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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 3/16/22

Guests: Tim Kaine, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Jamil Jaffer, Vladimir Kara- Murza, Brian Klaas


Today, President Zelenskyy addressed the U.S. Congress remotely from Kyiv in a powerful speech calling on all American companies to leave the Russian market because it is flooded with Ukrainian blood and played a powerful video showing Ukraine before and after the invasion. Just today, President Biden announced the U.S. will send Ukraine anti-aircraft systems, longer-range anti-aircraft systems, anti-armor systems, small arms including machine guns, shotguns, grenade launchers, ammunition, and drones. President Biden called Vladimir Putin today a war criminal. Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a televised address to the Russian people where he again repeated the lies that Ukraine is run by Nazis and that Ukraine is collaborating with the U.S. to develop biological weapons.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: And by the way, there are Ukrainians at the southern border. I wish we had more time because we need to get into that irony that they`re trying to come into the southern border where we`re keeping people back with Title 42. A whole longer conversation, I wish we had more time. But that -- I will just thank you. Congresswoman Ilhan. Omar, thank you very much.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.



VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE: The leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.

HASAN: A direct appeal from the President of Ukraine and a promise of more military aid from the President of the United States. Tonight, what more could and should be done.

Then, as Russia continues to bombard Ukraine, is there finally some movement on peace talks? Plus --

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think he is a war criminal.

HASAN: The sanctions taking effect as Putin says Russia is getting canceled by the West when ALL IN starts right now.


HASAN: Good evening from Washington D.C. I`m Mehdi Hasan in for Chris Hayes. In my lifetime, there has never been a world leader like the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. That is not an exaggeration. I cannot think of any world leader who has won and deserved this kind of praise.

He has united much of the globe behind him and his besieged country. And he has been genuinely courageous, not just politically courageous, saying things no one else would say, but literally risking his life for his nation, and possibly saving it from ruin.

Today, President Zelenskyy addressed the U.S. Congress remotely from Kyiv in a powerful speech. He spoke through a translator for much of the speech. He called on all American companies to leave the Russian market because it is flooded with Ukrainian blood, he said, before playing a powerful video showing Ukraine before and after the invasion.

He closed by addressing Congress in English, saying Ukrainians are fighting for the values of Europe and the world before making a personal plea to President Biden.


ZELENSKYY: As the leader of my nation, I`m addressing the President Biden. You are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace. Thank you.


HASAN: Tonight, NBC News` Lester Holt spoke with President Zelenskyy in an exclusive interview about whether President Biden had done enough to help Ukraine. Take a listen to what he said.


LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: President Biden has been very clear he`s worried about provocations that could trigger World War III. Do you understand his concern there? And do you agree that it wouldn`t take much to end up in World War III?

ZELENSKYY (through translator): Well, nobody knows where there -- it may have already started. And what is the possibility of this war if Ukraine will fall, in case Ukraine will fall? It`s very hard to say. And we`ve seen this 80 years ago when the Second World War has started. And there were similar tragedies in the history. And nobody would be able to predict when the full-scale war would start and how it will end and who will end -- put an end to that. In this case, we have this whole civilization at stake.


HASAN: We can respectfully disagree about whether or not World War III has begun and the need for nations not directly involved in the fighting to be mindful that this does not escalate. But you cannot blame the Ukrainian president for asking for every tool he can to defend his country.

President Biden has been under quite a bit of pressure to do more from Zelenskyy, from members of both political parties, and from the media. But maybe in all the coverage, you`ve missed what President Biden has already done, including what he announced today, because it is our nature as the media to often simplify everything.

We reduce everything about U.S. involvement in Ukraine these days to no-fly zone or nothing. Now, there is an argument to be had about a no-fly zone, and I`m going to have it later in the show with a former Bush administration official. But let`s talk first about what is actually being done to help Ukraine right now, which is pretty huge, and dare I say, unprecedented.

Just today, President Biden announced the U.S. will send Ukraine 800 anti- aircraft systems plus additional longer-range anti-aircraft systems and their munitions, 9000 anti-armor systems which he said are "portable, higher accuracy, shoulder-mounted missiles," 7000 small arms including machine guns, shotguns, grenade launchers, 20 million rounds of ammunition, artillery, and mortars for small arms and drones too.


Biden did not specify what kind of drones but NBC News reports the Biden administration will provide Ukraine with U.S.-made drones called Switchblades that can accurately target tanks and artillery from miles away. According to the White House, that list brings the total of new U.S. security aid to Ukraine to $1 billion just this week.

