tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC June 6, 2022 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
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do it for us tonight. now, it is time for the last word, with the great lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening to you, rachel. you have set the stage for this week's hearings, the january 6th hearings, which surely are the most important hearings since watergate. and i know you have mentioned your experience with the watergate hearings, and i'm not sure how much you actually remember of those -- [laughs] -- of those hearings, or exactly you know, which diaper you were wearing at the time. >> i was six weeks old. maybe, i remember. i don't know. [laughs] >> so, i remember is that i was a student at the time. and watching it from the distance of a student, where i thought, i know everything. it never felt, it was no horse race component to it. i do not remember any discussion of what's gonna happen, because of these hearings. all i remember was the
excitement of what are we going to learn tomorrow. what are we gonna learn, if we watch this thing today? what's gonna be revealed? i mean, it was kind of like, you know, watching a barry mason episode on tv. what was gonna be revealed, and not what's gonna happen to these people, and yet the worst things did happen to those people, so many of them and there ended up going to prison. the president ended up resigning. but i don't remember watching it in anticipation of richard nixon ever getting on a helicopter and leaving town. and this time, but it has all of that built into it. this sense of, okay, then what happens after the hearing, after the revelations, as if the truth itself is not enough? >> you know, i think it's a very good point. and i feel like it's important for me, looking back on it, when i think about those iconic moments from the watergate hearings, you know, the person
what did the president know, and what did he know, that was a republican who said it. they don't remember that that was a republican who said it, because that wasn't, as you say, thst wasn't the lens through which we were watching it. we were watching it to find out what actually happened, and the idea that there would be a partisan cast in the way it was received, you know, now, at the time, and now since, doesn't seem to have been the importance of it. i don't know, i feel like the committee, it is a bipartisan committee, right? there are republicans on the committee, even though the republicans want to believe those aren't real republicans. there is an expectation that we are gonna learn new things about what happens, that we didn't know before. we certainly are gonna hear from witnesses we have never heard from before before, if the new york times reporting and nbc's reporting tonight is correct. so i do think it's gonna be a little bit of a reveal, learning what actually happened, separate and apart from us, this cycle of analyzing with effect that's gonna be on the country's psyche about it. i'm really intrigued to see what they're going to show us. and i think people who say
they're gonna ignore it are being honest. >> and one element of it that i don't think was present at all, but let's just remember, this is a student watching at a time. i don't remember anyone anticipating republicans, the republican party is going to pay a price for what is revealed in these hearings. i don't remember crossing anyone's mind that, oh, republican senators will lose their reelection campaigns, or republican house numbers will lose the reelection campaigns, because this would somehow tar that entire republican party. it tarred the nixon administration. and it didn't reach beyond that. >> well, there republicans went into the watergate hearings, went into the watergate investigation, saying that it was a witch hunt, saying that there had been no wrongdoing, saying the president hadn't done anything wrong. and that they were sure of it, and this was a waste of time. and it was just when the information came out, particularly from nixon white
house insiders, that their jaws dropped along with everybody else's. and i'm sure it must have been part of their calculation when they went to nixon and told him it was time to go, that they were trying to separate themselves from him. but they did go through a transformation of their own, in terms of defending him, versus deciding he was indefensible. we saw the republicans do that on january 6th. they just immediately relapsed as soon as trump survived the impeachment. >> yeah, they did it in reverse order. kevin mccarthy immediately came out and said, we almost immediately mitch mcconnell said, this is the presidents fault. and as time went on, they became more defensive of the president. >> yes, exactly. i mean, you go back and you watch mitch mcconnell's speech on the floor of the senate, during the impeachment hearing, about how the civil lawsuits and the criminal law have ways of dealing with this, and the president did it, and the presidents responsible. and you know, kevin mccarthy and other things that about the president being responsible,
