IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The 11th Hour, 2/22/22

Guests: James Stavridis, Michael McFaul, Jackie Alemany, Philip Rucker, Julia Ioffe, Robert Gibbs, Bill Kristol


President Biden imposed new sanctions against Russia to counter Putin`s "invasion" of Ukraine. It comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken shut down plans for a meeting this week with his Russian counterpart. Biden announced he`s deploying more troops to protect NATO allies in Eastern Europe. Plus, Trump called Putin`s decision to send troops into parts of Ukraine as "smart" and "savvy."



AMB. MARTIN KIMANI, KENYA`S PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Rather than form nations that looked ever backward into history with a dangerous nostalgia, we chose to look forward to a greatness, none of our many nations and peoples had ever known. We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Kenya`s ambassador to the United Nations, Martin Kimani gets tonight`s "LAST WORD." THE 11TH HOUR starts now.


CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, once again, I`m Chris Jansing. Day 399 of the Biden administration. Today, the United States is taking action against Russia as the president condemns Russia`s moves against Ukraine. This afternoon unveiling what he says is the first round of sanctions aimed at punishing Russia and he minced no words about the country`s military campaign.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Who in the Lord`s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare a new so called countries on territory that belong to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community.

We`re implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions VEB, and their military bank. We`re implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russian sovereign debt. We`ll also impose sanctions on Russian elites and their family members. And if Russia goes further with this invasion, we stand prepared to go further as with sanctions.


JANSING: Today, Germany also announced its own punitive measures putting final approval of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Russia on hold. Germany is Russia`s largest gas customer.

The European Union and the United Kingdom also took steps against Russia today announcing sanctions aimed at crippling Russia`s economy. And in Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken shut down plans for a meeting this week with his Russian counterpart.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF SATE: Last week, I agreed to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week on February 24th, to discuss our country`s respective concerns about European security, but only if Russia did not invade Ukraine. Now that we see the invasion is beginning and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy. It does not make sense to go forward with that meeting at this time.


JANSING: Blinken added he isn`t closing the door to future meetings but says Russia will have to show a commitment to de-escalation first.

The Secretary of State`s comments came after meeting with Ukraine`s foreign minister. The Ukrainian vowed that his nation would resist Moscow`s move to send troops into those two regions in eastern Ukraine that Russia now considers independent.


DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Ukraine does not and will never recognize this absurdity, neither will the world recognize it. We have two plans. Plan A is to utilize every tool of diplomacy to deter Russia and prevent further escalation. And if that fails, Plan B is to fight for every inch of our land, and every city and every village. The -- To fight until we will of course.


JANSING: Ukraine`s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy continues to urge his citizens not to panic, but tonight he did say he`s begun calling up military reservists.

President Biden is also deploying more troops to protect NATO allies in Eastern Europe. The Pentagon is sending a battalion currently based in Italy as well as an F-35 joint strike fighter jets and Apache attack helicopters to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

And the heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine are being felt all across the global economy. On Wall Street, the Dow closed another 480 points lower while the price of oil is now nearing $100 A barrel up from about $56 a year ago. Today, Biden tried to reassure a public already dealing with escalating energy prices.


BIDEN: I`m going to take robust action and make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at a Russian economy, not ours. I want to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump. This is critical to me.


JANSING: It did not take long for some Republicans on Capitol Hill to criticize the sanctions, complaining they`re not strong enough or it should have come sooner. And then there was this analysis from Biden`s predecessor today, Donald Trump, who you may remember tried to hold up Ukraine in an effort to get the country to dig up on Biden offered this tape during a right wing radio interview today. Here`s just a portion of it.



DONALD TRUMP, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, "This is genius." Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that`s wonderful. Here`s a guy that says, you know, I`m going to declare a big portion of Ukraine independent and we`re going to go in and we`re going to help keep peace. You got to say that`s pretty savvy.


JANSING: Pretty savvy. We`ll have more on that development later in the hour.

With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Tuesday night. Philip Rucker, Pulitzer Prize winning deputy national editor at the Washington Post, co-author with Carol Leonnig of the New York Times bestseller, "I Alone Can Fix It." Jackie Alemany, MSNBC contributor and political reporter for The Washington Post and the author of the papers morning newsletter, The Early 202 Admiral James Stavridis, a 30 year Navy veteran who retired with four stars on his shoulders. He is the former head of the U.S. Southern Command, and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. And Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia and an MSNBC international affairs analyst. Great panel. Thank you all for being here.

