‘You’ve got to be silly’: Biden hits back at Ukraine questions from Fox News reporter
Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss the situation in Ukraine on Wednesday morning. The call comes as Ukrainian and Russian negotiators discuss a de-escalation agreement that could see Russia draw down forces from the area near Kyiv.
Both the White House and the Pentagon have said that they believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is being misinformed about progress in the war by his senior advisers who are afraid to characterise it as a “strategic blunder”.
Mr Biden also gave a speech on the state of the Covid-19 pandemic in the US announcing the launch of a central website for Covid resources, before receiving his second booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine. The FDA has just given clearance for a second booster shot for all Americans over 50 and those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable to the virus.
Meanwhile, after contentious nomination hearings that saw Republican senators harangue her about critical race theory and her record sentencing sexual offenders who targeted children, Ketanji Brown Jackson has picked up a crucial supporter: Maine Senator Susan Collins, who has become the first Republican to announce she will vote to confirm Joe Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee.
The news all but guarantees Ms Jackson’s confirmation. She has already secured the support of West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who was thought to be the likeliest of his party’s 50 senators to withhold his support.
US to provide $500m in support for Ukraine’s government
The United States will provide Ukraine’s government with an additional $500 million in “direct budgetary aid” to support its operations as Ukrainian forces continue to fight against Russia’s unprovoked invasion.
Andrew Feinberg has the latest from Washington, DC.
Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 04:00
White House readout of Zelensky call
Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 03:15
Report: Biden to lift Trump-era pandemic restrictions on US-Mexico border
President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to lift a public health order imposed by Donald Trump that blocked most asylum seekers from the US-Mexico border during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to reports citing administration officials familiar with the situation.
Alex Woodward reports.
Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 02:45
Biden administration recalibrating on Russia’s nuclear strategy
The “kinetic” aspect of the Ukrainian conflict has so far played out almost entirely in Ukrainian territory, but the implications for the world’s strategic balance are still huge – particularly in the nuclear realm, with Vladimir Putin putting his nuclear forces on a “special regime of combat duty” just two days after his army invaded the neighbouring country.
The Biden administration and other Nato governments are now trying to rework their strategy for a Russian nuclear escalation, or even an accident involving nuclear reactors or waste storage facilities damaged by the invading forces.
Jonathan Tirone has this report.
Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 02:30
GOP Senator: Joe Biden should stop talking
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, a hardcore right-wing Republican, has laid into Joe Biden over his unscripted line declaring that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power”.
“I genuinely think it would be best for all involved, to include Joe Biden, but especially for the American people, if the president would simply stop speaking publicly in an extemporaneous fashion,” he said in an interview with right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt yesterday, adding that he doesn’t think the president should “adlib” or even “take questions or do press conferences”.
“If we could get three years of Joe Biden speaking in deliberate fashion on words that have been carefully reviewed and vetted … that would be safer than what happened over the last five days.”
Mr Cotton’s grandiose suggestion flies in the face of criticism from many on the right who have long tried to claim Mr Biden is overly resistant to speaking to the press or answering questions.
Read more below:
Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 01:45
Susan Collins to vote for Ketanji Brown Jackson
In a development that all but assures Joe Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee will be confirmed, Maine Republican Susan Collins has said she will vote for Ketanji Brown Jackson when the vote to put her on the bench comes to the Senate floor.
Ms Brown Jackson has already secured the support of Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator who was thought the most likely to withhold his backing.
Eric Garcia has the news:
Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 01:00
Joe Biden yesterday signed a bill that makes lynching a federal hate crime, a measure that has been waiting to pass into law for more than a century.
Named for Emmett Till, the Black teenager whose brutal 1955 murder helped galvanise the civil rights movement, the bill faced only seven “no” votes in the House of Representatives and passed the Senate by unanimous consent.
“From the bullets in the back of Ahmaud Arbery, to countless acts of violence, countless victims both known and unknown … racial hate is not an old problem, it’s a persistent problem,” Mr Biden said at the signing ceremony. “Hate never goes away. It only hides, it hides under the rocks. Given just a little bit of oxygen it comes roaring back out, screaming. What stops it is all of us, not a few.”
Alex Woodward reports:
Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 00:15
More Americans worried about inflation than at any time since mid-1980s
Americans’ concern over inflation has inflated to its highest levels in nearly 40 years.
A new Gallup poll found that close to one in five Americans, or 17 per cent, cited inflation as their biggest economic concern.
The latest survey figures from between 1 March to 18 March are up from 10 per cent in February, 8 per cent in January and the highest ever recorded by Gallup since 1985.
Justin Vallejo reports.
Oliver O’Connell30 March 2022 23:30
Oliver O’Connell30 March 2022 23:10
Biden marks César Chávez Day
President Joe Biden marked César Chávez Day by hailing the champion for workers’ rights and social justice in a presidential proclamation.
Read the full proclamation here.
Oliver O’Connell30 March 2022 22:50