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tv   CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell  CNN  December 7, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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a foot of rain in the past 48 hours. in oahu some areas getting up to 2 inches of rain in an hour on monday. >> in honolulu a record setting close to 8 inches of rainfall was recorded. low elevation spots are seeing extreme runoff, and landslides are expected. look at this, hawaii's governor declared a state of emergency to prepare for potential flooding damage to property. today marks the 80th anniversary of the japanese attack on pearl harbor. president biden and the first lady visited the world war ii memorial in washington, d.c. this morning to commemorate the lives lost on december 7th, 1941. >> they observed a moment of silence, and laid a bouquet to honor jill biden's father who served in the navy during the war. veterans and volunteers read the names of all 2,403 service members and civilians who were killed in the attack before a ceremony marking the exact time of that attack, that it began 80
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years ago today. it's the top of the hour, hello, everyone, i'm alisyn camerota. >> i'm victor blackwell. good to be with you. we're just a couple of minutes away now from the white house, expected to brief reporters on president biden's two-hour call with russian president vladimir putin. the white house just released this photo. also a statement that says that president biden voiced the deep concerns of the united states and our european allies about russia's escalation of forces surrounding ukraine, and made clear that the u.s. and its allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation. here's the moment that president biden greeted president putin. >> good to see you again. unfortunately, we didn't get to see one another at the g20. i hope next time we meet we do it in person. >> well, satellite images on your screen show the build up of
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russian troops along the ukraine border. a top american general said 100,000 forces are already there. u.s. intelligence estimates that number will expand to 175,000, and according to sources, the biden administration is exploring ways to evacuate americans from ukraine if russia invades. let's bring in cnn's phil mattingly at the white house, kylie atwood is at the state department. let's start with cnn's chief national security correspondent, jim sciutto. what details do you want to hear from the national security adviser when he talks to reporters momentarily. what questions need to be answered? >> alisyn, the white house said that president biden told putin that the u.s. would bring economic and other measures if russia were to invade. based on cnn's reporting, we know what those economic measures or what the range might be. for instance, economic sanctions that would keep russian energy producers out of the debt markets, that's a big deal. cut off russian businesses from the swift international banking
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system. that would have consequences but key going after the billions or access to the billions of people close to putin. that hits, that's painful, the other measures we don't know. we know u.s. troops are not going to fight a war against russia and ukraine. did biden say we send more troops to the east, that's a question. >> thanks, jim, sorry to interrupt you. we see jen psaki taking the podium there. let's listen in. >> take questions and we'll proceed with a briefing after that. >> thanks, jen, and good to see everybody here today. as you all know, president biden held a secured video call today with president putin. the call covered a range of issues. but the main topic was ukraine. president biden was direct and straightforward with president putin as he always is. he reiterated america's support for ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. he told president putin directly if russia further invades
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ukraine, the united states and our european allies would respond with strong economic measures. we would provide additional defensive material to the ukrainians above and beyond that which we are already providing. and we would fortify our nato allies on the eastern flank with additional capabilities in response to such an escalation. he also told president putin there's another option, deescalation and dedi diplomacy. the united states and our allies, including our strategic concerns with russia and russia's strategic concerns. we managed to do this at the height of the cold war, and we developed mechanisms to help reduce instability, and increase transparency. we have done this in the post cold war era through the nato russia council, osce and other mechanisms. there's no reason we can't do that forward, going forward that we are operating in a context of deescalation rather than escalation. the united states as we have been for some time is also
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prepared to support efforts to advance the minsk agreement in support of the normandy format. this could include a cease fire and confidence building measures that helps drive the process forward. as i said before the discussion between president biden and president putin was direct and straightforward. there was a lot of give and take, no finger wagging but the president was crystal clear about where the united states stands on all of these issues. we believed from the beginning of the administration that there's no substitute for direct dialogue between leaders, and that is true in spades when it comes to the u.s./russia relationship, so president biden welcomed the opportunity to engage clearly and directly with president putin. indeed, as president biden said after his meeting in geneva in june with president putin, where we have differences i want president putin to understand why i say what i say and why i do what i do and how we'll respond to specific kinds of actions that harm america's
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interests and indeed harm our allies' interests. that's exactly what he did today. he spoke to the leaders of france, germany, italy, and the u.k. to debrief them on the call and consult on the way forward. our team is presently debriefing embassies of nato members, and key indo-pacific allies. the president will be speaking shortly with the leaders of both houses of congress and talking to them about ways in which the administration and the congress can work together on a bipartisan basis to stand up for american interests and values and stand behind our friends and partners. and president biden will be speaking with president zelensky on thursday following yesterday's discussion between president zelensky and secretary blinken. in terms of next steps, the president and president putin agree that our teams will follow up on the issues discussed today, and the president and his european colleagues agree that our teams will work together to ensure that our engagement with
