Adam Schiff: Afghanistan situation is a first-class nightmare

Adam Schiff: Afghanistan situation is a first-class nightmare

>>> I’M SO GLAD TO HAVE MY NEXT GUEST HERE BECAUSE HE’LL GIVE US THE INFORMATION WE NEED. CNN IS LEARNING PRESIDENT BIDEN IS WEIGHING WHETHER TO EXTEND THE AUGUST 31st DEADLINE FROM REMOVING ALL U.S. TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN. THEY BRIEFED LAWMAKERS ON THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE ON THE CRISIS UNFOLDING AND THE AS THE HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE IS INVESTIGATING PLANS TO ASK COMPANIES TO PRESERVE THE PHONE RECORDS OF MULTIPLE PEOPLE INCLUDING SOME MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. LET’S GET TO IT WITH DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN ADAM SCHIFF. THANK YOU SO MUCH. APPRECIATE YOU JOINING US. GOOD EVENING. A LOT TO GET TO ON AFGHANISTAN. I WANT TO START WITH THE SELECT COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING JANUARY 6th. YOU’RE ON THAT COMMITTEE. BENNY THOMPSON, THE COMMITTEE’S CHAIR CONFIRMING TO CNN HE WANTS TELL LACOMBE COMPANIES TO PRESERVE PHONE RECORDS TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND KEVIN McCARTHY, JIM JORDAN SPOKE WITH TRUMP ON JANUARY 6th. WHOSE RECORDS DO YOU WANT TO SEE? >> WELL, I’M GOING TO LEAVE IT AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE TO THE CHAIRMAN TO MAKE THOSE DISCLOSURES PUBLIC OR IN A FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT. I CAN TELL YOU THIS, WE INTEND TO BE THOROUGH. WE WANT TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TOOK PLACE BEFORE JANUARY 6th THAT LED TO THAT TRAGIC DAY AND THE VIOLENCE OF THAT DAY. ANYONE INVOLVED AND ANYONE WHO HAD KNOWLEDGE WHO WOULD BE ASSEMBLING ON THAT MALL OR THE VIOLENCE TO COME, ANYONE THAT FUNDED IT, WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE WAS DOING, PEOPLE IN THE ADMINISTRATION, WHAT THEY WERE AWARE OF AND WHEN, WHY WE WEREN’T REINFORCED IN THE CAPITOL, WHY IT TOOK SO MANY HOURS TO SEND THE NATIONAL GUARD. SO WE WANT ANSWERS TO ALL THESE QUESTIONS AND WE’RE NOT AFRAID TO ASK THEM OF ANYONE INCLUDING MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, FORMER MEMBERS OF THE ADMINISTRATION, CURRENT PEOPLE THAT ARE SERVING WITHIN ADMINISTRATION, ANYONE WHO HAS RELEVANT INFORMATION. >> YEAH. LISTEN, YOUR ANSWER MAY BE SIMILAR BUT I HAVE TO ASK IT ANYWAYS, LETTERS ARE GOING OUT, GOING TO BE SENT TO SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES. ARE YOU ABLE TO SAY WHICH ONES AND HOW EXPANSIVE YOU SEE THIS INVESTIGATION COMING? >> I CAN’T. I CAN SAY THIS FOLLOWS A VERY TRADITIONAL INVESTIGATIVE PATH WHERE YOU WANT TO GET THE DOCUMENTS FIRST BEFORE YOU BRING IN WITNESSES SO YOU KNOW THE RIGHT QUESTIONS TO ASK AND WE ARE WORKING IN A VERY BIPARTISAN INDEED NON-PARTISAN WAY AND BROUGHT ON VERY CAPABLE INVEST G — INVESTIGATIVE STAFF. WE’RE GETTING