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Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) is Interviewed about Russia; Jim Walden is Interviewed about Doping at the Olympics; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D- MA) is Interviewed about Federal Reserve Nominees and Lawmaker Stock Trading. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired February 16, 2022 - 08:30   ET



SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): On a regular basis. Putin's got to be seeing those images that even if he overcomes the Ukrainian military, there will be an insurgency. I think the administration's done a good job of unifying NATO and virtually every day there's another western leader, either in Kyiv or Moscow, and the American intelligence community has been really leaning in as we get intelligence, showing where Russia may try to create a false flag or an event that it looks staged as if it's Ukraine attacking Russia, and we're trying to pre-identify those. I think we've got Putin a little bit off balance. But, unfortunately, we've not seen a major de-escalation.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, to an extent, you're saying what the United States is trying to do is working, which is something Julia Ioffe, a writer for "Puck," told us a little while ago. And he wrote -- she wrote, the Biden strategy is starting to look like a pretty good one. What's better than tricking the guy who threatened war, Putin, into threatening peace?

WARNER: Well, I do think -- I think there's been some progress. And I think, you know, I was proud of the fact that while we didn't get a full bipartisan sanction bill, we did get the bipartisan leadership of the Senate. We helped put together a statement yesterday that said we stand with the Ukrainian people. We're going to be supportive. You've crossed these lines into NATO. There will be consequences. And if you cross into Ukraine, there will be economic consequences.

My concern, though, John, is, we're focusing a lot on the kinetic activity. We also saw that Russia started to launch, it appears, cyberattacks yesterday against Ukrainian banks and certain Ukrainian government entities. My fear is, if Russia launches a major cyberattack against Ukraine, for example, and tries to shut down the power or the water, sometimes those cyberattacks don't know geographic boundaries, what will happen if that cyberattack bleeds into Poland, which is a NATO nation.

So, a lot of things that we've got to be concern about in these coming days.

BERMAN: Well, what would happen? Would Article Five mean that the United states would have to retaliate? You tell me. WARNER: That -- that has been one of those hypothetical debate literally for years. But the notion, if you suddenly turn out the lights in eastern Poland and that results in a wreck of a NATO vehicle where we've now got additional American troops, we're entering into this unchartered waters and this is why this still may be the most dangerous week for traditional European boundaries since the Second World War.

BERMAN: So you noted -- you're part of this bipartisan resolution or statement that was put out -- but you also noted you couldn't get a bipartisan agreement on a sanctions bill. Why not? What's the disagreement? Is it just that Jim Risch, who works with you on intelligence, that Republicans are pushing for sanctions now and Democrats are -- want sanctions to come after the Russians further invade?

WARNER: I think -- and, listen, Jim Risch has been a good partner. He's been working to get to a solution. I think where this boiled down to is -- especially as we're so close to the event potentially happening, or at least what the intel is indicating. We wanted to not tie the president's hand so much. There was, I think, a bipartisan solution where you could say, all right, here are the sanctions that are going in immediately, before even any invasion, but still give the president some level of an ability to kind of wave those and give him some discretion.

That's actually what Senator Lindsey Graham had proposed. I think we could have gotten there on that. Unfortunately, some of the hard- liners in the Republican camp weren't willing to go along with that compromise approach.

BERMAN: Senator Mark Warner, Mr. Chairman, I do appreciate you being with us this morning. I look forward to talking to you again, hopefully as this situation improves.

WARNER: Yes, I hope a week from now we can all say we got through this safely. But, stay tuned.

BERMAN: Thank you, Chairman.

WARNER: Thank you.

BERMAN: Brand-new details this morning on the three -- three heart medications that showed up on the teenage Russian skater's drug test.

Plus --

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: How Justin Bieber may have single-handedly saved him Hortons.



KEILAR: Time now for "5 Things to Know for Your New Day." Ukraine's president declaring today a day of unity as his nation faces

the threat of an invasion by Russian forces. President Biden urging Russian President Vladimir Putin not to give up on diplomacy, and the Kremlin is now claiming that some of their troops are pulling back after completing drills, but CNN cannot verify that.

BERMAN: Families of Sandy Hook massacre victims reaching a $73 million settlement with the now bankrupt gun manufacturer Remington. And according to their attorneys, they also obtained and can make public thousands of pages of internal Remington documents.

KEILAR: Prince Andrew agreeing to settle a sexual abuse lawsuit, filed by Virginia Giuffre. She says that Jeffrey Epstein forced her to have sex with his friends, including the prince, when she was only 17. As part of the settlement, Giuffre's attorneys say that Prince Andrew will make a substantial donation to her charity in support of victims' rights.

BERMAN: In New York, a six-year-old girl missing since 2019 has been found alive. Police say thanks to a tip they received, a warrant and searched the home of the girl's parents, who did not have legal custody. They found her in a makeshift room under the stairs. She is now with her legal guardian.