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russia going forward, both involves and is closely coordinated with european allies and partners so that we are all on the same page. there's a lot of work to do in the days ahead. as we pursue diplomatic challenges, we will also prepare for all contingencies, just as we have been doing for weeks now, including through the preparation of specific responses to russian escalation, should they be required, specific, robust, clear responses should they be required. that's where things stand as we speak, and with that, i would be happy to take your questions. >> could you elaborate on fortifying allies on the eastern flank. is sending u.s. troops to the region on the table here? >> so what i'm referring to there is in the event that there is a further invasion in ukraine, a military escalation in ukraine, obviously many of our partners on the eastern front, our baltic allies, roman ya, poland, other countries will
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be concerned about the security and territorial integrity of their countries. they will be seeking additional capabilities and deployments, and the united states will be looking to respond positively to those things in the event that there is a further encouraging into ukraine. >> is that something the american public should be bracing for, the possibility of seeing american troops on the ground in that region in the coming weeks and months as they go through with this? >> i don't know if i would say bracing for since we currently have rotational deployments in the baltics, and have exercises in poland and roman ia. the presence is not something new. the question here is not about whether or not the united states is going to send american service members to the territory of our nato allies. we do that as a matter of course. the question is what additional capabilities can we provide to ensure that they feel strong and confident in their own
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sovereignty and territorial integrity. it is those additional capabilities that are on the table in those countries should russia move in ukraine in a more decisive way. >> in the days leading up to this call, the white house and administration officials said their assessment so far was that putin had not made a decision over whether to invade ukraine. so did president biden get clarity from him on whether or not that is his decision? >> we still do not believe that pr president putin has made a decision. what president biden did was lay out clearly the consequence ifs he chooses to move. he also laid out an alternative path, an alternative path that is fundamentally in keeping with the basic principles and propositions that have guided america and the euro atlantic area for the past 70 years. ultimately we will see in the days ahead, the actions, not words what course of action russia chooses to take. >> one quick follow up, in your
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statement you said that the president biden said the united states was ready to take strong economic measures and other actions if needed. what are those other measures that the united states is referring to. >> i just spelled those out in my opening remarks, both the supply and provision of additional material as well as the additional deployment of assets and capabilities to nato members in the event that there's a further occurrence. >> what are the strong economic measures, and how are they different from the ones you put on russia in 2014 which didn't deter russia from taking cry maya, what are they and why will they work better? >> as president biden looked and told president putin in the eye, things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now. now, in terms of the specifics, we would prefer to communicate that directly to the russians, to not negotiate in public, to not telegraph our punches but we are laying out for the russians
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in some detail the types of measures that we have in mind. we are also coordinating closely with our european allies on that at a level of deep specificity. we have experts from the treasury department, the state department, and the national security council in daily contact with the key capitols and brussels to work for those measures. i think it is not profitable for us to lay out the specifics of it standing at this podium today. >> thank you. did president putin ask for president biden to commit to not allow nato or ukraine to join nato, and did president putin make plans of concessions, such as a reduced u.s. presence or any commitment on nato and ukraine's membership? >> i'm not going to characterize president putin's side of the conversation or go into details in terms of what they discussed because i think they need to have that space to be able to have robust exchange, but i will tell you clearly and directly he made no such commitments or
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concessions. he stands by the proposition that countries should be able to freely choose who they associate with. >> the material that you said you're going to send following up on kaitlan's question, how quickly can that be delivered. >> we have an ongoing pipeline that delivers various forms of defensive assistance to ukraine. indeed, there was the delivery of defensive assistance to ukraine recently, and that will continue. so it really depends on the type or form, but this should not be thought of as a circumstance in which you completely turn off the dial or turn on the dial. this is an ongoing pipeline, whether that pipeline needs additional supplements as we go forward, we'll depend on how circumstances evolve. >> thank you so much. you have said that the administration will take action if russia does escalate militarily. satellite images show that hundreds of russian troops are
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aha amassing on the border with ukraine. isn't there a military escalation underway, why wait to take action. >> our view on this is that the fundamental object of the policy the united states is pursuing in lock stop with their european allies is to deter a russian military invasion of further territory of ukraine, and the measures we have put on the table are designed to show the russian government that should it choose to engage in such an invasion, there will be those consequences. that for us is a clear and decisive lay down, and we also believe that there should be an alternative pathway by which we can make progress on diplomacy through the minsk agreement and the normandy format, and by which we can address nato and american security concerns and russian security concerns through a larger mechanism consistent with the way we have operated in the last 30 years.
