tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC March 28, 2022 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
that stunning, onstage slap, our dear friend, quest love, made the rest of us here at nbc look like slackers, when he won the oscar for best documentary feature, for his first ever documentary project, summer of soul. tributes, pouring into him, all day long, including a tweet from a shut obama, praising the documentary as a moving celebration of black music, culture, enjoy. as our friend quest love posted this evening he, he is feeling the love. on that good note i wish you a good night, from all of us an nbc, thank you for staying up late. i will see with the end of tomorrow. tomorrow i'm coming to you, live tonight, from the city of lviv, in ukraine, which is currently, under an air raid alert. lviv, the largest city in western ukraine, less than 50
miles from poland, where i spent the last week. fighting raged in ukraine's east, around the capital of kyiv. lviv has, largely, been spared from russian bombardment. it has been a hub for ukrainian refugees, who have been fleeing the eastern part of the country, who either state, here in lviv, or have continued to poland, or hungary, and other neighboring countries. but, the piece in this city, in lviv, shatter this weekend, when russian missile struck multiple sites, here in the city, including a fuel depot. so big plumes of black smoke over the city, igniting fires that raged for hours. air raid sirens have lasted several times since then. the last one, moments ago, it is still active. you get an air raid siren to tell you that a missile has been it -- doesn't tell you where it's going. then you get a second set of sounds that tell you you are clear. you may hear sounds. i'm live on tv right now, because the last one has
happened under ten minutes ago. those sounds may tell us were clear or they may tell us to seek stelter. i will keep you posted on that if you hear the noises, that's what they are. residents here are now in fear that saturdays strike could be an autonomous side of more to come in the city. the attacks here, we're also worrying, because they hit the city, which is very close to the polish border during president biden visited that country. just hours before he delivered an address in poland's capital. lviv's mayor says the missile strikes here on saturday or vladimir putin's warning to say to president biden, hello, basically. biden ended his speech, by the way, in warsaw, within apparently ad lived line about putin, saying quote, this man cannot remain in power, and quote. now that caused a fevered speculation in the press about whether biden was suggesting that the u.s. had plans to try to remove putin from power, the white house said. this is not what he was
suggesting ill. and in a press briefing today, after getting approximately the eighth question on this point, the president appeared a little frustrated. nobody believes we are going to take down putin. nobody believes that. number one. number two, whatever i've been talking about since this all began? the only war that is worse than one intended is one that's unintended. i don't want to go in a nuclear war with russia. that is not part of it. i was expressing my outrage at the behavior of this man. it is outrageous. it's outrageous. it's more an aspiration and he shouldn't be in power. people like this shouldn't be ruling countries, but they do. the fact that he did, -- >> vladimir putin doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, nor does the war.
russian and ukrainian negotiations will start meeting in istanbul tomorrow for a new round of cease-fire talks and there are reports that russia may be softening its demands on ukraine. it is hard to know how seriously to take those reports. because last week's the reduction military also appeared to announce that it was narrowing its mission. solidifying control of eastern ukraine. those breakaway republics that vladimir putin has talked about in the donbas region. and yet, there is no obvious signs on the ground that the russian military posture is changing. after all, it launched missiles here in the west in lviv two days ago. it may be best to take a believe it when you see it approach to russian claims about what they are actually planning to do as it relates to ukraine. inside russia, it is getting harder and harder to see or believe anything. yesterday, for prominent russian journalist conducted an interview with ukrainians
president as a lewinsky. and russia banned the interview from airing inside russia. one of the journalists interviewing president zelenskyy asked a question on behalf of the editor of russia 's last remaining independent newspaper, novaya gazeta. today, that last independent newspaper was forced to suspend its operations. novaya gazeta's editor won the nobel peace prize just a few months ago. for decades, he has found ingenious ways to keep his paper going, despite a men's government pressure and censorship. but this latest media crash down proved too much even for him. basically, no more independent media in their country, russians are largely cut off from news about the war that is raging next door. in particular, they are not getting news about the remarkable resistance that ukraine is putting up. and the heavy toll that is being exacted on russian
forces. this is footage released by ukraine today of what it said are russian vehicles destroyed outside of kyiv. the ukrainians, also claim to have taken back the kyiv suburb of -- from russian occupation. but oh in the east, things are much more grim. as jon sparks reports from the town of izyum. >> vladimir putin had a vision of a decisive victory in ukraine. but his operation has stalled and his generals have drawn up new plans. they say they will liberate the territory of eastern ukraine like the city of izyum and the communities surrounding it. but after four years -- weeks of warfare, the residents fear annihilation. schools and shops have been leveled and family homes, bombed from the air. nicola and luke off have lived in this house for 32 years.
