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tv   CNN Newsroom With Pamela Brown  CNN  January 23, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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tonight secretary of state antony blinken doubling down on america's warning to vladimir putin. >> if a single additional russian force goes into ukraine in an aggressive way, as i said, that would trigger a swift response. >> january 6 investigators reveal they're talking with trump's former ag, bill barr.
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>> we've had conversations with the former attorney general. >> we're proceeding methodically and working our way up. >> i think you'll see the anatomy of the big lie begin to unfold. >> january 6 committee member elaine luria joins us live tonight. also tonight, anti-vaccine mandate protesters rally in d.c. >> you have the freedom to determine what happens to your body. >> we live in a free country, why can't we be free? >> meantime, a beloved houston-area deputy killed during a traffic stop. >> these are not assaults. these are not attacks. these are brutal, brutal murders. finally, the cryptocurrency craze critics say don't listen to celebrity endorsements as bitcoin tumbles 50% from its november high. >> fortune favors the brave.
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i'm pamela brown in washington. you are live in the "cnn newsroom" on this sunday. news as tensions escalate. the top diplomat sending a blunt warning to russia coming close to a red line that moscow must not cross. >> if a single additional russian force goes into ukraine in an aggressive way, as i said, that would trigger a swift, a severe and united response from us and from europe. and, again, there are other things russia could do that falls short of actually sending additional forces into ukraine and, again, across the board we're prepared with europe for a swift and calibrated and united response. we're looking at every scenario preparing for every one. >> blinken's warning comes as russia has amassed some 100,000 troops near the ukraine border. despite repeated warnings from
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president biden and other western leaders of serious consequences if president putin moves ahead with an invasion, blinken would not comment on the specific intelligence we told you about last night that moscow reportedly is plotting to install a puppet government in ukraine, but he did say the information from the british government is the kind of russian tactic the u.s. has been warning about for weeks. and not long after blinken issued his warning to moscow a second u.s. shipment of military aid touched down in ukraine. cnn's arlette saenz is at the white house. arlette, this delivery comes just two days after the first plane of security assistance arrived on friday. can we expect to see more of this? >> reporter: well, pamela, the u.s. is evaluating what other times of assistance they can offer ukraine as they are hoping to ensure the country has the defense needed in order to defend themselves against a possible invasion from russia. now ukraine's defense minister
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tweeted a short while ago that a second shipment has landed in ukraine. he said there's about 80 tons of weapons from, quote, our friends in the usa and, importantly, he adds, and this is not the end. now we know that earlier in the week the u.s. approved the transfer of american-made weapons systems from baltic states to ukraine. this includes things like antiaircraft systems and other measures. the u.s. is hoping the shipments, these types of military assistance, will not only act as a defense for ukraine but also a deterrence for russia. now president biden convened a meeting of his national security team from camp david on saturday. he was joined in person by his national security adviser and other top national security advisers including secretary of state antony blinken joined via secure video call. the president was updated on those diplomatic efforts as the u.s. is hoping the diplomatic route will help encourage russia
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to de-escalate the situation. they also talked about those deterrence measures they are trying to put in place along with allies including this shipment of military assistance. we also know that the u.s. has been prepping and building what they bill as severe economic sanctions against russia should they invade. so far the white house has really been defending their decision not to impose these sanctions before an invasion as some republican lawmakers have been calling for. but right now the white house is still hoping that diplomatic route will eventually lead to this de-escalation. the secretary of state and other officials are stressing they are preparing for all scenarios. >> all right, arlette saenz, thank you so much. and i want to bring in global affairs analyst susan glasser and former cia chief of russia operations and cnn national security analyst steve hall. thank you both for joining us tonight. a lot of developments. look, the ukrainian government now says that russia has more
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than 127,000 troops gathered near the border including air and sea forces, and a host of tactical missiles. and this comes after three rounds of diplomatic talks between russia in the west aimed at de-escalating the crisis. steve, you heard the warning from secretary of state blinken. do you think the threat will stop putin from invading ukraine? if not, is there a danger in going so close and drawing a red line, if you're not prepared to make good on that threat? >> i think one thing is clear. if there is no pushback from the united states and from the west against putin, there's going to be trouble. i mean, what has putin learned from recent history. invades georgia. what does he get? a stern wag of the finger from the west. invades ukraine and annexes crimea. what does he get? some sanctions and another wag of the finger. if not now, when? if not where -- if not in