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>> republicans are accusing president putin of being too weak on president putin. they cite the fact that sanctions were eased to end the withdrawal from afghanistan which was widely criticized, how do you respond to that criticism that president biden is being too weak with mr. putin. >> i make three points, the first is that vladimir putin standing behind then president m medevev, invade -- the connection between our deployments in foreign wars and the calculus of russian leaders when it comes to the post soviet space there's not good evidence to support that. when it comes to nordstream 2, the gas is not flowing through the pipeline which means it's not operating. it's not leveraged for putin. indeed, it is leveraged for the
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west because if vladimir putin wants to see gas flow through that pipeline, he may not want to take the risk of invading ukraine, and then number three, the president has shown over the course of the past eight months that he will do what he says he's going to do in response to russian actions. so president putin can count on that. he said he would impose costs for navalny, he said he would impose costs for solar winds. he did those things. in ukraine, he will do the same. he's not doing this to saber rattle, he's not doing it to make idle threats, he's doing it to be clear and direct with both the russians and our european allies about the best way forward, and we think this stands the best chance alongside a pathway to deescalate to avert a potential crisis with respect to an invasion of ukraine. >> suggested in recent days, starting talks on a new
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european. did putin bring this up, and did president putin agree to start those talks? >> i'm not going to get into the details and characterize what president putin said. and i will say that formal agreements or formal treaties were not on the table in the conversation today, but the straightforward notion that the united states flanked by our european allies and partners would be prepared to talk to russia about strategic issues in the european theater. that was on the table, and we are prepared to do that as we have been prepared to do that throughout both the cold war and post-cold war eras. what the right mechanism is for that, what the agenda is, and what comes of that, that is all to be worked out as we see how things proceed in the coming days. >> since late october, why hasn't the u.s. given additional material to ukraine yet. this has been escalating for weeks? >> as i just pointed out in
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response to an earlier question, we are continuing to deliver defensive material assistance to ukraine. we have done so just in the past few days. >> president putin proposed to president biden, did both lift all restrictions on diplomatic missions that have been imposed in recent years. can you say whether that's something he's open to or spoken to on the call. >> president biden is open to creating functioning diplomatic missions in both countries but he didn't make commitments with respect to the best pathway to do that. what he said was his leaders, president biden and president putin should direct their teams to figure out how we ensure the embassy platform is able to function effectively and we believe the embassy platform in washington is able to operate effectively for the russians. >> have you sent message or had meetings with incoming german government on this issue. are you urging them to threaten
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to pull support for the pipeline if there is a further encouraging to ukraine. >> we have had intensive discussions with the outgoing on the issue of nordstream ii in the invasion. it is an object of great priority for the biden administration. >> so the -- obviously the summit is being watched by a number of other adversaries, including chinese president xi jinping, some have described a nightmare scenario where president putin invades ukraine, and also simultaneously president xi uses force to reunify taiwan and china. is the u.s. prepared to deal with such a scenario? >> the united states is going to take every action that we can take from the point of view of both deterrence and diplomacy to make sure that the taiwan scenario you just described
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never happens, and to try to divert the invasion, and deter the invasion into ukraine. that is the object of our policy right now. those are the steps we are taking. that's what president biden is doing, and the messages he's sending to president putin and with respect to taiwan, the sum total of the efforts we have taken over the past eight months in the indo-pacific, have also all been geared towards avoiding any kind of scenario where china chooses. >> is there any promise from the russian side to use leverage to change iran on its position. >> the president and president putin had a good discussion on the iran issue. it was productive. russia and the united states actually worked well together, even if tense circumstances back in the 2014, 2015 period to produce the comprehensive plan of action. this is an area where russia and the united states can continue to consult closely to ensure iran -- >> why did ukrainian officials
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first deny there was a troop build up and start putting off the information, then change their tune after the meeting. >> so i'm not going to characterize the decision making of the ukrainian government only to say that we are in daily contact with senior officials in the ukrainian government. i'm in nearly daily contact with my counter part in the ukrainian government, and we believe that we are seeing a common threat picture here and our message to our friends in the ukrainian government as our message was today to president putin is that the united states supports the minsk process, wants to see progress made towards a cease fire, towards confidence building measures, and that is the best way forward. >> is the world safer today after that conversation between the two leaders or less safe, and then i have a follow up as to your answer.
