looking for, call 211 and we will get you to the site that you need to be associated with. the state's priority right now is ensure the county's needs are being met. personnel will continue to remain on the ground to assist with all response efforts until they're no longer needed. thank you. >> thank you, director. and now for the department of economic opportunities secretary dane eagle. >> good afternoon, everyone. as you know the governor has been making sure that state resources where needed and i was boots on the ground day one to assess the situation and since then the department has sent two mobile units here over the
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weekend. this has shut down not only to mourn, but to make way for the first responders so they can do what they need to continue the search and rescue mission. we've spoken to dozens of businesses who are putting their need aside and servicing these first responders whether it's cafes and barbers offering free haircuts. there is a need there that needs to be met and we need the immediate assistance in doing so. you can send local businesses and the businesses in the area the florida disaster.b-i-z. it has the assistance of the small business administration. we hope to draw down some additional funds, but those surveys that these businesses can assess online will help to bring down those funds as we continue to help those who are suffering not only the families, but the local businesses who are serving our first responders. thank you to the governor, the local community and the federal government for stepping up to assess this meeting.
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>> thank you, mr. secretary. now the surfside mayor charles burkett. >> good morning. i would just like to add a few things. i walked the site this morning and tell you what i saw. we had, overnight there were issues with debris falling off the building. the west side of the pile had to be cordoned off a little bit because it was becoming excessively dangerous to work there. what has happened is i understand the work still continues from the sides and underneath, but that area was cordoned off until they can sort of get their arms around the debris that's falling down, and they've made very good progress on the east end and it's apparent. they've got the pile down to the point where you can see into the parking lot. so there is great progress. lastly, with respect to the site, there is an overwhelming
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amount of workers, rescue workers on the site working with cranes and taking off debris and the work continues. i attended the family meeting this morning. it was -- it was informative. the israelis had announced that they were going to be bringing in additional workers which made the families -- rescue workers, which made the families, i could tell it was more of a relief in the room. there was frustration. there was a little anger. there were some more questions about why the work has to stop when there's rain, thunderstorms and lightning. the police chief or the fire chief addressed that issue and said that he would further -- he would talk to the higher-ups about whether or not that worked because it was an interesting comment because the speaker said they're already risking their lives anyway. they're working under a building that could fall down, why do we
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have to stop for lightning and it was an interesting question and the chief said he would get back to them. one of the questions from the family members is how long can people survive under the rubble which was an excellent question, and there didn't seem to be a good answer to that. i had several days ago, sent the mayor a copy of an article that i was sent which dealt exactly with that point, and i thought it was very important to let the family members know, so i stood up and i talked about what i knew in the -- what i knew from the article, and it talked about there were several different instances and the most notable was the one from may 2013 where a woman was pulled from the ruins of a factory in bangladesh 17 days after it collapsed. so i think as the governor said earlier, nobody -- and the lieutenant governor, nobody is
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giving up hope here. nobody is stopping. the work goes on full force. we are dedicated to get everyone out of that pile of rubble any and reunite them with their families and we don't have a resource problem. we have a luck problem and as you know, we just got dumped on by some rain, but thankfully it looks like that's clear, but the work will go on and we will continue to work at 100%. thank you. >> thank you, mayor, and from the board of county commission, chairman diaz. >> as you all know, the mayor, governor, lieutenant governor and all those involved have spoken and i want to say thank you to all of you for doing the reports in a very humane and proper way, and doing it in a way that it was full of information for people, which is important.
