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tv   Katy Tur Reports  MSNBC  September 29, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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it is good to be with you. i'm geoff bennett. as we come on the air right now, your guess is as good as mine. here's what i mean. you're looking live at the u.s. capitol. by now you know democrats are
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walking a razor's edge on president biden's agenda, debating among themselves behind closed doors in that building and also right out in the open. usually that means a lot of posturing and bluster with reporters and lawmakers having at least some sense of how things will turn out. but this time even the most seasoned capitol hill reporters say anything could happen over the next 24 hours. can the democrats thread the needle, reach a deal that will make both progressives and moderates happy, and stick the landing on the kind of generational change they've dreamed about for decades, or will it all end in disaster? here is what the house speaker had to say during a q&a with reporters yesterday. >> i think we come to a place where we have agreement in legislative language, not just principle, in legislative language, that the president supports, it has to meet his standard, because that's what we're supporting, then i think
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we will -- i think they've spoken beautifully for the priorities in this bill. >> can you still move forward with the bill tomorrow? >> we take it one step at a time. >> do you want the legislative bill on reconciliation before you bring up the infrastructure bill? >> we're doing it simultaneously. one of the things that i said that i can -- i can't keep a commitment that the senate has made impossible to do. but what i have also said is we're not proceeding with anything that doesn't have agreement between the house and the senate. >> you're not ruling out possibly delaying the vote tomorrow? >> i said we'll have a vote tomorrow. >> so there will be a vote. but there might not be a vote. but also something speaker pelosi said about legislative language. we want to take a closer look,
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it's important to pay attention to it because if you're looking for tea leaves on how this might go, that is where you would look. bloomberg senate reporter steven dennis tweeted, "how deals come together in congress" with helpful "you are here" indicator. it's all kind of a mess until it's not. this time, your guess is as good as ours. joining us are nbc's shannon pettypiece, nbc news capitol hill correspondent leigh ann caldwell and punchbowl news co-founder jake sherman. jake, you were in that scrum with nancy pelosi. she said there needs to be agreement on legislative language for the infrastructure vote to occur tomorrow. senator manchin said that that's not going to happen. how does this vote come together in less than 24 hours? >> you know, good question.
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it's a really good question. i don't understand, geoff. i think also we have to take into consideration the fact that not one progressive but dozens of progressives have said they're not interested in a vote until they see the bill, until they have specifics on the programmatic changes, on the top line and how much each program is going to get. so again, that doesn't seem, based on logic, based on my experience covering congress and having just an idea of where these talks stand, the kind of legislative language that they want, even if you assume it comes out this moment, you would imagine that they're going to want time to review it before they vote on the infrastructure bill. so given -- and what pelosi said right there to me, and she said this about the legislative language, and we stopped and i said, just to confirm, you want legislative language before voting on this infrastructure bill? and she said, yes. and joe manchin said that's not
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what we've been negotiating toward. so putting all those pieces together, i don't see how it could come together. and she has the authority, nancy pelosi has the authority to pause this vote. and she confirmed that in that impromptu gaggle a couple of hours ago. so all of those things put together, i don't think there's going to be a vote. i would to add one thing, i think lee ann would agree with me here, if they pause this, it doesn't mean it's over. yes, transportation funding expires tomorrow independent of the government funding process. but there are ways around that. and just because the infrastructure bill might not pass tomorrow doesn't mean it won't pass next week or the week after or next month or the month after. there is no hard timeline for getting this build back better agenda, as the biden administration calls it, through congress. >> leigh ann, is that the case, is that your estimation too? there is the idea that the
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passage of time is the enemy of deals like this. we saw that with police reform, lawmakers told you they sort of missed the moment. if this vote slips by a matter of days, a matter of weeks, will that basically kill this thing entirely, do you think, or no? >> well, you're right, the passage of time always makes things more difficult, more complicated, and more problems could arise. but the fact of the matter is that if speaker pelosi doesn't have the votes tomorrow, these are her words, she doesn't come to the floor and lose. that's what she will tell moderates, they can go back to them and say, look, i have tried, i am trying to get this passed but i don't have the votes in order for it to get through. the reason she's pushing for this vote tomorrow anyway is to please the moderates because she had a deal with them, that that vote would happen this week. but the reality is, if she
