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Erin Burnett Outfront
Official: Several Biden Advisers Have Urged Against Extending Afghanistan Deadline, Citing Security Concerns; Interview With Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL); House Intel Committee Just Briefed On Afghanistan Crisis; Tonight: Dems Vote On Biden Priorities Amid Deep Divisions; Biden Calls On Businesses, Government Leaders To Require COVID Vaccinations After Pfizer Vaccine Gets Full FDA Approval; Flash Flooding Kills 21 in Tennessee, Many Still Missing. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 23, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, several Biden advisors urging him not to keep troops past the August 31st deadline in Afghanistan, citing security concerns on the ground. This as warnings grow louder of the terror threat coming from Afghanistan.
Plus, Mississippi's Poison Control Center inundated with calls of people taking a drug to treat parasites in horses, why? Because it's being pushed by the right as a cure for COVID.
And 21 people including seven-month-old twins swept away by catastrophic flash floods in Tennessee. I'm going to talk to a mother who along with her four-month-old barely made it out of her flooded home alive. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, we do have breaking news, President Biden being urged by several advisors against keeping troops in Afghanistan past the August 31st deadline. Their reason, the deteriorating security situation on the ground.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon needs the President to decide by tomorrow whether to extend the deadline in order to honor his promise of evacuating all Americans and Afghan allies. Also at this hour, top Intel officials just wrapped up a briefing for the House Intelligence Committee on Afghanistan. This briefing coming as warnings grow louder and louder over the terror threat from Afghanistan.
National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, today addressed a possible ISIS attack on the Kabul airport after calling the threat real, acute and persistent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Our commanders on the ground
have taken every step they can to prepare for such an attack. Our President has authorized every capability that those commanders have asked for to protect the airfield against such an attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Also tonight, Intelligence officials tell CNN that the U.S. is now scrambling to fill the intelligence vacuum that exists now following the Taliban's rapid takeover of the country. And officials also saying the takeover has given a boost to terrorist and extremist groups.
One former U.S. counterterrorism official telling CNN, "As we are approaching 9/11, for them to be able to reclaim Afghanistan, think about what that does for recruitment."
As for the August 31st deadline, the Taliban warning the White House that, "That deadline is 'a red line' and that crossing it would lead to consequences." Of course, no one knows and no one has said what those consequences would be.
One bit of positive news though, the Pentagon revealing today that the U.S. is making real progress. So far 37,000 people, including U.S. citizens and Afghan allies have been evacuated out of Afghanistan since August 14, including 16,000 in the span of 24 hours. A vast improvement in what is some of the harshest conditions and so forth, thankfully, without a single American casualty. But as the administration knows all too well, the situation on the ground is very fragile, and could turn at any moment.
Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT for us at the White House tonight. Kaitlan, how much pressure is President Biden getting around this deadline tonight?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think that it's basically a hard deadline, Kate, because it is something that the Pentagon needs to know what the decision is because it takes a lot of time to move those thousands of U.S. troops that are on the ground right now out of there in addition to their equipment and their weapons.
And so that is why the military has advised the President that he has, essentially until tomorrow to make a decision about whether or not he is going to extend that deadline to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan by August 31st, which is of course where it is right now.
And Kate, what we're told is that as of today, President Biden has not made a decision one way or another about what he's going to do but, of course, he's going to have to make one in the next 24 hours. And it's a decision that we could find out as soon as tomorrow morning potentially, because at 9:30 Eastern Time on his schedule, he's got that virtual meeting with the G7 leaders. Those nations, those major U.S. allies, some of whom who are calling on President Biden to extend that deadline because they think it would be in the best interest for this evacuation process that is underway right now. But Kate, we are also learning that there are several advisors here at
the White House who do not think it is in the U.S. interest to extend that deadline, citing the security situation on the ground. As we know that officials are increasingly concerned about that chaotic situation happening outside the Kabul airport and that it could be potentially ripe for a terrorist attack.
They've been monitoring potential threats from ISIS, Kate, and other organizations. And so the idea of whether or not the President is going to extend that deadline, it's not clear yet what decision he's made, but we do know there are several people who are advising President Biden against this tonight.