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>> all i will say is that the ultimate metric for whether the world is safer or not is facts on the ground, and actions taken in this case by russia. let's see, we are prepared to deal with any contingency, as i said, at the outset, and i'm not going to make predictions or characterizations. i'm only going to say that president biden will continue to do all of the necessary prudent planning for a variety of different pathways. >> this administration is going to redo the obama deal. lifting sanctions, and millions of dollars to the regime that's going to be spread. became stronger and stronger from the money that obama gave to this particular militia. so is this going to happen, are you address the table of negotiation. >> since donald trump made the decision to pull the united states out of the iran nuclear deal in 2018, hezbollah has
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continued to menace lebanon and the region. iran's proxies in iraq and syria and yemen have continued to move forward, so not being in the nuclear deal has hardly been a solution to the proxy. second, nothing about the nuclear deal stops the united states' capacity to deal with those proxies, and we are prepared to do so, in fact, in response to attacks on american forces in iraq, the united states has twice under president biden taken action, direct military action in response to those proxies in addition to undertaking sanctions and third, ultimately, an iran with a nuclear weapon is going to be a greater menace in partnerships with its proxies than iran without one, and so it is our determination to ensure they never get a nuclear weapon and diplomacy is the best way to put it. >> can i follow up on iran, please, you know the iranians announced -- the administration criticized them last week and
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said they were not serious. in fact, they reversed the progress. what makes you think that that actually they are serious this time, and how much over time are you willing to do it, and secondly, you negotiate with your allies and coordinate with them, your counter part in the ue is visiting iran as we speak. is this -- you think this is a coordinated effort with the united states? >> i'll put this quite simply, the more iran demonstrates a lack of seriousness at the negotiating table, the more unity there is among the p 5 pus one, and the more they will be exposed as the isolated party in this negotiation so really the ball is iran's court as to whether it wants to show skpup demon -- up and demonstrate whether it's going to be serious or not. >> looking forward to the meeting with president zelensky later this week, are there any
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steps and compromises ukraine might be able to make to find a way to end this peacefully? >> i mentioned before, we're in constant contact with levels of government. secretary blinken spoke with president zelensky yesterday, i'm not going to characterize the specifics of the proposals, but they have come forward with constructive ideas to move diplomacy forward. we're encouraging that. those are steps they are taking, and we're asking the united states to support them in trying to get towards a cease fire and ultimately get down the track of diplomatic resolution. we believe that that is good, and positive, and i believe president biden and zelensky will discuss that diplomatic path. >> you should putin, should, you know, keep risk pipeline down. have you made clear to allies
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that you will sanction the remaining entities involved in that project if there is an invasion, and have you received any assurances from germany when chancellor merkel was here, there was discussion about what to do if russia weaponized those gas supplies that nothing came of that, even though there were some saber rattling by the russians in recent months. have you received assurances from germany they will not in fact proceed with that. >> in response to an earlier question, i said i wasn't going to get into the specific sanctions, measures, we intend to impose. we will be communicating directly to our russian counter parts, and working through them detail by detail with our european counter parts. what i will tell you is the subject of the future of nordstream two in the context of invasion by ukraine and russia in the coming weeks is a topic of utmost priority, it has been discussed thoroughly. i'm going to leave it at that
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today. >> mr. sullivan, between the united states and russian can affect african countries, and my second question is how do you summarize this meeting, it was productive, it was good or not? >> it was a useful meeting. it was useful in the sense that it allowed president biden to lay out in clear and direct and candid terms where the united states stands on this issue and to do so having coordinated closely with his allies and partners beforehand, and also to talk about a potential way forward. now, on the question of african partners, this is true of the world over. the attempt to change the territories of another country by force should be vigorously opposed by every country in the world. i'll just take one more question. >> what was putin's demeanor over the course of the two hours? did he signal any willingness to back down?
