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Don Lemon Tonight

U.S. To Help Afghan Translators And Their Families; Texas Governor Greg Abbott Tested Positive For COVID And Taking Monoclonal Antibodies; Afghan Driver Plea For Help; Taliban Use Force Against Afghans Trying To Flee Kabul; President Biden Expected To Make Announcement About Boosters Tomorrow. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 17, 2021 - 22:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): Well, we do. "DON LEMON TONIGHT" with its big star, D. Lemon right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Those are good questions. And wait till you meet the truck driver. The Afghani -- the afghani truck driver who now lives here in the United States, and is completely worried about his family back home, trying to get them here to the United States.

In 2014, the Taliban killed his brother. They burned his home recently, he says. You're going to hear from him as he is on the road as a truck driver, took the job here in America, as a truck driver, because he says he wanted to see this country, the land of the free, the home of the brave.

In the land of the free tonight, as well, we have people who are doing everything they can to try to keep this virus in the headlines and in people's bodies and spreading among other people.

You did the story on the Texas governor. Now he has COVID. And if it's such a mild case, and let's hope it is, why is he taking this experimental treatment that the former president took when he was --


CUOMO: Monoclonal antibodies.

LEMON: Monoclonal antibodies.

CUOMO: From Regeneron.

LEMON: When he was in dire strait.

CUOMO: Because it works.

LEMON: Because it works.

CUOMO: That's why.

LEMON: And so, but he's telling people don't wear masks. And you know, it's your freedom, you can, whatever. It is. But it is not your freedom to put other people in jeopardy, which is what he did last night at that Republican meeting.

And then you have Florida, thousands of students who are now in quarantine, and young people now getting the virus and the governor there telling people, no mask mandate! I don't know where we are right now, as you said. I have no idea why we have gotten to this place, well, I have some idea. I just don't understand it.

CUOMO: Well look, I mean --

LEMON: I don't understand it. It doesn't make sense, Chris.

CUOMO: There is nothing political about a virus. And yet, every time we show you guys numbers about who is anti-mask, who is anti-vaccine, who is anti this, the numbers are always lopsided. And it's getting better, especially with the vaccines, but when it comes to masks and mask mandates, --


CUOMO: I mean, you make it sound like somebody is trying to put an iron, you know, an iron helmet on your head.


CUOMO: You know, you're trying to sell up your kid's mouth for the rest of their lives.

LEMON: Well, can we look at it like this? I put on my sunglasses because I want to protect my eyes from the sun. I put on the mask because I want to protect my nose and my body from breathing something in that's not good for me. It's the same thing. I saw this guy, this video of this guy, you know, in New York City, talking about, really, going after this woman on a train, saying take off your mask on the subway.

CUOMO: Yes. I believe in freedom.

LEMON: I believe in freedom.


CUOMO: I can't believe --

LEMON: She is free to put on her face whatever the hell she wants!

CUOMO: I know. I can't believe, in a New York City subway, that that guy didn't get tuned up, by the way. I'm glad he didn't and I know that wouldn't be the best of us. But I got to tell you.

LEMON: He might have been if I was on there. I'm not kidding.

CUOMO: I was getting for the Tobe Nwigwe song, "Try Jesus." Have you ever heard that song?

LEMON: Try Jesus, don't try me.

CUOMO: Because I throw hands.

LEMON: Yes. I throw hands, but I might, as I always say, play lotto, don't blame me. I've got to go.

CUOMO: We're in a bad place, bro.

LEMON: We are in a bad place, but I think we can get out of it. It's going to be up to people like me and you. We have a platform, we can talk about it, we can try to move people in the right direction, give them the facts every night, with passion and with love and with grace, as you do every night. I love you. I'll see you soon.

CUOMO: I love you, D. Lemon.

LEMON: Thank you, brother.


You know, it is a little after 10 here in New York. Just after sunrise, though, in Kabul, where the world is watching as the United States is desperately trying to get more people out of Afghanistan. Afghanistan now under Taliban control.

Some 11,000 Americans still in that country, thousands and thousands of Afghans who aided Americans are fighting to escape amid urgent fears for their safety.

