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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 8/27/21

Guests: Michael Weiss, Eugene Robinson, David Rothkopf, Mark Kline, Mondaire Jones, Tara Raghuveer, Rafael Anchia, Brittney Cooper


The U.S military launched an unmanned drone strike over the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan killing its target, an ISIS-K member who planned the suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S service members. Despite threats of future attacks, evacuation efforts at Kabul Airport is still ongoing. Hurricane Ida is expected to make landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 storm on Sunday. Millions of Americans are at risk of losing their homes after the Supreme Court ruled late last night that the Biden administration`s new eviction moratorium was unconstitutional.



RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: This is just one of those Friday nights and it is likely to be a very busy news weekend. Again, the breaking news this hour that the U.S. military has retaliated, has launched a strike against ISIS-K, ISIS-Khorasan, in eastern Afghanistan in retaliation for the ISIS attack that killed U.S. service members and so many Afghan civilians at the Kabul airport yesterday.

Also, we are watching what is now a large hurricane bearing down on the gulf coast and New Orleans specifically. Hurricane Ida is going to be a huge deal over the course of this weekend. You need to keep an eye on it. We are hoping that the track turns and that it doesn`t end up -- that it doesn`t end up on the track that it looks like it`s on tonight, but keep your eyes on that.

And if you are in the path potentially of Hurricane Ida, please, please pay attention to local evacuation warnings, pay attention to local forecasts. Heed these warnings, this is a big storm.

All right, that`s going to do it for us for now. Now it`s time for "The Last Word." Jonathan Capehart is in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening, Jonathan. It`s a big night already.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: It is a big night, Rachel. You covered lots of big news. But I have to say, I couldn`t get ready for tonight`s show for the first 30 minutes of your show, listening to you break down the people not trusting the CDC but fully taking recommendations from Facebook to take -- was it, ivermectin?

MADDOW: Ivermectin.

CAPEHART: Ivermectin.

MAADDOW: It can cure head lice and scabies in people. It can deworm your cow, but it does nothing for COVID despite what Fox News and Facebook are telling you. It is turning into like an epidemic of misuse that`s turning out to be dangerous. It`s insane.

CAPEHART: Right. And at a time when hospital beds are filling up with COVID patients and not having enough hospital beds for people who don`t have COVID. We`re going to actually talking about a lot of this on "The Sunday Show" on Sunday but we got to get to the breaking news that you ended your show with. Rachel, thank you very much.

MADDOW: Thank you, Jonathan.

CAPEHART: And tonight, we do begin with the breaking news. The U.S. military has conducted a counterterrorism operation against an ISIS-K planner. Initial indications are that the target was killed according to officials. ISIS-K is the terrorist organization that claims responsibility for the explosion at Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. service members on Thursday.

Military officials say the unmanned air strike took place today in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. There are no known civilians casualties. U.S. service members at Kabul airport are still under threat tonight as efforts continue in the evacuation of Americans and our allies from Afghanistan before the August 31st deadline for military withdrawal.

Today, according to the White House, another 4,200 people were evacuated from Kabul. More than 114,000 have been evacuated from Afghanistan since July, including more than 5,000 Americans. NBC News has learned that national security officials believe another attack outside Kabul airport is likely and warn that the next days will be the most dangerous yet.

And there is new information breaking tonight about yesterday`s deadly terror attack. "The New York Times" reports, "At 5:48 p.m., the bomber, wearing a 25-pound explosive vest under clothing, walked up to the group of Americans who were frisking people hoping to enter the complex. He waited, officials said, until just before he was about to be searched by the American troops. And then he detonated the bomb, which was unusually large for a suicide vest, killing himself and igniting an attack that would leave dozens of people dead, including 13 American service members."

Those 13 U.S. service members killed include 11 Marines, one Navy corpsman, and one soldier. More than a dozen U.S. service members were injured. Afghan health officials say that as many as 170 civilians outside the airport were killed in the explosion. None of those killed were American. Another 200 civilians were reportedly injured.

Today, President Biden once again offered his condolences to the families of the 13 fallen service members.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me begin by once again acknowledging the bravery and the sacrifice that our military makes every single day. And the loss of those Americans and Marines and sailor and army personnel, is tragic.


But look, the mission there being performed is dangerous and now has come with significant loss of American personnel. But it`s a worthy mission because they continue to evacuate folks out of that region, out of the airport.