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>> again, i just make it a practice not to characterize the other side's position. he can speak for himself. i would say that his demeanor like president biden's demeanor was direct and straightforward, and again, as i said in my opening remarks, this was a real discussion, it was give and take. it was not speeches. it was back and forth. and president putin was deeply engaged and i'm going to leave it at that in terms of trying to characterize where he is. all i can tell you is there is a task incoming out of that meeting by the two presidents to their teams to start talking about how we might think about the diplomatic path. the president made clear throughout that diplomacy has to come in the context of deescalation rather than escalation, and we'll watch what unfolds in the coming days. thank you, guys. >> okay. we've been listening there to jake sullivan, the national security adviser talking about this conference call that
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president biden had with president putin today. there were a lot of headlines, i think in there. basically he categorized it as a useful meeting, but said that president putin, they don't believe, has made any decision yet as to whether or not he will move forward with more aggressions towards ukraine. >> 100,000 russian forces on that border with ukraine. jake sullivan described the call as having no finger wagging but being crystal clear, and one thing they made sure to relay to the russian president is that u.s. and allies would respond with strong economic and other measures. we'll get into those conversations coming up in the event of a military escalation. >> let's bring in cnn senior white house correspondent phil mattingly, and senior international correspondent matthew chance. we have with us former u.s. ambassador to nato, evo dalder, and jill dougherty, adjunct professor at georgetown university. jill, let me start with you,
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what were the big headlines to you? >> you know, i think the big headline is today right now it does not look as if there will be an invasion. however, obviously the united states and the allies in europe are on alert, but i would point out one thing that really, if vladimir putin were listening to that conference and his people certainly are, i would point out that vladimir putin goes into that wanting wider talks about the future of european security. and that really definitely involves the future of ukraine, and if you listen to what jake sullivan said, he said we can address larger strategic concerns if provided we are operating in a climate of deescalation, so i think what the white house really did, what biden did was to say, okay, we hear you. we see your troops. we know you're serious about this, and we're willing to talk
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about the things that really, you know, bother you. but you can't invade. and if you do, we are ready. and nordstream, we'll get into energy, but energy is crucial, and that quote, you know, if he wants gas to flow through nord stream ii, he better not take any actions. those would be the headlines to me. >> let's go to matthew chance who is with the kremlin's response. we just listened for about 20 minutes from the white house's readout of the call. how is the kremlin describing this call between the president? >> i mean, they don't characterize the nature of the discussions but they have issued a longish sort of readout, a text readout of how it went, and the sort of subjects that were discussed. there hasn't been a briefing yet. there's going to be one of those pretty soon. they started out the readout talking about recalling the alliance that was enjoyed
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between the united states and the then soviet union back in the second war suggesting that, you know it's that sort of format of a relationship, that kind of alliance that should be used to tackle the problems of the current day. the readout unsurprisingly from the kremlin gives a lot more emphasis to the situation in ukraine in the sense that it mentions that the united states president talks about the alleged build up, as they would characterize it, of russian forces threatening the sovereignty of ukraine, and talked about the idea there could be sanctions imposed against russia, if russia were to give an order to violate the territorial integrity of ukraine. but the real emphasis of the readout was vladimir putin putting across what his demands are, the idea that he wants legal guarantees for nato, the western military alliance, not to expand any further eastward,
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and more for nato to stop deploying military infrastructure to the ground in ukraine. essentially making it a -- i'm paraphrasing that. essentially, you know, making it a forward operating base for nato countries. he wants that stopped. he wants a legal framework in place, so that there's an actual treaty there to prevent ukraine ever joining the nato military alliance, and you know, there was no characterization in the readout about how that was received on the u.s. side, just that the two sides, two presidents agreed to sort of delegate that to their teams and it's something that will be discussed in an ongoing way. as we put it before, it's very unlikely the united states or allies will agree to consulting russia when it comes to who and who is not part of the alliance. >> ambassador tell us how you
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see nato playing into this? what's their role now that we have heard both sides? >> well, i think what was interesting was that both in the readout from the white house and in what jake sullivan said, the emphasis was not on the united states acting alone either in terms of the measures at economic and other measures that they would take in case of an invasion or in terms of diplomacy that was being offered, but it would do it together with its allies, and ii think it's very important to underscore that the administration has spent a lot of time to get the allies to be unified on both of those possible avenues, the avenue that says if you do, in fact, invade further in ukraine, there will be strong economic and other measures, and those other measures include more military capabilities, both streaming into ukraine itself, as well as to reinforce the commitment that the united states and other nato members have made to the defense