Admiral Stavridis, let`s start on the ground. And I want to know how you assess if the situation has changed on the ground in the past 24 hours, both in the threat to Ukraine and its neighbors given the President`s decision to move more U.S. troops and equipment to protect those NATO countries nearly on the border with Russia.

ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS, MSNBC CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It has certainly changed. There`s been an invasion of Ukraine, and an invasion is the imposition of armed troops on sovereign territory without consent of that sovereign nation. Doesn`t matter whether it`s a squad of Spetsnaz, 22 tanks, or 200,000 troops. So the big change, of course, is there`s been an invasion.

The administration is using that term vividly and correctly to rally democratic forces. On the military side, the Ukrainians themselves are amping up their military preparation to fight. Ukrainian forces were under my command when I was supreme allied commander of NATO. They are not NATO members, but close partners. They have fought with us in Afghanistan. They`ve participated in NATO missions. They are capable, they will fight. There are 250,000 of them in southeast central Ukraine, 200,000 Russians just across the border, it really is a World War II level alignment of forces.

I think there`s still a slim hope to walk back from a major set of pitched battles in southeast Ukraine. But that window is diminishing, Chris. And unfortunately, I think the chances of Putin going big, if you will, heading toward keep really pushing hundreds and thousands of troops across the border. The percentage of that chance is going up.

JANSING: Ambassador McFaul, obviously if there is any window, there is some hope that sanctions will push it through. In addition to what we heard from Biden today, other nations are also announcing sanctions tonight, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, and we heard this about U.S. sanctions from a former Treasury official Hagar Chemali. Take a listen.


HAGAR CHEMALI, FMR. TREASURY DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: What he`s trying to do is make Russia an international pariah and telling the whole world you need to partner with us in not doing business with Russia in not buying whatever goods or service they have from Russia. It gives us a negotiating a bargaining chip for future negotiations right to remove those sanctions, and over time it will financially undermine Russia`s military.


JANSING: Ambassador, how effective do you think these sanctions are going to be and will holding back the harsher punishments, the harsher sanctions potentially deter far more violent aggression?

MICHAEL MCFAUL, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: First, I support 100 percent with the Biden administration announced today and all of the other allies, especially what the Germans did with Nord Stream to when there`s a wrong action, there has to be a response. There has to be a punitive response, no matter what. I support it 100 percent.

Second, I`m not convinced that it`ll change his calculus. I don`t think Putin`s thinking about the stock market next week or next month or a year from now. I think he`s thinking about his place in Russian history books 30 years from now.

And remember when we`re sanctioning Russian individuals and companies, it`s a certain segment of the economy that we`re sanctioning. There`s another segment of the economy, the military industrial complex, those that pump out oil and gas that are close to Vladimir Putin that want to be isolated.

And I think that`s a very important thing to remember. The more exposed you are abroad and therefore exposed to sanctions, the less influence you have with Vladimir Putin back home.


So it`s the right thing to do, but I don`t have any illusions that it`s going to change Putin`s calculus.

JANSING: And Jackie, Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted this after Biden`s sanctions announcements. I`m quoting, President Biden is not seizing the moment. The sanctions outlined are woefully inadequate.

I mean, we also know congress struggled to come up with any kind of bipartisan response to Russian aggression, even before the invasion of Ukraine. I mean, what are the chances they`ll be able to come together on a response that not only penalizes Russia but offers assistance to the Ukrainian government? What are you hearing on the ground?

JACKIE ALEMANY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, well, lawmakers are at home this week. And as you noted, despite some of the criticism that Biden has received today, they ultimately failed to pass any sort of sanctions package. That being said, lawmakers like Lindsey Graham and senators Bob Menendez, James Risch have vowed to pass something in a bipartisan fashion.

But I think what this crisis is serving to do is to show the divisions that still exist in the Democratic Party, but more so in the GOP between the America first Republicans and some more of the quote unquote, globalists Republicans that Trump was able to sort of demonize throughout his four years in the White House.

