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CNN "Newsroom" - Transcript: Crimean Crisis


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Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman Schiff, thank you for joining us. You recently visited Ukraine.


LEMON: And you believe U.S. and world -- and the world must do more to help -- help the Ukraine. What specifically should the U.S. be doing right now?

SCHIFF: Don, when I was there just a couple of weeks ago, Ukrainians were worried about exactly what's happening that the Russians would provoke violent confrontations on the streets of Ukraine and use it as a justification to invade. And I think the U.S. really needs to do a few things. We need to step up our sanctions, and that means really trying to get Europe together around sector wide sanctions if the Russians further incur into Ukraine.

Sanctions on their energy industry, on their mining industry, on their banking industry, things that would really cripple Russia's economy. And now this is going to be hurtful to Europe as well. It won't be great for us either, but if Europe and the United States are serious about deterring further Russian aggression, we're really going to have to go with sector wide sanctions.

I also think we need to afford to deploy NATO assets to our NATO allies in the region to give them some level of confidence that we're going to stand behind Article V of the NATO treaty, that says an attack on any of the NATO countries is an attack on all of the NATO countries.

These are a couple of steps that we're going to take in addition to the financial support we're giving Ukraine.

LEMON: But, Congressman, I mean, what good would that do? We saw in Crimea after that, that sanctions were threatened -- sanctions have been threatened for Russia for a while now. Vladimir Putin doesn't seem -- it doesn't seem to matter to him. What good will any of that do if he just doesn't care?

SCHIFF: Well, I think the problem has been the sanctions have been too mild, too target-specific, going after a few of the oligarchs that really haven't hurt the Russian government or the Russian people. Sector wide sanctions, on the other hand, would really cripple Russia's economy. It would make Putin pay a real price and it will take a little of the luster off of his bellicose foreign policy.

Right now the Russians applaud what Putin is doing. If the Russians got to feel the economic impacts they might decide this is not such a great course for Russia after all. But I think the only thing Putin is going to respect is strength and I don't think we've shown it significantly in the response we've had yet. So I think it's --


LEMON: Do you remember --

SCHIFF: You know, regrettably going to be necessary.

LEMON: Do you remember after the invasion of Crimea, and when we talked about sanctions and that he threatened to seize assets of U.S. companies, seize U.S. property in Russia, and so again, I ask, if, you know, if he doesn't care, what can we do other than sending troops?

SCHIFF: Well, we're not going to send troops, but I think he does care. If the -- the sanctions are severe enough it will have an impact on him. But right now he doesn't think the U.S. and the West is going to step up to the plate with something that will also hurt them because in this kind of a global economy, you can't have only a one-way impact of sanctions but they'll hurt Russia a lot more.

So I think it's really necessary. I think it would be a deterrent. And I think if we want to prevent a third kind of territorial invasion, you know, after Georgia, now Ukraine, we're going to have to really get serious about imposing substantial costs and repercussions. We have the power to do it. We and Europe have the power to do it. The question is, do we have the will to do it? I think Putin right now questions whether we have the will to step up to the plate.

LEMON: Thank you very much. Really appreciate you taking the time, Congressman Adam Schiff. We appreciate you here on CNN.

SCHIFF: You bet.

LEMON: Thank you.


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