being as this unconscionable thing, and then just popping in his lap immediately as soon as he survived it. it is with -- history will tell that in its own blunt way. >> rachel, i will be joining you on the set, thursday night, as you guide us through these hearings. >> yeah, i will be following your lead, as much as you will be following mine, lawrence. i'll see you then. >> you are the boss, see you thursday. [laughs] >> thank you. >> the darkest hour ever. that's what the uvalde newspaper calls it. and that's the subject of the most important editorial ever published by a small town texas newspaper. on sunday, the uvalde leader news said that uvalde's darkest hour was the time between 11:33 am and 12:50 pm, when the mass murderer shot and killed 19 children, to teachers at robb elementary school in uvalde. the sunday edition of the
uvalde leader news, sunday edition. it's only 20 pages long. it is not a newspaper accustomed to having the editorial opinion delivered to a national audience, or even to the leaders of texas state government. sunday's editorial was greeted by silence from texas republican governor greg abbott, who has the authority to fire the state law enforcement officials, who, he says, did not tell him the truth about what happened in uvalde. uvalde leader news says the people working for governor abbott, in the texas department of public safety, have been as incoherent as a quote, drunken sailor, drunken sailors. that's what the uvalde newspaper is calling the greg abbott investigative team. the head of the texas department of public safety, steve mcgraw, right there, delivered that one meandering
press conference that you see him doing there, in which much of what he said then turned up to be false. greg abbott has not fired him. no one has been fired. no one has resigned, including pete arredondo, the chief of the uvalde school district police, who was reportedly in command inside the school, when according to the uvalde leader news editorial, quote, 19 officers from the uvalde pd, school district, department of public safety and border patrol waited, apparently frozen by orders or fear, in the hallway. frozen by orders or fear. while chief arredondo on those 19 officers were frozen for an hour, the frederica torres's ten year old son, helio, bled to death on the floor of his classroom.
on saturday, frederico torres said this about chief arredondo. >> if i were him, i would quit my job. even if he doesn't quit, he's supposed to be by fired, get out of their, did nothing for us. he failed us. he failed the kids. he failed this community. what is he gonna do now? how is he gonna wake up tomorrow? >> he is apparently having no trouble waking up tomorrow. his professional life only seems to have actually improved since he failed utterly in uvalde's darkest hours. chief arredondo was sworn in last week as the newest member of uvalde's city council. it was done in secret, which might have been a violation of law in and of itself, doing that in secret. and when a cnn reporter caught up with him at the end of the week, last week, he didn't look or sound like someone who was troubled in any way at all.
he stood there for a moment, before hustling away, refusing to answer any questions, because chief arredondo, along with every other texas government official, and every other texas law enforcement official involved in this case, does not want any more information about it made public now. governor abbott rushed to uvalde the day after the mass murder, to push personally tell a story about what happened in that school. he wanted to be at the microphone that day, the center of attention, telling texas and the country everything about what happened in that school. he praised the heroism of the officers who went into that school, without ever saying that they waited over an hour to do anything. and as the story of governor abbott told, started to fall apart the next day, thanks to reporters on the scene and family members who were outside the school, greg abbott sent his head of the department of public safety, steve mccraw, out to tell the story again and
get it right this time, but after that story started to fall apart, everyone went silent. everyone involved is now helping chief arredondo keep his job for as long as possible, keep that paycheck coming in as long as possible. the school board asked the power to fire chief arredondo, as the chief of the school department police force. but they had a meeting last week, and they did nothing. the longer texas authorities can keep secret what happened in that school day, increase their chances of not having to do anything about what the uvalde leader news advocates at the end of its editorial, the editorial echoes what people in uvalde said to president biden when he visited, do something. that editorial says, do something. raise the legal age to purchase
all firearms to 21, the same that's required for a handgun or a pack of smokes. remove liability protections for firearms, manufacturers, who are targeting our teenagers with messages of killing. and for god sake, restrict high capacity magazines to law enforcement and the military. governor greg abbott has been publicly opposed to each of those things. one governor did something. three weeks, that is all it took, three weeks, after ten black people were murdered by a racist mass murderer in buffalo, new york, in a supermarket on may 14th. it took the new york legislature three weeks to pass new legislation on gun safety, which new york governor, kathy hochul, signed into law today. it includes an increase in the age from 18 to 21, for the purchase of the kind of assault weapon that was used in the buffalo supermarket, and in robb elementary school in uvalde.