And so you see people like Graham, who are hawkish who wanted sanctions from the Biden administration yesterday, being more of the outliers in the party right now compared to those who have even praised President Vladimir Putin in the spirit of tearing down Joe Biden.

And in order to, I think, sort of hype up and dramatize the Democrats reactions to Russia. That being said, there has been some bipartisan support that has emerged today, if not muted applause for Biden`s sanctions announced, although even Democrats say that they believe that they -- the administration should impose some more severe economic penalties going forward, as it`s been clear that months of these economic threats has not deterred Putin from ultimately invading Ukraine.

JANSING: That is true. Ambassador McFaul and if, as I think both you and the admiral seem to indicate they`re not likely to serve as a deterrent to Vladimir Putin do a little more deep dive, will you about Putin`s real fears? I know you`ve written that it`s not NATO, but democracy on his doorstep and how you see that playing out in this crisis?

MCFAUL: Well, he explained it to the people last night by in a really long, rambling kind of strange speech. I listened to most of it in Russian. And he didn`t get to NATO until the end of the speech, he went on and on about Ukraine.

And the bottom line is, he has told the people of his country, that we are one nation, we have the same history, and that Ukrainians don`t exist as an independent country and as an independent ethnicity.

And because of that logic, he thinks that he has a right to reunite Ukrainians with the Russian people, and he is willing to use force. I want to be clear, he`s dead wrong about it. The history that he talked about, in his interview -- in his speech last night, was wrong in many ways, he would get a really bad grade in my class here at Stanford for the history that he portrayed.

But that is the narrative. And that`s why that the idea that there`s some off ramp, if we just shut the NATO door, or we increased sanctions, I think we`re not understanding the magnitude of about what is about to happen. And he now I think, has made it pretty clear, so clear what he wants to do.

JANSING: And Phil, there was a sense of uncertainty from the White House about the use of the word invasion last night today. Absolutely no hesitation. First, we saw it in a tweet from the press secretary. We heard what the president had to say this afternoon. In reality, are they at a place where they think that the any window that there might be for a nonviolent resolution for diplomatic resolution, that window is just about closed right now? What`s the Whitehouse strategy?

PHIL RUCKER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Chris, White House officials have said they`re holding back on the most severe sanctions against Russia that have been drawn up in order to leave open the possibility of a diplomatic solution here. That being said, they are the President and his team are using that word invasion. That is a word that they did not use yesterday. So it indicates further aggression on the part of Russian forces.

And, you know, that`s the description that the U.S. government has of what they see playing out on the ground near the Russia Ukrainian border. But that being said, you saw Biden hold back on those sanctions today. He did not roll out the most aggressive and punishing sanctions that the U.S. could impose on Russia.


He has said if Russia continues to advance, continues to accelerate this movement into Ukraine, this invasion, as he put it, the sanctions will continue from the U.S. and of course from Western allies as well. But Biden is leaving open the hope the glimmer of some sort of diplomacy here in the hours ahead.

JANSING: So Admiral, what do you see in terms of that continuing advance? What are you looking for? What should we watch for in terms of any military action in the coming days?

STAVRIDIS: I would watch for cyber and cyberattacks, particularly those directed at the overall Ukrainian grid, as well as that Ukrainian command and control. Putin will want to degrade the ability of calves (ph) to control those forces that are in the field.

Number two, I would watch for the sea. I would look at the swing of the Black Sea Fleet, are they going to try and put forces ashore behind the Ukrainian lines? The Ukrainians have a fairly static defensive perimeter setup. If Putin can get behind it from the sea, that would be a very effective tactic for him.

And number three, and finally, I would watch closely where his commanders are, are the up in Belarus? Do we see Grosnov (ph) the general who is the supreme commander, the Russian forces, he`s been there for a week to 10 days overseeing the exercise is up there. Watch the commanders.

All of that, Chris, if Putin successfully rolls across eastern Ukraine, we need to be ready with Plan B. How do we get the Zelenskyy government out of the line of fire? How do we get them to the far west of Ukraine, to Lviv, where our embassy is reconstituting? Where do we put a Ukrainian government in exile in not in Lviv within their borders? Outside in Warsaw or London? Like Charles de Gaulle in World War II, how do we arm equip, finance, train a resistance in Ukraine? These are all next order considerations that the Pentagon is grappling with now.

