tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN February 21, 2022 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
popularity going into 2024. >> if people want to sign up, there are initial problems. we'll see how long it takes to fix those problems. brian, thank you. thank you for watching wolf blitzer at the situation room. erin burnett "out front" live from ukraine starts right now. "out front" next, breaking news from ukraine. russian troops could start moving into ukraine as soon as tonight. this is as putin claims two new territories in eastern ukraine. it is said that putin's new speech was used to incite war.
president trump wants to invite the saudis to his golf resorts. good evening, i'm erin burnett. welcome to a special edition of "out front" in ukraine tonight. we begin with breaking news, troops being ordered into ukraine, and that could happen as soon as tonight. putin is sending what he calls peacekeeping forces into two regions of this country, regions controlled by russian-backed separatists. putin today recognized those regions as independent states, putin tonight making it clear that this is much bigger, though, than even two ukranian regions. >> translator: ukraine has never had consistent tradition of being a true nation. >> now the world is scrambling
to respond. putin's meeting triggering security meetings from ukraine to france. president biden tonight speaking to ukraine's president vo volodymyr zelenskyy tonight. you must remember that tonight there are nearly 200,000 russian troops and fighters in and around ukraine. putin has almost 35 battalions in what's called tactical formations, meaning they're poised to attack. it's a level that really only be sustained for days. it's a matter of a few days before putin has to choose, is he going to attack or pull back? his address to the russian people was lengthy.
he called the aukraine puppet p of the u.s. and there is no reason why ukraine still shouldn't be part of russia. >> why did we have to transfer the rights of something that has historically been part of the russian empire? they've returned to their national territorial units. why? again, i'm asking you, why did we have to be so generous? this is just madness. >> one thing that would be madness is the biggest war since world war ii in europe if such a thing actually happens. but that is exactly what the biden administration says tonight that putin is planning. >> we also have intelligence to suggest that there will be an even greater form of brutality, because this will not simply be some conventional war between two armies, it will be a war waged by russia on the ukranian people to repress them, to crush them, to harm them.
>> here in western ukraine in this tough moment, there is fear and also fortitude. this is a mass that was packed, focusing on the 108 ukranians who lost their looifrz. young ukranian military of visible presence outside that church marching. regular civilians still also standing strong despite some fear. today she still believes in the military here and her country. >> i'm sure that ukranian army is the strongest army in europe because of its spirit. we have confidence in the armed
forces. ukraine is one of the most patriotic countries. yesterday there was a parade of people here saying ukraine is one country and we're not going to let the enemy in. >> these local designer t-shirts for kids show the sentiment we've been sharing for over a week now. "fight like a ukranian." those are kids' t-shirts. obviously i'm in the center of this country and the focus here. matthew, how are officials responding there tonight? >> reporter: up until just a few seconds ago, there hadn't been much of a response from ukraine officials. as i'm speaking to you now, president zelenskyy of ukraine is making an address to the nation. he said, look, he's calling on his partners around the world to give support to ukraine, and i'm paraphrasing him a little bit,
obviously. he also says ukraine wants to follow a diplomatic path when it comes to addressing this issue. these are the first remarks that president zelenskyy of ukraine has made. since those stunning announcements we got from vladimir putin, he's rushing counterpart in the last few hours which, after a long and rambling and angry speech about his interpretation of ukraine's history, and it was created by the soviet union and was in traditional russian lands. he recognized the independence of two ukranian rebel republics in the east of the country, something that has been taken as a further escalation of the conflict here. it's also that recognition was accompanied by a friendship and cooperation agreement, which allows russian forces to enter into the country, it allows for him to use metal basins there,
with ordering the russian troops, and there is a possibility russian forces could soon be deployed inside those gates. that's being met with widespread condemnation around the world. erin? >> thank you very much, matthew chance. out front now, i want to go to president biden's principle national security adviser john finer. i appreciate your time very much. let me start out with the basics here. if putin is putting troops in donbas, do you define that as an invasion? >> what president putin has done already today is something that we are appalled by but not
surprised by. the entire spec ka kell ifly, and his comments to the u.u. security council sforks. >> the executive order that came out toechblt. we have seen reports but we are basing our actions based on what russia actually does, not the statements they make. logical. >> let me just understand the basics. i understand you're waiting to see if they actually walk over the lichb. if russian forces move across the border to ukraine, if one
