edition. remember, follow us online on facebook and on twitter. chuck todd with "immediate the press daily" starts right now. if it's wednesday, the war escalates, cyberattacks hit ukraine's government and financial institutions, as the country braces for an all-out conflict, declaring a state of emergency, warning its citizens to leave russia now, this as lawmakers and diplomats here in the united states race to confront this crisis. we've have an air force veteran, who was recently in ukraine, as a sitting member of congress. and new opportunities to rebuke president biden over this handling of this crisis, as party leaders look to cast blame on biden for putin's invasion of ukraine.
the threat of a full-scale russian invasion cements to be getting worse by the hour. a senior u.s. officials tells nbc news that where you area is as nearly as they can be for a large-scale invasion. bottom line, according to this official, a large-scale invasion is putin's goal, they believe, and he has everything ready to go, including ships in the baltic sea, ready to go with troops. we just got new video from our richard engel of a ville usage being shelled today. the white house says it's closely monitoring the attack, consistent with russia's destabilization campaign. it's also familiar to a series of -- it's urged all ukrainians
to leave the country of russia, and russia media is reporting that it's evacuating staff from ukraine's embassy. and now this dire warning -- >> russia's action are an unprovoked violation of international law, of ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and a contradiction of the minsk agreements. russia's aggression not only threatens all of ukraine, but every member state and the u.n. itself. >> meanwhile, the kremlin says the sanctions announced by president biden yesterday will not affect its resolve and warned a strong response of its own. as president biden warned, this moment may merely be the early stages of a broad are conflict with russia. >> i have authorized additional movement of u.s. forces and
equipment, already stated in europe, to strengthen our baltic allies. we believe russia is poised to go much further. i hope we're wrong about that. joining me, mike memoli, richard engel from ukraine, and mike mcfall. richard, let's go right to you, and walk us through what you're seeing now. >> reporter: definitely seeing an early shelling today. while we were there, the separatists started firing. before you play the clip, it's important to understand the context here.
russia says the reason it has recognized these separatist areas, the reason it is potential going to in1r5ids this -- invade this country, is because ukraine is attacking the pro-russian population. that's not what we saw. we saul all of it coming from one direction, the ukrainians not firing back. >> sometimes rounds are closer than others. coming right over this front line position.
>> so that is whats it is like. you can be calm, no outgoing fire, and then all of a sudden boom, boom, boom from the separatist area. i think there might have been 20, 30 rounds that came in in the span of ten minutes luckily the villages is not that inhabited, but soldiers are there. they come in in ran document. you have a few seconds where they're in the air and you don't know where they're going to explode. >> so that was in one village today. it happened in many villages. the commanders told you these believe the separatists, now backed by russia, are trying to soften their targets before a
potential, much wider invasion are they holes they'll respond? service part of the goal, too? and what orders are the ukrainian military under now where you are? >> so there's two levels here. one, the ukrainians have said they're b. fired on so they're provoked in firing back but it's not clear that russia needs that excuse. the separatists have been claiming falsely, so they have a mvp narrative. just today, the head of one of the separatist areas is the ukrainians could come and invade the territory at any time what
was unique about that clip is not that it happened, but we happened to be there. it was the separatists who were firing, the ukrainians were trying to get out of the way. two, in terms of their rules of engagement, i think it depends on each locke, but they told us they do sometimes respond and it depends on the situation. so as not to give a pretext to carry out something bigger. >> richard engel with exclusive area in the region russia is already trying to annex. mike, giving the new reporting from the pentagon, that russia has more than ten landing ships, that this full-scale invasion seems imminent, how quickly does
the administration intend to respond. and will it just be -- >> reporter: the pattern and practice of this white house, chuck, has been to respond quickly. remember, when we saw president putin sign that designation as independent territory, it was one an hour that the white house released the executive order from the president with that initial sanctions. it took a bit longer, but once that decidingation of invasion did occur, we saw the president come on the publicly and announce the full tranche of sanctions. this is a whoa, chuck, the thinking around it is best summarized by the clip you showed from the president, that they feel they have tell graphed everything that's happened and they've been right, and from this point forward, they hope they're wrong with what comes next.
not just what the understand did on its own but that germany went ahead with the decidingation, but also making it clear this is something of a they match. they have made their mover. they're waiting for the next move, and they have the residual sanctions ready to go from this point forward. this also goes back that a minor encurse, is the rest of europe on the same page. this is consequence tavernly now a game of just measuring response for response, and seeing where the mood is after each step. >> let's get a sense of what putin's next move could be. let's bring in ambassador mcfall. i'm curious of your sense here of putin.
