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Plane Evacuated At NY La Guardia Airport After Security Incident; U.S. COVID Cases, Hospitalizations And Deaths Dropping; Former Trump Aide Served Subpoena After Struggle To Find Him; Gen. McChrystal On Leadership & Biggest "Risk" Facing U.S.; Afghan Refugees Starting Over In America. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired October 09, 2021 - 18:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I am Pamela Brown in Washington. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Saturday. And we begin this hour with breaking news.

A passenger aboard American Airline -- American Eagle, rather, flight is in custody tonight after forcing an emergency landing at LaGuardia Airport in New York.


BROWN: One person aboard the flight says as soon as the plane came to a halt, the pilots and the flight attendants began shouting for everyone to evacuate.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is gathering all the latest information on this breaking news. What have you learned -- Polo.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, that was Republic Airways jet that was operating as American Flight 4817, service from Indianapolis here to New York City mainly to LaGuardia Airport this afternoon. That flight landed at about at its scheduled time at 3:00 p.m. But in those pictures, Pamela, you could see that that landing was anything, but routine.

According to Port Authority, towards the end of the flight, passengers reported a fellow passenger that was apparently acting erratic at some point, even possibly reaching for his luggage.

Now, as we see these pictures that were taken from the tarmac, it's important to remember that at this point, it's still unclear as to whether that person that is seen on the ground is in fact that passenger. We are also not aware of any possible criminal charges that have been filed. It is still very early in this investigation.

But here is some of the other information that we know at this point. Passengers telling investigators that they noticed the passenger in question reach for his luggage towards the end of that flight. The flight crew then relayed that information to authorities on the ground, which then deployed a massive police and fire presence on the ground. If you were around the airport, you probably saw what was happening a

couple of hours ago, and it was immediately after landing safely at LaGuardia that the airline confirmed for CNN that their crew exited that active runway onto a taxiway in order for those passengers to evacuate as a precaution. The whole goal here was for authorities to then board the aircraft clear and make sure that there was no potential threat onboard.

The airline also confirming that all 76 passengers and all of their four crew members are uninjured. Obviously, from the looks of the video, they are probably a little shaken, but otherwise okay.

Authorities right now, do hoping to obviously speak to those folks who were close to that passenger. We also understand, according to Republic Airways, that that passenger in question is detained right now by authorities as they try to find a little bit more about what happened. We hope that there will be a lot of questions that will be answered obviously here very soon, Pamela.

The big focus for authorities was obviously just to try to make sure that everybody is okay, that this incident came to a quick and safe and obviously, this is coming after the F.A.A. has reported an increase in unruly passengers in-flight, but still too soon to say what the circumstances around this particular incident.

But again, some good and positive news to report here after what was probably some scary moments in-flight, that airplane able to land safely here in New York City at LaGuardia, and all passengers and crew okay at this hour.

BROWN: All right. I know you'll keep us updated. Polo Sandoval, thank you.

Well, COVID-19 cases are down, optimism is up. More signs tonight that our country is pulling out of its worst health crisis in more than a century. That is no small thing.

Here are our numbers giving us hope. The U.S. is now averaging fewer than 100,000 new infections a day, the lowest since August. Since September. The number of people hospitalized with severe COVID symptoms has plunged by more than 30 percent, and as those numbers have fallen, deaths are starting to decline as well.

And a potential game changer for many parents of young children. F.D.A. advisers meet later this month to discuss emergency use authorization for a vaccine for five to 11-year-olds. That means their shots could be just weeks away, but not in time for Halloween unfortunately.

I want to bring in CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He has written a new book called "World War C: Lessons from the COVID- 19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One."

Sanjay, great to see you on a Saturday.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You, too, Pamela. BROWN: Thanks for joining us today.

GUPTA: Of course.

BROWN: How did you find the time -- I'm asking the question that I know everyone watching this segment is wondering, how did you find the time to write this? And what inspired you to do so?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I mean, the fact is, I think over the last two years nearly, Pam, I've been so immersed in COVID. You know, I mean, this is -- I think I heard just the other day, just a few days' worth of reporting, you know, and I just have all these notes when you're doing television as you know, you take in about 20 times as much information as you get to put out, right, in a few minutes news segments.


