tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN February 21, 2022 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
time now for the news. this is don lemon. our breaking news, russian troops could be arriving in ukraine at any moment. that after putin announced he will send peacekeeping forces into two pro mass he could ukrainian territories. he recognized as independents day, but let's be real. these are not peacekeepers. these are russian troops nearly 200,000 of them. they're not keeping the peace. you don't need thousands of troops to recognize two breakaway regions which i should note no other government has recognized. the security council meeting
today that just ended by the way. there are territories and i quote here, an attempt to create a pretext for a further invasion of ukraine. a russian media outlet posting help captainers going through the u.s. we identified them as russian though. the russian president addressing the nation at 2:00 in the morning local time saug that we're not afraid of anything or anyone. we won't give away anything to anyone. that as sources tell u.s. officials had private conversations and they're going to the big city more than 300 miles from the capitol.
tall. they say it is magsking a decisn for him. p putin is saying so himself. >> translator: it is important to understand that ukraine has never had consistent tradition of being a true nation. >> for putin, this is personal. and multiple u.s. and western officials tell cnn what putin is doing could be the beginning of a larger potential military operation targeting ukraine. and as thousands and thousands of russian troops are breathing down the neck of ukraine tonight, a senior administration official says diplomacy will be pursued until the tanks roll. second anthony blinken says they recognize those so-called republics as independent requires a swift and firm response and will take appropriate steps in coordination with partners.
so what will it take to stop putin? the white house says that this is separate from what they call swift and severe economic measures they impose with allies in response to a further russian invasion. kind of measures the secretary of state promise a month ago. >> if a single additional russian force goes into ukraine in an aggressive way, as i said, that will trigger a swift severe and united response from us and from your europe. and again, there are other things that russia could do. they fall short of sending additional forces into ukraine. and again, across the board, we're preparing with europe for a swift and calibrated and great united response. >> the world is watching and democracy is in peril. and cnn is covering it all for
you. let's get right to lauren leberman at the pentagon. michael holmes live for us in ukraine and retired air force colonel joining us. i'm going to start with you, the u.s. expects russian troops to move into the two separatist regions at any moment. what does this mean for the threat of a larger russian invasion into ukraine? >> that threat is very real. this statement and u.s. officials believe this was never about putin recognizing these two republics that these breakaway republics, the people's republic as independent self governed essentially regions backed pretty much by the kremlin and supported by the kremlin. we can look again at that military convoy. the video you showed a short time ago. that is weaponry moving in. again, it's unclear whether there this is russian or russian backed separatists but frankly there isn't much of a difference there. this is forces either backed by the russians or russians
themselves moving into these two breakaway regions. and based on what putt yun said early her in the evening, it appears he is setting up u.s. officials say a cause for war. a justification for further invasion. you don't need 190,000 troops including the separatist forces to declare the independence and recognition of these two regions. you're looking at those types of numbers if you're ambitions go well beyond that they're rolling through soon. >> they're not making it clear whether this movement of russian troops into these regions is considered a further invasion. how is the whois weighing how to respond to this newest escalation now? >> for now, the u.s. is not
saying this will amount to a new unsahratian. a senior official held a phone call with reporters and was pressed on this several times for clarification. they said, look, essentially russian forces being present in that region is nothing new. that russian forces have been in the region since 2014. now what they said also was that what they're going to do is continue to assess the situation overnight. try to get a better handle on exactly what russia is going to do and depending on their actions and the coming hours and days, the u.s. is going to take appropriate measures. but, of course, a reminder too that earlier today something that was announced were these sanctions measures against the region that we're talking about here. those are, of course, not the same as you mentioned as the broader sort of package of sanctions that the u.s. has been talking about. but these are targeted sanctions and sort of first steps that we have seen president biden take. this was by way of executive
order. >> but they say there can be more severe sanctions coming soon. talk to us more about that. >> yeah. you know, the u.s. said all along that if russia invades ukraine, what they're going to see are swift consequences. we saw anthony blinken in that clip saying that has been the message from the administration. we're talking about a huge, frankly, package of sanctions that would be triggered if russia were to invade ukraine. i think that's why our continuing discussions about sort of this definition of how the u.s. would define an invasion of ukraine was important. it was not clear whether russia sending the so-called peacekeeping troops into that region in a new way would actually amount to that kind of response from the u.s. that's not the response we have seen so far. but this administration official did also say that we should be seeing more actions tomorrow. >> michael, let's bring you in. you're in the region. very important there.
