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tv   Actor Sean Penn on Humanitarian Efforts in Ukraine  CSPAN  May 13, 2022 12:07pm-1:15pm EDT

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ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. i would like to welcome a few special guests as we start this afternoon's programed beginning with doctor jim kavanaugh on the board of the richard nixon foundation. . thank you all for being. here we are gathered at the nixon library this afternoon to discuss the ongoing war between russia and ukraine. the reason hostilities began after a 24 and sadly took an even more brutal shift swooning with a new russian offenses in the donbas. our panelists they will tell that they know what. your military strategy to me things stories of ukraine so that was the terrible toll
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cashed stretch. i's response to the west what america. our panelists today are pastoral ryan, americas 20th national security for that serve to special envoy for hostage affairs, those u.s. representative to the general assembly. master bryan's co-chair of the nixon summit are, the nixon foundation's ongoing monthly educational foreign policy series. sean and his mcatee award winning film former, who recently returned from ukraine, and who has been filming a documentary about the russian patients. strip and visited the frontlines in both ukrainian president vladimir zelenskyy before evacuating. he's known for its humanitarian efforts as the founder of core, community organized relief effort, just provided resources to the most vulnerable communities for covid testing and vaccinations. course latest efforts include setting up operations in poland, to support ukrainian refugees. and find their friend
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threadbare, fox news chief political anchor and host a special report, threadbare who is the top rated cable news program and it's time. so ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our distinguished panel. >> are you on the, right where the? left it is great to be here, to be back here in the east room. it is always wonderful to be back in the next two presidential library, and i'm fortunate to be the moderator to let you all hear these amazing stories. about what is happening on the ground in the ukraine, about what is happening in the world and, even what is happening with a certain projects that shawn is working on.
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a little bit later. thank you very much for being here. we kind of put this together and i thought that we could illuminate some of what is happening inside ukraine. you will see it on your television screens every day, but you don't really see it like this. i'm shawn has been doing some amazing stuff on the ground with his documentary that will be coming out soon. but first i want to ask you both, you know national security adviser, actor, activists, humanitarian. what is the connection the tween the two of you? >> a lot of you know before i became the security pfizer served as a special -- for hostage affairs. and one of the things trump was known for was bringing americans are held hostage, wrongfully detained in terrible countries, in places of the world, bring in the back. and one of the people i was focused on was a young american journalist named austin tice.
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great young american, george town, former remain, and he had gone to be a war corresponded in syria and have been taken hostage back in 2012. and i had to fight my way through the bureaucracy in washington to get permission to goes to syria to try to meet baccarat side to plead negotiate to try to get austin home. and at one point i finally got approved on the u.s. side. i want middle east and we sent a letter through channels and the syrians once he. me and that i got a call from sean and jon hadfield documentary in syria. he had heard about austin's case and he raised his hand and said let me go to syria and see what i can do to get austin home and my approach was all of the above. and i've been a fan of sean's of course is an actor, and we met, and he was willing to take personal risk to go into syria at that time and try to find
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austin. he didn't end up going but i thought it was an impressive gesture on his part as a humanitarian and we give it a shot >> that's where it started. yeah, i mean there has been a few other incidents where my first thought would be to talk to somebody the state departments make sure wasn't trampling on an existing strategy when it came to hostage release. and there was one of bolivia where they felt that anytime they existed pressure on the bolivian government oblivion's response by being in a power david dark ally of. that it wasn't going to be valuable to continue that way. so they said i had and try. we were able to get that american brought back. so you get kind of excited when
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you play in a small role in something like that, and so it became something that i was looking to do and then the case of austin tice if you will said we're gonna have to talk to our boss. and that is when the boss and i and we became friends in that. after. >> your organization, core, community organized relief effort, just off in the u.s. but also around the world. how did that all come to be. >> total accident. i had a son that had a traumatic brain injury. had to have an emergency brain surgery. he is completely recovered today. and i had been single parenting him for a period of time, and then this awful thing happened and right after, it was shortly after he made the decision to
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spend time with his mother. and i was going to be, i had planned out two years to be getting in their high school. and now i was suddenly my own and four days after that the earthquake in haiti happened. what's significant about the brain trauma with that i had seen the rate you've got from pain post op. from morphine in the hospital. when i turned on the news the day of the earthquake. -- -- had existing relationships with hugo chavez, and because actors in hollywood -- i knew i would not be able to call anyone in the united states with the regulations and an incredible man tells me they need 350,000 vials of morphine.