troop dries over that border a renew invasion, r deploying ffd. >> i'm sorry, we ever a bit of a delay. i don't mean to be talk over you. but if a troop comes over that bortder, when that happens is that an invasion zchltz we're going to continue to assess this. i will remind you, though, erin, russ ukraine has adopted that form of worry already on the ground. that history is important. we're going to assess the
situation tomorrow thakz we floo. >> president biden said if president putin decides to take military action, we will impose severe sanctions. i do understand that you said these are going to be the most severe measures we've ever contemplated against russia. it could mean their mother is no good overseas, they have no banking to the -- if troops go in, is that their level? are you going all the way up to death, and i don't know what they will do when it comes to the russians. zrp as you said, leaders of frarns and unfolds overnight, in
close cooperation with our allies and partners. we're going to take several action rmt -- >> i am in levine and we have been told some have been removed and taken to poland. can you confirm that? >> the secretary has already made clear we'll take whatever steps are required to keep our diplomatic personnel safe. that is why we transferred our nbc operations from kyiv to le vooef in recent motions. if it is determined it should be looked at soon, we'll certainly do that. >> one more question if i can, john.
president biden said he believes russia and ukraine are not going to be launched by putin. do you believe president putin will launch this action? >> he could launch this action today or in the days ahead. we've been watching and we hope for a diplomatic change from russia, but the mail suggests a step toward a diplomatic end, can i just ask you about a meeting, where there was tentatively going to be a meeting between president biden and putin.
there also was scheduled a meeting between secretary lavrov and secretary blinken. are those going to happen, or are they completely off the table. >> we'll ask about those questions. the step they made today was to shred the minsk agreement. we have not closed the door to diplomacy, but as to whether that meeting will go ahead, it will depend what happens in the coming days, because we've also been quite clear there can be no diplomatic meeting if russia takes further military action in ukraine. >> all right, jon finer, thank you very much. i want to go straight to the chief of operations.
john, when you hear the chief adviser there, what do you take away from that? >> i don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but the peacemakers are not there to make peace. i thought the russians would rise up to fight ukraine, they didn't do it. the troops were sort of hidden and he thought they would go ahead, but they didn't. it does cross a line, and we have to be -- i understand the deputy security advvadviser has get their ducks in a row. when we say we have to do something tough, we have to do something tough. >> i guess their decision is, if they're going to go in, start high, stay high, as they've said with sanctions, right? if you're going to go in at
def-con level. >> thats, that's a good point ba sort of shows our weakness because if all we have to offer is after the fact. we have to start doing things like make it clear we'll send no fly zones and other things to ukraine. if you listen to his nutso speech today, he believes this stuff. so we really need to start toughen up here and science is just one piece of that. >> i want to show something to jon, he did not see thely nation, to be clear. according to the motte cow.
ab about it. if he actually believes this stuff, it's hard to negotiate with crazy. >> john, thank you. next we'll take you to south ukraine. just how are the people living there tonight? trump wants to launch a new hotel. >>. stuff. we love stuff. and there's some really great stuff out there. but i doubt that any of us will look back on our lives and think, "i wish i'd bought an even thner tv, found a ghter light beer,
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breaking news, the u.n. security council expected to hold an urgent meeting in less than two hours in ukraine, after vladimir putin said he would roa recognize two ukrainian regions in this country run by separatists. it puts putin just hours away from sending troops to the region. he has approved of sending troops and he calls them peacekeeping troops. they are, of course, military troops. alex is outside ukraine tonight. alex, you were on the ground in the east in the past week, and tonight i know you got a chance to speak to people you met there. i assume all of this, including
what was given by our president, to mid to all hours of the night. what are you hearing? >> reporter: that's right, erin, but because of all of this concern, people, as you can imagine, are very much online tonight posting their thoughts on social media. we just came from rupole which is in the southeast portion of the country in the donbas region. there was a small rally there tonight. i believe we had some pictures of that with people holding up signs saying, amongst others, merry people is ukraine. we believe that's of interest to president putin because it's in the middle of a land grid and in an area where he's now sending peacekeepers. we do a piece in your show where we met a priest. he was also a military chaplain and he told us at the time that we are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.