GUPTA: So, I just felt like there were a lot of lessons there, and one of the prevailing ones, Pamela, is that there are definitively ways to be prepared. There's going to -- we're going to keep having these new emerging pathogens, but they don't have to turn into pandemics. And it's a lot easier than people realize.

We had a Pandemic Preparedness Plan in this country going back to 2004, and if it had still been in place, we probably would have been in a much different position over the last couple of years.

It is human nature, I think, Pamela, not to want to invest in prevention and preparation. But the reason I wrote the book was to show you why it's important and exactly how to do it, at an individual level, societal level, and hopefully a world level.

BROWN: And one of the things that you hit on in your book is how some countries outside of the U.S. did so much better, despite not having a vaccine earlier. What is behind that? What did you find?

GUPTA: Well, this is really interesting, Pamela, because, you know, going into the pandemic, the United States was ranked as the number one best prepared country in the world for a pandemic. And we all know, it didn't turn out that way. And it really brings up this idea of how do you model human behavior? How do you sort of predict how humans are going to behave? That's what it really, I think, came down to more than anything else.

Like, if you look at the United States and South Korea, for example, and I think these two countries because patients were formally diagnosed on the same day in both countries. The United States is orange and South Korea is blue, and it's totally flat. And that's in terms of the number of cases.

If you look at the number of deaths, for example, you see sort of a similar trajectory. There was -- you know, we had some 43 million cases in this country that were formally diagnosed, they had 300,000. No therapeutic, no vaccine that they had before us. So it was really about behavior. This idea that you're going to lean

into public health practices, not wait necessarily for therapeutics, but do things that may seem you know, less -- you know, more from a public health standpoint early makes a big difference.

Also, there was another thing that kept coming up as I talked to scientists in Asia, Pamela, and that was just this idea, which is subjective -- this idea of the reverence for the elderly, a real reverence for the elderly in many of the countries that did so well during this pandemic.

It's hard to know what to make of it, but you do have to ask yourself, if this was a disease that primarily affected adolescents in the United States, would we have responded differently? Just culturally, scientifically, and human behavior-wise, there's all these different reasons.

BROWN: Yes, and just the difference in terms of how the societies there came together more. They were more unified and taking these public health measures more seriously, like masking and so forth. When in the United States, we've seen this big divide over masking, over as we see now, vaccines.

And what I think is so interesting, too, what point out in your book is that getting healthier is something, of course a lot of us work toward, but why is that important in the context of a pandemic?

GUPTA: Well, first of all, I think this issue hasn't gotten enough attention. I mean, I've been for 20 years as a medical reporter talking about ways that people can empower themselves to be healthy. And, you know, we talk about in the context of preventing future disease. I think what this pandemic really revealed was how acutely these health conditions can make things.

You know, typically there's a disparity, Pamela, between wealthy and poor countries in terms of the impact of something like this. But with this pandemic, it happened in almost the exact opposite way that you'd expect. Wealthier countries as a general rule were hit the hardest during this pandemic. And a lot of it had to do with a lot of the diseases of affluence, as they're often called.

And we can show some of them on the screen. But you know, if you looked at people who had obesity or severe obesity, the likelihood of having severe disease was four to five times higher. Look, it's tough to have a conversation, and this isn't by any means to shame people because there's a lot of policy issues, there's a lot of different things that drive the rates of obesity in this country, 42 percent, food deserts and things like that, but that's the manifestation in a pandemic.

And I think if anything can come out of this, it could be a wake-up call that, you know, we need to tackle some of the fundamental principles of health in this country. Wealth doesn't necessarily buy health. We've known that for a long time, but this pandemic proved it again. BROWN: It sure did. I want to ask you some news of the day and what is

on a lot of people's minds right now. Some health experts are calling on the F.D.A. and C.D.C. to review data on the argument for mixing and matching vaccines. The thought being, of course, as you know, that it makes it easier for people to get the shot whether it's initial or booster and it might even trigger a stronger immune system to better protect people. What do you think?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, I think that's, that's a very solid hypothesis. They've still got to bear that out. But basically, you think of it like this. You're giving a vaccine, you're basically teaching the body -- you're showing the body, a piece of the virus. That's what you're doing.


GUPTA: Another vaccine may show another piece of a virus, and the idea is that if the immune system is seeing multiple pieces, might that be better in terms of durability of the response and even, you know, getting a broader response? They haven't shown that yet, but I think what they can say pretty, pretty assuredly is that at least with the mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna, mixing and matching those should not be a problem. They are very similar vaccines, so it's not a safety issue.