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ukraine, where are we going to stop? wait until he invades finland or sweden? i can understand there has to be strong pushback and i think that's what the secretary is getting at when he's talking about the strong responses. >> obviously the u.s. is sending in aid, but there are people, particularly republican lawmakers, who want the u.s. to be doing more. senator chris koons said this to our dana bash about the russia threat to ukraine. >> i think our work in the senate and president biden's work to strengthen deterrence is what is hopefully going to succeed. crossing the boundary into ukraine in the coming days or weeks. >> do you share senator coons' concern? >> intelligence agencies have been very clear this threat is a real threat, is a different
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threat than even a few months ago in the spring when putin had an earlier buildup that this risk of invasion is very real. the administration officials who i've spoken to suggest there's a very real chance of a significant incursion that was spoken of in the press conference. i think the signs point not to de-escalation at the moment but to, if anything, escalation and a failure of diplomatic talks that really were never concrete enough to resolve the situation. >> right. and you have ukraine along with, as i pointed out earlier, steve, republicans on the hill pushing for more to be done. joni ernst pushing for the administration to take action now and saying not doing so will only make the situation worse. listen to what she told cnn earlier. >> we do need to impose sanctions on russia now.
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we need to show them that we mean business and we will be there for ukraine should they invade. they see a very weak administration and president putin sees every opportunity to do what he wan to do in ukraine with very little pushback from the united states. we need to have firm resolve with this. >> steve, is she right? is a lack of action on the part of the administration giving vladimir putin the opening he needs to push even further? >> you know, you could go back and forth on that point. you could say, look, they've already done more than enough to warrant some sort of increased sanctioning. that's certainly true. the counter argument is if they don't respond, putin doesn't care that much about sanctions and it hasn't stopped him before. the other argument is, if you're going to say there's going to be something strong, bad happen to you, vladimir putin in russia if you invade, you have to have something to back that up. if the idea is we don't want to go straight to war, we want to hit them with super sanctions or
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enhanced sanctions before it actually turns into a land war in europe, then you can make that argument, too. it's a complicated thing but, again, what putin has learned in recent years, he's going to keep pushing because there's no reason not to until somebody really pushes back hard at some point. >> susan, last night the uk reported the kremlin was preparing to install a puppet government in ukraine as part of a coming invasion of the country. today the man the british said was being groomed to service says he has no such part in a plan. the russian embassy in the uk issued a statement, comical as these are, now is not the time for laughing. we are witnessing the actual professional level of people who alongside making absurd statements are providing ukraine with lethal weapons, increasing their own military presence at russian borders and to further undermine the minsk agreements.
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we encourage the stupid provocations, quite dangerous in the current heated situation, and continue to genuine diplomatic efforts aimed at european security. what does this tell you. >> it's not a surprise the russian statement would be like that. they are masters of not only disinformation but of sort of the me too-ism and claiming the west is doing exactly what they, themselves, are doing and acting provocatively. it's provocative to send 130,000 troops to your neighbor's border for no apparent immediate reason. this is a manufactured crisis. i would say that this is part of the russian playbook that goes back to soviet times when it comes to seeking to install a pro-moscow puppet government, exactly what the soviets did when they marched into hungary during the cold war, when they
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marched into prague in 1968, and it's very consistent with the kind of military action that we've seen rather than being an either/or type of thing. clearly one of putin's goals is to make sure no matter what there is a more pro-russia government. and the figure the british government identified is a figure associated with the toppledpro- russian government of yankovich who had to flee in 2014. the debate on sanctions, remember, this is the republican party who listened for four years as donald trump undercut their policy of sanctions to russia. it's quite striking to hear republicans renewing their tough rhetoric in the context of this moment, i have to say. >> susan glasser, steve hall, thank you both. coming up this hour, countdown to the beijing games,
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introducing jamaica's first alpine skier. then a 10-year-old girl survives a brutal snowstorm by clinging to a dog for warmth. what a story that is. also ahead, why critics say don't listen to the celebrity endorsements as bitcoin's value tanks. and january 6 investigators reveal they've talked with trump's former attorney general bill barr. >> we've had conversations with the former attorney general already. >> congresswoman elaine luria from the committee will join us live. you're in the "cnn newsroom." of. his girlfriend just caught the bouquet, so he's checking in on that ring fund. that photographer? he's looking for something a little more zen, so he's thinking, “i'll open a yoga studio.” and as for the father of the bride? he's checking to see if he's on track to do this
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demonstration could attract extremist groups. another potential flash point the city requires anyone 12 and old to show proof of vaccination to enter any indoor facilities. cnn's joe johns has the latest. >> reporter: pamela, the defeat the mandates rally here in washington, d.c. was visual evidence, as if we needed it of the polarization in america over the pandemic. there was concern about this and skepticism simply because it was billed as an event for medical autonomy, the right of people not to get the vaccine. but digging deeper in interviews, what we heard from people who came to this was that it was more about skepticism of the government, skepticism of the news media and about the pharmaceutical industry. >> i'm in health care. that has brought me out here due