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i want to thank you from all of us, from my colleagues and i. that is very important. your news and what you're putting out is what's going on, and i am very proud that -- i've been to a lot of unfortunate disasters and sometimes you really can't watch the news because of the way it's presented and i will tell you that i am very proud of all of you and the work you've done as i am proud of the first responders, as all have stated, and one of them which we haven't mentioned too much is the police. i really want to thank them for the work that dade county police and all of the police agencies that stepped it up from the cities, are doing at every level. the chief, the director that is here. everybody else. so i want to thank them and all of the other departments. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> and as the miami-dade commissioner pepe diaz is speaking, and the mayor of surfside burkett talked about the pain of the families and they asked how long can people survive and they pointed out which we had been reporting earlier on nbc news and msnbc, was there a factory collapse in bangladesh where a woman had been pulled out of the factory collapse after 17 days. in haiti, a man was pulled out of the rubble from the earthquake 14 days and there were survivors earlier than 14 days and it's been six days here. in kenya, four survivors were found. what they were reassuring the families about today was that they are not stopping. they are still in recovery mode. they aren't going away and they will find every last person and
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that would be finding remains. they have not found anyone alive since day one. let's go back to this newsroom. >> good afternoon. we continue to search layer by layer, removing debris as we continue to move forward in our search and rescue efforts. as we mentioned before this is a very tedious effort. devastating what occurred regards to the collapse and what we're seeing. we're moving debris piece by piece and searching through. we moved over approximately 3 million pounds of concrete at this time which equates to over 850 cubic feet. we have all of the state florida task forces here deployed and we have the federal task force on standby and the federal incident support team arrived today. again, just when we first arrived and what we saw, the horrific, catastrophic type of collapse.
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miami-dade fire rescue, we were able during that timeframe to remove 37 individuals. 37 individuals, and we continue searching with all our assets and all of the support assets and all of the task forces here in florida as well as those on standby and we will continue to work through. i want to emphasize when we started this search it was extremely difficult to what we saw and what we encountered and we deployed our search teams based on what we evaluate and what we saw in regard to the highest probability and as we mentioned time and time again with our searchers, those were the key things we worked for, constantly running with our k-9s searching for a hope of life, using audio equipment as well as video equipment searching for life. that's what we've been doing from the get go and we evaluate and keep assessing. with the large equipment that's here and all of the different task forces. 24 hours a day we have over 200
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task force members made up of miami-dade fire rescue, task force 1 and all of the remaining florida task force, nonstop around the clock. searching, methodical, very difficult process and as we were moving debris, we are finding more debris that's just concrete pulvarized. it's extremely difficult. as we mentioned in regards to looking to void spaces and looking for key signs. i want to be clear and we haven't been seeing it. we come across small and keep moving. we keep moving. we keep trying. from the get go from what we saw, devastating, okay? but we continue moving forward and continue pushing and we'll see if we -- where we're at at the end. thank you. >> thank you, chief and now to give comments in spanish, the pio from fire and rescue.
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[ speaking foreign language ] >> and we continue -- we just heard from fire chief cominsky. going after layer after layer and going through the rubble and not lacking in resources as mayor burkett said, they're just lacking in good luck. something mayor burkett said that was very striking which is that in the family meeting the family was asking why are the rescuers stopping during thunder and lightning storms? why is their safety at stake because they're working in such terrible conditions that everything they're doing is so dangerous, and he said that they were taking that question and they would get back to them, but obviously the families are very concerned about this weather and as you saw in the last 20 minutes that there was a big thunderstorm and now it's clearing and they are dealing with florida weather which is
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that it can change minute by minute. ron allen is still there with me, as well. ron, you've been experiencing this yourself, for sure. >> yeah, andrea, one other thing i want to point out is in recent days families have been taken to a place where they can see the pile more closely. they are bussed there and it's more private and we don't see it happening so they can take a look so they can better understand what's happening and the magnitude of the work this these heroes are undertaking. it also takes them close to their loved ones so there is a practical and emotional benefits to doing this and it's helped and the officials have said they've answered their questions about what it is that these first responders are going through. one official here said that they have moved 3 million pounds of concrete. it's hard to imagine what 3 million pounds of concrete is, but it sure sounds like a lot
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and they're doing it in small pieces. they can't just bring a crane and lift it off. it's a much more meticulous process. >> clearly, this is the miami-dade police chief. i believe this is freddy ramirez -- excuse me. ed caneva. >> safety partners and city officials and posted on social media. new closures today is going to be collins avenue from 81 street, to 91 street and 960. we do have checkpoints at avid at 96th street. let me emphasize that residents in the 32154 zip code and also employees, business owners and hotels, customers will be allowed access. please bear with us.