it increases licensing requirements, and it bans the sale of body armor. >> today is a start -- it's a start and it's not the end. thoughts and prayers won't fix this, but taking strong action will. and we'll do that in the name of lives have been lost, for the parents who will no longer see children stepping off a school bus. >> three weeks, governor hochul did that in three weeks. governor abbott has done absolutely nothing in two weeks since that uvalde mass murder. the greg abbott plan appears to be wait out the new cycle and do nothing. on sunday, 250 self declared gun enthusiasts and donors to
greg abbott and other republican campaigns, took an ad on the dallas news, urging the federal government to do something, including raising the age to purchase the gun to 21, expanding background checks, and creating red flag laws that allow judges to restrict gun access, at the request of family members and others who consider someone dangerous. matthew mcconaughey who was born in uvalde wrote an op-ed piece for the austin american-statesman today, advocating the same list of reforms, and international waiting period for purchasing assault rifles. mcconaughey wrote, individuals often purchase weapons in a fit of rage, harming themselves or others. studies show that mandatory waiting periods have reduced homicides by 17%. governor abbott knows that the more we learn about what happened in that school, the more pressure will build on republicans in texas to do something. yeah but, but if it takes a year to find out what happened in that school, then the
political imperative to do something with collapse, as it always has in the past. so, as of tonight, the texas plan, from chief arredondo all the way up to governor abbott, seems to be, wake them up, stay silent, and wait out the wave of pressure from uvalde's newspaper and if you republican donors and matthew mcconaughey, just wait them out, and do nothing. and leading off our discussion tonight is texas state senator roland gutierrez. he represents texas 19th district, which includes uvalde. senator, thank you very much for joining us tonight. and thank you for being the most responsive texas government official, concerned with this, involved with this, who is trying to let all of us know as much as possible, day in, day out with.
your reaction to this continued silence from chief arredondo and others, who were all part of putting out a story that has since collapsed in many ways, and have not come forward to correct it, and clarify? >> lawrence, first, off thanks to you for continuing to keep the pressure on law enforcement officials and austin. let's be clear, this is the most infamous day in our state 's history. and it will remain crowded as long as greg abbott wants it so. we were to believe that a prosecutor, the local republican party -- [inaudible] staff of three or four, asking the tough questions, which agencies where in that hallway? i know very clearly, there was between two, and as many as 13 dps troopers in that hallway. we need to know for ourselves
so that this never happens again. we need to create corrections, and absolutely, we need to change laws. but greg abbott, after now, five massacres -- [inaudible] refuses a single thing -- [inaudible] >> senator, i'm sorry. we are having a lot of trouble with your audio. in being able to hear it. we're gonna try to fix that. we will come back to you if we can get it straight up. joining us now is tony plohetski, investigative reporter from the austin american statesman. and zach despart, politics reporter from the texas tribune. tony, let me begin with you. and chief arredondo's position. how long can he maintain his silence on this?
