tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN January 26, 2022 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
court justice stephen breyer plans to retire. >> white house press secretary reiterated the president's come pain promise that in the event of a vacancy, he would not nate the first black woman to the court. >> president has stated and reiterated his commitment to nominating black woman to supreme court and certainly stands by that. >> justice breyer plans to stay on until june and until a replacement is confirmed. what more is the white house saying? >> certainly this big news out of the supreme court is consuming the day here at the white house. as you heard white house press secretary jen psaki, as soon as she took the podium getting a lot of questions about this news.
even though she didn't want to get into the details until breyer announcing this decision that it's a hypothetical, she did appear to confirm the big looming question, whether or not president biden intends to stand by his campaign pledge to nominate the first black woman to serve as a justice on the supreme court when that vacancy becomes official. just to give you a sense of how much the president's day has been up ended by this news, he was meeting with a number of ceoearlier today. we were in the room. all of the reporters in the room trying to get a quick reaction from the president to this news. take a listen. >> as the opportunity to decide what he or she will do and announce it on their own. there's been no announcement from justice breyer. let him make whatever statement he will be make. i'll be happy to talk about it later.
thank you so much. >> you really can't underscore enough what a momentous decision this is for a sitting u.s. president to make. now president biden getting the chance to make a nomination of his own to the supreme court. now the political piece of this is going to be very, very important too. we know that the white house, president biden and his top aides will be keenly aware of this. that's the political calendar. they are very much focused on the fact that the midterm elections are looming and right now the senate is closely divided with vice president kamala harris weighing in as the tie breaking vote. this is their slim, slim majority. the slimmest majority you can have to get a justice through. we already know from our colleagues on capitol hill who are reporting this that the timeline is likely to move quickly and again this is going to be a luj, huge decision for the president to make and at this moment in time, we do expect that the formal
retirement announcement could come as early as tomorrow from here at the white house. guys. >> thank you. >> he's get to cnn justice correspondent. tell us the back story what we know about the decision here. >> this is a retirement that progressive groups have been pushing for the past year. we saw justice breyer brush aside the calls last june. with just months into the mid term and republicans thwart a biden pick. justice stephen breyer announcing plans to retire from the supreme court after resisting a persistent drum beat of calls to step down. he said he relished being the senior most justice of the liberal wing and would only consider two things when deciding to leave.
his health and the court. he's been quite vocal in public speeches about the danger of politics permeating the high court. >> the public sees judges as politicians in robes, its confidence in the court and rule of law itself can only diminish. >> after serving 27 years on the supreme court, here's stepping down at age 83 after a forceful push from democratic activists who point out they have a short window and a slim majority in congress to push through a replacement. the group demand justice paraded this mobile billboard around capitol hill urging breyer to retire in early april. justice breyer played a leading role in key decisions last term. writing the opinion that rejected a challenge to the affordable care act and left the law in place. he also wrote the decisions bolstering student speech right and giving google a victory in a multi-billion dollar copyright infringement case.
