tv Craig Melvin Reports MSNBC August 16, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT
it's a fast moving day. we'll have more of those coming up right now with chris jansing that picks up our coverage. >> good monday morning, i'm chris jansing in for craig melvin. as we come on the air, afghanistan is in chaos. less than a month from the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the taliban once again takes over the country. scores of afghans that are desperate to escape run alongside the u.s. mill mare planes. they're trying to do whatever they can do to get inside one of those planes. in one situation so many people pushed their way on to a plane
prevented the pilots from being able to take off. just moments ago, we confirmed from three u.s. officials that officials are going to start at the airport on the military side. meanwhile. they are bracing for the group of taliban rule by removing images of women from store fronts like this beauty salon. the white house says we'll hear from them soon. that's where we start this very busy hour. richard engle is on the ground in kabul. mike memoli is near camp david. we're also joined by doug olivant. he is also a retired army
lieutenant colenel in afghanistan. good to have all of you here on a very important day. richard we have to start with you on the ground. the situation still very much unfolding. what are you seeing right at this moment? >> so courtney just confirmed that the flights out of kabul are supposed to resume soon. we are very close to that airport. i have been watching it for the last several days. we have not seen those flights resume at the moment. but the operation that has allow it'd to reopen has been under way to clear the people off of the tarmacs. starting last night, about 24 hours ago. tens of thousands of afghans broke through the doors. they rushed through the security
checkpoints, but the security at the airport already collapsed, and they burst right on to the run way and they started climbing into and on planes, getting into the baggage areas, and they were able to push their ways on to the military said of the airport. kabul is one airport but it is divided in half. when they got on the military side they also stopped flights. they evacuated the personnel and the people that worked for the u.s. military and worked for u.s. government contractors. it appears now that they have cleared most if not all of the people out of the airport, and are now in a sage where they can resume the flights, you can't
land on a run fwa it is covered with people. so it has been a scramble. there has been very important and symbolic images of troops on the ground, on the airport, at the run ways, trying to create order. screams and firing warning shots in the air, and it seems that they have done that for now. but there is still gunfire. you may have heard it a little bit, and that is generally the taliban firing and circling over the airport. but the helicopters are not engaging the taliban. they don't want to get back in a new stage of war fighting. they just want to clear people out so they can finish this mission but they lost at least half a day because of the crush.
and they have lost much more. this is becoming a day of infamy and many people are comparing it to siagon. people not wanting to stay in the country that the united states is leaving behind. >> richard engel has been reporting nonstop, please stay safe. mike, i want to go to you now. i understand there is breaking news. we're seeing the consequences of decisions made by president biden. by the american people, to hear from him. has a decision been made? >> yes, chris, the white house just announced in the last few minutes that the president will be returning to the white house this afternoon to deliver remarks from the east room of
the white house. they will be scheduled for 3:45 this afternoon. the urgency of the moment, the pictures, dramatic ones we have seen from kabul, from the airport all morning have been raising the political pressure on this administration. to speak out more directly to the american people at this moment we know in the past hour that the president was scheduled to have his daily intelligence briefing here at camp david. part of what he would say to the country had to do with what he would say. now he has been given a fuller picture of the scene on the ground. he is being briefed throughout the weekend. he can now speak to the country about what the path forward will be. what we heard so far from yesterday the secretary of state, this morning from jake sullivan, has been a number of things. one is to acknowledge the fact that the collapse, franklyly of
the afghanistan government, the forces that they spent 20 years and millions and billions and trillions of dollars trying to equip and train collapsed so quickly and gave up so many of the cities and provinces without a fight. the withdraw by september 11th was mostly completed by this point, but what we're seeing now is a crisis dealing with that urgency and speed of the white house, trying to deal with the fallout of an airport that seems unsecure. the second thing this white house has been grappling with is trying to explain the hand they have been dealt. they have been laying some of this at the feat of the trump administration. the deal they struck. but this is something they agreed with this you can spend
millions of dollars, you can give the afghanistan forces the best equipment and training, but you can't give them, as we have seen now, the will to fight for their country. so expect the president to have to deal with that and explain that in his remarks when he speaks with the white house leader this afternoon. >> i want to ask you about this decision to come out now. i'm curious to know what you would like to hear from him, but as someone that has been involved as an advisor, is there advice that you would give to this administration? how do we get from where we are, clearly a chaotic and dangerous situation, to a better place. >> i'm not, don't see a clear path to get to a better place. these were put in place and i don't think anyone is surprised by the events, but i think everyone is shocked by the tempo of the events. i don't think anyone would have