how long are the people of uvalde going to accept this? >> presumably, he can keep quiet as long as he wants to. although, certainly, there continues to be called for him to address the public of uvalde in some way, be it through an interview, or a news conference, or a written statement. let's face it. he holds the answers to some of the most critical questions about what's happened a week ago, tomorrow. he has the ability for us to walk and explain to us, his mindset, why in the world the police director who chose to do this, why he thought it was a barricaded subject instead of active shooter? how many officers were in that hallway? what was the conversation going on? again, these are all the questions that he has the answer to. but so far, we haven't heard them at all. and he can, apparently, stay quite as long as he wants to. and as you mentioned, lawrence,
the school board has not even placed him on any sort of administrative leave, which frankly, it's common when a law enforcement official, or a law enforcement officer is the subject, or has had some involvement in a questionable circumstance like that. >> and zach, who has greg abbott fired for lying to him about what's happened in the school? he said he was livid about that. that was his word, livid, about people not telling him the truth, so that he couldn't tell texas the truth when he held that press conference. has he fired anyone for that? >> to my knowledge, governor abbott has not fired anyone related to that. those are some of the key questions that were still trying to figure out. and as you mentioned, governor abbott has come down to uvalde, to be able to brief the public on the awful events that had happened. we, as reporters, are still trying to figure out how good the governor get so many facts
wrong. how could the head of state police get so many critical facts wrong? as you mentioned, initially, in the narrative, they have said that the gunman had been confronted by police officer outside the school. none of that appear to be true. so, we would like to figure out exactly who misled the governor and why. and why the state officials were not from the start, able to get so many of these crucial facts correct? one of the things is that challenging a reporting, as we talk to so many uvalde residents, when we had been in town, and they want to know who to hold accountable. but it's hard to answer that question when they don't know all the facts. and i don't know if all the facts are authentic. right now, -- >> well, tony, one place to look to hold accountable, is who is withholding facts. who is withholding information from the people in uvalde is a completely separate issue from exactly what happened that day.
those issues overlap, but they know who's withholding the information, probably. >> well, and to a larger extent, we do to. we all have filed numerous requests for information so far. we have not received any of the requested information, state agencies to have about ten days total to respond. so, we're still waiting on those requests. but make no mistake, at any moment in time, they could choose to release audio excerpt of 9-1-1 calls, or even transcripts of 9-1-1 calls, as well as surveillance videos from the school, body camera video from the police officers who were there, and all of that, of course, would help create a picture, and potentially, the most accurate picture of what happened that day. >> and zach, sometimes, prosecutors have a reason for withholding information like that, because it's a pending criminal investigation that
could end up in a trial, in court. there is no criminal investigation here, because the criminal in the school was killed in the school. so, there is no law whatsoever for prosecutor in this case at this time, unless the prosecutor wants to somehow prosecute police officers for some reason, who were in that school. >> yeah, i mean, obviously, i'm not in the uvalde county district attorney's head. certainly, she considers something like that about the kind of police officers how they present themselves, and how they responded to the incidents. it's perhaps less likely. one thing that is notable is the department of public safety at the governor had brief the public for three days in a row last week, and since then, they have referred all questions to the district attorney. and essentially, it gives them a way of saying, we are no longer going to communicate
back to the public, and we're for all of this that way. so it's truly sort of the public has given them a red wall application. >> tony, before you go, i see no other role for the prosecutor here, except to block information from becoming public. there is no crime to investigate, because there is no potential defendant now for those 21 murders. >> well, that's exactly right. and the legal experts i've talked to here in the state, i've asked them to look at the facts as we know them now. if they foresee any criminal charges against anyone, including the responding police officers, and so far, as we sit here tonight, no expert who practices criminal law and the state of texas, who i've talked to, has said that's really even a potential. >> this is the texas cover-up until proven otherwise. and this district attorney is now the key player in keeping everything covered up.