JANSING: And Jackie, it doesn`t seem so long ago. I think all of us remember it. And yet it also seems far, far away. When both parties in a situation like this wanted to prevent a united front to the international community.

The House GOP put out this tweet tonight showing Biden walking away from the podium after today`s speech, laying out what the sanctions were going to be and it reads, This is what weakness on the world stage look like -- looks like. I mean, clearly, they`re not worried about going low. Are they figuring it`s more politically expedient to attack the president ahead of the midterms? What`s going on?

ALEMANY: Yes, I think there`s been some new polling that`s come out today, especially on the heels of Afghanistan and Biden`s public -- the public`s perception of Biden`s botched handling of his withdrawal from Afghanistan, that Biden looks increasingly weak on the foreign stage. And this is politically expedient for Republicans to attack going forward.

But I think what we`re also seeing here is the accumulation of four years of criticisms from Trump and Democrats and the president, former President Trump`s fairly solicitous attitude towards the former pres -- towards Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the constant doubt that he casts on the U.S. government`s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

This was a former president who spoke with admiration of Vladimir Putin oftentimes, and I think created a lack of norms when it comes -- when it came to criticizing the president criticizing the other party when it comes to foreign policy.

And this is just day one of the really, the Biden administration`s handling of the actual invasion and more sanctions are potentially to come. And I think we should probably expect to see Republicans continue to try to further politicize the administration`s response to Putin going forward.

JANSING: And Phil, the President is just exactly one week away from the State of the Union. And tonight, NBC is reporting that he has interviewed three Supreme Court candidates. So he`s got this convergence of domestic issues trying to show America at the same time that he`s front and center in trying to prevent the outbreak of war. What`s going on behind those doors at the White House? How are they prepping for all this?

RUCKER: That`s exactly right. Well, they`re taking it one day at a time. Obviously, the President is nearing his decision on a Supreme Court nominee we expect that could be announced as soon as later this week. He indicated he would try to have that selection done by the end of the month of February and that month of course ends next week.


And then in Tuesday, we have the State of the Union address. And I think the imperative for the President is going to be not only to address the situation in Ukraine and offer some assurance to the American people, that he has sound leadership and is guiding the situation with strength as he deals with President Putin, but also to assure Americans that he`s prioritizing the economy and inflation which continues to rise.

Obviously, the turmoil in Ukraine, it could have an impact on the gas prices here in the U.S. and other economic indicators. And I think Biden`s going to have to speak directly to Americans and their pocketbook issues and concerns and anxieties in his speech next Tuesday night if he has any hope of regaining some sort of political momentum this year heading into the November midterm elections.

JANSING: Philip Rucker, Jackie Alemany, Admiral James Stavridis. Thank you. And coming up, Ambassador McFaul will join Julia Ioffe for more on how his latest moves are playing out in both Russia and Ukraine.

Then later, the newest eye opening twist in an unusual geopolitical alliance that has hashtag trader Trump trending. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on a Tuesday night.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m afraid that he wants to keep going.

ENGEL: And if he does keep going, what does that mean for you? For the people here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means that -- it doesn`t mean that it`s a time of peace. It means that it`s a time of sadness. It`s a time of war of death.


JANSING: Of death. The unpredictability of Vladimir Putin`s next move has plunged the world into a dangerous like precarious position. One of my next guest`s points out compared to 2014 when thousands of Russians spoke out against Putin`s invasion of Ukraine, Putin has crushed what was left of his opposition.


Julia Yoffie writes in her latest column quote, when there is no one to tell Putin that a war with Ukraine would be a disaster, when he can afford not to care what anyone at home thinks. This is what we get, a furious and clearly deranged old man threatening to drag us all into World War III.

With us tonight after mentioned Julia Ioffe, a Russian born American journalist and Puck News Washington correspondent still with us, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul.

So Julia, how effective has Vladimir Putin ban at eliminating any opposition? And does whatever we think we know, about Putin`s frame of mind need to change?

