tv The Week With Joshua Johnson MSNBC July 10, 2021 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
charlottesville, virginia, removed two confederate monuments. president biden had a message for vladimir putin after more fall victim to ransomware attacks. how should the president respond to these attacks? what are his options? and we'll answer your questions about the rapid spread of the delta variant, especially in areas with low vaccination rates. i'm joshua johnson. welcome to "the week." let us begin tonight with two stories that say a lot about who we are as a country and where we might be going. in charlottesville, virginia, crews removed three statues today. among them were monuments to confederate generals robert e. lee and stonewall jackson. charlottesville had planned to remove them nearly four years ago. white supremacists and neo-nazis marched in protest and that led
to violent clashes that turned deadly. it was one of america's first looks at extremism during donald trump's presidency. meanwhile in austin, texas, we're monitoring a special session of the state legislature that began this morning and continues into the night. it's happening right now. it is the next phase in the republican party's push for new rules on voting. texas has become a battleground state in the fight for voting rights. according to the brennan center for justice, nearly every state has introduced restrictive bills. more than 380 bills in all across the country. this is largely driven by the former president's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. those claims led to another outburst of extremist violence at the capitol on january 6th. the bills under consideration tonight in texas are house bill 3 and senate bill 1. they're similar to legislation that got blocked in may. democrats staged a late-night walkout forcing the legislature to adjourn before the bills
could pass. among other changes the new voting rules would require identification for voting by mail, ban drive-through voting and eliminate 24-hour voting. with voting rights on the line, what options do texas democrats have? is another walkout on the table? joining us now is texas state representative jasmine crockett, who represents dallas. state rep crockett, welcome to the program. good to have you with us. >> thanks for having me, joshua, and thank you for continuing to cover this very important issue. >> not at all. one of the first things i wanted to know from you is where these bills stand right now. what's it looking like from your vantage point? >> they are going to pay us. this is a dog and pony show of sorts to be perfectly honest. the way the committees are stacked, they are stacked against us and sadly enough. the republican party, they have marching orders in this state. they do what the governor says that they need to do. they don't think this through themselves, they don't analyze
themselves, they are just going to vote the way they are instructed to vote. so on the house side that committee is made up of six democrats and nine republicans. that is to ensure that if somebody gets a little weak, to make sure that it still passes out of committee. so i anticipate that these bills will actually be passed out of their committees tonight. >> i just want to make sure we're clear on the process. first they have to go through committee and then to the full chambers after this, is that right? >> absolutely. >> what's your sense of the legislative session, the special session right now? democrats were able to basically pull a hail mary, say we're going to walk out of the room and deny the quorum that would be needed to pass anything. is there any possibility for that kind of a hail mary measure now or are you pretty much settling in for the reality of these bills becoming law? >> there's always a possibility. you know, what's unfortunate is that the senate seemingly was not really in a position to walk
out or made a decision not to walk out. the senate, it only takes 11 members. it takes 51 of us on the house side and that's a huge lift. i tell people all the time this is a team sport so i don't know what's going to happen. there's a lot more time left on the clock. before we only had two hours left. now we're talking about days that we would have to run out on the clock. we are talking about the possibility of truly being arrested, and we are talking about most likely having to leave the state to avoid law enforcement being able to actually come and grab us. so it is a possibility, it is an option. it's an option available in our constitution. whether or not it's a reality, well, that just depends on my teammates. >> could i back you up. i want to make sure i heard what you said correctly. you're talking about leaving the state of texas and basically forcing the governor to ask for extradition from oklahoma or from louisiana. you're talking about literally leaving the lone star state altogether. has it gotten that desperate?