tonight he tells us that history is being written in front of them. he says had he not had any career, i can remote to whatever you might done. this could be the first time, if they end up fighting the ukranians, wolf, will face actually the military it. actual russian fighters are among them. at that famous church, we met one who said they were throwing a lot of confidence in their patriotism tonight, a lot of confidence in the military, but there is a lot of concern that that military could be facing off against the russians, one of the most powerful militaries in the world. >> thank you, alex.
it is a maze. >> they are putting out propaganda videos all the time, but there is great belief to the armed forces here. james spoyder marks and jeffrey toobin. you think putin is ready to invade and occupy half of ukraine? >> i do. i think given what he's said today on the russian side, he's preparing for a major operation. you don't really need 70% of russia's ground forces opposite ukraine to just recognize the separatist republic. so i think what we'll see, as russian forces move into the east, you're going to see some kind of false flag operation or
something that blames ukraine militarily for attacking the russians and that will be his move to broaden the campaign. >> look, there are still different views here of what would happen. general marks, i know you agree with much of what he said, that there are great risks, but you think it is possible, still, that this ends up being almost bloodless like crimea in 2014. tell me why. >> not entirely bloodless, but yeah, i think this is going to approximate more crimea than the baltics in the '90s as we all remember as a horrible slaughter, but then the u.s. rode in and the stable of veteran forces, et cetera. what we have in the donbas is we already have a large russian presence, so the increase of peacekeepers. let me pause for a second. these aren't peacekeepers, these are peacemakers. piecekeepers don't choose a side.
peacemakers start breaking heads on the other side. these are peacemakers and putin is going to achieve that. he could do that. he's got a large presence already, and he can then bring in the additional forces, and i love the enthusiasm and confidence of the ukranian people, and clearly the love and support they ever for their military, but this is an unfair fight. i don't know that it's going to be bloodless, but i don't think it's going to approximate the large number of corpses and dead bodies one might anticipate in a full invasion of, legalit's say kyiv. >> we saw this in belarus, and it is marked with a large v. when they move forward in that way, they can't stay in formation very long. they have to attack or they have to go back. they have hours or days that they can do that, that's it. what do you see when you see
these tanks with the zs on them? >> i think it's probably signifying they're part of a larger task force. it could be used to separate friends from foe. you're right, they're outside their camps, and when you do that, you can only maintain that kind of posture for a certain amount of time before you have to actually pull the trigger and conduct an operation or go into a more reserved status where you can maintain your forces. >> erin, could i follow up on that? >> yeah, go ahead. >> when you mark the vehicles like that, it's exactly as he indicated. we did that before we went to war in iraq. every place we deploy, we mark our vehicles only because in the dust and confusion of combat, a friendly tarnk might be looking at another friendly tank and panic and not know exactly what's within his or her sights. so that's always a huge concern
among mill titarmilitaries. i see that as a forced protection move on behalf of the russians. >> what do you think of jeffrey's point. how do you have 2,000 troops on the border if you don't plan to use them? how do you explain that in a situation that ends up more like crimea? >> a possible scenario here is putin can move into the donbas maybe with some additional forces, as we indicated, and in very quick order -- he's been there for eight years, so he has forces, he's got folks in those two regions, those two provinces. he could have an election in the very near term and then the concession is as a result of that election, sham election -- everybody says, yay, we love russia and want to be a part of russia. all those forces will go away. so it becomes something need
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with us now, josh who broke the story for "the post." this is what some say the presidency was all about, to cultivate friendships like this one. how lucrative? >> we don't know specifics, but we do know the saudis are offering these incredibly large purses, 30, $40 million per golf tournament, they're trying to get the pest players and try to enlist people across the country to be part of their tour. they're blanketing this tour with cash. they're putting so much money on it that it's becoming a real threat for the pga tour. this deal from president trump is his course in doral lost the tournament in his presidency for some of the comments he made. they lost the pga championship