But you do find that in some of these early studies, you might actually get more bang for the buck, if you will, by mixing and matching.

BROWN: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, again, thanks so much for coming on, giving us all of your insights and takeaways from your book.

GUPTA: You've got it.

BROWN: "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One."

Major developments tonight in the Capitol riot investigation, former Trump aide Dan Scavino finally gets served his subpoena, sort of.

And the January 6 Committee now promising to pursue criminal charges if Trump insiders refuse to cooperate.

Also tonight, I sit down with a family who fled the violence in Afghanistan to start a new life in the U.S.

And retired General Stanley McChrystal on his battle tested approach deterring risks into reward in everyday life.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.



BROWN: A small, but notable triumph for the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot, it finally found Dan Scavino after days of searching, or at least got close enough to serve him with a subpoena.

A process server showed up at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Scavino was home in New York, but asked a staff member at Mar-a-Lago to accept the subpoena for him.

So the question tonight is, what kind of answers will the committee get, if any, from Scavino or three other key players from the Trump universe? The deadline for them to hand over documents was Thursday. The deadline for depositions is this Friday.

Former aides, Mark Meadows and Kash Patel are said to be, quote, "engaging" with the committee, but Bannon refuses and there is no word yet if Scavino is ready to talk. It could be harder to get information given Trump's latest attempts to stonewall the committee in silence his one-time staffers by trying to claim executive privilege.

The Biden White House announced Friday it will not assert that privilege on the first batch of Trump White House documents the committee wants. Trump has less than a month to fight that decision in court, and he may be preparing to do just that with a letter to the National Archives Friday, hoping to block at least 40 documents from being released.

And new subpoenas were issued this week for two leaders of the Stop the Steal group. So lots of developments on this front.

With me now to discuss, CNN contributor and former Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean. He is the co-author of "Authoritarian Nightmare."

John, nice to see you. So, things do seem to be moving quicker in these last 48 hours. The committee is threatening to slap anyone who doesn't cooperate with criminal content. Steve Bannon is effectively telling the committee to go pound sand. His lawyer wrote them, quoting now, "The executive privileges belong to President Trump. We must accept his direction and honor his invocation of executive privilege."

Yet, Bannon was years removed from the White House by the time the attempted coup took place. So, is there any legal shield there? How do you expect this to play out?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, we know executive privilege is a qualified privilege, whoever invokes it. So, it can be balanced against the person who wants to hold it, or it cannot be. I think in this instance, they're going to lose.

This is an investigation of an insurrection. Executive privilege doesn't cover that kind of behavior. That's clearly why the White House has said, we're not putting any executive privilege on this first batch of documents that had been requested from the National Archives, and that is going to undercut whoever else tries to rely on it.

So Pam, I don't think it's going to work. I think it's a stall tactic, and it is an effort to make these more protracted and maybe go away if they can drag it out long enough.

BROWN: Right. I mean, that's the question, right? Does this claim of executive privilege from Trump slow or stop the panel from being able to ask questions and compel cooperation. What realistically could the committee do if this does get tied up in court?

DEAN: Well, if -- first of all, we've gone through this drill recently, with Don McGahn when he was White House Counsel. He decided to litigate it. He actually successfully litigated it, and only because he agreed to settle and compromise did they get him before the House Judiciary Committee, but that left the law in a mess.

The Court of Appeals, their three-judge panel said the House has no statute to base a civil action on to enforce a subpoena, unlike the Senate, which does have such a law. The House has done nothing about correcting that.

The House does have inherent powers. Again, they've done nothing to exercise those inherent powers. There's a resolution that was introduced by Ted Lieu, congressman from California in the last Congress, introduced it again in this Congress, which could fix that, where the House could indeed hold somebody in contempt, and then fine them as long as they remained in contempt, and it could get quite expensive for somebody who didn't comply.

I'm not sure, Pam, why the House isn't getting its act together and making these things very effective when they do subpoena them.

BROWN: I'm curious because the committee -- the House Committee did speak to some of the Trump former D.O.J. officials who were able to speak to his efforts to overturn the election results, his failed attempts to do so. In that case, Trump did not invoke executive privilege. In this case, he is.

Does it weaken his case that he didn't do that before for other officials that were in his administration?