u.s. officials say that they had conversations with ukrainian president zelensky about leaving kyiv. he is coming out strong after putin's actions. whalt is he saying? is. >> yeah. indeed. strong is the word. that televised statement you mentioned he urged ukraine's allies to act immediately while at the same time as he has really all along calling on the ukrainian people to remain calm. you mentioned what he said and it is important. we're not afraid of anything and anyone. we won't give away anything. now he's always said he won't leave ukraine. and there is certainly no indication that he will. he also made that clear at the munich security conference remember a couple days ago. u.s. officials reportedly wanted him not to go fearing that russia would claim he fled his country. he rejected that. went to the conference. as you put it, he was home in time for dinner. he's been firm all along, don, in saying that ukraine will not
compromise on his territory. it's difficult to see what the next move might be. certainly if he be acted militarily against the peacekeepers that, would potentially give russia an opening to go ooernlg even fur even further. >> if putin is calling these forces peacekeepers, but, it seems like he's doing everything but calling it what it is. >> so i wonder what is how should the u.s. and allies react against that? saying i'm not -- it's peacekeepers. i'm not actual ly, invading, he is actually doing that. people are relatively direct maybe not honest but direct about what they're going to be doing. and in his particular case, he
obfuscates. he is going to cloak everything he says in legalistic language. and they make it sound reasonable. he is making a reasonable gesture when we protect his own people and those kinds of things. and the fact of the matter is you always have to peel things back. the fact of the matter is he is actually taking territory that officially internationally belongs to ukraine. things get out of hand quickly. they make decisions as to whether or not or what they're going do other measures. that's what putin is saying. >> should we be acting as a it seems like we're acting on his
pretense of doing more. the damage is already done. the troops are already being moved in. there is a threat of sanctions. should we be doing that? shouldn't we be doing what we would be doing if he if he is calling it an act of aggression. >> it depends where you go. but we have already seen pictures of, you know, russian or russian separatists units moving into this area. probably about to do the same thing. and you know, it is one of those things where and we should in essence take some part of zelensky's position which, is hey, he's doing this stuff. it's time to punish him. and this is where we really need to be quite resolute in that. of so, yes, to answer your question that,s is exactly whae
need to do. >> if u.s. and allies don't act that way, is it too late already? putin is moving everything into place to do what he -- what needs to be done. >> just again. calling it something different than what it is. >> yeah. i think you'll find a lot of people in ukraine thinking that as well. you know, the argument that russians have been there all along, that's true. they've been on the ground. they've been advising and if if not hands on with of what's been going on in the p area. but to say that because they have been there, this is somehow not a major change. just seems ridiculous. this is a formal stepping over the border if you like. so it's different to russians to sort of having been under the radar on the ground helping these separatists fight the ukrainian government. they have stepped over the border. that is something. >> yeah. absolutely. you're right on. and so when do we hear from the white house again, m.j.? have they put a lid on it?
is it not until tomorrow. >> it's likely not going to be until tomorrow. i think one thing that is worth emphasizing here is that the u.s. continues to say even tonight diplomacy is still the preferred method. we'll continue to pursue diplomacy. we have got an indication avocation over the past several days. it's closing. i think what we're about to learn in the coming hours and the coming baez is whether that door has completely shut closed. that is not the case. two things i want to quickly note and what we might be seeing.
and anthony blinkenen and russian counterpart. and then, of course, president biden himself had agreed in principle to a meeting a conversation with the russian president. they're contingent upon ukraine. they're meeting the conversations and continuing to move forward. that is probably not likely. >> quickly, i have to get to the break here the of i want to ask you, look. the early indications are coming from the pentagon with these situations. is there any indication that this will escalate in any way? when will we hear from the pentagon or someone in charge? >> the pentagon is watching everything that is happening here. i think the pentagon is going to defer to the white house and state department in terms of how saying this proceeds. they see this play out through diplomacy. everyone is well aware that is maybe not how this goes.