And I want you to pay close attention, because I'm going to show you a photo, terribly disturbing. But this is what's happening in Afghanistan. Here it is, it's a photographer for the Los Angeles Times, capturing this horrifying scene, a man cradling a child with ability forehead. People beaten in the streets near the airport.

Now we don't know why the Taliban attacked the crowd and we don't know how badly they were injured, not much details behind this picture. But this is what Kabul looks like now, armed fighters in the streets of the city, brandishing weapons in broad daylight. But what you don't see, take a good look, hardly any women.

CNN's Clarissa Ward is on the ground in Afghanistan, where she has seen men buying burkas to try to protect the women in their families, now too afraid to be seen on the streets.

That is happening as billions and billions of dollars in weapons fall into the hands of the Taliban. They seized and flew one of the Afghan Air Force's Soviet era helicopters at the airport at Herat, that's according to the New York Times. It's not clear whether Taliban fighters knew how to fly the chopper or were using pilots who switch sides.


And experts were saying any helicopters that are undamaged could only be flown by skilled pilots. And according to the Times social media footage are showing that the Taliban have captured at least 24 of the Afghan Air Forces roughly 200 aircrafts since May including U.S. supplied helicopters.


UNKNOWN: But how this to the billions of dollars -- of dollars' worth of weaponry that the U.S. gave Afghanistan? Does that U.S. have refund (Ph) for that or does it remains in the Taliban?

JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We don't have a complete picture, obviously, of every article of defense materials has gone, but certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban, and obviously we don't have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport.


LEMON (on camera): Yes. That is that the White House, and President Joe Biden is back at the White House tonight, as well, as his administration is struggling to contain the fall out. A senior White House official telling CNN there is no second guessing of the president's strategy but admitting, quote, "our confidence is being competence is being questioned."

But I want you to listen to this extent. It's between CNN's Clarissa ward and Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby when she asked him for assurances that the Afghans that she is talking to who worked with Americans will be able to get out of the country and safely.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To most Afghan people that I'm talking to, John, that's going to sound like hollow promises. Can I have your word? These people are depending on you, they are depending on America. Their lives are at threat.

They have given everything to work with America to rebuild this country, and now they are asking simply for an assurance that they will not be cast aside, they will not be abandoned, that America will step up and take responsibility for the lives that are in its care at the moment.

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Clarissa, there is nothing hollow about the obligation that we know we have to these Afghans who so bravely helped us over the last 20 years. Believe me, nobody in the United States government, more than the Pentagon understands that obligation to these individuals.

And I said before, we will continue to do whatever we can to get help them get out of the country in concert with our State Department colleagues. We are absolutely committed to that and we are going to stay, and we are going to do it for as long as we possibly can up until the end of the month, certainly that's when the mission ends. We are going to continue to work on that very, very hard.


LEMON (on camera): And in the face of all that, the blame game goes on. Even though as I have said before, there is plenty of blame to go around for what is happening now in Afghanistan, plenty of it.

Republicans who supported the withdrawal under the previous president now blaming President Biden, even though it was the Trump administration that began the process of negotiating with the Taliban. I'll say it again. It was the Trump administration that began the process of negotiating with the Taliban. It was the then president, the former guy, who secretly planned to meet with the Taliban at Camp David right before the anniversary of 9/11. It was the former guy who signed a peace treaty with the Taliban.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We had a very good conversation with the leader of the Taliban today, and they're looking to get this ended and we are looking to get it ended. I think we all have a very common interest.


LEMON (on camera): OK, just, Danny, can you please replay that, director? Thank you.


TRUMP: We had a very good conversation with the leader of the Taliban today, and they're looking to get this ended and we are looking to get it ended. I think we all have a very common interest.


LEMON (on camera): Thank you very much. Those are the facts. Another fact, the former guy who bragged about his phone call with the man who now leads the Taliban in Afghanistan, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar who was released from prison at the request of the Trump administration.


TRUMP: And I'll be meeting personally with Taliban leaders in the not too distant future. And it will be very much hoping that they will be doing what they say they are going to be doing, they will be killing terrorists. They will be killing some very bad people, and will keep that fight going.


LEMON (on camera): The former guy who is secretary of state met with Baradar last fall. I guess they expect you to forget all that of that, right? They just want you to forget all about that.

