tv Ayman Mohyeldin Reports MSNBC July 22, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
will sign a bill to sure up the federal crime victim's fund which is used to pay for programs that serve victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and others. we're going to bring those remarks to you when they begin. all of this comes as members of the house select committee investigating the january 6th riot at the capitol met with house speaker nancy pelosi. now as the capitol is consumed by a war of words over the makeup of that panel. earlier today, speaker pelosi fired back at republicans who say her rejection of two of mccarthy's picks were purely a political move. >> we're there to get the truth, not to get trump. this is deadly serious. this is about our constitution. it's about our country. it's an assault on the capitol that is being mischaracterized. >> that didn't stop kevin mccarthy from repeating his criticism. >> this is a sham committee that's just politically driven by speaker pelosi.
when we proposed to do a commission back in january, she said no. she just wanted to make it political. >> a quick fact check for you and we should note that mccarthy voted against a bipartisan commission when it came to the house floor. in just a moment, we'll talk about all of this with colorado democratic congressman jason crow. meantime, senate majority leader chuck schumer says the senate will pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution paving the way for a $3.5 trillion bill focussing on other infrastructure priorities before the august recess. and later this hour, the atlanta public schools board chair will join us to talk about the decision to require masks for students and employees when students return to class next month. and we're going to talk about the biden administration imposing sanctions on cuba's defense minister and special forces brigade over their crackdown on anti-government protests earlier this month. but we begin this hour with some breaking news out of
afghanistan, where we're learning just in the last couple of minutes about u.s. air strikes against the taliban. let's go right over to nbc news pentagon correspondent courtney cue by who has the details. a lot of interest in what is happening with afghanistan as the u.s. continues its withdrawal. growing concern about the taliban making in roads in various parts of the country. what more can you tell us about the reasoning behind these air strikes and what they went after? >> yeah. that's right, ayman. so there has been this growing taliban offensive and last week when i was in kabul i interviewed the head of u.s. central command and he said that one of the places he's worried about right now is kandahar. that's where these most recent two air strikes over night occurred. according to two defense officials, the strikes were targeting some stolen military vehicles and equipment. now, as you know, as the taliban have been pushing through these areas, in some cases the afghan military is fleeing and others they're just folding away. the taliban have been taking over equipment in some cases.
that was the case here in kandahar. this equipment and these vehicles were directly threatening the afghan military so the u.s. military decided to take these strikes. it's important to point out general mckenzie maintained this authority to conduct air strikes against the taliban in afghanistan and he will maintain that through the end of august when the u.s. military presence there officially ends. as you well know, ayman, the u.s. military is largely out of there is very, very, very little left there at this point, so when they conduct strikes like this, they're flying in from what the military calls an over or an across the horizon location. so they're flying from other countries and coming in the vast majority of these strikes are occurring by unmanned predator drones as opposed to manned aircraft. what's important to point out here is we still don't have a good sense of exactly what is going to happen after august 31st. will the u.s. military maintain this authority to carry out air
strikes against the taliban as they continue to threaten the afghans? that's a decision that we're still waiting for, for 100% clarity on that from the biden administration, ayman. >> very significant development in afghanistan, one we'll continue to track throughout the hour. courtney kube, thank you as always. more news out of washington, let's bring in nbc news national political reporter and jake sherman, founder of punch bowl news and msnbc politic we know as we were talking there earlier the select committee can keep working despite kevin mccarthy pulling his picks. let's talk about what this means. what does this fighting between him and speaker pelosi potentially do to how this committee's findings will ultimately be received? >> reporter: ayman, this gives kevin mccarthy some more political ammunition to describe the january 6th select committee as a partisan exercise by democrats. but that writing was already on the wall the moment republicans
killed that independent commission that would have been evenly divided that would have been a true bipartisan committee and speaker pelosi seemed well aware of that which is why she pushed so hard for that bipartisan commission. now she is dealing with the fact that no matter what this commission finds, no matter what this committee finds out in terms of facts and conclusions, there will be a swath of the country that is hard-pressed to accept that. take a listen to what pelosi said earlier today when my colleague leann caldwell asked her about this. >> i don't accept your stipulation that half the country is -- there is a percentage of the country who is in denial about covid and getting vaccinated and it's sort of the same crowd. but overwhelmingly if you look at the polls, that's what your measure is, they want to know the truth. >> reporter: and faced with this reality, ayman, pelosi's choice