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we understand the challenges and we'll get to more as soon as we can. we are still evaluating our ultimate goal at some point. [ speaking foreign language ] >> and as we were just discussing, this is a very congested area and the traffic coordination has been very difficult for residents, as well as people are coming through that area. ron allen, you were saying when we paused for a moment there that the -- the continuing exploration here, the excavation is so meticulous because you are dealing with the people -- not only human remains so horribly, but also people's belongings and they're being so careful in separating people's belongings and trying to preserve things as best they can.
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pictures and other moment minute owes and any fragments of their belongings for families to identify. ron? >> reporter: yes, andry a exactly. and there are so many hazards along the way for the first responders. you've been talking to some of them about what exactly it's like to be on the pile and one former football player we talked to who was a big guy explained how he was hanging over the edge with a jack hammer trying to drill towards something. here's more of the briefing. i think we want to go back to it. >> this is ryan logan, ron, from the american red cross who is being so helpful. >> providing highly trained and highly skilled support. in addition, while our main priority is focusing on the entire community, one of our main focuses at this for a moment is to provide assistance to those survivors directly impacted from the champlain south tower. we are asking for individuals
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from that tou per they have not done so already to meet with the red cross at the family assistance center that the mayor mentioned earlier, as well as if there are any survivors that are staying with loved ones and the friends or family outside of the area and they ask that they contact the local red cross wherever they are and we put them in contact on the ground to assess and make sure what they need for this immediate phase of this recovery. >> as i mentioned earlier in the week, i wanted to reiterate, we know how this affects the emotions of folks both here locally and afar, and so as a result, we are working with our local community partners to offer some free emotional and psychological resiliency training. we hope over the next three to four days to actually have the locations of where we will be providing those free courses to the community so they have a great opportunity for folks to assess themselves and also learn
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how to recognize the signs of trauma or the impacts of their own family as well as how to speak their children and i would encourage you to be on the lookout for that information and the dates and looks arrange for that. thanks. >> thank you, mr. logan. we will go into questions and answers now. >> so wait until you're being selected. please address the person you are going to question so then that person can come forward, then immediately after we will go to the creole translation. [ inaudible question ] >> so the grand jury has not yet been empanelled. i was speaking to the state
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attorney this morning and we were talking whenever it is moving forward that we would be fully onboard and she would be asking the grand jury to look at this matter. [ inaudible question ] >> i'm sorry? [ inaudible question ] >> like all of us, answers. >> any of the spanish media have a question? spanish right here. [ speaking foreign language ] >> and as the questions continue we will bring you any headlines out of that, but i wanted to bring in greg battista, who is president of g. battista engineering and construction in florida who worked on this building years ago, not most recently, but i wanted to ask you, mr. battista for anything you can tell us about the images, particularly that we saw from the miami herald today. the paper reporting pictures of a pool contractor of water in the tower's garage.