BOLDUAN: And he will need to make it soon, you do know. Good to see you, Kaitlan. Thank you very much for that.
I want to go now to Sam Kiley who's OUTFRONT. He's in Kabul tonight.
Sam, you heard Kaitlan talk about the administration's concerns about the security situation currently in Afghanistan and on the ground. How dangerous is it there?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's extremely dangerous. There is, if you like, a confluence of interests when it comes to ISIS, Kate, in wanting politically if nothing else to make an attack against the large crowds that are outside the base here. Then there also appears to have been some kind of probing attack, the first we've seen since the U.S. took over, all the lead element here at the airport last night. This is my report.
KILEY(voice over): One of four Afghan soldiers wounded in a firefight after an unknown sniper killed a comrade who was guarding Kabul's airport. The attack followed warnings that ISIS posed a threat to the evacuation of thousands of foreigners and Afghans from the capital.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SULLIVAN: The threat is real, it is acute, it is persistent and it is something that we are focused on with every tool in our arsenal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY (voice over): The first known attack on the airport came as the State Department said that Afghans who've been issued special immigration visas would no longer be allowed in. Thousands of others already inside the airfield are being evacuated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY (on camera): This is the penultimate stage for evacuees before they get on an aircraft and get out of the country to safety. They're down to about the last 10,000, having moved 10,500 in the last 24 hours. But the problem is the thousands of people left outside the gate with no real prospect now that the special immigration visas have been suspended of getting in and getting out to safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY (voice over): The reopening of the gates to the airport is likely to depend on how long U.S. and coalition forces can stay on to run evacuations. President Biden has said troops would remain until all Americans are out. But the Taliban have said no extensions beyond August the 31st.
The urgency for evacuation is driven home by these letters with the Taliban seal sent to the brother of an interpreter who worked for U.S. forces. Apparently from a Taliban court, they demand first that he present himself and when he failed to do so delivered him a death sentence, all in the last three months.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their life was in danger ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY (voice over): This Afghan-American is a sergeant in the 82nd Airborne. Originally from Kabul, he was an interpreter of the U.S. forces for nine years before enlisting. His family was also threatened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got received two letters, threatening letters. That's why we're just moving out from the - we move to locations ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY (voice over): His family was evacuated this week in a process where the high point is when safety comes from a white wristband. It's a plane ticket already given to more than 38,000 people in a massive airlift. One during which there have been no American deaths, but the window for more flights to freedom for foreigners and Afghans is fast closing.
KILEY (on camera): Now, Kate, the situation continues to be extremely dangerous, which is why the United States and other countries, the British, Norwegians, Danes and others have been using what they're calling alternative routes. These as you can imagine a closely guarded secrets involving Special Forces, sometimes involving the use of helicopters, but to go and try and pluck people out of areas where they're too vulnerable in getting to the airport.
And of course, that doesn't solve the problem of the vulnerability of people at the gates of the airport and that is of deep concern. That is a concern too that they want to try to reopen the gates to get the evacuation process going or the 10,000 inside this airfield will be the only or the last ones being evacuated and there are many, many thousands of others, including American citizens, according to the State Department who are expecting to be evacuated and I can just now hear some gunfire over to my left, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Sam, thank you so much for your continued fantastic reporting there. I really appreciate it.
OUTFRONT with me now, Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley. He was just briefed as a member of the House Intelligence Committee on the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. Congressman, I know with any classified briefing, you're going to be limited in what you can share. But how serious do you believe the threat is of an ISIS attack in Afghanistan as we're learning more about the real concerns from the administration?
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): Sure. As the administration pointed out, the threat is very real and very serious. We also know that, look, if we had withdrawn five years ago, five years from now, it wouldn't be clean. It would be brutal, just as we are witnessing right now. I think what's important for us and what I would advise the President is we need to complete the mission by fulfilling our commitment protecting those who helped us.
That's going to be very tough by August 31st.