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doesn't have the votes, then what's the point of putting a vote forward? that could in turn pressure manchin and sinema, because this bipartisan bill is their baby. they're the ones who helped negotiate and bring this to fruition in the senate. while pelosi right now is saying she's going to have the vote, she's trying to get everyone in line as far as what's going to happen tomorrow, this is also political theater too, because she has to continuously show the moderates that she's working her hardest. what's also interesting is she is invoking president biden a lot more, saying that this is also his negotiation. and so she can go back to her members as well and be like, look, this is the president, the president needs to get this done, we are doing what we can, it's in his hands at this point. so she's creating herself an out at this point. jake is right, it's not like
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they stop talking about this on friday, but like you said, geoff, it gets more difficult as the party keeps fighting about this. >> and shannon, i want to bring you in here. i'm not getting a sense from where i sit that the white house is in panic mode, at least not yet, anyway. in fact a white house official told us last night there is a strong sense that progress is being made. is that still the case, at 2:00 eastern on a wednesday with the vote scheduled for tomorrow? >> i mean, this certainly has the full attention of the white house, which is something i don't think we could have said one or two weeks ago. there have been so many other things going on in washington, around the world, that the white house is focused on. but they are laser focused on this. we just saw a delegation of white house officials meeting with senator sinema, another conversation with that senator, steve rischetty as he was leaving indicated we're still talking, we're still discussing. the white house has said as long as talks are going on, they're
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going to be optimistic. so that's with a we continue to see here. i think it is an interesting observation that leigh ann makes there about pelosi bringing up biden more. of course this is the key piece of his domestic policy agenda. the white house wants to get it through this year and potentially the only piece of legislation they can get through in his first year, knowing the way congress and midterm elections work. so this certainly is the president's agenda. it is his item to pass. and the white house had hoped to have him sort of be an honest broker in these talks and bring the sides together. i think it remains a question still as to whether he's going to start putting pressure on these members and what type of pressure and leverage can he put on them, particularly a kyrsten sinema who is in a solidly purple state or on a progressive house member who is in a solidly blue state. that's something we could start to see in the next day or two. >> jake, there's also the
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showdown over raising the debt ceiling. republicans won't vote for it. democrats at least in the senate say they won't use reconciliation to do it. what happens next, where is this headed? >> another issue on which your guess is as good as mine or as good as anybody's, because reconciliation is the way to get this through with a 50-vote majority on party lines. and mitch mcconnell and senate republicans have said with very little uncertainty, with much certainty, in other words, that they are not voting to raise the debt limit. ted cruz went as far as to say he's not even voting to allow a 50-vote threshold outside of reconciliation, which means they are making it really difficult to raise the debt limit outside the budget reconciliation process which is a fast track process to pass legislation. so we have, what is it, we have 19 days until the debt ceiling is reached. so i couldn't stress enough, i'm sure shannon and leigh ann agree
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with me here, we now have three major issues in front of this congress in the next 19 days. debt ceiling, infrastructure, reconciliation. they're all tied together in a strange way. and then december 3, once again, government runs out of money. so as we enter into the fourth quarter here, just a lot of legislative activity. >> yeah, and time and political will and attention are all finite resources these days. jake, leigh ann, shannon, my thanks to the three of you. we're joined live by one of the key figures in these negotiations, congresswoman camilla jayapal from washington state, great to have you with us. >> thank you, great to be with you. >> the house speaker implied today that there does need to be an agreement on legislative language for the social spending bill, the reconciliation bill, in order for the infrastructure
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vote to occur. it's not clear that that's going to happen. what do you think, does this vote happen tomorrow or does the house speaker pull it? >> look, we'll work as hard as we can to get as far as we can before tomorrow. let's see if we can get there. but as we have said over and over again to the speaker and to the white house and to the senate, we are in a place where we need to verify what we get. because there's been misunderstandings in the past, we thought we had agreement on things and then they change. we have to vote in the senate, that means we have to have the legislative language done. if we're going to have a bipartisan bill, which we all do, we all support that bill, we'll have to get this final agreement and vote on the reconciliation bill. >> so it's not a framework, it's not an agreement. you want legislative text in black and white in order to move forward? >> that's correct, and actually we want a vote. and the reason is, and i just want to explain this, unlike the
