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Pentagon: U.S. Has Sent Ukraine 100 Switchblade Drones; Polish President: "Hard To Deny" That Russian Forces Are Committing Genocide In Ukraine; WAPO: Trump Says He Wanted To March To Capitol On Jan. 6. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired April 07, 2022 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: A jarring warning from Ukraine's top diplomat who tells NATO leaders quote, the battle for Donbass. That's an eastern Ukraine quote, will remind you of the Second World War.
With me to share his insights and expertise is retired Brigadier General Steve Anderson. General Anderson, grateful for your time. So what we're talking about over here? We see the Donbass is here. We've seen this fight throughout eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainians are saying they expect a very heavy Russian assault on this region. It's already been under attack.
And you'll see the red where Russia is, at least Russian troops are present if not a control. When you hear General Milley says we're sending an anti-tank weapons, General -- Secretary Austin, excuse me, says we're sharing intelligence with the Ukrainians. When you hear like World War II, what are we talking about here?
BRIG. GEN. STEVE ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, John, what we need to do is flood the zone just like General Milley is saying. We have absolutely got to prepare for an extended battle down there. We've got kind of a strategic pause right now. The Ukrainians have won a stunning victory in Kyiv. It's going to take them at least a month to regroup. I mean, those troops up there are decimated, those battalion tactical groups, 40 of the 130 they started with, are combat ineffective.
So I want to remind that everybody in America that we spent $9 billion a month in the war in Iraq, 15 years ago, nine -- $300 million a day. Now we spent 2.4 billion thus far in Ukraine. That's eight days of combat in Iraq. We need to flood the zone. We need to push the attack and get equipment into the Ukrainian so they can fight the Russians where they are.
KING: So I want you to help me with your understanding is in Kyiv, the Ukrainians were very effective, as you noticed is repelling Russian troops. They were trying to take land. Here, the Russians have a foothold. They annexed Crimea back in 2014. They have in the separatist regions that are already Russian, pro-Russia forces and Russian troops in there. They've taken some of these other areas that you see in red.
What offensive weapons does Ukraine need to kick Russians out as opposed to keeping them from taking? You're trying to push them out now. And I know one of the weapons. I'm just going to play this video as you -- this is, you know, one of the drones. The United States is sending in these switchblade drones. They take out. This is a radar position here. They can also if you move over here, this is the 300 version. They're tank killers. So if the Russians mount that offensive, how important are these drones?
ANDERSON: Absolutely vital. I mean, the reason that Ukrainians are doing as well as they are is really three reasons. The will the Ukrainian people has never wavered. Number two, their logistics has been brilliant, contrary to the Russians. But the third thing is technology. The Ukrainians have figured out how to leverage technology. And what they're doing with commercial off the shelf drones is amazing. They put together 50 teams on quad runners and motorcycles running around wreaking havoc on the Russian forces.
They're using them as primarily for surveillance. They're providing essentially forward spotting for their artillery and for the javelins. The javelins have 5,000 confirmed hits. So they're using commercial equipment right now. What they need though is just like you showed that they need to have these kamikaze drones, the switchblades, the 600s, not the 300s, the ones that can kill tanks, not the ones that can kill personnel. And as I said we've got to flood the zone and get this kind of equipment in there. They also need T-72s, they need artillery, they need helicopters, and they need logistics.
KING: Right. And the Russians have T-72s obviously. And the Ukrainians have them as well and they're asking for more. Are those switchblade drones, can they take, are they effective if the Russians start rolling through that area with these?
ANDERSON: They are with the 600s. The 600 has a 35-pound warhead it can hover for 40 minutes. It's much more effective against tank targets and mechanized forces. So absolutely they can use these but they've got to get them in the hands of Ukrainians as quickly as they possibly can.
KING: We'll watch as that plays out. General, appreciate your insights. Appreciate your coming in and walk us through that. When we come back, that exclusive CNN interview, we'll hear from the President of Poland, next.