BOLDUAN: And I hope you were able to hear from my colleague, Kaitlan Collins, that President Biden is getting some pressure internally to not extend the deadline past the end of the month, because of the fragile security situation on the ground, because concerns are great and growing. Do you think, given the uncertain and dangerous security situation, does that change your opinion, though, if the President should extend past the deadline or not?
QUIGLEY: I think our commitment has to be with those who helped us. This was a 20-year fight and they protected Americans, they kept us safe, they save lives, for us to abandon them. It's just not who we are as a country. I recognize the risks that are involved and I salute our military who were there.
But I think the Taliban is making this far more difficult and time consuming and I think the President needs to make it clear to them, you get out of the way or we're going to stay until everyone is out that we've made this commitment to.
BOLDUAN: Well, coming out of this briefing, are you more concerned or less concerned about the situation on the ground there from what you heard?
QUIGLEY: Look, I think the threats coming out of Afghanistan are consistent for the time. I've been in Congress almost 13 years, half of that on Intel and nothing's changed my understanding of the danger of the situation there and why our role mattered so much.
BOLDUAN: Today, the President's National Security Adviser said it's impossible to know how many Americans are still there and he laid out reasons why. But another member of your committee said to me today that that is exactly the question that he had going into this briefing.
Did you find out the answer to that? How many Americans they believe our in the country?
QUIGLEY: Yes. And again I can't talk about what we were briefed on today.
BOLDUAN: Even if you don't tell me, do you feel comfortable that you have an estimate?
QUIGLEY: No. And I think I understand why it's impossible for us here to understand the true nature of the chaos and the danger that's taking place there right now. There is absolutely no information that people can get. There's no way to transfer information. So I think it's easy to guess.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely, but how do you know how to get out when you're clear to get out, when you've completed this operation, if you don't get a handle, right?
BOLDUAN: I mean, it is a fundamental problem even if it comes from a place of understanding that this is a chaotic situation.
QUIGLEY: That's absolutely true. The best I think you can do right now is to create a safe passage and I recognize how tough that is too. But again, it goes to the President's promise to get all Americans out. It goes to our commitment to get everybody out who helped us.
So it is possible to know exactly how many Americans are still there or with visas or those who are most vulnerable, who we still want to help. All we can do is the best we can. And unless there's a portal to safe passage into the airport, those people won't have a chance communication or not.
BOLDUAN: There's a lot of work ahead.
BOLDUAN: Congressman, thank you for your time.
QUIGLEY: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT with me now, Seth Jones. He's an expert on Afghanistan and terrorism at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. And he warned late last year that the Taliban would take over Afghanistan if the U.S. withdrew from the country.
Seth, thanks for coming in. You've been talking a lot to a lot of sources in the last 24 hours and you are really concerned about the potential of an ISIS attack at the airport in Kabul. Can you tell us why? SETH JONES, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Yes. I
think if we look at what ISIS has been doing over the past year, they have been conducting these attacks, not just in Kabul itself, but in other places in Afghanistan. They don't care about any discussions between the U.S. and the Taliban right now. In fact, I think for Islamic State leaders, this is a primary opportunity to show that they're actually in competition with both the Taliban and al-Qaeda for the global (inaudible) right now or Muslims.
And so I think this is an opportunity to conduct an attack against the vulnerable us that is backed into the airport right now and I think the threat assessments support that.
BOLDUAN: How does that factor then into the decision that, as we're learning, the President essentially is being told by the Pentagon he needs to make by tomorrow, which is are you going to extend past the deadline or not. How does this ISIS threat factor into this, because it's very real?
JONES: Yes. Well, I mean, it's certainly true that the longer U.S. forces stay at the airport, the longer they're going to be exposed to attacks from groups like the Islamic State. So I think you draw this one out for days, if not weeks. The U.S. is definitely going to be targeted at the airport.
I mean, everybody in the world knows that the Americans are locked down at the airport right now. That's a very vulnerable situation.
BOLDUAN: Yes. Especially with the mass of humanity that is there, any crowd is always opportunity for a horrible situation to play out. CNN has this new reporting tonight that the United States right now is scrambling to fill the intelligence vacuum that has been left in the wake of the rapid collapse of the country and the rapid takeover by the Taliban.
