tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC January 10, 2022 9:00am-10:00am PST
reports" in washington. the omicron wave is putting pressure on hospitals, schools and businesses to stay open. with millions of new positive coronavirus cases in recent weeks, and the 7-day average for covid related deaths the highest in three months. the president making the case in georgia tomorrow in georgia on voting rights. i'll speak this hour with the president of the naacp. a new york city community is reeling after a devastating sunday fire in the bronx. killing at least 19 people including nine children and sending dozens more to the hospital. fdny officials believe a malfunctioning space heater was the cause of one of the city's worst fires in decades. a similar fire killed 12 people
including eight children in philadelphia last week. and u.s. and russian diplomats have laid out the dramatically different positions. u.s. officials are openly skeptical of russia's desire to find compromises and russian officials are bristling at what they say is a lack of understanding for their security demands. joining me now is richard engel in eastern ukraine where he's just back from the frontlines with the ukrainian troops. richard, they met for seven hours today. let's take a deeper dive on these talks from the ukrainian perspective as well. we understand that ukraine is having side talks with russia itself because of concerns that the u.s. and the allies will not stand by them. >> reporter: so the talks so far are just beginning, and as you just mentioned, there are going to be a lot of discussions about
ukraine taking place between the u.s. and russia directly. which of the talks that just wrapped up nearly eight hours of talks. then there's expanded talks between nato and russia. there's talks going on between ukraine and russia. there's talks within european states about russia and ukraine. so this week we're seeing a flurry of diplomatic activity. and u.s. officials have said that they don't anticipate major breakthroughs going in. and based on what we're hearing so far about today's first round of talks, it doesn't look like they got any breakthroughs. ukrainian officials are also skeptical that the russians are going into these negotiations with good faith. and they're saying that for two reasons. one, russia is keeping 100,000 troops on the border. and there's one way to look at that. you could say russia is keeping them there to strengthen the negotiating position. if you're holding a sword, people will listen to you much
more closely. and you can get more of your demands. but they're also concerned because the russian demands continue to escalate. and ukraine believes that the russian's demands are unacceptable and that russia itself knows that its demands are unacceptable, and russia's demands seem to be getting more and more -- well, what would be considered unreasonable by u.s. and nato perspective. russia's demanding that ukraine never become a nato member, and wendy sherman who is leading the u.s. talks just gave a briefing a few minutes ago. i was on it. you were on it. she said that that is unacceptable. that nato will not allow any country to slam shut its open door policy. meaning nato decides who gets to join the nato club, not russia, not anyone outside of the group. they are also concerned, ukrainian officials, u.s. officials, are also concerned because russia is also demanding that nato dismantle its military
infrastructure, established in eastern europe after 1997. that is a lot. this alliance has expanded a great deal since 19 97 to include baltic states and hungary, the czech republic. you're seeing almost a pre-collapse of the soviet union position coming out of russia right now, asking nato to effectively dismantle itself and promise never to expand further toward russia. >> you know, it's really interesting, richard, that there was so much skepticism from secretary blinken over the weekend. that this can actually lead to anything.