and certainly not how it's looking. u.s. officials have already given the warning if they choose to go all out. it will be horrific. in the millions of refugees heading west into europe as russian forces and all bear down on ukraine. and not just the ukrainian military but ukrainian civilians as well. >> i see him agreeing with you. michael, thank you. i appreciate it. >> certainly looks like it and what will it take to stop them? i'm going to talk with former defense secretary next. rywhere, man. ♪ ♪ i've been everywhere, man. ♪ ♪ crossed the desert's babare, man. ♪ ♪ i've breathed the mountatain air, man. ♪ ♪ of travel i've had my s share, man. ♪ ♪ i've been everywhere. ♪ ♪ i've been to: pittsburgh, parkersburg, ♪ ♪ gravelbourg, colorado, ♪ ♪ ellensburg, cedar city, dodge city, what a pity. ♪ ♪ i've been everywhere, man. ♪
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here's our breaking news. russian troops could move to ukraine. as soon as tonight. putin recognized two pro moscow territories as independents. good evening, secretary. where are we right now. >> they're calling it something else. >> where are we right now. he call it whatever he wants to. the reality is it's an invasion. to say that we now have the new republics that i just created. and if they invite me in, well, that's not an invurgs. i think it's an invasion. i think the administration has to move strongly tomorrow not with all the sanctions but at least a good portion of them that sends a signal this is going to be painful for you. but the administration also has
to persuade the american people it's going to cost us too. in other words, gas prices are going to go up. inflation will go up. when this happens, it's poutin' problem. what putin is doing is he's about to commit mass murder. >> they're telling the truth. but what he's doing, he's prepared to kill between 25, 50, maybe more thousand people, innocent people in order to say i'm right. the door to diplomacy was never opened. i think he played us over and over again. yes, he has 100,000 troops.
>> we're watching it unfold. i think that the time is to say, okay, we understand what you're doing. i think he's betting we'll fold on the impact. >> you just answered what i was asking our experts in the last segment, our correspondents reporters and military experts. same thing. here's the question. there are stronger sanctions, more sanctions. what does that do in the short term? does it do anything? it doesn't seem as though it's going to deter putin except in the long run. i hate to put it this way. but you break it. you own it. that is what he wants. so what do sanctions mean? what is it going to do? >> i don't think any sanctions
in the short term are going to be a detuerrent to him. he's been saying this for years now. i heard it back in munich. he's determined to go and take ukraine. but it's not just ukraine. and that's what we have to persuade our allies and the american people. he wants to put them under the russian roof and the russian jail. this is just the beginning. he wants everything back. you have to ask yourself, why do all of these countries choose to join nato, to choose to join the eu? they want freedom. they want at built to engage in commerce and prosperity as opposed to living in a prison constructed by oligarchs and him. they made a choice. we have a nato alliance dedicated to freedom. he is challenging that .
that's going take him into a very difficult place for the russian people, unfortunately. they're beautiful people. they have been the victim of this thugocracy. they steal all the natural assets and bury their assets in various investment in this country. they're going to pursue the diplomacy until the tanks roll.
at this point, what does diplomacy look like as this -- what it looks like continues to ratchet up or escalate. what does diplomacy look like? >> he's not interested in diplomacy. he made it very clear he wants surrender. he wants ukraine to send up the white flag and he wants the west to do the same. this is mine. you took it away. i want it back. even though ukrainians took it away by voting for freedom. >> i don't think he is interesting in making a diplomatic solution. there are things that can be done or agreements can be made. i think he's interested in showing i have russian military power. so the west be on notice that our freedom is at stake on the short term and long term. >> the u.s. security council meeting to night over at the crisis top nato countries. putin's moves today will not go unanswered.
are russia's moves strengthen the western alliance? what is happening at this point. >> i just heard through general jim mattis at the conference and he said there was really strong sentiment that opposed to russia. they came out against it. you have countries like singapore you have indonesia and others coming out against us. they're coming out against us so globally he's losing this battle for legitimacy that will be seen as illegitimate war. we ought to be preparing a list of war criminals just as he is preparing a list of people to assassinate and murder in ukraine. we ought to have a list of potential war criminals and pursue them. as we did with others when they did the same thing.
>> secretary cohen, thank you. stay close to the quphone. we'll be needing you. >> we have more on the breaking news out of ukraine tonight. there is also a major development on the january 6th investigation to tell you about. the committee now seeking cooperation from another former white house staffer. a lot to talk about with congressman jamie rachlt askin. he joins us next. are you one of the millions of americans who experience occasional bloating, gas, or abdominal discomfort? taking align can help. aligcontains a quality probiotic to naturally help soothe digestive upsets 24/7. try align, the pros in digestive hlth.