he is leaving after publishing a book in september based around the speech he gave at harvard where he expressed concern about the common practice of referring to justices by the president who appointed them. >> these are more than straws in the wind. they reenforce the thought it's likely present already, in your minds, that supreme court justices are primarily political officials or let's call them junior league politicians. >> reporter: he warned against democratic proposals to add more justices to the supreme court. >> what i'm trying to do is make those whose initial instincts may favor important change or other similar institutional changes such as court packing think long and hard before they embody those changes. >> justice stephen breyer came to the court in 1994. >> so help me god. >> congratulations, justice. >> he was nominated by president bill clinton after years in the league realm as an academic and
government lawyer. breyer served as chief council of the senate judiciary committee in the late 1970s where ted kennedy was a mentor. he also helped investigate watergate in 1973. he was nominated to the first circuit court of appeals by j jimmy carter and spoke candidly about his first years. >> i know my own first three years i was frightened to death much of the time. >> of? >> how do i don't know i can do this? how do i know i won't make a mistake? >> he was a consistent legal voice supporting abortion right and affirmative action. he became a fierce critic of capital punishment and best known for a dissent he wrote in 2015 where he questioned the constitutionality of death penalty and the years they spent in solitary confinement. >> i put together this evidence and say this is not what people expected when they wrote the
cases upholding the death penalty more than 40 years ago and i think it's time to revisit the issue. >> his departure under a democratic president and congress will likely mean the court will remain divided 6-3 in favor of con sefservatconservat. it does give biden a chance to make a historic choice. he pledged to fill any vacancy on the court with an african-american woman, a first. potential candidates include 51-year-old judge brown jackson recently confirmed to serve on the d.c. kir circuit court of appeals. plus 55-year-old michelle child who is is a federal judge in south carolina. more than anything, justice breyer believed in civility gaining a reputation as thoughtful listener and reaching for compromise when ever possible. he was good friends with his ideological opposite, the late
justice antonin scalia and believe it's possible to disagree agreeably. >> there's no reason human beings cannot differ civilly on matters of great importance. >> he will somtay on the court through the end of this term. that's five months from now in late june with some cases still to be decided. he will participate in those huge issues to be decided here. abortion right and gun rights among them. justice breyer has already spoken out against some of the court's decision in the past few months that we had calling the decision to let that texas abortion ban after six weeks stand. he called it wrong. breyer does continue to speak highly in general of the work of this court that he will be leaving after serving nearly three decades. >> all right. thank you for that. >> with us cnn court reporter and cnn police correspondent.
jeffrey, you're up first. we know that this will not shift the balance of the court but your take on the significance, the impact on the court of this announcement this retirement. >> well, one thing we know is that joseph biden will not join jimmy carter as the only president to have served a full term without naming anymore to the supreme court. there were just no vacancies. we know something that byron white said. he served on the court for a very long time said any time you change one justice, you don't just change one justice, you change the whole court. the very likely nomination of a black woman would be historic in and of itself. it would make four women on the supreme court for the first time in history and would give a shot in the arm to the liberals who would be sure that at least some of them will be around for quite some time.
the fact is age matters on the supreme court. by supreme court standards the new nominee will be fairly young. it will be clear that there will be a liberal presence on the supreme court for some time. although they are now very much in the minority. >> it's been so interesting to see these old interviews with justice breyer and to hear about the role that he played behind the scenes and that he was seen as someone who was willing to compromise and willing to cross the aisle and skjust by definitn his replacement will be a newbinewbie and unable the play that same role. >> he was under a lot of pressure from conservative groups last term to retire. i'm sorry, from liberal groups. he chose not to. they were furious. some people thipnk he decided t
stay because he had been on the court for so long. he knew some of the conservatives so well. he thought he could make a difference this term when the court was hearing these cases having to do with abortion and the second amendment. the end of the day and there's a lot of time left in this term, it didn't seem like he was able to be very persuasive. look at the case having to do with the texas abortion law. that's texas strict law, bars abortion before most people even know they are pregnant. the supreme court that conservatives allowed that to go into effect even though it's directly contradictory to roe v wade. maybe he thought he could make a difference with the second amendment. this court right now is headed for a strong right turn. we have learned they have just recently decided to take up an affirmative action case next term. the new nominee will have to deal with that huge issue on her
first term in the court. it's very interesting about his role. he was sort of this absent minded professor on the bench. always talking in very long hypothetical questions. he wanted to fry to bridge the gap between the sides. he wrote this book trying to say this court isn't a political institution. in fact, we're looking at it now, it is 6-3 between republican and democratic appointees. on those issues that really grab the public's attention the most, it's really divided along those ideological lines. >> let me throw a wild card at you. we know this president has committed to nominating a plaque wo -- black woman to the bench. there's a woman whose name was not on that slate of seven who has been vetted. who served as the -- i see jeffrey already smalling -- as the attorney general in california and his vice
president. kamala harris. he's committed to and jen psaki said she will be on the ticket in 2024. is that an outlandish talking point or discussion point? what do you think? >> i'm going to be honest with you. i'm going to be very honest. i like to call this supreme court fan fiction in which a lot of people who have ideas about, you know, who could be on the court throw them out regardless of whether they are feasible, which is not to say that vice president harris is not qualified. it's not to say that maybe she might even want to be on the court but the reality is, in washington, there is a 50/50 split in the united states senate. she is the tie breaking vote. there's really no guarantee that someone who is very clearly a political figure would be able to get through that process. that's just the reality and i do
think that while there are a lot of permutations of her being on the court and other people maybe stepping in as v.p. that might be interesting to people particularly online. the map in the united states senate does not work for that realistically speaking. the biden administration is probably looking for someone who they know can get 50 votes and who they know can get 50 votes plus potentially some from the other side. there are people being considered who they think that is possible for. i think that's where we are on this issue. you said, the press secretary said she's going to be on the ticket in 2024 and president biden is going to run again. take that for what it is. >> i thank you for entertaining that. thank you. >> i was going to say the idea of kamala harris on the supreme court was a bunch of idiots speculating on twitter. oh, that was me.