was whether to accept republicans on the committee that she and most democrats don't believe will be operating in good faith to try to get to the truth of january 6th. that's why she rejected jim jordan and jim banks and the committee will continue or i should say begin its work next tuesday with or without any appointees of mccarthy. >> let me play for you something president biden said last night about the filibuster. making a little bit of news in that cnn town hall. watch. >> there's no reason to protect it other than you're going to throw the entire congress into chaos and nothing will get done. >> right. >> nothing at all will get done. and there's a lot at stake. most important one is the right to vote. >> so let's talk about that for a moment. what should we take away from it? could those comments help to convince other democrats, like a joe manchin, to get on board with changing the filibuster, perhaps to cut out an exception specifically on voting rights? >> reporter: probably not, ayman. joe manchin is deeply dug in support of the filibuster and i just don't see any wiggle room
he's offering in terms of moving there. but hearing that sound bite you just played we see the conflictedness and tension within president biden. on one hand, he is an old school former senator, an institutionalist who has yearned for the older days of bipartisanship when the two parties worked together and everything functioned in congress. but he has also been fiercely critical of republicans for enacting restrictive voter laws around the country that he describes as a threat to democracy. he also in that cnn town hall talked about republicans potentially plotting to refuse to certify future elections which he said had never been done here. none of that is consistent really with his position on the filibuster because the only way to do a federal voting rights standard that pierces through those laws is to breakthrough the filibuster and phil buster is not going to do that. republicans are very determined to block these voting rights expansions and guarantees in all 50 states that democrats want to pass, ayman. >> jake, let's bounce back to
the january 6th commission and talk about it in the inter-republican dynamics. you have wyoming republican congresswoman liz cheney took the side of the speaker yesterday, called out leader kevin mccarthy over his comments. just a few weeks ago, you had leader anyone who accepted a speaker could have their committee assignments pulled. what are you heane face any punishment or fallout as a result of her accepting a role on the select committee? >> the disdain, absolute disdain, between liz cheney and kevin mccarthy is very difficult to miss. these two people -- i mean, i've been covering this institution for a long time. i've never seen any two people dislike each other at this moment. i don't see any way to repair that. here is what we were told yesterday and wrote about this in punch bowl news a.m., they don't feel like they need to step in the way of liz cheney doing what they think is just ending her political career.
they don't believe the republican leadership pretty much from top to bottom does not believe that liz cheney can ever be re-elected as a republican. they think the republican party has left her and she's left the republican party. and they think, this is not me saying it, it's them saying it, they think that cheney lining up as we see in that image right there with benny thompson and jamie raskin and adam schiff, they think that's enough to just ensure her political career as a republican is over. so could they strip her of her committee assignments? of course they could. they could also expel her from the house republican conference in two thirds vote that would be 140, i believe, if my math is right, republicans voting against her, 141. i don't think they'll do that. but you can't rule it out at this point because cheney is in the last day again whether you think it's right or wrong, republicans think it's wrong. they think that -- she said pelosi was right and mccarthy should never be speaker. two pretty -- two comments that really anger a lot of house republican. >> no doubt about that.
jake, let me ask you about south carolina senator tim scott telling axios last week he doesn't think negotiationings on police reform will be able to continue past the end of this month. we're just a few days away from that deadline. again, based on your reporting, what do you know about where things stand right now about trying to get any traction on police reform? >> yeah. we reported this morning the talks were stalled and i think what we said was on life support the two sides haven't met in a long time. i really don't believe that these talks are going anywhere. they've missed several deadlines. they can't wrap up these last critical issues. they don't have the union support on both sides that they need. i think it's over. i think there's maybe a single digit percent chance that they could get back together. but again, i think this opportunity, which by the way, ayman, you can't underestimate how unique of an opportunity this was to get something done the right people in the room, highly respected lawmakers from both parties, but couldn't get it done. i just don't think you could put humpty dumpty back together again on this one. >> all right.