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the rarity of this kind of structural collapse. what have you seen in the pictures and documents that stands out to you even though we know this is not the official investigation and we are not saying what the cause is. >> yes. i've done inspections up and down the coast. i've done hundreds and even thousands of inspecs of which hundred of these are 40-year re-certifications and i can tell you categorically. these pictures do not surprise me for the amount of sprawling and the breaking of the concrete that was occurring in the building. it doesn't surprise me that the actual pool room would look in this shape. the equipment room, and why? because a lot of these chlorides, that's the kind of the molecules of the chlorides that are in the air that come from the sea, as well as the chlorides that are obviously inside the water of the pool, they seep into the concrete and more often than not when you go into pool equipment rooms you'll
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see this kind of -- this kind of damage. >> mr. battista, would that kind of damage contribute to the erosion of the concrete, the splitting of the concrete and could it affect the rebar and the structural integrity of the building? >> let me go back to the basics here so the viewers can understand. the concrete in a building is basically comprised of two main things. it's basically the concrete itself which is what you see from the outside and it's also comprised of steel that is inside and we call those rebar, pieces of steel, basically and that together forms the actual composition of what we see in these buildings and as you can see in the wreckage, you can see the pieces of steel sticking out. what happens is that when you have seaside, coastal structures these chlorides in the air they get -- they seep into the concrete and concrete is inherently porous. if you take a microscope and go
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into it, and you will see very close you will see it looks like a sponge. these chlorides seep into the concrete little by little, whether it's direct contact with ocean water or pool water or whether it's molecules in the air, they get to that steel and the steel rusts. once the steel begins to rust it's like a cancer and it expands and not only does it expand as far as the length along the entire piece of steel, but it also expands as far as the volume and those of you who have seen cars and the cars that are rusting and you see the paint sponges out. it's the same concept. so little by little, imagine, if this piece of rebar, if this piece of steel expands, obviously at some point the concrete that is surrounding it is going to rupture and as time goes by, as this cancer grows, little by little, it gets weaker and weaker and weaker until
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ultimately you have a collapse and you have this ultimate rupture. >> we've never seen anything like this. so how common is this or could it be in the twin building or other buildings from what you've seen here? again, i'm not saying that this led to it, but you're an inspector and you've seen -- have you seen damage that is so serious that you've demanded immediate remediation in the inspections you've seen because of this kind of corrosion? >> actually, i have. i've -- i've been doing inspections for a very long time and there have been a couple of situations where i've told the owners of the buildings, if this is not repaired immediately that we'll have to vacate the building and i'll have to tell the policemen about this and the policemen in this case are the building department and these are the folks empowered by the florida building code and the florida law to actually vacate the people. so although i have seen collapses before due to
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sfalling, about the steel expanding. i have seen collapses in the form of walls and individual balconies and beams and columns and some floors, but nothing, nothing, not even close to the destruction that has been seen here. i am not here saying that this was caused by spawling, but within a reasonable amount of engineering certainty tell you that this was one of the contributing factors. there's other factors out there, just this weekend i was at a conference, an engineers conference and we all pieced together all sort of -- all sorts of theories, and we were able to piece together certain items, but certainly it was in the consensus where, indeed, this spawling was a contributing factor, maybe there was a sink
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hole or maybe someone super charged the roof and put too much weight on it a a confluence of different issues may have contributed to this ultimate collapse. >> thank you very much, mr. battista. i want to go back to the news conference. the governor is speaking. >> as the fire chief said it is a very difficult scene and they are leaving no stone unturned and they will continue to do that, but it's been a very, very difficult time, and i think the grief has been in some respects unique just given the scale of the tragedy, but -- man, i was inspired just talking with him, and you could tell what he's been able to do, what his kids have been able to do, a very successful family and they all trace back to that matriarch and god bless her and god bless that family. >> mayor burkett mentioned there was debris falling from the building this morning and was
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that getting worse and does that indicate there are shifts in the building that you're worried about? >> regarding the building itself, we're constantly monitoring. no, we haven't seen any shift at all. we have special technology that's measuring to make sure there's not any shift. so that's a constant. in regards to debris falling, i wasn't briefed with what transpired there. as i mentioned there was a 45-foot area that we're not -- next to the building that we are not working it because of the overhang, the hazards that we have overhead. >> spanish over here. >> ma'am, spanish over here. >> and again, the fire chief cominsky that the piece that had fallen -- is ron allen still there? i think he said the debris that