it's not going to happen. it's not going to happen. >> full disclosure. i like that. jeffrey, on that note, we keep hearing justice breyer believes the court isn't a political institution. he was all for sort of civil discourse and then we see all of the politics around the nomination and all of the politics around the supreme court. is it a political institution or not? is justice breyer the last vestage of when it was a kinder, apolitical court? >> if i can just tell quick story about justice breyer. g jimmy carter nominated him to the first court of appeals in december of 1980 after carter had already lost the presidential election. he was still confirmed but with 80 votes in the senate.
even though there was going to be a republican president, no question about it. that just gives you an idea of how different the world was back when stephen breyer became a judge. with all respect to stephen breyer, i think he's completely wrong about how political the court is. i think it's a deeply political place. i think the fact that there are six republican appointees and three democratic appointees tells you most of what you need know about the supreme court. if you look at how the abortion case has been handled, this is a difference between republicans and democrats in congress, in the white house and on the supreme court. i think to pretend otherwise is to hope the court is something that it really just isn't. >> the fact, i should say, the fact he is retiring now, he knows it's a political place because he knows that there's a
possibility democrats won't have the senate next year and what that would mean for the plbalan on the court. >> that was a perfect segue of what i was going to bring to you. this decision, at this time, the earliest announcement on the calendar in almost 30 years gives democrats the time to get this done as far ahead of the mid terms as possible. political calculations were taken into consideration here. >> right. breyer knows that. keep in mind, a lot of the progressives, today, are thinking about judge amy coney barrett. after justice ginsberg died, they were so quick to act. they got her in front of senate, confirmed. it all happened within a month. that's why so many people are pushing for judge brown jackson
because he was recently vetted for a seat on the d.c. sir s circuit. she worked outside the box. she's a breyer clerk. the senate has seen her. she's ready to go. she's probably the most vetted person out there on the short list. that's why you're hearing so much about her. you'll hear a lot of different candidates in next couple of days because they will push for who they want. that would be the way to go as quickly as possible, to have hearings and to be able to get this new nominee in as soon as possible. >> she got 53 votes. why would anyone who voted for her a few months ago have reason to vote against her. she is a virtual lock for confirmation and what more do
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>> i'm told they plan to move quickly. very quickly and try to heed to the same time frame in which republicans followed to get amy coney barrett confirmed just days before the 2020 election. that took about a month's time frame. i'm told that chuck schumer is looking about the same time frame to get whoever is to replace stephen breyer confirmed to the bench. going back to 2020, september 18, 2020 is when ruth bader ginsberg died. about a month later donald trump no, ma'am international airported a-- nominated amy cony barrett. that's the same plan chuck schumer plans to deploy here. democrats will not wait for breyer's term to officially end before acting. they will move before that. once the nomination is made to the senate, that's when the process will begin. they plan to have the nomination in their hope confirmed by the
time that breyer steps aside well before breyer steps aside. hen he does that person will replace breyer. at the same time republicans are resigned to fact there's very little they can do to stop this nomination. one republican, lindsey graham who supported president obama's nomination supreme court put out a statement saying as to his replacement, referring to breyer, if all democrats hand together, which i expect they will, they have the power to replace justice breyer in 2022 without one republican vote in support. elections have consequences and that is most evident when it comes to fulfilling vacancies on the supreme court. graham has voted up for some of the nominees on biden's short list including brown-jackson who was confirmed last year. he was one of three republicans who voted for her nomination. democrats are confident they can keep their full caucus in line, get them to support the nominee
and some republicans too. >> it will give president a much needed midterm election year opportunity. >> let's bring back cnn abbey phillip and scott generjennings. we looked at the women, the judge, the black women whose names are now being floated as possible breyer replacements. all of them as we heard from contributors just supremely qualified judges and brown-jackson was chosen for the u.s. court of appeals. got three republican votes.