what's the feeling by the troops? you were with them in the trenches literally today. >> often they say oh, richard, we see you all the time. they are literally trenches, miles and miles of trenches. s o. one appoint. one appoint. over the edge of the trenches. it is a tremendous amount of work. the reason they're doing this is they are worried that russia could come across. they could come across. they say they will fight. they say they will fight hard,
inflict casualties, take casualties but even they know if the full force of the russian army were to come across, the ukrainian army would need a lot of help. >> thanks so much, richard, for your perspective. it looks like world war i. it's exactly what your visual -- >> reporter: it absolutely does. >> which you've been experiencing, thank you for being there. joining us now "new york times" chief white house correspondent peter baker, former u.s. ambassador to russia, michael mcfaul, and council and foreign relations president, richard haass who was reportedly in the george 41 white house later in the state department, but in the bush 41 white house when a lot of the original agreements over this territory were first made with mikhail gorbachev and then secretary of state jim baker, so we'll talk about that as well. peter, you've written about that today, we're covering all of that. let me ask you about the opening positions going in, what the u.s. is really willing to
negotiate about. we're told they're willing to negotiate about missiles, they're willing to talk about exercises and mutual commitments on exercises, forward-based exercises on the eastern flank. what else is the u.s. really willing to talk about? >> well, those are the main things that they have said. right now they're willing to put on the table, as long as there is a reciprocal kind of agreements in other words that the west isn't going to say we're going to pull back unless russia pulls back, and there is, of course, lots of precedent for this kind of agreement. we won't have exercises that you consider to be provocative near your borders if you don't have exercises near the borders of ukraine and some of these nato members like poland. you can see that kind of agreement being made in keeping with the kinds of things we've talked about in the past. the main demand putin has put on the table, the americans and the western europeans have made very clear a non-starter, the idea that russia could dictate who gets to join nato or who doesn't
get to join nato or dictate its own neighbors decisions about who it gets to aally with. nato doesn't really think ukraine is ready. ukraine wasn't on the verge of joining in any way. so it's kind of manufactured by putin. the question is what is he really trying to get out of this? is he trying to destabilize a neighbor? does he actually have military aspirations here that would make any sense? i think that's the real problem for the west is sort of trying to divine what's going on in the mind of vladimir putin. >> well, to someone who's spent a lot of time trying to figure that very thing out for the u.s. government and academically and for his books, michael mcfaul from u.s. ambassador to russia, what is putin up to? is he going to invade no matter what happens? is this a delaying tactic? what is he -- what kind of leverage is he looking for? >> well, i want to be very clear. i don't know. president biden doesn't know.
cia director burns doesn't know. sergei rib kof, the deputy foreign minister in geneva also doesn't know. to the best of my knowledge, nobody knows. that's exactly what putin wants. he wants uncertainty, he thinks that gives him leverage, and he's got some historical precedence for believing that's true. number two, though, andrea, i would say so far what we're hearing out of geneva is positive. they've agreed to keep talking that they're going to go through what i think will be more ritualistic talks in the russia nato forum and the osce, but the key thing for me is when -- there he is right there, deputy foreign minister rib kof says we do not plan to invade ukraine. we want to keep talking. that's a good sign. and when you think about other negotiations, including ones that i was involved in, for instance, about the new start treaty, if you go back to the beginning of the negotiations of the new start treaty -- by the way, negotiated mostly in geneva -- the russians said many, many times we will not sign that agreement without some
legal constraints on your missile defense systems. and we said 400 times we're not going to sign an agreement with legal constraints on our missile defenses, even though we weren't planning to deploy missile defenses that could repel a russian attack. this reminds me of max mist positions that suggest today, if you read the tea leaves, that maybe there's room for compromise if we sit down and have a giant negotiation, but a negotiation that if it's real, it's going to take years to accomplish, not just a few weeks. >> now, rib kof also just said he read peter baker's article today with interest about those talks between jim baker and gorbachev back in the late '80s i guess, early '90s as well under bush 41, and that russia has no interest in invading
ukraine. that could be a term of art because there could be different definitions of what we consider ukraine proper, but richard haass, you were parent of all of that. i want to get peter in here, too, but russia's claim is that all this was agreed to back then and of course what jim baker told peter and others back in 2014, i believe, is that that was never agreed to. that wasn't in the treaties. it was e mentioned in early negotiations but not in the final documents. >> andrea, what you're referring to has taken on a certain urban legend, and it's obviously in the russian interests to continue to peddle it, but we know what's in the agreements, and it's not a new agreement. things are often discussed in the course of any negotiation that if they don't end up in the final text or even informally agreed to have no standing, what we do know is the one agreement the russians signed with the united states and britain about ukraine's security, the russians