the worse. nbc news is molly hunter -- odessa. >> half the city has stayed behind to fight and protect their heritage. many of the cities white sand beaches, now mind according to officials here, ready for an amphibious attack. >> there are no civilians on the speech. normally, it would be packed with people. the russians have blockaded the odessa port. we are not seeing any cargo ships coming in. nothing coming in or going out. if there is -- it will come from out there. >> according to the u.s., a couple dozen warships remain off the coast. one for the highest ranking ukrainian -- he says they move in and out, psychological warfare. >> [interpreter] we will kill them, drowned them, he says. they have no options. >> [interpreter] we will think them and it will be fish feeding seasons. and our fish will grow fat. >> nbc news as molly hunter in odessa, where everyone is bracing for what might come next. this weekend, people in the u.s. and across europe, people rallied in support of ukraine. but ukraine's president has
made it clear that he is increasingly frustrated with his western allies and accusing them of cowardice for not handing over fighter jets and tanks. in a new video matt a tonight he said, quote, ukrainians should not die because some cannot find the courage to hand over the necessary weapons to ukraine. joining me down -- and we see news correspondent ali arouzi. good to see you, my friend. you and i spent the time -- when russia hit multiple spy -- which was just a few -- what can you tell us about what you saw from your vantage point and what it has been like on the ground in this city since after those missile attacks? >> hello, my friend. that's right. we were in lviv, obviously, over the weekend. and that was the closest strike to the city center. that a fuel depot that you just mentioned is just about two miles from where i am standing.
it was a big hit. the russians hit it with long-range precision missiles. -- and another military sort of factory -- we don't know exactly what it was. and it was a loud strike. many people here in lviv heard, it felt it, and pretty much everybody in this city saw that very dark plume of black smoke, floating over the livid skyline. and that has made people here anxious. there have been other hits in and around lviv. but this was the closest one to us and it marred a sense of security that so many displaced people from the east of the country who have fled here seeking some sort of safe haven, felt very anxious about that now. i wouldn't say the piece and lviv have been shattered out today. you see people walking around.
there are buskers again. people are in the shops. but also, people are asking the question, how much longer will this place remain a safe haven, a sanctuary, a refuge for all of those displaced people. we talk to many people here in lviv and they are telling you, yes, lviv is possibly still safe, but vladimir putin is capable of anything. he has bombed churches, hospitals, apartment buildings, civilian corridors, so, all bets are off when they come to him. one lady i spoke to had left lviv to seek safety in poland. she thought the situation here had now calm down. she came back to live it two days before that fuel depot was struck and she said she is not taking any chances. she's heading back to poland tomorrow. >> let's just discuss a little bit about how this works. just before we got on air, you and i both heard aerates sirens. there is an app that people have here that tells you it is still active. while we are on the air, it could happen at any moment now. it could happen in half an hour.
we will get another set of sirens that are meant to indicate that there is an all clear. the apple turned from grid to green. what does the air raid siren actually tell us? >> well, the arid sirens covers a large swathe of territory. it's not just live if, it covers a lot of the neighboring vicinities around lviv. so, it could be something incoming anywhere in a large region. and, obviously, as you mentioned, when that first diamond comes on, it is telling people to leave their hotel rooms, leave their apartments, and go to a designated shelter that is close to them. most of these places are not bomb shelters. they are just basements. so, it is quite a basic shelter, just seek cover from flying debris or something. but if something were to land right on top of one of those shelters, it is not going to give the people much protection. so, once they hear that first air raid siren, down to the shelters, and then, as you mentioned, you will get a second aerate syrian and a
warning telling you that it is safe and you can leave those shelters. but that is also one of the causes of anxiety for all those people seeking refuge here in lviv. they have escaped these terrible situations and the east, mariupol, which 90% of it has been decimated. they are feeling somewhat safe here. many of them mothers with young children, elderly people. so, 3:30 in the morning when you hear an air raid siren, you are woken up with a bit of a shock, you have to shuffle down into a basement. it's usually dark. you don't know how long you have to stay there. and that i'm nervous people. in a place they are meant to feel safe. >> and i came in today during the day and you are right.