DEAN: What happened is the present Attorney General said he would not invoke executive privilege for these Department of Justice employees. They did have, however, a career person that attended those hearings and indeed was ready to invoke it if they thought it went into an area that they should invoke privilege -- that didn't arise. They steered clear of those kinds of questions when those members from the Judiciary Committee went up and were questioned. So, it didn't arise.

So, I don't think it weakens anything, and neither side did anything to change the status quo in those hearings.

BROWN: Just very quickly, in a nutshell, how significant is this? The fact that the former President is invoking -- trying to invoke executive privilege saying that that applies and then you have the current President waiving it. This seems to be pretty big -- like a pretty big deal, huh? DEAN: It is a big deal. Clearly Trump wants to hide whatever he did,

and I think he's got plenty to hide. But I think he's going to lose, and we'll all know sooner rather than later what he did.

BROWN: All right, John Dean, thank you so much.

Coming up, China versus Taiwan, the pandemic and the aftermath of the U.S. exit from Afghanistan, all high-risk challenges facing the U.S. And our next guest just wrote a user's guide on how to handle it. Retired four-star Army General Stanley McChrystal joins us next to talk about his new book, "Risk."



BROWN: Tonight, a new international challenge for President Biden to juggle. In just a few hours, Taiwan plans to put military power on display during celebrations for its National Day.

China's President today vowed a peaceful quote, "reunification with Taiwan," but Taiwan and its American allies are concerned that a recent ramp up of military pressure by China is making the risk of conflict greater than ever.

Our next guest has a new book out on managing risk, retired four-star U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal was Commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, and later, all U.S. Forces in Afghanistan.

He is now the author of "Risk: A User's Guide," along with Anna Butrico.

General McChrystal, thank you so much for joining us. I want to start with what's going on between China and Taiwan. If you would just set the table for us, why should Americans care about the tensions between Taiwan and China right now?

GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL (RET), U.S. ARMY: Well, if you look from a Chinese lens, Taiwan is part of China's, so there is an argument that they make from that standpoint.

However, since 1949, Taiwan has been acting as a sovereign or independent element, and it has been part of our defensive strategy in the region. And so now, the problem is, it has become a flashpoint between China's rising military and stronger political muscle, as well as economic. And so it's become a place where we could very easily find a flashpoint that could lead to conflict between, you know, the United States and China.

BROWN: And that is -- that would be terrifying, right? You have, you know, obviously, the criticism of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan was that the U.S. had no significant interest to be there. What do you think? Is involvement worth risking war with China?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, there certainly would be an argument that the Chinese would try to make subtly that it is not, and they would try to convince the United States to just sort of quietly back away. But there are a number of reasons why I think we should.

First, Taiwan has been a good ally for quite a long time right now. They are key to our supply chain on chip production, as people know, and they are a part of the community of nations in Asia.

And so if Taiwan were suddenly to be essentially abandoned by the United States, Japan, South Korea, and other allies and potential allies in the region, it would probably recalculate the relationship with the United States. So, it has wider geopolitical implications.

BROWN: So there's a lot at stake essentially for the U.S. in regards to what's going on between China and Taiwan.

I wanted to go to the Afghanistan war. For the first time since the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, a U.S. delegation is meeting with senior Taliban representatives from Kabul in Doha this weekend.

A State Department official told CNN ahead of the meeting that the U.S. intends to push the Taliban to, quote, "Respect the rights of all Afghans," including women and girls and to form an inclusive government with broad support.

But also that the meeting with the Taliban representatives is quote, "Not about granting recognition, or conferring legitimacy."

Obviously, since the U.S. pulled out after the 20 year war, the Taliban has taken over, but is there really anything to be accomplished here with U.S. representatives meeting with the Taliban?

MCCHRYSTAL: Yes, Pamela, I think there is. Somebody may argue, don't talk to those people because they're our enemies or they don't like us. Well, that's exactly who you need to talk and negotiate with. You know, there's no point in just talking to your friends.

So I would say first and foremost, we need to navigate from where we are.


We have interest in Afghanistan to include the Afghan people and the future of females in Afghanistan that we committed a lot to. And I don't think we can say that all of that is now off the table and so I think we have some leverage with the new government of Afghanistan, the Taliban. They are financially desperate. They also are going to try to enter the community of nations.

So I think the best thing we can do is engage with them, leverage. Don't be weak. I'm not arguing for recognition at this point, but I'm saying try to get a workable relationship as soon as possible so we can see where that takes us.