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i will get some friends and pickup truck's and delivered to the trauma center, and that happened. i remember going with the lt. col. and said will it be a problem for you if i have a box of morphine in my tent? he said we will make apologies later. >> your organization saves lives, strengthens communities affected by or vulnerable to crisis. obviously, ukraine is in that that. you're organization says it save lives, strengthen communities affected by or vulnerable to questions. obviously ukraine is in that position. robert, i want to talk to about your past connection with ukraine, and obviously as national security adviser, and before that, and the how you look at that country before this latest crisis started.
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>> yes, so my first experience with ukraine was going in 2014 as an election observer for the international republicans to the iri, and i recall this is right after the maiden protest when the ukrainians finally threw off the yoke of the russian oligarchs and the russian influence government, and for the first time, we were really would have a democratic elections for parliament. i went with a group of former u.s. officials that were democrats, republicans, former members of congress, and diplomats, and we went to observe to make sure that the elections were free and fair. and i remember one incident that we were, i was there checking the ballot boxes, making sure the sales were tight on them, that sort of thing, at the opportunity who come to vote, and she had her daughter with her, and her daughter had a ukrainian flag. and i said, [inaudible] childcare today? you want to be about? and she said, no, no. i wanted to bring her so she could see that you can vote for your own leaders and for her to see what democracy looks like because even if by hold live
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under soviet rule, under corrupt rule, and this is the first time we've got a chance that the democracy. and i really developed a love for the ukrainian people there. they are wonderful folks, and now we are seeing their spirit and their boldness, they are daring, as they fight a much bigger debris for their own freedom and for their own sovereignty. >> but as national security adviser, you also dealt with that region and dealt with putin. is that just on the table from in the olympia talks in berlin with secretary of state mike pompeo. you know, looking at what putin is doing now, you know, your assessment of him and his mental state and where you saw him and where he is now? >> so he's a very cordial guy. he's a softspoken guy. but he believes the biggest geopolitical disaster of his lifetime was the collapse of the soviet union. and russia, and when he thinks that -- excuse to -- be the soviet union, he's thinking of kind of an imperial russia, where russia controlled all that stands, where they
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controlled georgia, where the controls ukraine, where they controlled the baltics. and his goal, just like dictators we've seen in the past, we thought. 1930s and 1940s but just like dictators of all, he wants to rebuild the russian empire. he wants to be a new bizarre. and he would like to take back ukraine. he's got troops in georgia where i've been, and he's taken almost half of georgia. he's taken parts of moldova. in 2014, he invaded ah q and occupied crimea. and at the time, as it, this is something we haven't seen since the onslaught with germany and austria, and then the munich accord, when germany was given, at the time, nazi germany was given certain land and czechoslovakia. and the idea was if you appease these dictators a little bit and if you get them just a little bit of land you give them a little bit of what they they want that will save them and they will stop with their aggression. and we know that doesn't work. it actually increases their appetite. and that's what happened with putin. and it's something, you know, we warned about, and we're very
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concerned about it. one of the reasons why we've got to the javelin anti tank missiles to ukraine during the trump administration. we worked very hard to get those. and there were a lot of folks in the pentagon and in the state department and all the way to set, we can't give the ukrainians missiles to defend themselves. because that will provoke putin. that will encourage him to invade. and i felt, the president, felt it was just the opposite. if we got the missiles to defend themselves, that could deter vladimir putin. and in fact, it was those javelin missiles in the early days of the crisis when shawn was on the ground in ukraine, it was those javelin anti tank missiles made here in america and given to you couldn't buy you the, american taxpayers, that allowed the ukrainians to plant a three pronged access moment attack on russians and blunt that to tech and buy themselves sometime to fight for their independence and freedom. >> and it's amazing to see ukrainians at the resilience and their fight. i think it surprised the world and maybe it surprised them. but let's talk about your
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effort, the first time you going, and what the purpose, was and tell me about that decision. >> so, not long ago you remember the time when most of americans to ukraine from a comic actor who had become a president and a single phone call with our president and the echoes with the bidens all the politicking that went around that. and when we had thought, darn interesting his would be, and so, about, at that time we started, we had a contact that could get us in touch with president zelenskyy. we made our case that we thought we could tell his story that was, you know, anchored in him but would illuminate his country to compare with others in ways that had previously been and so we began a zoom conversations and we recorded kind of effectively shut down during covid and we weren't able able to earn one wasn't