CAPEHART: Officials have issued maximum force protection measures to counter any possible threat in the final days of the evacuations. Even with heightened security concerns, thousands remain outside Kabul airport desperate to evacuate before the August 31st deadline.

President Biden has said he intends to stick to that deadline but talks between State Department officials and the Taliban are under way to keep Kabul airport open beyond the end of the month.

Joining us now is Michael Weiss, senior editor for "Newlines Magazine." He is the co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror." Michael, thank you very much for being here. For the audience who doesn`t know, what is ISIS-K and what is its relationship with the Taliban?

MICHAEL WEISS, SENIOR EDITOR, NEWLINES MAGAZINE: So ISIS-K was formed in 2014 and many of its top ranking members were actually disaffected members of both the Afghan-Taliban and also the Pakistani-Taliban. These are guys who think that the core Taliban that now rules Afghanistan was a bit too cuddly for their liking.

The distinction here is the Taliban is seeking and has always been seeking to establish a so-called emirate. They want to control the nation state of Afghanistan. ISIS`s mission is far more messianic than that. It is deeply more ideological. In fact, they look to establish their so-called caliphate throughout the world.

They will not stop, as they have said repeatedly, since even before 2014, when the U.S.-led coalition went into Syria and Iraq that, you know, they want to see the black flag, you know, flying over the capitals of Rome, London, Washington, D.C.

So, you know, ISIS is a transnational terror organization. And ISIS-K, which essentially just became a franchise of the core ISIS that grew up in the Levant in Mesopotamia, shares exactly the same obscurantist theocratic ideology. Now, it`s true that --

CAPEHART: No, go ahead. Go ahead. Yes.

WEISS: Yes. It`s true that ISIS-K and the Taliban have been at war with each other for several years, ferociously, in some cases. There have been reported instances in fact where the U.S. Air Force seeing the two of them on the ground opposing each other, basically bombed ISIS-K knowing the Taliban would overtake them on the ground.

The problem though is, and you can talk to any expert who studied Afghanistan far longer than I have, you know, as I mentioned, because so many of the ISIS-K fighters come from the former ranks of the Taliban, they share a lot of family members and associations with members inside the Taliban.

Now, the Taliban is not a cohesive organization in the way you might like to think it is. It is an insurgency. But as we`ve seen, you know, their so- called security checkpoints, ISIS-K managed to penetrate them in grimly spectacular fashion in two different places for these double suicide bombings this week which killed over a hundred people including, as you say, 13 or 14 U.S. service members.

Now, the concern among U.S. national security types and intelligence is that if the Taliban is somehow infiltrated or compromised by members of ISIS-K, the Taliban, which by the way is still not formally in control of Afghanistan, right, this blitzkrieg into Kabul surprised even themselves. So, they don`t have a complete sort of situational awareness of what`s going on.

This is a really dire set of circumstances. Both for the Taliban, if you believe their doctrine that they`re at war with ISIS-K and they will continue to be, and for the United States.

CAPEHART: Michael, you just gave me a piece of information that I didn`t even -- had not considered. I`m sure a lot of people watching didn`t consider it, and that is the Taliban itself actually might be weak compared to the insurgency of ISIS.

Michael Weiss, we`re going to have to leave it there. Thank you very, very much for coming to "The Last Word." Joining us now, Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist with "The Washington Post." He is an MSNBC political analyst. And David Rothkopf, a foreign affairs analyst and columnist for "The Daily Beast" and "USA Today." He is host of the "Deep State Radio" podcast.

David, let me start with you and let`s listen to something that State Department spokesperson Ned Price said earlier today.


NED PRICE, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: They have made very clear to us in our communication, they would like to see an American diplomatic presence remain. Ultimately, of course, it`s not up to the Taliban. It`s a determination that we will need to make, consistent with the overriding prerogative, and that is the safety and security of American officials. It is a decision we plan to discuss and to confer about with our allies and partners as well.



CAPEHART: And so, David, in answering, you know, getting your reaction to what Ned Price just said there, in your answer, factor in what we just heard from Michael, and that is this notion that the Taliban is not firmly in control in Afghanistan and that, you know, the potential of ISIS infiltrating the Taliban and making it weaker is something that has Biden administration officials kind of worried.

DAVID ROTHKOPF, FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, and I think the Biden administration is handling this extremely well. Also stated in the Ned Price press conference that you were talking about was that the deputy Secretary of State is hosting daily meetings with 30 of our allies to discuss just how we proceed.

