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tv   Washington Week With Gwen Ifill  PBS  March 14, 2014 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT

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amy: 11th-hour diplomacy stalls as the crisis in ukraine intensifies, while at home the c.i.a. is accused of spying on the u.s. senate. i'm amy walter in for gwen ifill tonight on "washington week." old war tensions escalate. >> the president has made it clear there will be consequences if russia does not find a way to change course. and we don't say that as a threat. we say that as a direct consequence for the choices that russia may or may not choose to make here. >> putin has already said we will respect the choice of the crimean people. >> can moscow be persuaded to
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stand down, or is crimea destined to be annexed to russia? the c.i.a. gets called out for allegedly spying on the senate committee investigating its practices. >> the c.i.a. did not ask the committee or its staff if the committee had access to the internal review or how we obtained it. instead, the c.i.a. just went and searched the committee's computers. >> when the facts come out on this, i think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous spying, monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong. amy: we'll have the latest on the investigation. plus, why a special house election in florida may become a case study for republicans and democrats heading into the 2014 midterm elections. covering the week, indira lakshmanan of "bloomberg news," ed o'keefe of "the washington post" and susan davis of "usa oday". >> award-winning reporting and analysis covering history as it happens.
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live from our nation's capitol, this is "washington week" with gwen ifill. corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> it's one of the most amazing things we build and it doesn't even fly. we build it in classrooms and exhibit halls, mentoring tomorrow's innovators. we build it raising roofs, by preserving habitats and serving america's veterans. every day thousands of boeing volunteers help make their communities the best they can be, building something better for all of us. >> whether it's discovering an aspirin a day can prevent heart attacks worldwide or creating cells that rejen-rate new heart muscles, our goal is developing treatment that save lives.
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brigham & women's hospital, additional funding is also provided by the annenberg foundation, the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. and prudential. >> once again, live from washington, substituting for gwen ifill, amy walter of the "cook political report." >> good evening. despite six hours of intense negotiations, the u.s. and russia were not able to reach consensus today on the best path forward to end the crisis in ukraine. that means a referendum vote on weather the crimea region will join russia will happen on sunday as planned. here's how secretary of state john kerry summed up his marathon meeting with russia's foreign minister. >> we believe the referendum is contrary to the constitution of ukraine, contrary to international law, is in violation of that law, and we believe it is illegitimate.
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and as the president put it, illegal under the ukrainian constitution. neither we nor the international community will recognize the result of this referendum. amy: there are now 80,000 russian troops on the border of ukraine. what is putin's ends game? >> well, we are still on a collision course with russia over this. keep in mind this is the biggest dispute between russia and the west since the end of the cold war. it's the first real invasion of another country in europe, if you want to characterize it in that way, since the 1940's. so it's serious. and the u.s. and europe are taking it very seriously. the problem is, no one seems to be getting through to putin, even though clearly angela merkel of germany and john kerry of the united states have tried to put out there a message about the damaging economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation and
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penalties that could face putin, none of that seems to have gotten through. we had the russian foreign minister today saying at his press conference after his talks with john kerry that they have no common vision. he also went so far as to say john kerry didn't threaten me, there were no threats. so he was very much sort of in command. while kerry, at his separate press conference, was saying, we know russia has legitimate interests. we don't want a misunderstanding here. we don't want them to think we don't see their interests in crimea, but there's a more peaceful way to do this and they shouldn't be annexing parts of another country. >> amy: there's going to be a vote on sunday, which putin has said i'm going to wait to make any decisions until after this vote. everyone expects that this referendum is going to pass, which says crime yaes going to be part of russia. but what actually physically happens next? they take this vote, and then does putin bring in troops? do they start raising the russian flag? what goes on? >> it's an excellent question. even in crimea, people don't
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know. there are those in the crimean parliament that says as soon as the vote goes we'll be joining russia as soon as next week. others are saying our re-entry into russia would take up to a year. so it's not very clear. at the same time you have russia's neighbors, such as estonia, watching carefully, putting out messages today that they are concerned about russia invading the rest of eastern ukraine. they said we have no plans to invade eastern ukraine, but let's not forget, this is the same russian foreign minister who said we have no plans to annex crimea, and that seems to be happening. so the u.s. really doesn't want crimea to be annexed, anding john kerry talked about this as being essentially a shadow annexation campaign, but at this point it's not really clear what the u.s. can do about it. the vote is going to go forward and kerry himself has acknowledged that everyone is expecting the vote to go in favor of rejoining russia. >> so while they sort out what to do in crimea, what does the
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rest of the world do come monday morning? >> that's a great question. even before the vote happens on sunday, we have the u.n. security council that's going to vote tomorrow on a resolution. so something -- the world will send a message on that. then we have on monday, after the vote happens, vice president biden will be traveling to poland and lithuania to meet with the neighboring countries who are all allies of the united states to work out some sort of a plan. and john kerry has repeatedly said that come monday, the day after the vote, that consequences are coming. so we should fully expect that sanctions are in the cards, that the u.s. will go ahead and probably follow the same kinds of asset freezes and sanctions that the european union and canada have already done. amy: what do the sanctions look like, and what has putin said about sanctions? the sanctions have been talked about for weeks. does he care is? he going to blink? >> right. that's also a great question, because the russians have essentially put out the message that you sanction us, you're going to pate price.