JULIA IOFFE, PUCK NEWS WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, on your first question, unfortunately, he`s been prolific and virtuosic at wiping out what was left of the opposition, and it`s happened within the last year. It happened when Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader returned from Germany in mid-January of last year, he had been recuperating in Germany after having been poisoned by a military grade nerve agent by the FSB, on Putin`s orders. And he dared to come home and people came out and protested and the Kremlin hit back. And everybody is basically now in jail and exile abroad, or very quietly, trying not to end up in either of those places.

This is a country that where people go to jail for liking things on Facebook, for sharing other people`s posts on Facebook for sharing music videos that they themselves didn`t make.

And so what happens is, when you establish that kind of climate of fear, there`s no pushback. There is nobody that he has to deal with, not the opposition, and not even anybody in his own government. You know, back in 2014, there were still liberals and kind of Western oriented people in his government.

Now, as we saw at the Security Council meeting, yesterday, which looks like a deleted scene from death of Stalin, you know, you just had the people around him bowing and scraping to say whatever he needed them to say, getting scolded when they stumbled and didn`t quite get the formulation, right.

And he`s just surrounded by Yes, men. I remember on my -- one of my penultimate trips to Moscow back in 2018, meeting with a Kremlin pool reporter who said these people have no idea what`s actually going on in the population. They think everything`s great, and they`re totally informationally isolated. And that was before COVID. Before Putin started making everybody, even his close friends and allies quarantined for two weeks in a hotel to come see him. He`s clearly abandoned that recently, but you know, there`s nobody saying no to him.

JANSING: So, Michael, I mean, there actually is a column in the Washington Post making the argument that Putin has gone full Stalin even though Stalin`s brutality in Ukraine failed to achieve its objective, a quote, Putin appears determined to try the same thing Stalin tried first by taking back Crimea, which he did in 2014, then by combining it with Ukraine under Russian domination, but he seems to expect a different result, which is one definition of insanity. Do you agree with that? And how does the West deal with what David Braun do? Vaughn drily calls a Stalin wannabe?

MCFAUL: Well, I`m not sure I would use the Stalin analogy. I can think of many others. This actually reminds me of the interwar period more than the Stalin period, when there was an aggrieved country, Germany that thought that was an unfair end of World War II of the Versailles Treaty, and they wanted to right the wrongs of that, and that`s what Mr. Putin has been saying for decades. And he also has talked a lot about Russians living abroad after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and to protect them and bring them in.

But let`s leave the analogy. I don`t want to suggest that Putin is Hitler, or he is his own monster in his own way. And I think what Julia said is very important. 2021 will go down as the most repressive year in post- Soviet Russia. You know, I`m a professor, we analyze these things. We compare year to year. That`s what happened. That`s not a coincidence. Why do you think he did that? Because he didn`t want the protests. He didn`t want the independent media criticizing him before he launched this operation today.

I was just on a radio station in Russia two nights ago. It`s called Echo of Moscow, one of the kind of quasi-independent ones. And I was arguing with some of my colleagues that I knew well, I`ve known for a long time. It`s like why aren`t you care? Why do you not care about this? Why is Putin going to launch this war? There`s going to be bad for you. And they said, Michael, this is not 2014, that`s when I was ambassador last. That`s when I have I`ve been back since because I`m on the sanctions list, it`s 2022, it`s too dangerous to protest today.


JANSING: So you listen, Julia, I know to Russian propaganda, so we don`t have to. And I know you`ve said that talking points from American figures like Tucker Carlson get incorporated. So I want to get your reaction to something that he said tonight. Here it is.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: It might be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious. What is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much? As Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? As he shipped every middle class job in my town to Russia? Did he manufacture a worldwide pandemic that wrecked my business and kept me indoors for two years? Is he teaching my children to embrace racial discrimination?


JANSING: Your thoughts Julia on the argument, and then walk us through how Russian propaganda is exploiting the divisions within the U.S. for its own cause?

IOFFE: Well, what Tucker is laying out is an argument that we`ve long heard on the American right. And it is this kind of valorization of Putin and Russia as this white, Christian bastion of conservative western values, where men are men and women are women. And people go to church.

Of course, that`s not quite true of Russia, just like it`s not quite true of the U.S., but to kind of dream about each other. And there have been links between these two communities in between the American far right, and, for example, in the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian government, going back years and years, like the World Council of Families working on, you know, helping Russia make its anti-gay propaganda laws, for example, trying to get Russia to outlaw abortion, which has been legal in Russia since 1920.