What does that mean, Seth? How big of a problem is this, really?
JONES: I mean, it's a huge problem. I spent considerable time in U.S. special operations in Afghanistan on this issue. And I can say sort of straightforward firsthand that we don't have a lot of assets on the ground, we don't have ally anymore because the Taliban now runs the government. We don't have any bases right now other than the Kabul airport.
But as we've already talked about, we're about to lose that. We don't have any bases in the region right now. So in terms of assets on the ground, allies, collection platforms, bases to fly intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, aircraft. It is hard to put ourselves in a worse situation right now, where U.S. officials already highlighting the seriousness of Afghanistan by an Islamic State attack at the airport.
So I mean, we've put ourselves in a really, really tough situation that frankly I don't see getting a lot better. BOLDUAN: Seth, thank you.
JONES: Thank you very much.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT with me next, President Biden's agenda facing a critical test on Capitol Hill right now. Members of his own party threatening to derail a vote on whether to advance his top priorities.
Plus, Pfizer's COVID vaccine gets the FDA's official stamp of approval. Could the Biden administration now mandate vaccines on planes and trains after this monumental decision?
And calls to poison control over a fabricated COVID cure. Why are people taking drugs intended for horses? And how did word even spread about this drug, ivermectin?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Ivermectin.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Ivermectin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Tonight, the White House watching the House floor very closely as the President's agenda faces a key vote this evening, which could clear the way for a sweeping $3.5 trillion budget bill that President Biden wants to pass along with the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
But his own party is threatening to derail the plan. Nine moderate House Democrats, with the backing of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, demanding the House passed the infrastructure bipartisan deal first before taking on the budget.
There is a lot going on this evening on this front. Jessica Dean is OUTFRONT from Capitol Hill. Jessica, this seems to be moving really quickly. What is happening there tonight?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There have been a lot of developments just within the last hour, Kate, so let me set the stage for everyone. We know that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to move forward with this budget bill first and then vote on infrastructure. We also know that these moderates are holding that up.
She needs their vote. She's only got a three-vote margin and there's at least nine of them. And so they want to, instead, vote infrastructure first. What has happened just within the last hour, typically for this procedural vote to go through, they would vote on what's known as the rule first for whatever bill they're voting on and then vote on the actual bill. What has happened now is that the Rules Committee has met and they
have done something called deeming. So what that means now is they're only going to have to vote one time on this budget resolution and that could come as early as tonight. We are told they do expect to hold this vote tonight on the budget resolution and if it passes tonight, that's it. It is cleared. It's a legislative hurdle in the House setting up this blueprint for reconciliation bill.
But the question, Kate, remains is can Nancy Pelosi get these nine moderate Democrats to vote for this rule tonight to get them on board. We're told right now if you take a look on the House floor, you can see some of these moderate Democrats huddled with others. We have been talking with them in the halls. They say they're still working out a deal.
So the question remains, what deal can they get and can they get this done. So that's what we're watching tonight, Kate, is when this vote comes up? Can Speaker Pelosi keep the Democrats together and get it through?
BOLDUAN: Fascinating to watch this play out right now. Thank you, Jessica, for laying it out.
OUTFRONT with me now former Republican Governor John Kasich of Ohio also is a member of Congress for nearly two decades. Governor, you know that insanity that is house jargon better than anybody. The rule, the deem, the past, the whatever.
JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk. Let's put it in English. The White House and Speaker Pelosi, they're on the same page on this. They want to pass this budget bill to set this up, so they can come to this massive reconciliation deal, before they do this vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package. But as Jessica is laying out, they're getting jammed up somewhat by their own party. I mean, how do you think this shakes out?
KASICH: Well, I wonder if the moderates are going to hold firm, they should. I mean, this is a $3.5 trillion package and what they're saying is pass the infrastructure bill, because we don't know what's going to happen with the other part of this thing and we want the infrastructure bill to pass.