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house, where the speaker can control where amendments come to the floor, in the senate there's not a case. it's a vote-a-rama process in the senate where any number of republican amendments can come to the floor. and we want to make sure that whatever agreement we come to is not then undermined in the senate. and so that's why we would like to have the vote in the senate. and of course we're always open to listening to other kinds of assurances that might be given. certainly legislative language is a core component of this. but we also need to make sure there's a vote so that that legislative language stays the same. >> how many members of your progressive caucus are inclined to vote no right now? and is there anything that president biden himself could do to sort of change minds here ahead of tomorrow? >> well, we've said we have over 50 members, closer to 60, that are ready to make sure we vote yes on both, which means that if the bipartisan bill comes up
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without the reconciliation bill, that they would have to vote no on that. in terms of what the president needs to do, look, 96% of democrats in the house and the senate agree with the president on the president's build back better agenda and the build back better act and want to pass it. so i think he is spending his focus in exactly the right way with the 4% who don't agree and who want to put forward some sort of a counteroffer. go ahead, put forward the counteroffer, there's nothing to negotiate if we don't have a counteroffer. that's what he should be doing. >> i think the white house might agree with you on the substance of that argument but disagreement about the process. why risk any of this? why is nothing better than something when it comes to passing infrastructure legislation? >> well, here's the thing. the infrastructure bill is important.
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it's a smaller sliver of the build back better agenda. but it's taken 5 1/2 months to get to this point. now, we originally wanted to just have one bill. we didn't want to break them up into two, because we were exactly afraid of this. we have a very short time period for legislative action. and our concern was that if we don't do it all at once, then you would get to the negotiation on one bill, very small piece of the agenda, and you would live out, leave behind, 70 to 75% of the agenda, which is in the build back better act. and i just think it's important for listeners to understand what is in there. what is in there is childcare, paid leave, taking on climate change with real action, making sure we address housing, making sure that we address immigrants and immigration, and of course health care. none of these things are in the much smaller roads and bridges package. and while roads and bridges are important, i mean, i know they're important in my district, i know they're important across the country,
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the reality is that families are not necessarily going to remember the road or the bridge that was built. but they will know exactly that they do have childcare, that they do have paid leave, that we have stopped the wildfires or taken real action towards stopping the wildfires and the floods. that's why we need to deliver. and we can't afford to delay on this bill and let it drag on because some people, 4% of democrats, are suddenly saying that they don't agree with the president's agenda that we ran on and won on to voters last november. >> democrats say they've hit this stalemate in large part because senators kyrsten sinema and joe manchin haven't articulated where they stand on this, on what they precisely want to see in the reconciliation bill. do you think the two of them are negotiating or operating in good faith? >> well, i'm just going to assume they're operating in good faith, because really, we have no other option but to do that. we're all part of the democratic
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team. and i'll just say from my perspective, progressives have been so engaged in really trying to bring everything together. you know, we originally wanted a $6 trillion bill. we went down to 3.5 trillion. we originally not the one bill, we agreed to let two bills go forward even though we didn't think it was the right thing for exactly the reasons we're seeing now. we agreed to vote for the infrastructure bill even though there are many of my members who feel like that bill that was negotiated by a couple of senators and never checked with the house, by the way, they will vote for that even though they think it is not a good bill in terms of net impact on carbon emissions. so they're being adults in the room and recognizing that we're all part of the democratic team. and we need to come together and actually negotiate with each other. and so i'm just hopeful that that's what's happening with the white house and with the senators, and that they understand that while they may have a lot of power in the senate, the house has a lot of
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power too, and we have a very narrow margin. and everybody's got to get on the same page. >> congresswoman pramila jayapal, chair of the progressive caucus, thanks for your time in what is a critical moment in the negotiations. good to see you. >> thank you, geoff. breaking news out of haiti where right now more flights carrying deported haitian migrants are landing. four i.c.e. charter flights are set to arrive in port-au-prince today. these migrants join over 4,000 haitians who have already been deported to the country, which they may not have lived in for years. the conditions in haiti are bleak. a struggle for basic services like drinking water, there's food insecurity there, and the lingering effects of natural disasters. add to that violence and political upheaval. joining us is nbc news correspondent jacob soboroff reporting from port-au-prince,