have clearly violated, and that was part of the process of ukraine agreeing to give up its nuclear weapons. so this comes back to the conversation we've been having. are the russians sincere about wanting an exit ramp, or is there a mass mobilization of pretext. and what matters is not so much what happens today in geneva, it's not where a negotiation begins. it's where it ends, and we don't know the answer to that, so we'll find out at the end of the day whether this -- all these threats of economic sanctions and military responses are enough to persuade mr. putin that this game isn't worth the candle, and then he'll essentially -- if that's the case, if he reaches that judgment, then he will find some face saving way, i believe, to get backed out and to essentially explain how we achieved a great victory for russia. but we're just -- we're simply not there yet, but i think that possibility exists. >> and let's just refresh
everybody's memory and my own because i very well recall the deactivation of the ukrainian nuclear arsenal and nuclear materials, and i believe that it was actually completed as part of none luker, refresh my memory. tell us what that situation -- because some people may not realize that ukraine had nuclear weapons. >> you've got three people here nodding their heads, so you may want to -- peter, you wrote about it in your piece, and michael, you were part of it. >> peter, first to you, you brought this up today. >> yeah, so what you have here as richard was referring to sort of, you know, this urban legend that richard referred to, this narrative that russia has been pushing now for 30 years that somehow the americans in the west promised not to expand nato which is a distortion or selective real doubting of the record. while putin claims america violated an agreement it never made, russia has violated an agreement it actually did make,
in 1994, the so-called budapest memorandum, in which ukraine agreed to give up the 1,900 nuke warheads left on its territory when the soviet union broke up, america and britain signed a document guaranteeing their territorial sovereignty, their independence as a nation and promising not to use force or the threat of force against them. that's exactly the opposite of what russia has done in these last seven or eight years. they did use force in 2014 and did change the boundaries of ukraine by seizing part of ukraine territory. that is the peninsula of crimea. so i think that's sort of the irony here is that we're talking about agreements that were made and agreements that weren't made and who's lived up to them. >> and mike mcfall, you said you were a little positive, not about eventual outcomes, but did seem from these talks and from what wendy sherman just told us on the phone, that these are somewhat constructive. this is not a lot of
pontificating and shouting at each other? >> i think that's right. let's be clear about one thing already, notice we're debating what happened allegedly 30 years ago about nato expansion. we're not talking about the numerous violation, as peter wrote about, the budapest memorandum is just one of them, including the united nation's charter, by the way, that countries are not supposed to annex the territory. we're not talking about crimea, we're not talking about assassinations. that also -- of europeans, their security, and all of that means, in my mind, that putin already feels pretty good about the nature of these negotiations and the context. and number two, therefore, if they want to, they can negotiate, and i actually do think a lot of those institutions that used to help us with security in europe are weak and frayed, we can talk about them as long as it's a
serious negotiation. >> i can't think of three better people to be sorting through all of this today, thank you so much, and of course the great richard engel as well to start us off. and critical shortages, covid sickouts and burnouts forcing some hospitals to make some tough choices about who is allowed to come to work. plus, ready play. novak djokovic scoring a win of sorts. we'll have the latest from australia next. this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. reports" on msnbc. well, would you look at that? jerry, you gotta see this. seen it. trust me, after 15 walks... gets a little old. i really should be retired by now. wish i'd invested when i had the chance... to the moon!
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covid cases hit 60 million and continue to surge across the country, including illinois where chicago schools have canceled class s for a fourth day. mayor lori lightfoot and health officials are facing off with the teachers union over remote learning and covid-19 safety rules. joining us now, nbc's megan fitzgerald from chicago. the teachers are refusing to come in, the mayor has called it an illegal, you know, work action. what are they going to do? are they talking? >> reporter: so, you know, right now where things stand is there's a stalemate. there's still a standoff between the teachers union and the city and the chicago public schools. earlier today we heard from the president of the chicago teachers union who says he still doesn't have enough of what he needs to be able to go back to his members to satisfy them and to try and reach an agreement here. he went on to call the mayor
relentlessly stupid and relentlessly stubborn, so a lot of frustration here. what the union is calling for is they want to sea see more testing, to understand how much virus there is in any given school at any time so that could trigger online learning. they want this opt out testing mechanism where students are subjected to be testing unless their parents opt them out. this is something the mayor says is not happening. i want you to take a listen to what she had to say earlier. >> we live in a district where 70% or more of our kids qualify for free or reduced lunch, which means they live in households that are poor and working class, which also means that they live in households with single parents, mostly women of color who have to work to be able to keep the home together. so this walk-out by the teachers union, which is illegal, has had cascading negative ripple