And that is an addition to a long list of aircraft, weapons and military equipment previously sent to Ukraine including, but not limited to over 600 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, approximately 2600 Javelin anti-armor systems, five MI-17 helicopters, three patrol boats, four counter artillery and counter unmanned aerial system tracking radars, four counter mortar radar systems, and lots and lots of guns and ammo.

And that is in addition to a slew of draconian financial measures such as a U.S. ban on all Russian oil imports and sanctions against Russia Central Bank, Russian oligarchs, and Putin himself. Plus, Joe Biden pushed the majority of European nations to join the U.S. in doing most of these sanctions, and brought together a NATO that is now more united than it was under President Obama, and obviously, more so than under President Trump.

In fact, just for a moment, let me remind you that it could have been this guy in charge right now recklessly threatening nuclear war.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, Biden, every time he gets up, he says they are a nuclear nation. He should say we are a nuclear nation. And you know, I rebuilt our whole nuclear arsenal, stronger, bigger, better than ever before. It`s better and it`s bigger than Russia.

He should say, we are a nuclear nation, and we don`t want war. And we don`t want to wipe out anything to do -- and we don`t want to wipe out Russia.


HASAN: Seriously, that guy? Look, obviously, for Ukrainians who are being bombarded each and every day by the Russian military, what they have gotten is not nearly enough. And that is totally understandable. But from an objective point of view, I feel like we should actually stop and say, good job to the Biden administration for what they`ve pulled off over the past three weeks.

Now, of course, Ukrainians continue to suffer and be killed tragically. And there are still massive unresolved issues, including the issue of whether or not to send fighter jets direct to Ukraine, an issue that President Biden passed on today.


KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, what will it take for you to send the Polish MiGs that President Zelenskyy is asking for?

BIDEN: I`m not going to comment on that right now. I`m not going to comment on that. Thank you.


HASAN: So, what happens next? I`m joined now by Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, thanks for joining me this evening. If you had been president of the U.S. for the last three weeks, how would you have handled things? Would you have done anything differently to what Joe Biden`s done?

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Mehdi, thank you for the question. And the way you`ve put it in a three-week time framework, I really think you have to look at it before because what President Biden, Secretary Blinken, Secretary Ross and others did was they have for months been assembling this coalition of allies for sharing intelligence with them, and then getting them to coordinate our activities.

So, just to give you an example. It took a lot of work behind the scenes to get Germany to agree to scrap the Nord Stream pipeline. They didn`t want to do it. They really need natural gas because they`re phasing out coal and nuclear. They didn`t want to do this but the U.S. got them to agree if there`s an invasion, we have to do this.

And so, what the Biden team has done is crushing sanctions, cancellation of the Nord Stream pipeline, massive delivery of humanitarian and military aid, pushing to prosecute Putin as a war criminal. I think the Biden team has done a very good job of assembling allies, although we are not yet stopping the brutal and illegal Russian invasion and that`s a tragedy.

HASAN: So, on that note, Senator, what do you then make of President Biden no comment today on Zelenskyy`s request for Polish fighter jets? Do you think that`s maybe because it is under consideration, the policy is changing? What is your position on this?

KAINE: Let me tell you, Mehdi, the way I look at it. I don`t think there`s any red lines in terms of what military equipment and capacity NATO and the United States get to Ukrainians. I don`t think -- you know, we`re sending in missiles and anti-tank systems and air defense systems and you put up your graphic about what we have done. It was $3 billion of military aid from 2014 through the end of 2021, a billion of it in the last year. And we just passed a bill last week to do another $6.5 billion of military aid to Ukraine. There`s humanitarian aid in addition to this.


So, the key is not is it a -- is it a, you know, air defense system, a missile or a, you know, a jet. That`s not the issue. We will get to them the assets they need. What President Biden has said it will not be us or NATO troops either on the ground or in the air in Ukraine.

What we have to do is get them aid that sufficient and lethal enough that they can use. There are things we could give them that they can`t use. Let`s give them the things that they can use to defend the country.

HASAN: So, Ukrainian president Zelenskyy showed you and your colleagues today a disturbing, sometimes graphic video, powerful video during his address today. I want to play part of that tape for our viewers.


HASAN: Yes, I want to play some of that for our viewers tonight. Have a listen.