i don't know if it looks different close in texas, but we'll keep checking with you on this. tony plohetski and zach despart, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. >> coming up, the justice department charges five members of a group that foolishly calls themselves, the proud boys, with seditious conspiracy for their role in the january 6th attack on the capitol. neal katyal will join us to discuss those charges, and what to expect in the january six committee first public hearing on thursday. later, we will be joined by michigan secretary of state, jocelyn benson, to discuss how the trump election liars are now running for secretary of state in many states around the country, and what that means to the future of counting your vote in elections? ll, benefits, and hr today, so you can have more success tomorrow. ♪ one thing leads to another, yeah, yeah ♪
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that included 1000 depositions, interviews, and a collection of over 140,000 documents. the january six committee will make its first presentation to the american people in a primetime hearing that will be carried live on this network, on thursday night, beginning at 8 pm. the public hearings are reportedly going to include never before seen video from interviews, the committee conducted. official photographs from the trump white house photographer, and surveillance footage from the january 6th attack. the new york times is reporting tonight, that one of the witnesses we know will be testifying on thursday night is caroline williams, a capitol police officer who is injured during the riot. according to the times, she is believed to have been the first officer who is injured that day. nbc news can also confirm that another witness on thursday night will be the man who recorded this video. his name is nick austin, and he is a documentary filmmaker, who had been following the extremist group that calls
themselves the proud boys, in the lead up to and during the january 6th attack. the video you are looking at here is a meeting that took place in an underground parking garage, on january 5th, the day before the attack, with leaders of the so-called proud boys, and another crazy lunatic group that calls themselves the oath keepers. so, it was the craziest meeting the crazies, along with other pro trump crazies in that garage. the washington post reports, quote, although the committee has not made a final decision, people familiar with the investigation believe the panel will screen footage of testimony from ivanka trump and jared kushner. including trump's account of her father's actions in the west wing on january 6th. everyone will pay attention
when jared and ivanka talk on video. it doesn't matter how damning the presentations are, set a person close to the investigation. -- wyoming republican congresswoman and vice chair of the committee liz cheney, told cbs news this. >> let me say this way, i haven't learned anything that has made me less concerned. >> what has made you more concerned? >> i think the extent, the expanse, how broad this multi prong effort was. >> was it a conspiracy? >> i think, certainly, if you look at the court filings. >> do you believe it was a conspiracy? >> i do. it is extremely broad, it's extremely well organized, it's really chilling. we are not in a situation where former president trump has expressed any sense of remorse about what happened. we are in fact in a situation where he continues to use even more extreme language, frankly, the language caused the attack. and so, people must pay attention.
people must watch, and they must understand how easily our democratic system can unravel, if we don't defend it. >> today, a federal grand jury indicted enrique tarrio, the longtime leader of the so-called proud boys. on seditious conspiracy charges. four other members of the so-called proud boys were also indicted. according to the indictment, tarrio was involved in discussions, and had received a document describing a plan to occupy buildings within the compound on january 6th. the document says, the documents set forth a plan to occupy a few crucial buildings in washington, d. c., on january 6th, including house and senate office buildings around the capitol, with as many people as possible, to show our politicians we the people are in charge. joining our discussion, is neil
katyal, former acting u. s. attorney general, and msnbc legal analyst. neil, i want to begin with what we just ended with there. this federal grand jury indictment for seditious conspiracy, including the details there about their plan, was to occupy the center office building, and the russell senate office building -- office building. buildings you know well, i know, well used to work in. in effect, they believed, it was to take over the government. >> yeah, so lawrence, this is a really serious charge, section 23 84, seditious conspiracy. to prove, it the prosecutors are going to have to show that two or more people trying to conspire to overthrow the government, or prevent the execution of law. the one thing we know about merrick garland, is he's incredibly cautious. so, the fact that he's gone and brought these charges, is really significant. it's not the first time the justice department has used a statute, they also used it
against the oath keepers founder stewart rhodes, and some of his henchmen. three of those people looked like guilty, and are cooperating now with the justice department. i think the charge makes a lot of sense, the proud boys, after, all were involved in this attack on the capitol from the start. the video you just showed a moment ago, dominic pezzola, who was a proud boys and he was the first person to breached the capitol. remember, lawrence, the proud boys are the very enemy that donald trump, during a presidential debate, when asked about whether he'd accept the results of an election that he lost, he exhorted them to stand back and stand by. >> yeah, as people talk about, what is going to be the result of the january 6th committee hearings. here, we are seeing a parallel result of an investigation that is issuing indictments now, that is actually really doing this work.
