Liz Wahl is an American who until today worked for the Russian state-owned news network RT. She announced her resignation on air and accused her employers of glossing over Putin's actions in Ukraine. She told Anderson she decided the time was right because "the propagandist nature of RT came out in full force."
CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto reports there are now indications the invasion of Crimea was "not a vastly premeditated decision by Putin." But there are serious questions about why the U.S. did not have more warning the crisis was coming. Anderson discussed how well America's intelligence agencies can keep tabs on Russia with Sciutto and former CIA officer Bob Baer.
There is plenty of Cold War rhetoric being used to describe Russia's invasion of Crimea. Putin has made no secret of his nostalgia for the old Soviet Union. But some say his ambitions in Ukraine are to build a new Russian empire to go up against the European Union and NATO. Anderson discussed this with CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto and Stephen Hadley, who is a former national security adviser to President George W. Bush.
During a private fundraiser, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Putin's claims of protecting minorities as justification for invading Ukraine to similar actions by Hitler in the 1930s. Anderson discussed these remarks and Putin's strategies with author Masha Gessen and Ariel Cohen, who is a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation who interviewed Putin several times.
Senator Lindsey Graham criticized President Obama's handling of the Ukraine invasion by tweeting:
It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression.
Chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash asked Senator Graham about this line of criticism.
Former RT anchor Liz Wahl just spoke with Anderson Cooper about her decision to resign on-air over the network's coverage of the Ukraine crisis. RT just released the following statement on Ms. Wahl's resignation.
"Ms. Wahl's resignation comes on the heels of her colleague Abby Martin's recent comments in which she voiced her disagreement with certain policies of the Russian government and asserted her editorial independence. The difference is, Ms. Martin spoke in the context of her own talk show, to the viewers who have been tuning in for years to hear her opinions on current events, the opinions that most media did not care about until two days ago. For years Ms. Martin has been speaking out against US military intervention only to be ignored by the mainstream news outlets - but with that one comment, branded as an act of defiance, she became an overnight sensation. It is a tempting example to follow.
When a journalist disagrees with the editorial position of his or her organization,
the usual course of action is to address those grievances with the editor, and, if they cannot be resolved, to quit like a professional. But when someone makes a big public show of a personal decision, it is nothing more than a self-promotional stunt.
We wish Liz the best of luck on her chosen path".
There are serious questions about how far Russian President Putin really thought through the Crimea invasion. There is late word that President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed a possible "off-ramp" for Russia to end the crisis. Anderson discussed Putin's motivations with CNN political commentator Carl Bernstein and Fareed Zakaria, host of Fareed Zakaria GPS.
More than 100 people lost their lives last month in Kiev's Independence Square during fierce battles between protesters and police. Anderson walks through the square today. He found barricades still standing along with arsenals of molotov cocktails and rocks. It is all still at the ready, just in case a new round of violence erupts.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio spoke to Anderson about Russia's invasion of Crimea and says "there has got to be a consequence for this action." In Washington, lawmakers from both parties are working to draft sanctions that would punish Russia. But some Republicans are also openly criticizing President Obama's response to the Ukraine crisis. Senator Rubio admits that he is a critic of "the Obama foreign policy in general" but explained to Anderson why he supports the administration's response to Ukraine.
At times, Russian President Vladimir Putin claims there are no Russian troops in Crimea, but at other times he justifies the invasion as protection from "Nazis and anti-Semites" inside Ukraine. That's leaving many to wonder where he is getting his information. After speaking to President Putin last weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel described him as "in another world." Jim Sciutto takes a closer look.
As a former National Security Adviser to President George W. Bush, Stephen Hadley has met with Putin and knows how the Kremlin operates. Anderson spoke with him and former CNN Moscow correspondent Jill Dougherty.