And while the world is watching the horror of Afghanistan, COVID raging here at home, even though we have all the vaccine we could possibly need, even though we could be protecting children who are too young to be vaccinated, simply by wearing masks.

Instead, people like Governor Ron DeSantis putting politics ahead of people's lives, ahead of children's live. The state's board of education taking new steps tonight toward punishing Broward County for preparing to start school tomorrow with a mask mandate.


That as Florida is opening a monoclonal antibody treatment center in Orlando. While in Texas, the governor there, Greg Abbott, who issued, who has issued an executive order banning school districts from requiring masks, has himself tested positive for COVID-19.

He is isolated in the governor's mansion and is not currently experiencing any symptoms, we are told. But he is being treated with Regeneron's monoclonal antibody treatment. So, for those of you who are concerned about putting things in your body that you're not so sure about, yet, Regeneron.

Put it up, Danny. This was him, the governor, at a crowded indoor event at a Republican club meeting the governor attended just last night, maskless.

Governor Abbott fully vaccinated. He's been refusing mask mandates. He apparently refused to follow the CDC guidelines for indoor mask wearing in areas of high transmission because there he is maskless at this event. And now he has COVID. And he could have spread it to others because he is maskless. He is lucky he is vaccinated because it stems the severity of the disease. Too many are not.

Boy, you cannot make this up. The governor has been actively preventing other officials from mandating masks that could stop infection and stop the spread. So, think about it. Like I said before, this virus has no politics. The science is very clear. Get vaccinated. Mask up.

A former translator and interpreter for the U.S. military trying desperately to save his family still in Afghanistan. His message tonight for President Biden as his homeland descends into chaos.


JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The United States made an extraordinary sacrifice in Afghanistan. Two thousand four hundred forty-eight Americans lost their lives in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of Americans were injured in the war in Afghanistan over 20 years trying to help that country stand up and being able to defend itself.




LEMON (on camera): Thousands and thousands of Americans, as well as Afghans who helped American forces over the last 20 years are fighting to escape Afghanistan tonight. That includes the family of Srosh. He is a former translator and interpreter for the U.S. military who came to this country as a refugee six years ago. Srosh is joining us from Lordsburg, New Mexico because he now works

here in the U.S. as a truck driver and is out on his route. And we are very grateful to him that he stopped along the way to speak with us. Thank you, Srosh. I appreciate you joining us.

SROSH, FAMILY TRAPPED AND HIDING IN KABUL: Thank you, sir. Thank you for having me here. And I appreciate it, man.

LEMON: Absolutely. So, Srosh, your family is desperately trying to flee Afghanistan but are very afraid of the Taliban. Who is still there -- who is still there and what are they telling you what it's like for them right now?

SROSH: So, everything is messed up. After Americans left Afghanistan and slowly -- not slowly but like fast they took over all the cities and the towns. As soon as they entered to the towns, they start burning the cities, the businesses and capturing the people, especially the people who served with the U.S. military in Afghanistan as a translator, as a worker.

So, anybody that have access to the American bases, so they basically Taliban is -- I call them zombies. They're not Taliban, they're not humans. They're brainwashed zombies trying to destroy humanity.

LEMON: Yes. You say they're burning family's homes now but the Taliban killed your brother, Srosh, back in 2013, burned your family's home just a few days ago.


LEMON: Is this all because you helped U.S. forces?

SROSH: Yes, yes. Back in 2014 when I was there, I used to work as a translator. So, they came close to my house and they shot my brother in the face. They thought this is the real guy. They looked for me but unfortunately my brother got out.

I lost my brother because of -- because of working with American. And I still have my family down there. They -- as soon as they captured Maharshi (Ph) they burn my entire house and my family flew to Kabul and they hide in a house there that I rent for them and they don't have -- they don't have choice.

I mean, where they should go, they took entire Afghanistan and the Taliban is those people -- those creatures try to destroy the humanity. And I am afraid of my family down there that if I'm not going to take them out from there, I don't want to see another -- another my brother die in front of my family, in front of me, that I -- still, my heart is burning from the one. I don't want to lose another brother.

