tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC August 13, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PDT
breyers is always so delicious... i can tell that they used your milk, matilda. great job! moo you're welcome. breyers natural vanilla is made with 100% grade a milk and cream and only sustainably farmed vanilla. better starts with breyers. ♪♪ ♪♪ good day. this is "andrea mitchell reports" in washington as the taliban continues its rapid takeover of afghanistan with thousands of u.s. troops now rushing to kabul to move embassy personnel to the airport for flights out before the capital falls. at this hour the taliban has already taken control of the country's second largest city kandahar in the south and herat in the west as the white house reiterates today the president will not reconsider his decision to withdraw. >> on the coronavirus, a major decision today as the cdc meets
this hour to decide which categories of fully vaccinated people can now receive third shots because of their weakened immune systems. dr. walensky could sign a final order as early as late this afternoon, and i'll be joined this hour by nbc nightly news anchor lester holt for a preview of his powerful "dateline" special an investigation into police misconduct and a discussion of a philadelphia man who spent 28 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. >> i wanted him dead, i did. >> did you kill barbara jean horn? >> no, i did not do. i did not do anything to that child at all. >> did you look at the jury. >> yeah. they were stone faced. yeah, we want to just get rid of you. >> that's coming up, but we'll begin in afghanistan with nbc's kelly cobiella in kabul. kelly, the march of the taliban, rapid, one city after another. >> reporter: that's right.
the provinces continue to fall like dominos today. andrea, you mentioned kandahar now being in the hands of the taliban. that was confirmed by nbc news early today, kabul time and then we saw a string of other announcements and herat confirmed to be in the hands of the taliban as well as it looks like helmand province right next to kandahar in the south and we haven't yet confirmed that, and it looks as though helmand is also in taliban lands, and you see sort of a consolidation of their territory from the south into the west into the border with iran and then up into the north and really down to only two major cities that are still controlled by the government. mass ary sharif in the north and even kabul, but even kabul is starting to become more and more isolated. there's another neighboring
province which looks like it could fall at some point today. and at the same time, andrea, you have a situation where thousands of people continue to flee all of these provinces, the more areas that are taken over and the more they continue to make their way, these very dangerous journeys to the capital city and we spoke to a number of people today who worked as support staff, interpreters, cooks, construction workers for the nato project and they are terrified. we spoke to one man who came up here from kandahar just arriving in the capital today and he said that the taliban is going door to door in that city looking for people who have connections to the u.s. war effort either nato or u.s. military or even aid programs. so it's a really dangerous situation for a lot of people who work for americans and for nato and there are tens of thousands of them.
>> on top of that, you have families who have fled these regions and in a lot of cases their houses have been destroyed and they have nothing and they have no money to buy food and the u.n. is warning of an escalating humanitarian crisis here where you have tens of thousands of people, no way to eat and they're dependent upon volunteer essentially showing up with bread and water in order to keep them going. it really is descending into quite a humanitarian crisis and when you look ahead at the possibility of the taliban moving into kabul with all of these displaced people, all of this fear and the densely populated city center, it could get much, much worse, andrea? >> such a dire forecast. such a dangerous situation. please be safer, kelly. thank you for that. joining us now is state department spokesman ned price. ned, you heard the reports from
the field. you have, of course, all of the information at your disposal and there are reports from our own embassy that there have been beheadings, executions and the taliban going door to door, women are texting and calling colleagues of ours here in washington saying the situation is dire, that they're being targeted. girls are being taken hostage as, quote, child brides. we would call that kidnapping and rape. what is our moral obligation to the people of afghanistan? >> andrea, the reports that have emerged from afghanistan not only in the recent days and recent weeks are disturbing and we are gravely concerned by what we are hearing and we are doing everything in our power to try to put an end to this violence and give some semblance of hope,
security, stability to the people of afghanistan. let me explain to you a couple of things we're doing. first and foremost, the state department, we are focused on the diplomatic front. just this week our team has been in qatar meeting with countries from the region and in fact, well beyond. we have seen a very strong consensus emerge from this large consolation of countries and international organizations to include the u.n. that any government that takes afghanistan by force, that takes power by force won't be recognized. that's very important and it's a very important signal to the taliban and it's a very important signal about the lack of durability that seeks to take afghanistan by force would have. >> ned, the taliban issal readee on excuse me to just that point, the taliban is already being received as official diplomats in beijing, moscow and tehran. so for all of those promises,