mitch mcconnell has vowed to block the biden administration 100% in any way he can. do you think that he would be able to stop any republicans from voting for a biden nominee? >> i don't know because the democrats can do whatever they want here. i agree they can confirm whoever joe biden sends up. it's a question for each individual republican whether they want to give their individual vote to someone who is going to hold extreme views on issues like abortion. my political advice is there ought not be one republican vote for this. i think they ought to treat the president's nominee with the same level of respect that brett c cavs knew was treated. >> just to be clear -- >> i think republicans ought to treat them with the same circus. >> lisa murkowski and senator collin and senate graham did vote for judge brown jackson.
they don't think she holds extreme views. >> they might again. i don't know what's going to happen. i'm telling you my political advice. furthermore the issues before the supreme court right now demand that republican senators stand up for the values they supposedly run on as republicans. she may get some vote and i guess that's fine and individual senators protect their votes very closely. as political advice, and i'm not a lawyer but as political advice, i wouldn't stand with the president on this if i were republican senator. >> despite having voted for her just a few months ago. let me come to you on the perspective from the white house wp we reported on the level of dissatisfaction of the president for black voters, some voters on
the left with stalling of build back better, the stalling of the voting rights legislation. just a tale for us the political opportunity this presents for the president considering that dissatisfaction to now name a black woman to the bench. >> well, it clearly be historic nomination and one that would make good on a promise that is the president made and that was extracted from congressman jim clyburn. the most senior black lawmaker in the house. it's one a lot of the congressional black lawmakers are telling me they will be holding biden to account on. they want to see him do this. he does he does think it can get a lot of attention manin the cog months and he hopes will inspire a will the of voters to look again at biden and see that he is making good on some promises.
as the white house tries to reset, this can help them do that. clyburn said his top choice is judge michelle childs. he hopes that is someone biden picks. don't expect a lot of congressional black lawmakers to rally behind one candidate. clyburn expects a lot of the black lawmakers to all name different people that they think could be qualified for this position. >> thank you for sharing all of that with us. that's interesting. now that you heard scott's political advice to the senator, which i think is really helpful.
if they don't get any republican vo votes, there's no chance that all 50 democrats will support president biden's pick. i only ask because we have seen such contentious battles within the democrats over some of his legislative ideas. >> i think, obviously, never say never but there's been one thing that senator manchin, in particularly has been pretty good soldier on and one of them is president biden's judges. he voted to confirm judge brown-jackson who is, if not the top choice, among top of the list. that's really important. manchin and sinema are not always in lock step but they often vote in the same way and
manchin has voted for a lot of people on the short list. you can't count on everything. i would also say up with of the things we should also be on the look out for is some procedural hijinks in the senate. this is a 50/50 split. if a nomination were locked in a 50/50 vote and the vice president cast the tie breaking vote, i think the police chief is that can be done but i'm not sure that has actually ever happened for a supreme court nominee. just some things to look at as we go down this uncharted procedural territory. >> go ahead, scott. >> can i offer a bit of political analysis based on what abby just said. if all 50 republicans hang together and force the democrats to do this unilaterally. it means that every single democrat cast the deciding vote. from the republican political
strategist perspective, you want to say mark kelly cast the vote to put this extremist on abortion rights. that's why i suspect that republican political consultants will be saying don't give joe manchin or mark kelly or any other democrat in a tough state, don't give them any quarter here. make them cast that vote. >> problem is you have to force the three republicans who voted for that quote, extreme candidate, who voted for her in june, defend that vote if they are then on the ballot which murkowski is this time around. >> i'm telling you how republicans will feel about this. a lot of it will stem from how kavanaugh was treated. my thinking is republican voters will not look too kindly on republican who is treat joe biden's nominee for the supreme
court better. there's a long way to go here. >> amy coney barrett was approved lickety split. that wasn't a big kavanaugh hads that i'm doubting we'll see with these women. e with take your point scott. thank you very much. the markets are reacting negatively after the federal reserve put off rate hike for now. we'll tell you what that means for you, next. magenta! do you suffer from cartridge conniptions? be conniption-free, thanks to the cartridge-free epson ecotank printer. a ridiculous amount of ink! and a set of replacement bottles are equal to about 80 cartridges. it's a perfect cure for-- i thought you said you bought--- i did buy the magenta! the epson ecotank. just fill & chill. available at. (vo) this year, t-mobile for business is here to help you hit the ground running.