jake sherman, sahil, both live on capitol hill. thank you both. joining us now to continue the conversation, jason crow, impeachment manager. thank you so much for your time, congressman. let's start with what we're hearing from our colleague jake sherman. what do you make of this battle between speaker pelosi and republican leader kevin mccarthy over his picks for the january 6th select committee. are you at all worried that this fight could, in fact, make it harder for your caucus and what speaker pelosi wants to see independent, fact-based commission, nonpartisan. >> well, thanks for having me, ayman. let's start with the last part of that question. is answer to that is no. we have always been clear eyed. we've been focussed. we've been disciplined from day one right after this insurrection happened. we said we're going to find the truth. we're going to make sure those officers who were brutally beaten, other 140 that day, those that lost their lives and others, that we are doing right by them and their families.
we're going to make sure the american people who cast votes and expected to have those votes certified as it always has been, according to our democracy, have that process move forward. this insurrection tried to stop that process. it failed. it delayed the process. bottom line is we're not going to let this happen again. and our oath and our obligations don't depend on other people's oaths and obligations whether or not they're going to fulfill those oaths. we'll do what we're going to do regardless. but the politics, the fighting that's going on here, that's really the republican fighting. that's the republican caucus. that's not our issue. we have tried over and over again to meet them more than halfway, to pass a commission, let's not forget that 35 republicans in the house voted for bipartisan commission. kevin mccarthy then did not support that. then he lobbied heavily against this current commission. he doesn't want this to go forward because he feels like it stands in his way of retaking the house majority for him this is about campaigns.
>> congressman, let's switch gears for a moment to the breaking news we're talking about at the top of the hour and that has to do with afghanistan. as you heard, the u.s. conducting air strikes against the taliban. earlier today the house passed a bipartisan bill that you sponsored which would increase the number of special immigrant visas available for afghan interpreters, contractors, security personnel who worked and sacrificed their lives with the u.s. government to come to the united states as well as expedite the process of approving those visas. obviously this is coming at a time that the u.s. is set to begin evacuation flights next week and as we were reporting the taliban making these strong and big advances across parts of afghanistan, a sizable number of people who could be affected by this program as you know, they're actually outside of government controlled areas in the remote parts of the country. they won't be able to make it to kabul to catch the evacuation flights to get out of the country. are you worried this may have come too little too late for some of the people who really
need our help right now? >> well, i am worried, ayman, we're behind the power curve on this. there's no doubt about this. this evacuation should have started months ago in my view. it's happening now. which is good news in the administration aggressively pursuing it with an all of government approach which is what exactly needs to happen but this is very personal for me. i did two combat tours to afghanistan as an army ranger. i may not be here sitting under this dome talking to you today if it had not been for the service and the sacrifice of the afghans that served shoulder to shoulder with me. i have a personal obligation but as a member of the armed services committee and as a member of the house intelligence committee i also have an obligation to the national security of the united states of america. and this is a very clear national security issue. we are going to have threats, we're going to have conflicts in the future and we're going to need friends to help us meet those threats and those conflicts. and whether or not we have friends depends on whether or not we are a friend now to those who have stood by us because our
future friends are looking very closely at how we're treating our current friends. that's why we passed my bill today, the allies act by an overwhelming majority, 406 votes. there aren't many things here in washington that got 406 votes. we came together to say the american handshake matters. our word is our bond and now it's time to get the folks out. >> congressman, thank you so much for your time. i greatly appreciate it as always. >> thank you. and coming up, students heading back to school in atlanta will now be required to wear masks at all times inside the classroom and their schools. we're live with the school board chair and why they're issuing that new mandate. but, first, my one on one with a belorussian op rigs leader fresh off of her meeting with top biden administration officials including secretary of state, tony blinken, what actions she's pushing the u.s. to take next. the u.s. to take next but my symptoms were keeping me from where i needed to be.