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we're going to seize american business assets in russia. remember, there are a lot of major multi-national american corporations who do business in russia, and they're concerned about that. at the same time, in terms of how far the sanctions could go, the executive order that the president issued last week is really sweeping in its scope, and he could exercise emergency powers to essentially do everything, cut off russian banks from the financial system, cut them off from credit card networks. he could go really, really far. all of that would amount to economic warfare. and i don't think at this point that president obama wants to do that. i think they would do it in a very sort of measured way, step-up sanctions. first, they sort of fired a warning shot over the bow last week to try to get russia to back down. it hasn't backed down. so i think you can expect a first set of sappingses against ukrainians and maybe against some russian individuals. and then it would step up from there. it could get very serious. amy: the russian economy isn't
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exactly doing great and the supermarket has taken a dive and the ruble. >> right. this will be important for them as well as for interests here. amy: and it could hurt emerging markets. this is at a time when russia has just joined the w.t.o. and getting its economy integrated into the rest of the world. so that's a big concern. ultimately it could be putin paying the price if he takes this all the way. >> so we will wait to see whether or not he goes in shirt off on horseback. >> on horseback. amy: turning to home on capitol hill this week, a war of words broke out on the senate floor after senator dianne feinstein accused the c.i.a. of spying on the senate intelligence committee. here's just some of what the chairman of the committee had to say during her nearly 50-minute speech. >> let me say up front that i come to the senate floor reluctantly. since january 15, 2014, when i was informed of the c.i.a.'s search of this committee's network, i have been trying to esolve this dispute in a
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discreet and respectful way. amy: c.i.a. chief john brennan rejected the statements, saying there could be "nothing further from the truth." now the justice department is investigating the allegations. ed, until this week, senator feinstein had been a very strong ally of the intelligence community. this seemed like a stepping-out of sorts for her. >> it is. amy: waste the story here? >> we have to go all the way back to the bush administration after the 9/11 attacks. remember that the bush administration implemented enhanced interrogation techniques of terrorism suspects. then senator obama was a big critic of this. as president, he immediately ended the program. around the same time the senate intelligence committee launched an investigation to review what the c.i.a. had done. eventually republicans on the committee backed out because they realized that c.i.a. operatives weren't going to be available for interviews, so they thought it would be a flawed report. democrats led by feinstein plowed on.
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they worked out an arrangement with the c.i.a. where they could visit a facility here in northern virginia, go into the payment of that building, use a bunch of computers and peruse six million documents about this situation. there was no index, there was no table of contents. they had to go through it themselves and figure out what was there. at some point in the course of this investigation, whether they got it willingly, by mistake, or from a whistleblower, the committee got its hands on some of the most sensitive documents regarding the interrogation program. that prompted the c.i.a., at least two points, to go into those computers and try to remove sensitive files and figure out how it is the committee got those documents. that is what set off senator feinstein this week. she said if the virginia did do this, they've not only violated the constitutional principle of powers, they've violated a law that prohibits snooping on computers, an executive order that doesn't allow the c.i.a. to do this and they've upset their biggest champion, at least in the senate, dianne
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feinstein. that's where we are. amy: isn't it the job of the senate to be the overseer? >> yes. amy: how could the c.i.a. say, you can't access these files, these are secret? isn't everything open to the overseer? >> well, that's the argument that feinstein and her colleagues have been making. all of this is leading up to what we expect will be eventually the release of a 6,000-page report that they've been working on since 2009. it's cost taxpayers $50 million to put this thing together. feinstein obviously eager to do it. and release of it may be coming at some point soon. the c.i.a. has received a draft copy of it, had some very serious concerns with it, has sent those back. and after they saw what the committee had, we believe it's at one point that they did some of this snooping. the problem is she now has to bring most of her colleagues, who are republican, up to speed. you talk to lawmakers this week and all of them are concerned that executive branch would be withholding information from the legislative branch.