even if they cared about recognition, they are accomplishing on the ground all of the recognition they need. they are imminently going to get the capital itself and they're already being recognized by -- by china and russia for sure. >> well, i can tell you exactly what china and russia have said publicly including in recent days. they will not recognize any government that takes power in afghanistan by force. and that's about legitimacy. legitimacy is one thing and it's a virtue, but what legitimacy actually translates into are very practical implications for the taliban. if the taliban continued down this path and if they don't respect fundamental human rights and if they continue with these atrocious, atrocious acts and attacks against their own people they won't have international assistance. they won't have the sanctions removed and they won't have the ability to travel. that actually means something, andrea. it actually means something that
the world is coming together in a single voice to say this is not something that we can -- this is not a kind of force that will garner legitimacy from the international community. >> with all due respect, and i know you've been -- it is the position of the state department, it's your job, you've been answering these questions for a week or more -- longer than that, the state department isn't saying that we're appealing to them to -- you know, the importance of legitimacy and on the ground women are being killed. they're being targeted for doing what we asked them to do, what we encouraged them to do for 20 years, to join civil society, to get educated, to leave villages and defy their fathers, i've seen it themselves. i've been there, and i know this is not your sole job, but you are the person that is speaking for the u.s. government right you now and don't we have a moral responsibility to do
something for these people? just today the white house repeated the president is not going to change his position. he's been consistent on that even when he was vice president that was his position he disagreed with the surge. we all know that, but we are seeing it on the ground in real time. people are being beheaded and that's coming from embassy kabul. >> andrea, we do have a solemn responsibility to the people of afghanistan, including the people that worked closely with us over the years and in fact the united states government is in part responsible for the tremendous gains that the afghan people have been able to achieve over the past 20 years. we have led the charge on every front to do all we can to ensure those gains are not squandered. our humanitarian assistance far surpasses any other country. just this past june we contributed another $266 million over the course of our engagement with afghanistan, that has totaled 4 billion.
no country has done more for the people of afghanistan than we have. when it comes to afghans who have worked directly with us with the united states government in jobs like interpreters and translators, we, in fact, are mounting an ambitious effort to physically relocate these individuals from afghanistan to begin new lives back here in the united states. so far this operation, operation allies refuge has been under way for a couple of weeks now. we've already located 1200 of these afghans and their family members and we will relocate thousands more and we will have daily relocation flights starting very soon to ensure that we can remove these brave afghans from harm's way just as soon as we can. so, yes, we have worked in partnership with the afghan people over the course of the past 20 years. that is not changing. our goal going forward is to see to it that we do all we can on a
humanitarian front, on the diplomatic front, on the political front to create an afghanistan that has stability and security for all afghans. the answer is not to relocate everyone who faces danger. our goal over the longer term is to set the conditions to support the afghan people setting the stage for these conditions so that all afghans can live under those conditions going forward. >> let me ask you before i lose you, tell us as much as you can, what is happening inside the embassy today. there are 1400 american civilian citizens who are going to be taken out. it's a very dangerous four miles to the airport. are documents being shredded? how are things being secured? give us as much of the flavor of what you can share from inside. >> what we said yesterday we are drawing down, we are reducing our civilian footprint to a core
diplomatic presence and what that means is we will continue to have a diplomatic presence on the ground in afghanistan. our embassy remains open. we will continue to be able to do the consular activity, that is to say that processing of these afghans applying for visas to come to the united states, our engagement of the government of afghanistan and our humanitarian support for the people of afghanistan, but we are reducing the size of our civilian footprint given the evolving security situation there. every embassy around the world. >> and "the new york times is reporting". >> the standard drawdown procedure and that's precisely what's going on right now inside our embassy in kabul. >> forgive me for interrupting you. the times -- "the new york times" is reporting that the u.s. is trying to convince the taliban to spare the embassy or risk future foreign aid. >> the taliban have said themselves they have no intention of targeting
diplomatic facilities. of course, that is written into international law that they not do so. we are not going to trust anything the taliban says. what we are going to be looking for is what they do, what we can tell through all sources of information that they plan to. that's why we are taking these prudent steps right now to relocate some of our civilian personnel to take them potentially out of harm's way because again, this president attaches the utmost priority, the safety and security of the american people just as we conduct this reduction and size of our civilian footprint. we will remain engaged with the people of afghanistan on a consular basis and a diplomatic basis. >> i know i've exhausted our time. thanks very much for coming forward and taking the questions. i appreciate it. >> thanks, andrea. >> you bet. let's bring in our panel for more on this dangerous conflict.