Now, Kate, you may think this is or some people may think this is way out there, but I think actually that Pelosi has a moment here to tell her progressives, I'm going to pass this with Republicans, because there are plenty of Republicans that want to vote for an infrastructure bill and plenty of Democrats that want to vote for it, but they seem to be holding it hostage to this big monstrosity of a $3.5 trillion.
Now, I'm not saying everything in there is bad because it's not, but to lump all that together to me is out of balance and that's what the moderates are saying, but will they stay strong or will they fizzle? One other thing, Kate, you notice the President's approval ratings are
not what they used to be and jamming all this stuff through all this spending trillions of dollars, I mean, it didn't sit well with people and that's not why Joe Biden was elected to do all these things. Infrastructure, if he does it, it will be applauded by both sides of the aisle. It will be applauded across this country and his ratings will improve, because that's what he ran on, bringing people together.
BOLDUAN: Is there something to this? I mean, there are clear signs that it's kind of storm clouds ahead when it comes to this big budget deal, because you've got moderates in the Senate and Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema who are clear that they've got a problem with the price tag for one. And you wonder then, as you ask the question, why does Speaker Pelosi want to put what are now vulnerable members in the position of having to vote yes or no, which is a sticky, sticky position.
But is there some kind of, I don't know, three dimensional chess of let this play out and then everyone can kind of have a little bit of what they want and it will end up in the same place. I'm trying to understand here myself, because when you've got a three-vote margin ...
KASICH: We don't know.
BOLDUAN: ... why put people in vulnerable position and more vulnerable positions?
KASICH: Yes, if I were betting, Kate, I would bet that they'll work those moderate Democrats over and promise some things and threaten them with some things and put the heat on them and then they'll probably fold like a cheap suit, but maybe they won't. And if they don't, they can get this infrastructure through.
We faced this, Kate, back in the days when I was there. We were trying to do welfare reform and Medicaid. And so President Clinton didn't want to have both of them and so the issue for us is, well, wait a minute, do we take one and pass it and figure out the other one later?
Fortunately, we took one and we took welfare reform. So here you have a situation where the country wants the infrastructure bill. Everybody wants to see improvements in roads and bridges and everything that's out there. And the fact is, if they pass that, it would be great, but they're holding that up in exchange for this $3.5 trillion big bill.
My view is break the $3.5 trillion bill up and let people vote on pieces of it, like the tax credit, the family tax credit. Things like that are good, but don't jam it all through and try to put a round peg in a square hole. And I think they got trouble in the Senate anyway, Sinema said she's not even in a mood to negotiate.
So pass the infrastructure bill, get it done, but at the end they'll probably jam it somehow if I had to guess, Kate. That's kind of a way that place works. BOLDUAN: Well, no matter who is in power, that is often how it works,
Democrat and Republican alike.
BOLDUAN: Let's see what happens tonight and what happens then the rest of this week. This is really interesting moment happening, playing out before us. Governor, good to see you. Thank you.
KASICH: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, here come the mandates now that Pfizer's COVID vaccine has full FDA approval, but will that approval convince vaccine skeptics to actually get the shots even if it is required?
And a poison control center getting calls for help after people are taking a drug meant for livestock. They falsely believe it's a cure for COVID who told them that?
BOLDUAN: Tonight, the floodgates opening for vaccine mandates just after the FDA gave full approval for Pfizer's COVID vaccine. All 1.4 million active duty service members will now be required by the Pentagon to be vaccinated.
Nearly 150,000 public school employees in New York City now facing similar mandates, along with tens of thousands of students at the University of Minnesota. CVS announcing mandates for pharmacists and corporate employees, and Chevron becoming the first major U.S. oil company to require the vaccine.
OUTFRONT now is Professor Lawrence Gostin. He's professor of global health law at Georgetown University. He advised the Biden administration on COVID vaccine mandates and he's the author of "Global Health Security: A Blueprint of the Future".
Professor, thanks for being here.
You think this is a monumental moment in this pandemic. Why?
LAWRENCE GOSTIN, O'NEILL INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL GLOBAL HEALTH LAW, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: You know, I do. I mean, we just have to sit back. It's about eight months since we first applied these COVID-19 vaccines. We have to really pat ourselves on the back. This is a triumph of science and humanity and I also think that it's going to be a pivotal landmark fore getting our country vaccinated because of the all mandates you've been talking about.
