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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  March 3, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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respect. >> and it seems to be getting more dangerous by the hour. chris dickey, thank you for being on. sorry it's so brief. that's it for our broadcast. i'll be back on at 8:00 east coast time in the united states. i hope you join us for all of the latest developments and developments are moving very, very quickly. indeed, want to go to jake tapper in washington, anchor of "the lead." jake? good afternoon. welcome to "the lead" in special edition of "the lead." we just heard from the united states -- the russian ambassador to the united nations, vitaly churkin. i want to also play some sound right now from the united states ambassador to the united nations, samantha power, who is
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criticizing russia's recent actions. take a listen. >> russian's actions speak much louder than its words. what is happening today is not a human rights protection mission and it is not a consensual intervention. what is happening today is a dangerous military intervention in ukraine. it is an act of aggression. it must stop. >> cnn's anderson cooper is live in kiev where he's been monitoring the very latest developments. we're also squoinjoined by the u.s. ambassador to ukraine, michael mcfaul who now teaches at stanford university. michael, i guess i could call you, or professor -- i called you ambassador last time we spoke -- >> you can call me whatever you want. >> your reaction to this remarkable united nation' testimony by the russian federation ambassador to the united nations, vitaly churkin trying to justify what russia
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did, what's your immediate reaction? >> well, my immediate reaction is not that much different than ambassador power, which is to say the allegations, quo quote/unquote threat, there has been no terrorists that have attacked anymore in crimea. there's no nazis threatening ethnic russians. that's complete fantasy. therefore, it is the right response to get international monitors into crimea as the international community is working to do so we can have a basis of a discussion of what is happening there with some basic facts that we all share. what the russians are saying is just simply not true. there's absolutely no supporting evidence to the claims that ambassador churkin just made. >> let's listen to a little bit of what the russian federation ambassador to the united nations vitaly churkin just said in this
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remarkable, remarkable testimony. >> it's absolutely legitimate by the authorities and they have encouraged their participants who have moved to aggression of force and setting fires to buildings, attacking the police, stealing from warehouses, and making mocking officials in the region of crude intervention. the center of many towns in western ukraine have been taking over by armed national radicals and anti-semitic. >> anderson, the ambassador for
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the united nations, vitaly churkin, is there any evidence of what he's described where you are or from any of our other reporters and producers throughout ukraine? >> reporter: no, there has not been evidence. there is not evidence of that. certainly there were a wide variety of groups involved in the ouster of the president and some of those have odious views. there were a lot of different people in the square behind me which ultimately lead to the president fleeing. but there's no evidence on the ground in eastern ukraine or in crimea certainly of churches being attacked, russians-speaking people being attacked and well. the new government in kiev did pass -- did pass an initiative to lessen the teaching of secondary languages of the
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russian language. they've rescinded that order because that caused great concern among russian-speaking people in eastern ukraine and crimea. in terms of attacks of people on the ground, it simply did not some one. jake, as you pointed out, some of the statements by the russian ambassador is extraordinary. he even read a letter from the former president which was basically a letter from the president asking vladimir putin to intervene in ukraine. it's extraordinary that a former president would ask another nation to intervene militarily in his own country to basically restore him to power. >> ambassador mcfaul, when you were ambassador to the -- from the united states to the russian federation, you were constrained by what you needed to say diplomatically. you are under no constraints right now. can you give us your idea of whether you think the russians
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actually -- the russian government actually believes what they are saying in terms of this chaos in the streets that they are describing that requires their military to go into another sovereign nation and what you imagine the scenario is that would cause yanukovych to write a letter inviting another nation to invade it. >> well, tough questions. i mean, the first thing i would say in terms of the violence and things that mr. ambassador churkin talked about and other officials have talked about, we need to separate out their disappointment and reaction to the violence -- the horrible tragedies that we saw on the streets of kiev a couple of weeks ago from the fictitious threats in crimea. those are two different things. and, you know, i was just ambassador last week, by the way, in moscow and met with many
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seniorws a flo what i came away from those meetings was their deep disappointment in president yanukovych for not restoring order and not taking an ultimate line and then after he left, i left. an amazing departure. remember, this was the one who signed the accord that's been mentioned, the february 21st accord, but he didn't stay around to try to enforce it. he just fled. that gets me to your second question. i was in sochi, actually, when president yanukovych gave a quite extraordinary press conference from rustof. at that moment, with people asking questions, he was pretty categorical that he did not want russian intervention into ukraine. now, you know, he's still in russia. he didn't come out and announce it. it was just some letter that he sent to putin. obviously he must be under some extraordinary pressure to have reversed his thinking in just the last few days.
