The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Putin’s stability questioned
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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically.
TALK OF THE MORNING
White House questions Putin’s mental health:
Via The Hill’s Laura Kelly, “The White House and other observers are increasingly sounding the alarm about the mindset of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who seems poised to escalate his country’s war with Ukraine.” https://bit.ly/3HxL05g
How so — there has been some speculation: “Experts, analysts, lawmakers and even administration officials have speculated that Putin’s isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic has raised his paranoia. They’ve pointed to decisions he’s made such as the invasion itself, and his move on Sunday to put his nuclear forces on alert, as suggesting he is not making rational decisions.”
PUTIN HAS REPORTEDLY BEEN SNAPPING AT HIS ADVISERS:
Via NBC’s Ken Dilanian, Carol E. Lee, Courtney Kube and Dan De Luce, “The U.S. has solid intelligence that Putin is directing unusual bursts of anger at people in his inner circle over the state of the military campaign, officials said.” What we know: https://nbcnews.to/3HzySRl
LIVE BLOG OF THE SITUATION IN UKRAINE:
Keep checking here to stay caught up: https://bit.ly/3hvsBeU
It’s the first day of March. Rabbit rabbit! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to firstname.lastname@example.org — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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THE LATEST IN UKRAINE
There was a big explosion in Ukraine’s second-biggest city:
Via The New York Times, “Video showed what appeared to be a rocket striking directly in front of an administrative building in Kharkiv, a day after Russian forces shelled the city. At least seven people were killed, officials said, raising fears that Russia was increasingly targeting civilian areas of Ukraine.” https://nyti.ms/3ICrfLk
Surveillance video captured the explosion: Video tweeted by NBC News: https://bit.ly/3Mbjo9v
AND IN ANOTHER UKRAINIAN CITY:
“Video posted to the Telegram messaging platform on Tuesday, and verified by The New York Times, shows an attack on apartment buildings in Kherson, a city that has been a target of Russia’s assault into southern Ukraine. The apartments are next to a kindergarten.” Video and more info from The New York Times: https://nyti.ms/3ID73c4
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS:
Here’s a before and after comparison of a street corner in Kharkiv, Ukraine: Tweeted by Ukrainian ambassador to Estonia Mariana Betsa: https://bit.ly/3IAHetg
Russians targeted a TV tower in Kyiv: The Kyiv Independent’s Illia Ponomarenko tweeted: “Russians are destroying the Kyiv TV Tower. They are trying to cut us off from communications.” Watch: https://bit.ly/3tne6z4 Details from CNN: https://cnn.it/3szb4ZG
^ Here’s another video from a witness on the ground: https://bit.ly/3K6y2wT
‘Satellite images show 40-mile convoy of Russian forces bearing down on Kyiv’: Photos from The Washington Post’s Reis Thebault: https://wapo.st/3IAOQfl
MORE RAMIFICATIONS FOR RUSSIA:
Large multinational companies are leaving Russia: Like oil and gas companies BP and Shell, according to The Hill’s Karl Evers-Hillstrom. https://bit.ly/3svAt69
Russia has been booted from FIFA’s 2022 World Cup: https://es.pn/3swwJBx
And Russians won’t compete in international ice-skating events: https://es.pn/348xQOA
Several countries have banned Russian aircraft: Including the European Union and Canada. https://nyti.ms/3K522Jv
Biden’s strategy — play it cool:
Via The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Brett Samuels, “President Biden is taking a play-it-cool strategy with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” https://bit.ly/3MfdAf4
How so: “When Putin called for putting Russia’s deterrence forces — which includes nuclear weapons — on high alert, Biden chose not to respond in kind, avoiding any action Russia might portray as a show of aggression against it.”
Another example: “He has also given his European counterparts the space they need on sanctions announcements, including those related to SWIFT, the main system for global transactions, instead of suggesting or showing that they’re following his lead.”