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able to travel to the other insular. so that's what [inaudible] and we picked it back up. and we went initially in november, travel to the country, went to mariupol. because we also were going to involve what wasn't you an existing border conflict and occupation in crimea. and then, but at that time, that big wagner scandal was going on related to the aircraft that had been downed and so the president was not able to see us so we we covered musicians and cultural things on someone in kyiv. and then came back. the states that we're looking for the right time come back here. of course by that time, tensions, while the tensions had become to be palpable. in november we had known this was starting to be an issue. then we, somebody -- you know,
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as the tensions that we've all been aware of we're building to the point that they are at today, i started getting phone calls from my partners in crime, saying, you know, we've got to get out now because it's going to be the intelligence agencies we her on the news are saying it's going to happen tomorrow? this is going to happen of the 16th, it's going to happen -- and we've got to be there -- and i had, i guess, i felt that i had enough or maybe i lucked out this time but experience with feeling like a you know it's going to happen or you've got to get on the plane and go and then being somewhere for ten days if nothing happens you get on the plane and when you land you, find out it happened when you are on the plane. so i decided to stay to my schedule. not times with my kids. this, that, this is the day we'll go. it'll be fine, whatever is happening, we'll cover, we're not here to create or invent a war for the fireworks of this documentary. so the timing was such that we
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went and were there about 5 to 6 days -- >> how did you get in? is it safe? isn't [inaudible] -- >> it very turns. robert will confirm to you that our government is extremely good at caution. [laughter]. many people on the front right -- to separate them from those in this -- room on the front right -- [inaudible] anytime, anything i had done publicly created any level of threat i always had the fbi knocking on my door and letting me know. there's a lot of great responsibility in the system and dysfunctions very well for american citizens. at the same time, this level of
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cautions that at that time, when we get back, don't go. because the american diplomats had been pulled out of -- and other foreign service officers -- pulled out of kyiv. don't go, there's nobody there, there will be no calorie, and so on. and i was speaking to robert the whole time and he knows the region much better than i do and we made it a kind of calculated bet that it would be fine, whatever happened. ensured off in about five, six days, the first time that i met president zelenskyy and that we met with president zelenskyy was the long agreed to moment for him to go eyeball to eyeball with us and decide if he was going to open his doors to us as a documentary crew. so we said, we will come without a camera the first time. you size up and tell us if this is finalized, we are going to do it. so we had that meeting. and here he, was all of the elements were in place for a potential invasion by the russians and he certainly was
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prepared for that but i don't think anybody want to give up the level of denial that it would happen because that would be giving up that hope that it wouldn't happen. so we met with him a, man in a suit, and the next morning the russians invaded. we went back, we were with president zelenskyy, waited for him at a meeting point, and the next time i saw him he was in camouflage. and the world had changed. >> at that time you know the buildup happening you know the danger and you're talking to people and you are having communications. >> yes, so the which, on when you tell sean not to go, you know he's going to go. [laughter] so that was the that -- was the problem of is having. i was talking to our colleagues in washington. and they said, look, tell your front plan not to go. so i told john to go, and not to go, and so he called me the next day, and said, i'm going. [laughter] and i said, okay,
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we'll, stay close in touch. unfortunately the guy who replaced me, ambassador robert costas, is a terrific, i presidential [inaudible] for hostage affairs. and so i know it was rodgers's job to get sean out if the russians got a hold of him. but i counseled him not to go. he went anyway. he demonstrated his personal [inaudible] his commitment to the people of ukraine. and that he had, he was able, they were kind of, that the foundation [inaudible] of the legend. it's something that [inaudible] you and i am john talked about. earlier when we are watching president zelenskyy, it's something very unique. we are watching a legend porn. and we don't know how it's going to play out for washington in realtime, with social media, with the documentaries, with your interviews, with president zelenskyy. and we are watching someone who is urged a just like a ernst shaw not to go to ukraine the united states has offered president zelenskyy safe passage out of kyiv, sent a helicopter to kyiv, to pick him up and taken to poland or to the cain, to london, and he'd
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have a government in exile, very akin to what happened in 1.2. and president zelenskyy said, no, i'm staying and my family is staying. so i watched a legend being created in front of our own eyes. and his communicated very effectively with the world and he's really written out what this is and this is good and evil people want the freedom in our country that we want to have to be bullied and don't want to be taken over and don't want to be the pop itself and authoritarian neighbor and they're willing to fight for their freedom. and president zelenskyy is willing to go out to the front lines with his people. and this is not a guy who is leading from behind. this is a guy who's at the front i. made the mistake early on i, said this is kind of like david davey crockett at the alamo, or hector at troy. and i realized, it didn't really work out very well for hector and for david. crockett [laughter] saw i had to come up with a better analogy. and so, i would have been going with charles de gaulle now. you know, the embodiment of france, of free fronts, during the war. but you know, zelenskyy is