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>> anderson cooper in kiev, i want to ask you, i have heard anecdotally from friends who have relatives in eastern and southern ukraine and these people are afraid, afraid of what might some one with russian troops there. is there movement of citizens from other parts of ukraine into kiev, the western part of the country that will probably be the last place to fall if russians actually do invade? >> reporter: you know, i don't have direct evidence of that. it would not surprise me, certainly. we speak about these russian-speaking parts of ukraine, eastern ukraine and also crimea. there are other groups as well in crimea. some 60% are russian-speaking ethnic russians but 40% of people from other background who are muslims and others as well. so it is not a monolithic block.
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the borders are pretty set in terms of where russian-speaking occurs but it's much more diverse and difficult to kind of pinpoint where russian-speaking areas begin in eastern ukraine and certainly there's a lot of people who are in favor of the government in kiev of who are now being quiet because there are russian troops on the ground in their communities. >> anderson, before i let you go, what can you tell us about the latest in the standoff between russian and ukrainian forces? >> reporter: certainly it is a very tense situation. to call it a standoff at this point russian forces have surrounded all of the ukrainian military bases in crimea. at least ten bases that we know
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about. and there was talk -- there were reports earlierhe day of an ultimatum given by a russian black fleet commander to ukrainian forces to either pledge allegiance to the new government in crimea, to the pro-russian government in crimea or to surrender. russian military officials have said that ultimatum never occurred. it did not some one. whether or not it did some one, we cannot say for sure. but it doesn't seem, from what we can tell, ukrainian forces to surrender. they have called it up reserves. there's going to be a ten-day training period for the reserves. there were 65-year-old men coming up to me saying they were ready to volunteer. they were ready to fight, to
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die, to try to keep ukraine together. but the ukrainian military, they have not, you know, devoted a lot of money to it, just within the last few years. they certainly don't have the size or the capabilities to take on russia. the key for this is it's some sort of a diplomatic solution. >> ambassador mcfaul, we just got a statement posted on putin's residential website, talking about kazakhstan and belarus. i want to read part of it. the leaders discussed the development of the crisis in ukraine. first and foremost in crimea and the eastern regions of the country. obviously this is the precedent that they are setting to justify their military incursion into crimea but their mentioning of the eastern regions of the country, that would seem to be setting the stage for perhaps their next move militarily. are you concerned about that? >> yes, of course. i'm deeply concerned by that
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because, you know, these things start in one way and then there are unintended consequences. there's a shootout in one city and suddenly you have an action/reaction process that can create new kinds of movements into eastern ukraine and i want to emphasize a point that anderson made that i think is really important for people to understand. the eastern part of ukraine is not all russian and russian-speaking. in fact, it's really divided. the cities tend to be more ethnic russians but the countryside tends to be more ukrainian. this is not going to be some neatly way to divide this country. it will be very messy if, god forbid, there is more conflict and greater military conflict in crimea or eastern ukraine. the good news so far is that there has been none. and that's an important thing to remember. maybe that gives diplomacy one last chance to try to de-escalate this conflict. >> let's hope so. michael mcfaul and anderson
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cooper, thank you so much. gary kasparov joins me next. also, what is president obama doing to try to talk some sense into the russian government? i reckon a storm's a brewin'. reckon so. reckon you gotta hotel? reckon, no. reckon priceline express deals will get you a great deal. wherever you...mosey. you reckon? we reckon. vamonos the spring hotel sale is on at save up to 60% on any express deal hotel, when you use code: spring '14. i reckon this is one deal you won't want to miss.