new york times pentagon correspondent helene cooper and ben rhodes, former national security adviser for president obama. thank you both. let's talk with what we just heard from ned about the drawdown and we can only assume the standard procedures involved, shredding documents, securing the embassy and there are 1400 people that we know of. tell us about this trip deployment and how this is going to work. our own reports from courtney kubi and others that there are differing accounts of how soon kabul can fall. some are within this weekend. >> there really are -- hi, andrea and hello, ben. we started yesterday morning reporting based on conversations that i had had and other reporters have had with senior administration officials that there was very real fear that kabul could fall within the 30 days, and i remember calling the
news desk, and that was considered big news at the time yesterday morning. by yesterday evening, andrea, the assessments were quickly changing and people were talking -- within the next month, people were talking within the next few weeks and within the next days. it's stunning just how quickly things have really just -- the pace of the taliban advance has been, i think, very surprising to the biden administration. this is something that people expected and very few people thought it would come quite as quickly as it has. the fact that kandahar has now fallen was a big one, and that will basically leave kabul isolated. kabul is already pretty isolated and you will see the whole evacuation of the embassy and americans there. i think this is a deeply
disturbing moment for afghanistan, but it also is kind of a disturbing moment for america's image all over the world. you know what a lot of the afghans who u.s., the military and u.s. diplomats had worked with and you talked about the idea of women and girls going to school that they're being punished by the taliban for as we've now withdrawn. the next time the united states is engaged somewhere i think people will -- there's a worry that very few people are going to believe are going to believe us when we say that we're here to sort of make your life better. >> you were in the situation room when president obama reluctantly agreed to the surge. i know it was inherited from donald trump and we are not
going to suggest that joe biden invented this withdrawal, but once that was agreed to by trump and even in recent months, according to james who used to leave the troops there, 150,000 nato troops, just today saying if you left 3500 to 500 counter insurgency forces you could do what the -- excuse me the 35,000, up to 5,000 counter insurgency forces, you can do what we did against isis when baghdad was threatened and stabilize iraq. do that now with afghanistan. >> yeah. i mean, first of all, and i think what we're watching is let's be honest and an indictment not just of this withdrawal and 20 years of an effort to build an afghan and take over to the united states at some point because of the successive administrations that the american people were not
going to support an indefinite military presence. i think there's an important question and debate about when kind of small force could, you know, look at our counter terrorism interests. i think the reality is that even with those 3500 troops in afghanistan the situation was deteriorating, it just wasn't deteriorating this fast. when it comes to our credibility, i think there is an important debate to be had about whether an indefinite u.s. presence would have made a positive difference and would have been sustainable in this country. i think what goes without question, though is that we have an obligation to the people that did work with us and this often focuses on interpreters and people that work with the u.s. military and they obviously need to be a part of that conversation, but also people who receive grants from the usaid to start organizations that looked at women's rights issues and girls education and human rights advocacy. those people put their necks on the line for what we were there to do, and what concerns me is