I lost a lot of brother, American brothers, which I become friend the next day I saw his dead body in front line when I was, you know, used to work with the U.S. military, especially with the marines. But I don't want to see anymore. I'm tired of this war. I grow up in war. I never saw freedom. [22:20:08]

LEMON: Speaking of your family, I got to ask you, has your family tried to get to the airport in Kabul so that they could be evacuated by U.S. forces?

SROSH: Yes. They went to Kabul airport, tried to get into the American base, which is next to the Kabul airport but they couldn't make the go in. So, I told them please don't go there because the situation is -- you saw the scenes. And every -- the entire world saw the scenes. It's totally, like a disaster. So, I told them to stay calm at home.

I think soon I'm going to take them out as soon as possible, maybe tomorrow by take a bus or something to get them out from there as soon as possible. I don't have choice. I don't want to tell to the media right now where I'm going to take them, but I am going to take them out and bring them to one of the U.S. embassies.

I want from -- because I help American down there in battlefield, and now I need help. I need help as soon as possible. I desperately need help. And I'm sure the American people will help me a lot. My friends are helping me to get my family out, my marine friends, my army friends. I'm always thankful from the bottom of my heart, they help me out. Still they help me over here.

So, I want them to get them out as soon as possible to one of the U.S. embassies. And I know the U.S. embassy and I want them to bring my family in safe place. No matter what, where, I want them to take them out. Because I'm not in a situation that I could describe, but I'm so worried, sir.

LEMON: It's heart breaking to listen to you. I can't imagine the worry and the concern that you have for your family. I mentioned that you were working as a truck driver, Srosh.

SROSH: Yes, sir.

LEMON: What's life been like for you in America?

SROSH: America, the good thing about America is this island of free, this is land of the free speech. This is whatever you want to do, you can do it. Like anything you want to do, you can do it. You can become engineer, doctor. You can become truck driver like me, go and watch the scenery of this beauty country. This is the good thing about this country.

You can walk middle of the night and no one will tell you where you're going to go. This is the important of this country. That's why I want those kids, my niece and nephews, which is over there and waiting for me, and they told me on the phone I want to come over there and I want to go to the park you show me in the picture. And those kids deserve to be here. I don't care. I promised those kids, my niece and nephews, I promised them that I'm going to bring them over here.

LEMON: Well, listen, I appreciate your passion, and I can understand the vigor with which you speak and the venom that you have for the Taliban, which you call zombies. It's understandable. And I am just so grateful that you spoke to us tonight and I wish you the best with your family.

SROSH: Thank you, sir.

LEMON: And please keep in touch and let us know. Thank you, Srosh.

SROSH: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. It's really nice to meet you, sir. I'm proud that today I talked with you, sir.

LEMON: Good man there. What's happening to Srosh and his family, just one story of many in the crisis -- in this crisis in Afghanistan. For more information about how you can help, make sure you go to

Now, as I was just reporting, a scramble to get out of Afghanistan as Taliban fighters take over Kabul, the U.S. trying to evacuate Americans and Afghan civilians desperate to escape. Will they get safer passage?



LEMON (on camera): President Biden returning to the White House tonight from Camp David as top administration officials defends the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan amid the collapse of the government and the Taliban's return to power.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan says the U.S. is in talks with the Taliban to allow safe passage for Americans and Afghans who helped America during the long war to leave the country.

A lot to discuss with William Cohen, the former defense secretary. Good to see you, secretary.

I wish it was under better circumstances but I'm glad to have you here and get your perspective and expertise.

I just spoke to Srosh. Srosh is a former translator and interpreter for the U.S., came to this country as a refugee six years ago. He has so much faith in this country. He believes America is going to help him because he helped America. Should the people still in Afghanistan right now that helped us, should they still have faith that we'll keep our word to get folks out?

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, they certainly have hope. The question is do we have faith in America ourselves? Are we willing to live up to what we represent to Srosh and to the many thousands of people and millions of people around the world?


Earlier in your program you asked what will be the impact, what are people thinking about the United States at this point? Well, they're dismayed. They're dismayed that not that we made the wrong decision, President Biden, he made a decision that three other presidents promised but never carried out.