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leader svetlana tikhanovskaya is in the u.s. meeting with biden administration officials. her goal to build up support for those targeting those lukashenko. she challenged llukashenko's election running in place of her husband who planned to run before he was arrested. following the election, international observers described them as not transparent, free or fair. she was forced to flee to
lithuania. joining me now is vet lana tikhanovskaya. thank you for joining us once again. the biden administration early on said that they would be putting human rights and the defense of democracy at the center of their foreign policy. when it comes to belarus's case, do you believe that has been the case so far? >> absolutely. now in this struggle between democracy, belarus is on the front line. and of course, for the countries that widespread democratic failures, those countries should be rebuilt at a difficult time when we're fighting against regime, against violence and for human rights in our country. yeah. >> i know that you met with the secretary of state, tony blinken. you also met with the national security adviser jake sullivan. tell us about those meetings. what do you want to see the biden administration specifically do next and did
they commit to you that they would follow through on whatever they promised? >> i had more meetings in the state department and the white house. and i was surprised how involved officials are in this situation in belarus. of course i updated information about the situation in our country, about violence, escalaing of the violence by the regime. and i asked to put pressure on the regime with the help of sanction, stronger sanctions, to make regime answer to our calls for dialogue. and on the other hand, our people are suffering greatly on the ground and those who had to flee. and we need to increase assistance to those who are fighting on the ground, to mass media, to political prisons, of
course. and to attack this regime from these two sides. >> do you have any concerns at all that by increasing sanctions on president lukashenko, that it may only drive him closer to president putin, perhaps even make him more of an authoritarian domestically and make this situation worse for those inside fighting for freedom and democracy? >> no. lukashenko's relationship with the kremlin are already very close and the last step is loss of independence. but our independence is not for trade. our sovereignty is the greatest failure for our people and our people are ready to fight for it. and i warned the usa as the greatest democracy in the world to be the force that all the deals that signed between ex-president of belarus and any other country will be reviewed in the future because lukashenko
is illegitimate president of belarus. >> i know your husband's been jailed since may. do you have any contact with him? how is he doing? >> he's on his so-called trial at the moment. and we can communicate only through the lawyer, but he's keeping strong. he's wonderful, strong, intellectual person. and he understands that he's innocent, the same as all the other political prisoners. and they bravely fight even behind the bars. >> svetlana, tikhanovskaya, thank you for your time. we always appreciate it. thank you. >> thank you. and coming up, we are looking at covid inside the classroom, inside one major school district's decision to mandate masks in the fall and whether others should follow suit. you're watching "ayman mohyeldin reports". ching "ayman mohyeldin reports" when technology is easier to use... ♪ barriers don't stand a chance.
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welcome back, everyone. we continue to monitor the president's comments out of the white house. waiting for him to see if he does address situation either in cuba, air strikes in afghanistan or the january 6th select committee. we will bring you any updates from those comments as soon as we get them. meanwhile, speaking of the coronavirus, the delta variant continues to plague communities with largely unvaccinated populations, leaving officials scrambling to combat what's now a fourth wave of the pandemic. the impact of the delta variant is on full display in north carolina, where the state saw a
positivity rate of almost 9% on wednesday. that is up more than 500 cases from just the day before. particularly concerning for health officials there, 15% of infections over the past week were in kids 14 years and younger. a troubling sign with some kids in the state already back in school. joining me now from durham, north carolina, nbc news correspondent dasha burns. some alarming trends there. talk to us about what you're seeing there in durham. what our school administrators doing to try to keep school children safe, and how confident are officials that they'll be able to mitigate covid cases with these measures. >> reporter: yeah, ayman. this is coming at a really tough time for schools as they're trying to plan for the fall. here in durham, county, they have a year-round school option. so this school behind me and others in the country just welcomed back some kids this week amid this surge.
the governor made an announcement yesterday with new guidelines suggesting that elementary and middle schools require masks regardless of vaccination. he did say, though, that for high schools if people are vaccinated they can remove those masks. but those are strong recommendations, but ayman, you know at the end of the day, it will come down to the local and district level. it's not clear if or how the state is going to enforce those rules, especially in some of those districts where folks may be more resistant to masking. as you know, this has been a flash point at school boards across the country. but here in durham, durham public schools, actually took it a step further than the governor's recommendations and at this point they are requiring masks for high schools as well. so masking across the board at this point. they say it's because so many of those school-age kids are not yet eligible to get vaccinated. and at the same time, ayman, the vaccination rates for those who can get vaccinated the 12 to 17-year-olds are also low in the
state at just about 24%. and i talked to the county public health director about this, the rise in cases among kids and what they might be able to do to help get those vaccination rates up in those 12 to 17-year-olds. take a listen to what he had to say. >> i would say the clock is certainly ticking. as far as state trends, we know that the state is seeing a lot of infections in the 0 to 17-year-old age range. and those are our students. there's something to be said about incentivizing. if you want that backpack, hey, why don't you consider getting this vaccination. so, we certainly know that that is the sure fire way to make sure that families are safe, make sure the schools can go uninterrupted. >> reporter: and ayman, the message for the district as families prepare for the fall is that if a 12-year-old is vaccinated, they're helping protect those younger kids who are not yet eligible and hoping that families will take that into account, ayman.