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. the fed declines to raise interest rates at moment but signals the changes could be coming soon. >> it's continued to contribute to elevated levels of inflation. bottlenecks are limiting how quickly production can respond to higher demand in the near term. these problem vs be larger and longer lasting than anticipating exacerbate bid wave offense virus. while the drivers have been by the pandemic. price increases have spread to a broader range of goods and services. >> mark zandy is the chief economists at moody's analytics.
if they say the economy no longer needs this help, why put off the rate increase? >> it has a penchon for trying to signal to investors what it's trying to do. if it moves more quickly without preparing every one for that mov move, we could see much bigger declines. it's about signaling, preparing, getting every one ready. >> do you think it will help with inflation? this is a new gallop poll. americans predict 79% predict it will go up. 10% says remain the same. 9% say go down. is that overly pessimistic? >> i think so. there's many reasons why inflation is up but the key reason is the pandemic and the impact on supply chains and
labor markets. lot of people are out sick. it's creating labor shortages and causing prices to rise. the pandemic perceives inflation. it's clear the economy is strong. it's creating lot of jobs. unemployment is declining. we're coming into full deployment. it's right in front of us. given all that, it does make sense to start raising rates that are incredibly low. we're at zero interest rates on short term interest rates. it makes sense the start raising rates to make them more consistent with the economy that we're observing. >> control room, put up the big board if we can and look at the dow. it was up several hundred points. down several hundred points. third day of volatility on the markets. i read that you said that market
retreat is therapeutic. explain that, if you could. >> they're all juiced up. asset prices, stock price, bond spreads, reality, housing, commercial real estate and the crypto market are very juiced up, frothy, boring on speculative. this is part of the reason why the fed is starting to take its foot off the accelerator and put its foot on the brake. it's concerned the prices are getting too high. things are turning too frothy, too speculative. a therapeutic correction in prices make them more consistent with underlying economic fundamentals that's better for the economy longer run. we don't want to see markets kind of lose their minds. we don't bubble. they burst and do a lot of damage. getting them in place that is more consistent with the underlying economy and interest rates is therapeutic.
>> i don't know, mark. i prefer a spa day for my therapy than watching the stock market, which is a little stressful. for regular american, these rate hikes, what does that mean for them? >> take a step back. take a breath. prices are down but they are down after today's sell off say 6, 7%, stock prices were up 30% last year on top of big gains, the year before. the market doesn't move in a straight line. this is evidence of that. i think you need to take a breath here and not look. you should be invested long run. the higher rates will start to bite. already we're seeing the impact on mortgage rates. if you go back a month ago, you can get a 30-year fixed rate loan for less than 3%. record low. now it's 3.6, 3.7% which is incredibly low by any standard except the recent period. that's up a lot. it's going to get harder the buy
a home. we'll sece credit card rates start to rise. >> okay. thank you. >> thank you. all right. the u.s. and nato have sent th their responses to russia's demand hoping to stop a russian invasion. we have details on the message the moscow, next. his girlfriend just caught the bouquet, so he's checking in on that ring fund. oh, that photographer? he's looking for something a little more zen, so he's thinking, “i'll open a yoga studio.” and as for the father of the bride? he's checking to see if he's on track to do this all over again...and again. digital tools so impressive, you just can't stop banking. what would you like the power to do?