And he mentions specifically that the United States is going to be coordinating with our allies what kind of diplomatic presence they will have, we will have. What degree we will acknowledge the Taliban as the government? What the conditions are and so forth?

And I think that`s right and I think that`s prudent. We also have a lot of leverage with the Taliban in terms of economic factors. We hold a lot of the assets of the government of Afghanistan. There`s a lot of international economic leverage that we`ve got as well. And I think the United States is trying to use it to do things like you mentioned, including keeping the airport open so that people can get out in the future.

The Taliban have said they want to keep the borders open. If that`s the case, and they`re able to do that, that`s also a positive thing. And after all, the objective of the United States is to be able to protect our citizens and also to be able to keep eyes and ears on terrorists like those from ISIS-K so we can do exactly what we did today, which is when we find them and identify them, we can send in a drone or whatever we need to do and eliminate them.

CAPEHART: You know, Gene, I want to read something from your fantastic column in our paper, "The Washington Post," today. I`ll read this to you and to the audience.

"The problem is that this "forever war" truly would have had to continue forever. We were never going to outlast the Taliban because, and this is an important point, its members live there and want to govern the country. Afghanistan is their country, not ours. The nation`s fate was never going to matter more to us than it does to them, however repulsive we may find their vision for it."

So Gene, why are so many people surprised with how this ended?

EUGENE ROBINSON, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right, I don`t know. I don`t know because how would you imagine this war would end? I mean, it`s messy. It`s tragic. But it was going to end more or less this way, you know, different events. You know, god willing, the suicide bombing wouldn`t have happened and maybe more people would have gotten out, maybe not.

But the fact is this was bound to end in a messy, sad, tragic way because we were going to leave. Whether last year, this year, right now, next year, five years from now, we were going to leave, but the Taliban was going to still be there. ISIS-K was still going to be there. And Afghanistan was still going to be Afghanistan.

We gave it the illusion of a secular democracy, but not the actuality of a secular democracy because, frankly, not enough Afghans bought into that idea. And that`s just the sad fact.

CAPEHART: You know, Gene, I want to bring the audience up on something we just got in, some new reporting from NBC News. The target of tonight`s drone strike was an ISIS-K fighter thought to be involved in planning for future attacks according to two U.S. defense officials.

He was riding in a vehicle with one associate at the time. They were driving in an isolated area and the U.S. military is not aware of any civilian casualties in the strike. David, how surprised are you that the United States was able to find the alleged bomber so quickly?

ROTHKOPF: I`m not that surprised. The United States has extraordinary resources. I think one of the things we might want to take from this is that some of the criticism that we were hearing two weeks ago about the nature of this pullout is just not true.

One of the kinds of criticisms was we would not have intelligence assets and be able to control terrorist threats. Well, that was disproven within 24 hours from this attack. We`ve also, you know, we were also told the United States was going to sort of fall back in the view of the world.


But in the course of the past two weeks, we`ve overseen one of the biggest logistical achievements of any modern military ever. I think by the time we get to the deadline, we might have airlifted 150,000 people out of Afghanistan. That was also something we were told was not going to be possible.

In other words, very early on in the evacuation there were a lot of people essentially crying wolf about what this meant for the United States. But now that we have just two weeks of perspective, we can see that we remain in a very strong position, able to advance our mission. And the president seems to be exactly right in pursuing this as he had for all the reasons Gene just pointed out.

CAPEHART: And, you know, Gene, on the question of the president, I initially was going to ask you how will this, meaning the bombing and the way the evacuation is going, is going to factor into his presidency. But now that we have this breaking news tonight that the alleged bomber from yesterday`s bombing at the airport has been killed by the U.S. military, how does this all play into the crass politics that`s facing the president?

ROBINSON: You know, in fact we don`t know, Jonathan, and we won`t know for some time. I mean -- but what the lesson we can take is that the initial lesson, that the conventional wisdom takes, all the conventionally wise who say, oh, the system, you know, a huge crisis for the Biden administration, will never recover from (inaudible). Just ignore that.

Also ignore the people who might say the opposite and realize that when big events like this happen, we don`t know on day two or week two or really month two, what the ultimate impact is going to be. It always takes time. What was the political impact on Franklin Roosevelt of Pearl Harbor?