HASAN: Senator, what effect did that video have on you when you first saw it today. And you can see there, it ends with close the sky. You just mentioned a moment ago, we shouldn`t be getting militarily directly involved. But that is what Zelenskyy wants, that is the purpose of that very powerful video.

KAINE: And Mehdi, it was a very emotional moment when we were all together here in the capitol watching President Zelenskyy`s appeal, that video, and then his close to us in English, you know, was very, very powerful. But we are going to make sure -- I mean, again $3 billion in military aid over the last seven years, and we`re just -- we just approved $6.5 billion of military aid. We will get the Ukrainian Defense Forces aid in a quantity and lethality that will enable them to defend their country.

Again, the tragedy is with all of the sanctions and all of these efforts, Putin is not stopping. But my prediction is this we`re going to break Putin over the rack of his own bloodlust. And it will not happen as fast as we might want, but that`s what Ukrainian resistance and allied support is going to do.

HASAN: One last question, Senator. Your Republican Senate colleague Joni Ernst, who is a veteran, said today that Zelenskyy`s speech made her "Want to throw on my uniform, you know, and go help." But didn`t she oppose convicting Donald Trump for trying to extort that same man, Zelenskyy? It feels like Republicans once again are rewriting history here.

KAINE: Well, it is. I mean, you know, we had this impeachment trial two years ago, and it was about Donald Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine against the law, violating the Anti-Empowerment Act, violating Congressional Appropriations Rules, withholding military aid to Ukraine unless he could get a political favor from Zelenskyy.

Zelenskyy wouldn`t do it, Donald Trump hurt Ukraine`s ability to defend itself. We are flooding the zone in Ukraine -- and not just the United States. When you get Germany to send weapons into a war zone, when you get Sweden and Finland who are not NATO allies to send weapons to Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden`s leadership have unified the West to see the value of NATO and alliances, the need to stand up against tyrants, and that`s what we`re doing.

HASAN: I think you meant Volodymyr Zelenskyy but I take your point.


HASAN: Senator Tim Kaine, thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it.

KAINE: Thank you, Mehdi.

HASAN: Turning now to the situation on the ground in Ukraine. NBC News Correspondent Cal Perry joins me live from the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv. Cal, what is the situation on the ground there?

CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): So, today, I`m going to walk you through three brutal attacks that occurred on civilian populations while President Zelenskyy was speaking to Congress. These are all attacks just in the last 16 hours.

You mentioned Mariupol. Mariupol is quickly becoming the face of this war. It is becoming the Aleppo-like city in Ukraine. It is the worst that humanity has to offer. The pictures from inside these hospitals are devastating.

Dead children lining these hallways, we know of these mass graves. And then, today, we had an aerial strike on a theater in which hundreds of civilians were taking cover, many of them children. Were told by local officials that the entryway to that theater has collapsed and so they`re unable to reach some of the people who are trapped inside.


To the north of that, Zaporizhzhia. Zaporizhzhia is a place that people are transiting through on their way west. In Zaporizhzhia, you have a community center where there is a list that people can check to see if their family members have made it out OK. Those Crossroads are being targeted by the Russians as civilians are leaving. At least five civilians were wounded earlier today. That number is far higher. It`s just we can only confirm those five that were wounded.

And then all the way to the north, north of Kyiv in the city of charm Eve. We heard from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, saying that at least 10 people were shot at, "shot at" -- those are the words by the U.S. Embassy -- while waiting in a breadline.

And state television here is leading with these pictures, bodies in the streets of a city north of Kyiv. Again, it`s just an indication that the Russians are targeting the very things that civilians are using to try to survive, be at a theater in the south, or crossroads in the center of the country, or in the north where people are desperate for food.

It is the Russians who are targeting these things. They`re doing it very clearly on purpose. We`re hearing from people on the ground and we`ve been hearing that since the beginning of the war not to give up the locations of hospitals. There have been 117 hospitals hit since the beginning of this war, seven have been completely destroyed. More than 50 ambulances have been hit, Mehdi, again in just less than three weeks.

HASAN: Absolutely horrific. Cal Perry live in Lviv tonight, thank you as ever for your reporting. Please do stay safe.

After three weeks of war, new signs that the peace talks between Russia and Ukraine may be making progress. I`ll talk to a member of the Ukrainian parliament about the state of those negotiations. That`s next. Don`t go away.