been surprised if they fell a year from now, but it is happening in just days. it is getting everyone in a place that you can't react fast enough. and therefore we're in this really, really you thinkly situation that we see now. >> it is e very distressing to think there is no way to goat a better place where we are now. i want to read you, if i can, douglas, a headline from the washington post. "defiant and defensive, a president saying that one more year or five more years would not have made a difference if they cannot or will not hold it's own country." does that explain what, for many people, is a lack of coordination? a lack of planning, for this withdrawal? did too many people count on the
fact that if the fall was coming and many believed it would, that it would not come this fast and there would be time to come up with a plan? >> i think that is part of the problem that president biden has to deal with today. if you support the policy going to afghanistan or whether or not you're opposed to it, i think there is growing anonimity. could we have waited for winter, could we have transferred some contracts to regional countries. the companies that would continue to work in this type of environment. and most, you know, obviously on everyone's mind is is there a reason that we could not have had a better plan to evacuate the afghans that we decided we want today evacuate to the united states? >> so that is something that has
to be talked about obviously, and going to be debated for a lounge time to come. on the ground right now what a lot of people are seeing, it's so vivid. you see people trying to hang on to planes about to take off. you see people being injured because they're trying to get on to those planes. tell us about what we know about the situation on the ground right now? >> so we know that there was a complete shut down. there was no flights comes or going from either side for several hours. that is for a combination of the fact that there was all of these people storming the airport, but there was always a technical issue. they have takele control of both sides of the airport, but it has
not happened yet. the military side was shut down primarily because of the chaotic scene here. and that is people who are storming the runways and it just became unsafe. now according to some people i spoke with, it turns out they able to clear most of these people. these are military frights and what exactly is coming and going. these are military plains bringing u.s. troops into kabul as part of the additional force. and the intent is to fill those planes back up with people people that work for the embassy there, and get them out of the country. that is why the situation became so prus straiting. there is a very desperate effort
under way to get these people out of that country and to have several hours delay was extremely frustrating to them. right now they're hoping to build up their capability so that in another day or two they should have the ability to get 5,000 people out every day on these military flights. they should begin, they should resume, again, very soon and the addition of these more and more military to the airport for additional security should also help the situation there. >> really quickly is it clear if the folks on the ground there know how many americans -- i'll talk more about the interpreters and others, but how many americans may still be on the ground in afghanistan? >> no, and we have been asking for numbers. it has been very difficult to come by. so the numbers that we know of, there was about 1,000 people at the embassy that could be
evacuated. we know the vast majority of them are already out. the people left may be other americans in the country and this large number of afghans that may be eligible for this special process that the u.s. would be able to take them out to other countries. many, we think at this point the vast majority of people there getting on the flights are the third category. we don't have a good sense on the numbers still. >> let me ask you about the folks that helped the united states in these do years. these that served in critical roles for the pentagon and other americans on the ground here. we have been hearing for months now from former veterans, veteran that's are also in the u.s. congress. we need to plan to help get these folks out.
gross incompetence gave the taliban an opportunity for our allies. this administration proved just 1200 so far. i have been among a group of senators that pushed biden to this avail. it's not clear how many will get out. every translator that stood by us is is now at risk. do you agree and do you see anything that can be done? court any just said they hope to increase the numbers to 5,000 in the next couple days spp there anything that can be done in the short term to protect them and make good on what joe biden said? that we're not going to leave them behind? >> up until this weekend there was a debate. do you want to evacuate all of these afghans, or do we want to
leave the human capital in the country so they had someone to draw on to help them implement their policies. so it is absolutely time to help get them out. so we can critique what happened earlier. we can argue about whether or not we should have done more sooner. i think at this point we're just in crisis mode. the house is on fire and we're trying to pull as much people out as we can. as long as we can. there will absolutely come a cut off point and i think it is a really sad company tear right now. those helicopters are not engaging the taliban. they're there to maintain order against the civilians, really. making sure only those people that we're trying to get on the planes get on the planes so as courtney said there is an order will withdrawal.