>> very important conversation as the school year approaches. dasha burns in north carolina. thank you as always. just a few hours ago atlanta public schools announced that masks will be required for all students and staff when the school year begins on august 5th, regardless of vaccination status. covid testing and vaccines will continue to be offered to help mitigate the spread. joining me now are senior scholar at the johns hopkins and the chair of the atlanta board of education. tell us what pushed the board to make this decision to require masks for all when we're not seeing that directive come out from health officials in the country. >> ayman, thank you so much for having me. the administration's decision is rooted in science, it's rooted in recommendations that have come out from the american academy for pediatrics and the cdc. the cdc recommended earlier this
summer that students be vaccinated. and if they are not vaccinated that they wear masks. and they also had some exceptions to that. if vaccination rates are low and the trend in community spread is high, then masks should be required. and in georgia, we have low vaccination rates. 18 and under in atlanta public schools, our students are about 18% vaccinated for those who are eligible and our staff vaccination levels are relatively low at about 58% based on a recent survey. so, based on the fact that the delta variant is rampant here in georgia and across the country and the fact that the vaccination rates are pretty low with our students and staff, we felt that it was necessary no mandate masks at least at the start of this semester. >> have you gotten any pushback from families and parents when or since you made that decision
ahead of the school year so far? has it been welcomed? >> it's been mixed reaction. look, no one likes wearing masks. but atlanta public schools we're going to be doing it for the next few months to see where things go with the delta variant. and in the meantime, what we're going to be doing is encouraging our families, encouraging our staff to get vaccinated. that is the number one thing that we can do to protect ourselves against this virus is to get vaccinated. and atlanta public schools what we're going to be doing is holding vaccination drives. we have one coming up on july 31st for our back to school bash, but we're also partnering with fulton county public health department to have specific vaccination drives at each middle school and high school in our district starting on august 9th. >> doctor, should other large school districts consider doing what atlanta is doing right now regardless of vaccination rates
in their respective cities? >> what i think you're going to see is different school districts handling this based on local prevalence of infection, local levels of vaccination. but it's very clear that what we're seeing with the delta variant is an epidemic among the unvaccinated. i do think that when you're giving vaccine policy to students, i think you have to -- it has to reflect the fact that if you're fully vaccinated, the virus is going to treat you very differently. you should be treated differently by others. i wonder will this cause people who were wanting to get vaccinated children to not get vaccinated because now they still have to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status? that's the problem that we're having. for unvaccinated children, certainly in high risk areas where there is a lot of transmission, especially indoors, masks are going to be important to keep covid from disrupting the school year. but i think for the vaccinated students, i think we're in a good place based on the data we're seeing with our vaccines holding up really well against
the delta variant. >> doctor, i have a two parter for you. we know that vaccinations are the key to reducing cases. federal officials are urging all americans to get the shot, but the fda still has not given the vaccine or any vaccine full approval. when do you expect to see full fda approval, and should once they do get that full fda approval, should we mandate students and teachers to get it in the public school systems? >> full approval is likely imminent for the pfizer vaccine. they are being reviewed under what's called priority review by the fda. they just finally submitted all of that paperwork. you have to remember for a vaccine, you have to have six months of data to be able to get a full biological license. so that time has just elapsed. i do think this is going to happen on a sooner timeframe. it's hard to say exactly when in that six months it will happen. probably going to happen probably within the next couple of months i would assume for pfizer. i do think that this is going to push more organizations, more employers to mandate the vaccine as a condition of employment, a but i don't think that school
districts need to wait. we already have hospitals that have mandated the vaccine as a condition of employment. we have morgan stanley, mandating it as well. so i think that in school districts all around the country, at least for teachers, this should be something that they mandate irrespective whether there's full approval because they have legal grounds to do so. all teachers should be fully vaccinated. >> thank you for your time. greatly appreciate it, gentlemen. next, we're live in las vegas where the feds are deploying a covid s.w.a.t. team of sorts. their number one mission, as cases there rise. plus, on capitol hill, some top republicans publicly encouraging americans to get vaccinated after months of holding out. why is this happening now? that's why i started medhaul. citi launched the impact fund to invest in both women and entrepreneurs of color like me,