that the scale of the effort, you and i have talked about this before, the scale of the effort to evacuate those people and 1400 people and these are tens of thousands of people and clearly the sand is running through the hour glass here. clearly, president biden is not going to revisit the decision to withdraw because he believes it's fundamentally in america's interest to move beyond the 20-year war and i would hope that we do everything we can to get everybody out over these last 20 years that we will stand behind the people and the individual human beings who worked with us and made efforts. >> and to that point, to both of you, ben and helene, very briefly, david ignatius wrote today that this is evoking the images of 1975 in saigon, that last helicopter leaving the embassy and that's exactly what president biden wanted to avoid. helene, first to you. i think he did want to avoid it,
but i think it's inevitable and we're at that point now. they've announced an evacuation of the embassy. i can't stress enough how much i agree with what ben said about not putting roadblocks, bureaucratic roadblocks after they worked with us getting out of the country. the state department and she says that they're trying and they're a former, i used to -- as a former liberian citizen, i'm now american, but i know what getting a visa to go to the united states can be like and the sort of roadblock and the hurdles that people are used to having to jump through and i'm not convinced at all that we have removed enough of those hurdles considering how close things are getting to the wire. >> and ben, is this a failure of
military intelligence? >> i think across the board. it's a demonstration of the limits of what we can achieve militarily and other countries and building security forces and trying to build a government that we believe is consistent with our interest in values and when you spend 20 years and trillions of dollars and we see the scenes that we've looked at today and i don't think it's just a matter of the will of the afghan people. i think there are hard lessons to be learned about the afghan national security forces being overly dependent on private contractors for some of their key logistical functions which once the u.s. pulled out, those contractors pulled out it's hard for the afghan security forces to carry out the missions they were built to carry out. the immediate focus is what can we do to help the people that are in harm's way because they worked with us. >> ben, i can't thank you enough for being on today and helene, the perfect people to talk about this very complicated and
heartbreaking story. thank you. >> and texas showdown. local leaders rejecting the governor's showdown as hospitals fill to max capacity and go into overflow tents. this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. we were alone when my husband had the heart attack. he's the most important thing in my life. i'm so lucky to get him back. your heart isn't just yours. protect it with bayer aspirin. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
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covid is soaring in just the last week. county officials have ordered an indoor mask mandate in defiance of greg abbot whose statewide ban on mandates is being challenged in court. joining us now is houston mayor sylvester turner. thanks for taking time for us today. are optimistic that this mask mandate will not be overturned. >> it is to protect our families and children and people going to work. that's the emphasis. let me just say, yes, andrea. the local hospitals admitted 393 patients suffering with covid. that is the fourth largest number since this pandemic began. 393. there are about 2300 people in our local hospitals and we are now in phase 2 of our icu capacity. so the numbers --
[ indiscernible ] >> those are very high numbers, 393, how many of those are breakthrough cases of unvaccinated people? >> probably 90% of people who have elected not to be vaccinated. this is a pandemic of those who are unvaccinated and that's why we continue to encourage people to get the vaccination and we encourage people to put their masks on. >> and are you see anything uptick in vaccinations as there have been in other places because people are now really getting scared and their fear of delta is finally perhaps overcoming their reluctance. >> and i am pleased to say the answer is yes. in the month of august, for example, the city health department and the harris county health department, we are partnering with 12 other local school districts. on saturday we call it super saturday vaccination day. last saturday, for example, we had well over 1200 people who have responded.
