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The Lead with Jake Tapper

At Least 4 Dead, 159 People Unaccounted For In Condo Collapse; Sen. Jason Pizzo, (D-FL) Is Interviewed About Condo Collapse In Miami- Dade; Republicans Rip Biden's Demand Of "Tandem" Infrastructure Bills; Biden Welcomes Afghan President Ashraf Ghani To White House; DOJ Sues Georgia Over It's New Election Law; Pentagon Releases Unclassified Report On Mysterious UFO Sightings. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 25, 2021 - 17:00   ET



RODNEY FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: And around the world black, white, brown, we all need to come together, take our butts to the Senate, stand out there and demand this George Floyd Act be passed. And also, as well as (INAUDIBLE) passed pass. We need to stand there and put pressure on the Senate.

You know, and then I was thinking last night, guys, honestly, we heard Obama say this many times, get out and vote. We hear so many folks say get out of vote. Everybody got out vote and marched in the streets and we got changed. We got our first black president.

A lot of people came together like they did now in my brother's death, and we got this. But guess what, people, we need to take that same energy and bring that back to the Senate and demand them pass a bill. Because as we've seen, we've seen Trump numerous times stand up, first person on camera, numerous has come this time because he did not have the power that we thought he had to get something done. He had to call the Senate and we need to get out there, understand that message.

Go to the Senate, put press on the Senate and get these bills and laws passed for all of us to stand out and what is the American flag as one. And we, as black kids need to know, this American flag represents us, that we feel it all.

BEN CRUMP, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: Thank you, Rodney. And as we bring his cousin Shareeduh.

Yes, please understand, this is only one step in getting accountability in the criminal level. The federal charges are still pending. So I do believe that with Philonise and Terrence and Rodney, say the maximum, it is still attainable to get maximum accountability for George Floyd.

Maximum accountability for George floor. Maximum accountability for George Floyd. Maximum accountability for George Floyd. Maximum accountability for George Floyd.

Maximum accountability for George Floyd. Maximum accountability for George Floyd. Maximum accountability for George Floyd.

Now, you will hear from his cousin Shareeduh Tate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, Shareeduh.

SHAREEDUH TATE, GEORGE FLOYD'S COUSIN: Hello, everybody. I won't spend a whole lot of time sort of reiterating what my family has already said. I think they have spoke very eloquently about how we dealt with this last year and our thought processes as it relates to the amount of time that Derek Chauvin was given.

Truth be told, I don't think any sentence would be enough, because what truly would be justice for would be for us to be able to have George back. But with that being said, I just like to take this time to thank the countless number of people that have been supportive of us since the very beginning.

I remember when we first came here, and we were talking about, you know, the sentence and the trial and what potentially the outcome would be. And as we sat through the trial, and watch the murder over and over again, and came back with the three convictions, then we all waited and waited for this day.

I will have to say that we didn't get what we wanted. We definitely wanted to see the maximum penalty. But however, as they've already stated, we do have the federal ahead of us, and we are hoping that we can get some real accountability with him getting a life sentence.

And lastly, I just want to speak on the Policing Act. You know, we've had it partially before the Senate. And I would just say what echo what everyone else has said, we need this past immediately, we need to really have some true accountability across the board. Thank you.

CRUMP: And finally, before we take a few of your questions, we have his cousin Tera Brown from Houston, Texas.

TERA BROWN, GEORGE FLOYD'S COUSIN: I just want to say, you know, my family has spoken a lot about everything that we we've gone through since we started this journey. And I will tell you it definitely has been a journey for us.

And as a family, we decided that we were committed to two things for sure. We wanted to make sure that we got some measure of justice for George, and for the countless other families who have lost loved ones in the way that we did.

And the other thing is that we were committed to making sure that we forced the change that we want to see and create this legacy that will live on forever.

Just want to say thank you to everybody who has supported us throughout this journey, especially the protesters and the activists who have been nonstop and relentless and they've helped us get to this point.

[17:05:00] And the other thing is, we want to say that this bill needs to get passed. And I want to make sure that we don't stop just with this bill. But it's important that you hold your state elected officials accountable to that as well.

We also looking at the local level where they're making change even in our city where we're from in Houston. There has been some changes already.