it feels as if our strategy has been to call his bluff, and we keep seeing out of the they troops ready to go, you're surrounding ukraine on three sides, including the water, okay, what are you going to do next? do they think this is the best way to get him to back down? >> chuck, they do, but i think they're also realistic about it. they don't have big cards here. they went after some of the children -- that's a qualitatively new step. some of the children that are close to putin. but i just think at the end of the day sanctions will not putin. there's been no signs whatsoever that a the threat of sanctions are changing his calculation.
he's not thinking about the russian people and how they might suffer. he's thinking about a historic mission he thinking he's on to reunite the slavic people. his speech went on for about an hour and eight minutes, long, rambling, about what lenin did to create the ukrainian state, but there's no hint whatsoever in that speech he was looking for an off-ramp or to save face, all these phrases we keep yule are not -- i hope i'm wrong, just like the president sell, but there's no evidence, either in terms of what he's saying or what he's doing on the ground to suggest he's not going in. >> so, look, if we do everything in consequence effort, and were is on the same page, and this still doesn't work, then what? >> then there's going to be war in europe, the largest since
1939, and we're going to be on the sidelines. that's a very uncomfortable place to be. if it's a giant, a big war, and tens of thousands of people are dying, it's going to be become even more uncomfortable. that's what people need to get their heads around. right now it's a tit for tat. the biden administration, rightly in my view, is keeping their biggest sanctions, so they have something to do in and when putin goes in in a large-scale invasion way. otherwise people are saying why are we doing everything? i think it will be an uncomfortable place for the western world to be in, to sit back and watch this war. i don't know what will happen after that. i predict it will be a horrible war, lots of people will die. remember, there's lots of ethnic russians who live in ukraine who will die, too. it will be hard just to watch that from the sidelines.
>> why do you think, mike mcfaul, that putin game up on his strategy of trying to basically take over ukraine with a soft power, a soft coup, right? doing what he was doing the last 15 years, trying to manipulate elections, or trying to bribe ukrainian politicians. what you do you think he gave up on that route great question. i'm guessing. everybody is guessing, but i think a couple things. one, remember when president zelenskyy was first elected, he those he could do a deal with zelenskyy. he is from the east. his first language is russian. when he was at stanford, we spoke russian a few months ago, and then he pivoted hard and
putin discussed i'm going to punish this guy. he wasn't joss it's just talking about the places he rick nices. he was talking about the coup, the neonazi-led coup sponsored by americans. that was directed at zelenskyy. he wants to topple zelenskyy. he had a longer-term strategy. president trump, as you'll recall, was rather cooperative with president putin. he held up assistance. that's the first time he was beefed. if trump had been reelected, not surrounded by all those general keeping the guardrails on, i think putin might have thought he had another chance to do some of the things he wanted to do. with that now op the table, i think he decided i've got to go for it, i'm tired of waiting. >> mike mcfaul, former u.s.
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joining me is congresswoman houlihan. let me start with this. make the case to your constituents why what happens in ukraine matters to them. >> thank you so much for having me. that's the exact conversation i'm trying to have with my community every day. in fact i'm speaking to you just outside of philadelphia. i'm on a tour of small businesses, preschools, and airports, talking about infrastructure and jobs and the economy, but i'm also talking about the importance of a place that's very far away, ukraine. why most people ability find it on a mask and why it's so critical to the implications here. what i try to articulate to them, ver very much in a world economy. ukraine is very much the dip of
the democratic speer, so to speak. there is a surrounding neighborhood of countries there who are also democratic, democracies and they're being imperiled by putin right now. those of us who are of a certain age, this feel scary, but there was a certain population that were not alive in that time, and we have to explain why this is endangers not only the area, but the world. as far as europe is concerned, many would consider 100 years very recent. some would say, you know, that's in that part of the world. i'm worried about my job.