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call... and ask about all the ways you could save. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? . welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. moments ago, russian's u.n. envoy said viktor yanukovych asked russia to send troops and establish legitimacy. russian ambassador vitaly churkin read a letter from yanukovych. it's one more twist in a chaotic and baffling situation that has both the international community and world markets rattled. president obama spoke out again today saying that there will be consequences for russia breaking
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international laws. >> it's a violation of ukraine sovereignty, ukraine's territorial integrity, that they are a violation of international law. over time, this will be a costly proposition for russia and now is the time for them to consider whether they can serve their interests in a way that resorts to diplomacy as opposed to force. >> what president obama describes as a potentially costly proposition for russia comes after weeks of bloody protests in the streets of the capital of kiev which costs more than 100 people their lives. this comes as no surprise to one outspoken critic of vladimir putin. he became famous in the 1980s as the most famous chess player but became under prosecution for
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putin's repressive regime. he's currently living in new york. thank you for joining us. we appreciate it. there's a lot of debate over whether putin is using this as a muscle flex, a show of force by russia, or whether he plans to actually reclaim this part of ukraine if not more for russia. based on what you know of putin, what do you think the end game is. >> i think the answer is quite obvious now. russian troops have been occupying crimea for the last few days and today russian parliament, of course, has been contemplating a new law that will make possible to a next crimea in the next few weeks. and i don't think that crimea is the end of the story because putin clearly has an appetite to what at least in his mind to go after restoration of the great
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russian. as much as he can grab, he will. it's very unfortunate he's facing very weak leadership of the west, europe, and the united states and simple words will not stop him from moving in this direction. >> right now the g-7 countries, the u.s., uk, france, et cetera are talking about using economic and diplomatic abilities to isolate russia. do you think that will be enough? >> that's what i've been saying at the time of the syrian crisis. when obama blinked on this red line, i warned that losing credibility of the u.s. presidency may have dramatic consequences because you don't want to use force any time when the international piece is in
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danger. you want to send a credible threat. the cost of containing russian dictator is now growing. but unfortunately, if we wait for more one more week, one more months or even longer, the price will go up. this is the rule and we just have to read history books to understand later we confront the dictator, the higher the price the whole human race pays. >> i don't think that's any enthusiasm in the united states or europe to send ground troops to actually take any military steps. so barring that, what can the u.s. and european union do beyond isolating russia diplomatically and economically? putin clearly wants more access to trade with the u.s. and europe, to being able to travel freely with -- for russians
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there. what more can the u.s. do short of going to war? >> okay. it's the -- let's separate putin and every dictator needs an army of his followers who are ready to comply with his criminal orders. and i don't think putin cares about anything other than staying in power. it's of upmost priority and it's why the drop in the leading standards of russians, he needs every dictator. he needs a foreign policy result successes. but people surrounding him may not be so bullish and may be more cautious when the u.s. is threatening serious sanctions. that's why the goal today is to make sure that most people who are vital for the success of putin's dictatorship are willing to pay real costs for a big part
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of this blatant aggression. and the economic sanctions of the west should not unnecessarily hurt the ordinary russians. first target, the most important target, is russian ruling elite that cannot afford to lose this access to the western markets, to the western cab tpitals to w they have been allocating in the free world. >> lastly, sir. president obama famously said he does not view any showdown with russia as some cold war era chess board as somebody who is an expert on both the cold war, putin, and chess, do you think putin views it differently than president obama? does he view this as a cold war era chess board? >> yeah. i would be warning against using chess analogy because in chess we have rules and clearly put continue doesn't care about rules because what he's been