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ukraine. >> the u.s. and nato delivered written responses to russia addressing the demands moscow made last week. >> it's not a formal negotiating document. it's not explicit proposals. it lays out the areas and some ideas of how we can, together, if they are serious, advance collective security. >> jeffrey is a former cia military analyst. he served as the director for russia on the national security council. good to see you. the secretary there laid out everything these documents are not. they are also nothing new. the answers, the suggestions, russia has already heard. what's the significance of this hand over? what now? >> i think they are trying to continue the talks going forward and keep some kind of negotiation ongoing. i think the secretary, the government and myself are very skeptical this will go anywhere.
russia gave us this demands they knew were non-starters to begin with. i think a lot of the negotiations and the pdiplomati initiate ifrs were not general wu win from the start. >> it they have a lot of money tied up in the west. if you start cutting off their access, that could be very painful. the kremlin said today that u.s. sanctions would not be painful. they would be something like politically disruptive. is that true? or would sanctions hurt them the most? >> so i do think sanctions would hurt. we have the ability to inflict damage on the russian economy. can they survive it? probably. depending on the level of economic sanctions we use. what i would say, i don't think it will deter the russians from pursuing us. i think putting too much on the table, this is too much about
red lines with them. i don't think the threat of economic sanctions is going to stop them. one note of caution i would say. something policy makers have to understand, if we create this in russia, they may expand the conflict. we need to be prepared for the secondary and tertiary results. >> russia, ukraine, france, germany all at the table today. the united states not there. what's the potential? we didn't hear any headlines out of that. that that group can get to some kind of resolution? >> i hate to be so pessimistic but i don't see much coming out of that. that group has met since 2014, the initial annexation of crimea, ukraine, that process hasn't yielded results that either side is very happy with and the lack of progress is one of the things the russians claim has brought them to this point.
so i don't see any last-minute changes that are going to dramatically change how the russians view the situation. >> so if there are no off-ramps, what will happen? >> i honestly think that it is more problem than not. i give it like an 80%, which sounds really high, that russia will invade ukraine. i've struggled with this and i've talked to my colleagues in the community and we don't see a way out of this. russia, like i said, these demands were so max malist. there's too much. in a certain sense, he's either worked himself into a corner or just always intended to do this. but it is very difficult for me to see a way for something to happen. someone to offer something that will get him to back down and save face and be able to walk away and say i have a victory here. i don't see us doing that. >> so if you believe it is going
to happen, let's talk about timing. the secretary of state said one of the considerations possibly that putin has, maybe why the invasion has not happened, is because the winter olympics are going to begin in just a few days and he knows that xi jinping would not be, in her words, not be ecstatic about putin choosing that time. do you give that argument any credence? >> i think that might figure in in part of the calculation. i don't think it is the sole driver. i think what the russians are waiting for is for more troops on the border. i think if the russians do go into ukraine, this will be a very big operation. it won't be just turning up the heat in eastern ukraine. it will be a charge aerospace fight with a lot of long range strikes, followed by ground forces. in my opinion, my own assessment, even possibly going all the way to kyiv or even a little west of kyiv. i think it will take longer to get forces in place that they need to do that kind of operation. but i think the twiming the
olympics, i mean, the russians and the chinese are enjoying a very close relationship right now and i don't think putin wants to necessarily jeopardize that if he can help it. >> all right. jeffrey edmonds, thank you for the insight. of course we're following the breaking news out of the supreme court. justice stephen breyer is set to retire giving president biden a chance to nominate someone to the high court. special coverage continues after this short break. hearty multigd and usda choice angus roast beef. for in-depth analysis let's go to marshawn lynch. what? man, you just ate the product shot! save big. order through the app. ♪"don't ya leave" by squeak e clean♪ [doorbell] ♪ [doorbell] ♪
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so the super bowl will feel and look a little different this year. health officials in los angeles say fans will, at the game, will be given a kn-95 mask and stadium workers will be reminded to wear their masks at all times except when eating and drinking. >> so fans can get free rapid tests before the game. they anticipate giving out 60,000 tests. they're offering out vaccines and boosters and anyone who gets a shot will get a free ticket to that nfl experience. not a free ticket to the game.
let's be clear about that. i imagine that people will be spending a lot of time drinking so those masks will be off for a lot of the game. what do you think? >> i think that by the time you get to the game, it's a little late for the test. you're going to leave the super bowl if you test positive at the game? i'm not sure about that. >> not sure. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. one of washington's favorite parlor games has started. who will president biden nominate? "the lead" starts right now. supreme court justice stephen breyer is retiring giving president biden his first shot to fill a high court seat. then signed, unsigned, and unsealed, rather, and the united states gives russia a way out for vladimir putin. what we know about the secret document. and the time to refi is
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