KEILAR: And Justin Bieber has almost single-handedly saved Canadian restaurant chain Tim Horton's. Bieber's limited time doughnut hole line helped boost fourth quarter sales at stores open at least a year, more than 10 percent, reversing an 11 percent drop from the same quarter a year ago. Tim Horton's CEO says he's now a bel-ieber (ph). I bet.

BERMAN: I don't know what to say to that.

Those are the -- except I really do like their coffee. Those are the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day." More on these stories all day on CNN and And don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning. Go to You can also find it wherever you get your podcasts.

KEILAR: And new this morning, the IOC president met with Team USA figure skaters for two hours -- this was a long meeting -- to discuss the doping scandal surrounding 15-year-old Russian skater Kamila Valieva, who is closing in on her second gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. It was just revealed that Valieva reportedly had three heart drugs, also drugs that can enhance performance, two of them not banned, however, in her system when she tested positive at an event in December. As I said, just one was a banned substance. That is the one that certainly the official proceedings have zeroed in on.

Let's talk about this now with the lawyer for the Russian doping whistleblower, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, Jim Walden is with us. His client's revelations led to the current punishment that Russia is facing, that massive campaign of doping.

Can you just react, if you would, and thank you for being with us this morning --


KEILAR: To where we are at this point with this skater still performing in the Olympics?

WALDEN: What a mess it is. It's really the perfect storm. But, thankfully, Congress and Senator Ben Cardin passed the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act so there will be a criminal investigation at this point.

We've got all of these clean athletes that did nothing wrong. Their careers and their dreams are hanging in the balance. We've got this young skater who now has three different drugs, one of them clearly banned, one of them is permitted when taking it in one form but banned when taking it another form, and the third drug is not something that we should be concerned about.

But there's a presumption that somebody tried to help her cheat. That's the way the presumption has to work. Especially here on the back of the mountain of evidence that Russia has been systematically doping its athletes since the late '60s and in a crescendo just a couple of winter Olympics ago.

Brianna, there hasn't been a single Olympics in recent memory where a Russian athlete hasn't tested positive for doping. And this particular drug, right, has become a drug of choice for the Russian doping system. I mean there were at least three athletes that have been -- have tested positive and received bans for either this exact drug or a drug very similar to it, just in the past couple of years.

So, as I said, a big mess and it will take U.S. law enforcement to unravel it months from now.

BERMAN: You and your client exposed, over the years, was this systematic industrial doping effort. And I just want to reiterate one of the things you've said about the presence of three drugs. Travis Tygart, who runs the U.S. anti-doping efforts here, he said the presence of those three things does indicate a scheme here.



TRAVIS TYGART, CEO, U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY: Having these three, you know, two declared and one, obviously, testing positive that wasn't declared, the one that is prohibited, just raises, you know, significant red flags and alarm bells that there is someone behind, whether it's a coach, a doctor, or the state, that's helping this young athlete and teaching this young athlete to use these substances in order, ultimately, to increase and enhance performance.


BERMAN: But, Jim, my question is, what incentive did the Russians have to stop? I mean their athletes are all there competing, so why stop? WALDEN: It's a really great point. Allowing Russia into the Olympics

at all is like swimming with sharks, right? You have to know what you're getting into. They treat doping as a game. They believe in cheating as an affirmative strategy. They have shown that year after year after year. And the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency are so interested in appeasing Russia that they're going to ruin their brand.

The only thing the Olympics has going for it is that it has this hallowed tradition. And when there is no punishment for doping, and people can literally compete while they have a dirty system -- a dirty sample on the system, you're essentially turning it into carnival games. And that's what Russia wants, right? It wants to be able to cheat and not be detected too much and win lots of medals and that will increase Putin's popularity internally and give him more optionality internationally so that he can do the kinds of things that he's doing right now in Ukraine and that they've done before in Crimea.


KEILAR: Yes, look, it's incredible. And she is a minor. I just -- I always come back to that. She is not being protected, a 15-year-old. And we can't just focus on her, obviously, the focus has to be on the broader campaign here.

Jim, thanks for being with us.

WALDEN: Thank you very much.

KEILAR: Republican senators blocking a crucial vote on President Biden's nominees to the Federal Reserve in the midst of an inflation crisis. Senator Elizabeth Warren will join us live, in studio, to respond.


KEILAR: Republican senators are boycotting a crucial vote on President Biden's nominees to the Federal Reserve. Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee did not show up yesterday over their opposition to Biden's pick for top banking regulator Sarah Bloom Raskin. And the delay tactic is coming at a tense moment for the Fed. The nation's central bank is getting ready to raise interest rates as it tries to tame inflation.

Joining us now is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Thank you so much for being with us this morning in studio.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Delighted to be here.

KEILAR: So, talk to us a little bit about what is going to be next with overcoming this block?

WARREN: So, look, just set the stage for a minute. We have five nominees that are going forward. Two who are currently on the Fed but need to be renominated in their positions, and three new people.