has it gotten that serious? >> that's how serious it is. so the speaker technically has the ability to sending the sergeants out to get us. the law is not really clear on whether or not they really do have the authority to deputize dps officers to actually come and get us, because our sergeants, they're not supposed to be arresting people. also our speaker can go ahead and lock the doors. it's my understanding that the last time there was a lockout before this time back in 2003, they actually locked them in for four days. sounds like false imprisonment to me, but that's just the lawyer in me. but those are some of the extreme measures that they can go through. in fact a former speaker who is still in the house, dean craddock, said if it were me, y'all would have had to climb out the windows, you wouldn't got to leave. i don't know to what extremes
this particular speaker is willing to go to. but for us we would definitely have to make plans to leave the state of texas and run out a lot more than two hours. each special session can only last for approximately 30 days. so of course we're just barely into those 30 days. and there's a reason that they're having these hearings at the same time on short notice on a saturday. it is because they are nervous that we may pull a hail mary. >> president biden is planning to speak about voting rights in philadelphia this tuesday. anything in particular you would like to hear from him or to see him and the administration do? >> you know, right now it's -- you know, we see a governor in the state of texas that is using his position in a very authoritative way to force through something that in every way wants to kill democracy. i would like to see this administration to do everything that they can to do just the opposite. to save democracy.
we have the white house, we have the house, we have the senate. i would like to see us in a position where we do every and anything that we can to save democracy because it has gone too far. we saw the insurrection. we are seeing things that we've not seen in our lifetimes because of the remnants of the trump era. it's time to rid ourselves of him. it's time to make sure that people, all people in this country feel as if the constitution is going to apply to them equally and that everybody is going to have the rights that are guaranteed under that constitution, especially when it comes to choosing their representation, instead of allowing leaders to decide who they will represent because that's what the republicans are trying to do. they're trying to decide their constituency instead of allowing their constituency to decide who is actually going to represent them. >> we will continue to monitor the hearing. we saw beto o'rourke speaking
just a little while ago. we'll see what happens from here. texas state representative jasmine crockett who represents dallas, thanks very much for making time for us. appreciate it. >> thank you so much. now to charlottesville, virginia. as we mentioned, statues of confederate generals robert e. lee and stonewall jackson came down today. the city council held an emergency vote this afternoon to remove a third statue and that one shows the explorers lewis and clark. the statue of robert e. lee became a flash point early in president trump's term. neo-nazis and white supremacists marched to try to prevent its removal. activist heather heyer was killed when a protester rammed a car into a crowd. what does removing these statues say about how far we have come as a country since the civil war, or even in the last four years. let's continue with jonathan horn, a former speechwriter for george w. bush, and the author of "the man who would not be washington, robert e. lee's civil war and his decision that
changed american history." mr. horn, good to see you again. welcome. >> thanks for having me. >> let's hear part of what the mayor of charlottesville said today about the removal of these statues. watch. >> taking down the statue is one small step. closer -- being willing to destroy black people for economic gain. >> what do you make of the mayor's comments, particularly grappling with the sin of being willing to destroy black people. does that help us grapple with history in any way? >> certainly when you look at these statues of confederate generals that are up in so many cities and i think people have been surprised to see that you and i discovered there was a stained glass window of robert e. lee in the national cathedral
in washington, d.c. people have been surprised to see how far widespread these images are and it's a reminder that well into the 20th century these figures were romanticized, turned into in fact national heroes, even though they had fought against our union and fought to secure human bondage. and so that does say something about our country and what our country thought about its own past in the 1920s. when we think about that, it is an unpleasant reality. >> just to clarify, for those of you who have never been to the washington national cathedral, first of all, you need to go see it. when you go, there are levels of stained glass. the lowest level is moments in american history, the next one up are moments from the bible and there were panels honoring confederate generals that the church decided to take down with the support of the congregation. the reason that i wanted you to talk to us about this is because of what you illuminated for the cathedral and for me about robert e. lee's view on those
monuments. here is part of what he wrote about the battlefields of the civil war themselves. quote, and this is robert e. lee's words. quote, i think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered, unquote. so, jonathan, robert e. lee did not want monuments. he didn't even wanting the battlefields preserved. it sounded like he wanted us to kind of forget it and move on. >> that's exactly right. we know this because from the last years of robert e. lee's life he received a series of letters asking him to support memorial projects. he always had a reason why now wasn't the right time to do a memorial. as to when the right time might be, he made it pretty clear that he felt the answer was never. his understanding of history was that countries that hide reminders of civil war move on quicker from civil wars.