Our Mayor Sylvester Turner has, you know, ban chokehold, and you know, we have -- qualified immunity is on the table. So, we are keeping active and we want to make sure that you stay in the fight. Please keep fighting. Thank you.

CRUMP: Thank you, Tera.

And finally, our national leader, Reverend Al Sharpton.

REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: We're going to open up to questions for the family and all of us.

Let me say this, so you're clear. If there is conviction in the federal trial, and he is convicted, and the other three, that federal time can run after the 22 and a half year.


SHARPTON: It does not have to run concurrent, which is why we're saying that we still want full justice.


SHARPTON: Secondly, when we talk about the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, we know the difference Senate between two slices of bread and a sandwich. A sandwich has meat between the two slices of bread.

Don't come down with a compromise that is two slices of bread with no meat in the middle. Don't put George Floyd's name, a strong man, on a weak bill. Make sure that you talk to those in the family and those of us involved in the struggle before you make any compromise.

The difference between a compromise and a sellout is in the eye of the appraiser. And we will be part of the appraiser.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A question for the family. Derek Chauvin -- yes, Derek Chauvin --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a question with regard to the family, they have likely (ph) told question to one family members whomever would like to answer it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. What's the question?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do have this news conference in June, last June, Attorney General Ellison issued a clarion call to the arts and entertainment community to take the mantle in seeking justice. Any one of the family members can answer why that might be important to them or why it might not?

CRUMP: I'll just say entertainers and art. Philonise will attempt to answer your question, but we want to invite other families who are here who have lost loved ones due to police brutality to also come forward.

Mr. Floyd, can you answer that question?

We may answer that question on the side for you.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a question about the case, sir.

CRUMP: OK. Question about the case. And Attorney Spam (ph), where are the other families?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shade (ph) in court, Derek Chauvin offered condolences --

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, you've been listening to members of the Floyd family as well as their attorney speaking after Derek Chauvin was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd.

You heard them thank the community for their support. And you repeatedly heard them urging Congress to pass what's called the George Floyd Policing Act.

Let's go back to CNN's Omar Jimenez outside the courtroom in Minneapolis.

And Omar, one of the questions I wanted to ask you earlier is what was the response to the 22 and a half year sentence from the activists that were outside the courtroom when you were there, because we've heard mixed things from -- even from the lawyers and family members. Some of the family members saying 22 and a half years was not enough, given the fact that they felt like they have a life sentence in a way, a life sentence without George Floyd. And others pointing out that this is the harshest sentence ever handed down against a police officer in the state of Minnesota and therefore something of a victory. What was the response where you were?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's exactly that. It was a mixed bag, particularly from people who were directly tied to this, like I spoke to Justin Blake, Jacob Blake's uncle, of course, remember he was shot in Kenosha, and others who have just been in the Minneapolis community who were hoping not just for 22 and a half years, they were hoping at the very least for what prosecutors wanted, which was 30 years.

And then beyond that, there were many, they were hoping, of course, for the maximum statutory sentence of 40 years. So that one was always little bit less likely because of Chauvin's lack of criminal history.


And so, again, the resounding feeling on the ground here is that there is still more work to be done. This is not a satisfactory feeling for many people in regards to the overall fight for justice.

The one thing people do seem to agree on is that they are glad Derek Chauvin was sentenced to at least a significant amount of time. I mean, to use the words of Brandon Williams, who's a nephew of George Floyd. He said that today is not a celebration.

You celebrate the fact that Derek Chauvin was sentence, but overall, you do not celebrate this day. Because, again, it is a significant amount for a police officer mainly because of how rare these convictions for officers actually are. And they cited other examples like what we saw in Chicago when the officer was convicted for shooting and killing Laquan McDonald.

So again, what you were saying coming to me is a very mixed bag as people leave this courtroom area. But at the very least they are happy that a conviction -- or excuse me, a sentencing has come down greater than the sentencing guidelines lay out.

I should also point out as well, as many had mentioned, we still have multiple federal trials set to play out not just for Derek Chauvin, but the other officers in this. For Chauvin, in particular, his arraignment is set for mid-September, at which point he could face additional time. But again, today, mixed feelings on that 22 and a half year sentence handed out by the judge.

TAPPER: All right, Omar Jimenez in Minneapolis, thanks so much.