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doing now in ukraine, it violates international law and international treaties as signed before. and whether or not obama likes it or not, the european union likes it or not, it's putin who started this confrontation and he will continue and no matter what is on that now, the event confrontation is inevitable and let's hope it will be just a cold war with economic sanctions and it will not go further. >> garry sakparov, thank you for joining me. >> thank you for very me. president obama says he's ready to take on russia but he needs help from congress. are republicans willing to work with him? plus, can putin even be reasoned with? the russian president is in, quote, another world.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we're following breaking news out of ukraine. russian's u.n. envoy accused the former president of ukraine, didn't accuse but said the
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former president of the ukraine asked putin to send troops into ukraine to keep the peace. meanwhile, russian forces continue to surround key military outposts in the crimean peninsula in southern ukraine. the international community is scrambling before any blood is spilled or territory is taken. while the focus is on vladimir putin, some lawmakers are asking a different question, is this all a mess that president obama made. joining me is ed royce, congressman, thanks for being here. the white house says they are going to use every tool at their disposal to isolate russia diplomatically and economically. is that going to be enough? >> well, let's look at what they mean by economically. as you know, we in the house and in the senate are usually quite
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favorably disposed from crippling economic sanctions which would really implode an economy. really have an effect. as you know, the administration is usually pushing back on sanctions. i've been in consultation with mr. menendez on this issue and jack lew and we need to make putin feel the heat or the business community, feel the kinds of pressure that is going to come if they don't cease and desist on this he about haf ykif >> what did you and mr. menendez talk about? >> he said to see what we can do to make loan guarantees. and i think we have got to work
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and lead with europe in order to really create a united front because if this thing gets further out of hand and in these cities and in the eastern ukraine, and if in the city hall they hoist russian flags, you can end with an insurrection across the ukraine. >> do you think vitaly churkin, describing that there are mob scenes on the ground that are not existing, they are creating a pretext, a reason for russia to go in there and take control, a reason that nobody who is there says is actually real, do they believe it? are they being told this by operatives? >> they are being told this by propaganda in russia. as you know, he's closed down every other avenue of information in the country now. this is why it would be very important, i think, and samantha
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power did a good job in her speech today at the u.n. but what we should be doing is bringing up a security council resolution that would not only isolate russia and make russia vote against the international community but also put observers directly into the east so that they can report back to the international community and sort of adjudicate this issue. is that persecution going on? you and i know it is not. we hear it from reporters but we need to get the ngo groups in on the ground and that should be part of what the security council does. >> samantha said there will be observers for the cooperation in europe. the osce, as many people refer to it. numerous people in your party, marco rubio, marco rogers, call for a more important response from president obama. his predecessor's approach
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alternated from being tough on putin to trying to court him. regardless of the approach, it didn't stop putin from invading in georgia in 2008. >> here's the lesson. you know, this administration tried with respect to poland and the republic, the president scrapped that as an overture to putin. it seems like those overtures only make putin more aggressive. >> he sees it as weakness? ze s ze. >> he see it is as weakness on the part of the u.s. consider for a minute all of the money in western banks, the state-owned banks in russia, how susceptible they are to economic pressure from the united states.