i think to be fair, we should probably ask ourselves why did lee feel that way. it may not be for the reason that we want to necessarily believe today. the reason may have been that he wanted to get back to how things had been as quickly as possible and sort of hide the fact that this event had happened. >> i think it's also easy to just look at these statues basically as the world's biggest participation trophies for people who lost a war and committed an act of treason against the united states of america. but i think there's more to it at least in the hearts of people who still venerate these statues or believe they have someplace. charlottesville has not said they were going to destroy the statues, they may ending up in storage for the foreseeable future. what do you make of the people who still feel an emotional tug to these monuments and to these statues? >> boy, i think if you look at the statue and say what is the purpose of these statues, what
is the purpose of keeping them up, if you're saying you want to keep them up to idolize men who fought against our union and fought to secure human bondage, for matter what those personal feelings were, that is what they did by fighting for the confederacy, i don't think anybody in the confederacy could pass the test of preserving a memorial. the question is what do you do with these statues that have been standing for a hundred years? there is something to learn from them, and what you learn is something that's ugly. our country continued to romanticize the confederacy and in fact turn these people into national heroes in many cases. it's just recently that that has begun to change. >> do you think that in terms of that conversation changing, i wonder what your sense is of where we are now. i think after the events of 2017, the protests in charlottesville, the death of heather heyer and president trump's ham-handed back and
forth and basically saying what are we going to do, write george washington out of the history books, the country is having a different conversation about this now. where do you see the conversation going? >> one important point here is that the city of charlottesville held a vote and went through a legal process. the vote and the legal process decided that these statues needed to come down. everyone should applaud the fact that charlottesville is finally able to have this day after the terrible events of 2017 where we really saw our laws trampled. so this really is a victory for whatever you think about the statues and whatever you can learn about the statues, this is a victory for our democratic processes to have this day peacefully in charlottesville today. >> and what do you think should happen to these statues, to these monuments? do you think if you had your way that they should be destroyed, they should be put in museums somewhere, they should be repurposed? what would you like to see happen to these structures? >> what i'd like to see is the stories of these monuments be told. when you tell these stories,
they are unpleasant stories. they are stories about the way these figures were revered long past when we think to think they were still revered. but it's an important story and a story america needs to reckon with. it's a story about where we were and how far we've come. >> jonathan horn, always good to talk to you. thank you so much. >> thanks so much for having me. up next, the doctor is in. we will answer your questions about the highly contagious delta variant of covid-19 in tonight's installment of dear doctor. plus president biden sends a harsh warning to russia's president, vladimir putin, over ransomware attacks against the u.s. will it do anything to ease the tension. later the fallout continues over sha'carri richardson's suspension from the u.s. olympic track team. how might that change how athletes are drug tested or how we view marijuana? it's just one hot topic we'll
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it may feel like school just got out, but the cdc is already looking ahead to this fall. yesterday officials released new guidelines for fully vaccinated students. the cdc says those students, again, fully vaccinated students, do not need to wear masks in classrooms this fall. this new guidance aims to get kids back on campus with whatever prevention measures can be taken. right now vaccines are only available for people ages 12 and up. that leaves out a lot of school-age children. now the highly transmissable delta variant is surging across the u.s. how should this affect restrictions for those who are still unvaccinate. let's put that to dr. redlener. he's an msnbc public health analyst. doctor, welcome. good to talk to you again.