In addition, of course to the judicial aspect of this all, there is the public policy part you heard many members of George Floyd's family talking about the need to pass in the U.S. Senate the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This passed the House of Representatives in March of this year, it would seek to combat the excessive use of force by police in various ways, including direct bans on the use of chokeholds and the use of no knock warrants.

Moments ago, President Joe Biden was asked about the Derek Chauvin sentence during an Oval Office meeting with the president of Afghanistan.

CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us now live.

So Phil, what did President Biden have to say?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jake, and you know this is -- that police reform bill critical component to President Biden's agenda. The President has formed, official says, a very genuine and real relationship with the family as he stayed very closely in touch with this case over the course of the last year or so. And he was asked about what the sentencing -- what the sentencing number, his reaction to it. You noted he was in a meeting with the president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, and said he wasn't aware of it beforehand. A reporter told him what the actual sentence was, this was his response.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- about what's happened. How long has he been sentenced?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-two and a half years.

BIDEN: Well, I don't know all the circumstances that are considered, but it seems to me under the guidelines has seemed to be appropriate.


MATTINGLY: The President saying, it seemed to be appropriate, but also making very clear that he didn't know all of the circumstances that went into it. We'll have to see if the White House says anything later. Officials weren't clear if that was going to happen earlier today.

But of course, you heard the families talk about that critical component of the President's agenda. There's no question about it. However, the President feels about the sentencing once he gets the full information on that agenda item where negotiators before leaving town said they had reached an agreement on a framework, still something the White House and the President personally want to see on his desk sooner rather than later, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Phil Mattingly at the White House.

There is of course other breaking news today. Rescue teams risking their lives among the twisted steel and smoldering rubble, desperately searching for 159 people still missing after that shocking building collapse in Florida. A live update on that search is coming up.



TAPPER: Breaking international lead, the urgent and occasionally dangerous search for survivors in the condo collapse in Sunrise, Florida continues, at least four people have been confirmed dead. And a staggering 159 people still unaccounted for. Their loved ones anxiously waiting in the wings, holding out hope for survival.

CNN's Natasha Chen and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are live for us in Surfside, Florida, right outside Miami Beach. Let's start with Natasha who has the latest on the search and rescue efforts.

And Natasha, we know the search and rescue crews were able to hear sounds coming from the rubble overnight. But concerns are growing as every hour passes.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, Jake, they said that this morning. But in the latest press conference this afternoon, there was no mention of whether there were more sounds being heard throughout the day coming from the rubble.

And if you're a family of a loved one, and you're waiting for news, that can be incredibly disheartening. The families have been meeting at a reunification center, not at this site. One of them Pablo Rodriguez, talk to my colleague, Nick Valencia, about the fact that his mother and grandmother were living in that condo building and are still missing.


PABLO RODRIGUEZ, MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER ARE MISSING: Given the (ph) first hour that went down, so, we're not very hopeful until we actually have official information. We're trying to hold on some (INAUDIBLE). We came down to do the DNA just to be able to do something.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And if you do get to see your grandma and mom again, what would you tell them?

RODRIGUEZ: I don't know, because that hurts. I love them, they I love them. I was always -- we were always very close. That's the hardest part.


CHEN: We've been seeing more search and rescue teams coming through this media staging area. They're working in shifts around the clock with special technology sonar, special cameras, and it really is exhausting for them. This is a laborious effort that has been going on since the collapse happened.

We are a couple of blocks away from the building. And you can just see in the distance, it's hard to tell, but it's very hazy over there. It's a combination of things. It's smoke coming from the fires that have started on site. It's also, you know, the dust from the debris that's coming up.


So, a lot of very difficult conditions there especially as storms have rolled through the area today. This is after all South Florida in the summer. So they've dealt with weather conditions.

The federal government is also sending some experts down here to investigate whether there's a need for further inspection, further investigation that could perhaps impact building codes. There are a lot of questions on how this possibly could have happened.

Now, there's a class action lawsuit accusing the condo association of failing to safeguard and secure the lives and property of those condo unit owners, Jake. TAPPER: Natasha, has anyone been found yet today dead or alive? And is there any hope that there still might be survivors?

CHEN: There can always be hope, right. But there has not been new information about people found since this morning. So, as far as we know, still four confirmed dead and just an unbelievable number, like you mentioned, 159 people unaccounted for who supposedly live at this building. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Natasha Chen, thanks so much.

CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta is also on the scene right now and joins us.

Sanjay, obviously, the clock is ticking to find survivors. What are the chances that the search and rescue crews can still find people alive?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, yes, hate to say it because it's such grim news. But it's obviously becoming increasingly unlikely. I mean, if you look across the board at earthquakes, for example, or even other building collapses, most survivors, most successful rescue missions occur within the first 24 hours.

There have been obviously stories after earthquakes, there was a study looking at earthquakes, 18 of them over about 20 years. And, you know, you do sometimes find long term survivors. But it's becoming, you know, increasingly unlikely, Jake, you know.

This type of collapse, the nature of it makes it less likely that people would have these voids, that you've been hearing so much about, a pocket where someone could have air, not have suffered catastrophic injuries and possibly survived. But we're coming up on 40 hours now, Jake. So, unfortunately, it's becoming less and less likely.

TAPPER: And you have, sadly, learned some grim details today about the efforts to identify the victims.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, you know, I talked to the medical examiner, and there was a couple things that I thought were crucially important. You know, right now, at the reunification centers, this is the topic of conversation is we may not be able to identify people within the rubble with normal sort of meanings. So, people are providing distinguishing characteristics, tattoos, orthopedic implants, dental records, they're obviously going to look at fingerprints, they're providing DNA and things like that.

We know three of the four people who have disease that Natasha were just talking about have been identified, but one person has not been able to be identified. So you get an idea of just how significant obviously some of these injuries are. But that's sort of what they're dealing with, we know that one person did make it to the hospital, one of the four, but then subsequently died as well. So, that's sort of the nature of things now, Jake. TAPPER: This was a violent collapse. People describe the building as pancaking down. What types of injuries have the people who survived this collapse? What have they suffered?

GUPTA: Well, it's mainly these types of what we call crush injuries, where you have rubble that, you know, is crushing a limb, pinning the limb, something like that.

I talked to Dr. Howard Lieberman, they have trauma surgeons who come and are part of the search and rescue missions so they can actually care for people maybe on site. And I want to explain that.

But listen to how Dr. Lieberman put it.


DR. HOWARD LIEBERMAN, MIAMI-DADE FIRE RESCUE URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE: We're always hoping we're going to, you know, turn over something and find someone, you know, buried if they're alive.

GUPTA: For people who have been rescued, what sorts of injuries have been seen?

LIEBERMAN: Yes. So mainly, it's been crushed injuries, orthopedic injuries. You know, I'm sure you've seen pictures of the building kind of pancaked on itself. So, I know a lot of people just heavy debris getting pinned.


GUPTA: One of the things they may have to do, Jake, as a result of that, sometimes within the field, they may have to perform amputations in order to actually extricate somebody.

But it's also not as simple as just lifting the rubble off of somebody, if in fact they have been crushed or pinned as Dr. Lieberman was talking about. The muscle, the tissue underneath that crush injury that has died. And once you lift the pressure off, those toxins in that area can go into the rest of the body and cause a severe reaction.

So, sometimes you have to give an IV ahead of time, flush the body with fluids. There's all these considerations.

Jake, I wish we were having the ability to talk more about those types of things, but they haven't happened, really, as Natasha mentioned, really none of those types of rescues today at least.


TAPPER: Search and rescue process, obviously, taking a long time. It's a delicate process. And one of the things I think a lot of people don't understand, it's very dangerous potentially for the rescuers.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, you know, you've seen the images of the building, it's over my left shoulder here. The integrity of the rest of the building is still you know, it's questionable. You have debris that is falling out -- falling on these search and rescuers as they're moving through. They're working for 15 minutes at a time.

I don't know if you can see the haze behind me, to smoke. Part of the reason they're only working 15 minutes at a time, they're carrying 80 pounds of equipment, but they're also breathing in a lot of these fumes. So, there's all these things that potentially putting them at risk as well. You obviously have potential sewage leaks of power lines, all these different things.

So, they've done this before Jake, some of the rescuers and some of the trauma docs, I've actually met them before in Haiti, when we're down in Haiti, when they were doing similar sort of work down there, they know how to do this. But it makes it no easier because it's challenging, it's potentially risky. And they got to find that risk reward sort of balance here in terms of how much they continue to do this, putting themselves at risk, while trying to actually carry out these rescues.