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there and he's fighting and he's really [inaudible] around the world. and i think it's one of the reasons you're getting -- sean and my politics couldn't be more different. but we are good friends. and that's the great thing about america or that used to be, we all grew up with [inaudible] a constant ads or front reports for democrats or republicans, but are all americans. we're trying to do the right thing for our country and for freedom. and that's the kind of friendship that john and i had with our politics prior to [inaudible] but what's interesting in this crisis, brett, and i think you're seeing it as well, i spend a lot of time you, know, out on the stump so to speak, for congressional candidates, for republicans and we want to take back the house have [inaudible] kevin mccarthy, a fellow californian, the leader of the house. that something john doesn't want to happen. but when i go out at these events, everybody is inspired and fighting for and pulling for ukrainians and we're not talking about sending u.s. troops to ukraine but they want
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us to the [inaudible] tools, [inaudible] demarcus again and help the ukrainian people. and i think sean seen it on the progressive side, on the democrat side. this is something that's uniting the american people because they're watching fox just like us fighting for their lives, funding for the kids, fighting for their homes, fighting for their freedom. and i get some really bad actors against some really back doctors who want nothing more than to just because they've got more straight than the because of got a bigger country and more might, or at least look that we're on paper until the ukrainians punched them back in the nose. we're just going to come and invade the country and take it over because they could and then that's not how you do things in the world anymore. and the ukrainians are, i think, you know, a real example to all of us. >> 11 back to the union that mission, but i will take you back to that meeting with zelenskyy in those early days when you're finally getting the decision whether you have to stay or go. because it is starting to heat up,? >> i prefer we circle back to that in just continue on the unity thing. >> all right. >> because exactly as robert was saying, that we find
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everywhere, and i would wager in this room that there's an incredible amount of unity on the issue of ukraine. but i believe that the crane is a unity that goes beyond that. and i think in many cases it's the more sophisticated people who invest more in the cynical notion that there is nothing to became pie trying to reach across the aisle. i've engaged in that feeling. i think route the breaking point of that. and if there is anything we can do that support and not a betrayal of ukraine, that's taking the opportunity of their inspiration. it's not being cynical about the possibility that we can understand each other's ideas and so many cases that is the profiling of the ideas that makes it a semantics get some, but there are so many as they
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say, things that we can do as a country together. it becomes so divided, and going to ukraine more than anything else was the been missing. people that have a diversity and polarization of ideology or able to work together and fight together and have a common courage. and it is something to realize what we have been passing and every day feeling about life. they have, while under this threat. >> there are elements of both parties, democrats and republicans, who say listen, why is this international interest? why should we push this envelope? why should we possibly face world war iii with a new color armed russia? there are elements on both sides, progressives and
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conservatives, who say that. i want to say to them? >> well a lot of this is, what if ukraine loses? and look at how they have lost, and the children killed, and the women raped and mutilated. and all of the brave soldiers, men and women and children who are fighting for the same dreams that we share. and i think the better question is what is russia? and so, this avoidance in killer war, if we maintained it retirees and god knows. there could be nothing more horrifying. and yet, those weapons exist, they are in russia's hands, they're in our hands, they're in chinese, answering pakistani hands, very many hands. and we have two problems. one is that if we want to get them out of anybody's hands, they are going to look at the budapest memorandum, and they are going to say while we do
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ukrainians gave a vehicular weapons on the agreement that russians would never invade them. presidents clinton and yeltsin were standing there as a sign, and what happened? the russians are invading nobody sopping. i don't mean nobody is out there like a lot of our tax dollars are going into javelins, and seniors, and other aspects of this. but without the united states direct presence, with these aviation assets that we all recognized value, the ukrainians win this war for the possibility of a killer war. that included mucous nuclear war after another day, if that's gonna happen. it's putting it off to my kids. so i think we have to operate in forcing the russian
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leadership, there's more than one think that's gotta push a button. and there's some recognition about what that means. we started today we won't style tomorrow, and we've got to get in there into the right thing, and not be a nation that's a constant imitation and here. [inaudible] >> sean make some great points there. but i would say is that one of the great things that happened in our lifetimes as the end of the cold war and the free of state nation years. poland, the czech republic, the slovak or public, bulgaria, romania, the baltic states, the captive nations that we learned about it's growing up. if putin has successfully neoprene, he's gonna go after the politics. he has already figured sweden and violent, which is why those