>> good to talk to you, joshua. glad to be here. >> let's start with that particular issue. luciana asked us on tiktok what vaccinated parents should know about keeping unvaccinated kids under 12 safe now that they are back to work and school. doctor? >> right, joshua. the other factor, as you just mentioned, that we have a raging situation with the delta variant of the virus out there as well. we don't know yet exactly how that may or may not affect school-age children, especially those who are unvaccinated. and i say as a general rule and still a lot of controversy about this, parents should try to get their kids vaccinated as soon as possible. but in the meantime schools in my opinion should be mandating vaccines for every teacher and every adult worker in every school. they should still maintain some distance in the classrooms and they should make sure that the classrooms are well ventilated. other than that, we just recommend, again, strongly get your kids vaccinated as soon as
you're able to. >> why aren't kids under 12 able to be vaccinated right now? is the research just not done on that or is there a reason to be concerned about what a vaccine would do to a child younger than 12? >> no, there's no particular reason to be concerned, but we don't allow people to get vaccinated until it's approved for at least an emergency use authorization or eua by the fda. right now the studies have been conducted and are going to be concluded. and i think by the end of the year we will have approval for vaccines for children who are first 9 to 12 years of age, then 6 to 9 and then younger than that. and i think certainly by the beginning of 2022, all children will be eligible to be vaccinated. >> we've got plenty of questions about the delta variant and vaccines. kevin asked on instagram if the current vaccines protect us to some degree from the delta variant. and melissa on instagram carried that further and wanted to know at what rate we anticipate the
variants outstripping the effectiveness in our vaccines resulting in more breakthrough infections. those vaccinated but still get infected with covid. so how long good are the vaccines now and how long do we expect that to last? >> these are great questions on everyone's minds, not just parents but scientists and public health policy people as well. the current vaccines, if you're fully vaccinated, you are going to be protected almost entirely from getting either very sick or dying from covid-19, even the delta variant at the moment this is true. on the other hand you still may be infected or carry it but only get mild disease. all of the deaths, by the way, joshua, that have occurred with covid over the last several weeks now have been in unvaccinated people. so if you're vaccinated, you should feel pretty good at the moment. if you're not vaccinated, you should be very worried and make sure you overcome whatever barrier you're seeing and get
vaccinated as soon as you can. we don't know how many variants are waiting in the wings but the more we have festering virus in communities not well vaccinated, the more we have to worry about not only delta but other possible variants down the road. >> hey, look, if you still haven't gotten vaccinated, go to planyourvaccine.com for more information. i know vaccinations have become very political and a big cultural issue. it's between you and your doctor. nobody else needs to know. planyourvaccine.com has the information you need to get yourself vaccinated. let's get through a few more of these questions. vanessa asks how effective doctors think a third dose will be in protecting against the variant? there was some news this week, doctor, with pfizer talking about possibly creating a booster shot, which seemed to catch the white house a bit by surprise. >> yeah. by the way, your viewers are very cool. their questions are really right on target. so this has been an unexpected
controversy because pfizer is applying to the fda to get approval to start doing a third dose of vaccine of the mrna vaccines or a booster shot. the cdc almost simultaneously has come out and said you don't need a third dose or a booster shot. well, i've been in touch directly over the last few days with very senior health officials at the white house and in the administration, and they have said the following. i think this is good for your viewers to know. if in fact your doctor determines that because of your risk factors, maybe you're older, maybe you have co-morbid conditions, maybe you have other risk factors and your doctor feels like you should get a third dose, you should get a third dose. so whatever the cdc says, it's general guidelines, should not preclude you or individual patients from getting the third dose if in fact that's what your doctors and you agree to do. >> let me get to one last
question. mary jo asked, i know some people who feel they have immunity because they have survived a case of covid-19. how does their immunity compare to the immunity of a fully vaccinated person, especially to the delta variant? what's the vaccine recommendation for people who have had covid? doctor, before we go? >> let's start with the last part of that question. so even if you've had the disease, you should get vaccinated ideally because the immunity that you get from the natural disease is not as powerful or as long lasting as the immunity that you get from getting the vaccine. so the recommendation from me and many others in my field is whether you've had the disease or not, get vaccinated. it will really help you and help you have sustained resistance to getting another case of covid. >> i want to repeat what you just said. i swear we've got to go after this. you said the resistance you get from a natural case of covid is not as strong as the resistance
that you get from the vaccine. did i hear that right? >> you did. >> got it. dr. irwin redlener, always good talking to you. thanks very much. up next, we will take a look at what president biden's next move could and maybe should be when it comes to pushing back on russia and its involvement in cyberattacks against the u.s. a former assistant director of the fbi will weigh in when we come back. the fbi will weigh in when we come back. you're clearly someone who takes care of yourself. so why wait to screen for colon cancer? because when caught in early stages, it's more treatable. i'm cologuard. i'm noninvasive and detect altered dna in your stool to find 92% of colon cancers even in early stages. tell me more. it's for people 45 plus at average risk for colon cancer, not high risk. false positive and negative results may occur. ask your prescriber or an online prescriber if cologuard is right for you. i'm on it. sounds like a plan. limu emu... and doug. i'm on it. so then i said to him, you oughta customize your car insurance with liberty mutual,