WELL SITUATED TO GET THIS IMPORTANT WORK DONE AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT INVESTIGATIONS CONGRESS HAS EVER UNDER TAKEN. >> APPRECIATE YOU TALKING ABOUT THAT. LET’S TURN TO AFGHANISTAN, SHALL WE? WHEN YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT WHAT YOU HEARD IN THE INTEL BRIEFING WITH IMAGES COMING OUT OF KABUL, VOLATILE SITUATION ON THE GROUND. THE AMERICAN CITIZENS AND AFGHAN ALLIES WHO ARE THERE AND STILL NEED TO BE EVACUATED, GIVE ME YOUR REAL ASSESSMENT OF THIS SITUATION, CONGRESSMAN? >> YOU PRETTY DIRE. THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS THAT NEED TO BE EVACUATED. AMERICANS FIRST AND FOREMOST AND U.S. RESIDENTS BUT PEOPLE THAT HAVE A MORAL AND ETHICAL OBLIGATION TO. THOSE WHO FOUGHT BESIDE US AND INTELLIGENCE TO SAVE AMERICAN LIVES AND AS WELL AS CIVIL SOCIETY FIGURES THAT WE WERE WORKING WITH TO TRY TO ESTABLISH A GOVERNMENT THAT WOULD PROTECT CITIZENS INCLUDING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND GIRLS AND SO THAT’S A BIG GROUP OF PEOPLE AND I’M ENCOURAGED THAT WE HAVE REALLY RAMPED EFFORTS UP IN THE LAST 24 TO 48 HOURS WITH 11,000 PEOPLE EVACUATED IN A SINGLE DAY. THAT’S PRETTY — THAT’S PRETTY EXTRAORDINARY NUMBER BUT THERE ARE SO MANY MORE YET TO EVACUATE THAT WE’VE GOT A LOT OF HARD WORK AHEAD OF US UNDER DANGEROUS CIRCUMSTANCES. >> LISTEN, YOU’RE THERE. YOU KNOW. YOU GOT THE INTEL BRIEFINGS. YOU KNOW MORE THAN WE DO AND CERTAINLY SOME THINGS YOU CAN’T REVEAL. LET’S PUT UP THOSE IMAGES AT THE KABUL AIRPORT. YOU’VE BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT THE THREAT AT THAT AIRPORT. WE’VE SEEN PLENTY OF VIDEOS SHOWING CROWDS OF PEOPLE DESPERATE TO GET IN. DO YOU THINK THE U.S. NEEDS TO DO MORE TO BEEF UP SECURITY OR DO YOU THINK THAT RIGHT NOW THEY’RE DOING WHAT’S NEEDED TO BE DONE? HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT? >> WELL, I GUESS I WOULD SAY THERE CAN NEVER BE ENOUGH SECURITY AT THAT AIRPORT. IT’S SUCH A CHAOTIC SITUATION AND WHEN YOU MASS THAT NUMBER OF PEOPLE. PEOPLE CAN GET HURT JUST BEING IN A CROWD THAT SIZE BUT MAKES A VERY ATTRACTIVE TARGET FOR OUR ENEMIES, FOR ISIS FOR EXAMPLE LIKE NOTHING BETTER THAN TO ATTACK, SET OFF A SUICIDE BOMB IN THAT CROWD OR TAKE OUT ONE OF THOSE AIRCRAFT WITH A MAN PAD. THAT COUWOULD BE OBVIOUSLY CATASTROPHIC AND THEY WOULD LOVE TO SEE THAT KA AT TCATASTROPHE. IT’S A DIFFICULT DANGEROUS SITUATION. WE HAVE THE BEST TRAINED MILITARY IN THE WORLD BUT THIS IS A FIRST CLASS, FIRST ORDER SAFETY LOGISTICS NIGHTMARE AND WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO USE ALL THE SKILLS WE HAVE. >> YEAH, AS YOU SAY THE WORDS GOD FORBID LET’S HOPE THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN WHAT YOU SAID BUT YES, A VERY REAL POSSIBILITY. I UNDERSTAND THAT. SO YOU ALSO SAY — YOU SAY WE SHOULD HAVE A MILITARY PRESENCE IN AFGHANISTAN AS LONG AS IT TAKES TO GET TO U.S. CITIZENS AND