How the foreign policy world has viewed Biden’s response: “Foreign policy observers — including those critical of Biden’s messy troop withdrawal from Afghanistan last year — say the president’s measured strategy and response toward Russia has been on the mark.”
More on Biden’s strategy to deal with Putin: https://bit.ly/3MfdAf4
A fun night for political people watching — X was talking to Y? Z was wearing WHAT color?:
President Biden is scheduled to deliver his first State of the Union address tonight.
Via CBS News’s Kathryn Watson, here’s a preview of what to expect: “President Biden will reintroduce pieces of his domestic policy agenda when he addresses Congress during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night and highlight what he sees as his achievements during his first year in office, senior administration officials told reporters in a briefing call on Monday.” https://cbsn.ws/3vyWkf0
Here’s a link to the address livestream night: Biden is scheduled to begin speaking at 9 p.m. EST. Watch: https://bit.ly/341TUKu
*Looks around after hearing a small, high-pitched yell from the ground* — Hey! I’m talking! Remember me!:
Between the crisis in Ukraine and the Supreme Court confirmation battle, President Biden’s legislative agenda is once again scrambled. https://bit.ly/3swQJnx
Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Democratic lawmakers, returning to Washington on Monday for an intense six-week sprint, had hoped to home in on how the party is working to cut costs heading into November, as President Biden faces tepid poll numbers and voters see the economy and record-high inflation as a top concern.”
But now: “Much of the political oxygen for the immediate future will be focused on Ukraine, including what Congress’s response will be, as well as a race to confirm Biden’s Supreme Court nominee by early April.”
What this means for Democrats’ agenda: https://bit.ly/3swQJnx
SPEAKING OF THAT SUPREME COURT CONFIRMATION:
“President Biden’s Supreme Court pick, Ketanji Brown Jackson, is expected to be confirmed by the mid-April recess and stands a good chance of picking up bipartisan support to become the first Black woman to serve on the high court.” What to expect, via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton: https://bit.ly/3vteejj
LAWMAKERS ARE ON THE CLOCK TO PROVIDE AID TO UKRAINE:
“Congress is moving quickly to authorize new assistance for Ukraine following Russia’s invasion even as lawmakers wrestle with what, if any, sanctions legislation is needed.” What is being considered, via The Hill’s Jordain Carney: https://bit.ly/3ptjn7c
LATEST WITH COVID-19
Via NBC News’s Sahil Kapur, “When President Joe Biden gives his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, the mask mandate will be gone in the Capitol, reflecting a stark nationwide shift for Democrats against the public safety rule that has fueled a red-versus-blue culture war.” https://nbcnews.to/3sxPOn2
Where things stand: “The COVID-19 landscape is improving, with vaccines and booster shots easily available and proving highly effective at preventing severe illness or death. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention say 70 percent of Americans reside in areas with low or medium COVID-19 levels. All 50 states have eased or eliminated mask mandates, and the White House formally ditched its requirement Monday.”
Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 79,051,251
U.S. death toll: 950,918
Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y
Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 553 million shots have been given.
Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 165,453 doses
For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.
Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH
Tidbit — how to avoid the misinformation on TikTok:
The Washington Post posted a short video explaining how to decipher which footage is real. Watch: http://bit.ly/2N2rFAd
The House and Senate are in. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.
9:50 a.m. EST: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief.
12:30 p.m. EST: Senators meet for weekly caucus luncheons. The Senate’s full schedule today: https://bit.ly/3vuMLhk
1:15 – 2 p.m. EST: First and last votes in the House. The House’s full agenda today: https://bit.ly/3Hyx1fF
WHAT TO WATCH:
6:30 p.m. EST: NBC News’s Lester Holt interviews White House chief of staff Ron Klain on “NBC Nightly News.”
9 p.m. EST: President Biden delivers his first State of the Union address. Livestream: https://bit.ly/341TUKu
IN LIGHTER NEWS:
Today is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day.
And to leave you with a smile, here’s a group of Dalmatians. That’s all: https://bit.ly/3C6wVKN
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