effects not only on the students is and their learning, their social, emotional welfare, but also on the families themselves. >> reporter: now, the mayor has met the teacher union's, some of their demands. she agrees that there needs to be more tests in schools. she agrees that there needs to be more masks and so she's provided, she says, kn95 masks for any teacher, staff, student who wants one, but the biggest contention here is that the teachers are saying they don't feel comfortable going back to school inside the classroom until january 18th when they suspect that the surge here in chicago will subside, and the mayor says that that's a nonstarter. that is not negotiable. she wants teachers and students back in school immediately, andrea. >> megan, thank you very much. and joining us now the senior scholar at the johns hopkins center for health security at the bloomberg school of public health. dr. daja, as a country we've hit 60 million cases, 10 million in the last month alone, so how
effective, you know, are our policies now? testing all the rest. >> i think we have to shift because omicron has really illustrated where this virus is going, that it's going to become something that is ubiquitous, that's going to be able to get around some of the immunity from vaccines, and from prior infection, and we're going to see cases increase for some time. what we really have to focus on is severity of infection, making sure that hospitals can cope with the cases that they're getting, making sure they have adequate staffing because cases are going to be increasingly be decoupled from hospitalizations and deaths, especially as we get more of the antiviral available, more monoclonal antibodies and more people vaccinated. we're shifting towards what this coronavirus will look like when it becomes a seasonal endemic respiratory virus. our policies have to change as something that's sustainable and reflects the fact that this is not going anywhere. >> we've taken some comfort in the fact that omicron is less
serious and does cause fewer hospitalizations than delta did, but hospitalizations are up and cases are up, and this is partly because people come in for other things and are then diagnosed with covid or people get covid in the hospital and that hospital staff are so shortchanged because so many of them are contracting it. so you've got this vicious cycle where, you know, hospitals are absolutely strapped. >> exactly. i think this is what -- this is the challenge, that many people are getting infected with omicron coming to the hospital for other reasons, and that takes up resources because they have to have personal protective equipment. they have to be isolated, all of that plays a role, and we also know that staff are getting infected at record numbers just like everybody else, which makes it hard to be able to staff all of those beds. you're going to see regional difficulties in hospitals, and it's going to be important for our policy to be able to really reflect the need that hospitals
have to be able to augment staffing using federal assets, military assets, hhs assets to make sure no hospital goes down, and hospitals need to think about load balancing and making sure that no hospital in a given region is over burdened with cases. i think we can do this, but it's going to require coordination and a lot of people realizing this is going to be a disruptive couple of weeks until this surge is over. >> there was an unusual criticism from six former advisers to the president during the transition, in particular saying that we are really facing a new and an endemic, and we've got to reframe the way we think about this disease, and also that we have to do more in terms of testing and masking, that we're not putting enough attention on masking. what did you think of some of their other criticisms? >> i think they're very valid. i think this is something that needed to be said very early on in the pandemic. we were going to end towards end nisty, and we cannot be in a
perpetual state of emergency. we have to come one a sustainable approach to teach people how to risk calculate and live with a virus that's not going to magically go back. we have vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, antivirals and rapid tests as well as masks that are going to make this something that people can deal with. we're always going to have a baseline number of covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. what we're doing is shifting this illness towards the milder side with all the tools that we have, all the knowledge that we have. and i think we have to start thinking about how do we think about respiratory viruses in general and what we do for flu, and all of that needs to be sbe fwrated. we've had so much time that we've been in a emergency situation that people have lost the ability to risk calculate. these former administration advisers saying this is going to be very important as we try to move the country forward into the post-pandemic world. but the post-pandemic world isn't 2019, it's a world in which covid-19 is ever present, but we learn how to risk calculate because it's becoming
tamer. >> it will be important if the white house and the cdc listen to them indeed, thank you very much. the world's number one tennis star, novak djokovic has already hit the court to practice this morning in australia right after being released from immigration detention where he's been since thursday in melbourne following an australian judge's ruling he can stay in the country. this comes after authorities had barred the serbian tennis player's entry over his covid-19 vaccination status. he's not vaccinated. joining us now, nbc's sarah james from melbourne. it's so good to see you. i know you were up in the middle of the night and all night, thanks for staying up with us. does it mean we're going to see him playing in a few tas. >> he's trying to break the tie in his 21st victory. >> reporter: first of all, i will always stay up in the middle of the night for you, my