TAPPER: Just a grim story there. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much for your time and expertise as always.

Let me now bring in Democratic Florida State Senator Jason Pizzo. He represents this state Senate district, he joins us.

Thank you so much for joining us.

Describe what you're seeing at the scene, some of the conversations you've had with people whose loved ones remain missing.

STATE SEN. JASON PIZZO (D-FL): Thanks for having me on Jake.

The past couple of days, I've been visiting the actual scene close up on the southeastern portion, as well as the northern portion. And there's family members behind this camera right now that keep going back and forth, as well as behind us and on the beach side, where there's access. They just want to get to the scene, they just want to be able to start feeling rubble themselves.

So there's a consideration obviously, about the safety and the remaining structure that sits to the south. But it's just -- it's absolute desperation, it's devastation, it's still being called search and rescue.

But when each minute passes, and the family members see that you just have a pancake number of layers of floor slabs on top of each other compacted so tightly it seems like an action. It seems like that no one's listening. And there's absolute despair. And they just want to see some sort of movement.

TAPPER: Is there any word right now at all, as to what may have caused this? It's obviously a catastrophic structural failure. And I can imagine people living in the area, wondering if there's a risk to them, if there was similar issues in other buildings. What are you telling your constituents? PIZZO: We tell our constituents is, obviously, there was some structural failure. We have a very high water table here. We are ground zero for climate change and sea level rise. We have pervasive flooding through this area as well.

This building was built in 1981. You know, to be candid with you, I think construction quality and inspections were a little less, you know, under less scrutiny than they are today. So, it looks like in just the way that it fell and the shearing off of the building, it looks like it concaved, you know, into a central area. That could be a subsurface issue.

The concern obviously, not only for this building, but there's a neighboring, ancestor building just a couple of buildings north built at the same time, same developer, same subcontractor, same exact land. So the immediate attention is going to be to neighboring buildings as well as buildings built in around that time.

And it's really incumbent upon us in the state legislator -- legislature to change the laws as relates to when these buildings get recertified. In Florida, it's a 40 year recertification process. All these unit owners had just been assessed to make necessary repairs based on the 40 years.

TAPPER: So, just to bring people up to speed who aren't familiar, after Hurricane Andrew, which was in 1992, building codes in South Florida went through a massive overhaul. And as you note, Jason, this condo was built in '81. A survey conducted in the early '90s found signs of this building sinking. We obviously still don't know the cause of collapse. But should all buildings in the area built before the 1992 hurricane get inspected again you think?

PIZZO: That's what I'm going to be pushing for and making structures around it and subsurface around it also be a critical part of the recertification process especially ones that are exposed like this.

I'm a condo heavy district, I have 560,000 constituents and I stretch all the way from South Beach and Miami Beach all the way up to the Broward County line, the four and a half million condos in Florida, but these are uniquely situated and obviously susceptible to disaster like this.

TAPPER: Have you spoken with Governor DeSantis about it? Any sort of long term plan to assist the individuals there who are displaced, not to mention those whose loved ones remain missing. Not to mention, of course, the families of the four people who are dead confirmed.


PIZZO: I have directly yesterday and you know, his office keeps reaching out, what can we do, what can we do? And I said, finally, this morning, I gave him a heads up, the laws are going to change. And whenever they said, whatever you need, whatever you need. So, there is sort of a hierarchical system here. You know, you got FEMA that does individual assistance to survivors and those that are lost on the state level, we have logistics, they pay overtime, the city itself will be responsible for making, you know, engineering decisions as well as the county on inspections.

So, there are a lot a lot of chiefs, you know, behind us and, you know, the bureaucracy. We tried to get through it yesterday, what the order of things were going to be. So the mayor of Miami-Dade County signs, a local state of emergency followed nearly eight minutes later, I think by the governor, and obviously President Biden was actually first to chime in and say whatever we need, just get it to us.

So, the outpouring of support has been overwhelming. But Jake, the really strange thing about this is there's it's not malicious, there's no it's not terrorism. It's not -- it's just sad and the outpouring of support has been overwhelming.

TAPPER: Yes. It is very sad. Democratic Florida State Senator Jason Pizzo, thank you so much. Please stay in touch with us. Let us know if there's something you need you that your constituents need that you're not getting and we will help you shine a light on it.