there is nothing about the city that you would think it's a city under siege or under attack. people are really going about their lives. it's quite busy, it's a stunningly beautiful city, architecturally. but you are talking about these places people go, into the shelters. i think there is one right over your shoulder there. they're just common places. they are not bunkers, typically. >> exactly. they are not bonkers. just where you, are i was standing at the location that you're reporting from right now. the nearest arid shelter to you is that school just opposite you. and the arid shelter isn't a gymnasium, in the basement of that building. and you see the look of anxiety of people having to go there, they look kind of shocked coming down the lift. carrying whatever they could scramble to gather, their children, many of them with our paths, dogs, cats, are going into these places and wondering how long they have to stay there. and even worse, wondering, oh my goodness, it's lviv now a target? will we get hit the same way we got hit in kyiv? in mariupol? in kharkiv?
it is a very unnerving situation. you mention the one behind me, as soon as i heard the air raid siren, i stepped out into the balcony and you could see people sort of dazed a little bit. -- the one behind me -- it is not terribly comforting to have to do that. >> ali arouzi, thank you for your great reporting on that. i'm glad you are still safe and i am glad you are in the same city. ali arouzi, just down the street for me, nbc correspondent. i just want to show you behind me, what looks to be a municipal truck going through. you will see it in just a second. there are no vehicles on the street here at all. this is a curfew. there is a dusk to dawn curfew in the city and that is all you see. you see police vehicles and other municipal vehicles going around. there's nobody walking around. there is nobody driving around.
i want to turn now to -- she is joining us now from kyiv. miss -- thank you for being with us. i do want to ask you because there is some clarification and confusion going on about what president biden said in warsaw on saturday. he said again today that what he said, he meant. the idea that vladimir putin has to go. that doesn't necessarily mean there's an american plan or a western or a nato alliance plan to take vladimir putin out, but he was expressing a view that this is not necessarily russia's war. this is not the war of the russian people. i don't think most of the russian people care about this thing. this is vladimir putin's war on ukraine. >> i would agree with president biden in his moral judgment, saying that this person cannot stay in power. this person cannot -- and he did make many clarifications on that statement. it is a judgment, not a policy proposal. i would agree with that. i do disagree, however, with a statement that russians do not care or that common russians are not in support of the war.
