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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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September 12th, 2013
11:41 PM ET

Sen. Murphy on diplomatic solution in Syria: Putin has to bring Assad to the table

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva meeting with his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov. The two are trying to nail down the framework for an agreement requiring Syria to give up its chemical weapons, as the U.S. continues to threaten Syria with potential military strikes.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that a secretive Syrian military unit has been moving chemical stockpiles around to as many as 50 sites to try to avoid U.S. detection. U.S. intelligence thinks it still has a good way of tracking their movements.

"Syria doesn't want to give up these weapons, they're only going to do so if Russia tells them they have to. The only way that Assad continues in power in Syria is with the permission of Vladimir Putin and the Russian government," said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

"Ultimately he's going to do everything he can to subterfuge this deal, it's going to be Putin that brings him to the table," said Murphy.

But there are doubts that Putin be trusted to bring Assad to the table.

"Putin wants to be a regional player," said Murphy. "If he is seen as an international pariah by basically standing by a guy who gasses his people, then he has no credibility, and a lot of the sort of former satellite nations and former republics of Russia will start to retreat to other zones of power and walk away from Putin."

The Obama administration, along with many lawmakers and experts, say the only reason a diplomatic solution is being considered, is because the U.S is threatening a military strike.

Murphy voted against authorizing a military strike in Senate committee last week, but said he does not regret the vote.

"I wasn't being asked to vote against the threat of force," said Murphy. "We were being asked to actually vote on striking Syria. And I still to this day believe that that would not be in the U.S. national interest to strike Syria."

For more of this discussion with Senator Chris Murphy, and CNN's Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, Jessica Yellin, and Jake Tapper, watch the video above.

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