White House official clashes with CNN over ‘invasion’ messaging: Don’t know ‘how much more clear I can be’

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Clarity surrounding the specifics on the state of Russia’s Ukrainian invasion has been muddled by government officials, and CNN’s “New Day” co-host Brianna Keilar decided to push back on the inconsistent messaging.

In an interview with White House principal deputy national security adviser Jonathan Finer on Tuesday, Keilar questioned the administration’s use of the term “beginning of the latest Russian invasion” instead of considering it a blatant “invasion.”

“I don’t know how much more clear I can be,” Finer snapped. “This is the beginning of an invasion.”

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“Well, you could just call it an invasion,” Keilar responded.

A Ukrainian soldier passes by houses in the village of Novoluhanske, Luhansk region, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022.

A Ukrainian soldier passes by houses in the village of Novoluhanske, Luhansk region, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022.
(AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)

The host continued to run footage of administration officials defining an invasion, including President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who considered any assembled Russian units crossing the Ukrainian border an invasion. Both asserted that a breach of this fashion would be met with “swift” action from the U.S.

Finer grew more impatient with the anchor’s interrogating, repeating and claiming that there has, in fact, been an invasion.

President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to meet at the Villa la Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. 

President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to meet at the Villa la Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. 
(Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File Pool)

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“For the third or fourth time, I am calling it an invasion,” he said. “We are taking a severe response, including sanctions on Russia that we’ll be rolling out in a matter of hours… And we will have additional sanction steps to announce in response to this Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

“So, I don’t think anything should be left unclear,” he argued. “Very consistent with the statements you just played.”

Keilar insisted that “some clarity was lacking” from members of Finer’s own party, including Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., in an earlier appearance.

Some 450 cadets of the Odessa State University of Internal Affairs, the Military Academy of Odessa and the Institute of the Naval Forces of Ukraine form the coat of arms of Ukraine to show unity in Odessa, southern Ukraine, on Feb. 19, 2022. 

Some 450 cadets of the Odessa State University of Internal Affairs, the Military Academy of Odessa and the Institute of the Naval Forces of Ukraine form the coat of arms of Ukraine to show unity in Odessa, southern Ukraine, on Feb. 19, 2022. 
(OLEKSANDR GIMANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

“I think it is important when it comes to what the response is going to be,” she said.

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