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U.S. Marines assist with evacuations at Kabul airport yesterday. Photo: Lance Cpl. Nicholas Guevara/U.S. Marines via AP

The next time President Biden takes questions from reporters, he'll be asked what he didn't know and why he didn't know it.

Why it matters: Assurances Biden gave at a news conference on Friday about security around the Kabul airport were contradicted within minutes by network reporters on the ground — and later by his own administration.

  • Biden said "we have no indication" that American citizens are having trouble getting to the Kabul airport: "We’ve made an agreement with the Taliban. Thus far, they’ve allowed them to go through. It's in their interest for them to go through."
  • "So, we know of no circumstance where American citizens ... carrying an American passport are trying to get through to the airport. But we will do whatever needs to be done to see to it they get to the airport."

But ABC's Ian Pannell reported from Kabul, over audio of gunfire: "For several nights now, we've reported on the violence and terror outside Kabul airport, and Americans and Afghans who can't get through."

  • CNN's Clarissa Ward reported from the airport: "I mean, anyone who says that any American can get in here is, you know — yes, I mean, technically, it's possible, but it's extremely difficult and it is dangerous."
President Biden was flanked yesterday by (from left) Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Vice President Harris, Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • On a call Friday with lawmakers, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who appeared with Biden at the press conference, acknowledged that the Pentagon is "aware that some people, including Americans, have been harassed and even beaten by the Taliban," Politico reported.
  • "This is unacceptable and [we] made it clear to the designated Taliban leader," Austin added.

Today, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul told citizens not to go to the airport, with this Security Alert: "Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time."

  • U.S. citizens who want to leave are told to fill out this form, then wait: "Do not call the U.S. Embassy in Kabul for details or updates about the flight. This form is the only way to communicate interest in flight options. We will contact registered U.S. citizens as the security situation changes to provide further instructions."

Reality check: Right after Biden spoke, CNN's Ward described "the enormity of this catastrophe that we're seeing play out."

  • "[T]he situation is desperate," she said. "It's chaotic. People are lying in the gravel, in the dirt for two days now, with little babies in the scorching sun and the cold of the evening."
  • "We saw Marines today handing out little wedges of cardboard, so that people could fan their babies."

At the news conference, Biden said al Qaeda is "gone" from Afghanistan.

  • CNN noted that after Biden's remarks, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters: "We know that al Qaeda is a presence, as well as ISIS, in Afghanistan, and we've talked about that for quite some time."
  • Al Qaeda fighters were among thousands of prisoners released Sunday by the Taliban from a prison at Bagram Air Base.

Go deeper: Biden commits to evacuating Americans, Afghan allies.

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Go deeper

In photos: The life of Colin Powell

Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts

Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, died of complications from COVID-19 on Monday.

The big picture: In addition to serving as secretary of state from 2001-05, he also was the first Black security adviser to a president when he served for President Reagan and was the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for President George H.W. Bush.

  • Powell was fully vaccinated but had undergone treatment for multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that can weaken the immune system, a spokesperson said.
Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.