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that's a big no-no. but because not everyone is aware of the details, they can't say much yet. as you pointed out, the justice department is now looking into all of this. >> senator feinstein's counter part came to the floor and maybe put the brakes on what feinstein said. we know all the facts, let's not jump to conclusions and suggested that there may be an independent investigator to look into it. is that inevitable? >> i think part of it is within the committee itself, they're all discussing this right now. that's our understanding at least. at some point other senators who were never privy to this information may say we have to have a full airing of this. if that constitutional principle was violated, that is a more serious concern. so in addition to a justice department investigation, yes, at some point there very well may be some other kind of investigation. >> ultimately, what is the c.i.a. worried about? i mean, you know, how far will this go? let's say these are documents that they had. it also seems like the oversight committee should have had access to all of them.
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what do they think is going to happen once this report comes out? >> if you're a fan of the tv show "homeland" you'll think this is playing out in real life. but they're really worried about their reputation. we know this interrogation program was a black spot in american history and certainly for the c.i.a. whether you agree with it or not, it is controversial and it has caused a lot of angst on capitol hill. they are worried about all that have getting out. they're also worried that some of those documents may have revealed actual sources of the c.i.a. working overseas. so there's concern that it could potentially violate some of their programs. that's, we believe, part of the reason why the agency came in, to make sure they weren't getting that information. >> could gitmo get shut down? >> you think ahead to all the different things that could happen. first and foremost, somebody may be held responsible. john brennan may be on the chopping block if president obama feels that that's necessary. but, yeah, conceivably it could one day go all the way to actually closing the place
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where all of these detainees were held. amy: the white house seems to be sitting on the sidelines. do you expect they'll have to engage a little bit? >> he engaged a little bit this week, the president did, because he supports releasing the report. brennan worked alongside him in the white house, remember. he's an agency veteran and now has been sent back. and the president is pretty close to him. he did signal he's willing to see that report released. we expect a vote on that as early as the end of the months. you have seven democrats on the committee. a vote to declassify the report. you have a vote on it in the committee. seven democrats, and one independent and he has signaled he may be in support of this. another swing vote would be susan collins who, told me she's still looking at it. but she didn't rule out possibly voting to put it out there. amy: we're going to turn to politics now. republicans scored a key victory in a hard-fought congressional race this week in
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florida that's getting lots of national attention. republican david jolly, a former lobbyist, won a district that president obama carried in 2008 and 2012. democrats insist low voter turnout was a key factor in the defeat. republicans say the results are a referendum on the affordable care act. take a listen. >> i would attribute to the win to the fact that our candidate was focused on the issues that were most important to the people in florida 13th, and that's the economy and jobs, because the american people are still asking the question, where are the jobs? >> we're not going to be obsessed with this election, because as even the republicans said, it does not define the environment, and even david jolly said that. this district will be in play in november. amy: sue, you were in florida a few weeks ago. in this district. tell us why many people consider this contest a bellwether of the 2014 midterm elections. is this race a bellwether? ? this served almost as sort of a campaign test lab for 2014.
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it was a really interesting mix of a swing district held by a republican congressman, carried twice by a democrat president, almost split eachly among democrats, republicans and independents and a disproportionate amount of white voters who tend to vote in midterm election years. in that sense it was a perfect storm for both parties to test their campaign messages to see what worked, to try their get out to vote operations. in the ends republicans came out on top. a couple of things that were interesting about this. it's been seen as a referendum on obamacare. there is certainly more dynamics to this race, but i don't think you can deny that republicans ran on a collective message that obamacare is not working. it was not necessarily repealed, although the republican candidate supports repeal, but it was a message of dysfunctional government not working and being a check on barack obama, and that is going to be a compelling message that we're going to hear from republicans. the thing that democrats need to be concerned about in this race is that while their
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message on obamacare appeals to a lot of swing voters, they like that insurance coverage has been expanded, let's keep the good parts, their base is let thargic. the people they need to shoup, young people, minorities, women, the people that are the coalition, did not show up on tuesday. if these people do not show up in november, not only do democrats already face almost no odds of taking back the house, but suddenly, i think it makes a republican takeover in the senate seem much more possible after tuesday's election, than it did before. amy: let's talk about that. because the senate races, if you look at where control is going to be determined, they're in districts -- i'm sorry, they're in states that are a lot more republican than this district in florida. >> yes. amy: how do democrats hold on? >> well, i think what you're going to see, an you've seen it a little bit already of just trying to rile up the base. hear reid recently has taken on a very strong tactic against the coke brothers and outside
