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JAKE TAPPER: Let’s bring in Congressman Mike Turner. He sits on the House Intelligence Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. Thanks so much for being here. So today, the White House admitted for the first time the sanctions were not changing Moscow's behavior, although they are certainly damaging Russia's economy. You say it's long past time to give lethal aid to Ukraine. Are you not worried at all that this would essentially drag the United States into another foreign war?
REP. MIKE TURNER: Well, it doesn’t drag the United States in. It really is helping our friends and opposing those who declare themselves as our enemy. In this instance, we have intelligence information about what the Russians are doing. We should be working more closely with Ukraine so they actually know what they are facing. And then we should be providing them both military aid; defensive and lethal. Congress at the end of last year authorized the President to provide that lethal aid. He has all the authority to do it. Ukraine has been a NATO partner and certainly the infrastructure is there to provide that aid. The President needs to acknowledge this is an invasion and he needs to help a friend.
JAKE TAPPER: You are on the House Intelligence Committee. What can you assert as a fact in terms of what has gone over the border from Russia into Ukraine beyond arms? Obviously they are supplying the pro-Russian separatists with arms but what about, are there definitely Russian tanks, Russian soldiers?
REP. MIKE TURNER: Obviously I can't tell you what we are receiving in intelligence briefings but certainly, we know from the Ukrainians themselves that there are thousands of Russian troops that are present in Ukraine and that the heavy equipment that is going back and forth to the border between the border represents a significant threat. If you look at what they have had outside, General Breedlove has made it very clear as to the invasion force that’s on the outside of the border and the Russian troops inside the border pose a full invasion threat. This is Vladimir Putin not just merely being adventuresome. He intends to take a significant portion of Ukraine if we do nothing to stop him.
JAKE TAPPER: How long do we have, does the U.S. have, before it's too late to act on behalf of the Ukrainians?
REP. MIKE TURNER: I was talking to one NATO general just last weekend and he was saying time is running short. Since Russia has not been deterred, they made their intentions absolutely clear. The Ukrainians both in what they have in reserves and what they are utilizing is running thin. In order to be able to turn the tide, this needs to be done very quickly.
JAKE TAPPER: Bloomberg is reporting that only half of the $118 million of non-lethal assistance pledged to Ukraine has so far been delivered. Only half. Even if the U.S. authorized lethal aid, how do we know it's even going to get there?
REP. MIKE TURNER: Well, we know it can get there because we can assist in it getting there and we know it can be utilized. I was just in Ukraine last December; I met with commanders who were over the front line in Ukraine. They are waiting for our assistance and they will put it to good use.
JAKE TAPPER: What is Putin's end game here? You think he just wants to grab eastern Ukraine? He already obviously took Crimea.
REP. MIKE TURNER: Right. But we look primarily to what he has said. He has in part proposed that perhaps the Ukraine could even be divided in a way that would have some of it have a sphere of influence with Europe and another be aligned with Russia. What we have here is Russia having violated the territorial integrity of a country where they signed a treaty to protect it; this is the type of area where the United States needs to respond. The president needs to be clear. It's a mystery as to why the President will not declare it an invasion. We need to provide aid.
JAKE TAPPER: Isn't the bottom line that none of the NATO countries, Ukraine is obviously not a member, but none of the NATO countries are willing to expend the life of one NATO soldier? Isn't that the bottom line as to why no one is doing more?
REP. MIKE TURNER: That's not quite the case. We can do a tremendous amount and still not be in a situation where NATO troops or U.S. troops themselves are engaged in the conflict. But this is the type of assistance that a country like Ukraine which is aligned with NATO which is a NATO friend, deserves and we should be providing.
JAKE TAPPER: Congressman Mike Turner from Ohio, thank you for coming we appreciate it.