because of january 6, they pulled it away three days after that. it gave him a modicum of success for his courses, and if he could get some of these players and this tour to come and do their events there. >> i know that's a question whether you get players. i know phil mickelson did an interview where he said, they murder people, saudi prince killed khaskhashoggi, so why woi want to do it? the post did prove that the saudi prince was behind the murder of journalist khashoggi. >> i hate the crime, i hate what's done, i hate the cover-up, and i will tell you this, the crown prince hates it more than i do, and they have vehemently denied it. saudi arabia has been a great ally. they've been a tremendous
investor in the united states. it's a great honor to have the crown prince with us. we really have a great friendship, a great relationship. >> i mean, josh, here's the thing. if he hadn't been president, he wouldn't have the relationship he has with the saudis. that's just the reality of it. it was the first trip he took as president and he spent time on that relationship and it is now paying off. how deep is the relationship? >> there were lots of republicans, some of his ad adv advisers, who wanted him to take a different line with the saudis, urged him to publicly, yes, speak out against the murder of jamal khashoggi, the former columnist, and president trump was not one to do that. he frequently touted their wealth, their power in that region of the world. he wanted to do arms sales with
them. jared kushner was very close with the young mbs, and jared kushner was recently spotted in saudi arabia at one of these golf tournaments. it's hard to overstate what a close relationship president trump holds with the saudis. the reason he said he did was he said they're an important player in the world. but it brought a lot of criticism when the saudis did various things throughout his presidency and he defended them even when others urged him not to. >> josh, thank you. josh's reporting in washington. next, a look at a self-prescribed association that wants to remove voters from the list, and wait until you hear who is behind it. the horse-racing contest tonight. the winner of last year's kentucky derby stripipped of al
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now fuelling demands to purge the state's voter rolls and change the election laws. it's all being pushed by a self-described citizen group. santiago is "out front" with this look. >> mike flint, roger stone, mike lindell. they're all promoting defend florida, a self-described citizens' organization touting false claims about widespread election fraud. >> that happened thousands and thousands of times in the 2020 election. >> caroline weatherington, the once-president for trump florida. they report the cause for purging voter rolls and changing voter election laws, even though in 2020, rob desantis said this. >> we're being looked at as the state that did it right. >> reporter: they told reporters
they found more than 5,000 instances of voter irregularities and they say they have signed affidavits. the supervisor of elections, leslie wilcox, a registered republican, is the president of the florida supervisor of elections association, which represents supervisors in the state's 67 counties. >> i take it as a slap that they're insinuating that we are not following the law. >> the group is asking legislators to remove 800 from the election list, voters like 78-year-old sally davidson. did you know you were on that list? >> no. heavens, no. >> reporter: we tracked her down to find out if she was aware that the election had taken away her voting rights.
>> they can't take away my right to vote. >> reporter: defend voter also said they can't send to addresses that aren't addresses. over 900 were registered at the crestview courthouse. we caught up with the county where the courthouse is located. they said there is actually 770 voters registered at the courthouse. many of them are military family members. >> they may be in afghanistan, in germany. >> reporter: they could have not a visible address, living in a boat or an rv. they have a new bill to push more voter requirements.
>> more voter i.d. requirements, more steps to vote by mail, and asking chief of elections to update voter registration lists more often. >> we got really dirty voter rolls, but the people of florida came out and voted. >> i have yet to see something that is factual that needs to be addressed. >> reporter: so in all of your reporting, were you able to find any, any evidence to back up this group's claims? >> reporter: no. no proof at all for some of their claims. here's another example, erin. we looked at the claim they made in their report that they found a voter in an actual county who voted, went three hours to broward county, voted again the same day. we reached out to county election officials to look at that claim. they had already looked at it and they realized the group was talking about two separate individuals with similar voting
information that voted again. again, another example without proof or evidence to back it up. we should mention we reached out to the co-founders on multiple occasions, tried to talk to them about this, but our request for an interview were denied. >> it's one of those things where one said and it's repeated and repeated and no one checks. >> right. >> thank goodness you're out there checking on the truth. leyla, thanks. one of horse racing's most dedicated winners suspended, stripped of a kentucky derby win. where putin is testing his ties woith the other superpower china.