So there`s been this symbiosis there for a really long time. What`s more interesting to me is the way that the left, you know, where the American political spectrum kind of horseshoes around and you get people like Tulsi Gabbard on Tucker show, and then both of them are shown on Kremlin owned TV channels, saying, Look, people in America think that the West policy that the Biden administration is crazy.

And what`s fascinating to me about the left`s kind of defensive Putin and demonization of Ukraine is, you know, they seem to have for -- it`s like this muscle memory from the Cold War when Moscow was ruled by ostensibly a leftist communist government. But now it is a kind of quasi fascist right wing government. So I`m not sure why they`re defending it.

And, and conversely, they`re painting Ukraine as this Nazi government, which is also not true. But it`s just yet another, you know, there are two things going on. I think, in America, we`re very myopic, we don`t understand -- a lot of people don`t understand the world past our borders. And we project the American system onto the rest of the world thinking the rest of the world just like us, that their politics are just like ours.

And Russia is using that to its advantage to show that there is division in Russia that Russia is no longer a bipartisan issue the way it was during the Cold War, and that it can divide and conquer if it wants to.

JANSING: Implications beyond ratings Julia Ioffe and Ambassador Michael McFaul, thanks to both of you. And coming up, he`s cheerleading from the sidelines and tonight critics are calling it treason when the 11th Hour continues.




TRUMP: So Putin is now saying it`s independent, a large section of Ukraine. I said, how smart is that? And he`s going to go in and be a peacekeeper. That`s the strongest peace for us. We could use that on our southern border. That`s the strongest peace force I`ve ever seen. They were more army tanks than I`ve ever seen. They`re going to keep peace. All right? No, but think of it, here`s a guy who`s very savvy. I know him very well, very, very well.


JANSING: And the Washington Post put it this way tonight, Trump`s reaction to Putin`s invasion of Ukraine is exactly as you`d expect. His characteristic praising of Putin stood in contrast to the reaction from some Republicans on Capitol Hill. This was close Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham earlier today.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I`d like to go after Putin and his cronies as hard as we can. I would like to make life miserable for Putin, and those who support him, because if we don`t, other bad actors are going to move quickly in other areas.


JANSING: Back with us tonight, Robert Gibbs, former Obama campaign senior advisor and White House press secretary under President Obama, he also co- hosts the Hacks on Tap podcast, and Bill Kristol, a veteran of Reagan and Bush Administration`s and editor-at-large at The Bulwark.

You know, Bill, I`m curious your reaction to what you heard from Trump. And it`s in one way easy to laugh it off. And then we just heard from Julia Ioffe who listens to so much Russian propaganda and talks about how it`s used to brainwash the Russian people about what the United States really thinks. What do you think what goes through your mind when you hear what Donald Trump had to say?

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, I mean, it`s just terrible, Chris, that the most recent U.S. president in this crisis is not trying to support the current American president, even if he`s from a different party, maybe suggest a couple of improvements if he has a couple of suggestions to strengthen our policy.

JANSING: Or just don`t say anything.

KRISTOL: Right, or just keep quiet as other presidents have at but praising Putin, praising this aggressive dictator. It`s funny, I was listening to your conversation with Julia and Mike McFaul, you know, tonight I happen to had dinner actually in DC with a Russian dissident has been an exile for seven years. I think he`s close Navalny. As they got a small group together, I listened to him to talk to him. And he was it -- it was not -- there was no space sentimentality or anything. We he was very analytical. He talks a lot about prospects, the limitations of what he hopes are, but what might happen in Russia and so forth.

But I just thought, you know, what an impressive person. I mean, he`s left his country, though he loves his country. He`s fighting for his country. And many, many people are doing that in Russia now out of Russia. Unfortunately, as Julia said.


And when you listen to Trump and Tucker Carlson live beside the politics and the exploitation of it by Putin and the terrible effects on policy that it could have here, it just morally so debased, you know, especially in this moment, when Putin is leasing -- unleashing aggression abroad, to complement his oppression at home, it`s so debased to not at least have some sense that we should be on the side of decency and freedom.

JANSING: And Robert, they`re not alone. Let me play what Mike Pompeo said last week.