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of the countries, the nato countries in eastern europe, and also to do that together with our allies. and at the same time, to say, but you know, if you actually deescalate f you start to reduce your forces, we're interested in a diplomatic engagement, both in order to find a way out of the situation in ukraine, and if you want, a larger discussion about the future of european security. i don't think that is a concession to russia. it is only a recognition that these are issues that are better dealt with in diplomacy than they are through the force of arms. this is something that the allies have long put on the table, that they're more than willing to talk about european security issues with russia. they're just not willing to limit the independence and sovereignty of countries in europe just because russia demands that as it is, in fact, asking with regard to ukraine and these legal guarantees that matthew was just talking about. those are not going to be on the
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table. the allies are clear on that. the united states was clear on that, and the choice really now is moscow. it can either engage in diplomacy or see the kinds of measures that president biden laid out in the conversation. >> and let's talk about those, phil. jake sullivan said the things that the u.s. was not prepared to do in 2014 it is prepared to do now. and we know from reporting is that it was then vice president biden who was pushing president obama to supply those anti-tank missiles to give more lethal options to ukraine. president obama rejected that, it looks like, although they did not say it explicitly that that could be part of the package of going to ukraine, if there is a move across that border. >> i think it's already been part of a package that the biden administration has put together, and sent to ukraine over the course of the last year. that's something they have focused on. they have gone further than the obama administration did at the time, and as you noted vice president was one of those
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inside the administration who wanted to go further. his administration has done that in terms of the weapons side of things. i think the interesting element that jake also said is they're willing to go further than 2014 on the sanctions side as well, and we have been talking, guys, about what the u.s. is considering on the sanctions side for the last 24 hours or so in terms of sanctions related to the energy section, the financial system, some of those in the inner circle of president putin. the key element here, and the ambassador got at this is the u.s. can't necessarily operate unilaterally on that front. that has to be done in coordination with allies to have actual tangible bite. that's what the president has been working on over the course of the last several weeks, and his team is trying to ensure that european allies who have very different equities, very different interests when it comes to russia particularly on the energy side are lined up together. there was a call yesterday with key european allies. the president is expected to talk i think right about now, maybe a little bit earlier than now, with those key leaders once again to go through what he discussed with russian president
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vladimir putin. trying to make clear both inside the alliances but also to the russians that it's not just the united states having a position, it's not just one or two countries having a position. the european allies and the u.s. are aligned together to make this point that yes, diplomacy should be the option. they are willing to have discussions about the future here but they are also willing to be aligned together and unified together in whatever course of action they would take on the sanction side of things if russia continues to pursue the path they have been on. i think that was a critical point the president wanted to make today and a critical point he and his team have been making over the course of the last several days, and will continued to-to-in the days ahead. it's not just the u.s. here, the general alliance with the european leader, and they will be moving together in terms of whatever happens next, either diplomatically or in terms of sanctions and other things that may bite. >> let's talk about that, kylie, what is next from the state department's perspective? >> yeah, i mean, the state department as the national security adviser said has been intimately involved in drawing
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up these sanctions options, with the nse, with the treasury department, look at a whole host of options as biden administration officials have been saying, things that the united states hasn't done in the past, to economically impinge on russia. the key here, however, is that they do want to act as phil was saying, alongside allies, so it's figuring out what the options are here that the united states has its disposal, that allies will do alongside them. two significant things that the national security adviser said there is that he's not willing to publicly detail what those economic sanctions are going to look like but he said that the biden administration has told the russians in some detail what that would look like. so it's not like russia is playing a guessing game here. the biden administration has been telling them behind the scenes, listen, this is a situation you're going to face if you invade ukraine. the other important thing that the national security adviser said is that both of the presidents, not just president biden but president putin as