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t this is the kind of thing that we can bring in to play and we should do it, frankly, in negotiations with russians and give them an exit ramp in terms of the black sea. say, yes, we're going to recognize that you operate the fleet out of sevastopol. the ukrainian government asked them to respect that agreement and then try to move on without more aggression out of russia. >> congressman ed royce, thank you so much. we appreciate it. when we come back, he says he's weighing sanctions and diplomatic options. how far is president obama willing to go? we'll ask his national security adviser coming up. plus, sarah palin points out that she predicted a russian invasion into ukraine all the way back to 2008. i always say be the man with the plan
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welcome back. breaking news. 09 minutes, that's how long president obama spoke with vladimir putin on the phone this weekend. 90 minutes. 90 minutes was apparently not enough to convince the former colonel to pull his troops out of the crimean peninsula. by late sunday, they had control of the land mass. vice president biden calling for a peaceful withdrawal of russian troops. where does that leave the white house? national security adviser is joining me from the white house. the last time we had you on the show ten days ago, president obama had again just gotten off the phone with putin. this is what you told us about that call ten days ago. >> president putin said he supported the agreement that was reached in the ukraine. he said that he wanted to work cooperatively with us, with the europeans, the international monetary fund to help develop a
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support package going forward. it was a very positive conversation. >> so tony, did putin lie to the president in an earlier phone call? >> jake, i don't know if he lied or changed his mind. the fact of the matter is, russia has intervened and violated the integrity and the president is now mobilizing the international integrity. >> peter baker writes today angela merkel told president obama that after speaking with president putin she wasn't sure he was in touched with reality. in another world, she said. is this an unstable individual, mr. putin? >> here's what i do know. the facts that russia is alleging about what is going on in the ukraine seem to bear no relation to reality. the burning of churches, other
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violence against ethnic russians. according to all available evidence has no basis and fact. there's a clear path before the russians right now and a real choice. they can continue to pursue the path they are on and face further isolation and real pain, or if they have real concerns about the ethnic russians, it's very simple. they don't need russian troops in there. they should engage directly with ukraine and have international observers go in from the united nations, institutions to which they belong and they are leading members and they can participate in those missions. we're working with the international community to build those efforts and russia face as clear choice whether to go with that or to continue don the path it is on. >> i want to get your response on the show, the republican chairman for house foreign affairs committee, ed royce says he fears the accommodation that
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the obama administration and president obama has made when it comes to putin, when it comes to russia and missile defense, it has been ininterpreted as weakness. earlier garry kasparov said that as soon as obama did not follow through on the threat to use force when it came to syria, he was worried something like this might happen with putin. what do you say to critics who say that it is president obama who has projected weakness leading to a moment like this. >> first of all, i heard your interview with chairman royce and virtually everything you suggested we are doing, including working very hard at sanctions that would impose a real cost on russia, getting the international monitors in ukraine to observe what is going on and to protect people and the fact of the matter is, when it comes to sanctions, we've led the effort to put pressure on iran which has brought them to the negotiating table. the fact of the matter is, the system that weut in place to
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replace the one that the previous administration suggested covers more of europe more quickly than what has been in place before. we actually have a more in place as a result of the decisions the president took. bottom line is this. we're already seeing russia be affected by what is happening. in terms of the isolation that is now starting to kick in. we've pulled out of prepratory meetings for the g-8. putin defines his power by trying to expand the russian and global economic influences. everything he is doing and we're doing is undercutting that influence. >> and then the uk should not support trade sanctions or close
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and do you have the backing for the uk sanctions? >> it's a good point. first of all, the president and prime minister cameron spoke and they are exactly in the same place on the matter of ukraine but it goes to a larger point, that if you're going to pursue sanctions and other tough measures, you have to get the rest of the world and your key partners with you. that's exactly what the president has been working on on the phone all weekend with leading partners around the world. secretary jack lew to secretary of state kerry, isolating russia for the course of actions taken in ukraine and going forward. >> deputy national security adviser tony blanken, thank you so much for answering our questions. >> thank you. president obama said he was stuck in the '80s. should the administration have seen this crisis coming?
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welcome back to "the lead." do you. >> reporter: this moment from the 2012 debates?
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>> a few months ago, when you asked what is the biggest geopolitical threat facing the united states, you said russia. not al qaeda. the united states are calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the cold war's been over for 20 years. >> and then, of course, there's this golden oldie from all the way back in 2008. >> and then after the russian army invaded the nation of georgia, senator obama's action was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage russia's putin to invade ukraine next. >> panned at the time for the prediction, palin says, yes, i could see this one from alaska. the big question, could the white house have seen this coming in ukraine? freshly back from ukraine, michael, you say this is a bigger test for obama than either iran or syria. how so?