but it is a really sad commentary that those troops are there to keep afghan civilians off to the airport. >> so helpful to us today. we appreciate that. breaking news from courtney, they hope to resume flights out of the airport. mike, thank you for that news as well. the american people will address them at 3:45 eastern. we're going to have more coverage this hour as well including a look at the deteriorating conditions on the ground for women. plus, that breaking news out of haiti. 1300 people now killed. thousands injured in that terrifying earthquake. we'll check in on the recovery effort there is. them, for music venues, new vaccine mandates are going into
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the supreme court told us in july they would hear this appeal. now we know when, wednesday, november 3rd. one of the two biggest cases in of the term so far. we don't know yet when the court was going to hear this, it involves a state law that says anyone that wants a concealed carry permit has to show a special need and the challenges say that violates the second amendment. the supreme court said there is a individual right to have a gun at home, but the court has unless this coming term consistently ducted this issue about having a gun outside of the home. the challengers say the second amendment says there is a right to keep and bare arms. so they're going to decide what the second part means. they will hear this kiss on
wednesday, november the 3rd. >> meanwhile this morning, the new daily average of cases this morning is back above 130,000. the last time we saw that many new daily cases was the end of january an the director of the national institute of health is warning that we could, again, cross 200,000 cases a day in the next two weeks. these trends are emerging as more kids are going back into classrooms including the nation's second largest school district where students are returning today. we're in los angeles county for the first day of class, katie beck is in new orleans where starting today they're requiring proof of vaccinations, also i want to bring in dr. joseph, chief of critical care at united memorial medical center in houston. thank you all of you for being with us. l.a. county is requiring all school staff to be vaccinated.
they're now also implementing weekly testimony. what are you hearing from folks there as folks go back into the classroom today. >> the mandate was the big news. all staff has to be vaccinated. we're talking about 75,000 employees including of course teachers. this morning we arrived way before the parents and the kids arrived and effort was happy when we saw the first pairing. everyone saying we're just happy to leave the house and the students coming back to a regular school year, at least the most regular since the pandemic began. we're in one of the rooms here. these kids learn english and spanish at the same time. what the superintendent told us today is that there has been a very positive feed back from the staff after they found out that everyone must be vaccinated. all of the staff, by october 15th. and that the testing will help out. we're talking about 100,000 tests per week. this is the second largest
school district in the country. more than 600,000 students, and the parents very happy and a lot of them tells us they feel safe with all of these knew rules and protocols to protect them from covid. we're going to hear from one of the parents. >> i feel great, positive, and it makes me more comfortable. i have packed hand sanitizer and lysol sprays, but i feel pretty kft that the school will protect them. >> you know as we walk around the school and we see some of the students, here is a group coming into class. we see a lot of happy students, happy teachers, and parents on the outside. the one thing that everyone will be masked up at l.a.u.s.d. all of the students and teachers have to wear a mask the entire time. that is something that they have
been very addiment about. but you know you have the staff being fully vaccinated by october 15th. testing happening on a weekly basis. thank you for that but b know you have other reporting to go off and do. to your point, i wonder what you make of the strategy that l.a. county is using. is this a model for other school districts as you see it? >> we are following what we need people to be vaccinated. number two to follow common sense. wear your mask and social distance. the challenge is to deal mostly with kids. expecting them to be well placed, that is where the teachers have to be vigilant to make sure the masks are in place, and where the kids are outside they don't take them off. that will be the primary
challenge. >> yeah, some parents are considering it across the country right now. meanwhile where you are right now they're requiring proof of vaccination or negative covid tests for restaurants, bars, gyms, casinos and places like that. what are you hearing as the city is rolling this out? >> chris, as you walk around this morning in the french quarter, the popular tourist spot in new orleans, you see outside of every restaurant a table and a check point, a sign saying proof of vaccination or a negative covid test required to go inside. we have seen people complying with that. we spoke to one business owner here who says he called all of the reservations going into the next few weeks to alert people and let them know that hey, this is the new standard and if you're planning to come into the restaurant, bring your vaccine card with you or a negative covid test within the past 72 hours.