two weeks before, that number was less than 50. the same day will take place every single saturday in the month of august. we are encouraging parents that are 12 and above and others to take advantage and we are seeing an uptick and that is the good news and they're a lot more people to follow. >> and schools are going to open a week from monday, i believe. are you getting pushback from the mask mandate from parents, teachers or anyone else? >> there is some pushback, but also what we are seeing is that there are many, many parents who are saying that they won't get kids. they want us to provide their kids with maximum protection. so they do want their kids to wear these masks especially for those kids that are under the age of 12 and we have local school districts on their own and the superintendents and the school board. for example the school district
voted unanimously every board member to require masks of the houston district. the same is taking place all over the state, dallas, san antonio, austin. so parents want their kids protected. >> thank you so much for taking time out for us. appreciate it. and a wrongful conviction led to one man spending more than a quarter of a century behind bars. in his first network television interview, walter ograud spoke to lester holt for being wrongfully convicted for the murder of barbara jean orrin and the failure of the justice system. >> in 1992 four years after an unthinkable murder rocked philadelphia, police announced they found the killer and that he'd confessed. his name was walter ograud. a single, 27-year-old truck driver wo once lived across the
street from 4-year-old barbara jean horn. >> he let that poor little baby just lie there. if that's not intent to kill, maybe you haven't seen it yet. prosecutors were seeking the death penalty. ograud claimed he was innocent and detectives coerced a false confession from him. the little girl's parents were outraged. >> how did you feel him to hear him describe that story? >> angry. >> i wanted him dead. i did. >> did you kill barbara jean horn? >> no, i did not. i did not do anything to that child at all. >> the jury didn't believe him and o a graud was found guilty and sentenced to die. >> did you look at the jury? >> yeah. they were stone faced, we want to just get rid of you. >> five years later he wrote a letter to a journalist called tom loewenstein imploring him to investigate his case. loewenstein was stunned by what he discovered. >> i thought was plucking a
little bit of a weed and the more i pulled, the more of this tree keeps coming up and coming up. >> there is a systemic pattern of unbridled misconduct in the city of philadelphia, and it shocks the conscience. >> civil rights attorney amelia green says the city's corrupt criminal justice system has ensnared walter ograud and countless others. >> found another case from the exact same time period where another man is claiming that he is innocent, and so then you keep digging and you find another one. >> in 2017, philadelphia's newly elected district attorney larry crasser in hired patricia cummings to lead a revamped conviction integrity unit. they found police and prosecutors lied and hid evidence. when i spoke with cummings she made an extraordinary admission rarely heard from a prosecutor. >> so what are you asking the court to do? >> we are asking the court to vacate the conviction because we
believe that the conviction, as it stand, is a gross miscarriage of justice. >> but would that be enough to free walter ograud? >> walter was finally released from prison on june 5, 2020, and joining me is the anchor and managing editor lester holt to preview a powerful "dateline "qwest special. tell us from the bigger picture of what light this case sheds on decades of misconduct across philadelphia's criminal justice system. >> thanks for having me on. it's a story mistold by the conviction integrity unit in philadelphia. they kept turning over rocks and what they found was disturbing. cases that were perhaps false testimony and cases in which not all of the evidence was put forward and hidden from defense attorneys and they have cleared more than 25 people through their continuing work and it continues to raise the specter that they will find other cases
which they're actively looking for. in fact, we'll have breaking news related to this story and police, potential police misconduct when we air it tonight. >> what does justice finally look like today from walter ograud? >> he's out of prison. our cameras were there when he got out. it's one of those moments when you get the chills when someone is released after they were locked up for something they were innocent of. he's suing detectives involved in the case and trying to restore as much of his life as he can. >> has there been a progress to solving the case of murder of barbara jean horn. >> the wife believes, and the father is not sure and they're
in agreement that the pain after all these years this case has not been solved once and for all. >> we want to see all of the details and thank you so much for giving us this preview of such a powerful story. lester holt, and make sure to watch the "dateline" special justice for all tonight at 10:00 eastern on nbc. and the fda recommending a third covid vaccine dose for certain americans. who gets the green light? the cdc is about to decide that. stay tuned for all of that. this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. oh! are you using liberty mutual's coverage customizer tool? so you only pay for what you need. sorry? limu, you're an animal! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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and we have breaking news. a federal judge has declined to block moratorium to block renters. >> a short victory for the administration and not clear how long this will last. this is the same judge that earlier this year said the cdc didn't have the authority to do this and she put her own ord or hold to give the government a chance to appeal. the association of realtors