HOLT: I`d like to begin by asking you the status of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. There`s been some reporting that the framework of a deal is being hammered out, one in which you would renounce NATO ambitions, declared neutrality, not allow foreign militaries to base on your land. Can you confirm any of that and update us on the status of negotiations?

ZELENSKYY (through translator): Well, thank you for this question, Lester. First of all, the negotiations are still in progress. The negotiations are fairly difficult. And the current conditions of negotiation, I would say, it continues. Any war could be finished at the table of negotiations.


HASAN: We opened the show tonight talking about what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy needs in order to keep fighting, defending, and surviving. And we tend to talk about the war in the context of the military for obvious reasons.

But as President Zelensky told NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, the reality is that this war is going to have to end at the negotiating table. And there may be reason for cautious optimism on that front tonight. Representatives from Ukraine and Russia have been meeting in Turkey for peace talks which President Zelensky now called more realistic.

The Financial Times reports a draft 15 Point Plan would include a Russian withdrawal in exchange for Ukraine declaring neutrality and accepting limits on its military. And despite the protestations from some that this invasion had nothing to do with NATO at all, surprise, surprise an agreement not to join NATO is also part of these negotiations.

And while Ukraine would be barred from hosting foreign military bases, it would get security assurances from the U.S., U.K., and Turkey. But it is clear a final deal is still a long way off. In fact, an aide to Zelenskyy tweeted that the reported negotiations were a draft" representing the requesting position of the Russian side, nothing more.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze is a member of the Ukrainian parliament, former Vice Prime Minister for Matters of European Integration. She now chairs the European -- the Ukrainian Parliament`s Committee on European Integration. She joins me now.

Thank you so much for coming on the show. Do you see any signs of optimism that a deal --


HASAN: Do you see any signs of optimism that a deal could get done or are the two sides in Turkey just too far apart as his war goes on?

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: No, I do not see any compromises at this particular moment that would be going into concessions towards Russian Federation. As soon as you suggest and offer some concessions to Russian Federation, its appetite growth immediately.

So, it`s pretty difficult to have negotiations with the country -- terrorist country that works exclusively through ultimatums and that wants to destroy you. Basically, that`s something that (INAUDIBLE), at some point, said about Israel, that is impossible to negotiate on peace with someone who came into with only goal to kill you. That`s exactly what we are going through right now.

So, I don`t have any serious optimism or any cautious optimism with regard to these negotiations. The only maximum that we can expect from these talks at this moment, I think, maybe some humanitarian corridors to get people out from those absolutely horrific places where the cities are being shelled, pounded by Russian weaponry from the ground and from the air.

HASAN: You mentioned compromises, and I know you don`t speak for the Ukrainian government, but just speaking for yourself as a Ukrainian, a Ukrainian lawmaker. I`m wondering, if the Russians said that they were willing to pull out tomorrow and end their brutal war, if they got to keep the Donbas and Crimea, and if Ukraine swore off NATO membership forever, would that be acceptable to you a deal like that to end the war or no?


KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: There is not -- no way to be neutral near such neighbor as Russian Federation. We were non-block state when Russia first invaded Ukraine back in 2014 when it grabbed part of our territory in Crimea. So, don`t be misled by those demands of Russian Federation.

Neutrality for us would mean -- if we accept it today, that would mean slavery tomorrow, and destroying of Ukrainian state, losing our statehood, losing our nation, and as Russia wants to erase us from the map of the world. So, therefore, I do not see how such demands of Russian Federation would be accepted by Ukrainian officials.

Moreover, any change in the European and Euro Atlantic course of Ukraine demands 300 votes constitutional majority in the Parliament of Ukraine. I do not see those parliamentarians being suicidal to actually vote for that, because Ukrainian society would not accept it.

HASAN: It`s a good point. And of course, we shouldn`t forget the 1994 Budapest Memorandum where the Russians offered security assurances, and they violated those, of course. President Zelenskyy spoke to Congress this morning, the first leader to do so from a city under attack. How is your speech being received back home? Do you think you and your colleagues in Parliament, do he think he pushed the right points?

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: We do support what the Ukrainian authorities at this particular moment do. And you have to understand that I represent an opposition party that was in in fierce opposition to President Zelenskyy and his party before 24th of December -- of February.

But at this particular point, we are all united around defense of the country. And we are all united in order to achieve something that is important for Ukraine, to preserve our sovereignty, independence, regain territorial integrity, and to have our chance to have the future and to have our right to have the basic right to live.