So, he made a decision but it was very poorly and badly executed to be sure. But they're dismayed that we had either poor intelligence or poor execution or poor planning. And they're dismayed that this poor planning is now being politicized and weaponized by those on the right who want to prevent people like your truck driver, Srosh, from staying in America, from bringing his family because they're brown people, they're Muslims, they're not real Americans in the potential to come to this country and make it better than it is.

And so, they're also dismayed. Think about this, eight months ago we had a mob, a violent mob stormed the U.S. capitol. That dismayed the world. And when so many people, so many people on Capitol Hill refused to condemn it and allowed the former president of the United States to be the insurrectionist in chief, the person who helped almost topple the American government.

So, I think they're dismayed about America and that's one reason why as soon as we can fulfill our promise to the Afghan people, we've got to get back home to the United States and take care of the divisions here, the divisions on race, on ethnicity, on disease.

Because we're allowing an enemy to destroy 600,000 people in this country and you have Americans who are unwilling to lift a finger, to hold up a mask in their face or take a needle in the arm when they're asking people in our military to go over there and die for their freedom.

So, I think we've got a lot to care of in this country. And I think that President Biden did the right thing because the American people, 70 percent said we want out. He said OK, I'm going to get them out. He didn't do it the way he had planned. I think he has to be held accountable for it and those in his administration have to answer the question what did they know, when did they know, and upon whom did they rely and was it reliable?

And you have to stand up and say we made a mistake relying on this information. We made a mistake also when this country when our own FBI and intelligence community didn't tell us the mob was going to storm Capitol Hill and try and hang the vice president of the United States are, kill the speaker of the house.

So, we didn't enough intelligence to forewarn the Capitol Hill police except, you know, checks from the FBI director to say you better look out this mob is getting bigger than we planned.

LEMON: You just preached a sermon there, secretary. That's why we had you on. Thank you for those words.

I want to -- look, let me just warn the folks at home, it's very disturbing what we're going to put up now, this is the picture, all right, disturbing. This is the L.A. Times reporting the Taliban beat people to control a crowd outside the airport using whips, sticks and gunfire to clear the street.

At the same time, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan is saying that the Taliban has committed to providing safe passage for civilians looking to flee. Is there any reason to believe that of the Taliban right now?

COHEN: Based on past experience, the answer is no. But I wouldn't be pleading with the Taliban. I would tell them you're going to give us enough time to get the people out who supported us and we're prepared to breach this agreement, if necessary.

And frankly, I would ask President Biden to call upon those critics on Capitol Hill and say we need to get those people out, are you with me to help the people who saved your freedom in this country? Are you with me enough to support the next decision I might have to make it's to say we're going to extend the deadline?

We may have to put more people, more of our military in to get out the Afghani people who helped us. Are you with me? Are you going to take another vote and go on TV and then criticize for bringing brown and Muslim people into America, the people who we dependent upon to help us?

So, I think he could make that call and ask the leaders of the Republican Party and those who are -- and the Democratic Party as well, any of them who are now critical of bringing Muslims into this country, the ones who helped us. I'd say will you support us or not? If you're not and it fails, don't blame me, I'm asking you for your help.

And don't politicize it by going on television and just saying these people are unworthy of saving their lives. They were worthy enough to fight with us, worthy enough for us to risk our men and women who have fought and won every battle on the ground. And we have to continue to praise.

And they did not act in vain. They kept us safe for 20 years. They prevented another 9/11 for 20 years. And yes, we put a trillion dollars into defending ourselves but what did 9/11 cost our economy when it happened? Far more than a trillion dollars. Ten times more than I'd be willing to wait.


So, just let's look at it from a broader perspective, open the lens up a little wider and see where we are now and how we move forward. And still make the American -- make America the home of the brave and free.

I think that your prior guest said everything that we represent to the world and we need to have all of us, Republicans and Democrats, measure up to that.

LEMON: The president is back at the White House tonight, secretary, after being at Camp David. And until today he hadn't spoken with any allies, even though the fall of Kabul happened on Sunday. He has now spoken with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. What do you think of his handling of this as commander in chief? COHEN: Well, I'm mystified. I know Joe Biden, President Biden. I liked

him and I voted for him and I hope that he would bring a level of seriousness and reason and competence to government. He has done that in terms of dealing with COVID, the disease that's killing so many of us. He has done that by trying to put together an infrastructure bill. He has not done that in terms of planning for the evacuation of our refugees.