because, unfortunately, the situation is much more terrifying. 80% of russians actually support this war against ukraine. and we are hearing more and more evidence of people in russia actually truly being in favor of that. of course, they have been victims to propaganda machines set up by vladimir putin. regardless of the reason and the methods of how it happened, the majority of russians actually support the war. i've heard so many statements about russians -- not they are allowed to use internet of course. they all get some very crazy ideas in explanations for why they want the war in ukraine. i think the most logical, if you can call it, this that i have read, is this woman saying that, we'll, if we didn't attack them, they would have attacked us. and that is the most logical thing that i've heard. the other things they were saying was that they were creating a biological weapon and when asked, what do you
mean by that? they were saying, they are creating the special -- that will only attack somebody who was not ethnically russian. and they are planning to send those birds into russian and kill all of us. that is as crazy as it gets. and i am sorry to say this, but this is basically the majority of the nation. it is not just putin. no matter how much we wish for that to be true. >> is that an issue of not concentrating on vladimir putin being out of office if that is not the only problem? i ask you this because the russians responded to president biden statement by saying, it is not for joe biden to decide who the president of russia's, it is for the russian people. it is very obvious that the russian people don't actually
have a say in whether vladimir putin is there president. they don't live in a democracy. >> it is actually hypocritical of the russians to remind the world that it is the russian people to say who would be the ruler of russia. well, they attacked ukraine, saying that they don't want zelenskyy to be the president of ukraine. even, though of course, our elections are freer than the russian wants. i do think that, of course, the public has touched not with vladimir putin. because he has the absolute majority of support in russia. and i do think that the process of demilitarize a shun, of russia will be much much slower. it's just not -- if we can imagine that to happen, if you somehow disappeared from the russian political scene. it is also a matter of the support of his ideas. and if putin is gone, if he
dies, he is killed or whatever happened to him, they will vote for someone with very similar ideas because those are the ideas that they all share right now. and that is scary. that is truly scary. >> -- thank you for joining us again. we always appreciate it. she is a member of ukrainian parliament. we appreciate you being with us and please continue to stay safe. >> thank you. >> we have a lot to get to. back at home, a federal judge has agreed with the january 6th investigation, writing today that donald trump, likely committed a felony in the lead up to january 6th. the congressman, jamie raskin, a member of the investigation, joins us shortly. and as president biden makes it clear that he thinks lottery putin has to go, what he has done or should the u.s. be doing more to help ukraine? a key member of the senate joins us live next. symptom improvement, and helps prevent flare-ups. breztri won't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden breathing problems. it is not for asthma. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition... ...or high blood pressure before taking it. don't take breztri more than prescribed. breztri may increase your risk of thrush, pneumonia, and osteoporosis. call your doctor if worsened breathing, chest pain, mouth or tongue swelling,... ...problems urinating, vision changes, or eye pain occur.
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the last part of the speech was talking to the russian people, telling them what we thought. i was communicating this to not only the russian people, but to the whole world. this is just stating a simple fact that this kind of behavior is totally unacceptable, totally unacceptable. >> president biden at this afternoon, responding to numerous questions about just what he meant when he said that russian president vladimir putin, quote, cannot remain in power. those comments coming on the same day that the u.s. is announcing the deployment of six eea 18 g growler aircrafts. that is what they look like. arriving in germany today. these specialized trains can jam enemy air defenses and will be accompanied by 240 aircrew. aircraft maintenance -- and pilots. they will not be used against russian forces in ukraine, but they will strengthen nato's defenses. the aircraft are also arriving as ukrainian president zelenskyy calls out the west for not sending him planes. in an interview with the economist today, he had this to
say about nato. >> when you talked to them and you asked for more weaponry, they said no. -- >> that's it. >> joining us now is democratic senator, tim kaine of virginia. thank you for making time to be with us tonight, i have several things i want to discuss with you. the first of which is, you know joe biden. what he said on saturday when he was apparently ad libbing was wuzhou biden meant. it is what he felt. and, frankly, it is what a lot of the free world feels like right now that vladimir putin has crossed far too many lines now and something more than what being done needs to be done. >> ali, you're right. joe biden was speaking from the heart. the words that we spoke.
rallying folks in ukraine, and also rallying folks in russia where the opposition to vladimir putin, but he pointed out today that this is not the official policy, the united states having learned painful lessons in the past. doesn't presume to determine who leaders of other nations should be, but vladimir putin should not be allowed to exercise the spirit of influence over any square centimeter of land outside of russia. the russian citizens and others will determine his future there, but we have to make sure that he does not, in his war crimes, and even in the atrocities, have a sphere of influence outside of orders for russia. >> i guess the problem is the people of russia don't have that right. it is not a democracy. they don't actually have some ability democratically to put vladimir putin out of office, this could have a revolution when it's the same thing in iran or the same thing in syria
or the same thing in a lot of other places in the world where there are atrocities committed, sometimes by their own leaders or others. what does -- how does one make that aspiration, that vladimir putin shouldn't be in charge into a reality, given it's not american policy to replace the regime and russia? >> it is in our policy to replace a regime because if we decide we can do it, others can do it too, so you open a pandora's box. also, the united states is off and gotten it wrong in the past. let's look at what vladimir putin is doing. after the annexation of crimea in 2014, even in the russian speaking russian affiliated parts of eastern ukraine, would vladimir putin has done is has
pushed the rest of ukraine more and more towards the west, even cities like kharkiv, the russian border with the russian speakers -- they've looked at wet russian domination means and they said we don't want any of it. so vladimir putin is the best salesman than we have now for democracies, for nato, for ending together as allies against tyrants, and even though he controls the russian media, you watch what's happening in russia, they're not only anti work protest, but you see russian citizens going to bang sand atms in withdrawing their petty savings and rubles. they are getting it. the flip on banks and atm's is a quote, political protest but it's a political protest. they're realizing that the megalomania of a war criminal at the top of the pyramid is consigning them to deeper and deeper tragedy, poverty, and we will not determine who russia's leader is, but the russian people will. and little by little, they will see that their own leadership is putting them in a pariah category in the world. >> senator, good to see you.