That`s where we are at this particular point. So, I hope that President Zelenskyy has hit the right buttons, but -- and we appreciate what the U.S. is doing at this particular moment for us. But unfortunately, I think that the West is a couple of huge steps still behind Russian Federation in whatever it is waging against us.

HASAN: Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, thank you so much for joining us on the show tonight. I appreciate it.


HASAN: Next, as President Biden steps up military aid for Ukraine, how much more can and should the U.S. be doing? The no-fly zone debate that isn`t going away, we`re going to have it tonight right after this.



ZELENSKYY (through translator): This is a terror that Europe has not seen - - has not seen for 80 years and we are asking for a reply for an answer to this terror from the whole world. Is this a lot to ask for to create a no- fly zone over Ukraine to save people? Is this too much to ask?


HASAN:" Today Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated his request for a no-fly zone over Ukraine even though rightly in my view it`s a non-starter for this administration. And while President Biden has been clear and consistent that measures like a no-fly zone with American jets and pilots and military equipment could escalate the Russian invasion of Ukraine into World War III, there are some people who believe he should send in the U.S. military anyway.

One of them is Jamil Jaffer, the former White House Associate Counsel under President George W. Bush. In an op-ed for The Hill, Jaffer wrote with former U.S. General Keith Alexander, he says, "We should make clear that while we don`t want a war, we no longer can stand by and watch Vladimir Putin kill innocent civilians. We should deploy the U.S. Air Force and hopefully those of our allies over Ukraine to stop the killing and enforce Russia`s withdrawal by establishing a no-fly zone."

And Jamil Jaffer joins me now. Thanks so much for coming on the show. Congressman Michael McCaul, the ranking Republican, not Democrat, Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee has said that a no-fly zone over Ukraine would result in automatic World War III. Republican Senator Marco Rubio says the same. So, why on earth are you still advocating for something that even top Republicans say will start World War III.

JAMIL JAFFER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ASSOCIATE COUNSEL: Well, Mehdi, this isn`t about Democrats or Republicans, it`s about what the United States and our allies will set in Europe, in Ukraine. We`ve seen the Russians come across the border illegally. We`ve seen them now escalate the conflict going after civilian targets, going after apartment buildings, going after schools, hospitals and the like. At some point, we have to bring this to a close.

If we let it fester, this is only going to get worse. Vladimir Putin is already doubling down on targeting civilians. This is likely to get dramatically worse over the next weeks and months rather than better. We have an obligation to step in, stop the killing, bring it to a halt, and get a negotiated solution and get the Russians out of Ukraine.

HASAN: I agree with everything you just said except for the setting up a no-fly zone that would kick off World War III because the Russian military in the American military would be in a hot war, in a shooting war. You cannot Set up a no-fly zone has everyone from General Mark Milley, to General Lloyd Austin, to Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO have pointed out, unless you take out Russian air defense systems, unless you`re willing to enforce it and shoot down Russia aircraft.

How would that make the situation in Ukraine better to have American aircraft shooting down Russian aircraft with Vladimir Putin sitting on the biggest nuclear-armed stockpile on planet earth?


JAFFER: Well, the real question is does Vladimir Putin want a shooting war with United States. I think the answer is he does not and neither do we. If we were to establish no-fly zone, right, it doesn`t require shooting down Russian aircraft unless they violate the no-fly zone.

So, as long as Putin is willing to engage in a negotiation, once you`ve established a no-fly zone, right, then we move the ball forward. Today, there is no incentive for Putin to negotiate. The President has made clear, we`re not here to engage militarily. That means couldn`t can do essentially anything you want, perhaps not unconventional weapons, nuclear, chemical, and bio. But short of that, he can essentially do anything you want, including targeting civilians. How can that be better, Mehdi? We got to figure out a way to bring this to a halt --

HASAN: I understand the emotional argument. No one wants to see the scenes that we`re putting up on screen right now. I`m just -- coming from a practical point of view. You can`t have it both ways. We`re told today by the President that Vladimir Putin is a war criminal. We`re told his evil. We`re told he`s mad. We`re told that he`s isolated. And yet you`re telling me very confidently that if we shoot down Russian aircraft over Ukraine, he won`t use even tactical nuclear weapons? How can you be so sure?

JAFFER: Well, I think -- look, I think Vladimir Putin at some level understands that he would -- he would -- it would bring the entire world against him, it would engage a conflict that he doesn`t want. He does not want to lose power Russia, he does not want to lose his collateral. He wants to negotiate solution too. The problem is right now, there`s nothing pushing us towards the resolution, right?