KING: Poland is a case study in how Vladimir Putin's Ukraine invasion is stirring dramatic geopolitical and security changes. Poland, of course, is taking the bulk of Ukrainian refugees. It is urging more aggressive sanctions against Russia. And it is quickly moving to improve strained relations with the United States and the European Union. The Polish President Andrzej Duda is central to this shift. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Dana Bash, President Duda said it is clear to him that Putin wants to eliminate the Ukrainian nation. And he says NATO must rise to this challenge. Dana Bash joins us now live from Warsaw. Dana, tell us more.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously, the big difference between Ukraine and Poland is that Ukraine is not a member of the NATO alliance and Poland is. And it was very clear that President Duda just like other NATO Allies close to Russia, are breathing a sigh of relief, because he does feel confident that if Vladimir Putin decided to be aggressive against this country that NATO would have its back, that Article 5 would be enacted.
But what I wanted to talk to him about, especially after seeing those horrific images out of Bucha is whether or not it's important, or it's even time to wait for that.
BASH: Is there a moment where you might not draw the line on a NATO country getting attacked, and you look and say, it is our moral obligation to help militarily more than we have been?
ANDRZEJ DUDA, PRESIDENT OF POLAND (through translator): I talked to Volodymyr Zelenskyy quite frequently, I think most frequently from all the leaders. He is my direct neighbor. And he's my colleague. And we had a conversation the day before yesterday, we had a long telephone call. Volodymyr calls me quite frequently, even in the middle of the night if something happens in Ukraine. And that was the case when the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was under attack.
And I have this deep sense that we have to do everything to help Ukraine. Yes. This is the feeling that I have, stemming not only for -- from the necessity to provide security to Poland. We want Ukraine stage to exist as independence, severing, and free. But I also have a deep sense, I'm committed as a human being, as a colleague, and I'm doing everything I can in this respect.
Tomorrow I'm seeing Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London. We're going to talk about this. As I said, a couple of days ago, I talked with U.S. President Joe Biden and before that, with Madam Vice President Kamala Harris, who also paid a visit here in Warsaw. So actually, we are consulting on a political level all the time.
BASH: So John, as much as President Duda told us that he understands the importance, the urgency of helping Ukraine, he also understands the perils of bringing in countries, not just Poland, but others around the region and effectively starting World War III. John?
KING: And to that point, a fascinating leader at a fascinating moment, and just an interesting transformation, if you will. He's had tension with fellow European leaders, because they viewed some of his actions as anti-democratic. He was very close with former President Trump. He is more to the right, if you will, from President Biden, how did he describe his relationship with the current American president?
BASH: Very good. President Biden was here just last month, giving his big speech here in Warsaw, of course, went to the border as well. You remember that candidate Joe Biden in 2020 lumped President Duda or at least the Polish government that is in charge right now in with other countries here in Europe, better authoritarian. And that clearly has changed.
The Polish government has kind of seen a realignment, a forced realignment, just in the past few months because of a very clear security crisis that is going on with Russia, which is not new. The fear of Russia is not new for Poland, but it is obviously very, very apparent, given what's happening in Ukraine, not to mention the refugee crisis that they're seeing still over here in Poland.
KING: And what did he say about that? I think many were surprised or some were surprised initially, at how welcoming Poland has been to so many.
BASH: So welcoming. And they still have their borders wide open. Don't intend to change that anytime soon. The thing that there is no answer to right now, John, is how and whether the Polish government is going to make this a permanent situation because it is now, it is now very organic, very temporary. Most people are staying in other people's houses, strangers houses. But whether or not these refugees will have to be really integrated into Polish society is unknown.
KING: Unknown, one of the many big questions as we move forward. A fascinating conversation with the Polish president. Dana Bash, thank you.
Coming up for us, we returned to domestic politics, Donald Trump's latest lie about January 6th. And some brand new CNN reporting on tensions between House Democrats and the Biden Justice Department over access to Trump White House records.
KING: Today, new tensions between House Democrats and the Biden Justice Department in a new letter, the House Oversight Committee says the DOJ is interfering with its investigation into how 15 boxes of records including classified information ended up at Mar-a-Lago when the former President Donald Trump left office. My panel is back with me. I'm going to start this one with you. The Committee says we want to know more about this. The Justice Department says this is our purview.
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, the Justice Department very well might be looking into this or not. The problem is that they're not going to announce publicly what they're doing. Now there could be a point where they privately could convey to the Committee. Hey, hold on, slow down. But they're just not going to say that publicly, that doesn't really work for the Committee and their needs as members of Congress.