You know, you could imagine Twitter the next day saying this is it, you know, it`s over for Roosevelt. And we all know how that played out. So, you know, we`re going to have to wait and see. And I know that sounds like a cliche, but it`s just simply true.

CAPEHART: And you know what, Gene? That is actually good advice for all of us, in this profession and also for the American people, wait and see. Eugene Robinson, David Rothkopf, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

Coming up, more breaking news. New Orleans hospitals are already at their breaking point with the delta surge. Now, they are also facing Hurricane Ida which could hit Louisiana this weekend as a Category 4 storm or stronger. That`s next.



CAPEHART: Breaking tonight, Louisiana is facing a dire public health emergency. COVID hospitalizations of children have overwhelmed hospitals in the state, just as Hurricane Ida is forecast to make landfall on Sunday as a life-threatening Category 4 storm, 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana as a Category 3 storm.

The mayor of New Orleans has ordered mandatory evacuations for residents in low-lying areas outside the city`s levy system. She`s also called for voluntary evacuations inside the levy system. Our next guest is the physician-in-chief at Children`s Hospital New Orleans where the surge of hospitalizations was so intense this month that the state called in a federal surge team of doctors, nurses, and paramedics.

Louisiana is among the seven states with the lowest vaccination rate. Just 40.9 percent of people in Louisiana are fully vaccinated. On Tuesday, Louisiana set a new record for coronavirus deaths in a single day with 139. The day after, Louisiana reported 110 COVID deaths. One of them was a baby less than a year old.

It was the first time in six months that a child had died from COVID in Louisiana. Since the pandemic began, 11 children under the age of 18 in Louisiana have died from COVID and right now, about 31 percent of new COVID cases in Louisiana are among children younger than 18.

The picture across the United States is just as bad. Across the country, more than 100,000 people are hospitalized for COVID-19. The highest number since January. Daily COVID deaths have increased by 53 percent in the last two weeks. Dr. Mark Kline is standing by in New Orleans. But first, let`s get the latest on Hurricane Ida with meteorologist Michelle Grossman.


CAPEHART: Michelle, what can we expect from Ida?

GROSSMAN: And you know, this -- so we are expecting a Category 4 storm. This is a terrible situation by itself. And with a pandemic, it`s obviously even worse. So we are looking at Category 1 storm now. As it makes landfall, we`re going to see a Category 4 storm.

So let`s give you the latest. This is Ida. It`s crossing over Cuba now. We`re looking at winds at 80 miles per hour. And what`s going to happen over the next 36 hours, it`s going to go over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It`s so warm. They`re so deep. That`s really all it needs to blossom.

So it`s going to quickly become a Category 2 storm. And then a Category 4 storm early Sunday morning. Now, look what happens. We`re mentioning New Orleans and the coast of Louisiana. We are expecting a landfall now of a Category 4 storm with 140-mile per hour winds. And it`s not out of the realm of possibility to see this blossom to a Category 5 storm.

We`ll see at the 11:00 advisory, it`s coming out in the next 40 minutes and then we`ll watch it over in the next 36 hours, but still a really strong storm. So when you think of hurricanes, you think of water, of course. We`re looking at torrential downpour that`s going to fall on Sunday. We could see 20 inches of rain.

We`re going to see those levies tested. We`re going to see the pumping stations tested as well, 24 pumping stations. So these are your tropical alerts. We`re looking at alerts spanning all the way from Lake Charles all the way to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

But where you see that red, and that includes New Orleans. It includes Baton Rouge. It includes Morgan City. We are under hurricane warning. So if you have not heeded those warnings, you want to do so tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow afternoon, because Sunday is going to be too late.

We`ll see those tropical winds picking up late tomorrow night. And these are the rainfall impacts. I mean, this is just a dire situation when you see these numbers. Generally, eight to 15 inches, but we could see up to 20 inches of rain and a storm surge of up to 15 feet. Jonathan?

CAPEHART: Meteorologist Michelle Grossman, thank you very much for that update.


Joining us now is Dr. Mark Kline, physician-in-chief of Children`s Hospital New Orleans. He`s a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist. Dr. Kline, thank you very much for being here. What`s your hospital doing to prepare for a possible Category 4 hurricane and how devastating could this hurricane be for hospitals already struggling with COVID patients?