representing landlords that ask her to lift that stay and i can't do it because the d.c. circuit and the appeals court said the government was likely to succeed. the judge said today she still thinks the cdc doesn't have authority to do this, that it's basically based on the same legal principles and the same theory of the law that even though it's not nationwide it still covers 91% of counties and she also said she thinks that the government is not likely to prevail as this goes ahead. two other appeals courts have cast doubts on this and the supreme court in late june seems to send a strong signal that congress can do this and not the cdc. for now the national moratorium remains in effect and we'll see what happens as it works its way into the appeals, andrea. >> pete, i thought i read new york lost an attempt to try to keep the eviction stay, but i could be wrong about that and there is a proliferation of
local cases. >> you're right. this is a different authority and it's the state authority versus the federal, but last night the supreme court did pare back new york's eviction stay and the national ban means it's not in effect right now, but the supreme court basically said the problem with the new york ban, the new york eviction moratorium is that all someone has to do on the form is check the form and that's that, and that the landlord doesn't have a chance to contest it. well, the form that's used in the federal government is exactly the same. you check these boxes and if you can check the right boxes then your landlord is foreclosed from going ahead with the evictions. so it would seem from the supreme court that the federal moratorium on evictions is in trouble. >> so much context. thank you. we always appreciate you, pete. thanks. >> my pleasure. within the hour we are expecting a decision from the cdc which is voting on covid vaccine booster
shots with those with weakened immune systems after the fda cleared the way last night for a covid-19 dose. joining us now is the senior scholar at the johns hopkins center for age security. we expect this to be quickly green lighted by dr. walensky? >> this is a significant development because we know that severely immunosuppressed people, those who had a transplant, a liver or kidney transplant don't respond well in general and they don't make the same antibody levels that someone who doesn't have those conditions and this is one way to increase protection of them to give them a robust immune ut because they're at higher risks for complications and severe disease. this is something that many doctors are already doing on their own or recommending on their own for people who have solid organ transplants and i think this really reflects where the science is today. >> we're seeing elsewhere in
israel, for instance, people over 60 are automatically eligible to go and get that third shot and we're seeing it elsewhere, as well. some people are doing it on their own and we're not advocating that and i'm just seeing some are. >> the down side is it's not necessary in the overall populations and the threshold in a non-immunosuppressed people is they get breakthrough infections that land them in the hospital to a high degree. that's just not happening. if you walk through the covid patients and the vast majority of them were not vaccinated and our vaccine for holding up when it comes to what matters preventing serious disease, hospitalization and death. >> and as we look towards schools, a lot of controversy because with 10,000 students and teachers across 14 states quarantining because already they've been exposed to covid students who, of course, many
students who can't be vaccinated because they're under aged because of these in districts across the south. what's happening is the schools are getting engulfed with the community. if there's widespread community transmission the school is going to be a place that's not immune from that. so what we have to do is teachers are embracing this idea to get as many students vaccinated as possible and take best practices when there is a pandemic outside the doors. that means you have certain mitigation measures in place, but it has to be the priority of the default to have in-person schooling going throughout this year because we know that children suffered a lot during the pandemic because they had the lapse in in-person schooling and children are spared the severe consequences of disease. it doesn't mean it never happens, but it is very rare for it to happen and this is something that they have to keep
in mind because there are risks, benefits and tradeoffs. and the benefits outweigh the risks and we can do it safely and we have a vaccine that can be done even safer than last year when some schools opened safely. >> i know it will be tough politically, but should vaccines be mandated for kids older than 12? you can't go to elementary school or kindergarten unless you've had certain vaccinations? >> i favor the vaccination of children above the age of 12. whether or not they have the ability to mandate is a different question. do they have the rights that will set their conditions and the school can certainly add that to its vaccination list after measles, mumps, rubella and this is something that they could do in order to keep their school safe and less disruptive from covid. >> thank you very much. have a healthy, happy weekend. thank you for helping us sort through all of this.
thanks very much. and left behind, the urgent push to evacuate americans out of kabul as the taliban advance at lightning speed. will afghan translators and others who helped u.s. troops be included? former army ranger congressman jason poe joins us next. this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. that's why i started medhaul. citi launched the impact fund to invest in both women and entrepreneurs of color like me, so i can realize my vision and give everything i've got to my company, and my community. i got you. for the love of people. for the love of community. for the love of progress. citi. what happens when we welcome change? we can make emergency medicine possible at 40,000 feet. instead of burning our past for power, we can harness the energy of the tiny electron.