The U.S. is getting involved and say, look, we`re going to enforce discipline in this place. We`re not going to let him continue to massacre civilians. That`s the only thing you can bring resolution this. Today, the killing will only continue. Vladimir Putin has no incentive to negotiate today. The U.S. can create that incentive.

Now, it`s true that it might -- it has a possibility of escalating, right? But the fact of the matter is, there is no prevention today for Vladimir Putin escalating the attacks on Ukraine. In fact, we`ve seen him do it. Mehdi, how do we bring this thing to a conclusion if we don`t get involved at some level?

HASAN: I don`t understand how we bring it to a conclusion by risking a nuclear war which even you admit is a risk. Quick practical question for you. A lot of the damage being done in Ukraine is being done by Russian artillery, not by Russian Air Force jets, so a no-fly zone wouldn`t even protect a lot of the Ukrainian civilians we want to protect.

JAFFER: Well, part of the -- part of the situation with a no-fly zone is it`ll allow Ukrainian military to have a more aggressive action against Russian forces on the ground. You`re right. Some of the artillery is based outside of Ukraine, the long-range artillery. That`s a separate problem, right, and one that we have to figure out a way to deal with.

But at least in the short run, establishing a no-fly zone provides a dramatic benefit to the Ukrainian military that`s already hunting heroically without the necessary weapons they need. We should have given them weapons long ago, a lot more. Yes, now we put $200 million or $800 million. This is a lot too late, Mehdi.

HASAN: I think giving weapons is very different from attacking Russians. One last quick question. Joe Biden called Vladimir Putin a war criminal today. Back in 2001, when President George W. Bush met with Putin, he said this. Have a listen.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I look the man in the eye. I found it to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul as a man deeply committed to his country and the best interest of his country. And I appreciate it very much the frank dialogue.


HASAN: You worked for President Bush. He was one of many American leaders who got played by Vladimir Putin, was he not? He thought he was a reformer, trustworthy, looked at his soul.

JAFFER: I think President Bush would admit he was wrong about that. Just like President Obama would admit he was wrong to whisper to Vladimir Putin. Hey, you know, give me a little room just like President Trump. Well, he might not admit he was wrong, but he was wrong too when he said he trusted Vladimir Putin over his intelligence community, and President Biden thinking against all odds that economic sanctions would keep Vladimir Putin away from Ukraine. I think he`d have to admit today too, he was wrong.

We`ve just all acknowledged we`ve got Vladimir Putin wrong. Now is the time he respects and understand strength, Mehdi. We have not shown that. President Biden needs to show strength. That will bring the resolution, not allow it to fester, and (INAUDIBLE).

HASAN: Yes, given we`ll go Vladimir Putin wrong, maybe we shouldn`t confidently declare that he won`t use nukes. Jamil Jaffer, thank you for coming on the show and debating this. I appreciate it.

JAFFER: Thank, Mehdi. I appreciate you.

HASAN: Next, while the Russian sanctions targeting people like Joe Biden and Jen Psaki and Hillary Clinton are largely symbolic, it is worth noting who they didn`t sanction, the last president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. I wonder why. That`s next.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re crippling Putin`s economy with punishing sanctions that`s going to only grow more painful over time with the entire NATO and E.U. behind us and many other countries.


HASAN: In response to those crippling sanctions which are devastating Russia`s economy, Moscow has announced new sanctions of its own against a hodgepodge of American officials including White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and even Hillary Clinton who has not worked in government in nearly a decade.

Putin also tried to sanction President Biden himself, although as Psaki points out, he may not have actually succeeded on that front.


PSAKI: I would first note that President Biden is a junior, so they may have -- may have sanctioned his dad. May he rest in peace. The second piece I would say is that it won`t surprise any of you that none of us are planning tourist trips to Russia and none of us have bank accounts that we won`t be able to access so we will forge ahead.


HASAN: But you may have noticed one person not on Putin`s list, Donald J. Trump. Because even as Republicans try to revise history to pretend that Trump was strong on Russia, that was clearly not the case. Check it out. We have receipts.


TRUMP: Nobody was ever tougher on Russia than me. I`m the one that stopped the pipeline. I have it stopped. I`m the one that put all the sanctions on.

My people came to me, Dan Coates came to me and some others. They said they think it`s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it`s not Russia. I will say this. I don`t see any reason why it would be.