MARK KLINE, PHYSICIAN-IN-CHIEF, CHILDREN`S HOSPITAL NEW ORLEANS: Thanks for having me, Jonathan. Hospitals are stretched really thin. The staff is exhausted. The nurses and the doctors and the respiratory therapists and social workers have been working overtime for a couple of months now with this delta surge of COVID-19.

Our own hospital had its busiest month in 66 years in the history of the hospital in July in terms of the average daily census, the census in our critical care units and the census in our emergency center. Our emergency center visits were up 77 percent in July compared to June. So, you know, people have worked as hard as they possibly can and the last thing in the world that we need right now is a Category 4 storm impacting us. But that`s what we`ve got and we`re going to pull together and work as a team and we`ll get through this like we have everything else.

CAPEHART: You know, Dr. Kline, I`ve been wondering this, what are you saying to parents who are unvaccinated and their children are hospitalized with COVID?

KLINE: Well, what I`m saying to all parents, whether they have a child hospitalized with COVID or not, is get the vaccine. Adults have to take responsibility for this. Young children are not eligible for the vaccine just yet. And so if you`re under 12 years of age, you`re not going to be vaccinated.

And even for adolescents between 12 and about 17 years of age, the rate of vaccination has been very low. As adults we`ve got to step up, show responsibility, and get vaccinated to protect the most vulnerable among us and that`s young children.

This pandemic is heavily impacting children across the age range. In our own hospital, we`re seeing children as young as 7, 8, 9 weeks of age hospitalized in our pediatric intensive care unit. And those cases are entirely preventable if we simply do what we need to do which is to mask up, distance, and above all, vaccinate.

CAPEHART: Dr. Mark Kline, thank you for being here. We hope you and your hospital stay safe this weekend. Thank you for joining us tonight.

KLINE: Thanks, Jonathan.

CAPEHART: Coming up, tonight, in the middle of a pandemic, millions of Americans are in danger of losing their homes after conservatives on the Supreme Court ruled against the Biden administration`s eviction moratorium. What tools do Democrats in Washington have now to help keep people in their homes? We`ll talk about that, next.



CAPEHART: Millions of Americans are at risk of losing their homes after the Supreme Court ruled late last night that the Biden administration`s new eviction moratorium was unconstitutional. In a 6-3 decision, the conservative court ruled that the CDC had exceeded the scope of its authority by issuing the temporary ban, saying, quote, "If a federally- imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it."

Meanwhile, the delta variant continues to spread. That means two things. One, unemployment might remain high as the new COVID strain keeps businesses from hiring, making it more likely that Americans won`t be able to afford their rent or mortgage payments.

And two, studies have shown that evictions could further accelerate the spread of the virus as people congregate together in communal housing situations.

Justice Breyer, joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, wrote in their dissent, "The public interest is not favored by the spread of disease or the court`s second-guessing of the CDC`s judgment.

Congresswoman Cori Bush, who led an eviction protest outside the Capitol earlier this month, sleeping on the steps of the building tweeted, "We were outside the Capitol for five days. Rain, heat, cold. If they think this partisan ruling is going to stop us from fighting to keep people housed, they`re wrong. Congress needs to act immediately for every unhoused or soon to be unhoused person in our district."

Joining us now are Democratic Congressman Mondaire Jones of New York. He is deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. And Tara Raghuveer, founding director of KC Tenants Rights Organization in Kansas City, Missouri.

Thank you both very much for being here. Congressman Jones, ok, here`s the question. Why isn`t the rental assistance funding getting to the tenants who need it most? What are you hearing from your constituents who are most affected by this ruling?

REP. MONDAIRE JONES (D-NY): I`m hearing from my constituents what the new governor of New York has said, which is that the status quo is unacceptable. I look at a state like New York, my home state, which is sitting on more than $2 billion of money that Congress, people like myself, have already appropriated through legislation for this purpose. And yet the government agency in New York state responsible for disbursing those funds has been slow to do so.

And so I think with her leadership, Kathy Hochul, our new governor, we`ll see a change from the prior administration given the departure of Governor Cuomo. But of course, not every state is like New York. You`re not going to have cooperative governors in all of these states.

And so we have to do as members of Congress what we failed to do previously which was make it much easier for landlords to be made whole. I hear from landlords all the time about having need of these funds.

No one is trying to deprive them of what they are owed. We just want to keep as many as 11 million people from becoming unhoused in this country in the midst of a deadly pandemic.