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to the issues that i've had with my job and my vaccination status. multiple issues with hr and doctors treating me differently and discriminating against my choices. >> and that's why i'm here. as long as you don't hurt anybody in this country you can do anything you want. >> reporter: politically what we did was a lot of misinformation and disinformation from the anti-vaccination movement and criticism of both the administration as well as dr. fauci. there were protests in several european countries. the largest in brussels. belgian police say 50,000 people gathered to denounce the restrictions on gatherings. at least three officers and 12 protesters had to be hospitalizeded after violent clashes broke out. police used tear gas and water
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cannons to disperse the crowd. cnn medical analyst, the former baltimore health commissioner. always great to see you. we are seeing these protests against covid restrictions and it feels we're all exhausted by two years of this, two plus years. from a public health view, does it concern you people seem less engaged and compliant? >> it concerns me very much, pamela, that there are people opposing vaccine requirements when actually it's vaccine that is will allow us to get back to prepandemic normal. we know people who are vaccinated are 13 times less likely to die. they are five times less likely to be infected and, therefore, to transmit covid compared to somebody who is unvaccinated. and so if we don't want any more restrictions, and frankly none of us do, we should be embracing vaccines because that is the key to prepandemic normal. >> former commissioner scott gottlieb said this morning we're
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at least two months away before children under 5 can be vaccinated. does that worry you given we have no idea if a new variant will emerge? i know you're a mom of young kids, as i am. >> it worries me very much as a mom of two kids under 5 and also as a physician and public health expert because we know that right now parents with young kids are making all kinds of decisions because we're concerned about our children. the best thing that parents and families in our situation could be doing is making sure that everybody around our children are vaccinated and boosted, that additional booster dose provides additional protection as well and, also, older siblings, if there are older siblings not vaccinated to get them vaccinated and protected, too. i would say choose what it is in your life that's the most important. if going to school, going to daycare is really essential, do that but cut the indoor play dates especially while omicron
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is still surging. >> all right, thank you so much. we have some breaking news just coming in to us. sources telling cnn the u.s. embassy in ukraine will be evacuating all nonessential personnel and family members of american diplomats as tensions with russia continue to escalate. cnn's arlette saenz joins me from the white house with more. what more are you learning here, arlette? >> reporter: pamela, that is a significant development. the state department announcing they are reducing the staff at the u.s. embassy in ukraine. i want to read you the travel advisory. january 23rd, the department of state authorized voluntary departure of employees and ordered the departure of eligible family members from embassy kiev due to the continued threat of russian military action. it says u.s. citizens in ukraine should consider departing now
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using commercial or other privately available transportation options. now cnn reported on friday that the embassy in kiev had asked that the state department authorize the departure of family members and nonessential staff. this is certainly an escalation in the planning that the u.s. has been making in the event that russia were to invade ukraine. at this moment a new travel advisory that has gone out. there are rising concerns about this tension regarding russia and ukraine and whether russia will actually follow through with that invasion. you heard secretary of state antony blinken earlier today double down on that warning that any russian invasion would result in severe consequences from the u.s. and allies. the u.s., of course, is still trying to pursue that diplomatic route to de-escalate the situation between russia and ukraine but they are prepared
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get a great deal for your business with the ready. set. save. sale today. comcast business. powering possibilities. more now on the breaking news we told you about moments ago. the u.s. embassy and ukraine will reduce nonessential staff and family members of american diplomats as tensions with russia continue to escalate. cnn white house reporter natasha bertrand joins me on the phone. what more are you learning about this move, natasha? >> reporter: yeah, pam, this
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comes after cnn reported on friday the u.s. embassy in kiev requested the state department authorize the departure of family members of personnel in kiev and nonessential staff in kiev. and we're learning now that the state department has decided to grant that authorization because of reports, according to the state department, that russia is planning significant military action against ukraine. they continue in a statement saying the security conditions particularly along ukraine's borders in russia-occupied crimea and eastern ukraine are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice. demonstrations which turned violent at times regularly occur throughout ukraine including in kiev. this marks a dramatic escalation which is the u.s. is making contingency plans to evacuate americans from the country if it came to that amid this mass i have troop buildup.