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>> volunteer tests of the president's then assistant press secretary was part of a meeting with trump and white house staff on january 5th. and he was with trump during the rally on january 6th. is joining me now representative, we want to get your reaction. and we're going to talk about them embracing for the worst. >> i think we're look forg every possible way to help.
they're attacked by one of the world's leading a to beingcies. against the democracy. and you organize all the democratic governments of the world. and it's against this. zw just to move into taiwan. >> let me ask you this. if any russian additional troops or armor across into ukraine. seeing it happen. is that an invasion in your eyes? >> well, i mean i suppose it's at some point. it's along a spectrum. at some point it becomes an
invasion. he's clearly pushing t the bouns here. hik i like the pressure to come back and join the community of civilized nations. ultimately, you have to accept this kind of naked aggression. it is a peaceful democratic country. and that's of course why it's a threat to russia. it is because it's a democratic independence and sovereignty. putin said that he is the former head of the kgb. the greatest he can tass trophy of the 20 nl century is the collapse of the soviet union. so he has this idea of rebuilding the russian empire under his autocratic form of government. >> let's turn now, with very to make sure we get to the latest on the january 6 investigation.
what do you hope to learn from him? >> well, first of all, i like the fact that you emphasize we're asking for voluntary testimony. that is what we do with everybody. assuming that everybody bawantso cooperate and get to the bottom of the events. we have zeroed in recently on the question of what happened on january 6th. a series of efforts for him to call off the dogs and deescalate the situation. the efforts whether they came from his friends in the news media or family members or people in congress were rebuffed or ignored. that's as far as we can tell. we want to try to nail down that sequence of events from every different angle, vision on that day.
>> what about attaining testimony from vice president pence and ivanka trump? anything new on that front? >> i don't think we have anything new to report there. what we do believe that everybody, everybody who got a story to tell should tell it and, of course, has an obligation to tell us that supreme court has said that when congress issues a spubpoena, thy have the need to participate. and even though this is not an investigation that is determined to lead to criminal investigation it's about reporting the truth. still, everybody has an obligation to participate. and i would think that includes the vice president and members of the former president's family too.
>> the documents were taken from the white house down to mara lag yoe. they confirmed in a letter friday that classified documents were removed from the white house. can you shed a light on the nature of those and is this a threat to national security? >> well, it's a threat to national security. they have been described as a haven for foreign spies. whether from china or brazil or saudi arabia or anybody who donald trump happens to invite there. so there -- we know there is a lot of espionage taking place at mar-a-lago. and the documents he took were government property. they didn't belong to donald trump. those documents belong to the american people. and, of course, trump complained about far lesser kinds of trans gregss coming from hillary clinton. but to remove official
government documents belonging to the american people and to take them to a very unsafe is beyond the pale. that is something we have to investigate and look at closely. not the january 6th select committee, but i think the oversight committee in the house and we'll see what other committees want to determine to what extent that did become a major national security threat. >> congressman, thank you. i appreciate your time. >> my pleasure. >> the jury has begun deliberating in the federal hate crimes trial of three men convicted of murdering ahmad aubrey. they discussed casual racism. but is that enough to prove he was killed because he was a black man?
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jurors in the federal hate crimes trial of three white men in georgia convicted of murdering ahmed aubrey deliberated for two hours after hearing closing argue ams. they resume deliberations tomorrow. let's discuss it with our cnn legal analyst joey jackson. thank you for joining us. appreciate it. let's start with closing arguments. they used their time to bring up a lot of evidence that they shown throughout this trial. recounting the testimony of the witness that's said travis
mcmichael called her an n word lover after dating a black man. another quoted gregory mcmichaels from a conversation they driving saying one of those black who's is nothing but trouble should have died a long time ago. then the texts saying boot lip monkey n word. prosecution is trying to prove aubrey was cukilled because he s blake man. did they? >> i they have that they did. you know, listen, the bottom line here is that prosecution did a very effective job and speaking to the jury about who they are listening to, who they are judging. believe what you see. and when someone tells you who they are, the first time, right? believe them. and so bhi think there is this compilation of various source that's they have like what? like text messages unfortunately that you had to display pt you had to. it is part of the trial. like e-mails, people that knew that and came before the jury
and that said they harbored the racist views and values. i get the next question will be not that i ever predict you to, how do you connect that to this? right? and i think how do you that is you say the bottom line here is that this is who these people were. look at what was happening that day. with respect to any crime being made, without any notion or belief that he stole a thing. not only did they want to chase after him says the prosecution, but in addition to that, they bore arms to do so. and when not satisfied that he and aubrey was responsive, those arms that were born out ultimately faced him, shot him, and killed him. and so i get what the argument is. don't judge him by that. judge him by what they did on this day. they were chasing him. they had a good faith belief. if he were not an african american, he would be dead? that is the central question that they side the messages in of hatred.