CAPEHART: Yes. That`s right. And one more question for you Congressman Jones. The court is increasingly using, quote, "shadow docket cases". These are cases often decided without oral arguments. And often without a majority opinion, explaining the court`s reasoning to issue significant rulings. What does this say about the future of the Supreme Court?

JONES: I think it is the latest example of how the 6-3 hyper partisan conservative majority on the Supreme Court is out of touch with the realities of working class people in this country. Again, this is something that should not have happened. There was a statute that very clearly gave the CDC the authority to reinstate the eviction moratorium recently.

In the midst of a pandemic, I think it is at its strongest in terms of its justification in doing so. And what we see is a court, in the same way that it has been hostile to voting rights, in the same way that it has struck down statutes or dismantled statutes that were duly enacted by Congress.

As yet again putting itself ahead of the interests of the American people and elevating itself above even congressional action and action by the White House in the form of executive action that it is authorized to do in this case.

CAPEHART: And Tara Raghuveer, were you surprised by last night`s court ruling?

TARA RAGHUVEER, FOUNDING DIRECTOR, KC TENANTS: I wasn`t surprised. I`m a tenant organizer, and we have known since March of 2020 that an eviction moratorium was going to be temporary and it wasn`t going to save us.

We knew that the courts were going to challenge the Biden administration on the reinstatement of this moratorium. And the courts are partisan, as Representative Jones just pointed out, they voted -- or they made a decision along partisan lines last night. And the implications are going to be devastating for tenants.

Tenants were already in a bad position to begin with. So no, I wasn`t surprised. And now we`re buckling up for what is going to be a really, really hard period for poor and working class Americans.

CAPEHART: Your organization, People`s Action, is proposing a national tenants bill of rights. What does a national tenants bill of rights entail? What does that look like?

RAGHUVEER: It`s all about power, Jonathan. So in today`s housing market, the landlord has all the power over the tenant. And that`s because there are no national eviction -- national eviction or any other tenant protections.

So I`m a tenant in a state like Missouri, and in Missouri, this is one of the most tenant-unfriendly states in the country. Tenants in Representative Jones` state, New York, might have more protections. But that patchwork is really killing us. And the power dynamic makes it such that a tenant has to deal with conditions that no person should ever have to deal with in order to keep a roof over their head. So a national tenants bill of rights would address this by banning source of income discrimination, making it so that landlords don`t get to discriminate against voucher holders. It would put controls on rent so that rents aren`t hiked to unbelievable rates year after year after year. It would make it so that landlords can`t evict for no cause.

And we`re in the process right now of talking to millions of tenants across the country about what they want and need out of this national tenants bill of rights. It is only through this type of systemic fix that anything about the problems that we`re facing now will ever be truly addressed.

CAPEHART: And you know, Congressman Jones, to that point of systemic fix, how likely is it that Congress will act in the way that the court demands, that Congress fix this?

I think you`ll see the House continue to do the lion`s share of the work to build a place where everyone in this country can live in dignity. But when it gets to the senate, you`re still going to have this issue of the filibuster, which I have very publicly called on the White House to help us get rid of.

Because so long as you have people like Manchin and Sinema saying we need ten Republicans of good conscience to sign onto any legislation outside of the reconciliation process, you are going to continue to have a situation where as many as 11 million people face housing insecurity in this country.

And that is simply untenable. And so we`ve got to continue to push obviously for Congress to do its job, for the Senate to get rid of the filibuster. But we also have to call on the states to get this money out.

In total Congress has allocated over $46 billion for this purpose between the Cares Act legislation passed in December of last year and the American Rescue Plan passed this year.

We have the funds to get rental assistance out. We just need the political will at the state level to get it out.

CAPEHART: And if I remember correctly, seeing one of our chyrons there, 89 percent of the funding hasn`t even -- hasn`t even gone out.


CAPEHART: Congressman Mondaire Jones, Tara Raghuveer -- thank you both very much for being here tonight.

Coming up, what do you call a policy that intentionally targets black and brown people to disenfranchise them of their rights? Asking for a Republican.

Maybe our next guest can think of a word for that, next.


CAPEHART: Texas Democrats fought for six weeks to block the voter suppression bill that Texas Republicans passed today. Debate on the bill ran for more than 12 hours yesterday, with Republicans adding several provisions that make the legislation even more restrictive, including imposing criminal penalties and civil fines on election workers and requiring large Texas counties to livestream the ballot counting process. Republicans shot down all but one of the amendments suggested by Democrats.