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test after finishing the race. the hall of fame trainer bob baffert, one of the most storied names in all of sports is being punished, being suspended for 90 days. it means the owners of the horse that came in second by just a small amount, half a length, will get the nearly $2 million for finishing in first. nick watt is out front. you have covered. so of the going on in the world, the doping on the race tracks, some of the very dark and seedy sides of the sport. nine months now since the kentucky derby race and this is just happening now. it does involve one of the most powerful and prestigious trainers in the sport. what happened? >> well, listen. doping allegations always take a while to iron out and figure out what's happening. bob baffert fought this hard. to start with, he said he had no idea how the drug, an anti-inflammatory, could have
gotten into the horse. he fought to have the samples analyzed. he said this must have been in a skin ointment. wasn't injected and therefore by law it's okay. but the kentucky stewards were having none of that. hence this ruling today. and this is also far from over. i got this statement from one of baffert's lawyers this morning. he told me, i am very disappointed in the ruling. it runs contrary to the scientifically proven facts. we will be filing an immediate appeal. bottom line, this is only the second time in the 147 runnings of the kentucky derby that a winner has been disqualified for drugs. and you mentioned, medina's spirit, no longer a winner after a collapse at a training run. the necropsy shows it appears to be a cardiac issue. >> i know part of it is bob baffert is fighting this. it is not the fines.
$7500 for him. but it is because it is his legacy and this is a guy who went as a hero and now will be one of two disqualified. he has won two triple crowns, six kentucky derbies. what is the impact on bob baffert? >> well, it's massive. first of all, they have to return the $1.86 million winnings. secondly, he is banned for 90 days which means he won't be in the derby. he wasn't anyway. but also, he won't be able to enter horses in the preakness stakes which is the second of that fabled triple crown horse racing season. so he won't be able to do that. it could hit his livelihood. will owners stick with him if he can't enter horses into these big races? and also, his reputation has already taken a hit. this is a goliath in this sport of horse racing. he has been in this game for more than 30 years, winnings of
over $300 million. he has taken a hit. today the animal wellness action called him american horse racing's most infamous violators. they say they're elated. he won't be in the derby. if you put money in the derby, this doesn't change anything. what matters is the declaration on the day. so if you had money on it, the change is nothing. >> all right. nick watt, thank you very much. next, china. a super power. actually, really, if you think about it, one of the most crucial ways, the most powerful foreign player in ukraine. i'll tell you why. and it's temperature balancing so you both sleep p just righ. save 50% on ththe sleep number 0 limited edition smart bed. plus, free premium delivery y wn you add a base. ends monday. and it's easy to get a quote at libertymutual.com so you only pay for what you need. isn't that right limu? limu? sorry, one sec. doug blows a whistle. [a vulture squks.] oh boy. only pay f what you need.
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with chopsticks. they say they're doing that here in lviv because chinese tourism surged 40% before covid-19. part of the reason, well, china is now ukraine's number one trading partner. china bought 51% of ukraine's iron ore in 2020. exports from ukraine to china doubled during the pandemic and some even quadrupled. lviv polytech nick university here tells me they have students at all degree levels. i mention that because more than half the foreign ph.d. students here are from china. china has food and raw materials on the line here. that's what the maers. maybe that's why china's sim in kyiv is open. unlike america's. on the one hand, they have no love lost for what it represents. remember when china brutally suppressed it. and putin and xi flouting their
strengthening relationship at the olympics. that's all true. but china's foreign minister indicated this weekend that china and russia may not be exactly on the same page on ukraine. the foreign minister saying, the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of any country should be respected and safeguarded. ukraine is no exception. now, he drew the line at nato expansion but it come to something with the deteriorating situation. china has a lot of power here, too, and a lot on the line and it is currently unclear whose side they're fully on. thanks. so for joining us. tonight, on cnn. don't miss the new original series, lbj triumph and tragedy. it starts at 9:00 eastern. meantime, it's time for "ac360." john berman here in for anderson. we're coming to you with the situation in ukraine. it is changing b