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had fallen from the west side did not hit anybody. is that what he was saying? >> reporter: he was saying that the area near there had to be closed off to the rescue workers because of the debris falling and you can see how the front of it was sheared off and you can easily understand how debris can be falling and debris is also shift, workers tell us. one good thing that's happening is there are no longer fires underneath the fires. apparently the fires have been put out and i saw a report indicating that there were some indications that the air is not toxic. that can be a problem to rescue workers, for nearby residents and people trapped, not just now, but for years to come in some areas, but that appears to not be a problem right now. a little while ago we spoke to an attorney. there are three lawsuits now on behalf of residents and this one attorney in particular is trying to put together a class action
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lawsuit and it is his feeling and his belief that this was preventable. all these reports that we're hearing about what these building inspectors saw and what the email back and forth with the condo association -- they're suing the condo association, and i asked isn't it early for that? why now? because they want to get to the truth and they want evidence preserved and they are convinced that there's liability to be found here that this is not just an accident that there's responsibility, accountability and he said justice that he's trying to fight for for these residents. andrea? >> and i also wanted to bring back greg battista because we got an excerpt from the board of directors to the residents of the south tower unit from just a few months ago and it says in part, the concrete damage -- i need to see this again. sorry. the concrete damage observed
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would begin to multiply exponentially over the years and the observable damage such as in the garage has gotten significantly worse since the initial inspection. according to this excerpt, we heard this from robert lisman, a resident of the east tower. we can play that now. >> condo associations have incredible amount of power and they don't just choose the color of carpets or the gym equipment. they have -- their decisions are life and death. we need to take a look at the laws and the regulations behind the power that these associations have, and i know that people were complaining and they did nothing and those decisions are -- >> mr. battist a as an experienced inspectors, questions that occurred to those of us living outside of the miami area, why is the building code requiring a 40-year recertification and why wasn't it sooner with the chlorine and
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other ingredients creating this sponge-like erosion of the concrete. why isn't it more frequent? >> i don't know, but the fact of the matter is this was chosen by the legislature and the political body at that time, and it's -- i think that it's a good thing, and it can be studied whether it needs to be done every two years, four years, five years, ten years or 40 years. i don't know the answer to that question, but what i can tell you is that it's an excellent tool, and in florida it's only instituted by broward and dade counties. i've used it as a tool to bring up items that otherwise would not have surfaced were it not for this 40-year certification. so right now i think that it's an excellent tool, and i've seen the report from the other engineer who i think did a pretty decent job in calling out
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the -- in calling the issue out and being very specific about it, and it's -- it's -- and what the gentleman before me said, i think he was a resident, he said that something to the effect that the board members have a lot of power and that is true. when engineers say that there's an issue then, yes, that should capture the attention of those residents, and a lot of times and i've been in this position many, many times where structural repairs are extremely expensive and a lot of times these res debts, they don't have the finances and they don't have the reserve. they don't have the wherewithal to get a $9 million loan and yes, and sometimes the can is kicked down the road for x, y or z reasons, but at the end of the day, going back to your question, i think that 40 years is a reasonable amount to do this inspection. what i think is -- like i said before, in this particular building there was a confluence
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of things that -- that led to this catastrophic collapse. >> let me ask you, mr. battista, finally, would you live in that other tower or similar buildings and similar construction in that area? >> i have the benefit of my experience and obviously, i would have no problem living in the building if i went in there and i did an inspection. i really wouldn't. >> as a normal resident you don't know who is the inspector, you don't know how frequently and you don't know if the 40-year report sat for three years without anyone taking action on it. >> but you didn't let me finish my point. >> okay. >> the point is that people that live in these buildings, you don't have to be an engineer to see a crack on the wall. you don't have to be an engineer to see that something's shifted, that something looks off. you live there and you go to these buildings every day. i get calls every single day here in my office at g. battista engineering construction where i'd say 50% of those are
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non-consequential. they're cracks that are superficial and at least they called me and got peace of mind. so going back to what you asked i would have no problem living in a building where you have professionals being called upon to perform their duties and inspect these buildings and if something's wrong you call it out and expect that those in charge, in this case, people on the board, would react accordingly and perform those proper repairs. >> thanks for all of your expertise. i really appreciate it and thank for being with us today. greg battista. >> thank you. coming up, unlikely allies? house speaker nancy pelosi ask any republicans to be on the select committee investigating the january 6th attack on the capitol? on the road again. president biden in wisconsin to help seal the deal. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports." we'll be right back. this is msnbc. a