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it also helps lower cholesterol and slows sugar absorption to promote healthy blood sugar levels. so you can feel lighter and more energetic metamucil. support your daily digestive health. and try metamucil fiber thins. a great tasting and easy way to start your day. andrea, we do have a solemn responsibility to the people of afghanistan including the people who have worked very closely with us over the years and in fact, the united states government is in part responsible for the tremendous gains that the afghan people have been able to achieve over the past 20 years. >> that was state department spokesman ned price earlier in this program as the u.s. is deploying about 3,000 troops to afghanistan to evacuate most of the u.s. embassy in kabul. they won't call it an evacuation. joining us now is congressman
crow former army ranger who served in afghanistan, democrat from colorado. congressman, thank you. as a veteran, how do you feel? what is your reaction to see what is happening in afghanistan? >> hi, andrea. well, i think it's nothing veterans that have served, we leave parts our hearts in the places where we fought. it is very, very heartbreaking to see what is happening here. i don't think anyone was advancing the pace of the advance of the taliban to be as rapid as it is. what will we do in the weeks ahead? will we stand by our promises and evacuate them to safety? >> did you think that fellow veterans feel that their sacrifice was for naught?
or is this an acknowledgment of the inevitability that we can't finish the job and we can't keep our commitment to the people of afghanistan? >> i think we have to be really, really clear here that there is a huge difference. we can't underscore enough how difficult it is, the individual sacrifice of the service members. those men that stood up, raised their right hand, took the oath, and answered the call to service. that is honorable and that is right and that is very different from the policy discussions of what happened. and it is decades and have that discussion and debate. we we should always honor and boost up anyone with the call to service for our nation. they should all be very proud in this time of need and i think it is very important to illustrate that and it is very different
from the policies. >> does the president have any choice at this point? he says he doesn't regret the decision. >> in the choice that we face right now is whether or not we will do the right thing with our partners and our allies and civic society leaders. we have three things that need to happen right now in order of importance and time. we ncaa to make sure we're evacuating u.s. citizens. putting into harm's way, and we're sending in combat forces to make sure we're securing a security perimeter around kabul, and we need to make that evacuation possible. it is a broad scale evacuation of afghan special immigrant interpreters. non-governmental organization folks, civic democracy workers. they have great risk right now. i think we have an obligation to
evacuate them quickly. and they will have a installation where they will be embedded and given the proper immigration status and brought to safety. and the third is making sure that isis and al qaeda doesn't have the ability to reconstitute. those are the things that we have to face in the weeks and the months ahead. that is the decision that the president has for this basis. >> on the special visas, and we understand there is years of delay, the pandemic, and extenuating circumstances. but the state department says they can't change the legislative requirements for qualification and that there is a lot of red tape. can congress do anything when they come back from the recess to get through the tape. >> we passed by allies act and my hope act. we nearly doubled the number of
visas. we broadenned the eligibility requirements. we accounted extremely fast on congressional time but we got it done. the administration has the ability now. the united states of america has the ability now. we have the power and the capability and the talent to conduct a vast and broad investigation. we just have to do it. we just have to make sure we do it. there are tens of thousands that will be at extreme risk in the weeks and months ahead. we have to get it done and it is time to get it done. >> the president explained when he announced a withdraw that we accomplished our initial mission which was to make it impossible for afghanistan to become a haven for terrorists. with what the taliban managed to
accomplish so rapidly, and now approaching kabul, won't this likely revert to it becoming a haven for terrorists? >> that's an open question that we're going to have to be diligent about, i guess. we have to be clear. there is a difference between the taliban, isis, and al qaeda. isis and al qaeda are organization that's have been very tested by america to strike the homeland. they have not ever indicated an intent or desire. we are not allowing al qaeda to reconstitute. we have a variety of mechanisms and things in place to allow that to happen. but we have to make sure we're being vigilant and that's what i'm going to do as a member of the arms services and intelligence committee. >> thank you so much. have a safe weekend and that does it for this edition of
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the president scrambing to send troops back in to get our people out. also he is battling a raging pandemic. the next steps after the first booster shots for some americans. and it is a fight that could determine political power for the next decade. i will speak with one of the party's redistricting leaders. attorney general eric holder is coming up. welcome to "meet the press daily." i'm chuck todd. a crisis appears to be worsening literally by the hour. the taliban took control of two major cities. it has nine provincial capitals. all signs that the