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two nations are probably joining data. that will be enough to get a comes this crisis, is that will strengthen nato. putin's attempting to weaken nato, triple witching to nato through invading ukraine. helping germany and italy who are dependent on this oil and gas flooded cave. instead he will end up with a nato that has unified and include sweden and finland, share capable countries with militaries on the russian border. they play in the arctic. so i think it is one of the positive outcomes. . because he wants taiwan. if we will start one, taiwan is the geopolitical cork in the champagne bottle in the pacific. if that court comes, out the
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pla navy, the pla army runs rampant across specific just like we saw in world war ii. that's a highway for them to threaten hawaii, the dilution islands, mom, all of our allies to split the specific despite south korea and japan. our treaty that. and judging paying wants taiwan desperately for his own glory and forward the geopolitical advantage of the serves. and he is watching ukraine, and if you see is the russians succeed in ukraine, he is gonna go after taiwan and he's gonna go after taiwan quickly. the good news science is watching the west coast and become united in support of the ukrainian people he is watching military equipment get vanilla into the ukraine. most importantly his watching the ukrainian people fight like heck to keep their freedom. and he's got heavy thinking
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that this is this with the chinese people are gonna do. so this is important implications in europe in eastern europe but it goes far beyond europe and it goes into the indo-pacific where we have tremendous not shown no interest so we can unite and unite the west if we can cut prune often has economy off. not these half measures sanctions but really decouple the russian economy from the free world. that is something that china can't afford china doesn't have a hallmark that's big enough to accept all the manufacturing that it does of china can't export to the u.s., australia, japan, india china is in real trouble. it she jinping sees the free world tonight against the russians. but in tough economic sanctions support people with weapons they need to deter themselves
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that will be a deterrent. so it's not just what is happening in europe, others are watching and the iranians are watching this is. well there's second level consequences to how we respond to this evasion and they are critical to our country. tell the room here are trying to get president alinsky on the skype and he's still meeting with some dignitaries and he may pop and. so we will interrupt the discussion obviously if he pops up. and has a message for you all and because of both of these, manager actual sean he wanted to be a part of this so we are still averaging that. bear with me i'm going back to that room and you are making the decision. whether you're going or not going and it is tense. you met with zelenskyy even preston, it's moving, forward but you have to make a call you
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mean in terms of? >> if leaving. >> oh yes, one xavier should started what happened was my colleagues and i erin kaufman, co-directors here right. now we refer to it as where i met with him, i think it is probably a public seeker where we met with him was in such a place where we would not know when they had turned it in tonight. we would not know if certain other organic sounds might instead be the vibrations of rockets and so we had gone in the daylight and when we came out we came out to a city under complete curfew. blackout. the recommendation was that we
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not take our car back to where we are overstating was about a two mile walk and so it was a great way to process the conversation and the day. the city was under aerate when we knew that the rockets had hit for sure at the airport where they then came in briefly the russians had. >> just outside of, keith about 20. miles >> yeah, so we are trying to sort all of what we had, what it had just men, in this long night we took this one act hotel quietly, slowly. got back to the hotel. the hotels and blackout, everybody was in a bomb shelter in the parking garage. we went down there, it wasn't us easy to get a vodka tonic and hang envy journalist to talk about what was happening. people were in cats.
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and so we've had together and and just to try to measure would have planted actual months. that never been our intention to do, as i said, to do a more documentary per se. we knew that are carefully there with me, it's always gonna be today so much more being collected by people this way that you can archive. and i had this measured sense of when my calendar was, and there was a question of whether it's not so much, and wouldn't have gotten ahead of himself to the point russian occupation and what that could mean to other people around you. but the encirclement of the city seem to inevitable, within hours. i was with the information on the ground troops. so i was calling robert, back here in the state saying what
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do you think. >> all right we have a clip from that moment. you are on the phone, just off the phone. >> this was the day after him talk. >> okay, take a listen. >> i just heard from -- o'brien this is -- . >> so you talked to him about what the bleep was. the bleep was asked by the way. the bleep was not in the documentary. you talked to him and you are hearing from people saying, so from all my friends in utah i am not. it is lost in translation. >> it was my interpretation.