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now the embassy in kyiv wants to have that presence reduced because of the risk posed by russia. in the words of the white house press secretary jen psaki russia could invade at any moment now. pam? >> all right, natasha bertrand, thanks so much. i want to bring back in global affairs analyst susan glasser and former cia chief of russia operations steve hall. what does this say to you, the state department giving nonessential staff and diplomats' families the chance to leave ukraine, does it signal anything bigger in the position in ukraine or something more eminent coming from russia? >> if i heard correctly it's an order departure for families, they are ordered home.
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they take the safety of families, the most important thing. what it does mean is certain wires have been tripped. all embassies have a plan that lays out precisely what has to happen before the evacuations occur. the day before yesterday, they hadn't been tripped but now the assessment comes in more things have happened. we're not sure what they are yet, that have caused the state department to say families need to get out. anybody who is not essential personnel to carry out the basic duties in kyiv need to leave. >> this marks essentially a new chapter, the fact the u.s. is pulling nonessential personnel from the u.s. embassy there in ukraine and the family members. this also comes on the heels of two big shipments of aid coming from the u.s. to ukraine. so all of this together, what does it tell you, susan? >> well, look, i think it
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represents a next stage in the crisis and one the ukrainians have been concerned about. they have been pushing very hard on president biden and his administration not only to impose sanctions before there's a russian invasion and send further arms shipments but they were worried about exactly this kind of order coming from the state department, a fear of what is the morning going to look like in kyiv, is there going to be a sense of increased alarm? is this u.s. government sending an official signal about what might happen? it could affect the political climate inside ukraine as well that the u.s. has made a decision like this. >> and so, steve, you mentioned earlier this is something russia is paying attention to. what do you think the message to russia is? >> how russia interprets this will be extremely interesting. on the one hand they could interpret it in terms of, okay, the americans are pulling out
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their essential personnel and, by the way, a lot of other western embassies watch what they do and follow their lead. it wouldn't surprise me to see other western countries decide to draw down. putin could interpret this as i've gotten there are attention and they're getting serious about this and be concerned about potential pushback or he could say this is great. i do have their attention but there's still nothing to stop me. all they're doing is evacuating family members . in a sense it will make it easier to invade. it's early to determine where putin is going but it will be part of i think a complex analysis he's doing to decide do i do this and, if so, how and when. >> you look at the advisory from the state department. it says this move is due to the continue threat of russian military action. susan, it was early december that we saw the numbers go up there of russian troops at the border of ukraine.