friend, and you're right, it's a lot on the line for novak djokovic. he is hoping to be the first person in the world to win 21 grand slams. that's a huge record, and he's chasing it, and he wants to be here and to win it here. but you're also right that he is not vaccinated, so that's where this whole thing began with the federal government, and it was all playing out in court here today in melbourne. and a federal circuit court judge here was not very sympathetic to the government. he basically said that djokovic fulfilled what he needed to for the medical exemption, but it was quite a narrow ruling, andrea, in the sense that what he really seemed to take exception with was the fact that djokovic didn't have time from the border officials to get the answers that he wanted from tennis australia and from his lawyers. so again, we have a tweet from just a short time ago from novak
djokovic, the world number one saying i'm pleased and grateful that the judge overturned my visa cancellation despite all that has happened, i want to stay and try to compete. i remain focused on that. now, it's a little controversial here, andrea. his fans are thrilled, and he was actually there on the court behind me, but others are saying it sounds a bit like a double standard, and speaking of sounds like, it's pretty noisy out here as they get ready for the open. andrea. >> you powered through all of that. you're amazing. sarah james, the indom nabl, thank so much. at least i hope you see some good tennis down there. and a devastating loss, we're waiting an update in new york city's worst apartment fire in the city's memory. next the latest from the bronx, this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. ll reports" on msnbc.
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at least 19 people were killed and nine of them were children, when a bronx apartment building went up in flames sunday morning. officials believe the 5 alarm fire in the high-rise was started by a malfunctioning portable space heater. joining us now is nbc's gabe gutierrez from the bronx. this is a week after that deadly philadelphia fire in the fairmont section and reportedly from the same kind of cause. what more can you tell us about this? i hope you can hear us. >> reporter: hey there, andrea, yeah, sorry, andrea, so i'm just getting some news now from new york city's mayor eric adams in this briefing. he now says that it is 17 people who were killed in this fire, not 19 so that estimate has been revised downward just in the last few seconds. but andrea, i can tell you throughout the morning we have been speaking with survivors here and the shock here is still sinking in. right behind me is that building. as you mentioned, 19 stories,
120 units, and firefighters scrambled here, about 200 firefighters rushing to get these people out. now, as you said, something that is a focus of the investigation now is that faulty space heater that authorities say sparked this fire on an apartment on the second is and third floors. another question right now, andrea, is whether the door to that apartment properly shut. authorities say it did not and the thick black smoke went through the entire building and enveloped it and led to the loss of life. take a listen to a description from some of those survivors after they got out. >> i just heard people screaming help, help, help. >> i see kids crying for help and at that point we couldn't do anything. >> could have died in there with the smoke. it was really, really bad. it was really bad. i dropped on my knees and started to pray to god and i
asked god, please help us. help us. >> reporter: so andrea, mayor eric adams delivering a news briefing right now, literally just started in the last few seconds. he literally just said that he's received a call from president biden just a short time ago. andrea, i also have some news to report from a spokesperson from the property group that owns this building behind me. there have been several questions about whether there were proper sprinkle -- there was a sprinkler system here. there were sprinklers in the laundry facilities in a compacter area as required by code. the ownership group also said that the lock on that apartment door, the second and third floor apartment that first went up in flames, that it had been inspected in july of last year and that it seemed to be in working order. we have also been talking to several survivors, andrea, that said that the smoke detectors, the smoke alarms constantly went
off in this building, and so several of them didn't really pay that much attention when those detectors went off, and that might have contributed to them not getting out in time. he said that the smoke detectors went off constantly. according to this statement, they said that at times there were residents that had been working to address those concerns with those residents. so andrea, still a lot of questions here about what led to this fire. the breaking news as we're still listening from the new york city mayor here, the death toll in this horrific fire here in the bronx has just been revised down from 19 dead to 17 dead. and that's the latest we have here from the scene, still several children among the dead and sadly, still several people in critical condition, hospitals still are trying to save their lives, andrea. >> that's all really horrific,
and until we know more, of course, it's too early to say exactly what led to it, but those portable space heaters as long as i've been a reporter have always been a problem in urban areas, and it could possibly be the cause here and in philadelphia, which is suspected. thanks so much, gabe gutierrez. and too little, too late. georgia voting rights sending a scathing message ahead of his visit there tomorrow, don't come without a plan. the president of the naacp joins us next. this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. a mitchell a mitchell reports" on msnbc. it's also temperature balancing so i stay cool. and it senses my movement and automatically adjusts to help keep me comfortable all night. sleep number care of the science so i can focus on other things. the sleep number 360 smart bed is on sale now. only from sleep number.