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money. that is a message that you think, well, what regular voters don't care about campaign stuff. about this rales up the donor base, democratic-based voters and they are stoking the fires. i think we're going to see democrats -- the debate over income inquality, the minimum wage, sort of these wedge issues that we're going to hear more and more about. they need something to put fire under their voters to get them engaged and interested in the election. the other thing that was interesting for republicans in this race. we talked so much about the data gap, that barack obama in the 2008 campaign and waves able to do. do not underestimate that republicans have been able to close that gap. i talked to republicans that said this race to them was a test case for not only their get out the vote operation, but their voter identification, and they are very pleased with what they saw. alex sink in early voting, she led by thousands of votes. early voting benefits republicans. she started this race and it looked like she was going to
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win this. republicans turned out their voters. they got out on election day and they voted, and that is what they need to worry about. you can talk about obamacare, but the people that are showing up. what it looks like as of tuesday are people that do not want to vote for democrats. >> you mentioned the coke brothers, who run one of these large super packs, spending millions of dollars, a lot of money dumped into this tampa district, because they haven't seen a competitive race since the 1960's or so. but most of it was spent on the democratic side. what does this tell us about their influence? >> well, what's interesting is you see the outside coming in, is lefrl the playing field. alex sink had a very strong financial advantage as a candidate. almost 3-16789 she had a better organization. outside money came in. they were split almost evenly, $12 million total, $6 million each candidate. it's more of a continuation of seeing that outside money groups are an unbelievable factor in these elections. candidates aren't controlling
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their message and that if you don't have an ability, and we see the rise of democratic groups because they realize they don't respond to the outside money that republicans started in 2010, then, you know -- the playing field in a way has almost been leveled but the influence of the outside money on both sides, you just cannot underestimate the magnitude of it. >> is there any sign that the democrats are actually doing something to get out their base? you talked about the young people, some of the minorities, who are not as likely to go out for midterm elections, or can we just say today, can we declare at this table it's hopeless for the democrats and the house? >> you never know. six months ago we were in the middle of a government shutdown. if you looked at polling numbers, you would have thought democrats were in a great position. the rollout has not played to their favor. six months from now -- it's possible. elections are fluid. but i think the health care message is one of the most -- has one of the strongest staying powers. and i think the democrats are reeling a little bit right now. they don't have a unified message.
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they're running in really difficult territory and republicans, in contrast, have a very unified message. >> well, thank you. thank you, everyone around this table. we have to leave you a few minutes early tonight to give you the chance to support your local pbs station, which, in turn, supports us. but our conversation continues online, on the "washington week" webcast extra. we'll talk more ukraine, more politics, and tell you about the former massachusetts senator scott brown's big announcement in new hampshire today. that streams live at 8:30 eastern time and all weekend long at pbs.org/washingtonweek. gwen ifill will be back next week. and from all of us here, good night. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--
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>> corporading for "washington week" is provided by -- >> we went out and asked people a simple question -- how old is the oldest person you've known? we gave people a sticker and had them show us. we learned a lot of us have known someone who's lived well into their 90's, and that's a great thing. even though we're living longer, one thing that hasn't changed -- the official retirement age. the question is, how do you make sure you have the money you need to enjoy all of these years? >> whether it's discovering an aspirin a day can prevent heart attacks worldwide or creating cells that rejean-rate new heart muscle, our goal is developing treatments that save lives. brigham & women's hospital. additional funding is provided
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[ mid-tempo music plays ] steves: riding this gondola, you soar, landing in the sleepy, unpromoted village of gimmelwald. in 30 years of researching guidebooks, i've found hidden gems like this in every country. gimmelwald would have been developed to the hilt, like neighboring towns,
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but the village had its real estate declared an avalanche zone, so no one could get new building permits. the result? a real mountain community -- families, farms, and traditional ways. choosing places like gimmelwald and then meeting the people, you become part of the party rather than just part of the economy. this is a realistic goal for any good traveler. eins, zwei, drei. man: [ chuckles ] steves: take a moment to appreciate the alpine cheese. so, older is better? man: oh, yes. -woman: i don't know. -man: oh, yes. woman: for me, it's the younger one. steves: once you're off the tourist track, make a point to connect with the living culture. pitch in, even if that means getting dirty. here, farmer peter is making hay while the sun shines.
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next on kqed newsroom, looking for a makeover. the republicans have their convention this weekend. rebrandy. one pushes for race and gender to be considered in college admission. >> we have to make sure we have a diverse population, but more importantly, a diverse work force. >> and heeded the ablgctions ofs efforts to reverse parts of 209.

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