the i think they did it effectively. i think the defendants, all three, will be convicted. >> okay. so now let's talk about the defense. >> all three attorneys out of the mcmichaels acknowledged the past racist language. but they argued they didn't kill him because of his race. they didn't use slurred that day. they don't believe to hate groups. they were worried about neighborhood security. how -- is that a strong defense? >> i think the defense did what they had to do and the options to them, don, legally. what do i mean? they had to make that argument. there was a crime being committed. they were concerned about the neighborhood. based upon the good faith belief was committed that he committed that crime and based on the genuine concern that they wanted to protect the neighborhood, they therefore went after him. that's what they're saying. however, the prosecution is
saying you can believe your eyes. can you believe what you're hearing about the defendants. the you can believe with respect to who they are. what they've done in the past. values, principles, beliefs. all of it was translated into the zoning and honing in on aubrey who would have been home in time for supper. so said the prosecution in the opening statement and in the closing argument as well, i think that resonates effectively. i think they were able to make the connection between what the defendant said and who they are and what they did on this particular day. >> you know, the evidence in this trial is uncomfortable. one jury asked the judge if the court would provide counseling. one of the defense attorneys started his closing arguments apologizing to the jury for any offense that might have happened during the trial. heading into tomorrow's deliberations, what do you think is going through the jurors' minds? >> i think jurors genuinely, don, in my view, we know just by
way of recapping, you have 12 jurors, of course. they have to be unanimous. they all have to be in accord with what they believe. i think they're trying to get it right. what was the motivation behind the crime? it's compelling and, you know, the evidence is compelling and very difficult to listen to. and to your other point, if they're asking for counseling and whether federal funds is available, you know it impacts them deeply. i think that they're trying to get to the bottom of why this occurred, what the defendants were thinking when it occurred, was there past values, beliefs, and views that led to creep into what they did and i think that the jurors are really going over that to determine was the motivation hate? was the motivation race? and are these three defendants guilty? i think that they will will prove that they are. >> joey jackson, thank you, sir. bundle up by the way. bundle up. the cold is coming back, joey jackson. thank you, sir. and i say that because nearly
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and dangerous arctic air will push as far south as texas. bring in meteorologist karen mcginnis. she can tell you about this. karen, good evening to you. millions under storm warnings. tell us who is getting hit and when! well, there are varying degrees to the severe weather. to the north, it is going to be ice yit, penetrating cold air, blizzard conditions. to the south, it is going to be heavy rainfall and the risk for some tornados. >> here comes a frontal system. this is the real troublemaker. on this side, the very dcold ai. to the south, we have got temperatures, in some cases, in the 80s. dallas wasle 85 degrees today. so, we will see that return moisture from the gulf of mexico and that's the reason as this front moves through, it is going to collide with much colder air and trigger severe weather. take a look at fargo, minus 4. that is the actual-outside air temperature but it feels like it's minus 29. now, let me tell you about fargo. what happened up there. want to show you this video. this coming out of castleton.
this lies just to the rest of fargo. it was a terrible mixup of cars. a multi-car, multi-vehicle mixup on interstate 94. six people were injured in this. there were about five, uh, large trucks that were involved. the wind conditions here, they were blowing at about near 40 miles per hour. v visibility as you can see, was very poor here and they shut down the interstate for a while. conditions are not going to be improving. we have got temperatures remaining well-below zero. in fargo, it is going to be below zero the next few days. not until friday, we will see about 2 degrees. but the deep south, it looks like, don, the severe weather -- texas tonight with tornados. hail, already, reported here. so keep -- keep you updated. >> wow, that was white out conditions on that interstate. by the way, my siri was trying to get in on your weather forecast. hey, siri, what is the
temperature outside? >> it's 44 degrees outside. >> on your weather forecast. sorry about that. >> don't get used to it. it is going to get a lot colder by this weekend. >> karen mcginnis, thank you very much. we appreciate it. and thank you for watching, everyone. our live coverage with the latest developments on the crisis in ukraine continues, in just a minute. an independent organization that sets strict qualityty and purity standards. nanature made. the #1 pharmacist recommended vitamin and supplement brand. are you tired of washing dishes? well flip the way you clean'em. introducing dawn platinum ez-squeeze. it's a new, upside-down bottle... with no cap. you just grab and squeeze. platinum's upgraded, more powerful formulareaks down and removes grease 4 times faster. nice! no flip, no mess. platinum is also a go-to grease cleaner for your sink, your countertops, and to pre-treat stains on laundry. faster. easier. new dawn platinum ez-squeeze. flip the way you clean dishes.
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