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president biden is demanding action from russia's president, vladimir putin, after yet another ransomware attack. >> i'll make it very clear to him that the united states expects when ransomware operation is coming from his soil, even though it's not, not sponsored by the state, we expect him to act and give him
enough information to act on who that is. >> that conversation came after a russian hacker gang launched the largest cyberattack on record. it targeted hundreds of businesses, demanded $70 million in cryptocurrency to unlock stolen data. this is the latest in a series of attacks by russian actors. among them was the colonial pipeline hack which crippled u.s. oil supplies. president biden says there will be consequences for russia if these attacks continue. so what could the u.s. do, and what should it do? let's discuss that with shawn henry, president and chief security officer of crowdstrike and former executive assistant director of the fbi. mr. henry, good evening, welcome. >> good evening, joshua. >> can you put this latest attack in some kind of perspective? we saw this one days after we saw an attack against someone who worked with the rnc, the republican national committee. how significant are these attacks? >> these attacks are quite
significant because of the impact they're having on corporate operations, on municipalities, shutting down companies and cities and vital services, attacks against our infrastructure, things like the water system, potentially power grid, transportation. as they continue, they create some incredible concerns for the government and our citizens. what we are hearing about publicly is really the tip of the iceberg. for every one you hear about, there are dozens of other attacks that are not reported publicly, companies that are paying the ransoms in order to unlock the data and to put their infrastructure back online because for some of these companies it is absolutely an existential threat and for this country it is absolutely a national security threat, joshua. >> so what can the u.s. do? i have to admit i'm not sure exactly what america's options are. it's not like if somebody steals data from someone in the u.s. that the u.s. is going to rob them back. like that seems like an odd
response. but then using a cyberattack to maybe drop malware that cripples a power grid or shuts down, you know, part of the infrastructure almost feels like somebody robbed me and so in response i'm going to kick them in the throat. that just doesn't seem to make sense in terms of a proportionate response. so what can president biden actually logically do? >> so i've been saying, as have others for a long time, there needs to be nation state to nation state discussions to clearly sit down, lay out what the red lines are and then to demonstrate and articulate what the repercussions would be for crossing that red line. so there's pros and cons to that. if you lay that out and then you subsequently after an attack do not take actions, then that is not a deterrent because it's seen as a false threat and it will cause the adversary to escalate. the other side of the coin is if you do retaliate, this could
potentially spiral out of control where we see attack on, you know, you turn off our lights, we're going to turn off your lights. you turn off our water, we're going to escalate and knock out energy stores. this could escalate beyond control. so what it really requires is nation states to sit down and have very clearly defined, not unlike we have with nuclear arms control, very clear discussions. so two final points i'll make. one is that this is not just russia. china, iran, north korea are launching attacks into the united states as well as other types of hacktivist groups, et cetera. at the end of the day companies are going to have to protect themselves. while we expect and hope governments will sit down and lay out the guidelines so we can move in a reasonable and rational way forward, unfortunately companies are going to have to protect their infrastructure now by investing in technology, by putting in the proper protocols to protect
their data and their long-term capabilities, joshua. >> and by making their employees stop using the word password as their password. if that is your password, change it right now. no one needs to know. with regards to these international actors and i say that only partly in gest because i feel like some were unforced errors where companies just had poor security and somebody snuck in through an easily exploitable gap. but with some of these countries i feel like they have different points of view as to whether they give a damn what the u.s. thinks of them. north korea has a very different posture than does china, than does russia. how far do you think that talks to try to prevent the scenario that you described would even go? are we kind of past that point? >> it really depends on which actors we're talking about with which nations. >> let's talk just about russia. just with regards to russia, where do you think that would
go? does vladimir putin even care? >> i think in many cases and we heard president biden on the lead-in talking about this not being supported by the nation state because they're organized crime groups, and that is true. however, i think it's unlikely that the russian government doesn't know who's doing it. this is where the u.s. is saying you, russia, need to utilize your law enforcement capabilities to stop the criminal actors launching attacks. if you don't do that, the u.s. has said we're going to take action. what does that action look like? we don't have law enforcement capabilities physically. we can't fly into moscow and arrest people. it would be some type of electronic action. i think that the president has made this additional statement and demand. we'll see where that goes. i think the u.s. is putting all options on the table. economic sanctions, diplomatic actions have been utilized. whether they're escalated or not. and how does the u.s. escalate digitally, electronically to actually disrupt the
infrastructure in russia. again, that is fraught with peril and a major concern. if something like that begins to escalate, it's going to have wide-ranging impact consequences across the world. all these networks are connected and we don't want to live in a world quite like that, joshua. >> shawn henry of crowdstrike. mr. henry, thanks very much. still to come, another western heat wave sent temperatures to record highs. seattle's mayor points out a major infrastructure issue that makes it harder for the west to stay cool. we'll look back at our weather week just ahead. later, zaila avant-garde made history at the scripps national spelling bee, but there's more behind this history than you might realize. i'll explain later in tonight's e68. -- essay. -- e ssay pair kills plaque bacteria at the gum line to help keep the gum seal tight. new parodontax active gum repair toothpaste.