As everyone understands this horrific disaster would never have happened if our election was not rigged and if I was the president.

You know, I was in Moscow a couple of months ago. I own the Miss Universe pageant, and they treated me so great. Putin even sent me a present, beautiful present with a beautiful note.

I stopped his pipeline, I sanction them more than anybody ever sanctioned them.

Putin called me a genius. Putin said Donald Trump is a genius.

Nobody was ever tougher on Russia.

But if the United States got along with Russia, it wouldn`t be so bad.

This would not have happened during my administration.


TRUMP: There are a lot of killers. We got a lot of killers. Why, do you think our country is so innocent?

And in fact, some people were saying why did this take place -- take place over the last four years during our administration? And it didn`t for a very good reason, and I explained that to you someday.

I don`t think Putin has any respect whatsoever for Clinton. I think he does respect me. And I hope I get along great with him.


HASAN: Of course, a lot of that nonsense assumes Putin is a rational actor and not just a geopolitical troll. More on that next with a panel of experts. Don`t go away.



HASAN: Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a televised address to the Russian people where he again repeated the lies that Ukraine is run by Nazis and that Ukraine is collaborating with the U.S. to develop biological weapons. Just to be absolutely clear, both of those statements are not true.

Notably, Putin also acknowledged the impact Western sanctions are having on Russia`s economy, conceding that they will lead to rampant unemployment and inflation for the Russian people. But Putin did not acknowledge the sanctions are a result of his own war of choice, his own war of aggression. Rather, he deflected and accused the west of trying to, I kid you not, cancel Russia and its culture.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (text): In many Western countries, people, just because they came from Russia, are subjected to real bullying today. They are denied medical care, their children are expelled from schools, their parents are deprived of jobs, they ban Russian music, culture, literature, trying to cancel Russia.


HASAN: It`s the same defense, you see right-wingers on Twitter use when they face consequences for their own bad behavior, canceled culture. But unlike those other Twitter trolls, Vladimir Putin has nuclear weapons.

Joining me now Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian opposition, activist, and former politician who served as deputy leader of Russia`s People`s Freedom Party. He was poisoned twice, once in 2015, and once in 2017. And those attacks were later tied to members of the Russian Federal Security Service.

Also with me tonight, Brian Klaas, an Associate Professor of Global Politics at University College London. He`s the author of Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us. And he just wrote a piece in The Atlantic arguing that Vladimir Putin is falling into the dictator trap.

Thank you both for being here. Vladimir, let me start with you. You know firsthand just how dangerous Putin can be. Where do you see this conflict going next? Do you believe Putin is going to escalate not just in Ukraine, but given what he was saying in his addressed today, escalate at home against Russian dissidents and opposition activists?

VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA, FORMER DEPUTY LEADER OF RUSSIA`S PEOPLE`S FREEDOM PARTY: Well, we have 22 years of track record of Vladimir Putin dictatorship to evaluate the situation exactly as it is. Look, Mr. Putin came to power generation ago. And the first thing he did was he began targeting independent media, political opponents, opposition parties, elections, and so on.

In Russia -- and all this time while he was doing this, while he was stifling dissent, while he was dismantling and destroying democracy and checks and balances in our country, Western leaders continue to offer him red carpet treatment and shake his hand and get a sense of his soul and declare resets and so on, as you were discussing in the previous segment of your program, completely failing to understand the basic lesson of Russian history and that is that domestic repression and external aggression are always two sides of the same coin.

We also know how the appeasement of dictators ends. We know this from history. We know this with a very high price. And I think the world is paying a very high price today once again for failing to heed those warnings that for years and years was sounded mostly from Russia itself from our colleagues and friends in the Russian pro-democracy movement about just who Vladimir Putin is.

And you know, it took a major landscape of war in the middle of Europe to finally open the world`s eyes to the reality of this authoritarian, unelected, unaccountable, and, frankly, increasingly deranged dictator in the Kremlin.

It`s anybody`s guess as to how this can escalate into where this can lead. But it`s very important that I hope that at least by now, the free world realizes this. The only again, the only strategic solution to this, the only way to stop this unceasing streak of crimes, repressions, and wars of aggression is to have Vladimir Putin finally out of power. Only Russians in Russia could do that needless to say.


HASAN: Of course. And Brian let me bring you in here. Vladimir referred to a deranged dictator in Moscow. What is the dictator trap that you believe Vladimir Putin has fallen into?