BOLDUAN: President Biden pressed for all Americans who had said that they're waiting for full approval to go out and get the shot without delay. But there still is a big question how big that group really is versus people who just will not get the shot no matter what. Over the weekend, even former President Trump was booed for promoting
COVID vaccines at a rally in Alabama. Let me play this for everyone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I recommend taking the vaccines. I did it. It's good.
Take the vaccines, but you got -- no, that's okay. That's all right. You got your freedoms. But I happened to take the vaccine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Professor, do you think the full approval in and of itself is going to have a meaningful impact in getting more shots in arms?
GOSTIN: First of all, it's pretty sad commentary that you would be booed for those kinds of remarks but yeah, there will be a few. The studies that we've done show that, you know, they will be kind of 5 percent of the undecideds who will then, you know, just go ahead and get the vaccine. So, you've got basically hard core anti-vaxxers or those who are just so politicized this pandemic that they are just not going to listen to science and just good commonsense.
But there are a lot of really good Americans that have been saying wait a minute, on the consent forms for emergency use authorization, it says experimental. Let's wait until it's got full approval. Well, now it does and I do think that many will change their mind and as they see their neighbors do it, more will do it.
BOLDUAN: And then also, this does open -- it's been described to me the wave coming of business and government and organizations saying that now, they feel more comfortable requiring vaccinations to do business with them or work -- or to go to a workplace and more. So for people who don't want to get vaccinated and will now inevitably face a vaccine requirement, what legal rights do those people have?
GOSTIN: Well, Kate, they really don't have any legal rights because businesses, universities, cities and states -- they have the power to require vaccinations. And if you need a vaccine to go to a safe workplace for a safe classroom or -- in New York City, more cities to come -- you need a vaccine to get into a restaurant or a concert or a movie, people are going to roll up their sleeves.
And people aren't going to want to just get tested once or twice weekly. It's much easier to get the vaccine and we've got really good evidence that mandates work. They are highly effective over time.
BOLDUAN: Dr. Fauci, he actually just said this evening that if a majority of Americans get vaccinated right now, we may be able in his view to get control of the pandemic in about a year. Let me play what he said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If all things go the way we want them to go and we get really the overwhelming majority of the people vaccinated, I think as we get into the fall and winter, we could start to really get some good control over this as we get back into the fall of 2022.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And in the context of what we're discussing here, mandates, how far do you think President Biden given that timeline can go and should go with requiring vaccines?
GOSTIN: Well, you know, first of all, Tony Fauci is right, I've worked with him since the AIDS epidemic, and he's absolutely right. I think we can bring this way down. You know, you even look at what the delta variant in the U.K., it's starting to drop already. So I think we are going to be able to do it.
President Biden was very reluctant to do mandates. It was a political third rail but then when he saw cases really spiking, people in the hospital, he had a sea change and all in on mandates now.
You know, you can't have a national mandate. That's a big misconception. The president has no power to require that, but he can and has required it of the military, the entire federal workforce.
I'd like to see him do a proof of vaccination system so that it makes it easier for states and cities to actually require proof of vaccination and he can use, you know, federal funding as a condition. And he's already starting to think about that.
The White House has been very actively trying to think, well, what can we do? One of the things they're trying to do is get hospitals and long term residential care settings to require vaccines as a condition of Medicaid and Medicare funding.
BOLDUAN: And you think he could require it on planes and trains, as well?
GOSTIN: Yeah, absolutely could. Not only could, he really should. We are really behind our ally and parties globally. They've all got one vaccine requirements of one form or another for international travel.
In the United States he could do it for interstate and international travel. He's already done it for masks.
And it makes no sense to be tested and masked to get into the United States but you don't have to be vaccinated. And that's well within his power. He really should do it. He should do it now.
BOLDUAN: Professor, thanks for your time.
GOSTION: Thank you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: You are not a horse. That is the message from health officials as some people are taking the drug meant for livestock, thinking it will cure COVID, and they're ending up in the hospital.