i'm worried about gas prices here. that's costing me a bunch of gas prices. again, i don't know how that impacts me. what do you say to that constituent? >> i totally where that concern and that constituent is coming from. what i would say is we can and need to do both. we have to be worried about all fronts, whether it's the economy and the front of inflation and our recovering economy, or whether it's the front in ukraine or other world borders. we need to make sure we shore up our own national security. this is a very about ig part of that. back to what you said about the history of this. my father is 80. he was born in what is now ukraine. this is modern history for me, my family and others. that's the reminder and a sad fact we sometimes don't teach world history as well as we could when we talk about what do we need to teach our kids better. let's talk about practical
responses now. the sanctions are about as tough as we could have done at this point in time to keep this alliance altogether. what if it doesn't work and it goes into a full invasion, then what? >> i was listen to go ambassador mcfaul before i came on. i agreed, i'm afraid to think about what's next. we haven't unleashed the full force of sanction opportunities. it is worrisome to think of what will happen when and if pughle did make that final move. i would like to be hopeful that we still have those off-ramp opportunities for diplomacy, but it is very, very concerning. we could be collective by worried. a war on european soil is something that's very frightening, and we have seen a few times in our recent modern
history. >> do you subscribe to the idea that being a nato nation has been a deterrent to putin or not? i say it this way, he's poised to go into ukraine, not a nato nation, the three baltic countries have been left alone. should that tell us being a nato member is a deterrent or not? >> i don't think that i am confident in making that sort of a statement. i feel as though this is possibly the ability of something longer. maya ainge lieu said, show me who you are once, and i should believe you the first time. putin is very much showing us his plans. he's been very clear about them. i don't think he necessarily plans on stopping with ukraine. >> it doesn't look like it. if you listen to the speech on monday, when i think is what you are listening to with mike muck -- mcfaul, do you think europe
has the resolve right now? >> i was fortunate to go on a trip a few weeks ago, met with you eu and i do feel there is resolve. i don't think it's waned in the last few weeks. we have to absolutely must show our unity here. i would bring it back to our own shores. we americans need to show we are unified here. putin is strong are when he divides us. in many ways, he's dividing us now, and that is when he wins. >> when the republican party seem somewhat divided, but those on the hawkish side of being aggressive on putin, have also been critical. president biden. do you think the criticism is fair. >> i don't, frankly, think it is
fair. i was critical up president biden during the afghanistan withdrawal, but i think what he's doing in this is hard. bringing everyone forward so we can be precise and in unison with our sanctions, i think that that's a hard path. so far he's also been very transparent with the american people and with the public with intelligence that we have and that he has, and so far has been truthful in intelligence we have seen. yes, there's certainly -- this is very heart. are there things he could be doing better? i'm certain of it, but we need to be unified the right now, and we need to be unified in the message we're sending to putin. >> congressman houlahan, thank you. >> thank you. do we have a deal? there is one thing we are working with russian on, involving the iranian nuclear
realistic approach to go through the remaining points of the talks. let's check in with our tehran bureau chief ali arozzi. what are your sources telling you, ali? >> hey, check. all cases are that iran, the u.s. and other world powers are in the stretch. the talks have game momentum, but they're wrangling over very thorny issues very significant to both sides from a wide scope 6 sanctions relief, with what to do with iran's very advanced centrifuges. iran's foreign minister spokesman said the remaining
issues are the most difficult and most important. the europeans are pushing hard for that to happen by the end of february, not least of awful because they say iran's nuclear advances and nuclear know-how are moving at such a smart pace this may be the moment of truth, the moment to make or break. one indication of that is the chief nuclear negotiator just flew back to tehran to meet with the man who makes the ultimate decision on the nuclear program. that's the supreme leader. so he has to decide now whether he wants to go for it or not go for it. i've got to tell you, chuck, i would be pretty surprised if they didn't go for this deal, because the economic situation in iran is so bad, it would be
difficult to see how they survived it's sanctions if this deal fell apart. this is very important for the iranians, just even to get some temporary respite. >> i'm curious, ali, one of the sticking points, from what i understand also, is from the iranian side is how do you prevent the deal from falling apart if there's a new american president in three years, so how are they dealing with that in these negotiations? >> reporter: well, they came in very hard and strong on that, saying they wanted a guarantee from president biden that the next administration, whether democratic or republican, doesn't pull out of the deal. the biden administration told them they simply give them a legal guarantee. that's not how on democracy works, but they made promises that the sanctions relief will work. it seems like the iranians will
probably accept that. they don't have much of a choice. they know if they play hardball, there's only a certain point the u.s. and europe quantities are willing to go to. what happens that happens now is the u.s. and the europeans have said, look, these the final offer. take it back to the supreme leader. we're not going to budge in the further than that. all of those points have obviously been discussed at this crucial period in vienna. they're all coming back to the brain trust here in iran. they have to go back with a yea or a nay. >> this is a case where we're working with the russians. the russians are technically the west, on that front. ali arouzi, we appreciate your reporting. still to come, republicans
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even in these times, the republican reaction to the crisis in eastern europe stands out, as they try to cast it as biden's fault. a statement said sadly president biden consistently chose appeasement and his tough talk on russia was never followed up former president trump is actually praising putin, as he criticizes biden. here's a guy who is very savvy, i know him very well. this never would have happened if i had been in office.