PIZZO: Thank you Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up next, why some Republicans feel as though President Biden gave them the old bait and switch on an infrastructure deal. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, some Republicans who worked on the bipartisan infrastructure deal are today saying that they are angry and some seem to be wavering after striking a deal with President Biden on the price tag and scope of the deal. They were upset. They say to later see President Biden say it will actually cost Congress trillions and trillions of dollars more on a separate budget deal. One that needs only Democratic support to get his signature on the bipartisan infrastructure package.

As The New York Times Jim Tankersley put it, President Biden seems to be trying to have it both ways, progressive and the bipartisan at the risk of getting neither if it all falls apart.

Let's go to CNN's Phil Mattingly at the White House. Phil, what is the White House saying about these Republicans pushing back?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jake it was never a secret that the President was operating on two paths, the bipartisan path and that Democrat only effort to get the remainder of his $4 trillion agenda. What stunned Republican negotiators who were in the White House just a few hours prior signing off on that bipartisan agreement was that the President said he wouldn't sign that bipartisan agreement unless the other bill was also on his desk that set off a roller coaster of the next 24 hours.

The five Republicans who had agreed to the deal, wavering ended up convening a call with the five Democrats that were in the room as well, to try and address the issue and White House officials I'm told had been working carefully. And assiduously over the course of the last several hours to try and walk the President's comments back a little bit.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, not repeating what the President had said regarding not signing the bill. During her press conference today, the President himself holding a phone call private phone call with Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the lead Democratic negotiator, where that was I'm told part of the effort as well to reassure senators that the dual track process was still in play.

Right now, the White House planning not to talk about the process or the sequence going forward instead, talk about the merits of the bill. There seems to be some recognition that this was significantly problematic. Several Republicans, I was told from advisors over the course of the day we're considering bolting from the deal altogether. The White House now trying to ensure that doesn't happen we'll have to keep a close eye on this over the course of the next several days.

TAPPER: Phil, the President also had a very important meeting with the president of Afghanistan today.

MATTINGLY: A critical meeting obviously with U.S. troops about to pull out in a situation in the country itself that is by all accounts deteriorating.



MATTINGLY (voice-over): The consequences of a decision 19 years in the making staring President Biden directly in the eye.

BIDEN: Afghans are going to have to decide their future what they want.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani sitting down with Biden planning to plead for assistance on several fronts. As U.S. troops continue to stream out of his country. It was a pledge Biden made and delivered on in his opening months in office.

BIDEN: I'm now the fourth United States President to preside over American true presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But since the decision, Taliban offensives have surged across the country, and despite those 19 years of U.S. money and training, local military and police forces are on the brink. So much, that the new U.S. Intel assessment found the Afghan government could fail in just six months after a full U.S. departure, according to The Wall Street Journal. Thrusting renewed urgency to save the thousands of Afghans who worked for the U.S. government and are now being targeted by the Taliban.

REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA): The bottom line is we need to evacuate these folks. We need to evacuate it today. MATTINGLY (voice-over): With time rapidly running out, calls are growing from both sides of the aisle to evacuate these allies to a safe place while they wait for their visas to be approved. Biden making this pledge.

BIDEN: Those who vote this, are not going to be left behind.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): It's an issue Biden was set to bring up with Ghani for their sit down, adding yet another layer of complexity, even as the U.S. continues to pledge support.


BIDEN: The partnership between Afghanistan and United States is not ending. It's going to be sustained.


MATTINGLY: I think I know you've been paying as close attention to this issue as anyone. Here are the details we know up to this point about the Special Immigrant Visas. Right now, the administration is planning for a select group of individuals that are already in the Special Immigrant Visas visa process to be evacuated before all U.S. troops pull out to a third country as they finish that process. The third country, that is still unknown, the number of individuals that will entail still unknown as well. A lot of details still to be filled in with the administration starting to address the concerns you've heard by lawmakers.

TAPPER: Yes, but we need numbers and we need plans. Phil Mattingly at the White House, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

The Department of Justice announcing today it is suing Georgia over its new voting law, are essentially accusing the law of being racist in intent. That's next.



TAPPER: In our politics lead today, a striking announcement by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland today surrounded by his top deputies, Garland announced the new Justice Department lawsuit today against the state of Georgia specifically alleging that the state's new election laws deny or limit voting rights for black Georgians.