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>> exactly. >> so we knew john was on the ground there were just some wonderful people in our state department, the diplomatic security, division and the hostage office and that sort of thing, this is nonpartisan work. and i stay in touch with them and so i kind of let them know what's happening and they said, look he's gotta get out he's gonna get it now. because at the time, the russian plan was decapitations strike. they were trying to get paratroopers through this local airport. anything that was about 20 miles outside of 20 kilometers outside of kyiv. and then races paratroopers and, surround the presidential palace, surround the key ministry buildings and take out the government and put it up very quickly. and at least fairly on the plane was going according to, aspirations out. we knew sean was in the center of the city, somewhere close to
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president zelenskyy. and everyone said time to get out. and i had told sean before, my advice was keep a full tank of gas. and you've been in work compact sounds, there's nothing like having a full power tank of gas, water, and a lot of cash. and i said keep cash gas and water. and i called him and said nelson. time you've got taxable yourself, well you can still drive over the border and get into poland. and drive up to lviv and then lviv's but 60 miles from, or 60 kilometers from the polish border. you've got to go and you gotta go. now >> that's what. >> all the time >> in fact the people that we. because you're in realtime conversations with. othersid not get stuck for six weeks, hunker down, had obligations elsewhere where they felt there could be more canada had obligations, over the sweat thought they could be of value to the effort elsewhere. so your information sharing
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with each other and we've got what we thought was very good information, which again, as i said before, you would think about worst-case scenario, you think, [inaudible] encirclement, we're certainly going to be stuck here for this much time. so it could be somebody who, you know, is in leadership, and needs to be at a frontline with the battle command, and needs to get out of the encircled area. it could be something like me who saying, okay, i'm going to go back, i want to process this footage, i want to be able to get some real time, you know, anyway i can help get light on the thing and it could be for any reason. and i think i had, probably, through robert, most [inaudible] information at the time. and what we did was next day after that clip, errand and i are talking. we had a security consultant there. and say, you know, our information is this. and he thinks that the best time to leave is ten minutes
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ago. [laughter] and so we said, okay, you know, is there a weapon? where is the weapon? and security consultant set, there is no weapon. and i thought, i was only hoping that he had a weapon here all this time. so he said, okay, i think we are going to go. had we left 45 minutes, an hour later, the very same, the people that we had told, they went, believing what we were saying, to pack their things and get arranged their car, they left one hour after us, and the same, in the same -- what it took us from kyiv towards the view, one are lviv, one hour towards the first part of the drive to get to, an hour later it took 11 hours for the others to get to. and was normally seven hour drive, city to city, was for us a 25 hour drive. because we came towards one of
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-- the russians were engaged on the main road, so we had to go around that. and then the bridge we were going to go over got blown up. so we have to go around. and now you don't know which gas station you are plotting to get to. and you know, as he says, fuel is very important. [laughter] and so, it became, you know, its own odyssey. but again, going, back just this incredible experience of but these people represent in spirit and unification. and i went back to ukraine a couple of weeks ago because now core is operating both inside and outside of ukraine, romania, poland, and ukraine. and we took the don't documentary team and we hope that all of it would add up to something of value in telling a story. >> and zelenskyy, you both talk about this him as this figure who stepped up to the day. a few weeks ago, i interviewed president zelenskyy and one of the questions i asked him was,
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you know, you've done really well engaging the world to try to get help talking to parliaments, talking to people around the world. is he fearful about the world forgetting about this moment, and ukraine? take a listen to this. >> well detention has been key to ukraine's resistance strategy. what's happens when interest wanes? are you worried that the west has a short attention span? that is >>'s [inaudible] problem. it's not about interest for ukraine, for peace, for democracy. i don't believe [inaudible] but all is [inaudible] if the world will not be so strong and russia would go through ukraine to another country to, you will see how
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all other dictators or, you know, while other countries, big countries in the world, will change their principles and they'll do the same. that will not be the last war in the war, it will be the first, the first of all those future biggest wars in the world. >> he said that in english. saying that if you don't stop them now, they're going to continue. just got word, he is still meeting with those dignitaries and senses regret. but this is a leader who is pretty remarkable if you think about it in this moment. >> absolutely. you know, and in responding to that and certainly back to an earlier thought, like robert was saying, you know, if only hindsight being a lesson for us now, certainly there is a great,
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great case to be made that had we exercised absolute sanctions early, we would have saved a lot of lives. we are still not exercising them in the energy sector in ways that we could. initial, and logical thought was that if putin invaded, it would be to take advantage of the winter months and how people's dependence on that energy for heat would break the back of the ukrainians and others. well, now we are in the warmer days. and this is the moment to grab to ask of our allies and to offer in any ways necessary and attrition on energy so that we can you, know, maybe we ride a bike and their kids get to live for these next month. but i think a real shutdown -- germany's principle in this, is one of the first things i talked about in the dark when, i was just asking, you know, inquiring, about his knowledge about it before i went -- and i
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think it's the case today. and what's happened is that putin is now a position of being humiliated. and he could've saved them that. but the sections, i believe, would have had enormous impact, and probably stop this from happening. >> there's a lot of, you know, back and forth about domestic oil production here and what we could be doing differently, and obviously that goes down a political vote and how parties talk about it. but what people really don't understand is this sanctions regime. and how this is not affecting russia, how they are stealing the gasprom the oil companies making more money, prices are up, then at the beginning of the war. why are these sanctions bite into stopping putting? >> so we put sanctions on russia. [inaudible] the swift system, which is the way the banks communicate with each other, and we take the russian banks of the swiss system. we also put sanctions on the
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russian central bank, the russian federation central bank, which would prohibit them from operating in dollars, and then oil and gas sales are almost all in dollars. now what we did with those sanctions, we exempted oil and gas [inaudible] . and so when you think about sanctioning the russian economy, when the last time anyone here -- raise your hand -- went on amazon, and said, i've got to get that lead thing from russia, okay? [laughter] never. >> those dollars that come out of [inaudible] . >> [inaudible] dolls, but the only thing the russians salons are online because, [inaudible] is some extraction industry [inaudible] that was all exempted. and so, we've got this odd situation that is putin continues the war, as the price of oil goes up per barrel, every dollar, gets billions of dollars in his pocket. putin and his cronies, the oligarchs, and the guys who run [inaudible] gasprom, by the, way one of whom is the former chief of germany, chancellor shorter, those guys all make a ton of money so he's making more money