with you notable exception for the criticism of biden, texas senator ted cruz. in a statement moments ago, he praised the positive steps on countering putin. danielle politen, and eugene robinson. peter baker, it's hard to not sea, geez, this any former president maxi driven this with -- i mean, you know, i know we're so numb to this now with him, but my gosh, the world is about to confront maybe somebody who is a mad man right now. >> yeah, yeah. >> this is what the former president is doing? >> to sum up, he had critical words of biden, had critical words of democrats, had no
critical words of for putin. it's just boggles the imagination at a time like this when you have -- yes, we shouldn't be surprised he showed administration and affection for putin all along, but when tanks are rolling across the border, to be praising him as a genius is pretty shock shockings. >> it's creating a new wing of the party. >> i know it's super tempting to talk about donald trump, because it's so great, and we all miss him so much. >> but in the middle of this nonsense? >> but joe biden is actually the president of the united states, and i actually would prefer to focus on the fact that this administration actually didn't do enough to prevent this, didn't present a very tough front who putin made clear what he was about to do. i think it's important to understand that the democrats are as divided, if not more divided, than the republicans on what actually to do. we just saw a big group of sonde of rand paul-ites say we want to
notify congress before you send any troops to ukraine. i'm sorry, who talked about sending troops to ukraine? what kind of a dumb letter is that? you brought isolationist republicans and isolationist democrats together. i would say the isolationist democrats are more important. >> i would disagree completely. republicans are listening to the most powerful person in the republican party, donald trump. they don't want to incur his wrath. he touched an isolationist nerve out there. they have no leader, have no constituents -- >> i'm sorry. hang on a second -- >> go for it. >> i understand that you would
like to think the former president is more important than mccarthy and -- but there is a reason we have not seen stronger legislation brought to the house floor. that is because the white house and nancy pelosi have agreed they don't want to do it. the reason ted cruz has placed the president ask he has holding up nominees -- >> europeans had a lot to do with this. >> hold on a second. having a load -- >> we could only do as much as -- >> hang on. whether has that ever been the lead on american foreign policy. we don't do it because the europe quantities won't? the europeans are weak-kneed on russia, a iran. >> we could have imposed sanctions on 2346789 ord stream. we could have made them
impossible to -- they haven't stopped it. >> what i don't understand -- i understand the criticism. biden hasn't done enough. the only thing next is either wiping russia off the economic banking system or troops. what more is there to do? >> here as the problem for biden. if putin's goal here is to wry write history, if the goal after 23 years of power, to go down in history as somebody resembling the russian empire, that's a messianic goal. he's already factored in sanctions. he's alreadied figured out -- >> we call people like that mad men. a megalomaniac. >> he's encountered and made calculations that he's willing to live with the trade kropf.