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following through to investigate the january 6th attack on the capitol after senate republicans blocked an independent bipartisan commission. the house is planning to vote tomorrow on legislation to form that committee which may get fewer than ten republican votes. eight democrats and five republicans would serve on the panel and republicans liz cheney and adam kinzinger could potentially be part of it. nbc news capitol hill
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correspondent garrett haake joins us now. what is the state on that? >> andrea, will get significantly less support from republicans than the commission, a non-partisan effort to investigate the same thing. he came out strongly against this committee vote when he spoke to us last night and here's john katko told us. >> i am very disappointed and this is what i was concerned about that we would not have a balanced, look at benghazi. it got nowhere. >> you mentioned kinzinger and cheney. there are two ways they could end up on this committee. speaker pelosi gets eight unilateral picks and you expect to see five republicans, at least, but the speaker's office has indicated that speaker pelosi is at least open to the possibility of selecting a republican with one of her picks
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here. both kinzinger and cheney through spokespeople have said that's a choice that the speaker would make and they didn't dismiss it out of hand, andrea. it is a little sorkin-esque and it is possible that one of those republican critics of the former president could end up as a democratic pick on this committee. >> garrett haake, thank you very much, we'll be watching that vote tomorrow. president biden is on a campaign-style trip to sell the nearly $1 trillion infrastructure package. he landed in wisconsin moments ago. he'll be visiting michigan this week as democrats have broken up the infrastructure package, a bipartisan part for which the president is campaigning and the $6 trillion wish list, a package that includes climate and medicare investments and lacks the votes in the senate. joining me now is peter alexander and new york times white house correspondent peter baker. peter alexander.
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let's talk about how the white house is planning to sell this. >> andrea, as you noted, the president landing in lacross, wisconsin. one's a rural area and one is particularly hard hit by one of those infrastructural challenges that the country faces right now and separately it faces a senate seat for which they'll be in 2022. so the president's focus today according to white house officials is going to be not so much about the process of doing this, but really about the policy and the people, the real-life impact of these infrastructure efforts, this bipartisan deal as you noted with $1.2 trillion that it would be directing around the country right now. particularly in wisconsin an official was detailing some of the figures for me and roughly half of the 160,000 pipes in that state are believed to be contaminated by lead. beyond that, they say there is roughly a thousand bridges in the state that are structurally
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deficient and all in an effort to have an impact by real workers in those communities and the focus is will be on non-college educated workers and it's not only the infrastructure deal on which the president will focus his remarks and expect to take place at 2:00 eastern time today and he'll also focus the next effort here and the democrats-only priorities list that focuses on things like housing, child care and the like all of which the president says he wants to sign together and he backed off initially saying he wouldn't sign the initial infrastructure deal and it is set to arrive on his desk at the same time. andrea? >> thank you very much, peter alexander. and coming up next, as vaccination rates stall especially among young people particularly in red state, a new book explores the roots of how covid-19 became such a polarizing political issue dividing the country instead of inspiring the kind of response
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we've seen in wartime. that book out today is titled "nightmare scenario. inside the trump administration's response to the pandemic that changed history," exploring the misstatements and refusal of scientific evidence that led to the death toll of more than 600,000 americans. joining me now are the two authors. yasmin abutalib from kwoets the washington post" and the post economics editor and congratulations to you on your publication and all of your investigate of reporting. damian in your book you chronicle so men missteps of the trump administration's handling of the pandemic. president trump wanted cruise ship passengers who were sick sent to guantanamo bay where we have kept terrorists for 25 years without trial. so -- or 20 years without trial. let's talk about that. was that a serious comment that
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he made? >> yes, it was absolutely serious. at first he brought it up during a meeting in the situation room, and aides were kind of shocked and told him, okay, sir. yes, we'll look into that hoping that he'd never bring it up again and sure enough a few days later in the oval office the president said, you know, what's the status of the guantanamo idea? and the aides kind of gathered together after that and said you know, we have to kill this idea. we can never let this happen. it would be a public relations nightmare. >> think for yasmin and i when we heard about this, this was an example for an idea that consumed a lot of attention and was an idea they shouldn't be focusing on. >> the white house had its eye on the wrong ball and that was something that happened again and again during this crisis.