BROWN: You have said that President Biden made a courageous decision with the withdraw from Afghanistan, but not one that you would have made because you would have preferred a small U.S. presence there. Do you think in hindsight that the White House should have done a better job setting expectations, preparing the public for the chaos that would come with such a quick withdraw?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, I think it's hard to predict that chaos, if they had gone out publicly and said, we're going to withdraw and it's going to be chaotic, and it's going to look bad. They've gotten a pretty interesting response to that, because people would say, well, make sure that doesn't happen.

So I think that it would be hard to do that. I do think that as the withdrawal was conducted, the messaging to the Afghan people, the messaging to the Taliban, some people in the region and the U.S. public needed to get better as time went on, particularly as things happened much faster than I think many people thought they would, meaning the collapse of the Afghan government.

So it wasn't perfectly done, but I do go back and say, I think in many ways it's hard to criticize from the sidelines, because that was an extraordinary complex thing to withdraw suddenly under a situation like that. So it's done, now we move forward.

BROWN: Now, we're moving forward. And there are many other big pressing items facing President Biden, not only COVID, but also climate change. I mean, that is an existential threat. You write in your book that like COVID, climate change is judged to be acts of God or nature that failed to mobilize us for action.

But inaction, including the failure to prepare for action is a little more than a dodge. How do you think that we should be preparing right now for the risks of climate crisis?

MCCHRYSTAL: Really, Pamela, it's one first of getting good information to people so that you make a convincing case, having a national narrative on what our assessment of the threat is and what we're going to do about it. And then educating people on the time required.

If the house next door to your house is on fire, you want the fire trucks to come. You want to lend them your hose, do all the things because it's immediate. The problem with climate change is it takes a long time to cause a problem, but it also takes a long time to fix a problem.

And so for us to wait to the 11th hour and then decide we're going to make some sudden move to fix climate change, that's unrealistic. So while it doesn't seem like it is as pressing as it actually is, we have to make that case to people and we need to start those actions, which have a long lead time to make an effect.

BROWN: And I imagine you would make the same case for the threat to democracy right now, which we're going to be talking about right after this break. So Gen. Stanley McChrystal, stay with us. A lot more to discuss. We're taking a quick break we're going to dig more into what Gen. McChrystal's book teaches us about the importance of leadership and what he views as the biggest risk out there right now. You're not going to want to miss that. We'll be right back.



BROWN: Well, you know the old saying. They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, between the pandemic adversaries overseas and threats to democracy from within, the American experiment faces a series of risks that puts that saying to the test.

The new book Risk: A User's Guide by retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal argues, "The greatest risk to us is us. Our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities stand in our way to best respond to encounter threats. Risk is not a menacing specter that we stand before shaking and powerless; rather, it is an opportunity for us to practice self- reflection and improve ourselves." Gen. McChrystal is back with us. So General, what is the greatest risk to America right now in your view?

MCCHRYSTAL: Pamela, I think the greatest risk is our inability to get things done. Now, people will look at the political system right now and argue that it is not just locked up, it is dysfunctional. And I think that's pretty accurate. And the problem is I believe that we take it for granted.

We assume that democracy in America, which was founded by the founding fathers is just a permanent thing, but it's breakable. If we don't have rules and if we didn't have consequences for people who go outside those rules, if we don't have a system that the vast majority of Americans believe is honest and committed to the well being, then a new political system will arise and I don't think will like it. And so the key about this is it's our fault.


This isn't COVID-19 didn't cause 700,000 deaths in America just because it was so strong it did it because we responded so weakly. And I would argue that to many of the threats we have to include to the sanctity of the democratic process, we are the agents who have to fix it.

BROWN: It's interesting you note that because CNN reached out to seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict former President Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection. They say it's too soon to worry about him undermining the 2024 election. Do you agree or do you think we should be worrying more, sounding the alarm more about what's ahead in future elections?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, if you spend any time looking at the disinformation that has come from foreign countries, foreign actors trying to influence our elections and from elements inside the United States, you know that the danger of an election that is tainted by information that literally corrupts how people think about facts, I don't think it's too early to think about that.