this goes for indoor dining, event venues, finance facilities, they're all going to be doing the same thing and the mayor says this is her way of keeping businesses open. she says they're seeing the delta variant like so many others across the country. and rather than shut things down again, this is the solution she thinks will do best to keep businesses functioning, keep them open, and keep tourism in new orleans. we spoke to the owner of an institution here that has been around for 75 years and the general manager said without question he prefers to have this mandate rather than to shut down again. he had conversations with his staff this morning letting them know to be mindful of, you know, vendors coming into the building, everyone that comes in now either has to have proof of vaccination or a negative test. so far we have seen people complying with that. we have to assume if they made reservations they have been
warned, but the manager says he will be at the door for the next several weeks. just to have the kings. what will they try to present. will he be met with unruly customers. he wants to be at the forefront of that. right now it doesn't seem to be slowing down. people are going in and out of businesses at this point, but this is ut first day that this has been in effect. >> and people that are concerned with the rising numbers, they know people are being vetted before they have to go in somewhere and yet we see the numbers continue to go up and up. the director of the nih saying we could hit 200,000. when you were on the program 10 or 11 days ago you were talking about the hospital being overwhelmed. i'm wondering how the situation is on the ground for you right
now. >> it is exactly the same as it was. >> it has not improved? >> no, ambulances cannot bring patients any more to want hospital but people are coming in their private vehicles with their family members. for me to be able to open up a bed, someone has to be discharged or someone has to die. and once that bed is opened automattically, it is the emergency department again it is a never ending story. we saw this last time. i just don't know when this will have an end. >> one of the things that people are very concerned about, and i just mentioned this, the break -- through cases. i'm quoting here, the texas department of health services said there has been 343 clinically severe indications
back to february 8th of 2020. they also report the city of houston reports 3464 cases since january. a couple of very different numbers. it can be confusing to a lot of people. i know that one of the things we have been hearing is look, this is still a very small percentage. how important is it, do you think, doctor were facebook us to have a handle on the breakthrough cases and that they're properly recorded and understood? >> that's one of the things i spoke to about the affiliate. i said we don't have a proper handle of what is going on. i report that we have a case of covid, but they don't ask if they were vaccinated, what it was, when is the last time they got the vaccine. we really don't know. >> dr., thank you again for being on the program.
we do appreciate it. katie beck our appreciation to you as well. coming up, fear for safety and panic on where to go. women are scrambling as the taliban takes control. life has changed overnight. plus breaking news for haiti. closely following rising number lgs of deaths and injuries in the thousands. we'll get the latest there, next. s. we'll get the latest there, next 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. we can create new ways to connect. rethinking how we communicate to be more inclusive than ever. with app, cloud and anywhere workspace solutions, vmware helps companies navigate change. faster.
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>> a 7.2 magnitude income rocked parts of haiti over the weekend. they are are struggling to get increasingly scarce medical care. take a look at the moment when crews were able to pull a child from under a building on saturday. the rush comes as they are bracing for tropical storm grace. gabe gutierrez is there with more. >> the coast guard is there to
load up supplies and take them to some of the hardest hit areas. and then they're expected to transport critically ill patients there. it is one of the most powerful yks that the country has ever seen. >> a country in crisis. people tearing through rubble to find any signs of life. >> they are somewhere. >> the death toll sors. many more being hurt seriously. >> people were screaming everywhere on the streets and just out of, you know, panic and fear. >> the massive quake flattening buildings across haiti's
southern peninsula. families now sleeping on near by soccer fields. they are forced to set up triage centers near by. an international effort to help is now under way sending a search and rescue team from virginia. the u.s. coast guard also helping ir lift the island in is the latest for a country that never fully recover from an earthquake in 2010 that killed 300,000 people.
and now tropical storm grace is bringing rain and flash flooding and new mud slides. >> this was more powerful than the one in 2010. this one happened in a rural part of the country. >> there is growing concerns now about tropical storm grace they are complicating the search and rescue effort. >> thank you, coming up, prisoners in their own homes. that's how one government official is describing conditions for afghan women in town that's have fallen to the taliban. the new yorker who was kidnapped by the taliban in 2008 joins us on the dangers of afghanistan.