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haiti. give us a sense of what's happening. >> that's right, geoff. i'm going to get to the numbers, you mentioned it, 4,600 spelled here to haiti over the course of the last days. that number could get as high as 6,000 by the end of the day today. but first and foremost i want to bring in the latest three to be added to that number. this couple and their daughter basically just got here, just literally walked off the plane. i want to ask you, you're going to do a little translating for us, you lived in chile. you spent a two-month journey coming to the united states, you were in del rio, texas under the bridge for seven days. you were detained by the u.s. government for seven days. now you've been flown back to haiti, a place where you haven't been since 2016. your thoughts about being here.
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>> we think it's an injustice. we lost all of our i.d.'s. imagine, we spent two months on the trip, we risked our lives to be there. and they always say the united states is the first country of the world, they have done us an injustice. >> may i ask you, what are you going to do now, having not been here, do you have family, do you have a place to go in haiti? will you try to leave the country again? >> yes, we have family here. we're going to go to our family here. >> will you try to leave the country again? do you think other haitians will try to leave the country again?
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>> yes, of course we're going to try to leave haiti again because we want to live somewhere where we can have a better life. >> what do you want americans and president joe biden know? >> i want them to know that we spent seven days in detention and we didn't eat, seven days
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without shower or brushing our teeth, and they only gave us a snack a day. and i think if we spent seven days in detention, they should have allowed us to see a judge or even a lawyer so we can have a chance to defend ourselves. >> i know this is a very confusing time for everybody. thank you very much, i appreciate it. thank you very much. before we go, geoff, i quickly want to bring in the chief of mission for the united nations international migration efforts here on the ground. you heard that conversation we just had. 4,600 migrants over the course of just ten days. basically it's unprecedented in haiti to see that. the biden administration just today said they're trying to treat migrants with dignity and respect. secretary mayorkas spoke to his
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counterpart, the haitian ambassador from washington, earlier today. are these migrants being treated with dignity and respect by the biden administration? >> we see this is a familiar, this is a typical example of what we see when they arrive here, they are very confused, they are very frustrated. they tell us some stories but of course we don't know what happened in the u.s. one thing is for sure, they need help now. >> does the united nations and iom have capacity? if there are going to be 6,000 haitian expulsions by the end of the day, if this is going to continue for the foreseeable future, do you have the capacity to deal with this, will these people be taken care of? >> for the government, we have to stay up with our capacity because it's really challenging. my main concern is that a lot of people, thousands of people will
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be in areas that are controlled by the gangs that are affected by the earthquake or in other difficult situations. and the more that come here, the more difficult the situation will be. >> the special envoy in the biden administration, ambassador foote, resigned because of what he called inhuman treatment of haitian migrants. is what the united states is doing inhumane, in your opinion? >> again, i can say what i see here, and i don't see any inhumane situation. they're arriving, of course they're frustrated, they want to eat something because they haven't eaten. the best we can do is advocate for the best possible conditions to be respected and their rights, as they said, they want to see a judge, they want their rights to be covered, and that is absolutely primary for both governments, u.s. and haiti, to sort out as soon as possible. >> before you go, quite simply,
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are there human rights violations happening right now? >> again, i don't see what is going on in the u.s. when they come here, they are welcome, they are free to go, there are no restrictions. so again, with better due process and with listening to what they really would like to say before they go, i think that would be helpful, because we see a lot of families and children and we have to be extra careful in whatever we do. >> it's an important point, the biden administration is saying the families and children, many of them, are being afforded the opportunity to say but you're seeing many families and children being expelled here to haiti. >> yes, they're coming with their parents, both parents are haitians, they're families aren't separated but they're coming here. like this family, this is a very -- this is also a discussion that needs to happen