>> i don't think sanctions stop that. >> that's the problem. >> i have a question for peter, because you lived in moscow. one of the things or analysts say today about putin is a lot of what he has done regionally has been with a view internally. sanctions can make his life very unpleasant internally, real biting sanctions like we used to have on iran. they can divorce russia from the international financial system, can actually taking money away from his cronies, even from him. do you think that might have an effect? >> they already knows that. it may be a mistake a miscalculation on his part, because once the sanctions do go on if they were to have a full-scale invasion they'll pay a price. but he knows that already and has decided he doesn't care. they've had month to get ready,
in terms of hiding money. they decided -- and there is an argument i have seen made that will empower putin, because the rest of russian society will be weaker, because they're not connected to the outside world. he may be okay with that. >> i think biden we can say has a bad harsh when you were upian ally that is you're dealing with, but i don't know what the next move is if he wants to move in. >> look, european allies what happened yesterday in the coordinated reveal of these sanctions that are complimentary, that fit together, you know, it's not going to bring putin or russia to its knees, but they are significant and getting that to happen i think was, you know, an accomplishment. >> let me ask you this, why didn't we -- there's a part of
me that says, yes, that's pretty good, but it felt like we had a bigger coalition than against iraq and kuwait. part of me is disappointed that more of the globe isn't standing by on us. >> i say that -- we have not had rallied. part of it is insular because of covid. >> there has been to say a next step. if you paid attention to the security council meeting, kenya, you know, chair of that meeting, opened with a powerful, powerful anti-putin speech, defending sovereignty and democracy. it was really powerful. it's out there. that should be the next step, i think. >> what do you think, dhani? >> the europance have always been weak. look at what happened with the balkans. war on their territory and we had to go in under the clinton
administration and pull their bacon out of the fire. they have not been tough enough on germany -- sorry, a slip of the tongue. [ laughter ] >> your history alternates catching up with you. >> not been touch enough on russia. germany has always been in the forefront. they are fundamentally mercantilist about their -- >> don't you think this has the potential to change that mercantilism that you're talking about? >> i would love though give credit for joe biden, but i think it was vladimir putin though brought together this coalition more than anything else. we've allowed the situation to get so bad that finally the europe yarns are willing to do a bit. i would be interested to see
what more they'll do. >> i think the ukrainians will fight harder than he expects, but this is what's scary. are we going to sit on the sidelines and watch this? it's going to be bloody. >> it's changed in the last eight years, he takes crimea, foments the uprising in the east. that's had an effect. each russian-speaking ukrainians don't want their country to suddenly be sucked up into russia again. i think he has lost a lot of potential favorability that russia had in ukraine over the last ten year. >> my guest on my podcast this week is bill taylor. he was with a friend who went to a gun store in kyiv, and there were tons of lines. ukrainians are more patriotic than ever and ready to fight. i don't know if putin realizes what he's -- dhani and eugene,
always, always -- [ laughter ] -- that's what we want. this is what political debate is about. and the chuck podcast is up, feature bill tar loy. we go deep on ukraine. it gives you a bit of history, which i think is important. still ahead, what a local election in one count in florida could tell us about the national environment this november. us ah wait! who else is known for nailing threes? hmm. can't think of anyone! subway keeps refreshing and re- environment this november.
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welcome back. a republican candidate flipped a city council seat in florida last night, and we're watch for a bellwether, and unofficial results posted by the county show the republican won nearly 52% of the vote while the democratic candidate was just over 48, we knew it would be close and it was a swing thing. the democratic loss is a blow for the party after they were able to flip the republican stronghold in the last two elections. if you are wearing what you are wearing now, you are not in florida today but you were just in duvall. this is the epitome of the petri dish race. >> reporter: both party chairs in the months leading up to the
runoff election, they said this would be a big test for them. and then you had the democratic chair saying this would be the test, the enthusiasm of the party, and you saw the republican ending up winning the race. everything in florida is close, but you have the republican able to win in a place where democrats thought things were trending blue. look, we have been following duvall county because this is a place where it's an old republican stronghold, but democrats won it in 2018 and then in 2020, and this shows the result of the tough political environment especially when you have the issues being discussed. you have the central point of his campaign saying public
safety, and telling me this would be a referendum on public safety and support for police and law enforcement in the county. the democrat had to push back against that and defend against allegations that she supported defunding the police and that seems as though it had an impact. >> you are reminding us of a expression, all political races are national. >> this is a model for how republicans will win in the mid-term elections. he said we figured it out. you get a sense of, again, taking advantage of the national mood where the democratic chair mentioned to me, people are talking about rising prices, and rising food prices andgrocery
bills, and that's having an impact on races -- city council, there's nothing they can do about the gas prices but voters are tying those issues to the local candidates. >> this was a 50/50, essentially, district if you will, and even amounts of money and a four-point win for the national party out of party and this tells us which way the wind is blowing right now in duvall county. shaquille brewster, thank you for being us with. msnbc's coverage continues with katy tur after this commercial break. katy tur after this commercial katy tur after this commercial break. plays] ♪ woo!
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good to be with you. i am katy tur. as we come on the air, ukraine braces for war as a senior american defense official warns, they are ready to go now. russia has brought in, quote, nearly 100% of ale the forces the u.s. anticipated vladimir putin would need for a large-scale invasion. ukraine's security council is now preparing a 30-day state of emergency. the government also urged all ukrainians to leave russia immediately and started calling up military reservi