Let's bring in CNN's Evan Perez. Evan, Georgia was not the only state to enact new voting restrictions. Why is the Justice Department targeting Georgia with this lawsuit?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I think what you heard from the Attorney General, certainly what he indicated when I asked him about this, he said that they're looking at the laws that are passed in other states as well. So, this may be an opening salvo. Georgia, of course, was one of the first of the states to tackle this issue. They passed a law that according to the Justice Department, has restricted voting, particularly for African-Americans.

And so, they say that this is a violation of Section II of the Voting Rights Act. Georgia Republicans, of course have pushed back on this, Jake, they say that this is been essentially mischaracterized by Democrats.

Listen to Brian Kemp, the governor just a little while ago.


GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): The lawsuit announced today is legally and constitutionally dead wrong. Their false and baseless accusations are quite honestly disgusting. They don't care about the truth. For Stacey Abrams, the far left and now sadly, the Department of Justice. It is about forcing their extreme agenda, literally on every state in the country.


PEREZ: And, Jake, we also heard from the attorney -- we also heard today from the Attorney General that the Justice Department is set up a task force looking at the security issues, threats, especially that are being directed at elections officials around the country, the FBI and prosecutors around the country are going to be looking at this issue going forward, as well as looking at past threats at election officials.

TAPPER: Evan, we also learned today that in New York, the Trump Organization could face charges in the very near future. What charges are we expecting?

PEREZ: Yes, these could be criminal charges, Jake. The Manhattan DA has now informed the Trump Organization that there there's a possibility of bringing criminal charges according to our Kara Scannell, that could happen as soon as next week. And this has to do with benefits that the company has provided to some of its employees, according to some of our reporting. They -- the allegation is that they avoided payroll taxes on some of these benefits, which includes rent free apartments and cars. Again, this is something we're keeping an eye on for the next week or so.

TAPPER: All right, Evan Perez, thank you so much. Let's discuss with my panel and Carrie Cordero, as Evan noted, the Trump Organization charges would like likely avoid the organization having avoided paying payroll taxes by compensating employees by other means and not acknowledging that is that is that what I'm to understand?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think that's what it sounds like that they're looking at the organization in particular for those reasons. But I have to say from a prosecutorial perspective, they should just be bringing the charges. Is sort of you know, we're kind of getting these dribs and drabs of what they might do and what they, you know, might not do. And perhaps that is intended that public messaging is intended to influence individuals who they still are hoping will provide more information or cooperate in some way. But it gets to the point where if they've been conducting this investigation for a while, either bring the charges or don't. But usually prosecutor should be speaking through their indictments.

TAPPER: And Abby, former Vice President Mike Pence spoke again last night. And he seems to be trying to like pitch himself to voters as like Trump, but without the insurrection, without the election lie. And he's trying to distance himself to what Trump was pushing him to do. Take a listen.


MIKE PENCE, FMR VICE PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: There are those in our party who believe that in my position as presiding officer over the joint session that I possess the authority to reject or return electoral votes. Truth is, there's almost no idea more on American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.


TAPPER: But, you know, Pence in Georgia, we should know that -- we should know was talking about how he was there campaigning for the people running in the Georgia runoff. And he talked about he was going to go back and January 6, and they would like check out the evidence. I mean, he kind of gave ammo to the big lie. He really -- he's trying to reinvent his role here it seems.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He gave credence to the big lie up until the very moment when he had to act on it. He chose not to act on it. So, he gets some credit for that. But I think that overall, Pence has been trying to walk this line where he's not offending Trump, but also not wanting to go so far as to try to throw out an entire election based off of flagrant lies and conspiracy theories at the same time.


I mean, you have to wonder, what exactly is he doing here? I think he has a belief that there are Republicans who want, you know, just the Trump policies and the Trump ideas, but not Trump and the conspiracies. I think, the base of the Republican Party, they're OK with the Trump conspiracies, too. And I think Pence is going to find that there's probably a lot more Republicans in the activist space, especially, who want him to be on Trump's side, when it comes to some of these conspiracies around the election. And that kind of thing that we just heard there just not going to cut it.