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>> well, first, i think the world and the west are looking to him for leadership in a way that they haven't been necessarily on syria or the other issues. this is clearly something with strong cold war echos and the leaders of the free world, as was once seen as the person who was going to take the lead as any then soviet incursion. because this has so many echos of that period, i think that he's being cast in that role and particularly because of previous guests have suggested, there is a question about his decisiveness on some of these issues. he's portrayed himself as a guy getting himself out of wars. there's a perception of pulling back from the international situation. so this is a test for him on several levels. can he both overcome that image and do something decisive enough to lead a unified response? >> julia, the administration has been clear saying that they don't view this through the p s
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prism of a cold war chess board, this isn't east versus west, this isn't "rocky 4." that may be fine and good but has that attitude emboldened putin in some way? >> no. i think what has happened is putin has reimmersed himself. part of the reason that he's taking crimea and may go further into eastern ukraine for the reason of protecting russian speakers is he feels this is part of a larger russian universe which includes belarus and ukraine. he even said to george shelby bush back in 2008, you said, george, you know that ukraine is not a real government, right? and this is how a lot of people of his generation feel and it's a really weird on the one hand soviet and on the other hand russian imperial view that these are false fictitious visions
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created after 1991 but really this should all be one big russian space. >> and putin said in 2005, that the biggest geo strategic catastrophe was the fall of the soviet union. when you look at this, is it possible that no matter who was president, no matter what their view towards russia, this was going to happen? >> it's possible. but going back to what mitt romney and sarah palin said in 2008, i think there has been a consistent theme of naivety. rememb remember, george bush said he looked into putin's soul and like wh liked what he saw when he met him. i don't think the cold war is over in putin ds mi's mind and
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everyone down to our intelligence analysts are viewing putin through rosie-colored lenses that should not really exist. >> julia, you heard kasprrov putin has check-mated the west. how did he do that? >> he has check mated the west before. he understanding there is very little that we can do to punish him. we can make it hurt financially, even without europe stepping in and adding their own economic sanctions against russia. we can create a lot of financial pain for putin. to him, that's a price worth paying. he's taking in some ways and i don't actually agree that it's because of syria and because of oba obama's response on syria. look what happened to georgia and george w. bush.
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you couldn't have had a more strong and disease sif president. what are you going to do? go to russia? >> thank you so much. when we come back, from mudslides out west to ice and snow in the east. we'll take a look at the massive coast-to-coast storm causing misery coming up next. wow, my headache is gone. excedrin really does work fast. not gonna happen. excedrin ends headaches fast. in fact for some, relief starts in just 15 minutes. excedrin. headache. gone.
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ee. welcome back to "the lead." this winter's nasty weather goes on and on, starting with floods that unleashed rivers of mud in california last week. the storm stretched east over the weekend bringing freezing temperatures across the midwest. four deaths in this hour and several inches of snow? d.c., baltimore, and philadelphia today. here in washington, d.c., the federal government shut down and votes in congress were postponed.
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erin mcpike is on the national mall with more. how is it looking out there? i've got to drive home. >> reporter: jake, it's very slippery. it's really icy. i want you to look at some of this down here and that's the reason why reagan national airport saw 80% of its flights canceled today. it's been a big problem throughout the whole country. there have been 3700 or so flight delayed across the country and about 2800 cancellations. the bulk of those have been in washington and baltimore and philadelphia. obviously, a lot of eastern traffic in the united states goes through those three airports. so that's why we see such a problem there. obviously this system has socked the whole country to give you a sense of how bad it is, temperatures in dallas dropped in 24 hours from 81 degrees to 17 degrees. we've seen temperatures in the plain states go 30 to 40 degrees below. obviously closed schools all over the country have been shut down today and we're not seeing
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an endnsight. our cnn weather team says we'll see two more pushes of cold weather this week. >> erin mcpike, brutal. thank you. that's it for "the lead." mr. blitzer is in "the situation room." take it away. jake, thanks very much. happening now, breaking news, crisis in ukraine. russia's show of force, thousands of troops and crimean peninsula as russia issues an ultimatum. so what are america's options? the u.s. is looking for ways to isolate russia. will that stop putin's push against the ukraine? what makes putin tick? one world leader says he's in another world. and what does president want to