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with the embasies here. >> thank you very much, chief of mission for the mission on the ground in port-au-prince, haiti. geoff, it's an extremely complicated situation, very confusing for the people arriving on the ground here. the biden administration is being criticized at home because of these title 42 expulsions, and doctors and critics say they're just not necessary. >> jacob, you made an important point, it was my understanding for the most part it was single haitian men being sent back to the country. but as you said and as we saw during your live shot, there were families, including that little girl in the purple shirt when you were talking to her father. do you have any sense of why that is, why there are so many families that have been sent back? >> i just think the sheer volume of people who came to del rio,
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haitians primarily, the u.s. government is not detaining and releasing to the interior all of them. i think that's sort of a right wing talking point at this point. but what we are seeing on the ground, and we always go with the fact on the ground, is that -- in my eyesight i see a family here, i saw more families earlier today looking through the gates here. there will be other buses and planes arriving here this afternoon. the fact of the matter is there is women, children, and families, not just single adult males, being sent back here to haiti. >> thanks as always for the compelling reporting, our best to your crew there in haiti. for the second day in a row, the nation's top military leaders were on capitol hill facing questions about the withdrawal from afghanistan. plus combatting extremism. new information out today on the threat of the radicalizing nature of conspiracy theories and disinformation.
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welcome back. some good news about the pandemic, new covid-19 cases in the u.s. appear to have peaked. we're currently seeing the longest sustained decline in months. even states hit hard by the delta variant have edged downward over the last few weeks, certainly the case in mississippi, one of the states hit hardest during the southern surge. mississippi's top health official says trends are headed in the right direction but that cases are still too high there. when nbc news visited an icu in ocean springs a month ago, all of the beds there were filled. but the crush of patients is easing, at least for now.
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>> i am hopeful that this curve will continue on its trajectory, keep going down. we're going to have less people until the next surge comes along, which i think is inevitable. >> and joining us now from ocean springs, mississippi, nbc news correspondent ellison barber, ellison, great to have you with us. what do staffers believe is driving this plateau of cases right now? >> reporter: one of the doctors we spoke to thinks it's probably a combination of rising vaccination rates as well as more people having natural immunity. unfortunately one of the things that happened here that we saw take place in the last couple of months, as the delta variant spread across the state you had a lot of people infected with covid-19. hospital staff had trouble keeping up.
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this hospital one month ago had ambulances waiting in the bay that's just over my shoulder, sometimes over 45 minutes because there weren't any available beds inside. today they had one empty room in their icu. one of the issues of course of there being more people getting covid-19 is the burden it put on the hospitals. it also led to the state having one of the highest covid death rates per capita in the country. now, though, you look at all of the numbers, and there are positive signs here. there are a lot less, a decrease in new covid infection rates, decrease in hospitalizations. and vaccinations are up. some people we've spoken to say that people in this community along the gulf here, that they knew someone who got sick because of covid-19, someone who maybe got severely ill, or they saw the reports of those overburdened hospitals and that made them reconsider the vaccine. listen to what one person told us. >> after my last interview with
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you, i had quite a few not only family members, friends, and a few people message me on facebook as well, questioning about wanting more information about the vaccine and where they can find more research on the vaccine and things like that. >> reporter: and those were people who weren't even asking before. >> yeah, they were 100%, they were not getting vaccinated. >> reporter: a quick reminder, as it relates to natural immunity. doctors here and the cdc still recommend people get vaccinated if they've had covid-19. a number of studies have shown the antibodies you get from naturally having covid-19 are not as strong as the ones that you get from being vaccinated. and there are also studies like a new one from the cdc this month that show that the amounts of antibodies you get by actually having covid-19 various from person to person. in that new cdc study, 30% of people who previously had covid-19 did not have any
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antibodies but everyone who had at least one dose of an mrna vaccine had some level of antibodies, geoff. >> ellison barber, thanks so much for that reporting. more than one in four new covid cases are now in children. 27% of all newly reported cases last week were in kids under the age of 18. that's according to the american academy of pediatrics. those claiming case numbers are putting added pressure on regulators to approve the pfizer vaccine for younger children. joining me is pfizer board member dr. scott gottlieb, also the author of "uncontrolled spread: how covid-19 crushed us and how to defeat the next one." when should we expect a covid-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11? we talked to a doctor yesterday on this program who said november is probably a good bet. what's your assessment?