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right now women in afghanistan say they fear a dark future. an afghan woman in kabul wrote anonymously the men standing around were making fun of girls and women, laughing at our terror. go and put on your berka one called out. this is your last days of being on the streets. she says now it looks like i have to burn everything i achieved. savanna guthrie talked about surrendering soldiers being
executed and the demands of unmarried women and girls being handed over. >> the taliban is particularly vicious. they are demanding unmarried women and girls being handed over, are you aware of the atrocities and what is the u.s. in position to do about it? >> every policy decision that we take, no matter how big or small, has human consequences. we're aware of that. it is heartbreaking to see what is happening in afghanistan right now. we will do everything in our power from the point of view of economic, diplomatic, and political tools to hold the taliban accountable to live up to their international only indications. but the alternative that we face was to put american men and women in large numbers back in harm's way fighting and dies in a civil war that their own forces would not fight in that
the president was not prepared to do. >> joining me now is david road. david was kidnapped by the taliban in 2008 while we porting for a book before making a dramatic escape. i'm also joined by brinley burton. david, having worked in afghanistan, held by the taliban for eight months, you're uniquely positioned to view what is happening there. you're completely understanding as anyone i think that has been there in the last couple decades of the terror that women are feeling right thousand. when you hear an official saying they're going to hold the taliban accountable for their international obligations, what goes through your mind and what do the american people need to know about the taliban right now? >> i mean to be frank, it makes me angry. pull out if you want, but the biden administration failed to
plan for this crawl appropriately. many of them were women, and it is a large mistake on their part and just on women, i spent, as you said those months in captivity. i did not see a single woman in that period. every woman i saw was moved around in cars and between different houses if they were in public they were in burqas and that was the future i think for women across afghanistan. they will not be allowed to go outside and if they do they must be in burqas. that's what i saw in a taliban controlled area. >> that is why thousands are trying to flea, the u.s. has the power, douglas olivant was not
optimistic at all that there could sudden i will be something to protect women in afghanistan. do you see anything that can be done right now? anything that the president can say at 3:45 that says to you we're going to do something in a pro active way. >> the united states can secure kabul airports. they can secure it for a week or two airports. i have friends trying to organize charter planes to get afghan women and girls out and they cannot get in. the u.s. closed the airspace to nonu.s. military aircraft. right now the journalist that helped me escape from the taliban, his wife and his eight children are trapped in kabul. he is a u.s. citizen now since march he has been asking the state department to give them visas to leave, they did not produce those and he is
terrified right now that the taliban are walking and patrolling the streets outside of their home. secure that aircraft and give women and people a chance to leave. >> david was talking about being in a taliban controlled area. i have been in prisons, women can be imprisoned for fleeing an abusive marriage. there are children in prison with their mothers because the mothers were trying to protect their children, trying to protect themselves. you recently wrote about a call that you got from a terrified friend in kabul. what do you know about women on the ground right now this situation? >> is your honorly arab women are very, very frightened. they benefitted from the gains of the last 20 years who have gone out, gotten an education, gone to school, things like that. so my friend is not only worried
for herself, she is not married, and she also has six nieces and she says they're all very afraid of being forcibly married. now those are reports that we have not verify, that the taliban is doing this systematically. but it's certainly what a lot of women are very afraid of. and they're afraid of losing their jobs. they're afraid of losing everything they've worked for for the last 20 years. >> there's no doubt about the horrific potential that there is, certainly for women. david, the way one of the writers in your publication, the new yorker, put it was this. you could argue this shows the biden administration's policy was a mistake, but you could also argue that if this was going to happen so quickly after two decades of american troops in afghanistan, there was no way to make this work without pledging to stay forever.
what will you be watching for in the coming hours and days to see which way this is going to be going? >> will america leave in the night? we're very close to getting all amy based personnel out. as i said, the wife and eight children of my friend, he's a u.s. citizen, they have a right to come to this country legally, haven't been evacuated. so will we leave in the night and leave all these people behind, and people who worked for women's rights organizations, people who worked on aid projects, the translators for the u.s. military? or will president biden announce this afternoon that we are going to secure kabul airport with our allies, the french, the germans, the british want to help us, the turks are there, and carry out an orderly withdraw? we will leave. that is the president's decision. we can leave, but there's a different way to do it.