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another heat wave is punishing the western u.s. this weekend and the last one was just a week and a half ago. more than 31 million people are under excessive heat warnings or heat advisories. in california, governor gavin newsom expanded a regional drought state of emergency to 50 counties. california only has 58 counties. the 50 counties are home to about half the state's population. governor newsom is also asking californians to cut their water usage by 15%. meanwhile, a wildfire known as the bootleg fire is burning out of control. it has burned about 77,000 acres in southern oregon. at this rate, it may not be
contained for more than two weeks. we are seeing unprecedented heat. in late june authorities noted nearly 200 heat-related deaths in oregon and washington state. and in canada, about a five and a half hour drive outside downtown vancouver, a small town was literally burned off the map. did you hear about this? the village of litton in british columbia endured record temperatures for four straight days. then a wildfire broke out that destroyed the town in minutes. an international team of scientists with the world weather attribution network studied the extent to which climate change was at play. the team said that the extreme heat in the pacific northwest would have been virtually impossible without human-caused climate change. it was a one in 1,000-year event with today's climate. but without human-induced climate change, it would be a 1 in 150,000-year event. they added if the current emission rates remain unchanged,
by the 2040s, a catastrophe like this could occur every five to ten years. america's infrastructure will need to adapt to handle this new normal. last night on peacock we spoke with the mayor of seattle about whether her city is prepared. >> the majority of houses in seattle were built without air conditioning. a minority of houses have air conditioning. as a city we have had to adapt quickly to create cooling places for people to come indoors, to distribute water. >> thankfully seattle has a reprieve from the heat this weekend with temperatures only in the 70s. up next, the assassination of haiti's president. american and colombian officials are aiding the investigation. can they help prevent this troubled nation from falling deeper into unrest? when you buya at walmart, walmart can buy more tea from milo's. ♪♪ milo's can create new jobs, jobs for people like james, and lacey, and me. me, i love my work family.
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president. a senior administration official has told nbc news that a team of fbi and dhs officials will arrive in port-au-prince tomorrow. they will assist in the investigation into the killing of haitian president jovennel moise. more than 20 suspects have been arrested for the assassination. among the suspects are two american citizens. the attack has left this already unstable nation in disarray. the interim haitian government asked the u.s. to send troops to help keep the peace. that request has so far been denied. joining us now is rich benjamin, an author, columnist and political analyst. his grandfather was president of haiti before being ousted in a coup in 1957. before benjamin is also the author of "searching for whitopia, an improbable journey to white america." >> great to be with you, joshua. >> can i start with a little more detail about the u.s.
response to what happened in haiti. what do you make of the u.s.' role and/or responsibility in what happens next? >> so there are two things. i think from the legal and investigative standpoint, they have sent people from the fbi and the dhs. that's one charge, which is to investigate the assassination. there's another dhs. that's one charge which is to investigate the assassination. there's another longstanding charge about whether u.s. military troops should be sent, but then the question becomes what is their mandate, how long we'll be there, what will the objectives be. so those separate things are happening, and it seems that people in the biden administration are not so keen on the second request, which is long standing troops. >> what is your sense of haiti's ability to keep the peace right now with the resources that the government has on hand? >> i would say that's a
demoralizing question because it has very few resources on hand. by resources i mean military resources that are unified in terms of a national government. there are a lot of gangs. there are police on the ground, but i would define resources, to answer your question, as also human resources. there are civil society people on the ground, there are people doing the hard work of democracy in terms of building institutions. in those terms haiti has a lot of resources, but in terms of the military national, federalized, very few resources to speak of. >> let me ask you more about the civil resources. what is the mood like? what is the conversation like among people on the ground in haiti that you have had a chance to speak to? >> i think, frankly, joshua, i think there's a lot of demoralization. there's a lot of depression over the situation, but i want to say it is not fatalistic. that's how i would characterize it. demoralized but not fatalistic.