The Republicans have focus in on one of them, Sarah Bloom Raskin, who is one of the most amazingly qualified people for this job ever. She has been a governor of the Federal Reserve. She has also been an assistant secretary of the Treasury. She has taught in the field. She is enormously qualified.

So, what is the problem? Why is she attracting all of this attention? She's actually concerned about the climate crisis, as are all of the Fed nominees, but she has had the courage to talk about it and to say that banks need to be accounting for climate crisis in terms of the value of their assets, the lending they do, and so on.


And the industry, big corporations, think, whoa, she could be tough, she could be a problem, so let's focus in and try to shut this down.

KEILAR: So how do you move forward? And, to be clear, there is a -- there is a significant nominee that you oppose, right?

WARREN: That's right.

KEILAR: Jerome Powell.

WARREN: I am not if favor of renominating the chairman, but I show up and I vote. And I'm going to lose that vote. I recognize that. But you should up and you vote. If we all show up and vote, then all of the nominees are going to be confirmed, they're going to go forward and they're needed right now in this time of crisis.

What the Republicans are doing is that they're doing an end run, or at least trying to, by not even showing up, and when they don't show up, there's no quorum in order to be able to hold a vote.

Part of what's really aggravating about this is we know it's a 50/50 Senate. We get it. And so the agreement was struck right at the beginning about how we would deal with contentious nominations. And the answer was, we all show up, we vote, if it's 50/50, it takes an extra vote to get them confirmed on the floor of the senate. But not good enough for the Republicans right now on the Banking Committee. They're trying to stop one of the nominees because they think she may actually be a really effective regulator.

KEILAR: Let's talk about this bill that you just introduced. And I wonder how many bills Congress will have to introduce when it comes to stocks and members of Congress before this issue is actually resolved, but it would prohibit members of Congress from owning stocks entirely.


KEILAR: Tell us why it's needed, but also tell us how you can be sure there will not be work arounds because there have been with past efforts.

WARREN: You know, you put your finger on it, we don't -- we can't do a half measure here. So, this bill is really straightforward. It says, if you're a member of Congress, or the spouse of a member of Congress, you cannot own individual stocks, you cannot buy individual stocks, you cannot trade in individual stocks.

Now, here's the good news, it's simple, it's direct, and it's bipartisan. It is the only bill right now in the Senate that is bipartisan. We've got a half a dozen original co-sponsors, half Democrat, half Republican, and a real sense that now is the time to say to the American people, you can be confident that when a representative or a senator is voting on something, they're doing it because they believe it is best for the country, not just for themselves financially.

KEILAR: Their adult children could own stocks.

WARREN: Minor children, right now, there's no particular prohibition on that. But this is about the people who control. It's about the moms. It's about the dads. It's the spouses. It's parents. And it says, you can't own it, you can't trade in it, can't buy, can't sell.

KEILAR: So, is this correct, the bill would allow members to divest, right, to sell off stocks because they can't own them and a lot of -- especially wealthier members of Congress do own them. They can sell them off and divert them into different kinds of investments and then they don't have to pay capital gains tax. Perhaps they never have to pay capital gains tax on those earnings if they don't cash out the assets during their lifetime. Is that right? I mean it sounds not so bad, especially for very wealthy members of Congress.

WARREN: So, not quite. The way it works is it says, in effect, if you have individual stocks and you want to roll it over into a mutual fund, if members of Congress want to be in the stock market, but broadly held stock, not something that we can be voting on that might affect the value of one stock or even one industry, you can roll it over without having to acknowledge your capital gains at that moment. But they're just deferred. And then you're just in -- where the law is already on what happens with capital gains. But if you'd like to get into tax policy as well, you know I'm ready.

KEILAR: I only have a few more minutes, so I don't think that's going to happen.

I am curious, though, Elon Musk just donated billions of dollars to charity.


KEILAR: He's your favorite billionaire. Just kidding, he's not. What do you say to that?

WARREN: Good. I'm delighted that he did this. I also believe, however, that billionaires ought to be paying taxes. And it shouldn't simply be optional.

You know, what we've now seen is both giant corporations and billionaires have enough tricks in the tax code -- KEILAR: Because he's -- just to be clear, he's donating the stock,

right, instead of the -- he's donating the stock.

WARREN: Yes. That's right.

But part of what happens right now is that, for example, Elon Musk, 2018, we've actually seen his tax returns.


You know how much he paid in taxes? One of the richest people in the world? Zero. And he's not the only one. Jeff Bezos, right, another one of the richest people in the world, he pays less in taxes than a public schoolteacher or a firefighter. And they do this because they're only being taxed on income. They very cleverly make sure they have no official income. They just have all this stock that keeps building in value, building in value. They borrow against it. It's just not right. We need a system in America where everybody gets the benefits of being an American, but that means everyone pays a fair share to keep this country running.

KEILAR: All right. Well, we are going to be keeping an eye on what is going on certainly with your stock act and as well with these Fed nominees at such a crucial time.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you for being with us.

WARREN: Thank you.

KEILAR: Really appreciate it.

And CNN's coverage continues right now.