thank you for your time tonight. virginia democratic senator, member of the armed services and foreign relations committee, tom kaine. thank you for joining us. we've got big news tonight in the january six investigation. the federal judge writing today that he agrees today with the committee that donald trump likely committed crimes in his attempt to overturn the 2020 election, and the committee tonight, deciding whether to call ginni thomas, the wife of supreme court justice clarence thomas in for an interview. congressman jamie raskin, a member of the committee joins us right after the break. us right after the break. us right after the break. the committee that donald trump likely committed crimes in his attempt to overturn the 2020 election, and the committee tonight, deciding whether to call ginni thomas, the wife of supreme court justice clarence thomas in for an interview. congressman jamie raskin, a member of the committee joins us right after the break.
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pence's staff to, quote, one more relatively minor violation, and quote, of the law, in order to delay the election certification of biden's victory eastman was essentially admitting in an email that he knew there scheme to overturn the election was illegal, that it violated the law, that he asked the vice president's office to go ahead and do it anyway. and email was among the evidence collected by the committee, which led to conclude that trump and his allies had likely committed crimes in their attempts to get congress to overturn biden's victory. today, we got another major development and that story. when a federal judge essentially agreed for the first time since the january 6th attack, a federal judge agreed that former president trump and eastman likely committed crimes in the lead up to january 6th. quote, based on the evidence, the court finds that it is more likely than not that president trump and dr. eastman dishonestly conspired to
obstruct the joint session of congress on january 6th. it was a coup in search of a legal theory. if doctor eastman and president trump's plan had worked it would've permanently added and the peaceful transition of power, undermining american democracy and the constitution. if the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the court fears january 6th will repeat itself. end quote. those words from a federal judge in a ruling today in a civil case, to determine whether eastman would keep his email communications secret from january 6th investigators. eastman and by extension, trump, lost this round. and that was just one of the several major developments today in the january six investigation. nbc news reports of the january six investigator are meeting
tonight behind closed doors to discuss whether or not to call ginni thomas, the wife of supreme court justice clarence thomas in for an interview. the move comes after last week 's revelation that jimmy thomas, thomas sent a series of 29 conspiracy theory laden texts to trump white house chief of staff in the lead up to january 6th, urging the president not to concede and referencing a quote, army who is gathering to support the president. tonight, we also learned of the former presidents son-in-law, jared kushner, is expected to appear virtually before the committee this week. tonight, just before we got to where investigators voted unanimously to recommend criminal charges against two more trump aides. peter navarro and dan scavino for refusing to comply with the committee subpoenas. congressman jamie raskin, the member of the january six investigation joins us here live right after this.