TAPPER: Actually, when you look at the race between Liz Cheney and Elise Stefanik, for House Conference --


TAPPER: -- Liz Cheney is Trump policies more than Stefanik, but Stefanik the conspiracies and the lies and she went out. Carrie, one of the insurrectionists, a woman named Anna Morgan-Lloyd, she's the first person to be prosecuted for the capital attack. She was apologetic at her sentencing.

Take a listen. Well, I'm sorry --


ANNA MORGAN-LLOYD, DEFENDANT: Where I was at, we see nobody damage anything. People were very polite. And there was no, nobody was breaking anything. And it was calm enough that people were actually walking out of the Capitol building that worked there.


TAPPER: So that's -- that is her talking to Laura Ingraham on Fox, basically saying like, nobody was damaging anything. People were polite, et cetera. But in her sentencing, she said that she felt ashamed that something meant to show support for the President had turned violent. Once again, we see them saying one thing in court and saying another thing publicly.

How does this work? I mean, our judges allowed to say, wait a second, you can't, you know, accept these misdemeanor charges a lighter sentence and acknowledge it was violence, but then go on Fox and pretend to -- pretend it was peaceful.

CORDERO: Well, the judges aren't going to police what people say on television, they're not under oath, as we know, people are not under oath when they're on TV. And they have a different story to tell sometimes when they are in court, under oath, in front of a judge when their liberty and their, you know, potential consequences are at play.

So, I think the -- what we can look to is what did she say in quarter one of the consequences of that? I don't think that judges are going to be looking at what people are saying publicly unless it's in the context of they haven't yet made their decision and someone, you know, says something one morning and then comes into the courtroom that afternoon and says it. But if it's after the sentencing has taken place, it's not going to happen.

TAPPER: It's funny though it's very typical. Go to the courtroom, acknowledge the facts go on Fox --

PHILLIP: And face --

TAPPER: -- give the lie.

PHILLIP: -- (INAUDIBLE) different, because Fox is a place where they traffic in this sort of downplaying of the January 6 insurrection, and you're seeing a lot of these defendants kind of playing the court of public opinion in some ways on cable television, maybe even through their attorneys on TV, trying to sort of ingratiate themselves with a certain portion of the population. We'll see if that makes a difference for them in the court of law. TAPPER: Abby Philip and Carrie Cordero, great to see both of you and if you didn't get enough Abby Phillip just now, you can catch her this weekend and every weekend on "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" at 8:00 a.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

Coming up, are they here? Are they not? The U.S. government finally, finally releasing its long awaited report on unidentified flying objects? What do they have to say? Are we going to be meeting aliens anytime soon? Stay with us.



TAPPER: And today, out of this world lead, the Pentagon finally released its much anticipated report on UFOs or what the Pentagon calls unidentified Aerial Phenomenon.

Let's bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon. So Oren, what's the verdict? What's out there?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, I hate to disappoint those who are looking for confirmation of aliens or extraterrestrials. But the report written by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Pentagon does not use the word aliens or extraterrestrials. Nor does it present any evidence that these observations of UFOs or UAPs, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are from outside of this world.

Unfortunately, the report doesn't offer much detail beyond that. In fact, the chair of the Senate Intel Committee said it was rather inconclusive in terms of what it does put forward. The authors of the report and the team behind this looked at 144 different instances and observed -- observations of UAPs. And in all those cases, they were only able to identify one with any high level of confidence as a deflated balloon. That being said, they are sure that these are actual physical objects, because in 80 of these cases, there were multiple sensors picking up these objects, some of them even moving against the wind appearing to move in some sort of force or having some sort of propulsion system.

So there are a lot of questions about what was observed. But the report says there wasn't a lot of data available with the right kinds of sensors to get enough information to say definitively. Yes, it's this, no, isn't this. The report does conclude it was not a foreign adversary. But, Jake, it requires a lot more investigation to figure out what this is. That being said the Pentagon is taking it seriously. It's saying it's possible this is a national security issue and a danger to flight.

TAPPER: All right, so bottom line, the truth is out there but we still don't know what it is. Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

[18:00:02] Sunday morning, be sure to watch "STATE AT THE UNION." I will be talking exclusively to Utah's Republican Senator Mitt Romney and the Senior Advisor to President Biden, Cedric Richmond will also join me. It's at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern on Sunday.

Our coverage continues now with one (ph) Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." I'll see you Sunday morning.