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covid testing as another wave of infections ticks up across the country. officials say the money will be directed to high-risk settings like prisons as well as homeless and domestic violence shelters. this as top white house health officials continue to sound the alarm about the delta variant. is more aggressive and much more transmissible than previouslyst. it is one of the most infectious respiratory viruses we know after and i have seen in my 20-year career. >> joining me now is heidi przybyla in las vegas for us. heidi, good to have you with us. i know you're there in nevada with halfier becerra. tell us what the administration's efforts look like on the ground there. >> reporter: ayman, federal officials have long warned about a second pandemic of the unvaccinated. and secretary becerra here today in las vegas told us that is exactly the moment that we are
in some of these surge communities. here in las vegas, where the vaccination rate of fully vaccinated individuals, ayman, is only at about 38%. and what is happening is what you would expect to be happening with those rates which is that hospitalizations are going up and so is the positivity rate. so this is where one of these largest federal surge teams is being deployed here in las vegas. earlier today, here in this fire house, these teams were organizing. they had a news conference. they are going to look different, secretary becerra told me in every single state depending on the needs of that state. here a lot of it will be disseminating accurate information about vaccines, logistical support, information. he said, look, we're willing to do anything, we're talking about potentially standing outside in and out burger stops and handing out flyers, but ayman, he was also really realistic about some of the significant obstacles that misinformation is presenting in this battle.
listen. >> what part of this do you think really is access versus people who are dead set against based on disinformation? >> so, we've been told that in efforts like this it's not uncommon to see 15, 20% of the population that just says, no. emphatically no. but we know that you can get beyond 80%. it's a tough climb starting from the two thirds to get beyond that. >> reporter: and ayman, the secretary had a pretty simple closing argument here today -- why would you want to die when you can take a vaccine, ayman? >> valid question indeed. heidi przybyla live in las vegas. thank you. today republican leaders like house minority whip steve scalise and marco rubio are amplifying their party's new provaccine message. watch. >> i would encourage people to get the vaccine. i have high confidence in it. i got it myself.
>> government has a role to play in encouraging people to get vaccinated. i've done that consistently from the very beginning. i think everyone who is eligible should be vaccinated. >> joining me now are senior reporter ben collins and white house reporter for the associated press jonathan lemire. jonathan, i'll start with you. why do you think we're seeing this sudden about face from republican leadership? why decide now to openly encourage people to get the vaccine? although you had senator rubio saying he's encouraging it from the start, it has not been the case for the broader gop and some of the other leaders. >> right. there have been some exceptions and to be fair, senate minority leader mcconnell has been on this from the beginning. he contracted polio as a child. he knows how important vaccines are. so he's been on it. but he's been a lonely voice on this and lot of republicans were either reluctant to talk about it at all or spectacle of the vaccine. it's not entirely clear what the shift is but it seems obvious
it's the delta variant and how contagious it is and where the delta variant is running rampant which is are unvaccinated pockets of the country in the south and west, rural areas that largely are republican areas, polling suggests it's republicans who are indeed spectacle of the vaccine, flat out refusing to take it. i think that the sheer danger imposed by the delta variant, how contagious it is forcing republican political leaders like steve scalise one and important conservative voices like sean hannity to say, look, this is serious now. this is really life or death. not that it wasn't before, mind you. but i think it's the urgency of the delta variant that changed their rhetoric. there are still very prominent conservative voices like tucker carlson who are still skeptical of the vaccine and still loudest republican voice of all, donald trump, his encouragement for the vaccine is sporadic. he does now finally in his speeches mention the importance of the vaccine, it's never been a full throated endorsement and
of course he took his own shot in private not on camera. >> yeah. so to jonathan's point, ben, at the same time, you know, at that press conference that steve scalise was encouraging vaccines, he and congresswoman elise stefanik made these comments i want to play for our viewers, watch. >> why is speaker pelosi actively fighting against it, to get the facts out. why is she trying to do the work of the chinese communist party in covering this up? >> the question is why are democrats stone walling our efforts to uncover the origin of the covid virus? >> so scalise also mentioned there have been the gain of function research which is something that senator rand paul has brought up while baselessly insinuating that dr. fauci somehow responsible for the covid virus. we should note that senator rand paul says he's asking the doj for a criminal referral against fauci. so in the broader context of the