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well, they tasked their teams with following up on their conversation. and you know, that's a little bit of diplo speak here, but what that indicates is that they didn't face a dead end. there are going to be follow up conversations from this presidential level conversation, which indicates that there is some forward movement here. this wasn't a conversation that essentially didn't go anywhere at all. so that is an area that we'll be watching for. will the state department be following up on that, will the national security council be following up on that. where do things go from here. those follow up conversations will determine that. >> jill, 100,000 russian forces on the border now, estimates that could go up to 175,000. if not to invade, then why? i mean, is there recent precedent to suggest that there could be this flexing of a muscle at the border and then the massive refetreat? >> i think it's one thing that
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president putin decided that he had in his quiver to get the attention of the west. and of joe biden. they talked about a lot of the things that putin wants. they brought up before. maybe not quite as much detail but they've talked about this. but they don't feel that they are getting any attention, so when you put, you know, 100,000 plus on the border, you're going to get some attention. but that said, i think the important thing is it's sad, of course, that he had to do that, i mean, you would think that he might be able to pick up the phone and start some type of discussion. but it is, i think, very very important. number one, it's deescalated rite now, and it was just pointed out that they keep talking about these things because ultimately for anyone, for ukraine, for the united states, for europe, for russia, ukraine's continuing to be caught in that era of conflict,
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and not resolved conflict is very dangerous. so eventually somebody is going to have to resolve it, and there have been, you know, there's the normandy format, the minsk agreements, which have not been carried out. they're sitting there uncarried out, and that is the one key i think that everybody feels could ultimately solve this. so to put it on the table, and to i think as biden said, we're willing to discuss it, but you have to stand down, you cannot take military action. i think it's actually probably the best outcome that you could expect. i wouldn't know, by the way. we haven't heard anything from the kremlin. and that to me is significant because usually they're, you know, the jump ball is in their corner, they're usually on it, and they have something to say, but so far they're not really saying too much of anything, and we'll be listening to see what they have to say. >> ambassador, can you build on that. when the question was just asked in the press conference there,
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did president biden make any concessions to putin, what would those look like, what can the u.s. offer as joe was just sort of outlining there. >> so i don't think that president biden was willing or, in fact, did make any concessions. i think the reason we're seeing this troop build up is because vladimir putin wants something that no one wants to give him. he wants to control the future of ukraine. he has made very clear that he thinks there is a historical and cultural bond between ukraine and russia that is quite unique, that in fact, ukraine should not be an independent country. that it should be at least sing to the tune from mos cow or at bet best be part of the russian state, and he is putting military forces there in order to force that issue on to the agenda, and i think the goal of president biden's meeting today with vladimir putin was to make
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very clear that the united states does not except either that goal of russia making ukraine less than anything that it should be, which is a sovereign and independent state or the means by which vladimir putin is trying to achieve them, that is militarily. we are willing to talk about european security. he made clear we will do that together with all of our allies. we should have a conversation about that. by the way, as jake sullivan underscored, that's not something new. in 1974, we had a conference on security and cooperation in europe that led to the helsinki final act. we've had these kinds of discussions during the cold war, after the cold war. it's perfectly fine to do it in the future but we're not going to do it with 100,000 troops ready to invade on the borders of ukraine, and that's the message i think that president biden was trying to send to president putin and to do so, with the full support of our
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allies in europe. >> we'll see if that message is received. jill dougherty, phil mattingly, matthew chance, and kylie atwood, thank you all. the investigative committee investigating the capitol riots, might move forward with a contempt case against mark meadows if he does not show up tomorrow for the deposition. we'll take you live to capitol hill. i use liberty mutual, they customize your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. wooo, yeaa, woooooo and, by switching you could even save 665 dollars. hey tex, can someone else get a turn? yeah, hang on, i'm about to break my own record. yeah. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty. ♪
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our newsroom, the select committee investigating the january 6th attack on the capitol plans to go ahead tomorrow with this deposition of mark meadows, the former white house chief of staff said today he will no longer cooperate with the committee. that's according to a later from his attorney but the select committee says quote tomorrow's deposition will go forward as planned. if indeed mr. meadows refuses to appear the select committee will be left with no choice to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution. >> cnn congressional correspondent ryan nobles is following this. ryan, give us the latest. >> reporter: well, victor, and alisyn, this shows just how difficult the interactions have become between the january 6th select committee and mark meadows. the two sides have been going back and forth since meadows was subpoenaed just a few months ago in an attempt to get him to come forward and provide information about what he knew about the events leading up to and on january 6th.