We've seen what happened in 2016, we've seen what happened in 2020. People left both of those elections with doubts. And so what we've got to do is we've got to focus on that, we've got to try to create a process where the vast majority of Americans look at it and say whether my candidate or not won, I believe in the system, because if we don't protect the system, then we don't have much left. BROWN: How do we accomplish that, though, with this virus, this cancer

of misinformation and people just in their own little corners being reinforced, reading and taking in information that just reinforces their worldview?


BROWN: And you have someone who is the de facto leader of a Republican Party who just flat out lies to millions of his followers. Like how do you instill that confidence in the system?

MCCHRYSTAL: Yes. Historically it's been different or difficult. Look what people like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were able to do so effectively and many other smaller leaders like that. I would say we've got several problems.

One is things like social media and information technology enable distribution of information is so much better, that it's a weapon we haven't completely matured to yet. We don't completely know how to control it and yet we've got this kryptonite like thing that can cause huge problems.

Another is in our system, we have to reinstate consequences for actors who violate norms that we respect. One, of course, is telling the truth and that's never been guaranteed in a political process. But there used to be pretty Strong norms against those people who serially didn't tell the truth.

And finally, our media, of which Pamela you're part, have got to really step back and say what's our role. Because if our role becomes too partisan, even though we may passionately believe we're right, we lower our credibility. We lower our legitimacy and so we've got to have a media that can be viewed as legitimate from a wider span of Americans.

BROWN: And I know you touched on this in your book and I encourage people to read it to learn about risk and what you can do to prepare for that. But do you think, I mean, some part of what you lay out and preparing for risk is being able to self reflect and to improve. And to basically not be afraid to say to yourself what I thought previously may not be the truth now.

Do you think that in the United States, particularly, some people are too afraid to do that, to do that reflection that is necessary to prepare for the next risk, to prepare for what's ahead?

MCCHRYSTAL: Yes. As you know, in the book, we analogize to the human immune system that protects our body from attacks. We have the same individually and organizationally against risks of all kinds and part of that is communication, and narrative and action.

Those things which pull us back to truth and to be data-driven as opposed to sort of mythology. Right now what we've done is we become tribal. We identify with the tribe we are a part of, whether it's a strictly political tribe or it might have some other connection. And we tend to side with that before we side with what is the

information actually tell me. Now, we've seen this before. I was just reading a little earlier this afternoon some pre-U.S. Civil War documents and they talk about this that there were many people in the south who were against secession.

But once the temperature was raised and once it started to be a greater problem, the more extreme people led by a man named Yancey, were able to get even those people who are more rational, pulled toward the tribe, because it's got such a strong gravitational pull.


And so I think we need to understand that and that's part of the break we've got to make, because if the extremes have the ability to pull you and you look at every other tribe as the enemy, then we're not going to have a diverse pluralistic society. We're going to have this atomized thing at each other's throats.

BROWN: Right, just looking at this mindset of the other is the enemy, rather than, hey, we're in this together. That's what's so troubling as I look at it, but a lot to learn from your book. I do want to ask you before I let you go about the passing of former Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno. He was 67 years old. The Washington Post remembered him as a key architect of the surge in U.S. forces during the Iraq war. How do you remember him?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, very fondly. Ray and I were classmates at the Military Academy. We served together at first at the Navy War College when we were both majors and we were on the basketball team together, we were beer drinking buddies and his oldest son was the babysitter for our son. And his oldest son, Tony, then serving in Iraq lost an arm in combat.

Extraordinary family, he and his wife, Linda, just extraordinary group of people. And then in Iraq, Ray and I served together when I was commanding Joint Special Operations Command and he was the MNC (ph), the corps commander there. And there are few times when you run into people as dependable, as values-based and as courageous is Ray Odierno. And he was physically a mountain of a man and emotionally he was a rock many of us moored ourselves to.

BROWN: Someone to really look up to. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, thank you. Thank you for sharing your memories about him. His new book Risk: A User's Guide is out right now and we'll be right back.



BROWN: Tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Afghanistan as it fell to the Taliban. You remember seeing that footage. Some even clinging to planes taking off from Kabul. But getting out was just the first step. What has life been like for those who actually managed to escape and come to the U.S.? Well, I met one family adjusting bit by bit to a new home and a new country. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


ABID JAWAD, REFUGEE: Every day, I feel like I'm starting a new life.



BROWN (voice over): Yes. The Jawad family arrived in the United States in August after fleeing Afghanistan on a special immigrant visa.