>> thanks to both of you. we really do appreciate your insights right now. we're also following more breaking news on the chaos unfolding at the airport in afghanistan's capital. one u.s. official just now telling nbc news, initial reports indicate armed assailants fired into the crowd at the kabul airport. u.s. forces then returned fire. according to the official, reports indicate the gunmen were killed. this comes as military operations are resuming at the airport after the delay we reported to you earlier. so many people on the ground. it was dangerous for planes to land or take off, but, again, at least on the military side, that has resumed. meantime in california, there's a, quote, crisis mode, that's what the u.s. forest service says it's operating under in northern california as the dixie fire continues to rage. this is the largest single fire ever recorded in the u.s. it's burned more than 570,000
acres. for some perspective, that is larger than the entire city of tokyo, and right now it's just 31% contained, according to state fire officials. so far, more than 1,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed, nearly 15,000 structures remain under threat by those flames. and another sign of the climate emergency we're seeing play out, today the federal government is expected to take unprecedented measures as the nation's largest reservoir is drying up. lake meade supplies water to california, arizona and nevada, but it's dropped to its lowest level since the 1930s, so the administration is declaring its first-ever tier one water shortage. nbc's josh letterman is there at lake meade in boulder city, nevada. explain what this tier one shortage declaration means and how it's going to affect the millions of people in those states that rely on that lake for their water supply.
>> reporter: 40 million people who rely on water from the colorado river basin and from lake meade. and you look at where we're standing. this looks like a beach. this used to be the bottom of the lake. the water used to go way above where my head is now. if you look and see this white ring over there, they call it the bathtub ring, that's where the water level used to be just a few years ago here in lake meade. the water levels have more dropped 130 feet since 2000. and just in may, it passed a critical trigger point, 1,075 feet, which is how we got to where we are today, with the federal government expected in just a few hours to issue the first-ever tier one water shortage declaration. which at first it will mean cuts in nevada, as well as to arizona. and i spoke with the local water authority general manager who said they've been preparing a lot for this, trying to cut their water consumption so that they can absorb the cuts that a lot of people have predicted.
they just banned planting front yards. you can't plant grass in your front yard here in nevada anymore. but the local water authority tells us they've been planning this out for years. take a listen. >> 21st century has a lot less water for everybody to share than the 20th century did. i think what's incumbent upon the entire region is that we have a plan for the worst-case scenario. right now we have planned for the very bad, we have not planned for the absolute worst. >> reporter: now, the bulk of these cuts when they start next year are going to hit arizona, which is going to lose about a half million feet acres of water that they usually get from the colorado river. that's about one-fifth of what arizona is used to relying on. that could mean widespread cuts, particularly for farmers. the farmers could see half of the water deliveries next year that they have been relying on for all of this time, and if the drought continues and the water
levels fall even further, that's when we would start to see a tier two or even a tier three water shortage that could lead to water cuts for residents in places like phoenix, tucson, as well as nevada and ultimately california as well. >> devastating situation that could get worse. thank you so much for that report. and that's going to do it for me this hour. "andrew mitchell reports" starts next, covering our breaking news on a very busy monday, the crisis in affidavit.
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this is "andrew mitchell reports" in washington, as we await president biden's anticipated remarks at 3:45 eastern this afternoon. his first comments on the fall of kabul and the chaotic efforts to evacuate americans and endangered afghans who have worked with the u.s. military. today the pentagon announced it is sending 1,000 new troops for a deteriorating situation. the taliban takeover is now a foreign policy nightmare for president biden and his top advisers. earlier on today, nbc's savannah guthrie pressing national security adviser jake sullivan on comments made by the president in recent days and weeks, saying the u.s. departure from afghanistan would not echo america's chaotic exit
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