And so, he can be faulted for that based on what information, I don't know. But I think Congress will find out about that soon enough. But in the meantime, let's find out how we keep our promise. Let's find out how we rescue people. Let's find out how we don't allow people to scramble for their lives and get caught up in the belly of an aircraft and the wheelbase of an aircraft and fall from the skies. Those are the kind of promises that we have made that we protect people. We have an obligation. We've got to carry it out.

LEMON: Secretary, thank you. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

COHEN: My pleasure.

LEMON: Texas Governor Greg Abbott testing positive for COVID the day after he was at a crowded event maskless. Now he's isolating at the governor's mansion getting a monoclonal antibody treatment.



LEMON (on camera): Texas Governor Greg Abbott testing positive for COVID-19 the day after, well, look at this, he spoke in a packed room full of unmasked people. The governor says he has no symptoms.

So, let's get right to CNN analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner. Dr. Reiner, thank you so much for this.

OK, I want to pop up this video again, Abbott's event last night. It's in a high-transmission county in Texas. Just to remind everyone, the CDC recommends people wear masks in public, indoor settings, and areas with high transmission, even if they're vaccinated.

Listen, no one wants anybody to become positive with COVID, but after all, he is the governor of the state and has a responsibility to set an example for the people in his state. Does this prove exactly why mask mandates are actually a good idea?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Right. So, you know, you can't find a mask in that crowd. And what that turns out to be now last night in Texas is a super spreader event. The governor of Texas positive today was almost certainly infectious and contagious last night.

I think his behavior is astonishingly hypocritical. So, he would deny school districts in Texas the ability to protect our most vulnerable citizens now who are our kids, who are all unvaccinated, all kids under 12 are unvaccinated. He would deny them the protection of ensuring that all the kids are masked, while instead, cloaking himself in the protection of daily testing.

He said today that he is tested every single day, which makes no sense. Until you realize that he also was treated with monoclonal antibodies, though he says he no symptoms. Actually, the drug is not approved for people who are asymptomatic.

So, basically, what the governor was doing was testing himself every single day so that at the earliest sign that he could be affected, he would avail himself of this $1,500 per dose drug, a strategy unavailable to the average American or the average Texan. What an elitist, hypocritical display by that governor.

LEMON: And speaking of hypocritical, let me just disabuse some people of the notion that this event indoors, no masks, that it is -- that it can compared to outdoor events or events where people have to show their vaccination, proof of vaccination and many are wearing masks, either or.

So, it's not the same thing. So, stop comparing it to events. I hear people saying what about this event and this event there? Not the same thing. Indoor event, no proof of vaccination in a place where he is saying you don't -- you shouldn't wear masks, there shouldn't be mask mandates. Where he is not actually -- where he's been encouraging people recently to get vaccines but telling them it's their freedom, it's their liberty, they don't have to do it.

These are not comparable things. So, please, stop it. Don't even send your --

REINER: Right.

LEMON: -- social media posts or whatever you want to send.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been pushing this treatment that you're talking about saying that they reduce the hospital admissions. But Dr. Reiner, so do vaccines, which the governor does support and masks which he does not.

REINER: And so do masks.

LEMON: Yes. The antibodies cost thousands of dollars. Would that make any sense to you at all?

REINER: You know, think of it this way. The most effective mask for the public would be KN95 masks. They're about $1 apiece.


So, for the cost of one dose for monoclonal antibodies for somebody who is infected and symptomatic, you can buy 1,500 KN95 masks. So, think about that. You can provide masks for entire schools, the masks last for an extended period of time, the most cost-effective strategy is not to treat them with these expensive drugs and hope the drugs do their job but to prevent infection in the first place by masking everybody up by promoting vaccines, by masking people up, by limiting the size of crowds in some places.

These are the kinds of strategies that we know work. You can stand on politics or you could just follow the science. And the governors of Florida and Texas are really doing a disservice to their constituents.