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there are a lot of considerations you laid out but why do you think now -- what do you make of the fact it is happening now? >> look, president biden, his white house press secretary jen psaki, they have been as clear as i have ever seen in a crisis. they really don't want to be caught out and be accused of having been taken by surprise by putin and whatever the russians do next. and they have been very vocal and very clear at the kind of threat they say the u.s. intelligence has assessed this massive force to be on ukraine's border. so i think part of it is the effort, once again, to get out in front of whatever is coming next. but, remember, biden said in his press conference just the other day he personally believes that it is likely there will be a further invasion by russia. jen psaki said it could come at any moment. i think this is consistent with that message we've been hearing
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from the biden administration. there's no sign, by the way, diplomacy is working or this is the opposite of de-escalation. >> right. it is. and on the diplomacy note, you keep hearing from officials who are still trying that route but at this point, steve, do you think that's a lost cause? >> i'm not sure that it's a lost cause. i don't think i would go that far. let's be honest, neither side has agreed to the other side's demands. both sides have sort of said the other side is unacceptable. you wonder where exactly they go from here. but to address the issue of the evacuation again and what has changed, you know, it's entirely possible the information the embassy is getting on the ground might not have as much to do with the russian troops or its concern about american personnel going to the eastern part of the country where there's fighting. things like street violence, the possible closure of airports, the possible breakdown of infrastructure, cyber attacks
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that might accelerate all of that, those are things that makes the state department and the u.s. government say, you know, i'm not sure this is a place we want to have family members. essential personnel need to stay, that's what they signed up for. it might be getting too tenuous for families to stay behind based on the new things. >> all right, thanks for that analysis and perspective. steve hall, susan glasser, appreciate it. and much more ahead as the state department reduces staff at the u.s. embassy in ukraine. orrr... you could cancel the meeting and share updates in slack instead. it's where your whole team is in one place so everyone can stay up to date. slack. where the future works. i didn't know my genetic report could tell me i was prone to harmful blood clots. i travel a ton, so this info was kind of life changing. maybe even lifesaving. ♪do you know what the future holds?♪
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the chairman of the house select committee investigating the january 6 capitol attack now says they've had conversations with former attorney general bill barr. >> to be honest with you, we've had conversations with the former attorney general already. we've talked to the department of defense individuals. we are concerned that our military was participate of this big lie on promoting that the election was false. so if you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines even though it's a discussion, the public needs to know. >> as the committee talks to barr, they also want to hear from people like ivanka trump, house minority leader kevin mccarthy, congressman jim jordan and even fox host sean hannity. despite text messages from
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hannity urging members of the administration to make trump back off the big lie, it continues. trump's former white house communications director thinks we're about to really see what was going on behind the scenes. >> i think you will see the anatomy of the big lie begin to unfold when you see more text messages come out of people around trump who knew the election fraud was a total myth. they were humoring him and privately saying, yeah, we can't keep spreading this craziness. i think that chips away at trump's credibility and gets to him. >> former white house press secretary and communications director stephanie grisham joins me. stephanie, thanks for joining us tonight. so do you agree with your former colleague, will the anatomy of the big lie eventually unfold? >> thank you for having me and welcome back, by the way. >> thank you. >> yes, i agree with alyssa
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fully. i think layers are being peeled off like an onion to show everybody around the president, certainly at the end but i will say out of my own experience for the entire time we were in office would do that. we would speak to each other privately, send texts to one another to try to get him off of a certain message or a certain tangent, purposely try to put him in areas where he couldn't answer the press and their questions. i do agree with alyssa. i think that will come out more and more. i hope people will begin to see there were some good people around him trying to stop a lot of bad things. >> and on that note, i'm curious because as you well know the months before the insurrection former president trump was pushing the big lie. i mean, even before the election he was saying if i lose, it's fraudulent. he pounded that message away time and time again. is that something -- were you trying to push back on that at the time, that kind of
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messaging? were there text messages among staff, we need to pull this back? this could be really dangerous? >> this goes along with the first question you asked me. no, me personally, i did not. i was working in the east wing and i was walled off from a lot of information at that point. mark meadows had taken over as chief of staff, and he didn't want a lot of people, myself included, around the president. he really tightened the circle of who was around the president, and that's when i think you had people like rudy giuliani and sydney powell and others closer to him telling him just what he wanted to hear rather than voices of reason that oftentimes would get around him and at least give a different perspective. >> right. and, of course, trump was saying all of this publicly and, you know, we learned today that trump's former attorney general bill barr is talking with the january 6th committee. what do you think barr has to offer the committee? i remember covering the white house as a reporter. he was there a lot. and, of course, he left a little