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and it appeared last week as though there had been some sort of a breakthrough, that meadows was willing to come sit in front of the committee and answer questions even though he was still concerned about some of those questions being still, the committee felt confident they could get meadows in a room and begin the process of asking him those questions, but that process was derailed this morning when meadows' attorney sent the committee a letter saug he was no longer willing to cooperate and no longer willing to sit down and talk with them. that's forced the committee into this position where they're going to schedule this deposition. they'll thereby waiting for meadows. if he doesn't show up they're willing to take that criminal contempt referral. they've done this twice already. once with steve bannon. that, of course, is in the prosecutorial stage. and with jeffrey clark, the former doj official. they postponed voting on it in the full house to give clark one more opportunity to come forward
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but this just shows the difficulty that the committee is having trying to get these closely aligned individuals who are closely aligned with the former president donald trump to come forward and provide them any information. this is a big road block for them, and they are running out of time to get that information before next year's elections. victor and alisyn? >> ryan nobles with the breaking news for us. thank you. the markets are rallying again today as they seem to be shrugging off concerns about the threat of the coronavirus omicron variant and what it could mean for the global economy. the dow right now up by close to 400 points. that's in addition to yesterday's 600-point jump. also we're seeing slightly lower gas prices. aaa reported the national average of gas dropped nearly a nickel in the last week to $3.35 a gallon. still high, but not the seven-year high that we saw in october. >> we're also seeing a significant drop in the price of natural gas. cnn's business reporter matt
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egan joins us now. so matt, what's causing these prices to drop? >> for months americans were dealing with what felt like this relentless rise in prices at the pump. finally get something relief. $3.35 a gallon nationally. still high but a seven-week low. moving in the right direction. the biden administration which has been under a lot of criticism over high prices, in particular gas prices, they are taking some credit here. a person familiar with the white house told me that lower prices at the pump are good news and due in part to the president's actions. it's true that president biden's intervention in the energy markets has helped. about two weeks ago he announced largest ever release of strategic reserves. that has been a positive as far as oil price goes but that's just one factor. also omicron. black friday we saw oil prices collapse because of worries about omicron. the good news is some of those covid fears on wall street are fading. that's why the stock market is up. but oil prices are up as well. and because gas prices move with a lag to oil, that suggests that
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this relief at the pump may not last that long. >> okay. that's a mixed report, i would say. matt egan, thank you for all of that. we'll be right back. ♪ move your student loan debt to sofi. earn a $1,000 bonus when you refi— and feel what it's like to get your money right. real cowboys get customized car insurance with liberty mutual, so we only pay for what we need. -hey tex, -wooo. can someone else get a turn? yeah, hang on, i'm about to break my own record. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (sha bop sha bop) ♪ ♪ are the stars out tonight? (sha bop sha bop) ♪ ♪ ♪ alexa, play our favorite song again. ok. ♪ i only have eyes for you ♪
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and you could pay as little as $15 a month for wireless. click, call, or visit a store to learn more. instagram, which is owned by facebook, is rolling out new safety features today. they say the measures are aimed
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at protecting younger users from harmful content and addictive behavior. >> and they are being put in place one day before instagram's ceo is scheduled to testify on capitol hill over the issue. donie o'sullivan is here. what's the plan? >> well, instagram, as you mentioned, instagram are rolling this out. it's not a coincidence. one day before they go to congress. and some folks will cynically say it's so they have something to tell the senators. say we're doing something. here is what some of the features that they are rolling out. they are going to let people know that they should take a break from the app. they're going to take a stricter approach to content they recommend for teenagers. they're going to allow both deletions of photos and videos previous likes and comments, and create an educational hub for parents. which all sounds very well and good, but i think, you know, the company's critics, a lot of
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lawmakers, the facebook whistleblowers will say this is really nothing. this doesn't scratch the surface. people want fundamental change at these platforms. this isn't going to solve the issues. if you set up an account and you're a young teenager girl and start following some accounts as we did with an experiment in our reporting a few weeks ago and the app starts recommending to you pro-anorexia, pro-eating disorder accounts. that's the fundamental problem. a lot of this sort of stuff is window dressing. it's good to have some changes but really it is something just so the head of instagram has something to say tomorrow. >> call me a cynic, but the timing seems like not a coincidence. so what do you expect the ceo to say? >> we often see they've done this before where zuckerberg comes in. the ceo tomorrow is probably going to say something on the lines of we know we have a lot more work to do. we're taking these steps. but i think the awkward questions that lawmakers can ask him is to say, what are you
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going to do about your algorithm because that's ultimately what feeds people the garbage whether it's about the election or eating disorders or other conspiracy theories. >> donie, thank you. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. the most critical zoom call of the pandemic era so far. "the lead" starts right now. president biden today virtually staring down vladimir putin as russia licks its chops, gazing at ukraine across the border. can president biden help find an off ramp for russia invasion? is omicron as dangerous as delta? there's some promising news in early data on the variant. plus, clamming up to cover up. trump's former chief of staff mark meadows now says he will not cooperate with the committee investigating january 6th.


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