CAPEHART: The most shocking and illustrative moment of yesterday`s debate - - it came when the Republican speaker actually asked members not to use the word "racism" while debating legislation that will disproportionately impact voters of color.

Republicans don`t want to be called racist for passing racist legislation, fancy that.

During the debate, our next guest, State Representative Rafael Anchia explained in detail to Texas Republicans how their election policies have targeted people of color.


STATE REP. RAFAEL ANCHIA (D-TX): Courts have pointed out over and over and over again, intentional discrimination against African-Americans, intentional discrimination against Latinos, intentional discrimination against people of color.

These are not my words. These are three federal courts across this country making ten findings of that intentional discrimination.

STATE REP. GINA HINOJOSA (D-TX): Intentional discrimination against people of a certain race, is that racism?

ANCHIA: That is --

STATE REP. DADE PHELAN (R-TX): Miss Hinojosa --

ANCHIA: Those words, intentional discrimination, I think can be fairly characterized in that manner.

PHELAN: We can talk about racial impacts of this legislation without accusing members of being racist.


CAPEHART: I mean, come on. Tonight the Texas senate decided to send the voting restrictions bill to conference committee.

Joining us now is Democratic Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia, chair of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus, and Brittney Cooper associate professor of women`s and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of the fabulous book, "Eloquent Rage".

Let me start with you, State Representative Anchia. Republicans seem oh, so uncomfortable using the word "racist". But as you pointed out, the policies of the Texas Republican legislature have a history of discriminating against people of color.

ANCHIA: And this isn`t old-timey newsreel stuff. This is digital and this is contemporary. It all happened during the last decade on voting rights matters.

These findings of intentional discrimination -- I mean go one step further, and just seeing its discriminatory effect. These courts have said, you meant to discriminate against Latinos, African Americans and people of color. That`s damning. That`s a damning record.

It`s against that backdrop that we debated that bill for almost 13 hours last night. We knew this day was coming. We had broke quorum twice. We had gone to Washington, made the case for the federal government to act.

And, you know, you heard the groans in the background from my Republican colleagues. They don`t even like it when we talk about intentional discrimination. And they prefer to talk in the language of, and you probably remember this, "purity of the ballot box".

That was a famous exchange that we had on the House floor that went viral. But we have to call it what it is. Intentional discrimination against people of color is racism. And that`s the bottom line.

It was an unfortunate statement, and again, it was not me saying it. These were federal judges that were appointed by Republicans and Democrats across the country that made these findings over and over and over and over again.

CAPEHART: And Brittney Cooper, many Republicans campaign on this type of dog whistle around issues involving race, whether it`s voting or social safety programs or especially immigration but then they bristle if someone calls it racist.

BRITTNEY COOPER, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: Yes. I mean, look. You know, it`s not racist if you don`t say it`s racist, right? This sophistry that goes on on the right where they want to be -- they are being brazenly, intentionally racist and they don`t want to be called that.

But I think that that exchange where there was this discourse about the difference between intention and impact is really important. Most of us who work on studies of race and racism have said for a long time that we actually should be looking primarily at disparate impact.

If you can prove that these policies make it harder for people of color to go vote, we don`t actually need to know about your intention. What we know is that you act in ways that make the world harder for black and brown people to participate in democracy.

But what is also true and I think what is most infuriating, is that in this case we also know that they meet the intentionality standard. They aren`t just acting in ways that are having bad impacts. They actually are intentionally doing so. And we have a real problem in this country where most of the folks who are racist want to brazenly, openly be racist. They just don`t want to be called racists.

And you don`t need to be a federal court to know what racism is. We all know what it is. And these folks who are being called out, they know exactly what it is.


COOPER: They just want us to have this air of civility that says that we can act in ways to use power to devastate people and then we don`t want to be held accountable by being accurately described by the adjectives that the dictionary gives us to describe this kind of racist behavior.

CAPEHART: I mean if they`re going to act it, I`m going to call it out.

State Representative Anchia, how are you feeling tonight? Now that this bill that you fought so hard to block, is inching closer to becoming law? And how concerned are you about the impacts of this bill on not just voters but also election workers.

ANCHIA: I`m a son of immigrants to this country and we take voting rights very, very seriously. My father grew up under an absolutely dictatorship. My mother grew up in Mexico where, they had one-party rule for 70 years.