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bit earlier before trump's term ended. what do you think he could offer the committee? >> i don't know the answer to that. i've been wondering myself because of all the legal issues that would surround that much like speaking even to rudy giuliani or some of the white house counsel. i'm just not sure what they're going to be able to say and not say. i hope the people who are speaking to the committee are as transparent as possible and just laying out the facts of what happened, and i just hope that it's something the american people will get to know and learn about well before the '22 midterms. i think trump and his people right now are just trying to stall. that's why subpoenas are being ignored. that's why people are not coming in if they haven't been subpoenaed yet, et cetera. i think they're stalling. i do hope this kind of speeds up just a little bit. >> you told the committee that in the days leading up to the january 6th insurrection there were secret meetings inside the
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residence of the white house. was it typical for him to hold these meetings, or did you notice a change just in the days -- those days leading up to the january 6th insurrection? suddenly there were alm tl thes meetings in the residence. i'm trying to get a sense how much we should read into that. >> that's a great question. thank you, i think it is being read into. the answer is yes and yes. yes, it was typical for him to hold meetings in the residence. sometimes it was because he wasn't ready to come down to the west wing. other times he wanted to discuss things and was paranoid about certain staff members at that point in his administration. but at the end, yes. there were more meetings that seemed to be happening, and the reason i know that is because mrs. trump didn't necessarily like the meetings taking place in the residence, which i understood. that was her home. the room that the meetings took place in were only two doors down from her room.
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so i would hear if a meeting was going to take place, most of the time so i could warn her. there were more and more. not that she seemed to mind, which was an interesting piece for me at the end. >> hmm. all right. stephanie grisham, i'm glad you are feeling better. glad we're on the mend. >> thank you so much. and be sure to join jim acosta this coming week as he hosts "democracy in peril" monday through friday at 9:00 only on cnn. following breaking news, the embassy in ukraine will reduce nonessential staff and family members of american diplomats as tensions with russia escalate. also ahead tonight, a 10-year-old girl survives a brutal snowstorm by clinging to a dog for warmth. and introducing jamaica's very first alpine skier now bound for the beijing games. you're in the "cnn newsroom."
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now as the games get under way in beijing, first jamaican to ever qualify for olympic alpine seeing, now realizing a dream of representing his caribbean root's, get this, the 38-year-old retired dj only took up skiing six years ago, now he's going to the olympics. >> i think all skiers are really excited to see the jamaican skier, honestly, after the events in 2020, i think a lot
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has changed. people are now excited to see diversity where they might not have been as open before to this suggestion. >> set to inspire a new generation of olympian skier. >> 10-year-old european girl in russia vanished after snow began pouring over her hometown. she was nowhere to be found in the frigid conditions, found alive 18 hours later surviving the subzero temperatures, get this, by clinging to a dog for warmth in its outdoor kennel. family and doctors say she's doing just fine. so be sure to keep looking after your dog, they may just save your life someday. we hope the dog during that storm is also okay.
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meanwhile, michigan judge apologized to a 72-year-old cancer patient for berating him about weeds on his property. the man who was a bangledeshi immigrant claimed he was too weak to do the work. his son appeared with him in the online hearing and here's part of this exchange. >> i was then very weak -- look after. >> you should be ashamed of yourself, if i could give you jail time, i would. >> my father is currently sick. >> do you see that photo? >> i am very sick, man. >> that is shameful. the neighbor should not have to look at that. you should be ashamed of yourself. >> you should be going to jail.
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>> changed her tune after 200,000 people signed a petition asking for her removal. her decision, she said, in part, i made a mistake, acting intemperately. i apologize to the person before me and my entire community for failing to meet the high standards we expect of our judicial officers and i expect of myself. it is unclear if he will still have the pay the $100 fine for the weeds. breaking news, ukraine announced it's cutting back nonessential staff and american members of diplomats, the reports, russia is planning significant military action against ukraine. our reporters are working their sources, we got william taylor form were ambassador to ukraine,
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>> i'm pamela brown in washington, you are live in the cnn news room. breaking news this hour, the u.s. state department says it is reducing staffing levels in the u.s. embassy in kiev ukraine, citing reports that russia is


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