KING: Right. It doesn't work for the Committee, especially because this is the Oversight Committee, but the January 6th Committee, Democrats here and the two Republicans are also saying hey, they see foot dragging. We looked at the January 6th Committee, the criminal referrals contempt for referrals to the DOJ. They did act pretty quickly on Steve Bannon but Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino, Peter Navarro. Democrats have been waiting on Meadows for some time, Navarro and Scavino --
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, December. They voted on that December. There's -- this has been a huge source of frustration for Democrats. They have been a little bit more vocal lately. Still, there's a little reluctance to look like they're trying to publicly pressure the DOJ, especially after promising to restore independence to the agency after Trump. But yes, I mean, this has been a huge source of frustration. They're not getting the information they need. So they're trying to find other avenues to get that information.
KING: But speaking of Trump, Josh Dossey of The Washington Post has a remarkable interview with the former president and his parallel universe, starting with this one. This is about January 6th. The Secret Service said I couldn't go. I would have gone there in a minute. The crowd was far bigger than I ever thought. I believe it was the largest crowd I've ever spoken to. I don't know what that means, but you see very few pictures.
Number one, it's a lie that it was the largest crowd ever. But number two, it's a lie. The Secret Service said I couldn't go. A President can take the advice of the Secret Service or the President and could say this is, you know, Donald Trump just didn't want to go period.
ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, absolutely. There were other times where, you know, I was reporting on the service at the time, actually covering DHS. And there were other times where there are anxieties expressed by Secret Service agents for other travel that the President was doing in the time of the pandemic, so worth noting. And it's also just worth stating, again, the President actually once again, bluntly saying that he wanted to go and join a scene that people are attacking the Capitol.
I mean, that is worth saying, again, the former president is saying he wanted to be there and preside over the storming of the Capitol at that point. Some other things from that interview as well, him putting the blame on Pelosi as well, for some of the security errors. I remember, Major General William J. Walker actually testifying that the Pentagon at the point, that's the administration, federal government actually taking away his authority to send in the National Guard. And we know there was a three-hour delay there, as well.
And that's why the Committee wants some clarity on these phone logs. What were the conversations that the President was having around National Guard deployment? What were the requests that came in for additional security?
KING: And this part is, I guess it's not shocking, because we've been through this with Donald Trump. But he told Josh Dossey he still believes he should be reinstated, that he should be made president of the United States today. Here's what he said, how has it not happened? If you're a bank robber, or you're a jewelry store robber, and you go into Tiffany's and you steal their diamonds and get caught, you have to give the diamonds back. This is -- I'm sorry, but it's delusional.
TARINI PARTI, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: It is. And I mean, he's going to keep saying this over and over again, it's one thing to say it in an interview, of course, but we're seeing that he's starting to do more rallies. And he's going to keep saying this publicly, as he -- as Republicans try to win back the majority in Congress in the midterms. So I think we're going to start maybe getting some Republicans trying to distance themselves a little bit from the President. We obviously haven't seen much of that. But I think the next few months, the more he does this, we'll see if some actually step up and try to do that.
ZANONA: Especially if he is going to run in 2024. It's, you know, we can't ignore this stuff. I wish we could. But if he's going to be the nominee, which he very well couldn't be here. We can't ignore it. Republicans can ignore it either even if they tried to.
KING: The math is pretty clear, but it hasn't gotten through to the former president. How has it not happened? OK.
Up next for us, the first two members of the Biden cabinet now Speaker Nancy Pelosi, testing positive for COVID.
KING: Now Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing today she has tested positive for COVID. She is the latest person to get the virus after attending the Gridiron dinner, Gridiron Club dinner here in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. You see the Speaker right there next to the President yesterday at an event. Several other high profile attendees of that dinner are also COVID positive including two members of the Biden cabinet, the Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, along with President Biden sister Valerie and Vice President Harris's Communications Director, Jamal Simmons. Harris's office says she is considered a close contact with Simmons and she will wear a mask around others for the next 10 days.
The White House though, says the President, you saw the pictures, but they say the President is not considered a close contact of Pelosi's. And they tell us the President was tested last night as part of his regular testing routine and that he was negative. The White House is taking steps to keep the President from getting infected. Those steps include mandatory testing for those who come into contact with him and social distancing during meetings when that is possible. We'll continue to watch that story.
Thanks for your time today on Inside Politics. We'll see you back here this time tomorrow. Don't forget, you can also listen to our podcast, download INSIDE POLITICS wherever you get your podcasts. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.