>> exactly, lawrence. the justice department has done that, going after the people who have actually breached the capitol, and the like. they've also gone after some people like steve bannon, or mr. navarro, who didn't provide evidence to the congressional committee. they haven't done when i think many people are clamoring for, which is to actually bring some sort of action against higher ups at the white house, where the very least they stood by and did nothing for 181 minutes. at the most, they probably did more. that may be the justice department waiting for these congressional hearings to take place. there's multiple different explanations of what could be coming out. but they are two different -- as you say. >> neal katyal, think you very much for joining our discussion tonight. >> thank you. >> thank you. up next, trump election lawyers are running for secretary of state in 17 states. michigan secretary of state,
jocelyn benson is running for reelection against one of those trump election lawyers. never in history has more been at stake in what were the previously low visibility state campaigns for secretary of state. michigan secretary of state, jocelyn benson, will join us next. next or... his nose. if you have copd, ask your doctor about breztri. breztri gives me better breathing and helps prevent flare-ups. before breztri, i was stuck in the past. i still had bad days, (coughing) flare-ups, which kept me from doing what i love.
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elections. one of those candidates's tina peters. she's a county clerk in colorado, who's running to be that states secretary of state. she is, quote, under indictment related to allegations that she tampered with elections equipment, and a judge has barred her from overseeing this year's elections. according to states united action, an organization that tracks candidates who backed donald trump's election lies, at least 23 election deniers are running for secretary of state in 17 states. including in michigan, a state that trump lost by 154,188 votes, the trump endorsed election denier, christina karamo, is running against our next guest, michigan secretary of state, jocelyn benson. christina karamo claimed that
she personally witnessed election fraud as a poll worker in detroit. the detroit news is now reporting that michigan attorney general, dana nessel, expects criminal charges to result from her office's investigation into the push to overturn the 2020 election in michigan. joining us now is michigan secretary of state, jocelyn benson but. thank you very much for joining us tonight. it is such a strange turn of history in this country, that suddenly, the campaigns for secretary of state, statewide, have become among the most important in the country. and i know you realize that before this era, your office, getting people to name their secretary of state within their state was kind of a trick question. and not a lot of people could answer that, but it's never been more important now. >> it's always been important. and thanks for having me, lawrence.
i wrote a book on this office back in 2008, about how secretaries of state service guardians of the democratic process. and voters have everywhere, an opportunity to choose to elect secretaries of state from either side of the political spectrum, who will do their jobs with the integrity, from a nonpartisan standpoint, and exactly why democracy prevailed in 2020, it was because we had secretaries of state, democrats, independents, republicans committed to doing their jobs professionally. and now, the fact that so many of us are being threatened with replacement by the exact opposite individuals who put party first, over protecting our democracy. it is truly an alarm fire for the future of our elections and democracy. >> i feel awkward about this next question, because i want to know, but i'm not sure i watch this on the tv, so that your opponent can learn. but i want to know whether michigan secretary of state can do to change the outcome of an election? >> well, there's really three specific paths, all of which
can be pursued at the same time. first, interfere with a block, the certification of valid election results at the state or local level. and there's various ways that this can happen. but secondly, the secretary of state, if wanting to use this office to hurt democracy, could issue decisions or declarations, leading up to or on election day itself. they could cause a great deal of chaos and confusion for more than 1500 clerks in the state, failing to provide them with support and clarity, and even investment and security. and then, finally, the very threat of potential secretaries of state, using these increasingly high-profile positions, as a bully pulpit to spread misinformation and lies, thereby causing citizens to disengage, and lose faith in their democracy. it is one of the most dangerous ways in which this office can be misused. >> what's the example, in the pre-trump era, of a typical election day moment, where a secretary of state might have to issue some kind of clarification to election workers?