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>> yeah, well, the short answer is it's going to be in the hands of the fda. i'm not quite sure. pfizer submitted clinical data yesterday. they haven't filed yet for the formal emergency use authorization because there are still components of the application they're going to submit over the course of this week, over the next several days or so. the agency is doing what we call a rolling submission effectively here. so they're reviewing the data as it comes in because they're trying to expedite their review of this application. i think it's possible you could have an authorization if everything goes well and the agency judges the data to support that decision, by the end of october. i think the base case is probably mid-november. if it slips a little bit. i don't think it's going to be as late as thanksgiving, it shouldn't be if things go well and the data goes in on time and the agency conducts a review expeditiously. i know that was reporting in "the wall street journal." one other thing to keep in mind is this division at the fda is under a tremendous amount of strain. they've had some departures. it's a small division to begin
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with. they've been worked very hard through the course of this pandemic. that's also going to be a factory here. >> bandwidth issues for sure. i hear you say by mid-november is the most likely timeline. >> well, i think that's the base case. i think it's possible by the end of october, though. >> okay. what about children under 5? is there any sense of where the trials and the research are for those youngest children? >> yes, so the same study, the same large study that's looking at children ages 5 to 11 also enrolled children ages 6 months to 5 years old. the data for kids ages 2 to 4 is probably going to be out by the end of this year. the data on kids ages 6 months to 2 years might slip into next year. so it's being evaluated in two different tranches. the dose for kids under the age of 5 is going to be a smaller dose. it's going to be a 3 microgram dose, so one tenth the adult
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dose. the dose used in kids age 5 to 11 is 10 microgram dose, one-third that of adults. you want to find the most effective dose that will provide a comparable level of immune response to the dose you're getting in adults with the least amount of side effects like injection site reaction and fevers. you want to find the lowest dose possible that will provide a sufficient immune response. >> got it. i want to follow up on something you said on cnbc a couple of days ago. you said you believe up to 90% of americans will have some form of immunity protection against coronavirus by the time this delta variant wave passes either from infection or from immunization. that's effectively herd immunity. so where are we right now in the life of this peak of delta yet? >> i don't think we'll get true herd immunity. we'll still have transfer of this virus even if we reach
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levels where 80 or 90% of people have some form of immunity, either immunization or natural infection. barring something unexpected, we probably have a couple of months to go on this delta wave. the south is coming down dramatically but you're seeing cases pick up in the midwest, kentucky, indiana. there's an open question whether we'll see a surge in the northeast now that kids are getting back in school and the weather is getting cool. the national averages look very encouraging but they're driven by sharp declines in the south. you're seeing infection levels pick up in other parts of the country. this is a highly regionalized epidemic and we need to looking at it that way. >> if we're saying 90% of americans have some form of immunity, why is that not herd immunity? why are they two different things? >> because people are going to get reinfected even after they acquire immunity. herd immunity suggests that it's
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not going to spread, it won't be able to spread through the population. i think it will continue to spread, but at much lower levels. prevalence will decline dramatically once we reach those kinds of levels. >> dr. scott gottlieb, i appreciate all of the context and perspective. military leaders are back on capitol hill, this time facing questions about afghanistan withdrawal from the house. stay with us. still fresh unstopables in-wash scent booster downy unstopables as carla wonders if she can retire sooner, she'll revisit her plan with fidelity. and with a scenario that makes it a possibility, she'll enjoy her dream right now. that's the planning effect, from fidelity. (brad) how is apartments-dot-com so sure that we'll she'll enjoy her dream right now. still have the most listings in the future? by going there.