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georgia tomorrow to deliver a speech on voting rights. he's expected to argue that the senate needs to pass new protections. that means changing the filibuster rule, that means joe manchin, and senate majority leader schumer is promising a vote on two major election bills on or before next monday, martin luther king jr. day.
joining me now is derrick johnson, the president and ceo of the naacp and stephanie young, the executive director of when we all vote, a nonpartisan voting initiative formed by michelle obama in 2018. derrick, first to you, some voting rights groups in georgia say president biden shouldn't come unless he has a concrete plan to get voting rights passed. that means dealing with joe manchin, but from all of our reporting on the hill, there is no such plan. there's no way to get it passed, so is this is a lot of messaging from the white house to say i'm with you without having a way to get it done? >> for the groups on the ground, it speaks to the frustration that we all have. this administration is approaching a year in office. the president said he was going to stand with the black community, there is no more important issue than protection of voting rights and doing away with political gerrymandering and who we are a year later approaching the myth of the election that we still lack protection. so no matter what they say tomorrow it will all depend on what they do when they leave the
podium to ensure we have voting right protection. >> well, though, the recent push by the president doesn't have to be accompanied by a legislative strategy? >> it is all in the senate's hand. it is for the senate to do their job, but we have a president that has more senatorial experience than any other president other than lyndon baines johnson. he is considered one of the masters of the senate, so we're not saying how he should do his job. we're saying get it done, and we need it done before the end of this month. in fact, we needed it done before the end of the year as legislative bodies are drawing maps now and political gerrymandering is a trope for racial gerrymandering in far too many states across the south. >> let's talk, stephanie, about what your group could do. you had a page ad in the "new york times" yesterday titled "fight for our vote." michelle obama signed that.
that's her initiative. are you concerned that the white house might now accept less than that? maybe what possibly might be proposed by the republicans on the electoral college reform? >> well, the electoral college reform piece, that's a complete distraction, and it's also an attempt to legitimize the big lie that the 2020 election was not legitimate, and we're not going to take that distraction for an answer. what we did yesterday in the "new york times" and mr. johnson and the naacp also signed on, it was a pledge. it was to talk about what we're going to do, and that means we're going to recruit at least 100,000 volunteers. we're going to register at least a million voters. we're going to organize 100,000 people to call their senators and tell them they believe in filibuster reform and support the voting rights act and the for the people act. so we're not going to be distracted by the proposal that
folks have out there that is meant to take us off course because we know that we cannot out organize voter suppression. congress is going to have to act. the senate is going to have to act, and what i'm confident in is that groups like ours, the naacp and others who have joined, we're willing to do the work to get people fired up as much as we can to push the senate to do the right thing, but we do need the white house to act, and i do think it's at least encouraging that we're talking about it a little bit more. >> can we talk derrick johnson about the naacp's lawsuit against against former president trump, the proud boys, the oath keepers, rudy giuliani? >> sure, i mean, we have our first hearing today. we filed the lawsuit because of the violation of what's considered the ku klux klan act. we see january 6th as an
insurrection, an attempted coup, but we also see the lack of voting rights protections continuation of that coup when you consider the 19 states that have adopted laws to subvert democracy to suppress the vote, and in fact, even when the will of the voters can be clearly ascertained, in several of those states they gave power to legislative bodies to go and change the decision. that's not a democracy. we cannot -- to fight for democracy that we're not willing to protect and stand up for here domestically. >> derrick johnson, stephanie young, thank you very much. and of course the big speech comes tomorrow, i'd love to talk to you both after that. and defense talks, can the u.s. reach any agreement with russia over ukraine? senator chris van hollen joining me next. this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. s "andrea mitl reports" on msnbc.