conversation around the vaccine and covid-19, is this a good faith vaccine messaging campaign, or are party leaders still feeding into these conspiracy theories? >> it's absolutely not a good faith anything, but if there is some grim solace in this it might mean they are taking it serious enough to make it look like covid-19 is deadly for the first time, like very, very deadly and might be doing it as sort of round about way of attacking democrats through anti-fauci. for months the right wing blogs have been trying to insinuate that tony fauci somehow funded the lab in wuhan and that lab in wuhan was responsible for the coronavirus. so, they are trying to say that this is some -- they're trying to insinuate some elaborate global plot. this is an old time-y kind of global conspiracy that they're trying to now pin on anthony
fauci. he is the new hillary clinton lock him up sort of guy in these -- in the far right ecosystem. but like i said again, if that's the sort of thing that gets people to pay attention to how serious this virus is, in a very weird way it might be helpful for messaging. >> hey, jonathan, is the white house -- is there any indication that the white house is changing its strategy or wants to change its strategy given the spikes that we're seeing play out with the delta variant and other growing variants? >> well, first i should clarify that ben and i are not appearing in the same place despite our uniformed brick wall. that was well coordinated by all involved today. the white house, of course, is nervously watching the delta variant. and there has been discussions, we and other places have reported this week, about the mask mandate. now, white house officials categorize these are very preliminary, certainly very routine, of course we heard from jen psaki today, you would be concerned if they weren't talking about these sort of
things. that's what she says, these meetings are exhaustive and go through every option. so far certainly no national guidance about masks. that would come from the cdc. the white house says they're not involved and the cdc has not shift what had they think people who are vaccinated should do in terms of masks they're not requiring that. we're seeing local jurisdictions like los angeles county do so. so the white house is watching these numbers. and they're not ruling anything out, of course. and they're trying right now, they're saying the solution wear the masks, of course, vaccines and doing everything they can to get the vaccines into shots of arms people who have been reluctant to take them and that means olivia rodrigo on instagram ads and remark from the white house podium and local, granular approach, local doctors, church, civic groups whatever it takes to get people who have not taken the shots to do so. they certainly don't mind that some of these prominent republican voices are now chiming in. but, they know how important this is and they're fearful this virus could remain spreading rampant for months to go.
>> jonathan lemire, ben collins shoutout to brick wall studios around the world. thank you, guys. appreciate it. coming up, the biden administration is slapping new sanctions on cuban officials today. who they're targeting as we take a deeper look inside the country's fight for freedom. you're watching "ayman mohyeldin reports." an mohyeldin reports. ink they look good, man. mm, smooth. uh, they are a little tight. like, too tight? might just need to break 'em in a little bit. you don't want 'em too loose. for those who were born to ride there's progressive. with 24/7 roadside assistance. -okay. think i'm gonna wear these home. -excellent choice. since suzie's got goals, she'll want a plan to reach them. so she'll get some help from fidelity, and she'll feel so good about her plan, she can focus on living it. that's the planning effect, from fidelity. this past year has felt like
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which lets her earn extra membership rewards points on purchases for her business. now she's the office mvp. get the card built for business. by american express. today the biden administration issued new sanctions targeting the cuban minister of defense and the special brigades for human rights abuses and their crackdown on historic anti-government protests. this as cuba begins sentencing
protesters and activists vo fd in the sweeping demonstrations that happened only ten days ago. marco rubio joined my colleague andrea mitchell just before sanctions were announced. here is a part of his reaction. >> this will be welcome. i think it's additional pressure especially if it begins to filter down to sort of the mid levels of the security forces. at the end of the day the key here is to go after the loyalty and the confidence of those in the security apparatus in cuba. is it enough? no. there other things that need to be done including a diplomatic surge. joining me is ed augustine and the anchor of nbc's weekend nightly news and host of the new special "cuba's fight for freedom" which airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. ed, let's start with you. first of all, it's been a few hours since that announcement. what's the reactions to the ground on cuba?