MIKE POMPEO, FMR. SERETARY OF SATE UNDER TRUMP: Very shrewd, very capable. I have enormous respect for him. I`ve been criticized for saying that. Now I have enormous respect for him. He is very savvy, very true.


JANSING: Enormous respect for Putin. We definitely noticed to use some of the same language as his former boss. And Julia Davis from The Daily Beast observed on Twitter, Russian state media has also taken note of the former Secretary of State`s comments. So you know, sort of backing up what we heard from Julia.

What`s your reaction to this? I wonder, Robert, you know, having come from the communication side, what goes through your head when you hear all this?

ROBERT GIBBS, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: Well, Chris, I think we watch Donald Trump and people around him for four years do their best to normalize Vladimir Putin to the American people. And quite frankly, it was something that no level of Russian propaganda could ever have accomplished in this country.

When you listen to Donald Trump .

JANSING: And I might argue, Robert, not just normalize, but elevate.

GIBBS: Well, I was going to say what we`ve got now is we`ve moved from normalization to glamorization to idealization. And it`s remarkable when you think through the history of this country versus the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and to think of Republican leaders that came before Reagan, the great speech about tearing down the wall.

It`s remarkable to listen to, but it`s also remarkably dangerous to sit on TV again and idealize character traits of a brutal dictator. Send just all the wrong messages, not just throughout the world, but also inside of our country. And its spread. It`s not just those two people. We could spend the next couple of hours going through the normalization to the idealization to the glamorization, all of this. It`s happened and it`s happened with quite a bit of speed.

JANSING: Robert and Bill have agreed to stay with us because coming up the new effort from the former president super PAC to elevate our allies and settle scores. A look at the event that kicks off tomorrow that is being called Magapalooza when the 11th Hour continues.



JANSING: Trump`s Mar-a-Lago resort will play host tomorrow to the Congressional hopefuls he`s decided to endorse in the midterms, many of them will challenge incumbent members who Trump views as disloyal. The event is being hosted by Trump`s super PAC.

Still with us, Robert Gibbs and Bill Kristol. So Bill, fewer viewed by Trump loyalists as more anti-Trump and Liz Cheney. So one of the big events tomorrow is that they`re going to try out Jim Jordan and he`s going to interview Harriet Hagerman, who was running against Liz Cheney endorsed by Donald Trump. What do you make of Magapalooza? Is it just an opportunity for Trump to say it`s still my party?

KRISTOL: Yes, it`s an opportunity for all these other people to say, I`m part of Donald Trump`s party and I want to be part of Donald Trump`s party and I think I can win by being part of Donald Trump`s party. And, you know, we`ll see how many of them are right.

I mean, the Putin -- this interesting moment, that was Lindsey Graham, who`s paid to my view pretty disgracefully, with respect to Donald Trump is the ghost of John McCain, who I got to know Lindsey well, when we both work closely with McCain, more closely because he was a senator. But we went on trips together as set forth, foreign trips and as a ghost of John McCain came to him reminded him of what he is supposed to stand for in politics.

And Graham, I remember, yes, I was just to be on the side of freedom and democracy and against authoritarians and dictators. Maybe there`ll be a little more of that than there has been, maybe the Putin moment will split a little bit the -- will make it harder for people to simply go along with Trump, but I suppose I`ve been showing up at Mar-a-Lago tomorrow. They`re, they`re just fine with a pro-Trump and pro-Putin party.

JANSING: Yes, I guess. I mean, Robert, the cost of admission ranges from 3,000 to 250,000. But nobody`s saying this is going to the Harriet Hagenman`s because Trump has not announced as a federal candidate. So he has a lot of latitude in raising and spending money.

Having said that, maybe he`s raising money for his own, you know, reelection campaign, election campaign, and you know, he`ll use this entire episode, what he`ll see as an episode of Joe Biden allowing the invasion of Ukraine as a basis for his candidacy.

GIBBS: Yes, well, you know, he`s never stopped raising money. They`ve never stopped sending out dozens and dozens of emails. Like it`s the last week of a campaign and you`re trying to make the last media buy.