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now after sanctions with his this war going on down he was making before. so unless we are going to cut off the oil and gas sales, you know, this war is not going there and, because there's plenty of money for putting to fund his war machine. now, look, we need our allies to contribute, to get involved in this. we could cut it off from ourselves. it would be better if we had our allies. most of our allies on board. boris, johnson from the start of the uk's on board, president macron of france's on board, others aren't. unfortunately, the germans, you know, this was a problem. they're the ones who had nord stream 2. they're the ones who refused to pay that your percent of their gdp for their military, for nato. they're the ones that have had this very cozy relationship with russian oil and gas. it's very hard for the germans, and they've made some good steps recently. i've been very critical of the germans of the last couple of years, even as national security adviser. they had made some good steps, they promised to start building, rebuilding their defenses. they promised to engage with the united states at the arabian allies on sanctions. but they are still buying the russian oil and gas. and until the germans shut off
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the flow of euros and dollars to vladimir putin, he's going to have plenty of money, not only for this war, but for syria, for libya, they are now in mali and in the sahel and northwest africa. you know, he's going to continue to have all the resources he needs to could create trouble and mischief around the world. and we've got to cut up off and stop those on gas tells. these half measures sanctions no longer work. i understand that people want to give a ladder for putin to climb down. but he's showing as this invasion continues, and intensifies today, he's not taking an off ramp. so since he didn't take the off ramp, we've got to close the off ramp, and give the ukrainians a fighting chance. >> the ukrainians are fighting and fighting hard you. think ukraine can win this eye. >> go for the, and you know, when we do something like this and when there are cameras, you know [inaudible] long enough to recognize that there is a legacy to the tape.
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i wager everything that when that tape is played, i'll be right. you ukrainians are going to win. and what we are going to be doing is saying, how many lives did they, did we let them lose off their families to be able to win that fight for us? and that's the calculation right now. >> why do you think it's this, that unifies the progressive side, the progressive, and conservatives? i talked about the differences and people who pushed back anybody, but there's also a lot of unity, as you have all talked about this. why do you think it's this one? there have been other places around the world. >> i think, as we talked earlier, i think that it is fairly commonly considered there is very little ambiguity to this conflict. the other thing that's significant is that their skin is not brown and their skin is not black.
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the shape of their eyes is not different from ours. and what can be significant and powerful about that is because of a lack of ambiguity of the mission, the mission for democracy, in the fight for the freedom to dream. this can be the example that we can apply to so many other places that we've never been able to break that wall of our own unfamiliarity or sense that we are distanced in some way from people because they look different from us. because there are many other unambiguous battles being fought and people suffering. and if this one is one, clearly, and we accept that part of the reason that might happen, that we might help, that others may help, is because it's easier to recognize people that look like us. make that a good thing, and make it a good thing, only if immediately it parlors into a
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change in our culture about that that we've failed consistently, with all best efforts and will, the great leadership on so many sites and so many countries, and yet you say, why? and too many times the answers because they are black, they are brown, they don't feel like us, they don't see like us, and we let them down. ukraine can be the trojan horse for so many things, and ukraine can also be the wall against anything if we let it fail. >> last thing on these. and i want to point out that we put up your organization, core, on the screen, if people want to get involved. for people who we get a ton of people to say what can we do, but can we do? >> so there are a ton of organizations out there from salvation army to the red cross to samaritans first [inaudible] organization, to shawn's organization of core, that are doing amazing things for the ukrainian people the. america's spirit is trying to
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get some military equipment to the ukrainian so there's a lot that can be done. i just wanted to add one thing to watch on was saying. i think on the conservative side my there's a, no, such support for the ukrainian people. it's not just that big country is bullying and invading and taking away the liberty and freedom and remarkably and sovereignty of a neighboring country. it's that the ukrainians, unlike many of the other wars we've been involved in, and the american people are weary, they're tired of sending their sons and daughters, and i had to go to dover, many times, with the president [inaudible] represented the president, to welcome back our fallen heroes and try to comfort their families. the ukrainians are asking for american soldiers. they aren't asking for american airmen or marines or sailors to defend themselves. they want to defend themselves. they're defending their own country. and they're asking from us the tools necessary to do that. there are some gas to have that traditional relative role in the onslaught of the markets are so if we can support them and provide them with what they
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need and they'll do the fighting for themselves because they're committed to their own liberty there, committed to their own freedom. i think that strikes a lot of they're not saying hey you need to come and defend us from the russians are saying we need you to give us the tools that we can defend ourselves of the russians and i think there across the folks who would normally began their war on the left and folks who would would be weary on the right of many interventions we've had over the past 20 or 30 years. there's a recognition that this is something different, this is something special about these people, that have the spirit and courage to fight for themselves and their own freedom. and we need to lend a helping hound. this is franklin as franklin roosevelt said in the free speech, you when your neighbor's house is burning down, each of them because, you don't try and sell it to him. we need to give the ukrainians a garden hose to deal with the fire in their house, and they'll put the fire out themselves. >> >> president zelenskyy's people pass on their best he passed on that same message. still looking for help and he is dealing with it on the ground with his dignitaries. you do have a day gentlemen,
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during the process of this new series called kassl it, which we are sitting in the eastern room of the nixon white house, which deals with replay john mitchell the attorney general. and we have a clip, episodes for seven launched 20 april 24th. let's take a look. >> they, is on deck for thursday. >> yeah. >> how are you feeling about? that >> i don't know. more importantly how does the president feel about it? >> well he's not exactly thrilled at the prospect of watching a bunch of senate of bully woman initial television. >> one of the cameras weren't allowed? >> i'm sorry? >> what if there were no cameras in the hearing? i mean that is something that you could arrange.