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>> we learned in reporting. he was put on oxygen twice. what wasn't reported at the time was that his oxygen had dipped into the 80s and aides began a mad scramble to try to get every drug with efficacy against coronavirus to treat the president and one of the people who was familiar with trump's condition that weekend said that he believed that the monoclonal antibody which was an experimental drug at the time was responsible for the president's rapid recovery. >> you also, damian, in the book talked about how john bolton would get covid.
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was this just a disparaging comment? what is the context there? >> what happened was there was a meeting at the white house and larry kudlow was there and he coughed and he was the council director who had been in poor health during the pandemic and everyone kind of froze when he coughed and the president didn't know what to say so he tried to lighten the mood. he turned dishingly serious and this was when he trashed president trump and he said i hope covid takes him out. say something behind his back and he just really hated that and so that was a signal to his aides that loyalty was more important than anything else and that put a dark cloud over the response at a time when they needed to be focused on the
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science and doing what was right and not necessarily listening to what the president was saying or his whips. >> there's of course, the mask controversy, and it has become one of the issues that really divided the country and caused some to get sick and die. yasmin, what did you report on producing masks and the incident with alex azar, the hhs secretary modeling one of the masks in the situation room. describe that as you do in the book. >> so last march, before the administration had coalesced around this recommendation that everyone, whether they were sick or not should wear face coverings to protect themselves and to protect each other the hhs emergency chief robert kadlec had reached out to undergarment manufacturers and asked them to convert facilities to produce masks and the goal
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was to produce 650 million masks which would be enough to send every american around two and they would use the u.s. postal service to send these masks out to every household hoping to politicize the issue and have it be something that everyone could do to protect the country and themselves. when alex azar, modelled it, he was ridiculed and political cudgel and political symbol and we didn't have mask wearing to the same degree as other countries that had more successful responses.
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in march or april, jared kushner was talking to robert cad atlantic to asking where were the n95 masks and kadlec told him i ordered 600 million masks. it would be tight, the u.s. might be cutting it pretty close. derrick kushner used some colorful language in calling him a moran. he said he thought the country with would be rocking and rolling by july. >> let's talk about dr. gautsche and the way he became such n adversariry and the scary story
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because of the way he was being described about receiving white powder in the mail. >> we asked dr. fauci action his comments and he didn't challenge the president. one thing i asked was there's a whole different side. he was under enormous pressure. at one point in august, about a thousandlers a day were sent to his office at the nih and that was intercepted. there were about 10 or 20 letters a day that were sent to his house. he would pick up those envelopes and bring them to the office. he picked up the envelope and all this white powder exploded. he kind of froze for a secretary. security came barrelling in. they thought it was a hoax or a
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poison. they had to decontaminate him. it was a scary episode. >> how he had to deal with all of that. congratulations. the book is extraordinary. you've done so much work. we want to thank you for this. thanks for coming on today. that does it for this very busy. follow us on line, on twitter, chuck todd is here next only on msnbc. next only on msnbc. this is dr. arnold t. petsworth, he's the owner of petsworth vetworld. business was steady, but then an influx of new four-legged friends changed everything. dr. petsworth welcomed these new patients. the only problem? more appointments meant he needed more space.
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that's when dr. petsworth turned to his american express business card, which offers spending potential that's built for his changing business needs. he used his card to furnish a new exam room and everyone was happy. get the card built for business. by american express.
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if it's tuesday, as questions arise. i'm going to speak to the mayor of surf side in a moment. the reality and danger of can climate change as our record breaking heat dome bikinis the mid-atlantic northwest. temperatures that are unheard of. that part of the country and in this time of year. later, the latest on the speaker pelosi effort to investigate the january 6th siege on the capitol. as the vot