But I do think this migration toward Mar-a-Lago for this event continues to show that the biggest animating light in the Republican Party is Donald Trump. And anywhere Donald Trump is, you know, to go here, to seek the endorsement, to go back and publicize that endorsement shows that if you`re looking to win a Republican primary, he`s the person you want the most. And it will be interesting, as Bill says, do some of the comments in the last 24 hours, cause some real problems for some of these candidates. We`ll see or has, quite frankly, the party gone so far off the edge in the direction of Donald Trump, that he can get away with saying these types of things as he has for many, many years.

JANSING: We`re out of time, but I`m just curious, Bill, what you think the split in the party now is between what we heard from Donald Trump and what we heard from Lindsey Graham.

KRISTOL: I don`t know. I think grassroots work more closer to Trump but actual senators closer to Graham.

JANSING: We`re going to continue to watch that very closely. Bill Kristol, Robert Gibbs, good to see you guys. Thank you so much. And coming up the huge win for equal pay and U.S. Women`s Soccer that was years in the making. When the 11th Hour continues.



JANSING: Today, U.S. Women`s Soccer scored big. The settlement finally reached an equal pay battle that has dragged on for years. Not only will the athlete share millions, U.S. Soccer has agreed to level the playing field between the men`s and women`s teams going forward.

NBC News correspondent Emilie Ikeda has the report.


EMILIE IKEDA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, U.S. Soccer stepping up to close the gender pay gap after years of legal pressure from U.S. women`s soccer players.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is really what we set out to do equalize on all fronts.

IKEDA: In a landmark agreement, U.S. Soccer pledging to pay the women`s and men`s teams in equal rate while handing over $22 million to athletes and back pay and another 2 million for post career endeavors and charitable efforts. The deal settling 28 players gender discrimination lawsuit as long as the team`s next contract is ratified.

MEGAN RAPINOE, PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER: We not only right the wrongs of the past, but set the next generation up for something that we could only have dreamed of.

IKEDA: The gender wage gap a point of contention across the country where the average woman earns 82 cents for every dollar a man makes. The difference even larger in sports male athletes are paid anywhere from 15 to 100 percent more than their female counterparts.

The Federation and the players acknowledge getting to this day has not been easy. Team forward Megan Rapinoe among the first to file a complaint in 2016. Efforts escalated after winning their fourth World Cup three years later filing a lawsuit.

RAPINOE: The TV ratings are there, the revenue is there. The support is there. What more do you want from us?

IKEDA: A judge largely dismissed that suit but today a game changing agreement the athletes are deeming a W.

(on camera): Just for (INAUDIBLE) is a moment is this?

SARAH AXELSON, WOMEN`S SPORTS FOUNDATION: This is a big winner we can see this fight really has the potential to translate into other areas and to help us build momentum elsewhere.

IKEDA: One of the largest discrepancies between male and female soccer players in World Cup prize money a difference of hundreds of millions of dollars but that`s controlled by FIFA so it`s unclear how U.S. Soccer will close that gap as they promised. Back to you.



JANSING: Emilie Ikeda, thank you for that report. And coming up, the notorious Washington traffic can be a nightmare on a good day, a potential new challenge for the nation`s capital when the 11th Hour continues.



JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: These past weeks have been incredibly difficult for the people of our capital city. They`ve been stressful and disturbing for all Canadians. The situation is not anything anyone wanted. And quite frankly, not anything we`d want to see again.


JANSING: The last thing before we go tonight, could there be even more gridlock in Washington. The Department of Defense has approved the request from U.S. Capitol Police and DC officials for National Guard troops to help control protest s in our nation`s capitol in the coming days. Bob Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania, says he`s part of a convoy that`s heading to the Washington area tomorrow. He told her NBC affiliate WRC in Washington, that he was inspired by the truckers protesting in Canada.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I respect what they`ve done standing up for what they believe.


JANSING: So what exactly will these truckers be protesting? Well, Bala says they`re challenging high fuel prices, vaccine mandates critical race theory, and people in jail for the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

So just a general airing of grievances, though it`s not clear whether more complaints will equal more protesters, because how large and just how disruptive these protests will be is still unknown. Local law enforcement agencies say they`ll be monitoring the situation as it develops.

And as a reminder, Stephanie Ruhle starts as host right here on the 11th Hour begins second but for tonight, that is our broadcast for is Tuesday with our thanks for being with us. On behalf of all of my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.