because in the international press, especially in the u.s. press, we see these narratives that collapse the assassination with actual haiti and with actual haitians. so the narrative and the stereotype becomes that, oh, haiti is violent, it is unsalvageable, it is illiterate, it is a basket case. so people on the ground do not feel that, even despite what the press might be saying. so that's how i would describe it, demoralized but not fatalistic. >> what do you think of this assassination attempt in terms of your reactions to the fact that it even happened, the lead-up to it? some have been complaining that president moise had stayed in office for too long, that he was about to attempt to seize more power by rewriting haiti's constitution. what is your sense of just the entire -- the back story and the environment around this assassination? >> to the assassination itself, when i woke up to that news on wednesday morning i was utterly
shocked. utterly shocked that something so violent had happened. the situation has not been good. the president, or the late-president had earned many enemies all around and many haitians i had spoken to felt that he definitely should not have been in power and that he was clinging on to power and that he was denying a lot of people their rights and that he was worsening and weakening the democracy, and what little legal capacity existed in the country at the time. no one obviously wants to see another human being dead, but in terms of his regime, you know, it had a lot to be desired to put it mildly. >> last few seconds, what is the one thing you wish more americans knew about haiti? >> i wish more americans understood the complex relationship that exists between
haiti, and specifically what i mean is we used to occupy haiti, america, from 1915 to 1934. the u.s. occupied haiti, and in so doing the u.s. under president woodrow wilson took control of haiti's railroads, took control of haiti's banks, took control of the infrastructure, and made it to u.s. business interests. he literally rewrote the constitution and installed a puppet government. and since then, the u.s. involvement in haiti has gone even downward. my family has seen this firsthand. you know, i discovered in the u.s. national archives that the cia had been spying on my grandfather, and i have tried to get these documents unclassified. some of them are unclassified, but four of them still 50 years later remain redacted. i have had to sue in federal court. but me, i'm not the issue,
that's not the issue. the issue is what do we do going forward? we know certain things, but the u.s. government knows more in terms of our national security apparatus. finally, i will say, joshua, decisions will be made to avert a, quote, unquote, refugee crisis. >> right. >> there's that dynamic, that we don't want more refugees from haiti coming. there's issues of national security, and there's issues of business. so it is a complicated web of all of these forces trying to determine what the u.s. does next. >> yes. as a native south floridian that's one of the things i thought about, as to what little haiti and north miami and parts of south florida might end up looking like depending on what happens on the ground in haiti. that's a conversation for another day. rich benjamin, i appreciate you making time. thank you very much. up next, president biden set a date to bring america's longest war to an end. what does this mean for those who are left behind in afghanistan?
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on thursday president biden announced that the u.s. military mission in afghanistan will end on august 31st. the troops' exit is already more than 90% complete. as they come home, afghanistan appears on the brink of a civil war. the taliban is making significant territorial gains in the north. now they're closing in on the country's largest city. here is nbc chief foreign correspondent richard engel. >> reporter: the taliban are making more advances to take over afghanistan as u.s. troops
leave. the taliban now control or are fighting to control the majority of afghanistan. they have formed a ring around kabul. president biden forcefully defended his decision to pull out all u.s. troops by the end of august. >> it is up to the people of afghanistan to decide on what government they want. >> reporter: but afghan army and police units are collapsing, surrendering to the taliban with their weapons. many afghans consider their government corrupt and ineffective and appear unwilling to fight for it. president biden also promised to evacuate thousands of translators who worked with american forces. the taliban considers them traitors. >> there is a home for you in the united states if you so choose, and we will stand with you just as you stood with us. >> reporter: in the back room of a cafe in kabul i met tom. that's what u.s. troops called him. he did more than 150 combat operations and lived with american forces in close