BROWN (on camera): What was that like when you step foot in the U.S.?

S JAWAD: Fresh, the first word that comes in mind. All this greenery and stuff I would say for us wonderful.


BROWN (voice over): The Jawads were initially on their own when they arrived, living in a bare bones basement apartment, sleeping on the floor and surviving off just enough saved up money for food as they awaited housing help from one of the nine resettlement organizations receiving funds from the U.S. government.


S JAWAD: We have to start everything from zero.


BROWN (voice over): But they at least felt safe, unlike their final weeks in Afghanistan when the Taliban was rapidly taking over. Abid Jawad says he worked alongside a U.S. defense company and knew his family could be targeted.


S JAWAD: Our daughter was our concern, was our priority, that's what made us move out. I couldn't just make myself eat. I was like so stressed since the day we stepped in this country. I don't see myself to stop eating.


BROWN (voice over): The rewards are among an estimated 60,000 Afghans resettling in the U.S. after our rapid and chaotic withdrawal from the 20 year war in Afghanistan.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: So many of them have gone through a tremendous amount for us, that we consider it not only our obligation, but quite frankly a privilege to dedicate our resources for them in return.


BROWN (voice over): But the unprecedented relocation efforts have come with challenges like finding affordable housing and airtight vetting and security procedures for people entering the United States.


MAYORKAS: We take their fingerprints, we get their biographical information, we take their photographs.

BROWN (on camera): Do you know of any instances where someone didn't pass the screening and they couldn't come through?

MAYORKAS: Oh, yes, we have and quite frankly, if we learn of information at any point in time, remember we have our enforcement authorities as well that we could bring to bear and have brought to bear.


BROWN (voice over): In September, a measles outbreak among Afghan refugees halted evacuations for a few weeks. But resettlement efforts have resumed after the CDC made new vaccine and quarantine requirements against infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Where refugees initially end up in the U.S. depends on their status.


MAYORKAS: If in fact they are U.S. citizens and they're US citizens or lawful permanent residents or visa holders, they are actually able to resettle directly into the United States. But if they are not, then they go to one of eight military facilities where a tremendous amount of resources are dedicated to their well-being.


BROWN (voice over): The U.S. government accommodations for Afghans have raised questions about why the same isn't being done for migrants arriving at the southern border in record numbers.


BROWN (voice over): The U.S. government was able to set up the system so quickly for Afghans, why not set it up so quickly for those that are in need coming to the southern border?


MAYORKAS: Remember, we are working with countries to the south that are dealing with border management challenges themselves, resource constraints and alike. So the challenges are very different here than they are with respect to the Afghan nationals.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN (voice over): The Jawads are now living in a one bedroom

apartment in Virginia, they found through one of the resettlement organizations. But Miry Whitehill, Founder of Miry's List, a group that helps incoming refugees says housing alone is not enough to make refugee families feel at home in the U.S.


MIRY WHITEHILL, FOUNDER, MIRY'S LIST: Imagine coming to a new country, being dropped off, we can intervene to make sure that the arrival is a completion to the refugee experience and the beginning of a resettlement experience. These are our newest Americans. We have a tremendous opportunity to show up for them.


S JAWAD: It's handmade by someone who doesn't even know us.


BROWN (voice over): The Jawad family says Miry's List gave them comfort items like this handmade blankets and toys for their daughter and comfortable beds to sleep in.


S JAWAD: I said, okay, we need beds. And then she said, "What type of beds?" And that was surprising for me. I was like, "Okay. I get to choose what type of bed?"


BROWN (voice over): Soora and Abid will be on their own paying for rent after two months and are both looking for work. Abid as an accountant and Soora potentially finishing her pursuit of becoming a heart surgeon.


S JAWAD: I did my MD and I was halfway to become a heart surgeon. I was in third year of my residency. It's a five years program, but I had to leave. I hope I can do something to be useful to the society.



BROWN (on camera): They were such a lovely family. We should note that the Department of Homeland Security says that it is working to match skills from eligible Afghans with job opportunities in the United States. And there are many ways that you can help.

Miry says the easiest way is a handwritten note welcoming a family here. You can go to Click on list and find a refugee family to help directly. And please visit for more ways to assist. And be sure to stay with us. We are following breaking news from

LaGuardia Airport in New York passengers were evacuated onto a tarmac after a security incident. We're going to have the very latest on that up next.