>> reporter: well, it's important to know most people living in cuba are against generalized u.s. sanctions which undermines their living standards, reduces the amount of food and medicine and petroleum as we saw under trump, that the state gets. in the end it's not the top government official that is suffer. i think people are relieved these sanctions aren't damaging the well-being of cuban citizens. the head of the cuban armed forces has been sanctioned as have the cuban special brigades who are involved in policing or oppressing the protests we saw sunday. it's worth pointing out, though, the biden administration has not pointed to a specific interdent that justifies sanctioning the forces. the army were present during that day, but there was one
confirmed death the day after the protests. it's not clear whether it was the police or army involved. some security analysts say it's strange the head of the armed forces is being sanctioned when not one death has been attributed to the armed forces including during the protests. what marco rubio says, it is going to be very difficult for the united states to drive a wedge between the army and the government because of all states in latin america, this is one of the states where there is the closest allegiance between the army and the states. it's going to take an awful lot of time and preservation and pressure to be able to drive a wedge. >> jose, let's talk about the mobilization efforts that are taking place in miami. a lot of connections between south florida and what is taking place in cuba. what's the reaction been like to the sanctions and the broader movement we're seeing play out in cuba? >> first, ayman, i would like to say it would be very easy to determine the responsibility of
the armed forces or the paramilitary groups and the hundreds of detainees that are nowhere to be found. all you'd have to do is go ask the people that are desperately screaming for information about their loved ones that have been detained. some have been tortured. one, at least, has lost his or her life. this is a pretty common occurrence in cuba. there are at least 500 people detained after the 11th of july for going out in the streets and asking for freedom. so that's one thing. the other thing is i think these sanctions against the minister of defense or the armed forces is a very strong statement by the biden administration as to the fact that they are watching what is going on in cuba. and in 62 years we haven't seen -- 62 years of
dictatorship, we haven't seen this many people come out in the streets knowing full well that the act of asking for freedom peacefully could cost them their personal freedom. we haven't seen that in 62 years. so i think that what president biden did today in saying we're watching and we're seeing that you are violating people's human rights by the hundreds. >> right. >> is a very strong statement. >> so tell us, jose, real quick what you're hearing from the cubans on the front lines fighting for change. does the help from the americans hurt their cause inside cuba or does it help them? do you see the government cracking down further, or does it give breathing space? >> no. i think the cuban people are asking for freedom and they're asking for change. this idea we have tonight on this special on nbc news now, we speak to the author of a song
which in cuba you've been going to jail if you sing it or you ask for it. and that's common knowledge. and he talks about how for 60 years the cuban people have been told about the enemy, the enemy is the united states. they're coming to invade. and he says that what's happening now is that people are finally able to turn that curtain back and see that the real enemy is not miles away. the enemy of the cuban people is right inside cuba. and it's sitting in the halls of power. >> all right, live for us on the ground in havana, cuba. and be sure to catch the special program "cuba's fight for freedom" streaming only on nbc news now. jose will have an in-depth look at the fight for change inside cuba including some very special interviews with some of the activists on the front lines. that wraps up the hour for me.
i'll see you back here tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. claire mccaskill on "deadline white house" right after this quick break. right after this quick break. ♪ when technology is easier to use... ♪ barriers don't stand a chance. ♪ that's why we'll stop at nothing to deliver our technology as-a-service. ♪ before we talk about tax-smart investing, what's new? -audrey's expecting... -twins! to deliver our technology as-a-service. ♪♪ we'd be closer to the twins. change in plans. at fidelity, a change in plans is always part of the plan. - [narrator] every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft condition. in the us, children are healed at birth. but in parts of the world where the right medical care doesn't exist, children like lexi struggle to speak or eat.
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hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in the east. i'm claire mccaskill in for nicolle wallace. more fallout from speaker pelosi's refusal to give in to the republican party's attempt to turn the investigation into january 6th into a farce strongly pushing back against complaints that the january 6 select committee will now be a partisan exercise in light of pelosi vetoing two of the house gop leaders' appointments and mccarthy pulling all of his picks in response to pelosi's veto. >> given how divided the country is at this point, do you risk what the committee finds with yo