So when we talk about voting rights, in our family, we take it very seriously. The fight is not over. It shifted to the House floor. And this bill will not become law for 90 days. It will not be effective.

I looked right at the camera today, and I looked at our friends in Washington, I looked at our United States senator, including our Texas senators and I said it, now is the time to find common ground on the Voting Rights Act -- on the Voting Rights Act.

But there is the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the For the People Act. We need federal protection because Republicans in the state of Texas have shown themselves incapable of protecting the freedom of vote for millions of Texans.

And that is really where I am. I am hopeful that we`re going to get something done in Congress Texas. When we met with Vice President Harris in the Roosevelt room after the first quorum break, she asked us to hold out, and give Congress more time to act.

We did that through two quorum breaks, a regular session, a special session, and now there are 90 days left before this law goes into effect. So the clock is ticking. And we need action now.

CAPEHART: 90 days, the clock is ticking. Texas Representative Rafael Anchia and Brittney Cooper -- thank you for joining us tonight.

We will be right back.



CAPEHART: Let`s go back to our breaking news from Afghanistan, in the wake of yesterday`s attack that killed 13 U.S. service members.

Tonight NBC News is reporting that Defense Department sources say U.S. military killed an ISIS-K planner who was believed to be planning future attacks.

Joining us now by phone is NBC Pentagon correspondent Courtney Kube.

COURTNEY KUBE, NBC PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hey Jonathan. So what we know a little bit more tonight is that this was a strike by a drone. A U.S. military drone. And this attack was -- this strike was a direct retaliation for the attack at Kabul Airport yesterday.

It according to defense officials who I spoke with it was against someone who is believed to be -- believe to have been involved in planning for future attacks by ISIS Khorasan.

This is one individual. He was isolated in a vehicle at the time of this drone strike. The U.S. military does not believe that there were any civilian casualties in the strike.

It occurred in Nangarhar Province which is in the eastern part of Afghanistan, east of Kabul and is right along the border with Pakistan.

It is an area that ISIS-K had a safe haven in, up until a couple of years ago, when there was this large offensive by the Afghan Security Forces and actually the Taliban fought against ISIS-Kat that time as well.

And they were largely driven out of the area. At least they lost the ground that they were holding there.

But the reality is, Jonathan, there still have been ISIS fighters there. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 to maybe a thousand still exist in Afghanistan, they just don`t hold the land that they used to.

But again, you know, the headline here, the U.S. military carrying out a retaliatory strike for the attack on Kabul airport yesterday.

CAPEHART: Courtney, how worried are officials about future -- about future strikes, future attacks?

KUBE: They are very concerned. There is still real credible intelligence about ISIS trying to carry out additional attacks in Kabul and particularly against Kabul Airport. They are particularly concerned about the threat from suicide attacks against the airport by an individual.

They are worried about a potential vehicle-borne explosive device. Someone packing a vehicle with explosives and then potentially even getting on the airport and detonating. And they`re still worried about the persistent threats that exist in many of the air field in Afghanistan of rockets. They are worried about someone firing rockets on to the air field, potentially (INAUDIBLE) up the runway, stopping the evacuation effort. Or in a worst case scenario, firing a rocket and then potentially even taking out a civilian airliner.

CAPEHART: Courtney, how can the military protect against an attack without slowing down the evacuation, which is now in its waning days, closing days?

KUBE: That is one of the biggest challenges that they have. They have to make sure that they maintain perimeter security, security of the air field and then security of the men and women who are there serving.

And that`s been one of the biggest challenges because the job that many of these service members are doing is actually screening civilians as they`re coming on the air field.

And that is up close and personal work, Jonathan. They are patting them down. They`re checking them for explosives and weapons, and that is how we saw the suicide bomber yesterday get so close to the U.S. military members. They were literally screening the person as they`re checking them, as they were coming on the air field.

It`s going to be a constant challenge in these last couple of days while the U.S. military is still at the airport until August 31st.

CAPEHART: NBC`s Pentagon correspondent Courtney Kube, thank you for joining us tonight.

And don`t forget to tune in to "THE SUNDAY SHOW" this week. I will be joined by House Majority Whip James Clyburn. That`s "THE SUNDAY SHOW", Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern on MSNBC.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.


CAPEHART: There`s breaking news ahead and you can hear all about it. "THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts right now.

ALICIA MENENDEZ, MSNBC HOST: Good evening once again. I`m Alicia Menendez, in for Brian Williams.