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the u.s. and russia met for seven hours today in geneva. a little more than seven hours as we've been discussing after a working dinner last night. although the secretary of state has been skeptical they will get beyond stating their opposing positions over nato deployments in ukraine and other issues. joining me now is chris van hollen. senator, thank you for being with us. so i don't know if you've been able to see some of the readouts from the russian deputy foreign minister as well as from wendy sherman who had a briefing with us. it sounds as though they were stating their different positions. they're not in draft treaty language. but russia seems whetted to the idea that the u.s. made a commitment some 30 years ago which richard haas and others there at the time, peter baker, i was covering it, it's clear they did not make, we did not make.
>> well, andrea, it's great to be with you. i have seen some of the readouts from deputy secretary of state wendy sherman. and we've been clear from the beginning, and president biden has been clear from the beginning, that russia has to deescalate. they have to pull back the forces that they've amassed along the ukrainian border. and if they take aggressive actions in terms of military invasion, that they will face very punishing sanctions. not only from the united states, but importantly, with our allies, because that multiplier effect on sanctions is so important. so you're right. this was sort of the opening day of back and forth. but the united states has been very clear that when it comes to the nato alliance, nobody is going to dictate. russia is not going to dictate to the united states, our allies, or other countries about who can join and who cannot. >> and you know, at the same
time, what she's saying is they may have to pull back and go into their bare racks. they can't just stay on russian soil amassed in more than 100,000 in numbers with heavy equipment tanks and the like and say that is not an aggressive act. >> well, that's right. i mean, clearly, you know, what putin did was he is trying through these aggressive acts to gain some kind of leverage to get concessions from the united states and our nato partners, but that's not going to work. he's not going to achieve that goal. and it is important now that they deescalate. as secretary blinken said, we've always been willing to sit down and talk with russia about legitimate concerns, security concerns they have in europe, but also address our legitimate security concerns, and secretary blinken and the deputy secretary both talked about maybe talking
once again about intermediate nuclear forces. as you know, russia violated the inf treaty in place for years. but there's an area where we may be able to find common ground. but deescalation has to come first. >> i also, since i have you, i want to ask you about joe manchin and voting rights. he's indicated that there's really no give on getting back to the table on build back better. do you think there is a chance on voting rights to come up with some way around the filibuster rule with manchin or are we going down the same territory where chuck schumer is going to be disappointed and mishis deadline next week? >> as you said, this week is the test. first we'll work to bring it up for a vote, the freedom to vote act which provides for those standards around the country to protect the right to vote. and the john lewis voting rights
advancement act. now, we expect mitch mcconnell to block the debate on that. sadly, we have no republican support to support voting rights. it used to be 15 years ago something that had bipartisan agreement. and if you watched that, we are going to work to change the rules to the senate, really to restore the senate who what it used to be, a place where you have real debate. but at the end of the debate, the majority gets to move forward. today we have the opposite. we have very little debate, but you have the minority party just blocking things and obstructing the will of the american people, and so we are continuing to talk to senator manchin and our colleagues about the need to restore the senate. senator manchin has said that every vote should count, and as of right now, what republican-controlled state legislatures are doing is making it so that it is harder for
people to access the ballot box, especially people of color, younger voters, and people with disabilities. so this is an urgent moment, and it will come to a head this week. >> well, it's a critical week, and i know it's a shorter week because of january 6th last week and, of course, the funerals, harry reid, the republicans going in georgia. so you really only have a week and a couple days to get this done. thank you very much. >> that's right. january 6th was a really terrible reminder of why it's so important that we put out the big lie and that we put in place these national voting standards to protect our democracy. >> and i was going to say while we're talking about commemorations, i want to wish you a happy birthday. i understand it is your birthday today. >> yes. thank you. it's good to be with you, always. >> thank you. happy birthday. that does it for this edition of
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