BRIAN KLAAS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF GLOBAL POLITICS, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Yes, you know, there`s this -- there`s this long-standing myth of what Donald Trump called savvy or genius associated with strong men, and it`s a myth. And they fall into dictator traps because what they do is they try to create a fake reality in order to convince their people that they should be in charge, to spread propaganda, etcetera.

And then they succumb to miscalculation because they believe that reality is actually true. And Vladimir Putin has long been surrounded by yes men who operate like bobbleheads who basically say yes to everything, because the people who say no to him end up purged. And over 22 years, that means that you have cronies who only tell you, you`re a genius, you`re savvy, and you`re doing everything right.

And so, you know, one of the other things that happens the longer you`re in power, and this is something I write about a lot is that it actually goes to your head. It changes your psychology. It changes even your brain chemistry and creates something called illusory control where you begin to believe that you can control outcomes that you can`t actually control -- you can`t actually change.

And as a result of this combination, Putin has fallen into this dictator trap of believing his own lives, believing his own fake reality is real, and therefore miscalculating badly. And the Ukrainians, unfortunately, are very much paying the price at the moment.

HASAN: And Brian, Congresswoman Jackie Speier appeared on this network over the weekend. And she said this, about how to end the war. Have a listen.


REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): We`ve got to craft a win for Putin, which is kind of disgusting to have to even say that. But for this war to come to an end, that`s what we have to give him. Some saying that he can go home and say, you know, I have -- I`m victorious.


HASAN: Brian, do you agree with that, that with someone like Putin, we have to placate his ego if we`re going to get a peace deal.

KLAAS: I think that when you try to appease dictators, it`s a losing game. And I also think that it`s a situation where if we go down that road, we`re going to only open ourselves up to further conflicts. Obviously, you know, if Putin can claim some sort of small, small victory that would open up a road to peace, that`s worth considering.

But I also think it`s important that he`s seen to lose this war. It`s crucial that he is seen to have catastrophically miscalculated, because otherwise I think it will pave the way for further aggression in the future. And we`ll be right back here with another war in months or years. The same way that I think, by the way, we should have had a harsher response to many, many other acts of aggression of Vladimir Putin perpetrated on the global stage previously.

HASAN: Vladimir, you were shaking your head there. If Putin can`t be trusted, as I assume you`re about to say with any diplomatic deal, where does that leave us? Does that mean there`s no end to this war? Because as even President Zelenskyy said, today, the war has to end at the negotiating table, does it not?

KARA-MURZA: Well, let me just say it was absolute travesty what the congresswoman was saying because, you know, how many more political opponents Putin needs to murder? How many more countries he needs to invade for the West to finally stop this business of appeasing a deranged and murderous dictator?

Look, the only way to end this war and the only way to end all of the wars of aggression, all the regressions, and all the other crimes that the Putin regime has committed is to have Vladimir Putin out of power. There is no other solution.

Now, nobody`s advocating regime change from outside, obviously. Only Russians in Russia can change the political reality on the ground. And I think one of the main priorities for the free world for Western democracies right now should we help give the Russian people the truth, the objective information, the real news in the Russian language to counter that totally false, distorted, imaginary, Orwellian reality that has been created by Putin`s propaganda machine.

And I also want to say that I couldn`t agree more with what Professor Klaas was saying. I mean, there`s a reason most democracies have term limits for their leaders. It`s just not OK to be in power for so long. You lose all sense of reality. You start living in your own bubble. And we are seeing the effects of this.

And you know, for years and years, Vladimir Putin was a danger to us, to the people of Russia. He`s now a danger to the whole world, and he needs to be stopped.

HASAN: Vladimir Kara-Murza and Brian Klaas, fascinating discussion, but we`ll have to leave it there. Thank you both for your analysis. I appreciate it.

That is ALL IN on this Wednesday evening. You can find me again on MSNBC on my show this Sunday night where Senator Ben Cardin of the Foreign Affairs Committee will join me to talk Ukraine. That`s at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday right here on MSNBC.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now with Ali Velshi. Good evening, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Mehdi, thank you. Have a good evening to you as well. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. I`m in Budapest, Hungary today, the capital of Ukraine`s Western neighbor, Hungary.

We`re going to start tonight on the other side of Ukraine, though, the eastern side, in the city of Mariupol. Mariupol is a port city of about half a million people. Look at it on the map. It`s only about 30 miles from the Russian border.