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institutions and values of democracy at home against coup plotters and insurrectionists and we are supporting other democracies around the world under siege by autocrats and kleptocrats, bullies and despots. we are on the side of the people of ukraine against vladimir putin, who is not a genius, but a mass murderer. and we stand strong on the side of democracy, freedom, the constitution and the rule of law against people who smashed our police officers in the face with confederate battle flags and try to cancel out the results of our presidential election. >> congressman jamie raskin at a january six committee meeting today. and he joins me now. congressman, thank you for spending time with us this evening. i know that this case -- we have someone to talk about
tonight. but this idea that a judge talking about john eastman and donald trump. i know this was a ruling in a civil case tonight. but how big a deal is it that a federal judge is now saying that trump and eastman, likely committed crimes and the commission of trying to get the election overturned? >> it is a very big deal. judge carter, a federal district judge in california, said that the president likely committed felony offenses in conspiring to obstruct a federal proceeding, to interfere with it and to commit a fraud against the united states. and he went on to say that had the plot that eastman and trump were involved with, had it succeeded, then we likely would've seen the end of the peaceful transfer of power in america. it would have been a threat, permanently, to democracy and the constitution and what makes me so pleased about this is the country, the judiciary, the people are waking up to the immensity of the offense against our constitution and
our democracy that took place on january 6th. and people are putting it in this global context of a war on democracy being waged by the clippers -- tyrants. was january 6th if not donald trump's ukraine? and what is ukraine if not vladimir putin's january 6th? attempt of autocrats to say they are going to run and control anything that they want. >> the line between the two is not even dotted, it is quite solid and clear. we have some earlier reporting that indicated that there was some disagreement on the committee when it came to the issue of asking judy thomas to come in and testify. i know you got out of a closed-door meeting on this topic. i don't know what you can tell me about it. but have the differences on the
committee been resolved? >> i really can't say anything about an individual case. i will just say, i know that the media is very hungry to know about the next witnesses and so on. and that is good. i want people to pay attention. but we have interviewed more than 750 people. we are likely to see, i don't know, 100 more before it's all over. so, we have a lot of different balls in the air. and i know everybody thinks we are focused on one person, but we are not. we are dealing with dozens of different issues at this point. but i will say that the committee it's unanimous that we want to see everybody who has information relevant to our charge under house resolution 503, which is they examine the events and the causes of what took place on january 6th, in order to make recommendations and fortified democratic institutions against insurrections and coups and subversion going forward. >> and you are not even done with the things that you have all done in the committee. the hearing that you had today
was about contempt recommendations for dan scavino and peter navarro. the justice department has not acted on a recommendations that you set for mark meadows last year. so, can you explain to me how this works. your committee recommends criminal contempt action, it has to go to the justice department, and they are the deciders on that front. >> ultimately, it will go to a grand jury and the grand jury would have to issue the indictment. but the department of justice will obviously have a key influence over what a grand jury sees and the argument that are being made. so, they are the decisive influence. it is very important for us not to let people just blow off the congress of the united states. the supreme court has to be clear that citizens who received a subpoena from court or from congress must comply with that. and that applies to every citizen.
the idea that they are asserting executive privilege is ridiculous. because one, the president of the united states, joe biden, has said he is not asserting executive privilege. two, scavino it is saying, well, they have executive privilege through donald trump. donald trump is not asserting executive privilege for these guys. he is nowhere to be found. and in any event, even if joe biden were to absurd it for them, it would not work, because executive privilege relates to people who have something substantive to advise a president about. like the trade advisor can talk about trade, but the trade advisor wouldn't have any kind of executive privilege to have asserted for him by the president related to an insurrection or other criminal activity. so, executive privilege doesn't
apply to crime and insurrection. the courts have not only rejected it -- we have very little patience for these arguments anymore. the courts are slapping it down. and we are not accepting it. we fully expected these guys would have to comply very quickly if they want to avoid criminal contempt. >> you have made this point several times before and it is important to keep on making it, that you don't actually get executive privilege for the commission of a crime. jamie raskin, good to see you. thank you as always. jamie raskin is a member of the january 6th investigation. >> up next here from inside ukraine, the struggle to get information to russians about what is happening. and it got a lot more difficult today. that is not stopping people from trying to get to the truth, passed vladimir putin's media blockade. julia -- joins us next.