Plus, one family's incredible saga during a title wave of flooding in Tennessee that so far claimed 21 lives, the frantic mother of a 4- month-old baby, she did what she never imagined as a relative struggled to try to save them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I die and don't make it, I tried. I love you all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Tonight, the poison control center in Mississippi inundated with calls from people ingesting a drug used for horses. They're taking this drug thinking it's a cure for COVID and they're wrong.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is medicine for horses, medicine for cows but the Mississippi poison control center has been pelted with calls from people taking ivermectin in a dangerous attempt to dodge COVID.
An official say 70 percent obtained the drug from animal supplies. Two people hospitalized.
DR. PAUL BYERS, MISSISSIPPI STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Why in the world would an individual want to take a medication for livestock?
FOREMAN: Officials say most of the reported cases have not been too serious, but they warn taking a dose intended for 1,000 pound animal could lead to overdose, to seizures, coma and even death. The FDA tweeting, you are not a horse, you are not a cow, seriously, y'all, stop it.
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Let me just say very clearly that ivermectin is not a recommended treatment for COVID-19. It is not a recommended drug to prevent COVID-19.
FOREMAN: Still, with the White House and so many health officials steadily encouraging legitimate approved free COVID vaccinations.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The sooner you get fully vaccinated, the sooner you'll be protected.
FOREMAN: How has ivermectin come into play?
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Ivermectin.
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Ivermectin.
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Ivermectin.
FOREMAN: Right wing media hosts have claimed it is widely used to prevent COVID hospitalization and deaths, the same way some on the right encouraged wild hopes for cures based on UV light and hydroxychloroquine.
CARLSON: It's a potentially life-saving medicine that we are desperately trying to evaluate in a middle of a global pandemic.
FOREMAN: And then President Trump embraced many of these quack remedies.
TRUMP: Then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning.
FOREMAN: To be clear, the National Institutes of Health say ivermectin is used to treat some human medical ailments, but not any viral infections and not in doses big enough for a horse.
FOREMAN: Ivermectin has been tested for COVID, but not enough, not thoroughly enough to prove if it works or not. So quit taking the horse pills and get your shot -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: I mean, things you never think you'd have to be saying.
Thank you, Tom. Appreciate it.
OUTFRONT next, a least 21 people dead and more missing after sudden flooding in Tennessee. I'm going to speak to a mother who had to smash through a window to save her life and the life of her 4 month old baby.
And the name Ashli Babbitt has been a rallying cry for the far right after the Capitol riot. New details tonight about the officer who shot and killed her that day.
BOLDUAN: Tonight, at least 21 dead in Tennessee after record- shattering rainfall ravaged the state. The floods damaging homes, toppling trees. I mean, just look at the video, upending cars. Twenty of the fatalities happened in Waverly, a city of about 4,100 residents, just 60 miles west of Nashville.
Among the dead, 7-month-old twins, Ryan and Rileigh Rigney. They were swept out of their father's arms in the fast-moving floodwaters. County singer Loretta Lynn's ranch foreman, Wayne Spears, he also died being swept up by the floodwaters. Anthony and Vanessa Yates, those two, they were among the lucky ones
to make it out alive and they have quite a story to tell. They join me now along with their 4-month-old baby, Coralai.
Thank you both for being here.
After seeing the pictures of what happened in Tennessee, it's unbelievable. I mean, your story stopped my heart today when I read it. I mean, Anthony and Vanessa, you were separated when all this happened. Anthony, you left for work early that morning. A few hours later, Vanessa, you're standing on your countertop with your 4-month- old because the water is rising so fast.
I mean, it sounds like it happened in an instant, Vanessa.
Can you tell me what you saw and what was going through your mind then?
VANESSA YATES, LOST HOME IN TENNESSEE FLOODING, FEARED SHE AND DAUHTER WERE GOING TO DROWN: I just felt so overwhelmed. I didn't know -- I just felt like I was going to drown because it just happened so quickly. And I just knew that I needed help. And so people just came to my rescue. I had all kinds of people trying to get to me.