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>> but if there were no cameras then, senators would have free reign, and i don't want. that >> martha she is off a lot of people in that committee. >> yeah. you know, when i was in the navy, i was of many people. you need that. the only thing that kept me sane was the monkey. >> you know there was a [interpreter] -- and i named compete. and i left him. . he had a bad habit he had a big appetite, and he would rummaging the rations and that would drive my guys, of course
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they need there is nothing you can do about it. until one day, pete got into the medics back, the morphine. the sofa middle mad. and it was bad luck. that week. one of monkey cries, and it i will tell you, it sounds like a child. course it was up to me to put him down. but i couldn't do it. one of my boys took my gun from me, said lieutenant, the problem with loving something too much, is that he can do
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what needs to be done. he's not some monkey john, she is your wife. >> all right, john mitchell. that does not look like you at all. how about that? that transformation. talk about this program. >> well it was presented to me originally, julia roberts had worked with a filmmaker on a problem jacked called homeland homecoming. and they had come to this project about watergate, it started as a podcast called slow burn. what was fascinating about it, as a kid don't even remember why, but i was eating up the watergate hearings. it was fascinating to me. and so when you all the public stories and then, i had from
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being whatever i was a teenager i had known who the personalities were, but not much about what was going on behind the scenes of their lives in the time of watergate. so this is fascinating new but for the crisis for that amount for the country in so many ways, it was hysterical. i mean the kind of total incompetence of the polymers. it was not anything that i think we've seen at least allowed, with so many extreme characters of extreme flop holding the chains on him. and yet also people who like us, love their spouse were concerned, in their personal lives. and so it was a really accessible way to, you know for
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young people particular which i think every time many of us do anything we think kind of what can we offer them that we might have previously filled off rhythm. and it is a great way to step into that historical left some. it was incredibly timely as it turned up, they're a lot of themes related to what that time meant for the united states, and what is going on today. so leah and i heard several times where we had tried or wanted to work together various things and it took until this one but it all worked out. so we'll win jumped into it in. >> how long could it take you? >> i think the first couple of times it's about seven hours of nature. >> wow. >> and then you know like a pick or getting your steam, it
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got down to about four hours every morning. and that will tax the mind. >> it looks great. listen, thank you so much for doing this today. when does the documentary come, do we know? >> so the documentary itself is pretty fluid thing. what we are doing is, certainly we have represented this to everyone from president zelenskyy, to the grassroots leaders that we have in ukraine. if we feel we have a piece of footage that somehow furthers. this is, there's a moment i don't over gonna put it in but this is the biggest leak that you get. there is a moment where i was talking to somebody about the president and i said, people will criticize me as making a pro ukraine propaganda film and i just found myself looking into the camera and saying, i hope so. because this is, not without
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bias. we are clear about the position this was going to take. but i think we would like to tell eventful story, but will release things if we stumble on magic pieces of something that we think helps the mission, then we will release. but in the meantime we plot away. >> and what is next for you? >> well, let's see what happens in november, you'd like to see kevin mccarthy as the speaker and mitch mcconnell as the leader and in the meantime i'm back in the private sector and draining time with the family and kids. have a lot of fun clients, and family and friends. >> i agree with the second half of what he just. that >> ladies and gentlemen, sean, pan former national security adviser rob o'brien. thank you so much.
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nick cybersecurity and threats in a digital landscape. the council on foreign relations hosted this one hour event.


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