LEMON: Doctor, the president is expected to make an announcement about boosters tomorrow. It was breaking news here on this program last night. We spoke last night when it broke that his administration is considering making the general population eligible for a third shot eight months after their second shot. Now we're learning that they've got data on waning -- excuse me -- waning, I should say, immunity among vaccinated folks. So, what are you expecting to hear?

REINER: I expect him to say that after a period of several months, the neutralizing antibody levels start to drop. I think they're going to say that that's in part the reason for some of these breakthrough infections that we've been -- we've been seeing and that there is data from the vaccine manufacturers that show that you can substantially boost the titers, really dramatically booster the titers when you add a third drug.

You know, reducing illness is important. If you reduce the number of people who are getting sick, you'll also start to reduce the number of people who are transmitting the virus. So, I think it's a worthwhile endeavor to boost the country.

I think they've struggled to explain exactly why they need to do this. Some of the European countries are already boosting. We know obviously that Israel is boosting, everyone over the age of 50 and working their way through the entire population. So, I expect that they'll set up the rational tomorrow by explaining the data that the CDC has acquired, the sort of stumbling towards the right answer.

But eventually, starting in a couple of weeks, once you get eight months past your second dose, if you've had two dose mRNA regimen, you'll be eligible for a third dose and I think that's a good idea.


REINER: And for those people who are concerned about, you know, worldwide equity, I share your concerns but this country can do both.


REINER: We can -- we can maximize health in this country and we can be the providers of vaccine for the world as well. We can do both.

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate our nightly house call. Thank you, sir.

REINER: Thanks for having me, Don.

LEMON: So, right wing personality is using the crisis in Afghanistan to push an anti-refugee sentiment. And Fox propaganda network host Tucker Carlson going so far as to blame Taliban gains on gender studies.



LEMON (on camera): OK, so take this. Some of the GOP and on the right wing propaganda network embracing the Taliban's takeover in Afghanistan as a moment to espouse xenophobic views or take a trip into the political grievance gutter. Like Congresswoman Lauren Boebert who tweeted, the Taliban are the only people building back better. What a twisted and failed joke based on President Biden's campaign slogan.

There's nothing better about the repressive and historically deadly rule of the Taliban. You just heard from a translator whose family is trying to escape the country. They fear for their leaves, nothing to joke about.

On the Fox propaganda network there is already a push to question who should be let into the U.S. Listen to this.


LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS: Is it really our responsibility to welcome thousands of potentially unvetted refugees from Afghanistan. All day we heard phrases like, we promised them. Well, who did? Did you?


LEMON (on camera): Lord. Lord, lord, lord. The anti-refugee sentiment almost as strong as the anti-fact sentiment on that network. Tucker Carlson seemingly offering the most outlandish reasons for how the Taliban gained control.


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: Since Kabul has just fallen it might be worth asking the most obvious question of all -- why did the Taliban win? How did that happen? What's the answer? We had to pause to think about that. Let's not blow past it like it was the act of God. It's not. What is the answer?

Well, countries are very complicated, all of them so there are likely many answers but one of those answers may be that the population of Afghanistan has firmly rejected what our leaders were selling it over 20 years. It turns out that the people of Afghanistan don't actually want gender studies symposium. They didn't actually buy the idea that men can become pregnant. They thought that was ridiculous.


LEMON (on camera): Ridiculous! Forget the facts. Forget nuance. Forget the decades long geopolitical struggle. It's the gender -- it's the gender studies. It's a question -- is it the gender studies?

[22:55:04] Meanwhile, experts fear that the Taliban will reverse decades of progress for all people in Afghanistan. Come on, people. Let's be adults about this.

I want to make sure you know about this. We Love New York, the homecoming concert. Make sure you join me for this once in a -- I should say, join us for this once in a lifetime concert event. It's this Saturday starting at 5 p.m. exclusively on CNN.

Thousands of U.S. and Afghan citizens trying to flee Kabul as Taliban fighters tighten their grip on Afghanistan. The Biden administration is saying it's doing everything it can to ramp up evacuations.



LEMON (on camera): President Biden returning to the White House tonight from Camp David earlier than planned as top administration officials try to contain the fallout from the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the collapse of the government and the Taliban returning to power in Kabul.