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top pentagon leaders were back on capitol hill today, facing a second day of questioning about the u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan. today defense secretary lloyd austin, general mark milley, and general frank mckenzie appeared before the house armed services committee and yet again, republicans tried to press them on disagreements with the white house and whether their advice when gone unheeded. >> was it your proposal military opinion and advice that we should abandon bagram air base and if not, was this decision forced on you by the arbitrary troop cap of roughly 650? >> once the president's decision was made in mid-april, 14 april,
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and we were -- we had a change of mission to go to zero and bring the troops down to a number that was only required to maintain an embassy, the bagram decision was made at that point. >> isn't it true that the president rejected your best military opinion and advice as to how quickly to withdraw american troops from afghanistan? >> it has been my view that we should have -- that i recommended a level of 2,500, a level that would have allowed us to hold bagram and other airfields as well. >> general milley was also asked about reporting in the book "peril" about his phone calls to his chinese counterpart. >> you chose to talk to reporters instead of us and that's of great concern. no one in congress knew that one of two of the major nuclear powers thought that they were perhaps being threatened for attack. >> i guarantee that that intelligence was disseminated in
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the president's pdp, the director of cia, the secretary of defense, the assistant to the president for national security affairs, and others. that was significant and there was a lot of it. >> and joining us now is the chairman of the house armed services committee, congressman adam smith of washington. first, i want to thank you for your patience because you've been standing by for us as we've dealt with breaking news. general mckenzie reiterated his recommendations for the withdrawal, keeping 2,500 troops which would have kept bagram airfield. without relitigating the u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan, what did you make of the president's decision to reject that advice knowing what we now know?
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>> president biden decided, no, it's time to end our presence in afghanistan. the more question isn't advice they gave him. the more important question is do we as americans agree with the decision the president made. and we do, overwhelmingly, according to the polls. and more importantly, it was the right decision. and what president biden and others have said clearly, if we had kept 2,500 troops there, the taliban would have started attacking them because the agreement was we had to get out. now, i understand the taliban violated that agreement but they didn't care about that. they felt we had to be out. and they would have attacked us. once they started attacking those 2,500 troops, as the generals also said today, they would have needed more troops to protect them. it's the exact same story we've heard for 20 years. the military leaders for 20 years have been saying, just stay a little bit longer and we'll get there.
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it was clear that wasn't going to be the case. generals are capable of being wrong and in this case i think they were wrong. if we had stayed, the cost and the risk to american lives, given the fact that it wasn't going to stop the taliban, the president made the right call. he disagreed with some of his generals. that is his job. that's why we have civilian control of the military. >> a question about the over the horizon counterterrorism approach that the u.s. is taking in afghanistan, because it strikes me that in every country where the u.s. has deployed elements of this over the horizon strategy, relying on drones and aerial surveillance to identify suspected terrorists in places like yemen, somalia, iraq, syria, in all of those places the u.s. has had an intelligence network. we've had a nearby air base. we've had some sort of local partner on the ground. we don't have any of that in afghanistan right now. so how effective is an over the horizon strategy in afghanistan
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in your assessment? >> it's going to be more difficult, no question. the question is how effective would a strategy be of keeping troops in afghanistan that were vulnerable to attack. i believe that we can contain the terrorist threat. it's not easy. it's not easy in yemen, it's not easy in iraq or libya or somalia or any of these other places. i think we can contain that terrorist threat. i think it is an open question what the taliban do now. they are not the taliban of 2001, if in only one respect, they want to try to not be attacked again. in 2001 they were oblivious to that risk. i don't think they're any less crazy, any less violent, any less dangerous. they just have different interests. in my view, the risk of keeping troops there and fighting this war on for basically forever, because it was clear at this point we weren't going to be able to stop the taliban and just win. we would keep fighting, keep
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losing american lives and not succeeding in that essential mission. that choice was the worst of several bad choices. it's going to be difficult to contain that threat. but it would have been difficult if we had been there as well. and we would have had more american lives at risk. >> and lastly on this point of containing the threat, we also heard general milley say that al qaeda or isis could rebuild into a credible terror threat in just six months, as i look at my notes here. what did you make of that assessment? >> they could. i think that assessment is far more speculative than factual. it could happen. a lot of things could happen with the various terrorist networks across the globe right now. look, we still face a threat from violent islamic extremists, there is no question about it. how do we meet that threat? it's going to be difficult. it's a little overly -- i don't know how to put this exactly -- it's a little too certain to say in six months they reconstitute.