My family and all kinds of people had posted on Facebook get to her. She has a 4-month-old baby, she needs help. And the next thing I know, it wasn't long after that, that someone was at our house.
BOLDUAN: What were you seeing? In the moment, it's probably hard to remember. But when you realized that you had to get on the countertop and you had to -- and then you ended up putting Coralai on top of the kitchen cabinets to get her as far away from the water as possible, what were you seeing at that time?
V. YATES: The water was -- I mean everything was floating. Someone was like put her on top of the fridge. Everything was floating. Everything was under water at that point. And getting on top of the kitchen counter was my only option. Everything was under water. My ankles were actually covered with water at that point. And so I just put her at the highest level I could and just prayed to god that we would be okay.
BOLDUAN: We were just showing video and I'll show it again of your brother-in-law who came looking for you. He was in a kayak. And then he kind of recorded a video just moments -- in like a moment that he didn't know if he was going to be able to reach you and Coralai.
Let me play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody's yelling help me. I can't help (INAUDIBLE). There's a house on fire over there. I don't know what to do. I can't call Vanessa. If I die, I don't make it, I tried. I love you all.
(END VDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And what did you think when you saw him and he arrived for help?
V. YATES: It was honestly such a relief because he came through the kitchen and helped me get off the counter and helped us into the boat. It was just -- I was just so glad to make it back to land honestly.
BOLDUAN: And there's an another other chapter of this story, Anthony. This whole time you're trying to get home from work, roads blocked, flooded, washed out, all of the above. You start walking because you get out of your car, no idea what's happening with your family.
I mean what is going through your mind? And then that moment when you finally reunited?
ANTHONY YATES, STRUGGLED TO GET TO WIFE AND DAUGHTER AT HOME DURING TN FLOODING: Oh, my goodness. So of course I got up to go to work that morning and the rain was only just starting.
And then I get the call that Vanessa says the house is flooding. I said, what do you mean the house is flooding? I know it's raining hard but surely it can't be -- regardless, I mean, that's my wife and baby. If she says that the house is flooding, the house is flooding, I'm getting out of there. I'm going to get my wife and baby.
And so, I drive out of there as quickly but safely as I possibly can. And once I get through McEwen, I come to an impasse where the EMS workers are turning everyone away. The road between McEwen and Waverly has just entirely washed away.
But I mean, I wasn't about to wait. I had to make sure that my wife and baby were okay so I walked along the railroad tracks. I get back in town and I met some of the most wonderful people. They gave me a lift to my house once I was in town and the EMS workers, they were still outside trying to evacuate houses and everything like that.
And I see mine and I see the one next to us is completely gone and its remnants are on fire and I just -- I start running to the house as quickly as I can. And I'm like -- have you guys evacuated my wife and baby? We got everybody out of that, we're pretty sure.
I say please be sure, she's a 4-month-old girl. They go with me to help. And as I come to look, I had the window that I can see is busted out, and I could see the most heartwarming thing I'd seen, two pointy little ears sticking up, our family dog Lily, and I call after Lily, Lily, and she --
BOLDUAN: So you get your dog, not only that, and then you get to be reunited with your beautiful wife and daughter. I mean, I have to say, guys, it's such an honor to meet you. The fact that sweet Coralai has just been an angel this entire time,
I'm just sitting here in awe. God bless her. It's so nice to meet you. Thank you for being here.
V. YATES: Thank you.
A. YATES: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.
OUTFRONT for us next, Capitol police say the shooting of January 6th rioter Ashli Babbitt was, quote, lawful and the police officer will not be disciplined even though Donald Trump tries to make Babbitt a martyr. We'll be right back.
BOLDUAN: The Capitol Police officer who shot a rioter who later died on January 6th will not face disciplinary action. Ashli Babbitt was shot as the crowd was breaking through a barricaded doorway, the entrance to the speaker's lobby that day. The Office of Professional Responsibility has determined the officer's conduct was lawful and within department policy regarding use of force. He has not and will not be publicly identified because he and his family have received credible threats, according to the department.
Thanks so much for joining us this evening.
"AC360" starts now.