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as the city of lviv declared an all clear after the air raid siren went off about an hour ago. it works in two ways. you get the air raid siren, and you get the all clear. a sound similar, but everybody here has an app that tells them whether you are in danger, if the air raid siren is still active or if you're clear. that was the all clear. we often post these messages and russian. this weekend, the ukrainian president below to mere zelenskyy gave his first big interview to russian journalists since the beginning of the war. he talked to four of them at the same time will resume.
now as soon as the russian government got wind of this interview, it put out orders to quash it, threatening journalists with potential imprisonment or having their licenses to print news revoked. of the outlets involved, those that are physically located outside of russia published interview. and the two papers and about that still operate inside russia did not. one of those papers, novaya gazeta, and suspended its operations completely today. they've been telling a careful line so far in the war, trying to report as accurately as possible while following all of the russian government censorship rules to avoid being shuttered. out of fear they would have their license suspended, the snow today explaining they are stopping their work, will be the last thing that they publish until the war, or as they were forced to call it here, the special operation on the territory of ukraine is done. when you look through the at other russian newspaper involved, kommersant, the interview with zelenskyy is nowhere to be found. what you do see on the front page, however, is this, quote, biden's plan to overthrow putin. this past weekend, president biden generated tons of headlines in the west and in
russia for his comment about president putin saying quote, for god's sake, this man cannot remain in power. the russian press called it everything from a gaffe to an admission of the united states secret long term quote, main goal. unlike the interview with president zelenskyy, the story was everywhere in the russian press. and i mean literally everywhere. it was entirely unavoidable. and that makes sense! because of the bold statement by the leader of the united states. you would think that an interview with the leader of the country that russia is currently at war with might get a little bit of attention to! but no, there's a lot of debate about president biden's statement about putin in the west, whether it was an accident or a piece of strategy, and getting to the number of that is important.
but i want to know is how did that line, biden's line about how putin has to go. how did it go over and russia? given how much the russian people are not seeing, how much they're not being able to read about the truth. the narratives that they've been told. now and for years. how might the average russian have read biden's words? joining us now is julia loffe, a founding partner and washington correspondent and longtime reporter on everything russia related. julia, thank you for being with us. good to see you again. let's talk about this. how did biden's comments fit into the narrative that most russians already believe or are being fed? >> the narrative they've been fed for a long time is the one that putin believes himself, which is that for a long time, washington has wanted regime change in russia, just like it has pursued regime change all over the world. this goes back to the days of george w. bush and the freedom agenda and would be listed in afghanistan and iraq.
then what vladimir putin believes the u.s. did or didn't do and in ukraine in 2004, in georgia, 2003. in kyrgyzstan in 2005. and then in libya. he sees it all as part of a pattern of the u.s. ousting leaders he doesn't like, and he assumes he's next in line. and i think russians are being fed the slide that they're out to get us, they're out to get your president. they want to impose their will on russia. the question is, of course, can the u.s. actually implement such a policy, if this is a policy at all, rather than an aspirational statement. i don't think there's any talk by anyone saying, anybody in washington, actually going into russian toppling vladimir putin, which would be like a pretty impossible task.
>> that's not how i heard it when i heard him say it. i suspect it was an unscripted comment. i suspect it was joe biden saying when he believed, and i suspect it was joe biden reflecting with a whole lot of people in the democracy loving world believe. it is the distinction between a big policy, and i think we all understand that's not policy, the u.s. government snug in a take out the leader of russia, but sentiment, that joe biden can go around and share with people had maybe hoped that the russian people could hear themselves. >> to some extent it was just a statement of fact. it is a policy that the biden administration has had when the very beginning when president biden came into office, which is the recognition that as long as vladimir putin is the president of russia there will be no constructive change, no constructive dialogue. very little in the way of any kind of meaningful cooperation or dialogue as possible, as long as he's president. so the u.s. should just contain him. do the bare minimum to keep that relationship going and not keep it from getting destructive, because this was the first administration, by
the way, that has not pursued -- it's seen things clearly, that putin didn't want to play nice, that he didn't want to find areas of agreement with the u.s. because he sees the uss primary foe. so i just saw the comment by president biden, in some ways, a statement of fact and long-standing policy, which is that as long as putin is in power, a, he's killing two countries, russia and ukraine, and nothing constructive, no constructive dialogue is possible with him. >> julia, thanks as always for your analysis. julia julia ioffe is a founding partner in washington correspondent at putt. thank you for your time tonight. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow from lviv. it's time now for the last