ALLIES AND AFGHAN ALLIES BUT THE TALIBAN SAY ANY DELAY TO THIS AUGUST 31st DEADLINE, THEY SAY IT A RED LINE. ARE YOU WORRIED AN EXTENSION COULD PUT EVEN MORE LIVES IN JEOPARDY HERE? >> WELL, I’M CERTAINLY CONCERNED ABOUT ANY EFFORT BY THE TALIBAN TO GO AFTER PEOPLE AFTER THE END OF THE MONTH. BUT I’M — LOOK, I’M VERY MINDFUL OF THE FACT THAT THERE ARE STILL MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WE NEED TO GET OUT AND GETTING PEOPLE TO THAT AIRPORT IS VERY DIFFICULT AND THE END OF THE MONTH WILL BE ON US BEFORE WE KNOW IT AND I THINK THAT WE NEED TO MAINTAIN OUR MILITARY PRESENCE LONG ENOUGH TO GET EVERYONE OUT, CERTAINLY OUR OWN PEOPLE OUT BUT ALSO THOSE WE HAVE THAT MORAL OBLIGATION TO HELP EVACUATE. SO LOOK, I SUPPORT THE WITHDRAWAL OF OUR U.S. FORCES OUT OF AFGHANISTAN. I THINK THE PRESIDENT MADE THE RIGHT DECISION. WE COULD BE THERE ANOTHER FIVE, TEN, 15 YEARS AND STILL BE IN THE SAME SITUATION IN TERMS OF THE TALIBAN TAKEOVER. BUT WE SHOULDN’T LEAVE UNTIL WE GET ALL OF OUR PEOPLE OUT AND THOSE THAT WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO HELP GET TO SAFETY. >> YEAH. CNN IS REPORTING THAT THE U.S. IS SCRAMBLING TO FILL AN INTELLIGENCE VACUUM IN THE AFTERMATH OF AFGHANISTAN’S COLLAPSE. ARE YOU WORRIED THAT ALL OF THIS INSTABILITY COULD EMBOLDEN EXTREMIST GROUPS AGAIN TO CARRY OUT AN ATTACK YOU MENTIONED AT THE AIRPORT BUT CARRY OUT ON ATTACK AT HOME OR ABROAD, CONGRESSMAN? >> WELL, LOOK, WHEN YOU DRAW DOWN YOUR MILITARY FOOTPRINT SOMEWHERE, YOU LOSE EYES ON SOME OF THE DANGERS THAT EXIST, BUT I THINK WE HAVE TO ACREKNOWLEDGE E DANGER IN THE COUNTRY IS GREATER OUTSIDE OF AFGHANISTAN IN TERMS OF TERRORIST ATTACK THAT MAY BE ORGANIZED AGAINST THE HOMELAND SO THERE ARE OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD WHERE AL QAEDA HAS A BIGGER PRESENCE AND ISIS HAS A BIGGER PRESENCE BUT OVER TIME, THAT COULD CHANGE IN AFGHANISTAN. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO TRY TO KEEP A CLOSE WATCH TO MAKE SURE AL QAEDA DOESN’T RECONSTITUTE ITSELF THERE AND TAKE ACTION AGAINST ISIS K AND MAKE SURE THAT IT DOESN’T POSE A GROWING THREAT TO US. THAT’S MORE DIFFICULT TO DO WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE THOSE TROOPS STILL ON THE GROUND BUT OF COURSE, WHEN WE DID HAVE THE TROOPS ON THE GROUND, THEY WERE TARGETS AND WE WERE RISKING AMERICAN LIVES IN THAT FASHION, TOO. SO NOT A BRIGHT LINE HERE BUT I THINK THE DRAW DOWN IS THE RIGHT DECISION, AND WE’RE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO REALLY STRENGTHEN OUR INTELLIGENCE GATHERING CAPABILITY FROM OTHER PLACES. >> LOOK, WE APPRECIATE HAVING OUR LEADERS ON TO SPEAK TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ESPECIALLY SOMEONE LIKE YOU AND THE COMMITTE
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Adam Schiff: Afghanistan situation is a first-class nightmare

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