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it's speculation. maybe they do, maybe they don't. we're better off not having a military presence in afghanistan with all the risks that come with that. that's why the president made the decision that he made. >> congressman adam smith, chair of the house armed services committee. i always enjoy speaking with you. thanks for making with us. >> thanks for a chance. still ahead, combatting extremist. counterterrorism leaders testify on the growing domestic terror threat and the rising role of conspiracy theories. cy theories. detoxifies below the gumline... and restores by helping heal gums in as little as 7 days. crest. the #1 toothpaste brand in america.
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as i look at the threat after 35 years working in this field, i equate it to a perfect storm. on the one hand, we are a nation that has become deeply divided, polarized. people tend to view those who hold opposing opinions to their own as the enemy. >> a perfect storm. that's how leading counterterrorism officials characterized the current threat environment in the hearing today on capitol hill. they testified about the growing threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacist violence with lone extremists radicalized by conspiracy theories and disinformation. according to the fbi, there are some 2,700 open domestic terrorism investigations right now. that's double the number of international investigations. this fresh warn background domestic extremism and the white
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supremacist threat comes nearly nine months after supporters of former president donald trump laid siege to the u.s. capitol. let's bring in ken delaney. ken, it's great to have you with us. this rise of domestic terrorism has been well documented over the last decade. we keep hearing about it. we keep talking about it. if law enforcement has been aware it's a growing problem, why is it still growing? that is a great question, jeff. in fairness, law enforcement does not have the same tools to combat domestic terrorism that they do to go after international terrorism. namely, a statute penalizing material support for terrorism. that doesn't really apply in a domestic context. they use that a lot against isis and al qaeda supporters in the united states. but really, it's not clear that this is aly enforcement problem when you get to the heart of it. and i think john cohen spoke to that when he said we're an incredibly divided society. he said foreign adversaries actually are spewing propaganda online to take advantage of
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that. and he further said current former elected officials are amplifying that propaganda and he didn't mention donald trump by name, but it was pretty clear what he was talking about there when he warned that people should not do this because they are creating a greater risk for violence because lone actors are listening to this stuff online and becoming radicalized. >> we would base the threat with a potential war with the taliban. there could be more casualties. >> looks like we lost ken. ken, are you still with us? >> i can hear you, yes. >> i just heard ken say we can hear you. there you go. i'm not sure what happened there, but pick up mid thought, friend. >> yeah, sure. i was saying john cohen made it clear that this is not necessarily a law enforcement problem, the problem with domestic terrorism. he talked about foreign adversaries taking advantage of this by spewing problem began da online and he warned that
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current and former elected officials are using this. he didn't use donald trump's name, but everybody in the room knew who he was talking about. and he warned the people doing that are creating the risk of violence because lone extremists are becoming radicalized online, an environment where people increasingly believe violence in an answer. >> the biden administration promised to combat this with a whole of government approach. what do we learn about these efforts? >> intelligence and social media. these are lessons learned. dhs is sharing more intelligence with state and local intelligence and the fbi. they've realized that a lot of information about threats is available on social media, what the government calls open source intelligence which they didn't necessarily pay attention to before the january 6th insurrection. they're looking closely at it now. >> thanks to have you with us, as always.
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hallie jackson picks up our coverage coming up next.
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agency we come on the air, just about 30 hours from the government shutting down, an epic scramble in the building behind me here. negotiations intensifying between the white house and congress, between democrats and republicans, between progressives and moderates. here is where things stand this

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