>> maybe if someone is showing up, we saw this in 2020, trying to intimidate voters or block their ability, interfere with the professional work of election workers, simply checking a voter in, giving them a ballot. if people show up and say, don't get that person a ballot, i'm challenging them because i don't like their last name. but you can't challenge someone just because you don't like their last name. but again, it requires us to rapidly respond to issues like that, as they occur. we've also had candidates this year, advise, observers, or even voters to go in and pull out the plug of election machines. if they don't like what they see. that's the type of thing that the secretary of state, working with local clerks can proactively work to ensure this doesn't happen, by training our clerks to respond, if and when something like that happens. just today, we facilitated a meeting with law enforcement officials throughout the state, the attorney generals office and local election officials in our state, to build connectivity, so that we can
preemptively prepare for anything, and it's a big job of what we have to do in this moment. and if you don't have a secretary of state leading in that way, you can instead open the door for all the attempts to undermine our democracy and block ballots citizens from voting, and block valid votes from being counted. >> michigan secretary of state, jocelyn benson, running for reelection, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> coming up, this morning, russia fired missiles into kyiv for the first time in over a month. russia, then, imposed new sanctions against 61 u.s. officials. president obama's deputy national security adviser ben rhodes, who was himself sanctioned by vladimir putin will join us, next.
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ukraine launch rocket systems that can strike targets up to 50 miles away. the advanced weapons are focused on the donbas region, where fierce fighting has taken place between ukrainian russian forces on sunday. volodymyr zelenskyy visited troops on the front lines, it was his second trip outside of kyiv, to meet with troops on the frontlines. he told them, what you all deserve is victory. that is the most important thing. joining us now, ben rhodes former deputy national security adviser to president obama, and an msnbc political analyst. he's the author of after the fall, being american and the world we have made. ben, as i recall, when you were working in the obama white house, you were on vladimir putin's sanctions list, as he retaliated for sanctions that the obama administration imposed. and here he is at it again. >> yes, i was on the very first
sanctions list, lawrence, i think there are about eight of us on that first list. -- >> ben, is that framed behind you somewhere in the room, your name on the sanctions list? >> yeah, i don't know how i got on that first list, i have no money in rubles, i have no assets in russia. apart from the travel ban, i can't travel to russia, it had no impact on my life. this is something they do tit-for-tat. in the zelenskyy video you showed, illustrates the contrast. here is putin sitting in the kremlin, sitting at his long table, avoiding anybody who might say anything that he doesn't want to hear, and issuing lists of american officials that he is sanctioning to literally no impacts. and here is zelenskyy going, let's be clear, this is dangerous where is going. basically, the civilian population has evacuated these places. he is where the fighting is most intense.
i think when putin does these kind of petulant moves, these rhetorics that he can't backup. or these sanction lists. it just illustrates how much he's not at the center of what zelenskyy is at the center of. which is, and actually legitimate fight for a country 's future, and one that has inspired people, not just in ukraine, but around the world. >> what is it like for vladimir putin when he sees that imagery, that news video of is a zelenskyy right there, literally in the trenches on the front lines. does putin understand the impact that has worldwide? >> yeah, i think, putin, by all accounts, and this was certainly the case when we were in government, he believes some of his own rhetoric and propaganda, and what has proved to be disinformation about ukraine. this is the weak brittle country that would fold in the face of the russian attack,
that actually the bulk of ukrainian people would like to be a part of russia. i think putin has repeated that lie so much, that i think he might have believed. it and when zelenskyy has come to embody is a ukrainian kind of civic nationalism, that really puts the lie to everything putin have said. this is why it's such an existential threat to putin, because everything he said about weakness, democracy, the weakness of the west, the fact that countries like ukraine would actually like to be incorporated back into some version of a russian empire. every time we see zelenskyy doing this, it shows that putin is a liar. they also have to remember, this is the guy -- putin rides around on a horse with his shirt off. you don't do that unless you have some kind of complex. right? what's zelenskyy is doing, he doesn't have to take a shirt off. he's showing that actual courage is, and it's not something the vladimir putin possesses. >> ben rhodes, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. we hope you survive the
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